Then Saturday Comes… the half decent football blog

How to resolve israel-palestine, god moves to grimsby + Jermaiiine Pennant’s endless pursuit of bling
December 27, 2008, 3:23 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog

1. The Big Debate… The Big Match?


Israeli aircraft devastated Hamas compounds across the Gaza Strip on Saturday, in response to recent rocket attacks launched into Israel.  The world awaits the next events, which will presumably be just as hate-filled and destructive.

This nonsense will carry on until a ‘winner’ and a ‘loser’ of the struggle for dominance in the area is found.

Such a formation of rule is nothing new… every nation in history has been born out of victory over another power.  America took its independence from Britain (1776), and we took our’s from Italy (466), who in turn took theirs from the Etruscans (396 BC).

However, those were simpler times.  Today’s supranational climate will not permit a war – how boring.  Therefore, another contest must be established to find which side deserves the land more.

I have written to FIFA to organise a ‘Jewish vs Muslim Football Match: Winner Takes All’.  The premise would be simple, the best XIs of each faith would take to the pitch and whoever won would have the right to call the ‘Holy Land’ there own.  No response from Sepp yet, but here’s my prediction of how the mayhem would go down.

AFC Islam vs. Yids United

Rami Shaban

Emmanuel Eboue, Khalid Boularouz, Kolo Toure, Habib Beye

Franck Ribery, Belozoglu Emre, Zinedine Zidane, El Hadhi-Diouf

Nicolas Anelka, Amir Zaki


Dudu Aouate

George Cohen, Juan Pablo Sorin, Tal ben Haim, David Pleat

Sebastian Rozental, Eyal Berkovic, Yossi Benayoun, Jordi Cruyff

Ben Sahar, Ronnie Rosenthal

Team news: The Muslim side is really strong, and would be many people’s favourites going into this fixture.  They benefit from the expansion of the faith across Africa and Europe, bringing in a really balanced side.  Key man Zinedine Zidane will not serve his headbutt suspension because this match will be presided over by the UN, not FIFA.

The Jewish side go into this at a real disadvantage.  The team seems very thinbare, and cynics have pointed to the faith’s disinterest in recruiting new members due to restrictive maternal membership rules.  The full-backs have an average age of around 65, and could be found wanting against the pacyIslamic wingers.

However, this Jewish team have a team spirit like the Wimbledon cup winning side of 1989, and are also well known for their devastating aerial attacks.

On paper, it does looks like the Jews would struggle in this eternally important fixture.  However, they have overcome bigger obstacles before.  From what I’ve heard about it, the Holocaust was a bigger threat than El-Hadji Diouf.

My money is on the Jews – they are always at their best when the odds are against them.  I can really see Ronny Rosenthal winning this with  a late counter-attacking goal after Eyal Berkovic splits the Toure-Boularouz defence in a manner not seen since David split the Black Sea.

My prediction: Yids United 2-1 AFC Islam

Therefore, the only reason why Sepp would not accept this proposal would be if he were a militant Muslim… I see no evidence of this.

Hope no offence was caused – both the Jews and the Muslims would beat a Catholic XI, so the loser can have Vatican City if they want it?

2. The Bernebau or The JJB?  Hmm…

pennantBack to more conventional issues, but no less farcical, is the perplexing case of Jermaine Pennant.  Faced with the choice between moving to Wigan or Real Madrid, it appears that JP has plumped for the former.

That’s right, he’s off to Lancashire rather than Spain.

Unsurprisingly, the issue is money.  Real and Liverpool had agreed a fee for the consistently average winger, but Pennant refused to budge from his £60,000/week demands.  Wigan are happy to match that figure, so it looks like Pricey Pezza will be skulking off there to fulfill his dreams (which obviously focus more on gold watches than silverware).

And so when Jermaine finally hangs up his boots, his grandchildren ask “why do you drive a jumbo jet while Wesley Schneider can only afford a helicopter”.  JP will remove his ray bans, chortle, and recant (through his gold teeth) how he turned down the move of a lifetime due to their paultry offer of just £45,000/week.

PS I am fully aware that Pennant will not be in contact with his grandchildren, as he will have too many children to be inclined to pursue a personal relationship with any of them.

And I’m sure my libel lawyer would agree.

3. Robbie Put Out To Pasture

robbie-fBringing up the rear of today’s blog is the sad news that Robbie Fowler’s Premiership career seems to be over.  Blackburn have cancelled his contract, and it is very unlikely we will see him on Match of The Day unless he becomes a pundit (shudder).

Better news is that, in a real life homage to Mickey Rourke’s character in hotly anticipated film The Wrestler, Fowler will soon be plying his trade for League Two Grimsby Town.

I have never understood why footballers decide to quit at the top rather than admit that as they get older they will invariably get worse.  Does Eric Cantona really believe anyone thinks “aah he was great, he could still be playing now, but he got bored and just wanted to act”.

Saying that, some Man U fans are so indoctrinated that they would think that.

Footballers stay retired for about 50 years… why not squeeze every last drop out of playing as you can?  What makes it all the more nonsensical is that as soon as someone like Fowler drops down to League Two, it is the same people that bemoan players turning out just for money who claim he is ‘tarnashing his legendary status’ by playing at a low level.

I think it shows a very likeable attidude towards the sport that has given him so much.  And therefore I hope you join me in saying “toot on Robbie Fowler, toot on.”


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