Then Saturday Comes… the half decent football blog

Fights, law and rape (The Cesc, Blades and Pardew show)
March 18, 2009, 8:28 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog

Coming up this week…


Shock as glamorous southerner spits at filthy northerner...

Shock as glamorous southerner spits at filthy northerner...


Arsenal narrowly avoided embarrassment on the pitch yesterday, but their skipper caused many blushes off it after apparently spitting at Hull assistant manager.

Aresene Wenger must have thought he had avoided a dark cloud after late goals from Robin van Persie and William Gallas eventually saw off The Tigers.  But then Cesc decided it would be best to throw a bit of phlem at Hull’s Brian Horton.

This whole shambolic episode proved two things.  Firstly, that Hull City provided Arsenal with so much of a scare that a genuinely world class player deemed them worthy of his full aggression.  Second, it summed up the terrible attitude that permeates through the current Arsenal dressing room.

After Wenger took over in the late ’90s, he transformed The Gunners into a team that played with a swagger that fitted their title winning credentials.  Sure, people like Henry, Vieira and Overmars were patronising and smug, but they backed it up on the pitch.  By winning titles and FA Cups, that lofty sense of self-worth and superiority looked like confidence.

This Arsenal team has the same attitude, but fails to back it up.  The ‘confidence’ that is perceived on a winner has been replaced by ‘arrogance’.  An arrogance that means they chalk every bad result down to a fluke or a cheat, while they should acnowledge that the problems lie at their own doorstep.

The semantics of spitting at Hull’s assistant is that he is beneath Arsenal.  Because he promoted a game plan to stifle the game he was morally inferior to Fabregas’ team.

Let’s not forget this is the same man who criticised Mark Hughes for choosing a defensive team that got a point at Arsenal a couple of seasons ago.  Wenger has created a team spirit of pure superiority – the players fail to realise that they have to back that up on the pitch, and that teams who stand in their way are a chance to prove they are any good.

Instead, they bitch and moan.

But what annoys me most is that Arsenal are purportedly the team that plays for the ‘love of the game’.  While I obviously recognise that teams like Hull, Bolton and Blackburn can stifle games through time wasting techniques, the actions of Arsenal’s skipper do not reflect those of somebody who is happy to have won.  He seems to be governed by hate – the result was to spite Hull, not for Arsenal’s benefit.

Spitting at Hull’s assistant has the same backdrop of Gary Neville’s over-zealous taunting of Liverpool fans; a person who finds happiness by sticking his thumb in other people’s eye.  As well as proving his class on the field does not transfer off it, Fabregas has shown that he is actually the real proponent of the ‘anti-football’, as he is anti-competitiveness.

"There's been a rape up there!"

"There's been a rape up there!"


Well, it seems like my suggestion that ITV’s FA Cup gaffe in the Liverpool – Everton game would usher in a new era of radical pundits has already come true!

This Sunday night on Match Of The Day 2, Alan Pardew made the rather sublime decision to compare a tackle by Michael Essien to rape.

Yep, it’s true.  Click here for evidence.

Sadly, Pards has already been told he won’t be invited back to the MOTD studio.  It seems The Beeb do not want to hear the former West Ham gaffer’s future analogies, which one would assume would include ‘Man United are more prolific than Shipman’ and ‘West Brom are going down like a Jew in Auschwitz’.

Sorry if that offends anyone, don’t shoot the messenger.

BBC officials have made the ridiculous defence that they thought Pardew said ‘he absolutely rakes him there’.  Obviously Alan wouldn’t say such a thing, as he clearly knew that the etymology of ‘to rape’ is simply to ‘forcefully take something that is not your own’.  In my mind, Pards was simply raising awareness of how language can change over time, and highlighting how rape used to mean something entirely different before it became synonymous with what it refes to today.

Mr Pardew obviously subscribes to Samuel Johnson’s belief that language is continually evolving, and the only thing one can do is document the changes.

Leicester fans are happy with the side's form

Leicester fans are deilghted with the side's form


Like most of the season, Leicester City have enjoyed a great weekend. After grinding out an incredibly important win away at Millwall, we saw MK Dons surprisingly falter at home to the same opposition.

That means The Foxes will still be 8 points clear from our nearest rivals (the MkFranchise) even if they win all their games in hand.  It’s no wonder the locals are so happy (see right).

Still, there is much to be done before promotion is achieved.  There are still games against three of the division’s best teams; Leeds and Scunthorpe at home and Peterborough away.  Although it would take a remarkable flop for us to drop into the bottom 22, an automatic promotion season is looking likely.

With eight games to go, Leicester sit on 81 points.  That means we could finish on a maximum of 105 points.  Every fan of any team wants to break the 100 point barrier… this is probably the closest Leicester will ever get in my lifetime (unless they switch to 7 points for a win).  Therefore, here’s the Mat predict-o-meter so we can see how likely it is we’ll break 100 points, and also so you can look at them in May and see how wrong I was!

My prediction: 4 wins (Colchester, Carlisle, Hereford, Crewe), 3 draws (Scunthorpe, Southend, Scunthorpe and 2 losses (Leeds, Peterborough).

That would add on 15 points to our tally, meaning we’ll end on 96 points, 4 off the tally.

In hindsight though, I’m sure that wouldn’t be remembered as too disappointing a season.

Suga-blades: The case over the freak like Tevez keeps going round round.  It's moving too slow

Suga-blades: The case over the freak like Tevez keeps going round round. It's moving too slow


The football world breathed a sigh of relief when the most protracted saga of all time seemed to come to an end, after West Ham and Sheffield United have reached an out-of-court settlement over the long-running Carlos Tevez saga.

However, after accepting wrongdoing and agreeing to pay The Blades £20m in compensation, The Hammers have opened a pandora’s box, where every scumbag in football is now suing West Ham.

I guess now they have stumped up money, it makes West Ham look like they are 100% guilty for everything that happened to Sheffield United during and after their relegation.  Ken Bates is suing over revenue that would have come if ex-Leeds players Matt Kilgallon and Rob Hulse had kept United in the Premiership.  Neil Warnock has crept up as well, making noises that he is going to sue West Ham for ‘lost earnings’, as he should still be a Premiership manager.

Obviously, anyone with an ounce of sense realises that this could set a very messy precedent for football.  Morons will continue to chase games long after the final whistle, and matches could never ever end.  The formerly pulsating end of season relegation/promotion pandemonium will be played out in the court-room in July.

Of course this won’t happen, as Warnock and Bates will be recognised for the cretins they are and their cases dismissed.  Otherwise, I would like Leicester City to be put straight back into the Premiership for the following reasons;

– our last relegation was caused by the undue stress placed on three first-team players after they were arrested for (false) rape charges, and presumed guilty by the media

– Manchester City’s David James wasted time before facing a penalty by Paul Dickov.  His playacting put Mr Dickov under undue stress and he fluffed the spot-kick

– some people said some horrible things about Ade Akinbiyi.  This media infiltration caused him serious mental health problems that turned him from a £5m striker into a donkey

I’ll have my day in court yet, Mr Scudamore.


Defending Villa’s European crusades and Benny ‘iPod’ Foster
March 4, 2009, 10:05 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog

Gabby got very and started panicking about ghosts

"This time next year we'll be millionaires!"

"This time next year we'll (still) be millionaires!"

The EUROPA League Race Hots Up

Much lauded for being one of the league’s most prudent managers, Martin O’Neill is starting to get a bit of flack recently.  The same boss who gave up his entire season to chase a European dream via the Intertoto cup has now sacked off that campaign to galavant after another; the Champion’s League.

Mr. Martin dropped all his first team squad for the trip to CSKA Moscow so they could be fresh for Premiership matches with Stoke and Manchester City.  However, it all seems to have backfired somewhat after they were not only KOd from Europe, but they bagged just 1 point from those two very winnable games.

The football media’s more staid characters are churling out cliches, spitting out how ‘Villa have got what they deserve for their arrogant team selection’ in between gulps of Pino Grigo wine at Jimmy Hill’s Sunday Supplement.  But for my money, O’Neill has not done nothing wrong.

We are told that O’Neill chose to roll over against CSKA Moscow in such a manner which suggests that if Villa played a full-strength team, they would be guaranteed qualification.  A team with England internationals Agbonlahor, Young and Barry is sure to beat these Russian chaps, according to our arrogant media.

This despite the obvious facts that CSKA outplayed that same much lauded first team squad at Villa Park.  Which isn’t too surprising when you consider they include many Russian first teamers who qualified over the England team Villa’s golden trio sit on the bench for.

True, they would have stood a better chance of qualification (especially due to their excellent away record), but O’Neill is obviously an astute manager and he knows that chances like the one presented to them in the league this season do not come around often, and they would be morons not to try to make the most of it.

They are the first club since Spurs three years ago to really threaten to break into the top four.  Look what happened after Spurs fell away at the end of the season; they drooped into a lower mid-table obscurity they have yet to recover from.

Martin will be hoping for a more glamorous European holiday next season

Martin will be hoping for a more glamorous European holiday next season

O’Neill knows that tonight’s conquerers Manchester City will also be looking to break into those Champion’s League spots next season, and Arsenal are sure to be stronger next year.  This could be Villa’s only chance to break through.

Anyone with common sense would agree with O’Neill’s decision to gamble in Moscow.

Sadly (for non-Arsenal fans), it looks like that gamble may not pay off.  The amiable youthful enthusiasm has since been replaced by anxious performances in the league.  You sense the pressure has increased on them, and the media have singled them out as a target.

Is the reason because they slapped the UEFA Cup they once so coveted in the face?  In my opinion it has nothing to do with that.  ‘Appy ‘Arry Redknapp did the same thing, and he’s still Fleet Street’s darling.

Of course, we all know the real reason.  For all their critiques, the mainstream press is very partial to the ‘Big Four’ to retain their position of strength.  They have the most slickly run press offices and have the biggest followings (therefore shifting the most copies).

Finally, there is also the problem that most football journalists seem to be completely aghast at the prospect of change.  Aston Villa’s focused attempt to usurp one of the Champion’s League spaces should be supported and promoted to other teams, rather than mocked as if O’Neill is some sort of a moron chasing an unattainable dream.

Sadly though, it looks pretty likely that a mediocre and uninterested Arsenal team will pick up enough steam in the closing stages of the season to quailfy for the Champion’s League.  When Manchester City finally break into the top four, the only conclusion will be that teams can only do so by buying lots of foreign superstars for top dollar.

The latest in goalkeeper's accessories

The latest in goalkeeper's accessories

2.  iPens

Ben Foster was the hero of the day as Manchester United sneaked in to win their first trophy of the season.  Sure, it won’t even register with many of the glory-hunting monkeys that ‘support’ the Champions, but the win on penalties may usher in a new common sense approach to preparing for penalties.

The Red Devils’ Number 2/3 not only studied where Spurs players take their penalties, but he got a mp3 made and then put it on his iPod.  As he saw each player coming up to take a penalty, he looked at the iPod to see where they usually hit their spot kicks.

Lo and behold, he went the right way for 3/4 of the pens and only conceded once.

Thankfully for Foster, he was watching Bentley’s spot-kicks rather than his much lauded rooftop dink into skips.  Maybe if the incredibly hateable Bentley spent more time playing football and less time messing about on YouTube (and generally acting like Duncan from Blue) he wouldn’t have sliced his shot wide.

As an aside, Stephen Taylor just punched Christiano Ronaldo.  What an absolute scumbag.  Definite red card.

Other beverages are available

Other beverages are available

Anyway, getting back to Ben Foster, good on him for having the common sense to use his iPod to win a penalty shoot-out.  I also presume the videos were not of matches (how many players take a spot-kick in a season), so I can only hope one of the Manchester United coaches was filming at Spurs in a Perez Hilton-type fashion.

Naturally, Media ‘Appy ‘Arry wouldn’t bother to ask anyone with a camera to leave, and most likely would choose to swear at some unsuspecting youth players to carry on his ‘loveable uncle’ act.Still, it was good to see someone playing in a team between two particularly loathesome teams using a bit of common sense, fresh thinking and being justly rewarded.

Viva Ben Foster!

Incidentally, Stephen Taylor just messed up for the Manchester United winner.  Good thing he wasn’t sent off, as the thuggish moron got what he deserved in the end.