Then Saturday Comes… the half decent football blog

October 29, 2009, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog | Tags: , , ,

Which beardy boss will drop first?SCARY DAYS FOR HAIRY BOYS

With the whole world going bonkers for Halowe’en I figured it would be good to begin this update with a shrine to death.  Let’s all have a knees up and celebrate the macabre just like the Yanks!

Of course this death kick has to tie into football so what better analogy than of the impending career deaths of two of the most overrated people kicking heels in Premiership dugouts?

Yes, it isn’t only outlandish goatees that links Rafael Benitez and Phil Brown together.  Both Brown and Benitez have guided their clubs to outstanding heights, achieving results far beyond expectations.  Yet now they are both seemingly on the brink of getting sacked, although Rafa’s ability to beat Manchester United has seemingly tempered the public outcry from four defeats in five games that make the FA Cup the only competition they are not already struggling to stay in.

Benitez’s 2005 Champion’s league success and Brown’s amazing accomplishment of making Hull a Premiership team are both better than anything any other Premiership manager has achieved (apart from what Martin O’Neill did at Leicester City, obviously).

But their previous laurels are all that is keeping these two chumps in employment.

Benitez is clearly not able to push Liverpool any further.  Despite admittedly being a consistent force in the Champion’s League, that victory was a bit of an anomaly and it’s hard to argue that the Scousers are really any closer to winning a league title than under Roy Evans or Gerard Houllier.

Although Phil Brown’s beard may be but a memory but it is an abiding one and, much like Blackbeard before him, he will be forever synonymous with the facial fuzz that haunted his mouth for much of the recent past.

Brown could rightly argue that he is achieving far more than any other Hull City manager.  However, he is a victim of his own success.  He is not the man to keep Hull in the Premiership.  It was right to give him a second season to see if his thin squad was simply fatigued at the second half of last season, but the way they have started this campaign suggests that under Brown they are simply treading water until relegation.

Beards – not compatible with success

Personally, I don’t understand why either has such a love for goatees.  The laurels they so clearly rely upon were achieved when they were freshly clean shaven.  Why don’t they just go back to those simpler times?  After all, the world’s greatest big achievers (Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Simon Cowell) don’t have any facial hair, let alone the self indulgent goatee.

Their faces are symbolic of their vanity and proof that they are not being introspective with their clubs’ failures.  The arrogance of a bearded face belies the problems of a stuttering football club.

Frankly I can’t think of a single person that is successful who has a beard.  Except for Richard Branson, but then again a broken clock is right twice a day. For this reason they should both be fired immediately and replaced with people that will not grow beards.

Adam Pearson should make Nick Barmby (left) the Hull gaffer since he still looks like a pre-pubescent boy that cannot grow facial hair.

The Anfield job should go to Hope Powell (right) , since her gender makes her a great candidate for not going all beardy at the first hint of success.



I thought the debate over television evidence was new.  I was wrong, it’s been gonig on since I was dead (i.e. not alive).  Take this fantastic argument between Jimmy Greaves and Speccy Newbon – and particularly Greavesy’s fantastic comment at 1:45 which is probably the funniest answer to a question I have ever heard.


October 22, 2009, 6:13 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog


We all know how much Liverpool fans love counting to “18” and “5”… and now they just have 98 to go until they can match Nena’s 99 Red Balloons.

Yep, a little late in the update but there was only one place to start.  Liverpool’s stumbling start to the season turned into a full-on free fall after they lost to Sunderland by a goal scored by a beach ball.  That’s right… a goal scored by a beach ball.

Pepe Reina decided to place the offending item in the back of his goal as some sort of a misguided good luck charm.  However, as the Black Cats pushed forward the inflatable balloon rolled out of his net and rested on the 6-yard box.

Darren Bent, wily as ever, noticed the obstruction and careered his shot into the back of the net through a huge beach ball deflection.

“In off the red”, as John Virgo used to say.

Obviously the goal shouldn’t have stood, yet the refereeing team didn’t know the rule and a goal was given.  Sadly, an owl didn’t pick up the ball and fly it into Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon’s net and Sunderland sneaked out an inevitable 1-0 win.

Even more inevitably, Rafa will be haunted by fans with beach balls for the rest of his life.

Of course if Liverpool had done their homework they would have known how dangerous and immobile object that is of a spherical nature can be in the box… after all Matty Fryatt scored 32 goals last season. Alas, they didn’t learn from Fatty Fry-Up’s lessons and now their world is in tatters.

Still, it’s not all been terrible news.  Manchester United may be top but they look very beatable, Arsenal are still only about 13 years old and Chelsea are doing things like this;



Leicester City are said to be in “advanced stages” of discussion with  Edgar Davids, the supremely talented ex-Holland maverick, 1998-2003 World Player of the Year and former Captain of Earth FC.

Movign for a galactico may seem surprising to those outside LE2, but such people have obviously not seen our midfield that includes Andy King and Lloyd Dyer.  Edgar will no doubt fit in nicely at the Walkers Stadium, propelling us towards heights not seen since the late 90s.

Of course, it could also go the same way as whenever we have previously signed ex-internationals now in their mid-to-late 30s.  Let’s consider the trendsetters for Edgar, and ask “will he be a Cottee or a Keown?”



Of course, with this being Leicester City the team is full of expensive failures.  Douglas, Dabizas, Dublin, Keown, Wilcox and Wise would all feature in many fans’ “Worst XIs”.

However, although all of those players were internationals none of them reached anywhere near Davids’ level.  Also, Powell, Ferdinand and Cottee all enjoyed great success at the Blue Foxes.

The whole thing does have Milan Mandaric’s sticky fingerprints all over it.  Any LE2 City fan will recall with horror his attempts to bring in Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink and Robbie Fowler which brought managerial instability.

Although usurping previous Leicester managers has not been a problem due to their inability to think logically, it would be a shambles if we were to force Nigel Pearson out.  But Edgar Davids seems the antithesis of Pearson’s young, hard-working side and it is hard to see if this really was his plan at the beginning of the season.

However, I think Pearson would be foolish to walk out.  Middle-aged legless defensive midfielders have dominated the Championship many times in the past (Paul Ince, Gary Speed, Newcastle United), and Davids is arguably one of the best players of the last 10 years.  He will surely pass on his knowledge to the already INCREDIBLY knowledgeable Andy King, ushering in an era of footballing dominance not seen since Maradonna in the 1980s.

Or maybe I’m looking at this through orange-tinted spectacles.


Finally I would urge you to check out football blog ‘The Long Ball Tactic’. It is written by charismatic Scunthorpe United fan Mike Brader and I would fully encourage you to scan two eyes at his musings.

It’s very good so read, read, read away!

Foot-tube fails and fergie has yet another whinge!
October 12, 2009, 7:56 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog

TSC is back from an enforced absence due to a house move, and a loss of form akin to Rio Ferdinand is expected by all readers.  I hope I do not disappoint.

The best thing I’ve noticed since my disappearance is that advert with Thierry Henry stealing razors from Roger Federer.  If you listen closely at the end there is a subliminal, chilling, almost ghost-like squeal of “Henry”.  It helps me keep the gloom at the door.

Anyway, hopefully Kelly Clarkson predicted correctly and since I’ve been gone you’ve been able to breath for the first time and you’re soldiering on, yeah yeah.



ENGLAND internet

After I blew up the internet football bubble about a year ago, it’s been quite obvious that the world of the triple w’s is the natural home of football analysis and languid reflection.  However, some bods over in Ukraine have decided to turn it from post-match to pronto-match coverage.

That’s right, I’m talking the only way football fans could watch England’s totally meaningless game against Ukraine was by hooking up to the web.  Sadly, not even host and culture guru James Richardson could save the shambles that followed.

Firstly, the pub which (legally) showed the stream on one of its pubs went through a traditional “how do you connect the internet” shambles, with the whole of the first half being replaced with watching someone trying to ‘View Available Networks’ for 45 minutes.

Then when the feed was sorted for the second half it was so grainy it looked like a SNES game.  You couldn’t tell where the ball was at any time, and just had to guess from where the cameraman was pointing.  Apparently that may have just been because it was being blown up from a laptop onto a screen that was far too big for it.  Either way, it was rubbish and you could hardly tell your Frank Lampards from your Emile Heskeys.

Come to think of it, maybe that’s a good way for Bruno to bolster his goal tally to shut up the idiots; just pretend it’s him who scored the goals.

Anyway, the newspaper coverage has been surprisingly positive.  Maybe they were watching it on a better connection (I’ve heard Dennis Wise has a really good one for YouTube).

Today, commentator David Pleat has been saying how it was a great success and how it will usher in a new era where football fans watch the games on the beach on their mobile phones.  I hope that never happens; the closest beach to me is Skegg Ness and I’d far sooner be in a pub than crouching over a 1 inch screen with only ‘The Pleatman’ for company.

Anyway, all-in-all watching internet football gets an ironic thumbs down from this internet football blog.

(Also, England lost 1-0.  I think a farmer scored and Rob Green got sent off or something).



In other news, Alex Ferguson has blown his top at another referee after another poor performance from Manchester United.  This time, the champions only just squeaking a draw against a fantastically organised Sunderland was, apparently, all the fault of referee Alan Wiley not being as fit as a professional footballer.

That’s right; Ben Foster and Rio Ferdinand were not to blame for either goal, and neither were Kenwyn Jones nor the on-fire Darren Bent deserving any credit.  The reason the score was 2-2 was because Alan Wiley was out of breath at one point during the match.

Surely even the ‘Glory Glory Man United’ brigade are getting bored by this tiresome moaner now.  If he wasn’t a football manager he would definitely be Points of View’s biggest contributor; he just loves a moan.

Anyway I don’t want to make this an overly negative look at one of football’s greatest winners; after all moaning about a moaner that would be dripping with as much irony as my previous ‘football on the internet’ piece.  Instead though, let’s compare Sir Alex to the other three ‘great’ British football managers.

alex ferguson darth vader
“It’s all Bobba Fett’s fault they blew up the Death Star – his fitness is totally lacking”

Although I wasn’t around to judge the other ‘greats’, it seems like they had a damn sight more about them than Sir Alex.  Although he has enjoyed a ridiculously successful career, the fact that he bullies people to get there is a huge blot against him.

Alf Ramsey stuck to his guns when things when they were going badly, kept a stiff upper lip, and won the World Cup.

Bill Shankley seemed to be intent on building Liverpool into a bastion that nobody could touch, rather than bitterly breaking down all those around him so they couldn’t even compete.

And even though Brian Clough turned to the drink and sacked all those around him, at least he looked for changes rather than spitting his dummy out every time things went bad.

Frankly, even Darth Vader had a more gracious acceptance of defeat.  Who can forget that loving embrace with his estranged son at the end of Episode VI?

Sadly, Ferguson’s reaction to any slight imperfection in his team is to scream as loud and as long as possible about literally any variables that dared to influence the game.  Even if, in the case of Alan Wiley’s fitness, they didn’t seem to have nearly as big an influence as his frankly weak and poorly organised team.