Then Saturday Comes… the half decent football blog


Brave John Terry in Scandal-gate
January 30, 2010, 9:33 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog | Tags:

Brave JT the sex pistolBastion of British newsworthiness The Daily Mail decided that the day after Tony Blair gave evidence at the Iraq Inquiry that the story most deserving of their front page was brave John Terry having an affair with Wayne Bridge’s girlfriend.

The brave England skipper tried to get a court injunction to stop people saying this is the case, presumably to stop losing all his endorsements a la Tiger Woods.

Thankfully the judge gave a thumbs down to the frivolous yet brave request that would make Joaquin Phoenix proud, much to John “Are You Not Entertained” Terry’s chagrin.

The result of this is that the Daily Mail, and by extension myself, were able to write that brave John Terry had an affair with Wayne Bridge’s girlfriend.

Imagine how angry then JT must be when he reads that sentence blog. To shake things up, let’s say it again with the adjectives switched around.

John Terry had a brave affair with Wayne Bridge’s girlfriend.

One more time for the lolz?

John Terry had an affair with Wayne Bridge’s brave girlfriend.

I think that’s enough reporting, and brave John will probably be headbutting his monitor now so will not read the rest of the blog, so it can get fantastically libellous without any fear of reproach.

Allez libel, allez.

Wayne Bridge's brave son, yesterday

Famously brave defender Terry was voted Dad of the Year last year in a Daddies Sauce survey and has two children with wife Toni. Anyone called Toni Terry is a cartoon character themself, so this latest revelation must be quite a blow.

It’s a scientific fact that sad events are more depressing if they happen to cartoon characters. Imagine if Penfold was diagnosed with dementia, or if Scrooge McDuck was struck by sickle cell anaemia. It would be terrible.

For this reason it is all the more tragic for Toni Terry that her brave husband has strayed.

Thus far I’ve not mentioned Wayne Bridge. His career is on the Wayne anyway and this revelation may be a Bridge too far. I can’t be bothered to talk about him any more so that’ll do.

The natural consequence of the shocking revelation that a professional sportsman is not faithful is that brave JT will face intense public scrutiny over whether he can keep the captain’s armband.

I don’t expect for one minute that Fabio Capello will remove it from him, because it is wholly inevitable that Terry will bravely resign as skipper before he gets the chance.

If he has any sense he will do that. There is no way he can be seen as a leader of the players if he’s stealing their lovely WAGs. If he doesn’t resign as captain he will have to face consequences from Capello and may get dropped.

But if he falls on his sword the press will no doubt say it is brave and that will be seen as his punishment and rehabilitation.

Then we can all just stand back and say “ooh wasn’t he brave during all that criticism.” Apart from Wayne Bridge, who would probably be slightly more critical of the intensely brave football wonder hero.

.

* Matthew Reville was channeling the spirit of Stig Inge Bjørnebye for the above post, and would appreciate if you read it again in Stig’s forceful Nordic accent.



Carlos Tevez: The Musical
January 24, 2010, 7:17 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog | Tags:

I have decided my blog should respond to all this talk about the FA Cup losing its appeal by dedicating this post to the vastly more entertaining League Cup.

Aston Villa’s 6-4 spanking of Blackburn was great, but the most fun in the semi finals came in the Manchester derby.

To celebrate scoring against his old club, Man City’s Carlos Tevez mocked Gary ‘Citizen’ Neville’s ridiculous claim that the most feared striker in Europe wasn’t worth £7 million less than Dmitar Berbatov.

He did this  first with fantastic celebrations on the pitch and then, raising the bar even more, by telling an Argentinian paper that Red Nev is a “boot licker”.

I’m not exactly sure what that means but I love it.

One day I hope to call a fellow journalist a keyboard licker.

The reaction from the press was predictable in Britain, but The Guardian’s (excellent) Fiver email brought the altogether more fun response from a paper in Argentina. Apparently the reason behind the friction between the players was due to a ‘class divide’.

We all know Tevez came from a favela where he was raised by a dancing bear who let him lie on his belly as they sang about life’s bare necessities. But few knew Gary and Phil Neville were raised on a stately home, playing football as a means to keep themselves busy until they inherit daddy’s estate.

Anyway, I can imagine why that would rankle with Carlos ‘Oilver’ Tevez. It must get frustrating to be called overrated by someone who watches games through a monocle from the Old Trafford bench.

Anyway, while football experts like myself take it for granted that the history of Tevez’s “rags to riches” story is known to all and sundry, I forget that sometimes regular Joes and girls frequent this site for the bright colours.

If you are not up to speed here is a three-part story of how his life flipped-turned upside down from living in a Buenos Ares favela into falling out with upper class socialite twit Gary Neville through song lyrics to the little-known Carlos Tevez: The Musical.

.

ACT ONE: ROCKING OVER TO ENGLAND
In Buenos Ares born and raised,
On the playground was where Carlos spent most of his days.
Scoulding his face so it looked all cool,
And shooting some f-ball outside of his school.

When a guy called Kia who was up to no good,
Started making trouble in his neighbourhood.
He made him a slave and Carlos’ got scared,
When he was told he was joining the wideboys at West Ham

Carlos begged and pleaded with him day after day
But Kia packed his suitcase and sent him on my way
He gave Tevez a kiss and then gave him his ticket
So he put his walkman on and said to the cabby

Yo go to West Haaaaaaaaaaam!

.

.


ACT TWO: THE MOVE TO MANCHESTER (1)

So that explains how he got to England, but why enduring these regular fights with Citizen Neville? Well, in laymen’s terms, the two first met after Alex Ferguson paid off the treacherousJoorbiachan The Hut with some money for a couple of years loan.

However, the reason can again be better understoon through the medium of song.

Fergie stuck a pony in his pocket,
He needed a new Ruudy van,
Cos if you want the best ‘uns,
But you don’t ask questions,
Then Tevez is your man.

Who he came from was a myyystery,
His owners are changin’ every season
Like the tides of the sea.
But he drove the Old Trafford fans beserk,
With his silky skills and tireless hard work
La-la-la la-lala-la
La-la-la la-lala-laaaaaaaaa

.

/

/

ACT THREE: THE MOVE ACCROSS MANCHESTER
However, during Carlos’ time at Old Trafford he got on quite well with Red Nev. It was only after Big Tev quit the Red Devils for fierce city rivals Manchester City did Gary start panning him in the press.

Yet again, this is best scene through the medium of a crudely assembled parody of a ’90s TV show theme song.

No-one told him life was going to be this way,
His job was a joke, the club was broke,
Fergie’s love was DOA.
It’s like he was always stuck in second gear,
It hadn’t been his day, his week, his month, all year

But Man City said they’d be there for him,
When the cash starts to pour,
They’d be there to pay him,
Like Kia was there before.

.

He’s already bagged ten,
Last year he only got eight
He’s playing well and, so far, things are going great.
Kia warned him there’d be days like these,
But he didn’t tell him Nev wants to break his knees.

Gaz said he wasn’t worth the money Kia asked for
He wasn’t there for Tev,
Like Man City were before
He wasn’t there for Tev,
Cos Fergie wasn’t there for him too.

/

So in conclusion, Gary Neville made naughty remarks about Carlos Tevez because of a combination of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Only Fools and Horses and Friends.

In response, Tevez did a Hulk Hogan impression.

Next week, how Mike Ashley screwed up Newcastle (to the tune from Round The Twist). Have you ever… ever felt like this…



Weighing up the pros and cons of Brian Laws
January 13, 2010, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog | Tags:

Brian Laws looking cool, yesterday

It’s been a bad old week for Alastair Campbell. It started with Owen Coyle leaving his beloved Burnley for rivals Bolton and ended with the bizarre decision that Brian Laws should inherit his dugout throne.

I’m sure various other things happened to him during the week too, but I won’t hold an inquiry into it.

Brian Laws is something of an anomaly. He has been a manager for 14 years and a lot of them have been hidden from the world.

Sure, we all know he once threw a chicken at Ivano Bonetti when managing Grimsby. And the odd person would know he got sacked by Scunthorpe United only to get reinstated just three weeks later.

However, anyone hoping to learn something about him from this blog is looking in the wrong place. Rather than doing some research and writing something to update you on the newest member of the Premiership management fraternity, I will instead write something that resembles a bi-polar rant. It will swift from supporting Laws’ appointment to criticising it on every passing paragraph.

To remind you that this is intended as a one man contretemp I will routinely post pictures of classic bi-polar celebrities. Otherwise you might think the blog was unstructured and contradictory and we don’t want that, do we! Also it continues to cement the stigma around mental illness in sport so I’m killing two birds with one stone.

Will this madcap adventure work? Either way it’s more creative than anything Jay Sean has ever done.

It’s great that Brian Laws has been appointed manager of a Premiership team. We’ve been saying for years that there are no longer enough opportunities for young British managers at the top flight.

But history shows that he has a snowball in hell’s chance. Anyone who remembers the shambolic Premiership tenures of Paul Ince or Tony Adams knows that just being relatively young and relatively English does not make you a relatively good manager.

That said, it’s delightful to add a manager who looks like a fat version of Simon Cowell to our ranks. We have just lost a fantastic lookalike of Toby the HR manager from the American Office after Gary Megson got sacked. Although it’s nice to have Baron Silas Greenback (Avram Grant) back the knowledge that I will be seeing another fine doppleganger will keep me patient when watching the latter games of MOTD.

It gets to something when the second positive point of this bi-polar rant is about his (admittedly scary) likeness to Simon Cowell after a jam doughnut frenzy. This just goes to show that the guy has nothing to add to the Premiership and will be taking Burnley back to where they belong – the Championship.

But on the other hand, there are plenty of managers in the Premiership who are proven to not be good enough. Perhaps it’s a case of “better the devil you don’t know” in this case: who is to say the unknown quantity of Laws won’t be able to outfox routinely proven inept morons such as Sam Allardyce and Phil Brown?

However, being not necessarily the worst of a bad bunch does not make him a good appointment. Why didn’t Burnley show some ambition and appoint someone with a bit of excitement or nous, rather than someone lacking in either. You may scoff, but although they have recently failed a Kevin Keegan (excitement) or a George Burley (nous) would be much better appointments.

But Laws has a good record at making smaller clubs get the most out of their limited resources. At Scunthorpe United he was revered as a God for getting a club promoted twice. When he finally left for good in 2006 they were on the brink of the Championship: two divisions higher than where he inherited them.

His tactics may be OK for lower league football but in the Premiership they will be found out. Throwing chickens at people won’t solve problems in the big time. Like he did at Sheffield Wednesday, Laws will find himself out of his depth very, very quickly.

Of course, this is a nonsense. Laws managed to improve on every team he has ever managed, and by this logic Burnley will go from being 14th to finishing at least 13th. Indeed, Laws should be confident enough to make similar claims to his former boss about never finishing lower than the place the team were in when he took over.

Saying that, Cloughy indeed did finish lower, drifting the morally corrupt Derby County down to 18th place rather than the comparatively lofty 17th spot he inherited. As Laws was managed by Clough he is destined to repeat this negative trend at Burnley.

But if Burnley finish one place lower they will be 15th at the end of the season, which would constitute a job well done. And continuing the Cloughy cycle he would then dominate the division the next season and win the title.


However, he would then be forced to turn Burnley into a bastion of filth (like Clough did to Derby). Is this really what the claret fans want for their future?

Saying that he might actually be quite good you know.

But because he looks like a fat badger I doubt it.

This argument could carry on all night.

Of course this all ties back in to Alastair Campbell, who reached the heights of government despite suffering depression. Anyone would think this is organised and not thrown together in a whim.



African Nation’s Cup rocked by terrorism

Emmanuel Adebayor held up by an act of terrorism

Football was put on the back burner two days before the start of the African Nations Cup after a bus carrying the Togo national team was attacked by terrorists, leaving three men dead.

Two players from the squad, which includes Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor and the previously unknown (to me) Aston Villa midfielder Moustpha Salifou, were also shot in the incident on Friday.

There seems to be a bit of confusion over why the attack was taken out and the only official response from Angola came from minister Antonio Bento Bembe, who said: “This was an act of terrorism that is being dealt with as we speak.” So we will assume that it was terrorism and not simply mercenaries (or Arsenal fans after their estanged Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor).

The terrorism on the bus created a whole host of questions;

  • Should the competition go forward?
  • Will this be repeated at the World Cup in South Africa this summer?
  • If Togo leave can Ireland take their place?

With regards to whether the competition should carry on, it is a nonsense to suggest it should be cancelled.

The point of terrorism is largely not to murder/injure the direct victims, it is to influence the decision makers into making changes that affect the wider society. The terror they want to cause isn’t in the action, it’s in the reaction.

Changing plans due to terrorism doesn’t stop it happening again: it means it has been successful.

If the African Nations Cup is cancelled millions of football fans from the continent will be deprived of a competitive, multi-national event that temporarily unites a regularly divided continent.

There is also the economic argument: if this band of mercenaries get the team cancelled, what happens to Angola? The country has spent millions that they can ill afford to waste, and will be expecting the boom created in tourism, television and services that a tournament like this will provide.

The 1968 Olympics were not cancelled when 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by Palestinian terrorists. Although admittedly from a different era, there is a more pertinent variable that has meant idiots like Phil Brown are calling for this tournament to be cancelled.

It is in Africa.

I’m not saying for a moment that Phil Brown is an overt racist. However, there is still an element of the unknown about Africa. Opinions towards the unknown are often fearful, which mean people think that onyl bad things will happen.

Let's kick terrorism out of footballOf course, if there is decent intelligence that says further examples are likely to happen then the above becomes irrelevant because the players’ safety is the most important thing at the yournament. But I doubt for one minute that FIFA would allow the competition to continue if there was any semblance of worry for the players’ safety, so I assume there isn’t any such concern.

The Togolese (great word) players unanimously voted to continue in the competition, despite their Prime Minister ordering them to return. Midfielder Alaixys Romao said: “The team will not leave like cowards”, and he is quite right.

Hopefully the tournament goes ahead and the terrorists involved do not achieve their aim of disrupting what should be a focal point of sport in a continent that often has little to look forward to.

However, if any team does decide to drop out I think Ireland should be allowed to enter as their replacement. Just for the lolz.



Manchester United lost to who????

It's all gone wrong for poor old Fergie

De La Soul may have quipped that three is the magic number, but Leeds United boss Simon Grayson is now more synonymous with that statement than the New York rappers.

In the first time in human memory, a team from the THIRD tier beat a team that has won THREE successive Premiership titles in the THIRD round of the FA Cup (on the THIRD of January).

When the draw was made “Me, Myself and I” said Leeds faced a “No Go” to the next round of the cup situation.

However, it turned out that “Eye Know” nothing because when the “Stakes Is High” Leeds United were “So Good” that their aspirations for a 4th round “Rollerskating Jam Named Saturdays” could not be “Held Down”.

Even if you hate De La Soul puns I’d like to make “4 More”.

Manchester United didn’t “Watch Out” and it paid dividends for the Leeds fans who have been “Keepin’ The Faith”. Although there may be “Potholes in Ken Bates’ Lawn” they left the Old Trafford faithful sighing “Oooh”.

In reality, the achievement warrants btter reporting than this De La Soul pun marathon has thus far provided.

Perhaps clues over the reason I am reticent to concentrate on the reality of the situation comes from the below image.

Never again will I give £50 to someone called Shannon. Shannons and Matthews do not mix well.

That’s right, at half time I saw the score was 0-1 to Leeds and thought “this won’t continue”. I sauntered down to the closest bet house during my lunch break from work and walloped 50 smackers on Man United to turn it around in the second half.

I should interject here that such a stupid bet was prompted by winning £48.57 last week on an accumulator, so in reality I’m only down £1.43.

Ultimately that meant I was probably the only neutral not loving the fact we have got further than the Red Devils during this glorious FA Cup campaign.

Sadly at this inevitable segway into Leicester City’s emotional heroics over Swansea City, I must report that it’s business as usual in the next round. Drawn away to Bristol City or Cardiff for the annual meek loss away to a team slightly better than us.

Anyway, back to them big guns you like to read about and fawn over and adore.

A lot of people have said that the FA Cup has lost muclh of its magic. And it has.

Frankly, it doesn’t really resonate that all of the Big Four struggled to qualify any more. This tournament is the third most important to them, and to be honest is closer to the League Cup in terms of priorities than the Premiership or European Cup. Or UEFA Cup in Liverpool’s case (lols)

.Still, it is good to see the smaller teams beating the giants. It may give a misguided slant as to the differences between these teams (which are still collosal over a 38 game season), but it gives the fans a bit of a cheer and that’s what it’s all about.

That and losing £50.



Megson’s reign of terror(ble) football is over
January 1, 2010, 9:08 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog

Like the Kaiser Chiefs, every day Gary Megson loves his kids less and less

So 2010 has rolled into town, and as we all woke up in this futuristic utopia before eating our breakfast of three vitamin pills while rushing to the hoverbus his morning, there was one man who was deflated going into the next decade.

Poor Gary Megson has been given his marching orders from gritty Bolton following two years of dull football. The man with no charisma sent his Bolton team out every week with two ambitions: keep the score 0-0 and at no stage must any player show even a hint of glamour.

After his sacking Meggles was understandably down in the dumps. I am always a little reticent to pawn too much sympathy onto sacked football managers as they bizarrely receive their contract money in full and then waltz into another job in a matter of weeks.

Iain Dowie is probably still getting paid by about four clubs.

Anyway, the man the tabloids don’t call Meg-So hit out at the Bolton fans that yawned him out of the box in a prepared statement that exudes the charisma that clearly wowed Bolton chairman Phil Gartside during his job interview.

I’m not sure about you but whenever I read a quote by Gary Megson I like to imagine him saying it in a sarcastically effeminite voice. Try it out yourself you’ll have a good time.

“It used to surprise me that the reaction I got was a lot different around the country from the one in Bolton.

“I have been absolutely delighted by the reaction to my sacking by Bolton from real football people.

“The Bolton fans’ reaction was made plain at the first game. They made their feelings known but I was really excited and I was looking forward to joining Bolton and I would do so again.”

Megson, yesterday

However, what the boresome Meggo fails to note is that those people who were criticising him were paying a small fortune to watch a football being launched into the stands for 90 minutes.

The Megsomaniac managed to do what seemed impossible: making the team Fat Sam Allardyce assembled even more workmanlike.

To be fair to the Ginger Rotter, he did a decent job at the Trotters. His job was to keep Bolton in the Premiership and he did that for two years while teams with vastly superior resources got relegated.

But although everyone realises that football is a results game, there is supposed to be a little bit of fun. There simply wasn’t in Megbox’s time in charge. I’ve had more fun watching rugby… rugby!

Can you name anything a Bolton player has done in the last two years? Other than the odd Matty Taylor individual goal (which would have happened even if Sammy Lee was still in charge at the Reebok).

There may be a hint of schaudenfreude in my lament of The Megdog because he walked out on Leicester City to take over at the Trotters Bowl. But to be fair if I held a grudge against every crap Leicester manager I’d be as bitter as that guy Adolf Hitler. And frankly I listen to too much Glamma Kid to get dragged down in such things.

“You want VAT? That sound like robbery to me rudeboy, you get me?”

Anyway, let’s not forget the good times of Gary Meghead’s reign of terror(ble) football. We may meet again, ginger Prince, but until then leave the memories alone!