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Posts Tagged ‘banter’

-GUEST POST-

Being a lifelong Liverpool fan it’s been heart breaking watching their recent demise. I have spent many a sleepless night analysing the reasons of this dramatic fall from grace, and I know most of you reading this will be thinking one of three things, the sale of the club to the money hungry Americans, the crazy philosophies of Rafa Benitez or the unfortunate appointment of ‘Mr Nice Guy’ Roy Hodgson. All plausible and possible reasons, but I have looked deeper than this. Think back to the great Liverpool teams of the 70’s and 80’s. Picture these Liverpool greats; Keegan, Toshack, Rush, Souness, McDermott, Johnston, Lawrenson and Dalglish. Maybe not that much in common you may think! But now picture these current Liverpool players; Reina, Konchesky, Skrtel, Shelvey, Spearing, Meireles, Ngog and Babel. For those of your who haven’t realised the significant difference between these two groups of people it is very simple….. HAIR!

Not in my memory has a Liverpool team been so low down in the league. Is it a coincidence that I have also not seen a Liverpool team with so little hair? I think not! The awesomeness of Keegan’s perm, the sheer brilliance of McDermott and Sourness’s hair ‘tache combo were simply sublime! Rushies moustache was magical(RIP) and Dalglish’s flowing locks…. Just magnificent!

If you need more proof look back to the mid 90’s. The dark days of the Souness era, very tough times I’m sure you’ll agree. Yes Souness still had his spellbinding combo but look at the players we had; Dicks, Thomas, Grobelaar (began receding the 90’s), Wright, Matteo, Babb and Ruddock, all bald or balding and all part of a desperately mediocre tenure. When things started looking during the Houllier days he brought in players such as Hyypia, Smicer, Barmby and Berger. Unfortunately there was also Camara, Diouf, Traore and Heskey, and although things were looking up it was always going to be a roller-coasterster ride. Then Benitez came in and brought in the likes of Garcia, Alonso and Kewell, all with beautiful heads of hair. We then went on to win the Champions League and come the closest to winning the Premiership since its incarnation.

Yes it would be simple and easy to blame Hodgson and his overly polite manner but I would ask you to take a deeper look at the signings and selections he made during his short time at the helm. Was there ever enough hair in his team? No. Could he have given chances to players with more hair (Pacheco and Kelly sooner than he did). Yes. Please do not think for one second that I believe Poulsen should be playing, how he has made a career as a footballer amazes me!

Its no coincidence that, when Fernando Torres* cut his hair short that the goals began to dry up and he seems to be getting better and better with every game that goes by without a haircut. Nor is it just by chance that when Gerrard stopped shaving his head and left it as a nice sensible crew cut that he became one of the best midfielders in the world!

Fortunately for us suffering Reds fans the king is back where he belongs, if anyone knows how important having enough hair per player is then it is Mr Dalglish. With Konchesky dropped and soon to be shipped out and Babel gone expect players with hair to be signed and the good times to return (Hooray!)

I predict a bright future under Dalglish. I am already hearing whispers of Fellaini crossing Stanley Park,Yossi making a return and Gattuso perhaps in a player coach role. Oh and expect Lucas to start growing a moustache! Just as soon as he starts puberty!

Written by Shaun ‘the newest Special guest of the Podcast Four’ Hurley. Or as I (George) have always known him Mr “Bear”.

*As this article was written before Fernando sought alternative employment, I hope he goes for the EDL-Paul-Konchesky-style-bald-man look.

**Andy Fucking Plenty of Hair King Carroll has signed. So this theory clearly has been listened to by the LFC hierarchy.

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First and foremost I am a football fan, I love lots of sports but it’s instilled upon me to be a football fan, so I am used to seeing all sorts of players using gamesmanship to gain an advantage over the opposition. It could be making the most of a challenge, wasting time near the end of a match or claiming a corner or throw in when you know it went out off you.

I am also, and disappointingly, used to players outright cheating, it isn’t uncommon to switch on a live match, or highlights and see somebody pretending they have been hurt when tackled, or worst still, making out that they have been punched or kicked to try and get their opponent sent off.

But last night I saw something even worse than that, Philip Hughes fielding at short leg claiming a catch off Cook when he knew it had bounced first. This might seem like nothing to the eyes of a non-cricket fan but cricket is a different sport to football. In fact cricket is different to almost any sport in the world because in some respects the umpires are there just for decisions the players can’t make, but for everything else the players do the work for them.

It is the done thing that a batsman walks before being given out if he knows he hit it, same if a fielder knows he caught it, the umpire would simply ask the fielder if he did indeed catch it, if he said yes you take him at his word and the batsman is out.

That is what makes Hughes’ claim even worse, if you see a replay of it, he knows straight away he hasn’t caught it but is almost convinced by his team mates that he did, Cook stands his ground forcing the umpires to deliberate and check with the video umpire who, along with everyone at the ground and everyone watching around the world, see the ball bounce before going into Hughes’ hands.

Hopefully this isn’t the end of cricket as we know it, but there surely should be repercussions for Hughes, just because he is a dreadful cricketer doesn’t give him the right to cheat. But that is exactly what he attempted yesterday.

Phil, it’s just not cricket.

Marcus J Mitchell.

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The crucial word in the title is “upcoming”, it may never happen; England winning The Ashes on Australian soil, as many a cricket fan of my age (29 years and 16 months) knows, just doesn’t happen. I’ve never seen it. The current Australian players may well turn on the ability switch we know they’ve all be pre-programmed with (or so it seemed to me forever) and drag this 3rd Test back from the jaws of obvious frailty and turn it into a dramatic victory. Ending my current state of constant goodmoodedness. Right, now all the superstitious insecurities are out-of-the-way, we can get on with defending the current – and we’ve won two of the last three Ashes series – level of success.

We beat Australia in England in 2005.  That series has been described as the best series of test cricket ever. I agree. It was the first time I’d ever seen an Ashes victory, so I’m somewhat biased. Nevertheless, we did beat an Australian side full of proven world-class performers. Warne, Ponting, McGrath, Hayden, Lee, Gilchrist, Langer, Hussey, Katich and, erm, many would include Clarke and Gillespie/Tait, which kind of makes the listing of individuals pointless. They were all world-class. And we beat them.

They then got revenge. The Ultimate Humiliation. McGrath predicted correct and we lost 5-0 in Australia. Similar sides, reality reinstated.

We fought back. Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar held on for a draw in Cardiff and we went on to beat a slightly different set of Aussie players. No McGrath, no Warne, less attitude, less ability, less confidence. Australia weren’t the same team. But they were playing a better England side. A side growing with confidence. Young players fulfilling their potential, long-term positive consequences of central contracts (something the Australians did first), an impressive coach and an even more impressive captain (after the chaos of Flintoff and KP).

So here we are…

What made me think about the upcoming banter, defending the victory from various accusations, was this retweet by the wonderful cricket/sport tweeter Pam Nash or Pam_nAshes

It’s not really England that are winning. We’ve got four players who were born in South Africa. We’re effectively South Africa 2nd team. Strauss moved to England at the age of six whereas KP, Trott and Prior all headed to England looking for new opportunities in their own cricketing careers after failing or not being picked for their sides in South Africa. Not only do they have to qualify over a period of years before they’re eligible for England, but they have to be good enough. Contrast that with the days of Hick, Lamb and many, many other players who were born in other parts of the world. I never heard the claims “ENGLAND ARE CRAP: WHY? THE FOREIGN PLAYERS” I might’ve missed it in the Star, but from memory it was England who were crap. Everything about the game. The county game. The contracts the players were on. The intensity of first-class cricket. The attitude. The pitches. Graeme Hick. The coaching. The coaching and the coaching. Never the non-English-born-but-now-qualified-different-accent-types who filled the middle order, bowled the new ball spells or found drift and turn with the off-spin. It never came up. We blamed Robin Smith, Allan Lamb and Graeme Hick. Not South Africa or Zimbabwe.

Another reminder was this brilliant blog post by Lev Parikian. The title ‘Come back Australia, all is forgiven’ hints at the content. He may, at times, be provocative, or maybe he’s in a state of shock – as I am – with the current on-field success. But this claim takes a shine off any potential England victory.

The worst-case scenario is that the dip in quality in Australia’s domestic scene persists, young athletes look to other sports (notably Australian Rules Football) and Australia become, medium-to-long term, a mediocre team, thus further denuding the pool of competitive Test-playing nations.

I don’t mind if this happens. As long as we’re a little bit better “mediocre team”. Of course we all want to see barnstorming, edge of the seat, nail-biting test matches like we saw in 2005. Overcoming the very best in the world. It was amazing. But then,

They then got revenge. The Ultimate Humiliation. McGrath predicted correct and we lost 5-0 in Australia. Similar sides, reality reinstated.

I don’t want that. I’d much rather they were in disarray. Changing the system. Doubting the attitude, blaming the coaches, introducing different contracts, laying different pitches…anything but long-term stability. I want them to select the wrong players. I want them to select players who are out of form. I want them to drop players who could do a job. I want them to be nostalgically hoping Warne might turn his arm over again. I bloody love it. And if any Australian fan has to endure 20 years of defeats, humiliating defeats, constant defeats, only defeats; I’ll be smiling. And I’m prepared.

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By George Allwell…

Reading through the famous daily gossip column on the BBC Sport website can be a time for hope, for optimism and the potential future. Your club is linked with the next Messi at a knockdown price. The next Zindane (Bruno Cheyrou). The legitimacy emanating from the formal words of a fully sourced and referenced BBC site. The link to the paper, the credibility, the prediction of hope. Things may be going shit for your club; but we, the BBC can just about scroll through the morning papers and daily football websites and give you the chance to dream, or curse. All at the tax payers expense. Not forgetting that the vast majority of it never ever comes true. The BBC gossip column – in the spirit of making things up just to fill up a space and take the piss and maybe even hit the nail on the head just once – is about 5% true.

If we just take a sample from Thursday and Friday last week, you can see Liverpool, a club with new but limited investment and a manger renowned for spending money on OAP’s and 35 year old’s, things look rather promising.

Liverpool are ready to challenge rivals Manchester United for Rosenborg’s Ghanaian midfielder Anthony Annan. (1005 GMT)
Full story: goal.com

Or

CSKA Moscow’s Japanese international Keisuke Honda is attracting interest ahead of the January transfer window with Arsenal, Liverpool, and AC Milan the interested parties. (0950 GMT)
Full story: sport.co.uk

Or

Liverpool and Tottenham target Ola Toivonen expects to stay at PSV Eindhoven this winter – but the Sweden striker has opened the door to a summer move.
Full story: Daily Mail

Or

Lille admit they face a battle to keep hold of Liverpool target Eden Hazard. The 19-year-old winger is also been tracked by Arsenal and Manchester United.

Or

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier has placed an £80m price tag on Ashley Young after Manchester United and Liverpool revealed their interest in the winger.
Full story: Daily Mail

Or these two…

Liverpool could make a shock January move for Manchester City winger Adam Johnson.
Full story: Metro

West Ham striker Carlton Cole could be on his way to Liverpool in January after publicly criticising the tactics of Hammers manager Avram Grant.
Full story: Metro

Oh yes there’s definitely more, and remember that all these rumours are spread over only two days. Here’s the others…

In-form striker Johan Elmander has stalled on signing a new contract with Bolton – and sparked a scramble for his signature. Liverpool, Newcastle and Stoke are interested.
Full story: Daily Mirror

Palermo’s defensive midfielder Armin Bacinovic is a target for Chelsea and Liverpool.
Full story: talksport

One club, one whole new team, minus probably a keeper and a defence but certainly plenty of in-form or in the case of Carlton Cole (ignoring the Mickey Mouse Cup goals) permanently out of form strikers and a holding midfielder. Just the right mix. Of nonsense.

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