Archives for November 2011

The 606 Hair XI unveiled

Post categories:

Producer Will Producer Will | 17:30 UK time, Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Since Benoit Assou-Ekotto and his mane became a huge talking point, you’ve been constructing the ultimate Hair XI on Facebook and Twitter.

There’s been heated debate surrounding the make up of the side – who should make the cut – and equally in the 606 office, we’ve found it tough trying to style the players you’ve picked into an XI to take the field (which is why we’ve ended up with wing backs).

A squad big enough to put out three sides filled with quiffs, bleach and comb-overs could have been named – but we’ve gone for this XI.

It goes without saying the side will turn out at Underhill and wear the black and orange of Barnet.

606 Hair XI
Rene Higuita

Taribo West
Abel Xavier
Alexi Lalas

Bacary Sagna
Benoit Assou-Ekotto (capt)

David Beckham
Bobby Charlton
Carlos Valderrama

Jason Lee


Team award – Romania World Cup 1998


What do you think? Who do you think we’ve missed out? Or do you think this side would blow dry the opposition away?


Our tribute to Gary Speed

Editor Jo Editor Jo | 11:16 UK time, Monday, 28 November 2011

Yesterday was a day when football, trivial problems and issues just didn't matter. They still don't and won't for some time.

The 606 office this morning is a quiet place, a shocked place and an emotionally drained place after yesterday's news and the show presented by Robbie and Darren.
We've never had so many of you calling us, tweeting us, talking to us on facebook or texting us to share your memories and stories about what a great man Gary was.

Robbie was a very close friend of Gary's and had spoken to him on Saturday. For him to get through yesterday's show was tough for both him and Darren but they wanted to give everyone a forum to talk about their friend.

Robbie and Gary had been laughing and joking about the Strictly Come Dancing just on Saturday. A few weeks earlier Gary had come down to TVC with his wife and watched Strictly. They were on great form. Gary and Darren were ribbing each other in the bar and competing to see who had had the biggest row with Robbie in the past. One of the 606 team decided Gary would be the perfect star of the next Strictly and wouldn't let it lie. I'm not sure Gary was so keen, but being the gentleman he was he laughed along about it and joined in the banter.

He came onto 606 two weeks ago, the day after Wales had beaten Norway. We dragged him out of the pub to come on air yet he made us feel like he had all the time in the world for the callers and for the show.

Darren had become friends with Gary through work and when he came to TVC for Strictly the other week it was Gary who ran to help Darren pick his wife up from the floor after she fainted under the heat of the lights in the studio. We all know she really just fainted from being in close proximity to such a legend- Gary, of course.

So then we were all at Television Centre again yesterday afternoon having to write openers about how this gentleman, this model professional, this friend of Darren and Robbie's was dead.

Usually in the hour before we go on air there's banter, arguments about what the opening line should be, chat about what the story of the day is. But yesterday we all just sat in the gallery listening to the Welsh National anthem. The opener didn't need scripts, it was just an open forum to talk about Gary.

We were inundated with calls. Men openly crying on air. But also callers telling us so many wonderful stories about the times they met Gary or watched him play.

The time he got Steve and his son tickets for Cantona's last game at Leeds after bumping into them outside, remembering him from a chance meeting in a bar a year earlier. He even remembered Steve's name; Alan, who told us of a meeting in a service station after the Norway game "I'm just Joe Bloggs, I couldn't believe he was talking to me"; Graham, who helped organise his charity golf day, talking about how he stuck to diet coke even five days ahead of a game; Tom, the Bolton team coach driver talking about when Gary's son described Steven Gerrard as the "best midfielder" and Gary allowed it ; Everyone who had had the pleasure of meeting him was touched by him.

And yet he won't have heard these stories. He won't ever know how many people's lives he brought joy to- through his football and through his personality.

My favourite story Gary told us was when the then welsh manager Bobby Gould decided he was going to change the captaincy and take it from Gary and give it to Mark Hughes. Bobby had already told Mark Hughes he would be the new captain but when he told Gary about his decision Gary went mad and said "No way, I'm not having that. I'm your captain." So Bobby Gould said "Thats the spirit I want, thats the passion I want from my captain" and promptly gave the captaincy back to him.

That was the mark of a man who loved his job, loved his country and wanted to do his best at all times. We hope the calls into 606 last night gave a sense of that.

You can listen again here if you missed it.

Has Capello stumbled across a 52-year old answer?

Post categories:

Producer Will Producer Will | 13:18 UK time, Friday, 18 November 2011

What struck me most about England’s two games in the past week was their lack of stars.

No Wayne Rooney, no Steven Gerrard – yet England still won.

But did England win because of this, as Fabio Capello’s hand was forced into picking what ended up being the best team when his best 11 players weren’t available.

I stumbled across a programme from 1959, a game between England and Scotland held at Wembley – and coincidently Billy Wright’s 100th cap. In it, Harry Homer (aka Marksman) who was also the Arsenal programme editor and coined the club’s motto wrote the following:




And this problem has been as relevant with this current England generation as it was for Wright and co. How often have you heard debated on 606 or in the pub that Gerrard and Frank Lampard can’t play together, yet they are both squeezed into the starting 11.

Over the past two 90-minute periods of England football, Scott Parker (for one) has shone, as Capello has put out a starting XI with structure, and mentality which has all pushed all in one direction.

Guess what, it worked.

Well, Spain did draw with Costa Rica after England’s titanic victory against the world best (but let’s gloss over that).

But what will happen come June? It seems Rooney will miss a couple of matches at the moment, but Gerrard will probably be fit. Does he go in alongside Lampard? Do you drop the midfielder who scored that goal against Spain?

That decision is yet to be made, but what has been proven is to win at international football in major competitions you need to pick the best team – and if that means leaving Gerrard at home then so be it.

Reference Greece in 2008, and the Marksmen’s words in 1959 – if England wants a chance in Poland and Ukraine, players like Scott Parker are the cornerstones which will win the competition.

As for Gerrard and Lampard – one of you might be okay.

For the other one – you’ve had your chances.


Racism in football

Post categories:

Editor Jo Editor Jo | 14:31 UK time, Thursday, 17 November 2011

Being a football fan is all about being there, making a noise when it matters, shouting and cheering, and in 30 years as a fan I don't think I've ever wanted to make as much noise as I do today.

Sepp Blatter claimed yesterday that football does not have on-field problems with racism.

In the last few weeks we have seen our national team captain investigated by the police and the FA over alleged racist remarks made to Anton Ferdinand and Luis Suarez charged by the FA with racially abusing Patrice Evra.

I've been contacted on Twitter by players claiming to have been racially abused on the pitch just last weekend and the racist abuse 606 presenter Jason Roberts has had on Twitter makes my skin crawl. In addition, callers and facebookers on 606 have been talking about referees and coaches being racially abused in Sunday League football every weekend.

We have a problem, a very serious problem, but a problem I think people just haven't wanted to talk about for fear of admitting football hasn't come as far as we thought it had.

There has been change in the game but by the evidence of the last few weeks, there hasn't been enough.

We need all the individual football associations which make up FIFA, to come together with a no-confidence vote. And for this we need The FA to take a strong lead.

The fans are looking to the players to make strong statements and lead the way, while the players are looking to the FA to lead the way, who are looking to FIFA, who seem to be in a glass house somewhere.

Maybe Sepp has become so concerned about throwing stones from his glass house that he's given up condemning others / issues completely. Whatever his thought process was, he is not the man we want, and he shouldn't be allowed to run football.

The sooner he is out of our game the sooner we can try and make the changes our game needs. I'll be sure to shake his hand on the way out.

606 Presenter Robbie Savage's view

606 Presenter Jason Roberts' view

606's Great Britain XI

Post categories:

Producer Will Producer Will | 16:00 UK time, Monday, 7 November 2011

Since Stuart Pearce was named as coach for the male Great Britain team at next year’s Olympics you’ve been helping us pick the team that should play in the side.

The obvious restriction is we can only have three players over 23-year olds, but other than that, we took creative license in assuming the Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish FAs were happy for their players to be available for selection, while English players were also all available.

And the results – on Facebook and Twitter – have got us all talking in the 606 office.

The first appointment was Aaron Ramsey as captain, which meant we still had space for three over 23’s – and you gave Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs the nod.

The next couple of days left us with some interesting decisions for goalkeeper and left back – but with Alex Smithies and Neil Taylor, we’re pretty happy some players who have been doing their business quietly have now been given some deserved recognition.

The most surprising thing in putting this together was finding the love for Emile Heskey. Unfortunately, despite being nominated for almost every position on the park, he didn’t top any of them - and is over 23 - so we’ve decided to give him the honorary position of Assistant Manager.

The kind of role Beckham took in South Africa.

So the team in full:

Alex Smithies (Huddersfield/England)
Kyle Walker (Tottenham/England)
Chris Smalling (Man United/England)
Phil Jones (Man United/England)
Neil Taylor (Swansea/Wales)
David Beckham (LA Galaxy/England)
Aaron Ramsey – Captain (Arsenal/Wales)
Ryan Giggs (Man United/Wales)
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal/England)

Gareth Bale (Tottenham/Wales)
Wayne Rooney (Man United/England)

And Emile Heskey, The Ambassador


606 Great Britain XI

The Ballon d'Or - another of FIFA's bizarre ideas

Post categories:

Producer Will Producer Will | 15:30 UK time, Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The 23-man shortlist for FIFA’s top individual prize – the Ballon d’Or has been revealed and surprise, surprise more than 50 per cent play for Barcelona and Real Madrid.

This is written with nothing but genuine admiration for the two dominant clubs in world football over the past 12 months. Barcelona won the Champions League, Spanish title and European Super Cup; while Real have had played out some pretty epic 90-minutes with their arch rivals and notably won the Copa del Rey – before Sergio Ramos dropped it.

But what does this award really mean? To begin with the timing is curious. Obviously end of year awards make sense but football is a game which begins annually in September and finishes in the summer – but seemingly FIFA don’t like doing things which would make sense.

Goal line technology anyone?

Yes, I appreciate some leagues – notably the Brazilian and Russian – run with the Gregorian calendar, but if we look at the Class of 2011 nominees, only one, Neymar, regularly has an extended break over Christmas and New Year – something which will surely soon end when he makes his inevitable, and highly anticipated move to Europe.

So let us judge the best player from the second half of last season and the first half of this – it’s a bizarre concept! It’s the equivalent of taking half the lap times from one race, adding them to half the lap times of another - results from two different circuits, in two different driving conditions, often in two different continents to devise one result.

Often major international competitions produce the winner of this prize – but this doesn’t look like happening in 2011 when inspecting the possible candidates.

We still need a winner though - despite the stupid timing of this award; despite Sepp Blatter being as easy to predict as a roulette wheel – one player must still comes out on top.

But funnily enough despite all these oddities it is fairly obvious who will take the gong. Like Sebastian Vettel in Formula 1, however you splice up games, appearances, assists or trophies – Lionel Messi is the best.

Lionel Messi


P.S. Why has Arsene Wenger been nominated as manager of the year? They hardly won a game after losing to Birmingham City - who were subsequently relegated - in the Carling Cup Final last season.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.