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Chris Charles | 12:32 UK time, Friday, 4 September 2009

Oasis may have finally called it a day, but at least there was one person in Manchester still going mad for it.

Step forward Arsene Wenger, whose touchline histrionics at Old Trafford were likened to Basil Fawlty by some sections of Her Majesty's Press. Throw in Almunia giving away the vital penalty against Manchester United and it truly was Manuel from heaven for the Red Tops.

The Sunday Mirror pictured Wenger in mid-stride under the banner 'Don't Mention The Score' - which surely would have been in the running for headline of the decade, had it not been used by their arch-rivals to describe England's 5-1 triumph in Germany eight years ago.

The Arsenal manager was absurdly forced to watch the last 30 seconds of the game standing in the middle of the sniggering home support - where he looked about as comfortable as your Dad at a McFly gig.
Arsene Wenger in the Old Trafford CrowdWenger makes some new friends
Wenger's crime was to kick out at a water bottle - in fact he caught it so sweetly, Paul Hart was rumoured to be putting in a last-ditch bid to shore up his ailing Pompey frontline.

To be fair to the Frenchman, despite the stamping of feet and flashing of eyes, he managed to retain his sense of humour, raising a little smirk as he stood among the great unwashed and later describing the penalty decision as 'Old Traffordish'.

Wenger's got form for making up words. When Arsenal beat United in the league last November, he declared: "I'm very excited about this team because...they are playerish."

And this bout of neologism (I had to look that up) appears to be spreading through the club. An article on the official website about work being done to fill the stadium with historic Gunners imagery was entitled 'Club Begins Arsenalisation of the Emirates', with Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis gushing: "I'm really excited about all the elements of Arsenalisation." Me too, Ivan.

At least Wenger's antics provided a spot of light relief in a week where the two biggest events proved as thrilling as the plot of a Jordan novel (not that I've read any, ahem).

First up was the Champions League draw, which roared on to our screens with the menace of a Ferrari but sneaked out the back in a Vauxhall Viva.

We were hoping for United v Ronaldo or Mourinho v Chelsea but what we got, in terms of British interest at least, was a squib damper than Lancashire's outfield on Twenty20 day. As the Guardian's Barry Glendenning observed: "I can barely contain my apathy."

Still, there was always transfer deadline day to get the juices flowing, with Franck Ribery bound to be heading to Old Trafford and Man City almost certainly preparing a world record bid for the reserve goalkeeper from AZ Alkmaar.

In reality (despite Sky dramatically switching to Big Ben to signal the end of the day's business), we got this from my esteemed colleague Stevo, who deserves a medal for his 12-hour clockwatch on the dullest transfer window ever.

"1535: Bristol Rovers forward Lewis Haldane has joined Port Vale on loan, while Wrexham striker Obi Anoruo has joined Welsh Premier League side Newtown on loan. I know. It's killing me too."

The biggest move of the window was arguably Niko Kranjcar's switch from Portsmouth to Tottenham, news which will have infuriated Croatian FA President (Infamy, Infamy, they've all got it Infamy) Vlatko Markovic.

He suggested the broken leg suffered by fellow-Spur Luka Modric at Birmingham was part of a wider conspiracy to nobble all of Croatia's top players before the key game with England at Wembley next week.

Markovic wailed: "In the past year, they (English footballers) have injured Eduardo and now the same has happened to Modric. I can only ask myself whether it is a coincidence or not.

"I can only ask whether someone did it deliberately on the eve of the game with England," he added, before catching sight of Lord Lucan serving Elvis Presley a cheeseburger in the Zagreb branch of McDonald's.

Over in the USA, David Beckham warmed up for England's double-header by scoring the winner for LA Galaxy against local rivals Chivas that propelled them to second in the table. Spare a thought for the Galaxy fans, who don't know whether to laugh or cry at their favourite pantomime villain.

Messageboard user dashiel summed it up when he quipped: "My new favourite bit of side-amusement at games is hearing people scream 'Beckham, you suck!' seconds before he scores, then cheering like crazy!"

England are likely to be led out at Wembley by John Terry, rewarded for umming and aahing over Man City's summer offer with a five-year deal worth a reported £40m. If my maths is correct, that's roughly £154,000 a week, £22k a day, £916 an hour or 15 quid a minute. In other words, in the time it took me to type out this paragraph he'd have earned enough to buy a round of drinks for his team-mates in a Wetherspoon's. A sobering thought indeed.

Ashley Cole also agreed a new deal, which is just as well given that Chelsea won't be able to sign so much as a birthday card for the next 16 months.

Meanwhile, Joleon Lecott was getting used to slumming it at Man City on a mere £90,000 a week. The player insisted "money means nothing" while being fed grapes by a team of Bond girls as he reposed on his diamond-encrusted chaise longue.
Sol CampbellSol Campbell is Notts about his new club
A few miles down the road, Sol Campbell was preparing to face the might of Aldershot and Accrington after dropping three leagues to play for Notts County. Just like his director of football before him, the 34-year-old insisted "it's not about money" after putting pen to paper on a lucrative five-year deal.

In the Carling Cup, my lot got a plum draw away to our old rivals Chelsea. I say rivals because QPR fans continue to have this romantic notion that the Blues consider us to be their biggest adversaries, despite not having played in the same league for 13 years.

The chickens came home to roost when we visited Stamford Bridge in last year's FA Cup. The chant to the eerily silent home fans was "We forgot that you were here" and the instant reply: "We forgot that you exist." Ouch.

Prediction? My heart says QPR will sneak a 1-0 win - my head says Chelsea will sneak a 6-0 victory.

Leeds-Liverpool was arguably the pick of the draw, but if the rumours are to be believed, down at Buck House all eyes will be on the Bolton-West Ham tie. According to the Sunday Mirror, The Queen has outed herself to staff as a Hammers fan (the rendition of 'One's Forever Blowing Bubbles' heard coming from the Royal bathroom was the clincher).

And finally, the story of the week involves former Everton striker Franny Jeffers, transfer-listed by Sheffield Wednesday for headbutting Port Vale skipper Tommy Fraser. But that was only the beginning of Jeffers' worries. Turns out Tommy's Grandad is none other than notorious gangster 'Mad' Frankie Fraser, who specialised in pulling people's teeth out with pliers.

According to The Sun, when Tommy was at Brighton, he was asked by a local newspaper reporter if his Grandad ever came to watch him play. Tommy replied: "No, but he reads your reports and he was unhappy you only gave me six out of 10 last week." The story goes he never got less than seven after that.

Before I go, apologies for not replying to any comments from the last blog I did. I ended up at The Oval for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the final Ashes Test (all bought and paid for before you ask) and was not really focusing on anything football-related. In fact come 6pm on the Sunday evening, I found it very difficult to focus on anything at all.

Wenger plays the tambourine
American kid commentates on Arsenal game
Kung-fu kick during Bolivian derby


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