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Review of the week

Chris Charles | 10:09 UK time, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

As Barack Obama was elected leader of the free world, Tony Pulis gave a Presidential address of his own.

The Stoke boss, fired up by Arsene Wenger's claims his side had deliberately set out to maim the Gunners, replied: "You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time. But you cannot fool all of the people all of the time." Back of the net.

With Pulis's Abe Lincoln tribute raising the bar, what price Wenger confirming George Bush's theory that "we are getting more and more of our imports from abroad", while William Gallas plays down his Marlboro-Gate incident by insisting: "I didn't inhale"?

Obama's historic victory led to an outbreak of free speech in the Premier League, with that old shrinking violet Roy Keane coming out of his shell to give his damning verdict on TV pundits.

"I was asked by ITV to do the Celtic versus Manchester United game but I've done it once for Sky and never again... I'd rather go to the dentist," he spat. Roy Keane with a guide dog during his time at Manchester United.jpg

By the sound of it, Keano would like to take a few pundits along with him - to have their mouths sewn up.

The Sunderland manager added: "There are ex-players and ex-referees being given air-time who I wouldn't listen to in a pub... I wouldn't trust them to walk my dog."

The following morning, Sky Sports' Jeff Stelling introduced his Soccer Saturday panel - Phil Thompson, Paul Walsh, Paul Merson and Charlie Nicholas - by saying: "With me today are four pundits you could trust to walk your dog - well, three of them anyway..."

Keane's former boss Sir Alex Ferguson copped an FA charge after striding across the Theatre of Dreams to give referee Mike Dean a piece of his mind, following the 4-3 win over Hull. Fergie said: "I am a bit surprised. But this is the FA. They were probably dying to send me a letter."

Newcastle's Joe Kinnear can also expect a little something in the post from Soho Square after describing Martin Atkinson as a "Mickey Mouse" referee following the Magpies' 2-1 defeat by Fulham. And the chances are it won't be an early Christmas card.

There were enough tales coming out of Manchester United this week to fill at least two columns. A 'club source' told The Sun Fergie had called in a sleep expert telling the players how to find the perfect mattress - under the heading 'He Shoots, He Snores!'

Shame they couldn't have got it sorted a few months earlier following Wayne Rooney's revelation about the night of United's Champions League win.

He said: "Coleen's brother and his girlfriend stayed with us, so when we all went up to bed, I had to stay on the floor. It was a bit weird. We'd just won the Champions League and I was going to sleep on the floor. But I don't think I'd have minded where I got my head down that night."

Old Trafford was also the setting for prank of the week, after Anderson slipped a live mouse down Gary Neville's top in training. He was reportedly said to be fuming, screaming: "Get that thing off me!" - and Red Nev was pretty upset as well.

Review of the week just wouldn't be the same without Harry Redknapp. The man with the midas touch made it 10 points out of 12 since he took over at Spurs - not to mention the Uefa Cup hammering of Dinamo Zagreb.

Striker Roman Pavlyuchneko summed up the gaffer best by saying: "Redknapp is a very colourful person - to be honest, we joke that he looks as if he comes to the stadium straight from the pub!"

Redknapp replied: "Maybe he's not used to seeeing a manager with a smile on his face, but I haven't been to a pub for about 30 years - honest!"

In the FA Cup, we had the familiar heroics from warehouse stackers and hotel porters as Curzon Ashton overcame Exeter, while Histon, best known for the original site of the Chivers jam factory, dumped out Swindon. Fuming Robins boss Maurice Malpas manfully resisted the temptation to say: "They've got more jam than Hartley's!"

Elsewhere, Rory Delap's throws for once proved unproductive as Stoke were held to a 0-0 draw at Wigan. But you couldn't keep the midfielder out of the news. In an interview he said: "I don't look after my arms especially. I'm still in the garden with the kids throwing balls for them." How big is his garden?

And finally, back to the main story of the week - one of Barack Obama's first invites since getting the top job was a trip back to Upton Park to see his 'beloved' West Ham.

Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola, speaking before the latest captitulation to Everton, conceded: "I think he's going to be a bit busy for a while." And if not, I'm sure he'll find something.....

Standard Liege's Dieumerci Mbokani gets stuck on a fairground ride - cue uncontrollable laughter back in the TV studio.

Botafogo's Andre Luis snatches the referee's yellow card and waves it around.


  • 1. At 11:38am on 11 Nov 2008, HoopsaTrembling wrote:

    Very entertaining Chris.... I look forward to next weeks installment..with the majority of the blog talking about the Supa Hoops demolition of the Utd reserve/youth team!!!! (well hopefully)

    Come on you SUUUPPPAAAA.......


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  • 2. At 11:46am on 11 Nov 2008, csomethingood wrote:

    SupaHoops? Is that some kind of new cup-a-soup?

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  • 3. At 11:46am on 11 Nov 2008, mattgeordiecat wrote:

    HoopsaTrembling - what game are you on about there mate?

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  • 4. At 11:55am on 11 Nov 2008, Clarence Cash wrote:

    haha,love keano's little outburst. I must agree some of the pundits on tv are complete goons. Who bloody cares what people like andy townsend or gavin peacock have to say. But the worst offenders have to be david pleat and mark lawrenson. Imagine being sat in the pub with these two!!

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  • 5. At 12:07pm on 11 Nov 2008, Armchair Dave wrote:

    I have to say, I totally missed that Keane story, so I read the article from the Telegraph. I thought I was in a minority that didn't listen to the pundits. I always record MOTD or any highlights show and then fast forward through all the chat. I think Keane is right - there's no value add there, it's all empty padding.

    I guess he won't get asked to do TV work, not that he'll be bothered. God on him for saying that - someone needed to!

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  • 6. At 12:23pm on 11 Nov 2008, xPoppySwirlx wrote:

    ArmchairDave, everyone does it. Seriously, who wants to listen to Lawro and co. drivvel on?

    Good article, especially liked the two clips at the end!

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  • 7. At 12:29pm on 11 Nov 2008, Tbonetower wrote:

    Very fun and entertaining blog Chris. Keano is an absolute legend. Love his Friday press conferences too. I also agree with him regarding pundits. Of the top of my head, the only ones I listen to and often agree with are Andy Gray and, well I'm sure there's a couple but the names escape me!

    The likes of Ian Wright, Lawro, Merson, Thompson, Le Tiss, Kamara, and so on were obviously good players but their analysis of games, teams, and players is awful IMO. I know it's all about opinions but I cringe when they talk about football because there perception is a million miles away from mine and these are previous or potential club managers! People on the up in the coaching system have no chance against their names but in terms of knowledge it's no contest.

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  • 8. At 12:33pm on 11 Nov 2008, Noallegiance wrote:

    Give the Just For Men a rest Keano. It's bad enough we all have to look at Stelling.

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  • 9. At 12:33pm on 11 Nov 2008, Scottishscouser wrote:

    I have to say I agree with Wenger! It's no wonder none of the home nations, particularly England (Scotland don't have a hope anyway and I say that as a Scot) will never stand a chance of winning the World/Euro cup. Football fans in this dinosaur of a country would rather see crunching tackles than great technical play. This also seems true for most pundits/commentators who are moaning that the 'physical side of the game has diminished.

    If this country gets into the 21st century, that is fans, coaches, managers, pundits and the media, England may stand a chance of progressing in the International game. Untill that time, the foreign players will continue to set the standards that British players should aspire to.

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  • 10. At 12:55pm on 11 Nov 2008, Pottering Through wrote:

    Scottish Scouser - Is it any wonder that England struggle when teams like arsenal very rarely give their youngsters the chance to shine - Players like Upson and Bentley were both at Arsenal but Wenger sold them and replaced them with cheap foreign imports.

    Its a good job the likes of Man and Chelsea are willing to invest in the English talent of the game - And these are the two teams who competed for the Champions League final and are also two teams willing to put in the physical side as well as the technical!!!

    For the record Stoke were not overly physical and the only side that got a red card card in that game was Wengers.

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  • 11. At 12:58pm on 11 Nov 2008, snoopbrummybrum wrote:

    i was perplexed by this at first because for some reason i thought all blogs had to have a meaning, i didn't know it was just a summary of the goings-on of the week. good stuff i like the sideways view on sport thing, and am glad to read a article which isn't deadly serious but just there to laugh at the trivial events in sport.

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  • 12. At 1:02pm on 11 Nov 2008, Scottishscouser wrote:

    I agree about Stoke mate, I wasn't having a pop at them. What I was saying was that The technical side of the game seems to be alien to a lot of 'British' people. Why play 11 years olds on a full size pitch? All that teaches them is to hoof the ball 50 metres to their nearest player. Lets use some of the European coaching techniues at grass roots, not just at club academies.

    Teaching close ball control, passing and moving rather than win at all costs will be better for the future of the British game. These player will then have the skills to displace 'foreign imports' in the top sides.

    Liverpool's academy is full of English/Scottish and Irish players with a handful of foreigners. Hopefully these British kids will be coached appropriately and we will se them in the Liverpool side.

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  • 13. At 1:04pm on 11 Nov 2008, RVP1968 wrote:

    Dont wnt to get too heavy over this as it is just for laughs...but hopefully next week we could have something which doesnt take the p1ss out of Arsenal and maybe we could have something positive on ourselves (for a change) as you chose to leave out the best game of the weekend in your review...

    ...was funny though...well done.

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  • 14. At 1:05pm on 11 Nov 2008, SportsFan wrote:

    It's not just on TV - the Metro and London Paper seem to prefer journeymen players who begin every article with "Over my glorious career spanning 15 years and 18 clubs I have picked up an incredible amount of clichés and here are a few..."

    I buy the Telegraph for articles like Keane's. Their sports journalism IMO is far superior to not only their counterparts but also the Red Tops. If ppl want sports pages aimed at a 10 year old then buy the Sun.

    Then we come to Sky. Would their viewing figures be negatively affected if rather than Jamie Redknapp they employed a person who provides intelligent, impartial analysis rather than spouting from "1001 football clichés" and misusing the word literally?

    Seems to me as an ex-player, the majority do the following:

    1. Release an autobiography
    2. Try to get into management, fail
    3. Apply to Sky to join the other biased, talentless drones
    4. Apply to Setanta (if fail at 3)

    Keane's outburst was refreshing. From a Gooner - well done Sir.

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  • 15. At 1:06pm on 11 Nov 2008, Armchair Dave wrote:

    I've discovered while watching Shearer on MOTD that I have narcolepsy.

    Also Lawro seems like a depressed divorcee and when Hansen opens his mouth I feel the urge to buy a packet of biscuits at Morrisons...


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  • 16. At 1:11pm on 11 Nov 2008, Zulu Warrior wrote:

    Entertaining summary as ever CC, your blogs keeps everyones feet on the ground. Your summary should be compulsory reading for all then head in the clouds 'icons'.
    Classic take - your opener from Mr Pulis.

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  • 17. At 1:40pm on 11 Nov 2008, ControlledMagic wrote:

    Armchair Dave - Lawro and divorce....Hmmn. Civil separation on his particular bus, methinks!


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  • 18. At 1:44pm on 11 Nov 2008, giveashah wrote:

    What about George Boateng last week on Sky talking about the Villa game?! He was useless - even the presenter didn't know what to say when faced with his near pigeon English analysis of the game! They pick some right numpties on Sky, they go for the name rather than people with any intelligence or analytical skill!

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  • 19. At 1:44pm on 11 Nov 2008, Clint wrote:

    I think the worst pundit I have come across is Joe Royale!

    If you ever get the chance to hear him doing co-commentary, have a listen as about 85% of his input is total drivel.

    I think that Jeff Stelling along with dafties like Merson and Le Tiss provide a good light-hearted way of disclosing what's going on on a Saturday afternoon. Merse once described a Titus Bramble performance;

    "He's like a fish up a tree"

    Very amusing

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  • 20. At 1:44pm on 11 Nov 2008, giveashah wrote:

    I meant pidgin English!

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  • 21. At 1:52pm on 11 Nov 2008, SportsFan wrote:

    How on earth did Collymore get offered a job at Sultana?

    The guy has more skeletons in his closet than Fred West!

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  • 22. At 1:54pm on 11 Nov 2008, King-Dion wrote:

    The most witty blog I have read. Great work.

    Couldn't agree more about the standard of TV football punditry. Virtually all the ex-players seem to have taken lessons in stating the glaringly obvious.

    However, due to their own simple mindedness, they do frequently come up with hilarious howlers (or Colemanballs, to give them their correct title).

    Can you keep up this standard? I do hope so. Cheers!

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  • 23. At 2:30pm on 11 Nov 2008, thecoj wrote:

    I think its a bit naive to expect any pundits to come up with anything particularly meaningful or insightful. In my opinion, the 'best' pundits aren't the ones who try and analyse anything (MOTD drives me mad with boredom between games), but the ones who have a laugh, such as Merson saying "he's having a right Titus Bramble of a game".

    There's surely a limit to how many different things can be discussed after a game and every pundit will end up saying the same things sooner or later (Hansen's defence speeches, Lawrenson predicting the world will end, etc.). Whoever decided to bring in Shearer, Lee Dixon and Gavin Peacock was insane - thank god Garth Crooks is there as token idiot, otherwise watching Football Focus would be suicidal.

    I think Sky have got it right with characters like Stelling, LeTis and Merson (with Phil Thompson as the token idiot).

    I don't want in-depth discussion. Its just dull.

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  • 24. At 2:39pm on 11 Nov 2008, CASROB wrote:

    I wouldn't say I have agreed with a lot that Keane has said in the past, but his comments on TV pundits is spot on. Most of them don't even know rules of the game even though they have been playing for 20 years. How many of them now say "it was a stonewall penalty". No it wasn't. The Ref didn't give it therefore it is not a penalty.

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  • 25. At 2:41pm on 11 Nov 2008, V2Gunner (or Emma to those who know me) wrote:

    Agree with comments 22 and 23 sky sports pundits are good because they don't try and do in depth analysis they just have fun and make silly and humerous comments. Did anyone catch Paul Merson butchering sylvain ebanks-blakes' name at the weekend?l

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  • 26. At 2:44pm on 11 Nov 2008, roversince1938 wrote:

    Talk, of the FA and discipline in the same breath, is ludicrous.

    The pusillanimous FA - who fail to get to grips with important matters (like persistent incorrectly called 'off-sides') - are ruthless in handing down absolutely meaningless fines of a few thousand - at most - to people earning millions of Pounds a month. Where's the sense in this?
    Also, the glorious FA hand down short suspensions when the culprit should be banned for far far longer - if it is intended to stamp out brutallity in the game.

    In other words, the FA is a useless vehicle as far as discipline is concerned - and most other things come to think about it!

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  • 27. At 2:46pm on 11 Nov 2008, brunom1308 wrote:

    Andy who? The guy was a mediocre player, he never played for any great team, got selected a few times for Scotland, and all of a sudden he knows everything about football, let him managed a team and see how good he really is.
    You only have to look at his medal cabinet.
    Keano is right i would't trust any of them with my dogs, unless it was Shearer.
    Time for the hasbeens to hang the microphones.

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  • 28. At 2:49pm on 11 Nov 2008, cov1985 wrote:

    Comment 14. - Sports Fan

    Interestingly enough, there is a formula for working out the mental age required to read a passage of text.

    If you multiply the average number of words per senentence by the average number of syllables in a sentence then multiply that by 0.4 (I think), you get the age of the person who could understand the text.

    An old lecturer of mine did this and found that The Sun is actually written specifically so anybody over the age of 10 can read it, and this formula proves it.

    Apparently it's quite a skill to be able to write like that. I heard that in one story in The Sun they replaced the word "marmalade" with the word "jam" because it had too many syllables!

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  • 29. At 3:11pm on 11 Nov 2008, adam-o wrote:

    Completely agree about keano's comments about the sky sports pundits!

    they are on 24 hours a day so end up talking drivel.

    Tony Gale is the cheif offender, although Paul Merson is just comedy gold.

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  • 30. At 3:21pm on 11 Nov 2008, NEARPOSTHEADER wrote:

    The Phantom Card Snatcher of Botafogo had a point; no way did he deserve a yellow card, but Latin American refs hand them out like smarties. People moan about British refs, but they way they let play flow and treat a shoulder barge as....well, a shoulder barge, is refreshing to see.
    I watch English footie via Fox Sports and the Argentinian commentators are a hoot - one makes up lyrics to well- known tunes after a goal has been scored.
    On a round-up programme, the pundits play foot-volleyball, and if you think Gaby Yorath is easy on the eye, you should see the hotties that grace this show.
    After the '66 "animals", the "Hand of God", the Falklands, etc. the Argies weren't my favourite nationality, but after seeing the fun, tongue-in-cheek way they present football, I've definitely warmed to them. Also, they say the atmosphere in English stadia is great, but it CANNOT compare to an Argentinian one. Boca Juniors lost at home in the Copa Sudamericana to be eliminated, and their fans were singing and leaping around after the game to the point where you thought Boca had won.
    A bit off the subject, I know, but sometimes the crowds in English stadia seem so anaemic - no colour, no flags, everyone sitting in their neat, little rows. Seems standing up now is a crime punishable by ejection from the ground. Aren't you supposed to go to a footie match to let off steam?

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  • 31. At 3:36pm on 11 Nov 2008, bobbieflowers wrote:

    don't know about the worst pundit but i know who the worst commentary team are.

    Feel a bit guilty for saying this but the itv director who decided to pair david pleat and clive tyldesley in tandem must have been some sort of sado-masochist.

    Its painful to tune in (on a weekly basis during the champions league) and lsiten to two people slipping further and further into senile dementia right in front of my ears!

    we need change!

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  • 32. At 3:40pm on 11 Nov 2008, NemesisCuckoo wrote:

    Fortunately, the great spectacle that was witnessed at the Emirates saved us all from the spoilt-bratt spectacle of lemon-sucking Arsene Whinger sounding off post match.

    Mind you, if the result had been an accurate reflection of play, as Man Utd should have won 8-5, and then no doubt we would have once again have seen Mr Whinger attempting to re-write history for the second week running - 48 hrs after the event and with Man Utd safely 200 miles away.

    Still, there's always the prospect of Arsenal being skilfully and competitively muscled out of the game when they visit Chelsea on 30th November.

    Allo, Allo ... for some reason, I just can't wait for the next instalment.

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  • 33. At 4:08pm on 11 Nov 2008, CantonasCollar79 wrote:

    Good blog, Chris. Like a Robbo blog but with decent grammer and it actually made me LAUGH. Very good.

    Keano must be gold dust to journos - everything he seems to say is of interest!

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  • 34. At 4:12pm on 11 Nov 2008, RedWhiteandermblue wrote:

    If you think sports commentary in the UK is bad, try the US. It's often the same problem: people who were excellent players--partly, I think, because they were too stupid to feel pressure, and too inarticulate to want to communicate with anything but a ball--making farcically bad commentators.

    Anyways, in the spirit of "more of our imports are coming from abroad", a few US commentary gems:

    "He really has his future ahead of him."

    "...wearing the dark black uniforms..."

    "...some unseasonable weather for this time of year..."

    "We understand the chances of getting hit by lightning are very small."

    and one bit of true genius from Casey Stengel, the great baseball manager:

    "He's only 20 now, but in five years he's got a pretty good chance of being 25."

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  • 35. At 4:13pm on 11 Nov 2008, danmanuq wrote:

    Keane always gives an honest assessment. Most of the pundits are useless. Especially Shearer, I laugh at the Newcastle fans who want him to take over as manager. If he manages likes he talks then he will be a laughing joke.
    However, I feel most pundits don't speak their minds when giving their opinions. The ones that I do give an honest opinion, if I agree or not, are Souness, Guilit and Hoddle. They do analze the game and give worth while information. Thats why I love their Champs League coverage.

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  • 36. At 4:30pm on 11 Nov 2008, im ron burgundy? wrote:

    Is it just me or does Roy Keane look like he's trying to immitate a blind man in the photo above?

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  • 37. At 4:48pm on 11 Nov 2008, Fozzy wrote:

    F'ning Hilarious Ron!!!

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  • 38. At 4:49pm on 11 Nov 2008, Fozzy wrote:

    P.S. Excellent blog.........looking forward to the next one already!

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  • 39. At 4:54pm on 11 Nov 2008, Game Intelligence wrote:

    ron burgundy Roy Keane supports Shades which a guide dogs for the blind charity . . .

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  • 40. At 4:57pm on 11 Nov 2008, im ron burgundy? wrote:

    Game_Intelligence - I see, fair play to Keano, it's a worthy cause and I was in no way ridiculing blind people.

    He didn't need to do his Stevie Wonder impression though did he??!!

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  • 41. At 5:05pm on 11 Nov 2008, Sevenseaman wrote:

    I think what really got Wenger's goat was the two Stoke goals at the end of out- of-this-world Rory Delap throw-ins. It was rarely high-tech footie indeed. Something to be emulated and not bundled with any tough tackling Stoke may have dished out.

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  • 42. At 5:05pm on 11 Nov 2008, matti76 wrote:

    If you can't even say 'mickey mouse referee' without being charged, fined, or summonsed, the game needs to take a look at itself.

    What about a campaign respecting free speech and the ability to take criticism?

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  • 43. At 5:13pm on 11 Nov 2008, Aaron Geordie wrote:

    This is for wor manager Joke / JoeK.

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  • 44. At 5:21pm on 11 Nov 2008, Chezdon wrote:

    Post 33. Decent grammEr eh...? Idiocy or a poor attempt at humour. Robbo's blogs are great, as was this article.

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  • 45. At 5:27pm on 11 Nov 2008, Chezdon wrote:

    Jamie Redknapp has to be the worst, stupidest man on TV at this moment. His "t's" and "h's" are pronounced "f" and he is just unbelievably moronic.

    It is painful hearing him talk. Alan Shearer isn't great.

    Alan Hansen in the Simon Cowell of the Pundit world. Honest and good to listen to.

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  • 46. At 5:31pm on 11 Nov 2008, Emmnues wrote:

    pottering post 10 & nemesiscuckoo post 32

    Its fans like you that help to keep British football in the dark ages.

    Yes ManU and Chelsea played champs league final and they have English players, but to fail to credit what the foreign players have brought to both teams is hypocrisy of the highest order...

    I am talking about King Cantona, Van der Saar, Vidic, Evra, Anderson, Tevez, and Ronaldo for ManU, and about Zola, Cech, Bosingwa, Carvalho, Makelele, Essien, Mikel, and Drogba for Chelsea...

    Its amazing you still continue the drivel about English spine, praising rubbish football from teams like Stoke, and mocking Wenger - the genius bringing English football out of the dark ages...

    Anyway I am glad that voices like yours are steadily declining. SAF is now in love with Brazillian players and Keane is now bold enough to acknowledge Wenger's role in improving English football.

    The earlier you smell the coffee that grit football is dead the better. Have you noticed that the national team is coached by an Italian - who agrees with Wenger that Bentley has a poor attitude!

    Arsene and Arsenal are pointing the way football should and is being played in the 21st century. They deserve applause for doing so against the likes of Stoke who set out to kick lumps out of them.

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  • 47. At 5:42pm on 11 Nov 2008, Footy Fanatic - AFC wrote:

    potteringthrough - I find it amazing that the naivity of people still exists in the 'Arsenal do nothing for England' camp.

    Theres a reason why the youth teams of England are dominated by Arsenal, not Man Utd and Chelsea as you sem to think so. Its exactly the clubs that buy in the already made English talent that are the real problem. They see no need to produce their own talent from a young age as they can just buy it in for £30m when the player is already proven, leaving them with no need to promote through the ranks.

    Your argument about Bentley and Upson are laughable. Upson is not a quality CB and Bentley is a loud mouth who thought he was better, and deserved to be in one of the greatest midfields seen in the last 20 years consisting the likes of Ljunberg and Pires who will always surpass anything Bentley will have to offer.

    @ 46 very good points

    On subject, good article very well written.

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  • 48. At 5:48pm on 11 Nov 2008, Tenisson wrote:

    I think everyone would agree that Jamie "That woz a class finish" "yeah the boy done great, smashed in the net innit?" Redknapp, is unaccaptable as a regular feature pundit! he is just terrible, I really do not know how/why he still has a job there...

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  • 49. At 5:55pm on 11 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:


    could not agree with you more well said.

    and yes well done Roy Keane for speaking how he sees and feels things and also for his regognition of what AW and The Arsenal are doing for football in the wider sense.

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  • 50. At 6:14pm on 11 Nov 2008, fraise wrote:

    Jamie "That woz a class finish" "yeah the boy done great, smashed in the net innit?" Redknapp
    Hahaha, quality impression of Redknapp there man. I agree all the pundits talk absolute rubbish. Andy Gray (#1), Lee Dixon, Gavin Peacock, Andy Townsend, Martin Keown, Alan Shearer, Mark Lawrenson, Alan Hansen....all talk utter tripe and add no value to the programmes whatsoever. For those operating on BBC, an absolutely disgraceful use of license fee payers' money.

    Just show the match highlights!!!

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  • 51. At 6:33pm on 11 Nov 2008, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    Have to join the chorus of approval for #46.

    It amazes me that people question the foreign players in the EPL. We should be proud of the fact that we have probably the top league at the moment, certainly the most watched world-wide. These things do go in cycles though, would the average supporter really prefer a return to the old days when the likes of Rush, Walkers Crisps, Gazza etc felt they had to move abroad to further their careers? Would we prefer Stevie G and Rooney to be playing in Serie A so they could prove themselves against the best?

    These "imports" have contributed massively to the skill levels and quality of football we take for granted now. And if anyone really wants to see "local lads" kicking each other for 90 minutes there are the lower leagues. Our best players now train with the best, and the cream does rise to the top (Walcott, Rooney, Ramsey, etc). Meanwhile the TV revenues from around the world go to players salaries, which contribute to UK taxes - how many other world class industries do we have left?

    I'm grateful that I can go to a ground here and see some of the best players in the world. Some fans travel across the world to see a couple of live games here, games we take for granted.

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  • 52. At 6:57pm on 11 Nov 2008, gooner4eva1982 wrote:

    no one can critisize any team for their chosen style of football. Yes it would be fantastic to see teams play free flowing football as AW would like. The Arsenal - Utd game was a great game to watch for all supporters due to the footballing ability of all the players on display. But can you really expect teams like stoke to set up to do the same thing and get stuffed week in week out???

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  • 53. At 7:28pm on 11 Nov 2008, Gangsta Agger wrote:

    Haha quality blog. Keane does also do his fair share of Obama impressions.

    "What that man's done for English football is amazing and will be remembered in 25, 50, 100 years' time."

    Couldn't he just say 100 years time?

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  • 54. At 7:56pm on 11 Nov 2008, Paul OD wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 55. At 00:59am on 12 Nov 2008, Futfanatico wrote:

    Always amusing stuff Chris.

    I love the irony of Wenger complaining about negative tactics, and then when United come to Emirates he packs the midfield and squeezes out a 2-1 victory. I was disgusted with the tactics, albeit they were effective, and had more words on the sight:

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  • 56. At 08:26am on 12 Nov 2008, EuroPaddy wrote:

    Couldn't agree more with Keane. Spare a thought for us poor ExPats who are stuck with MOTD, but even worse, that tube Alan Greene on 5Live - as soon as he opens his mouth I want to puke!

    Great blog - this one especially made me laugh..

    Old Trafford was also the setting for prank of the week, after Anderson slipped a live mouse down Gary Neville's top in training. He was reportedly said to be fuming, screaming: "Get that thing off me!" - and Red Nev was pretty upset as well.

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  • 57. At 12:37pm on 12 Nov 2008, TimofAthens wrote:

    I always enjoyed Martin ONeills punditry. However, clubs realise that the best footballing minds should be managing them, so most of them end up working. What can we do? Of course, the regular pundits are going to be below the standard you would hope for, and seem to be obsolete. Perhaps, fans should enter blogs like this more often instead of listening to rubbish post match comments from imbeciles.

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  • 58. At 1:00pm on 12 Nov 2008, scottsewell wrote:


    Finally someone else shares my view about David Pleat, Bleat as I call him.

    Anyone who says 'hello everyone' at the start of every game is sure to get on your nerves.

    I like it when BBC allow to choose which commentary you want to hear, e.g. tv or radio. I always choose radio because Alan Green is immense at commentating, i.e. telling players to get when they dive like a Russian from the 10m board at the olympics and so on. So why can't itv make a radio station and do the same.

    But my favourite commentary has to be the fanzone on sky. It's proper fans commentating on a game, having some proper banter with one another, despite hating each other's guts because of the shirt they wear.

    Now despite being a die-hard Newcastle, I have to say I have the utmost respect and an absolute shed load of time for Roy Keane. He says the game as he sees it. For example, if his team don't get a stonewall pen given, in the post-match interviews he just gets on with life and forgets about, and he is totally right about pundits as well.

    Scott Sewell

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  • 59. At 1:02pm on 12 Nov 2008, NemesisCuckoo wrote:

    # 46 Emmnues

    I suspect an Arsenal psychofant? Regardless, I think you too have clearly been infected with the "rewrites history" afflication - because I don't recall criticising any foreign players in my post? SCFC have various foreign players - have no problem with that!

    Criticising a certain foreign manager for a good reason - reflected by many other similar views last week - now that's different. Whinging Wenger seems to have a degree in moaning. Perhaps he should stick to flower arranging - but then he'd need a bottle for that!

    You really shoudn't try to see what doesn't exist.

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  • 60. At 1:50pm on 12 Nov 2008, Joe wrote:

    It is not really very easy for any media channel to find a decent football pundit. Why?

    Well, if they choose an ex-player or manager there is no guarantee that person is going to be very articulate or particularly informative. The fact is that in the UK most successful players do well because they are good at playing football and not because they are any good at expounding, elaborating and pontificating on the more philosophical aspects of the game.

    I never used to understand what football commentators meant by the expression 'he had too much time' when excusing the ineptitude of a player. When I played at my pathetically low level I was grateful to have as much time as possible to consider my options but quality footballers seem to work more on instinct and quick reactions. That is why they are so good I suppose!

    What such players do bring (usually) is some gravitas, reputation and kudos for having played at a level most of us can only dream about. That is mainly why it is deemed by the powers that be that their utterings are worth listening to. I stopped being interested in what sportsmen and movie stars had to say a long time ago because they are primarily only good at what they do for a living which is play sports and act in movies.

    Alternatively, if someone who had never played the game as a professional suddenly turned up and became the poet laureate of the football punditry world I can just guess what the comment will be- 'what does he know about football, he never played'. One blogger recently went so far as to say that if you did not support Man. City you had no right to comment on their circumstances. A bit extreme and he was well chastised by others but I have been told that as I am unmarried with no children my comments on both marriage and kids are not really valid.

    Look, we get rubbish football pundits because in the main the people who played the game are unable to express themselves very well and they use the same comments over and over again as they do not have a large vocabulary. Compare them to the cricket and golf commentators and you get my point. When people cannot believe my preference to watch (or listen to) a full day of Test Match cricket over a 90 (well, 110) minute football match I tell them that a large part of the enjoyment comes from the commentary in between the deliveries.

    I learnt to listen to 5Live Radio commentary when watching a live match on TV years ago as they are much better at it and have to keep your interest by the use of language and not moving pictures coupled with cliches.

    Cheers, Joe.

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  • 61. At 3:26pm on 12 Nov 2008, Armchair Dave wrote:

    I thought Danny Baker put it quite well on 606 last night. Regarding employing players to comment on games is like asking Sylvester Stallone to become a film critic...

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  • 62. At 5:00pm on 12 Nov 2008, Emmnues wrote:

    NemesisCuckoo at 59

    I lumped you with pottering post 10 because your comments both shared the common theme of being unappreciative of Wenger's philosophy.

    Granted every fan has a right to enjoy different styles of football, but mocking Wenger's complaint about Stoke's brutish style is a vote for stone age football.

    Yes many criticise Wenger for "moaning", I say he should "moan" some more if that is the price needed to rid England of brutes on the football pitch...

    I hear you say football is a contact game - true - but tackles should be done to win the football not to hurt other players. Gerard is an example of a good hard tackler.

    When teams set out to kick Arsenal players and end up hurting Eduardo, Diaby, Sagna, Adebayor, Walcott, Silvestre - the coach has every right to complain to high heavens!

    When Possebon got injured Middlesbrough were immediately apologetic. When Eduardo and Adebayor got injured - the offending teams remain unapologetic!

    Why the double standards? Simple - everyone is relatively scared of SAF but think Arsene is fair game! Arsene must moan more to protect his players!!

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  • 63. At 7:43pm on 13 Nov 2008, NemesisCuckoo wrote:

    #62 Emmnues

    "your comments .. unappreciative of Wenger's philosophy"

    Yep - have no respect for whining Whingers.

    "mocking Wenger's complaint about Stoke's brutish style"

    Didn't! - because SCFC were not brutish! Not just my view - many criticised the whinger (in fact the majority of professionals in the game (outside of the Highbury environs) and said SCFC were'nt, to quote you, "brutish" - as you choose to condescendingly paint it.

    "many criticise Wenger for "moaning", I say he should "moan" .... to rid England of brutes ..

    Do you really, really, seriously and without a tongue-in-cheek smirk, believe the arrogant rubbish you're coming out with? If you do then you have no alternative but to describe Adebayor's first half foul in the first half as brutish. Or is it one law for one and another for others.

    "tackles should be done to win the football not to hurt other players"

    At last, we agree!! - SCFC didn't do that! It's only spoilt, mard managers that come out with such garbage.

    NemesisCuckoo - the mard managers nightmare.

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  • 64. At 04:15am on 14 Nov 2008, Emmnues wrote:


    Adebayor does not have a habit of kicking other players but there are a couple of teams with a stated policy of kicking Arsenal players. Before the Stoke game Abdoulaye Faye, a former Bolton player, now with Stoke, stated that they would be brutish on Arsenal following the Bolton style.

    To state that many professionals criticized Wenger for moaning is a false argument as there are other set of professionals who are firmly behind Wenger. Infact Roy Keane, the consumate professional has come out clearly to back Wenger's way. Who are your professionals against Wenger?

    To round off with the charge that Arsene is a spoilt mard manager, says it all about you and your understanding of football. As I stated earlier I take heart from the fact that the topmost managers like SAF, Scolari, Capello are not in your corner. Best of luck hanging out with the Pulis and Allardyce's!

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  • 65. At 04:53am on 15 Nov 2008, frank1508 wrote:

    For once I actually enjoyd reading a BBC blog. Sooooo much better than the normal rubbish I end up reading.

    While I agree to some extent that the scum (Arsenal) get kicked around a bit, I also feel that Wenger's constant moaning about teams trying to kick them off the pitch has gone too far. If you want tougher players stop buying twelve year olds. I don't remember him complaining when his defence had dixon, adams, keown and winterburn who would have happily taken and given 100 kicks a game. To me it shows the pathetic way football is going.

    Roy Keane makes many bad and stupid points, but, he also makes a lot of sense and I could not agree more with him that pundits such as Paul Merson and Phil Thompson give a biased and often incorrect view of what has occured. Sky should be thankful that Jeff Stelling manages to save Saturday's show each and every week.

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