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Review of the week

Chris Charles | 14:25 UK time, Friday, 8 May 2009

As the dust began to settle after Chelsea's Champions League exit, there were enough conspiracy theories to get Jack Bauer another two series.

Depending on which side of the fence you sat, you were either busy texting your mates block capital acronyms ('LOL, LMAO HAHAHAHA!!!!' was the one I got from a Gooner friend) - or believed you'd just witnessed the biggest carve-up since Desperate Dan attended an all-you-can-eat-for-a-fiver buffet.

Defender Jose Bosingwa suggested the referee was a "thief", then thought better of it, while manager Guus Hiddink admitted his side had been robbed, before wisely adding: "Conspiracy is a very tough word" (particularly if your Scrabble opponent's just stuck it down on a triple-word score).

And then there was the dummy match report apparently posted on the official Uefa site before the game which correctly predicted the outcome of the match (although, unlike the Kaiser Chiefs, not the riot that followed).

Now I'm not Chelsea's biggest fan but they looked to have been denied at least three blatant penalties by the unfortunate Tom Henning Ovrebo, who unwittingly catapulted himself into second place on England's list of comedy Norwegians, just behind the "Maggie Thatcher, your boys took a hell of a beating" bloke.
Michael Ballack and Tom Henning Ovrebo
And as he sits in his bolthole in Outer Mongolia, you can bet he's ruing the day he was photographed wearing the Mickey Mouse T-shirt lovingly reprinted on the front page of Friday's Daily Star.

The bald official has clearly modelled himself on the world's best-known referee but was less Collina and more Colin Hunt as Ballack and Drogba chased him around the pitch. All that was missing was the Benny Hill theme tune, which will no doubt be added on to some viral or other in the coming days. Talking of which, here's the top eight featuring Ballack and Ovrebo sent in to Whoateallthepies.

Drogba looked as if he was auditioning for a remake of The Shining, although the 'Here's Johnny' moment was slightly tempered by the flip-flops the big striker was wearing as he bore down on Ovrebo with great vengeance and furious anger. Still, they might come in handy when Uefa send him on that long holiday.

Incidentally, there's some interesting footage of the striker on a video-sharing website entitled 'Drogba Remix' which unfortunately I'm unable to link to (nudge, nudge).

Meanwhile, the jokes have begun in earnest - these two for starters: 'I just tried to find Chelsea on the satnav - it said two minutes from Rome' and: 'There was a massive swine flu outbreak in south-west London on Wednesday night - 42,000 are pig sick'.

I watched the game at a pub in central London, having been diverted from my journey to see The Specials at Brixton Academy by a text message informing me the gig had been cancelled because Terry Hall had a throat infection - and rearranged for a weekend when I'm away. Here's a message to you, Terry - please don't make me wait another 30 years to see you.

Anyway, so I'm in this boozer trying to gauge who people are supporting, assuming there's a large Chelsea contingent in plain clothes. The answer was comprehensively provided in the 93rd minute when Barcelona's equaliser was celebrated with a cheer that nearly took the roof off - so much for supporting the English teams in Europe, eh?

Manchester United face Barca in "the final everyone wanted to see" (TM) after giving Arsenal a proper spanking in the other semi-final, so much so that Nicklas Bendtner still had his trousers down when he was ushered out of a nightspot in the early hours followng the defeat. If he'd stuck to his usual policy of missing the bar by several feet, the unfortunate incident could have been avoided.

Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed the headlines at The Emirates and celebrated by declaring his undying love for the big red machine. Yes, he's buying himself a bus. Ronaldo told a Portuguese newspaper: "For me, the sight of the red London buses is what my first thoughts of England were. My nieces and nephews would love to play on one, so I'm going to buy one for them." Presumably they might fancy a trip to Rome as well and have no doubt already beseiged their famous uncle with requests for "tickets please!"

In the week that Marks & Spencer backed down on their policy of taxing bras for the larger lady (storm in a D cup if you ask me), Ronaldo was also busy in the underwear department, buying £2,500 worth of Calvin Klein's for team-mate Danny Wellbeck, following the youngster's confession that he gets his drawers from Primark.

Fergie also got a bit saucy while moaning about the size of certain Premier League changing rooms. He said: "Craven Cottage is one of my favourite away grounds, but when you have 18 players stripping down, plus coaches, physios and kit men, it is ridiculous really." You said it.

The most nervous dressing room in the country is up at Newcastle, after veteran Toon tea lady Kath Cassidy threatened to storm in before a game armed with a picture of Jackie Milburn holding his medals and announce: "Look what he won for £20 a week." An act that would be sure to leave the players feeling very small - particularly if they'd just come out of the ice bath.
Alan Shearer
One player who won't be anywhere near the dressing room is Joey Barton, banished from Newcastle after getting himself sent off against Liverpool and then unwisely picking a fight with the boss. Reports have suggested Shearer might be tempted to stay on next season, regardless of whether Newcastle survive, although the chant of "You should have stayed on the telly!" from The Kop may have forced him into a rethink.

At least there's one St James' Park in the country in buoyant mood after Exeter's succesive promotions. Big shout to my old mate 'Butnuts', who endured years of ribbing at school as the only Exeter fan in the village, but nobly stuck by his team through thin and thinner. I haven't seen him in years, but word reaches me that he might be using the old Grecians 2000 these days.

Meanwhile, Leeds and Millwall guaranteed they won't be meeting each other at Wembley - another one for the conspiracy theorists perhaps?

The hero of the week award goes to Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin, who it seems really has been sent from Russia with love, after pleading with the referee not to give a penalty against Portsmouth when he was fairly tackled in the box. Are you watching, Michael Ballack?

And finally, the story of the week involves Huddersfield's Malvin Kamara who revealed he prepares for games by watching Gene Wilder's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Kamara, who says he has seen the film 150 times, explained: "It calms my nerves and gives me luck." A copy is in the post to Didier Drogba as we speak.


Fergie misses the bus


  • 1. At 3:49pm on 08 May 2009, I_wasnt_there_when_they_made_brown_hair wrote:

    Nice blog Chris - I am a Chelsea fan but enjoyed the "2 minutes from Rome" line nonetheless.

    Get ready for the usual abuse to begin....

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  • 2. At 4:02pm on 08 May 2009, philtoon82 wrote:

    lighthearted and fun as always!

    cant believe there hasnt been any chelsea compliants yet

    Whitley for the Vase!

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  • 3. At 4:11pm on 08 May 2009, Chris Charles wrote:

    1. Gingfranco_Zola: Glad you took the gags in the spirit they were intended. Have to stress, I didn't make them up - merely reporting what's out there!

    2. philtoon82: Give it time, son, give it time! In fairness, I didn't slaughter Chelsea and was somewhat sympathetic to their penalty plight, but I'm sure that won't stop a few people having a pop. I've already got the tin hat on, just in case...

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  • 4. At 4:29pm on 08 May 2009, Neil wrote:

    unless "piracy", "racy" or "con" were already on the triple word you'd struggle to put "conspiracy" on it - too many letters!

    Nice round up of the week though!

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  • 5. At 4:31pm on 08 May 2009, Neil wrote:

    p.s. "If he'd stuck to his usual policy of missing the bar by several feet, the unfortunate incident could have been avoided."

    Comedy gold!

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  • 6. At 4:34pm on 08 May 2009, Chris Charles wrote:

    4. Andersongoalmachine: Yes, that did cross my mind, but then I thought, ah what the hell.

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  • 7. At 4:38pm on 08 May 2009, Neil wrote:

    Only a big of good natured ribbing Chris - thought i'd get in first before some annoying pedant started banging on about what a waste of license fee payers money it is when you can't even count blah blah blah!

    I fear that will follow - so in the mean time, enjoy the adulation of your three fans!

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  • 8. At 4:40pm on 08 May 2009, philtoon82 wrote:

    i'm not really a fan, just being nice cos its friday!

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  • 9. At 4:40pm on 08 May 2009, sure_star wrote:

    Good blog, made me laugh. specially "2 minutes from Rome"

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  • 10. At 4:43pm on 08 May 2009, Chris Charles wrote:

    8. philtoon82: Ha ha! Good luck to Whitley - my Geordie mate Davy, who I occasionally mention in the blog, is from Whitley Bay. Who knows, you might be long-lost muckers!

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  • 11. At 4:48pm on 08 May 2009, greatandre wrote:

    Did someone has killed "the thief" ? In the name of responsibility, UEFA must restructure it's worst management !

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  • 12. At 4:50pm on 08 May 2009, timdurgan wrote:

    The Bendtner gag is the best i've heard all year.
    He really is a terrible player. Maybe we could ship him off to Brum again.
    Any takers on a bet of Drogba being shipped off in the summer?

    loved that remix by the way. i see why you couldn't link it, but it was classic nonetheless

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  • 13. At 4:54pm on 08 May 2009, RKILLY67 wrote:

    Another good one i heard was - for sale- 52000 arsenal flags, as good as new, only used 6 mins!

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  • 14. At 4:58pm on 08 May 2009, CypriotJohn wrote:

    Very witty blog, nice one, funny.
    Any proper Chelsea fans out there? If so heres some questions for you: Do you actually like Drogba? Is Frank Lampard a nice bloke? Does John Terry warrant the captaincy of his country? What quality does Ballack have? How much sponsorship money does Cech earn for the headgear? Has Anelka rediscovered his "le sulk" mantle? Why has Malouda just found form when contracts are to be negotiated? Has Abramovich finally realised that Chelsea will never win the European Cup? How long before he sells up his fast fading hobby? Please answer!

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  • 15. At 5:05pm on 08 May 2009, Ethicmorale wrote:

    Frankly is it not time to correct mistakes made by refs on the pitch or do we just allow a one man mistake to ruin hopes and desire of millions of people.
    It's really like politics to me and can't rule out a conspiracy because I am sure something terrible will happen someday if we continue to let such things go unchecked

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  • 16. At 5:08pm on 08 May 2009, greatandre wrote:

    To CypriotJohn :
    At least these players are doing something for football rather than an idiot !

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  • 17. At 5:11pm on 08 May 2009, I_wasnt_there_when_they_made_brown_hair wrote:

    14. At 4:58pm on 08 May 2009, CypriotJohn wrote:

    CypriotJohn - Proper Chelsea fan here been a fan for 38 years and I'm only 35 - that's how much of a fan I am :)

    To answer your questions - No I don't particularly like Drogba, he's an awesome player when on his game (nd feet) but find him more arrogant, moody and sulkier than my 2 year old daughter (she's on her feet more too - and better at dribbling!)

    Frank Lampard - can't really comment as I don't know him but yeah he seems like a nice bloke (not if I was a radio presenter though!)

    John Terry, I think whatever he does, non-Chelsea fans will not accept that week in week out he is class for Chelsea, granted he does make mistakes but then again - who doesn't?

    Cech headgear - it's been there recently to protect his head from the ball when his hands miss it.

    Anelka - can't believe I am going to say this but he has grown on me this season (mind you so would fungus) - think that he has been a great player this year. Think he will be no. 1 striker next year whem Drogba goes in the summer.

    Malouda - he'sll go too - trust me on this.

    Roman - See above comment.

    There you go - a balanced view from a football fan - now that should be a surprise to you all!


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  • 18. At 5:11pm on 08 May 2009, CypriotJohn wrote:

    To greatpeterandre;
    I never referred to Mr Abramovich as an idiot!!! lol.

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  • 19. At 5:15pm on 08 May 2009, greatandre wrote:

    A man who spent much money for English football was absolutely not an idiot I mean. hohoho ...........

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  • 20. At 5:17pm on 08 May 2009, Ozman wrote:

    Guage? Should that not be gauge? g is not q. Or had you already had a couple, and begun to experience a little difficulty?

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  • 21. At 5:32pm on 08 May 2009, Chris Charles wrote:

    20. ozman01: Ah, you spotted the deliberate mistake. It will be corrected forthwith - many apologies. Sadly, the days of the journalist's four-hour liquid lunches have long since gone and I can promise you I haven't touched a drop all day. (Hic).

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  • 22. At 5:38pm on 08 May 2009, CypriotJohn wrote:

    G Zola:
    Wow, whats going on, the first non-bitter all week.

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  • 23. At 5:42pm on 08 May 2009, Malicious_Whistle wrote:

    Chris, great job! Special thanks for that Whoateallthepies link and the Fergie bus thingny. Has anyone ever accused you yet of anchoring Robbo's column?

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  • 24. At 5:43pm on 08 May 2009, redandblackT-Save 606 wrote:

    Great blog CC!Lots of material this week.Have you ever thought of doing this for a living?(heh heh)

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  • 25. At 5:45pm on 08 May 2009, nogginthenogforever wrote:

    Nice blog.

    Beyond all the overreactions and conpiracy theories, its really been
    'premiership footballers act like children in public' on most nightsthis week.

    Which, it has to be said, could be the summation of any week of the year really.

    Different stupidity, different players, same sorry symptoms.

    I do question the press though, ont he same day ronaldo is reported as buying a bus for his relatives to play in, the back pages were also reporting him being guaranteed to be leaving manchester this summer.

    Im just guessing here, but I dont think he would be communiting from Cheshire to Madrid, so only one of those stories could be true.

    Given the relative performances on the big stage of the two clubs in question, I suspect he'll be buying a bus.

    Chelsea can always borrow it to park if they have to return to camp neu I guess.

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  • 26. At 5:57pm on 08 May 2009, Vox Populi wrote:

    At 17.

    What???? A fair, reasonable, self-analytical, balanced viewpoint from a Chelsea fan????

    I cannot believe it! That's the kind of thing that might make me have to start liking Chelsea for a change.

    Anyway, if you've been a fan for over 30 years then clearly that separates you from the plastics who jumped on the bandwagon when everyone got excited about Abramovich's money - and now think they're entitled to trophies, including the Champions League. When it doesn't happen, they're the ones who start dreaming up the conspiracies.

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  • 27. At 6:28pm on 08 May 2009, jamrock107 wrote:

    great blog...many smiles!
    had a text off a friend on wednesday morning stating 'for sale, 57,000 Arsenal flags, good as new, only waved for 7 minutes' which brought a smile...all in good humor of course!! ; )

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  • 28. At 6:32pm on 08 May 2009, StamfordBridgeStillStands wrote:


    Good analysis of the Chelsea players.

    I think something which hasn't been pointed out in relation to Hiddink's comments defending Drogba and Ballack is the pre-match talk where he said he had told some of the players this could be their last year to win the Champions League(although it may have been media speculation). Drogba and Ballack would have been two of the individuals this would have been directed to and Hiddink likely felt partly responsible for the extremity of their actions, although clearly they should have been able to control themselves better anyhow.

    I wouldn't mind seeing Ballack given another season, but wouldn't be surprised to see Drogba and Malouda leave. They would give us some of the money we need to strengthen the squad.

    Also i don't think any football fan can claim to support a team with no 'annoying' players, even if they aren't in the same league as the likes of Drogba and Ronaldo.

    Also this talk of a conspiracy theory is clearly silly. I think the reason Chelsea fans are so annoyed is because of how close we have come to getting to more finals and winning the competition in the recent past. These frustrated and dissapointed emotions have clearly built up over the years.

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  • 29. At 6:36pm on 08 May 2009, Valderramas_boots wrote:

    Here's a consiparacy.......

    As we are currently in a financial crisis.....

    Is Chris Charles Robbo Robson in disguise? Which means the BBC only pay one person who has two alias', who in turn fills the football section for the licence payer?

    Either way...........I like both! ;-)

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  • 30. At 6:36pm on 08 May 2009, Jorg_Albertz wrote:

    I saw The Specials on Monday night in Manchester.

    Terry Hall was asking everyone in the crowd for Nurofen as he had a headache.
    Turns out it was a throat infection.

    Like you doing a blog with no internet.

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  • 31. At 6:55pm on 08 May 2009, Its a fair Kop wrote:

    Great blog as usual :)

    Always nice to see football fans having a laugh, rather than tearing each others' heads off.

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  • 32. At 7:02pm on 08 May 2009, Joe wrote:

    Chris - excellent blog. Just as funny as Robbo is but without the accent. Are you from 'darn saaf'? A few points:

    - Seeing as we are being anal about spelling there are only 2 'e's in meeting. Also, I believe it is 'drawers' and not 'draws'. Sorry to be pedantic about this but I notice these things for some strange reason.

    - It is still amazing to me to that in the 21st century the most popular sport in the world cannot manage to sort out officiating problems. EVERY other major sport has made so much progress using modern technology and anything else to improve decision making but soccer seems to be going backwards. The referee was not bias - just totally incompetent. No mention of the sending off that was not a sending off from anyone!

    - Also, what is the point of having highly paid people in charge of European football if they cannot find a better referee for such an important game like this? Oh, sorry, I suppose they are just the same as our own beloved FA when it comes to making important appointments like this one was supposed to be.

    - I cannot find it in my heart to criticise Drogba or any other Chelsea player for their post-match actions. Top soccer players are the most competitive and single-minded of sportsmen and if anyone felt as strongly as they do about winning they would have reacted just as badly. I am glad they did in a way - someone needs to highlight the poor refereeing performance at such an important match or there will never be any improvement. Frankly, I am very impressed none of them actually physically attacked him as they would have done so in some other parts of the world. I do not condone violence of any sort but I can understand why it happens under such circumstances as it is not just a burst tyre or a spilt pint we are talking about here!

    It would have been nice to see Chelsea getting another chance against Man. U. and I also wanted the English club to win but what the heck - it was a good game and it should be a good final plus it is what most of the punters wanted. I doubt there was any conspiracy involved - just the usual mix of human incompetence, arrogance and stupidity. After the recent banking crisis, credit crunch and Labour Government Budget we should be used to it by now.

    Cheers, Joe.

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  • 33. At 7:12pm on 08 May 2009, Teiam - problem solved wrote:

    I think Bendtner did miss the bar, that's probably why he got kicked out. What an idiot.

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  • 34. At 7:12pm on 08 May 2009, Diala Anthony wrote:

    Re 23/29:

    Is Chris's silence on the Robbo accusation enough answer? I always wondered, to be fair ...

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  • 35. At 7:15pm on 08 May 2009, Atomicblade wrote:

    As a blades fan who saw his team denied 4 stone wall penalties on friday, I should have some sympathy for chelski. There is certainly something fishy going on. The UEFA 'test' web page was statistically significantly close to the end 'result'.

    However, nothing will come of it. UEFA will investigate...... UEFA and find that the referee was at fault and will never referee in UEFA cups again. No investigation will be done at a higher level.

    You might say the games are fixed. I couldn't possibly comment.

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  • 36. At 7:16pm on 08 May 2009, Atomicblade wrote:

    Who said friday? I mean't sunday.

    I've got friday on my mind!

    There may be a song in that....

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  • 37. At 7:26pm on 08 May 2009, regstared wrote:

    The jig is up Chris "Robbo Robson" Charles

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  • 38. At 7:32pm on 08 May 2009, 11_Men_plus_the_Ref wrote:

    Re 23, 29 & 37:

    Chris, settle this please. We don't want more "conspiracies." Clear the air: Are you Robbo Robson?

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  • 39. At 7:35pm on 08 May 2009, collie21 wrote:

    Love it mate especially the pig sick line. Well done. Would like to add though while I am happy United have Barca in the final, I lept up and down with delight when they scored, I think the some of the blogs here have gone all out against Drogba, and ignored the fact that Terry and Lampard were first to the ref, and that he had to be protected from them. I am quite frankly gutted by the reporting as much as I was by the shoddy referring.

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  • 40. At 7:38pm on 08 May 2009, collie21 wrote:

    I would also add, perhaps unusually, the refs inability to ref was not shown up by him not awarding the penalties, or sending of the Barca bloke, He COULD have seen all of those incidents differently at pitch level. However, Balack hit him, RED CARD, Terry Lampard and Malouda approached him at the end and gave him lip, Yellow cards for all 3. There in for me was the crux of his inability to ref. He treated drogba differently just like everyone else.

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  • 41. At 7:40pm on 08 May 2009, Sevenseaman wrote:

    I have never seen and hopefully will never see a referee more determined to snatch a match from a team that had it won 4-1. It was a heist.

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  • 42. At 7:47pm on 08 May 2009, redandblackT-Save 606 wrote:

    @37.Spot on!Now we have to investigate if Jonathan Stevenson and Caroline Cheese are one and the same person!Sounds like the ridiculous plot from Ace Ventura:Pet Detective but it might have legs.

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  • 43. At 7:48pm on 08 May 2009, I_wasnt_there_when_they_made_brown_hair wrote:

    26. Subterranean - thanks mate! You know what - I think the surprise at being fair and balanced can be aimed at most on these boards - irrespective of club!

    The glory-fans thing is a strange one as nearly all clubs have them - Liverpool got them in the 80s (now they are considered life-long) Arsenal in the early 90s, and Chelsea in the 2000's. Maybe give it 10 years we will be saying the same about Man city - nah maybe not!

    28. SuperFrankieLamps - Agreed the conspiracy theory is tosh mate - would be great if it came out as true though - oh the fallout would be awesome to behold!

    22. Cypriotjohn - am slightly bitter but hide it well mate! would be very easy for me to blurt out "f*!_^g ref" but will restrain myself!

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  • 44. At 7:59pm on 08 May 2009, Sevenseaman wrote:

    90 % of the posters here busy saying only 'great/nice blog Chris'. Am I a gatecrasher? Same stuff fills Robbo's blog too. Is it a committed constituency? If you come across some humour, relax, just enjoy it.

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  • 45. At 8:12pm on 08 May 2009, Chris Charles wrote:

    Crikey, there's been a deluge between me getting on the tube and reading my eldest her bedtime stories! OK, will answer as many as I can, although there appears to be one burning issue that needs addressing immediately....

    23. Malicious Whistle, 29. Valderramas_boots, 34. enigmaticenigma, 37. regstarered and 38. 11_Men_Plus_the_Ref - hate to disappoint you all but no I'm not Robbo Robson (or Craig Charles for that matter for all those who've never seen us in the same room).

    In fact, I used to interview Robbo when he did his audio column a few years back and I can assure you I wasn't talking to myself! I suppose you could say I was Ernie to his Eric, Little to his Large. Robbo is older, uglier, more Northern (much more Northern) and, crucially, funnier than I am. If I had a tenth of his natural wit and repartee, I'd retire a happy man.

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  • 46. At 8:16pm on 08 May 2009, Malicious_Whistle wrote:

    See 23: Seems I was right. I presume you are busy Chris, but I will wait. I am that sort of guy. If you give no reply, I'll patiently wait for Robbo or your next week review. I think its a legitimate question ...

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  • 47. At 8:23pm on 08 May 2009, collie21 wrote:

    ok no comment, I get it. Must be a legal thing!

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  • 48. At 8:27pm on 08 May 2009, Lagellerotumblero - Show goes on after 606 wrote:

    Word on da street is that UEFA have made this weekend's Arsenal-Chelsea match a 3rd-4th place playoff, winner gets bronze medals and goes straight to the group stages next season...

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  • 49. At 8:32pm on 08 May 2009, fadynassar wrote:

    Great Blog :)Lets hope QPR do better next season and you keep writing great (i must say hilarious) articles

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  • 50. At 8:55pm on 08 May 2009, Malicious_Whistle wrote:

    @48 lagellerotumblero:

    I was saving that line for tomorow! Why, oh why did you have to use it here?

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  • 51. At 9:03pm on 08 May 2009, Chris Charles wrote:

    Right, deep breath....

    24. r&bT1899: Do this for a living? Now there's a thought. I'm actually still on a YTS scheme, don't think I'll ever make the grade.

    25. nogginthenogforever: He's off, he's not, he's off, he's not - all great for shifting papers. Maybe Real's 6-2 whupping by Barcelona has made him realise they might not be as good as he thinks.

    30. Jorg_Albertz: Ooh, I'm jealous. However, moves are being put in place to try and get some tickets on ebay to see them on this space. I've waited 30 years to see The Specials so a few more days won't make any difference. Were they any good, sore throat aside?

    32. joeperriman: Yep, born four stops from Loftus Road - you don't think I'd support QPR for any other reason do you? From aged 10 moved up to Northants, but back down in the smoke a dozen years later. You can take the man out of London etc...

    39. Agreed, it did all seem to come down on Drogba which was probably unfair - and it was all heat of the moment stuff. But when you're in the ref's face, shouting obscenities into the camera on live TV, it's pretty much guaranteed you're going to be the focal point for the flak.

    42 r&bT1899: Ha ha, Stevo and Cheesey one and the same - like it! I hate to confirm they are in fact different people - man and woman in fact -but it's fair to say I'll never look at them in the same light again. There's talk of trying to set up an interview with young Caroline and England's latest bowling hero - Cheese meets Onions, a surefire winner.

    49. fadynassar: Yes, as someone on a QPR messageboard said recently, we're the only team to be taken over by billionaires and actually get worse. Fancy a job as manager?

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  • 52. At 9:05pm on 08 May 2009, buttnuts wrote:

    Wig, thanks for the reference to Exeter's successive promotions, not to mention the name check. Heady times indeed for the Grecians. Tell your QPR pals to keep their hands off our manager, Paul Tisdale, at least until we're in the premiership, which should be May 2011 at this rate.

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  • 53. At 9:15pm on 08 May 2009, Federer=Elegance wrote:

    Good Blog Chris,Might want to mention which Bar Do you watch the Footy games??Wud be fun to catch a Game with you there-bring the wit along and Robbo too(but then it has to be an early kick off considering his age!!)

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  • 54. At 9:17pm on 08 May 2009, Chris Charles wrote:

    52. Buttnuts! Sorry, missed off a T in the copy - shows how long it's been. You've just now revealed my nickname to the masses - well, the two people still bothering to look at this thread. Just to clear that up, I used to have hair like Leo Sayer, hence the name. Also, for those still here, you've got to persuade Buttnuts to go to the school reunion on June 20 - go on, you know it makes sense!

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  • 55. At 9:19pm on 08 May 2009, Chris Charles wrote:

    53. Federer=Elegance: Yeah, that would be a craic. I was actually in the Blue Posts, Berwick Street, on Wednesday but it varies. Robbo of course lives in the Boro and it's a brave man who'll separate him from his beloved Blue Bell.

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  • 56. At 9:22pm on 08 May 2009, Malicious_Whistle wrote:

    45. Thanks for the clarification, Chris. I must admit that I hastened the "debate" along, if you know what I mean. (Sigh) What can we do without the annonymity of usernames?

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  • 57. At 9:26pm on 08 May 2009, Lagellerotumblero - Show goes on after 606 wrote:

    Sorry Malicious_whistle, hope Stevo would be kind to hear that again! (It won't be sweet Cheese, she'll do F1 I think!) BTW Chris, is Cheesy a very sweet person as all your colleagues describe? Can she PLEASE upload a photo?

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  • 58. At 9:27pm on 08 May 2009, redforever wrote:

    review in short...

    Arsene Wenger proved that the really big games are just beyond him.

    Alex Ferguson has finally figured out Europe...shame he waited so long, they might have had more than Liverpool by now.

    Guus Hiddink is a genius. I mean really, look what he has done to the same bunch that Big Phil made look average. They outplayed Barcelona, a very tricky, but ultimately lightweight team, in two legs and without the worst refereeing display in living memory, would have been booking a hotel in Rome.

    Pep Guardiola is now wetting his pants wondering how many goals Man Utd will score against them in Rome, and trying desperately to see if they can have a Norwegian referee....

    Didier Drogba, is looking very sheepish, and avoiding eye contact with every human being, after the embarassing enormity of his post match mauling of the referee. Seen by billions, no really, billions, it will be his enduring legacy.

    Darren Fletcher is wondering if he would have made the team in Rome if he hadnt been suspended, and waiting for the club secretary to find out if he gets a medal...this answer, Darren, is no.

    Abidal is trying to figure out why everybody except Man Utd fans hoping for a Fletcher revival, has forgotten that his sending off was the 5th appallingly wrong decision made on Wednesday.

    Mr Ovrebo, is preparing for his press conference, and repeating the phrase "ball to hand" over and again, trying to find the exact right inflection that might convince even one person (his mum, his wife one of his kids...anybody will do) that he is sincere.

    Mrs Ovrebo (snr) is shaking her head saying "you have brought disgrace on the family name. I told you Henning, even if the other boys make fun of you, still you must wear your glasses."

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  • 59. At 9:37pm on 08 May 2009, collie21 wrote:

    Chris, hahaha it's the craic not a craic. A craic is either something different or doesnt' exist haha... thanks for the laugh mate.

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  • 60. At 9:44pm on 08 May 2009, Malicious_Whistle wrote:

    58. Torontored:


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  • 61. At 9:47pm on 08 May 2009, bergkamp69 wrote:

    Great blog Chris, funny stuff. Have to admit, after seeing eleven other players in our Arsenal squad caught with their pants down, Bendtner's incident was pretty negligible.

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  • 62. At 9:49pm on 08 May 2009, I_wasnt_there_when_they_made_brown_hair wrote:

    58. Torontored

    marvelous synopsis of the current situation - last line was truly inspired!

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  • 63. At 10:20pm on 08 May 2009, andrew mosley wrote:

    hey folks, I didnt know Jim from Eastenders was a referee, he joined all the other actors on the field the other night. Looking forward to a great final when football willcome first. Watching Chelseais like watching Glasgow Rangers in the UEFA Cup last year, booring football followed by a riot!

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  • 64. At 10:36pm on 08 May 2009, SimplyZola wrote:

    Good blog as always. So second time a bald referee has given (or not given in this case) against our interests. Mike Riley being the other (Lampard at Anfield). I guess bald headed referees are conspiring against us - since I suppose we dont have a good amount of bald headed players!

    By the way, if Bendtner scores against us... how will he celebrate?

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  • 65. At 11:08pm on 08 May 2009, LondonsFinestClub wrote:

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

  • 66. At 11:29pm on 08 May 2009, Herbi J wrote:

    why is an arsenal fan so het up about chelsea?

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  • 67. At 11:47pm on 08 May 2009, napiertt wrote:

    [Chelsea]looked to have been denied at least three blatant penalties" This was one of your jokes right?
    You seriously think that Malouda flopping or Drogba diving were worthy of penalties? That is a good joke! You English...

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  • 68. At 00:10am on 09 May 2009, lukasson wrote:

    Great blog Chris - So much more worthwhile than reading that Robbo tosh! They do have a Benny Hill themed Ballack chase scene on the "whoateallthepies" (Rafa Benitez by the looks of it if you compare the size of him when he first joined Liverpool, to how he looks now...)

    I'd like to encourage you to think that maybe you were the inspiration for that Ballack video, and you should take the credit for it!

    Haha, Brilliant stuff anyway, and keep up the good work; You can count me as your 4th fan now.

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  • 69. At 00:25am on 09 May 2009, LondonsFinestClub wrote:

    I've just been reatively moderated it seems, did say something out of turn or is free speech and honest opinion politically incorrect? Londons finest club refers to Chelsea's dominance of London Football and the only club which realistically can challenge United and in Europe. Arsenal who have not won anything since 2005 play pretty football but lack fight and defensive know how should perhaps employ the services of Overbo if they too want to progress as their brand of football however entertaining, is ineffective in the long run and although tasty, it isn't capable of delivering the sufficient calories to carry you through to the finish. Chelsea have to make do with an FA cup final and remind me who they disposed of again to get there? Sorry for the reality check!

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  • 70. At 00:35am on 09 May 2009, LondonsFinestClub wrote:

    Napratt, you failed to mention Pique's obvious handball, selective in your effort to convince yourself that Barca got to the final on merit. Sad really that people are so dishonest. Personally, I would support Chelsea if they got to the final by such decisions but I would at least admit they didn't deserve to be there and pay full respect to the team that deserved to win. It again reflects the fact that people are prepared to overlook lack of fair play because they dislike a team. Objectivity is something which doesn't seem to matter and although Drogba may play acy you can't deny Anelka wasn't to blame for Pique's indiscression nor was Ballack for Abidals high hands. Perhaps Barca have been taking lessons from the defensive blockers on their basketball team

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  • 71. At 00:44am on 09 May 2009, LondonsFinestClub wrote:

    Overb! Overbo! why didn't you blow?
    Overbo! Overbo! where did you go?
    To platini's lair far far away
    Far far from London , far from Norway

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  • 72. At 00:45am on 09 May 2009, GalwayBluebird wrote:

    Great blog as always - just one thing, regarding the conspiracy theories about Leeds and Millwall, I would have thought the fa and police would prefer to police one game at a neutral venue than to have to deal with a home and away fixture for both teams?
    Oh and any chance of getting your links to open up in a seperate browser rather than to have to keep going in and out of this page?
    Good stuff

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  • 73. At 00:49am on 09 May 2009, LondonsFinestClub wrote:

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

  • 74. At 01:15am on 09 May 2009, LondonsFinestClub wrote:

    Some Facts about Tuesday's game!
    Platini made it clear that he wouldn't like to see two English clubs in the final
    Paddy Power bookmakers returned Chelsea bets to win because they labeled the match a disgrace
    Dermot Gallacher stated that ABIDAL should've been sent off and a penalty awarded for his shirt pull and trip on Drogba and a penalty awarded for Pique's handball.
    Graham Poll stated he was surpised at Ovrbo's selection as referee
    Overbo and Platini have so far failed to provide a meaningful statement and verdict on the game
    Video evidence would've resulted in at least two penalties and any protests from Chelsea players and angry reactions.

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  • 75. At 01:21am on 09 May 2009, Saccas wrote:

    LondonsFinestClub - i think you mean eto'os flying hands...abidal wasn't on the pitch at the time!!
    Its a shame that pettyness seems to influence peoples judgement. Football fans can be so fickle. I would love to see their reaction if the boot was on the other foot and it happened to their team. Chelsea were robbed. Fact. Its not in finding other reasons that this fact will become fiction. Everybody is going on about Drogba and Chelsea getting punished for what happened after and during the game, but i havent heard much about the ref, whether he will be punished for his disgraceful performance. And why havent FIFA made a comment on the situation? Its all UEFA this and UEFA that. It seems that the World governing body for football should deal with a problem seen Worldwide by billions of people.

    (p.s - Congratulations on my beloved Wycombe Wanderers on promotion...even if it was by one goal. They never make it easy, do they?!?!)

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  • 76. At 01:43am on 09 May 2009, LondonsFinestClub wrote:

    Remember the Maradonna hand of God incident when the media rallied in support of England, this time there were many incidents not just one which prevented a teams progress. Now it seems that the victims have become the villains for a human reaction to the injustice. People are focused on the culmination but have failed to reflect on the instigator/s of this controversy. As much as I dislike other teams I would still call it as I saw it and noy play into the hands of a system which has failed football!

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  • 77. At 02:31am on 09 May 2009, timdurgan wrote:

    chris, were you really still in the office at 9.19pm???
    surely security should have chucked you out by then?!

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  • 78. At 02:35am on 09 May 2009, darkandstormy wrote:

    Thanks Chris. So nice to know the banal is still alive and well in our world! I particularly liked the bit about Ronaldo buying an English bus and Pds 2,500 of underwear. It's an inspiration to us all!

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  • 79. At 02:45am on 09 May 2009, ea1983 wrote:


    Another brilliant review of the week. Love the links to the vids. Pure comedy. Glad Barca are in the final. Footballers need to grow up. I hope the tea lady does get the changing rooms the picture of Jackie Milburn. Joey Barton should be playing professional football after what happen at Man City and the assault charges.

    Anyhow brilliant blog keep the good work. You and Tim Vickery are the best bloggers

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  • 80. At 04:37am on 09 May 2009, Sevenseaman wrote:

    # 76 LondonsFinestClub,
    Glad some one sees it the way it was. Majority here just love to obfuscate facts, faulting the victim's reaction rather than nail the hangman's enormity. A typically opinionated and bigoted lot. When the goat is being slaughtered they resent only the bleating.

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  • 81. At 06:16am on 09 May 2009, greatandre wrote:

    Why you all guys always comment about Chelsea Players from their negative sides rather than to comment about "OVREBO" and "WORST MANAGEMENT OF UEFA" ??? Because I thought this incident was started from worst job of Ovrebo and therefore UEFA must be responsible about this. How if we start discuss about UEFA. UEFA can only make punishment to the players and to the club etc. , however there's nobody control them. It might be better in the future to set up the "CONTROL BODY" to the UEFA, so that UEFA shall be better in the future.

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  • 82. At 07:40am on 09 May 2009, Mike_The_Pitbull wrote:

    With regards to the 'alleged' chelsea - barca prediction on UEFA's website, surely this indicates there was no sinister plans going on. sorry conspiracy theorists, but if UEFA were trying to engineer that result, they wouldn't go and stick it on their website beforehand. not even UEFA could be THAT stupid.
    Darren Fletcher banned for the final? Injustice yes, but thank god! He's not worthy of wearing the shirt.
    Incidently, chelsea complaining of penalty decisions not going their way and costing them a place in the final? See, if you will, Man Utd vs Everton, FA Cup semi final, denied a clear penalty. United's reaction? sod it, we'll just win everything else then.
    As usual, United setting the standards not just in quality of play, but also in attitude.

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  • 83. At 08:28am on 09 May 2009, CypriotJohn wrote:

    You should market yourself as a cure for all the insomniacs of the world, you would make a packet!!! ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz!!!!

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  • 84. At 08:58am on 09 May 2009, srisadude wrote:

    First of all... Good blog Chris.. lots of fun...:)
    Well about the first semifinal, it was a disappointment right from the 6 min.. for all gunners like me(awake to watch the match at midnite as it is telecasted at tht time in India)... I thought we started well but once the away goal was conceded, we were taken out.. cant blame Gibbs.. And Ronaldo was on his day... wasn't he?? threatening from the start.. I thought as he was playin alone upfront he wouldnt get great service like in the Porto away leg where he scored from long range... but after tht the match was dragging.. 3rd goal was truly sublime from United, cracked the hearts of the Gunner fans tht were still pumping... (Well mine was.. can't let your team down can you??) btw about the red it was a fair challenge but luckily Arsenal got a Consolation Goal... Sorry for fletcher.. Well and truly beaten by a worthy team nonetheless...

    Chelsea V/s Barca... Eventhough there are a lot of cries from the Chelsea fans Barca deserved it I felt... Chelsea were only defending... As John Burridge (Pundit) mentioned they were playin with a BACK NINE!!! (lol)... Malouda's penalty claims was wrong as he added a bit... no... lot of simulation to fall into the Area... even Andy Gray mentioned tht... And the Trip by Abidal on Drogba.. tht one is a penalty... but nobody saw the Frst leg huh?? Theirry Henry being pulled down by the shirt by Jose Bosingwa.. what was tht?? Barca did not complain... And the Pique penalty was clear... Barca were Lucky... And I appreciate Pique was accepting that it did hit his hand after the match.. And Eto'o flying hands as they call it.. it struck his on the armpit area... And Ballack Reaction after that shows tht he is picked up from a Local Rowdy gang...;)... So on the whole, one clearcut penalty as Henry's cancels Abidal's trip... and btw Essien's was a great goal... unbelievable strike with the weak leg... And it was all Barca from then on in the match... and even after Abidal was sent off... they enjoyed the same amount of possession.. Chelsea were outplayed... but Barca did not threaten Cech at all until the First and best strike of the match for Barca came from Iniesta... Who I believe was the best player in both the legs... Drogba I believe was too much for a pro... Well he limped off the field but he came back to assault the ref with such force... Chelsea were deliberately wasting time werent they...Don forget he missed a hell lotta chances... and Football is a game of Taking chances... So I think there is no conspiracy in this one... All for the purist football and none for the Antifootball... Chelsea

    PS:My English Love may be out but my Spanish crush on their way..

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  • 85. At 09:19am on 09 May 2009, mosescruise wrote:

    ... nice article

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  • 86. At 09:39am on 09 May 2009, pradeepvijayan wrote:

    Nice blog, loved the jokes about Bendnter missing the bar and 2 minutes from Rome :)

    I am a keen follower of EPL and Champions league. Though in India, it is really tough to follow Champions league as the matches air at 12.30 am our time. I watched ManU-Arsenal the previous night and just could not stay awake for the Chelsea-Barca match :(

    I am quite perplexed at the complete lack of respect shown by players to the referee. Happens time and again, and nothing really seems to be done. Drogba has now 'apologized' and Hiddink seems to think he should be let off because of that. Frankly, I am bit tired of this sportsman apology business, especially after the Lewis Hamilton episode. Sounds so fake and is clearly aimed at escaping punishment

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  • 87. At 09:42am on 09 May 2009, manucastle wrote:

    Okay ..

    One more conspiracy theory.. It is so obvious that I am surprised that no one has picked it up yet.

    This incompetent referee has nothing to do with Platinni and his anti-English agenda. It has Fergies hand in it.

    After backing Blatters favourite child (Club World Cup) with all he can do, like taking full squad to competition (& actually winning it unlike other Euro Champions (Forget Milan)), United & Fergie are in Blatters good books.

    As Blatter wants participation from United for next CWC to enhance its publicity, Blatter actually asked Fergie (after United beat arsenal) which team he would like in the final. SAF responded that United should get a bye.

    As this was not possible, SAF said that he wants Barca in final rather than Chelsea. But Barca shold also be weakened team.

    And it was arranged, It was made sure that Chelsea will loose & also at least one Barca player was sent off! Ref, fearful of the hairdryer treatment, readily agreed.

    Thus, Fergie has enhanced his sphere of influence beyond FA & premier league.

    How does that sound?

    Must dash to LAFA with this Facht!

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  • 88. At 10:33am on 09 May 2009, CypriotJohn wrote:

    Just read a great article by Richard Dunne, Man C captain, stating what most of us believe, and that is that Chelsea are paying for past behaviour. He has got it spot on, and that is why all but Chelsea fans are delighted that they are out of the European Cup. Also lots of talk about Drogba, Ballack and Bosingwa in same paper receiving a 3 match Euro ban. May be correct but what about the club? This is not the first or second time that their team have been involved in thuggish behaviour regarding an official and if the club arent punished as a whole then it wont be the last. It would be an achievement by UEFA (of whom I am not a fan of) to at the very least give the club a one season ban from European competition.

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  • 89. At 10:59am on 09 May 2009, Chris Charles wrote:

    64. SimpreZola: Good on you, like Gingfranco_Zola, for taking the defeat on the chin. I think anyone would be entitled to be a little cheesed off after seeing all those penalty hopes dashed.

    72. GalwayBluebird: Will ask about those links in a separate browser - can see how it could be annoying.

    77. timdurgan:

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  • 90. At 11:02am on 09 May 2009, gringo Loco wrote:

    Mr Ovrebo, is preparing for his press conference, and repeating the phrase "ball to hand" over and again, trying to find the exact right inflection that might convince even one person (his mum, his wife one of his kids...anybody will do) that he is sincere.

    Mrs Ovrebo (snr) is shaking her head saying "you have brought disgrace on the family name. I told you Henning, even if the other boys make fun of you, still you must wear your glasses."

    now we know torontored is Robbo in disguise.

    Respect has to be earned it is not a right. The referee needs to be sent back for retraining.

    Overall I think that both the correct teams made the final. Chelski were exceptionally lucky in the 1st leg and didn't make their superiority count in the 2nd. They had enough good chances in the 2nd. If Drogba had been at his best it would have been over much earlier than "2 minutes from Rome".

    UEFA have to punish Chelski for the abuse of the ref, but also have punish the ref for his incompetence. If this is Norway's best ref, 5 times, god help the rest. He's the champion fence sitter.

    United against either Chelki or Barça would have been a great final. I hope we have a great match.

    Bring back the other bald ref for the match. Collina, one of the best refs EVER or maybe Jack Taylor is still alive.

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  • 91. At 11:04am on 09 May 2009, Chris Charles wrote:

    77. timdurgan: Sorry about that, no I wasn't in the office till 9.19pm - although several of my colleagues were. Sadly, like now, I was logging in from home. I really need to get a life!

    87. manucastle: Ha ha! We all know Fergie is a fearsome character, but don't think even he could have engineered that!

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  • 92. At 11:09am on 09 May 2009, solotronix wrote:

    I wonder why it took so long for anyone to see Drogba for the brat he is. I do not pretend to know much abiut football but the little I have watched I know that Drogba knows less about football than my grandma(God bless her soul). If not how does he explain the 3 obvious scoring chances he let down the drain? He spent the whole time in the game prancing about like a pony on display at a country fair instead of getting goals. He cost Chelsea a spot at the finals. Even when he was substituted the look on his face could have killed but he conviniently forgot that all through the match all he did was to fill in a blank space. Suddenly, at the end of the match it was the referee's fault that Chelsea crashed out. How about this? At the end of the match it was Didier Drogba's fault that Chelsea crashed out. After all if he had had the sense to convert those scoring chances he got... Why Hiddinck field Drogba instead of Kalou Solomon leaves more questions than answers. Drogba should get a stiff sentence.

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  • 93. At 11:11am on 09 May 2009, Kole wrote:

    everyone keeps blaming Overbo!,have you guys thought,for once that linesmen do play a part in decision making...................

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  • 94. At 11:14am on 09 May 2009, Kole wrote:

    Two penalty shouts were ball to hand.

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  • 95. At 11:20am on 09 May 2009, CypriotJohn wrote:

    Chris Charles:
    In the world of ifs and buts, swings and roundabouts, and so on, Cheating Chelsea have had more than their fair share of favourable decisions from officials over the past few seasons, one prime example was the penalty at Anfield in last seasons prem. Where were the conspiracy theorists then? It is only Chelsea fans that are cheesed off as you say, the rest of us are having a wry smile about it.

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  • 96. At 11:28am on 09 May 2009, Herbi J wrote:

    you keep confusing your opinion with fact.
    My arsenal jibe was a joke against your username, which is arrogant in the extreme, but on a serious note, any club which condones the ridiculous and unsporting behaviour of Drogba over several seasons, cannot possibly claim to be "fine." They may be good at winning football matches, but the "finest" club should uphold the ethos of the sport it plays, not trample on it like Drogba and others do and did.
    I liked the comment about Ashley Cole actually showing some class for once and keeping HIS teddy firmly in the pram at the end. That sort of behaviour might make your club "fine" in the long run

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  • 97. At 11:34am on 09 May 2009, BaldingSeaEagle wrote:

    If you can remove your blue-tinted, Engerlund, we-have-invented-the-game-so-we-know-it-all specs for a sec and look at each incident again you might realise that the only debateable penalty claim was the Pique handball. (that is if you can be bothered to learn the rules of the game) Even that one is not clear cut as it's a ball to hand situation, but the arm was not in a "natural position"

    From FIFA "Laws of the Game"
    Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with his hand or arm. The referee must take the following into consideration:
    the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)
    the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)
    the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an infringement

    As for Abidal being sent off - the ref consulted his assistant on his headset before making that decision. In retrospect it turns out to be wrong, but we all needed slow-motion replays to see that there was no real contact.

    In fact, Chelsea were lucky not to have Alex sent off when he fouled Messi. If you look at the situation again, the position of the Chelsea players, the speed of Messi and the direction of the ball, Id say he was denied a goal-scoring opportunity and Alex should have gone.

    What really annoys me is that everybody uses the referee as an excuse for the Chelsea exit. Admittedly, he had a difficult game and could have handled some of the situations differently, but what about Chelsea?
    Why are you not questioning their approach to the game (both legs)? Defending with 11 men for 180 mins. Score a fluke goal and then ride your luck defending. Chelsea had many break-down situations where they could have won the game if they had the guts to attack. Instead of going forward in numbers they opted to hoof the ball up to the tumble-and-fall twins and sat back with the rest of the team. Chelseas response to a one man advantage for 30mins was to replace a striker with another defender!
    So no the ref didnt cost Chelsea the game, they managed that perfectly well themselves.
    Petty bunch of sore losers. Conspiracy my a***

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  • 98. At 11:43am on 09 May 2009, greenandredtildead wrote:

    its about time people stood up to these buffoons that are the 'stars' of our game. Drogba and his mates behaved like children not men. Their reaction is not acceptable and he should be fined about 4 weeks wages and suspended for 5. The refs need more protection even if they get it wrongif we want to keep order in the amateur game. If it happened in other codes - rugby, aussie rules he would get 6 weeks. Its time to get tough with these overpaid cry babies, they need to take their wins and losses like men!

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  • 99. At 12:01pm on 09 May 2009, greatandre wrote:

    UEFA is not the untouchables either Ovrebo. They were human so that can do mistakes, but the way they make punishment looks like "THEY WERE THE MIGHTY GOD". This kind of attitude is really disgusting, unwise and out of sportivity. Let's discuss about UEFA and their worst management in this forum. We call this forum as " UEFA Watch "

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  • 100. At 12:06pm on 09 May 2009, CypriotJohn wrote:

    greatandre and londonsfinestclub:
    What a duo, there is a full summer season awaiting you both at Pontins. Proper pair of Charlies. Keep smiling.

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  • 101. At 12:18pm on 09 May 2009, greatandre wrote:

    To Apricot :
    It may be good for this fruit to be served with cool ice and drink in the summer at The Bridge. hohoho .........

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  • 102. At 12:26pm on 09 May 2009, lionihatethisgame wrote:

    I'm an Arsenal fan and even Chelsea didn't deserve that: it was a definate penalty. However the reaction was an absolute disgrace. I have good reason to believe that Drogba was just one of a swarm of players who attempted to break into the referees dressing room and had to be hauled away. Also since then Overebo has recieved so many death threats that he was not even able to return to his home. Clearly it has been taken way too far and has got to the point where it is damaging to the sport.

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  • 103. At 12:39pm on 09 May 2009, greatandre wrote:

    There's no smoke without fire. Ovrebo has trigger this fire. And UEFA must be responsible for this worst result of the game.

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  • 104. At 2:32pm on 09 May 2009, Ferdinand wrote:

    I don't think your Review of the Week mentioned the debate over revenue sharing (raised by Andy Burnham and Dave Whelan).

    The ramblings of politicians don't worry me (will he claim expenses for visiting Goodison Park? "Fact finding trip, old boy") but I am staggered that Dave Whelan of all people (as an exemplary entrepreneur) should champion a "fairer" split of TV revenue.

    What is "fair" about giving one company's money to another, that doesn't perform as well? Did JJB ever subsidise smaller sports shops? I think not. Consumers have a choice and it seems Dave correctly understood his consumers and built a huge empire - the Big Four have done the same and should reap the benefits.

    Football consumers vote with their feet (or Red buttons) and Wigan usually attract the off switch. Indeed I'd say that they are bottom of the "TV sex appeal" league. Without the Big Four the likes of Wigan could only dream of £30m - they'd be lucky to get £3m!

    Based on my local pub in London I'd say the TV audiences max for Liverpool and Man Utd with Arsenal close behind. Chelsea joust with Spurs (depending on the opposition) and then a handful of clubs - Newcastle, West Ham, Everton, Man City - attract a loyal following. The rest - including Wigan - only draw a crowd if they are playing one of those in the first list.

    Yet Dave W expects equal shares!

    Does a journeyman tennis pro expect the same as Nadal or Federer - no way. They are realists who know who the public want to see. They are just there because there has to be an opponent.

    Here's an idea.

    Split Premier League revenue equally but then, at the end of the season, copy rugby and have a play-off trophy for the top teams.

    Everyone wins. Dave W gets his equal share; the public get what they most want - games between (probably) the Big Four (home and away semi-finals with the final at Wembley); TV gets bumper audiences (probably worldwide); the top four get another slice of revenue - and another chance for a big trophy(in time - remember the European Cup was a sideshow when it began in the 1950s).

    Why not?

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  • 105. At 3:05pm on 09 May 2009, Malicious_Whistle wrote:

    UEFA was so desperate to avoid an all-English final that it colluded with Chelsea to throw the match. Abramovich reluctantly agreed to the deal after being promised a place in the finals next year. To make it look realistic, Ovrebo sent off Abidal and Drogba and Ballack took special lessons on how to harass Ovrebo. I hope this helps.

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  • 106. At 3:05pm on 09 May 2009, arsenal_koku wrote:

    this is my first time on the blog. i have read many of your articles and i find them very interesting...its a shame arsenal lost but i was more than elated chelsea cant buy you luck..rather unfortunate but it is life and you will get over yourselves..nice one on nick bedtner missing th got me in stitches.God bless Arsenal...Somebody welcome me to this blog.i am pretty bummed about it

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  • 107. At 3:23pm on 09 May 2009, Malicious_Whistle wrote:

    106. At 3:05pm on 09 May 2009, arsenal_koku

    On behalf of Chris Charles (who is taking a welcome break) and 606ers, you are officially welcome!

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  • 108. At 5:26pm on 09 May 2009, buttnuts wrote:

    Wig, you may have spelt it right in fact, but some charlatan had already taken Butnuts when I registered yesterday - a novice at this blogging lark.

    Anyway, afraid I won't be able to make it on 20 June for the reunion. Have a pedigree on me.

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  • 109. At 5:39pm on 09 May 2009, mass wrote:

    It is time to introduce video evidence.It would take less than a minute for the fourth officials to make a dicision.We have all seen what has happened at Stamford Bridge Between Chelsea and Barcelona.The referee and his assistants were a total disgrace since they cannot identify any mistake or wrong doing within the game.We are seeing terrible mistakes by some officials week in week out all over the world.Not a disrespect to the referees as they are human beings but for the benefit and the security of the game,it is time to introduce video evidence now.FIFA and the UEFA have to look at this closely.Football is the biggest sporting event that brings people together.Every week thousands of people all over the world take their seats in the stadiums,some in the Pubs to watch their teams playing.The number of fans coming to watch their teams is more than any security personnel persent at each game.So if such mistakes go on unchecked something TERRIBLE can happen one day in football.Well I hope not but we are seeing some signs so it is better to act now.

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  • 110. At 10:09am on 10 May 2009, awesomedawson89 wrote:

    I still can't help but think that our views on the Chelsea game have all been shaped by the English media coverage. Despite stressing the penalty appeals (only one of which I feel was a certain pen), no-one is discussing Drogba's persistent diving throughout and the disgraceful dive from Anelka which saw Abidal unjustly sent off.
    Nonetheless no-one has tried to hide away from the despicable behaviour of their players after the final whistle. I can't honestly see a reason why Chelsea would want to keep Drogba after that. His attitude and behaviour is a constant source of frustation for me, as a neutral bystander in these Champions League affairs.
    Lets hope Respect works one day.

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  • 111. At 08:55am on 11 May 2009, Ian_Attwood wrote:

    Charlesy, First visit (under your direction) and a great joy to read! Cheers buddy

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  • 112. At 3:50pm on 12 May 2009, U13960952 wrote:

    butnut still lives & breathes + supports City, twice to Wembley + the odd home game although living in Belgium.
    Oundle always considered itself to be a town so black mark there.

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  • 113. At 08:52am on 15 May 2009, kawayinet wrote:

    Super football fans attention:
    Cheers of that.

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  • 114. At 2:35pm on 18 May 2009, U13967209 wrote:

    I fear that will follow - so in the mean time, enjoy the adulation of your three fans!

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