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Chris Charles | 15:45 UK time, Friday, 2 October 2009

Arsene Wenger's amusing antics have dominated this blog for the past fortnight and Sir Alex Ferguson has clearly had enough.

The Manchester United boss was bang on the money this week - as he played up to his audience with a spring in his step and a twinkle in his eye.

Stoke fans were the first on the hit-list after the Britannia faithful's cheeky chant of: "Fergie, Fergie what's the time?" (A reference to the seven added minutes in the Manchester derby for all those who've been on Mars).

Quick as a flash, Sir Alex leaned forward and gleefully showed them his watch, much to the amusement of his cronies in the dugout. I guess that's what they mean by comic timing.
Sir Alex FergusonIt's three points time!
Next stop on the comedy roadshow was Old Trafford and the pre-match Champions League press conference. Sitting alongside defender Jonny Evans, Fergie was extolling the virtues of marriage for footballers and suggested Evans might like to think about it.

The squirming 21-year-old looked down at the assembled hacks and coyly said: "I don't really want to talk about that here - especially because my girlfriend's in the middle of you all - she's on placement at ITV this week!"

Unperturbed, Ferguson turned to the lady in question, Kate Wathall, and said: "Get him tied down, dear - rings are cheap now!" - leaving poor Evans looking like a teenager who's just been spotted by his mates out shopping with his mum.

Kate admitted finding the whole experience quite amusing and confessed she hadn't told her university chums she was dating a footballer, adding: "Well they all know now, I guess!" Yep, I'd say so, Kate.

Fergie also found time (he can always get a few minutes from somewhere) to heap praise on old boy Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been banging in the goals for Real Madrid. The United chief said: "He has done well to get seven goals right away. He was a great bet, 7-1 to be the top scorer (in La Liga). Did I take it? Absolutely!"

Meanwhile, Ryan Giggs continued to plug the gaping hole left by Ronaldo's departure. The oldest winger in town scored his 150th goal for United in the 2-1 defeat of Wolfsburg, with Michael Carrick (remember him?) bagging the winner. The Mirror summed it all up with the headline 'Carrick Keeps The Wolf From The Draw'. Genius.

Things weren't quite so rosy for Liverpool, who crashed 2-0 to Fiorentina under the watchful gaze of Sting. Teenager Stefan Jovetic did the damage for the Italians by scoring both goals in a sublime all-round performance. In fact, every little thing he did was magic.

Elsewhere, Arsenal finally found a way past Antonis Nikopolidis to beat Olympiakos 2-0. The Greek goalkeeper - hero of their European Championship win - made a string of fine stops, despite looking like he'd just been wheeled out of an old peoples' home. Never mind Portugal 2004, you could use a bit of Grecian 2000 old son.

Chelsea returned to winning ways by sneaking a 1-0 in Nicosia, much to the relief of coach Carlo Ancelotti. After the defeat by Wigan, Ancelotti was raving, talking Italian (he always reverts to his native tongue when he's narked off) and Petr Cech's silly red card would not have improved his mood. The Sun marked the occasion by digging out their old Star Trek pictures of Mr Chekov. Nice.
Carlos TevezTevez salutes the Hammers fans
Manchester City also bounced back from the derby blues by seeing off West Ham in the Premier League. Carlos Tevez opened the scoring and staked his claim to being the nicest footballer ever by immediately saying sorry to the fans of his former club. He'll never need to buy a plate of pie 'n' mash again.

Meanwhile, muggins here was up in Newcastle to see QPR turn in an impressive display at St James' Park. As any away fans who've been there recently will testify, the hike up to the top of the Sir John Hall Stand makes Mount Everest look like Henman Hill and there were a few people looking like rabbits in the floodlights by the time they finally made it to the summit.

I went up with my mate Geordie Davy, who took me on a tour of the Toon after the game. I have to say the city is fantastic and the locals most welcoming - although it's true that everyone dresses in mini skirts and crop tops. And the women don't wear much either.

While I was there I sampled the local cuisine - stotties, black pudding and cod from the Tyne (all mine, all mine) and learned that Alan Shearer had been appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Northumberland (bit of a step down from The Messiah).

One group I didn't see on the return journey were the four boys who'd cracked open a case of beer at 10am on the way up and comfortably worked their way through it by the time we hit Newcastle three hours later, before turning their attention to the nearest boozer.

Maybe they had been struck by Wenger's words of wisdom that "there is no better psychological education than growing up in a pub". It can also be the provider of a spiritual awakening - I bet at least one of the quartet found himself speaking to God on the big white telephone sometime that afternoon.

QPR visit Swansea on Saturday and I had a very kind offer from my mate Welsh Pete to crash at his gaff if I wanted to come down for the game. Of course I'd like nothing more, but having done three games in the space of seven days, I've got about as much chance of being excused childcare duties for the weekend as Boris Johnson has of propping up the bar with Peggy Mitchell in the Queen Vic. Oh, hang on a second...

While Newcastle was arguably the best away trip ever, the same cannot be said of Burnley fan Jason Taylor's forthcoming visit to Blackburn. The 28-year-old lives a stone's throw from Ewood Park but is being forced to do a 50-mile round-trip after all Clarets fans were told to report to Turf Moor before travelling to the game.

Jason will then have to return to Burnley after the match, before heading back to Blackburn. He said: "I'll be getting up at 7.30am for a game four minutes away and spend the day in the car, the coach and on the motorway." And possibly the doghouse if his other half had plans for that evening.
Glen Little in Reading daysTickets please!
In other news, Ade Akinbiyi signed for Notts County (possibly not what the fans were thinking of when they were promised a 'big name') and according to Sheffield United's Chris Morgan, team-mate Glen Little is the spit of Blakey from On The Buses. Little came on as a sub just after Tom Butler had put Swansea ahead on Saturday, no doubt introducing himself with the words: "I'll get you, Butler!"

Non-football story of the week was sent in by Ian Pashley and involves a racehorse called Transvestite. Apparently the commentator in Coral's bookmakers observed: "Coming to the final fence and Transvestite is looking for a change of gear."

And finally, fingers crossed for Wayne and Colleen on the imminent birth of their first child. Rooney has promised to be at the hospital, regardless of whether Manchester United have got a game - and having experienced first-hand the gamut of emotions experienced by a woman in labour, all I'll say is good luck.

According to Rooney's mate Kelly Jones from The Stereophonics: "Wayne keeps telling me how he's playing the album over and over. I'm pretty sure it's all he ever listens to." And the title of that album...Keep Calm And Carry On


  • 1. At 4:45pm on 02 Oct 2009, popemilkmass wrote:

    First comment, I feel privileged. Is anyone else bored of this fergie extra time rubbish? Have to give it to purple nose though, he is a master wind up merchant!

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  • 2. At 4:48pm on 02 Oct 2009, andrewtheboom wrote:

    Made the trip up to St James' Park myself recently, like a lot of fans treated to a trip up there for the first time.

    That hike is a bit of a mission, but cracking view of the Toon once you get up there.

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  • 3. At 4:49pm on 02 Oct 2009, Holloway2Holland wrote:

    Top notch as allways

    Is "Ancelotti was raving, talking Italian" a remix from a Bananarama song?

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  • 4. At 5:01pm on 02 Oct 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    Cracking effort as ever Mr Charles... Always a pleasure and never a chore.... Holloway, thankks for the tipoff it had been posted... As i'm off now... Aldershot away at Lincoln, and unlike Mr Charles, my wife never lets me out to play:( so i'll have to be htier in spirit!

    Lincoln 0-1 Aldershot... If your a betting man Chris!

    Good weekend one and all...

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  • 5. At 5:05pm on 02 Oct 2009, sneakyprice07 wrote:

    Really enjoyed this. Well written and nice finish to the week. Cheers

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  • 6. At 5:09pm on 02 Oct 2009, Holloway2Holland wrote:


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  • 7. At 5:26pm on 02 Oct 2009, Z wrote:

    Fer me it's not Fergie's purple nose but the racoon eyes. Conjures pictures of him on the beach with cucumber slices over his eyes. And this during lunch, which is bad.

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  • 8. At 5:36pm on 02 Oct 2009, jordanuk90MUFC wrote:

    Always enjoy this read fantastic as always. Loved the Fergie humour, keep up the good work!

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  • 9. At 5:54pm on 02 Oct 2009, Davros wrote:

    It's shameful bureaucracy that Jason Taylor has to go through all that travelling just to go a game round the corner from where he lives.

    Obviously there's a slight security issue, but as long as he's 'covered-up', on the way in & out, what's the problem?

    Burnley and Lancashire Constabulary should communicate to see sense!!

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  • 10. At 6:19pm on 02 Oct 2009, The Trawler wrote:

    Could've sworn it was United fans singing "Fergie what's the time?"

    Yes we think the ABU obsession is hilarious.

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  • 11. At 6:28pm on 02 Oct 2009, madeiraman57 wrote:

    Good blog, many a titter and keep up the good work.
    Loved the bit about Shearer, not convinced he can walk on water either eh , nor me !
    Ronaldo for the golden boot, it's already nailed on and his team mates seem to like him, even though he doesn't get them running about for him as did Fergies boys.

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  • 12. At 6:34pm on 02 Oct 2009, Few But Ripe wrote:

    seems like a waste of a comment but i have to congratulate the bbc sport team on the calibre of their blogs. the addition of the blogs was a masterstroke and i regularly look forward to all of them.

    Great One this week

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  • 13. At 7:10pm on 02 Oct 2009, rjaggar wrote:

    Based on the stories I've heard from medics about what women in labour say to their husbands, it may just be the case that Wayne Rooney will learn what it's like to be a ref who doesn't get decisions right where Wayne is concerned......ah well, all's well that ends well, I guess.

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  • 14. At 7:28pm on 02 Oct 2009, yoponz wrote:

    Well done Charles - another great blog!

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  • 15. At 7:33pm on 02 Oct 2009, JezzaSCFC wrote:

    Cracking read as ever, Chris.

    That Burnley/Blackburn malarkey reminds of me of when us Stokies had imposed on us by Derbyshire police a requirement that we all had to get coaches with a police escort from Stoke to Pride Park for a match. My now wife lived in Nottingham at the time and had to drive from Nottingham past Derby to Stoke to then get the coach to Derby and back, before a further drive back past Derby to Nottingham. Coppers, don't ya just love 'em?

    As for SrAlex and his band of merry men, I only wish the ref had reduced the length of the game, never mind added any time, last Saturday, just to put us out of our misery . If we were a horse, on that performance, we'd have been shot and been hanging up in a boucherie chevalines faster than you could say disestablishmentarianism.

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  • 16. At 7:48pm on 02 Oct 2009, Holloway2Holland wrote:

    15. At 7:33pm on 02 Oct 2009, JezzaSCFC wrote:
    Coppers, don't ya just love 'em?

    Now I realise why Liverpool didn't play so well in midweek, I also get a bit nervous when "The Police" are watching me.

    I'll get my coat.

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  • 17. At 10:16pm on 02 Oct 2009, Chris Charles wrote:

    Evening all - apologies for the delay.

    2. andrewtheboom: Yes, great ground, great people the Geordie folk. Which team you were there to see?

    3. Holloway2Holland: 10 points for spotting the Bananarama reference! Good group until they went all Stock Aitken and Waterman on us.

    4. RedBlueArmy: Go on then, I'll have a dabble!

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  • 18. At 04:03am on 03 Oct 2009, Sevenseaman wrote:

    Thanks Chris. Now I know you are an inveterate pun producer. Some obscure horse finds a mention just because its christened imaginatively;

    "Coming to the final fence and Transvestite is looking for a change of gear."

    Nevertheless your blog charges my batteries enough to enable me to read through some others with the renewed eagerness of a prospector.

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  • 19. At 10:09am on 03 Oct 2009, Jozemanuplus wrote:

    Nice review! But I feel sorry for people who hate Fergie they make me feel like they have pschological problems and puts them on boarders being Psychos. get over it if you are bored of Fergie extra time rubbish go hang. Just using it as excuse for your bitterness get over it! if not you are in for squicky bum time.

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  • 20. At 11:35am on 03 Oct 2009, wangsa wrote:

    Tevez played nice to WU fans: selling cheap cake, were you? When he moved to MU from WU, complaints were filed from WU while he himself was quiet. When he moved from MU to MC, the clubs were quiet but he blurted complaints. You got back what you threw, Tevez! Bitter complaints was responded with bitter jeers at old trafford. The way you kept referring to your bitter move to MC shows you aren't grown up enough to face that life goes on ...

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  • 21. At 12:53pm on 03 Oct 2009, Jimmy2Times wrote:

    I'm seriously wondering if ytou'll ever get thru a blog without mentioning queens park bloody rangers

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  • 22. At 1:10pm on 03 Oct 2009, Chris Charles wrote:

    21. jimmyupnorth: Fair point there Jimmy, but it's not often I'm allowed out to away games, so two in successive weeks meant I was so excited I just couldn't help myself. Unless something extraordinary happens to the Superhoops in the coming seven days, I promise I'll restrain myself.

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  • 23. At 1:54pm on 03 Oct 2009, savscot wrote:

    Glad to see you're a rangers fan too, like you I've managed to forget there was a 4th british team in the champions league this week! Numpty!

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  • 24. At 3:08pm on 03 Oct 2009, Holloway2Holland wrote:

    23 Don't you mean 5th? (ouch}

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  • 25. At 5:08pm on 03 Oct 2009, IL76 wrote:

    Great stuff Chris, keep them coming. Just one comment or rather a question, why is Fergie disliked so much by everyone else except Man United fans? I'm a united fan, and everyone I speak to really dislikes the poor bloke. I keep wondering and trying to think of all the things he has said and done, and apart from the obvious mind game staged to wind people up, and drum up a bit of interest in the coming game, he hasn't offended EVERY possible club...has he?

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  • 26. At 9:32pm on 03 Oct 2009, Chris Charles wrote:

    23. Savscot: As a rule of thumb, I mention all the British CL clubs, Rangers included, but on this occasion thought you Gers fans wouldn't like to be reminded of that painful experience at Ibrox.

    25. iwanlewis76: Personally, I'm a big fan of Fergie - like Wenger and Mourinho, whether they're providing a few laughs or stamping their feet and having a paddy, they're the sort of characters the Premier League would be a far poorer place without. Mourinho, for instance, despite his detractors, was a quality addition to English football IMHO.

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  • 27. At 1:20pm on 04 Oct 2009, Bark4United wrote:

    A great read Mr. Charles.

    25. I read somewhere that people do not normally like successful people except if that successful person is none other than themselves. Fergie is the most successful coach at club level the world has seen this last decade. If the assertion previouly referred to is true then it is obvious why people, besides those who support his team, hate the man. I may be worng but that's what I think.

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  • 28. At 08:53am on 05 Oct 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    17: I'll get my coat....

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  • 29. At 12:28pm on 05 Oct 2009, craigy1913shc wrote:

    23 - correct me if I am wrong but are there not 5 teams in the CL?

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  • 30. At 10:40pm on 05 Oct 2009, Coweslepe wrote:

    I'm a little late catching up again, but this was great stuff. The tie-ins are always good, but they're getting better with age, yours that is.

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