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Review of the week

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Chris Charles | 14:47 UK time, Friday, 15 January 2010

I got lost on the way to work this morning (Friday) - it's difficult to see where you're going with a paper bag over your head.

Alas it didn't work. I'd barely got through the door when the ribbing started: "How's life at the comedy club?" "Five games?!" "Who's next - Mickey Mouse?"

My colleague Honest Frank gleefully texted me with the news of Paul Hart's departure from QPR late Thursday night - anything to deflect attention away from the shenanigans at his beloved Hammers. As a Rangers fan you get to the stage where nothing surprises you any more, but even by our own sub-standards, that's some going.

The usual suspects - Curbishley, Coppell etc - are already being touted as replacements, but can you seriously see any of the big guns taking on a club whose motto is 'You don't have to be mad to work here, but it helps'?

As for Hart, word has it he's been approached by Danny Boyle to take the starring role in a remake of the director's 28 Days Later - the period of time that elapsed between the former Pompey boss strolling into Loftus Road and packing up his troubles. Boyle may also consider a movie about the life and times of QPR co-owner Flavio Briatore - working title Hangdog Millionaire.
Paul Hart
Paul Hart - blink and you missed him
Mick Harford is expected to take charge for the rest of the season (but don't hold your breath) in what will be the 11th managerial change since Briatore rode into town a couple of years back.

Harford's first game is fittingly at Blackpool, land of amusements, donkeys and roller-coaster rides - and you can bet Ian Holloway will be only too keen to show his former club exactly what they have been missing.

Hart's final match in charge was the FA Cup defeat by Sheffield United (three of his five games were against the Blades) - a defeat that stretched QPR's winless run in the competition to a remarkable 13 games. To put that into context, the last Rangers won a game in the Cup, Who Let The Dogs Out was in the charts, the Queen Mum was still alive and Wayne Rooney was still at school.

Of course the biggest FA Cup story of the week concerned Reading's stunning defeat of my other half's team, Liverpool (we're thinking of renaming our flat the Temple of Doom).
Naturally I was making all the right noises - coughing loudly to disguise my uncontrollable sniggers - but even she was forced to admit the better team won.

I must confess to feeling a little sorry for Rafa Benitez as he was grilled like a piece of well-done steak in the post-match TV interview. Benitez looked for all the world like a little boy who's just had his favourite toy taken away from him and the fight appears to have been well and truly sucked out of the Spaniard.

You fear the worst, but which one of the Chuckle Brothers is going to strike the fatal blow? Gillett rarely dares to raise his head above the parapet these days, while Hicks has been preoccupied with the behaviour of his email-loving son - aka Rude Kid. (One for the Viz afficionados).

The calls for Junior to fall on his sword were led by The Spirit of Shankly group, who must be aghast at souvenir watches featuring the legendary boss and ardent socialist selling in the club shop for £150 a pop. As a caller to 606 some years back observed: "If Shankly were alive, he'd be turning in his grave."

Ryan Babel is one of the players the Liverpool owners could cash in on during the window and the Dutchman's future could have been hastened along by a News of the World 'source' who revealed he was the only player not to receive a text telling him training was cancelled last week - only finding out when he arrived to find the pitches covered in snow.

Presumably all the players got the text informing them the FA Cup replay was postponed, because none of them turned up on Wednesday night.

Sadly no-one thought to tell Liverpool's marketing team there was a danger they could be scalped by Reading and they duly emailed fans a few hours before kick-off confirming details for the fourth round tie with Burnley at Anfield.

Liverpool fan Martin Jones told The Sun: "I didn't read it until after the game. When I got on the computer and opened it up, I couldn't believe my eyes. It was bad enough to crash out of the Cup, but then for the club to try and sell me tickets for the next round was like a slap in the face."

Burnley will travel to the Madejski a week on Saturday with new man Brian Laws at the helm. Football blog Off The Post recalled Laws' 'most significant contribution to management before joining the Clarets' when as Grimsby boss in 1996 he broke star striker Ivano Bonetti's cheekbone by throwing a plate of chicken wings at him.

Laws confessed: "To this day I don't know where this plate of chicken wings came from...I do recall there was a plate with maybe chicken on it." Grimsby responded by giving their boss the heave-ho - presumably for fowl and abusive behaviour.

One place where chicken will be on the menu is at the City of Manchester Stadium, where Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has called for lashings of poultry and pizza for the pre-match meal, along with (gasp) wine. You can almost picture the scene: Craig Bellamy, a pepperoni special and a crate of Chablis - what could possibly go wrong?

Mancini is shaping up to be the new Mourinho, with his good looks and Mediterranean charm and it's surely only a matter of time before Fergie rises to the bait, expecially now that the Italian has his sights set on a Champions League place after Carlos Tevez's hat-trick against Blackburn fired them into the top four.

Newcastle's Peter Lovenkrands also helped himself to a hat-trick against Plymouth in the FA Cup, while team-mate Jonas Gutierrez had a treble of his own, according to Popbitch, when he allegedly had 'three credit cards declined as he tried to put fuel in his car'. Exactly how long are his arms?
Sol CampbellCampbell played for Arsenal reserves against West Ham
In the week that the ice finally began to thaw, it was fitting that the transfer news of the week involved the return of Sol. Campbell has signed a deal with Arsenal until the end of the season but what's the betting he will be sidelined by a mystery injury on 9 April, conveniently ruling him out of a return to White Hart Lane the following day.

Story of the week concerned John Terry and his toilet habits. The Chelsea skipper told the club's official magazine his pre-match ritual involves having a wee in the dressing room's far right-hand-side urinal. "The foreign lads don't really get why I'm waiting behind them when there are plenty of spaces elsewhere," he explained.

All well and good but it's Roman Abramovich I'm worried about. If he spends a penny then Carlo Ancelotti is getting his kit off - and no-one wants to see that.

Talking of loos, the comedy injury of the week happened to, er, me. After weeks of battling into work in Arctic conditions I was finally undone by our toilet - putting my back out as I tried to fix the handle back on. And yes I am aware my career has been steadily going down the pan for some time now.


  • 1. At 3:34pm on 15 Jan 2010, LABSAB9 wrote:

    Review of the week - Quality!!!

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  • 2. At 3:39pm on 15 Jan 2010, Coweslepe wrote:

    Not a lot going on over here, I'm afraid. Another solid review, albeit with the strained semi-colon (you don't have to be an American to use a colon incorrectly). Since you had time to ramble on about QPR, again, perhaps you could get around to fixing up 'Chris Charles's Blog'? Or are there really two or more of you?

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  • 3. At 3:45pm on 15 Jan 2010, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    Well it looks as if we might play football at the weekend, its been so long i've forgotten the rules and am fairly clueless... Always knew i ahd a career as a reef if i wanted it... Charlsie, quality stuff lad... really enjoyed it this week... a highlight of the week (well a 5 minute distraction on a friday, but its still good fella)...

    Were away to Darlington... i am hoping for three points, but we dont fair well up north... Lets see though....

    And, Super-hoops, the mighty blue and white army... Watagwan at loftus road ay? "QPR need to keep hold of a manager to avoid becoming a laughing stock" This is from FLethchers blog today... tell him to stop reusing old material...

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  • 4. At 3:52pm on 15 Jan 2010, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    I mean "ref" not Reef... lifes a beach ay!

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  • 5. At 4:05pm on 15 Jan 2010, Phaseshifter wrote:

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

  • 6. At 4:11pm on 15 Jan 2010, GINOLLLLA wrote:

    Good blog again Mr Charles!
    #2 - Chris was always going to mention Rangers, it's a big news story although as highlighted, still hardly surprising...

    It'll be interesting to see who's next in line, but like you say, who will be mad enough to step up now?

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  • 7. At 4:15pm on 15 Jan 2010, JacksinBuxton wrote:

    Ah,finally arrived Chris.H2H and I were wondering if you were helping to fit the revolving door for the manager's office at Loftus Road.(I don't know why I'm taking the mickey,my club still has Roy Keane at the helm.
    Shame to see a former decent premiership struggle this season,but things could look up.At least they won at Liverpool in the cup.
    Just wonder if we could send all our snow over to Jo'burg.It may be our only hope...

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  • 8. At 4:16pm on 15 Jan 2010, GINOLLLLA wrote:

    RBA - good luck to the shots mate!

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  • 9. At 4:19pm on 15 Jan 2010, JacksinBuxton wrote:

    RBA,we don't fare well up north....isn't that the entire country being to the north of Aldershot?

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  • 10. At 4:23pm on 15 Jan 2010, Coweslepe wrote:


    No, it's comic relief really, and I'm happy when all the Chris Charles brothers go bumburrying on about their team, particularly when, as you mention, there's actually some element of general interest, which isn't often the case with QPR.

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  • 11. At 4:31pm on 15 Jan 2010, Chris Charles wrote:

    2. Coweslepe. Good afternoon - and good afternoon from me too. And me. None of us have spotted the erroneous colon yet but we're on the case old bean.

    3. And hello to you RBA. Glad you mentioned Fletch's top blog, although I take issue with that particular sentence - what do you mean COULD become a laughing stock?

    5. Phasesifter: Ha ha! Naughty but nice.

    7. JacksinBuxton: Yes, pray for snow in SA! Although if Smith had been given at 15 we might still be in with a shout.

    10. Coweslepe: Ha! You're not wrong, sir. Unfortunately the only things that are ever of any interest at QPR involve events off the field.

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  • 12. At 4:43pm on 15 Jan 2010, JacksinBuxton wrote:

    Chris,re the Smith Snick...poor old Geoffrey was having kittens.Bless his little cottons,and all that bunny.
    Any thoughts on Hart's replacement?If Mourinho took over,would that be a case of "Hart to Tart"?

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  • 13. At 4:48pm on 15 Jan 2010, Phaseshifter wrote:

    I noticed when I went in the bookie's yesterday that Stoke are 4/1 to beat Liverpool at the Britannia tomorrow. Four to one! What with Torres, Gerrard and Benayoun all apparently out, that's got to be worth a look. Maybe a 1-0 Stoke win - dunno what odds that'd have. 12s? 14s?

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  • 14. At 4:50pm on 15 Jan 2010, JacksinBuxton wrote:

    Obviously I mean Geoffrey Boycott.We don't have a pregnant cat called Geoffrey.That might take some explaining to the vet...

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  • 15. At 4:51pm on 15 Jan 2010, JacksinBuxton wrote:

    Phase,sshhh,don't tell anyone.ColchesterFC( a poster,not the club)might weigh in and ruin my eldest daughter's weekend..

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  • 16. At 4:57pm on 15 Jan 2010, GINOLLLLA wrote:

    Jacks who does your eldest daughter follow?

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  • 17. At 5:06pm on 15 Jan 2010, FresnoBob wrote:

    Chablis? Shouldn't Man City serve red wine with pepperoni pizza?

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  • 18. At 5:09pm on 15 Jan 2010, Phaseshifter wrote:

    Jacks, I know who ColchesterFC is - I'm a regular reader/irregular poster over on ''the dark side''.

    I hope they do keep a clean sheet - I've got Ab Faye and Shawcross in my Fantasy Football team!

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  • 19. At 5:09pm on 15 Jan 2010, PhilMcF wrote:

    Having read all the positive press and glowing endorsements since his 'shameful' sacking, surely QPR will be joining the queue of clubs knocking on Gary Megson's door!

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  • 20. At 5:12pm on 15 Jan 2010, Coweslepe wrote:

    'You can almost picture the scene; Craig Bellamy, a pepperoni special and a crate of Chablis - what could possibly go wrong?'

    Here you introduce the scene, which therefore requires the colon and not the semi-colon for separation (i.e., that which follows 'You can almost picture the scene' is indeed the picture that's being introduced). Don't worry: even you're allowed an American moment once in a while!

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  • 21. At 5:15pm on 15 Jan 2010, Coweslepe wrote:

    'My Cat Geoffrey'

    A great poem by one of our greatest, albeit misremembered, poets.

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  • 22. At 5:23pm on 15 Jan 2010, davidgilmourthe3rd wrote:

    stalker alert:

    Up the Meerkats.

    nice Blog CC.

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  • 23. At 5:25pm on 15 Jan 2010, messien wrote:

    Regarding the QPR situation, it's obviously a shambles, but why didn't they stick with Paulo Souza who's done well with Swansea so far this season.

    As for the Campbell situation, couldn't see the point. People keep saying, Sol's a good acquisition as he will only play a few games to cover for Gallas and Vermaelen and he's the physical presence they're missing; both of which would fit Senderos who hasn't had a sniff. He's not only younger than Sol, but he hasn't lost his legs and he's already there!

    As for Vieira; What's the point of buying Barry, De Jong, Kompany............

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  • 24. At 5:33pm on 15 Jan 2010, Chris Charles wrote:

    12. JacksinBuxton: Hart's replacement? Someone whose favourite word is 'yes'.

    17. FresnoBob: Ah, we have a connoiseur in our midst! Forgive me Bob, what was I thinking? Then again, I was brought up in a house where spaghetti bolognese was considered some sort of weird delicacy and Blue Nun was the plonk of choice.

    19. PhilMcF: Shhhh! Someone might hear you.

    20. Coweslepe: Howdy! Yes, I've been having colon problems for quite some time now. Thanks to your eagle eyes this particular one has now been corrected.

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  • 25. At 5:44pm on 15 Jan 2010, JezzaSCFC wrote:

    Chris, a quality read as ever. Setting aside the astounding fact that Lawro has actually doomed us by predicting a win for my beloved Potters against his ex-employer bin dippers this weekend, we have had our on-off pursuit of Calamity James to keep us busy. It was reported on Thursday as a done deal to much fanfare only to be pulled early Friday. Clearly someone at Stoke had dropped the ball - not the first time that phrase has been used in relation to England's alleged number one I hazard to guess.

    We also had the startling spectacle of our usually camera shy chairman becoming something of a media whore, with Sky Sports pronouncements on our interest in Ruud "why the long face?" Van Nistelrooy and "I'm considerably richer than yow" taunts in response to Steve Bruce saying we couldn't afford Kenwyne (as the man behind bet365, he does have a point). I would say he probably put Steve's nose out of joint, but someone beat him to that a long time ago it seems!

    Keep up the good work.

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  • 26. At 5:45pm on 15 Jan 2010, SenorFish wrote:

    Are you sure Martin Jones talked directly to The S*n? If so maybe he should consider changing his allegiances.

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  • 27. At 5:48pm on 15 Jan 2010, SimplyZola wrote:

    Top blog as usual. By the way, if you type 'QPR' on Google (and hit search) the second result is about suicide prevention.

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  • 28. At 5:51pm on 15 Jan 2010, davidgilmourthe3rd wrote:

    I wont be able to contribute much to this particular Blog which to many will be a blessing in disguise.

    i am alas busy collateing statistics from the ACoN. My subject is non other than D Drogba. I am interested to learn and furthermore doccument;

    1 how many times he gets the ball
    2 wat he does with it once he has it
    3 how many times he winks at the ref ( specially when awarded a free kick )
    4 how many times the ref winks at him ( specially when awarded a free kick )
    5 how often he falls to the ground
    7 how often he gets a free kick when a member of the opposition
    dares to out stare him.

    the list is by no means exhaustive.

    i also will be watching the South Africans take on South Africa in the 4th test.

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  • 29. At 6:17pm on 15 Jan 2010, bosstard wrote:

    Hi Chris

    Being a Liverpool supporter I know of a manager you can have with the greatest of pleasure. Be careful though because once you've got him he'll be impossible to get rid of!

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  • 30. At 6:30pm on 15 Jan 2010, Robokopthe3rd wrote:

    Gilmour the 3rd...

    I guess point no. 6 in your list is: how many times he rolls around on the ground once down? (Note the use of the colon and question mark :) )

    As for the Rangers...couldn`t they get that Chuck Norris to be manager. Wasn`t he a Ranger once. And he wouldn`t let anyone mess with him either. `So you wanna sack me Flabbyio? Well watch out as I am a black belt in origami!

    And I agree, that Liverpool fan should not talk to the S#n newspaper. Remember Hillsborough?

    Yeah Liverpool have been bad, in a bad premier league so far. If we win 4 or 5 on the trot then we are in the top 3, just need consistency.

    Great blog Chris!

    Hope your back gets better soon

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  • 31. At 7:45pm on 15 Jan 2010, Gangsta Agger wrote:

    Look on the bright side Chris. At least Hart lasted longer than Solomon Campbell at Notts!
    As a Liverpool fan I shouldn't be laughing though. Dreading the Delap bombardment as I type. Something tells me we are yet to reach new depths.

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  • 32. At 8:30pm on 15 Jan 2010, Rabster wrote:

    Good blog. Here's an idea, why don't QPR hire a "squad" of managers and simply rotate them? It would save the embarrassment of all the sackings.

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  • 33. At 9:53pm on 15 Jan 2010, chocolate_pigeon wrote:

    The QPR and Liverpool situations are a good distraction from the rumours circulating about my club and their need to sell all the players, the ground, training ground and basically have nobody left except the cleaning staff to turn out on a weekend. I have a horrible feeling about Americans and English football clubs. Randy Lerner seems to be ok though. If the United finances are becoming unmanageable, does that mean we'll be thrown out of Europe? I better pray we start a breakaway European league. Nothing ever lasts forever. Except forever. Good blog by the way.

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  • 34. At 10:46pm on 15 Jan 2010, In Off The Ghost wrote:

    Although I don't like seeing Liverpool and Man Utd being run into the ground by greedy Americans, I do hope that some good may come of it by levelling the playing field a bit. I am absolutely sick to the back teeth of watching Man Utd win the league! Variety is the spice of life and all that, although I will probably end up watching Man City win the league for the next 15 years instead.

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  • 35. At 00:26am on 16 Jan 2010, redforever wrote:

    At last a football blog that hasn't been invaded by hoards of "big four" fans gleefully slating each others teams (mainly Liverpool to my great chagrin). Some mighty funny images painted by the author- very good, thank you! And most importantly a comment which actually helped my understand when to use a colon. Now if you could just help me understand when to use its grammatical brother, the semi-colon.

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  • 36. At 06:48am on 16 Jan 2010, Mike wrote:

    Call this a journalistic piece of writing? All it seems to be about are your toilet habits. Suggest you find another job Mr Charles.

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  • 37. At 07:30am on 16 Jan 2010, JacksinBuxton wrote:

    Ginolllla,Kathryn is a Stoke City fan.If she followed Liverpool,well I don't know how I'd cope...

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  • 38. At 08:15am on 16 Jan 2010, ChelseaCowboy wrote:

    Re: 30. At 6:30pm on 15 Jan 2010, Robokopthe3rd wrote:

    And I agree, that Liverpool fan should not talk to the S#n newspaper. Remember Hillsborough? YNWA

    More like YAWN mate.

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  • 39. At 08:56am on 16 Jan 2010, Fun_n_Games wrote:

    Ah, I empathise with your issue; indeed, it is a tricky thing to learn.

    Enjoyable blog again, Chris.

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  • 40. At 10:08am on 16 Jan 2010, Phaseshifter wrote:

    My post at #5 got modded! Outrageous.

    However, I feel like I belong now.

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  • 41. At 12:44pm on 16 Jan 2010, soccerinteg wrote:

    As always Charles you lead us down the merry path chuckling at your 'comedy week'.
    I thought I should share with you a post with has some influence from you!
    "British folks can't tahan (cope with) cold weather. Don't know how to drive in icy/snow conditions etc. Can't even walk properly. S'more want to sue like North Americans. Anyways I think CA will join me in a polar bear swim. Me to usher in the Chinese New Year, him to deliver on his promise to go naked if Chelsea buys a player in the Winter transfer window!....P.S. CA needs to take lessons from 'Gok Wan' before he go naked swimming polar bear style....."
    Headlined recently (Ottawa Sun, 11th January 2010)'Brits seek cold comfort in Canada'. "A three-member British television team was in this southwestern Ontario city yesterday getting the scoop on how Canadians cope with winter..."

    Hopefully Bellers doen't get served chicken with cashew nuts else they have to take the putter from the nutter.

    As always I look forward to reading your review every week! Great stuff.
    BTW It will make my week to have the last chuckle (if United and the Toffees were to lose).

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  • 42. At 1:02pm on 16 Jan 2010, soccerinteg wrote:

    Liverpool & United's financial predicarments reminds me of a profligate drunken sailor lurching from the Charybdis of the banker clutches and the Scylla of redfans public howling & lynching of their owners. They are on a downward trajectory with numerous pundits claiming they can't afford to spend without selling from a 'decimated' (United minus Tevez, CR and soon Vidic and Rooney and LFC hobbled by Torres, Gerard and Benny) squad.
    Out of the wok into the fire!

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  • 43. At 00:39am on 17 Jan 2010, Gangsta Agger wrote:

    "You can almost picture the scene: Craig Bellamy, a pepperoni special and a crate of Chablis - what could possibly go wrong?"

    Well, if you watched the game at Goodison Park then there's your answer!

    Another late goal conceded by Liverpool. Honestly I do not even celebrate anymore when we take the lead.

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  • 44. At 3:15pm on 17 Jan 2010, mac_knife wrote:

    Gangsta Agger...I concur. It's heartbreaking.

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  • 45. At 07:29am on 18 Jan 2010, ktkt wrote:

    A-League Team of the Week: Rd 23

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  • 46. At 7:27pm on 18 Jan 2010, AmarantineBlue wrote:

    is it just me, or do liverpool players seem to injure each other with the ruthless efficiency their strikers lack? seems rafa has a Large Head-on Collider project going.

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