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Entries in The FA (6)


Kick Danny Rose out of football

Serbia FA: "Danny Rose, behaved in inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner towards the supporters"

No matter how many times I read the above statement, I still laugh. How dare Danny Rose be racially abused whilst playing for his country. The kid needs to white up for next time. Maybe then we won't hear any monkey chanting coming from the stands. I know we have our own problems in England with discrimination but the days of bananas being thrown onto the pitch are long gone. That's not to say some elements of racism are more acceptable. Well, unless you throw up the context argument as a defence.

The main crux is that all examples are not brutally dealt with by the authorities. The underlying caveat to it is that this is a social/cultural issue that seems to manifest itself more so at football matches, almost like the stands are indicative of exaggerating a nations ugly side. So why is it acceptable in the minds of the guilty to behave like that? Mob culture? Less likely to be punished than perhaps behaving in the same manner when walking the street? Comes back down to the authorities simply dealing with it by dishing out one punishment rather than checking the wall chart and fining the country/club based on how 'bad' it all was.

The other laughable incident was the actual red card Rose was given for petulance. Because how dare he react to racist chanting. He was quite restrained in his reaction. Yet no further red cards dished out for all the aggression that played out with punches and pushing shared amongst the players and coaches.

Our FA have complained.

“No football team should be asked to play in any environment where racial abuse, violence and threatening behaviour is prevalent. We must question the validity of sending a team to Serbia in the
future. We look forward to UEFA dealing with last night’s events as a matter of urgency.”

And UEFA have grown balls (the size of grapes currently, hopefully to grow to the size of grape fruits).

"Regarding alleged racist chanting, UEFA will instigate proceedings against (Serbia) over the misconduct of their supporters. Proceedings will also be instigated against (Serbia) for the improper conduct of the Serbia players at the end of the game. UEFA will also commence proceedings against the FA for the improper conduct of the England players at the end of the match"

Fining is not an acceptable conclusion to this. Although pretty much nothing can be done to alter the way some people think, football itself can take a handle on how these same people are dealt with at football stadia. Let them play in empty stadiums for five years. Or ban them from the next three major competitions.

Enough with the slapped wrists. Break a f***ing arm.



Lazio fined £32k for monkey chants. Ashley Cole fined £90k for a naughty tweet.

John Terry banned 4 games. Joey Barton banned 12 games for handbags.

Football is broken.



Glory is football

Top four or silverware? It's a question that always gets asked and once upon a time the latter would have always won the majority vote without a seconds thought because nobody chronicles a top four finish in their history unless they've finished first. But modern football scoffs at such romantic notions that cup finals mean more than a place in the Champions League. I've got to be honest, in terms of sustaining growth and being able to build towards a title challenge many (along with Levy/ENIC) would favour qualification to Europe's elite competition because the fiscal out weighs the white and blue ribbons on a piece of silver. Even though the former will never make great reading in the next version of the Opus.

Lifting a cup is a moment. Perhaps these moments are not as magical as they once were and can not stand the test of time like Ricky Villa has managed to do. But then that's always going to be in the eye of the beholder. The Carling Cup isn't the League Cup but you'd hardly disputed Woodgate's ball-to-head winner.

Going back to Ricky Villa, think about how iconic that moment still is. Along with say Gascoigne's free-kick in the semi-final. Even the '87 Cup final was a majestic occasion, be it a disappointing one. But even though time has changed how we perceive this competition, it still shouldn't be scoffed at. Even though technically speaking when I've prioritised CL over cup silverware I've done just that.

We (football fans) have changed so much that we actually try to validate why finishing 4th or 3rd matters more. Sad really. I've fallen victim to it. I'd still argue about the importance of CL but this close to a final, how can I possible not contradict myself? Those moments; they should be far more important than a league placement. The moments are what make football so great.

I still want CL.

An easier way to deal with this is to just admit that the question isn't relevant. As a supporter you want your side to win every game. That isn't possible. You'll never turn the chance of silverware down but equally understand the importance of being able to compete for the very same silverware (which today means being a top four side). During the Sky Sports dominated Top Four era, nobody (hardly) got a look in, so far apart was the quality and power of the teams qualifying for CL every season. That ilk of superiority might not repeat itself again but thanks to the short term loyalty and stop-gap/stepping stone philosophy of footballers, its sometimes impossible to avoid transition and rebuilding.

Perhaps it's easier to just live for the moments without the crushing pressures of what modern football has defined as the acceptable normality for 'success'.

We spent a long time wondering around aimlessly but we now have stability to aim for consistency and to compete season in and season out. We shouldn't lose sight of that but we should also not be so dismissive of the bread and butter building blocks that made football so special in the first place.

It's a shame we've lost focus in the league. We could have had CL wrapped up by now. Instead we're having to struggle through trying to find the misplaced momentum (it's not behind the sofa). Whether its lack of mental strength, rotation or mismanagement, there should be no need for team talks and inspirational speeches before facing Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final.

Sure, we've faltered a few times in the past at this stage. It's been way too long since we last graced a final (for this particular cup). It's this simple: Play with heart, desire and spirit. Wonderfully clichéd but these are the traits that set players and teams apart when the quality is level pegging. There's room for pride and belief in there as well. Although I'm not naive enough to think these traits are not fuelled by the individuals themselves as part of a well drilled and managed collective. Best players in their best positions, best formation and patience and astuteness with tactics.

Football really does look easy on paper. Form on the pitch is where it counts. We don't have much of that at the moment. My hope is we treat the semi-final like a cup final, like any cup game should be treated.

I can not be disparaging against a team that gives it everything. I want them to play the game like I would play it if I was blessed to wear the shirt I love.

Heart on sleeve, Tottenham. And when you're done with this there are five equally important ones in the league.



Dear everyone. Zip it up. Don't mention 'you know what'.


Some bits I missed yesterday.


The FA Letter

The Football Association have sent out letters to all of its managers asking them not to talk about the vacant England job meaning the journalists will have to ask relevant questions regarding team selections instead of citing Harry Redknapp every five seconds. Considering how its only ever Harry Redknapp's name that gets mentioned when the England job is spoken about, I get the distinctive feeling that a certain bald headed spectacled chairman has had a quiet word on the side with the big wigs at Soho Square and asked them to do him (and us) a favour. What with the inevitable on the cards in the summer. So on that bombshell, it's time for all of us to shut up shop and ignore it all until the season ends when it can restart with fireworks and hefty soundbites.

Redknapp and Levy

As if bloggers can be gagged (unless its a Thursday evening and I've paid Madam Majestic a grand to tie me up). Let's chat England job. Redknapp telling us that the chairman wants him to stay but no offer has been made yet (Harry not received a letter? No? Lost in the post?). No summer transfer war chest has been confirmed either. No bombshell here. Would be far easier to retain the manager, not rock the boat. At the same time, an upgrade will hardly be scoffed up if Harry forces our hand. A nice comfortable handover of a side that's taken 3rd place and the FA Cup would smooth things over nicely for the next man in charge.

Saha and the Gentleman's agreement

I love this one. Apparently Harry (he gets everywhere) and David Moyes agreed that when we played Everton, Saha would not make an appearance, not unless we were down to the bare bones.

"Harry told me if he is short of players he will play but if he is not he might not use him." - Moyes

Probably something that should not have been shared in public considering there is no legally binding contract (it's a gentleman's agreement, right?) and isn't permitted. This was upped and then removed from the Everton website when cited there.  If we start with two up front, expect him (Saha) to come off the bench. If we start with one up front, then Moyes will wont be nodding his head disparagingly with rolled up fist shaking towards Redknapp about something that wasn't even scribbled down and signed on a napkin.


Everton v Spurs match preview here.



Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day plucked out of Glory from this forum thread about Harry Redknapp talking out about the farce at OT and being threatened with an FA slap of the wrist for his ranting. With thanks to Danners 9 for the wise words.

One of the big issues after a game is dragging a player or manager in front of the camera to ask retarded questions, then being able to fine them if they speak out of turn, but making the referees untouchable.

Why should a manager or player be asked an emotive question after a controversial event and let the one who made the decision get away without the same questioning?

It should be a transparent sport, there shouldn't be the opportunity to cover up mistakes. The same scrutiny process should apply throughout

Unfortunately transparency is about as likely as Rio Ferdinand tweeting in Queens English.

And onwards we go.


Harry and England

In the aftermath of the England game the other night (did you watch it? lol if you did) one or two Spurs fans are looking just a little too far ahead into the future and are asking the question:

Harry for England? The actual message board question was 'Replacement for Harry?'. International break is over, right? Almost. Last word on it, I promise.

I'll ignore the 'who would replace him?' variation because that would be ridiculously premature and arguably redundant. And tbh, we won't be replacing him when/if it happens. We'll be upgrading. I would hope.

Going back to 'Harry for England' I'm going to go ahead and briefly cover this because it's Harry and he's our manager, rather than caring about the international scene (I'll do my best to humour that part).

England then. Pressure on Fabio, lack of viable English managerial options - it's an obvious conclusion being made by the bored - be it one that we shouldn't really be discussing or considering. Because the gaffer and ourselves have plenty to be concentrating on. Although some would say Harry is flirting so much with the idea of leading the Three Lions, that he's already got one eye on it, and thus, there's a very subtle degradation of focus on THFC. Not sure I quite believe that (stretching it a little).

Personally think the (England) pool of players we have isn't that great in terms of balance. We should just sacrifice the next 2/3 years and try and bring the yoof (some of which is excellent) through and build a new foundation. But there's time for that in football management games. Dropping players that the media want you to play even though for example the player(s) might be completely out of form and at the same time humiliated on the front pages is oh so quintessentially English. There's that and the fact that although our yoof is excellent - there are gaps in other prominent areas in the squad. Take the forward positions. We called up Kevin Davies. I rest my case.

So, for the sake of argument, let's just pretend the question was pertinent to the present. Harry - viable option or not?

If the FA had bollocks, perhaps, but take a look to the recent past. They never gave it to Big Sam (thank ****) because he would have been far too vocal and probably would have wanted to dismantle and rebuild the England set-up from top to bottom. Which is probably what needs to be done, just not with someone who introduces American Football tactics in the opposition box. Instead they went with the safe yes man choice of Steve McClaren. A man so scared of getting wet he used an over-sized umbrella to mug himself into the next century with. Fabio then followed and even one of the best modern day club managers - a man who has won everything domestically - is struggling with this poisoned chalice.

Harry has a reputation. Supposedly, allegedly, and all that. The press love him right? Sure they do, what with his infinite amount of sound-bites and his column in The Sun. And the fact he's not too shabby with the love-hugs and man management skills. But they would jump all over allegations and investigations because that's what they do and I reckon the FA would not want to risk the gutter press going all out to f*** them over. Unless there's been a clear-out of the Jurassic mentality possessed by the FA dinosaurs of old, with plenty of daring new-blooded hopefuls. I can't see a change this significant. Would be pleasantly shocked if I was wrong.

We've gone with a foreign manager (again) because we have no faith in the English ones. That's as daring as they've got thus far.

I guess it comes down to this: Is there another Englishman who could do the job?

There was something on Football Weekly (James Richardson's splendid podcast) this past Monday that cited (German I think) players who went on the lash at a club opening a few days before an International/club match - and over here in Blightly, the press were calling Hart a disgrace for getting pissed 7 days before last nights game. The footballers who went to the club opening - not so much a single word printed about it. Completely irrelevant to the media and the people. Just not important.

We're all guilty of the same head-shaking when we see our players roll out of a club smashed out their faces. The tabloids have turned it into an art-form. I can already see the NOTW gearing up for another one of their under-cover operations.

So does Harry want it?

Of course he does. He's said as much. It's no big secret. And if the media left him to manage, then perfecto. But that's just not going to happen. In fact, he's said it to people who have been quite happy to share said information (okay, so I've heard it second hand, and it's bordering on let's not dwell too much on this because it will take me months to wash off the dirt).

And telling everyone, be it directly or otherwise, endears himself to all that believe that he would do a grand job. You want something and tell people you want it when you know deep down there's no chance of getting it. The association made between Harry and the job is enough to feed his ego and keep us all talking. And that might be the only thing he's interested in.

I'm hoping all this it put to bed and he just concentrates on defining his legacy at club football by continuing our charge into an anchored Top 4 position for Spurs. More importantly, it's about leaving the club in a solid state so the hand-over is seamless when he does step down for whatever reason. No more transitional seasons please.

The only thing I'm interested in is Tottenham. Levy might be thinking contingency plans, but I'd hazard a wee guess that the Jan transfer window for a top class striker is weighing on his mind far more than tittle tattle message board discussions and tabloid gossip.

Okay, well that's it re: England. I'm done with it now.

Roll on Fulham.


MOTD - The irrepressible beast and the unmoveable object

by guest-blogger Tricky


Football; a lot of us watch it live, some of us listen to it and some of us have to be content with the ‘highlights’. But how much of a true representation is it and how do different media streams of the Beeb get their point across. And who chooses what gets missed out?

Well starting with Radio 5 Live it's exactly that (a true representation); on the spot, full coverage, all incident and aspect considered, often to the nth degree bordering on trivia quiz.

The Beebs live internet format is a relatively new, but in essence is simply a web based version of Ceefax (if you don’t know what that is just ask your dad, if you don’t know who your dad is give Jeremy Kyle a call) with more info.

But what of the much loved MOTD? After all condensing a 90 minute game into 11mins of highlights and 3 minutes of ‘analysis’ requires a lot of editing, but for some it is an institution. But surely the Beeb are an impartial neutral, able to report with objectivity and without bias. So if anyone can they can, right?

But then again this is a programme where - for what seems like eternity - they have employed two pundits who were given carte blanche to wax lyrical about their old clubs, so you have to question their bias in the first place on that point.

      Lawro and Hansen hard at work analysing

And the integrity of the new kids on the block? Well, I only have to ask what sort of genius would employ an irrepressible beast who has a ‘face for radio’ to help analyse the game? (Do they not know that I watch the repeats on a Sunday morning and have to eat breakfast sometimes faced with the gargoyle love child of ‘Sam the Eagle’ and Andi McDowell?)

So is MOTD a true representation of the game or it is edited to buggery with intentional bias?

Well, last Sunday I managed to watch the first half of Sunderland vs. Man City, and then listened to the second whilst in the car on 5 live. Now a certain Mr, Shaun Wright-Wright Phillips had, by all accounts, a woeful game and was the cause of the head shaking by Mancini who couldn’t believe how wasteful with his possession he had been, and then the radio covered an incident.

Now this incident bought into question the competence of the referee, (The radio 5 commentator said at the time the ref “bottled” making the correct decision which would have led to the dismissal of Wright-Wright Phillips) and how one moment could affect the course of a game.

For those that didn’t hear /see it; Born of frustration WWP effectively handled the ball whilst it was in play, already on a yellow and a goal down, the ref simply restarted and looked across to the bench as though he had been expecting a substitution to occur as his ‘get out of jail free card’. Sunderland can perhaps feel a little hard done by.

And so later on when watching MOTD2 I was interested to see, err, nothing. No reference to it, nada. There was time for a little montage of woeful shooting, but an actual incident that could have altered the context of the game. Not an iota of coverage at all. Nada, just an extra minute spent on the equalizer (not the late Edward Woodward) and how Adam Johnson might now be ‘a contender for the World cup squad.

So now, if you read the online match report on Beeb or watched the highlights you would be forgiven for thinking from the comments made on MOTD by the commentator that Adam Johnson’s inclusion was just a tactical change.

Now taking a step back from the ‘one game mentality’ for one moment, we all know that any given season could be said to be nothing more than a series of interconnected ‘incidents’, out of which both the myth of ‘what goes around’ and ‘the conspiracy theories’ are born.

They help form opinion, often about opposing clubs, and with a myriad of sources available who do we tend to believe? The journalists perhaps, after all they were there? But then they’re hardly without bias (just ask the reporters at the standard).

Consequently we all know people who dislike us, not for what we are, but for how we are portrayed, our team, our manager [yet another separate barrel of fish that one] and even our fans. And you can almost forgive some of them, because six different match reports could equally be from different games.

So having watched MOTD objectively I have some new conspiracy theories, time will tell how self fulfilling they become:

-    Is it now policy between now and May on MOTD to always show potential England players in a good light?

-    There must be a Rooney montage available for all end credits?

-    Each show should include the ‘kiss of death’ commentary that Rooney needs to ‘stay fit for the WC if we are to stand a chance’?

-    No wrong decisions by referees will be shown to undermine them (or at least our representatives at the summer WC, can’t think who they might be though)?

-    Do we now ignore the negative aspect of the national teams players, in order to help build up the inevitable furore and ‘national pride’ across the country, as we all believe that our players are without fault 100% of the time?

So what of Gerrard and his investigation by FA? There are those who seem to think that in a World Cup year certain players are ‘untouchable’, but it should make no difference, surely? But will it be ‘carpet and brush’ as in previous years or is this the next ‘Terrygate’? (edit: Spooky: FA have turned a blind eye much like the ref who was staring at the incident when it happened)

And what of the neutrals? Those of us who follow the game and for whom day to day banter with opposing fans in an office or out with friends and family is often based upon these half truths.

Well, as Day of the Triffics pt2 has shown (link to his rundown of Webb-isms from Blackburn match report) the fans remember the incidents, in their own way and from their perspective, so when you next watch MOTD maybe a healthy dose of cynicism wouldn’t go amiss.

For me, I will declare my bias accordingly, I still love MOTD, but then if anyone has read my biog Lineker is my childhood hero, so I’m 100% biased on this one.

And if you're looking for a new drinking game, try the ‘triffic game’ with Harry full pre- and post- match interviews, you’ll be on the floor in 90 seconds.