Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Colossus of Leeds

Usually I expect us to blow everyone away at this level. Weren't confident tonight though. No, no. Now Beausejour's gone to the retail park in Wigan to play some football for 90 mins before popping next door to have a Pizza Hut, it's resulted in us being without a left winger. 

Hughton opted to shift one of the tika-taka-trio out there, some people said Fahey was wide left, some said Gomis, all I knows is that neither is carrying the ball and offering an outlet. That was the first point of concern.

Like one of my heroes in life, Lee the Baggie, I've always been a fan of wingers who collect the ball and take a gamble, get to the byline and whip a cross in. 

They stretch the game, they relieve pressure on your defence by moving the ball up field, they invite lunges and increase the chance of you getting a penalty. You know, that's why I defend Pennant, Stan, Julian Gray and De Ridder with every fibre of being, while the pigs look on and scoff, shoving truffles in their gobs in between praising McSheffrey.

The other point of concern was Zigic upfront as the one, in the 4-5-1 formation that in-Houghton-we-trust picked.

Before you condemn me as a balti pie-licking block elevener, spitting bits of crust into your hair when they ironically cheer Zigic for winning headers. Let me say, I 'aint like that.

I like the guy and wouldn't slag him off in the real world where we dwell, I just think - to borrow Paddy from Big Brother's catchphrase -  he's away with the fairies and he's not coming back.

If you were to look inside Zigic's mind during a game, you'd witness a scene very much like one of those black and white 1930's Disney cartoons where a skull-faced Mickey Mouse sails on a Steam Boat and wanks off a cow.

A surreal creepy vortex.

Has anyone ever heard Zigic speak?

He walks around the pitch stoned out of his face, with that perma-fixed grin smacked across his rubbery lips.

When he stepped up to take the penalty against Sporting Braga you knew he was gonna miss, who the hell decided to give Zigic the penalty? That's as responsible as A2B radio cars signing up Lee Hughes to work night shifts.

He strolls around often giving the ball away, conceding fouls with hilarious slow motion tackles, and can be anonymous for large periods of the game. But then again, he'll win you a match out of the blue.

And that's why I love Zigic. He's a total lunatic who's incompetent for 90% of the time, but he's our incompetent lunatic. And often that bumblin' and a'stumblin' brings about loads of goals, not just for himself either - the poor opposition defenders don't know how to handle him.

I'm sure that's why Curtis Davies keeps scoring, because defenders drift towards Zigic on set-pieces and end up becoming static with confusion.

And ol' Ziggy himself seems to have a knack of scoring in the big games.

He can't walk in East London ever again as he beasts West Ham every time he faces them, and he sent the Millwall fans into a destructive rage a few weeks ago with his match winning input. If ever he wants pie and mash or a stray dog, he's gonna have to go elsewhere.

Remember the last minute goals against United and Stoke last year? And who can forget that cup final header?

So.....we hadn't a left winger, and we had to rely on the haphazard nature of Zigic against Leeds tonight, predictions, like the Italian cruise captain, were out the window.

I d'aint go to Leeds because I'm one of these unemployed students that you hear about in the news, them unruly types throwing bricks at coppers in riots, them what need national service and that. So I didn't see it. But let's face it, if you're reading this, you're not doing so in the hope of gleaning an insightful match report. Also! Being a Championship game, there weren't streams, so I had to 'Tom Ross' it.
Verb: To Tom Ross it: Locking oneself in a darkened room and listening to BRMB's commentary which is a cacophony of screams and heart-stopping wailing. Similar sounds to that of a 14th century torture chamber

It's like how I imagine it were to be a blind man in the blitz. 
You can't see what's happening, but you hear the screams and the terror and you're powerless to escape.
I listened to that wireless of screams for 90 minutes. 

It shed 5 years off my life, but it transpired that my fears for the result were misplaced. After a 'meh' first half, Blues only went crazy and hit Leeds for four, FOUR, we won 1-4, meaning that we've now struck 17 goals in the last 4 games.

Zigic got.....all four goals. The 7 foot man whose head is in the clouds, literally and mentally, wrought havoc amongst the Leeds defence. A colossal performance from the colossus of Leeds.

All the bottle jobs around us once again slipped up, the driver of the blue machine clasped the gear stick and yanked it into 5th, the unstoppable entity powered into 4th spot with still a game in hand.

West Ham, Saints and Cardiff are motionless daisies before the blue bulldozer, awaiting a certain fate. They know it. You smell the polleny fear.

And with 2nd placed Southampton visiting Fortress St Andrews on Satdee, you'd be sipping tea with Zigic and the fairies in the garden of madness if you wrote our automatic chances off just yet. 

Monday, 30 January 2012


I met a traveller from an ancient land
    who said 'four vast and empty sheds
    stand in Aston.


Near them, in the stands
Half cut, an ugly visage lies, whose massive nose
and wrinkled face and ginger hair
Tell that it's owner did like a drink

But yet survives, stamped on those lifeless fans

The Randy that mocked them and the Barry that left.
And on their pedestal these words appear...

'Our name is Villa, best team in the 2nd half of the league

 Look on our works ye mighty and despair'

....nothing beside remains.

Round the decay
of the trophy room, boundless and bare

The lone and empty stands stretch far away...

Rowett& Notts_Blue

Marsyas Samba

[Above: Steve Kean clings onto Samba for dear life; sapping the talent's lifeforce].

Marsyas was known throughout Ancient Greece as being unrivalled, peerless in playing the flute. His music moved men to cry and lured women to bed, the trees danced and the rocks roared at ol'Marsyas' music. Life was steady, until that nagging phenomena that troubles every man started to take hold and unsettle Marsyas - ambition.

The God Apollo was the deity of music, no mortal could compete with Marsyas' flute playing, could one of the Gods? Marsyas wondered, and wondered until he deigned to challenge Apollo to a contest. It were to be officiated by the muses, biased cows that they were.

Apollo and Marsyas fluted hard, hard as one can flute, and they were pretty well matched until Apollo pulled out an piss-ant's trick and played the flute upside down whilst hanging in the air. 

Marsyas couldn't ape that, he's just your man from down the street. The muses jumped up in unison to declare Apollo the winner, and Marsyas was punished for daring to challenge the Gods, for daring to dream, he was flayed alive in a cave, Apollo nailed his skin to a pine tree as a warning to others. And Marsyas' family and friends wept, wept, and wept, their tears forming the river 'Marsyas' in Phrygia - modern day Turkey.

The Ancient Greeks didn't feel much pity for Marsyas, he got what he deserved for daring to think he was better than his 'station'. How dare he challenge his Gods. Who does he think he is? The Gods are our employers, until our life contract is up.

But I say, fair play to Marsyas, for striving to be.

Fast forward four thousand years and you'll hear the same views down your pub about Samba. 'Who does he think he is?', 'How dare he challenge his club', 'The Venkeys are his employers, until his contract is up.'

Chris Samba wants out of Blackburn. The nation's greatest clubs are keen for his services, they tantalise with open treasure chests of trinkets and glory. 

After six seasons toiling under the dark, grey, Blackburn sky, at the wooden eyesore devoid of life, where the empty seats whistle in the cold northern air; coupled with no other noise but the tedious, monotonous beating of that ghastly drum. Madness can kick in.

Ewood, situated in the shadowy abyss of Blackburn, sludge and pies gather on every work surface and the cold silhouetted terraced houses spill out onto the smoggy streets where the bag-faced street-children dwell...can we blame Samba for wanting the other?

The people in the street whisper venom: 'He's on x, y, and z a week, where's the loyalty, if it were me job, I'd say no!?'

A footballer's time in the Sun is but a blink of the eye. After a while man desires a successful legacy rather than material wealth.

Samba has accrued all the silver in the West, but he has nothing to show for it. And now death comes for him. He wants to make one last stand to mark his name down in history.

Who are you to deny such a man? You chattering Northerners? Can you be so spiteful?

Blackburn have spited Samba and told the Gods he's not for sale. Samba is a broken man, a man who looked on glory but had it blocked by a fat Scottish guy who stepped in view.

Samba admits he's not sure he can play with the same level of passion as he once did. The chattering 'Northerns' are fuming. 

But if you worked in Spar selling vegetables, and the BBC came in-store and offered you a radio show, and your Spar boss refused to release you, could you once again hand over sprouts to Mrs Lynch with the same glint in your eye? Or would you be soured with regret and sprouty bitterness?

You get but one life, to make yourself the best you can be. Samba has devoted a footballing age to an unambitious Blackburn, and now he merely wants to part ways and realise his talents. Let him go Blackburn. Let him free.

Or else I doubt the banks of the River Darwin could contain the tears of the friends and family of Samba. The man who dared to get ideas above his station. Those tear-filled banks will overflow, and there's nothing worse than wet pies and sludge.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Nacho-Chomping Nights

[Above: United plastics in replica shirts enjoy cheering on their team from the comfort of the bar]

Blues just won 4-0 away at Sheffield United in the FA cup and strung together a 13 pass move for the final goal. That.....never happens, or if it does happen, it happens with the same frequency as a certain ex-manager buying or loaning in a flair player, and then playing him. Which, as we all painfully came to realise, is a rare occurrence.

Fantastic news then that the ITV were to show all the FA cup highlights on terrestrial tv - meaning we could sit back, open a few cans and watch Houghton's sexy football beam into our eyeballs. 

Because....a high-quality, four goal FA cup tie between two teams hailing from two of the biggest cities in the UK would command some degree of representation on the ITV's flagship show, wouldn't it?

Well, it might have commanded respect but it didn't get it. Oh no my friends, no, not on your nelly.

We were treated to hour-long footage of games everybody with a face had seen already [as these games had been aired on live tv]; time then stood still, everything slowed down to half the normal speed as Leicester and Swindon were analysed in scrumptious detail. 

Paulo Di Canio was given half the show just in case he uttered something a bit naughty in the post match interview, tee hee, he's so charismatic when he's slamming the tea lady's head with a car door because she used sweeteners instead of sugar in his beverage, what a cad!

And with about 2 minutes to spare, the host [that middle aged guy with the teeth who fronted the ITV digital's doomed football coverage] said something along the lines of:

 'And after the break we'll round up the rest of the games' 

What he meant to say of course was:

'Switch off now if you like, we're gonna quickly show the 'any old shite' before we run a competition and go to bed'.

But Blues/Sheff Utd wasn't any old shite, it was good, apparently. And had on display some real feats of sporting skill and ability, and it was the bloody highest scoring game of the round thus far.

No, the game between a team from Birmingham and a team from Sheffield [two areas consisting of 4 million people] got 30 seconds of muffled footage, and even then the ITV didn't opt to use the commentator but instead had their depressed man in a cupboard spurt out some retrospective nonsense in between contemplating his own existence.

Well, I were angry. Ok not angry, but maybe a bit sad.

On the Internet that they have these days, loads of Blues fans were complaining and many theories were being banded about ranging from the mental to the Stevedog as to why the ITV could be so cruel.

It's quite simple in my eyes. The show, like all football shows, is geared up for the plastics.

You've seen them. Yeh? The plastics? You've seen them in the bars and the pubs. Fat men in replica shirts frantically shoving nachos in their gobs, their fingers dripping with grease. They snarl contempt as they watch their team win its 76th League cup. It's acceptable.

Then they leave the pub and go home and log on the Internet to argue about whether Fergie should stay or go. Their ill-informed opinions enthused with Jeff Stelling stats.
'Carrick's rubbish' they spit, 'He only passes sidewards'.

The ITV's goal show, and any other goal show, is made exclusively for them. 

They don't want to see Birmingham and Sheffield, who cares if there's four goals and captivating play? They want to watch highlights of a game they streamed this morning, and they want to watch it again, and again.....and again....and forever and now.

Maybe you can be too hard on them. You can't really, but I needed to throw in an alternative view for the purposes of this article, maybe you can be too hard on them, I mean...many plastics I know come from broken homes, they grew up without a dad.

The plastics are lost ghost children forever wandering the night desert.

Without a father figure getting you into football, the young immature mind will of course always choose success and glory

Can we blame a 10 year old kid in a single mom household for being mesmerised by Beckham and Giggs? Perhaps not, perhaps yes.

Can we hate them for their weakness of mind?


But pity them, for they'll never know that feeling of being amongst your people, watching your unfashionables win their first cup in 125 years, against the odds. Turning to your dad and watching tears run down his broken, once fierce, face.

Leonardio Di Caprio in the Hollywood Film Troy once said: 'The God's envy us for our mortality, every moment on earth is heightened because it could be our last'.

Such is the journey of supporting your home town club. Such is the beauty of it. You might win a cup now, but savour it, for there's every chance that the next 30 years will see you being walloped relentlessly by Stockport, Halifax and co.

And ultimately that notion, that feeling of unexpected triumph is greater than being a fat plastic with access to never-ending footage of today's goals .

Let them have their Nacho-Chomping nights, there's so much more out there.