Friday, April 29, 2011

Desert Dispatch - April

Darting on and off the Naughty Step
By Royston  Snood in The Fox and Crown
Madcap Bastard Manchester City will today demand at least three explanations from striker and looseleaf pamphlet Mario Balotelli as to why he threw a dart at youth-team players at the club's Carrington training academy, why he winked at Rio Ferdinand, hurting the England defender’s feelings and why he allegedly cheated at Pictionary yesterday. The incidents all occurred about twenty minutes after Italy Football Federation president Giancarlo Abete offered these wise words to the parking ticket-inundated-sloppy-limbed-lothario-cum-footballer “He still has some problems and lacks a little stability. He needs to mature still. We hope he grows and that the focus is placed on his technical ability. If he doesn’t we will see both his feet hanging out of the new bridge over the Straights of Messina. With the boots still on".

FLUSTERED and BEWILDERED Bastard City Manager Roberto Mancini told reporters that he was planning to attempt to discipline City’s unruly BARMPOT striker. Mancini told reporters, “Look. I try. I try to speak. Err with him. He jass say he hate me, and when I try again he bite me here, my finger, jass here, like tha, Baaa!. Go off. Get away er off my finger, you pancake.”
The decision by Madcap Manchester City’s ANXIOUS management team to be firm with the Italian was taken after previous methods had proved futile. “Well I take hi silly hat away,” said Mancini “and I take away his discman an the err car key, but then he look at me with those big soup spoon eyes. When I say –eet’s business Mario, no more sheet – the bottom lip it start to move like this. “Give me car key,” he cry like baby with no rigatoni  and only fat mamma who feed him biscotti”. Then Brian Kidd he give him big hug.

Match report: Blackburn 0 Chanting Vile Bastard Cheats 1

As the smoke swirled around Ewood Park, it was very clear, very very clear what would be the story in the morning’s papers: the vile and tedious chanting from the away end. It was the 5th minute of the match, tiny David Silva had just clipped the bar with a rising volley of sumptuous execution, when it began as a throaty rumble, developed into audible menace and then cascaded down the terraces as sure as an avalanche in the silly season in Courcheval. “Mancini. He comes from Italee. Now he’s Man Citee”. Bret Pipefish in the Telegraph was first to explode: “The City fans are constructing songs of such utter simplicity, such lack of whoomph, such disregard for stanza, syntax and rhyme that they should be  brought to book. This is appalling, truly.” Ian Ladylike followed up in the Mail: “This is a crime to the English language. I urge all clubs to allocate giant ear mufflers and Balotelli hats to all entering a ground where these vile and disrespectful people might be constructing football songs of this ilk.”

Gutted, Filleted & Grilled Haddock Section
The monosyllabic rant delivered to the Sky faithful in last week’s TV Classico were the only words Potato Wedge Rooney could find at the time. It has been confirmed by his lawyers that Wayne Potato’s heavy and abrupt discharge of Swamp English after scoring three goals against West Ham, contained nearly 75% of the words he has stored between his windmill shaped ears. “Er, I refute the disrepute,” Rooney whispered through an interpretor. “Fock.”. Questioned on whether he would do the same again if he scored against Schalke, Potato said, “Kinda. Fock. And. Then. Boh. Me advisers,” then keeled over with blue smoke coming from his U.S.A. belt buckle. 

Rooney has allegedly used swear words before
SUPPORT FOR BELEAGURED POTATO Ninny Nani Nonney of Manchester United has voiced his support of Potato, claiming that his team-mates were already well accustomed to fighting the behemoths of unpopularity and injustice. Ninny Nani Nonney’s CULTURED and STEADY OUTBURST came as team-mate Potato celebrated a goal at West Ham by exploding in a cloud of volleyed expletives to a live tv audience watching through the very camera that he had just covered in salt and vinegar crisps flavoured phlegm. “It was nothing.” said Noncey. “When we score goals, the celebration is for us, not for fans or other people. But Wayne is a superstar and everyone focuses on him. Why was everybody listening to our private celebration? To quote Pythagoras, they should just fuck off in a long straight line and do one”

Whilst it was evident that Rooney clearly resorted to most if not all of his favourite words in the outburst, leaving his after-match interview completely lacking in any adjectives, pronouns or linking devices and only one reflexive verb (“yous can fock yourselves”). “He has clearly run out of clean words,” whispered Basil Rathbone of Kings College London. “It is a shameful way to end up. We want children watching to enjoy constructing meaningful heartfelt and evenly organised sentences – not to run around spouting the very first obscenity that comes into their heads,” said Margaret Teacup of Croxteth Verbal Support..

“We are willing to offer Wayne some coaching, and hopefully within a year or two we could see his vocabulary extend to perhaps seven or eight easily recognisable words. One day he might even leave the present tense behind and attempt a bit of hypothesis about the future of the Balkan region or how a bath plug might be useful in a hurricaine”
Potato has until 6pm today to contest the charge of bringing the English language into disrepute, though he will be required to demonstrate the sort of vocabulary that, when added to other simple devices, can create a sentence of up to six words.

Bagels & Meteorites Section
TO BE KING & CAPTAIN - Gareth Barry cuts the kind of menacing no-nonsense figure, with his jutting jaw, his cream and green cardigan and his smart white plimsoles with a blue stripe that you might expect to bump into on the set whilst filming a particularly frightening bit of Pirates of the Caribbean. He could easily be a hardman from the wrong side of the tracks, a Sopranos-style drug-gambler-pimp or a Cromwellian hard hat leader with porridge and spittle all down his front. "I will be the same player as I always am, I will be the same midfielder, I will be the same Gareth Barry," he squeaked in those Churchillian tones we have come to love and tremble in front of. "I am captain, I am leader, I am Gareth”, he finished before storming off for another of those little white chocolate eclairs that he likes so much.

Wet Wipes and Inner Tubes Section:
BRAZIL NEWS WITH ADDED SNIDEY BIT ABOUT MAN CITY: Rogerio Ceni has become the first goalkeeper to score 100 career goals after scoring v Corinthians, exactly 97 more than Bastard Manchester City striker Jo.

RAMOS TO JOIN ARSENAL Sergio Ramos, who celebrated Real’s Spanish cup success by dropping the King’s Cup off the top deck of the bus, after Real Madrid’s defeat of Tiki Taka Athletic, is being lined up by Arsenal coach Wengerboys Arsene. “Here at Arsenal there is very little likelihood of Ramos dropping any trophies at all,” a club spokesperson whispered.

Dabo recovers
“I have never given my side of the story, but the truth is that he started the fight and I finished it. Frankly, Ousmane Dabo is a little pussy. It's him who hit me from behind with his hand. When he did that, I hit him back, full in the face, around the eyes a bit, twice on the nose and then finished him off with a slap with a spade and a few kicks when he fell down. Nothing too tasty, one to the top of the head and a scuffed one to his nose. It happened just like that, bang, bang bang and it was over. But I am no monster. I don't like fighting, but it's human to defend yourself. I grew up in a street where, if someone stole a Malteser off you, you took a gun to their testicles. Fair’s fair. If I am attacked, I defend myself and when you fight, there are no rules. You pull my hair, I remove your dangly bits".
Barton shoots off a few rounds
"At the end of the practice game, the defendant continued to be aggressive towards Mr Dabo and shouted at him: 'You're fucking sh*te.' Barton walked towards the player and continued shouting and swearing, the court heard. 'In the words of Ousmane Dabo, “Barton was snarling at me like a dog with a dose of that terrible debilitating disease that makes them froth at the mouth and shit in their own dinner and I believed he might attack me.” He said he pushed Barton by the shoulders to get him out of his personal space but was then punched to the right of his face to the top of his head and in the genitalia, had his ear pulled off and a lump removed from his buttock and lost consciousness. Dabo was taken to hospital, where he was found to have a trauma injury with severe bruising to his eyelids. He could not sleep for a week and suffered miserable lack of form in City’s Bermuda Triangle area in the centre of the park. It got so bad, that even Giorgios Samaras looked reasonably capable alongside that mutt", whispered an onlooker.

Bluff and Thunder Section – WORLD CUP WORRIES
If Qatar float manufactured clouds filled with helium over their stadiums in order to bring ambient temperature levels down to something closer to bearable, will the mixed zone for post match interviews be filled with wailing Qatari dogs, as they will be the only creatures left on the planet that can hear the frequency that Stevie “Me” Gerrard is transmitting at? asks a worried supporter, Fred Whisk

Tactics Truck: by Ulysees Pickup in the Rothbury Tavern

Eat my tactics!
Manchester Utd versus Bastard Manchester City Analysis – For this ultra crucial game Mancini, normally quite a careful coach, opted for plain out and out caution. Unlike Lallio Del Nerio’s ultra-fragrant Palermo Serie C title winers in 1964 and also Bob Murphy’s strong-running Stromgodset Scandinavian Summer Cup winners of 1911, basically the onus falls heavily on the lynchpin, in this case Yaya Touré, to run around using his giant hips to keep the opposition at bay. Arm-flapping nonces tend to just bounce off and overweight Brazilian also-rans begin to look like so many bowls of badly made –and indeed lumpy - custard. In this match this ruse disarmed the opposition defence (Scholes became so unhinged he sank his studs into Zabaletta, Ferdinand pretended to play like his brother and Carrick disappeared down the tunnel to phone his Mum in South Shields for advice). This eventually led to City’s Touré gaining some momentum and-when that happens- you know to get right out of the way.

In a further development a private celebration at the end of the FA Cup semi final, when madcap striker Balotelli tried to share an intimate moment with some of the crowd, was disrupted by the pushing and shoving of Rio Ferdinand and Niny Nani Noncey. “Its not fair to make fun of us like that!” shouted Noncey.

It is thought that FA may be ready to COME DOWN REALLY QUITE HEAVILY on Shoddy City, who were clearly bringing the game into disrepute on a NUMBER OF DIFFERENT LEVELS, amongst which winning a game they were supposed to lose, rubbing noses in it in a sly manner and celebrating with undue glee and attention. Gary Neville, who throughout an exemplary career, always refused to demean other teams’ supporters, was said to be “blimmin furious” at the turn of events and “stunned and gutted” that Balotelli had acted with “SUCH AN OBVIOUS LACK OF CLASS....”

Tunnels & Spacehoppers
Mike Phelan is a man who the nation has come to love. Those tuning in looking for Newsnight sometimes think he might be a gardener or a some kind of special Olympics pool disinfector. Now we hear that he may be on the verge of losing his weekly slot giving us Sir Fergus’s opinions in little 12 second slots. Sir Fergus, you see, might be coming back to the BBC. Please add your name to the Save Mike Phelan Appeal at the bottom of the page.

The man who put the Ball In Manchester United's net
Hyperbole Section: (this section has temporarily been closed down after running out of exclamation marks due to an unexpected success in the recent FA cup semi final (!) Ooh there’s another one.

House & Home -  This month Steven Ireland shows us his unrivalled Guatemalan long haired Macaque baboon toilet seat covers, his Elspeth Corker Bohemian wall shavings and walks us around his new mock Greco-Roman wrestling amphi-theatre built specially in the garden of his flat in central Gateshead. We also talk about how his career has really taken off since arriving in the North East.

NEXT MONTH: Mario Balotelli Interview: “Parking Tickets, va fan culo”

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wembley Remembered

Last waltz with The Grim Reaper

Tears, mud and ruined shoes on the Road to Wembley Immortality


Trafalgar Square on a drab Saturday night in late May 1999. The afternoon sunshine, hot and oppressive, had already given way to a grey fug which had upset the pigeons and sent the tourists scuttling into the nearest Angus Steak House. Amongst these damp scenes the first Blues were arriving and setting up camp around the great feet of the lions on the square. All low-key enough to allow me to keep my own wretched promotion jitters under control. Later on we would bump into a dangerously in-form Johnny Waters, fresh from yet another plummet from the plinth after too many breathless renditions of Blue Moon. With nowhere to stay and the drunks of central London gathering to plunder his precious belongings (all the way from Haarlem, North Holland, with a marathon bar and a vest in a Xenos carrier bag) we took him with us and offered him a narrow berth in Earls Court instead. I was royally compensated for this minor act of charity by Johnny’s rendition of the sinking of the Queen Mary during his sleep. “Was there a scrap in here in the night?” I asked on the Saturday morning in the prehistoric setting of the dilapidated Hemel Hempstead express. Needless to say, Johnny knew of no fighting and had heard no dinosaurs farting during the short four-hour sleep.

As Blues flashed past in trains going the opposite way to us, some yanked at their shirts and seeing we were similarly attired pointed towards London and shrugged. It had been a long time since we invaded Wembley’s tired old precinct but we did –at that stage at least- know what we were doing. Hemel Hempstead was where our tickets were being looked after by the Prestwich & Whitefield branch and, remembering my trip to Bradford the season before, when a lightly inebriated Don ("Raat, mate, zraaa tiggot") finally handed my ticket over to me at 3.05 outside Valley Parade, I was taking nothing for granted. None of us knew Wembley well enough to suggest a meeting point anyway. The last time I had been there, I was trying to be as angst-ridden as Morrissey and Mark Lillis was trying to be as goals-ridden as Neil Young. Neither of us cut a particularly neat figure and we had lost a bizarre game  5-4 to Chelsea. The Prestwich mob were to be found draped in various states of dysfunction around the chintz of the Hemel Hempstead Travel Inn, a gem of a place residing alongside Macdonald’s, just two kilometres past the middle of nowhere. These places are a testament to travelling reps everywhere and the propensity of the British to put up with Laura Ashley curtains and luke warm UHT milk on their Frosties. In this particular den of iniquity the fat lady in the breakfast room got our order wrong and then told us with her Watford twang “we’re reds anyway”, as if the seeming lack of cell tissue between her ears could be explained away by one simple phrase. So that was why she’d burnt our toast.....Having hidden our sausages in the Laura Ashley curtains for her to find later, we stalled a minute on the forecourt in case the Prestwich coach (circa Casey Jones) needed a push and  then made our way back to our date with destiny: British Rail.

Back at Kings Cross, a mixture between Nam and a backdrop from El Alamein, Myriad Blues were shuffling into the grey morning trying to avoid the broken down tramps and wind-assisted litter that makes London such a popular European capital. Joined by John, who’d staggered in off the York train, we settled into the Friar & Firkin to chew on a few pints of Stella and get our heads fuzzy enough to attempt a visit to the Venue of Wet Hotdogs. The major talking point still seemed to be Johnny’s attempt at eine kleine Nachtmuzik and we wondered whether a noise like 40,000 Blues cheering a last minute winner could be a lucky omen, even if it had come out of Johnny’s trousers in the middle of the previous night. The Stella was making me nervous and I was soon spending more time in the toilets than at the table, a glitch that continued when we headed for the trains. Next stop Wembley, bladder withstanding. 

It is obligatory to go the wrong way on the London underground. It is not that it is unduly confusing. Signs are many and they seem to say the right things. It is the sheer weight of people and, on this occasion, the weight of my bladder, which was by now humming again like a hammock with an elephant in it, that sent us off towards Epping Forest by mistake. It takes a matter of seconds to realise and, on this occasion, not much longer to rectify: put your head out the doors and follow the noise. A medieval scene of hamburger breath and all the wrinklies in Kent enveloped us with each stop. With carriages packed to the rafters, windows steaming up rapidly and a beer mist hanging over the throng, our train trundled unevenly towards its glorious destination. A pocket of Kents in jester hats (there’s original) and blue and black shirts with the creases still in tried to shout up for Gillingham and were drowned by our own ferocious cacophony. With both my bladder and my voice going already, this was clearly going to be a tough afternoon. Wembley Way, a squalid drag of discount stores and salmonella tents at the best of times, was looking particularly lacklustre as we reached its concourse. The heaving mass of humanity is always a sight to behold but the crumbling old heap at the top of the slope should have been swept away by the Taylor Report years ago.

Another damp grey tribute to the movers and shakers of the architecture world. The same man who had designed the fabulous Bescott Stadium, seemed to have been responsible for the burger van where John took his life in his hands for the sake of his rumbling intestine. Squinting at the price list he also realised that he’d left a 75 quid pair of glasses in the pub, so the day was getting predictably expensive already!

With our grip on reality slipping, we made it up the stairs just in time for a firework display and
a view of the sodden turf. Wembley. Let the nightmare begin. Looking back, the game started as a blur and lost focus from there. We started yelling our heads off and didn’t stop until the 81st minute. By then, according to the eight papers I read the next day, we had had a first minute penalty appeal turned down (don’t remember), hit the post (saw that one) and generally had most of the possession (err). With less than ten minutes to go, the Gillingham attack (this really feels hopeless recounting the epic moments of a
match I will never ever forget and having to use the word “Gillingham”) bore down on what was now a weaker City defence (Vaughan on for the mountainous Morrison, who had won everything that came at him), cut through the middle and Asaba scored high into the net. To be fair to them, they had looked handy going forward in a Barnes-Wallace sort of way, and despite their agricultural tactics now found themselves
with 9 minutes to hang on. We rallied and on 86 minutes, in traditional City fightback style, went 2 down. This was a moment when most of us got a feeling in the pits of our stomachs as the brawn of Kent danced in front of their new-found fans, that we had just eaten somebody’s carelessly discarded lawnmower. Head in hands time. Three minutes to go. Just under half the stadium awash with blue and black. Some noise at last from the Gillingham support. When I saw Gareth Taylor coming on it felt like someone was trying to get the lawnmower started. Not him surely. With Bishop also on for a curiously out-of-sorts Brown, things were looking distinctly stool coloured. As the clocks hit full time Kevin Horlock´s daisy cutter sloshed through the wet and into the net. Instinctively we were on our feet again. I feel ashamed (now I know what happened) to say I did not really feel like emptying my lungs one more time, but the sound began to grow and we went for it again. The man with the road sign said 5 more minutes and that really got us going. John and I had now moved way down to the front just left of the VIP area to take up our new seats, vacated by some of the lads and lasses now flooding back in again, having been told of the miraculous goings on by the hot dog people outside. The Alamo re-enactment brought its unbelievable, drama-drenched fruit in the last of the ref’s five extra minutes with Goater´s bulk getting in the way of attempted clearances and Dickov nipping in on the edge of the box. It could have gone anywhere of course, but left Dickov´s rain-soaked boot and soared straight and true into the top of the Gillingham net. Cue the sort of pandemonium not seen since Charlton Athletic visited Maine Road all those years ago. How must those fans at the other end have felt as the City support went off its head en masse? How many minutes elapsed before we were facing the right way again? The match was over by the time I had regained composure, but maybe I was a little over-exuberant in my celebration. Normally a level-headed enough sort of bloke, having hugged anyone in my way I had gone head long over the barriers into the bit below and still have great streaks of yellow paint across my boots to prove the height of my trajectory. If I had wet myself in the process it couldn’t have been more spectacular. The fella alongside looked like he had. There are those moments watching football where your whole life and philosophy towards it are summed up in a flash. Here we were, all together, on the brink of yet another Olympian-sized dose of humble pie and we had turned it round in a fashion that still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up now. It was the confirmation from our maverick Blues that we were right to keep the faith, that it can’t all be black, that such a massive weight of hope and support has to bring something sometime. The lawn mower in my stomach had been replaced by archangels in suspenders trying to climb into my pants with their harps. 

I go back to my stack of creased newspapers for memories of extra time. I remember little of it, save a Dickov header which could have won it for us. To think I had said to my companions “its penalties isn’t it?” halfway through the second half. How right I was, but how far off with the method of reaching them.

Gillingham looked out on their feet; their support had fallen deadly silent again. Our end (and sides) (and, for that matter, my end and sides) were in tumult. Despite the necessity of watching the penalties through cupped hands, they progressed in a manner that was tense but, thanks to a deadly combination of Nicky Weaver’s huge physical presence and a deafening crescendo from the Blues fans, never necessitated anything more than clenched buttocks and a lot of jumping up and down. This in itself is a tricky combination. Try it  next time you're watching City at Wembley. The noise was dragging their penalties all over the place. If ears were bleeding high up where we were standing, it was hardly surprising that the opposition, shell-shocked in any case, could hardly walk forward to place the ball on the spot. The crescendo of howling clearly left them with no stomach whatsoever for this final indignity. And so it was that we too could play our part in this dramatic theatre. With unrequited blind faith, tainted love, stretched patience and empty bank accounts producing overwhelming logic to give up the drug and take up hedge trimming, Weaver sent us into orbit one last time. It would be months before any of us come down again.

“The Grim Reaper left Wembley with Gillingham under his arm” Mark Hodkinson wrote in the Times the next day. He had looked at us all that afternoon, right between the eyes, as he has done so often over the past tew years. Standing as firm as our quivering legs could hold us, we had, with our undying conviction and our  searing onion breath, blown him clean away.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Parallel Lines

April 4th 1981

City's pre-occupied and energy-sapped players entered the field for the last game before the semi-final match-up with overwhelming favourites and treble-chasing Ipswich Town. There had been a raft of selection difficulties, but the main one surrounded Nicky Reid and Tommy Booth. Did we want energy and commitment or experience and nous? In truth, did we really want to go ahead with this doom-laden match at all? Like today, some of us were so consumed by the nervous anticipation of the event, that sleep, eating and walking in straight lines had become almost impossible tasks.

Unlike today, however, Blues supporters had not been waiting thirty-something years to see some meaningful trophy action, but it was nevertheless still a time of extreme tension, expectation and no little trepidation. Cityitis, you see, is not a new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination. So we hauled ourselves down to Carrow Road....

A supine, nervous and bedraggled performance followed, giving us the distinct impression that we would be blown away by Bobby Robson's terrific trophy chasers. Ipswich's side was packed with internationals: Burley, Beattie, Mills, Wark, Mariner; Talbot. In serious disarray, we were clearly in very big trouble indeed. Ipswich were chasing Liverpool hard for the title, were on the brink of the UEFA Cup final (which they would win in a goal-drenched final with AZ67 Alkmaar) and were our super-confident opponents for the semi-final of the FA Cup. We were very obviously in some serious soup.

The week that followed featured various rumblings about team selection, player capability and commitment plus widescale worries about the inevitable humiliation that awaited us at Villa Park. For those of us antique enough to remember what happened next, we will forever live happy in the shadow of our beloved "Typical City". We will never, or rarely, bemoan sod's law, lack of luck or impending death by a thousand strokes, because we are fully aware what this club is capable of producing before our disbelieving eyes. When the soul is week and the mind fuzzy, there is always a chance of redemption.

For the house built on sand is still upright after all these years. It wobbles from time to time. It has crooked walls and is covered in disrespectful grafiti, but it still stands tall and whilst it does, anything is possible. Enjoy your weekend, fellow sufferers.

SEMI-FINAL DAY: The Holte End is a sea of sky blue as the disbelievers begin to believe again

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Desert Dispatch - March

Snood Rage By Clare Snood in Rockhampton
Wrong supper drink
Then he stepped away manfully  and...toooosh! He was off down the tunnel as fast as you could say Tagliatelle Matriciana, a small gaggle of arm-waving advisers trailing in his wake. Then the moment of glory. Snood flying through the air like a discarded mortar shell, looping, cart-wheeling until it landed on the hard corridor tiles, alone, creased, abused and as lifeless as any piece of decorative/protective warm winter cloth could be. This was just straight knock out football. “I Jass say Knock out,” Roberto Mancini later stated. “Knock. Out.”. Egil Cuthbertz is Honorary Don in charge of scientific development at the University of Biology and Small Sprats at Malmo University and describes the phenomenon thus: the blood rushes around the edges of the snood causing what we call a strangulation effect on the brain cells in the lower pirinthium. Basically this means that a certain part of the brain governing logic, sideways movement and the correct ordering of chicken with rice is put out of action, disabling the owner of the brain/snood from correct and proper thinking. Depending where he or she is at the time of the air loss, it could lead to sudden falling down, jerking leg syndrome or a quick trip home with erroneously ordered pie and Vimto.
Bagels & Meteorites Section
The Player of theYear (POW) shortlist has been shortlisted, we can exclusively reveal. There was a mistake in the original list and, after brief consultation with the league leaders, we have the honour of re-publishing it. It reads thus: Vidic, Van der Sar, Nani, Giggs, Scholes, Hernandez. The winner will be announced on 14th April. and will of course be Gary Neville this year.
Wet Wipes and Inner Tubes Section:
Literally imprisoned
Colin Firth, nominated for Best Actor for his part in The King’s Speech just  pipped Yarmalenko of Dinamo Kyiv at the glittering awards ceremony hosted by Dame Jimmy Hill. Commentator and cultural icon James Redknapp said later “Yarmalenko has literally exploded the myth that Ukrainers cannot perform at this level. He has literally acted his socks clean off.”. In other news independent film maker Paulo Scholes was shortlisted for his cameo in “Hackfest”, a macabre short film about the final dying moments of Arsenal’s long painful quest for credibility, as they lost again at the Theatre of Dooms in amongst a scurry of well placed mistimed tackles from the producer himself.
Bluff and Thunder Section
Evans Is Just Not That Kind of Player –
from our special correspondent in Didsbury, Arthur Tarpaulin
In the wake of the unfortunate and slightly mistimed tackle allegedly carried out on Bolton’s Stuart Holden by straight-up Jonny Evans, which opened a can of worms and also the Bolton winger’s knee, Sir Fergus has stated that his tough tackling no-nonsense defender almost certainly is the target of a BBC-lead witch-hunt. “The foot’s a bit high, aye, but not near the thigh, its as easy as pie, one in the eye, and no need to cry. Now gae on an shite”, the knight of the realm said through an interpreter.
Tactics Truck: by Ulysees Pickup in the Rothbury Tavern

Far right of pic, you can just see Kolarov getting on the bus
Chelsea 2 Bastard Manchester City 0 - Analysis – For this crucial game Mancini, normally a slightly cautious coach, erred instead on the side of caution. With the stunningly flexible 4-1-1-0-0.-1-1-1-2. This has been attempted before in Luc Gavroche’s fragrant St Etienne side of 1983 and also Bobo Balkovitch’s awe-inspiring Lokomotiv Leipzig Trieste Summer Cup winners of 1931. Basically the onus falls heavily on the frontman, in this case Edward Dzeko, to run almost continually along the halfway line from one touchline to the other, flapping his arms like a distressed chicken. This disarms and humiliates the opposition defence (Terry was caught on more than one occasion doubled up laughing, Ashley Cole likewise pointing and looking puzzled). Whilst this is happening the overlapping fullback – in this case the super dangerous shooting machine Kolarov – should motor up the left (if he’s paying attention) into considerable space left behind by the confused and lightly inebriated Ivanovich. Unfortunately, in practice, what happened was this: Kolarov was facing in the wrong direction when he woke up (Micah Richards shouting at him), and by the time this simple error was eleviated, the Serb dynamo was on the number 23 bus halfway down Shoreditch Road. This eventually lead to City’s demise and a 2-0 reverse.
House & Home -  This month Steven Ireland shows us his unrivalled Tajiki mongoose skin pyjama bottoms, his Gorko Carabaccio renaissance glove drawer and walks us around his palatial new pink stone-washed mock Georgian townhouse in central Gateshead, where the next exciting chapter of his career is already well underway. That's well underway. He also shows us his stomach whilst out on the lash, but that’s another story.

Other Tedious Stuff

Poets and Lyricists