Saturday, July 19, 2008

Kaka for Brazil (v Croatia), 13 June 2006

Remember when Peter Kenyon asserted that "it is in the best interests of Chelsea to be self-sufficient" and that "it is not prudent to run a football club on the basis of a benefactor building up a big debt-stream"? That's right, they were going to be self-sufficient from 2010.

Apparently, this is best served by them spunking £79.3 million on Brazilian midfielder Kaka (on top of the £8m they have spent on Deco and £17m on Jose Boswinga).

Chelsea made just over £190m in revenue in 2008.

I'm no mathematician, but when you've paid everyone's wages etc, there can't be nearly £100m for new signings, surely?

Self-sufficient my arse. Good job the Russian retains deep pockets....

Saturday, July 12, 2008

David Mitchell for Australia (v Israel), 8 October 1985

There's a nice article on the Guardian website right now written by excellent and talented British comic David Mitchell about how he doesn't care for football all that much.

The reason I mention it is not for the content of the piece (as lighthearted and amusing as it is) but for the comments that the Guardian's fine readership have left.

I wonder why you'd bother writing an 875 word piece when amongst your comments you get:

"I like peepshow but seriously grow some nuts."

I laughed out loud when I read that, and I still can't wipe the smile off my face. It's possibly the least perceptive bit of commentary I have ever seen...

(a propos nothing the spectacularly surreal and genius Mitchell and Webb "Cheesoid" sketch is here)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jo for CSKA Moscow (v Inter Milan), 23 October 2007

So, Manchester City have confirmed the club record £18m signing of Jo.

Rumours that Mark Hughes is planning to add £5m signing Bradley, £3m rated Hannah and £10m stunner Rachel to his Eastlands line-up have today been denied by the club. In a statement, a club official confirmed that City were assembling a squad to "reach for the stars" and they were hoping that Hughes would "bring it [their previous success] all back". Jo himself said that he had "never had a dream come true" before, that was was a "natural" goalscorer and that there "ain't no party like an Eastlands party".

More to follow.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Junior Lewis for Hull City (v Chesterfield), 1 February 2005

We may have commented on this before (here and here) but, hilariously, it has happened again and so deserves (yet) another mention.

Peter Taylor has once again signed Junior Lewis.

Lewis has now worked with Taylor at 8 clubs and the ex-England manager's regular signing of the (frankly rubbish) midfielder has gone beyond a joke. I like Ian's theory that Taylor's actually his dad (allegedly, clearly this is a theory/joke, don't anyone get upset) as I can't think of any other reason for this preposterous decade long faith....

[thanks to Ian for the link]

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Fernando Torres for Spain (v Germany), 29 June 2008


So I maybe once or twice stated quite categorically that Spain didn't have the mental strength or team ethic to win the European Championships.

Hmmm. It sppears they were much better than I expected. Well done to them - I don't begrudge them a win as there has rarely been a country whose international trophy haul belies the talent they have been able to draw on (except for Holland and to a lesser extent England, I suppose). Clearly they have some good players, and the introduction of (Brazilian) Marcos Senna seems to have been the glue that held the side together this time.

Was it a good tournament? I'm not sure it was any better or worse than previous Championships to be honest. There were some nice moments - the Turks "never say die" attitude was a delight, as was the Dutch's early promise but ultimately it petered out when the knockout stages began.

One thing I am in entire agreement with Martin Samuel about, though, is the format for the tournament. Sometime in 2002 (to accommodate teams based either in South Korea or in Japan) the format was tweaked so teams in the same half of the draw were able to meet each other twice before the Final.

For example, Turkey had to play Brazil in the group stages in 2002 and also in the semi-final. This time around Russia faced the Spanish twice in both group stage and semi-final.

There should be no way that a time has to face another more than once unless the trophy itself is at stake. Clearly it is possible two teams might face each other twice in any given tournament but this should never be allowed to happen until the final itself. Changing the format again to ensure this is the case shouldn't take much, and considering the tournament is about to be expanded to 24 teams anyway (a ridiculous idea which will dilute further the quality of the competition - when UEFA has 53 members it means that almost half will end up at the Finals) it should be near the top opf the agenda when the tournament schedule is designed.

In the meantime, congratulations to Spain - worthy winners.