Friday, 31 December 2010

Window Of Opportunity?

Transfer window time. Leave it open and the cold draft of Premier League reality blows through you and some poor chairmen start to eye the hard pavement beneath with some fondness.

Using the odd hunch, some inside information and a load of old bollox (in other words, the Lawro way) here's my thoughts on the January to come. And beyond ins ome cases.

Having analysed where his young guns are going wrong, Arsene beefs up his midfield with three more Eastern Europeans, Arshicky, Roshavin, and Tippitappovich. He buys a new centre-back too – the Frenchman Laissez-Faire.

Gerard Houllier welcomes Liverpool to Villa Park with a team comprised of baa-lambs. It’s a goalless draw by the way. Stephen Ireland, bought from Man City for £8 million (or £10 a sulk) is sold to WWFC (that’s not Wolves that’s Whoever We Fucking Can).

Delighted to be at Villa isn't he?

Gerard looks to invest in some proven goalscoring talent, but unfortunately Michael Owen damages a tendon while emptying the dishwasher and Villa continue to struggle in the wake of....

Alex McLeish decides against any reckless spending in January. Which doesn’t half piss off Mrs. McLeish. Birmingham City however are keen for more of a cutting edge upfront so they plump for a man who can always be relied upon to finish his meal, Yakubu.

The chicken farmers rebut allegations that they know nowt about football after selecting their new management team of Glenn Cockerill and Chick Young. Out of retirement come Hen-ning Berg and Egg-il Olsen. After a good stuffing at Sunderland, and a bit of scratching around at home to Liverpool, the owners insist they are confident of success in the FA Coop.

Ian Holloway is confident that Blackpool will survive the drop and the jolly Bristolian’s turd-polishing continues as new signings Chris Iwelumo and Ade Akinbiyi score twice each as the Seasiders end January by defeating Man United.

Owen Coyle’s incredibly white snarling teeth remain unexplained. But he continues to encourage his team to add Routes Two and Three – unless it’s twenty minutes to go and you’re a goal down in which case bung it up to Big Kev and cross your fingers.

Ancelotti is pretty clear that he’s not going after anyone in the transfer window, although Chelsea have signed up four highly promising foetuses from under the noses of rivals Manchester United.

Selling Yakubu has removed several pounds off the wage bill and infinite stones off the bench. Moyes trawls the world for a reliable goalscorer and ends up playing Phil Neville up front with Cahill.

Sparky’s already mentioned he’s going to bag himself a new number nine until Zamora returns, and as luck would have it, Wayne Rooney becomes available. But Sparky says he’s looking for a goalscorer and opts for the laidback Roque Saga Cruise.

Roque in a familiar pose

Woy is welieved of the weins at Wiverpoow and while the new owners search desperately for a saviour they install a temporary Messiah in the form of King Kenny Dalglish. It proves hard to sign anyone for the crisis club but even harder to get rid of people. (Apart from Reina who goes to Man United in a shower of Koppite saliva). No one seems to want Poulsen, Ngog, Lucas, Babel, Konchesky, Meireles, etc, etc....wonder why?

Mankini goes from strength to strength. City put in a bid for Villa – that’s Aston Villa, the whole lot of ‘em bar Ireland. And Roberto is forced to pay thousands of pounds for new pipes and slippers for the front three of Balotelli, Jo and Adebayor. Plus of course the satnav tag for Tevez.

(Someone beat them for Chrissakes.) Fergie bags Beppe from Liverpool but sells Michael Carrick to a major department store’s shop window and Owen Hargreaves to medical science.

Pardew is replaced in January by a plate of jellied eels. The eels look to improve the Geordies’ defence by stealing Jamie Carragher from Anfield in the hope that his presence will make Sol Campbell look pacy. In the meantime Ashley wins a high court injunction forbidding Andy Carroll to go within four hundred yards of Eastlands – or Harry Redknapp’s house.

Tony Pulis meets Mark Hughes for handshaking practice, which descends into an argument about who’s the most Welsh. Meanwhile Pulis buys ina bit more creativity to Stoke’s central midfield with the purchase of Vince Grella. Yep. Vince Grella.

Steve Bruce’s team continue to beat the good’uns and lose to the bad’uns and so he too goes on the hunt for the manager’s holy grail – the goalscorer. Darren Bent is appalled until he realises that his latest hot streak has gone as cold as Aberdonian ice-cream and his team are shedding points like a hedgehog with eczema.

Well Spurs keep on putting a smile on everyone’s face. Arry tries to lure Carroll from Newcastle by offering a part-exchange show-pony in the form of Bentley or Krancjar. No one’s biting. Or elbowing. Or headbutting. And Spurs keep all eleven on the pitch for a change.

Di Matteo is desperate to shore up his static defence and replaces his entire defence with four bags of cement. Fortunately Fulham are their first opponents and Andy Johnson is unable to find a way past the stationary objects and the Baggies win 1-0.

Avram spends a fortune in the transfer window and by February the investment in the American genetic technology consultancy pays off when Grant picks all ten have successfully cloned Scott Parkers and the Irons win comfortably. Capello, by the way, doesn't fancy any one of them.

Roberto Martinez’s scouts have been scouring the four corners of the globe once more and unearthed an Amazonian Indian with a sweet left peg, a Congolese forest pygmy who’s surprisingly good in the air (the obverse of Peter Crouch, effectively) and a Filipino nanny to help Charles N’Zogbia get his toys back in his pram.


Mick McCarthy keeps up his “nobbut middlin’” blather like he were some monosyllabic Dales farmer from All Creatures Great and Small. And no one comes. And everyone stays. And none of ‘em get any credit cos they’s just ever so ‘umble Wolves.

Reckon we'll mek it til end of May Mr. 'Erriot?

And in cricket, Graeme Swann explains that the reason for the sprinkler dance is that it illustrates how we pissed all over the Aussies. Tsk!

And I stick by my prediction that Chelsea win the Premier League. Somehow. It may be that Liverpool won’t finish third, Villa won’t end up 8th, or Blackpool 20th. In fact I reckon we can forget them ideas. Please.

Oh and the Boro?... erm...

Well Happy *!?%ing New Year to the rest of you.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Christmas Pressies

It’s Christmas and it’s time for Robbo-ho-ho to hand out some pressies to the great, the good and bloody awful. Obviously most of these won’t arrive in time. And given the Post Office’s price hike on stamps. I’ve decided to save some dosh and send a lot of them by minicab.

To Sir Alex Ferguson: a really comfy chair like the one Jimmy Saville used to have on Jim’ll Fix It. You’ll be able to press a button and whatever you require – a glass of red, a prawn sandwich, a hairdryer – will appear magically from within the arms of the chair. And you’ll never need to get up again. In other words can’t you just eff off and let some dopy numpty like O’Neill make a complete Horlicks of the job?

To Sepp Blatter: I thought of honey, or Demerara sugar, or maple syrup but let’s face you’ve had a year-long glut of sweeteners so how about a night out at G.A.Y. with your Qatari hombres?

"Oooh, look at me! What a great jessie I am!"

To Audley Harrison: a job in Milletts – you’ll be in the tent department, Audley, keeping a close eye on the canvass.

To Big Sam Allardyce: a telescope. That way you can keep an eye on your new side’s forward passes.

To Avram Grant: I don’t reckon Av does Christmas but just because he avoids Santa’s sack doesn’t mean that Sullivan n Gold are going to be so neglectful. I reckon they’ll give him a few months rest back home.

To Lee Westwood: a major, which will come a little easier this year as I’m giving Tiger Woods a majorette.

Arsene Wenger: a big nuggety bastard of a midfielder: I’d even go so far as Lee Cattermole. Or anyone whose spine is a tad stronger than the stem of a dandelion.

Fabio Capello: well, the obvious thing’d be an English-Italian phrasebook. I’d like to add to that some magic mushroom tea just so that his imagination gets a little run-out and he stops using his substitute bench as a replica 11 for the one he starts a game with.

Mitchell Johnson: The Steve Harmison Book Of Fast Bowling. Take some tips off from Steve’s trusty sat-nav. We can’t be having Mitch finding a bit of form at this stage in the series.

Carlos Tevez: a snood cum nijab so we don’t have to look at his gritted teeth every time he pulls on a Man City shirt.

Wayne Rooney: a DVD of Algeria-England from the World Cup. See if he can sit through it without booing his tits off by the end.

FIFA: if they can’t give us the bloody World Cup – and let’s face it we could host it tomorrow but that doesn’t leave many palms to grease does it? – then they can give us some goal-line technology. You know... so we end up with a fair result...? Oh wait, sorry, you’re FIFA! What’s fairness got to do with owt?

Howard Webb: an orange card – it’s halfway between a yellow and a red and it’s the card you wave at a Dutchman when he assaults his opponent in front of the whole world.

Arjen Robben: a right foot.

Alan Pardew: a Geordie accent. You can do a right shite job at NUFC and with one of them you can get away with it. Talking of which....

Alan Shearer: a new set of shirts cos them white cuffs and collars every week make him look like he’s trying just a bit too hard. (I mean for Chrissake I get more uppity about his outfits than I do about that Rachel Riley on Countdown, who they keep dressing like some incredibly numerate street-walker. I mean it’s tough getting a seven-letter winner when you’re fighting off a lob-on.)

"All right, duckie! Fancy a consonant?"

Adrian Chiles: a rest. I’ve never seen anyone less up for an evening kick-off in my whole life. You could put a nail bomb under his chair and he’d still mutter lugubriously ‘well clearly there’s someone here who’s not that keen on watching the footy.’

Mike Hussey: I’d like to give him a laser pen – directly into his unblinking eyes just so we can get the bleeder out before he’s stopped England in their tracks again.

AP McCoy/Phil Taylor: a job swap as they’ve neither of them owt to prove in their own sports and I think the Power could probably coax a nag over the Grand National fences. And I reckon McCoy could get a nine-dart leg if he was on horseback at the time. (Incidentally – thoroughly enjoyed Sports Personality of the Year and it’s good to see the top two get the credit their transparent genius deserved.)

Colin Montgomerie: can he hand back his ‘Coach of the Year’ award at SPOTY? He didn’t coach anyone. He just picked some players to go and play golf. He hardly found a group of golfing Fergie fledgelings and melded them into a formidable dozen. Still Capello won it last year. Go figure.

David Beckham: a lovely fluffy cloud and a buffed-up halo so he can sit in his rightful place on the right-hand side of God (aka Bobby Charlton). I’m sorry but Becks gets a Lifetime Achievement Award at the same age as Giggs just wins the normal thing. He’s 35. When he’s slowly knocked off the FA one by one and held Cameron’s bollocks in a vice till he gives us back some playing-fields and footy coaches then I’m not sure he deserves the unflinching adoration of the nation. Don’t get me wrong – I like the bloke – it’s just that he’s not Mahatma frigging Gandhi just yet, is he?

Besides which he continues to give James Corden kudos and that’s not on.

And finally Tony Mowbray. A bottle of Tanqueray. And may that be the only import from North of the border that you bother yourself with for the next three years. Oh and a fucking miracle.

Middlesbrough's first team get some pre-Christmas training in

Happy Christmas one and all - except you Sepp.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Car-lost his bottle?

Anyone know what’s up with Carlos Tevez? Too many mirrors in his house perhaps? Can’t get a comfy enough snood? Or is he fed up of being outstropped by Mario Balotelli?

Or is it something a little deeper? Not that I reckon that the Argentinian has any more depth than all the other shallow mercenaries that pull on a sky blue jersey these days.

Rodney Marsh said on the radio on Sunday that Carlos is on £286,000 a week tax free. There’s another loophole just waiting to be closed Mr. Osborne. (I reckon I’ve worked out what really annoys me about George – that puffy face and ghostly white skin makes him look like the Prince Regent/George IV. If he’s not a direct descendant from that unforking family tree of royalty then I’m an overlapping left-back.)

"Silver spoon? I've got a whole blasted silver service up my backside, wot, wot!"

Any road, suffice to say Tevez’s dispute is not about money. And frankly as far as I can tell Man City look like they’ve dropped their trousers and bent over the reception desk for the young gaucho.

If he really is fretting for the wife and kids then for Chrissakes fly ‘em over. Yes, I know it’s cold but hellfire, Carlos, you can’t even walk onto a football pitch without looking like you’re one last push away from pipping Amundsen to the Pole so I’m sure you can find plenty of winter wear for the nipper and the lass.

Or, on your wages, you could build them a tropical theme park like some big fuck-off Eden Project for homesick Latin American housewifes and put her in there for the cold snap.

Or – as has been allowed by the club that contains ‘certain executives’ – you can meet up with them in Tenerife. That’s right. City really have been treating you ill.

First of all they buy you from their neighbours and use you as a poster boy. And sorry City fans but if Fergie had’ve indulged him the way they have at Eastlands he’d still be there, don’t you worry.

They made him the skipper. They let him pop back home every now and then. They don’t fine the little pillock when he bad-mouths the manager in front of the whole bleeding world.

Now Tevez is a popular footballer cos he’s got talent, yes, but more than that he’s one of them ones that, if I can borrow from the phrase-book of Simon Cowell, ‘always gives 1000%’. (Incidentally, here’s a piece of insight to make you loathe Cowell even more. You just know that every time he has to give the casting vote on some poor muppet’s future – and the crowd are baying and he’s waiting and waiting like some badly-crapped public school Buddha – you just know he’s getting a semi on? Shudder.)

Now we all like a tryer. It’s the reason Becks stayed in the hearts of the fans of clubs he played for – cos he never coasted. Football fans in this country can forgive greed, stupidity and being just a bit bleeding shite but what we can’t forgive is laziness. Which is why Berbatov gets such grief. And why I used to throw bits of pastry at Mark Viduka every now and then (I reckon most of it went in his gob).

Carlos Tevez is not lazy. At times he hunts down the ball like a dense Jack Russell puppy. If you’re a central defender with the ball at your feet, I reckon you can always hear him coming by the under-the-breath growling and the faint spray of canine saliva.

Most clubs would be delighted to have him pulling on their jersey.

The trouble with your footballer is you have to spend more than 90 minutes a week with them. And clearly Carlos is a difficult cove to have around the place.

His statement has attempted to spare all the important people from a slagging. Strangely enough Mancini, who he saw eye to eye with in an all too World Wrestling Federation way at home to Bolton the other week, is not one of his problems.

"You're right, Carlos, if only more of the team were like you, eh?"

Less surprisingly Sheikh Mansour – the only bloke at Citeh who pips Tevez on the monthly income gauge - is also complimented.

He resents the implications about Joorabchian’s role in all this and insists he’s a free-thinking individual. He says in his statement: "I hugely resent suggestions that I have been unduly influenced by others. I wanted to leave in the summer, but was convinced to return.”

So you haven’t been unduly influenced but someone convinced you to stay in the summer..? Hmmm.

Put simply I’m not quite sure what he’s expecting from his employers right now. He’s signed a contract. Yes it involves not being in Argentina much. Yes, it involves trying to get along with a bunch of people and players whose motivations for being at the club are a little suspect, frankly. And yes if Nigel de Jong was up against me in your average 5-a-side kick about I’d be dressed up like and ice-hockey goaltender. Or I’d be in the changing-room sobbing cos I wanted to see my ickle baby.

But really, sunshine, you’ve been here for four years, the terraces at Eastlands resound to the sound of your name and quite frankly when you’re on so much wonga it’s like you win Deal or No Deal every flaming week I think it might be possible to get over a bit of discomfort and carry on.

"If you don't like blues ar reds, you're going to be very disappointed"

Like he said just a week ago: "A sacrifice has to be made when you make a commitment like I have done with City and it is something I am going to see through.

"Once that job is done I will have plenty of time with my kids."

Well now you didn’t really mean any of that, did you son? And while I’m a bit smirky about you so blatantly ripping the piss out of the noisy neighbours, I reckon City are right not to sell. On balance, I’d say the gaucho is being bloody ridiculous.

Monday, 6 December 2010

The Gospel According to St. James's

The Gospel According to St. James's (another part)

Also taken from the Book of Ruth-less

And from the Park of St. James had there come much grief and Gate of Gallows Humour for they had taken unto themselves false prophets for many years.

They had listed to the Shepherd that didst scorn their womenfolk and couldst not pick a decent coach even if it had National Express writ upon it.

To the Lard Ashley didst they conspire thence, and lo, he did neck full pints on terraces high and mixed amongst the merry host e’en though he did talk and hawk his wares like a two-bit chav.

'I am the Lard and I move in mysterious ways my blunders to perform'

And unto them brought He the prodigal King Kev, who had much loitered on couches of punditry and made witless predictions uponst the quality of David Batty’s nerve.

And woe alack the day, Kev was but the old-born King and one visit from the Wise Man didst send him fleeing like a big girl’s blouse in a strong cross-wind.

Yea, and thence unto the Angel of the North ventured the Lard and so sorely tempted was The Shearer that he did set amongst the brainless sheep of the baa-codes with hope in his heart and an absolute dunce as his assistant.

But The Shearer couldst not save them. And sat he back between the Lawro and the Hansen – all three of them the Blather, the Glum and the Mostly Boast –

And still did the Terraces of Toon run rank with rivers of tears – and twas the second tier to which they ran - as the Lard Ashley didst lead them into the Shadow of the Valley of Debt.

And yet to some there appeared a star in the North-East. Yea, but there were no shepherds to follow that star, nor Wise men still hanging around cos the Lard was a mate. And yet still the star glimmered.

For it was told that there was somewhere Stable. And so twas that left with no other fucking option they found a new King. Chris. Jesus! Chris?

For he was there and had been there all along. Under their overbunged noses. Lying betweenst the Lard and the Lambias.

All about him the beasts were quiet; the Ass and the Ox (or Joey and Sol as we now know them). No sound there came until, upon the midnight air came there a tune for the wholly Chris. Aye, a Carroll. A Chris-must Carroll with a good movement in the middle and a lovely finish.

And unto the new-found Chris many more were born anew: and the Toon Army did redouble its faith. For The Chris was amongst them, both he and Kevin the First Noel-an. Dispatched were the Mackem and the Villain.

And Chris didst restore vision to those that had been blind (not least the lad Coloccini). And lo didst he entreat his followers to cast their nets like another side and lo the nets didst bulge with goals. And the success-starved Toonites didst dine out on this news, for Chris could make a lot of pretty average fare seem enough to feed the 50,000. For in short he had turned their Whine into Slaughter.

And Chris offered his home to the lost and lowly, the forgotten and forlorn: to the Dyer and the Krul; to the Perch and the Gosling; to Alan Smith and Xisco (no, not the twat who did The Thong Song).

And yet still the Lard looked down from over a stack of ever-multiplying chins and though he saw that it was good (well half-good any road) he was sore afraid that no one was talking about Newcastle much any more.

For, thought he, what is this Kingdom of St.James if it is not a complete and utter shambles. Why tis a nothingness. Tis a veil of mid-table mediocrity and fuck me, if I’d’ve wanted that I’d have brung back Allardyce.

And yeah though the mild and popular Chris didst unto his disciples give a severe bollocking after they didst unto the Dorrans and the Odemwingie grant the freedom of the Hawthorns, twas not still enough to save him.

And the Portliest Pirate didst call him in and did wash his hands of him. And alas Chris was cast out into the wilderness, for like Sir Bobby he knew not what he had done.

‘Lard, Lard, why hast thou forsaken me?’

And to the Twitter went the disciples to spread the Word: and yea even those that didst always think the Geordie Bottlers were a bit of a laughing stock didst bellow unto the tops of their voices.

And over his last cuppa Chris turned to his disciples and was unsurprised to find that the Shithead Lard Ashley had entrusted all he despised to St. Peter of Beardsley. (Steve Stone - as in dropping like a...)