Friday, 24 January 2014

The Ballad of Moyes

Once there was a fire
When the Mighty Hairdryer
Had the dream to aspire
For more

Yea once was a brute
And a low-flying boot
And each man would shoot
And score

Once, twas fantastic,
And if things got drastic
Then time grew elastic
For you

And last-minute winners
'Gainst right old dog's dinners
Turned groaners to grinners,

Yea the devils made merry
Opponents they'd bury
(Like that slipshod John Terry):
The worst!

Ruud, Ronnie and Scholes
Scored all sorts of goals
But now, mate, the roles
Are reversed.

The Great Govan God
(Or Puce-Faced Old Sod)
Did summat quite odd -
He left

But before he could go
He left all in the know
That they should not look quite so

But there in his wake
Stood a pasty young rake
Who would certainly make
Them feel bleak.

Said he to his boys:
"Look! It's David Moyes!
Make some real fuckin' noise!"
(Not a squeak).

Not a red-shirt called out
How the Rooney did pout:
"Well he's won fuckin' nowt"
And 'twas true.

Said Robin Van Persie
"He did well by the Mersey
But he's just isn't Fergie"

Of course time, it will tell
But it didn't start well
Did nae buy, did nae sell
What's he doing?

And the Theatre of Dreams
Fell apart at the seams
'Mongst the clamour of screams
And of booing.

Somewhere up in the stand
Poor old Moyesy is scanned
And the veteran's hand
Becomes fist

And the truth is revealed
As defence and midfield
All too easily yield:
Here's a list.

Vidic is finished
Evra's diminished
And Rio looks pished
When he's picked

Welbeck's a no-no
Kagawa's so-so
And young Chicarito
Is licked.

They wail: "We're in tatters!"
"Even Sunderland twat us!"
"Twenty-seven Juan Matas
Can't save us!"

"There's no talent, no class,
Not a player who can pass!"
"And Fellaini's an arse -
We need favours!"

"So Fergie don't sit
In the prawn sandwich bit
Like you don't give a shit -
While you're here...

"We need a revival
It's just bloody vital
This lot won the title
Last year!"

"You'll say what do we know?
But over some vino
Ask Jose Mourinho
He's fine!"

But they watch the club fall
And they bark and they bawl
And real fuckwits call
Nine nine nine.

(Meanwhile, cross the nation
Folk sing in elation
For the Dark Domination
Is done

Yes we thank God for Moyes
And the sheer lack of poise
Of his witless young boys.
Oh what fun!)

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Ronaldo Rules

Congratulations Cristiano Ronaldo on your Golden Ball. He now has a pair. Hurrah! And whereas Lionel Messi always has that slightly bemused look when surrounded by admirers - as if he were some furtive woodland creature who gets thrust suddenly into bright sunlight - CR7 simply bathes in adulation. Adulation is his shower gel.

I'm not sure there's been a vainer footballer. Okay Nani has a statue of himself in his drive way (standing up, I believe, when clearly the statue should be sat on a bench) but Cristiano's got a whole fuck-off museum. He's only 28. He's not exactly an archaeological artefact.

The museum is full of all things Cristiano. Me, I thought the waxwork of him had too small an Adam's apple, meself. What this lad's got is more your Adam's grapefruit.

Of course there's no doubt the lad deserves it (not the museum, the award) because he is an extraordinarily good footballer. I used to call him the Gelled Tumbler, but these days he's worked out that staying on his feet is much more profitable. Drogba improved when he learned this fact. Perhaps young Adnan Januzaj will bear it in mind. (Unless he really wants to play for England - I mean the last 18-year old I can remember falling over that easily was.. oh, um, Michael Owen. Ahem.)

So Messi misses out, mainly because he has had an injury. Thing is - and whisper this as I don't want it getting out - I actually think Ronaldo is marginally the better player. Before you all whinge your tits off, let me remind you that this is a bit like deciding which of the three stars in the Orion's belt you prefer.

Now I adore the twinkling toes and dazzling control of Lionel. Sometimes it's as if the ball is following him like a lovelorn puppy. And I love his humility too. Obviously he's got self-confidence, but he's not particularly the Big I-am. Anyone who allows a child to cut his hair using a bowl and toy scissors can hardly be classified as vain. (I'm not sure that's true but look at the evidence. Even Sepp Blatter has suggested that Cristiano spends too much time at the hairdresser's. Although looking at the old, fat, bald dictator. there may be a touch of envy in there.)

But here's the thing. Barca is built around Messi. The national team never has been, quite. Messi is brilliant with Barca and yet is unable to make Argentina tick. You might argue that Argentina is so blessed with brilliance that he need not dominate in the same way as did his predecessor Maradona, who single-handed steered his team to victory in 1986. Okay, God helped a little.

Now the Big-Headed Curator of His Own Museum is a different case. His solo rescue mission for Portugal in the play-off with Sweden was extraordinary. He is their one world-class player. We are often told Rooney is that for England. Since becoming old enough to buy himself a pint, I've not particularly noticed it. For Portugal to get anywhere they need him Ronaldo in tip-top form. And when it counted, he was.

But there's more to it than that. In his early days at United, Ronaldo was Show-Pony Incarnate. He had more step-overs than a pedestrian on a crowded beach, but there was no end-product. Nani, in other words.

All he's done since is worked his golden balls off. These days it's hard to think of anything he can't do. He makes a hot knife through butter look distinctly slow. He's as good in the air as Andy Carroll, but more stable on a bar stool. He pretty much invented his own free-kick so that he can make a dead-ball dip and swerve and veer like a jetfighter flown by an inattentive monkey.

And more than that, he's hard as nails, takes plenty of stick, and still gets up and goes for some more. He loves a bit of a good tackle himself, they say. Or is that just a rumour? Indeed the only thing not going for him is simply the fact that he doesn't need me or anyone else to tell him all this.

But if that's the best we can criticise him for, then so what? If I was that good, I'd be flaming insufferable.

Of course if he was English we'd probably treat him with a lot of suspicion. That museum thing, the falling over, the modelling in your pants all the time. Your own brand of clothing. We don't need that. All right Becks did it, but we didn't like him much for quite a time until it turned out he was actually quite a nice chap and ever so 'umble with it.

So, yes, it's a bit galling sometimes when CR7 (and that is bloody annoying as an abbreviation isn't it? Makes him sound like not so much a man as a specially constructed super cyborg) - it's galling when CR7 struts around like he's the best thing to come out of Portugal since them little vanilla custard tart thingummies. He's nowhere near that good.

And if we overlook the Special/Happy One's credentials - and ignore the pioneering work of Bartholomew Diaz, Ferdinand Magellan and Henry the Navigator - you might decide he was like the top Portuguese ever.

Except, except... there was one bloke who passed away just recently who by all accounts had every one of the qualities that Ronaldo has. Plus he was a lovely fella. It was good that the current World Footballer of the Year was able to dedicate the award to Eusebio. And he sort of meant it, too.

Meanwhile Cristiano plans to win it next year. If Portugal make any progress in Brazil in the summer, it will be for only one reason. I do think he's the best player in the world. And quite conceivably of all time.

Just don't tell him I said that.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Picking Over The Ashes

Okay I've been resisting even mentioning it for a couple of months but I wouldn't be human if I didn't want to say something about the cricket. (I do mention the footy later). Although in this case cricket is a term as loose as an English batsman's forward defensive.

I've read various articles cataloguing where it went wrong for England this winter. Not one of them has suggested that the self-centred twots that pissed on the Oval pitch last summer just got a little bit too complacent for their own good.

Mitchell Johnson was quick, yes, but he sprayed it around like, well, like a celebrating Englishman's urine. Clarke was a top batter, yes, but he's got a bad back so we'll pick four - count 'em, FOUR - lanky pacemen to bowl at him and he'll run and away and hide. Haddin's old. Harris gets injured. Warner's a nutter, Watson's an lbw in waiting.

We haven't got any time to practise while we're out there but who cares? We beat them 3-0 at home.  We're great, they're crap.

Wait, wasn't that 3-0 based on scraping home in one, the rain saving us in another, and the fact that Ian Bell was unbelievably good all summer. None of this seemed to matter a fig.

There were mitigating factors. Trott's departure didn't help but clearly the man needed to go and his admission of mental anguish was the only courageous act by an England player all series.

At the opposite end of the spectrum you have the comedy spin king - Tuffers' heir apparent - scampering off the sinking ship with his trousers round his ankles, the yellow streak down his back visible to all. No mental breakdown for Swanny. No he'd just had enough and was bowling a bit shit. Compare that to Matt Prior - having a dreadful series himself but still around to support those that replaced him.

Now I have been told - and I believe it to be true - that cricket is a game for vertebrates. You need a backbone. The wafts and swipes and tossed-off tonks that saw batsman after batsman surrender just stick so horribly in the craw that I'd like to see them all join Swanny on the after-dinner circuit and leave some less self-satisfied bastards in charge.

So something has to be done. Now of course George Osborne would tell you the job's only half-done. Let me finish ravaging the poor and then we'll have a proper economy in place.

And indeed Weed has said he's staying (a Weed is an unwanted Flower). Cook looked catatonic by the end both as batsman and skipper but who else is there? Pietersen gets loads of flak but frankly he's not the only one to have been awful and at least he got a few (and I mean a few) on the board before he gave it all away.

Not one of the three replacement six-and-a-half footers was ready to bowl. Only Broad and Stokes can claim to have tasted anything like success. I'm surprised someone hasn't shouted 'FUCKING SHAMBLES'. Oops I just did.

It's debatable whether Flower is the man to steer the pedalo SS England out of choppy waters. He took us there didn't he? But there's no doubt that whoever comes in, you can't just jettison half the team when their records speak for themselves. Cook, Pietersen, Bell, Anderson and Broad have to stay. For now. The rest of it is entirely up for grabs.

Grab a blindfold, grab a pin, get out your Wisdens and pick now!!!

The cricket management don't have Fat Sam's get out of jail free card. There's not even an injury list to concern Andy Flower. Allardyce's threadbare selection for the Cup thrashing at Forest was par for the course. He has a League Cup semi-final and Premier League survival to think about. Hammers fans are just fortunate that their manager picked eleven human beings - I'm sure Sam was hoping to field a couple of lambs and a guinea-pig.

Allardyce has the avowed support of Sullivan and Gold - and I don't know about you but that would give me the creeps. It's like being kissed by Michael Corleone. But even his troubles don't quite match up to Moyes's at Man U.

Since I tipped them for 4th, United have rediscovered their early season form. Delightfully enough. It doesn't help that Van Persie's out and Rooney's not fit. But what's worse - and to be fair Fergie papered over this crack quite brilliantly - is the midfield is just a vacancy.

Cleverley? Anderson? Giggs? Fletcher - welcome back but..? Fellaini, when he returns, well he's not exactly creative, except with his elbows. Compare that with the top three's midfields: Ozil, Ramsey, Cazorla, Wilshere; Toure, Silva, Nasri, Navas; Hazard, Oscar, Willian, Mata. And they don't all get a start each week.

In the case of Chelsea and Arsenal, if the out-and-out forward creates or takes something that's a bonus. The midfield is the team. Moyes's side has resorted to lumping it forward more just to escape the errant flicks of a Cleverley or the tortured toe-pokes from Kagawa.

Moyes doesn't see him buying anyone in the transfer window. If he can't pick up someone to tweak the central area - and I suggest Dereen Brown might not be a bad place to start - then goodbye Champions League.

Tonight they're at Sunderland. Not a place to fear. I suspect if they don't get out of there with a win, the Govan Beetroot will be out of the stands and under a dug-out roof before too long. For Fergie, it must be like watching a stranger crunching the gears on your beloved old Ferrari.

But stop moaning United fans. It's not God-given, after all. And besides, you're making the rest of us smile and that's got to be worth something hasn't it?