Category Archives: football


Euro 2012 – dreaming about you.

Now that was a nice distraction. All discussions around bail-outs and currency and interest rates and EU/IMF were concentrated on events on the football pitch in Poland and Ukraine over the past month. From the kick-off in Poland to the trophy being lifted in Ukraine all European matters revolved around football in my house. My 3 kids were driven to distraction by my demented warblings about the political situation in Ukraine. European history was discussed around whatever game took place. Russia and Poland – let’s talk about Glasnost – England v France – gentle rivalry across the channel – Germany v well anyone really and World War 2 raised its head. And then there was the Spanish – my son’s project on Spain became about Homage to Catalonia and how it was notable that the Spanish team don’t really sing the country’s national anthem (maybe like the Irish rugby team they could make one up……)
But what about the football?? I coach an Under 11’s team and have been drilling into them for the past couple of years the importance of passing the ball and trying to keep possession. Goalkeeper must roll the ball out and players must rotate all positions. If you don’t start a game one week you sure as hell will be starting the following one. It is all about learning the game and how to play as a team for these lads. Of course that means they make mistakes (the best way to learn) and they score less goals than the opposition in some games. But every game they do something worthwhile and it doesn’t involve any mirror image of the way Ireland or England played in the tournament.

How disappointing were the Irish and English national teams? I felt Ireland were going to have a torrid time as the three teams in our group were so superior but I had hoped that we could achieve something notable against them. I suppose we did this, but for all the wrong reasons. Least passes? Ireland, least shots on target? Ireland, most goals conceded? Ireland. Our neighbours across the Sea may have fared better with results (they finished the tournament unbeaten) but their football was awful. It was a worrying trend this season when Chelsea won the Champions League. I am all for the underdog but can’t accept Chelsea being the poor relation of Bayern Munich or Barcelona. They played a bad brand of football and the English national team played like them in the Euros. Thankfully Italy put paid to theat style.

Imagine saying that that about Italy, but they were great to watch – as were Spain. Every pass was a joy for me. I can now prepare for pre-season training with what will be the Under 12’s safe in the knowledge that it is ok to pass, it’ll pay dividends in the end. Stay true..

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Blackpool v West Ham – Championship Playoff 2012

Do moral victories mean anything? I’m here on the train watching the beautiful countryside intersect with electrical pylons throughout middle England and I just can’t get the ill taste out of my mouth. It is certainly not the ill taste of food as the fare today has been exemplary. Planet organic after the game was preceded by some vegan cake from bumblebee and vegan treats from vx in kings cross. The food today has helped temper the feeling after watch west ham beat my beloved Blackpool today. Yep I’m biased, I have my tangerine memorabilia on as I type this but damn did west ham play awful football. I have attended many many games throughout my 2scoreandfour years and west ham were a reminder of some seasons going to the Carlisle grounds to see my other seaside team, bray wanderers.

Goalkeeper kickouts typified it today. When England international rob green put the ball down at the edge of his six yard box every one of his team mates congregated in a 20 yard circle each side of the half way line and towards one side. It was like the space used before a game to play 3 v 3 games, except there was 20 players in that area. It reminded me of the many disorganised protests I have been to down through the years. Instead of spreading out and making it seem like we were more in number we huddled together for strength in solidarity. Now while that may be ok if you are protesting about Israeli behaviour on Palestinian people or trying to make people more aware about he horrific barbaricity of vivisection but for a football team of professionals it seems just as wrong to me as eating meat (guess that still leaves me in the minority). Anyway there was a “football” match today. West ham were pre match favourites but the thousands of tangerine clad people were like attendees at a barak Obama rally believe we said, hope was in our hearts as the little guy went to bat against his rich counterpart. It didn’t start out quite as planned for the cockney team as Blackpool created some good chances.

Matt Phillips was on the pfa team of the championship this year but it wasn’t for his finishing. He got into 2 great opportunities but after fluffing the first one his second effort went just wide. We believed, we hoped but then the hammers scored. Mark noble played a great long ballot Carlton cole after some wrestling our the wing. Cole showed his class against Ian evatt and scored before Matt hills could reposition himself correctly. West ham fans, your team has some great players. Demand that they are allowed play!!!!! And so at halftime we were 1 down. What was to happen next? I had an eye on the clock as I has to get back to euston for 7 o clock. When Blackpool came and really took the game to west ham in the second half I had all sorts Rolf permutations going round my head and most of them involved missing the ferry!!! When we got the equalised there was a sense that something could be achieved today we pushed and tried to get that winner. We kept at it and with ten minutes to go it seemed that If the game wasn’t foing to be extended by extra time then it would be because the pool got the winner. And so we sang, we held our arms aloft and we believed. And then we were shut up. We were put back into our ideological cubbyhole. Hammers won a scrap played some quick passes and suddenly the ball was in the net. Don’t ask me how but the team with the money had muscled their way into the lead. We tried to hit back, tried to our sing those fans but their bubbles were too loud. Our bubble has burst and all that was left was for me I run out of the stadium and catch my train. So I pondered on today’s fare whilst eating my treat in planet organic, football mirrors life sometimes the good guys win but NOT always. Good luck to west ham in the premiership next season, they finished third in the league so natural justice belongs to them

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