What should Capello play against the Germans?

Mal in The Sun

Mal in The Sun
Operation Jersey Cow

the offbeat football page

Welcome to Matchday Banter - ad hoc football musings from the football tortured mind of writer Malcolm Robinson, giving an insight to his feelings and no holds barred opinions on an array of diverse subjects, straying never too far away from his beloved Sunderland AFC.

Feel free to pass comment and join in the Matchday Banter.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

World Cup Volcano

AT last another blog from me! Ive been lying dormant like the icelandic volcano, watching the World Cup from afar, watching with disinterest at first as Vuvuzelas flattened the atmosphere of most opening group games, whilst players on the pitch became as flat as the wasp like irritant sound blowing out the end of those fucking trumpets. Add to that the worst England games seen in a long time (and theres been a few) and a fly away football usually bought from the likes of Thompson Road garage and things did not look all too good in the World cup house.

And then all of a sudden, like my musings and the volcanic ash, the first African World Cup has spewed out a plethora of action, drama and positive chaos! England get their fingers out their arses and show a bit of graft and guile (though we will do well not to get too carried away just yet) Ghana show the rest of the African nations the way ahead into the knockout stages, the football has improved a hell of alot and those fucking trumpets are finally being sounded out, most notably by the English with awe inspiring chorusses of 'Rule Britannia' reverberating off the stadium in Port Elizabeth.

Part of my angst towards the WC was the fact that I had tickets to go. One of the games was yesterday afternoon's England/Slovenia game. However due to the missus' illness we were unable to attend. FIFA in their wisdom adopted a new ticketing policy in which the tickets have to be collected over in the rainbow nation itself and at first I was told that seen as I had ticked the terms and conditions box when applying all those months ago, then I didn't have a Vuvuzela to stand on! Madness! No refunds, until it emerged that the FIFA refund ticket policy was introduced in which fans who had bought tickets could return them via this ticket transfer scheme, as long as there was demand for the games. I had no problem there with Brazil, Argentina and England amongst the games I had tickets for. The only stumbling block came when the facility to 'view my application' to then click on ticket transfer scheme had been cunningly removed from their website. Hence how the fuck do you transfer tickets now?

Needless to say no emails were returned from my enquiries and now the matter has been passed to my local MP to try and resolve, to which the odds do not look good, talk about David versus Goliath. I am trying to take on a football dictatorship here, I'd have more chance of winning if I went to war with North Korea.

The biggest victory in football, bar Sunderland winning the Champions League or England winning the world cup, will be when Sepp Blatter and his gallic cronies are ousted from FIFA - either that or the fans set up their own organisation a la the own fan clubs at Manchester and Wimbledon.

For now I sit back to see any further eruptions on the biggest stage in football.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Hell Bent for South Africa!

Well done Darren Bent lad! Congratulations on being included in the provisional 30 man England squad to go to Austria and for the Friendlies with Mexico and Japan. And also thanks to Mr Capello - we all thought you would bottle the decision and go with the london media hacks' choice of Bobby Zamora. An apology is owed Fabio!

It is now upto Benty to prove his worth, go out and conquer his place for the planet's biggest sporting occasion. How proud I would be to see a Sunderland player appear and even better score in a World Cup Final. Daydreams aside, just to make it on the plane to Port Elizabeth would be immense for both player and club.

Good luck Benty and ha'way the lads!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Last Day Miscellany

My Nan passed away last night at the age of 97 and she will be a big miss to the family. I suppose the best way to remember her is through fond memories and none come no fonder than the 1992 FA Cup final, Sunderland v Liverpool. My Dad and I had tickets for the semi-final at Sheffield, but missed out on the big day at Wembley. Not to fear though as the Twin Towers were recreated at home in Fulwell.

VIP guests to the homemade arena that day were my Nan and Granda - both getting straight into the spirit of things, my Nan donning a classic 1980's Sunderland headband, as the lads came so close to lifting the cup that day.

Annie Britton 1913-2010 R.I.P.

Watching the Leicester play off semi final against Cardiff, it appears that Sunderland's new corner taker for next season has been decided. The on-loan Martyn Waghorn for the foxes wipping in a pearler everytime and also managing to cross the ball past the first defender - something we've not managed often this season.

And to Wolves today...I've plumbed for a goal fest Wolves 2 Sunderland 3 - Darren Bent first scorer. Ha'way me bonny lads...all the way to 10th place please!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The BBC boils my piss

Watching today's football focus has once again confirmed the bias of the nation's press (as if we didnt know it already). Whilst Sky wank over Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool, the BBC tend to follow suit, this time verbally masturbating over the overrated Peter Crouch, sporadically through the programme.

My main boiling point came with the end of season 'bit of fun' goal of the season competition. Knowing full well Bolo Zenden's wonder volley Van Bastenesque goal v Spurs wouldnt make the cut, my piss reached the bubbling zone on seeing good old Frankie Lampard's tap in versus Stoke take Zenden's rightful place. To rub salt into the wounds, Lawro then goes on to pick this drivel as his goal of the season - remarkable. On trying to contact the programme to vent my spleen, it comes as handy that the football focus email address is as hard to find as rocking horse shit.

My point of switching over came when mentioning the likes of Owen Hargreaves and Carragher for the England team (which would not surprise me either). Without wanting to sound like a bitter twat (doing a good job I know) it just shows you what you get putting ex-footballers as pundits - they haven't got a fucking clue.

Can't wait for next season, when Newcastle take Portsmouth's place in the premier as everybody's (aka the media) favourite second club.

Rant over for now!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Show some respect Fabio!

Watching the cracking encounter between Manchester City and Spurs last night, it has riled me somewhat to see England gaffer Fabio sat in the stands. Understandably there are many potential World Cup squad members on show ranging from Adam Johnson to Ledley King and therefore his presence is no doubt required, rather than expected. But what does poor old Darren Bent feel when sat at home viewing this on TV?

I’ll tell you what; he’ll be feeling a tad overlooked and unloved by the England manager. For the second highest English goal scorer in the Premier League, in a team which does not always provide the best service to a striker, a forward who has consistently performed every season at whatever club he plays at, can expect at the very least a visit from the England supremo weeks before a World Cup is due. No instead Capello sends his sidekick in a massive game versus Manchester United on Sunday in what can only be described as an insult of the highest order.
In terms of signals and body language from the England camp, to only send your number two to see a proven goal scorer surely means Bent’s place come the world cup will be stuck at home watching it all unfold on TV, just as he sees Capello wank over the likes of Crouch, Defoe and Lennon – players with a hell of a lot to prove, all being considerably inconsistent over the years, players he has seen countless times already this season.

England will not come anywhere near the final stages of this year’s mundial, with a history of flattering to deceive with a genuine crop of pro’s, what hopes do we have for the slimy ilk of individuals such as Ashley Cole, Terry, Lampard and Gerrard, even Defoe caught up to no good on numerous occasions in the papers. Perhaps this is what this group of overvalued prima donnas deserves.

Monday, 3 May 2010

An end of season sojourn...

Row 26 Seat 273 of the North Stand Upper Tier, the Stadium of Light, should come with it's own health warning. Here I am sat crippled the next day from clambering up dozens of flights of stairs, with a finale of the interior climb to my seat, unbeknown to me one row from the back, quite literally the second highest vantage point in the stadium. The view though incredible, without moving the spectator too far away from the action, allowing the fan to feel a part of the crowd, unlike other stadia I could choose to mention.

The aching back I am suffering the next day can be blamed on leaving the purchase of tickets to the last week of sales and so it is my own fault really, I should by now know better. It was all a far cry from the other week, sat in the front row at Upton Park, which was actually below pitch level and situated half a mile down the road from the corner flag - how on earth clubs can still charge 35 notes for the view of the back of a steward is beyond me.

And yet perhaps the real health and safety warning about the game between Sunderland and Manchester United should have been directed towards the players on the pitch, as both sides huffed and puffed, without carving out too much in way of chances, the home side in particular causing mass frustration with the inability to take advantage of United's off colour performance.

It was an unusual end of season affair, Sunderland followers more accustomed to biting nails and pulling hair, in anxious relegation battles or promotion deciders, always going down to the wire. This time around Steve Bruce's charges find themselves in mid table obscurity - something I would have adhered to at the start of the season and so everyone at the club can consider the 2009/10 season job done. However, we as football fans reserve the right to be fickle and greedy and now the standard is set and the expectations are raised to the loftier heights of Europe, surely this must be the next target now for Sunderland and us deprived ilk?

Sunderland 0 Manchester Utd 1