Andy KayNo Owen?

Fair play to Fabio Capello. He’s presided over 2 wins from 2 games in England’s World Cup qualifying group, the last being a thumping 4 – 1 win away to Croatia. But his treatment of Michael Owen is mystifying. The next two qualifiers are matches that England should win at a canter. But if the unthinkable should happen and England desperately need a goal with 20 minutes to go in either game, who would you rather have on the bench? Defoe, Crouch or a player who’s scored 40 international goals at a ratio of around 1 every 2 outings?

Joe for Prez

It’s been fascinating watching the US Presidential race of late although one has to ask the question, out of a country of 250 million, are these really the best 4 people they could come up with? And wouldn’t it be so much more interesting, given his now famous first press conference in charge of Newcastle United, if Joe Kinnear was involved? Just think how the next televised debate might go.

Moderator: So Senator McCain, just why should the American public vote for you?

Mccain: Well, we are going to do loads of this, tons of that, we are going to scrap that, increase this and definitely give Joe Six Pack a shed load of that.

Moderator: And Mr Kinnear, what makes you think that you’re the right man for the job?

JK: Coz he’s a f*****g c**t!

Gray Area

Another classic from Andy Gray this weekend on Sky Sports. He was convinced that Damien Duff had been harshly treated by the referee when he gave away a foul on the edge of Newcastle’s 18 yard box against Everton. Duff’s crime, according to Gray, was that “the ref must have felt that he was holding on to the shirt of the Everton player for too long.” Pardon me? Gray is one of those football summarisers who maintains that it’s perfectly acceptable for a player to crumple to the floor as if he’s been hit by an anti-tank gun if a defender ‘makes contact’ with him. Not fouled you’ll notice, but made contact with. So, by that argument and indeed the rules of the game, Duff should have been penalised the moment he grabbed his opponents blue shirt. The time scale is irrelevant. As are an increasing number of Gray’s observations.

No Eureka for Europa

The more you look at Uefa’s plans to change the name and model of the Uefa Cup to the Europa League, the more flawed they seem to become. For those who missed it, as well as re-branding the competition and giving it a shiny new logo, Uefa have decided that 48 clubs will play in 12 leagues of 4 with teams playing each other home and away. The top 2 sides from each league will then join with the 8 sides not good enough to progress in the Champions League to form a 32 team knock out stage. Still with me? Good. Michel Platini insists that: “These changes will improve this historic competition, which is very important for Uefa and for European football as it gives more fans, players and clubs the thrill of European club football.” Personally I can’t wait to an increasing number of clubs putting out reserve teams in what, from 2009, will become an even more unwanted, lopsided and uninspiring competition which has been redesigned for one reason and one reason only. To make more money.

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