Posted on | May 3, 2010 | No Comments
So I’ve been quiet for a month or two. But today I got a fancy smart phone. Commence fiddling around followed by some new posts. Nice to be back.
Posted on | February 4, 2010 | No Comments
While the British football and news media have gone into meltdown over England captain John Terry’s alleged dalliances with a lingerie model, a truly outrageous football story is yet to fire their imagination.
Page after page of newsprint and hour upon interminable hour of airtime have pored over Terry’s behaviour and spewed out moral indignation, yet you have to look a little harder to find a story which actually warrants such disgust.
Almost a month ago two members of the Togo national team delegation were killed in a gun ambush on their team bus, two days before the start of the African Cup of Nations in Angola.
With players traumatised and shell-shocked at their appalling experience, the Togolese Government finally recalled the squad to return home for three days of national mourning.
A dignified and correct response to an unimaginable incident. Yet not it seems a reaction mirrored by the Confederation of African Football (Caf).
Matters came to a head on Saturday when Caf with breathtaking insensitivity and arrogance banned Togo from the next two African Cup of Nations and fined them $50,000 for what they perceived as Governmental interference.
This is a misjudgement of spectacular proportions by Caf. We should not be too surprised as the federation hardly covered themselves in glory in the aftermath of the attack, exerting mild pressure on Togo to honour a commitment to their showpiece tournament.
Equally depressing has been FIFA’s failure to react. Four days after the judgement they had still to confirm whether they would endorse the ban or make any comment at all.
The world’s governing body will be loathe to interfere in the matters of a member association, but in such extraordinary circumstances, you would have hoped for a little better. Even a little humanity and compassion.
Caf’s apparently blasé attitude to these murders marks a line which football has been threatening to cross for some time. It is insult heaped upon genuine tragedy and trauma.
With a furious Togo government threatening legal action, their Interior Minister Pascal Bodjona summed up the situation: “This is a surprise decision and it means that people (Caf) have no consideration for the lives of other human beings. This is insulting to the family of those who lost their lives and those traumatised because of the attack.”
Togo’s French coach, Hubert Velud, added his astonishment and was equally eloquent in asking whether Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Uefa chief Michel Platini would support the ban.
“I am curious to know if Blatter and Platini will endorse this decision. If they let this go, it is the gateway to completely dysfunctional football.”
Football plays a huge role in many people’s lives and is an important cultural tool in the world we live in, but it is not a matter of life and death.
As football fans, and more importantly human beings, we have perspective to put aside our debate over the latest in a lengthening line of tawdry stories surrounding Premier League stars and get behind our football family.
Posted on | October 28, 2009 | No Comments
Alex Ferguson has always been a blustery, grumpy and scarlet-tempered presence on my television screen. In many ways he has defined the modern English game – for as long as I have liked football, Ferguson has managed Manchester United. For as long as he has managed Manchester United, they have won things, often a lot of things. Lately it’s been so much it’s become rather boring.
Maybe he, like the rest of us, is also sick of his team winning trophies and has decided to spice things up a bit. Perhaps a weary mind is the explanation for his recent behaviour, which has been vintage Ferguson, turned up to 11.
His recent criticisms of referees have been Ferguson super-sized; his moaning has created a cartoonish, arsey Scotsman image which he presumably first used to try to influence decisions, but which he has recently used to mask his teams failings. When I think of Alex Ferguson I no longer think of silverware, of Ryan Giggs slashing in from the left, or of Solskjaer’s right foot poking home the winner in the Camp Nou.
Now I think of a bored-looking grump slumped with his head rested on one hand at his regular press conference. Of a man so narrow and childish he still practices a boycott on BBC interviews he began in 2004 after an Auntie documentary about him and his football agent son Jason.
His relentless pounding of referees is distasteful, predictable and shows an unpleasant edge. His claim Alan Wiley was not fit during the 2-2 draw with Sunderland unnecessary. His bullshit about Andre Marriner’s handling of the 2-0 loss to Liverpool tiring.
His talent as a manager will live on forever, but these days when I think of Alex Ferguson I think of grumbling. I’d imagine by now that’s even what a lot of United fans are starting to think about.
Chris Breesekeep looking »