, another big letdown. I sat at home watching
last weeks fare in complete dismay.
Ive come to the firm conclusion
that money has ruined the game. Lets take a look at the finalists of the
previous year Barcelona . . . didnt get out of a hack to beat the
Ukrainian champions and the Italian champions had 10 behind the ball for fear
Man U again, like Barcelona, didnt break a sweat
to beat Besiktas, and then faced the German champions and beat them without ever
being on their game.
So the German and Italian champions are miles off
the standard required.
I dismay at the same usual teams year in year out
that the Champions League has come to produce. More money for the top teams
thus more of the same teams.
I long for the a team like that of Ajax in
the 90s to come along again a team full of academy/youth players and the
odd legend like Rijkaard and Litmanen. The team comprised of a multitude of Dutch
internationals van der Sar, Reiziger, Bogarde, Blind, the de Boer twins,
Seedorf, Davids, Overmars, Kluivert and also had the likes of Kanu, George and
All I can see for the foreseeable future is Spanish and English
teams dominating a tournament thats supposed to bring together the best
throughout Europe. Boring and predictable this competition has become.
Barca might not
have broken sweat last week but can anyone seriously accuse them of being boring
and predictable. Ditto Real Madrid. Ditto Arsenal. Anyway, football being a game
of opinions, here's another one.
After watching Man Utd vs. Wolfsburg
last Wednesday, I was quite impressed with the German champions. Theyre
a team whose main emphasis is on attack and they play some smooth and slick football
which is easy on the eye.
Then to my amazement the RTE pundits came on
my TV screen and completely dismiss Wolfsburg. John Giles said 'I wouldn't rate
them', Ray Houghton proclaimed that this team 'sums up what the Bundesliga is
like' and of course Dunphy had a pop also saying that they were 'technically poor'.
What game were they watching? Theyre like three sheep, 'I will follow what
the guy next to me says' is their philosophy. They think that the only teams in
club football who are any good are Barcelona, Real Madrid and the 'Fantastic Four'
English clubs. Open your eyes boys!!
Mike O Neill, Co.Cork, by email
Always nice to hear from TV3.
Seeing as how it seems that
all you need to get a Premier League contract these days is five minutes of dodgy
video on YouTube I wonder if you can give me the email address of Dennis Wise?
I can send him some footage of my 15-year-old lad from Carlow. Two good feet,
bit nippy, needs to bulk up a bit but could be nailed on as a wide player or a
second striker. Cheaper than £1m, and no South American agents to do a favour
Mick Burke, Carlow, by email
MIKE Ashley may be an idiot
(well, no may about that), but if he wants to waste €1.4m on
an unknown South American surely its his money to waste? Is it any worse
than Roman Abramovich spending €32m on Andriy Shevchenko?
Er, I think you'll find
Shevchenko had a bit more going for him than a spot alongside singing dogs, ufo
sightings and toddlers reading Proust. Not that you could really tell that at
the Bridge, admittedly.
YOU had to laugh at the reporter who asked Paul
Hart whether he felt sorry for Mick McCarthy at the weekend. If anyone deserves
some sympathy and a (rare) victory this weekend it was the Portsmouth manager.
Hes got the worst job in the world, even worse than looking after Jayne
Mansfield on the Derek and Clive live LP.
And guess who'll be the first to get the chop
when the club changes hands again?
LIVERPOOL, I think, have major problems
and we are barely into October. They barely troubled Chelsea on Sunday until it
was too late. Fernando Torres may have been in scorching form but at the weekend
he simply looked exhausted. Dirk Kuyt is a workhorse, but he is not a serious
Premier League striker.
Babel rarely gets a look-in, Benayoun is always
brought on too late. Carragher was better than he was against Fiorentina but is
in the decline stage of his career. Leiva might be industrious, but he would not
get into the midfield of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City.
Riera is too frequently anonymous. At this stage last season Liverpool were taking
away Chelseas massive home record in a game controlled by Xabi Alonso. One
player does not make a team, but I dont think anyone who follows the Reds
regularly can deny that they are a lesser force than last year. By some distance.
JAYSUS, I will be glad when Drogba finally
retires. At least once a season he monsters his way around the Liverpool defence.
When hes not scoring, hes setting them up. When hes not setting
them up, hes scoring. He did the same thing against us when he played for
Marseille. Can the Yanks not pay him to go away? Forever?
WEVE got Hilario!
Aquilani can't come quick enough for Liverpool
- and even then it might already be too late.
HOW can Adebayor claim
that the £25,000 fine for his goal celebration was too much.
This is a man earning £80,000 a week. Its less than one third of a
HERES a suggestion for the FA. Dont punish players for goal celebrations,
or for leaping the barriers, or for taking their shirts off. Acknowledge that
football is a spectacle and that anything which adds to it should be commended.
Expect, instead, supporters to behave themselves instead of childishly claiming
that they are provoked by what they see. Both the world, and the game,
will be a better place for not pandering to hysterical people who think they have
the right to dish out non-stop abuse simply because theyve paid out €50
for a game.
You might say that Mick's a dreamer but he's not the only one. Letter of the week
ARSENE Wenger may have been at Arsenal for 13 years but
Cesç Fabregas has been there for half that time. Does he look like a one-club
player to you? I fear that if Arsenal dont deliver some silverware this
season then that will be the last of him in North London, and the Gunners will
be back to square one.
Six goals from six different players and all that after twice going
behind. All credit to the man of the match Fabregas, like, but it's not as if
Arsenal are a one-man team. Anyway, he kissed the badge, so that means he's staying
forever and ever and ever. Right?
PRESUMABLY the Respect
campaign doesnt extend to making personal remarks about the referees
fitness as Alex Ferguson did this weekend about Alan Wiley. Or is it that the
normal conventions dont apply at Old Trafford in the same way that the laws
of time are somehow stretched out of all recognition?
DONT know why Ferguson was complaining about
the referee at the weekend? The Kieran Richardson sending off was laughable. He
hardly kicked the ball away as a protest and his action was certainly not deserving
of a second yellow card. Steve Bruce has transformed Darren Bents form from
someone who would have been second choice behind Mrs Harry Redknapp into one of
the best strikers in the league.
Don't know why people get worked up about Fergie giving out about refs.
It's like complaining that water is wet. Red cards all around for galloping naivety.