Friday, December 21, 2007

Rubbish blogger alert

I've been busy & lazy in equal amounts recently so now blog.

Will get some match reports in ASAP. In the meant-time this picture says it all :

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Weekend report

Let's start with The Yak....he looks the business at the moment. I think that's the first perfect hat-trick I've ever seen. One with the left foot, one with the right and header (in one half with no-one else scoring in between). Brilliant stuff. Yakubu Aiyegbeni take a bow.

BBC Report

Telegraph Report

Times Report

We are now 10 games unbeaten with 8 wins and 2 draws. This run is bound to come to an end sooner or later but now we have West Ham in the league cup and again in the league days later then what's effectively a friendly against AZ Alkmaar & United away (not holding much hope about getting anything from Old Trafford) before Bolton on Boxing Day. Desperately hoping we can get to the semi-final of the Carling Cup and take 4 points from the two league games . Keep them crossed.

Annoyingly Waterloo made wholesale team changes & contrived to lose against Ealing to crash out of the EDF Energy Trophy. Pity really a cup-run might have been nice.

Echo Report

Ricky Hatton found Floyd Mayweather just too good. Hard work only beat talent when talent doesn't work hard. For all the pre-bout talk of arrogance and complacency Mayweather just out-boxed Ricky. Pity, but ultimately the better boxer won and no-one can complain about it.

Friday, December 07, 2007


BBC NEWS | UK | Jockeys acquitted of race-fixing

I have no interest in horse racing whatsoever but it's very odd that Fallon got off after all the phone evidence...just shows what you can achieve with an expensive lawyer :

The joy of text


they are watching me

CONSPIRATORS running a multi-million pound race-fixing scam made a desperate bid to confront Kieren Fallon after he lost them £160,000.

The trip to the jockey's home in Cowlinge, near Newmarket, on May 26, 2004, led to a "sinister" encounter for a plain-clothes police officer who was monitoring the gang's movements, the Old Bailey heard yesterday.

The incident unfolded 11 days after Fallon won a race which the prosecution allege he was supposed to lose.

Fallon, 42, fellow jockeys Darren Williams and Fergal Lynch, both 29; driver Shaun Lynch, 37; and barman Philip Sherkle, 42, all deny conspiracy to defraud.

Miles Rodgers, a professional gambler, also denies the charge as well as a charge of concealing the proceeds of crime.

The allegations revolve around 27 races between December 2002 and August 2004. It is alleged Fallon rode in 17 of these races and a total of £2.12 million was gambled on the races.

Fallon's mistake, when he rode Russian Rhythm to victory in a prestigious race at Newbury, led to Rodgers, the alleged ringleader of the conspiracy, losing a total of £160,256 he had laid on six Betfair accounts backing the horse to lose.

Jonathan Caplan, QC, prosecuting, said: "Rogers and the other conspirators were clearly expecting the horse to lose under Fallon, but things went wrong."

The loss of such a large sum, one of five occasions on which Fallon is alleged to have lost the conspiracy money, provoked an instant reaction.

On May 18, Shaun Lynch, the alleged middle-man between Rodgers and Fallon, was in phone contact with both men before driving with Rodgers from South Yorkshire to a Leicestershire racecourse where Fallon was riding.

Fallon was later seen travelling from the racecourse to an airport in Rodgers' car, the prosecution said.

On May 26 a far more dramatic incident occurred, Mr Caplan said, when Rodgers, Shaun Lynch, Sherkle and another man decided to confront Fallon at his home.

Sherkle and the fourth man, who has not been charged with any offence, booked themselves into the Bedford Lodge hotel in Newmarket under false names and with a false address, paying their bill in cash, the court heard.

That night at about 1am the four men set out for Cowlinge.

They drove on the unlit country roads in Rodgers' Mercedes car, observed by surveillance officers in an unmarked vehicle, but at some point they became spooked, Mr Caplan said, and drove up behind the police car with headlights on full beam, blocking it in for a minute before reversing away.

The plain-clothes officer drove into Newmarket, but the Mercedes followed, the court heard, and made several slow passes, only leaving when a marked police car arrived. They then checked out of the hotel at 1.40am.

Mr Caplan said: "The prosecution stresses the sinister behaviour of Rodgers and the others towards the surveillance officer on the unlit roads.

"They would not have known that he was a police officer, but they were obviously concerned that they might be being watched."

He also told the jury that the incident was "totally inconsistent" with the suggestion by Fallon that information passed to Sherkle had simply been friends' tips about races rather than part of a criminal conspiracy.

He said: "The persons who came specially to Newmarket were unhappy with the loss on Russian Rhythm and were anxious to confirm with Fallon, and if necessary confront him, regarding a more reliable working arrangement for stopping horses in the future."

Fallon's win on Russian Rhythm was not the only time his success on the racecourse cost the conspirators large sums of money, Mr Caplan said, and a series of text messages sent after another win, which allegedly lost Rogers £105,000, were also shown to the jury.

On July 23, 2004, Fallon rode Daring Aim to victory at Newmarket despite telling Rogers he would lose, the prosecution said.

A flurry of phone calls between Rogers and Sherkle and Sherkle and Fallon followed.

Texts found on phones Fallon and Sherkle used dating from the day after the race included the following messages.

Sherkle to Fallon (at 12.17pm): "If u don't speak to me now I won't be able to help you."

Fallon to Sherkle (at 12.22pm): "They will take my licences off me if they drift like that last night. They are watching me."

Mr Caplan said the texts were a clear indication of the relationship between Sherkle and Fallon, with the barman offering to "help" the jockey after he lost the conspirators a £105,000, and Fallon insisting the "drift" in the betting odds caused by the large sums of money Rodgers was placing would raise suspicions.

The court heard another text found on the phone, which was undated, was from Fallon to Sherkle and said: "No I can't chance it."

An example of the alleged conspiracy in action, Mr Caplan said, was clearly seen in a race at Lingfield on March 2, 2004, when Fallon came second in a race, allegedly winning Rodgers £26,599 from a £72,000 stake.

Just before the race the security department of the Jockey Club learned about suspicious betting patterns on Betfair, laying the horse to lose, and the steward was informed.

Mr Caplan said a veterinary officer watching the race was "astonished" that Fallon "appeared to stop riding the horse" as it came into the home straight.

He added: "The trainer, Andrew Balding, had entered the horse for the race with a high degree of confidence that it would win. Having built up a huge lead, the horse should have won. He knew that once Fallon had eased the horse up then it would not be able to pick up and run on strongly again. Mr Balding's feelings were anger and disbelief."

A stewards' inquiry found Fallon to have broken racing rules by failing to ensure the horse achieved the best placing, but this was regarded as incompetent, not cheating.

Mr Caplan said an Australian expert who viewed the race later expressed concern about Fallon's ride.

He said: "Passing the two furlong marker Ballinger Ridge (Fallon's horse) was five or six lengths in front and running within himself.

"But Fallon dramatically slowed his momentum to the point where he is doing virtually nothing."

The case continues.

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THE JURY at the trial of the alleged race-fixing conspiracy have been told of patterns of mobile phone contact on race days and the complex network of accounts allegedly used by Miles Rodgers.

Jonathan Caplan, QC, for the prosecution, told the jury Rodgers would wager "very large amounts of money" on a horse to lose, knowing the jockey "was prepared to cheat by using tactics on course to stop the horse if it was likely to win."

Caplan indicated Rodger's bets usually amounted to more than 50 per cent of the Betfair market in a particular race. The prosecution claimed the majority of bets were usually of more than £100,000, winning around £20,000.

Caplan said: "The pattern of contact by mobile phone on race days was nearly always the same, whichever jockey was riding. The jockey would call or text Rodgers, or Fallon would call or text the intermediary, who would then almost instantaneously contact Rodgers, and Rodgers would then begin to lay the horse on Betfair."

Jury members were supplied with a list of 12 Betfair account holders Rodgers admitted to operating to place large bets. Nine of the accounts were held by residents in the Sheffield area, and three of the accounts used the same password.

One account used was Miles Rodgers' partner, Joanne Richardon. The 'joricho' account was opened on January 23, 2002, and the account laid five of the 27 horses. Betfair closed the account in March 2004 after Rodgers used the account to lay his own bets via telephone.

Andrew Richardson, Joanne's brother from Sheffield, also held an account which laid two of the 27 horses.

Darren Armitage, from Barnsley, held an account called 'william', believed to have been used by Rodgers, which laid 21 of the 27 horses.

Brian Pilkington is a business partner of Rodgers also from Barnsley. His account opened on February 25, 2002, and laid 20 of the 27 horses.

Pilkington's brother-in-law, Philip Knight, from Northamptonshire, held an account also allegedly used by Rodgers and took part in 21 of the 27 races.

Peter Hayman, a jeweller from Sheffield, Nigel Schofield, Jeremy Holloway from Hamworth, Paul Hall from Doncaster, Clyde Griffin from Avon, Mrs D Griffin and Richard Hopkins from Tamworth were also cited as the other account holders.

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MOBILE phones used by Kieren Fallon and Fergal Lynch were not registered as demanded by the Jockey Club, according to prosecution counsel Jonathan Caplan QC.

From September 2003, club rules insist mobile phones used by racecourse jockeys must be registered with the club to regulate use and protect the integrity of racing.

The prosecution said Fallon had three additional unregistered "pay-as-you-go" mobile phones that were seized by police on his arrest.

Fallon is alleged to have used the phones to communicate with Philip Sherkle while Lynch used an unregistered mobile to communicate with Miles Rodgers.

One example laid by the prosecution of the chain of communication was that referring to the 6.55pm Goodwood race on August 14, 2004.

Miles Rodgers laid a bet between 6.35pm and 6.51pm on the horse Goodwood Spirit, ridden by Kieren Fallon.

He was 2-1 favourite but finished third in the race. Prosecution evidence shows Fallon called Philip Sherkle at 11.43am and 12.04pm on the day of the race. A further text message was sent from Fallon to Sherkle at 12.08pm. At 12.09pm Sherkle texted Miles Rodgers the message "6.55 no 4 n".

The bet placed by Rodgers for the race went under the account name Paul Hall for £116,738, and the bet won £29,822.

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BETFAIR is the leading internet betting exchange which allows punters to place bets against each other rather than a bookie.

When you place a bet, you are effectively backing your opinion against the opinion of someone else or several other people. The betting exchange simply acts as a middleman between the two sides of the betting market.

You never know who you are betting against, but Betfair matches your bet with other punters, stating the amount you are prepared to stake and the odds you are willing to accept or offer. The exchange does not have an interest in how much people win or lose - they make a profit by taking a percentage of each stake as commission.

The difference between a betting exchange and a bookmaker is that on Betfair and similar sites punters can bet that a horse will lose. This is called "laying" a bet.

When someone lays a bet, they take the role of the bookmaker and are liable for the payout according to the odds they have accepted.

It is this type of bet that the conspirators are alleged to have used to profit from fixing races.

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* March 2, 2004: Ballinger Ridge, 3.30pm at Lingfield, horse came second, Rogers bet £72,000 and won £26,000.

* May 15, 2004: Russian Rhytmn, 2.40pm Newbury, won, bet and lost £160,000.

* June 14, 2004: Levitator, 9.15pm Warwick, fifth, bet £79,000 and won £10,800.

* June 20, 2004: Krynica, 5.50pm Pontefract, won, bet and lost £165,000.

* June 30, 2004: Bubbling Fun, 3.40pm Lingfield, third, bet £58,000 and won £11,000.

* July 8, 2004: Bonecrusher, 7.55pm Epsom, fifth, bet £101,000 and won £21,000.

* July 10, 2004: Right Answer, 2.05pm York, second, bet £120,000 and won £20,000.

* July 15, 2004: Favour, 8.10pm Doncaster, seventh, bet £100,000 and won £12,000.

* July 19, 2004: Doctor Hilary, 2.45pm Ayr, second, bet £106,000 and won £25,000.

* July 23, 2004: Daring Aim, 6.15pm Newmarket, won, bet and lost £105,000.

* August 6, 2004: Dubai Adventure, 7.25pm Ayr, sixth, bet £57,000 and won £3,800.

* August 13, 2004: Lost Soldier Three, 3.25pm Newbury, second, bet £77,000 and won £18,000.

* August 14, 2004: Goodwood Spirit, 6.55pm Goodwood, third, bet £116,000 and won £29,000.

* August 14, 2004: Rangoon, 8pm Goodwood, second, bet £89,000 and won £36,000.

* August 16, Dial Square, 6.55pm Yarmouth, 17th, bet £39,000 and won £2,600.

* August 23, Barking Mad, 6.55pm Windsor, won, bet and lost £106,000.

* August 24, Beauvrai, 4.15pm Yarmouth, won, bet and lost £19,000.

Why Kirkby is the Everton's only option

Why Kirkby is the Everton's only option

Everton Shareholder Robert Earl : "We are getting a non reimbursable cheque for £55m from Tesco and it is absolute manna from heaven."

Very, very odd. Something as significant as this and it's only getting mentioned now?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fatty's gonna get ya

Mayweather V Hatton

Hope Hatton can do's a been a great build-up to the fight. Mayweather's cocky pantomime villain routine is great for the media and Hatton's jocular, self-effacing persona makes it impossible not to warm to him but they are both fantastic fighters.

After Tzsyu and Castillo you are just used to Hatton ding whatever he puts his mind to...this will be tough though.

Asda and Everton go head to head

Asda and Everton go head to head

Everton plans anger shareholders

"Asda is in talks with the company proposing a £200m regeneration of Kirkby, in opposition to Everton FC's new stadium plans.

Development Securities said the supermarket giant was "on board" with the alternative scheme to redevelop the area without the football ground.

Everton's 55,000-seat stadium, which will incorporate a Tesco store, has sparked concern from residents.

The latest proposal involving Asda has cast doubt over the stadium plan."

"Everton owner Bill Kenwright faced a barrage of criticism at the club's annual general meeting over plans to move to a new stadium in Kirkby.

Shareholders accused the club's owner and directors of not properly exploring other site options.

Mr Kenwright, also club chairman, was accused of "being the man who murdered the soul of Everton".

But he insisted he was looking at all the options available to the club, including staying at Goodison Park.

Feelings have been running high for months as Everton have entered into discussions with Tesco and the authorities in Kirkby - significantly outside the city boundaries - over a new home for the team. "

Interesting stuff but I think it's worth stating that the fact that the stadium isn't in the historic boundaries of Liverpool-proper is a minor consideration to me. The over-riding factor is that the whole plan is totally average from top to bottom, start to finish. If it was a great stadium in the great location with great transport links I'd be all for it. The Kirkby plan is none of those things.

Top dogs

Everton 1 - 0 Zenit (Эвертон 1 - 0 Зенит Санкт-Петербург)

Top of our group with a game to spare...not too shoddy

It wasn't a classic but that's a job well done. Zenit were a good side, they should never have been down to 10-men (even I saw that from the very back of the upper Gwladys). They close down everything but ultimately the extra man told and an up-and-down Everton won out.

McFadden took some stick for his performance but to my mind he was just trying too hard...he was always showing for the ball, his decision making just screamed of a player who was desperate to make somethnig happen. Looked gutted to be going off when subbed but I have it on good authority that he was celebrating like a proper blue when the goal went in.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mourinho : Come and get me

"I cannot say what I think until they say they are interested. Tell the FA to come and get me.

We will have to wait and see, but I rule nothing out."

It seems the FA have not even approached The Special One yet. It'd be pretty criminal of them not to even discuss it with him. It show an appalling lack of ambition and lack of guts.

Jose for England...

...Jose for England!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Moyes hit by FA charge over Clattenburg-gate

BBC Report

That is ridiculous...I'd have thought the authorities would want that one forgotten about. When Mark Clattenburg, A Premiership referee, is going away on a pre-season tour with a team and then only weeks later is seen happily taking abuse from them and dishing out red cards when instructed to you REALLY have to ask questions.

How come when Beneathus bemoans a penalty decision he gets an official apology whereas Moyes gets fined.

The game in this country is's owned by the top-4.

Dave Hickson on the mend (hopefully)

Echo the sentiments here in Greg O'Keefe's blog.

Davey Hickson is not only an real Everton institution he's a true Merseyside legend. Hoping for a full recovery. Get well soon Dave. God bless.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

dear oh dear

Rafa Benitez’s transfer history

Nov 23 2007 Liverpool Echo


Cisse £15m
Josemi £2m
Antonio Nunez £2m
Xabi Alonso £10.7m
Luis Garcia £6m
Mauricio Pellegrino Free
Fernando Morientes £6.5m
Scott Carson £750,000
Antonio Baragan Compensation fee
Jose Reina £6m
Mohammed Sissoko £5.6m
Boudewijn Zenden Free
Peter Crouch £7m
Jack Hobbs £750,000
Godwin Anti Free
Miquel Roque Free
Jan Kromkamp Swop for Josemi
Paul Anderson Swop for John Welsh
Daniel Agger £5.8m
Craig Bellamy £6m
Gabriel Paletta £2m
Mark Gonzalez £4.5m
Fabio Aurelio Free
Jermaine Pennant £6.7m
Dirk Kuyt £9m
Alvaro Arbeloa £2.64m
Andriy Voronin Free
Lucas Leiva £6m
Sebastien Leto £1.5m
Fernando Torres £27m
Yossi Benayoun £5m
Ryan Babel £11m
Charles Itandje Free




Danny Murphy £2.5m
Michael Owen £8m
Vladimir Smicer Free
El Hadji Diouf Undisclosed fee
Mauricio Pellegrino Free
Alou Diarra £2m
Gregory Vignal Free
Jon Otsemobor Free
Milan Baros £6.5m
Josemi Swop for Jan Kromkamp
John Welsh Swop for Paul Anderson
Fernando Morientes £3m
Dietmar Hamann Free
Bruno Cheyrou Free
Djimi Traore £2m
Neil Mellor Free
Jan Kromkamp £1.5m
Darren Potter £200,000
Steve Warnock £2.5m
Salif Diao Free
Luis Garcia £4m
Mark Gonzalez £3.5m
Djibril Cisse £8m
Craig Bellamy £7.5m
Jerzy Dudek Free



Still moaning about a lack of backing...when Arsenal's kids tonked them last season it was all because of the Youth Academy. It's actually quite funny they was all their kopites try and pretend they agree with him.

There was a time when you expected better from an lfc manager not now, here is his pre-match interview :

How much will you have to spend in January?
"As always I am focused on training and coaching my team."

Are there assurances you'll have what you want?
"As always I am focused on training and coaching my team."

So what is the long-term plan?
"My plan is training and coaching the team."

Is there anything upsetting you?
"As always I am focused on training and coaching my team."

Do you have anything to say?
"As always I am focused on training and coaching my team."

Even off the record?

It's clear something is up.
"You have my answer."

You're very different from normal.
"You have my answer."

You said after the Bayern story you were happy to stay here a long time. Is that still the case?
"As always I am focused on training and coaching my team."

You're not normally late. You were obviously preoccupied by something.
"Because as always I was focusing on the training session."

Is there anything you'd like to say?
"As always I am focused on training and coaching my team."

You always say you're focused on that but usually give off-the-record answers to enquiries. How come it's suddenly changed?
"No off-the-record stuff. Nothing. I'm just focused on training and coaching as always."

You suggested you were open to the possibility of the England job. Is that something we should treat seriously?
"It's your decision. You never know what will happen in the future."

Were you serious when you answered it?
"I was serious."

One day you're looking to stay here a long time, the next who knows about the England job. That's a contradiction.
"The future is the future. Now, as always, I am focused on training and coaching my team, so I cannot say anything else. Just to keep preparing for the next game."

So what you're saying suggests perhaps the future here is in question?
"I am focused on training and coaching my team."

So who knows?
"As always I am focused on training and coaching my team."

Are you being allowed to do that as you wish?
"I am focused on training and coaching my team."

Does everyone at the club share that opinion?
"As always I am focused on training and coaching my team."

and Here is Moyes :

WALKS into the press conference this afternoon at Finch Farm, grinning from ear to ear, sits down and says....

"As always I am focused on training and coaching my team."

Assembled hacks all crack up. True story.

Anyway good on the Yanks for telling him to shut up

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Everton 7 (seven)

BBC Report

Telegraph Report

How good was that? You have to acknowledge that Sunderland were shockingly poor defensively but Everton really turned it on. Every time we got the ball we looked like scoring. The pressing & tackling was great and going forward we just look so purposeful. Movement off the ball was amazing. Carsley and Pienaar were everywhere. It was just awesome. It'd be tough to do a decent match report, there was just so much too much to comment on. Yakubu is really impressing us now...he's now fully fit and putting a great shift week after week. The only problem is that we will lose 4 players to the African Nations in a month's time.

Over in Blundelsands our double was completed by Waterloo beating another north-east side Blaydon. Good work.

Echo Report

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Call me childish but if this isn't funny I don't know what is. I defy you to look at that picture and not laugh :

Mr Testicles at Goodison

Hats off blues. Great stuff.

Two best jokes so far :

"I thought you weren't allowed to play if there was two balls on the pitch"


"It'll make a vas deferens to the atmosphere at Goodison"


I am not one of these people who gets cynical as soon as things go wrong for the England team, some people seem delighted when our boys screw allows them to fire up their smugness afterburners. Bollocks to that, I am gutted about last night. You know that weary head shake thing you do when you can feel it's all going wrong? Very much in evidence last night.

That first half was just unforgivable. Carson's howler was truly, truly mum would have saved that.

Bridge ballsed up for the second and it had turned into a nightmare. The rain was constant and the pitch was heavy (half a billion for a ploughed field!!!!!!!) it was always going to be awkward chasing a game.

The formation was terrible though. 4-5-1 in those conditions meant Crouch, how played well, was totally isolated, the middle three didn't look like they really knew their roles. Why is that England's midfield has to be fitted round Lampard whenever he's fit. Gerrard & Barry happened purely out of serendipety but we had balance for the first time in soon as Lampard is fit everything is changed to accomadate him and we are left with a bloated awkward system with only one player in front of them. That McClaren left it 'til half-time to change it round was little short of dereliction of duty.

Anyway a determined comeback was capped with Beckham playing an utterly perfect ball over to Crouch who's technique was excellent for a chest then volley. We'd been gifted a stupid penalty minutes before. Even then though we didn't look secure and sure enough they scored a 25 yarder after no-one had closed down. Thank you & good night. Desperately, desperately depressing.

I really do think McClaren has to go....Barwick too.

:( :( :( :(

Next summer just got that little bit more empty.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

'Mythical Roman cave' unearthed

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | 'Mythical Roman cave' unearthed

Presenting the discovery, Italian Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli said archaeologists were "reasonably certain" that the newly unearthed cave could be the Lupercal.

"This could reasonably be the place bearing witness to the myth of Rome, one of the most well-known cities in the world - the legendary cave where the she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, saving them from death," he said.

"Italy and Rome never cease to astonish the world with continual archaeological and artistic discoveries, and it is incredible to think that we have finally found a mythical site which, by our doing so, has become a real place."

The ancient cave was found 16m (52ft) underground in a previously unexplored area during restoration work on the palace of Augustus, the first Roman emperor.

Wow, that's a big discovery...not a sniff about it on the news. It seems that is dominated by People trying to make political capital 'cause some dullard junior civil-servant (Not Gordon Brown or Alistair Darling as far as I can tell) dumped everyone's records in the outgoing mail. I really wish people wouldn't screw-up like this, if nothing else it makes the BBC 5live unlistenable. They really are wearing their heart on their sleeves over their political leanings. A minister was on interview and said things like "The civil servant broke the rules, terrible mistake, things happen when you are in Government...we are dealing with it, don't think the disc fell into the wrong hands, no-one will lose money over this etc etc" and 20 minutes later it was reported as "A government minsister said 'things happen when you are in goverment'".

Anyway this morning's reports say England will start with Scott Carson in goal tonight (Carson is at Villa whilst on loan from our lovable neighbours, his British passport means he can't get a visa to play for liverpool). Giving a keeper his England debut in such a critical game is a bold decision, could backfire horribly. Apparently Robinson has had a nightmare in training so what else can McClaren do? Beckham is on the bench too....might need him for some late free-kick drama.

Rednoses have, for some reason, been smugly cackling over Everton advertising half-season tickets...It makes a change from their increasingly bitter internal witch-hunt against the "glory-hunting jest hat wearing day trippers" who apparently occupy most of the seats at Anfield these days. Is that a paradox or merely irony? No-one does a double standard like those Kopites.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hope springs eternal

Sounds positive :

Liverpool Echo

HOPES rose today for the campaign to keep Everton in the city of Liverpool.

The Northwest Development Agency will conduct a study into the benefits of keeping Everton FC in the city boundary.

The agency, which hands out government cash to boost regeneration in the region, was asked to examine the economic benefits of Everton FC building its new stadium in Liverpool, rather than neighbouring borough Knowsley.

Today council leader Warren Bradley described it as a positive step and said he wants the study to examine a number of sites for keeping Everton in the city boundary.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hava Nigalla


Thank God for Israel...they went at Russia hammer and tongs on Saturday and appeared to have ran themselves into the ground by half-time...the second half was all Russia but they held out. At the very end Russia hit the post and the Israelis went up the other end and scored. English fans all over the country rejoiced as the final whistle went! It means England have their fate in their own hands on Wednesday, by no means a foregone conclusion...remember England/Greece a few years back when David Beckham single handedly dragged us to the world cup.

Anyway, in honour of the Israeli national team :

Hava nagila, hava nagila
Hava nagila venis'mecha

Hava nagila, hava nagila
Hava nagila venis'mecha

Hava neranena, hava neranena
Hava neranena venis'mecha

Uru, uru achim
Uru achim belev same'ach

Up in Scotland is was all different as they came painfully close to taking the lead in their make or break game against Italy (after going behind inside two minutes) be so well placed for so many months and still not qualify must be sickening but given their position going into the qualifying they have made so much progress that the positives really do need to be focussed on. They will be second out of the hat next time round whereas for this group they were the 4th team drawn.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Oooooh doesn't this look FANTASTIC!

I for one can't wait to bulldoze over 100 years of history and heritage and move to this.......average, soulless modern arena.......on a retail to a a grim satellite town.

Congratulations Yes are the turkeys who voted for Christmas. I votes No purely because the Kirkby project looked rubbish, I can definitely see the need for a move but this just looked half-arsed from the beginning. Even so I always vowed to take the new stadium on it's merits but so far it couldn't look any more depressing if they tried. Add to all this the logistical ball-ache of 20,000 people and 2000 cars & buses all trying to get off that retail park at the same time plus the extra distance from the train station.

The fans seem to be the last thing the club is considering...very, very depressing. I know some proper, serious bluenoses who swear they'll never set foot in that new ground. These aren't just luddites, there just wasn't this opposition to the Kings Dock project. It has nothing to do with boundaries, the colour of the wheelie bins is a very minor's just that everything we've seen of this DestinationKirkby looks small-time & uninspiring. Evertonians deserve better.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wharfedale Rugby Club

"To be among a large crowd at a thrilling National League match at Wharfedale Rugby Club with the sun beating down from a crystal blue sky, the Yorkshire Dales rocking and rolling into the distance and lambs gambolling in the fields, with a decent pint of beer in hand (optional) was to have found sporting nirvana." John Inverdale - Telegraph

Went over to Yorkshire for an enjoyable afternoon in the dales. It's a wonderful club in a beautiful part of the world. We were really lucky with the weather too, it was cold but it didn't rain until the second we got back to the car. The fans at 'dale are good friendly rugby people but still totally behind their team....great to see so much travelling Waterloo support too.

Craven Herald Report

Echo Report

Waterloo edged nervilly past Wharfedale 24-18. Wharfedale had the lion's share of the possession but the game was notable for the amount of knock-ons and handling errors. If Wharfedale hadn't been so profligate I think they'd have won but Waterloo played well and defended excellently. Pablo Freijoo has just got back from international duty with Spain (not sure if he played but he may well be in line for some gold lettering on the clubhouse internationals board)...he sprinted the length of the pitch to for an interception try which was definitely one of the highlights of the season so far. We were down to 14 men for 20 minutes of the second half but survived the pressure. Loads of smiling, bouncing Scousers/Lancastrians in the clubhouse afterwards. Brilliant afternoon. Me and Anne had taken Penny & Jack (My in-laws) and we were joined by our mates Helen and Dan Wyrill who despite living in Yorkshire got behind Waterloo (being adopted Scousers since their time at university here) so we were a happy, happy bunch (to be honest it was such a nice setting it would have been difficult not to have a good afternoon). Dan, who has New Zealand DNA and so you'd assume knows rugby instinctively, had languidly been predicting a Waterloo win for most of the second half whilst I bit my nails back to the knuckle...shows how much I know.

Nice article about Vaughan and Anichebe

On Sunday morning Anne was confidently predicted a 1-1 draw between Chelsea and Everton with Cahill grabbing our goal...annoyingly enough I didn't put any money on it. D'oh!

Well done to Cahill for scoring a superb bicycle kick to equalise late on. The games are coming thick and fast for Everton and so far they've done really well. Our league position looks a bit paltry but ultimately we should be ecstatic with our recent record.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Nigerians are ace

Guardian Report

Daily Post Report

BBC Report

"As for fears of trouble among thousands of ticketless Evertonians, they proved unfounded. Officially there were 2500 travelling fans inside the stadium but double in reality. "I didn't need to provide a motivational speech," said Moyes. "We only had to see the thousands greeting us on the way to the stadium to know how much Europe means to Everton. We are desperate for success."

First and foremost great to see Evertonians acquitting themselves so well over there in what could have been a pretty dodgy situation. The mess was of UEFA's making but ultimately you are still responsible for your own behaviour. By the sounds of it a good time was had.

Now onto the match....GET IN!!!!!!!!! Great performance from the blues, Nuremberg are in a lowly position but still looked fairly solid. I don't think you can argue with the result. The first half saw us hold our own whilst for a twenty minute period early in the second half we were all over them. Ironically they were just coming into it when Yakubu who'd really played well & worked his knackers off all night was swapped for our Euro talisman, Victor Anichebe, and they just couldn't handle his strength and verve. First he muscled his way clear and required a rugby tackle to prevent him scoring, Arteta put the pen away and then 5 minutes later he broke clear and knocked away a defender before slotting it through the keepers legs for 2-0. Brilliant. Aparently there were Evertonians all over the ground having the time of their lives. Fantastic stuff.

Lovely quotes from Vic about Yakubu :

"Yak was excellent," said Anichebe. "It's tough playing up front on your own and the pitch was absolutely enormous. He covered so much ground to wear the defenders down.

"He's done that a few times for me now and I've just managed to come on and picked up the pieces. He's set everything up for me. I'm learning so much from him. His game is all about strength but he has scored a lot of goals and I'm doing my best to take his advice.

"He is a great player and is going to be excellent for us. He gives me so many great pointers. I feel my game has got better this season and he has definitely played a part in that. He's been there, scored a lot of goals and his record speaks for itself."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

icLiverpool - Injury woe continues for coach O’Callaghan

Tough times at Waterloo, they got battered last week after the heroics against Blackheath

icLiverpool - Injury woe continues for coach O’Callaghan

Last week the Merseysiders were without backs and they were forced to play a back row forward, Matt Bradley, on the wing.

Neil Kerfoot has not set foot on a field at all this season after suffering a groin injury at the end of last term. The good news is that he is in light training and is hoping to be back before Christmas.

Dan Loader, who suffered a broken arm, is expected to be out for at least four weeks but for Chris Parrott, who dislocated a shoulder playing for Sale Jets, the prognosis is at least two months after undergoing surgery.

Steven Dodd has had a scan on a spinal injury with the club waiting for the results which are expected later this week.

Scrum half Luke Stringer had an operation on a groin injury on Monday but can expect to be sidelined for at least a month.

On the positive side Pablo Freijoo has returned from duty with the Spanish international squad unscathed and will be in line for selection for the visit to Wharfedale on Saturday.

Club captain Martin O’Keefe, who was out earlier in the campaign with a leg injury which became infected, has now fully recovered after making his comeback from the bench and hooker Chris Tyms, after two dislocated shoulders both of which required surgery, has had a run-out with the seconds with no ill effects.

Waterloo have also signed former Llanelli hooker and back row forward Aled Gravell, who after a short period out of the game, has moved to live in Southport and is eager to start playing again.

It'd be nice if they could turn round their away form otherwise every home game will become a pressure match...we are off to Wharfedale at the weekend so hopefully it'll start there.

Below are the tables for Everton's UEFA opponents. Nurnberg are struggling but we all saw what an out of sorts Schalke did to Chelsea the other night. AZ seem to be having a middling time of it whilst Zenit look like being a real challenge.

German League

Russian League

Dutch League

Quotes from Moyes on the ticket debacle

uefa are lying

UEFA are tell lies.

"During online ticket sales undertaken by Nürnberg for Thursday's game, a bug in the system enabled some English supporters to buy tickets allocated in the Nürnberg fans' sectors. Consequently, following consultation with the police, Nürnberg decided to withdraw those applications and inform those online buyers that their online reservations were no longer applicable."

"Bug in the system"? These are absolutely despicable lies. If this goes off tonight 'cause of their screw-up it is on record that Evertonians applied for those tickets in good faith. I know people who phoned up to purchase the tickets and specifically asked if it was okay to be in the home area and Nuremberg told them it would be no problem. UEFA re-classified the game as high risk and then the Germans have been ringing round apologising profusely for the mess up and saying it's out of their hands.

It is the responsibility of the blues to behave themselves but basically they've had the piss taken out of them. This mess is entirely of someone else's making. Those fans have been cheerfully sold tickets, went off and paid for flights and accommodation and at the 11th hour being told their tickets won't be honoured.

Bill Kenwright issued a fairly commendable statement but ultimately what can be done.

“Everyone at Goodison Park is unhappy at this situation on behalf of our supporters – from David and the team, to the Board of Directors and staff.

“We understand how much this football club means to Evertonians and consequently how important a European game is to them.

“We knew when our small allocation was sold out that demand for tickets would continue to be huge for the game in Nurnberg.

“We absolutely share and accept the frustrations that the fans feel having supposedly purchased tickets direct from the club in Germany but sadly there is nothing we can do about the decision made by the authorities.

“We can only ask our fans that wherever they watch the match, they continue to be the great ambassadors of this football club that they have always been.”

One side issue is whether Everton took the maximum allocation of tickets when they knew demand would be high. This would have negated the need for decent honest fans to try and get tickets in amongst the home fans. The club insist they did...It'd be interesting to see if this is confirmed by Nürnberg. Ultimately this will lead to an angry potentially inflammatory situation in Nuremburg and a few German touts making an absolutely fortune. Well done UEFA.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Late shows

Everton 3 - 1 Birmingham City

Wow, been busy this week so this match report is pretty darn late. Great, great ending at the weekend after Everton looked to have done an Everton once again.

We were head & shoulders above Birmingham City for the first half and were frustrated that it was only 1-0 at half-time. Yak nipping in to score a tap-in after 10 mins.

The second half was more even and Birmingham City stole an equaliser after never really putting us on the back foot. Very annoying. The crowd were just getting grumpy at 2 points blown when a Birmingham City player went down injured....the other Brum players attacked regardless and after their move had broke down Cahill put the ball out a bit too sportingly for the assembled Evertonians (if his own team-mates won't bother about him why should we). From the resulting throw in the snidey Birmingham player kicked it out down by our corner flag and proceeded to put us under pressure. We might be quick to get frustrated with our team but hell hath no fury like Goodison when someone is taking the piss out of our team. The roar went up and when, in the 91st minute, Lee 'Z-Cars' Carsley smashed the ball into the Gwladys St net the place went bananas. Real delirious bedlam that only a 91th minute winner can bring. Karma!

The boys were not done yet....James Vaughan, returning from injury, broke clear and put a brilliantly casual stab just inside the post for 3-1. No-one had left and everyone was bouncing...we sang all the way down Gwladys St and hot-footed it to The Black Horse for a pint. It's what Saturday's are all about.

Check out this blog for goal vids (Including a brilliant shot of the celebrations in the Gwladys St).

Great article by Nigel Martyn about James Vaughan.

"IT was wonderful to see my old mate Henrik lighting up Goodison Park again with his smile at the weekend.

That was my nickname for James Vaughan. Whenever he smiles he looks like Henrik Larsson – and if he was ever looking down in the dumps I’d say to him “What’s up Henrik?”

That big, beaming smile would instantly light up his face, and to be fair to James he’s had plenty of reason to feel down in recent years."

I predict a riot

Worried about Thursday. In the last few days UEFA have reclassified our UEFA Cup game against Nuremburg as a high risk fixture. This means that the enterprising Evertonians who rang up & got tickets direct from FC Nurmberg have, at the very last moment, had their tickets cancelled.

Apparently the Germans have been utterly apologetic about it all but rules are rules. The worry now is that 100 of ticketless blues will be over there desperate to get into the game (after all they'd have had their flights and hotels all booked).

Seems very badly handled. Can't understand why A: Nuremburg sold the tickets yo Brits in the first place. B: UEFA left it 'til the last moment before moving the goal-posts and C: The Germans don't shuffle everyone round and expand the away area (thus leaving a fair few people slightly inconvenienced but no-one disappointed).

Fingers crossed it won't be another Athens.

Everton facing UEFA ticket chaos

Friday, November 02, 2007


Grim to see places you know marked out as disaster areas...we've had two this year :

Villahermosa and Pisco.

:( :( :(

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - Tennis news from around the world

This site will keep us updated on Andy Murrary's progress relative to the other two contenders for the end of season tournement. - Tennis news from around the world

So far so good

Liverpool to host 2008 MTV awards

Liverpool lands 2008 MTV awards

That's a great coup for the city in it's Capital of Culture year

"Liverpool's new Echo Arena will host next year's MTV Europe Music Awards ceremony, organisers have announced.

It will be the third time the annual event has been held in the UK, following shows in London in 1996 and Edinburgh in 2003.

"Not only is it the European Capital of Culture next year but the influence of its rich musical heritage is still felt today," producer Richard Godfrey said.

Munich's Olympiahalle hosts this year's show, which takes place on Thursday.

Mr Godfrey, the event's executive producer and MTV Networks senior vice-president, added that "it was only natural" that Liverpool should host the awards, scheduled for 6 November 2008."

liverpool star's payslip on web

liverpool star's payslip on web

Deary me he's a careless bugger isn't he. Remember this :

John Arne Riise declared bankrupt

Now John Arne Riise's payslip turns up on the net

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

More dirty laundry

Flintoff drunk during Ashes practice

"Former England coach Duncan Fletcher has said a training session was cancelled because Andrew Flintoff was under the influence of alcohol.

The incident happened during last winter's Ashes tour to Australia where Flintoff was captain.

Fletcher told the Daily Mail: "You just hope the players do not let you down. Sadly Flintoff did.

'We arranged a fielding practice in Sydney. He turned up still under the influence of alcohol.'"

Whilst yesterday I said you should never do you dirty washing public this probably did need to come out...Pretty appalling really.

Botham & Boycott are a pair of pests

Fletcher rounds on pundits

This seems a touch un-necessary....any chance of any dignity in sport. I know you've all got books to flog and everything but come on.

Monday, October 29, 2007

BBC SPORT | Rugby Union | English | Dallaglio slams Ashton's approach

BBC SPORT | Rugby Union | English | Dallaglio slams Ashton's approach

Not impressed at all with Dallaglio's doing the dirty laundry in public. Slagging off his manager just to flog a few extra copies of his book. Very poor indeed.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

what a difference a week makes

Phew, what a difference a week makes eh…last weekend England and Everton had been beaten victims of varying degrees of dodgy refereeing and Waterloo had been beaten tamely at Cambridge. Bit depressing let me tell you.

Thursday’s UEFA game again Larissa was a real tonic for our battered egos so Saturday was “once more onto the breach” as we tripped out to Blundellsands for Waterloo v Blackheath. As I’ve mentioned before in this blog Blackheath are a club dripping with history and it’s a real privelige to line up against them. Getting there nice and early we got a pint & watched the teams warm up. Blackheath certainly looked like they meant business the coach extolled them to drive Waterloo back over their own ruck *insert thick cockney accent* “They can’t piggin’ well play a game if they are goin’ backwards”. His team took these words to heart. A knock-on and a scrum penalty resulted in a penalty within the first minute, then a rolling maul had Waterloo retreating most of their half and a try was touched down. Oops, 8-0 before we’d even got hold of the ball. Blackheath were one of the top teams in the table so things were looking ominous. Waterloo finally woke up and gradually began to hold their own and a great try meant it was 11-8 at half time. Waterloo could be pretty happy with that after the start they’d had.

Second half it has to be said Waterloo were fantastic...out front & backline defence, attacking, kicking, lineout everything clicked into place. The game hinged on a ranging Blackheath attack that was just bumped into touch on the line. From there Waterloo did everything right and Blackheath seemed to wilt allowing the team to play most of the last 20 minutes in the opposing 22 and us to barrack the Blackheath scrum-half for is shamelessly casual rolled down socks. The end result was a great home win including a bonus point for a try right at the death. Joyous atmosphere, the clubhouse was bouncing because everyone knew that Blackheath were no mugs. It has been a bit ropey so far this season...this was a brilliant performance.

Blackheath Website Report

Winning following a European game is a real test of a team. Everton’s Sunday trip to Derby County had “Banana skin” written all over it. It would have been very ‘Everton’ for us to balls up in a game we really needed to win to get our league season heading in the right direction. Thankfully a tame Derby County succumbed to a 2-0 defeat without having a shot on target. Arteta and Yakubu grabbing the goals for us.

All of a sudden everything seems rosey.

BBC Match Report

Friday, October 26, 2007

I've never felt more like singing the blues

Everton 3 - 1 AE Larissa - UEFA Cup Group A

Great to see Everton cut in a decent performance in Europe. That second goal in particular was fantastic. Insightful passing move and a great finish.

Howard blotted his copybook by rolling the ball to Lescott when he was in a dangerous position, he scarcely had a chance to collect it let alone get rid. A comfortable 2-0 turned into a nervy 2-1 until Anichebe settled matters. Great to see Cahill back...he was immense, linking our lone striker with our midfield and supporting at every opportunity. Three good goals and three good points for our group. COYB

EDIT : Probably a bit harsh on Howard giving him all the blame for their goal...if Lescott had been more aware he could have got rid but it was still a bad option for the keeper to pick

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Έβερτον v Αθλητική Ένωση Λάρισας

Looking forward to Έβερτον v Αθλητική Ένωση Λάρισας tonight...hope they don't do to us what they did to Blackburn. Could be a tricky one. Rumours that Cahill and Gravesen are in the squad make you more optimistic. Apparently Vaughan is nearing fitness too.

The UEFA cup is still poo though.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

icLiverpool - Time for Big Ben to strike again

icLiverpool - Time for Big Ben to strike again

Great article about Big Ben Kay :

"Kay was popular on the pitch but the seat next to him on the coach home from away matches was the one all Waterloo players dreaded.

Blyth revealed: “We would always get crates of beer on board for the long journeys back.

“We had a bit of a ritual where whoever had missed a tackle or done something wrong during the game would be singled out.

“They would then have their wrists taped to Ben's wrist as their punishment.

“It meant that whenever Ben had a drink the victim didn't have much choice but to have a swig as well. With Ben being a big lad and being able to handle his beer it would be fair to say that sometimes it got very messy.”"

Lightning strikes twice

Too gutted to write about the derby...."robbed", "cheat", "corrupt" & "pathetic" would all have been used though. Mark Clattenberg hang your head in shame.

The world cup final was similarly gutting...having been on a post-derby all-dayer we got to Waterloo about 6:30 and found it already filling up. The others got there about 7 and we settled in a lovely spot for the game pepped up by a fundamentally welcome plate of curry. Noticed Freeman Payne and Jan van deVenter in the bar so the Saffas were represented too. The game was pretty tight and ultimately the better team won. Congrats to South Africa....England played above themselves and stayed with their more talented opponents....that was all we could hope for, by the end we were out of touch. We were never going to turn round and put on a try-fest to get back in the game and so the spoils headed south. The try might have changed things plus a fair few other decisions all went against England some marginal, some utterly blatant. With a different referee we might have been within a score at the end and then who knows.

Gutted, gutted, gutted.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Gambler - Kenny Rogers

The Gambler - Kenny Rogers

On a warm summers evenin on a train bound for nowhere,
I met up with the gambler; we were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a starin out the window at the darkness
til boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.

He said, son, Ive made a life out of readin peoples faces,
And knowin what their cards were by the way they held their eyes.
So if you dont mind my sayin, I can see youre out of aces.
For a taste of your whiskey Ill give you some advice.

So I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light.
And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression.
Said, if youre gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when youre sittin at the table.
Therell be time enough for countin when the dealins done.

Now evry gambler knows that the secret to survivin
Is knowin what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
cause evry hands a winner and evry hands a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.

So when hed finished speakin, he turned back towards the window,
Crushed out his cigarette and faded off to sleep.
And somewhere in the darkness the gambler, he broke even.
But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep.

You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when youre sittin at the table.
Therell be time enough for countin when the dealins done.

You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count you r money when youre sittin at the table.
Therell be time enough for countin when the dealins done.

Winning from the back foot

Watched two games of rugby on Saturday and it has to be said that both results were a bit of a travesty. Waterloo just couldn't get to grips with Redruth but were gifted two tries and in the end won 25 - 19. A win is a win but again they looked scrappy. Great to see O'Donnell and Ruwers back for us. Both superb players. Commiserated with a Redruth coach after them game...they were anice bunch and they deserved better from their long trek up north. Hopefully their lowly league position will just be a temporary false position.

Fame at last! Here is me, Mike Summers and my mother and father in law in the background of this picture taken by Katherine Pitt and lifted from the Redruth website.

The France/England game later on was even more crazy...I had been telling people all day I wasn't bothered about the result, the beating Australia was enough for me. It was still stupidly tense to watch that game though. England were on the back foot all game but the French just couldn't make the break was frantic, nail-biting stuff. I could barely watch as Wilkinson lined up that last penalty and I was bouncing round the room when he slotted the drop goal. Borthwick's slap on a French foot when he looked certain to score and the smashes on Chabal showed how desperate England are to hold onto the world cup. South Africa are favourites but they are beatable. Gutted for the French...they too deserved better especially after hosting such a fantastic world cup. Anyway roll on next Saturday. The Derby and then a world cup final....big, big day.

Anyway the world waits for the Web Ellis Trophy to handed over and the competitions for the Guinness Premiership, Magners League & Heineken Cup trophies are getting underway...I think any true rugby fan will agree that those are mere gaudy trinkets compared to Percy the Pike who was brought proudly back to Waterloo's clubhouse recently after a long absense. Waterloo and Dublin Wanderers play-off for what certainly must be considered the ultimate prize in rugby and here he is pictured gazing down fondly on the clubhouse bar

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Amongst the day's rugby shenanegans it was great to see England put in another business like 3-0 win against Estonia. A slip-up there would have put us in an awkward position going into the game in Moscow.

Great to see Lescott get a cap and it sounded like the James McFadden show up in Scotland. He set up two and scored another to keep their qualification campaign on track.

Friday, October 12, 2007

O'Neill promises to buy a scrum - Rugby - Fox Sports

O'Neill promises to buy a scrum - Rugby - Fox Sports

"Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill declared it was time to reward the heavy lifters in the front row.

The most glaring deficiency in the Australian team exposed by last weekend's quarter-final loss to England was the lack of quality props. It is probably no overstatement to suggest that had England loosehead Andy Sheridan been wearing a gold jersey instead of white, the Wallabies would have won pulling away.

But, as former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones observed this week, Sheridan is a product of a British system that prizes, and judges, props almost exclusively on their scrummaging ability. That is unlike Australia, where any likely-looking front-rowers are judged primarily on their footballing ability, with scrummaging a secondary consideration.

The failed cup campaign has left Australia with no option but to mimic the British model and that means providing meaningful incentives for front-rowers to become world-class scrummagers."

Wondered whether there'd be a reaction...There had to be really. The Wallabies couldn't take the defeat lightly. Basically Australia were bullied by bigger boys....and those bigger boys were English. We were physically stronger and tougher than them, there is no way the Australian public will stand for that.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

England in one-day shock

Ie. we won another series...fantastic work. Great to see the new boys coming to the fore. A bit of optimism? We'll know when the tests roll round. Bring it on.

England secure series win against Sri Lanka

Love it that Sri Lanka are sponsored by's our favourite tea in the world!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Wallabies to lift England burden | The Australian

Wallabies to lift England burden | The Australian:

Written before the Rugby World Cup it and weep.

"The poor English, bumblers that they are, have fallen short throughout this tournament on all three criteria: style and humour and most definitely good intent. They were dreadful against the US, beyond dreadful against the Springboks and so pathetically grateful to have seen off Samoa and Tonga that even Australians found themselves feeling embarrassed for them.

In the space of a few short weeks, England has gone from swaggering to staggering and now, with its last roll of the dice, the best it can come up with to defeat Australia is to pick a pack of bully boys and an endearingly earnest five-eighth who doesn't kick heads but goals instead.

Four years ago, the English wore the belt of world heavyweight champions and were floating on air. Now it forces them down like a lead weight and they can't wait to rid themselves of the damn thing. The English are just not cut out to be world champions. They have so little experience of sporting success that when it happens, it leaves them drained and exhausted. Rugby World Cup 2003, Ashes 2005.

Even as Martin Johnson and Michael Vaughan were holding aloft their spoils of victory, their arms were getting tired. The load was too heavy, the weight of expectation too great. Best to lay down their burden and rest quietly for a while. The Wallabies would gladly take the Webb Ellis Cup off their hands. In truth, it belongs to them, but, good sports that they are, they've been willing to share it over the years and didn't even demand first go.

That's how New Zealand happened to come by it in 1987, but then in 1991 it was returned to Australia, who allowed South Africa to hold it for a while, took it back again in 1999 before, charitably, giving England a feel. Now, as John Eales points out, it's Australia's turn again."

Not sure whether this was all tongue-in-cheek but it's amazing how England are the ones who are always labelled as arrogant

Get used to forever

Horrible day for Australia and New Zealand

Ruthless Redcoats crush green and gold army

Chokers and jokers

Australian rugby blog

"There will be suggestions that "the Wallabies didn't want to win as much as England." Nonsense. The passion and desire was there, as the tears after the game showed. But, as the France-New Zealand boilover showed as well, momentum in sport is a mighty engine. England and France got momentum, a belief that they could and were, in fact, going to win.

The momentum in the end was irresistible. You could see it in the last plays of the match when England were in their own 22 and attacked the rucks and mauls and made telling tackles as if the game had just started.

In a sense, it has for England and France. No team has won a World Cup after losing a group match. Who is to say that one of these two teams, probably France, will be the first to emulate Saint Denis and achieve what has seemed to be impossible?"

Get used to forever

Well written but depressing piece on the All Blacks loss.

"The All Blacks had just lost 18-20 to the French in Cardiff, blowing a 13-0 lead. Luke McAlister had been put through a yawning gap after a superb delayed pass by Dan Carter, and with the timely support of Jerry Collins had scored a sensational try, but after half-time the youngster was sitting on the sideline taking a ten minute spell while the game changed.

The French exploited their numerical advantage and flanker Thierry Dusatoir levelled the scores. Rodney So’oialo drove over to regain the lead but McAlister’s almost first act upon returning was to miss the conversion. Carter and Collins by this stage had limped off along with Byron Kelleher, Anton Oliver and Keith Robinson.

While New Zealand’s power diminished, the French Bench had them going from strength to strength. First came Sebastian Chabal then Frederic Michalak. With every All Black that limped off and fire-breathing Gaul that ran on, the pendulum kept swinging France’s way. Michalak’s first touch was to collect a forward pass from Damian Traille, gallop through the blindside hole where Collins would have been and give Yannick Jauzion a clear path to the line, setting off wild scenes of celebration and the horns of about five million Peugeots, Renaults and Citroens all over France."

Here is another one, I think perhaps this one is a little too scathing :

"To win sport's biggest prizes, you have to absorb and learn, not lecture and preach. You must be humble. The All Blacks have never been humble. They are told they are special from the moment they first pull on the famous shirt and they expect special treatment from the rest of the world. The All Blacks ethos is their Achilles heel.

They are huge fish in a small pool and everything they do or say goes unquestioned. If Graham Henry and the New Zealand Rugby Union want to rip up the Super 14 and take their top 22 players out of the competition for special fitness training for two months, they plough right ahead. If you happen to be Sky television, or the Australian and South African rugby unions, it is tough. The All Blacks have spoken.

That haughtiness and insularity explains why they blindly defended Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu when they nearly maimed Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll. They would have done New Zealand rugby a much bigger service by banning the duo for two months apiece. Dream on."

It does however offer an interesting insight...the quiet confidence England showed last time round was roundly dismissed and the old 'arrogance' brick-bats were brought out of the locker. In 2003 it didn't serve the hosts as well as they hoped...A seige mentality helped England, coupled to this Woodward had everything planned to the nth degree and so when Australia equalled the scored in extra time the team stepped up to the plate and went through the motions. They were criticised all year for taking the flair out of the game but at the end of extra time in the world cup final no-one panicked...they just put into motion a set of well rehearsed mechanisms for getting that winning drop goal.

This time round it's difficult to disagree with the notion that the All Blacks are the best team in the world with Australia rated, perhaps generously looking at South Africa, as number two and yet both are sharing a plane home after the quarter finals (against teams that scraped through as runner-up in their groups remember). Whilst this plane-sharing is great for reducing their carbon footprints it's caused a lot of soul searching back home.

I do think Australia's problem was that although they were a better team overall than England they were unforgivably inferior in the front-5 department. Scrums were a nightmare for them and that left 5 players basically out of the game. Does the fact that they allowed this situation to arise hint at under-estimating England? They do like their sledging and pre-game sneers...perhaps this time they just made the mistake of believing them.

New Zealand's problem I think was more internal...perhaps they believed their own not replicating Woodward's minutae approach they were possibly a little quixotic. You can always say The skills will pay the bills, New Zealand had the skills in spades but when it goes off the rails you need a clearly laid-out plan for recovery. France's forward pass will be remembered as the thing that put the much vaunted best team in the world out of the World Cup but the reaction to that score was far too cavalier. It's sad to say it dour pragmatism is what you need doesn't make for breath-taking rugby but the two antipodean sides are learning what can be achieved with it (England's forward based victory) and what can happen when it there at least as a plan b (New Zealand trying garryowens and drop goals instead of playing slow ball and foracing a pen). Either way it's back to the drawing board for two of the best teams on the planet.


UEFA Cup Group A

October 25 Larissa Home
November 8 Nurnberg Away
November 29 No game
December 5 Zenit Home
December 20 Alkmaar Away

Could have been worse...some nice ties in there. Bolton and Aberdeen both got ultra-tough groups but they'll have a lot of fun along the way. Looking forwardin particular to Nurmeburg and Alkmaar. Would love to be able to are getting booked up already though.


Group A

AZ Alkmaar
Zenit St Petersburg

Group B
Lokomotiv Moscow
Atletico Madrid

Group C
AEK Athens
Mlada Boleslav

Group D
Stade Rennais
Dinamo Zagreb

Group E
Bayer Leverkusen
Sparta Prague
Spartak Moscow
FC Zurich

Group F
Bayern Munich
Red Star Belgrade
Aris Thessaloniki

Group G
Hapoel Tel-Aviv

Group H
Austria Vienna

Monday, October 08, 2007

BBC SPORT | Rugby World Cup Blog

BBC SPORT | Rugby World Cup Blog:

"Not only was their win over Ireland splashed over the front pages, but the epic ‘El Superclasico’ derby between Boca Juniors and River Plate this weekend has had its kick-off time moved so as not to clash with television coverage of the upcoming last-eight clash with Scotland."

Get to see the Argentinians getting the plaudits and the profile they deserve. I'd actually like to see them win it.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Back to earth

After all the euphoria of the last few days Everton and Waterloo brought us back to earth with a bump after both going down to defeats away from home.

Newcastle 3-2 Everton

Stourbridge 38-19 Waterloo


Saturday, October 06, 2007

England's chariot arrives right on time

England 21 - 10 Australia

Unbelievable. Stunning result. To everyone who's spent the last 4 years reveling in taking the piss out of England...Hope you enjoyed it 'cause believe me it didn't feel 0.000001% as good as today did. Not crowing, not gloating, just letting everyone know how good we are feeling.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home

I looked over Jordan, and I what did I see
Coming for to carry me home?
A band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home

If you get there before I do
Coming for to carry me home
Tell all my friends I coming too
Coming for to carry me home

I'm sometimes up, I'm sometimes down
Coming for to carry me home
But still my soul feels heavenly bound
Coming for to carry me home

Or to put it another way "Paul Hogan, Dame Edna, Skippy, Mrs Mangel....Mrs Mangel can you hear me? Your boys took one hell of beating" ;)

Friday, October 05, 2007



Metalist 2 - 3 Everton

So chuffed with that last night. Forget the ropey performance, forget that we backed ourselves into a corner it was just great to see us come back like that to keep the European campaign alive. The group stage beckons....bring it on.

Not a penalty!

Above all I am chuffed for the 1500-2000 travelling blues who went to the back end of Ukraine on a Thursday night for that. Fantastic stuff.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Uefa to probe Celtic fan attack

BBC SPORT | Football | Europe | Uefa to probe Celtic fan attack

How stupid can you be? That Celtic fan tapping Dida on the shoulder has left them wide open for forfitting the points. Dida's reacton was pitiful at best and at worst shocking cynical (He get's tapped on the shoulder runs 5 yards then collapses and stays there 'til they stretcher him off with an ice-pack on his face). The fact is, however, there isn't a steward in site....Celtic will rightly get the book thrown at them for failing to control their fans. A few games behind closed doors might well be in order. Just 'cause of one idiot.

all for nothing?