In which your ‘heroes’ Aaron and Duncan have a shallow and meaningless about the Storm, talk down NZ’s Twenty20 chances and up Stephen Fleming as a future coach before extolling the virtues of history in a sports club, and promotion/relegation with particular reference to the newly promoted Nottingham Forest. Kill some time with us.
Category Archives: Soccer
Seeking out some atmosphere to go with an event of the magnitude of the Champions League final I am forsaking my trusty chair, easy access to coffee, and about half an hours extra sleep to head down to The Bard on Avon, Christchurch’s early morning football destination. And so Deadball is proud to bring you a live account of the final, just a bit later on ‘cos I have to transcribe it from my notebook.
The Champions League final is great but it does herald the end of the football season, it’s a pretty bleak three months once the NBA Finals are over, and does have a tendency to bring out the type of people who watch one game a year and so it is no surprise to arrive to a sea of ManU shirts already spilling out onto the outside tables. Where were all of you during the semi finals? Not wearing your shirts that’s for sure where Gunners bearers outnumbered you 10 to 1, that is until the goals went in and it turned out you’d come in plainclothes, way to stand up for what you believe in. It is a particularly bad year for this type of behaviour with two obvious teams who are also two of my most hated, slightly less on the Barca side (no more Deco, no more worlds most overrated player, they play amazing football, and it would be nice to see Henry win it).
When the darkness came, we accepted it gratefully, knowing that in its embrace lay a glimmer of hope. Hope that we might avoid defeat for a second test in a row, and thereby retain some shred of dignity and carry that into the winter.
The forecast is pretty average for today, though the forecasters have been wrong before, but there’s a fair chance that New Zealand might be able to fumble their way through however many balls we get to the end of play, and a 1-0 test series loss.
How are we supposed to feel about this? All blogwarring aside, a better team than ours, with far more talented players, came to our country and beat us in a test series. We can complain about our bowling and certain batsmen, but it was those simple facts that decided the series.
The beauty of cricket is that such is the ability of one player to impose their will upon the game that there was always a sliver of hope that we might see a different result. When Ryder hit his double century we were part way there, waiting only for a bowler to answer the call and join him in his reverie. Continue reading
An alternative title to this piece could easily have been Stumbling Block. Right across Europe teams that either had to win to maintain pressure on the league leaders bottled it or table toppers suddenly looked as though they don’t like the limelight anymore and just want to spend some time in mediocrity. Perhaps the most astounding of these was Middlesbrough looking fairly convincing in a 2-0 win over Liverpool at the Riverside, the first time they have managed this for five years. To put some perspective on how long it has been since Gareth Southgate’s boys managed to do anything right I was watching their away win over Aston Villa while in Shanghai, over 8,000kms of land travel ago. If you are reading this at the end of a day’s work think that you’ve just spent that whole time playing football and not scored a goal in that whole time, that being the time between Alfonso Alves putting the ball in the net against Sunderland and Xabi Alonso statuing the ball in for an unfortunate own goal.
Here are some other things that were going on the last time Middlesbrough won:
– UK #1 single they would be listening to – X Factor Finalists – “Hero”
– New Zealand were not yet rugby league World Cup winners.
– Australia were still the best ranked one day team in the world.
– Liverpool were top of the table.
Wandering through the clean, modern centre of Liverpool today I found myself in front of the great totem to contemporary art and culture that is the Official Liverpool FC Store. Along with the anticipated team strips and posters were some stuff for the more hardcore supporter. Here’s my top ten ridiculous Liverpool supporter’s products.
I’m standing nervously in a queue, without quite knowing why. But the longer I stand there the more I’m certain that it must be the right thing to do. If you’re not allowed to hail a cab then you’ve got to join an outlandish queue for one. We’ll allow that. And if everyone else is queuing that’s further evidence that you’re doing the right thing
Context: It turns out we don’t have tickets to the Old Firm game, because the scammy bastards who sold us them never had tickets in the first place. I’m momentarily crestfallen, but soon recover my good humour, and convince myself that given that there are 52,000 people going to this game of football, a game more-or-less identical to those which occur between the same two sides at least four times a year, and given that we’ve come such a long way and have such a sorry story to tell… given those compelling circumstances, obviously someone would sell me their ticket. Evidently I’d massively underestimated the Glaswegian temperament. Continue reading
It’s a glorious feeling waking up in the morning knowing that right before you are three back to back games of premiership action. And so without further ado, some observations:
Fact of the week no. 1: Aston Villa’s 1-0 victory over Portsmouth was their first at Fratton Park in 34 years.
Fact of the week no. 2: That Villa win was also a club record sixth consecutive away victory. Next up Blackburn Rovers.
Fact of the week no 3: £23.5 million combined is what teams have paid in transfer fees alone for Emile Heskey. The Donkey scoring a typically scrappy goal first time out for his new employers.
Fact of the week no 4: Jermaine Defoe continued his record of scoring every time he has played Stoke City in his career.
Fact of the week no 5: Manchester United have now gone 1032 minutes without conceding a Premiership goal, passing Chelsea’s record in the 84th minute of their game against West Brom.
Fact of the week no. 6: That wasn’t the only defending record achieved in that game; 11 consecutive clean sheets is also a new mark. Continue reading