World Cup

Football – from bad to worse!

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Those that know me will be aware that I am not a fan of ‘the beatiful game’ – it has become so dependant upon money that it is a pale imitation of the game I used to enjoy when I was a kid in the 1970’s. The first million pound transfer deal was done in Nottingham, so perhaps we (or Brian Clough) have to accept some of the blame? No doubt we are in for the usual pain over the next few weeks watching England at the European Championships as well!

It appears to me that FIFA are hell bent on destroying the game, first we have the goal line technology debacle – quite why one of the richest sports in the world can’t bring in something so simple is beyond me. I am told by those ‘who understand the game’ that it would cause a break in the flow of the game. However how this differs from the break in the flow when a player takes a dive is beyond me!

Today however I see that FIFA have excelled themselves – on two counts;

Firstly for the World cup in Brazil they have forced a change in the law to allow beer to be sold in the stadiums – something that has been banned in Brazil (one assumes for a reason) since 2003! The reason? Well according to FIFA beer is ‘all part of the world cup’ – presumably just as rioting, racism and violence are? Or is it because a beer company are one of the main sponsors? The statement by FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke says it all.

“Alcoholic drinks are part of the Fifa World Cup, so we’re going to have them. Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant but that’s something we won’t negotiate,”

Secondly the referees in Brazil are to be instructed to red card any player that leaves the pitch due to racist chants or abuse – another great message to football fans the world over!

And people wonder why I am so cynical about football!

A Good World Cup?

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I am not the best person to comment on the World Cup, or football as a whole. It is not something that I have a great interest or if I am honest respect for. This World Cup has not really helped me with this view either!  

FIFA had I believe made a very brave move in giving the World Cup to South Africa to run, I think they have actually done them proud and the event appears to have run extremely well. Yes there have been a few empty seats, the majority it would appear due to a lack of corporate entertainment being taken up. I do however feel that the tournament has been let down by the very people who should care about it most – the players and FIFA.  

The attitude of some players and the way they behave is I believe a very poor example to the kids who will have watched the tournament to see their heroes. The list is large;  

Close to home, the England players attitude to the fans quite frankly stank. I was appalled when they did not even acknowledge the fans at the end of the game against Germany when they got knocked out of the tournament.  

Rooneys comment at the end of the Algeria game was also unforgivable.  

Half the England squad also did not sing the National Anthem (unlike all other teams) – and yes boys you are playing for your country, not for or similar!  

Funny - I thought the Goalkeeper was in yellow?


The worst I saw though was Uruguay, the blatant hand ball to stop Ghana going through – appalling professionalism!  

This is also before we consider the performance of FIFA!  

Sepp Blatter the boss of FIFA has today said he is happy with the way the World Cup has gone. He is pleased we have all survived the vuvuzelas, but has nothing to say about goal line cameras or any of the other poor football comments!  

Lets hope the final is one to remember for the right reasons.  

Come on FIFA, lead by example and get your game in order. Otherwise you will lose your fans and then your fabulous wealth – actually, perhaps that is what is needed……….

Football – time for a new National Sport?.

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Before the World Cup started back in the depths of June, there was a feeling of ‘hope’ beginning to drift across us, we had Rooney, Capello and our usual belief that we are actually better than we actually are!

So apt!

Unfortunately when Rooney failed to put in an appearance and we fell wimpering to the Germans, all the possible good that could have worked its way into the economy sank without a trace!

The timing of the budget was also stunning, the headline in the Independant after the apalling performance against Algeria said it all

“Cheer up everybody, there’s a budget next week”.

Englands failure in South Africa has focused peoples attention to the budget and the cuts at a time when the Government might have hoped for some good news. The request for budget plans from the Government Departments on a 25% or 40% cut basis have also raised a few eye brows! I believe we are in for a very hard time over the next 6 months. There are undoubtably going to be strikes in the public sector and the increased uncertainty this causes cannot be good for the property market.

A lot of this was of course unavoidable, but it does feel better being able to lay part of the blame at the feet of Rooney and Co! It wouldn’t have been so bad if they actually looked sorry, or applauded the fans after they got beaten by the Germans. But no, that was apparently too much for them.

We need a new national sport to get behind, we are not good enough at football. How about some of the other sports that we have had recent World Champions at (or at least since 1966)? I don’t have a list, but would guess it is suprisingly large, and many have been achieved without the massive money football has – does that say something as well?

A special Sunday!

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Once in a while you get one of those rare days when there are a number of events that will make it particularly ‘special’. This Sunday is one of those days.

A future awaiting us?

Firstly it is Sam’s birthday, not any old birthday, but his 13th. Today we get a male teenager in the family to add to the current female one. I have not as yet noticed any ‘Harry Enfield like’ changes to him – but no doubt that will come!

It doesn’t seem like 13 years since he came into the world, but I am beginning to feel old!

Also in the afternoon we have the World cup game against Germany. Even my wife, who to say the least is not a footy fan, is totally up for this game, amazing what effect a game against ‘the old enemy’ has on us.

It has set me thinking though – I am fully aware that as a team England, will always make things as hard as possible for themselves – the recent qualification for the last 16 being a case in point!

We can all hope!

It’s an old adage, but we do seem to perform best when things are against us, we don’t like to make it easy! So perhaps this is England’s year after all? And one where we can get back against the ‘old enemy’?

If we get past Germany we potentially have Argentina in the next round – who can forget the ‘hand of God’ incident. It would be especially sweet if we could beat them this time as well – especially as Maradona is managing them this time (what does he look like)!

From there on in I think the theory is we would meet Spain, but lets just concentrate on getting a few old skeletons removed from the locker room first!

Also on Sunday we have the European Grand Prix, I love GP’s (not something I would have said a few seasons ago), there is a good level of excitement now and the British boys are doing well! unfortunately it clashes with the football, which will be the one we watch live this time!

Finally, Top Gear is back in the evening! What a way to round off the day (hopefully!)

So, a good day all round I hope!

The Beautiful Game?

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I cannot claim to be a football fan, I don’t follow a team or go regularly to watch football, so perhaps my comments here don’t count? I am one of the cynics who believes that there is too much money in the sport, the players are over paid and most importantly view playing for their country more as a job – than an honour.

Colleagues at work are always telling me that this is the ‘beautiful’ game, the one to watch to see magical things done with a football. I agree that when you see top class players at their peak it is wonderful, for that reason I will sit and watch many of the World Cup matches – because they are likely to be ‘special’.

However last night was probably the worst game England have played in years (not my words – the TV pundits). I will always bore my colleagues at work with my un-educated view that the players are over paid and don’t have that ‘fire in their belly’ they need to win. Well un-educated or not I think I was proved right last night!

After the first England game my daughter asked me why did all the other teams sing along to their national anthem and look proud, but England didn’t? My answer – I don’t know, but you would have thought they would be proud to be there wouldn’t you?


Last night they really did not look as if they cared, plus Rooney’s comment at the end of the match;

“Nice to see your own fans booing you, that’s what loyal support is”.

was perhaps not the best thing to say in the circumstances!

However, at least it shows he cares – albeit possibly more about his poor performance than the result? Rooney was still trending this morning on Twitter – and most of the comments are negative towards Rooney and the team. Possibly well earn’t, if you put yourself on a pedestal you can expect to get knocked off once in a while. The multi million pound salaries don’t come for free.

The players are seen by our kids as role models, sometimes I don’t think they realise this, or take it seriously. It’s time to stand up and be counted boys!

So, lick your wounds and come out on Wednesday as if you mean it!

England always do it the hard way, so we shouldn’t be surprised, they will get through…….

UPDATE 19.06.10

Wayne Rooney has apologised to his fans – good man! He said the following;

“I said things in the heat of the moment out of frustration of our performance and the result,”
“For my part I apologise for any offence caused by my actions.”

Let’s hope this is the start of the ‘New England’ for Wednesday’s game!

Nottingham get behind England!

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It’s good to see that Nottingham City Council have finally sorted out their ‘flag issues’ surrounding the World Cup!    

After a shaky start which involved council staff taking down flags erected on a road in Clifton by a pensioner (which made the national news) and then a personal apology to the pensioner concerned by counsellor Jon Collins (and the flags being reinstated) –  the City have now done us proud with this;    

photo: Scott Osborne


The massive 18-metres wide by 8-metres high flag has taken pride of place on the front of the Council House – a landmark building in the city’s central Old Market Square.    

The impressive sight is intended to add to Word Cup fever in a city which has a strong footballing history, and is also looking to be a host city for the 2018 World Cup.    

Councillor Jon Collins said;    

“We’re hoping that in eight year’s time, the World Cup could be coming to us but in the meantime this flag shows everyone the size of Nottingham’s ambition and pride. We reckon it could well be the biggest St George’s flag in the country.”    

Nottingham is also to play host to an infamous piece of World Cup memorabilia from next week. The shirt worn by Diego Maradona when he scored his controversial ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the 1986 World Cup is to go on display at Nottingham Castle.    

Let’s hope that after last night’s little goalkeeping issue things improve for us in South Africa!

The World Cup ‘effect’

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I could not describe myself as a football fan, I show a passing interest in Nottingham Forest and Swindon (my local team when I was growing up). Both this season have almost managed to go up a division, not sure if there is a theme developing here!

The World Cup is on another level though, I love the fact that there is so much great football on TV over the month it runs (my wife wouldn’t agree though!). It also brings out a level of mischief in people, I was sent this link this morning which is rather irreverent, but very funny!

As the tournament progresses I do hope that England do well, but what ever happens lets enjoy the lift it gives to the country in terms of a feel good factor (for it surely does).

The Dutch Bank ING have recently undertaken a survey to gauge the effect the World Cup could have on the Dutch economy and to take a view of its effect world-wide also – its findings are quite interesting.

The general concept that the further a national side progresses in the competition the more it benefits that countries economy would appear to be bourne out by the report. Positive results on the field are reflected in increased consumer spending and confidence. A more positive attitude is seen in the workplace and commerce generally.

Of perhaps more interest is the view of football taken by other countries of the World. The Brazilians are most confident about their chances of winning the tournament with over 75% expecting the cup to return to Brazil. A career in football is also seen as a positive move for children far more here than in any other country surveyed (South American Countries were at the top of this section of the survey). In all countries being a footballer was seen as being more desirable than being a movie star or Prime Minister!

Expenditure on ‘fan gear’ is expected to be highest in Spain (27 Euros per head) with England and France at around 15 Euros per head.

Who knows if we do really well it may even help us further out of our current financial woes?