Eclectic football and cultural blog. Tactics, formations, player profiles, match reports, breaking news, transfer gossip - none of these can be found on The Frustrated Footballer

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Michael Owen / Antonio Nunez + £11M

An interesting one this… no, bear with me.

Michael Owen had been Livepool’s top goalscorer in every season since his debut in 1997-98, when he came on as a sub against Wimbledon and scared the living shit out of me and all fellow Dons present. People now see him warming the bench for Manchester United, and perhaps it’s fair enough to criticise him when he’s been quoted (On twitter) saying “Just to answer some of your tweets. Prefer playing less often in a top team than every game in a poor team. Been there a didn’t enjoy it” – great way to put noses out of joint – but come one, in the late nineties and early noughties HE WAS INCREDIBLE.

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Empty Room #2 - Vinnie Jones

Genius is not a word often used to describe Vinnie Jones. But what else can you call a man who has made a very fruitful career out of football and acting, despite have no appreciable talent for either? He’s got to have something up there, hasn’t he?

Jones built his game on intimidation, fear of violence, and actual violence. By his own admission he was not the most skilful or tactically minded of footballers, but he had physical and mental strength by the bucket-load. Every game he played, he walked the line between good physical contact sport and rule breaking. His 12 red cards proving that he didn’t always get the balance right. In fact, he’s probably very lucky not to have collected more.

Make-weights #1 Ashley Cole to Chelsea in exchange for £5 Million and William Gallas

This transfer, completed in the summer of 2006 involves two of the nice-guys of football, Ashley Cole, who had recently been embroiled in a tapping-up scandal the year before, and William Gallas – a player with such a toxic dressing room influence at Chelsea that he had allegedly threatened to score own goals if he was not given a move. So, you could look upon the deal as either win-win in terms of playing personnel, or lose-lose in terms of characters.

Ashley Cole famously nearly swerved his supercar into a tree when he first heard about Arsenal’s derisory 55 THOUSAND pounds a week improved contract offer, and had been at the centre of a tapping-up storm a year earlier, with Chelsea, Mourinho and Cole all fined by the Premier League.

The Empty Room #1 - Joey Barton

This Charming Man

There aren’t many footballers whose very mention polarises opinion as much as Joey Barton. Barton made his reputation at Manchester City, under the tutelage of manager Kevin Keegan, who brought him into the first team in the 2002-3 season. The following season, Barton established himself as a first team regular, playing 39 games and scoring one goal. He was voted fans’ Young Player of the Year in 2004. It was off the pitch that Barton really began to make a name for himself. The well documented incidents of ill-discipline including stubbing a cigar out in a youth player’s eye (To be fair, Jamie Tandy had been trying to set fire to Barton’s shirt) and then attacking a 15 year old fan in Thailand (To be fair, oh no – that’s inexcusable). Around this time, Joey Barton to his credit had a good hard look at himself. He’s been involved with Tony Adams’ Sporting Chance Clinic, and admitted that he’s an alcoholic. Heaven knows, he was miserable then. He resolved to turn himself around, and again started making the news in terms of being a footballer, rather than a thug. Sadly, it seems that Joey was having a hard time putting the behavioural tools learnt at the sporting Chance clinic into action. He believed that he was able to control himself, and in that regard he’s proven himself wrong time and time again.

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Dark Arts of FC Barcelona

The devil's best trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist!

Baudelaire knew nothing of FC Barcelona, having breathed his last 32 years before the Catalan club was founded. But his words can be used to describe the victim complex that Les Cules have been trading on for years. Perhaps that’s a little unfair. No-one would deny that the region of Catalonia was victimised during the reign of Franco from 1936-1974. During those years the club really did symbolise the spirit of resistance, club president Josep Sunyol was executed by Francoist soldiers in 1936, and after the civil war the club was made to change its name into Castilian Spanish, the Catalan flag was removed from the crest and meanwhile Real Madrid romped to domestic and European success.

These days it’s Real Madrid playing catch-up. With Barcelona dominating on the pitch, flexing equal financial muscle and chasing and aggressive transfer policy, the romance has all but gone form the Catalan stronghold.