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And Another Thing.........

Football is a game all about opinions, that's the beauty of it. That's why the game of football permeates ones conscience beyond just the ninety minutes of game time, beyond the pristine turf of professional competition, like a badly poured pint, it spills over into the pubs, offices, building sites and hair salons the world over. But, before I overindulge in the romance, that can also be the infuriating thing about football. While one craves debate and diversity of opinion, some people are just bloody well wrong aren't they? So these are what I consider to be footballs' most annoying myths and why they are so frustratingly incorrect.

England has a rather endearingly warped view of what constitutes gamesmanship. For instance, commentators and supporters the nation over are entitled to fits of rage when a player walks up to a referee brandishing an imaginary card in order to get an opponent booked. Fair enough, it's poor sportsmanship and undermines the match official. But why then is it so perfectly acceptable for a player to leap to his feet from a challenge and, in clear view of the viewing public, tell the referee, 'ah, that's gotta be a booking ref!' Why is it that demanding to have an opponent booked orally is fine, but a mock gesture indicating the self same point offends our sensibilities so much? My guess is that the imaginary card brandishing is more of a continental trait, and of course, that automatically makes it vile, dirty and unbecoming. But when a proper English gent like Gerrard politely demands sanction, or when the ever affable John Terry spits and screams it into the referee's face, that's quite alright old chap? It's a conundrum I've posed to pro fox hunters, what is the difference between fox hunting and bear bating? It's a valid metaphor for this footballing anomaly.

No it doesn't! It does not say that in the rules, this is something Andy Gray and sky sports have made up and everybody has blindly followed like baying sheep. A handball is judged in the same way as a foul. If a defender 'accidentally' trips a player in the box, it's still a penalty isn't it? It is not the referee's concern whether he intended to trip the attacker. It is the same with handball. The condition for a handball is supposed to be where the predominant point of contact comes from. Allow me to elucidate, 'ball to hand' is not handball, in the same way that it is not a foul if the attacker kicks his opponent's foot and falls to the ground (a la Pires v Pompey, or Owen v Argentina), because the point of contact is the attacker. However, if the defenders arm is out and the ball travels from anything other than pointblank range it is handball, just like a trailing leg can clumsily fell an onrushing striker.

See above, another to the littany of sky sports manufactured rules that everybody has cottoned onto. While a two footed tackle should always be a straight red, one leg can cause sufficient damage. For instance, Mark Noble's challenge on Alex Hleb a few weeks back was a deliberate attempt to injure another player. So why should he be allowed to stay on the pitch simply because he perpetrated the act of violence with one foot? You can break an opponent's leg with one foot, just like you can kill somebody with one bullet.

A rather topical one here, particular to present day rather than footballing folklore in general. But Martin Jol's job should not be under threat right now, Daneil Levy's should. Putting all rivalry aside and curtailing my childish sniggering behind my hand for a second, I do genuinely feel sorry for Jol. He has been the Spuds best manager for some twenty years, delivered them their two best ever Premiership finishes, and yet he has been sickeningly stabbed in the back by Daniel 'Iago' Levy and his board. At a time when Tottenham had created a platform to build on, stability was crucial to see if they could get to the next level. But Jol's good work has been undermined by a chairman who has made his job entirely untennable and shaken the confidence of the whole place. Levy inhabits a fantasy land, no club will break the quantopoly of the big four until possibly Chelsea, United and Liverpool's benefactors bleed them dry. Spurs, Everton, Villa and the like missed the boat ten years ago when United, Liverpool and Arsenal saw a league about to inherit unimagined riches and clung onto its sugar coated gravy train. The money and power of the big four is simply too much and fifth is the best Spurs can hope for for now.

There is no doubting Alex Ferguson's credentials as a manager. But I do resent this myth of him bringing through the 'Golden Generation' which went on to deliver United the treble. While his management of that side was flawless, they were not his fledglings. It was Brian Kidd who was in charge of United's youth policy in the early nineties, he brought through Neville, Scholes, Beckham etc. Since Kidd left his post at United, can you name me a world class product of United's academy? Since the demise of the Golden Generation, Fergie has relied on the chequebook to survive.

This man is possibly my most detested character in my footballing lifetime. His sanctimony and posturing simply knows no bounds, both as pundit and player. I've seen dirty players in my time, but even as much as I hate the likes of Robbie Savage, at least he does not pretend to be anything other than an irritating twat. Shearer's air of pretense was underpinned by a taste for violence rarely matched, throwing elbows to all and sundry, but moaning like a little bitch the second someone smelled one of his perfume scented farts. It is rare that I ever feel delighted to see a piece of footballing thuggery, but one example bares repeating. In a Carling Cup match against Grimsby, Shearer threw one of his trademark elbows into the face of Mariners' defender Jason Whittle (naturally, the commentators responded with 'oh, good old Alan, what a pleasure that must have been for Whittle'). Whittle exacted a swift revenge minutes later, smacking Shearer right in his kisser. Shearer moaned and whinged throughout the entire match, going as far as to visibly offer Whittle a fight after the game, then bleating to his mates at sky about how harshly treated he had been. It was a wonderful moment of poetic justice. I only wish Neil Lennon could have had the chance to kick him in the face. Shearer was an egotistical and difficult player, going as far as losing Ruud Gullit his job for having the temerity to drop him. When the F.A threatened sanction against him for his appalling act of violence against Neil Lennon, he allegedly (a word I use out of obligation more than anything) threatened to retire from the England side. Now as a pundit his marvels have included articulating his desire to see Wayne Rooney punch Ronaldo. Together with his disgusting appraisal of Estonia's defending with a dismissive, 'ah, bless em,' on last week's BBC coverage. Karma has once again intervened as England beg for Israel's scraps to qualify for Euro 2008, bless em.

I've visited St. James' Park many times, it is just as quiet as any other ground in the country. The media perpetrate this legend of the passionate Geordies, but not one of their UEFA Cup games last season reached more than 50% capacity. I also have found them to be hostile and distasteful. The most trouble I have ever seen at Highbury (given that I was born in 1984), was when Newcastle came to Highbury for a cup tie in 2002. I've seen a number of Arsenal players stretchered off at St. James' and all were roundly booed on their journey to the tunnel, I can think of no other set of fans that consistently does this. When Robert Pires was stretchered off in front of the Geordies in 2002, he was spat on and serenaded with homophobic chanting. Newcastle observe a supersillious superiority complex which probably made them Alan Shearer's ideal club.

In the words of Johnny Rotten, 'I carn't even be bovvered..............LD.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday October 23 2007

Time: 1:49PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
haha, agreed on everything except the jol part. note that it was 1st bad results then levy trying to replace him..not the other way round...
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23/10/2007 14:22:00

Spurs had two bad results when Levy started, I think that's affected Spurs more than bad management on Jol's part per se, the confidence of the side is shattered and the club are back as a laughing stock again.
Little Dutch
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23/10/2007 14:31:00

Jol is a conman and the only reason you want him to stay in charge is so that we are no threat to arsecum
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23/10/2007 14:31:00

Just a random rant there LD? Sunderland fans put the Geordies to shame
Report Abuse
23/10/2007 14:39:00

You'd be no threat to us if Jesus, Allah and Buddah managed you. Jol has taken you closer than anyone in a generation. Levy undermined him and Spurs' slump is down to him.
Little Dutch
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23/10/2007 14:52:00

LD, while the trio may do a marvalous job, they do not possess a fifpro liscense...
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23/10/2007 14:59:00

agree wholeheartedly with the article LD - and to go further on the JHol point, I also feel he has been harshly treated. So the close season signings have been flops so far - well, how many of them were actually signed by Jol, and how many were signings made by Comolli? If I recall correctly, Comolli is rumoured to have been responsible for the majority of them... I am not some tub rthumper for Jol, but as LD said, h's been their best manager for years, when he took over at the spuds, i told my lillywhite mate 'You've got your manager now!', to me, Jol had the calm and determined air about him that Arsene had from the start. Sadly, being undermined and belittled by his board and various others behind the scenes, he now more closely resembles a joke figure and a clown, and whilst it's funny as he's a spuds manager, i feel sorry for him as he has been shabbily treated after lifting the spuds to hitherto unknown dizzy heights ther past 2 seasons. »»Arsene Knows««
Report Abuse
23/10/2007 15:00:00

LD, do not just mention Jesus' name in is against the LAW...
Report Abuse
23/10/2007 15:18:00

What you gonna do if I say Jesus in vain.Hit me with a bible, :p.
Report Abuse
23/10/2007 16:13:00

No we'll hit you with one on fat Frank's non-deflected shots on goal.
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23/10/2007 16:28:00

lol, i'm sure if it is a "non-deflected" shot, the defense was provided by spurs! You can sing his praises, but their defense sucks, and that's the managers job to sort out...
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23/10/2007 16:44:00

Each one of those myths is worth a thread on its own. Particularly accurate on Shearer though. He is such a typical English 'hero', epitomising the triumph of grit over technique, that you wonder whether the international game will ever get the message in this country.
Report Abuse
23/10/2007 17:45:00

it was a funny game last night. The closest Spurs came to Buddah was Berbatov's "warmup" routine.....
Report Abuse
23/10/2007 17:47:00

Beckham's return to the country
Report Abuse
23/10/2007 21:55:00

Tim, using John Terry as an example, might not be the best way to visualise the problem of cheating Ickle Steive mee yes, but.... how about you try Rooney and his legendary insults aimed at different refs?
Blue is the colour
Report Abuse
23/10/2007 22:05:00

And speaking of which...JT will still come out smelling of roses when compared to that violent, uncontrollable lot you lost the CC with...handbag vielding frogs...
Blue is the colour
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23/10/2007 22:08:00

That's wielding chav, fair play for attempting the tricky big words though.
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23/10/2007 22:25:00

Oh and purleease no bothering the lord on this page go to feckin church if thats your particular perversion, thanks.
Report Abuse
23/10/2007 22:29:00

Michael105uk you had a go at me on the spuds site last night for no reason at all! Ive just got back from the game and noticed you didnt go! I am a season ticket holder and have been going home and away for the last 40 years! Before you slag someone off you should know who you are having a go at and have some ******** respect! Now get your tv ready for sunday as Im driving up the m6!!!
Report Abuse
23/10/2007 22:56:00

k_chelski, did you say Jesus' name in vain before? Maybe that's cause Jose to be fired. Or it could be as simple as your Russian owner being mad.
Report Abuse
23/10/2007 23:07:00

BITC. there's a good reason why no one gives a rats about lehmann. he's a bumbling old man and it only gets worse for himself everytime he opens his trap. i dont think what he says has any bearing on the players morale whatsoever. so you reckon we will crumble over this utter pillack? rubbish mate. now sacking your best manager in fifty years is a different thing altogether
Report Abuse
24/10/2007 03:44:00

Blue is the colour, my crap has more intelligence than you, you chelski scum. Your players are money-hungry mercenaries.
Report Abuse
24/10/2007 04:13:00

What are you talking about LD, Fletcher's world class in'e?
Ozi Gooner
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24/10/2007 05:53:00

Alright BMF, I didn't want to say this, it will hurt your feelings... Jesus doesn't like gay people. I have nothing against them/you for it, but G-zaz has a problem with it. And you being a gay orgy guru (not making this up) will have to deal with him.
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24/10/2007 09:39:00

Nice piece Timbo.....and true aswell!!!
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24/10/2007 09:44:00

I felt sorry for the poor lads sat next to me in the 1st half of the bolton match, they had the misfortune to have to listen to me rant on about 'the rules according to sky' so props once again for yet another article which nails it LD. As for Jol... only the spuds could be so fickle and stupid to mess up their best chance in years to...err.... do something....typical and just slightly- no make that immensely, amusing...
Report Abuse
24/10/2007 13:30:00

Oh and I would feel sorry for them if they hadn't been giving it the biggun a few months ago.... and weren't such a fickle, bitter bunch of 'supporters'
Report Abuse
24/10/2007 13:36:00

WTF, k_chelski? Are you becoming as mad your Russian owner? I think Jesus will have nothing against gay people, seeing as he's a pacifist. Don't know why you think I'm some gay orgy guru, but you seems to bring it up a lot, so maybe you have some fixation on gay orgy. Anyway, I have to ask, seeing as you're in love with Abramovich and all, are you one of his Russian hookers, he managed to smuggle out of Russia and brought to England? Is this why you think he's so awesome and everything?
Report Abuse
25/10/2007 00:13:00

Ehem... ask any pasto/preacher/ whatever the dude is, "what does Jesus think of gays" he'll probably say: "***** em faggots". Well BMF, you claimed that the tottenham players were having gay orgy, and that's why they sucked (pardon the pun). So to me, someone who can observe such a thing from a football match, must have a wide knowledge on the subject. More Abramovich sutff ?Zzzzz. Come up with something better will ya.
Report Abuse
25/10/2007 00:51:00

Oh dear, you are falling asleep, you must be watching Chelski play again. Well of course, some of those fundamental Christians will say that. Jesus died like two thousands years ago, unless, those preachers spoke to him directly, we don't know that. Anyway, please be more sensitive to Christians next time, as they will cry like John Terry. Now you seen how he turned on the waterworks, it isn't pretty. Again with the gay orgy, what is it with you? Are you that senator that solicits sex in men's bathrooms? That's cool if you do that, but you need to come out in the open instead of denying your true self. Your mind just does not seems to stop thinking about gay orgy.
Report Abuse
25/10/2007 01:17:00

Did you, or did you not say, that Tottenham players don't win games because they have gay orgies? For once in your life stand up for what you say.
Report Abuse
25/10/2007 01:21:00

I only said that as joke but you are putting words in my mouth like I have some fixation on gay orgy. Let's hope, words are the ONLY thing you put in my mouth. I mean, you seems nice but I don't know you that well. I hope you know, I'm kidding.
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25/10/2007 01:37:00


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