Archive for October, 2007

A New Home At Bury Lane

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I’ve heard many say the voice over at Theater of Dreams has left Old Trafford and has made its new home at Giggs Lane. After a first hand experience I must say such statements are not too far fetched. Last month I made my way over to Bury to catch my first F.C. United of Manchester game against Woodley Sports, the experience was absolutely fantastic. Most of the songs chanted on the ground were those of Old Trafford fame but some, and those were my favourites, were new and very creative. The best by far was whenever the opponents goalkeeper prepared to put goal kick into play the F.C. United supports would go “OOOOOOOOOOOOO…” until the ball was kicked then supporters went “YOU FAT BASTARD! HAHAHA!” The F.C. United fans were a vociferous bunch, at times intimidating, who were only to eager to cheer their side on.

The story on the pitch was another issue on that day. F.C. United have had a roaring start since its inception gaining promotion through two leagues in succession. But as I watched them play Woodley in their new league I felt they needed some additions to the squad, especially if they are to progress through the Unibond League. Since then quality players have such as Aaron Burns and Colin Bell have been added to the side which in turn has helped the side propel to second in the UniBond First Division North League after a vital 3-1 win over Ossett Albion FC.

The win was a much needed one both as a confidence booster as well as a form of continuity, continuity in the sense that they capable of stringing together consecutive wins and as in this case their third league win in a row.

Rory Patterson Goal (FC United fan video on You Tude)

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Hip-Hop Is Dead!!

May be I like self-inflicted pain. How else can I explain my seeing Gigli, Catwoman, White Chicks, Battlefield Earth, Pluto Nash and Malibu’s Most Wanted in their respective entirety. I should be admitting myself into a mental care facility right about now but I haven’t seen either Bio-Dome or From Justin to Kelly so there’s still hope for me….or may not if you consider the fact that I’ve just listened Soulja Boy’s new release “Tell ‘Em”. I mentioned earlier that this blog would not be limited to football as I would delve into other interests of mine, especially music, but why I would start with this album I have no sodding idea. Let’s just get on with it….

Soulja BoyListening to “Tell ‘Em” was gaining enlightenment to the decaying nature of the Hip-Hop genre. Hip-Hop of today has lost its poetic beauty/flair along with its creativity and the lyricists are a dying breed in this new Hip-Hop world. What the today’s “Hip-Hop” provides these days are songs void of content, all anyone needs is a wicked hook and(or) beats and a hit is born. Coherent words aren’t even necessary to have a hit these days, take the aforementioned Soulja Boy and his hit single “Crank That”, the song leaves you wondering if he ever has opened up a book in his entire life. There are no coherent verses to this song, just a largely repeated chorus interrupted by strings of disjointed sentences. After “Crank That” the rest of the album gets progressively worse as every other songs is based off of beats from – you guessed it – “Crank That”. Take for instance the track called “Pass it to Arab”, in it he takes a gawd awful 4mins telling us to pass it to arab or “Sidekick”, he raps about his bloody Sidekick all through it and even goes on to say during the song that he “can’t believe he wrote a song about his cell phone”….no s**t!!

I think Tyler Munro of sputnikmusic.com best summed it up when he wrote –

“To try and explain just how bad the “music” is on this disc is about as much of a masochistic exercise as listening to it. The beats are a mish-mash of shitty keyboard loops and samples from “Crank That”. The lyrics, if you can call them that, are rarely no more than the song titles repeated at different tempos followed by meandering gibberish, and Soulja’s delivery is akin to what Mushmouth (Fat Albert) would’ve sounded like when he was learning to read. “

So for the past few days I’ve been cleansing my ears with quality hip-hop by the minority that still exist out there and old tracks from my hip-hop favourites such as Biggie, Luniz and Craig Mack to name a few.

Notorious B.I.G – The Warning.mp3

Lupe Fiasco – Superstar.mp3

Common – I Want You (Video)

Is It The Dri-Fit?

United Players

Since Rooney started wearing Nike’s dri-fit gear underneath his uniform, thereby ditching the long sleeves, the wonder boy has been on a tear. Three goals in two premiership games along with two for two for the Three Lions … guess we owe many thanks to Evra for starting the dri-fit trend. Rooney’s return to form also coincides with United clicking as a cohesive unit and the beautiful football we come to associate with the club has returned as a result…oh, and the goals are coming too. This is excellent timing because the Gunners have been flying quite high of recent and we need to keep pace with them.

The continued success of the Red Devils also will depend on how well Rooney and Tevez continue to understand each other’s movements on the pitch. With every game played I have seen a continued improvement with this, especially during the fixture against Aston Villa. Their awareness of one another’s positioning fantastic, when either Rooney or Tevez dropped deep the other stayed up front and their linkups were marvelous. My only concern so far into the season is Carrick’s lacking form, he hasn’t been the Carrick of old and I personally believe United needs him to be the integral part of United midfield as he was last year, tearing up defences with his precision passes, if we are to succeed at a double this year.

McClaren’s Ineptitude Shines Again

England Players
Many around the football blogosphere having been analyzing the England-Russia game to find out where the blame of England’s debacle should rest. Cases have been made for McClaren, Robinson and Gerrard, but in my opinion i say look no further than McClown himself or more specifically, his tactical shortcomings. The second half performance by Russia showed how a true coach with great presence of mind can make the right moves and say the right things to get his side going for a win. McClaren’s continual inability to motivate the players, as I’ve aways maintained, will be our downfall. On top of that he always plays the same tactical schemes be in a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 formation. The problem with this is any decent/experienced coach can easily neutralize England’s tactical approach. The game of football is all about adapting to your opponents approach, failing in this is failing to advance in success within whatever competition you’re in.

It saddens me to say this but its better that we don’t qualify, I don’t need the humiliation we’ll face because I know The Three Lions will barely make it through the group stages and crash out in the quarterfinals. Plus why feed the money grubbing suits over at the FA who are too busy worrying about merchandising sales and not about performance on the pitch. But will England realistically make it to Euro 2008? No, mainly because that answer is not in the hands of England but in Russia’s. Russia has two games in hand, England has one, with both being winnable games. So if Russian goes on to win those two England players would be watching Euro 2008 from their respective television sets and awaiting news of a new coach

Nigeria 2 Mexico 2

Mexico - Nigeria

The scoreline does not paint a true picture of this friendly. Mexico were by far the better of the two sides, they played with more flair, creativity and intensity. The Mexican wingers carved up the Nigeria defense all day and is a true mystery as to why the scoreline remained tied at the end of ninety minutes.

In fact Mexico were actually down two-nil mainly due to the brilliance of Obafemi Martins, his speed was a constant headache for the Mexican back four and his brace were goals to be admired. That was the only positive for the Nigerian performance in the friendly tie. From the game one could clearly see that the players were still adapting to Vogts new style of football, the long ball, but it doesn’t excuse the lack of effort displayed by the Nigerian midfield. They gave away the ball cheaply and too often (especially Obi Mikel), they had difficulty creating open plays in the midfield and were not all too impressive with their defensive duties either. The defense did not fair any better, they failed to close up who they were marking, they ball watched a lot especially as crosses were coming in and were always half a step behind the Mexican attack.

I’m sure the Nigeria team would be happy leaving Mexico, a very tough view, with a tie but there is a great deal of work to be done by Vogts on the Nigeria side, especially with their set pieces, and I do hope the question raised by this game will be answered soon enough.

Mexico-Nigeria Highlights (YouTube)

In Other News:

Wayne “the wonderkid” Rooney finally ended his 3 year plus goal drought in an England shirt in the Three Lions’ 3-nil win over Estonia. Again Barry impressed and has cemented his place in the side whilest keeping Fat Frank comfy on the bench.

Vogts and The Eagles

Obafemi Martins

This weekend brings the Premier League break so players can return to their respective countries for international duties. So what we have will be a string of Euro 2008 qualifiers and international friendlies. Normally I would be writing about England’s forthcoming match against Estonia but thinking about it depressed me after realizing that McClown is running the show and he is still a player-pleasing-clueless FUCK!!! So I turn my attention to writing about my favourite team….The Super Eagles.

Granted I have not written much about the Nigerian National side, and that will change, I’ve merely been sitting back and watching the workings of the new coach Berti Vogts. His appointment was a shock to me; I tried tirelessly to figure out how the buffoons running the Nigerian Football Association (NFA) could prize away such a football legend away from other clubs/national teams. Do not get me wrong I loved the idea of having Berti Vogts as the Super Eagles National head coach (he bring huge benefits which I’ll look at later) but we are talking about the NFA here, an organization rife with corruption and political in-fighting.

As I mentioned before, the hiring of Mr. Vogts brings huge benefits, one of which instant respect from the players. Past coaches have had troubles controlling the Super Eagles players and to some extent some players were arrogantly making demands to the coaching staff. None of that will fly with Vogts, the man is a legend and when he speaks the players will listen…he can even drop big name starts without reprieve easily. Another benefit of Vogts is that he knows fully well the politics of football and how to handle them. From demanding a 3-month advance salary before taking the helm to picking his own coaching staff (even after the NFA had appointed him one) Vogts has shown to the NFA he is no push over and the running of the national side will be done how he sees fit. He even has strayed away from only picking big name players and has gravitated towards little known Nigerian players, some with dual nationality, as he seeks to build a team with the European Football philosophy of keeping the game direct and simple…something the NFA would have cried bloody murder in years past.

While I like all the moves Berti Vogtz has made they still need to be backed up on the pitch if he wishes to remain head coach. Guiding the Super Eagles to finishing top in her 2008 African National Cup qualifying group is a good start (W5-D0-L1) but honestly it was a weak group. The true test of Mr. Vogts philopshy will come with the string of friendlies which start this weekend against Mexico and then Jamaica. I’m eager to put our disappointments of past years (a la losing our World Cup qualification to Angola….ANGOLA!!!!) and start looking forward to greener pastures, COME ON SUPER EAGLES!!!!

They’re Baaaack!!!!

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 Man United 4 – Wigan 0

The goals that is. A depleted United ran rampant on Wigan during the second half with goals coutersy of Tevez, Rooney and a brace by Ronaldo. The first half seemed like previous games of old this season, the opposing team not looking to go forward much thus being content with icking out a point. Reading seems to have handed the rest of the premier league teams a blueprint on how to faustrated the United’s attack, with every wave of pressure heaped upon Wigan (and others before them) their back eight absord everything by not allowing United sniff a goal. Coupled with an unyielding defense, Manchester United were bitten by the injury bug, as both Vidic and O’Shea had to leave the pitch within 30 minutes of the game. Despite the injuries United continued with the pressure and should have gone ahead via Tevez who blazed his shot wide on the stroke of half-time.

Tevez made up for his error nine minutes into the second half by breaking the deadlock with a well taken goal, a goal that displayed his paced and strength used in holding off Kilbane and Bramble before rounding Kirkland for the opener. Tevez’s goal seemed to have opened up the floodgates as United started putting together some wonderful team plays which resulted in two Ronaldo goals. With three in the bag, the gaffers boys wanted more and Rooney duly obliged minutes from the end by netting a header from an excellent cross setup through Danny Simpson.

It ended four-nil at Old Trafford and a happy Fergie could be seen leaving his manager’s corner. A wonderful display by the lads on the pitch and even more encouraging were the peformances put fourth by the young trio of Simpson, Pique and Anderson.

Image Source: Getty Images