Another week has passed in the unpredictable world of Association Football, so what has gone on this week, and what has the world’s favourite sport taught us? Let’s look back now and pass a sage eye over the comings-and-goings and the to-ings-and-fro-ings in the regular feature, 5 Things I Learned About Football This Week.
Alex Ferguson has a selective memory
Ferguson has an interesting relationship with the media; he has a penchant for petulantly dismissing and ignoring hacks for any perceived slight, to leave his ‘questioning’ to fawning sycophants like ITV’s Gabriel ‘Best Mate’ Clarke. And he dismisses their reporting equally as readily, often playing his well-worn ‘they’re out to get us’ card in an effort to direct attention away from, in this case, an incident of violent conduct.
After Saturday’s elbow to the head of James McCarthy by Rooney, which was given just as a free kick, without the red card it deserved, Ferguson dismissed suggestions that Rooney should have been sent off,
“I have had a chance to see it, there is nothing in it. It is unbelievable. Watch the press. It will be interesting to see it [their reaction to the claims from Martinez].”
Rooney purposefully elbows McCarthy in the head. It’s a straight red card offence and, even by Ferguson’s standards, the wily old Scot has some gall to suggest that “there is nothing in it”.
The comments above come from the same manager who said of a similar incident against his own player, Patrice Evra, committed by Michael Ballack in the 2009 Community Shield,
“If the referee sees it properly, it’s a red card. He’s elbowed him clearly”
Fergie’s reaction is as frustrating as it is expected, but, to be honest, without Alex Ferguson and his hypocrisy, rants, tantrums and mind games, the Premier League would be much less entertaining competition.
Underdogs sometimes have their day
What scenes at Wembley. Birmingham City ended decades of hurt by beating Arsenal 2-1 in the Carling Cup Final, to bring the Blues their first piece of meaningful silverware since 1963. Despite Arsenal’s desperate desire to end their own relatively minor barren run, the commitment of Birmingham’s players won out in an entertaining final, where Ben Foster stood out as the star man.
It was a shame that the winning goal came in such a humiliating fashion for Arsenal, with Koscielny and Szczesny failing to deal with a simple ball in the area, leaving recent Blues signing Obafemi ‘the acrobat’ Martins to snaffle a simple finish, but the legions of Bluenoses down from the West Midlands could not have cared less how they won and the Martins tap-in sent them into raptures in the stands.
It was an excellent performance from unfancied Birmingham who took the game to Arsenal and used the dominating height of Zigic to their advantage repeatedly. Van Persie scored a superb goal for the Gunners, but yet again Arsene Wenger’s men walked away empty-handed. A great game, a popular result and a deserved victory for a club starved of success for so long. Congratulations to Alex McLeish and Birmingham City… it turns out, if you keep right on then eventually, eventually you’ll get to the end of the road, where you’ll find a glistening trophy waiting for you.
Ashley Cole should have been a striker
Not because he has the imposing physique of Drogba, nor the classy technique of Messi, nor even the poacher’s knack of Lineker, but because he’s good at shooting. It was reported this week that everybody’s favourite nice guy not only brought an airgun to Chelsea’s training ground but that he inadvertently shot an intern with it.
The unfortunate individual on the end of Cole’s volley was Tom Cowan, 21, who was treated by Chelsea medical staff and given two days off. Luckily, it was just a flesh wound and Mr. Cowan is believed to be on his way to a full recovery; meanwhile, as a result of the incident, Ashley Cole has been given a new player-coach role at Stamford Bridge; he has been sent in to train Fernando Torres how to shoot effectively.
Beat Barcelona. Draw with Leyton Orient. Lose to Birmingham City.
It was, I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know, my birthday the other week, and I received as a present from one particularly generous friend a packet of TOPPS Official England 2010 stickers. I was, of course thrilled to be given such a prized and exotic gift and upon receipt, I eagerly sifted through the stickers in a hark back to the ‘got, got, need,’ days of sticker swaps at school.
There were some great ones there, former captain John Terry with a copy of his signature on the sticker, Fabio Capello looking typically unimpressed, Beckham and Walcott during England’s 4-1- qualifying win in Croatia, and, perhaps not so impressively, Peter Crouch and Gareth Barry celebrating a goal.
What a haul, I’m sure you’ll agree, but the best sticker was yet to come. Who was it going to be: goalscoring hero, Wayne Rooney? Defensive rock, Rio Ferdinand? Even psychotic assistant manager, Stuart Pearce? Nope, none of them. Even better than that. It was, of course, South Korean right-back, Oh Beom-Seok. What a rare find this was, it is sticker number 199 and has the three lions and ‘ENGLAND 2010’ on the back, so he must be an official team member. So there we have it, by pure chance I have a new favourite England player, and, let’s face it, even though he’s ineligible to play and wouldn’t be allowed on the pitch, he’d probably still do a better job defensively than Glen Johnson.
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