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2006: It's January 7th., and the FA Cup 3rd round is on this weekend. Luton were 3-1 up, but still lost to Liverpool 3-5 at the end. Shame, what? And, Shearer equals Jackie Milburn's record for Newcastle, by scoring his 200th for the club. If he wasn't such a thug, he'd be a good guy.

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BBC Sport Online's Goal of the Week, November 3rd., 2001: Alan Shearer's volley for Newcastle against Aston Villa. 
The former England captain described it as the best goal of his career - and there have been a few. 
Certainly Shearer laid to rest any doubts that he can still cut it at the highest level. His junior partner Craig Bellamy was sent racing down Newcastle's left flank, leading Villa's Turkish defender Alpay a merry dance. Bellamy checked, fed the ball back and it was helped on to Robert Lee. Lee - Shearer's oldest and closest friend at St James' Park - knew where his old pal would be and stroked a diagonal right-foot cross into the Villa box. The master marksman peeled off his marker Alan Wright and met the ball in mid-flight with the side of his right-foot. It was a goal from the moment it left him - giving Peter Schmeichel no chance as the ball flew into his top right-hand corner. "It has to be up there as one of the best, if not the best", said the 31-year-old, who was making the 400th league appearance of his career. 
Shearer smiled: "I didn't mean to put it in that square of the corner, but the one just beneath it. "I would have looked a fool if it hadn't gone in, wouldn't I? But you try these things and it came off, so I'm delighted." 

Brilliant, I thought. I saw this on the same day that Dyer, Bellamy, Cort and Griffin were sent home from Marbella, after a disciplinary infraction whilst at training. Nice to go training in Spain, hein?

Gary McAllister, the spot kick king: knocking Barcelona out of the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup, April, 2001. And, in time added on, scoring the winner against Everton. Both in one week, when he was supposed not to play. What an ice cold wonder!

04/26/2001: Above is Hendry, (with Beardsley in the background) who has an impeccable record, so say the SFA, so why is his problem with Albini so problematic?

Why not have some fun: Karl Power, extreme left, who crept in to the team photo before ManU lost, 1-3 aggregate, having a poor defence that obviously were unaware of opposing players running around, and the wrong forwards, please throw out Cole and Yorke; should have used Sheringham and Solskj? at the start. All this in the second play-off game against Bayern MEchen in the Champions League. April 18th in the Olympiastadion.

05/14/2000 Here we are, at the end of the Premier season, whilst the Division 1 guys do the play offs. And, this shows us what it means at the top. The difference increasingly is money talking. 

Guardian Unlimited

And, tomorrow, it's Saturday, 2000 sometime, with approximately seven games left for this season. Pity poor Leicester, with Heskey gone and Collymore gone, one to Liverpool and one to the hospital. Even their marvellous manager, O'Neill can't fix that. Mind you, they play Everton, and any result is possible.

01/29/00 It is a crazy time and there are fairies back at the bottom of the garden. Drewery and Hoddle and Gorman at Southampton, what next? Hoddle, oh no, not that arrogant twerp back again in management, how oxymoronic.

01/26/00 El Porco Maradona, and, if you don't believe me just look at him, has proclaimed the "Force of Reason" excuse for smashing a car window containing trailing journalists in Cuba. That's where the originator of the "Hand of God" has gone to receive treatment for his systemic use of drugs, especially cocaine. Not to be outdone, Paul Durkin, a referee par excellence, had a good game on the 24th at Old Trafford: ManU v Arsenal. Except he failed to deliver a Brasilian decision against Spice Knickers Beckham for his usual, graceless, per game over the top foul. A 1-1 result, as if you didn't know.

01/13/00 : And, to cap it off, what price ManU for next year's FA Cup? Pathetic to go to Brazil, and be challenged by Vasco da Gama, whose manager says the ManU team members are rubbish, for a return game in England. Plus, Sepp Blatter states that ManU participating in the Championship has no, repeat no, bearing on where the 2006 World Cup will be hosted. Maybe it should go virtual, what?

01/10/00 : Ferguson says, smiling through the guff, that his team's failure at the World Club Championship in Brazil was actually a fantastic experience and other blatant untruths. As if Beckham, Neville and others weren't, in sum, a disaster. And others say that it has helped England's wish to host the 2006 World Cup. Believe that and you are eating magic mushrooms. How could an eight man Real Madrid beat Raja Casablanca by 3-2? Even if the latter was reduced itself to ten players. This Championship is a burgeoning farce that does much discredit to FIFA. All that Sepp Blatter wants is to stop the UEFA money machine from reducing FIFA to second best in the pocket money stakes. Well, that's true, if one realises who takes the profits for the 2002 television contract. Nepotism, favouritism, call it what one will, there's a definite odour of fish in the air.

As if this was not enough, Peter Reid of Sunderland must be churning inside given that the referee, Rob Harris, in the FA Cup match v Tranmere has now made the third gross error of his career this season. OK, Sunderland couldn't put the ball in the net, but there is a lot here to worry about. The FA says that it's the referee's fault, not Tranmere's, but, who put the player on the line to put him in the way of the free kick? Couldn't possibly be a Tranmere official, could it? Harris has been relieved of his game between Gillingham and Bradford while the FA pontificate about his future.

The FA have to think what they have referees for, when so many managers have approached apoplexy regarding wrong decisions. And we're talking top quality referees having no idea what they are looking at. Did you recently see Uriah Rennie staring at Michael Owen being poleaxed by an elbow belonging to Matt Elliott of Leicester? Or, Ginola stating that he wasn't knocked down by Ljungberg but by a penny piece. The ref thought differently. What price video exposure? Seems a double-edged sword, hein?

Now, if you think the English are in dire straits, read Soccer suffering; Canada's training facilities 'not suitable' to prepare national teams. Courtesy of the Globe and Mail.

The Foxes, the Gunners, Premiership winners 1997-98 and ManUtd of fame and infamy. (Their three crests are at the top of this page.) Well done, Sir Alex. On with the spending. Forget the FA Cup at your peril. What, after all, was all the hype about last year over the treble? It's only the next season, so who cares what the FA want, or the Government, it's what the supporters who ultimately pay your salaries want that counts. Advertisers? Sharp? They advertise so you'll buy their goods, so it's still you who should be the arbiter. The gambling crooks want to buy up ManU? The major share holder, whose name will not darken these pages, worries where he should sell his holdings. Get real, no wonder the supporters clubs are up in arms. Roll on mob rule, for this particular charade.