Tag Archives: football

Ball ball ball

Played football for the first time in months today, after weeks (and months) of wanting to play. Turns out poncey southerners don’t like playing in the winter. Ponces. Anyway, it’s now a tiny bit warmer so people are rushing out in their thousands (“12”) to kick a sphere around some Astroturf for a couple of hours on a Friday afternoon.


I have encountered many dissenting voices over the years, questioning, even mocking my decision to play a sport enjoyed by apes and idiots the world over. I would launch into some impassioned defence of playing something for fun and not being lured into thinking all football is played either like the professionals or like it was when you were at school with everyone shouting at you for being shit.

But I started this blog hours ago and got sidetracked doing other things, and now I’m too tired to really make that point anymore. Safe to say, I play footy because I like to play it. I’m shit, I’m unfit and I probably shouldn’t run around on this ankle. But I like to play. It cheers me up. It’s a release.

But anyway, I sit here with a headache that tells me I’m knackered and legs that hurt in that oh-so-good way, and I feel good. Seems I do need to run around not being able to play the sport very well regularly or oh god I’m so tired this sentence makes no sense oh my legs hurt this isn’t good oh god.

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Running around in the hot sun is knackering, it seems

I took part in the grandest spectacle of all time earlier today… well, I played in a mini-league tournament thing arranged by work folks, involving work folks. Playing football. Should probably mention that bit. Initially well up for it, it soon transpired that running around in the sun for an hour and a half isn’t the best thing I could have done with my time.

Don’t get me wrong – bad as I am at football, I still like playing it. It’s just… my word it was knackering. I’ve lost all that weight and got a bit fitter, but it turns out living up to certain excesses and not exercising for a month or so makes your body revert to being horribly unfit. Stupid bloody thing. Running for ten minutes, resting for 40. Just the way it should be, really.

Anyway, no real point to this, just another diary-type entry here. I would talk more or go into more detail, but I’m off out in five minutes. That’s another thing, actually – playing for approximately 75 minutes (with a few breaks) has killed my body and my head, meaning I’m going to be pretty much incapable of talking to or at anyone this eve. Always a good start.

Still, netted three in four games including a last-kick-of-the-game penalty to equalise, mired in controversy and watched by everyone in attendance. Because I am the lord of all pressure. In fact, I don’t even know what pressure is. It sounds stupid, though. Yeah, fake confidence. Oh yeah, we finished fourth out of five teams. NOT LAST!

Bet you’re glad you read this.

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There was a point here, but it became lost in a sea of hypocrisy

Whatever the cause may be, I’m often embarrassed to follow it. At the same time, that doesn’t mean I don’t follow it. I just squirm a bit in my seat when somebody evangelises about supporting a team, loving a region or being a fan of a particular hair colour.

I just read something randomly linked to me, which turned out to be the handiwork of an ex-University Of Central Lancashire journalism student, just like me. Now while I enjoyed my time at uni, it wasn’t because of the school (and it certainly wasn’t because of Preston) – I’d go so far as to say I didn’t like that bit very much. It was shoddy and I often felt short-changed by the tutoring. But seeing that someone went there to do (almost) the same course as me lit something inside and – for a brief moment – I was proud of our shared history.

I never really supported a football team growing up. I liked Man Utd because they had Schmeichel and Cantona, but it’s not like I loved them. I went to more than enough Rotherham games, but it’s not like I lived and died on their results. I moved away from all of that when I went to uni, and I actually went for years without supporting a team – it was fun to see all the knuckle-draggers defining their very being by a huge corporate entity solely designed to suck money out of them’s success or failure on the pitch. Then at some point a few years ago I decided “I will support Everton”, and I do so in a half-arsed fashion.

But would I rescue the Everton colours from a burning building? Would I balls. Would I rescue my nation’s colours from a burning building? Hell no.

The Union Flag is – the clue’s in the name – a flag. While it can very easily be argued the meaning and history behind it, that isn’t the kind of thing to appeals to a lot of the apes who proudly coat themselves in them (or George Crosses, naturally). It’s just a flag. A bullshit symbol. More team colours. Not exactly the kind of thing I would demand respect for, spill any blood for or really use as anything other than a fine mantle decoration (as long as it has the Queen’s face on it, like mine did).

But then I get into things like national pride, which has annoyed me for a long time. I still get swept up in supporting England in footballing events, which is annoying. Mainly because I don’t support this country in almost anything else. “Proud to be English”? Get fucked. I was born here by chance, I have no loyalty to a chunk of rock.

Still better than the French though…

I had a point, I lost it somewhere.

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A collection of today’s thoughts. THRILLING.

Is it any wonder I can’t think of anything to write when I’m being confronted by a few gurning dullards in suits opining like the utterly un-thrilling dweebs that they are? I think it is no wonder at all. Before kickoff (I’m on about the football, shockingly), they began to speak of Ben Foster’s quality. As soon as they mentioned him and it became apparent they were talking of how good he is, I predicted Hanson would point out that “having a great keeper behind you fills you with confidence as a defender” or something along those lines.

Naturally, he did. Because he’s an unimaginative, uninteresting prannock who doesn’t seem to bother even trying to form any kind of original thought about the sport he’s paid to cover. It’s his job – his main focus. And yet he’s fucking terrible at it.

Anyway, I don’t want to rant about pundits again because I’ll end up on about Alan Shearer, and that will just make me sad.

Turns out I’ve been to 17 countries – that I can remember. Rather than thinking “oh, that is quite good – I have seen a fair few places around the world and met people of all walks of life in doing so,” I instead thought “oh, that’s not enough.” Cue frantic searching for cheap flights places and browsing of Hostel World for an hour or so.

Still ended up looking at going to San Francisco again though. Hmm.

That’s all for today. As you were.


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Eliminate all records

As a man who recently dabbled a bit too much in gambling (it’s fine, I only lost the house, not the consoles/beanbag etc), I am not a big fan of records, runs, in-a-rows or sequences. I watch football, whenever I can, and am constantly confronted with “this team haven’t won here in 30 years”, or “this player has never scored against this team” and other such balls.

Obviously I know there are psychological effects when it comes to records like this – having never won at a ground means you would place yourself under pressure (if you actually cared) and would therefore be more prone to pressure-enforced mistakes, or something better-sounding, meaning you’d still not win. But generally speaking, I really don’t see why these numbers, stats, facts and figures hold any importance whatsoever, as things change all the time, results and outcomes – not just in sports, but in anything – can vary and saying “oh, it’s been that way for five years running, so it has to be that way again today” – even if it’s only implied – is fucking stupid.

Back to the gambling thing I brought up, it reminds me of people who claim to have ‘skill’ when it comes to roulette. Believe me, I’ve spoken to them. I’ve tried to listen to their vaguely-literate ravings about how there is skill and technique to a game that is utterly random*, but it just fills me with FURY. Alright, not fury, but when you tell me “if it’s come out as black eight times in a row it’s definitely going to be red next” then I’m not going to take you very seriously.

A run of one thing does not guarantee this thing will always happen, just as a run of different things does not mean it will always alternate. I understand the need for fun little tidbits here and there – something for commentators to fall back on, or to introduce a game with, but I do wish they’d be more imaginative with them. Sequences of games lost: boring. Times Joey Barton has been accused of punching someone: less boring. Just a quick example, but you get the point.

And roulette is still entirely random, so shut up about that. I’m sure I had a point here.

*And always in favour of the house thanks to 0, fact fans.

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Dransfield for England

I have peaked. I am 27 this coming Wednesday and I have peaked. This is the time of my peaking, my peak has been reached, I have peaked. It won’t ever get any better for the rest of my life – all four years of it*. For you see, today I had the best sporting day of my life.

Hard as it may be to believe for some of the more moronic of you out there, I am not very good at sports. I’m not had-polio-as-a-child bad, nor am I can’t-run-in-a-straight-line-or-catch-or-do-anything-of-worth-while-playing-sports bad, but I’m certainly not good. But today, during the work summer party, I was the greatest I’ve ever been. Prepare yourself for the most inspiring story since Field Of Dreams.

First up, we played football. Within minutes it happened: the ball came loose, it bounced towards me, I ran towards it – I hit it, full on, perfect, aimed and directed the ball where it actually ended up going (always a good sign) and it went in off the post. It was so good I celebrated – something I never do – and promptly felt quite ashamed after doing so. All the same, I did get a round of applause from everyone playing, meaning I’m clearly the best footballer at Imagine Publishing. FACT.

Then came the running-on-a-bungie-rope game thing, where I can’t remember who won between myself and Chris (probably him, as he is a lithe little pooch), but I then devastated Darran “Retro Gamer” Jones in front of his two young daughters. The victory – and hilarity – was doubled, trebled and magnified beyond recognition as a result of his children saying “YOU SUCK!” to him as he stumbled off the bouncy thing, beaten.

THEN came bouncy castle boxing, in which I seemed to be getting punched in the head a lot by Chris. Rather than try and punch him back, as I couldn’t see through the headguard and lack of glasses, I decided to use my weight advantage – something I had purposefully built up through my life should this occasion arise – to throw him into the sides of the ring a couple of times. This may have resulted in him getting stuck and the bouncy castle breaking, which I count as a massive Dransfield victory, frankly.

FINALLY came softballroundersbaseball. A sport which some people seem to be unable to understand the simplicity of the foul ball rule, to the point that their tiny minds not grasping it lead them to lash out and call those of us that did understand it “idiots”. Ah logic, I knew thee well. Regardless, I hit a homerun (during practice) and another homerun (during the game). Also I struck out, but I also caught someone out.

So yeah, I was going to be funnier and more interesting about this, but instead I’ve just blandly relayed the facts to you. Today was the best sporting day of my life. Well done Ian.

*Heart attack while getting down to some hardcore hammock sleeping, I’m guessing. I’ve always said hammocks will be the death of me.

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England vs Germany ULTRA PREDICT-O-MAT

England vs Germany, innit. Let’s see how this goes down. Hopefully it will turn into a literal war, so all of those newspaper headlines and off-the-cuff remarks by commentators and pundits alike will be proven true. I’m sure that’s what they all want – well, it must be, given how quickly they turn to them. Though to be fair that’s more the English side – I have no idea what the German side of the press is saying.

But if it doesn’t turn into a war, it will be one of the few footballing fixtures that actually makes my blood ache along with all of the idiots in this country. For once it’s something I almost agree with the tabloids on. This is a serious rivalry by matches that have been played while I’ve actually been alive, rather than just clinging on to a 40+ year old victory. Euro 96 was heartbreaking. I wasn’t even that into footy in 1990 but I still remember how sad I was when England lost that.

I know it’s not cool to like football if you pretend to be open to more intellectual stimuli – “overpaid Neanderthals FNAR” etc. – but I do like it, and this fixture does make me quite passionate about the game. So that’s my prediction, really. I’ll get a bit het-up, then I’ll get even more het-up as I have to leave 15 minutes before the end of normal time, thanks to having to catch a FIVE HOUR TRAIN (not that I’ve ever mentioned stuff like that before) back to Bournemouth. That’s sure to be the greatest last fifteen minutes of a game of all time, isn’t it?

It’s odd that I’m posting this so close to kick off, thus making my Nostradamus-style predictions outdated as soon as they hit the public view. AH WELL.

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FIFA World Cup 2010 predictions – groups A-B

In the fine spirit of seeing something someone else has done – in this case, Byron – and ripping it off for yourself, I have decided to offer you my predictions of what will happen with/for/to each individual team taking part in the soccerkicknet World Cup, 2010. Today I will cover the teams from groups A-B, tomorrow it’ll be C-D etc, etc. I am aware the tournament has been going a day now, but shut up – I didn’t read Byron’s blog til today and that’s when inspiration struck. GO:

Group A

South Africa: Steven Pienaar’s voice will get deeper as the tournament progresses, thus suiting his face (and godawful hair) even less than it already does. Vuvuzela’s will be outlawed: anyone brandishing one in public will be shot on sight. The first person gunned down will be Clive Tyldesley as he demonstrates how to use one – again – on ITV. *pleasepleasepleaseplease*

Mexico: Javier Aguirre will play a bit of Football Manager the night before his team’s next match, realising that he meant to right click on Ochoa’s name and not Oscar Perez Rojas, which he seemed to do by mistake before the game against South Africa. Idiot.

Uruguay: The amount of people saying “you are gay” will reach the point that the Uruguayan government will adopt the name as an unofficial moniker for the nation. This will lead to an unprecedented shift towards promotion of acceptance and encouragement for LGBT rights across the world, making the world a far more progressive, accepting and altogether nice place. Meanwhile, Uruguay will get knocked out at the first hurdle.

France: The French will adopt a new technique whereby the combined force of Andre-Pierre Gignac, Yoann Gourcuff, Jeremy Toulalan and Thierry Henry will flounce about with nice haircuts and designer stubble, devastating their opposition with their sheer good looks. This will tie in well with the whole “you are gay” situation encouraged by Uruguay, and will lead to group A being one of the most interesting parts of this year’s World Cup. That’s what France will have to rely on, at least, seeing as they were shite yesterday.

Group B

Argentina: Maradona, after snorting four pounds of neighbouring Colombia’s finest before each and every game, will at one point go ‘off his noggin’ – as the medical profession refers to it – and gun down 136 of his own country’s supporters. This will be written off by the press and officials alike as one of fatty’s quirks, and Argentina will go on to get to the World Cup final. Though they probably won’t. Either that or he’ll die of a heart attack during the side’s second group game.

Nigeria: Everyone who has ever played a video game version of football will have high hopes for the Nigerians, seeing as they’re always one of the fastest and stamina-rich of the nations. This will translate to the side being referred to as “athletic” non-stop by pundits, though you would be a fool if you thought this was just a slightly different way for the presenter to say “all black people are really fast and strong”. Nigeria will not win the World Cup.

South Korea: While it’s unsure what will happen to the team, what with them looking surprisingly good against Greece right now (though I could look surprisingly good against Greece), I do know one thing: at least four commentators will be sacked for referring to a Korean player as ‘nippy’. Even if it isn’t the right racial slur to use against Koreans, what does it matter? Crazy racist bastards get the sack. Ron.

Greece: By the time Greece’s third game comes about they will have bored themselves so much with their awful performances that each and every member of the playing and coaching staff will fall into a dull-induced coma. None of them will ever wake up again.

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it?

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Opening ceremonies: shit, or just shit compared to Beijing?

The 2010 World Cup starts tomorrow in South Africa, if you hadn’t noticed. This means there will likely be some kind of opening ceremony.

Does anyone care about opening ceremonies anymore? I mean, in Beijing they really just took the piss out of everyone and showed the world what can be accomplished if you keep your populace just scared enough to not question your governance. Before then, opening ceremonies were boring and pointless. After then, they became exercises in futility.

I’m going to use an analogy I’m not proud of here – it’s like Big Brother. It’s either godawful or just plain boring, yet most people seem to actually bother watching it. There will be some idiots prancing around in costumes that mark the individuality of their nation, probably some sporting greats from the past, no mention of Apartheid and then some goits with an overinflated opinion of themselves will run around on some grass for a bit. Still, at least we’ll have the World Cup ceremony to look forward to.

The best joke of all time, or completely and totally the worst? YOU DECIDE.

Anyway, I really do doubt I’ll watch the opening ceremony of the World Cup tomorrow for two very good reasons: one, the stuff I just said, and two, I don’t even know if there is one. I mean, there will be, right? Oh god, I need to know now. And to know I’ll probably have to watch it, and to watch it will mean I’ll have watched it and… oh. Bollocks.

Still, a month of football awaits. A month of boring arguments and identikit comments on the action from everyone in the world. A month of a fantasy league system that’s just a bit shit and doesn’t work properly. A month of getting furious when England lose again. And a month of being forced to watch ITV. Sigh.

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I fell asleep for a bit, so this isn’t a thought about blog in the slightest, more just a collection of a few thoughts from the day. So… like a blog then, really. I’m almost getting the hang of this shit.

I see Google are/were celebrating Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary by putting a playable version of the game in the logo, or something. I say ‘or something’ as I haven’t actually bothered checking it. Because it’s Pac-Man. Which is 30 years old. And I’ve played it about eighteen billion times. Yet this slight novelty has been treated today as if it were the greatest advancement in human technology since some caveberk started making his beer in cans. Or something. Get over it – it’s novelty Pac-Man. It’s not worth telling the world about 43593298 times on fucking Twitter.

Anyway, following up on yesterday’s post I did indeed play football and – contrary to what I completely expected to happen – my ankle didn’t explode in a shower of pulped yams. In fact, I even managed to run for about three minutes (we played for two hours). Miraculous. However, this act of reasonable exercise – the first since last October – left me so knackered and headachey I had to go have a little sleepie for a bit. Ah, pathetic. Still, ankle: not explodey.

So Red Dead Redemption is out, is it? I wish people would stop asking if I’m getting it, or telling me about it, or just talking about it in general. While I can’t say I don’t care about it, as I do want to play it, I’m just not as enthused about it as everyone else in the world seems to be. Or ‘seems to have been told to be’. Ahem.

And finally, the news has claimed that BA needs to completely change if he is to survive. Poor old Baracus – he just loves helping local youth centres (and milk).

And second finally, Anna just linked this to me – one of my absolute favourite moments from Arrested Development. It makes me laugh like an absolute twat.

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