Ireland have asked for an extra world cup place
Now we know why the Irish are so over-represented in the comedy circuit
30 Nov 2009
Ireland have asked for an extra world cup place
27 Nov 2009
Blackburn 1 - 2 Stoke City
Fulham 2 - 1 Bolton
Man City 3 - 0 Hull
Portsmouth 1 - 2 Man Utd
West Ham 2 - 1 Burnley
Wigan 2 - 1 Sunderland
26 Nov 2009
For what it's worth, between the two I put Pele at the top of the tree.
25 Nov 2009
All should be up and running now and hopefully nobody experienced any problems. I hope you like the new format, it is free for us, but under licence from the generous people at Gisele Jaquenod. I wanted to move away from the basic blogger format that had been in use and provide a skin that people would remember and associate with and as we grow our small community I wanted a slightly more professional and unique feel to our site.
To accommodate this new format, there are a few less distractions in the sidebar, but the best and most used links remain. We have added buttons to aid subscription via a rss reader, and a quick link to our Twitter Page. There is also a function in the sidebar to subscribe to an automated daily email, this service is provided via feedburner who will provide the T&C's, but if you do subscribe we at Football Banter will not ever pass on your email address for any reason. For those who currently receive an email, I will be transitioning you to this service, so you will stop getting an email after every post, but the new daily email. You will receive an email automatically to your inbox with a link, if you wish to subscribe please click on the confirmation link, if not, delete the email and your Football Banter emails will cease once the old method is switched off in a few days time.
The font is slightly smaller than before (or seems to be) I hope this causes no issues for anyone. For now, this is not something I can change across the whole blog, though if people comment that it is an issue I will look into it further, and/or we can set individual posts to post in a larger font. Gone too unfortunately are the reaction buttons which allowed a quick 1 button response for those not feeling the inclination to leave a comment. This is still listed in our HTML set up, so I actually hope we can bring this back soon. FYI Tarquin, we also lost the 'Nav Bar' at the top of the page which allowed quick access to the editing pages, but I hope to be able to get that added back in; but I need to go and look into how that can be done.
I hope that overall the changes are to peoples liking, feedback, advice and/or abuse should be sent to email@example.com or left in the comments field.
I am playing around with the Blog set up tonight, with the hope of rolling out a new format.
Please bare with me. If you encounter any problems, it is probably not your PC, but because I am toying with the gears. All should be done by 9pm UK Time (probably earlier).
24 Nov 2009
Yes, that's right - no shocks this season as Paul Hart is the first Premier League manager out the door, the bookies will not be impressed
And neither will anyone else I bet, the board have 'reluctantly' taken the decision 'based on recent results', they felt that 'the team should have accrued more points to date and we need a new man in charge'
Sorry Peter Storrie, but go and stick that up your arse - while admitting the team have been under severe financial restrictions (a slight understatement) he still blames the man - FOR WHAT? He got seven points with the weakest team in the league by a country mile, they sold something like 70 million pounds worth of talent, they even gave away Sol Campbell!
The idea that this is in any way based on Hart's results is just a plain lie, and pretty offensive to Hart - either that or it's incredible arrogance from the board for expecting something for nothing
I seriously can't believe anyone would be stupid enough to believe that Pompey should have done any better - you look at any start of the season predictions this year and the vast majority put Portsmouth dead last, any pundit (even Andy Gray) could tell you that they had no chance, having sold all their talent bar David James and not brought anyone in
What's ridiculous is that Hart was actually doing a good job with what he had, they were playing well, okay on occasion they were unlucky, but for the most part they simply didn't have the quality to take on most teams - I know this is a results game, but you cannot strip the team bare and then expect miracles, I'd be surprised if anyone could've done much better with their hands tied like that, you might as well have asked Rochester to avoid relegation with Jose Mourinho in charge
At least be honest and say you wanted old tombstone in charge, it's no bloody wonder Hart turned down the offer to look after the youth side
It would not really be a shock if Ryan Babel were to move on from Liverpool, but the promising young talent has spoken with The Sun and says that he wants to discuss his future with Rafa, and if he is not content that he will get more football, he will move on.
In his first season, Babel opened a few eyes, and put in a few good performances. Clearly he was a raw talent, but he showed great promise. However, in his second season, he could barely get a game with Dirk Kuyt a fixture on the right flank.
The stand out comment though was this:
"I have tried to talk to the manager but it isn't of any use. I couldn't really do anything with the feedback Benitez gave me.Babel should have no problem finding a new club and a starting place, and if he digs his heals in and forces the move could be one of the best players to go on the market in the January window. Not all Liverpool fans have warmed to Babel, so there will not be too many that will miss him, though he has the potential to become a big player on the European stage, and he may come back one day and haunt Liverpool.
"We have agreed to look at my situation during the winter. If there's no improvement then, I want to play somewhere else"
Babel will miss tonight's game against Debrecen through injury.
23 Nov 2009
Ok, I'm impressed - over at the fantasy league, Rich M has broken 100 points in one gameweek to claw his way back up to the top
And you know what's really sick? He's still got five players to play again....! Including his captain Jimmy Bullard (though I must say my choice of Dunn wasn't far behind)
And with Rodwell Sylvie's only player getting a second run out Rich is all but assured of making up the four point deficit
...and he even left Bramble on the bench
I tip my hat to you, sir
22 Nov 2009
I keep hearing this
"Yet watching TV the day after the match, I saw footage of the Ireland/Georgia game that took place in February. "Ireland won a penalty that should never have been given. The resulting goal put the team through to the play-off against France" - Matthieu Barbarin, writing in the Guardian
Not quite - Ireland qualified by a good lead of four points over Bulgaria, that one dodgy decision was responsible for two of those points - against the bottom side in the group, whose performances weren't even counted in the decision on the final eight, Ireland comfortably made the second spot regardless of that goal
and, as I've said before, dodgy decisions across a drawn out competition tend to balance themselves out - one single incident in a 30-minute tie-breaker is not quite the same
The other line of pursuit, typically from those who like to pour scorn on popular sports, like Dominic Lawson, is the one that footballers all cheat - Henry simply didn't get caught, so the referee gets the blame much like a copper getting the blame for not stopping a murder
Very true, cheating is tolerated far too much - but he misses the point, simply because Robbie Keane would've done the same thing does not make it acceptable to allow that goal
Why not? Because it's a miscarriage of justice - we know that the goal was a blatant foul, not in some grey area of 'did he/didn't he' - any cheating is noted by the viewers and the press, and disliked by the vast majority, but if no one will act then why won't the players 'chance their arm' - they are human, after all, it doesn't mean we should write the whole game off
You see, what the disdainful commentators fail to add in their criminal metaphor is that what actually happens is, while the crime is indeed committed, even with irrefutable evidence the court does nothing to seek justice - there is no punishment
No wonder they'll have a go at burglary if they can't be tried after 10 million witnesses saw them coming out the back window with a bag marked 'swag' - "ah, but ze referee did not see eet"
It is FIFA who allow this ridiculous fiasco to continue - we all see the crime, but they refuse to act on it with video technology that could easily sort the problem out within 30 seconds, allowing the game to be decided by a couple of fallible humans watching 22 players with nothing but their own eyes, while the audience has a perfect view of every minute detail, not only breeds dishonesty in the players, but anger from the audience - hence the reaction to France's victory - there was absolutely no need to let it stand
Maybe we are hypocrites, all humans are certainly guilty of that at times, but it is the fact that we allow seen cheating to go unpunished that enrages us so, it goes against the desire for natural justice
21 Nov 2009
Here are my Super 6 Predictions, which should perhaps serve as a guide of what scores not to predict as this year they have not been terribly fruitful (outside of one week when I nailed 3 in one go)
Birmingham 2 - 1 Fulham
Burnley 1 - 0 Aston Villa
Chelsea 7 - 0 Wolves
Hull 2 - 1 West Ham
Sunderland 1 - 2 Arsenal
Barnsley 2 - 2 Cardiff
The latest FIFA rannkings are out and, as predicted, France and Portugal replaced England and Argentina in the top seven, owing to their UEFA play-offs
However, FIFA are actually being fair about this and it will be the October 2009 rankings that will be used for the seeds (although FIFA may use some other criteria as well)
The detailed criteria to determine the seeded teams for the Final Draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ will be confirmed at the next meeting of the Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup™ in Cape Town on 2 December 2009 (and announced at a press conference following the meeting).
If the criteria to determine the seeded teams were to include, as in the past, the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, then it would be the October 2009 edition of this ranking which would be considered, and this for sporting reasons. In fact, using the November 2009 edition would create an uneven situation, specifically for the European Zone, where the play-offs involving the eight best runners-up led to an imbalance in the number of qualification matches played between the teams.
This means that the top seven ranked teams considered will be:
Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina, England
England's Euro 2008 failure may impact on them, but surely the French, with their truly awful Euro 2008 performance, won't get a spot either
We shall find out on 2nd December...
19 Nov 2009
In a rather unprecedented move the BBC have set up a live chat solely so we can all whinge about the Ireland robbery, technically a foreign country (yet whose citizens have certain special benefits here) but it's aroused the Brits considerably, 15,000 votes cast already (the referee and Henry getting most of the flak)
The feeling is strong, there's no doubt it was wrong - but FIFA won't do a thing, they've got their top ten nation and that's all that matters - so you may as well go and let off steam
I was barely walking when it happened and the Hand of God still gets to me, so welcome to the club boys
18 Nov 2009
Ireland, after having outplayed France and beat them at home, have been robbed by a ridiculous handball by Thierry Henry in extra time, France head to the world cup as cheats
A truly shocking turn of events - I thought we were better than that these days? What with four officials and all, I have yet to see it myself - but the BBC say it was blatant and I'll look for a video to put up
Edit: Here's the video - he's even keeping it in play with his hand - France should've had their top striker sent off before a penalty shoot out and instead they go the world cup...C'est la vie
Seriously - how can they allow such an injustice to go unchecked? It's blatant, everyone was aware of it as it happened, this isn't 1986 anymore
In other news Portugal did qualify, as I expected...
But Russia and Ukraine both surprisingly went down - Greece claimed the only goal of the two-leg tie to sink Ukraine in Kiev, and Slovenia beat a deflated Russia 2-2 on away goals
In Africa, Algeria triumphed in the deciding play off in Sudan
Slovenia were the only unseeded team to qualify from the UEFA play-offs
So much for Hiddink...
The final spot is fairly benign, between Uruguay and Costa Rica - Uruguay lead 1-0 and are at home - perhaps Costa Rica will tie it and Uruguay will throw the ball into the net in ET?
This is a travesty - I just don't understand how they can allow this to stand - it's only 15 minutes of extra time anyway...just call a penalty shoot-out!
Alistair Magowan at the BBC has done a feature on Portugal (or rather, Ronaldo) missing out on the world cup
We do not need you to start jabbering away about this when they have a one goal lead already! Focus on it if they actually aren't going, don't tempt fate!
And according to former Portuguese midfielder Paulo Sousa... it would be huge blow for every fan not to witness Ronaldo at his peak.
"A World Cup would not be the same without Portugal not only for the country but for football fans all over the world," he told BBC Sport.
I'm practically in tears here...
Three words: Suck it up
*They'll qualify...go bet on it now
17 Nov 2009
I chortled my sizable behind off when I heard this news on the radio this morning.
Robin Van Persie (RVP) is off to see a specialist about his ankle injury that is keeping him on the sidelines until Christmas. It isn't the bloke in America that Shearer, Owen and Hargreaves flew off to see, and he isn't in Harley Street.... In fact, he, is a she. In fact it is the not so well known Mariana Kovacevic from Serbia.
RVP on Sky Sports:
"I will fly to the Balkans to meet with a female doctor who helped [PSV Eindhoven midfielder] Danko Lazovic.
"She is vague about her methods, but I know she massages you using fluid from a placenta.
"I am going to try. It cannot hurt and if it helps, it helps.
"I have been in contact with Arsenal physiotherapists and they have let me do it."
Don't forget, you can follow Football Banter on Twitter
The Premier League have just agreed new rules that will require managers to speak to television rights holders (no doubt for extra cash) from next season (2010/11)
This, of course, means that Fergie will have to speak to the BBC in post-match interviews, as well as the written press, whom he has also boycotted for seven years, giving almost all of his screen time to the club's in-house MUTV channel
Now, knowing the famously stubborn soon-to-be-68-year-old do you think he will be going near the BBC? In 2007 he was pretty clear about never going back there
So, I ask - is this finally Fergie's final season? It's been on the cards for years, but will he, now surely at the end of his career, be forced back to the 'arrogant' BBC by the club for only a few years? Or will he bother with the sliding scale penalties, or will he just take his retirement?
I'd be doing the latter, not that I personally like being told who I have to talk to
So, money on Fergie retiring methinks
And yes this will also apply to Big Sam and 'Arry
13 Nov 2009
And so we approach the end of World Cup qualifying, within the next five or six days we shall have all our teams settled and ready for the big draw on 4th December, in which we will all moan about getting Sweden...again
All eyes (in Europe at least) are on Portugal, facing plucky Bosnia without their precious Ronaldo, among others - there probably wasn't a worse team for them to face, so perhaps a little justice has been served after FIFA's decision to seed the teams at the eleventh hour
There is much hope being placed on Bosnia's shoulders - who come into the play-offs having scored eight more goals than Portugal and matching them for points, despite having had to compete with Spain and Turkey while Portugal faced Denmark and Sweden, qualifying by only one point
Nevertheless, Portugal will go into this game as 1/2 favourites (although I might point out that they were also favourites for the group - that was a nice big profit) - Bosnia are at 7/1 and the draw is 10/3 - quite tasty if you ask me, but I don't wish to tempt fate
The other big game in Europe is Ireland v France - lots of home nation support for both the Irish to qualify for their fourth world cup appearance and for the dismal French to miss out on a major tournament for once - France are slight favourites at 6/4, but Trapattoni's Ireland, who are undefeated in qualifying, have shown that they can be a match for the likes of Italy, so they can certainly do the same for an undeserving French side - this may come down to away goals
Might it be worth a sneaky 5/2 on Ireland to qualify, or 13/5 on Bosnia?
In somewhat less interesting news, Russia play Slovenia and Greece play Ukraine, looks like a lot of the Eastern European landmass will be getting representation next year
Further afield Costa Rica, now on their third consecutive finals appearance, battle it out against whiney bitches Uruguay, the bookies can't tell them apart - but I would have to say that at home Costa Rica are pretty good
The other intercontinental play-off will be over first - being in New Zealand and the first leg already having been tied at 0-0 (in the desert as Ryan Nelson put it) - I've already mentioned this, but the sheer concept of New Zealand going to the world cup is mind-boggling - should they beat Bahrain they will have their tickets
Honestly, Ireland have to navigate Italy and Bulgaria, and then defeat France, New Zealand basically get a free ride to a play-off in which they face Bahrain for a place in the finals...
The remaining three spots are in Africa, to be played tomorrow afternoon
In group A, Cameroon head to bottom-placed Morrocco with a one-point lead over Gabon, who will be in Togo
In group B, Tunisia hold a two-point lead over Nigeria, both will be away, facing Mozambique and Kenya respectively
In group C, it all comes down to Egypt v Algeria - Algeria hold a three point lead, so Egypt need to win by three goals or more to qualify (two goals would mean a play-off)
And that's it, it'll all be over for seven months
Or until we all start theorising about the seedings...
Update: New Zealand are in the world cup for the first time since 1982 after a 1-0 victory over Bahrain - they will possibly be the lowest ranked team to enter, I wouldn't normally be interested, but then it's not normally a country I've been to
12 Nov 2009
I made it up for the Blackburn game recently, and it was the first live game I have been to where Nani got a start.
He is a frustrating player to watch!
Thankfully, I am not alone in my assessment of Nani, and a section of the crowd nearby frequently sang "you'll never be Ronaldo" whenever he copped hold of the ball. Obertan, (like Michael Owen) was granted standing ovations when they replaced struggling 1st teamers mid-way through the second half.
Anyway, I just spotted this over on The Bun, it seems Nani thinks he's crap because Sir Alex has mismanaged him....
Bwahahahahahah! Not only can he not control a football, it seems he can not control his verbal diarohea. Sir Alex has an exempluary record in bringing through youngsters and making them superstars, perhaps Nani, the problem lies a little closer to home.
Nani has not lived up to his potential, and looks no better today than he did when he first arrived. Christiano grabbed his chance and eventually learned that just looking good and having a few tricks is not what makes a good footballer. Man Utd do have some creativity and penetration problems at the moment, which will not resolve itself. I was hoping that Nani would get a run this year and that he would come good, but it just is not happening for him. Time to look elsewhere, and soon because United are not well stocked on [young] creative midfielders.
11 Nov 2009
News has emerged that Germany's no.1 goalkeeper has died from an apparent suicide
Robert Enke RIP
Posted by Tarquin at 09:05:00
Here is the footage for those who did not get to see it.
9 Nov 2009
There has been a delay in me putting these up thanks to the modern challenges of technology, but I was lucky enough to make the Man Utd vs Blackburn game last week and thought I would share a couple of snaps. In my life, I will never get as good seats again. South stand, fourth row between the tunnel and the dug out. My wife and I sat either side of the fading 22 yard line fading from a previous rugby league match.
7 Nov 2009
Aston Villa 2 - 1 Bolton
Blackburn 1 - 0 Portsmouth
Man City 3 - 0 Burnley
Tottenham 2 - 1 Sunderland
Crystal Palace 1 - 1 Middlesbrough
Leicester 2 - 1 West Brom
Get well soon Tarquin!