Guessing the plot – ‘Australia’

There are many reasons why you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cove however I’d be willing to bet that the film Australia isn’t one of those occasions. It looks utter shite. To the point that I’m going to bet that I can guess the entire plot on the back of the trailer. My good friend Charlie is willing to bet he can guess more accurately. You decide.

My version:
Posh girl arrives in Australia with preconceptions of a nation of savages.

Steps off boat and sees a guy having a fight.

Guy questions her ability to handle things in Australia.

She gets feisty and they race on horses. Thus his respect is earned.

Stuff happens. She meets some quaint black people who can speak English (the international sign of intelligence) and realises that they aren’t all savage.

This opinion is further reinforced when Hugh Jackass scrubs up nicely in a suit while Nicole Kidman looks pretty, but unlikely to give anyone a boner.

Then there’s a war. She promises to find one of the little quaint black people that this film has patronised in the way that only a total hollywood cuntfuck of a film could.

Shane (Hugh Jackman’s character) fights off a few…Nazis? (I want to say Nazis here) and she helps out by working as a medic somewhere that’s not only near, but also far, and wherever you are. Wait, wrong film. Dammit.

Umm then something happens that should make finding each other impossible.

Then they find each other against all odds.

She realises she’s in love not only with this wonderful place but with him.

The end?

Charlie’s guess:
An uptight English woman played by an Australian travels to Australia, for reasons beyond her control and comprehension, and thinks that the country is rather a savage place in which the locals all look rather odd and treat the land as if it is sacred.
On her travels something awful happens that lead her to meeting a rugged, yet awfully rude, Australian played rather badly by Wolverine.
Upon meeting one another, they realise that they could never love one another as they are just too different and the only feelings they have towards one another are strong feelings of hate.
They have quite a miserable time for a while, and her pretty dress gets messy, and he calls her an “uptight pom” who would not know hard work if it called itself a aboriginal.
She then surprises him by being rather handy at work and she is surprised to realise that this tough guy has a soft side, perhaps he writes poetry. They connect romantically.
During this time, she also realises that this savage land is in fact an amazing place and the locals are the most wonderful people even, and appear to be at one with the land.
Around this time a few awful things happen, and the relationship is on and off and some locals have a bit of a time of it.
Towards the end they get together, realise that they cannot live without each other but then one of them dies, or maybe lives but catches an illness.
All in all I expect it is a greatly misjudged piece, meant to be a love story to a country and it’s aborigines, but is in fact a woefully long rom com and probably massively offensive somewhere down the line.
The end

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Fighting and Football – do it properly or don’t do it at all

How is it that modern day footballers are able to find the strength to batter people both in and out of nightclubs and pubs, but when lightly tapped in the face or chest on the football pitch they go down clutching themselves like they’ve been sprayed with acid?

In the old days of football a scrap was a scrap. Now it’s just embarrassing. I’m not saying that violence is big, clever or cool. But handbags definitely are NOT. In fact they are far, far worse.

A lot gets said about footballers having responsibilities as role models, and that extends to fighting on the pitch. They shouldn’t do it. At all. Kids shouldn’t be seeing their inspirations resorting to violence. But that’s a very idealistic. If footballers are going to resort to violence they should at least make sure they aren’t showing kids how to get their heads kicked in. If I tried a headbutt in Sunday League like the one Bacary Sagna attempted against Zabaletta last week I would still be in a coma now.

15 years ago I was at a school camp where I witnessed someone attempt the ‘Crane kick’ made popular by cult film the Karate Kid. Ours wasn’t a very rough school so this boy made it out alive. But he mistakenly thought that because the kick had made uber pussy Daniel win the tournament, it would make him hard. If kids go around thinking a tap on the face is going to get them through a fight they are in serious trouble.

I love watching football, I also love watching UFC, but I hate Wrestling. I would rather football and UFC stayed separate, but I’d also like players to stop provoking each other and then play acting like douchebags, because having to explain to your girlfriend that he’s not hurt he’s just a pansy makes you feel a little bit of shame for your sport and a bit of regret that you didn’t watch the Rugby instead.

If I was earning a modern footballer’s wage I’d pay a tough as nails, ex SAS nutter to train me up. Not so I could hurt people, but because the Bourne films are awesome. With all the backflips and cartwheels in celebrations these days scraps on the pitch should be like a Jet-Li and Jason Statham mash up. Nani trying a triple back flip mega kick (I made that up) whilst Scholes punches Heskey in the throat, kicks Petrov in the knee and elbows him in the temple whilst choking Ashley Young with his Snood. It would be carnage. So maybe it’s a good job they aren’t like me and spending their money on martial arts training.

One thing is for certain though: for the number of conflicts to drop something really needs to be done about the wind up merchants. For almost every Zidane there is a Materazzi, someone winding his fellow pro up so much they snap. Should Zidane of smashed his head into Marco’s chest? No. But if I said those sorts of things to someone in the pub I’d be expecting carnage.

I don’t know if there is an answer to this, can you book someone retrospectively for being a bit of a knob? There’d be a LOT of bookings. Well maybe do it the way they do in Ice Hockey, you start a fight, you see it through. Materazzi wants to slag off Zidane’s sister, mother, barber or even his choice of boots, fine, but be ready for a brawl and a double sending off. Maybe then you’d get less of the provocation, and if not at least the fights would be better.

You can follow me on twitter @elhaydo

Thanks for reading, and you can follow me on twitter @elhaydo for more of the same.

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Next year instead of getting angry with officials, I will get angry with Blatter.

The time of Resolutions is upon us. On top of convincing myself that I’ll drink less and exercise more I have made a new resolution. To blame officials less and blame Blatter more.

Last night I got a little bit annoyed at the manner in which Birmingham City equalised against Manchester United. The goal was, in all honesty no less than Birmingham deserved for their industry and United’s ineptitude most of the night. But in my opinion I deserve a date with Megan Fox, it doesn’t mean I’m going to get one, or should get one. The assist for Lee Bowyer’s late equaliser was a Birmingham City player’s arm. Hand-ball. That simple. The referee and the linesman failed to spot it – that happens, they’re human. It’s what happens next that concerns me.

Manchester United restarted the game and flailed hopelessly for a couple of minutes in pursuit of a winner. A winner to a game they had already won. Is that right? Really? In a sport that accounts for more money than most countries GDP, should we really be letting 3 men take an educated guess at what happened and hope that they are right?
This doesn’t happen in other sports. I’m going to give examples of two systems of officiating using modern methods.

Firstly, the Review System:

In tennis a player has the option to make 2 incorrect challenges per set to have an umpire’s decision reviewed using camera based technology. If the umpire’s were right, a challenge is lost. If the player was right, he retains his challenges.

What’s impressive is the amount of times that the umpires are right, considering the physics involved. But just one mistake can make a monumental difference. Momentum can change. It’s amazing how players can react to perceived injustice.

Cricket has a similar decision review system (this time 2 challenges per team per innings), utilising heat sensitive cameras, multiple motion sensors, specially calibrated cameras and even Snicko – which isn’t an own brand chocolate bar, it’s a device to detect sounds caused by contact with the ball. For the most part in both sports there is little to no descent from players towards officials, because strangely enough when players have complete confidence that the right decision has been reached, they don’t tend to argue about it, even if they did appeal it.

The second system I’ll loosely title At the Referee’s discretion:

In International Rugby matches you will sometimes see a load of men fall on top of each other just in front, or just behind a giant goal with posts that keep going up past the crossbar. That’s either a Try or it’s not. Sometimes the ref just knows. But sometimes the combined weight of an articulated lorry and the combined limbs of a spider convention all piled onto one tiny, silly shaped ball mean that it’s a little difficult for him to tell. This is when he draws a magic box in the air, letting everyone know that he’s going to the big man in the sky. No, not God! The Television Replay Official, who, to everyone in the ground wields roughly the same amount of power as God at that moment. It’s his job to review the replays, slow motion, super slow motion, different angles, maybe even with Benny Hill music on in the background if he deems it necessary, and from this footage decide if it is a Try or not. Sometimes even then, even after all that it’s impossible to tell. Now, I don’t know who came up with this idea, but in Rugby if they can’t tell, they don’t guess, they say that it’s inconclusive, and they have a scrum. Or a fight as it’s called on the streets. Funnily enough football has a rule ready made for such an occasion, it’s called a drop ball, but never mind.

So considering the fact that Football is the most well-funded, and proclaims itself to be the greatest, game on Earth, you have to ask the question, why in the name of one touch passing is Football so far behind when it comes to getting decisions right in games? It’s not because the referees are bad people – they really aren’t, they are decent people trying to do near impossible jobs knowing that the closest they’re likely to get to praise is nobody calling them rude words. It’s not because they are incompetent either, because for the most part they are very good at their jobs. There are exceptions. Of course. But I can honestly say that I have gotten decisions wrong at half speed from two different angles before seeing that actually, on review the referee was probably right and he’d already run 6k with no bloody Snood!

It’s not for any of those reasons. It’s because Sepp Blatter doesn’t like technology. Which is odd because when he leaves lavish award ceremonies, instead of getting on his penny farthing and riding straight to the docks to hop on the first paddle steamer back to Switzerland, he get’s in a bloody expensive car with heated seats and electric windows. What do you think heated those seats you gigantic tosspot?

Blatter’s main argument against having technology in football is that it takes too much time, that it interrupts the flow of the game. Well let me ask you this Sepp, how long did it take to calm down the Irish players who tried pointing out to the referee that Thiery Henry is also a world class basketball player? That this happened 23 years after Maradona did virtually the same thing to England is an absolute disgrace. Sports should learn from their mistakes and rectify their failings. That’s why you should have a governing body. Not to get rich and fat off the back of the fans; fans who you are still cheating every single time. Now people will say it’s just a game. But ask the publicans in Ireland who went out of business last year what effect a World Cup spot for Ireland would have had on their trade, and chances are some of them would still be in business. A World Cup place is worth Billions of pounds, or Euros in Ireland’s case, and yet it’s left to chance because the Big, Bad, Sepp says NO! Referee’s would love to have the ability to make the right decision each and every time, to be able to admit “I’m not sure here” and get some assistance from someone who 99% of the time will be able to get it right. I think fans could live with that. I really do.

The money the technology would cost you’d instantly make back by scrapping the Respect for referee’s campaign because you wouldn’t need it. The decisions would be respected. Managers wouldn’t be able to chastise and influence officials before and after games and peace would return to the Middle East. Ok maybe not the last bit, but right now all 3 things look equally likely.

So, next time your team puts the ball 3 yards over the line only to see it bounce out and no goal be awarded, next time one of your players get’s farcically sent off, next time the opposition simultaneously field 3 goalkeepers and you still don’t get a penalty, don’t blame the poor buggers in black, blame Blatter. Maybe even get a new chant going: “Sepp Blatter is a w*nker”

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So Andy, is it because they overlap not Rory Delap?

Andy Gray:  supposed oracle of Sky Sports, the man who never fails to advise that wingers like to run forwards, the reason I play Fifa with the sound down, and quite possibly the most cliché ridden moron in sports entertainment today. I won’t lie, I think he’s an idiot. Thankfully he decided to help me prove a point with his recent comments. I’m going to give a brief summary of these comments, and then when I’m finished screaming in frustration that he actually gets paid to talk about football, I’m going to give counter arguments. ARGGHHHHHHHHHHHH

When talking during coverage of the Manchester City vs Everton clash about the Ballon D’or nominees this year Andy said that he thought Messi “would struggle on a cold night at the Britannia” and that Barcelona would struggle in the Premier League as they have never played the likes of Stoke. Oh and lastly Ronaldo and Messi would struggle to score so consistently in the Premiership.

I’ll address the last point first. Ronaldo scored 31 goals in 34 Premiership games just over 2 seasons ago. He’s got better since. He has also managed to get past the awesome might of Robert Huth and co. In 6 years in the Premier League that inconsistent winger who is obviously unsuited to the rigours of England scored 84 goals in 196 games for Manchester United. A similar 6 year period for Gray saw him score 52 in 182 (for Wolves and Everton).

Next up, Messi struggling in the cold. Utterly ridiculous nonsense. Messi gets the shit kicked out of him all over Europe. Including on an almost yearly basis by Chelsea, who for the record usually out-muscle Stoke. If he can handle that, he can handle the cold. Besides, that’s what snoods are for. Nasri is hardly built like an outhouse, Arshavin looks like one of Santa’s Elves, Nani is scared of his own reflection and falls over holding his ankle if he walks past a shop window, so why would Messi struggle?

Barcelona wouldn’t do so well in the Premiership because they haven’t faced the likes of Stoke. Well Andy, 2 years ago they faced anyone they could find, and guess what? They won 6 trophies. Last year they dominated La Liga again and, in fairness got manouvered out of the Champions League by some incredible defending by Inter Milan on the night. But that was a Mourinho team that stopped them, a team that won a TREBLE, a team set out to do nothing but frustrate. Stoke wouldn’t get near them. They’d be traumatized. Their team talk at half time would be like the end of Platoon. Arsenal are like a diet Barcelona, and they are nearly top of the league. Barcelona have a good goalkeeper, two strong centre backs and a couple of defensive midfielders – the things that Gray and the Sunday Supplement clowns ALWAYS tell us that Arsenal need to win the League (to be fair they are right, but seriously guys, every week?). Barcelona have them. So please Andy, tell me what on Earth makes you think they wouldn’t waltz to the title if they played over here?

Is it because they’re all too small? They couldn’t dominate at set pieces? Let me guess, they use Zonal Marking? They don’t have a big bruiser to throw it up to? Is it that they prefer to overlap rather than Rory Delap? I wish I was eloquent enough to convey how gigantic a c*nt Andy Gray is without resorting to using the word. But I’m not, and he is. Ex-players often say “if you’ve never played the game you can’t understand”. Well Andy Gray has played the game and he still doesn’t understand.

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If Kris Boyd is the answer, what is the question?

Sacking Big Sam is, to me, a massive mistake. If not long term then certainly at this stage of the season because right now they are punching above their weight, morale seems good and there are few other managers out there who would want the job and be able to do it better. Of course given that they are promising a budget of £5m per transfer window for the next 3 seasons it’s entirely possible that they can lure Mourinho from Madrid to come in and propel them up the table. But in the event that he wants to finish the job in Spain they are a bit short of options.

Allardyce took over 2 seasons ago with Rovers staring relegation in the face. He kept them safe that season. The next season he kept them 20 points clear of relegation with a decent cup run thrown in. This season he’s got them up to 9th and only 3 points away from 7th. He’s achieved all this whilst actually MAKING money on transfers rather than spending it like those around him. I admit they aren’t exactly playing Tiki-Taka at Ewood Park but there is a little bit of a difference between Diouf, Dunn & Pederson compared to Xavi, Messi & Iniesta.

If the rumours that he was sacked because he didn’t want Kris Boyd and Geovanni thrust upon him are true then all that really does is enhance Allardyce’s position as the wronged party and make the new owners look like Timmy Mallet’s script writer.
Because in a league that contains Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Man City, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Everton you’ve really got to wonder how a striker who has scored 5 goals in 19 games in the Championship can propel you up the table. £5m a window when City can spend £26m on James Milner and not even blink? My recreational drug use is limited to one weekend a year at Glastonbury but even I would love some of what these guys have been smoking.

Still, on the plus side if they do get relegated because of this at least they’ll already have a Championship quality striker. And 9th to bottom really isn’t as far as it seems with the way the league is going this season.

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‘A New Hope’ against Player Power

…or maybe the Empire striking back.

Remember Johnny Haynes? He was the first footballer to earn £100 a week. Now, nobody really minded Johnny Haynes getting paid what he was worth. But since the late 90s, wages, and with them player power seems to have become more and more ridiculous.

To quote Ian Holloway “If Sir Alex Ferguson is getting bullied by a player and his agent or whatever else you call it then how wrong is the game?”.

Unfortunately this blog isn’t about Holloway, it’s not about promoting him and Blackpool as being more refreshing than a 20 foot dive into a swimming pool full of Strongbow. It’s about Manchester City and Carlos Tevez, and as a Manchester United fan, I’m not even writing it to put the boot in.

Now, Manchester City pulled off what a lot of people considered a transfer coup when they signed Tevez, a man who’d been getting chants from Old Trafford all season of “Fergie, Fergie sign him up”. But when they did this, they repeated the recent history of the Robinho signing in getting a player with some serious issues, on huge, huge wages.
Having sold Robinho at a pretty big loss to AC Milan, City had a glimpse of the future.

Tevez has caused a fair amount of controversy wherever he has gone, but he plays like a pitbull on crack and he scores plenty of goals, so basically the fans usually love him. This season however he’s combined that with waiting until Man City are near the top of the league for the first time in my living memory to hand in a transfer request. Since then City have given their PR piece and Kia Joorabchian (who should really be a bad guy in cult series 24) has given his little piece, with lapdog Tevez trying to tell everyone that he’s not actually Joorabchian’s bitch.

Most people think City have two options, sell or sue. I think they should go with a third – let him ROT.
No other team in history has the financial muscle to say to their £250k a week star striker “screw you” and stick them in the reserves until the end of their contract, or until he breaches his contract and they can sue him having made such a massive, monumental point.

City can afford it. They really can. It’s almost the January window. They could just throw £35m at Edin Dzeko, £65m at Sergio Aguero and another £30m at Neymar and they would have the most potent strike force in world football without breaking financial sweat. They could even guarantee themselves a top 5 finish by signing Kris Boyd!

I still remember the only time I have ever had Bromantic feelings about John Gregory, it was when he was manager of Aston Villa and he decided David Ginola was getting too big for his boots and played him in the reserves. As a SWEEPER. Utter genius, and the whole world loved him for it. Even if it was a very, very temporary love.

Now take that love, and multiply it hundreds of times over. Stick Carlos Tevez in the reserves and tell his agent he’s no longer welcome in Eastlands. Let Tevez go awol, and then sue him for breach of contract. Sue him for damages. Let him see what a pathetically spoilt little man he is. Tevez used to take a dummy out of his shorts and suck it as a celebration. Well now we’re all seeing what a baby he is. Manchester United couldn’t afford to punish Wayne Rooney’s bad behaviour and put him on the naughty step. Instead they rewarded him when he stopped being an obnoxious brat. Well I’ve seen Supernanny a few times, and she has a lot to say about that. I say Manchester City get her in on a £10k a week contract and let her sort the whole sorry mess out.

Kenyon once said Chelsea would turn the world blue, if City do this to Tevez, even just for a second, the whole world might go sky blue in appreciation of a star player finally getting put back in their place.

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An All Star game for the beautiful game?

Imagine taking something American and making it work in Soccer….

Now imagine the idea of a 39th game actually being a good thing….

Now imagine the “which league is best?” question being answered….

Ok, now, for the record, I punched myself in the face twice for calling it soccer. Two quick jabs should be enough these days to earn me a title shot against David Haye. But this blog isn’t here to mock Audley Harrison, after all, it’s not like he hurt anyone.

No my friends, this blog is here to tell you that if you take the evil, money loving, corruption magnets who run Football and mix them with something so American that it’d piss stars and shit stripes then you might, just might get something worth paying for.

Now I have to clarify, we NEED a 39th game about as much as Christiano Ronaldo needs a bit more self-confidence. We already have 38 league games, the FA Cup, the League Cup, Champions League, Europa League and the Charity Shield at the start of the season. That’s ignoring the Championship, League One, Two, Conference and Non-League Football. 

BUT…if that’s the way that we’re going, if we’re going to chase the money, if we’re going to “grow the brand” (another two punches, this time in the stomach), then why not make it entertaining?

Instead of a 39th League game played in New York, or LA, Hong Kong or wherever, why not be up front and honest, it’s an exhibition, so make it a spectacular one. The All Stars of the Premier League vs Gallacticos of La Liga. Maybe throw the Bundesliga and Serie A in there for a 4 way tournament?

Put simply, who would want to watch West Ham vs Bolton when they could see a mix of Real Madrid and Barcelona take on the best that English football has to offer? It really would be fantasy football. In America the All Star games in Baseball are the ultimate honour. Would they be taken that seriously in football? Of course not. But would they be incredible entertainment on a global stage? Would they be a great advert for the game? I can’t see how they could fail to be when you think about a frontline of Drogba, Rooney and Torres facing up against an attack of Messi, Ronaldo and Villa. A midfield of Xavi, Iniesta and Alonso up against Fabregas, Gerrard and Lampa….oh wait, that doesn’t ever work. It had seemed like such a good idea as well.

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