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The Importance of Sport (NEW CONCEPTS)
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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What they're interested in is their team winning.


That is true, and that is why there is not going to be long term English interest in a league where, currently, only one of six teams can win each year.(it's currently actually only two teams until Manchester United follow my advice, but I doubt they will)
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Mick Harper
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Disciplinary Board

Mahrez lifts ball over sprawling Brighton player, strikes hand in unnatural position and diverts goal-bound shot beyond keeper into the net. How is that not a red card? Are crimes in this country now to be punished according to the success of the crime?

Almoron scores for Newcastle. Takes shirt off in celebration (yellow card offence), leaps into crowd to celebrate with fans (yellow card offence). Where was the red card for two yellow offences? Is totting up now to be subject to time delay?

Enough is very much enough. I demand a British League.
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Mick Harper
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That is true, and that is why there is not going to be long term English interest in a league where, currently, only one of six teams can win

There are people not interested in those six teams? What an extraordinary thought. Are they Scots people living in this country?

it's currently actually only two teams until Manchester United follow my advice, but I doubt they will

My advice was to get rid of Arteta from day one. Looking at the remaining fixtures I decided that the best policy was to lose all the remaining games and even the twats in charge would ask The Scowling One to walk the plank. After the flukey win against Chelsea this is no longer on the table so I must switch tactics and try to squeak into the top four. But if it is not to be, Chelsea and Spurs are OK booby prizes. With Man Utd looking satisfactorily on, that completes my tour d'horizon of the only teams anyone's interested in. COYBS!
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Mick Harper
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Live: Canadian Premier League Football (BT Sport 2)

York United vs Cavalry FC. Not the greatest match-up but the time zone means you can catch it in the small hours.
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Mick Harper
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I hope the Jamaican Dillian Whyte wins. I'm fed up with the Brits always hogging the title. It's called the World Championship, let's give the other chaps a go. In any case with Tyson Furie announcing this is to be his last fight, we'll have to wait till the autumn to see him in action again. Whatever happened to that other chap? No, not him, the other one. No, the other one. Thank God there are five world heavyweight titles to go round. It would be awful if they all started to fight amongst themselves. People could get hurt. British people, may I remind you.
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Mick Harper
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Yes, it's Mr Ambrose Cholmondeley Gunner-Moaner back again. A fluky win against Chelsea and a drubbing of a pathetic Manchester United does not a summer make. It's still the winter of my discontent etc etc. I like to get the flowery stuff out of the way before turning all Applied Epistemological.

I give The Scowler credit for getting them all buzzing around like buzz-saws but that's not The Arsenal Way. I still want to know why we can play like dreamboats for fifteen minutes but then we have to give all that up and a) start hoofing it up the park or b) play it out from the back, freeze, wait for opponents to surge forward in a press, panic, then hoof it up the park.

Though I have to say one thing. When we do hoof it, it is surprisingly effective. It gets knocked down by an Arsenal man to an Arsenal man, it gets headed out by opponents for a throw-in up the park, or the other side hoofs it back to us and we can start over but without the wretched hoofing goalie being involved.

Perhaps we get more practice at it than other Big Six teams. If you watched the Arsenal/Man U game, when they hoofed it, it was to an empty half because they were cowering back in their own knowing only sheer numbers could make up for their defensive ineptitude. Unless it went anywhere near Ronaldo, then we had to watch out. So maybe Arteta has worked it all out on the training pitch. But if so why are we piddling about playing like dreamboats for quarter of an hour?

Last AE point. When Smith-Rowe came on the scene I marvelled at how he never put a foot wrong. Now he can't put a foot right. How is this possible? Yes, I know all the usual guff about form and opponents finding him out and Arteta not using him properly (he should be a false number nine since we haven't got a decent striker) but it's still an abiding mystery. Ditto Rashford. We need to bend our bows finding out. England may expect.
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Mick Harper
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Stop badgering me about my trip to the London Stadium to watch West Ham vs Arsenal. I will tell you in my own time and in my own way. The first weird event was arriving on the sparsely attended eastbound platform of Kensal Rise station for a rendezvous with my season ticket holder with-a-spare companion. I got irritated he hadn't arrived but after five minutes, when the train pulled in, this figure from all of ten yards away rose and expressed irritation at me cutting it so fine. We have known each other for fifty years but our current crepitude meant neither of us recognised the other. It was not a good omen.
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Mick Harper
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The only really tough legs were (a) walking along the Lea Navigation from Hackney Wick station to the stadium ("I thought I'd take you the scenic route, Mick") and the stairs from the concourse to row six million and something in the Bobby Moore stand. I felt a bit like him towards the end. Then my troubles really began.

"Look, Mick, for chrissake don't let anyone know you're an Arsenal fan."
"Oh, come on, those days are well over."
"Ya think? There were some Eintracht Frankfurt fans over there on Thursday and when they went one-up in the first minute... well, let's just say they'll be eating frankfurters through straws for a bit."

But I did a rather clever thing. Something only an AE-ist would think of...
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Mick Harper
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I pretended to be a West Ham supporter! Thought you'd be impressed. I jutted the jaw, turned the arms and hands in ever so slightly and sprinkled the glottalstops. It wasn't great, I admit, but most of the crowd were social workers and actors in search of authenticity so I passed unnoticed. Then a weird thing happened.

I became a West Ham supporter. This is known as 'soap opera syndrome' i.e. if you are obliged to do something disobliging for even a short while you get sucked in willy-nilly. So called because it usually starts by getting hooked on Emmerdale when one's mother comes to stay for a few days. But anyway I was soon screaming for Saka to be sent off after the animal dumped Mark 'Everso' Noble on his backside with a shimmy.

Fortunately it gradually wears off with no lasting after-effects and I was as right as ninepence by the time we were passing Hampstead & Frognall on the journey back to home and civilisation. We wuz robbed 2-1 by the bastard Arsenal by the way.
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Mick Harper
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This panic going on all over the internet about Chelsea being owned by the L.A. Dodgers and Arsenal being owned by the L.A. Rams is greatly overdone in my opinion. My understanding is that we'll play our home games in L.A. but on alternate weekends.
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Mick Harper
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I don't like the sound of this Lord Daniel Finkelstein who's been made a director of New Chelsea. This is the people's game, Lord Muckamuck, so why don't you take your toffee-nosed ways back to Los Angeles where they suck up to the likes of you. We don't.

Why couldn't we have had a namesake of his, Danny Finkelstein, a real live-wire character, his finger on the public pulse, always in and out of the Newsnight studio with his cheeky grin. A real football fan on the board. That'll be the day.
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Mick Harper
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The Biter Bit

Ball comes in, Wolves defender and Chelsea forward go up. Forward nudges defender, defender lurches, throws arms out theatrically to show ref he's been shoved in the back, forward heads ball, ball strikes defender's outstretched arm. It's a pen!

Quite right. Even though the defender didn't see the ball coming from one yard away directly behind him, his arm was in an unnatural position. It's time teams started practising these drills on the training ground.
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Mick Harper
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John Yems has left his role as manager of Crawley Town after he was alleged to have engaged in racist behaviour at the club. “Crawley Town FC will immediately begin a global search for its next manager.”

I don't think it's a manager you need to scour the world for, it's someone in management who can count up to one.

Yems had been manager of Crawley since 2019 and as many as seven members of the Crawley squad are reported to have made claims against him
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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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Mick Harper wrote:
Stop badgering me about my trip to the London Stadium to watch West Ham vs Arsenal. I will tell you in my own time and in my own way. The first weird event was arriving on the sparsely attended eastbound platform of Kensal Rise station for a rendezvous with my season ticket holder with-a-spare companion. I got irritated he hadn't arrived but after five minutes, when the train pulled in, this figure from all of ten yards away rose and expressed irritation at me cutting it so fine. We have known each other for fifty years but our current crepitude meant neither of us recognised the other. It was not a good omen.


These stories are so wonderful. I want to put them all in a book!
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Mick Harper
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Spurs 1 Burnley 0

I write not wearing my Arsenal hat but my Cocklecarrot wig re the Spurs pen that might be critical in our respective fortunes. Usual scenario, ball comes over defender misses it, striker heads it, ball strikes defender's arm in 'an unnatural position'. There is no dispute as to the facts i.e. defender was looking in the other direction, ball travelled less than a yard, there is no question of the defender knowing anything about it.

It all comes down to the unnatural position. Everyone assumes it was because it was waving in the air. But that is immaterial. A defender can do what he likes with his arm without contravening the laws of football, actual or interpreted. It is whether he is 'seeking an advantage' that is material. That is why defenders have their arms behind their backs when a shot is coming in. It's a very unnatural thing to do but it demonstrates they are not seeking an advantage.

How does this apply to the Burnley defender? His arm's up there because he's jumping for the ball not thinking, "I might miss it but if I wave my arm in the air there's a good chance I might cut out the header." An unnatural position is only unnatural in context. But unfortunately any position other than guardsman's thumb pointing down the crease of his trousers is now considered unnatural. It'll get a pen all day long (Jermaine Jenas). But it's as crazy as a box of frogs (refs, VARmen, commentators, BBC pundits, general public).
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