Posts Tagged ‘Alex Ferguson’
It isn’t unusual for our chicken-keeping gang to spend a lot of time on Sunday mornings mulling over the football results but today the conversation was more uplifting than is our usual mixture of moans and groans about referees, overpaid players and poor entertainment value. Almost all of us were rooting for Man Utd last night, but the performance of Barcelona was breathtaking and our heroes were simply played of the pitch. As Alex Ferguson was moved to remark “No one has given us a hiding like that”. He was right but there was no shame in it for we were watching that rare thing, unstoppable poetry in motion. Throughout the whole game Barca committed only five fouls and they never resorted to the usual Premiership fare of long balls and attritional play.
Albert often unwittingly supplies my headlines and today is no exception. He said that there is, after all, a beautiful game. We regularly deride the term as we pay a small fortune to watch so called professionals hoofing the ball here there and everywhere. Last night we watched an exhibition that capped anything that even the extensive Sky coverage has ever screened. Occasionally Arsenal and Man Utd have played some clever stuff but this was in another class, it was beautiful.
The longer term effect is open to debate. As I feel right now, I will certainly feel short-changed when I pay to watch Blackburn Rovers. Yesterday has increased by feeling that the ‘stars’ are grossly overpaid and the entertainment value low. And the same will apply throughout the Premiership. Whatever the Barca players are paid they earn it as true artists. But if they can so totally humiliate our top club what does that say for the rest. I still find it hard to come to terms with a wage of £100,000 per week but perhaps a real artist is beyond valuation. But the number of real artists performing in our top league could be counted on the fingers of a ferret-breeder.
However, there is a more positive outcome from that amazing display. Even those who are indifferent to football must have been impressed and some may well decide to watch more games in future. It was also a counterbalance to the continually bad press that football has in this country. The latest appalling revelations about FIFA has shattered any remaining confidence in those that govern the game, and the constant diet of the off-field antics of many of the players hasn’t helped either. Neither has the constant lunacy of egotistical Russian, Indian, and American owners.
Many a cynic has been heard to ask why soccer was ever described as beautiful. Last night we had the answer. The next time any manager says that the only way to succeed away from home is to defend relentlessly, to play the offside trap and to ‘hack ‘em down,’ he should be boiled in tar and made to watch a tape of the experts performing at Wembley.
And all this on a day when the first Test match of the summer was on. No contest. To watch Sri Lanka who haven’t a single bowler of Test standard bowl for hours to two batsmen whose approach was akin to watching paint dry was sheer purgatory. Never thought I’d live to say this but Test cricket such as this is a poor competitor with the beautiful game!
A SPECIAL FOOTBALL QUIZ IN HONOUR OF BARCELONA; 1. Who preceded Frank O’Farrell as Man Utd manager? 2. How did Joan Bazely make history in 1976? 3. Who were the opponents in Peter Shilton’s last game for England? 4. Which premiership side lost nine of its last ten games in 2006 and stayed up? 5. Who offered the england and scotland squads a week on his Caribbean island if they won the World Cup in 1988? 6. Roy Keane played his last Premiership game for Man Utd against which team? 7. Which club’s motto is ‘Nil Satis Nisi Optimum”? 8. John Benson, Bruce Rich and Steve Bruce have all managed which club? 9. To three, for how many games was Sven-Goran Eriksson in charge of England? 10. Ray Wilkins was sent off while playing for England against which country?
DO YOU HAVE A FRIEND WHO ‘KNOWS ABOUT SOCCER’ ? WHY NOT FORWARD THIS TO HIM OR HER AND THEN COMPARE SCORES?
Fancy a black eye? I’m not threatening you, merely offering to let you have mine! Conditions for chicken supervision were extremely icy this morning but all seemed to be going well until I suddenly found myself face down on the path. My glasses had dug into my nose in the manner of a hen after corn and the snow was stained bright red. Vernon rushed - skidded really – to the rescue and revived his old memories of days as magic-sponge man to the Barton Maulers. As he sponged he told me that I had failed in the basic principle for walking on ice, I hadn’t concentrated. He added that had I been chewing gum it wouldn’t have happened.
Once I had given the ice a good thrashing in the style of Basil Fawlty, I pursued the tantilising reference to chewing gum. It seems that someone called Siegfried Lehri, head of the Society of Brain Training and a scientist at the University of Erlangen, has been busy conducting a study into the effect of chewing a la Alex Ferguson. He established that continuous chewing stimulates the brain. Why? The effect probably lies in the fact that the part of the brainstem that keeps us alert is constantly stimulated, as a result of which the attention levels rises, as does the flow of blood to the brain and with it the abilility to concentrate and learn.
So impressed were the educational leaders that a pilot project is now being staged at a primary school in Bavaria. Pupils are being given sticks of gum to chew and asked to do so relentlessly during lessons and at break times. The headteacher, Hans Dach, reports significant improvements in educational performance and insists that gum is creating “a learning environment that matches the children’s needs”.
Apparently claims have long been made about the benefits of gum on concentration levels. A little research told me that in 2002 scientists from the University of Northumbria found people who chewed gum saw a 25 per cent improvement in their ability to recall words. Another thing I didn’t know was that soldiers of the United States military have been supplied with free gum since the first world war due to the belief that it boosts soldier’s concentration and helps to relieve stress. I remember the GIs over here during the last war and their generosity with gum, but it had never occurred to me that it was a sort of medical aid.
Of course there is always a flip side. If everyone took up chewing our streets would be a solid mass of congealed rubber. But just think how alert we would all be! And if the council officers also took to the habit we might even get our drains cleared every year or so.
So there it is. Had I not had a fall I would never have learned all this and both you, dear reader, and I would have gone on imagining that Wrigleys was unique to Premiership Managers and yobs.
So get chewing or alternatively give up cleaning out hens on frosty monings.
LIB DEMS GOING TO THE DOGS!
According to today’s papers Nick Clegg and Vince Cable are now at loggerheads over tuition fees. Cable has changed his mind umpteen time about his voting intentions when the House debates the proposal to increase the ceiling to £9000. For his part Clegg is inclined to avoid an irrevocable split with the Tories by voting for the proposal yet is very painfully aware of the growing hostility of every student to whom he gave a solemn pledge to oppose any increase.
Throw in all this and add the fact that two major policy announcements were made this week by Osborne without any consultation with his Lib Dem partners and you have a dangerouis mix. Dangerous for the coalition and even more so for the Lib Dems who are cringing at the latest opinion polls which show that not a single Lib Demmer would survive an election.
Perhaps Cable should turn to Clegg and utter those famous words of Oliver Hardy. This is indeed a fine mess you’ve got us into!
ENGLAND ARE WALKING IT DOWN UNDER!
Three days gone in the second Ashes Test and the once all conquering Australian team is looking like a club team from one of our minor counties.
Pieterson and Cook, they told us, were our weak links. Both have scored hundreds without looking threatened. And the bowlers, particularly Anderson and Swann, are looking dangerous. In fact England are tops in every department.
But it wouldn’t be England if we didn’t have a set-back so I will refrain from crowing just yet!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. 1977 2. Pope PAUL VI
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. In which year did direct rule begin in Northern Ireland ; 1972, 1974 or 1976? 2. In which British colony was the governor assassinated in 1973?