No Arsene, that would be the day you joined the Gooners and introduced your now infamous, lying "I 'aven't seen eet as I was looking ze uzzer way" comments and your rather physical style of football, perhaps characterised best by Patrick "Thug" Viera, (the Roy Keane of football). Oh, and your signing of Mr Reyes, the best diver since Didier Drogba.

Personally, I would have killed myself laughing if Martin Jol had chinned you. Two of your players bumped into each other. Big wow. Don't you teach your players to play to the whistle, or did you just think the ref would recognise your divine right to whatever decision you want, whenever you want?


Sorry – bit carried away there.

Look Ars, if it really upsets you, then no-one is stopping you leaving the UK. Really.


Mike Riley displayed an almost Graham Pollesque level of inconsistency at Villa Park today, helping West Ham United to their first FA Cup Final in 26 years.

Two huge Riley mistakes turned the game, which saw more elbows flying than the first day of the Next January sales. But it seemed that anyone in the famed white (? – Ed) of West Ham was absolved of any wrongdoing, while those in red, saw yellow.

Dean Ashton's 40th minute right armed "challenge" on Boro's Mark Schwarzer looks to have ended the keeper's season.Ashton escaped any punishment for the elbow and subsequent cheekbone fracture sustained by Schwarzer, which instead allowed him to get booked mid way through the second half for a later tackle on his stand-in, Brad Jones.

But questions have to be asked about Marlon "Peanuthead" Harewood's elbow-first "challenge" on Gareth Southgate and how he escaped ANY punishment for it. He then went on the score the winner (beautifully finished, by the way) but to be honest, he wouldn't have been able to have scored from the changing room, now would he?

Between these two incidents, Riley showed his true colours by booking Boro's Rochemback for holding off midget Reo-Coker – "with his elbow".

So once again, a potentially wonderful game of football, the dreams of tens of thousands of fans and a route into Europe is decided by the errors of an official. I wonder if he's going to tell us where he went wrong? I doubt it.

Gotta love football, ain'tcha???

Is it fair?

April 11, 2006

Just how much taunting should footballers have to put up with?

Look – I’m not saying that Diouf should be spitting at fans and I’m certainly not condoning Cantona’s karate kick at Crystal Palace, but fans surely can’t have it their own way all the time, can they?

Examine the picture of William Gallas below. Check the fans in the background. The guy has just been sent off – adrenaline must be pumping – he’s angry – they’re stood just a few metres from him – taunting – shouting obscenities – insulting his family – maybe even his skin colour.

You can see how it might happen – perhaps a gesture is the least most of us would respond with. Footballers are human too. Should they really have to put up with that abuse?

And now, Paddy Kenny, goalkeeper of Championship promotion favourites, Sheffield United is to be investigated by police for an alleged gesture at Hell City [sic] fans when The Blades got their last minute winner on Saturday. The same 5,000 fans who had been calling him a “fat bastard” all match. Again – I’m not saying he was right to do it (if he did), but you can see why he might…

Footballers are in a position of responsibility – idolised by many, especially the young – but is it right for them to be singled out for doing (once) the same thing that thousands of fans have been doing to them all match?

I have a friend who is convinced that the Netherlands are going to win the World Cup. I thought that they were in  with a good chance too, but only if they can keep their feet a little better than this weekend.

I'm talking (of course) of Robben, van Persie, van Nistelrooy and (in a Spanish departure for, Mark van Bommel. Yes, between them they made valuable contributions to their respective teams, but – jeez! – are Holland going to take over where Savo Milosevic and his Yugoslav friends left off?

Once again, this is a bizarre case of decent players throwing themselves around and cheating. These are great players (apart from van Nistelrooy, who just looks like a horse) (although not in the shower, I hear) – this is a part of their game that we don't need to see.