The Anonymous Widower

Portugal Were Glued, Stitched And Morocco-Bound

Metier’s amazing company accountant; Brian used to use a phrase of screwed, glued and tattooed, when a person or company was in trouble with the authorities and they would have to pay up.

My father was a printer and bookbinder and after today’s World Cup match between Portugal and Morocco, he’d have come up with an appropriate phrase like glued, stitched and Morocco-bound.

Note that both Brian and my father had a lot of the real East End about them.

December 10, 2022 Posted by | Sport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Hugo Lloris vs Jordan Pickford And There’s Only One Winner

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Telegraph.

This is the introductory paragraph.

By most measures, Jordan Pickford has been the better keeper than Hugo Lloris this season — especially when it comes to penalties

The Telegraph uses statistics from a specialist goalkeeping statistics site, which is called Goalkeeper-XG.

So I would tend to put a high level of trust in their deductions.

I found the Telegraph article, when I was looking for any article about the two team captains, Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris, who both play for Tottenham Hotspur, where Lloris is captain.

I also suspect that in training.

  • Harry Kane has probably scored more penalties than any other player has against Hugo Lloris.
  • Hugo Lloris has probably saved more penalties than any other keeper from Harry Kane.

The two players probably know each other’s strengths and weaknesses well and in addition.

  • Eric Dier of Tottenham has played many games in front of Lloris, is also in the England team.
  • I suspect several of the England team have taken penalties or been in one-on-one situations with the French goalkeeper in Premier League games.
  • Some England players may feel they have scores to settle, after Lloris denied them of a goal, because of a superb save.

All of this information, will be powerful in the hands and minds of England’s coaches and psychologists.

On the other hand, with the notable exception of Olivier Giroud, I suspect that only a handful of the French players have faced Jordan Pickford in a goal-scoring opportunity.

I feel that the battle of the goalkeepers will be key tonight.

December 10, 2022 Posted by | Sport | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

China Covid: Chinese TV Censors Shots Of Maskless World Cup Fans

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

These two paragraphs outline China’s censorship of the World Cup.

The phrase “football is nothing without fans” has become so accepted as to be cliché among some commentators. But Chinese state TV has been testing that assumption to its limit throughout the World Cup.

On Monday, as Ghana beat South Korea in a classic World Cup clash, subtle changes to China’s coverage of the match ensured viewers were not exposed to images of maskless supporters – and to a world moving on from Covid restrictions.

Autocratic regimes who act like China and Russia are doing now, have always come to a sticky and violent end.

When will these idiots ever learn?

 

 

November 28, 2022 Posted by | Health, Sport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What A Depressing Opening Game For A World Cup!

I’m sure that the game would be more exciting if Hartlepool and Forfar had been asked to put on an exhibition match.

I think the score was three-nil to Ecuador, as like the BBC panel, I can’t see any fault with the goal that was disallowed by VAR. But then like the BBC panel, I haven’t accepted any brown envelopes!

November 20, 2022 Posted by | Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

Qatar World Cup: It Is Hard To Know What Is Real At An Ever Creepier Tournament

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Times, which has been written by Owen Slot, who is Chief Sports Writer of The Times.

This is the sub-heading to the article.

It is a disgrace that, less than a month before kick-off, we still don’t know how many workers died in the construction of the facilities

I agree with Owen Slot.

The article also details what I consider to be other dubious practices.

Fans from around the world have been recruited as a PR army to report anything derogatory to Qatar.

This is a paragraph from the report.

This is the part in the agreement where these recruits are obliged, effectively, to spy on their fellow fans: “You agree to report any offensive, degrading or abusive comments to the SC and, if possible, to take a screenshot of those comments and then promptly delete them.”

The SC is The Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy.

I can see this and Qatar’s views on human rights, homosexuality and alcohol, leading to serious trouble.

On my several trips abroad to support football teams, there has general been good humour and manners between the two groups of fans.

One trip, that fans on the way out might go terribly badly was England’s trip to Belarus in October 2008.

Everything went well because everyone wanted a good time and gestures on both sides diffused tensions.

  • The good people of Minsk helped visiting fans navigate the city.
  • A group of us were made very welcome in their excellent War Museum.
  • British fans laid a St. George’s Cross wreath on the War Memorial, which was much appreciated.
  • The Belarussian police were passing local kids into the England fans to get their programmes signed.
  • The hotel were excellent with my gluten-free food, after I gave them instructions in Russian.
  • Several locals engaged me in conversation to test their English.

I also wrote a piece for the East Anglian Daily Times about the trip.  It is in two parts.

Belarus to me indicates how the good people of a country, with help from a sensible police, can still organise things in a friendly manner.

November 5, 2022 Posted by | Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Qatar 2022 Seriously Under Threat?

For various reasons, I’m not in favour of holding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

I am not alone and summed up Greg Dyke’s views in Greg Dyke On Qatar 2022, where I came to this conclusion.

I think the whole tournament is already dead-in-the-water and that it probably won’t take place in Qatar. If it does, it will be in fully-enclosed air-conditioned stadia, with virtually no spectators and absolutely no real fans or atmosphere.

The air-conditioned stadia will probably use masses of electricity generated in fossil fuel power stations.

This article on the BBC is entitled Christian Eriksen: Denmark Midfielder Suffered Cardiac Arrest, Says Team Doctor.

Was Eriksen’s cardiac arrest caused by the heat in Copenhagen?

We shall probably not know until the full investigation has been completed.

Now put yourself in the position of an owner of a Premier League or other important football club.

Would you allow your star player to go and play in the heat of Qatar without a full investigation into what happened with Christian Eriksen?

I suspect many owners would tell Qatar and FIFA, where they could stick their World Cup.

They just can’t afford to risk their assets!

 

 

June 14, 2021 Posted by | Sport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Did Jack Warner Take A Bribe To Vote For Qatar?

It is being reported in the Telegraph, that Jack Warner took a bribe of over a million pounds to vote for Qatar in the bidding for the 2022 World Cup.

I file stories like this under the heading of Is The Pope A Catholic

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment

We Will Not Overlook The Tragedy Which Is Currently Unfolding In Qatar

The title of this post is taken from a quote in this report on the BBC website. Here’s the first two paragraphs.

Representatives of a global players’ union will seek talks with Qatar’s football authorities over claims of the abuse of players’ rights.

French-Algerian player Zahir Belounis is in dispute with Al-Jaish over unpaid wages and cannot leave the country.

After reading reports like this, I do wonder why FIFA voted to have the World Cup in Qatar.

November 26, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

Greg Dyke On Qatar 2022

Greg Dyke, who is the new FA Chairman, can always be relied on bucketfuls of common sense. His pronouncements this morning on holding the World Cup in 2022 in Qatar are forthright and should be taken seriously by the bunch of elderly time-servers, despots and bribe-takers called FIFA. Here’s an extract of the report on the BBC.

“Even if all the stadia are air-conditioned, I think it will be impossible for the fans,” Dyke said.

“Just go out there and wander around in that sort of heat. I just don’t think it’s possible.”My position, and I suspect the FA’s position, will be: ‘You can’t play it in the summer.'”

I think the whole tournament is already dead-in-the-water and that it probably won’t take place in Qatar. If it does, it will be in fully-enclosed air-conditioned stadia, with virtually no spectators and absolutely no real fans or atmosphere.

August 10, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Gay Footballers

There are no openly gay footballers in the UK, although there are others in countries such as Sweden and the United States.

It is relevant to look at the history of black footballers to get a handkle on how gay footballers will appear in the UK.

Viv Anderson was the first black footballer to play for England and he burst on the scene in the mid-seventies with Nottingham Forest.  His rise had a lot to do with Brian Clough, who I suspect didn’t give a care about anything other than your ability to play football.  And Anderson could certainly play!

At the time Anderson made his mark, Other black players also made the breakthrough.  Notably, this was the three players Cyrille Regis, Brendan Batson and Laurie Cunningham at West Brom. But now black players are commonplace and we’re even seeing the sons of black players entering the game and being successful.

I first saw black players in the early 1960s.  There weren’t many and they did get abuse. The most notable was Albert Johanneson, who played for Leeds.

It has been a long journey from the 1950s and 60s to where we are today.  And I don’t think that there are many, except those on the Far Right, who regret it.

It will be a long time before gay footballers are in the same high position. Judging by the time scale it took for black players to be fully successful and accepted, it will probably be somewhere between ten and twenty years.

One of the differences between black and gay players, is that although black players are obvious, gay ones are not. So how many are there out there at the moment.

There are probably more than you think!

I don’t have any evidence, but news stories over the years have constantly found quite a few gay policemen.  In fact, in one case, the Chief Constable of Sussex police made an appeal for gay officers, to help solve a homophobic murder and was totally surprised at the response he got.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if there are quite a few gay footballers. I suspect too, that many of their team-mates know the truth and keep the secrets of the dressing room. After all, all footballers know how their eccentricities or problems are reported in the tabloid press.

Some months ago, I wrote this.

I was at the Ipswich Inter Milan match in the San Siro, when I found myself sitting next to a journalist, who worked for one of the more outrageous tabloids. We chatted about various topics concerning football and Ipswich in particular and I can’t remember how it came up, but we started discussing my coeliac disease.  I then said that the statistics indicated that there must be at least one footballer, who must be a coeliac. I suggested it might make a story, as it might help those with the disease. He then said that the readers of his rag wouldn’t be interested.  But if I knew a footballer who was gay, then that would be a very valuable story.

THe full post is here. The last bit may well be the key. Despite what is generally thought, there have been a large number of intelligent and very savvy footballers. I always note Derek Dougan,  who was not considered very bright by the press to be very bright in his early years, but went on to be an author and a very good chairman of the Professional Footballers Association. So I do not think it unlikely, that one of the current crop of footballers, who is coming to the end of a good career, who just happens to be gay, will come out.  I suspect too, that he won’t sell his story to the tabloids.  After all with the coming out of Gareth Thomas, they can now see that the support from most people and the media is very strong.

This article in Wikipedia, discusses the issue of gay footballers and is well worth reading.

So I agree with a survey from the University of Staffordshire, that found that 90% of football supporters expect there to be an openly-gay footballer by 2015.

If you look at the dynamics of the long road to success of black footballers, I would actually think that 2015, might even be a bit pessimistic.

But just as this process is happening in the UK, it is also happening across the world. So I suspect that by the time of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, one of the major football nations will have an openly gay footballer in the team. As homosexuality is illegal in that enlightened country, let’s hope that it has the right effect on the Qataris’ attitudes.

But then I live in hope that FIFA will see sense and realise that they are risking players lives and health by playing in the summer in the desert.

November 23, 2011 Posted by | Sport | , , , , , | Leave a comment