Manchester Calling

•May 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Last night Manchester claimed its space in the spotlight of the sporting world as local rivals Manchester United and Manchester City went to toe-to-toe to assert their individual right to the Premier League throne. The game – billed and anticapted as a classic – came on the back of the rise to prominence of City tallied with United’s recent slip that had seen the Eastland’s team come to within three points of their much venerated neighbours.

The result of the game – a one nil victory to Manchester City may prove decisive in delivering City’s first league Championship – and first premierleague crown – in over 40 years but it also went to show the World that other places in the UK exist outside of London. This may seem a rather strange concept and may indeed be dismissed as quixotic ramblings of a Northern Monkey but…I do tend to feel that regional identity isn’t trumpeted enough in this country outside the inhabitants of those very regions who take time to find fault with their neighbours than take pride in their own.

My background to this is as a Northerner, a Lancastrian, leading a fleet-footed existed in London. My daily life takes the wide-angled lense of drama that London offers its inhabitants and visitors alike. One thing that I miss and that London does not seem to offer is a belonging an emotional connection to the place I live. I am part of the whole ubran sprawl that makes London known throughout the world as the UK’s pulsating centre. This connection of London and the UK to me doesn’t seem right however. This is the place where people live, work and leave – a lot of the time no emotional connection is made it is merely a conduit for people to pass through their 20/30s before going on to establish roots in another part of the country that will eventually come to mean something of significance to them.

My point is therefore – we need to highlight the rich diversity of the place that we live in. Occasions like the Manchester Derby make it known to the wider world that there is pride in locality, pride in regions not just a country that revolves around London but one that has a whole milleau of regional identity and integrity. From my point of view, I can only hope that when international viewers where watching the game last night – and when ultimately Vincent Kompany powered home his decisive header that a moment was taken to recognise the pleasure and delight of the home crowd taking in the pleasure of their home team scoring a decisive blow against their city neighbours. That this was a local event to local people on a world scale and that the UK has more to offer beside a London where often residents or doing nothing more than passing through in search of their final destiny.

A belated bout of self-congratulations

•April 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

If there is one thing that A View from the north does well – and believe me we are talking about a very narrow range here – it is the ability to self-congratulate. Belatedly that is.

This isn’t idle ramblings, oh no. See my below blog. Now I may be slightly out of touch on the timings give or take a month or two – who cares about these things in blogging commentary. Real time analysis –  not on your nelly. Anyway, as the below intimated way back in June 2011 Villas-Boas may have a difficult job on his hands.

And you know what…he did and what’s more he was sacked. Now, I mentioned that timing was important and of course at a club like Chelsea make that Roman Abromavich’s Chelsea, patience runs at a high premium. So naturally as the poor results poured in poor old Andre got the old heave-ho.

However, it is not all doom and gloom far from it friends. We now have the chance to speculate over the summer months about the next manager/maniac to take the Chelsea hotseat and as I mentioned in earlier posts if there is one thing that all football fans need over the long summer months it is a nice juicy bit of gossip – so Roman do your worst!

Villas-Boas…who?

•June 22, 2011 • Leave a Comment

There are moments in the summer where a lack of football can drive a man wild. Hmmm the job, the girlfriend, a newly found appreciation for sunlight all have their beneficial side. Naturally, I’d ditch them all for the football.

As you can imagine, therefore, a summer without football – and I am not talking about U21s, what a load of rubbish that is – can lead to the devouring of the merest morsel of a football story. Merely looking at the Sky Sports website brings up such treasures like…bet you can’t wait for it….

“Wolves land de Vries.”

No! I hear you shout  in strangled exclamation. It’s true friends, this actually happened. Joking aside, footie fans clamour for decent news all summer long, so when I story of merit comes along it actually has the ability stop working days as it did to mine when the news of Chelsea’s appointment of one Villas-Boas.

This is a man of 33 who already has some outstanding credentials, it makes you sick doesn’t it. This is a man who lead a Porto side to unquestionable glory in Portugal, where a domestic quadruple was plundered, and in Europe, where Porto were crowned as Europa League champions. This is a man who served under Mourinho in his time at Chelsea and who formed a close relationship with Sir Bobby Robson when the great Englishman was at the helm of Porto in the 90s.

The big question that stands in front of us is simple. Is this the man for Chelsea?

Many have tried, many have failed. Abromavich quest for domination is not one that is guided by clemency. You have to feel afraid for the young tactician. Chelsea as a squad are tired. Lampard, Drogba, Anelka, Malouda are progressing into the twilight of their careers. New signings like Torres did not plug the gap.

This is not an easy job!

So how does a young manager succeed where experience and more succesful managers have failed. The key is down to mentality. A ruthless winning mentality needs to be reintroduced such as the one that Mourinho gave birth to. This needs to reemerge.

The only for this to happen is for a new set of players to come in, and for the old to go on to pastures new. This could indeed be a momentous moment for Chelsea, however, big changes at the top need to be supported with plenty of cash and plenty of good will. The new coach needs time which for a man so clearly in a rush might not be a necessity. However, changes do not come over night.

The need is clear therefore. Back the new manager and give him a chance. At a tune of £13 million just to hire the fella, it might prove an expensive mistake not to!

Hello world

•June 22, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Hi there.

You may not read my blog, but I’m back. Where my ways slipped and I left the blogosphere to slip through my fingers, no longer.

I am back to blog. Boy does that feel GOOOODDDDDD

Viva España!

•July 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

 

Campeones Campeones rang out the front page of Spanish sports daily, Marca today after Spain were crowned champions of the footballing world last night. Spain edged out a gruelling finale last night to spurn Dutch hopes with an extra time winner from Andres “El Illusionato” Iniesta. 

The final represented the culmination of the greatest sporting tournament on the planet; unfortunately for South Africa 2010 the football did not match the occasion as both sides, especially the Dutch, resorted to bully boy tactics. However, Iniesta’s goal was the perfect winner from the perfect player. How fitting that the clinching moment of a tournament that is full of ego and extravaganza is secured by a player noted for his solecism, his modesty and most of all for his supreme footballing talent. 

That’s poetic justice in my book anyway. 

La Roja Fura celebrated their first world cup win, the first European team to win outside their own continent, and on the balance of play they deserved the trophy – well on the basis of the final anyway. I still hugely admire the German team this tournament, indeed, they are my team of the tournament but Spain have a true invincibility about them, a raw ability to win and that saw them home to land the Jules Rimet Trophy. 

The Dutch for their part have lambasted Howard Webb for his marshalling of the final, blaming the Yorkshireman for making a litany of mistakes in the build up to the goal. True, Webb did make mistakes, notably not giving the Dutch a clear corner in the build up to the Spanish winner, however, the Dutch should have had players sent off (De Jong and Van Bommel) for horrendous tackles – I don’t know what you call De Jong’s effort … assault – and ultimately cannot complain about the legitimacy of the result. 

They had chances too, Robben had a clear effort to score in the first half which Casillas deflected wide. However, in the end, only one side entered the final wanting to play football in the right way, Spain. The Netherlands wanted to stifle and hinder, Spain wanted to seize the imitative. 

It’s never nice to see the dejection and desolation of the losing side, but I do feel that Spain deserved the win and are worthy tournament champions and in Iniesta they have the perfect embodiment of why they are rightly crowned masters of the world, in a footballing sense that is!

Rooney on the Wayne?

•July 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Ladies and gentlemen, today I blog about England’s fallen hero Mr Wayne Rooney. I have been stung to write a defence of the Manchester United ace. Criticised by all and sundry, Rooney, has been cut as selfish, lazy and most cutting of all passionless.

Now, don’t get me wrong, England certainly don’t deserve praise for their capitulation at the World Cup. Collectively they underperformed and were taken to school by a Germany team made up of young whipper snappers and Miroslav Klose. However, Rooney has taken so much stick for England’s demise that it seems important to introduce a sense of perspective.

Rooney certainly had a bad tournament by his impeccably high standards which were mired by his frustration, which was manifest in his vitriolic riposte to the England fans boos after the Algeria game. I saw this reaction and understood that this was a Wayne Rooney immensely frustrated and disappointed.

Indeed, Rooney, who wears England’s three lions on his arm, cut a frustrated figure throughout the tournament. However, now is not the time to question the Liverpudlian, but the time to back him. If England are going to rise again from the ashes of the World Cup, then it is certain that Rooney will be at the fulcrum leading the England wave. It is therefore important to realise that we must support Wayne Rooney instead of smashing him.

One thing is for sure, you cannot keep Wayne Rooney down. If England are to return from the brink, we need Rooney up and fighting. So please get behind him!

Loving Germany

•July 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

 

I have just witnessed Germany demolish Argentina, a team that possesses the likes of Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Gozalo Higuain. The final result, a 4-0 win for the Germany cements their position as the team of the tournaments and honours them with my support for the rest of the World Cup. The Germans have simply been a revelation, four goals against Argentina and England and they were supposed to be inexperienced, young and naive. They have been anything but. 

Shorn of their captain, Michael Ballack, prior to the tournament, the young German team have stepped up collectively to fill the void left by the former Chelsea ace. Indeed, the likes of Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil and Miroslav Klose have individually been stand out performers in the World Cup, making Germany in the process exciting and vibrant to watch. 

There is something innate about the Germans in major tournaments, they always perform. When was the last time you saw a German team limp out of a competition? It simply does not happen. Instead, they bloom. Where other players wilt and splutter – ahem England – Germany explode. 

They are the highest scorers in the tournament, the team that plays the best football, in a good spirit with a young and energetic team that fight for each other. They are making the World Cup come alive with their sheer excellent, and I think if any team can do that, then they can have my support and they should have yours too!

 
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