Day: April 2, 2009

Newcastle United Celebrate April Fools’ Day In Style

For all of his talk about the steep learning curve involved in the difference between supporting a football club and managing a football club, the Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley doesn’t seem to have learnt very much over the last few months. When he first took control at St James Park, he installed Kevin Keegan in a decision that seemed to come from the heart rather than the head. Keegan’s time in charge wasn’t far short of an unmitigated disaster (and ended, predictably, in Keegan walking out) and now, after a strange interlude during which Joe Kinnear and Chris Hughton have been in charge of the team, he’s repeated his initial trick in installing Alan Shearer as the manager. For Shearer, this is a no lose deal. He will earn £1m for the rest of the season, and is reported to be set for a bonus of a further £1m should they stay up. If he manages this, his reputation on Tyneside will be further enshrined and, if he fails, he has the pre-made excuse that Newcastle this season are already a lost cause. His friends in the press seem to think that Shearer is such a great manager that Newcastle won’t just avoid relegation this season, but also have half a chance of making it into the UEFA Cup before next month. The usual suspects are all there....

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Shit Shot Mungo: Episode 9

It’s that time again. This week, with Mungo McCrackas away in England having transfer talks with the mighty Sheffield Wensleydale, Heart of Clackmanannshire are taking the opportunity to give a debut to their new Japanese signing, a robot called The Goalinator. Lovingly created in crayon and biro by the effervescent Dotmund. Bigger...

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Match Of The Week: England 2-1 Ukraine

A bullet dodged and a banana skin avoided, then. England took a big step towards qualifying for the finals of the 2010 World Cup last night, but their performance raised as many questions as it answered, and Ukraine will fly home feeling a little hard done by at a final score that didn’t fully reflect their contribution towards proceedings. England, not a team to do anything the easy way where the hard way is an available as an option, made very hard work of winning this match, and the manner in which their shape started to slowly crumble as the second half substitutions took place asks serious questions of the strength in depth of the squad. Also, the temperament of Wayne Rooney is back under the spotlight after a series of reckless tackles, any of which might have earnt him a red card on a different day and under a different referee. On Saturday, observers wouldn’t have learnt much from a 4-0 win against a lethargic looking Slovakia team apart from that the new England kit looks strangely not quite right on a football team – depending on the angle being used by the cameras they variously looked like tennis players or a cricket team, but seldom like a football team – and that their lack of strength in depth remains a handicap. Peter Crouch had been called into...

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