Author: Mark

Euro 2016: Ireland’s Long Ball Triumph

Unforgettable. Incomprehensible. Ireland were tiring. Germany, already given freedom of the flanks by a deliberately narrow defence, were finding gaps in the centre, too. Green-shirted bodies kept getting in the way in the nick of time. But you’d understand if they started getting there just after the nick of time after the effort they’d put in. If they could survive these few more minutes until half-time, who knows how German frustration would affect the German performance. I checked how long had been played: 14 minutes 53 seconds. Feck. It is difficult to quantify just how huge Ireland’s one-nil Euro...

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FIFA – Time To Suspend Disbelief?

Right. Start again. There was I, comparing Fifa’s 2011 with its 2015 again, when suddenly… Press reports of a recommended 90-day suspension of Fifa president Joseph Blatter were expected by approximately no-one. Not only because Blatter has yet to appear before, or present any evidence to Fifa’s Ethics Committee (EthCo) concerning the most recent allegations. But also because the EthCo has long since proved an oxymoron and, increasingly, a tool for the elimination of Blatter’s electoral opponents. Even Blatter’s investigation by said committee was an echo of 29 May 2011, when the up-for-election president was interviewed along with rival...

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Jose Mourinho – I’m So Bored With You

My advice would be to ignore him. So here’s 1200 words about him. Well, frankly, I found so much weirdness in and around Southampton’s Stamford Bridge victory on Saturday evening that I couldn’t resist heading for the keyboard. There was an inevitability about Jose Mourinho’s post-match interview being news in itself, at least the Sky TV interview. The BBC only got brief highlights and there was an understandable edginess in Gary Lineker’s voice in the ‘What the Paper Say’ segment at the end of Match of the Day when he had to reference a story his employers had no...

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New FIFA This Time?

One day, someone interviewing Fifa president-for-life-at-this-rate Sepp Blatter will try this trick. And Blatter’s expression when he falls for it, which is borderline-inevitable, will provide screen-saver material for football fans everywhere. He/she will say: “Mr. Blatter, you were ‘shocked’ by suggestions of Fifa corruption; you are ‘fighting to clean Fifa;’ your ‘number one priority is to rebuild the image of Fifa’ which you have ‘already started;’ you will operate a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards corruption and you will set up a body ‘from outside Fifa’ to ‘ensure there is no corruption at Fifa.’” Blatter will agree, doubtless using flowery...

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The Future of FIFA – A Blatter Perspective

Aaaaagh! There’s me undertaking some serious research for articles on (a) the NewFifaNow organisation; (b) the forthcoming Fifa presidential election; and (c) why I think (thought?) said election won’t happen because current incumbent Joseph “Sepp” Blatter just won’t bloody go. And the Swiss Attorney-General’s office louses it all up for me. How inconsiderate. Still, the gnomic Swiss pen-pusher is in the line of legal fire at last. It was predictable to the point of bookmakers not taking bets that former Fifa vice-president, the repugnant Jack Warner would somehow be involved in one of the matters now involving both Blatter...

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