Sunday, October 31, 2010

Clattenburg invents 'Disadvantage' rule

I still feel incredibly angry about last night’s latest, almost unbelievable, addition to the crimes in favour of Manchester United against Tottenham at Old Trafford. Maybe we should just award the three points to the home team and choose to no longer participate in this fixture. What’s the point? We can’t win...we can’t even lose 0-1 after a creditable performance.

It has been argued by some that Mark Clattenburg’s decision to award a Manchester United goal and overrule his lineman who was flagging for Nani’s handball (which clearly stopped the ball going for a goal kick) was incompetence. But surely the nature of incompetence is random? How is it that major decisions of this nature (like the Pedro Mendes goal in the Man Utd net) are ALWAYS given in favour of Manchester United? Isn’t it also insulting that Mike Riley, Head of the Referee’s Association, thought so little of the disallowing of the Mendes goal in 2005 that he deemed the hapless Clattenburg suitable to referee this fixture and return to the scene of his previous crime?

Tottenham missed out on a European place as a result of Clattenburg’s failure to see Mendes' goal at Old Trafford. Imagine if we miss out on Champions League qualification by a single goal via goal difference.

How is it that Ferdinand can be intimately involved in the decision to award ‘Nani’s goal’, shoving his head in an intimidatory fashion in the linesman’s face, and Modric is booked for complaining? Scholes shoves the lilly-livered Clattenburg (presumably boyish horseplay between close friends) and he is not booked? Even Fletcher goes through Lennon and is not booked when in copycat challenges Kaboul and Gallas are booked. Presumably Lennon should learn from Hernandez’s histrionics and roll around like a demented toddler?

Clattenburg has claimed he was playing ‘advantage’. A new and interesting interpretation of the rule. What advantage does a team have in its own 18-yard box? Last night Clattenburg invented something new in world football...playing ‘Disadvantage’.

What was the exact nature of the financial irregularities that saw Clattenburg suspended from refereeing in 2008? And what made him suitable to return to officiating?

Did he not prove in 2005, beyond all reasonable doubt, that he is out of his depth in a game of this stature?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The many crimes of Manchester United vs Spurs

Spurs fans owe a debt of gratitude to Manchester United. ’The Red Devils’ have singlehandedly denied Arsenal a string of trophies over the years. Ryan Giggs’ mazy run in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final against ‘Les Gooners’ remains one of my favourite ever goals. United are such a good side that they don’t need a helping hand, but against Spurs they frequently receive one. Ahead of Saturday’s match at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’, the Lust Doctor recalls some of United’s most incredible injustices against our beloved team.

1) 4/1/2005: With the game deadlocked at 0-0 entering the final minutes at Old Trafford, Pedro Mendes' speculative long range effort flummoxes United keeper Roy Carroll to give Spurs an historic, last gasp victory. But’s at Old Trafford and referee Mark Clattenburg and leaden-footed linesman Rob Lewis are the only two people in the stadium who fail to ‘see the goal’. Despite the exultant cheers of the away supporters, embarrassed groans of the United fans and the fact that the 6ft 2ins Carroll is clearly leaning way back into the goalmouth as he sheepishly scoops the ball out of the net, no goal is given. Ironically, Clattenburg later awards Reading a goal that barely breaks the goal line after a Paul Robinson gaffe at White Hart Lane. Selective vision?

2) 26/4/2009: Spurs are leading 2-0 at Old Trafford with only 33 minutes left on the clock. A frustrated United side are unable to pierce the Spurs backline and the frustration is obvious. But’s at Old Trafford! Michael Carrick hopefully tumbles over Heurelho Gomes who has clearly won the ball and an excited Howard Webb, trailing 35 yards behind like an out-of-breath policeman, points to the spot. “That’s a prime example of a referee crumbling under pressure at Old Trafford,” laments Jermaine Jenas afterwards. Webb admits he was wrong the following day, too little, too late; his crucial intervention turns the tide in United’s favour and Spurs collapse. But at least Big Howard’s made up for the mistake since...oh wait.

3) 1/3/2009: After a goalless 120 minutes at Wembley Stadium, the Carling Cup Final is destined for a penalty shoot-out. As the Spurs players are deciding who will take a spot-kick, United keeper Ben Foster is illicitly watching footage of Tottenham taking penalties on his iPod. Minutes later, Foster ‘guesses’ the right way to dive to save Jamie O’Hara’s spot-kick having just viewed his effort the previous year vs PSV Eindhoven on video. The story is given extensive coverage in the post-match coverage. Mysteriously, given his successful spot of viewing against Spurs, Foster does not watch Everton players taking penalties on his iPod just before their FA Cup semi final shoot-out two months later and United crash out. Hmm, did someone at the FA have a word?

4) 1/9/2008: United’s interest in Spurs’ star striker Dimitar Berbatov was common knowledge. They could have bought him for £10.9 million two years previously, but decided to wait until he was in the £30 million price bracket. However, Spurs had not agreed a transfer fee with United when the Bulgarian flew to Manchester and was picked up at the airport by Sir Alex Ferguson in an aggressive (and successful) attempt to force through the transfer. Robbed of their star player, a demoralised Spurs team endure a dreadful start to the season clinching a meagre two points from the opening eight games. Imagine, Wayne Rooney turning up at Chelsea’s training ground in January after receiving a text from Carlo you think Sir Alex would approve?

5) 20/9/1961: A different kind of theft. Before Spurs’ European Cup tie with Polish side Gornik Zabrze, a procession of angels make their way around the pitch. Inspired, a wag in the crowd swiftly reworks ‘Glory Glory Hallelujah’(from ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic') into the Spurs anthem ‘Glory Glory Tottenham Hotspur’. Around twenty years later, Manchester United shamelessly pickpocket the chant and record it as their 1983 FA Cup song.

And there are so many more indiscretions. The penalties Paul Scholes and Jesper Olsen received against Spurs at Old Trafford despite the fouls not taking place in the 18-yard box; Jurgen Klinsmann’s ‘offside’ goal at the Lane (clearly onside, bizarrely his enthusiastic celebration was even featured in that season’s ‘Match of the Day’ credits); the numerous body flops of United players in the Spurs penalty area (Ronaldo’s playful tumble, O’Shea’s dying swan); a petulant Ronaldo lashing out at Michael Dawson without punishment. Decisions generally even out over time, just not against Manchester United.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday papers - THFC transfer round-up

With Barry Pigg

Blundering Brazilian keeper Heurelho Gomes is closing in on a return to old club PSV Eindhoven. Gomes left a coffee machine on two-and-a-half years ago and is desperate to go back to the Netherlands to turn off the overheated appliance.

Harry Redknapp will be unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool on Tuesday. A source said: “We’re just waiting on the delivery of a giant red curtain so we can do the unveiling justice.”

Gareth Bale/Luka Modric/Rafael Van Der Vaart has been strongly linked with a [insert lower than market price here] transfer with Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson has been tracking Bale/Modric/Van Der Vaart for three years, but has been waiting for the Welshman’s/Croatian's/Dutchman's price tag to escalate beyond the Red Devil’s meagre budget.

Irish striker Robbie Keane will be put on public auction on “Robbie comes with a free iPod touch and a two month guarantee,” said a hopeful exec.

Mexican World Cup star Giovani Dos Santos is interested in a move to Chiquitos. A stickling point is Spurs' Chairman Daniel Levy’s insistence on extra chimichangas.

Coach Joe Jordan is the new face of SAGA. “We’re looking for an edgier image to represent the angry old man. Our new ad campaign features Joe wrecking a wheelchair in the style of Pete Townshend,” said a SAGA suit.

William Gallas has accidentally signed for the French Foreign Legion. “He thought it was a big money move to Qatar. We’re desperately checking the small print,” said worried agent Papa Doc Diop.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hail Bale!

It's official; Gareth Bale walks on water and glides on grass. Last night at the San Siro, his drive and acceleration left world class defenders Maicon, Zanetti, Samuel and Lucio trailing in his wake. Bale's brilliant hat-trick could yet prove crucial if qualification from Champions League Group A is decided on goal difference.

Watching the Welsh wunderkind tear a new orifice in the Inter backline was a joy to behold. If someone had told me at half-time that the European champions’ fans would be desperately screaming for the final whistle, I would have thought they were on the verge of lunacy (see Case Study: Sulzeer Jeremiah Campbell 2006; Insania by Peter Andre).

But there was no mental breakdown at half-time from us Spurs fans in Milan, only thoughts of damage limitation. The guy next to me reckoned six would be acceptable, given Spurs' harsh reduction to 10 men in the 11th minute. I more optimistically tipped a 1-4 reverse, a marginal improvement on Bremen’s shellacking in the San Siro. But no, we were about to see something special (apologies to Mr. Tumble).

Enter the Dragon and three wonderful finishes that showcased Gareth's unearthly pace, skill and dead-eye finishing. The potential of Bale is like dear Ledley after a night out on the tizers – staggering.

So Spurs remain well-placed for group qualification at the halfway point in second spot behind Inter, having played their two most difficult away fixtures and scored a startling 15 goals in their first five Champions League ties.

The dream perseveres.

Monday, October 18, 2010

From Nethercott to San Siro

Stuart Nethercott – where is he now? Probably doing some ironing. He had a turn of pace like James Corden and a shock of bright orange hair, not dissimilar to Beaker from the Muppets. Yet Beaker was more capable defensively; he performed every week with a hand up his arse. Nethercott only played with Sol Campbell occasionally.

Kazu Toda? He makes sushi in a Yokohama Benihana. Toda has problems cutting shrimp, but otherwise his slicing is first class. He still moves like a 97-year-old Gareth Barry.

Jose Dominguez has worked in a Chilean Mine for the last four years. He has been missing for three.

Paolo Tramezzani is a qualified horse whisperer. The new career was a natural progression after many years spent dealing with mares. Horses are often seen laughing in his company.

Jason Dozzell is asleep right now. Please, don’t wake him.

The purpose of these musings? This used to be our Spurs. Tottenham will step out at the San Siro on Wednesday in the Champions League, on the same points as Man Utd and Arsenal in late October with a team littered with top class players. Savour it.

Remember the dark days as we step into the light.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Willie’s international break wind-ups - Part Deux!

Bonjour, mes amis, ce’st William Gallas! These days without a Tottenham game are dragging, non? Still four days until we meet ‘les Cottagers’ so enough time for one more crank call to a former Arse-nal ass-ociate! I bring you Willie’s international break wind-ups - Part Deux!

Le set-up: We all know Arsene Wenger cannot resist a French teenager. Your Willie pretends to be working ladies man Franck Ribery in a classic case of crossed wires*.

“Arsene, I have a hot French teenager for you.”

“Ah, bonjour Franck. What position?”

“Dominique is great at the back. Also good up top. And on either side. Goes down easily.

“Perfect for Arsenal.”

“Oh definitely. I can testify to that myself.”

“Any good?”

“The best I’ve ever come across. I know Benzema agrees. ”

“Who is the owner?”


“Ah, the Ligue 1 side?”

“No, I was just thinking aloud. Breast.”

“Er okay. Franck, what fee is involved?”

“800 Euros. Pay as you play. I guarantee Bendtner will score every week with Dominique.”

Le merk!: French call girl Dominique Six signs for Arsenal and shows immediate promise up front alongside Robin Van Persie. She develops an incredible burst of pace due to continually running away from the forward Dutchman. Six is clever in the box, but rarely finishes. Her season is eventually ended by Nigel De Jong’s lunging tackle. Apart from Zoo Magazine's 'Sexiest Player of the Season' award, Arsenal finish trophyless.

*Actual conversation/events did not take place.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Willie’s international break wind-ups

Bonjour, mes amis, ce’st William Gallas! So, you ask yourself, how does an injured, semi-retired international footballer cope with the loneliness of international breaks? I will tell you. He crank calls his former Arsenal team mates! I bring you Willie’s international break wind-ups.

Willie’s wind-up #1: Samir Nasri

Le set-up: Samir is self-conscious about his height. His mother bought him a beautifully illustrated growth chart as a child, but he did not grow beyond the cartoon giraffe’s spotted shoulders until he was 19-years-old. Your Willie pretends to be the manager of the dwarf national team.

“Bonjour Samir.”

“Er, oui. This strange voice...I recognize from somewhere?”

“Ce’st Monsieur Kenny Baker...manager of the dwarf national team. I am delighted to say you have been selected for the national side’s qualification match in...heh heh..Lilliput.”

“I am not a dwarf...I-I play for France.”

“There is a precedent. Toulouse-Lautrec also represented both teams.”

“Je ne comprends pas?”

“You qualify through a dwarf grandfather. We have checked. He met your grandmother in Montmartre via a hole in a toilet wall.”

“Mon dieu! Mon dieu! The final piece in the puzzle! It is like, how you say, ‘Who do you think you are?’ It will be an honour to represent ‘les petit bleus’!”

Le merk!: Samir, eager to reconnect with his past, flies to Auckland, New Zealand (home of the Lord of the Rings trilogy), for a dwarf international and misses Arsenal’s next five matches ‘running from goblins’.

Next time on Willie’s international break wind-ups: Franck Ribery and Arsene Wenger’s wild night out.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Gold: "West Ham are bigger than Tottenham"

Confusion surrounds the destination of a groundbreaking new Sainsbury’s that will incorporate 200 luxury flats, a stunning hotel complex with views of an exceptional public square and a football stadium. It was initially believed that Tottenham, regarded as the halal meat capital of Europe, would host what experts have dubbed the world’s first ‘super-supermarket’; however a disused sports field in Stratford is now in the running. That’s pie and mash territory and the natives are restless.

“They’ve got no place around here,” seethed local rag and bone man Davie Gold who collects the crap no-one else wants in East London along with his faithful carthorse Sully. “Those north Londoners are tricksters, conmen. Earlier this year, I went to Iceland to pick up Eidur Gudjohnsen, but when I arrived he wasn’t was just freezers of vol au vents and cheap party food. Tottenham and Sainsbury’s stitched me up.”

There were angry scenes in Stratford this morning as overweight locals in claret and blue smocks vented their frustration at Sainsbury’s spokesman Jamie Oliver inbetween bites of chocolate pepperoni pizza cake washed down by sips of liquid lard.

A visibly shocked Oliver was reduced to tears. “They don’t understand me because they don’t know why I’m here,” he weeped. “I asked a morbidly obese woman when she last had her five-a-day and she said, ‘Not since my wedding night.’ She did have a cucumber in her shopping bag though.”

A defiant Gold fired this parting shot. “West Ham are bigger than Tottenham. Our fans are all XXXLs and Size 20s. And we will never betray Lidl's frozen pizza range. Prepare for East London supermarket Jihad.”