It's Up For Grabs Now
Friday, December 31, 2004
We were going to do some alternate awards for New Year's Eve, but we couldn't think of enough categories. Still, thank god Luis Aragones chose today to make a right arsehole of himself again
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
100,000 dead, but at least Ginola's survived. Also note Everton opening a relief fund not for philanthropic reasons, but because their shirt sponsors are Thai.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
How to deal with indiscipline in football. Man misses drugs test : eight month ban. Man kills player from other side : three month ban
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Surely there can't be a swap deal in the whole of football that would involve two less likeable players?
Sunday, December 19, 2004
It's Up For Grabs Now Book Club : six books to browse in Waterstones, or maybe even buy, this festive period
Football Lexicon (John Leigh & David Woodhouse)
Why are deflections always wicked? How worried should the partners of goalkeepers who make themselves big be? Where do the other three points go after a game in the tight relegation battle? You may never listen to another match report or commentary in the same way again, as two men who started their collection while researching theses on 18th century literature skilfully pick apart the curious syntax of the football reporter.
The Gaffta Awards (Larry Ryan, Gareth Power & Paul Little)
They've credited us in the bibliography, so we might as well mention them back. It helps, of course, that the good folk behind DangerHere have crafted an exhaustive guide to the cock-ups, language misuse and plain idiocy spouted by pundits, commentators, players and managers. You'll be quoting it for months.
Gazza: My Story (Paul Gascoigne with Hunter Davies)
Finally, time to burn your copies of Gazza Agonistes and Gazza - Daft as a Brush? It's not as if Gascoigne was known for dishonesty or natural optimism, but Davies has coaxed out of him a full confessional as he tries to get to grips with how he lost it, while acknowledging that things could have been much worse for him. Lovely, if crude, self-drawn timeline in the preface too.
El Macca: Four Years With Real Madrid (Steve McManaman with Sarah Edworthy)
It's easy to forget how successful Steve McManaman was at Real Madrid - two European Cups, a popular non-Galactico in the days when that term started to mean everything. What's odd about this is that it's almost an oral history of McManaman, Telegraph journalist Edworthy weaving her own observations, quotes from colleagues and notes on Madrid's ambitions into the text of McManaman and wife Victoria.
White Angels: Beckham, Real Madrid & the New Football (John Carlin)
There's a million books out with David Beckham in a Real Madrid shirt on the cover, and the vast majority of them claim to lift the lid on his first La Liga season while doing no such thing. Carlin's skill is to pitch the titular subject's surrounding media circus and unique pressures therein into explaining how the football business is changing and how Madrid want to be at the centre of it. It's also easier going than Jimmy Burns' similar tome.
Balls: Tales From Football's Nether Regions (Paul Brown)
Any fool can put together a big list of odd stories and anecdotes about football worldwide, but the real skill is to use them to uncover a greater truth about the game. Herein, the usual stories about odd injuries, how nuts keepers are and a pleasing chapter about Baker & Kelly radio shows are woven into the tapestry of what makes football great, as well as being full of what lazy specialist journos have taken to labelling pub ammo.
Friday, December 17, 2004
Ahead of our Christmas recommendations tomorrow, Rangers and Celtic players make a compilation album, although who's going to buy it is a mystery. Chris Sutton, Gene Pitney?
Monday, December 13, 2004
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Here's something we're glad to see and we hope starts a trend - being sent off for cheeking the keeper during a penalty shoot-out
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Monday, December 06, 2004
We kind of missed reporting the story about Getafe's chairman suggesting the players of his Primera Liga side black up last week, largely because we not only wanted to see it come to fruition but also for them to eschew the pre-match huddle and instead go down on one knee and break into Michael Row The Boat Ashore. Anyway, they didn't, so this is fairly pointless now.
How often do you see the ball burst during modern games, let alone in the act of shooting? How might a sudden deflation have confused the keeper, then?
We cannot be the only people who wish one pundit would, instead of tutting at a player removing his shirt, actually take against the rule about booking players for over-celebrating. Are we all so fed up with shouting at brick walls that we will meekly accept this as much as the idea of The Championship wasn't complained about more loudly? Anyway, we think it's been taken to its extreme now
Thursday, December 02, 2004
We've just realised we intended to do an advent calendar thing, but forgot to think of anything to tie it in with.
Sounds about right for this.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
How out of place can a footballer possibly look in their home surroundings? Emmanuel Petit may be about to give us an answer.