Welcome to Offside News, a nice bi-weekly blast of CaughtOffside action. Itâ€™ll be coming every Friday, taking a look at the previous weekâ€™s biggest Premiership stories, and Monday, waxing nostalgic about the weekendâ€™s action and post-match whinging.
The F.A. Cup has a habit of making nobodyâ€™s into somebodyâ€™s, making previously unknownâ€™s into stars. Players who, before the weekend, had unfulfilled dreams and aspirations, have their names spread across the pages of the national papers. Take names like Rocos, Lloyd, Jackson, Watkins, Oâ€™Mara and Russel, for example. Ever heard of any of them before this weekend? Neither had we. Ever heard of them after this weekend? Neither have we. But weâ€™ve got to be honest. None of them played in the F.A. Cup this weekend. These are the talentless individuals who made up this years â€˜Celebrityâ€™ Big Brother. Thank fuck thatâ€™s overâ€¦
Bristol City produced the upset of the F.A. Cup fourth round, if that what
you can call it, against Middlesbrough on Saturday. Boro surrendered a two
goal lead as City fought back to earn a replay.
â€œIt’s their day today, but we live to fight another dayâ€, said Middlesbrough
manager Gareth Southgate afterwards.
“The players are really disappointed in there, but it was a good lesson for
us today”, continued Southgate, before turning to the chalk board and
writing some long division for his side to copy down.
“I think we played well in the first half. We were positive and we defended
well. In the second half, we stopped doing the simple things well. We’ll
learn a lot from that because we know you can’t take your foot off the gas
in any gameâ€, added Mr. Southgate, before screaming at Mark Schwarzer to
stop talking, face the front, and in future, get some distance of his
Mr. Southgate also gave Bristol City top marks for there performance.
“Bristol (City) have punished us, they’ve deserved a draw from the game, so
credit to them. We have to be ruthless, but we’re still in the cup. It’s not
‘job done’ by getting them back to our placeâ€.
While Offside News considers Boro favourites for the replay, we suggest Mr.
Southgate sets his class homework this week that includes reading the books
â€˜how to deal with set piecesâ€™ and â€˜holding onto leads against lower league
â€˜sidesâ€™, as well looking ahead to the next lesson, when they should come
prepared to finish what they started in class on Saturday. Otherwise, expect
Mr. Southgate to be handing out detentions aplenty.
Loud-mouthed, big-headed, free-scoring, media-friendly Chelsea striker
Didier Drogba has warned Andrei Shevchenko that he needs to become more of a
team player if heâ€™s to succeed.
Drogba, who is so modest that last December he nominated himself as the
world player of the year, believes Shevchenko might be making the same
mistake as fellow mis-fit and former Chelsea striker, Hernan Crespo.
“I think that as a big signing, he believes he is obliged to justify his
transfer fee with goals at any cost. I love to share but when I give, I
appreciate it when I get something back. That’s what happened with Hernan
Crespoâ€, said the know-it-all, who has clearly forgotten what a donkey he
was in his first twelve months in England.
“That is a real pity because everyone would have something to gain if we
really worked together. I have tried to understand his position and get an
explanation. We know we are not rivals because, unlike in the past years,
there is room for two in attack this seasonâ€, added a Drogba whose outburst
was probably bourn of jealousy that Shevchenko is stealing his headlines,
and more frequently, his goals.
â€œI understand it is a really difficult situation for him to handle. But you
have to think of the team firstâ€, he added, before a light gust of wind sent
the 6 ft 2 striker crashing to the ground, where he lay in a heap until he
realised nobody cared anymore, at which point he got up and carried on with
Offside News actually recognises that Drogba might have a point. But since
heâ€™s a loud-mouthed, big-headed, free-scoring, media-friendly cheat, we
couldnâ€™t care less.
Michel Platini has been elected UEFAâ€™s new president, succeeding Lennart
Johansson in the process.
Johansson, 77, steps aside after 16 years in the role.
While many of the targets put forward by Platini are to be expected, such as
combating racism and establishing equal opportunities, the most alarming are
his plans to reduce the number of English teams in the Champions League from
four to three.
â€œI talked about finding a better equilibrium for the number of clubs and
that’s for 2009-10â€, said the new President.
“The final decision will be by Uefa’s executive committee in April so we
have a few months still to see which way we will go, but I would like a
better equilibrium, it is very close to my heartâ€, he added, as Offside News
pondered what exactly he meant by â€˜equilibriumâ€™ while giggling at the fact
that the new President of UEFA is a man with a girlâ€™s name.
Johansson was meanwhile openly critical of Platiniâ€™s aims to revamp the
â€œI don’t want to be impolite to a colleague on the executive committeeâ€, he
lied, as everyone braced themselves for a barrage of impoliteness.
â€œI’ve already asked him why he wants to introduce changes to this success
story. The Champions League is covered by numerous television stations
around the world and there are a lot of sports that are trying to copy itâ€,
â€œThe future is his but he has to learn and gain in experienceâ€, concluded
the old man.
Offside News is concerned about Platiniâ€™s plans for the Champions League,
but is more concerned that two of the votes in the election were deemed
invalid. Seriously, how hard can it be to tick the box next to the name of
the guy you want to win?