Archived entries for

Independence Day

Scotland in Roy of the Rovers

The football comic strip released in the style of a beautiful A4 annual, ‘You Are The Ref 3‘ was released to coincide with the World Cup in the summer, giving an international flavour to the iconic drawings from illustrator Paul Trevillion (Roy of the Rovers) that accompany Keith Hackett’s refereeing dilemmas. Apart from being pre-spray it is contemporary in every other way, with great artistic impressions of modern players and a sidebar with answers to the queries about the laws of the game.

Amongst the cartoons of today’s superstars (and Mesut Ozil) there is also the face of the occasional legend from yesteryear: Beckbenbuer (West Germany), Eusabio (Portugal), Pele (Brazil), Cruyff (Netherlands), Bobby Moore (England) and Sylvester Stallone (Allied Forces). All players, apart from the novelty of Stallone, whose teams were in the World Cup. For anyone who remembers the cartoon strip from years gone by it is easy to remember back to older columns where, for example, Steve Archibald, Mark Hughes and Pat Jennings featured, as they did for club and county. While none of their nations qualified in 2014, for football fans, it has always been easy to understand that within the United Kingdom there were different countries.

So, as the Scottish Referendum has taken most of the news coverage in the fortnight (suddenly, despite being on the agenda for over a year), the fear being whipped up against the idea that a nation, a once famous footballing nation no less, shouldn’t be given its own independence, appears illogical. It is an arrogance that has come from left, right and down the centre and may be an example of one area where football is centuries ahead of the political class.
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Charlie Brooker: I Can Make You Hate

In The Simpsons episode “Homer vs. Lisa and the Eight Commandment” Homer laughs at some bland unfunny observational comedy on TV masquerading as a joke and says “It’s funny because it’s true.” The Homers of this world have kept average comedians on prime time television and their creative accountants in work for years. Most observational TV stand-up isn’t especially funny or clever unless it has a cutting edge; Charlie Brooker does have a cutting edge and uses the better medium of writing as a showcase for his talents, with observational material coupled with spurts of polemic that is consistently funny.
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Football Column – Panic

The Football Column after the Transfer Window suggested panic on the streets of Salford.

On Sunday evening Falco was apparently being hawked all around Europe by Monaco, like someone trying to shift a spare ticket the night before the event through texts, social media and phone calls to every contact in the book. Not the way any normal business would treat one of its valuable human resources; it seems there is as much security in being a footballer as backing up your device to iCloud.

But a weekly pay packet in the region of £235k a week will soften the blow for the player. United had to match a tax-free principality to make up Falco’s wages but continuing their desperate spending of the last three windows that appears to have been of little concern. On Monday they were like a boy in the supermarket with eyes too big for his belly. No point worrying about five portions of fruit and veg or even five at the back when there is over-priced Colombian coffee flavoured luxury doughnut to fit in the basket alongside the jammy dodgers.

What makes United’s spending even more ridiculous since last summer is the waste of Shinji Kagawa. Last summer they paid three times as much as they should have for Maroune Fellani (£27.5m), after failing to unsettle Everton into letting Leighton Baines go when Fellani’s contract release clause meant he would have been a little less expensive at half the price. With Fellani and Carrick behind Kagawa, allowing Rooney to play up front with Van Persie, Moyes had the perfect opportunity to play 3-4-1-2 and make the most of his assets. He even had Jones, Vidic and Evra, players who would have been comfortable in a back three. But Moyes didn’t do that and rather than thinking outside of the box, he was more intent in lumping it in there.
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