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The Tanner Report

I was in my local butchers, deciding whether it would be a Porterhouse or rib eye steak, and chewing the cud with Colin there. We laughed about the latest excuse: the selling of the playing fields. Of course we all know that the favelas are replete with fine pitches and sports pavilions. He said [...]

June 25, 2014 // 9 Comments

Who’s to blame?

In the media coverage of English national football, post defeat and debacle, it’s vital to have someone to blame. In the first 48 hours it was unclear who this would be: Roy Hodgson is affable, good with the press; it was not the younger players but the experienced ones, notably Gerrard, that [...]

June 24, 2014 // 0 Comments

Diary of a modest punter

Some of my gambling friends mock me for the small wagers I lay, saying I will never make any money but it’s the converse that matters to me – namely I will never lose that much.  The combination of ill judgment, incompetence and bad luck – of which every gambler, big or small, [...]

June 23, 2014 // 0 Comments

View from Italy

Here in Italy we have been shocked by the defeat by Costa Rica but all is not lost and we think we can beat Uruguay in the crunch game on Tuesday. Our problems are defensive, which is surprising given our reputation. Giorgio Chielini is the worst culprit being now slow and making clumsy challenges. [...]

June 22, 2014 // 0 Comments

Fixtures list

The fact that we are in a different division after 13 years does not affect my excitement when the fixture list is published. I particularly looked out for Brentford and Brighton and we are playing both teams in late November. We always seem to play Norwich and beat them at the end of the season [...]

June 21, 2014 // 0 Comments

Another debacle but not another debate

The main reason for England’s defeat last night will not be debated – it never is – namely, a press campaign revolving around Wayne Rooney. This was good for Rooney but bad for the camp. No other national media is so obsessed with individuals.We were once with Gascoigne and now [...]

June 20, 2014 // 0 Comments

The Rooney debate

For years Wayne Rooney has been the dominating story of English football: some might say distracting even destructive are more accurate adjectives. Whether its  his metatarsal fracture or contract negotiations with threats of leaving somehow this takes precedence over all. The football press is [...]

June 16, 2014 // 0 Comments

Italy’s win

I thought Italy ‘s win was merited. Roy Hodgson is a highly respected coach here after two terms at Inter Milan and one at Udinese. His philosophy is old-fashioned catanaccio, the rigid defensive style perfected by both Milan clubs in the 60s, so I was surprised by the adventurous, pacy side [...]

June 15, 2014 // 0 Comments

Analysing the analysts

There was an excellent tribute yesterday at lunch time on Test Match Special to John Arlott. Aside from the poetic quality of his commentary and his Hampshire burrh, Arlott  also had the gift of saying nothing. I had the privilege of knowing Ken Wolstenholme who, when he gave lectures on [...]

June 14, 2014 // 0 Comments

Fancy a flutter?

I am no great admirer of a flutter on football because of the variables of injury, sendings off and poor refereeing. Furthermore, the best team – which Brazil were in 1982 – do not necessarily win. The pundits favour Argentina, but the trick is to identify the dark horse that [...]

June 12, 2014 // 0 Comments

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