ENGLAND really put us through the whole gamut of emotions tonight in their friendly with Holland.
Boredom, frustration, despair, hope, elation, more frustration and despair – it was enthralling viewing, even though the enduring image of the night must be Klaas-Jan Huntelaar chowing down on the Wembley turf.
For the first half of the match England were the embodiment of caretaker manager Stuart Pearce and his headline-hogging captain Scott Parker – sturdy, committed, functional, and anonymous in the final third.
But after the break it was like the past two years of toil were forgotten as Holland’s class – through Arjen Robben and Huntelaar – tore us apart like we were back facing Germany in South Africa 2010 like rabbits in the headlights.
And we still found time to regain parity and throw it away again through an avoidable defensive lapse.
At least it wasn’t a predictable performance and for that I’m glad. England won’t Euro 2012 on this showing, but it will be worth watching.
IN FORM German international striker Lukas Podolski looks set to be heading to the Premier League this Summer.
Rumours abound that, although a transfer fee is yet to be struck between Cologne and Arsenal, personal terms have been agreed.
And one would think with Podolski recently criticising his hometown club’s ambitions and the Gunners flush from the sales of Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Cesc Fabregas, that’s a hurdle that can be easily overcome.
I say, Podolski’s direct style would be ideally suited to spearhead their play and share the burden of finishing with Robin van Persie, and at 26 years, he’s got some good years ahead of him to boot.
Get it signed, sealed and delivered, Arsene!
THIS week’s Fantasy League results have proved to be tighter than the underwear in a David Beckham photoshoot – with the top 30 or so all scoring in the 40s or 50s.
As a result despite a few shuffles – including rises for stooshermadnessFC (4), Ruff Tuff Bluff Stuf (6), Team Punishment (8), CescforBarca (17) and shipthecheese (20) – it’s a week for the status quo to be maintained.
Top scorer this week was 33rd placed Campo’s Class, who notched 64 points thanks to a series of solid performances throughout his team.
ONE goal down at half time yesterday, AFC Bournemouth’s squad had a rather suprising pep talk delivered.
Instead of manager Lee Bradbury stepping into the breach when his League One team trailed 1-0 to MK Dons, the wife of co-owner Maxim Demin decided to talk to the players.
Bournemouth went on to lose the match 1-0.
Bradbury said: “She and her husband have put a lot of energy and a lot of money into the club through me and I believe that she is entitled to express her opinion.
“It was half-time and I think in the second half we did as well as we did in the first half, so it didn’t affect the game.
“I think the people that are putting money into football are entitled to their say.”
MARMITE manager Steve Kean has revealed he now has a bodyguard with him at all times due to the extreme reactions he provokes from some Blackburn fans.
He revealed that he has even had to flee from restaurants with his wife and children after being hunted down by hate-filled fans.
He said “I was advised that it would be in my interest to have somebody with me at all times.
“The chap who protects me is a seventh dan in karate, but he is not big or butch or anything.
“He knows how to handle himself.
“It is a bit strange having him around, but there are some good things too. He is bloody interesting to talk to, for a start.”
He added: “I think the vast majority of fans are passionate, but non-violent, whether towards me or anybody else.”
PORTO are considering a complaint to UEFA against Manchester City fans after they taunted Brazilian striker Hulk with chants of “You’re Not Incredible”.
Hulk, not pictured above, was also targeted by City fans with calls of “cheat” and Porto communications director Rui Cerqueira said the club would take action.
He said: “We will take this to UEFA. It is improper behaviour. This behaviour may be normal in England but Porto want to contribute to eradicating it from sport.”
Manchester City have lodges an official complaint that Porto fans racially abused Mario Balotelli and Yaya Toure at the Estadio do Dragao in the first leg of the Europa League tie last week.
A CULT hero cat who made headlines after getting onto the pitch at Anfield has escaped from his new foster home.
The football-following feline – now named Shankly after invading the pitch during the recent Premier League clash with Spurs – escaped through a sealed cat flap at a rescue home in Crosby, where he was being temporarily looked after on behalf of Freshfields animal rescue centre.
Helen Stanbury, the centre manager, said: “Shanks had clearly had enough of the limelight and was overcome by the need to feel pavement beneath his paws once again.
“We believe it likely that Shanks’ homing instincts will lead him in the direction of Anfield and we would urge residents in the area to keep an eye out for him around his old stomping ground.”
Unluckily for Shankly, Liverpool are away to Cardiff in their next match.
LAST January’s rather uninspiring transfer window – hardly set alight by big name moves by the likes of Gary Cahill and Bobby Zamora – could have seen world renowned strikers Carlos Tevez and Fernando Torres on the move.
Because cheeky Championship club West Ham lodged loan bids with Chelsea and Manchester City for both the struggling strikers.
The pair – who cost an estimated combined £97m last time they moved clubs – could have been joined in attack for the Hammers for free, had both bids not been unsuprisingly rejected.
“We had two irons in the fire. If we’d pulled one off it would have been exciting but it wasn’t to be,” said co-chairman David Gold.
ICONIC striker Thierry Henry has submitted plans to demolish his home and rebuild it around a four-storey aquarium.
The fish-loving Frenchman wants planning consent to knock down his Hampstead home to create the aquatic wonderland which has the 40ft tank, which would cost £250,000 to build, need £12,000 a year to run and hold 300 fish in 5,500 gallons of water.
Rumours the Arsenal great plans to live inside a tiny castle inside the tank and keep his Premier League, World Cup, Ligue 1, La Liga, Cope Del Rey and FA Cup trophys inside an underwater treasure chest which opens and closes with a tiny stream of bubbles are as yet unconfirmed.
Thierry, I salute you – as an regular aquarium goer and fish keeper myself, I am green as algae with envy over this.
In your honour, here are some denizens of the deep which could live inside your tank, feel free to leave your own in the comments –
- Shark Hughes
- Octopus Rehhagel
- Fish Waddle
- Aaron Clamsey
- Stingray Clemence
- Cod Fanni
- Ruud van Nistelkoi
- Claude Mackeralele
- Wayne Troutledge
VALENCIA midfielder Ever Banega is facing a long spell on the sidelines after breaking the tibia and fibula in his left leg in a freak car accident.
Banega, 23, will undergo surgery on the injury and Valencia said in a statement that the Argentina international could be absent for around six months, although they will give an update after the operation.
Although Valencia only confirmed that Banega had been hurt in an accident involving his own car after leaving training today, it is reported that the injury occurred when the midfielder failed to put the handbrake on at a petrol station and, after the car moved, his leg was caught between the wheel and the curb.