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Since it is off-season, I thought no one could make a bigger fool of themselves than me, but I was proved wrong! (Again!)

– Carlton Palmer, Football Pundit Extraordinaire

What the heck is this ‘Ajax’ thing which keeps coming up when Suarez is mentioned? Why is it not in the list of clubs I memorized? Can we talk about Cristiano now?

– Mayanti Langer,  Cricket, Hockey, Football and Quidditch Pundit Extraordinaire.

At least she’s not Mandira Bedi. Oh wait, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

– The Dude.

While it’s been a fortnight since the conclusion of the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’, as dedicated football fans, we felt it would just not be right to let the World Cup fade from our memories without one of BigFourZa’s special Factfiles. So, here goes: Continue Reading »

Journalist: Xavi Hernandez, I would firstly like to thank you for giving us a few minutes of your valuable time. I would also like to congratulate you on the World Cup triumph. You must obviously be delighted.

Xavi: As you say, it is obvious that I am delighted. As obvious as the fact that Cesc is coming to Barca next week for twelve pounds ha’ penny. I am very happy. I feel like slurping up strands of Cesc’s genes like some genetic spaghetti eater.

Journalist: Err… OK. Have you joined up for pre-season training yet?

Xavi: No. Pre-season training is le cack. Always the same old things.

Journalist: Yes, the laps and stretches can get a bit tedious. But what better way to prepare for the new season, right?

Xavi: Oh, the laps are alright. It’s the indoor training games that are hell. Pep is a hard taskmaster. He puts Messi and Loretta the cafeteria lady on one team and the rest of us on the other.

Journalist: Umm.. well, don’t you think that’s a bit unfair?

Xavi: Tell me about it! Have you seen the fight in that bitch? She goes putting in tackles like Yaya Toure who’s just been asked to lend money to the poor. And all we have is Sergio Fucking Busquets. Of course it’s unfair! Almost as unfair as the bonded labour Cesc is under at QPR.

Journalist: You mean Arsenal.

Xavi: Yeah, whatever. All London’s the fucking same. It’s an outrage, that’s what I’m saying. Continue Reading »

On most days, I’m an angry and frustrated boy. I still don’t know whether I subconsciously choose to loathe the ‘big boys’ of other Leagues or if they really are overgrown schoolchildren (see what I did there?). The latter possibility seems more likely because we know a) the huge number of supporters these clubs have and b) the huge number of overgrown schoolchildren in the world. It was therefore with considerable surprise that, at the end of the 2008-09 season, I looked at a team lifting a trophy without cringing. As Manchester United were beaten by a Messi header (for more oxymorons, see ‘Chelsea youth product’ and ‘Clichy goal’) and the Catalans cavorted around with Old Big Ears, a ghost of a smile may have passed my face. I was even prepared to put the Henry tapping up incident in the ‘water under the bridge’ category. Here was a team that played wonderful football, had a likable manager and whose crux was players from their own academy. If these weren’t ideal champs, who were?

But many things have happened over the past year. In a nutshell, Barca have proved how shallow, spoilt and stupid they are.

Shallow, because they clearly have no pressing need for a midfielder of Cesc’s type. Joan Laporta wants to be the man who started the process of bringing the ‘Golden Boy’ back home while Sandra Bullock (or Rossell, same difference) wants to be the man who finished it. Continue Reading »

As every fan’s month-long affair with the very demanding mistress that is football comes to an end, it is time to sink back into the bed with a long sigh, stare at the ceiling and let the mind wander over all the things she left you with. Sure, she took my heart and she took my money – not to mention my sleep for us here in India – but after all that hype, and all that noise (you  know what I’m talking about), was it all worth it?

Sports is entertainment, and by that metric alone, this World Cup has surpassed all previous editions as catalogued by us here. That is not to say that there was a lack of ‘entertainment’ on the pitch through the course of the cup. The finals will be a story by themselves, some version of which each of us will have already encountered. It was not necessarily the showpiece event for the greatest show on earth- that was the 3rd/4th playoff match. It was like the understudy upstaging the lead actor, because the lead actor got too caught up by the pressure of it all. Could the match have been made any better if Howard Webb was not trying to emulate Picasso by mixing up his reds and yellows to make Oranje? I doubt it. His first few cautions may have been to assert His Mighty Baldness on the game, like he tries to do in every derby in the Premier League. But in some cases, including the now-famous ‘This is Spartaaaaaa!’ moment from de Jong, his only fault was probably leniency.

The Flaying Dutchman

Continue Reading »

So Final-ly it all comes down to this. The “FIFA World Cup” is on its way home to one of the two European bigwigs. Two nations with huge history, that have produced as many legends of the game, as any other country. Two teams that have embraced their own style of the game, be it the Total Voetball or the Tiki Taka. They boast of some of the world’s best academies in Ajax and Barcelona, that have churned out players of rare breed for decades. And yet when it happens that their best achievement have been limited to European championships, its only fair that these two will be vying for the coveted trophy this coming Sunday.

Hup Holland Hup or Vamos Espana?

Continue Reading »

This World Cup has been quite interesting in the amount of publicity it has generated off the pitch, rather than on it. Going by the adage ‘No publicity is bad publicity’, FIFA and Sepp will be grinning from ear to ear at this event which has now truly attained the status of a global event (unlike the Americans who call their 16-team leagues the ‘World Series’). Of course, now and then they’ll have to make noises about making better refereeing decisions while still going ahead and appointing Howard Webb as the referee for the finals – a decision which certainly won’t go down well with our resident Scouser. Overall though the ‘FIFA World Cup’, as it has been branded everywhere, has become a self-feeding propaganda machine that can run on itself now. We thought we had already caught the craziest, wackiest types among those in our post here, but clearly we missed out the big newsmakers! So for those of you who have been living under a rock, here they are, in descending order of shock value.

Larissa and her... um... friends.

Larissa Riquelme – If you did read the crazy, wacky post we referred to above, you would’ve seen how we thought Dallys Ferreira was the best thing to happen to South American football this World Cup. Continue Reading »

An Octopus Named Paul

There was once an Octopus named Paul,

Who sensationally predicted Argentina’s fall,

All hungry Paulie wanted was his dinner,

Astoundingly, though he always picked the winner. Continue Reading »