Top 5 Reasons Why This Season Was One Of The Greatest…

Phew… it’s over! As the curtain falls on God’s greatest creation, we can all take a moment to breathe, a slight hiatus to all us to regroup and reflect on what has been a truly remarkable season of football. From chickens draped in flags of protestation to grown men chaining themselves to goalposts (...with handcuffs of protestation) it’s hard to think of a more dramatic season. However, I’ve managed to narrow it down to 5, and here they are…

5. Conquered Catalonia (and Neville’s Orgasm)

As Chelsea marched through the gates of the Barcelona Empire, they knew that, despite winning the first battle, the war was not over. An army of 18 strong men, laden with armour, swords and shields strode onto the grass and refused to move an inch. Chelsea took the first blow going 1-0 down before their leader, self-proclaimed ‘Commander of Monogamy’ shot himself in the foot as he looked to flee from the supposedly sinking ship (…these wartime metaphors doing anything for you?). Another goal would inevitably ensue until… what’s this?… a moment of Brazilian brilliance (minus the cockney input of Lampard) made it advantage Chelsea! Barcelona were stunned into silence – in fact, the only things heard were the dulcet tones of John Terry’s Barking accent as he tried to seduce Di Matteo’s wife in the stand (by the way, all this is fictional… so please don’t sue Zoe).

Yet, suddenly, the crowd were awoken again as 2nd in Command, self-proclaimed ‘Executive Officer of Playacting’ caused a player (I don’t remember who exactly, ok?) to tumble in the box. Penalty Barcelona, Penalty Messi, Goal Messi… but no! Denied! Would they ever find that 3rd crucial blow or would this continental battle turn into a war of attrition?

To cut a long story short, they didn’t find that goal that would’ve sealed their ticket to Munich. In fact, I’ll show the moment when Chelsea finally slew the dragon courtesy of the most unlikely of knights…

(P.S. Gary Neville’s climax at the end is worth being on the list alone however I thought it would be fitting to marry the two)

4. Super(cilious) Mario

Now, I know it’s not a very rare sight to see arrogance on a football pitch – deary me, it’s full of overpaid children puffing out their chests, spreading their peacock feathers while carrying around the latest brand of STI’s, however one man takes the mickey. OK, so it can’t be certain that he has syphilis (Jennifer Thompson didn’t spill all) but what can be sure is that he shows as much (if not more!) chutzpah than one of his biggest fans – Liam Gallagher. Some might say he’s arrogant, some might say he’s hilarious but we can all agree that he is good value for money (if you’re willing to pay £22 million for a children’s entertainer!). From scoring goals with a shrug of a shoulder to promoting firework safety (days after having burned down his bathroom with… a firework), he’s provided all we could have asked for in a player! If I’m honest, I sure am going to miss his mercurial talents if he leaves next season!

Oh, did I mention that he can’t dress himself?

3. Papiss: Prolific and Prodigious

13 goals in 13 games – who says that winter transfer signings struggle to settle? Well, whoever it was must be eating their words after what has been a truly remarkable demi-season for this spectacular Senegalese. As Demba Ba’s goals slowly started to dry up, Cissé stepped forward and has delivered some great performances. Forget that he can’t speak a word of English, forget that his neck is longer than a giraffe’s, this man has been a welcome addition to the Premier League. Not only does he score goals but the manner in which he does is a joy to behold… so much so that I think we should let his goals do the talking. Show me the ocular proof!

2. City Cheer While Sir Alex Sobs

Should I watch the City game or should I just wait until Match of the Day’s on later?” Thank god I made the right decision!

Going into the last game of the season, Man City knew that a win over relegation-battling QPR would see them clinch their first title in 44 years, regardless of what their neighbours conjured up on Wearside… but nothing is that simple is it? As the blue moon rose in the mid-afternoon, everything was going swimmingly until disaster. Man City found themselves 2-1 down early in the 2nd half and, despite being a man to the good (courtesy of Joey Barton doing his best Rambo impression to confirm that he has the worst haircut in the league…). However, in an attempt to emulate what Chelsea did in Barcelona, QPR dug in and wouldn’t lie down. Like dominoes stuck to the ground with extra-strong superglue, they refused to self-destruct until… until… deep into ‘Fergie-time’ Man City found the breakthrough they needed, most importantly, twice.

I don’t even support them but, on hearing the final whistle, I erupted into a state of pandemonium as I couldn’t wait to see the smiles on the smug faces of messieurs Rooney and Ferguson being duly wiped off. In a matter of seconds Man Utd had gone from securing a 20th title to, possibly, witnessing the start of a Blue Revolution – and that’s the beauty of football!

Have Man City broken the Manchester Monopoly or will United recover and come back stronger next year? Either way it’s going to be an exciting prospect for the future!

1. Muamba’s Miracle

“I asked God to help me… and he didn’t let me down.” – Fabrice Muamba 

Therese Neumann, Joseph of Cupertino, Jesus… people, certainly in the 21st Century, are sceptical about genuine miracles, attributing such events to coincidence or luck. However, I think we can all agree that, what happened with Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba truly was miraculous. “I am walking proof of prayer” – indeed, regardless of whether or not we were affiliated with a religion, everyone was praying for Fabrice.

78 minutes – that’s how long he was ‘technically’ dead for, so to come back, without even suffering repercussions, is incredible! What is more, it brought fans together. No longer were rivalries relevant, indeed relegation seemed a mere, insignificant dot, for one man had stared death in the face… and lived to tell the tale.

So, as what has been a wonderful season (it certainly has had its fair share of ups and downs!) closes on us for another summer its easy to forget the bigger picture sometimes. Indeed, the most spectacular part of the year was not what happened on the pitch, but what occurred outside. Football is more than a just about a 90 minute game, it’s about building a community and, through the support shown for Fabrice, it certainly has got a lot stronger.

(P.S. If I’ve missed a favourite moment of yours, please feel free to comment underneath! Thank you and good night!)

Unsent Letters: Sir Alex Ferguson

Shock result.

Dear Sir Alex Ferguson,

We have just got the DNA results back – Howard Webb is your son.

Thought as much,

Albert Winestain.

Hulk who? Iron Man’s for me.

You won't like me when I'm on form!

Hulk who? Iron Man’s for me.

“He’s got power, pace and a mean left foot!” – Give over, please, he doesn’t even have 1/3 of these!

Givanildo Vieira de Souza… aka ‘Hulk’. For many it should be a name that engenders fear; a nickname to bring tears of fright trickling down even the leg’s of Ray Winstone but, for most European defenders, it’s just another fictional character playing a cameo role in ‘Team X vs. FC Porto: The Inevitable Clean Sheet’. Granted, the Portuguese side are a very adroit outfit when coming forward with the ball, as shown by their impressive campaign in the Europa League last year, however, with the loss of Falcao to Atletico Madrid last summer, relying on Hulk to play up front is surely too much to ask for?

But “141 goals in 263 games” I hear you cry (according to Wikipedia at least), yet whenever I’ve seen this hunk-a-beef step onto the pitch the only threat that he carries is that if you get too close to him when he’s taking his first touch you’re in serious danger of getting a great big wack on the shins! Now, I understand that maybe he’s not the most naturally talented of footballers and that sometimes his finishing isn’t always ‘there’ but what seems infuriating for an onlooking neutral is how a man comfortably over 12st and built like an Atlas+Ox love-child can be found more times on the deck than his marker.

Then there’s his supposed left boot. Fans await in eager anticipation as Hulk steps over the ball to unleash that sledgehammer shot of his… straight at the wall. Yes we know you can hit the ball hard but is there any need to pretend that you can combine the accuracy and power like Jimmy Floyd? Hulk, your shot is wilder than an ass on a buckaroo in Ibiza for God’s sake! And as for this so-called-pace of yours? I just watched Joleon Lescott burn you in a sprint.

Overacts. Overpaid. Overrated.

Kick Off: Moggies Beware

Cor Blimey!

Kick Off: Moggies Beware.

It was almost a year ago from now. Having switched off the telly with a far from pretty jab by my peevish index finger to the top left-hand corner of my remote, I launched it carelessly towards the adjacent sofa in which I was sitting on. After ricocheting off a nice, furry cushion I reached out for my brew in a naïve attempt to calm down my nerves, only to be flung back into a state of frenzy as the aforementioned cushion released a howling cry of distress, for it was not a mere accessory of the couch but my little tortoiseshell Tilly. Without trying to condone my belligerence I must explain that my beloved Wales Rugby team had just lost their final six nations game against the French and, despite valiant efforts by the team accompanied by a cohesive scrummaging (excuse the pun) against the ref’s Froglike tendencies, we had to settle for an undeserved 4th place finish in the table.

As John Inverdale simpered and salivated at the thought of the English getting their grubby mitts on the trophy, albeit in bittersweet circumstances, I couldn’t help but think that domestic pets are just not safe in the vicinities of our houses come match day. With emotions running high, blood intoxicated, unmitigated idiocy and disposed inhibitions, sport provides everything that a few pints of the frothy stuff can- and a bit more.

Karl Marx once remarked: ‘Religion is the opiate of the masses’, yet these days, with faith being pulverised under layers of scientific hypotheses and atheism as rare as sliced bread, it isn’t too ticklish for us to substitute ‘religion’ for ‘sport’. Try it now? Fits perfectly, doesn’t it?

For years and years have gone by where men (and women) have watched sport, from the likes of Football to Bowles, enduring at least one of the only two emotions ever felt when watching your team- euphoria and melancholia. As much as we’d like to experience the former for the most part, sport is never quite that forgiving. Like an untimely whack to the ole crown jewels (Gentleman, I’ll give you a time to recover from wincing… ready? I’ll continue…) there is something rather unpleasant about the pain and misery suffered when watching sport. No matter how much we tell ourselves that ‘it’s just a game’ in a feeble attempt to numb the hurt, there is something scarily real, something that blinkers our eyes from real life when watching the ‘beautiful game’ for example. I’ve run out of fingers (and nails incidentally) to count the amount of times that my family (in particular my equally steadfast mother) have told me those four aggravating words that I can’t bare to hear when cavalierly thrown at me in a cynical tone as the underdog I’m enthusiastically supporting falls to his Goliath. I mean, do they not realise that it’s more than just a game?!

Don’t get me wrong though, all forms of sport (except Golf which, out of personal opinion, I don’t deem to be a sport) can provide us with that one moment of ecstasy that helps us to exorcise any demons that haunt our minds from previous experiences as, like screaming into a pillow, it is a great cathartic release. We’ve all seen the light at the end of the tunnel, the beacon amidst a macabre mist, as I wax lyrical over the much-loved exultation encountered on a Saturday afternoon. I mean, the highs and lows are all part of the ‘game’ (oh dear, I’m becoming as bad as them now) and without them, as is reality, then life would be terribly insipid, resulting in us living our lives like Tilly herself whereby the biggest worry is which seat would be best suited to rest her fluffy little derrière on (usually the one which I have most recently vacated!).

Which brings me to my conclusion- life with sport can be painful at the best of times (I’ve lost track how often a cuppa has been dispersed over my loins) but life without the thing is even worse. So gather round comrades, rejoice and enjoy the game for what it is… unless you’re a cat, then you’re probably best taking a stroll in the back garden for the next couple of hours or so.