First, let me start with an apology to both regular RoversOffside readers. The posts to this blog have dried up in recent weeks, but before you start drafting letters of complaint, let me transfer the blame to the grotesque half-man, half-walrus that is Mr Sam Allardyce. Since he deigned to become our manager two years ago, we have endured entire matches where four passes have failed to be strung together. The tactics, such as they were, appeared to be to smash the ball into the opposition’s box in the hope that something would happen. The Saviour of Real Madrid has stubbornly refused to change from the 4-5-1 formation that drew so much ire from the Rovers faithful. Even victories produced feelings of disappointment, when they were achieved with so little finesse. As such, sitting down in front of the laptop to relive the horror seemed as tempting as giving the big man his annual gentleman’s wash. Read the rest of this entry »
‘No-one likes us, we don’t care’ is the familiarly aggressive refrain bellowed by Millwall fans in defiance of their image as the nation’s least attractive football club. Throughout the 1980’s, the club’s fans became synonymous with the violence and intimidation that seemed to be an inherent, immovable feature of the national sport. Whether this reputation is deserved is now academic, as it continues to be worn as a badge of honour by their supporters. I was unfortunate enough to attend last season’s League 1 Play-off Final between Swindon and Millwall, and saw this at first hand as genteel West Country yokels were verbally abused to an Olympic standard. A grotesque, ogrish, obese Sarf Londoner stomped onto the platform at Baker St and threatened to decapitate an adjacent Robins fan should Swindon triumph. The victim, resembling a low-ranking civil servant with an eating disorder, was on the verge of urinary incontinence but was saved as the train pulled into Wembley Park, allowing him to make good his escape. Read the rest of this entry »
Once upon a time it was inconceivable that any of the major political parties would elect to stage their annual conference away from a traditional English seaside resort. Every year political anoraks would decamp from the major cities and head for the beaches, safe in the knowledge that an abundance of cream teas, choc ices and donkey rides would be theirs for a blissful few days. The Tories frequently headed to Eastbourne and Brighton, even after their doomed joint conference with the IRA in 1984. The Lib Dems preferred to dip their knotted hemp sandals in the waters of the English Riviera, whilst Labour members dragged their smog-blackened faces to Morecambe and Llandudno. Blackpool was one of the most popular venues, hosting several major events throughout the 80’s and 90’s. It was even suggested that some Tory MP’s campaigned for their annual shindig be held there every year, giving them maximum opportunity to go donkey stalking along the beach. It also provided Alan Clark with the chance to get wasted on gin-flavoured rock and to make lewd claims about his intention to take Edwina Currie up the tower. Tragically, for Blackpool’s purveyors of emergency contraception and gimp masks, the conferences have moved away to the big cities, and after yesterday’s organisational chaos it’s not hard to see why. Read the rest of this entry »
I feel it is necessary to issue this personal statement in response to press and internet reports over the last five days. Prior to Saturday’s match I was interviewed by a journalist who asked me if I had ‘found my level’ at Blackburn Wanderers FC. I admit that I was a little upset to be asked such a stupid question, but I’ve always enjoyed a good relationship with the press and so I humbly gave the following answer:
“I’m not suited to Bolton or Blackburn, I would be more suited to Internazionale or Real Madrid. It wouldn’t be a problem to me to go and manage those clubs because I would win the double or the league every time”.
Let me clarify my comments. Some people have interpreted them to mean that I think I am too good for the likes of Bolton and Blackburn. Clearly, this is not the case. There can be no doubt that my words demonstrate my long-term commitment to Blackburn, and emphasise my pride at having the opportunity to manage such a fantastic football club. Read the rest of this entry »
Re: Manager’s position, Real Madrid CF
Dear Señor Florentino Perez,
Bonjour and hasta la vista, I am sure that I need not introduce myself to you, given my international reputation as a football manager of the highest quality, but I shall nonetheless. I am Mr Sam Allardyce, currently manager of Blackburn Rovers FC in a pointless corner of the world known as East Lancashire. They used to have loads of cotton mills and that, but now they make money by selling fake crystal meth or stealing sheep. The weather is always terrible, and the staple Balti pies are made from recycled hot dogs and Bovril. Their only contributions to the cultural world are Jim Bowen’s casual racism and Diana Vickers. The football club somehow managed to become Premier League champions in 1995 but went on to appoint a series of managers who were much worse than me, and so they found themselves in the relegation zone in 2008. Luckily they realised that I was a football genius and so begged me to come and run the team. Since then I’ve saved them from relegation by signing a spitting, drink-driving wife-beater and a selection of centre forwards whose only attributes are that they are massive and don’t mind chasing inaccurate long balls from the defenders. Last season I led them to a triumphant top-ten finish, and they beat Burnley twice. Anyway, I’m sick of this horrible place and have been desperately looking for a way out since they told me that I can’t sign Kevin Davies. I note that you are currently languishing in second place in La Liga, and so I intend to save you from the perils of the useless and overrated Mourinho by offering my services as your new manager. Read the rest of this entry »
In 1958 England travelled to Sweden with a mission to bring back the FIFA World Cup for the first time. The squad included Bobby Robson, Tom Finney, Billy Wright, and Bobby Charlton. Despite these famous names the team were unable to register a single win, and were eliminated at the group stage after three draws against the Soviet Union, Austria and Brazil, the eventual winners. The team returned to England in shame and were immediately embroiled in a series of scandals involving prostitutes, drugs, alcohol-fuelled violence and allegations of marital infidelity, or at least they would have been had they resembled today’s players. One of the squad, Rovers legend Ronnie Clayton, merely returned to wife Valerie and continued to run his newspaper shop in Darwen, happily chatting to his customers about his exploits at the greatest sporting event on Earth.
In contrast, the modern game has created a barrier between player and supporter, where the only opportunities to meet our heroes are at carefully managed post-match corporate events. Only fifteen years ago it was possible to drive down to Brockhall to watch the Champions of England at a midweek training session, and to fill the autograph book and photo album with souvenirs. Now, the security guards and fences suggest that the latest G6 conference is being held there, with Sam Allardyce offering advice to Barack Obama on how to drive through health care reform against a wave of Republican opposition. Perhaps with this in mind, Morten Gamst Pedersen has torn down these barriers by creating the astonishing document of banality that is www.gamsten.com. Read the rest of this entry »
There’s a scene in the mid-90’s Battersea-based BBC sitcom ‘Game On’ where the main protagonist is asked to recall the name of a colleague. He doesn’t remember precisely, but confirms that ‘it’s summink Norvern, like Arthur Whippet’, thus revealing the traditional views of the Londoner on their friends in the North. Similar scenes were played out on the 1100 from Manchester Victoria today, hurtling both sets of fans toward Ewood at a breakneck 30mph. As I sat polishing my clogs and smoking coal, a panicked gentleman Arsenal fan (let’s call him, say, ‘Nathan Barley’) was heard to exclaim: ‘I know Baz, one fackin’ train an hour – how the hell are we gonna get back?!?’. Read the rest of this entry »
So, in the end, all he wanted was a quick fumble in the bushes. Arsene Wenger’s flattery of last week has been replaced with caddish disregard, and we are left to pick up the pieces of yet another shattered relationship. To think we almost fell for it, almost asked him to meet the parents, almost began to yearn for romantic strolls along the sun-kissed beaches of the French Riviera. We were complimented on a successful season, for playing ‘good football’, and for keeping the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea at bay. Yet this evening, after we brought him to our home and entertained him during the first date of a heady love affair, he revealed himself to be the treacherous heartbreaker we secretly knew he had been all along. Read the rest of this entry »
In 2005 Gordon Brown was an integral part of the Cabinet team that won an unprecedented third term of office for Tanny Blair’s government. He was frequently acclaimed as one of the most successful Chancellors of the modern age, and claimed to have ended the ‘boom and bust’ phenomena that had previously afflicted the UK economy. These halcyon days must seem like a distant memory to the gaffer, after a week in which he continued to press the self-destruct button in spectacular style. The humiliation of The Botchdale Affair© and a strained performance in Birmingham have seen Labour languishing in third place in the polls. With the middle classes seemingly rendered helpless by multiple Cleggasms, and the Tories succeeding with their maverick ‘We Have No Policies’ approach, Brown’s chances of election victory seem increasingly remote. All is not lost, however, and he should draw comfort from this weekend’s visitors to Ewood Park. Read the rest of this entry »
On 19th June 1794 a British expeditionary force landed at Calvi in Northern Corsica. Their aim was to seize control of the town and use it as a base from which to launch a naval assault on the French mainland, gaining a crucial advantage in the ongoing war with their revolutionary forces. On board one of the first vessels to arrive was a 36 year-old Norwich City fan (or at least he would have been had his local team existed then) called Horatio Nelson. In the chaos of battle, Nelson was injured by a piece of debris which struck him in his right eye. The wound was dressed and he returned to the front line, but his vision was damaged irreparably, and he had to abandon all hope of ever seeing his beloved Canaries in 3D HD at a participating pub. Read the rest of this entry »