Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Latest from the Gaffer

Back in the bootroom, the Gaffer has been demanding 110%. Natch. Most recently, we've explained what a "zonal marking" is; downloaded the latest filth from the Inside Man's floppy disk of x-rated gossip; stopped by Gary Mabbutt's gaff for a lie-down on his couch; and worked out how to make a killing on the superinjunctions market. Go get some.

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Eagle watching

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Remember Euro 96? Baddiel and Skinner. Karel Poborsky. Gazza and his dentist's chair celebration. Find out more about the latter here.

Secondly, a bit more Mabbutt, to help keep the demons at bay. And the latest richly imagined, culturally nuanced, stereotype demolishing round-up: this week from France.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Crash, Bang, Wallop, What a Series!

No, I still haven't got around to writing about this yet. But it's a good title for a post, isn't it?

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Things on the internet

A few hot Gaffer links to keep you warm through the winter months: Gary Mabbutt has some advice for two more troubled young men; our betting columnist is back with a few seasonal tips; and find out what the Norwich boys have been getting up to in the latest chapter of Ian Crook's diary.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

The English disease

Yesterday morning, I had succumbed to it. Hubris, that is - not necessarily a historically English affliction but one that right now seems dangerously seductive to those of this isle concerned with the fate of the Ashes. Or at least it did until the events of last night, triggered by a weakness that is as English as train delays and tea cups swimming in custard: the batting collapse.

The possibility had lurked like a hell beast in a storm drain, despite England scoring 517-1 and 620-5 in consecutive innings. I wasn't prepared to believe we could wrap up the series without suffering at least one nightmare out in the middle - previous tours Down Under have marked out their territory in the darkened corners of my subconscious. But even as that redoubt remained standing I was steadily beguiled. The ordure heaped on Australia in recent weeks had firmly tipped the scales; England were in the ascendancy and, perish the thought, I had even mused openly on the possibility, however remote, of 4-0.

Such were the heights to which my expectations had soared that as Australia's tail ski-jumped their side to a respectable 268 I was already thinking, 'That's 70 runs too many'. Not, 'That's a decent effort against any Australian side on their own patch'. No, having reduced the hosts to 69-5, I wanted more; a brutal land grab, a beer hall putsch. The English boot was on the Australian throat and the prospect of resurrection was a non-runner, not with this bunch, this rabble of Raggy Greens, incompetents and half-blokes.

And then the dawn broke, with the news that we'd been Waca-ed by Mitchell Johnson. A glimmer of hope remains, but we have been been forced to reassess our opponent's capabilities. This should serve as a wake-up call, a reminder that we cannot slumber easily until the job is done and the Ashes are retained. The Boogie man still resides under the bed, at least for now.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ashes ahoy!

The sleep function on my clock-radio kicked in at around 1am this morning, moments before Shane Watson bowled Jonathan Trott to leave England on 41-2. Watson's first two balls had been hit for four and called a wide respectively, so I felt reasonably content as TMS and Michael Slater's voice abruptly cut out.

As I slept, I dreamed of serene progress past the 400-mark, confident that there would be nothing to discombobulate Smyth and Bull on the guardian OBO ... then I awoke to drowsily check the score on my phone some seven hours later. A Siddle hat-trick? Bleurgh, there was nothing about that in my reverie. Still, it wasn't quite as horrific as four years ago.

Not too much can be read into England's score of 260 (though it looks a little short at first glance) until the Aussies have batted. Come tomorrow morning, we'll have a much clearer idea of how the first Test is balanced. Anyway, ahead of the resumption of hostilities, some recommended reading: Sam Collins' Ashes blog. It's a ripper.

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