Tag Archive | "Fulham"

To The Professionals



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theprofessionals

I have to say that this season football journalists are up and ready to go. First we had the Eduardo dive saga that dominated the headlines for the better part of two weeks and now we have ‘Kiddygate.’ It seems every club who’s lost a teenager to a larger club is lodging a complaint and the papers can’t get enough. I have to say I’m impressed by the willingness of some news outlets to over report on certain topics. I’m especially impressed by some hardworking papers who will report on things that haven’t yet happened. So this article is dedicated to the professionals.

Two professionals who may not be appearing at next summer’s World Cup are current and soon-to-be named FIFA Players of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. While this may take the luster out of the tournament for some, it won’t bother John Terry at all. The Chelsea and English captain would actually prefer it. I guess JT doesn’t believe in wanting to test yourself against the best. There’s that fighting English spirit.

One man who doesn’t mind facing the best—since he is the best—is Bjorn Helge Riise. Fulham’s latest signing and John Arne’s younger brother doesn’t lack for confidence. In an interview with Norwegian magazine Avisenes Nyhetsbyra (my personal favorite) he declared that his teammates haven’t ‘done well’ and he’s ‘better than Damien Duff.’ That should endear him to his new teammates. But wait a minute…Bjorn has come out and claimed he was misquoted. Ah, saved by the misquote. Now that’s a journalist who wasn’t working hard enough.

David Beckham—who knows a thing or two about hard-working journalists—has come to the defense of diving poster child Eduardo. He claims enough is enough and to ‘lay off’ the boy. Becks is so behind the times; doesn’t he know we’ve moved on to ‘Kiddygate?’

We now know why Bacary Sagna has those stupid bleached braids of his. He scored them by losing winning a bet with his father. It seems Papa Sagna was smart enough to be against the braids in the first place, but made a bet the boy could win. Of course this all happened about eight years ago when he was a teenager. You think he would be out of the rebellious stage by now.

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It’s Not Her, It’s Football



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Too bad she can't keep her fist there all the time.

Too bad she can't keep her fist there all the time.

Not one to speak her mind, Fulham supporting Lily Allen is now taking on Victoria Beckham, Cheryl Cole, and all of football. In a rant published in The Sun, she calls Posh Spice ‘a monster,’ and Cole ‘a bitch.’ I guess she won’t be buying any of Victoria’s new Emporio Armani underwear.

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Blah, Blah, Blah



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Sorry that we’ve been away for a few days. An illness crept over the Natural Hat Trick offices and we were forced to take a few days off. But we’re back to discuss the news of the football world. And boy is there a lot of talking going on. The usual suspects are involved, as well as some surprising newcomers. And we hoped that you missed us a little bit.

No stranger to the headlines, Alex Ferguson has some things on his mind and he’s going to share them with everyone. Most of the explaining has to do with Manchester United’s dreadful showing in the FA Cup. The supporters are holding Dimitar Berbatov responsible, but Fergie says not so fast. He’s feels the Wembley pitch was more to blame for United’s inept play, and old foe Arsene Wenger agrees with him. What is the world coming to?

The Professor doesn’t agree with Sir Alex’s war of words with Rafa Benitez. The Frenchman believes it should stop and they both need to be quiet. Isn’t that ironic? The pot never seems to tire of calling the kettle black.

Speaking of things that remind me of pots, ‘Facts’ Benitez made headlines this week for not going to a press conference. They truly have become must-see-TV. Luckily for quote starved reporters, assistant Sammy Lee was able to fill in most ably.

If one is to believe The Sun, Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate has called out Alan Shearer. I’ve read the quote, and it seems as if The Sun has made something out of nothing. Shocking I know.

It appears that Fulham’s strong season has gone to Chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed’s head. It seems the only thing keeping the Cottagers from becoming the ‘Manchester United of the South’ has been the ‘donkeys’ running the FA. He does invite them to Harrods for lunch so he can serve them for some homegrown stag’s testicles. Now who could refuse that offer?

Joey Barton’s in trouble? Nobody’s favorite bad boy was ticketed recently for not paying his train fare. What a donkey.

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Playing The Blame Game



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nelson-muntz

When a massive club from a mammoth league gives up two away goals to a big club from a lesser league, then you know that the next day’s papers will report that the sky is falling and play the blame game.  In case you didn’t notice, that happened in yesterday’s Manchester United v. FC Porto Champions League quarter-final match. Of course there’s other news to report, but it’s not as sexy as a team in crisis. (Remember Arsenal earlier in the year, and Liverpool soon after?)

Let’s jump right into it. Whose fault is it that United wet the bed against Porto? If you ask Sir Alex, it’s his fault. Edwin van der Sar blames the leaky defense. Darren Fletcher takes a different path and actually gives Porto credit for playing a good game. So obviously it must be all his fault.

Former crisis club, now best in the world, Liverpool could lose goal scoring machine Fernando Torres to Italy or, gasp, Germany. Not one to let anything go unremarked upon, ‘Facts’ Benitez is holding a press conference about it. Just kidding, but don’t be surprised if he does.

Remember Chelsea? Just last year they playned in the Champions League final and are currently just four points behind league leaders Manchester United. It seems nobody else does, considering the coverage Liverpool and United have been receiving this year. It might actually be a good thing, since captain John Terry revealed that he used to be scared of Anfield, but he’s not anymore. He’s also not scared of the boogie man or the monster in his closet anymore as well. Maybe he needs another pep talk from Avram Grant to help him out. Or just Jose Mourinho back.

Did Manchester City’s ear just perk up? It seems Kaka hasn’t completely ruled out a move to England. Which, of course, means he must be going to City?

In lesser, but more curious transfer news, Villarreal is reportedly interested in non-goal machine Bobby Zamora. If I were Jozy Altidore I would be so pissed right now considering in his last two matches he’s scored as many goals as Fulham’s non-striker has all season.

And in much lesser news, David Beckham’s AC Milan teammate Christian ‘Bobo’ Vieri wants to join him and play for the LA Galaxy.  And they said Becks isn’t helping MLS grow.

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Take A Break



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vacation

I don’t know what it is about the international break that loosens footballers’ lips? When they’re with their clubs, it’s the same mixture of bland quotes: ‘Football’s a game of two halves,’ We’ve got to stick together,’ or ‘No, I don’t think the gaffer’s a fucking idiot for playing me out of position.’ Maybe it’s the break from the monotony of day-to-day training with the same players and the same coaches. Or perhaps flying out of town for a week has a holiday feel to it. Whatever the reason, I appreciate this unique type of BS that the players are slinging.

What a difference ten days can make. A week and a half ago, Liverpool had conceded the title to Manchester United and the future of ‘Facts’ Benitez was in doubt. Now they’re the world’s greatest team and the ‘Fact Man’ is the greatest manager in the history of the sport. And apparently, if you believe nobody Alvaro Arbeloa, Liverpool are about to become bigger than The Beatles. I guess he’s not one for hyperbole.

Now that fortunes have turned in the Reds’ favor, their captain Steven Gerrard wants to stay at Anfield for the rest of his career. Or until the next time they finish in third place. And not only does he want to stay, Gerrard actually believes in Benitez’ management style. And it only took five years—way to come around captain kiss the camera. Now if only Fabio Capello would let him play like he wants.

It’s good to know that Manchester United’s recent form hasn’t worried left-back Patrice Evra. The Frenchman calls United’s losses to Liverpool and Fulham ‘a little accident.’ Teammate Darren Fletcher agrees, only he calls the losses ‘blips.’ I guess if United blow the title, they’ll just call it a trivial little nothing.

What’s not trivial to Evra is the behavior of the French fans. He claims the French lack a football culture. He also goes on to speculate whether or not the French even like football. That should get the fans on your side and stop the boos from raining down.

Why has the Ledley King story has become as huge as it has? He’s a fine player the ten games a year he plays. That’s why I don’t understand why Capello would want to include him in a World Cup squad. He can’t play two Saturdays in a row, how could he possibly play a World Cup tournament schedule? Anyway, Capello’s angry at Spurs and Spurs are angry at the English FA for what happened to King under Steve McClaren. And Steve McClaren’s angry at the guy who sold him that umbrella.

Speaking of buying and selling, apparently you can now buy Portsmouth for the price of Robinho. And the sad thing is there are more offers for the drug using, bad penalty taking Brazilian. Sorry about the drug reference Robbie, please don’t sue me.

While we’re on the topic of money, UEFA wants to limit the amount of players per squad in order to keep wage bills down. Predictably, PFA boss Gordon Taylor is completely against it.

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Drinking the Kool-Aid of Hope



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koolaid2

Henry Miller once wrote, “Hope is a bad thing. It means that you are not what you want to be.” I couldn’t agree more. Boro fans keep returning to the Riverside hoping that they’re more than mediocre—which they aren’t. Hope may not be a good thing, but it makes for a great football story.

Oft-injured striker, Robin van Persie is hoping that eating less red meat will keep him from getting hurt so much. Even if it helps him play half a season, it’s still far more than his Dutch national team mate ‘ironman’ Arjen Robben could ever hope to play.

Big Sam Allardyce thinks his Blackburn team is too fat to compete. That’s part of it Sam. That and you lack enough skill players to stay up.

Meanwhile fat bastard Mike Ashley is begging Newcastle fans not to desert the team because the club is heading in the right direction. And caretaker manager for the caretaker manager Chris Hughton is banking on the return of Michael Owen to save them from relegation. Apparently they believe in the Kool-Aid diet and expect Toon fans to join them in drinking it up.

One person who’s definitely drinking the Kool-Aid is Cristiano Ronaldo’s mother. She doesn’t believe that her little boy could be a womanizer. Her proof of this is that he has only introduced two women to her and that if there were more she would have met them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t always bring my coke-dealing, prostitute girlfriends home.

In other news that proves she’s clueless, she doesn’t believe that her son is arrogant.

At least Fulham manager Roy Hodgson is a little more realistic when he says that owner Mohamed Al Fayed needs to spend big this summer if his goal of making Fulham the “Manchester United of the South” is to be achieved. But judging by the way Al Fayed has been reluctant to open the purse strings the past few years, it’s more realistic to hope for Bobby Zamora to win the Golden Boot next season.

I will end by tipping my cap to Blackpool supporters. Those sad bastards are hoping managerial cancer Iain Dowie can save them from relegation. Their Kool-Aid must really be laced with something potent. Those sad bastards.

P.S. One thing from the “Are You Serious?” category. West Bromwich Albion is freezing ticket prices for next year. Really? You’re not going to charge more to see you play Plymouth Argyle and Doncaster Rovers in the Championship than you would to see you take on Manchester United and Chelsea? Glad you could be there for your fans. Those sad bastards are drinking some serious Kool-Aid.

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Sweet Loyalty



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jameson

There’s a lot of talk about loyalty in football. Fans should be loyal to their club, clubs should be loyal to their managers, managers should be loyal to their players and so on and on and on. So much loyalty. But like many things in the world of football, what’s said is very rarely what’s done. A look around the news today proves that in spades.

The Football League Managers Association has released some numbers that make Roy Hodgson’s two years at Fulham seem almost Fergie-like. According to their data, the average managerial tenure has dropped from 3.12 years in 1992-93 (the first year of the EPL) to 1.47 this season.

At least one manager doesn’t have to worry about results. The Mexican FA recently came out and stated that Sven-Goren Eriksson isn’t going anywhere. That’s good news for Sven’s tan. I guess that Mexico has gotten so used to losing to the US that another 2-0 loss is no big deal. I wonder what Jesus Ramirez thinks of all this.

Apparently, leading La Liga with 23 goals and having a ten point lead over Real Madrid isn’t enough to make Samuel Eto’o happy at Barcelona. Even though Pep Guardiola has turned fortunes around at the Spanish giants, somber Sammy still hasn’t forgiven Barcelona for the way that they treated him last summer. If he doesn’t like where he works, he should try my job.

At least Carlos Tevez knows how to fake it. When his time comes to an end at Manchester United, he admits that he’ll feel some pain. But I wonder how much, considering that he only planned to stay a “few more years.”

But it’s not all bad news. And can you believe that the good news is actually coming out of Newcastle? Newly re-committed owner Mike Ashley has decided to cut ticket prices. In a letter written by managing director Derek Llambias and directed to season ticket holders, Llambias pleads, “You’ve seen uglier football, stick with the team. We will get there.” That’s right Derek, remind fans of how crappy it’s really been. I can only imagine what he must say when his wife threatens to leave him.

So that’s loyalty, football style. And quite frankly, it’s made me thirsty. I guess I’m going to have to show loyalty to my favorite whiskey the only way I know how. By going home and having seven to ten tumblers of Jameson.

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