Tag Archive | "Gareth Southgate"

‘Manu-Gate’ Part 2: Enough Already


On a day we should be excited that the Champions League group stage is underway, the news is still dominated by ‘Manu-Gate.’ Have people become overly sensitive? I’m not saying that he shouldn’t be punished for stomping on Robin Van Persie’s head, but people act like it’s the first time a player wildly celebrated after scoring against his former team. Now we have Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive, claiming that Adebayor has damaged the League’s image. Are you f*cking kidding me? I’m sure people will stop watching because one player got a little over-exuberant. If that’s the case, I’m surprised the Champions League is being played after Chelsea’s actions in their semi-final loss to Barcelona in the last competition. And now, for some reason, Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate is getting involved and defending the Manchester City striker. Why is he involved? Who asked him? Can’t we just suspend him his three games and get on with it?

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Blah, Blah, Blah


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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Perhaps Oscar Wilde was correct when he said, “The man who sees both sides of a question is a man who sees absolutely nothing at all.” That’s how I felt as I read today’s football news. Is the manager a clueless madman or a mad scientist? Will he or won’t he be sacked? And everyone has a different opinion. Maybe I need to stop reading so many papers. Trying to make sense of it all has left me as blind as Lionel Richie in the Hello video.

Cristiano Ronaldo is certainly a player that brings out extreme emotions in people. Is he the world’s greatest player or a diving cheat? It seems that all the excess fouling and lack of protection from the referees is driving the non-womanizing mama’s boy out of England. (Cue cheers from the streets of Madrid.) While some have argued that the refs in England are the worst in the world, the statistics show that he is one of the most fouled in the BPL. So either he getting kicked every time he touches the ball and the referees don’t see it, or he’s a whiny bitch orchestrating a summer move to his ‘dream’ club Real Madrid. And I couldn’t see a moral character such as Ronaldo doing such a thing.

Or maybe there’s a worldwide conspiracy against great players. Bayern Munchen’s Franck Ribery is also complaining about the lack of protection he is receiving from Bundesliga referees. Or maybe both of these pansies should realize that as the best player on the pitch the other team will be trying to take them out. I think Franck and Cristiano would like it if they got to wear different colored shirts from the other less skilled players, so that the refs can watch them, and only them, at all times. I’m thinking pink would be a fine color for these special shirts, how about you?

A day after calling his fellow Serie A managers puppets of their chairmen, Jose Mourinho has been called pathetic by Cagliari manager Massimiliano Allegri. But it seems as if the not-so-special one didn’t hear him as he was too busy talking about Manchester United and Chelsea. For all the talking he does about his former club and league, you might begin to wonder if he’s now the voyeur.

‘Facts’ Benitez may be a favorite target of this column as we perceive him to be a clueless jellybean with a goatee, but he’s apparently a ‘revolutionary’ genius that has turned Liverpool from a team that hadn’t won a league title in fourteen years to one that hasn’t won a league title in eighteen years. Even a blind man couldn’t see that improvement. At least he’s learned to keep his rants to himself, which we all can agree is a good thing.

What’s a good thing that’s not really such a good thing? Ye olde dreaded vote of confidence. And the latest manager to receive one is embattled Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate. We will miss you when you get canned after the season. Of course Stewart Downing is using the tried, true and predictable method of imploring the supporters to get behind the team. All Boro needs is a little fan support to keep them safe from the drop. That would help, and so would a few goals and a couple of clean sheets. Now that’s the kind of comforting football predictability that helps get a sightless man from the living room to the bathroom without a guide dog.

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Time for Takeoff


I think that I’m suffering from motion sickness. And it’s not from being overserved on a much needed luxury cruise vacation. It’s from all the speculation about who’s going, who’s coming and how they’re getting there. Today’s headlines have more talk of arrivals and departures than a train station PA system.

Will he stay or is he leaving? No, we’re not talking about David Beckham, but Rafa Benitez. The ‘fact’ man’s contract saga continues to dominate the headlines, with the latest news having him leaving Anfield by the weekend. At least all the talk distracts everyone from talking about how Liverpool has blown yet another chance at the Premiership title.

Meanwhile, the Special One doesn’t have any troubles leaving the San Siro. Apparently the news of Jose snubbing Alex Ferguson after yesterday’s Champions League matchup was much ado about nothing. According to Mourinho, the San Siro dugout has a secret door that leads from the pitch to the dressing room. In other news, Rafa is asking for an ejection seat at Anfield.

In other Champions League news, Kolo Toure was booked for coming on the pitch without permission at the start of the second half against Roma. It seems Toure has a superstition that he must be the last one on the pitch. He also revealed that he plays with ten rabbit’s feet in his boots.

Over at the Riverside, Gareth Southgate is trying to go back to a time when Middlesbrough weren’t so crappy. Or at least a time when they could at least score goals. In an attempt to boast his club’s confidence, he has compiled a video of his players scoring goals. The good thing is that the video didn’t get in the way of training as it only lasted three minutes.

At least it’s heart warming to know that Nicklas Bendtner doesn’t need any confidence boosting. After flubbing a half dozen chances yesterday against Roma, the every minute man was still able to feel good about his performance. The note in his lunch box from his mother also confirmed that assessment.

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The Drunk’s Picks aka Winners


Gambling is as much a part of sports as drinking. I wouldn’t be The Drunk if I didn’t drain (I mean, sip responsibly) a bottle of Jameson now again, and I also wouldn’t be The Drunk if I didn’t gamble. So, for those of you who enjoy legal wagering or making non-monetary bets with friends, I am going to provide you with three picks a week. I call them my Winners of the Week.

We’re going to start in the Bundesliga. Saturday, Schalke 04 host their rivals Werder Bremen in a battle of two teams whose seasons have gone down the shitter. Both were pre-season favorites who now find themselves stuck in mid-table mediocrity. Bremen is missing leading goal scorer Claudio Pizzaro and midfield maestro Diego.
The pick: These Krauts (Schalke 04) 2 – Those Krauts (Werder Bremen) 1

Next up is Manchester City hosting Middlesboro. Boro is in serious trouble, and that’s putting it lightly. Gareth Southgate has been given the dreaded vote of confidence, players are unsettled, and fans actually want Stevie Mac back. Wait, that’s not trouble, that’s purgatory. City looks like a model of stability compared to that lot, and has enough talent to make Southgate’s seat a little hotter.
The Pick: The Raping Robinho’s 1 – Southgate’s Strugglers 0

And finally, we go to the north Moscow, er, London derby. While not making much noise on the pitch, these two clubs have dominated the transfer window headlines. Now that Arsenal has gotten their Russian, and all wayward Spurs have returned home, this should prove to be as exciting as their last meeting – and leave both managers with something to complain about.
The Pick: Arsene’s Teenage Fanclub 2 – Harry’s Happy Family Reunion 2

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