Tag Archive | "Portsmouth"

So Long Sol



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solcampbellnotts

Sven Goren Eriksson’s Notts County revolution has taken a hit as Sol Campbell has decided to leave the club—after only one match. No reason has been given for Sol’s departure, but maybe the fourth division reminded him too much of playing for Portsmouth.

Unfortunately, allegations of racism have tarnished the third round of the Carling Cup. Blackpool’s Jason Euell was the victim of verbal abuse while El-Hadji Diouf, now of Blackburn, claims to have had bananas tossed at him. Unlike Euell, nobody believes Diouf…hmm, I wonder why.

Avram Grant is back…well sort of. The former Chelsea manager has agreed to a coaching role in the remote Russian republic of Komi. What a fall from grace for a man who was one John Terry missed penalty from winning the Champions League. Football really is a fickle bitch.

On the subject of remote coaching outposts, Bryan Robson has agreed to coach the Thai national team. He replaces another Englishman, Peter Reid. The English might not rate their own managers, but apparently they’re more than good enough for Thailand.

You might remember Joe Cole. Plays for Chelsea, had a great goal in the 2006 World Cup, and has been injured for the past two seasons. Well he’s recovered and he’s ready to be the point in Chelsea’s new diamond formation, or what Joe refers to as the ‘sausage roll’ position. Seriously folks, he’ll be here all week.

And in economic news, season ticket sales are down in Italy. And no club has been hit harder than AC Milan. Looks like an aging Ronaldinho isn’t as big of a draw as fan favorite Kaka. And to add insult to injury, no one has sold more season tickets than cross town rivals Inter Milan. Ouch, that’s got to hurt.

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Thank God That’s Over



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jonhheitinga

Everton's big signing?

In a rather unexciting end to the summer transfer season (Johnny Heitinga to Everton!) it only seems proper that today’s news is a little lacking in excitement as well. But it’s the news roundup and it’s what we do at Natural Hat Trick. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to get more of our wonderful ramblings.

In the great diving case of 2009, Arsenal vow to appeal striker Eduardo’s two match Champions League ban. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering they’ve spent the better part of a week saying that they would. The real shocker here is that Scotland and Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon says diving is worth it if it can advance you in a major tournament. Maybe Arsene Wenger should take Gordon with him to the UEFA offices when they go for their appeal. And I’m sure Mr. Gordon has endeared himself to his fellow keepers with those remarks.

On the subject of goalkeepers, David James, the only decent Portsmouth player not allowed to leave the club, is worried that playing for relegation fodder Pompey will hurt his chances of being England’s number one keeper in South Africa. In a move that I can only believe will make James feel worse, chief executive Peter Storrie has told James that instead of worrying about England, there’s plenty of competition at Pompey he has to worry about. I’ll bet that James won’t take it too kindly that the competition he should be worried about is Asmir Begovic, Antti Niemi and Jamie Ashdown. I can see David shaking in his boots as we speak.

One Portsmouth player who did manage to escape the sinking ship, Niko Kranjcar, has announced he is not at Tottenham to replace the injured Luka Modric. That’s strange since no one mentioned him going to Spurs until after Modric broke his leg.

In other overconfident news, newly acquired Sylvinho has announced that Manchester City teammate Robinho is one of the five best players in the world. He claims that City’s summer signings have surrounded the striker with better players that will help him shine. Funny, I thought the Real Madrid team that Robinho was forced out of had some fairly decent players.

And we end with some ‘where are they now’ news. Former Paris-Saint-Germain and Newcastle star David Ginola has been charged with being a deadbeat father in France. He’s facing hefty fines and a two year prison sentence. He, of course, denies the allegations. Looks like he better hope they make a Finding Nemo 2 so he can make a little extra cash.

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Zen And The Art Of Football



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Psychiatrist and influential thinker Carl Jung once said to a patient, ‘Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.’ Don’t mean to be all Zen, but it’s a rare moment when a young, unbelievably wealthy football player takes a moment of self-reflection. Of course we know that’s not what going on in the papers today. They’re just talking the time to speak highly about themselves and poorly about others. But you have to admit, it’s a good quote.

One man who could use a good psychiatrist is Adriano. After issuing a statement yesterday that he was, in fact, very much alive, he’s now decided to take a break from football. According to his Brazilian doctor, the situation has been on ‘knife-edge’ for some time. I’m sure the nightclubs of Brazil are the perfect place to clear one’s head.

At least Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t have any worries about keeping his head on straight. That’s because he has ‘honest’ Alex Ferguson to keep him in line. Speaking about his retirement the old straight shooter also admitted that Jose Mourinho or, can you believe it, Arsene Wenger would be a good choice to succeed him. And no, he didn’t mention ‘Facts’ Benitez as a possible successor.

I don’t think Lassana Diarra would agree with Sir Alex that Arsene Wenger would make a good replacement. Lass claims that Wenger taught him nothing and that he has blacked out his time with the Gooners. That’s good, because most of the Arsenal fans have tried to do the same.

I guess it’s that outspoken confidence that Harry Redknapp liked about Lass at Portsmouth. The Spurs boss claims that chunky Tom Huddlestone could be the next Glenn Hoddle, but he needs to be louder on the pitch. Let’s just hope that as he finds his voice he doesn’t become too much like Hoddle.

This can’t be a good sign. Messiah #2 Alan Shearer is finding out that life as a manager is a very time consuming job. And they thought he had the managerial acumen to keep them from relegation. There’s nothing like placing your hopes in the hands of someone learning on the fly to ensure disappointment. Wow, that was almost Jungian.

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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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What The Spit?



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I might have been drunk yesterday, but I was a happy drunk. But it seems I was in the minority, as all around me I just saw angry people. And that wasn’t just in the bar; it was on the TV and in the newspaper. It seems to me people are mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore.

Hull City manager Phil Brown is mad as hell at Cesc Fabregas. The injured midfielder wasn’t too hurt to celebrate on the pitch with his teammates after Arsenal’s controversial victory over the Tigers in the FA Cup. It seems Cesc got into a confrontation with City assistant manager Brian Horton and allegedly spat at him. Cesc said he didn’t and has never spat at anyone. Seems that’s not entirely true. But for now Spitgate continues.

He might not have let a loogie fly, but Newcastle midfielder Nicky Butt is spitting mad at his club. Claiming they lack direction, Butt wants to blow the entire operation up and start over. I guess the Buttman is sick and tired of playing for an ass club. (Sorry couldn’t resist that one.)

Greek international Theofanis Gekas is a little more than upset at Portsmouth. Bought by Tony Adams in the January transfer window, he hasn’t played at all under new manager Paul Hart. And as seen recently, you don’t want a Greek mad at you. At little phlegm wouldn’t be the worst thing thrown at you.

Mad in a different way is Blackburn Manager Sam Allardyce. Big Sam is supporting Morten Gamst Pedersen’s terrible dive by blaming the referees. He claims players have to dive because they don’t protect them. That might have a shred of truth, but if a player has to be protected from a defender five yards away from him, maybe football isn’t the game for him. There’s a lot of ice in Norway, maybe Pederson should take up ice dancing. Or are the blades are too sharp for him?

Alex Ferguson is mad at Sky TV, and I’m sure he’s still angry over Saturday’s ass-kicking, but this news will surely put him over the top. It seems that Real Madrid has already started their now traditional pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo a bit early. Or course, they’ve also started wooing David Beckham. This is just more proof that Madrid lives in a special universe; they want to buy two highly expensive right wingers when they have far greater needs. That’s like driving a Benz and living in the projects.

And sorry Sir Alex for more news you won’t like. It seems a ‘scout’ who claimed to work for Arsenal tried to sign Brazilian wonder twins Rafael and Fabio da Silva when they were fifteen. And we know how Fergie hates it when other teams try to ‘tap up’ his players.

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Three Cheers for David James



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Congrats David. You've earned it.

Congrats David. You've earned it.

David James isn’t your ordinary English footballer. He’s been Calamity James. He’s also been England’s number one goalkeeper. He’s concerned about the environment, as evidenced by his recent conversion of his Chrysler 300C diesel Estate so that it can run on rapeseed oil. He doesn’t eat cheese. Hairdressers love him as he’s had more hairstyles than Cher. And let’s not forget this photo from Cosmo magazine. Now he’s added something else to his eclectic resume. Yesterday, he passed Gary Speed for most appearances in the Premier League. James also broke the record in style, keeping a clean sheet as Portsmouth defeated Manchester City 2-0.

It’s a pretty amazing feat for a man whose Liverpool career began with him conceding twenty goals in eleven matches. And who knows how many more Premier League appearances he would have had, had he not stayed with West Ham when they were relegated in 2003. He ended up playing a total of 102 matches in the Championship with the Hammers. After a brief and unsuccessful run with Manchester City, a move to Portsmouth revitalized his career, culminating in an FA Cup victory last season. His career has had more ups and downs than me staggering home from the bar on a Saturday night.

I’m not saying David James is the greatest English goalkeeper of all time. He’ll never be put in the same class as Peter Shilton or David Seaman, and he probably shouldn’t be. But he should be admired for persevering long enough to set this record, and I want to be the first to congratulate him. I also hope that Portsmouth stay up this season so that James can continue to add to his record next season and beyond. I also hope that his recent run of conservative hairstyles comes to an end and something like the Clark Kent can make an appearance again.

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Crouch the Hot Stepper



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He's a dancing machine.

He's a dancing machine.

While things haven’t been going great on the pitch for Peter Crouch and Portsmouth, it hasn’t stopped the lanky one from dancing off of it. The Danny Terio of English football follows up his robot dance with these fine moves in a new T-Mobile commercial.

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