Archive for the Calcio Category

Well, My Family’s ALWAYS Supported Ipswich…

Posted in Calcio, Grave News on April 27, 2009 by Johnnie

royskeen

Lots of jersey swapping is sure to ensue as fairweather Irish fans of Ye Olde Englishe football change allegiance yet again.  Mind you, they’re being asked to wear the blue of Ipswich Town now.  How dare Roy Keane pick a team who don’t play in the red of Munsterpool United, or even a nice shade of one-shirt-suits-all green.  Anyway, he’s clearly a “genius” (again) as his new side trounced Cardiff 3-0 at the weekend.  Good start, and great to see that Keane has wasted no time in bringing in quality, experienced Irish talent to his new side too. Continue reading

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Bloke From Out-In Tallaght Now Outa Liverpoo-el

Posted in Calcio, Grave News on February 3, 2009 by Johnnie

robbiekeanepained

Oh dear.  Robbie Keane’s great, romantic footballing story-arc, his epic journey between the twin tracksuit capitals of the world, has all gone wrong.  His boyhood dream, to wear Liverpoo-el’s appalling array of away jerseys and training gear professionally, was realised but, alas, only fleetingly.  He now has to return to what his former Scouse colleagues call “that London”, with his €5 Tallaght barber’s haircut firmly between his legs.  Said training gear will now be put away in a (bad) memory box to show his grandchildren, or maybe given away to ‘youth development’ projects.  Particularly those tasteful grey ones.  When Manchester United played in a grey shirt during the ’90s, Alex Ferguson claimed his players couldn’t see each other on the pitch; you can only imagine how this goes down with young shoplifters men who normally wear hoodies to remain anonymous out in the street.

As for Keane, IHGN wishes him well back in Tottnumb ‘Otspur, and is thankful that he didn’t succumb, like so many Liverpool players before him (Souness, Lawrenson, McDermott, Rush, Grobelaar, etc.), to a dodgy ‘tache.  All the same, we’re fairly certain that his other boyhood dream, the beyond-clichéd “finish my career at Celtic”, is still on course; Scotland being, after all, the natural home of all past-it Premiership players, particularly those whose banjo-to-cow’s arse ratio has latterly been slipping.

“I’ll Have A Fiorentina Please, Boss…”

Posted in Calcio, Food & Drink on January 23, 2009 by Johnnie

prandelliAs if we needed any further proof of the gulf in professionalism between Continental football sides and their British counterparts, here’s a heart-warming, heart-saving tale of a dietary reward system that simply wouldn’t work if offered to the Mars Bar and Coke-consuming likes of Keane, Rooney and Terry. The greatest football coach of them all, Fiorentina’s Cesare Prandelli, has promised that his players will be rewarded with a pizza for their tea if they beat Italy’s answer to ManUre,  J*v***s in Torino this weekend.

A win could put my lads, who currenly lie sixth in Serie A, right back into contention for the coveted fourth Champions League spot. As per Calcio Italia, Prandelli said: “We are convinced that we can get a good result and our objective is to win because we are working towards something important.  This is a great chance for us to bounce back. It is a very difficult game, but I’m hoping we can win and if we do everyone will get a pizza!”

Something Global in Glasgow

Posted in Calcio, Grave News on October 22, 2008 by Johnnie

Cherry-picking Irish fans of top UK football teams would no doubt have been in a glory-seeking lather last night as Man Yah-Noy-Reh took on Celtic at Ye Olde Trafforde, in what they probably weren’t calling ‘The Battle of Britain’. I’m sure there was much coin-flipping as to which way around the reversible jersey would be worn just before the first English team to win the European Cup kicked off against the first Irish team to win the European Cup. There would have been mixed feelings aplenty at the final whistle, as United comprehensively trounced the Celts 3-0, and few complaints from Glasgow diehards, give or take a marginal offside decision or two.

Still, whatever about lifelong, paying supporters from Manchester or Glasgow, Ireland simply couldn’t really lose either way last night – pretty much par for the course in the Champions League these days, as an astonishing quantity of people here put their considerable weight (and money) behind Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and even the butchest of old British bulldogs, Chelsea; and sure, we can even say we’ve “always” supported Juventus, Inter, Real or Barcelona should our choice of English team “crash out”. The fact that “foreign billionaire” ownership is practically de rigueur in England, and makes these teams more of a globalised brand than a local sporting concern, no doubt gives the cherry-pickers, wherever they happen to be from, a degree of self-justification. We all like to be part of a winning team, after all. Why would so many of our citizens go around wearing Converse trainers, supping Starbucks and Coca-Cola, munching at MacDonald’s and supporting Ya-Noy-Reh if they were interested in expressing their individuality?

Of course, it’s far easier for the top English clubs to bask in such luxurious international fandom and financial glory; it’s a country of over 50 million citizens, TV rights and sponsorships come as the result of furious bidding wars, and anyway, vastly rich people from all over the world are queuing up to own these clubs just so they can play Fantasy Football with real, live players. It’s not so easy for Scotland who, with two rival sides both attracting more or less 50,000 supporters to each home game, aren’t doing half badly by themselves. The problem they have always had is that their brands just aren’t as attractive to people in China, Japan and South Yemen, unless there’s been a streak of Scots or Irish ex-pats who took the lion rampant or green clover with them on their long holiday and spread the word. Of course, 40-odd years of rising sectarian bitterness across the city of Glasgow can’t really help as a selling point. With Rangers and Celtic in persistent hot water over the idiotic songs of hatred being sung from their respective stands, it’s hard to know what business person or group would welcome or withstand such an association.

Rangers’ Ayrshire-born chairman David Murray, a die-hard, blue-nosed, blue-rinsed Tory, would have few qualms about selling the club to whomever came up with the money, especially if he thought it was in the best interests of the club he undoubtedly loves and supports. However, his opposite number at Celtic, John Reid, was this week adamant, during an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live, that his club would not be allowed to fall into the hands of what he described as “foreign billionaires”. Presumably he was talking only about Thais, Russians or Arabs, because the former British Home Secretary and Labour Party Chairman then praised the support of Celtic’s majority shareholder Dermot Desmond – a man who is from Cork, People’s Republic Of, Republic of Ireland and therefore must be, to a club based in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom, a “foreign billionaire”. Perhaps Desmond’s recent £50,000 donation to David Cameron’s Conservative and Unionist Party makes him a bit more British, although quite how that squares with the traditionally socialist, one-time Communist John Reid or, indeed, the Celtic support, who have a long-standing tiff with the very notion of Unionism, is anyone’s guess.

My 91-year-old Granny…

Posted in Calcio, Grave News on October 14, 2008 by Johnnie

…in her recliner armchair, mid-sup of a cup of tea, while watching Loose Women on STV could still have poked this in.

Hail Caledonia! A 0-0 draw with Norway, grasped from the very jaws of victory. World Cup 2014, here we come.

Tutti per Stefano Borgonovo

Posted in Calcio on October 10, 2008 by Johnnie

Former Fiorentina and Milan striker, Stefano Borgonovo, was awarded a benefit match between his two former clubs at Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence this week.  The 44-year-old has been diagnosed with the motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the illness which claimed the life of former Genoa player Gianluca Signorini in 2002.  By way of tribute, many former stars of both clubs turned out in his honour.  It was particularly touching to see Viola heroes Giancarlo Antognoni, Gian Matteo Mareggini and Roberto Baggio back in the shirt, while amongst the glittering stars of Milan’s past were Franco Baresi, Daniele Massaro and Frank Rijkaard.

Capped three times for Italy, Borgonovo had the most successful season of his career with Fiorentina in season 1988-’89, where he scored 14 goals while playing alongside Roberto Baggio (who scored 15).

Purple Reign - Baggio and Borgonovo

Purple Reign - Baggio and Borgonovo

Viola Watch: We’re There

Posted in Calcio on August 27, 2008 by Johnnie

Slavia Prague 0  Fiorentina 0 (agg. 0-2)

Fiorentina are finally back in the Champions League, after an absence of eight years.  A 0-0 draw with Slavia, in which the Viola had the better of the game, means that they return to the competition in which they last played in March 2000, when they drew 3-3 against Bordeaux. The side had technically picked up enough points to qualify for the preliminary round of the Champions League for the past two competitions, but had been the victim of severe points deductions from their alleged part in the Calciopoli scandal.

Nevertheless, the coach can now look forward.  “We have deserved to be in the Champions League for the last three years,” said a jubilant Cesare Prandelli.  “Now we are at the beginning and I hope the real fun starts here.”