Football Burp looks back over the week, removes with surgical precision the bits of it we particularly liked and serves them up on pristine webspace for your delectation. Please do take a moment to remark upon our incredibly imaginatively conceived categories of choice…
Quotes of the Week
3. Gary Neville’s thoughts on Chelsea defender David Luiz struck a chord with anyone who saw Manuel Almunia charging out of his goal against West Bromwich Albion towards the end of last season and wondered if Arsene Wenger had been holding down the triangle button…
“Whenever I watch him play, to me David Luiz looks like he’s being controlled by a 10-year-old in the crowd on a PlayStation.”
2. In a profession renowned for rubbish nicknames, West Bromwich Albion manager Roy “Psycho” Hodgson coined an absolute pearler – and one which sounds a bit like an over-the-counter medicine – for his striker Shane Long…
“Doctors advise caution but players are adventurous. Shane is the adventurous side of adventure. He is Tintin-plus. No doctor was going to stop him playing.”
1. This week’s winner is F1 journalist Kevin Eason, who seems to have some kind of problem with the old boys club that is the Match of the Day panel…
“I am concluding watching MOTD that football punditry is the easiest £ in town. All absolute tosh. The BBC has a duty of care. Crack the whip over this lazy, we-are-all-chums together cobblers.”
Oh come off it, Kevin. Surely substantially wealthy, comfort-zone-dwelling, out-of-touch-with-the-modern-game, middle-aged men are the ideal people to tell us what to think about the weekend’s Premier League football.
Champ of the Week
Middlesbrough Football Club: The employment of former player Gary Parkinson as a scout has been one of the truly touching stories in what has been a turbulent old month in British football. Although Parkinson was left completely paralysed after suffering a huge stroke in the stem of his brain, Boro boss Tony Mowbray and members of his staff – most notably first-team coach Mark Proctor and goalkeeping coach Stephen Pears – still turn to him to assess potential player recruits after he and his wife devised a system of communicating via blinking, with a one-to-four scale whereby one blinks means “steer clear” and four means “I like him”.
Proctor explains: “A is one blink and B two. It means that by Gary moving his eyelids up and down we can have a conversation. You dread to think what it must be like to sit in Gary’s shoes but he’s a gentleman and a really top guy, and we always have a giggle. I generally take him five or six DVDs for analysis.
“Working with either Debbie, who visits every day, or Luke, his 18-year-old son, Gary compiles the reports by blinking his opinions. Around nine times out of 10 Tony and I agree with him. Like Tony, Gary was part of Bruce Rioch’s celebrated Middlesbrough team of the 1980s and it’s clear that the club’s football philosophy has been firmly instilled in him. From his assessments you can tell he knows exactly the sort of passing game we want to play; he can identify exactly the sort of creative and technical players Tony needs.”
While full recovery is rare from locked-in syndrome, as it is known, a gradual improvement in Parkinson’s condition is being attributed at least in part by this activity. “You can see Gary’s mood picking up when he works on the DVDs,” says his wife Deborah. Please visit www.garyparky.co.uk to donate to the Gary Parkinson Trust Fund.
Chump of the Week
Gus Poyet: The Brighton and Hove Albion boss was being celebrated by all and sundry as his newly-promoted Seagulls sat proudly atop the Championship just a couple of months ago; but, if an ensuing run of poor results has stemmed the tide of plaudits somewhat, the manner of his support for fellow Uruguayan Luis Suarez, and condemnation of Patrice Evra for “crying like a baby”, has raised an eyebrow or two to be sure…
The former Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea midfielder said: “I know Luis very well and I will go to court if someone wants to prove he’s not racist. What hurts me the most is that you accuse someone. Luis Suarez has been accused of being a racist. You cannot accuse people without a proper investigation, especially when it’s a foreigner who is coming from a different place where we treat people of colour in a different way. So it was very easy to accuse someone.
“I played with a player, and nobody knew him as Fernando Cáceres. Everyone knows him worldwide as Negro Caceres – even in the newspapers and on television they all him that. Is that racist? In England it is but in the rest of the world, in South America or Spain, it’s not. I understand people in this country and I changed my way of behaving, but Luis has been in this country just a few months. I played in Spain for seven years and they called me everything. It doesn’t make it right, but what do you want? Tell me what you want.
“If you try to go to a point that doesn’t exist in the rest of the world, it’s going to be complicated. You think the rest of the world is wrong and you are right. Maybe it looks like you want the whole world to drive on the right hand side. Do you want that? So you need to adapt as well.”
Possibly should have kept shtum on that one, Gus.
Good Idea of the Week
Benfica condoms: How better to mark the 50th anniversary of European Cup success than by releasing a set of twelve different designs of official club rubbers, bearing such legends as “the best defence is to play the attack”, “out of many, one” (a translation of club motto “e pluribus unum”) and “this will be in the Benfica way”. A spokesman for the good folk at Creative Condom said: “This collection is based on a clear identity and is an innovative product which is unique in the world. It’s a product created to be inclusive, amusing and appealing.”
Amusing, for sure, but nigh on impossible to pun on. Or is it? Send your Benfica/condom-related quips to firstname.lastname@example.org
Bad Idea of the Week
Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan wants to hand over the reins of the club to his 21-year-old grandson…
“The time comes for everyone when you need to retire or take a step back because you’re simply not what you used to be. What I would like to do is create a dynasty here at Wigan Athletic. My grandson is a bright boy, and is massively keen on football and Wigan Athletic. I’m inclined to let him have a go and I hope that happens.”
What’s Spanish for “sod this for a game of charades”?
Casanova of the Week
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri came over all amorous after his side’s 2-1 Champions League victory over domestic juggernaut Manchester City…
“Yes, I gave everyone a kiss in the dressing room. It doesn’t happen often, but this time I felt like doing it and I did it.”
Coming this Christmas: Napoli-branded mistletoe. The ideal precursor to unwrapping your festive gift of Benfica merchandise.
Famous Last Words of the Week
Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas says…
“The owner didn’t pay £15m to get me out of Porto only to pay me another fortune just to let me go again.”
While his Blackburn Rovers counterpart Steve Kean says…
“The fact that the owners have talked to me about a new contract means that they can see what we are building here.”
Jolly good luck to the both of them, we say.
Twitter Attack of the Week
Coleraine striker and renowned Twitter troublemaker Leon Knight seems to have taken exception to ITV staple This Morning, which on Tuesday featured the considerable talents of one Paddy McGuinness…
We await This Morning’s carefully worded response to this tirade with baited breath. Some might reasonably suggest that Knight simply either change the channel or turn the television off altogether and read about the difference between “his” and “he’s”. Having said that, though, it’s not easy to tear oneself away from Paddy McGuinness’ hypnotic onscreen presence…