Friday, 23 December 2011

Poisoned By Hate!

On the first day of my journalism class, I said to the room of over 30 people that I didn't like people because most people were stupid.  And looking at the favourites on Stan Collymore's twitter today, I'm even more right than I thought.  And at first it made me sad, but then it made me f-ing angry.

What gives other so-called human beings the right to talk to another in this way?  But regardless of what anyone has done in the past, no one deserves the kind of abuse.  Even though the ones he favourited are mostly aimed at Evra, Collymore regularly receives racist abuse.  And for what reason?  Other than they don't agree with his opinions.  Do they even realise how stupid that is?  Or do they not care how stupid that makes them?

People always associate racial abuse with the uneducated and the lower echelons of society but looking at the faces and the bio's of some of those on that list, we can all see that isn't true.  Anyone of any colour, from any nation, of any social standing; can be guilty of hate and bigotry.  Cowardice and ignorance can appear in any face.

While Collymore has been RT'ing these messages I have seen appalled tweet after appalled tweet. 

And I pray that we are in the majority.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

What Will Break the Chicken's Back?

 I'll admit, I have a lot of sympathy for Blackburn Rovers manager, Steve Kean.  He must feel like the guy that got a Porsche for Christmas, only to find out it was a cut and shut and his insurance won't cover the cost!  Because in no way could he have expected the job to go like this when he took over from Sam Allardyce, a year ago.  In fact no one in their right mind would take the job then, if they knew what was going to occur now.  And if you believe the rumours and the stories, things are only about to get worse.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Articles Posted Elsewhere

Just in case you were interested, here are some other pieces I've done over the past few months...

In Bed With Maradona

*Team GB: The Elephant in Lord Coe's Room - Click here

*Black History Month Does Football for In Bed With Maradona:
Part One / Part Two


*The Last Taboo - Click here

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Just a Little Too Much...

Rarely one to partake in interviews, I was really interested see what Roy Keane had to say in today's Sunday Times.  Not only did I learn quite a bit about him but I also learnt a lot about Sir Alex Ferguson.  Not so much him the person, but the person he becomes to those around him.
Having spent 12 1/2 years at Manchester United, it's fair to say that Keane grew to know him extremely well; both professionally and I would imagine, personally.  But you get the feeling that he didn't really know the Scot until he acrimoniously left the club in 2005.

Much like Gary Neville; Keane was disliked by all fans other than United fans, but as a football lover you had to respect a man who always appeared to give his all for his team by setting the standard expected as their captain.  (Violent moments aside!)

Friday, 25 November 2011

Premier League Preview - Match Day 13

After Champions League duty in midweek, it's back to the Premier League for England's top sides.  The Gunners have already qualified for the knock out stages and will be feeling confident as they welcome Martin Jol's stagnating Fulham side.  Bolton will be hoping for a win against Everton, as they look to escape the bottom three and high-flying Newcastle face rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford.

With Arsenal full of confidence after their midweek win, they represent a stern test for heir London neighbours Fulham; who have lost three of their last six games and sit just two points above the drop zone.  Fulham will need to keep Robin van Persie quiet after another two goals in against Borrusia Dortmund on Wednesday, taking his tally to 12 in the last eight games.  While Abou Diaby may start from the bench after his return to fitness.  Arsenal fans will be brightened by the news that Jack Wilshere should return in January.

Sunday, 20 November 2011


Andre, oh Andre,
What can you do?
This high line you play,
Is no good for you.

Luiz is too crazy,
Terry to slow,
You better sort it out,
Before Roman tells you to go.

You need to climb the table,
Or win the champions League,
Or a one-way ticket outta London,
Will be all that you need.

Teams used to come to the Bridge,
Happy for a draw,
But the style you now play,
They know they'll get more.

Ask Jose or Phil,
Carlo and Avram too,
They all know,
What you need to do.

Coz Roman's itchy fingers,
Will be pointed at you,
And you will soon see,
You are disposable too!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Black Mark for Blatter!

Is it wrong that I am not at all surprised by the comments from SISA's President.

This was the man who suggested professional women footballers' should wear more revealing kits, in order to attract bigger crowds.
He is also the man who remarked that any gay football fan should 'refrain from homosexual urges' should this wish to attend the World Cup in Qatar.
So, NO, I am not surprised.

I'm more surprised it took him so long to throw his bile at what is currently English football's biggest issue.

His inner cretins, sorry circle excluded, Sepp Blatter has long been out of touch with those of us in the real world.

There was a lot of anger in England following our failed WC bid.  At the time, I was intriqued by how much, maybe I was one of the few who remembered what happened when you did a deal with the Devil.

Our bid team and their intentions were honest, but they missed the biggest point.  That football is now a business first and a sport second.  And just like in business, a gentleman's word is no longer his bond.  When you play with people who have different rules to your own, it is inevitable that you will get burnt.  That's not to say the other bids were less that straight.  Just that they probably knew how to play the game better than we did.

Hopefully we all learnt a lesson because regardless of his latest mindless comments.  playing him at his own game may be the only way to get rid of him.

The English FA did their best not to get him re-elected by politely asking others not to vote him in.  As a tactic, we saw how well that worked.  I don't mean to be crass but that was going t the monkeys when the organ grinders needed to be the first port of call.

I don't know who said it but they were right.  The people who run the money, are the people who run everything.  If we do actually want to do something, then that is where we need to be directing our focus.

I may not have met Blatter, nor do I know him, but I get the sense he has absolutely no intention of resigning.  Although I'd love him to prove me wrong.
So it is down to us to give him that extra push.  From previous comments he doesn't care one iota for either the media or the fans.  So I say let's give him a reason to really dislike us!

It's time to go to FIFA's sponsors.  Their money feeds the monster so taking it away or minimising it, is the first step in the right direction.

We; the media, the fans, the players need to make sure the sponsors realise that any link to FIFA, while Blatter is at the helm will be hugely damaging to both their business and their public relations.

So what can we do:
* Name and shame these sponsors
* Contact them; as the BBC has been doing
* Continue to get involved with campaigns such as Kick It Out, change FIFA and any other organisation that promotes equality and clarity within the game
* Get on twitter, follow and RT the words of people such as Stan Collymore
* Share articles from around the world abut FIFA's ill-dealings

Hopefully the professional football associations will be doing all they can, but as football lovers our part is just as imperative.

And hopefully we will get this inexpediant, obnoxious and downright revolting creature knocked off his perch and out of our game.  Forever.

Monday, 7 November 2011


Well, everyone and their guinea pig has been writing these amazing tributes to the great man.  I didn't think there was anything I could say, that hadn't already been said. So I thought I'd just say it, my way.

Congrats Sir Alex on your 25th year,
I hate your club, but hold you dear,
For all you've done for football UK,
And what you have shown us along the way.

A passion that has kept you strong,
And allowed you to have a career so long,
Ability to change and adapt,
Even when the media are on your back.

Many have tried to challenge your strength,
But you've knocked them back, sat chewing on the bench,
There was the so-called special one,
Now over in Spain, poking eyes with his thumb.

King Kenny has returned to put up a fight,
But you will defeat him with all your might,
And my French Professor, who you used to hate,
But with age you have mellowed and he's now your mate.

The amazing talent that you have brought through,
Becks, two Neville's, Scholes and Giggs too,
The titles, the cups, league trophies and shields,
All achieved because of your intense will.

A generation of fans are indebted to you,
But hurry up and retire, so my boys can win a trophy or two!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Case For The Defence.

Well, I may be an eternal Arsenal optimist but even I would not have predicted that.   My prediction was 2-1 to the boys from North London, but obviously I forgot about both teams complete inability to defend.

Although it must have been a great game for those who are not fans of either side, for those involved it was an emotional rollercoaster.  I for one had to take a siesta after 94 minutes of screaming, shouting and jumping around the living room like a mad woman.  We've got new neighbour moving in downstairs and they must have thought someone was trying to murder me!

But back to the game. As brilliant as the attcking was, the defending was abysmal.  Neither team will win anything if they carry on playing like that and we all know how happy that will make Mr Abromovich.

Regarding Chelsea, it's good to see them with the shackles off and Andre Villas Boas has clearly given his forward players free rein.  Juan Mata looks like he has a good eye for a pass and a goal and we all enjoy watching Daniel Sturridge, as he starts to fulfill his potential.  But all this will be irrelevant if they carry on defending as if they don't know each other.  Ashley Cole had clearly decided to target the Arsenal full-backs as he bombed down the wing, which is fair enough but when he later played Robin Van Persie onside, he didn't even bother to track back.  He just stood there and watched the player bore down on Petr Cesh's goal.  Surprising, given that he is normally far more alert than that.

There is no denying there was a time when John Terry was rated as the best defender in England, although some felt this was by default, due to Ledley King and his knee problems.  He was never the quickest of men and as he ages, what little speed he had is disappearing.  Even if he hadn't slipped on the pitch, it's highly doubtful he would've kept up with Van Persie as he scored his 2nd and Arsenal's fourth.  In a team where most of the star players are the wrong side of 25, they seriously struggled against the pace of Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott.

When Makelele was there, it gave Chelsea that extra line of defence, something they crave now.  Frank Lampard is an attacking midfielder and we have seen from England's experiments that he struggles to commit to that type of restrictive position.  And it's clear that Mata is not the sort of player to sit there and clean up the mess, plus it would be a complete waste of his talents.  

Raul Meireles is probably the most natural candidate for the defensive midfield position bu he hasn't played as much as executed since his deadline day transfer from Liverpool.  I'm not sure he's the best man for the job but it's clear the team is struggling with the organisation and execution of defending.  Cech is a great goalkeeper but the law of averages means he won't save more than half the attempts when he is stranded one-on-one with a world class striker.  A weak defence just makes his job ten times harder.  Just ask Wojiech.

But it's not all Terry's fault, Bosingwa left his team to hang out to dry on more than a couple of occasions.  Drifting infield and leaving his man in miles of open space behind him.  I heard a suggestion that the hyperactive David Luiz could play the Makelele role but I personally don't think he has the level of concentration required.  In fact, I have no idea what his best position would be.  Although it is clear after recent games, that he's not exactly anyone's idea of an outstanding right-back.

But don't get me wrong, Arsenal are no better.  The only positive was that they haven't got any worse since 'the game that shall not be named'.  That and the fact they conceded two less goals than the hosts

The youngster, Carl Jenkinson, started on the bench which was nice for him considering he's been fed to the Premier League sharks too many times already in his debut season.  But at least he has the excuse of youth and inexperience, I have no idea what Johan Djourou's excuse is.  Before you all start, I know he's not a right-back and I know he hasn't played there often.  I don't expect him to come in and be the best right-back in the world, but what I do expect is some common sense and a sign of some basic defensive abilities.  Cole turned him so many times in the first 30 minutes, he must have thought he was playing Twister!  If you know you are going to be playing in an unfamiliar position then surely you spend extra time practising in the week and more importantly, you keep things simple.

Andre Santos doesn't escape either, regardless of the fact he scored. As I remarked earlier; it was less a game of two halves, more a case of two Santos'.  His first-half performance was the worst I've seen since the days of Pascal Cygan and his big fat shiny head.  Bad positioning, bad tackling and lack of awareness just for starters.  I'm not saying he's a bad defender, but if he hadn't scored he may well have found himself left in West London with the recycling labeled unwanted wood.

But the biggest weakest link in the Arsenal defence has to be Per Mertersacker.  The shortest tall man I've ever seen.  He can't head the ball, he can't tackle and he runs slower than my Mum; and she's got a back full of metal!  His whole involvement in Chelsea's second goal epitomised why he is not exactly being taken to the hearts of the Arsenal faithful.  Yes, the fans were screaming for a defender who looked like a defender all summer.  But I think they would have preferred one who actually played like a defender!  The fact that the teenage Wojiech Szczesney had to come out and move the experienced German into position prior to a Chelsea free-kick, pretty much says it all.

Let's be honest, neither Sir Alex nor Roberto Mancini will be quaking in their boots after watching these two play a game of who can make the lowest number of mistakes.  Mr Wenger and Villas Boas are both blessed with great attacking talent, but they will both be aware that their strikers won't always be able to save the day. 

Trophy winning teams are built from the back to the front.  The success of each teams seasons will depend on which manager manages to fix his problems first.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Coverage of Football Black List Awards 2011

The annual Football Black List Awards held their ceremony on Wednesday night at the LOCOG offices in Canary Wharf. As it was my first time at the event I wasn't sure what to expect, but I have to say I wasn't disappointed.

Those that know me, know I can't turn down a good event, especially one with free food and drink so I was well in my element. But on a serious note, these awards weren't just about me stuffing my face. They're about the good that can come from such a simple game played by 22 men with a ball.

Leon Mann and Rodney Hinds have created an event that recognises those in the Afro-Carribean community whose work isn't just on the field of play. But is equally important nevertheless.

Natasha Meets... Chris Powell

People such as Lord Herman Ouseley, the chairman of Kick It Out. A man who remembers a time when racism and bigotry was far more prevalent in the game, and has used his influence as a FA councillor to encourage them to take the matter seriously and become part of the solution. This year, Lord Ouseley won the Keith Alexander Award; named after the former Lincoln City and Macclesfield Town manager who sadly passed away last year. His son Matt, a former agent, now Chief Scout at Notts County FC, presented the award.

The Community Award went to Lincoln Moses MBE for his work with the Continental Stars in Birmingham. CS is now a social enterprise which aims to help those in the community who others feel are hard to reach, and after meeting Lincoln, I'm not surprised he has made such a difference to so many lives. What started as simply a football club, now also runs a Homework Club and a Women's Help Group. The club also acts as Grassroots B.A.M.E (Black & Asians Minority Ethnic) advisers to the FA and the Kick It Out campaign.

Tottenham Hotspur player, Benôit Assou Ekotto, won the Off the Pitch Award. As he was unable to attend, it was collected by his team-mate, Sebastien Bassong. Benôit has used his own experiences of gang culture while growing up in France, to become an ambassador for charities such as the Evening Standards Dispossessed Fund. He has spent time with youngsters at Croydon's Potential charity, set up by Les Persaud after his 16-year-old son Stefan was murdered by a gang in 2005.
Mr Persaud said: "Benôit coming down to Croydon off his own back has been really important for these kids."

Natasha Meets... Sebastien Bassong

A Special Thank You Award was given to, Howard Holmes, of Football Unites, Racism Divides (FURD) in Sheffield. Following racist attacks in the area in 1995, the charity was created to 'do something' about the growing problem. Howard has recently taken semi-retirement after being at the helm for 15 years and was recently rewarded with a commemorative shirt by Sheffield United's, Kevin McCabe. Their aim is to ensure everyone who watches the game can do so in a safe environment. Pele attended a FURD event while visiting Sheffield and said: “Today's event shows how football brings people together and I am proud to be part of that."

Attendees included Sir Les Ferdinand, Ian Taylor, Chris Powell, Paul Elliott and Alex Song, and we all cheered these men and I know I personally, felt humbled just being in their company.

At a time when football regularly receives bad press for the ludicrous amount of money floating around; it's nice to remember that there will always be some, who are just in it for the love of the game.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


Is it me, or do some people seem to be enjoying Mr Wenger's current predicament a little too much?

The irony is none of this bile is coming from his fellow managers in the game. It's coming from ex-players, the media and a growing section of Arsenal fans.

Admittedly, not all ex-players, journalists or fans are part of the Wenger-out brigade. I'm not gonna start generalising.

But I find it slightly ironic that someone like Sam Allardyce can come out in support of the Frenchman but former players cannot.

No-one is infallible and maybe it is the fact that he has always been a media darling for so long, that makes recent events all the more interesting.

Not a day goes by when there isn't another article referencing his faults, coaching errors and failings in the tranfer market.

And I agree, the man has made mistakes. But which one of us hasn't?

But should these mistakes allow people to belittle one of the best managers, the Premier League has ever seen?

15 years ago, he came to North London and when he won the double he was the first non-British manager to do so. Since then he has won seven trophies and taken his club to numerous finals. He averages one trophy, every two seasons. Not too bad in a country where we regularly laud managers just foor keeping their club in the top flight.

Let's not forgot his two trophies each at Monaco and Grampas Eight, in France and Japan, respectively.

Without him players like; Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Freddie Ljundberg, may never have graced these shores. Not to mention how he extended the careers of Tony Adams, Steve Bould and David Seaman. As well as the numerous clubs that have benefitted from players who came through the Arsenal youth system.

With his passion and idealistic view of football, we started to see the game played in a majestic way, something not common in England.

His attention to detail helped the club build the magnificent, Emirates Stadium, as well as turn Colney into one of the best training facilities in the world.

Yet some feel it is acceptable to ridicule him and make a mockery of all he has and WILL achieve in the future.

I believe that respect is something that is earned.

And Mr Wenger has earned his, by working a hell of a lot harder than most.

Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Foul Mouth of the North London Derby

North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have come together with the aim of capturing those involved in offensive chanting, during last weekend's North London derby.

There has been much press coverage of the chants; some aimed at Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor were in relation to the gun attack on the Togo national team bus on the way to last years' African Cup of Nations.

Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna was rumoured to have been spat on by the home fans as he waited to be stretchered off the pitch following a collision with the advertising boards, that resulted in a fractured fibula. Along with the usual bile that is aimed at the both managers from the rival fans.

The clubs have now released a joint statement condemning the actions and encouraging others to 'shop a moron' if they know someone who was involved. If the information is confirmed with video footage the clubs will take action that may involve the person being banned for life from both clubs' the stadium.

This is not the first time this season, fans chants have been in the spotlight. Fans of Leeds and Manchester United were also caught on camera singing songs about the Istanbul and Munich tragedies respectively, in the Carling Cup last month.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Football Black List Awards 2011

Football's Black List awards are back with a star-studded event taking place at London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games & Paralympic Games Limited (LOCOG) in Canary Wharf on October 26th.

The awards celebrate achievements by those in the black community at all levels of the game with supporters including the Football Association, Professional Footballers’ Association, Kick It Out and the Black Collective of Media in Sport (BCOMS), and Horizon with The Voice Newspaper as a media partner.

They were created in 2008 by BBC Journalist, Leon Mann and The Voice sports editor, Rodney Hinds and despite struggling to find funding, they have worked hard to bring them back for the fourth year.

                                                  Paul Elliot, Spoony and Darren Lewis

“The Black List Awards is very special as it brings different parts of the black community together.” said Mann.

The initiative isn't just about the players on the pitch, the aim is also to recognise the acts of those at a grass roots and administrative level. The categories at the awards will be media, commercial, administration, community and coaching/management. There will also be awards for off-the-pitch, grassroots and the Keith Alexander award.

“It is not right that our community can have more than 25 per cent of players on the pitch but not have the same representation in other areas, in particular administration,” continued Mann.

“You can expect to see a number of new names on the list that people aren’t quite familiar with, but will be very impressed with their achievements.”

SB.TV will be there this year, to bring you the best of the action with exclusive coverage of the night. Guests will include Premier League players, London 2012 Olympians and black managers and coaches.

This years nominees include: Manchester United and England star, Rio Ferdinand; ex-player/manager and now Sky Sports commentator, Chris (Kammy) Kamara; Daily Mirror sports journalist, Darren Lewis, and England Ladies manager, Hope Powell.

For a full guide to all on the list, go here

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Bloody Hell Carlos!

Isn't life funny.  My 9-year old cousin rang me after his match on Sunday.  He'd started on the bench, and he wasn't happy, but he eventually came on and scored a goal. I explained to him, that football is a squad game.  The manager makes decisions for a reason and that no-one like a sulker.


Looks like I decided to watch the right Manchester team in the Champions League tonight.

Admittedly, United's 3-3 draw with Basel sounded tasty, but that won't beat the sight of actual sadness in Roberto Mancini's eyes as he told the world:

He [Tevez] refused to go on [the pitch].

Or the sheer anger on Graeme Souness' face on Sky Sports as he described the player as a 'bad egg'.

I think his behaviour or lack off, is frigging ridiculous. To sit on the substitutes bench while your team are losing 2-0 away to Bayern Munich, and to refuse to go out there and try and help your teammates shows me a lot about the man. And a lot more about his lack of character.

I know there are many who hate how much footballers earn and the lifestyle they lead. But that is beyond the point right. This is about a employee who has refused to work for his employer, for no justifiable reason. Simple as.

Okay, we all know he wants to go. He wants to be nearer his family and blah, blah, blah.
No-one is disputing that but as it stands, he belongs to City and until someone else pays his wages he just has to put up, or shut up.

If you feel really that strongly Tevez; then buy yourself out of your contract or go on strike. For all I care go and sit somewhere sunny and wait until the club have to sell you for 25% of their preferred fee. But what you don't do is embarrass the club and disrespect the fans. And please don't do it with all the class of a toddler with toothache.

He has shown a disregard for the club but a complete lack of respect for all those involved. I would love to know the thoughts of David Platt or Brian Kidd on the bench. Two old school football men, and I can't imagine they were too impressed with the Argentinian. They must wish for the days of Clough and Robson when players did what they were told and managers were feared more than the wife. After all their years in the game, it must leave a nasty taste in their mouths.

Mancini has said he will never play for him again and the owners have to back him. For me, he has to leave the club. A precedent needs to be set, both at the club and in the world of football that the clubs are calling the shots. Because for so long, it has felt like the players have too much power. For City to continue to pay him and allow him to stay involved, they would only be confirming the latter. To keep him at the club would be a big two fingers up to the fans who must be completely out of patience with the forward by now.

We always talk about the loyalty in the game, and how quickly it is disappearing. Judging by tonight's events, respect is on the way out too.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Oh! Is it okay to strike then?

Tottenham Hotspur must hate the last two weeks of August.

This is the second time in three years that they have seen a player left out of the squad because 'their head isn't right', just after the start of the season. I mean, what kind of stupidness is that?

You are a healthy young man; living the life you always dreamed of and earning million of pounds. But you can't play for 90 minutes because some other club likes the look of you. Luka Modric is just another example of players' having this mad level of power in the game.

It is disrespectful to your teammates + your manager, the club and the fans. You are still employed by them, the least you can do is your job. While they are still paying you, it takes nothing to have a little respect.

I could, have been talking about Samir Nasri as his transfer saga with Manchester City continues. But the Frenchmen did himself a few favours with the Gooner faithful with a spirited performance against Liverpool. After all the club has done for him, the least he can do is see out his notice. Without Arsenal and Mr Wenger, Nasri would not have built the career he has.

Apparently Nasri's deal is on hold because his agent doesn't feel he is getting a good enough payment. You just couldn't make it up! But it will be interesting to see if he does play against Udinese if he is still at the club come Wednesday.

Berbatov did the same, un-right-head excuse before his move to Manchester United went through. When did it become so commonplace to feign 'mental illness' and refuse to get on the pitch?

The club may have decided to sell you but instead of doing things properly, the player takes the decision out of the clubs hands. It must leave a bitter taste in the mouth of all involved. And what about the new club, they know that player will jump as soon as the next big pay day comes along.

Going on strike, courting other clubs in the press and airing your views in the media. It just seems to be increasing by the week.

Football just feels like it's getting messier and more dirty these days. If it's not players' personal scandals, it's the air of corrupt that resides above FIFA and Uefa. And to be honest, I really don't like it.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Two Hamstrings and a Fourth Minute Goal!

In the words of the Beautiful South, Arsenal fans may: 'Need a little time to think it over...'

In the words of Natasha Henry, you need: 'To get a bloody grip!'

Alright, I'm gonna be honest. The 90 minutes of football that we've all just watched was far from the best 90 minutes Arsenal have played. Yes, it was a little uncomfortable and nervous at times. But this is football people, what do you expect? If you want calm and serene, go and watch Bowls!

I just feel some of you out there need to get a little perspective about the real state of our team and realise that news of our death is being greatly exaggerated.

Yes, Cesc has left. But come on, we've all been planning for life without him since last summer.

For me last season, Cesc ended up being more of a hindrance than a help. Let me explain. He wasn't at his best for the majority of the season - when he did play - and when he was on the pitch, all other midfielders were looking to him to pull the strings. So when he was having a poor showing, it couldn't help but make those around him more fragile. Imagine what happens to the orchestra if the conductor is out of time.

But he's gone now. Lets regroup and move on quickly because this vitriol coming from the fans AND the press will only start to infect the players.

Whether or not you are happy with players' comments or Mr Wenger's - lack off - transfer dealings you have to support the team. Do any of you think it's actually helpful to boo the team off the pitch or abuse a player as he arrives at a stadium? All it does is make them more complacent and eager to leave. This is the time all who love Arsenal Football club should be pulling together, not tearing ourselves apart.

Of course when it comes down to it, the game is won by the 11 on the pitch. But you only have to visit clubs like Stoke and Blackpool to see the difference a truly supportive fan base can make.

So have a drink, chill out and remember why we love this club in the first place.

And if you decide you only want to be in a relationship with a club that pimps their way to the title, I believe there's a club with less history and soul than us over on the Kings Road. From what I hear, they're not very picky.

Natasha Meets.... Chris Kamara

Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Chris Kamara, better known as Kammy.  We were treated to drinks, nibbles and football chat all courtesy of Wash & Go.

He is very much the guy you see on screen; the cheeky sense of humour and the glint in his eye. And that laugh!

Along with others, I was there to discuss Team GB.
To read my thoughts, click here

We came up with our team, what would yours be?
Try to predict Kammy's to win an all-expenses paid holiday to Brazil here.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

I'm Not Laughing Anymore

I don't know what was worse when the new FIFA World Rankings came out. The fact that we all know we don't deserve to be fourth or the fact that the other countries media have picked up on it.

It's Sepp Blatter's first deliberately funny joke, and the England team are the punchline.

Although; lets be honest, the joke has been on us for a while. And like the one your Uncle tells every Christmas, it's no longer funny.

For years, our so-called 'golden generation' of footballers have been talked up even though they routinely disappoint. Tournament after tournament England are discussed as challengers with everyone from - that years - Prime Minister to your local newsagent getting in on the act. Even the bookies wind us up, quoting 5-1, when it should be more like 12s. Who really believes England are in competition with Spain and Brazil?

Lets get real, we haven't won a trophy since that World Cup in 1966. We haven't made it to a final since then. And lets not to talk about the failure to even qualify. We all blamed Steve McLaren after the fiasco but he was not one of the well renumerated young men on the pitch.
So when are we going to stop hiding what has been staring us in the face for years?
England just aren't good enough.

The reality is we haven't been 'real' competitors in international ootball for many years. The sooner we admit it, the sooner we can change that fact.

Not since Euro 1996 have we looked like a team. Not a real one. In my opinion, anyway. There have been eleven men on the pitch but they are clearly not playing for each other. Does anyone know who they are playing for?

You only have to look at the Rio - Terry - captaincy fiasco to see all is not well. If John Terry 'did' sleep with another players partner; he showed a lack of respect for his family and for his teammates. As well as the game. I believe Fabio Capello was right to take the honour away from him. But to give it back and ridicule Rio in the process was unacceptable.

An off-field incident became part of what was occuring on the field.

Maybe this is why lil Jack Wilshere has been such a revelation. I know he is going to be a fabulous talent. I saw him against Wigan in the Carling Cup, a couple of years ago. He was amazing then, and that was against Premier League opposition. You know he wants to do his best for England, as a player AND as a fan.

Maybe now is the time for change. Let's go to Euro 2012 with a new team and a fresh mentality. Anything but stay as we are, because it's just not working.

We look sterile on the pitch and I always expect us to struggle against a good team. Club wise our domestic teams compete every year but our national team cannot.

Maybe now is the time for change. Let's go to Euro 2012 with a new team and a fresh mentality. Yes, the new players will be less experienced but it's time for an overhaul.
Well, it can't be any worse than it is now.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Dear Arsene,

Oh my Arsene.

I love you. I really do.
You have given me some of my favourite memories. The 5-1 drubbing of Inter Milan at the immense San Siro, the rejuvenation of our legendary Back Four and Thierry Henry.
But right now, you are causing me so much pain.

Come on, are you surprised David Moyes is a little bit peeved at you? You made a bid £2million less than you did last summer, even after Phil Jagielka had another good season. Weren't you just complaining about Barca doing the same to you, over Cesc? If you want the player, go and bloody buy him. It's not like the coffers are empty, far from it if I believe what I read! It feels like you enjoy making it a little painful for us, the Gooners. You did the same thing over Mark Schwarzer last summer. Fair enough, it didn't work out too bad in the end. That Wojiech Sczcesny is a star. But arguing over £250,000! That's like me arguing over 25p.

But this year, we really need and want a Premier League experienced defender. I think we deserve it, after some of last years cock-ups. That doesn't mean some unknown is exceptable this time around.

Look, you even have a choice.
Jagielka, Gary Cahill and Christopher Samba. Admittedly Cahill does represent the best value for money and you do have a good relationship with Owen Coyle. But that's not the point, just buy one of them. Before I get to the stage where I don't care which one.

Please. I beg of you.
Just buy a defender, keep TV5 away from Belgium and re-sign Samir Nasri. It is that simple.

We can win things again and I can regain my bragging rights over the Spurs fans.

I just want things to go back to normal, or I'm afraid you might have to go...

Best wishes,
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Racism Still Kicking!

Just like most of you I was watching Barcelona v Real Madrid, enjoying the wonders of Messi and hoping there would be less theatrics than last week. Wondering where the hell Jose was and wondering how many fouls Ricardo Carvalho would make before he got a seccond yellow.

Then in the second half, Emmanual Adebayor replaced Higuin up front for Real Madrid. At first, I thought I was hearing things but after turning up the TV and sitting quietly I knew I wasn't. This wasn't my imagination, I really was hearing monkey chants. In the year 2011 when the United States of America has a black President and some of the World biggest stars are people of colour, the ignorance of some people still continues to shock and disgust me.

As an Arsenal fan, I'm not a lover of Adebayor but I would not wish that kind of bile on my worst enemy. No person should ever have to suffer abuse because of their heritage, sexuality or sex. It is not acceptable and it should not be tolerated.

Luckily in England it happens very rarely and if it does the bigot is usually given a lifetime ban from the club. But in other parts of Europe this continues to be a regular occurance. The problem for me is that when it does occur FIFA and UEFA do too little about it. Either it is brushed under the carpet or the club/country is given a paltry fine. An amount so small it wouldn't even cover a weeks wages of the average player.

If they are supposed to be the masters/ the headteachers of all things football; how can they allow such things to continue?

They preach of their commitment to diversity within this beautiful game yet they ignore events such as this. If Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini feel they deserve their seats at football's top table, this is the time for them to prove it. Create a clear set of rules and punishments - should the club/country allow it to continue - to keep this ignorant hatred from spoiling our games.

The Kick Racism out of Football campaign has been going strong in this country and I am proud to say I have not seen or heard any of this filth while watching football. Maybe that is why there are so many foreign players in the UK compared to other countries. Because we welcome everyone with open arms and judge them by their person, not by their colour.

If other countries did the same, imagine how great our wonderful game would be.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Bolton 2 - 1 Arsenal: Match Report

As I've been on the missing list for a while I thought I'd give you a match report before I try to resume normal service this weekend.

Tamir Cohen's first goal in 18 months gave Bolton three points and realisticly ended Arsenal's title hopes at the Reebok on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

It's Not Always About Football

I'm not one for preaching or telling people what to do.  But I just read about Dave and his daughter Libby.  He lost her when she was very young yet he has found the strength to help others, something I find seriously commendable. 

Yes, Dave is a Liverpool fan but this is about more than football.  This is about life, love and loss.  Things we can all relate because it could happen to any one of us.

Please spare a minute to read this; tell your friends and if you can, donate.

Thank you,

Friday, 18 March 2011

Premier League Preview - Match Day 30

I hope you haven't missed the previews too much but they are back. Yah, I hear you all scream! So the league is Arsenal's only chance of a trophy this year, Liverpool and Manchester City are out of the Europa league and Chelsea are still waiting for their prize asset to start paying back his £50million fee.

Gerard Houllier has a defensive crisis on his hands as well as more drama within the ranks. David Dunne and James Collins have been fined over a mysterious incident that occurred on the clubs training camp, apparently coaching staff were involved but the Frenchman is staying tight lipped about the event. This won't help matters for a team that sit 13th and face a lively Wolves side. With rumours constantly circling that star man Ashley Young also wants to leave in the summer, this could be a very testing time for the Villa fans.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Premier League Preview - Match Day 28

We only have eight games this week due to Sunday's Carling Cup final between Arsenal and Birmingham. So Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur get a break after their winning Champions League exploits. Those few days rest could be vital for Carlo Ancelotti's men, as Manchester United visit Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Both clubs have had a relaxing fortnight since their last games so here is hoping for an interesting attacking encounter. Gerard Houllier's team are still not comfortable in the table as they sit a lowly 16th. The best they can aim for is a mid-table finish with the hope that they get off to a better start next season. Darren Bent has been discussing how happy he is at the club and as always, he will be looking to get on the score sheet. And congratulations to former player Ian Taylor who has been appointed the newest club ambassador.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Time to Say Goodbye.

David Moyes is the third longest serving manager in the Premier League behind Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

In that time he has worked wonders at Everton on what can only be described as a Championship club budget.  Recently I have become more clued up on the clubs finances due to another great piece by Swiss Ramble.

The good thing is I finally understand why Moyes spends every transfer window saying: 'We re looking to bring in a couple of players on loan.'  Unlike some other managers he is not just blagging.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Other Articles I have Written

For those of you who have been asking for links for some of my other articles, here they are:

Is the attitude towards women in football changing?
I don’t know what is surprising me more. The surprise of the world regarding Andy Gray and Richard Keys comments or the media’s leap onto the bandwagon to condemn them. 
Do foreign players get more grief than their English compatriots from the media?
Oh, naughty naughty Cesc Fabregas. Look at him being rude to the referee. And there he is waving an imaginary card at a player. Such a bad, bad boy. And what about Nigel De Jong, with his violence on the pitch and career threatening tackles.

Finding a future through football. 
As an Arsenal fan I was looking forward to seeing Ian Wright involved with football again in the show ‘Football Behind Bars’.  But I came away thinking about more than Wrighty’s impressive vocabulary.   I changed the channel thinking this might actually be an innovative idea, as opposed to just another celebrity helping out the little people.

Premier League Review - Match Day 27

This weeks round of games weren't as exciting as the week before but we still had some important results in terms of how they affect the table. Only one team won away this week and we had the rare sighting of two goalless draws at Craven Cottage and Ewood Park.

Wolves took the same team to the Emirates that beat leaders Man United the previous week but the were no where near to taking any points of the Londoners. Arsenal would have had more than their two goals if it wasn't for the impressive performances of Richard Stearman and Wayne Hennessey. Stearman made several blocks to stop the Gunners increasing their leads while Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas and RVP kept Hennessey on his toes throughout the ninety minutes.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Natasha Meets.... The Premier League trophy

Turns out it is true, you are not allowed to touch the illustrious trophy.  Hopefully I am the first f many Gooners to be pictured with it this season...

Friday, 11 February 2011

Premier League Preview - Match Day 27

Just 11 games to go until the end of the season and admittedly this has been the most exciting race in years.  Only seven points separate the bottom ten teams and one win can see sides shooting straight up the table.  Both those going for the title and those fighting relegation have the time to completely turn around their season.

The North Londoners have won their last ten games against Wolves in all competitions, in those games Arsenal have scored 27 games while Wolves have scored a meagre five. The last time they lost against them was at Highbury in 1979 in the Old First Division, so Mr Wenger may be feeling slightly confident in the build up to this match. Although he would do well not to underestimate Mick Mac's men as they beat leaders United last time out.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Denmark 1 - 2 England: Match Report - International Friendly

For once an England friendly wasn't as meaningless as we anticipated.  In fact we actually learnt something for a change.  Mostly, that Jack Wilshere is not the answer to Fabio Capello's obsessive search for a defensive midfielder.  The Arsenal starlet had a good 45 minutes in his first senior International start, making some strong but honest tackles as well as looking confident alongside the England squad veterans.  But he needs the freedom to play his natural offensive game, something that was evident when he linked up well with Wayne Rooney and Darren Bent in the 30th minute.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Premier League Review - Match Day 26

Whoa, what a weekend? Leaders losing to relegation battlers, goal records being broken and possibly the best ever come back in Premier League history. Here's a round-up of all ten games and a star man for each.

This was one of five games that had at least four goals this weekend. Although both teams will be happy scoring two goals, Villa in particular need to learn how not to concede. The Midlanders only sit three points above the relegation places and one bad result draw them back into the mire. John Pantsil scored his third own goal of the season to give Villa the lead before they lost the lead; for the first time, to an Andy Johnson goal.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Premier League Preview - Match Day 26

Lets be honest, there is only one match everyone is looking forward to this weekend. Chelsea v Liverpool but if you are a fan of neither he's a quick rundown of the rest.

A game between two low scoring teams; combined they have scored only 54 goals this season, the same as leaders Manchester United. Both have also lost two of their last six leagues games although their injury lists are shrinking which will please both managers. USA star Michael Bradley is in the squad, while Stewart Downing has been declared fit and should start. Luke Young's return date is unknown after he was told to rest by a specialist.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Premier League Review - Match Day 25

The games come thick and fast as the fight to win and stay in the Premier League continues.  With debutant's scoring on their debuts and clubs being dragged into the relegation mire, it can only get more interesting.

I know you are all expecting me to go on about Everton's goal but to be honest it's all been said and I can't really be bothered to go over it all again.  I will merely say watch this and make your own decision on whether Louis Saha was offside or whether it was the second phase or whatever it is called.  Seriously though, is anyone actually 100% clear of the offside rule these days.

Natasha Meets.... Nigel Winterburn

I was privileged enough to meet the Arsenal defensive legend yesterday on behalf of Football Fancast.  To hear what he had to say to me and Sian Ranscombe about the youngsters, the trophy drought and whether he could hack it in todays' league, see here.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


DISCLAIMER: This is merely for amusement purposes and I don't condone the act of wishing football players dead.

So we say Goodbye to Gary Nev
To Man United fans he is a ledge
To the rest of us, a pain in the arse
Always opened his mouth much too fast.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Premier League Preview - Match Day 25: Top Six Games

What a weekend it's been in English football. FA Cup shocks and transfer deadline day drama prelude this midweek round of Premier League matches.

Everton earned a replay at Stamford Bridge in the Fa cup but first they have to travel to North London to face an Arsenal team who have picked up ten points from their last 12. Although the Toffees are haven't lost their last three. Neither team did much in the transfer window so it will be the same old faces on show. The Gunners will be without Samir Nasri after he suffered a hamstring strain while Sebastien Squillaci is suspended after his red card at the weekend.

Friday, 28 January 2011

FA Cup Fourth Round - Ones to Watch

For my Nan and Grandad Henry - To them I owe my sarcastic nature and love of The Arsenal x

Well it's FA Cup time this weekend - Yah! We've got five all Premier League ties and 15 of the top flight left in the competition. A few promotion chasers will take a rest from their respective leagues and lets not forget a few non-league sides including Crawley Town after they beat Championship side Derby last time out. As much as I would love to preview all 16 matches for you, I do have a life (I do!) so I have chosen the ones that I, and some of my twitter friends are looking forward to.

Of course I'm looking forward to this after seeing Mr Wenger's men reach their first final in five years on Tuesday. It's hard to know which Arsenal will turn up as they seen to enjoy adding more games to their already packed schedule but hopefully they should come out all guns blazing at home. You would think that RVP and player of the season, Samir Nasri will be rested especially with the Barca game on the horizon. Expect Nicolas Bendtner and Andrey Arshavin to start with some more of the golden youngsters on the bench. The Russian's form has dipped and a goal would give him some much needed confidence.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Premier League Preview - Match Day 23

After last weeks FA cup weekend the players are back to earning their crust in the Premier League. With a full roster - yah -, we've got three local derbies on Sunday and quite a few debutants as we hit the midway point of the transfer window.

The first of our derby Sunday games starts in the Midlands with two teams desperate for a win and local bragging rights. Villa are currently languishing in the relegation zone something I'm sure the blues fans will remind them off throughout the match. David Bentley should be in th squad following the completion of his loan deal from Spurs. Scott Dann is out after tearing his hamstring in midweek though Lee Bowyer returns after his three-match ban for violent conduct.

Emile Heskey and Ashley Young are both suspended which only adds to Villa's worries. There are rumours that Spurs youngster Kyle Walker will make his league debut. After clear the air talks with boss Gerard Houllier in the week Robert Pires is likely to start on the bench. Both teams average about one goal a game, something they will need to rectify if they are to improve on their position in the table.

KEY MAN: Roger Johnson - One of Birmingham most important players this season.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Time to get Less Personal

Just like Richard Keys doesn't seem to remember a time before the Premier League, there are an increasing number of fans who don't remember a time BBB - or as I like to call it 'Before Brand Beckham'.

A time that seems so long ago in todays world where footballers are England's rock stars. BBB was a time when the most important thing was what they did on the pitch, not who they did in a nightclub's toilets. A time when as far as I was concerned; every footballers child was called Jack, John, Jane or Jill. A time when I cared about a footballers marriage and subsequent divorce as much as I cared about.... well, golf.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Premier League Review - Match Day 22

Where do we start? Well, another round of fixtures in the Premier League where even Mystic Meg would have a struggle predicting the scores. The race for who gets the sack first continues and I'm just as confused as you are. I can tell you one thing though, the only person smiling tonight is Sir Alex. He may even have spat his gum out for the occasion.

I'm not going to say City came to the Emirates looking for the draw, but I've seen my Nan look more threatening on a trip to Iceland*. The first 30 minutes were all Arsenal with Robin Van Persie hitting the bar for the first of a number of times. Captain Cesc Fabregas looked odds on to score with Joe Hart beaten but his shot hit the post as did the one Theo Walcott took after receiving the rebound. The only chance of note for City came in the first half after Carlos Tevez left Laurent Koscielny in his wake before sending the ball over the bar. While some desperate defending by Manchester City gave Jack Wilshere a chance which he sent over the bar.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Premier League Preview - Match Day 22

Happy 2011 everyone, hope you're having a good start to the year. As you may have noticed, I missed Match Day 21 due to still being intoxicated from New Years Eve. But I'm back - and sober - with another preview.

Another impressive performance by Mr Wenger's men will have them raring to go against second placed Manchester City at the Emirates. Their 3 - 0 win at St. Andrew's took their tally to seven points out of nine and a win at home to City would see the clubs swap places, presuming Manchester United beat Stoke the day before. Samir Nasri continues to pull the strings in the Gunners midfield and it will be interesting to see how Nigel de Jong deals with his quick feet and silky moves. I think the City man could be a bet for the first yellow card.