Saturday, 28 November 2009
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Monday, 23 November 2009
Thursday, 19 November 2009
Monday, 16 November 2009
The Irish have enjoyed considerable success by invoking the rule, most famously when they used it to progress to the quarter-finals of the 1990 World Cup without winning a game in normal time, forcing a corner, or completing any passes. The LOTI also secured Ireland's passage to the knockout stages in 2002 after they had been outplayed by both Cameroon and Germany. It has been one of the most popular cliches for commentators sentimentalising Irishness, second only to constant mentions of 'pints of the black stuff flowing' every time the men in green lose by fewer than four goals.
This year, however, Ireland look set to miss out on qualification despite generally strong performances, thanks to a brutal draw which has pitted them against both Italy and France. After a fortunate deflected winner in Saturday's first leg with France left the Irish with a mountain to climb, FoI President David Blood launched an informal inquiry. He discovered, according to insiders at Croke Park, that the Luck of the Irish was not renewed in time for Euro 2004, and has been discontinued. 'We wondered what had happened to all those scrambled goals from dubious corners, and qualifying groups full of joke teams like the Faroe Islands,' Blood lamented. 'Turns out
'Feck!' added Blood.
It has not yet been established why the Luck of the Irish was rescinded. One theory suggests that the Irish gods were upset by the appointment of non-Irishman Mick McCarthy as manager, but this seems unlikely to have been the cause, as the 1990 World Cup squad was famously managed by an Englishman and contained as many as eight players who had never been to, or heard of, Ireland. Others think the LOTI may have been transferred to Ireland's rugby team, who won the Grand Slam this year after Wales's Stephen Jones missed a decisive last-second penalty.
'But to be honest,' Blood admitted, 'we might have just forgotten to send the forms back after the party to welcome back the 2002 heroes [from South Korea, where Ireland reached the last sixteen]. Now, there was a grand night with some great craic.'
This is not the first blow to Irish heritage in recent years. The legendary Blarney Stone famously lost its magical powers after being urinated on by members of an English stag party, and the nation's official nickname was changed to 'The Emirates Emerald Isle' after a sponsorship deal in 2007. But Blood promised fans that 'whatever happens in Paris, win, lose or draw, the black stuff will be flowing back home.'
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Friday, 13 November 2009
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Despite being less than fifty percent fit, Gerrard limped off the bench last night to save a point for the inconsistent Reds, coolly slotting home a controversial penalty with his one functional leg. It was the latest in a series of heroic rescue missions by Liverpool's overworked talisman. Earlier this season he notched the winner at Bolton despite being unable to walk, diverting a Yossi Benayoun cross into the net with one of his crutches. And last year, the 29-year-old famously netted two goals against Real Madrid despite being in a coma, after boss Rafa Benitez picked him ahead of a fully fit Dirk Kuyt.
But an unusually frank interview after last night's disappointing draw suggests that Gerrard is coming to the end of his patience. 'I've had enough of playing alongside this shower of shit,' the Liverpool skipper told a startled press conference. 'It's all right when Fernando [Torres] is around, but the rest of them, I ask you.'
'I mean, who the hell is David Ngog? Is he even a professional footballer? It looks like some sort of anagram.'
There are fears among those close to Gerrard that he is now on a mission to collect a season-long injury, after Sky TV action replays showed him deliberately trying to get hit in the face by a Cameron Jerome shot, lying down in front of Sebastian Larsson in the hope of being trampled by the Birmingham player's studs, and leaping onto the bonnet of Albert Riera's BMW in the car park afterwards. An Anfield insider commented: 'We're all worried he's going to do something really stupid next, like swallowing poison, or playing in England's pointless friendly against Brazil.'
Monday, 9 November 2009
The chairman of Northwich Victoria’s Supporters Club has admitted that, like much of the nation, he spent the last 10 minutes of the FA Cup win over Charlton half hoping for an equaliser to prevent a flurry of clichés from exasperating ITV commentator Peter Drury.
For the first time in recorded history, a non-league side triumphed over a league side in an FA Cup tie as Northwich Victoria – a team made up of plumbers, taxi drivers and semi-professional footballers – harnessed the mystical magic of the cup to book a place in the second round.
While the exact nature of the magic of the cup is a closely-guarded secret, only available to members of the magic circle and plucky non-league sides, it is believed to be a trick of misdirection involving a boggy old pitch, a small crowd of frenzied yokels, a freezing afternoon in early winter and a plentiful supply of fate-tempting.
Always ready to take the side of the underdog, viewers across the country cheered on Northwich during their televised triumph, but their heroics were sadly soured by the pre-arranged, pretentious babblings of insufferable wordbag Peter Drury.
Drury spent the first 75 minutes of the contest stressing his incredulity that the people of Northwich were able to function as human beings and that the Conference North side had managed to “dress properly for the game with socks and boots and all”.
But after the minnows took the lead, Drury shifted up a gear and began to speak almost entirely in verse, summarising events in hyperbolic dactylic hexameter.
Having stressed that the FA Cup was “doing its thing”, Drury then proceeded to run through a dizzying medley of Cup clichés, which built to the bone-chilling crescendo of “Teenage kicks! Northwich victorious!”
“This is a fantastic, historic day for my club,” Northwich nut Peter Barton enthused.
“However, I have to admit that I was kind of hoping Charlton would equalise to take the wind out of Drury’s sails. We could all hear him from the terraces and he was putting off some of the players with his unconscionable boobery.
“I’m looking forward to the second round and Lincoln but if it’s televised it might be for the best if we lose 2-0 or 3-0.”