"Its Ole's, But Its Early Days"

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David Pleat always manages to rise to the occasion, as the above warning to any Spaniards risking a premature exaltation clearly demonstrates.
He surpassed himself during the Semi Final between Spain and Russia.
My personal favourite was when he questioned himself on the (in)validity of his own description of Sergio Ramos as either a "cultivated bull" or a "cultured bull".

Non-Abo Aussies On The Insider Track

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"All that remains is a fascination for desert-like and indifferent forms, for the very operation of the system that annihilates us" - Baudrillard.

As our Spectacular Extravaganzas morph into scaled up versions of the "penitentiary theatre" in 'Escape From New York', it is indeed fascinating to monitor the forms of their Theatre of the Spectacle.

Abramovich Seals Semi Final Spot For Germany

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All happy football clubs resemble one another, each unhappy football club is unhappy in its own way.

One gentleman and his fleet of rocket-proof helicopters, flying around the Alpine region, is proving that, in a world of global media reach, the Butterfly Effect is both omnipresent as well as being highly entertaining from a sousveillance perspective.

"Turkish Bastards"

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"Turkey took a Performance Enhancing Substance (PESs) to win last night's Spectacle".

The media focuses on the Spectacle and it was a Spectacle.
But the match itself, as a meritocratic sporting event, was invalid.

"We know what the Turkish players took and when they took it".

Arsenal To Secure Premiership On Mega Monday.

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The Premiership title will be heading down to The Emirates if Wenger's team can defeat already relegated Derby in Setanta's Monday night mismatch.
Three points clear of Manchester United with a game in hand and only two more matches remaining, one of which is a "internally controlled but systemically neutral" event in the Gunners favour, Wenger's team deserve their triumph after a season of Total Football showed the benefits of remaining a team of integrity in a very murky Premier League World.

Hallucinatory Holographic Hyperrealities

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"Postmodernism is incredulity towards meta-narrative" - Lyotard.
At all societal levels, the illusions warrant our attention, from the doublespeak of democracy to the figment-of-imagination that is football.
"Can we sell you a fated event, pal?".
"No, we are postdelusional, thank you".

"Perfectly Undeserved, Sacrificial Death"

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Wow! How emotional was that?
"There is something stronger than sex or happiness: the passion for illusion" - Jean Baudrillard.
Illusions are Emotional. They are also Efficient.
"The decision makers allocate our lives for the growth of power. In matters of social justice and of scientific truth alike, the legitimation of that power is based on optimising the systems performance - efficiency" - Jean-François Lyotard.

The Exoticism Of We Ourselves

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"If we are going to end up being exotics of our own lives (as we all are), we may as well cultivate radical exoticism" - Baudrillard.
By some considerable distance, the most tedious blog posts are the ones where we promote the various Services which enable our team to keep our collective heads above the choppy financial waters of 2008.

What Price Thatcher Dying Before May Day?

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There are some people one may be quite certain about. And David Lacey, the Guardian's football editor, is one such person.
Having just wasted five minutes of my life attempting to understand the logic behind beardie-weirdie's assertion: "May's best final? Look to Wembley, not Moscow", its time for a dose of reality.

Nationalisation And Pumping A Flagging Brand

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Good governance is the one core competency required by the administrators and officials, for that is all they are, who oversee all market sectors. When, as at Northern Rock or the Premier League, the infrastructure is shown to be invalid, as measured against the yardstick of benchmarking, change must be enforced.

Manchester United Have Won The Premiership

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Manchester United yesterday secured the Opening Championship in the Premiership after Arsenal were physically intimidated without the protection of the match officials for the third consecutive away match. When we projected this scenario earlier in the season, there were those who doubted our assessment.

Sepp Blatter - Twenty Years Of Ineptitude

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Sepp Blatter joined with the FIFA executive committee on Saturday to reintroduce a ban on matches played at altitude without "adequate time to acclimatise" - a version of this ban was proposed in June but, on that occasion, FIFA repeatedly backtracked before shelving its little ruse in the face of popular unrest at the decision.

Billy Boys Bias To Beat The Bhoys?

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The Scottish Premier League (SPL) is preparing the ground as much as possible to help Glasgow Rangers to qualify for the second phase of this season's Champions League. Sunday's match against the might of Gretna has been postponed to allow more preparation time for the Lyon match; the entire protestant population of south west Scotland is being given two days off work to focus on providing the necessary support; airports, roads and ferries are to be searched to reveal any French supporters trying to sneak in to the country; university boffins are focusing on cloud seeding to generate some driech weather for the guests; there are plans to offer bribes and housing extensions for the properties of the match officials; super-bugs are being liberally distributed in the kitchens of one particular five star hotel; there are even rumours of the sequel to The Wicker Man being filmed with Alain Perrin in starring role.

The G14 Go Quantum, The Super League Is Here

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While the media circus has been following the "real" news - Is Joey Barton a racist thug? Is there any point to England's friendly in Austria? Will Berbatov try in his next game? Why has Michael Owen stopped playing (again!)? - there is proper stuff going down at UEFA.
It is typical of a largely eurosceptic island like England that minimal mainstream media attention has been given to these major power machinations which will shape the future of the European and, indeed, the world game over the next decade and a half.

Unglücklich Das Land, Das Helden Nötig Hat

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"Unhappy the land that needs heroes".
Lets hear it for Bertolt Brecht although it would seem highly unlikely that he had Michael Owen in mind when he succinctly undermined nationalism and its links to xenophobia.
As the inevitability that is England's qualification for the Euro 2008 finals plays itself out in front of our disbelieving eyes, the gutter media is attempting to create spectacular societal headlines which have only a tenuous connection with the truth.

Platini - Idealist Or Pragmatist?

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Michel Platini reached the sewers of power on the back of a manifesto that sought to democratise football in Europe and he has been in control now for long enough for observers to make an assessment of his impact to date. Taking everything into account, we reserve judgement but the signs are that his idealism is being compromised by the requirements of the power lobbies within the game.

$250,000 Per Week... For That?!

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So, nobody wants Frank Lampard. The statement from one of Barcelona's board members was unequivocal "Lampard knows he has no chance of moving to any of the big European clubs...there is no other option. He has been offered to us, Milan, Inter and Real Madrid, basically all of the big clubs, but nobody is interested".
So Frank's brinkmanship has been found out and his agent, Steve Kutner, is busy backtracking and making conciliatory noises towards the Chelsea hierarchy: "Frank has always said he wants to stay at Chelsea for the rest of his career" together with a more dubious "he will be as committed as ever".