Posts Tagged ‘Manchester City’

Mario Balotelli

Balotelli - Too hard to be bothered.

It’s spring time in the world of the living, a time for rebirth, April showers and FA Cup semi-finals. Unfortunately for the rotting residents of In Off the Ghost, sunshine is a thing of the past. As for rebirth, well, we can but dream. But never mind, at least we get to dust ourselves off and watch the inevitable march of one of the Premier League’s ‘Big Four’ to yet another piece of silverware for their bulging trophy cabinets. Well, at least that was what we thought. However, this year has been a little different.

While basking in an unseasonable weekend of glorious April sunshine at Wembley Stadium, Manchester City swept aside bitter rivals Manchester United with a 1-0 victory thanks to an opportunistic Yaya Touré strike, and Stoke City crushed Bolton Wanderers 5-0 with a display of unexpected brilliance to book their places in the final. So instead of fighting against the landslide of guff about the romance of the FA Cup, we decided to join in with the torrent of clichés and take our own stab at lazy journalism. But here at In Off the Ghost we have the advantage of being able to call upon a real expert in the field of romance. A cold welcome to terribly famous English romance novelist Jane Austen!

Jane Austen

Austen - Who says romance is dead? Oh...

“What a weekend readers! The Manchester City fans were ecstatic with joy after their 1-0 victory,” said Austen, twirling her paranormal parasol in a thoroughly lady-like fashion, “it must have been the happiest day of their lives. For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours and laugh at them in our turn? For City fans life has seemed but a quick succession of busy nothings, but now the romance of the FA Cup has sprinkled magic onto their season.

“I have always said that a large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of, and with their wonderfully expensive squad of talented fellows Man City have reached their first FA Cup final since 1981. And they have such strapping, handsome gentlemen on their side, gentleman one would love to dance with. My idea of good company is the company of Vincent Kompany.

“But the Manchester derby was not the only event of the weekend. Sunday brought another captivating occasion with Stoke City crushing hapless Bolton Wanderers 5-0. Exquisite joy for the Potters as they finally reached an FA Cup final, the last of the founding League members to do so, but hideous misery for the Trotters as their dreams lie in tatters. Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. Stoke prepared the better for this game, and how often is happiness destroyed by preparation. They played in the unfashionable style recently discarded by Bolton and derided by their peers. But how quick came the reasons for approving of the long ball! 3-0 in the first 30 minutes!

“This weekend one half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other. The beauty of the FA Cup leaves Man City and Stoke fans in raptures as United and Bolton fans are truly distraught. Now we can look forward to the social event of the season; the FA Cup final on Saturday 14th May! Stoke and Tony Pulis will have nothing to lose, and the pressure will be on the terribly dashing yet intriguingly broody Roberto Mancini. I’m an admirer of Mr. Mancini, but even if Man City win the FA Cup, will it be enough for Sheikh Mansour? As many Chelsea managers have found to their detriment, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of the Champions League.”

(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)


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John Terry

John Terry - While my skipper gently weeps.

When the ghouls at In Off the Ghost were alive and kicking, there were certain rules everyone had to abide by. “Work hard” we were told, “don’t take what isn’t yours” and “make sure you don’t give away silly free-kicks against Stoke”. However, there were some people who didn’t pay much heed to daft things like rules or laws. They refused to work, stole everything they could get their hands on and generally did the dirty on everyone they came into contact with. Thankfully, the long arm of the law would normally get to these ruffians and deliver swift and brutal justice in the form of community service or meaningless ASBOs, allowing them to carry on with their lives having thoroughly learned their lesson.

Football is no different. After indulging in both debauchery and buffoonery on an epic scale, John Terry was stripped of his England captaincy as punishment. Now thirteen months later, strict disciplinarian Fabio Capello has decided that “J.T” has been left out in the cold long enough, reinstating the Chelsea centre-back to his former role as England captain. After much negative press attention this week, some at Stamford Bridge were concerned that the news may have an adverse affect on Terry’s performance in the crunch Premier League game against Man City this Sunday. As it turned out, the new(ish) England captain put in a flawless performance as Ancellotti’s team brushed Mancini’s men to one side in a 2-0 victory, thanks to goals from David Luiz and Ramires.

After this week’s events we were contacted by a spirit who was incensed by Capello’s decision to reinstate Terry as England captain. Please give a cold welcome to infamous pirate and captain of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Edward Teach, more commonly known as Blackbeard the pirate!



Blackbeard - Not such a jolly roger after this week's events

Captain Blackbeard has asked for his interview with In Off the Ghost to have an accompanying soundtrack. Please click here before you read if you wish to hear it. (WARNING – this soundtrack may begin to irritate some readers after a short while…)

“Yarrr!” began the captain, with a swish of his crumb collector, which seems more grey than black these days. “I cannot believe that John Terry is the new England captain, when I heard the news it sent a shiver down me timbers. I was proud of being the most loathed captain in all of history, now I have been replaced by this blundering oaf!

“Although, as much as it pains me to say it, we do have some things in common. We don’t let morals or ethics stand in the way of what we want, we have ridiculous nicknames and, of course, we love to plunder booty that doesn’t belong to us. However, there is one big difference between me and John Terry. I didn’t turn into a lily livered land blubberer when things didn’t go my way. Terry has shed more salt water in the last few years than I sailed across during my entire career as a pirate. Rio Ferdinand must be as sick as my parrot after being replaced by that scurvy dog.

“Even though I have nothing but contempt for Terry as a man, he showed his qualities as a footballer in Sunday’s match against Manchester City. Unlike myself he took no prisoners and he was the rudder that guided Chelsea through the waves of Man City attacks. He even battled on after being injured by YarrrrrrrYarrrrrrr Touré. Aye, it was a good win matey, and one that couldn’t have happened without Terry, but there is no way he should be England captain and I still think Capello should be made to take a long walk off a short plank.”

(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)

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Rooney overhead kick

Rooney - On your bicycle kick (Courtesy of BBC Sport)

Ever since man looked up to the skies and saw the flight of birds, we have longed to fly. Many throughout history have tried and failed to reach the heavens and only thorough the use of giant, environmentally disastrous tin cans have we managed to join our feathered friends. However, Wayne Rooney seemed to defy gravity against Man City this weekend without the use of wax and feathers or a tonne of fossil fuel, and he also managed to score the most spectacular goal of the season while he was at it.

Here in the ethereal enclave of In Off the Ghost we have no trouble floating around. However, we do find it a little more difficult to hit a ball as sweetly as the much maligned Liverpudlian. Rooney’s wonder goal was the talk of the afterlife this week, and we were contacted by a man who not only experimented with aviation, but was also known to produce a touch of genius when he was in the mood. A cold welcome to legendary Italian painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, writer and all round show-off Leonardo Da Vinci!

leonardo da vinci

Da Vinci - Now that is a proper beard.

“I spent years trying to invent a machine that would suspend a man in the air, free from the clutches of the earth” started Da Vinci, taking a break from inventing different ways to haunt Dan Brown. “However, nothing that I came up with even came close to staying in the air as long as Wayne Rooney on Saturday. Now he has tasted flight he will walk the earth with his eyes turned skywards, for there he has been and there he will long to return.”

“It has been a tough season for Rooney. Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind. After his recent indescretions, Rooney has not had the playing time he is used to, which has had a negative impact on his performances. However with the goals he has scored recently, there are signs that he may be entering a renaissance of his own.

“The motions of men must be such as suggest their dignity or their baseness. However, Rooney’s touch and technique suggested anything but a man who could stoop as low as this. He has produced outstanding works of genius before, but his latest work calls to mind other masterpieces from artists such as Ronaldinho and Trevor Sinclair.

“It is often said that what is fair in men passes away, but not so in art. Although it may not take long for what is fair in Wayne Rooney to vanish, the glory of that goal will live on forever. I do not know whether Rooney would appreciate the Last Supper or the Mona Lisa (she may be a bit too young for him), but his stunning volley was a work of art every bit as beautiful and will be admired by generations to come.”

(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)

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Darren Bent

Darren Bent delivers a £24M money shot.

Do you remember the first time? It may have been many moons ago for the deathly denizens of In Off the Ghost, but we still remember it well. The overwhelming anticipation, the tantalising potential of success and the nerve shredding prospect of humiliating failure. There is no getting away from the fact that the first time is crucial. If you make a flop of your first impression there may be no recovering. Forever judged on your earliest performances you could be earmarked for failure, cast aside and ridiculed. However, get it right first time and the possibilities for future success are endless.

It makes us nervous just thinking about it. So imagine how Darren Bent must have been feeling. With the weight of anywhere between £18 and £24 million pounds resting firmly on his shoulders before his debut for Aston Villa against Manchester City, expectation was astronomical. There was also much excitement here on the eternal terraces of In Off the Ghost, with our posthumous punters eager to see if Bent could up his game or whether Villa Park would witness the biggest balls up outside of a Labour Party shadow cabinet re-shuffle. As it turned out, Bent scored the winner in a hard fought 1-0 victory for Gerrard Houllier’s struggling side, leaving Roberto Mancini’s men empty handed. We were contacted by the afterlife’s most prominent Man City fan to discuss the game, a cold welcome to Venetian adventurer, author and notorious ladies man Giacomo Casanova!


Casanova - No stranger to a blue moon.

“Although it pains me to say it, Bent made all the right moves on his big night. He was in the right place at the right time to ruthlessly pound the ball past Hart and exploit City’s loose defending. He didn’t let the pressure to perform get to him and he took his chance to make a good first impression with relish. He seems to have already seduced the Villa faithful who were chanting his name throughout” said Casanova, with a gleam in his eye and his hands in his pockets.

“Bent seems to be a man after my own heart,” added Casanova, leaving us to wonder whether he knew something we didn’t about Bent’s private life, “he takes great delight in scoring goals and he makes cultivating the most pleasure possible his chief business. Clearly economy in pleasure is not to his taste either, as his potency is there for all to see in his goal scoring record. 128 goals in 308 games shows that he is no stranger to indulging his lust for putting the ball in the back of the net.”

“Alas, for my beautiful Man City, it was clearly a frustrating night. We came so close so often, but we couldn’t quite muster the penetration our efforts deserved. After such a successful season I am not used to having my desires left so unfulfilled. I guess I’ll have to direct my energies somewhere else until our next fixture.”

So with City succumbing to Bent’s advances, the Villa faithful will be hoping that their new signing will bag the goals to thrust them up the division into the warm bosom of mid-table mediocrity and Premier League survival.

(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)

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James Dean

James Dean - Live fast, die young. Then report for In Off the Ghost.

The restless spirit of In Off the Ghost has possessed fellow football website footballfarrago!

Click here to read legendary actor and Hollywood icon James Dean’s predictions for the upcoming January transfer window. And while you’re there, check out the other great articles too!

More posts from the only insight into the footballing culture of the afterlife will be coming soon exclusively at www.inofftheghost.com, so be sure to come again soon!

(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)

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Paul Dickov

A Dickov the old block.

Merry Christmas from In Off the Ghost to the world of the living!

Here in the football graveyard of In Off the Ghost, we celebrate Christmas a little differently. We don’t have turkey any more, and being dead means we also escape the grind of the Queen’s speech, the misery of Eastenders, and we even get to dodge the annual Christmas sprout. However, one aspect of Christmas that the afterlife shares with the world of the living is that everyone gathers round their translucent television screens to watch the bonanza of yuletide football action. Well, unless it’s snowing of course.

So, as a special seasonal treat for our followers, this instalment of In Off the Ghost features a Christmas edition of ‘The Obituary’, where our ghoulish guests fondly remember a favourite player from the catacombs of football. And who better to offer up this seasonal segment of festive football frivolity than Victorian novelist and author of ‘A Christmas Carol’, Charles Dickens! Mr. Dickens prepared a eulogy for his favourite striker Paul Dickov for your reading pleasure.

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens - The ghost of football past

“Oh my friends, the down-trodden operatives of the internet! I am going to reprise the role of one of my favourite characters, the ghost of football past, to sing the praises of my favourite footballer, Mr. Paul Dickov” began Dickens, before opening a mammoth book entitled ‘The Life and Adventures of Paul Dickov’.

“Paul began life in the small town of Livingston in West Lothian, to honest hardworking parents. His early life was unremarkable, gaining a respectable education where he excelled at his favourite sport. The loveable little scamp had an appetite for goals even then, though he didn’t grow to be much taller. I learnt in life never to take anything on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule. Arsenal also thought this to be true and before long Master Dickov had moved down to the smog and smoke of London town. However, even though many had great expectations for Dickov, he was cast aside by his cruel taskmasters and forced to ply his trade for a meagre wage elsewhere.

“Fortunately for Paul, this was a remarkable turn of events, and his career from here on in was mainly a tale of two cities, Manchester and Leicester. His time at Maine Road was the best of times for Dickov personally, but it was the worst of times for the club as they plummeted to the third tier of English football. Our prolific protagonist scored 35 goals in 158 games for the blues, and the highlight of his City career would be artfully dodging through the Gillingham defence to score this goal in the playoff final at Wembley in 1999.

“Life is made of ever so many partings welded together, and Master Paul moved on to Filbert Street, where he scored another 37 goals in 89 games, the most prolific spell of his career. However, Paul also suffered some hard times at Filbert Street, seeing the club relegated and enter into administration. After a moderately successful spell with Blackburn Rovers, he learned that the pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again, rejoining Man City in 2006 and Leicester City in 2008.

“Paul Dickov has now entered a new stage of his career as manager of Oldham Athletic. A fine fellow and a tremendous striker in his prime, he is a character I shall always remember. However, whether Dickov shall turn out to be the hero of my own afterlife, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, the future will only show!”

(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)

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Roberto Mancini

"More defensive midfielders, we need more defensive midfielders!"

Before I kicked the existential bucket, I spent seven years of my life as a teenager. And as a teenager, I did all the things most teenagers do. I drank disgustingly cheap booze in public places, I wore clothes that were spectacularly ridiculous, I stringently avoided any form of both exercise and personal hygiene, and I rebelled against the loving attention and affection of my long suffering parents.

However, it’s not just spotty teenagers that indulge in a touch of rebellion from time to time. Ask Roberto Mancini. Even after their 2-0 victory over Roberto Di Matteo’s West Bromwich Albion side on Sunday, rumours continued to swirl around football’s Valhalla this week that an uprising is on the horizon at Manchester City as rotten results, a brutal training regime and more incompetent millionaires than your average bank boardroom threaten to throw the club into turmoil.

Fortunately, the afterlife has its fair share of souls who know a thing or two about rebellion, and one of those restless spirits has offered to share their expert opinion on events at the City of Manchester Stadium with In Off the Ghost. We spoke with legendary political leader and revolutionary figurehead Ghandi to give us an insight into the turbulent events in the Eastlands dressing room.


"If Man City win the league I'll eat Mahatma!"

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony” spoke Ghandi, “and it seems that what Mancini thinks, what the players say and what the team does on the pitch are all very different indeed.” Ghandi said pushing his spectral spectacles back onto his nose.

“The overbearing rigidity of Mancini’s regime will be his undoing if he does not change his ways. I wanted freedom for the full expression of my personality, and why shouldn’t footballers want the same? Carlos Tevez, Adam Johnson and the exiled Craig Bellamy have all been begging to throw off the shackles of Mancini’s prescriptive rules and Emmanuel Adebayor and Gareth Barry seem to have perfected the art of non violent, passive protest with their performances this season. This is in contrast to Mancini’s trusted midfield marshalls Nigel De Jong and Yaya Toure’s more violent approach. Mancini must learn that a victory attained by violence is tantamount to defeat, for it is momentary. However, the after effects of City’s 2-1 victory over Newcastle in October are more likely to last a few months for poor Hatem Ben Arfa. ”

I asked Ghandi what he thought was the root of the unrest and what advice he would offer Mancini if he was the Manchester City manager.

“Mancini must give his players more freedom if he wants to end the dressing room rebellion. However, freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes, and let’s face it, if you play with Lescott and Bridge at the back, mistakes are bound to happen sooner or later. It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom, especially if you have lost three out of your last four games. Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will and not playing three defensive midfielders in one team.”

Despite their 2-0 victory over an impressive West Bromwich Albion side on Sunday afternoon, it is clear that unless results continue to improve, this dressing room unrest won’t be the last rebellion that Mancini will have to deal with.

(All material in this blog is entirely fictional and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone, alive or dead, other than those of the author.)

The restless spirit of In Off the Ghost has possessed fellow football website Football Farrago! Click here to read the views of your favourite posthumous pundits and other great articles!

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