Posts Tagged ‘soccer’

Rooney swearing

Rooney: Candid Camera

The internet necromancers at In Off the Ghost appreciate the power of language. Without language civilisation, and more importantly football, would never have been possible. Language is so varied and versatile that even the dead pop up in the never ending stream of words that accompany the beautiful game, from “ghost goals” and “team spirit” to “ghosting in at the back post” and “dead balls”. But the power of language is not always used for good. Ask the Football Association. They have got into such a towering funk of rage at Wayne Rooney’s gutter-mouthed celebration during Man Utd’s 2-4 victory over West Ham this weekend, they have started disciplinary proceedings against the granny bothering England striker, who now faces a two match ban.

Rooney isn’t the first man to have caused a stir over his use of the Queen’s English. Many others have also seen the fruit of their talents eclipsed by their descent into vulgarity. In the midst of the evangelical, sensationalist, Daily Mail led media storm that has been whipped up around the rant, the fantastic performances of both Rooney and Man Utd appear to have been forgotten. The spectral spectators here at In Off the Ghost know a dirty word or two, and we were contacted by a spirit who’s flagrant disregard for civilized language saw his publisher hauled up in front of the powers that be. A cold welcome for novelist, poet, playwright, essayist and literary critic D.H. Lawrence!

D.H. Lawrence

Lawrence: Profane pundit

“I contacted In Off the Ghost because I wanted to defend Wayne Rooney,” said Lawrence “I empathise with his plight. When my novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover was published they censored it, banned it, and called me a pornographer. My work was more than just a profanity filled bonk-fest, it was art. But it was ignored, just like Rooney’s exquisite performance against West Ham on Saturday. I have always believed that you should be still when you have nothing to say; but when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot. The FA may punish him, but it’s better to be suspended than live mechanically a life that is a repetition of repetitions.”

“This ridiculous “Respect” campaign is a sign of the times we live in. Ours is essentially a tragic age, but we refuse to take it tragically. To the puritans at the FA all things are impure, and may God help you if you display a little passion. The more scholastically educated a man is generally, the more he is an emotional bore. So how can you blame Rooney for being so lively? Leave the dull decency to the insipid intellectuals on the Match of the Day sofa.

“It makes me sad to think that the censors at the FA will once again dampen the emotion and humanity of football. Censors are dead men, set up to judge between life and death. For no live, sunny man would be an FA suit, he’d just laugh.”

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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Roy Keane

Roy Keane and Alan Shearer - After watching Shearer on MOTD, we feel like punching him too.

This week’s communiqué from the dearly departed of football’s elysium is the fourth instalment of ‘The Obituary’ series, where one of our posthumous pundits puts forward a eulogy for their favourite player in football history.

Anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time on the ball of rock and water we call Earth will start to ask deeply fundamental questions about life and human existence, such as “why are we here?”, “what kind of life should I lead?”, “how has Emile Heskey cost a combined £26 million worth of transfer fees?”. It’s only natural to question the nature of humanity and both the staggering beauty and depraved cruelty homo sapiens are capable of. In many ways, football sums up the duality of the human condition quite well. In a single game can we can see moments of exquisite genius and sportsmanship, and then the manager brings on El Hadji Diouf.

A multitude of philosophers have spent years of their lives, and many more of their afterlives, pondering the contradictions and complications of human nature. Luckily for you, the gaggle of ghouls here at In Off the Ghost have been tipped off as to the whereabouts of their final resting places, and we decided to go and hassle 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche for his views on his favourite player in the history of football, which turns out to be everyone’s favourite moody midfield monster Roy Keane.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche or nice?

“Roy Keane was my favourite player of all time. Although to some he was the Antichrist, to me he was one of the Übermensch of Premier League history” stated Nietzsche, every word twitching his gargantuan moustache, which is still impressive even here in football’s afterlife. “We all know God is dead, and for Manchester United fans that God was Eric Cantona. When God retired to become a horrendous actor in France, Roy Keane was the water with which United cleansed themselves.

“But Roy Keane embodies my theories about humanity perfectly. His career goes beyond good and evil. We are, all of us, growing volcanoes that approach the hour of their eruption. How near or distant that is, nobody knows, but Keane seemed always to be on the verge. He was gifted, there is no doubt. He not only broke up play, he could also pass, score goals, and was a momentous inspiration for two hugely successful United sides. You only need to look at his performance against Juventus in the 1999 Champions League semi-final for proof of his ability. But he was also incredibly cruel. However, we should not demonize him for this. We must think of players who are cruel today as stages of earlier cultures, which have been left over. Lee Cattermole is just a remnant of Roy Keane, and Keane himself an heir to the legacy of Vinnie Jones and Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris. They show us what we all were, and frighten us, especially if you are Alf Inge Haaland. However, they themselves are as little responsible as a piece of granite for being granite.

“In his rush to inflict pain on others he himself took considerable damage. I used to say ‘was ihn nicht umbringt, macht ihn starker’ but after seeing his knees I have my doubts. Many people deny it, but Roy Keane was honest enough to admit that it is a pleasure to inflict pain, and by that measure I am sure he will have no regrets. When the day comes that I meet Roy Keane I will say to him:

‘Was sagt dein Gewissen? — ‘Du sollst der werden, der du bist.’ ”

(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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We are the Champions League

Life is a gamble. Every day we try to predict the future and how things will turn out. What will happen if I tell my boss that he is a fat, balding prune? Can I get across the road before this lorry turns me into a fine paste? Who will shoot first in the hideous ten team orgy of a Premier League relegation battle? The future is hard to predict. Maybe if the writers here at In Off the Ghost were a little better at guessing what was going to happen next, we wouldn’t be bringing you the latest gossip from football’s Elysium. We could’ve got a nice job working for Northern Rock or Enron instead.

However, there are other posthumous pundits on our eternal terraces who feel that they’re a bit better than us at predictions, and with a fortnight of exciting UEFA Champions League ties ahead involving all four English clubs, we have decided to bring you the forecast from one of our most flamboyant residents. A cold welcome to Queen front man Freddie Mercury!

Freddie Mercury

Mercury - Master of the offside trap

Chelsea v FC Copenhagen

“After their recent poor form Chelsea will be asking themselves – is this the real life, or is this just fantasy? The Champions League represents an escape from Premier League reality. If Ancelotti fails to guide the Blues past FC Copenhagen then … mama mia, mama mia! Abramovich will have a devil put aside for him! But I think they will be fine, Lampard is back and in form for the Pensioners and fat bottomed Frank makes their rockin’ world go round.”

Prediction: 3 v 1


Manchester United v Marseille

“Man Utd have been in foul form and an even worse temper recently. If they can’t beat you they will rock you instead. Take Rooney for example. One minute he is leaping through the skies like a tiger, defying the laws of gravity. Next he has a scowl on his face, he’s a big disgrace, waving his elbows all over the place. And if it’s not Rooney, it’s Ferguson; purple nose on his face, “the ref’s a disgrace”, Marseille are gonna put them back into their place.”

Prediction: 0 v 1

Barcelona v Arsenal

“Barcelona and Arsenal have so much in common. They share one vision. They have one heart, one soul, just one solution to football: pass, pass, pass. Arsenal played brilliantly at the Emirates, but I can only see one goal, one outcome for Wenger’s men, and there’s only one direction they are going – out of the Champions League. Messi will want to break free and unleash his kind of magic on the Gunners at the Camp Nou.”

Prediction: 1 v 0

Spurs v AC Milan

“Tottenham’s run has been incredible and Redknapp will be hoping another one of Europe’s big sides bites the dust at White Hart Lane, especially now that the crazy little thing called Gattuso won’t be playing. Bale already put Inter under pressure, so Milan should beware because, hey, he’s gonna get you too!”

Prediction: 1 v 0

(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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IMAGINATION – Picture courtesy of El Rooneyo Illustrations (www.elrooneyoillustrations.tumblr.com)

This week’s decomposed ditty from football’s afterlife is the third instalment of ‘The Obituary’ series, where one of our posthumous pundits puts forward a eulogy for their favourite player in football history.

In football, as in life, there are different types of people. There are the do-ers, the high energy action men who get things done and don’t wait around to consider petty things such as reasons or consequences. Then you have the artists, whose sole mission in life is the creation of the divine, to represent the beauty of life though music, paint, and football. Also, the journeymen, who move from place to place, never to settle and destined to roam the land, from Crystal Palace to the Shed End. However, once life has rendered your spirit separate from your physical form, you are destined to float around the heavenly u-bend for all eternity, taking with you only your mind and a pale spectre of your former physical self.

So it stands to reason that it is the more intellectually endowed amongst us that often make the best of the afterlife, spending their time in football’s Valhalla mulling over the profoundly important issues of existence, such as why 4-4-2 is so rubbish these days, or how many times Steve Bruce must have been hit in the face to end up with a nose as hideous as this. It is fitting then, that this instalment of ‘The Obituary’ features one of the most intelligent and cerebral footballers in history. Zinedine Zidane not only conquered club football with his magisterial midfield machinations, but he guided France to World Cup glory on home soil in 1998 through the power of his mighty monkish noggin. So who better to provide us with an elegy for the genius of Zizou than one of the greatest thinkers of all time, Albert Einstein!

Einstein: ‘This is how it works. R stands for roulette, which equals O, or ‘on your arse’.

“My special theory of relativity proves that the faster you move, the slower time moves compared to that of a stationary observer” began Einstein’s ghost, still sporting a moustache almost as big as his gargantuan brain. “When Zidane was on the pitch, his awareness and footwork seemed to slow down time for him, yet speed it up for the opposition, who were almost always stationary observers.

“Small is the number of people who see with their eyes and think with their minds. Zidane had wonderful vision and a spectacular football brain, but he was enough of an artist to draw freely upon his imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. Take this goal in the 2002 Champions League Final for example. It would not be possible with knowledge and technical ability alone. It is Zidane’s sublime technique coupled with his extraordinary imagination that made this goal possible. Imagination is why players with practically no knowledge whatsoever, like Paul Merson for example, were so devastating through their use of imagination and creativity.

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. Zidane’s genius wasn’t boundless, as this clip proves, but using his colossal football brain to clobber Marco Materazzi 2006 World Cup final was infinitely stupid. However, as I always used to say, a person who never made a mistake never tried anything new, an accusation which no one could make against Zinedine Zidane.”

(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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Dirk Kuyt

Dirk Kuyt - Lord of the Mings

Life isn’t fair. Some people are born into poverty and servitude, with the added fun of being hideously deformed and stupid to boot.  However others enter the world blessed with wealth, power, talent and beauty. They are elevated above their peers to the status of royalty, using their gifts to dominate and suppress their fellow man in search of triumph. But once you leave the world of the living the playing field is levelled once again. Here everyone is but a spectre of their past physical selves, destined to while away infinity watching game after game of football as nothing but a shadow of their former glory.

However, recent events in the world of the living have seen football draw ever closer to life here at In Off the Ghost, as another formerly majestic entity returned to football as a ghost of their past success. ‘King’ Kenny Dalglish has once again taken the reigns at Liverpool and promptly led them to successive away defeats against arch rivals Man Utd and the mighty Blackpool. However, Sunday’s match saw ‘King’ Kenny return to his spiritual home of Anfield and rescue a point in an exciting 2-2 draw against neighbours Everton in the Merseyside derby.

After this epic encounter, we were given a ring by a spirit who wanted to share with us his views on the return of the king of the Kop. Please welcome novelist J.R.R. Tolkien!

Tolkien - Impressed with an epic derby battle

“The King has returned! He is back from the wilderness to lead his people through a siege of awful performances and hideously bad transfer decisions in order to restore the city back to its former glory!” bellowed Tolkien, drawing a parallel between this week’s Merseyside derby and his epic nerd-fest of a novel, The Lord of the Rings.

“It looked as if all was doomed for Liverpool as they were overwhelmed by the physical threat of Everton, with Victor Anichebe, Jermaine Beckford and Marouane Fellaini powering their way through Liverpool’s resistance. The twin towers of Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger (later replaced by the hapless Sotirios Kyriakos) swayed like corn tossed by the tempest of Everton’s second half attacking onslaught. Salvation arrived for Dalglish, however it did not come from the elvish beauty Torres, but the orc-ish good looks and dwarf like industry of Dirk Kuyt and Raul Meireles, coupled with the wing wizardy of Glen Johnson and Maxi Rodriguez.

“This battle was not lost, however the war is not yet won and the shadow of doom still looms large over Anfield. Long is the road for King Kenny’s fellowship if they are to make their way out of relegation peril and back into the havens of the top half of the Premier 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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Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott makes a splash.

The FA Cup third round, who could fail to get excited at the magic and romance? Who could wait for the prospect of Millwall v Birmingham City, Norwich v Leyton Orient and Torquay v Carlisle? Erm…well, us actually. It’s a shame, but when you’ve been dead for an indeterminable amount of time and you must while away years that stretch on endlessly, you tend to lose faith in romance, magic and all that guff. However, this season there was more to the FA Cup third round than the usual clichés. The oldest competition in the beautiful game showed a side of its weathered visage uglier than a constipated Ian Dowie.

So, with fighting, taunting and cheating evident in the biggest games of this year’s third round, in particular the contentious penalties in the Man Utd v Liverpool and Arsenal v Leeds clashes, we spoke to an expert in the field of diving, legendary French naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher Jacques Cousteau!

Jacques Costeau

Cousteau: "You call that a dive? Pah!"

“There is an art to diving,” began Cousteau, “lots of people attack the pitch when they dive, but Berbatov made love to it. Walcott was one with the turf. To be truly convincing you must embrace the deep green mistress and conquer her!”

“Berbatov is not just a diver, he is an impresario of divers. With barely a touch he fell, plumbing the depths of his talent to hoodwink Howard Webb. The Old Trafford crowd held their breath as the Bulgarian crashed upon the rocks of Agger’s knees, destroying Liverpool’s dreams of FA Cup victory” said Cousteau, repositioning his now translucent red hat firmly on his head.

“And Walcott, très bien! Arsenal were under absolute pressure when he flopped onto his back to salvage a point from the wreckage of Arsenal’s FA Cup third round tie with Leeds United. With that plummet Theo gave up his dignity so that his captain could save the day. Magnifique! And the half hearted apology after the game? Even I wouldn’t dare to go that low.”

“The only person who seemed to go to ground for a genuine reason was Stevenage defender Scott Laird, who sank like the Titanic after hitting this iceberg of a fist. And it was from one of his own fans too. Zut alors!”

(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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