Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Millwall, Chiles and Aguero ensure unedifying scenes all round, but let’s keep the One Direction boys out of it

It was a weekend of football in which the seamier, more ugly side of the game sprang forth. A dispiriting reminder of a time we’d hoped had passed; a nightmarish collage of unedifying horror and depressing folly. Yep, Adrian Chiles was fronting the FA Cup again. Obviously, the game on Saturd...


Friday, 29 March 2013

Should Michael Owen be hailed as a football great?

Michael Owen burst on the scene as a fresh-faced 17 year old and took the Premier League by storm. He scored on his Liverpool debut against Wimbledon and hit 18 in his first full season in the first team. His lightening pace and accuracy in front of goal gave opposition defences nightmares. However,...


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Will Wayne Rooney leave Old Trafford in the summer?

Wayne Rooneys future at Manchester United has been called into question ever since he was dropped to the bench for Uniteds crunch Champions League clash with Real Madrid. United lost the game due to a horrific refereeing decision but both Sir Alex and Rooney insist that it was purely a footballing...


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Was Rio Ferdinand right to withdraw from the England squad?

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand enraged England fans by pulling out of Roy Hodgsons squad last week to face the double header of San Marino and Moldova, but was Rio right to pull out? Rio was fuming when Hodgson left him out of the international fold for footballing reasons ahead of Euro 2...


Outside the Box – Football on TV: Gazza’s running out of chances while England run riot in San Marino

Let’s face it, there’s an awful lot of guff on TV isn’t there? In the ever-burgeoning crevasse of broadcasting channels, the sheer volume of half-baked tripe and lightweight, hollowed-out husks of regurgitated twaddle leaves the average viewer starved of visual stimulation and viewing conten...


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Munich is top of United’s problems but Nani ain’t one

Last week saw a big few days for Manchester United. Prodigal son and spray tan admirer Cristiano Ronaldo sauntered back into town with the same cocksure swagger and over-preened sense of self-worth he left with four years ago, and along with his slightly misfiring team broke the hearts of his...


Tuesday, 05 March 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Comical Colin losing his seat could mean Match Of The Day 2 losing much much more

It could be argued that watching football on television has become a full-time endeavour. Well obviously for me it is because each week I force my rambling and churlish thoughts on the subject on to your computer screens in a senseless demonstration of puerile envy. But for all of us now, it ...


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A lack of fanfare for the Final but Swansea make worthy champions nevertheless

There was a time in football, about six or seven years ago when it all became a bit tedious. Mourinho’s Chelsea and Fergie’s United were so far ahead of everybody else that those two goliaths monopolised the English game completely. It seemed as though every piece of silverware was theirs to ...


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Schmeichel talks us through United’s trip to Madrid while Piers talks down to Owen

For me this past weekend’s football was filled to the brim with acute annoyances and irksome irritations. To start with it was FA Cup Fifth Round and all the best games were on ESPN, and as I’m still too cheap to upgrade it means I had to go without. On top of that, my beloved Leicester didn’...


Friday, 15 February 2013

Arsenal: How can they beat Bayern Munich?

Arsenal may be preparing for this weekends FA Cup clash with Blackburn Rovers, but they will definitely have one eye firm focused on Tuesday nights Champions League match with German giants Bayern Munich. Yes Arsenal have the daunting task of taking on arguably the best team in the world at the...


Friday, 08 February 2013

Why Royal Mail's Dream Team fails to deliver the goods

Royal Mail has assembled its Home Nations dream team to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Football Association. Legends of the game like Bobby Moore, George Best and Denis Law all feature in the special stamp collection, but eyebrows have been raised at some of the names who have missed out. H...


Tuesday, 05 February 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Deadline Day drama as Simon gets angry and Peter gets lost

The more attentive among you might have noticed we endured the annual manic torture–fest that is Christmas recently, indeed you may still be recovering from it’s stress-pounding effects even now. Probably the most excruciating facet of the festive period, aside from having to spend uncomforta...


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Not-so-safety Hazard means the game’s integrity takes another kicking

There just aren’t enough programmes on TV that include adults kicking children are there? Since the good old days of exploitation and corporal punishment were deemed “unacceptable”, we’ve slowly evolved into a culture in which little toe rags run around doing whatever the hell they please. Sm...


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A boring birthday for the FA as the stars fail to shine

For most people, an evening out at the local pub will be a largely stress-free excursion filled with raucous banter, sorrowful introspection and a touch of casual xenophobia. Nights out in this great country have followed that tight format for hundreds of years, never wavering in the face of adver...


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A weekend of woe for Walters as the BBC put him centre stage

Do you remember the glory days of Saturday night TV? That wistful time before Simon Cowell was given the keys to the kingdom and filled the weekend evenings with a symphony of garish fairy lights, screeching teenagers and Louis Walsh. Things were so much simpler before: you knew where you we...


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Michael Owen ensures we’ll remember, remember the fright of Movember

When the wise Jedi minds of future generations look back at the metrosexual, iPad-obsessed, self-serving era we currently reside in, they will quite rightly grimace and ask just what the hell we accomplished. We allowed Piers Morgan to prosper when he really shouldn’t have; we created and fo...


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: No room for confusion as Edgar Davids reminds us all who he is

You know, as we loiter in this age of decadent, endemic wholesale filth; a world preoccupied with the selfish needs of the few; a world in which sex, violence and sleaze are championed more than love, peace and honesty; a world teetering on the edge, tipping ever closer to a mass orgy of self-serv...


Tuesday, 06 November 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A feelgood Focus for Muamba is the highlight of the BBC’s wonky weekend of football

As ever it was a big weekend in the Barclays Premier League. This after another extraordinary week in football with those League Cup games ending in rugby scores, referees accused of all kinds of ungodly crimes, Andrey Arshavin actually being of some use, and even Ashley Cole managing to go ...


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A shortfall of laughs as Redknapp, Corden and co play the fools

In these bleak, recession-hit days of austerity and hardship, we are all frantically searching for ways to forget our woes and feel a little better about things. Often, we look towards our local footballing heroes for an escape, but even that’s turning sour right now. A game seemingly awash ...


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Bad luck stories abound as the Scots take on Wales in a clash of the misfiring

It’s a universal truth that some people are just plain unlucky. These desperate souls, through no real fault of their own, just get a rough deal in this bad ol’ world and spend their days enduring an avalanche of ungodly misfortune and rudimentary shite. And don’t suffer the misapprehension that t...


Tuesday, 09 October 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: The headline acts of El Clasico put on one hell of a show

Here’s one for you. On the eve of each new football campaign, which match whets the appetite most? Liverpool vs United? Spurs against Arsenal? The Steel City derby? Personally for me, it’s the prospect of any match in which Mario Balotelli will come up against anybody as deranged as he; Craig Bell...


Tuesday, 02 October 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Sky soothe the Monday blues with a long weekend of football action

There was a time once when Monday was a day set aside for nothing but despair. Perhaps a day of recriminations as the heady exploits of the weekend come gushing into view and you’re forced to confront the disastrous consequences of your misdeeds (John Terry?) Maybe a dispiriting comedown aft...


Sunday, 16 September 2012

England will never succeed with such poison pen journalism

Dear friends and enemies: what is the point of becoming a journalist? This is a question you, the reader, should digest even if the idea of spilling ink for a shilling or two interests not a hair on your head. Go on. Think about it. Why bother? For all of the torrential graft it takes to e...


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: A more civilised way to talk about football perhaps, but it all comes down to Rooney’s gash in the end

Any long time readers of this column will be acutely aware of my ill feelings towards the current football malaise we reside in: the international break. A fortnight long forced abstinence of domestic football with only a scattered group of international fixtures to keep us going. Mercifully...


Monday, 10 September 2012

Right man, right place, wrong time: Roy Hodgson at Liverpool

Roy Hodgsons stock in the game was sky high after guiding Fulham to the Europa League Final. He was a wanted man. And when Liverpool came calling Hodgson couldnt resist the chance of transforming their fortunes around. Unfortunately, we all know his dream soon turned into a nightmare. This week I...


Tuesday, 04 September 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Harry has a new game as Redknapp makes his Match Of The Day bow

All in all, it’s fair to say that the summer of 2012 will be looked back on with a great deal of fondness by the vast majority. Sure the weather failed to resemble anything remotely “summery”, and we may of had to put up with the usual bunch of sycophantic ne’er-do-wells in the Big Brother h...


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Mischievous Murray makes Match Of The Day 2 anything but the Muppet Show

It already feels like the 2012-13 season has been going for months. Arsenal and Tottenham have had about three different periods of crisis already; Sir Alex claims Wayne Rooney isn’t pulling his weight, despite only having played one and half games; and Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is al...


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: An Olympic hangover means Dixon’s debut fails to inspire

It’s been a gruelling few weeks for fans of sport hasn’t it? Ever since Spain cemented their place as football’s frontrunners at Euro 2012, there has been a disorientating vacuum of sport on television and no amount of frantic bashing of the Sky remote has been able to render any nourishment for s...


Friday, 03 August 2012

Team GB: Four positives but one big negative

Stuart Pearces scratch squad made it through to the group stages of the Olympic football tournament by beating Uruguay on Wednesday night. Its not quite the same as watching England or Wales, but the crowds have turned out in their droves and there are certainly some positives to be taken from the e...


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Team GB and the BBC could do with heroes like Neymar and the incredible Hulk

I don’t know about you, but even though the Olympics are yet to actually begin, I’m pretty sick of them already. I’m fed up of seeing clowns from the Government on Sky News demanding that the underclass should stop complaining that they can’t afford a pint of milk and just swoon in admiration at t...


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Carlisles united as Clarke delves deep into racism in the game

Can you feel it? We’re in that disorientating period in the football calendar when everything’s not quite right. There’s no football on the TV; other sports like cricket and bloody cycling are beginning to barge their way onto the back pages, and most distressing of all your squads on Fifa are all...


Monday, 16 July 2012

Mitch Waddon meets . . Casey Stoney (Part 2)

On Sunday we brought you the first part of my exclusive interview with England Womens captain Casey Stoney, well today, as promised, is the second and final part. Today you will find out why Casey choose to join Lincoln Ladies, how she found out about being given the captains armband and her hopes...


Thursday, 12 July 2012

AC Milan: Is Andy Carroll The New Mark Hateley?

Heres the scenario - young English centre-forward, great in the air but still learning the game scores a goal during a summer international that makes clubs around the world sit up and take notice. Result? Fast track to one of Europes elite club. That was the story for Portsmouths Mark Hateley in 1...


Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Strange World Of FIFA: England Ranked Fourth In The World

It will come as something of a surprise to most fans who watched Euro 2012 that England came out of the tournament going up in the FIFA world rankings - not bad for two wins in four matches, one of which came against a Ukraine team who lie at 46th in the table. Ranking tables are always an untrustw...


Tuesday, 03 July 2012

Team GB: Pearce selects an English-Welsh mix

So after all the speculation we finally have Stuart Pearces squad for the tilt at the Olympic title. Its not quite the squad it could have been but there are certainly talking points and the team should at least be a good bet to reach the knockouts. First the absentees. David Beckhams omission has ...


Saturday, 30 June 2012

Euro 2012 - Team Of The Tournament

With just the final to go its time to decide which players made the most impact in Poland and Ukraine. In recent years FIFAand UEFA have picked a squad of the top performers at tournaments but wheres the fun in that? Very few fans come up with the same eleven and thats when it gets interesting, so h...


Friday, 29 June 2012

England: Time for a Change part 3: Looking Forward

It is a myth that England can’t play like Spain or Germany or Italy because we don’t have the right types of players. We may not have them in abundance but we have a handful but that is all it takes to change a team’s philosophy. The only way to increase this output of technically gifted play...


Four reasons why Stuart Pearce left David Beckham out of the Team GB squad

It has been reliably reported by the BBC, following on from sources at The Times, that David Beckham will not figure in the Great Britain Olympic squad. At one point the superstar looked a shoe-in for a swansong tournament but Stuart Pearce has always been his own man. Here are four reasons why he...


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

England: Time for a Change part 2: Out with the Old

Brazil 2014 is the next major tournament and I would like to see a different approach to the game from England, my first bone of contention being with the formation. Roy Hodgson throughout his career has typically employed a rigid 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 formation. If you look at all the best teams in ...


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

England: Isn't it nice to have no excuses?

Since what appears to be forever, ‘never’ has plagued the England national team. Our bordering on cruel failure to hit the net from 12 yards; our ability to royally screw ourselves over; the way we perpetuate heroes just to contradict ourselves when they do not fulfil the prophecies we cultivat...


England: Time for a Change part one: Inquisition

“England did well to get as far as penalties because the gulf in class between the two teams was embarrassing. Big hearts can only take you so far and I think the quarter-finals was the furthest England could go” Alan Hansen on Englands Defeat to Italy. Perfectly summed up in two sentences, th...


Outside the Box – Football on TV: Lawro plays the Twit as BBC confidence turns to England despair

It’s easy afterwards, in the hazy mist of reflection that hangs mournfully across the country each time the England team are wrenched from a major tournament, to neatly nestle back into the default self-loathing English mind-set and pretend we were always doomed to fail, fated to forever chase the...


Monday, 25 June 2012

England v Italy - Player ratings

So it was penalties again but this time losing from the spot didnt feel so bad. Probably because England hardly deserved to be in the game after being taken apart by an Italian side who would be a massive danger if only they could find some reliable strikers. Heres the ratings for the England eleve...


Saturday, 23 June 2012

Euro 2012: England v Italy - The History

Since the first meeting between England and Italy back in 1933 the Azzuri just have the edge in the head-to head, winning nine of their 22 encounters to Englands seven. But both sides have enjoyed periods of ascendancy in a rivalry that has rarely included matches at major tournament finals. Sunday...


Friday, 22 June 2012

Euro 2012: Let's enjoy England with no strings attached

The England job is not necessarily a position which has strings attached … it is one big string. A bullys dream; a place where logic is traded in and all hell breaks loose. And so often have we seen these strings work their magic. Even though Sir Bobby Robson is now considered by fans and Press...


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

England v Ukraine: Was Gerrard or Rooney England's main man?

So they made it. England not only made the last eight but topped the group for good measure. The 1-0 win over Ukraine wasnt without problems but Roy Hodgsons New Model England are unbeaten in five starts and thats generating a lot of unexpected optimism. Joe Hart - 7 Difficult to see who can dis...


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: England make it hard to watch, while Sky’s legend makes the game look easy

Another week, another panic-inducing evening spent watching the England team then. This whole edge-of-our-seat, fine line between death and glory shtick that England have peddled out for years is now growing quite tiresome. Just for once, couldn’t we be like Germany and be ruthlessly efficient and...


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Euro Vision begins as ITV and the BBC vie for Championship glory

Ok, so it might not feel too much like summer right now. It’s about 10°C outside, caravan parks are under water and the only suntans in sight are painted on the vacuous plebs of Geordie Shore. But I promise you, we are there and that of course means only one thing: the European Championships have ...


Monday, 11 June 2012

Euro 2012: Can England or Portugal reach the final?

The tournament finally kicked off on Friday with a lot of fanfare and the usual fervor. For the next three weeks, Poland and Ukraine will be where pundits and fans have their eyes glued on. Since the close of the club football calendar, speculations have been rife as to which team will conquer...


Euro 2012: Can England actually win the tournament?

Euro 2012 is in full swing and shaping up to be a tournament we will never forget, but there are many questions that need answering. Just who will be lifting the coveted trophy aloft on July 1? What can England realistically achieve and who will be this summer’s surprise package? I’ve put these que...



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