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Friday, 27 May 2011

Euro Revision #5: Manchester United v Real Madrid 2003

It's part five, which means handing over to In Bed With Maradona's Dave Hartrick...

Manchester United 4-3 Real Madrid, April 23 2003

The problem with the Champions League is that until the latter stages there are far too many mismatches. Every year the draw comes through for the groups and all we can look forward to until the next round is Barcelona waltzing through six games in which they’ll never be required to shift in to top gear. Yes, we love the Caligula style orgy of football as up to eight games are screened for us to red button to and from, but in reality, for every shock there’s 30 games that equate to a little kid swinging punches but being held at arms length by a teenager.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Euro Revision #4: Liverpool v Chelsea 2005

Pure evil

...and here's the other half of Magic Spongers Adam Bushby

Liverpool 1 v 0 Chelsea: Champions League semi final 2nd leg, May 2005

Mine is a tale of heroes and villains. I’m looking at YOU Ľuboš Micheľ with your stupid squiggly bits on the letters of your name. “Why do you mock this poor man so savagely?” I hear you all ask. I’ll tell you, I sneer, in a really smarmy kind of way. Ľuboš Micheľ is a former professional referee. Ľuboš Micheľ was in fact ranked the world’s second best referee in 2006. Ľuboš Micheľ was the man in charge of the second leg of Liverpool v Chelsea and ruined it for everyone by not sending off Petr Cech in the fourth minute of the match and consequently awarding Liverpool a penalty, which, I think I’m correct in saying, Steven Gerrard would have placed to the left of substitute goalkeeper Carlos Cudicini and thus provide the catalyst for the largest win the Champions League semi-final stage had ever seen. Bear with me.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Euro Revision #3: Manchester United v Barcelona 1994

Lee Sharpe receives his first England cap. A proud day.

Over to Magic Spongers' very own Rob MacDonald...

Manchester United 2-2 Barcelona: Champions League Group Stages, October 19 1994

When I was very young, I was in Cub Scouts and we got to a Cup Final. 4th Wilmslow v 1st Lindow I think it was. As a boy it was a confusing time – why was this game different? How would I feel if we lost? How would I feel if we won? What the fuck are those numbers for? (To this day I’ve seen neither hide nor hair of 2nd or 3rd Wilmslow, though I remember 1st, 4th, 5th AND 6th. Did 2nd or 3rd Wilmslow even exist? What? Why not?).

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Euro Revision #2: Deportivo la Coruna v AC Milan

Please give a very warm welcome to Surreal Football’s Ethan Dean-Richards, who makes one beautiful clusterfuck of a debut for Magic Spongers in the second part of our Champions League mini-series. He can also be found here @SurrealFootball.

Milan 4-1 Deportivo & Deportivo 4-0 Milan, Quarter Finals, April 2004

It’s traditional, I’m told, to do some research on the game that you’re writing about, before you write about it. I’ve also heard that looking for a second time at the context in which your piece will be placed – the series, if you will – is advisable, because who wants to spend an hour – alright, fifteen minutes – tapping out exactly the wrong sort of thing? On both of these counts, as in all other things, I'm an innovator – a maverick.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Euro Revision #1: Manchester United v Fiorentina

With the Champions League Final at Wembley looming, here's the first of a new Magic Spongers mini-series looking back at our favourite European games: Twisted Blood's Andi Thomas gets alarmingly hot and bothered about Gabriel Batistuta.

Manchester United 3-1 Fiorentina, 15 March 2000

I don't know a single football fan that doesn't have a special place in their heart for Fiorentina; there may be some (Juventus? Empoli?), but I don't know them. I suspect that this is, on some fundamental level, down to the sheer purpleness of their kit. Other purple sides are available, of course – Anderlecht, Germinal Beerschot, and a load of others I'd never heard of until I asked Twitter (Saprissa of Costa Rica, anybody?) – but nobody is as richly, as fundamentally, and as gloriously violet as the Tuscans. And, at the turn of the millennium, we got to watch that wonderful purple draped across the shoulders of a seriously tasty team.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

There's No Other Holloway

"Yeah thanks for nothing dickheads"

As the final weekend of the Premier League approaches with little to sort out at the top, attention has turned, like a drunk man’s eyes, to how tight things are around the bottom. That Sky will doubtless bill the last day of the season ‘Survival Sunday’, is total rot though, as the only accolade the teams that survive will receive is to be immediately made favourites to go down next year. Make no mistake, friends, Sunday will be about relegation, players looking dejected and grown men crying, but also, hopefully, Blackpool having a massive party.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Odd Talisman Out

Without wishing to alarm anyone, Liverpool fans are pregnant. All of them. Not with lazy, curly-haired stereotypes (although you never know, I suppose), but with expectation. The potency of the second Kenny Dalglish era is powerful stuff.

The rise to fifth (now down to sixth after the Spurs defeat) from 12th in the space of four months has been achieved without former talisman Fernando Torres and, more recently, with club captain Steven Gerrard sat in the stands. While Gerrard came out all guns blazing last week, he hasn’t played a game since 6 March and can only ‘pencil in’ a return for the first day of pre-season. The big question for Liverpool is how Gerrard fits back into what has become a very efficient, very effective starting XI.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Absolutely Brooking It

A man stands in a field, alone save for the deserted country road behind him and the rolling hills ahead. A dignified man, he looks around to see he is alone. He unzips his flies. He starts to piss. The gentle breeze, which before had rustled the leaves on the trees and had the corn swaying lightly on its stalks, picks up. Much to his chagrin, the wind flares still further and he gets a bit of piss on his trouser legs.

The harder he pisses though, the more the wind whips around him and the wetter his trousers become. Exhausted, he zips himself up. He's covered in piss. Trevor Brooking sighs and makes his way back to his car.