Monthly Archives: March 2011
In the 1992-93 season under the stewardship of then-manager Mike Walker, Norwich City finished a highly respectable third placed. This earned them entry to the UEFA Cup and led to a match-up with the German behemoth Bayern Munich. This is the story of 20th October 1993 - a night no Norwich City fan shall ever forget.
Officiating a sporting event has never been a task for the faint of heart. One, two, three, four or five men (or women* – Andy Gray take note) left to control professional sporting fixtures featuring anything from two (Tennis) to 30 (Rugby Union) highly tuned, adrenalised athletes precariously treading the line of achievement and failure in their endeavour for success. Tempers flare, fouls are committed, rules are flexed to shattering point and all the while, the referee is expected to maintain control, interpret the laws, apply them judiciously and ensure the sport in question is allowed to flourish, within these confines. Somewhat controversially given the seemingly endless editorial lines in place in today’s press, here at H&V we say ‘RESPECT’ where respect is due – on the whole they do a bloody good job.
It has been billed as the match - for two consecutive seasons - between the two teams that play the beautiful game, the way it should be played. Barcelona with their famed tiki-taka, versus Arsenal, with their Wenger/Fabregas inspired intricate and measured style of play. In a pulsating first leg, Barca looked to be just too good for a hard-working Arsenal team, who somehow contrived to secure a 2-1 victory with which to approach the ominous second leg at Camp Nou. Last night’s return leg however, turned out to be more one-sided than many we have seen before, with Arsenal seemingly abandoning their quick passing attacking game plan that has seen many a team swept aside in the past and opted instead, to “park a bus”.
Sectarianism in the small village of Glasgow. Fascism in the former colony of France. Children of warmongering despots engaging in the tutelage of England’s future finest. A ruddy disgrace in the opinion of this simple travelling nobleman. During one’s travels athwart the globe, the pleasure to meet abhorrent blatherers espousing their preposterous manifestoes and ridiculous policies has proven a regularly commonplace travail. Many a whisky has been supped, heavily digesting the sordid opinions of those thankfully unable to act upon their twitching prejudices – we of course, always provided the stiff back, the stern frown and solid handshake of English disapproval and these transgressors would know, Her Majesty’s Royal Union looked determinedly down upon such outrage.
How can Ashley Cole shoot someone with an air rifle on Chelsea property and get away with it? How did Wayne Rooney elbow Wigan’s James McCarthy in the side of the head and never come close to official admonishment? Press and fans alike called for Cole to be sacked, for Rooney to be banned. Nothing materialised. Chelsea informed us that that matter had been dealt with internally. Manchester United denied Rooney had done anything wrong. Is there a systemic problem which allows the top players from the best teams, to commit the crime, then shirk the time?
The ball drops at his feet, he places the shot, the keeper’s nowhere to be seen and the ball drops into the back of the net. He turns and runs towards the corner flag and is mobbed by his team-mates, who run the length of the pitch to join in the bundle.
Goal celebrations just ain’t what they used to be. Read the rest of this entry