Category Archives: Misc

Serialising Arry’s book in a different way

In an idea shamelessly borrowed/stolen from Molly Lambert of Grantland who, in her weekly tabloid update column, adds a ‘Misc/Etc’ section which leaves words or phrases that have appeared in each publication, but omits any context. It produces, in my eyes, hilarious results. An example can be seen here : http://grantland.com/hollywood-prospectus/miley-cyruss-aching-heart-and-other-sob-stories-from-this-weeks-tabloids/

I thought it could be fun to do the same with excerpts from Harry Redknapp’s autobiography, serialised a few months ago in the Daily Mail, which was a SENSATIONAL EXCLUSIVE apart from the fact that anyone who is aware of Redknapp could have guessed exactly what it was going to be like. Anyway, his way of speaking/writing/living has often made me laugh, so, without context (and with some sly omissions), here is a ‘Misc/Etc’ section of Redknapp’s book :

“ran out of fingers” “fighting with the pillow.” “He even had dessert.” “a chap wearing a bright white jacket” “Hello, Lee, I’m Willie, Harry’s mate” “frog-marching me through the underground car park” “I’m not knocking Roy” “persuaded Milan to buy Peter Crouch” “making its way south along my trouser leg” “Without wishing to stereotype” “This isn’t about them giving the England job to me or Roy Hodgson, but” “Slim girl, nice-looking” “great golfer, great character” “Gareth, leave your barnet alone!” “more room to conceal these readies” “wanted my Crouch bonus” “Frank Lampard Snr’s mum.” “Pele, who is Brazilian.” “I didn’t cry” “I felt like crying” “I was spoiling the party” “I’m not one for grudges”

Advertisements

Football Quiz #1 – Answers

Thanks for all who took part in the quiz today, brightened up my afternoon and some of the answers were very funny. 3 men were tied on 6 points at the end, but @bcurtis92 took the inaugural title.

 

Here are the answers:

 

1. What is your Twitter handle? (Only so I can announce the winner)

@themakelelerole

2. Which English team have never lost a home game in competitive European football?

Fulham

3. Which player is the only Ukrainian player to have played for 2 Premier League clubs? (N.B do not have to be current PL teams)

Oleg Luzhny

4. Which two players the Greek national team’s all-time appearance record?

Karagounis and Zagorakis

5. Who were the only 3 non-British or Irish Premier League club captains in the 1996/97 season? (as of May 11 1997)

Eric Cantona, Igor Stimac, Robbie Earle

6. Who is the only English manager in the SPL?

Terry Butcher

7. How many current Premier League players won a medal at the London 2012 Olympics?

5 – Oscar, Sandro, Rafael, Ji Dong-Won, Park Chu-Young

8. Q: Who was the last player to score in every round of the FA Cup from 3rd Round to Final?

Peter Osgood

9. Career Progression: NK Špansko -> Genk -> Derby County -> Dinamo Zagreb. Who am I?

Branko Strupar

10. What kind of bear is the best kind?

Trick Question – Black Bear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctTVcKNx8Rk

Balotelli at 30

 The year is 2020. Professional human being Mario Balotelli celebrates the 30th anniversary of his re-spawn into current shape and form. Here’s a look back at the 9 years since his 21st birthday:

2011– Studying footage of the Manchester riots, Greater Manchester Police are bemused and baffled to see footage of a balaclava-clad Balotelli entering a recently-looted shop and re-stocking its shelves with TVs, Blu-Ray DVD players and over-sized headphones. Previous footage had shown Mario taking 15 minutes to put on the balaclava. A friendly passer-by overcame hysterical laughter to put it on for him.

In football, he improves his game by shadowing Micah Richards in training and re-brands himself as a no-nonsense right-back. Wins Northern Reserve Premier League with Manchester City Reserves.

Birthday Present – Balotelli’s mother bought him Joey Barton to be his spiritual and philosophical guidance minister.

New Allergy – Socks

2012 – Balotelli jailed for 6 months for water-boarding a school bully. With his Manchester City contract cancelled, Mario becomes the Prison Chaplain. Spends second-half of the year playing keepy-uppies using just the back of his heel.

Birthday present – Necklace created from an old Ferrari tyre

New Allergy – Skin

2013 – Balotelli given sensational return to football with FC United of Manchester after being kicked out of the Church of England for denouncing God’s dress-sense. Releases soul album entitled Balotelling It How It Is. Scores 14 goals and picks up 7 red cards (from right-back) in FCUM’s promotion season.

Birthday Present – The invention of a new colour for his hair.

New Allergy – Chewits

2014 – Successive promotions with FC United of Manchester see Balotelli appointed Mayor of Manchester on a 5 year deal. Disbands Manchester City FC and moves every tramp in Manchester to new, plush, free accommodation at the newly renovated Eastlands Hotel. Teaches them individually how to read and write Italian and English. Sacked after executing the city’s parking attendants.

Birthday Present – A towel (recession)

New Allergy – Darts

2015 – Balotelli decides to revert to playing as a striker but, after a 19 hour goal drought and one substitution too many, he cancels his contract at FC United of Manchester and flees back to Milan. Appointed as Marco Matterazzi’s assistant manager at struggling Inter, the pair tattoo each other’s faces on their foreheads as a sign as solidarity and team spirit. Inter win the Scudetto.

Birthday present – Matterazzi’s self-severed ear on a plinth

New Allergy – Ink

2016 – The night befre Inter Milan’s Champions League Final against Malaga, Balotelli abducts both star striker Carlton Cole and manager Marco Matterazzi, announcing himself player/manager and saying he will start the Final up front for Inter. Wearing a skirt and a leather jacket, Balotelli back-heels the winner past Malaga goal-keeper Edwin van der Sar and celebrates by urinating into his own mouth.

Birthday present – Mouthwash

New Allergy – Nostril Hair

2017 – Now a Champions League Winner and serial bigamist, Balotelli takes the year off to visit space in Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Shuttle. Underwhelmed by The Moon and ambivalent towards Mars, Balotelli asks to be dropped off at Jupiter, claiming he will find his own way home. Despite the crew’s best efforts to talk him round, he escapes and leaps towards Jupiter.

Birthday Present – Sir Richard Branson’s Wig

New Allergy – Hydrogen (Science Joke)

2018 – Mario is missing, presumed dead. The Pope presides over his funeral. Joey Barton reads the eulogy. A former Manchester City youth-teamer weeps out of his one remaining eye. The bullied child that Balotelli helped back in 2011, is now The Pope.

In July, Ghana win the 2018 World Cup in the Qatar, who purchased the tournament off Russia in order to practice for the 2022 World Cup. As they lift the trophy, the manager Marco Matterazzi peels off his skin to reveal Mario Barwuah Balotelli underneath. He smiles and winks at the camera. Then all the lights in the stadium go out. When they are turned back on, he is nowhere to be seen, and Matterazzi’s skin lies bereft on the artificial pitch.

Birthday Present – A complete system reboot, reverting him to factory settings

New Allergy – Grass (again)

2019 – Balotelli becomes a homosexual for Lent. The News of the Sun newspaper runs an exclusive on Easter Day, listing his Lent sexual conquests. Joey Barton, Ousmane Dabo, Sir Richard Branson, Caster Semenya and Aston from JLS all tell how Mario promised them the world, and a Ferrari for their birthday, before smiling, winking, extinguishing all light, and vanishing.

Birthday Present – Tickets to Billy Elliot

New Allergy – Wood

2020 – Balotelli turns 30 and, realising he still hasn’t won the Premier League, bizarrely cobbles together a team consisting of players whose names rhyme with ‘ALA’ or ‘AMBA’, to be managed by himself. Mario changes his name by deed poll to ‘Balatelli’ in order to gain respect from his players.

The starting XI:

Ma Kalambay,

Bambara, Samba, Bamba, Alaba,

Shikabala, Muamba, Tshabalala,

Tshibamba, Kitambala, Ba

Docked 5 points for the ineligibility of Demba Ba (his name neither contains nor rhymes with ‘ALA’ or ‘AMBA’), Balotelli drafts in CM 01/02 prodigy Cherno Samba.

On the last day of the season Balatelli’s side play Marco Matterazzi’s FC United of Manchester in a game that they must win in order to seize the title. Golden Boot winner Cherno Samba is played in by Tshabalala and, inexplicably, attempts a sort of turkey-twizzle back-heel shot, which dribbles tamely wide.

Mario Balatelli turns and smiles, winks at the camera, and……………

Broken Promises – How the Game is Failing Player Safety

And another! Simon Furnivall gives us his one penny’s worth. And what a penny it is too. Here he examines the worrying increase in ‘horror’ leg injuries, why the trend is becoming the norm and what we can do about it… Follow him at @SFurnivall on twitter

If you were to spend your time asking football fans what is the one thing that could be done to improve the game, you would probably get a wide range of answers. Amongst the most popular would certainly be the introduction of goal line technology and the insistence that Sepp Blatter be hung from the nearest rafter, but how many would answer that the very safety of those who play the game must be improved?

On the 30th April this year, the millions who watch the Premier League every week were consumed by the did it/didn’t it controversy of whether Frank Lampard’s shot had actually crossed the line. What that overshadowed was a story far more significant to the game, and which is becoming more of a pressing issue every year.

In the eight days before Lampard’s ‘goal’, two players in MLS, Steve Zakuani and David Ferreira, suffered horrific leg injuries. Just a week later a third, Javier Morales, would too find the bones in his leg no longer aligned as intended. All three were the victims of hard challenges – of varying degrees of recklessness – by opponents and whilst they were left to contemplate the rest of the season from a hospital bed, their assailants would soon be back plying their trade.

Javier Morales is not the only victim of horror tackles in this year's MLS

It is no coincidence that Zakuani, Ferreira and Morales are three of the more skillful players in Major League Soccer, and it is by no means a phenomenon isolated in Amercia. Back in September, Lionel Messi was on the end of a tackle from Atlético Madrid defender Tomáš Ujfaluši so late that arrived some three days after the match had finished. The world’s favourite footballer was extremely lucky to come out of the incident with only a minor ankle sprain.

The Premier League has had its fair share on nasty incidents this season too. Bobby Zamora and Hatem Ben Arfa left the field with broken legs, whilst Nani was lucky to escape one having been on the end of Jamie Carragher’s ill-advised unge. Stuart Holden suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury – and a cut on his knee that required twenty six stitches – when he and Johnny Evans both went full-blooded and studs first into a challenge, and in the penultimate week of the season, Gareth Bale was lucky to escape more serious injury when Charlie Adam trod clumsily on his ankle.

When you add in the injuries from recent seasons to Aaron Ramsey, Eduardo and Abou Diaby, along with countless others, it paints a worrying trend of players suffering more and more season and potentially career ending injuries. As more and more players leave the field in such circumstances, we are left with the question, why?

Are players becoming more reckless in their tackling, are professionals going out to intentionally intimidate each other, is it the inexorable conclusion of ‘anti-football’, or is it simply bad luck in a contact sport which will always see players hurt? To my mind, there are probably elements of all four.

Certainly it is hard to argue against the idea that some injuries are sheer bad luck. Studs getting caught in turf, a genuine, honest tackle with unfortunate consequences, these will always be an unfortunate part of the game; the risks people take in doing what they love.

The example held up here would be that of Antonio Valencia’s injury against Rangers in the Champions League in September. The winger’s studs caught in the turf and his ankle collapsed beneath him, but there was no suggestion of wrongdoing on anyone’s part.

Antonio Valencia's injury: innocuous, unfortunate, but no less shocking

However, many of these injuries are being caused by an overly aggressive style in a game that seems to get quicker every year. There is no doubt, I can’t believe even that the teams themselves would deny it, that there are some who make up for their technical deficiencies by trying to assert themselves physically. The phrase ‘get in their faces’ is a regularly used euphemism.

I do not for one second believe that the Stokes and Blackburns of the world go out with an intent to injure, but it can be argued that such injuries are an inevitable conclusion of their more physical style. Speaking on the Sky Sports show ‘Sunday Supplement’, the day after Aaron Ramsey’s injury, Times journalist Paddy Barclay spoke on the matter.

“What we saw yesterday for me was completely unacceptable in the same way that it was unacceptable when Martin Taylor inadvertently, accidentally broke Eduardo’s leg. There’s a wildness and physicality about the English game which I don’t think is healthy.”

Shawcross may not be 'that type of player', but that didn't make a difference to Aaron Ramsay's leg

It was hard to assign intent to Shawcross’ challenge on Ramsey, just as it was when Taylor left Eduardo in a broken heap. But both incidents were cases of defenders going hard into tackles with their feet off the ground, being beaten to the ball by quicker players and being out of control to the extent that they could not pull out. The very nature of these tackles against players of the speed of foot and touch that we see in the modern game means such injuries will continue to be a relatively frequent occurrence.

There is also the darker side, the tackles to which it is difficult not to ascribe motive. Zakuani was the victim of an horrific challenge by Brian Mullan. The Colorado Rapids midfielder was frustrated at not having been awarded a free kick for a challenge by Zakuani’s team mate, Tyson Wahl, and lined up Zakuani from several yards away. He launched himself, studs showing, at the Seattle winger and made heavy contact with his shin, the snapping of Zakuani’s tibia and fibula clearly audible across the television mics.

Mullan received a ten match suspension and a $5,000 fine, a punishment far more befitting of the crime than many tackles with equally horrific consequences meet. The ban evoked memories of that landed upon Standard Liège midfielder, Axel Witsel, when in August 2009 he was suspended for eight matches after his over-the-ball stamp left the career of Anderlecht’s Marcin Wasilewski in serious jeopardy.

In my opinion it is punishments such as these which need to be doled out on a far more regular basis if this rising trend of injuries is to be reversed. The prospect of a three match ban for so recklessly endangering the safety of their fellow professionals has not stopped players going into over-the-ball, studs up challenges. There needs to be an effective deterrent (some suggest the the player in question should be banned for as long as his injured opponent is out of the game) and the prospect of being sidelined for ten, twelve, even fifteen games might just provide that.

Football is a far faster game than it used to be, and the pace isn’t about to slow down any time soon. There needs to be a recognition that goes hand-in-hand, however, that with increased pace comes increased danger, and the safety of the players involved is of paramount importance. Whether it be the reckless stupidity of tackles such as Shawcross’ on Ramsey or Taylor’s on Eduardo, or those with more sinister intent as perpetrated by Mullan and Witsel, a commitment across the game to eradicating this danger is the single biggest improvement that could be made to the game I love.

“If You Don’t Want To Know Today’s Scores, Look Away Now”

You’ve arrived ten minutes early to the TV Room. Your uncharacteristic punctuality, half due to excitement, half  to your knowledge, after many years of honing your TV-watching tactics, that 10 minutes is the time it takes to sink to the optimum comfort level in your formerly-blue armchair, now a browny-green colour. Yes, this uncommon time-keeping has its downside: you have to spend ten minutes watching a sincere-looking woman, lips saturated with lipstick, tell you thenews from around the world. As far as you’re concerned, the only news that could possibly merit interest on a Saturday are the football results. Yes, Monday to Friday (except for Monday Night Football, Champions League on Tuesday and Wednesday and the Championship game on Friday night) you are all too happy to make troubled noises regarding to situation in the Middle-East, you may ‘tut-tut’ at yet another inexplicable stabbing in London, and you may whoop with delight at the rescue of a cat from an elm tree in Cockfosters. But Saturday night is sacred. It is, and always has been -apart from the 3 years between ‘01 and ’04 when ITV had ‘The Premiership’, when TheMakéléléRole asked to put into a medically-induced coma– Match of the Day.

At 10:35pm on a Saturday night, other people around TMR’s age might be out ‘throwing mad shapes’ against a backdrop of grime, grunge and dubstep. They might be locking beer-goggles with a member of the female race who, like them, also looks great in the dark, and attempting to fertility dance their way into her XL thong. But not TheMakéléléRole. It’s Match of the Day for us. Don’t be fooled – TMR can fertility dance with the best of them. But there’s a time (usually Thursday nights after the Europa League) and a place for that.

But now TMR has got its mandatory two paragraphs of rambling out the way, let’s get to the point. Every week since it can remember, TMR has heard: “Now for the football results. If you don’t want to know them, please look away now”. Now quite apart from the fact that if you don’t want to know the results on the basis that you don’t care (apparently these philistines do exist) you’ve either changed the channel already or fallen asleep on the sofa watching Eurovision 30 minutes previously, TheMakéléléRole thinks it’s pretty safe to assume that if you’ve made it this far, it’s likely that your next televisional destination will be Match of the Day.

However, last night a worrying thought crossed TheMakéléléRole’s admittedly small mind. When was the last time that TMR watched Match of the Day without knowing the scores? And not just the scores, but also the scorers and exact minute of the goals. Hell, we’ve even already read about the moment where Rooney/Balotelli swore/spat/smiled. The fact is – and TMR thinks it deserves some worry – that it is nigh on impossible to avoid knowledge of what happens on a Saturday afternoon in the Premier League (or any other league that might interest you), because if we’re not watching Kammy, Merse and Thommo try their best to act like well-informed, unbiased pundits on Gilette Soccer Saturday, we’re being told via Twitter, Facebook status (‘Get in there Rooney you beauty, I’ve always loved you!’ coming three weeks after ‘F*** off Rooney you greedy, cheating w*****, you never fitted in anyway’) or the Sky Sports Live Score app on my phone.

Now TMR wouldn’t possibly complain about the age that we live in, and especially not about the internet itself. We’re very aware that 50 years ago, if we had wanted to write about football, it would have been unachievable to get anyone to read it! And yet here we are with 100+ readers of our first ever article and a myriad of kind feedback. But I have to admit that I remember the days where there was not much more exciting than watching Match of the Day ‘fresh’ – by which I mean without knowing what the scores are, and TMR has incredibly fond and nostalgic feelings towards ‘those days’.

So, what do you think? Is TheMakéléléRole getting all soppy? Or would it be a much more exciting show if we watched Match of the Day without knowing the scores? Has our ‘modern world’ with all these gadgets, apps and tweets taken away some of the old-fashioned excitement of ‘Football Day’ and, if so, is the modern-age excitement an improvement? By improvement TMR means on an enjoyment scale rather than an information scale?

Comments are welcomed and encouraged.

Message to Chelsea fans: Why Patience is a Virtue

Who can tell me what happened on the 16th of May, 2010, almost exactly a year ago? TheMakéléléRole can, because it was there. If some of you need your memories jogged, Lampard chanted ‘Didier Drogba, lalalala’, Ancelotti sang ‘Volare, wooaaahh! Cantare, wooaaahh’ John Terry croaked out a rendition of ‘We’re makin’ ‘istory’, and thousands of Chelsea fans roared along with them, throwing celery and decibels in equal measure at the open-topped bus which was carrying the Premier League and FA Cup trophies. TheMakéléléRole had spent the day before at Wembley watching Chelsea win the FA Cup and the weekend before watching them demolish Wigan at Stamford Bridge to win the Premier League. The man in charge was hailed as a genius, having guided Chelsea to a famous and unprecedented Double.

Ancelotti singing 'Volare' - 16th May 2010

That man was, of course, Carlo Ancelotti. Yet, one year on, many Chelsea fans are now harrumphing and murmuring their way towards an ‘unacceptable’ second place in the League Formerly Known as the Best League in the World™. How can they be so inclined to forget something that happened less than a year ago? Have they forgotten the first 4 seasons in the Premier League when Chelsea were in the dreaded bottom half? What about the seasons in the 80s when Chelsea weren’t even dining at English football’s top table? What TheMakéléléRole is trying to get at is that if there is one thing out of the innumerable  ‘gear-grinders’ that currently plague top-flight football, there is one that grinds not only TMR’s gears but also its brakes, pistons and axels. That is fickle, spoilt fans.

The main point of the article (which will not have been obvious from TMR’s indecipherable ranting so far) is that patience is a commodity that must be thought of on the same level as money in terms of importance. The easy examples of patience paying off are those of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, who took 6 seasons to win his first league title and can now count 12 (presuming United don’t go all Devon Loch on our ass), as well as FA Cups, League Cups, and Champions League trophies. Arsene Wenger, despite recent form, has been successful as Arsenal manager (and if you don’t agree with TMR, kindly leave the premises before you are escorted off by our bodyguard, Geremi). Even if we take out the money, have a look at David Moyes and what he has done at Everton when backed by his chairman and fans.

However, more importantly, let’s go back to Carlo Ancelotti. TMR really enjoys the saying ‘Be careful what you wish for’, and it is rarely as apt as it is now for Chelsea fans. If Ancelotti is sacked, Chelsea will be back at Square One, just like 2 years ago when he took over. TheMakéléléRole wonders whether, realistically, Chelsea could hire a manager this summer who would win the Double straight away, in their first season at the club? Villas-Boas , the Porto manager, seems an attractive choice.

Hey guys, remember that time when we hired that young Portuguese manager who came in, wowed us all, and won Chelsea their first League title for 50 years, the FA Cup and the League Cup twice? Well 4 months after winning the FA Cup trophy, with captain John Terry and Frank Lampard draped all over him like the cheap hookers, he walked away from the club (albeit with one of ‘Oh sorry, did I just barge into you by mistake?’ shoves from Roman) after three games where Chelsea failed to win. Laughable.

Finally, TheMakéléléRole wants to mention another issue – Fernando Torres. Oh, Fernando. How to solve a problem like Fernando? Frankly, our first thought is to give him one of our speacial and famous bear-hugs. But we’re glad you asked, because TMR has ideas. Call us crazed, but we’d like to give him a little more time until we call him a flop, a failure, a waste of money. And here is why: bear in mind, if you will, the general theory that players who play long seasons for their clubs, pick up knocks, and then proceed to play in major international tournaments, tend to be exhausted at the start of the season. Then bear in mind, if you can stand the thought of cutting the man some slack, the fact that in 2008, Fernando Torres (after scoring 24 league goals in his debut season at Liverpool) went to Euro 2008 and came back victorious. In 2008/2009 he tore his hamstring, Sellotaped it back together, then the Sellotape ripped a little bit and then he picked up an ankle injury for good measure. Torres then proceeded to go to South Africa for the Confederations Cup. Back at Liverpool, injuries plagued him further, not helped by The Waiter depending on him so badly that he was often rushed back from injury, a sure-fire way of exacerbating the problem.  Of course, that summer he was back in South Africa becoming a World Champion, before getting straight back into the thick of it this season with more injuries and the occasional goal. We could also go on to mention that Fernando has been playing under the most immense pressure since the age of 17, when he was thrown in at the deep end at Athletico Madrid.

Fernando Torres scores his first goal for Chelsea vs West Ham

Now TMR is patiently disposed.  It always has been and that’s why people like it. But even if we weren’t, we reckon it would be within reason to suggest that this man has been under more physical and mental pressure in his career so far than we would experience if we lived to 200 years old. What we suggest is that we give Fernando the summer off for the first time in 4 years, let him blow the top off a couple of San Miguels and get the hair back to its former glory (incidentally, is this the first time that hair has been the subject of footballing pathetic fallacy? So beautiful when scoring for fun, so dark, dank and lifeless these days) and then let’s see if he doesn’t repay us by scoring 40 goals next season, firing Chelsea to League, FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League glory. And hell, TheMakéléléRole is feeling generous, so we’re going to let Carlo Ancelotti stay a little longer as well, because he’s such a nice man. And if not, well, let’s just sack them both. And get Ray Wilkins and Zola back. They’ll win it all for us.

TMR doesn’t know what Chelsea’s fickle and impatient fans like to do to calm themselves, but we suspect it involves the coming together of darts and pictures of Ancelotti/Torres/Kalou/Mikel/Bosingwa and everyone else who is a massive waste of space, isn’t fit to wear the shirt/tight-fitting hand-made Italian suit etc. TheMakéléléRole’s message to these fans: go and do some dart-throwing, get all that anger out of your system, and then let’s give this ‘patience’ thing a try. Oh, and be careful what you wish for…

Introduction of Categories + Ideas for Future Articles

I said in my introduction post that TheMakéléléRole did not have a theme. However, what it does have is an abundance of ideas for ‘series’. This is a short post introducing these ‘series’ (or categories) and explaining what they will contain, so that you can have a look at what is to come and decide whether this might be the blog for you!

Opinion: These will be articles written by me, reflecting my thoughts and views. TheMakéléléRole will try to keep moaning to a minimum, and to make its point as un-biasedly as possible. No promises though!

Reviews: This section will contain articles looking back matches that I’ve watched from the stands or on Sky Sports 1 (or even HD1!). Not just that, there will be season summaries of as many leagues as I can manage this summer.

Exciting Matches – From Perth Glory to Peterhead, every team has had a match which will never be forgotten by the fans, for historical reasons, for triumphant reasons, or just for sheer entertainment value. For example, TheMakéléléRole is contemplating writing one such article on the Grêmio v Náutico Serie B play-off match in 2005, nicknamed Batalha dos Aflitos (Battle of the Afflicted), which ended with 17 players on the pitch and one (very important) goal scored by a young player who now plies his trade in a certain Theatre of Dreams.

Player Profiles – It could be a player you haven’t heard of, or perhaps a world-renowned, award-wining superstar. But if TheMakéléléRole think they deserve to be written about, then it shall be so. Current plans are to explore the careers of some of the Ballon d’Or winners from the mid-2oth Century, and of course to do some ‘One to Watch’ profiles – where would football blogs be without them?!

Team Guides – Similar to Player Profiles, but these Team Guides will be looking back on a single club’s history, fans, heros, villains, rivalries and glories. Off the top of TheMakéléléRole’s perfectly round, bald head? Dukla Prague. European Cup and Cup Winners Cup semi-finalists in the 60s, and owners of a Ballon D’Or winner. Where are they now? TheMakéléléRole will be happy to tell you if you stop fidgeting and keep reading.

Misc – Misc was created out of panic when I realised my introduction post had nowhere to live. Always one to help the homeless, TheMakéléléRole took pity, and out of this beautiful, selfless act was born ‘Misc’. ‘Misc’ will, from now on, become the refuge for both the homeless posts and those maverick posts whose genius can and will never be categorised. Now wipe awaythat tear, becausenext up is the category that TheMakéléléRole is most excited about!

Championship and Football Manager Legends – Where are they now? – If you have no interest in, or have never heard of the Championship Manager and Football Manager series, then frankly, you and TheMakéléléRole won’t get on. Let’s not cause a scene – it’s been a lovely evening and thank you for the wine, but no, I don’t want coffee, I just want to go home and guide my Ajax team (with an average age of 22) to another Eredivise and Champions League title.
Yes, this section will be attempting to track down all those great CM/FM players, that perhaps never went on to fulfill their -10 potential, perhaps never made a stadium gasp in awe or applaud in admiration. But by God did we love them, sitting in our suits, notebook in hand in front of our Windows 97 computer that has long since been recycled into lego. TheMakéléléRole is getting a tear of nostalgia just thinking about Tonton Zola Mokoukou, To Madeira, Tom Youngs. But what happened to them in ‘real life’? Were they even real? TheMakéléléRole puts on it’s detective hat and finds out…

Welcome to TheMakéléléRole

Hello and welcome to TheMakéléléRole, my first foray into blogging.

This is an exciting new football blog, without a particular theme à la Les Rosbifs and The Seventy Two. Those blogs are an example of blogs that, while being brilliantly written (that goes without saying), also follow a very specific theme (Englishmen abroad and The Football League respectively. Having a theme requires a regular and specific work ethic and passion. TheMakéléléRole, for the moment at least, will be more general. The main reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, it is not clear to me at this time of my ‘blogging career’ that there is one particular, specific path for me to follow. I am still learning about the beautiful game on a global scale, and as such am still discovering new footballing cultures, rivalries and styles of play. Secondly, working 9-5, Monday through to Friday is not a facilitatory way of living when trying to keep a consistent blog running. Luckily, come October I shall be a student studying French, and as such should have some time on my hands.

On a long term scale, I have a utopian vision of how this blog ends up and, true to its name, it mirrors the career of the only man to have a position named after him: Claude Makélélé. Let me run you through this dreamlike hallucination:

Currently, I am grafting through my youthful days at Brest (or the blogging equivalent). Then Nantes will provide a step up, where I’ll discover the real pleasure of blogging. Nantes will develop me and encourage me, maturing me until I’m ready to play at a high level. A year in Marseille and I’m ready to go abroad, though big European clubs still don’t rate me as highly as I rate myself. I reluctantly go to Celta Vigo, but enjoy a wonderful 2 seasons alongside Mostovoi, Karpin and Salgado.

Then, like all hallucinations, we reach the part that seems so believable yet ridiculous – a few years at Real Madrid and Chelsea, filled with wonderful performances, adoration from the fans and, finally, recognition from critics and colleagues. I’ve made it, and I can afford to retire to my hometown club, with numerous cars, houses and superinjuctions. Maybe, one day, I’ll even be unique enough to have something named after me. The Maxwell Tricolon sounds like it could work…

But let’s cross that myriad, that phalanx of bridges when we get to them. For the moment, I should probably start writing.

This was the ‘End of Level Boss’, so if you’ve got this far, congratulations. I think I’m going to like you. Go to level 2.