Follow World Cup 2006 with Cod Almighty. Well, a little bit of it. When we can be arsed. We promise we won't make you drink Budweiser.
Mat's betting tips
Meek's World Cup clichés
They played against Town
All roads lead to home
20 June 2006
Serving suggestion: read this with an imaginary oompah band in the background and a sprig of parsley on top.
It's summer, it's the World Cup, we're supposed to be excited. C'mon campers, make some noise. Perhaps age has withered our senses; perhaps it's because FIFA has ruined the game by eradicating psychopathic referees and extravagantly moustachioed linesmen. What is there to keep the world-weary Mariner awake? Are we losing our love, or is it all too blandly adequate?
There may be nothing better than a disallowed French goal, or slow-motion hair ruffling by Pavel Nedved, but these are isolated moments. Do we really care if Cole's in the hole, or Crouch in the pouch? After ten days of watching Franz Beckenbauer watching you watching me, are you still twirling your dirndls?
"...he played for five months at Wolves...four league games, and a league cup defeat at Grimsby..."
Yes, that's it! That's why it's lacking that certain je ne sais quoi, as we say at the back of the Pontoon when Tom Newey is about to launch a free kick into the Osmond. We've seen most of 'em play against Town! How can that be a feast of football, the crème de la crème of the beautiful game, when we've seen them befuddled by a Gallimore drag-back, or nudged away from danger by Justin Whittle's psychic elbow?
Hmmm. So just how many have we seen stumble, tumble and fumble their way through Buckley's babes to Slade's shufflers? I didn't get where I am today without running up the flagpole and seeing who salutes the wrong national anthem. Off the top of my head:
1. Al Jaber (Saudi Arabia and Wolves)
2. Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Japan and Portsmouth)
3. Michael Carrick (England and the Tottingham Hotspa)
4. Aaron Lennon (England and the Tottingham Hotspa)
5. Young-Pyo Lee (South Korea and the Tottingham Hotspa)
6. Paul Robinson (England and the Tottingham Hotspa)
7. Jermaine Jenas (England, Notts Forest and the Tottingham Hotspa)
8. Gregor Rasiak (Poland and Derby)
9. Shaka Hislop (Trinidad & Tobago and Reading)
10. Ian Cox (Trinidad & Tobago and Bournemouth)
11. Dennis Lawrence (Trinidad & Tobago and Wrexham)
12. Carlos Edwards (Trinidad & Tobago and Wrexham)
13. Clayton Ince (Trinidad & Tobago and Crewe)
14. Peter Crouch (England, QPR and Portsmouth)
15. Jamie Carragher (England and Liverpool)
16. Owen MD (England and Liverpool)
17. The very Stern John (Trinidad & Tobago and Birmingham)
18. Marcus Hahnemann (USA, Fulham and Reading)
19. Kasey Keller (a rootin' and a tootin') (USA and Millwall)
20. Eddie Lewis (USA, Preston and Leeds)
21. Mark Schwarzer (Australia and Bradford)
22. Stan Lazaridis (Australia, West Ham and Birmingham)
23. John Aloisi (with a three-pronged hook) (Australia and Portsmouth)
24. Tiger Tim Cahill (Australia and Millwall)
25. Luke Wilkshire (Australia and Bristol City)
26. Tony Popovic (Australia and Crystal Palace)
27. David James (England and Watford)
28. Harry Kewell (Australia and Leeds)
29. Lucas Neill (Australia and Millwall)
30. Dwight Yorke (Trinidad & Tobago and Aston Villa)
31. Ashley Cole (England and on loan at Crystal Palace)
32. Stewart Downing (England and a Middlesbrough XI in behind closed doors match)
33. Louis Saha (France and Fulham)
34. Sylvain Wiltord (France and Arsenal)
35. Junichi Inamoto (Japan and Arsenal)
36. Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Holland and Arsenal)
37. Luis Boa Morte (Portugal and Fulham)
And then, of course, there are Mendonca and Donovan, who played both for and against us. Gilbert(o) doesn't count.
Like a Korean centre-back, are you still gripped by Thierry Ennui? Remember that after the group stage It's a Knockout. Ah, that explains Peter Crouch.
Finally some advice for anyone thinking of going for a walk in the Black Forest: a bear will not eat you if you swear at it in Bavarian. Ah, that explains Owen Hargeaves.
Has Tony got everything right? Surely he has! If you dare to question the man with the memory bigger than the Dock Tower, then dare to do it using the Cod Almighty feedback form!