A Console Season Review
So, the end of another season full of football. Football, football, football. What is the best way to sum up all the teams footballing perfomances this season? Definitely not by talking about football. No, it will have to be by comparing them to video games consoles from throughout the ages. (Warning: May contain increasingly appalling video game puns)
If they were a console they would be: PS2 – wildly popular with fantastic platform support, this machine outperformed its newer, flashier rivals but is definitely overdue an upgrade…
Best Games: Alex Ferguson’s Player Manager, Radiant daSilvagun, Prince of van Persie.
Worst Games: Bebe Bobble, Akai Kagawa Shin, Championship Manager: Retirement Edition.
If they were a console they would be: PS3 – a popular reboot of the old system, with more money lavished on its hardware and marketing. Whilst technically superior, it failed to capture the popularity of the previous system and it has since waned after an impressive start. Another console needing an upgrade, especially of its operating system.
Best Games: Yaya Toure’s International Holding Midfielder, Manic Milner, Agueroad Rash.
Worst Games: Escape from the Group of Death, Dzeko the Dolphin, Leisure Suit Barry.
If they were a console they would be: Xbox 360 – Expensive, modern and flash. Backed by a company run by one of the richest people in the world, this is a more rounded console that has had a successful year and no doubt has good times ahead when it’s much anticipated new version is released.
Best Games: NoHoper League 2013, BioHazard, Silent Cahill.
Worst Games: John Terry’s Lion King, Torresident Evil, A Ba’s Tale.
If they were a console they would be: Dreamcast – extremely popular amongst a dedicated hardcore of connoisseurs but died under the challenge of bigger, better organised and better funded consoles.
Best Games: Monreal Tournament, Castle of Illusion starring Rosicky Mouse.
Worst Games: Destruction Diaby, Mannone in the Dark.
If they were a console they would be: Gamecube – fun and popular, but from a company heavily reliant on one mascot. Outstripped technically by its rivals and struggled to keep pace.
Best Games: Balespin, Gallasteroids, Beyond Good and Friedel.
Worst Games: Virtua Striker, CupRun: Europa, Metal Gear Lloris: Kyle Walker.
If they were a console they would be: BBC Micro/Acorn – Less popular at home than their ‘speccy’ rival, it performed technically better and its roll out across the schools after winning the big BBC contract was well managed.
Best Games: International Jagielkarate, Moyes Story, Professor Leighton Baines and the Curious Village.
Worst Games: Oviedodonpachi, Hitzelsperger Time.
If they were a console they would be: ZX Spectrum – loved by the people but lacking that final polish due to a self-destructive bent from the designers. Released by a great company with a great history that would go on to ruin themselves with ill-thought out ventures.
Best Games: GalAgger, Teenage Mutant Ninja Skrtels, Sturridge Racer.
Worst Games: Grand Theft Suso, Call of Coates: Gunslinger, Heavy Reina.
If they were a console they would be: Atari 2600 – solid, brown and consistent. Comfortingly wood panelled with an old time feel, yet surprisingly still full of tricks/
Best Games: Guilty Gera, Lukakuri Kuri Mix.
Worst Games: Genma Odemwingie, Soldier of Fortuné.
If they were a console they would be: SNES – an attractive console that is fun a full of unexpected flair. Consistent and fluid gameplay and stunning visuals.
Best Games: Michu Chu Rocket, Burning Rangels, Vorms.
Worst Games: Super GaryMonkeyball, ProboSchecter.
West Ham United
If they were a console they would be: Vectrex – Solid, no frills, simple gaming and done well. A self-contained unit of playable games, using wire-frame graphics.
Best Games: Nolanimal Crossing, Cole Position.
Worst Games: Demelder Scrolls Saga, Ninja Maiga.
If they were a console they would be: Sega Master System – low budget, old school but a lot better than you remember – when it works!
Best Games: Sega Bassong Fishing, Castle Wolfswinkel.
Worst Games: Grant Holt’s Championship Diving.
If they were a console they would be: PC Engine – reliant on obscure imports and mainly for the richer kids, this passed most people by. Really tailed off by the time an ill-fated CD drive was added.
Best Game: Frimpong.
Worst Game: Gourmet Hot Dog Stand Simulator.
If they were a console they would be: Wii – Simple, dull flailing around. High chance of injury.
Best Games: Chrono Shawcross, Pennant Attack.
Worst Games: Walters Beast, Alter Edu.
If they were a console they would be: Playstation 1 – This console did remarkably well for new boys on the scene, and whilst there were some spectacular games, there was also a lot of dross.
Best Games: Yoshida’s Island, Mike Tyson’s Puncheon.
Worst Games: Delta Force: Jack Cork Down.
If they were a console they would be: Apple Pippen – After a great run of machines in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s the company came back with this newer, younger games-led formula. This will ultimately fail, but it lays the groundworks for the company to recover with the right leadership.
Best Game: Bentekken
Worst Game: Vlaarstlevania
If they were a console they would be: NintendoVirtua Boy – Expensive misjudged novelty from a popular company. It is fragile and causes headaches.
Best Games: Shadow of the Coloccini, Ben Arfa Life.
Worst Games: Marveaux Vs Capcom, SisSOCOM: US Navy Seals.
If they were a console they would be: Atari Jaguar – A last gasp attempt by an out of touch company running on older software.
Best Games: Tomorrow Never N’Diayes, Monty Cattermole.
Worst Games: Overkilgallon, Colback to the Future.
If they were a console they would be: Panasonic 3DO – Initially well-received and full of promise as a modern system with a charismatic company owner, the model and technology did not catch on and faced increasingly poor returns despite winning awards for innovation.
Best Game: MegaMcManaman.
Worst Game: Pollittle Big Planet
If they were a console they would be: Philips CD-i - The product of the end of a relationship. Some good ideas and great licences, but essentially not good enough to survive.
Best Game: Le Fondrayman
Worst Game: Karacannon Fodder
If they were a console they would be: Neo Geo AES – Incredibly expensive to the point of pricing itself out of the market, the Neo Geo AES was as good as the arcade games and held much promise until it sank under its own weight.
Best Games: Christopher Samba De Amigo, Jurassic Park Ji-Sung.
Worst Games: Mbiashock, DJ Hero Campbell.
Illustration by Alice Devine
A Gingernut That Never Crumbled Would Be Shit, Or Would It?
He is celebrated for not being a bastard
He drives a reasonably regular car
His children’s names all begin with ‘A’
He is seemingly always under the radar
He openly admitted fearing good performances
To avoid media attention and to keep away the audiences
He has the ability to remain hidden like a mole
Xavi + Iniesta + Messi = Scholes.
Maybe if he’s like a mole then all the pictures of him were taken after he died.
Or it’s a well-known secret within the media that there is in existence a mouldable
Mimic of him. You call up and book it, then shape it as you will.
This would all be easier than getting Scholsey on the bill.
In fact, if you offered this – he’d probably take it.
“I’m useless in interviews; you might as well fake it.
In fact, book my double, he’s media trained.
He’ll fill you right in on all the recent games,
He’ll cry and he’ll laugh and he’ll empty his soul,
What does it matter if he’s not the real Paul Scholes?”
I bet he hated that Alex Ferguson made him retire twice,
He’s spent all of those years trying to avoid the limelight,
But now that’s he’s gone I expect that he’ll dissolve into mystery
He’ll do a Jason Bourne and keep out of the cities
All secretive and sheltered, alone at last
That short, ginger master, happily admitted to the binary of the past.
Illustration by Alice Devine
Football’s Hardest Bastards: Rino Gattuso.
Italian football has always been the iron fist in the velvet glove, a combination of grace and steel. No two players represent this better than Pirlo and Gattuso at Milan. Pirlo is undoubtedly one of the greatest players of a generation and I’m sure he would be the first to admit that he owes a lot of his success to his “iron fist” Gennaro Gattuso. Between 2001 and 2011 the pair bossed Italian, European and World football, winning one Coppa Italia, two Serie A titles, two Champions leagues and a World cup.
Hailing from Corigliano Calabro in the south of Italy, Gattuso spent long days at the beach playing football with his friends. Even as a child his energy astounded his peers and at the age of twelve he was offered the chance to learn his trade at Perugia. Without a moment’s hesitation he left vowing to his friends and family that he wouldn’t return without success.
He out shone other more talented players purely with his desire to win football matches. At 19, Gattuso, would catch the eye of Glasgow Rangers manager Walter Smith. The Italian quickly won over the tough Glaswegian fans with his bone crunching tackles and unbridled passion. Every week the teenager would take on a gnarled Scottish journeyman and come out on top, his battling nature earning him the nickname “Braveheart”.
Things were soon to change though when Smith decided to leave Rangers and was replaced by Dick Advocaat. The former Dutch coach decided to play Gattuso as a right back. Dissatisfied with the situation, Gattuso would seek a move back to his native land and was offered an opportunity with recently promoted Salernitana Calcio.
In his first season back in Serie A Gattuso was proving to be a thorn in the side of Serie A’s top sides. AC Milan were the first to take notice and were quick to snap up the rising star. From the first time he pulled on the famous black and red shirt, it seemed like he had always been a part of Milan. With his piercing dark eyes and trimmed beard, the clubs nickname “Il Diavolo” seemed to suit him as well as it did the club.
Gattuso was never the most talented footballer but drove himself to the very top of the game. His work rate, his reading of the game, his aggression and above all his hatred of defeat, are the things that made him a champion. Often his hatred of losing would see him lose control, putting in reckless tackles and once even saw him challenging fellow hard bastard Joe Jordan to a fight after a one-nil defeat to Spurs.
In a team of superstars, Gattuso was always prepared to do the dirty work. Those who played with him loved him, those who played against him feared him and Europeans greatest players will never forget him, that’s for sure! Fans will remember him as Braveheart, Rhino, Ringhio (the growler), Il gladitatore and of course Il Diavolo.
Illustration by Philippe Fenner
…AND THE RESULTS ARE IN!
Here’s the Get Goal Side boy’s results:
It’s been a long season here at T.I.G Premier League Predictions. 19 head-to-heads, culminating in a final score and an overall league table for individuals involved. Firstly, well done to everyone, but in particular ‘Sunday Manager Brad’ who tops the ‘Head to Head’ table:
Overall is a different matter ladies and gentlemen. Now, controversially there’s been some mix-up along the way. As it seemed, the guests had beaten the T.I.G machine overall in a last minute dash for points. HOWEVER; having gone back to add up the T.I.G machine’s points in order to attain the average for the table above, we discovered a CLERICAL ERROR. Clearly, we’re not good at maths here, as it turns out that T.I.G ACTUALLY WON! Try harder next year guests…
Imagine this: One day you see a big top tent in the local park, you enter only to see the latest Chelsea manager is precariously walking a tightrope. Below Julius Aghahowa wows the crowds with a spectacular acrobatics display and Luis Suarez and Arjen Robben are performing an elaborate tumbling act. This is followed by “world’s strongest footballer” this act consisting of Northampton’s Ade Akinfenwa bench pressing Ronaldo, whilst the crowd are encourage to hurl Chocolate digestives in the direction of the former Brazilian number 9.
Of course what circus would be complete without an eccentric master of ceremonies? Well fortunately this circus has one in the form of long serving FIFA president Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, he adores the spotlight, as he arrogantly parades the ring, Gazza, the circus’s clown-in-residence, delivers a custard pie directly to face of Sepp, leaving him once again red faced in embarrassment.
Obviously this circus is a complete work of fiction but metaphorically speaking football is a circus of sorts. If FIFA were a family Blatter would be an embarrassing uncle who gets drunks at parties and embarrasses the whole family by making outrageous comments. Since becoming FIFA president in 1998 Sepp has been plagued by almost constant allegations of corruption, when you add this to his opinionated outbursts, it is no surprise that the footballing world breathed a collective sigh of relief when he said he would not run for re-election at the 2015 FIFA congress.
Speaking at the Asian football confederation conference last week, he dropped plenty of hints that he might be looking for a fifth term in charge of FIFA after all and appeared to be canvassing for votes. He told the conference that Asia deserved more places at the world cup, suggesting that Europe and South America have too much power in world football. Considering that current UEFA boss Michel Platini is considered to be one of his main rivals Blatter will need support from the emerging football nations.
Four more years for Blatter is a terrifying thought for everyone involved. The man who wanted to eliminate the draw from football: “Every game should have a winner. When you play cards or any other game, there’s always a winner and a loser. We should have the courage to introduce a final decision in every game of football”. He also proposed to make the goals bigger and it was also Blatter who implemented the ill-fated golden and silver goal rules. These ideas sound like they have come from someone who finds the sport to be boring.
It’s not only the men’s game that he has been trying to spice up over the years. Back in 1995 he claimed “The future of football is feminine”. Later he would elaborate on this “Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty.”
This is not the only time Blatter has shown that he is far from politically correct. After Kevin Prince-Boateng led a walk off after receiving racist abuse from the crowd in a pre-season friendly, Blatter would put his foot in it once again. Initially supporting the walk off he would later suggest that a simple hand shake was enough to rectify racism on the pitch. After the Italian match fixing scandal Blatter expressed his disbelief in typically controversial fashion stating: “I could understand if it had happened in Africa, but not in Italy!”
Blatter’s time as president will be remembered for his acceptance of racism, sexism, cheating, diving and homophobia. Combined with his corruption, he will leave a wholly negative legacy. Let’s hope the poisonous old bastard leaves the game forever in 2015.
Illustration by Philippe Fenner
Last week we had T.I.G illustrator (and sister of the T.I.G machine), Alice, give us her predictions for the penultimate game week! It was a close call, with a few spot on results for both! Sibling rivalry being what it is, with these results, we may see T.I.G leader cry himself to sleep tonight:
With Alice’s added points, there are now only 5 points between T.I.G and the overall Guests score! OMG CAN THIS WEEK’S GUESTS GET ENOUGH POINTS IN THIS LAST GAME WEEK TO TOPPLE THE T.I.G MACHINE!?!?!?!
We welcome Bobby and Theo from the internet! Can the boys from getgoalside.co.uk do it for the guests! Let’s see what they think:
It seemed poignant that Paul Scholes ducked out of football at the same time as his long-time manager Alex Ferguson this weekend. These two old men of Manchester United have been inextricably linked to one another for the length of Paul Scholes’ career. Similarly, it will be interesting to see how an aging Ryan Giggs deals with being under a new manager for the first time in his career, as he is certain to try and continue playing for Manchester United. Giggs will be a great asset for the club even if his pitch time is limited, as whilst Scholes chooses to melt away from the limelight to be with his family, Giggs has chosen to stay and become a figurehead for the emerging talents at United, a rallying point and an inspiration for young players and fans alike.
This club aren’t mugs and both the board and the incoming manager recognise the benefits of continued Giggsyness and as a result of this, Ryan signed a new year long contract earlier this month. Speaking of mugs, Chelsea seem to have looked at Manchester’s policy of caring for their pensionable players and ignored it completely. This weekend Frank Lampard smashed through the all-time goals scored record for Chelsea proving all at once that he is still a great and important player capable of Premier League worthy performances and also that he is iconic and essential as a totem of Chelsea Football Club. However, the club itself seems not to have noticed this, and have treated him like an unwanted aging sheepdog with huge vet bills, refusing to pay his high wages, grant him a contract extension or put up with his smelly farts as he sleeps on the rug by the fire (though media rumours this week suggest that Lampard will receive a new contract signifying a change of heart from the Chelsea’s management). Is this the same Chelsea that is owned by a super rich Russian bloke with pockets deeper than Sartre? The Chelsea that bought Fernando Torres for £50 million? The Chelsea who bought Yossi Benayoun to keep as a mascot? It strikes me as odd that such a moneyed club would put one of their most important figureheads out in the cold over a question of dollar. Being a Chelsea pensioner isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Whilst Ashley Cole and John Terry must be feeling the hot breath of this conflict down their necks (although John Terry may injure himself out of the game before this affects him), it is unthinkable that a man who has 203 goals from midfield and is still on top form as a 35 year old should be cast out when he wants to stay. What if United had done this with Giggs and Scholes? There are rumours that there are those in the hierarchy of the club who have little love for Flampard; some point to the contract dispute that overshadowed Scolari’s arrival and an intense dislike of Steve Kutner, Flampard’s agent; some to Flampard’s influence in the deposition of AVB; and others still point to his seemingly frosty relationship with Rafa Benitez.
Flampard’s saving grace may come in the languid, grizzly form of Jose Mourinho. Flampard may be the player most associated with Mourinho, and it is fair to say that Flamp’s best run of form flowered in the joyous springtime of Mourinho’s Chelsea tenure. There is an inextricable link between the two men, as with Fergie and Scholes/Giggs, so I would be very surprised if Mourinho lands the Chelsea job and does not make securing Flamps his number one priority.
Whilst the retention, respect and correct use of the elder statesmen of football is an interesting and worthy topic for discussion, the particular facet of the above that has caught my eye is the relationships between some players and managers. Some players flourish under a particular manager and are remembered entwined in folklore, whilst others follow their favourite man around, as if they were the makeweight in the managers’ contract at a club.
My favourite example of the latter has been the ongoing love affair between eagle-faced Neil Warnock and his love in gloves, Paddy Kenny. Their eyes first locked across a dressing room at Bury, it was Neil’s ninth managerial role, but the young lad in his first season of professional football had ended his search for love and justified all the hardships. They were torn apart after one season as Neil moved to manage Sheffield United, but he never forgot the young lad at Bury and after 3 years finally secured Paddy, lovely, kind hearted Paddy, on loan then as a signing in 2002. After eight years with the Blades and five with Paddy, simple, big-handed, Paddy, they had a falling out and Neil absconded to Crystal Palace to try his luck with the mightily ponytailed Argentine, Julien Speroni. After another three years apart the old, familiar longing was stirring again within Neil Warnock and his departure from Palace to a club where their mascot did not match his face, QPR, led to him signing Paddy, sweet, moon-faced Paddy again, probably after a lengthy chat about their emotions. The perfect pairing saw QPR shoot into the Premier League as they sang harmonious songs together like Aladdin and Jasmine, but when the clouds gathered like Jafar’s shadow and Neil was replaced by the inexplicable Mark Hughes, he and Paddy, soft, beautiful Paddy, ran away hand in hand to Leeds to continue their fairytale. Today we find Paddy, lovely, sad-faced Paddy left in the darkness of loneliness as Neil has been cast out of Leeds and Ken Bates has forbade them from meeting. Hopefully they’ll find their happy ending… hopefully.
Whilst the above is a simple love story, the tale of Harry Redknapp and Peter Crouch is altogether more sinister. The young Peter Crouch was enjoying his football at Portsmouth until one dark night in early 2002 when, having returned late to the training ground to retrieve a sandwich he’d left in his locker, he caught the then director of football, Harry Redknapp, red-faced, breathing hard and clutching a bloodied training cone. Shocked, Peter ran, but it wasn’t hard for Harry to deduce who the gawky 6 foot 7 figure in the darkness had been – and what he had seen. Taking over as manager in March 2002, shunting aside Graham Rix, Harry was desperate to control Peter, to make sure he kept his mouth shut – but Peter, terrified, immediately jumped ship to Aston Villa.
Years passed and in the summer of 2004 Peter risked a return to the south coast, and settled in Southampton. But the hurricane of Harry knew he was close and controversially jumped ship from Portsmouth to their bitter rivals Southampton to get his claws into Peter Crouch. Frightened and alone, confused by the speed that Harry had gained power, Peter cowered from Harry, convinced his career and life were over. But it’s hard to get rid of a giant without anyone noticing, and Harry instead cut a deal with Peter, buying his silence for preferential treatment. James Beattie was swept aside as Peter was installed in the Southampton first team, and when Southampton were relegated Harry made sure Peter was well looked after with a four year contract at Liverpool.
Three years later, and after playing a Champions League final, Peter began to find himself being pushed out of the Liverpool team. Harry got an unexpected phone call reminding him of what a young boy had seen in 2002, and days later Crouch was winging his way to Harry and Portsmouth again in an £11 million deal – back to the scene of the crime. However, this move was to prove a bonding experience for manager and player, and alongside Jermaine Defoe (who some say has also seen things) Peter enjoyed his football, Harry and he, he and Harry. Harmony. In fact, they got on so well, the early ugliness behind them, that Harry brought Peter with him to Tottenham in 2009 so they could carry on being pals. This worked out well for both of them for two years, but one night in 2001 the drink flowed a little too much and an argument arose, old wounds were opened up and that night was spoken of in raised voices. Peter was to leave for Stoke, free of the curse of Harry, but now implicit in his crimes through his silence, whilst most recently Harry has gone down with the sip at QPR, clutching the wheel and waiting for Crouchy to return to him. He forgives you Peter.
There are no doubt many other tales of footballers and managers entwined, but they are other stories for other days.
Illustration by Alice Devine
Norman “Bites Yer Legs” Hunter. Like many of our prior ‘Hardest Bastards’, Norman was a centre back. His career spanned 20 years, 14 of which were spent at Leeds, and three each at Barnsley and Bristol City. Known for his crunching tackling, Norman was also part of the 1966 World Cup winning squad. Despite this glory, Norman’s post-playing managing career didn’t go all too well. Spending four and a half seasons at third division Barnsley, Hunter began to develop his trend of negative progression. Finishing second from top in his first season, he was marvellously applauded. Finishing second from bottom in his fourth season, he was fired. Having since worked in after-dinner speeches and currently on some radio station in Leeds, perhaps the best story to epitomize Norman descends from his playing days. Despite being known for the strength of his tackle, when Norma broke his own leg, Leeds coach Les Crocker was informed. Responding to the statement “Norman’s broken a leg”, Les asked “Whose is it?” Please welcome to the gallery of the few, the Hardest Bastards in Football: Norman “Bites Yer Legs” Hunter.