only two months

Its the end of the football season and while rugby has had my attention in the past few weeks, in particular the last hurdle of Lady Rugga I have enlisted Samantha Robinson to sum up the 2010/2011 season for in(TRACK)suit.

As the 2010/2011 football seasons comes to an end I get the same feeling I had on the 13th of July 2010 when the World Cup ended. The only reason I haven’t cried is because it is only two months (two months of boring weekends may I add) and then it is back. I guess this is a good time to reflect on the season that was – the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly!

I could think of no better way to do this than involve those who make my football weekends that much more interesting – my friends on Twitter who are never too busy for a good old banter or chat. Thanks for all your comments and I look forward to next season where we can start afresh.
Let’s see what everyone had to say:

I guess it is only fair to start with the English Champions Manchester United – by far my least favourite team in the EPL although I cannot dispute that they had an amazing season. The biggest Man United supporters I know are @sangxa and 17 year old Sri-Lankan known as @236meli.

After the game on Saturday when his team lost to Barcelona @sangxa sent me this: “Losing to Barcelona was hard to take, but as a football fan I know that on the night we were beaten by the better team. Overall I am happy with the season, an FA Cup Semi-Final and winning our 19th League title is what makes me a proud supporter.

I was pleasantly surprised when, out for a work dinner, I discovered one of the girls at a fellow agency is also a HUGE football fan and equally surprised when I heard what a big United Supporter she is. @marislee I look forward to going through a whole season with you and having something more to talk about than nappies and tissues.

the 19th title

Next up is my team – the Blues, Chelsea! Well what a season we had – we started off with a bang and it looked like no one could stop us but then it started going downhill. The biggest news of the season was the move of Fernado Torres from LFC to Chelsea. I won’t lie I was over the moon – I thought he would be brilliant for us. I thought that the change would lift his spirits and his game and at the same time help Chelsea get back on track. But I was wrong. I watched one game after the next where he just could not score and I moved beyond feeling sorry for him to actually not liking him (nearly hating him).

the let down

Finally he scored, after 14 games and 734 minutes, against West Ham United. But that is where it ended and he was not able to get another one in the back of the net for the rest of the season. Although we finished second for the season – there is a lot that just didn’t happen.

I must agree with @tyronlSA that the highlights and low lights for any Chelsea fan were our games against Manchester United. A big highlight was the 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge. That was the game of the season for me – I have not seen such a display of football for a long time. But they also broke our hearts in what was called the title decider where they beat us 2 -1 at Old Trafford. When Hernadez scored his goal in the first minute I knew it was over. With Ancelotti fired and rumours of Pep Guardialo and Kaka joining the Blues, I wait in anticipation for the 2011/2012 season to kick off.

Although Liverpool has been breaking their supporter’s hearts of late (and we know how passionate the LFC supporters are – ask my good friends @derekm11, @KateNokwe and @kojobaffoe ) they can be happy with the way their season ended. Although next season will the first time in 11 years that they are not Europe I believe they ended off their season better than they started. @derekm11 says that at the beginning of this season his mindset changed from expecting the team to qualify for Champions League to hoping they would stay in the EPL.

the turnaround

@kojobaffoe said that at a stage watching games felt like going to the doctor’s offices – necessary but painful. Although they lost their last two games, the fact that LFC can still beat United 3 -1 and win with scores like 5 – 0 against Birmingham, 3 – 0 against Newcastle and 5 – 2 against Fulham show what King Kenny is capable of with his team. Of course the big news for the club was selling Torres to Chelsea. Although at the time the fans were angry about it (and most of them still have bitter feelings about what Torres had to say) they are over it and enjoy what the two new comers – Andy Carrol and Luis Suarez have brought to the LFC game. I believe that LFC is a team to watch next season – they don’t have to worry about Europe and concentrate on the other important titles and improving their game. Do you think it can be 19 – 19? I think it will be close.

Who do you think had the worst season? I definitely think Arsenal. My memory of watching the Arsenal games this season were that of watching my husband and Granddad cringe with embarrassment as well as Arsene Wenger throwing water bottles around. The season was one of ups and downs and who knows this better than @Tyronbarnard who tells us of his highlights and low lights: Arsenal was within one point of MFC at the end of February and looked like they would be worthy competitors for the EPL trophy but they finished 4th for the season. Beating Barcelona, at home, in the Champions league only to lose 4-3 on aggregate and being knocked out of the cup. Getting to the final of the Carling Cup against Birmingham City but losing in the 89th minute. And who can forget the 4-4 draw with Newcastle after having a 4 – 0 lead. It will be a summer of change for the Gunners, but what happens next year is anyone’s guess.

what wasn’t

Normally teams like Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspurs would not feature in a blog like this. But they have proven to be worthy competitors to what use to be known as the “Top 4”. Unfortunately I don’t know any Spurs supporters so no comment here but hopefully we can get to know a few in the next season. But I do know one very happy Man City supporter – @lil_vale ! The highlight for him is first knocking Man United out of the FA Cup and then going on to win the FA Cup at Wembley. And for the first time Man City will take part in the Champions League. But as any good supporter @lil_vale can see his team’s faults – “hopefully Carlos Tevez sorts himself out or just goes home and I still think we don’t finish off the smaller team enough and if we did we could have been more than just FA Cup winners this year. “

The one form of this wonderful sport that I have not really followed is the South African version. Since the World Cup I have been extremely proud of our country including our football players but I must admit that I still have not followed the PSL or the other cups and tournaments that happen right in our backyard. I do know that the game must be good if the winner of the PSL is decided in the last game of the season and is between four teams though. Well done to Orlando Pirates on winning the treble – the first team to do this in SA!! I have now recruited a new friend @khencie to teach me the ins and outs of the SA version of the game. I have already received a rundown of who is who in the PSL so I will go into the next season with my background knowledge on the up. Best believe @khencie I will be asking you loads of questions as we go along. Plus I am also relying on @kyleorton4 to organise me some tickets to watch the game. (By the way follow him because he will be one of the hot players at Bidvest Wits in the next year or two and I could be featuring his game in a blog).

So that is the season in a, very long, nutshell! I am sure we will be chatting as we watch to see who is going where with transfers. And I will check you all again on the 7th of August to watch Manchester United take on Manchester City in the FA Community Shield – the start of yet another exciting football season.

Samantha Robinson is an Public Relations Account Director at Sabio Communications.
Follow her on Twitter : @samrobinson25

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long live another day


By now you should have seen and heard the chirps over the past weekend’s football affairs. And if you are a Manchester United or Chelsea supporter, you most probably been on the receiving end. My two favourites being:

“His armband said he was red, Romans money turned his head, he thinks he’ll have a better life, until John Terry meets his wife

And
“If you see an Arsenal supporter walking a dog, get them to call 0800 4-0 4-1 4-2 4-3 4-4 for advice on how to hold a lead”

These (of course) cultivated by the scrutiny that is soccer. An unforgiving tale of all that is the game. No one knows this better than a Reds supporter… Or so everyone thought. Let’s face it; Chelsea did not give the men in Red half a chance, as did their supporters reciprocation.

Who can forget the we-took-Torres-right-under-your-noses slurs? The Manchester giants suffering their first season defeat to the ‘Davids’ at the bottom of the log is something never envisioned.

And I guess one has to be an Arse to comprehend as well as perhaps explain …some things. However, a great outcome for Dalglish’s outfit who bared it all and handed Ancelloti’s men their seventh drub (well imagine that).

It’s been said that “Football is not what you deserve, but what you do” What you make of the chances created. The rare, and yet so golden opportunities that procure a great touch lethal to opposition.

No statement has ever been more unerring as far as Davide Somma is concerned. Wednesday night brought South African fans together. Replicas, once again dusted off and out of the cupboards to support ‘The Boys’.

Bars, households, and of course twitter buzzed – how did we watch any game before the twitter phenomenal – as international friendlies around the world befell.

Bafana Bafana welcomed Kenya to the South African shore. Somma’s second appearance for his country should be somewhat memorable, but for the fan club the memories are not what they anticipated, especially considering how it all began. An ordered hat-trick to say the least.

His minute and eight seconds goal gave an impression of his determination to (possibly) be Pitso’s number one forward. One may argue that, it may not be off the cards just yet, but the Leeds United’s striker currently lacks the command that is identity to Katlego Mphela.

It cannot be denied he’s pacy, strong with agility on his feet, and always in the box at the right time, exactly what is required while ‘Killer’ Mphela fights his I-want-to-go-overseas demons, but one has to wonder if his current footwork will be good enough to break The Pharaohs’ backline, when they meet in March.

It doesn’t take the final score to indicate that SA was a much stronger side and though(the score) will certainly boost the 47th ranked side confidence (to a certain extent) and inevitably give it a good standing with FIFA Rankings, however, we cannot dispute the fact that Egypt will not be running with jitters due to that performance.

As we move onto another great sporting weekend, whatever it holds, one thing is for certain only a few will elude the on-coming chirps. Let the count-down begin.

a constant change

There comes a time in everyone’s life where things need to change – a new chapter to be opened. But the thing about new chapters is that the previous ones needs to be closed – completely. It really is just logic. It doesn’t matter how ‘big’ your legs are, it’s really not possible to have a foot in one door and one on the other. Or maybe it is possible, but it’s never the greatest of ideas.

Once Upon A Time

I wrote what I’d like to call my ‘very last exam’ this month and I am not as ecstatic as I thought I’d be.

It is a big deal – don’t get me wrong. If you know my middle name you know exactly just how much. A few in my family have crossed this path and hey look at me I almost stumbled but I’m still standing.

Reminds me of Liverpool really – a team destined for glory, stumbled and almost crumbled, but it is still standing (one leg will do). Lions rugby can attest to this; a new chapter is unfolding and the world cannot wait too see its manifestation. Manchester United are going through a chapter of their own – the draw chapter.

I can’t help but wonder what this means for our beloved Boks though. Two World Cup trophies later and hasn’t escaped scrutiny…all with valid percipience.

Slowly diminishing are moments when the men in green and gold posed the ‘to-be-feared’ factor. Times where the stands roared with confidence for their side will provide a spectacular performance worth their wallets (win or lose);

When the Haka was just another ‘song’ a tad shorter than the ‘Ole Ole’ from the stands; an era of Sharks and Stormers supporter stood tall, united behind the 15 with no reservation; a season I put my Bulls chirps away for my Cheetahs boss; a long period when our hearts no longer bled for Bafana, for the Boks have mended; a long forgotten era of convincing victories.

The richest history channel ever created.

SA has produced two Super 14 finalists, one can assume we should be unstoppable, for we have the best players all round. Pacy. Grippling. Coupling, with the greatest boot skills ever seen.

Currie Cup is one of the greatest tournaments in the world and yet today our national team scraped past Wales, failed to pay spectators with a ridiculous win against Ireland.

Yes, you can say something has shifted in the past three years. At this rate our boys are doing wonders for alcohol sales as you cannot watch a game without consuming a whole case of beer or bottle of brandy. Netcare 911 is probably on call outs for near heart attacks.

Blame the weather. Blame the system. Blame fatigue. Blame domestic tournament. Blame the line-up. Blame quotas. Blame it on methylhexaneamine (ah. my favourite new word)!

Put it on government’s interference. Oh wait… How about PDivvy? Oh yeah; there is the man (along with his staff team) who has been on the receiving end of this stick for his questionable decision.

With so many ‘once upon a times’, one thing remains – our love for this game. These men. This country. These colours. This flag.
Though the question stands – with less than a year before our World Cup title is contested. Will we scrap it or will the tails between our legs grow longer?

Right, pass me my Bok jersey