Tuesday, 23 October 2012

They think it's all over... it is now, Ceefax

You couldn't run Teletext off an internal aerial
We've not used it for years - the technology has been totally superseded by Twitter, social media and apps.

What was black, white and read all over? Page 101, of course!

BBC Ceefax drew its very, very last breath in October 2012. Digital Switchover is complete leaving football fans with happy memories of sedentary indoor fun with occasional bouts of very sudden jumping up in celebration.

38 years of news, weather plus a selection of pages and elevator music on BBC1 overnight, has met its Waterloo. 

But the fan experience is just incomplete without having "watched" at least one of your team's games via the scrolling pages.

That's better! Look, a hat-trick from Matty Fryatt!
Ten games spread across three pages, all lasting twenty seconds each, how many of us hung onto every turn of the page, especially as it got closer to full time?

Would Platty get that late goal to break the Villa stalemate at home to Palace? Could Thorstvedt hold on against the mighty Anfield onslaught of Rush and Aldridge?

Oh, the agony of conceding a late goal - oh, the thrill of seeing a late winner flash up! Like the turning of a blackjack card in the casino: it's in, we've won! How many of you freely admit jumping round your front room at a Teletext update?

Almost as good as being there - and no queue to get out the ground in the cold either.

No, Teletext was the perfect media to exacerbate the pain of the football fan's lot and the Soccermongery flag is at half-mast in honour of our ever-dependable BBC pal, Ceefax!

Friday, 19 October 2012

England home and hosed after Warsaw rain!

What it's all about. Oh hang on, it's Terry again!
When qualification for the next World Cup is complete, England may well look back at their 1-all draw in Poland as a good point earned.

Because the rain-delayed match proved very difficult - as did our ability to capture our best form. Jonny looks back at that plus the sometimes excruciating, but mostly entertaining television coverage!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Pole-axed England grab rain-delayed draw

The doubtful chemistry between Keano and Adrian
England's World Cup qualifier in Poland descended into farce as the match in Warsaw was delayed by one very big waterlogged day.

It was totally avoidable too as the Poles decided not to close the stadium roof before it was too late.
For most England fans who couldn't travel, ITV1 was our link to the action. And considering it was four men over the age of 40 looking out the window at a rainy day, the coverage wasn't entirely boring!

As it became more and more apparent the game was a wash out, Gabriel Clarke brought us the politicking behind closed doors, as the two FA's fought over when exactly the game should be played.

At one point, the Poles continued to want to play on the night, determinedly keeping their kits on despite the rain. Then when that was done, November was the fallback position.

England said, "No, we’ve got a friendly in Sweden then."
Here's one we prepared earlier. How the roof shoulda been!
In the end, the game was rescheduled for 4 o'clock the following day.

Lee Dixon joked he'd be wearing approximately the same suit, shirt and tie as before! But the thing we all waited to see was the simmering volcano that is - Roy Keane!

I longed for one more joke where Adrian Chiles used human landmine Keane as its butt. It was raining, Keane was bored, Keane was steaming.
I love watching Keane's punditry. There's that tension while he's listening to the others and a Joe Pesci Goodfellas crackle when he delivers his.

At one point, Chiles ran out of things to say. "Where shall we take the discussion now?". If Adrian had used his radio experience, he could've plugged viewers for rain-based footballers, Ally McCLOUD, Pepe RAINA!

So the game went on (along with the roof, coinciding with the sunniest day in Warsaw) and we had to work very hard for a point.

England top Group H as Wayne Rooney gave us a half-time advantage before a Polish onslaught resulted in a second-period leveller.

Hodgson's men lead Montenegro by a point, but by the time we play them away, they could top the group as they play both Moldova and San Marino leading upto England's game.

Not plain-sailing - an appropriate metaphor for the rain, but England can look back at Warsaw as a good point.

Friday, 12 October 2012

No sweat England ease past San Marino

Rooney's penalty
Oxlade-Chamberlain's 1st goal
Jonny Gould reports live from Wembley as England made easy work of San Marino.

But could they have scored more against the joint worst team in world football?

Jonny reports at the final whistle.

San Marino want a piece of Wazza too.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Black players proclaim, "enough is enough"

Jamie Lawrence during his days at Bradford City
Just before EURO 2012, when UEFA shrugged away Chris Rogers' Panorama report on racism in the crowd in Poland and Ukraine's leagues, I wrote: "If governing bodies won't stand up for their black players, perhaps black players might do it for themselves."

I had a phone call from a friend in football, who confirmed that a lobby of players in the English game were in ongoing dialogue with the PFA chairman, Gordon Taylor.

Kick It Out wasn't doing anywhere near enough to rid football of racism, did little to help and defend Anton Ferdinand through the John Terry trial - and amounted to mere box-ticking, he said.

So desperate did they feel about the many acts of racism alleged to exist throughout the game, a boycott of Kick It Out was imminent - even the threat of a breakaway black players union.

Jamie Lawrence, formerly of Bradford and Leicester, broke ranks to give me an exclusive interview which I aired on talkSPORT Extra Time.

Kick It Out needs a Kick Up The Backside
"I think the boys have had enough - and they're not willing to take it anymore", said 42-year-old Lawrence, who still plys his trade with non-league Cobham.

“I think some of the boys will boycott the initiative [by refusing to wear the Kick It Out t-shirts). They [the PFA] have got a chance now to send out a strong message to start backing the players and, if that doesn’t happen, I think we’ll move away from them.

“The FA banned [Luis] Suarez for eight games and gave him a £40,000 fine. Terry got eight games and a £220,000 fine. I don’t know what the difference is between the two. £220,000 is not a lot of money for Terry. It’s about ten days’ wages. Four games is ridiculous.

“Jonjo Shelvey made a tackle in a massive game against Man United and got three games [suspension]. How does John Terry get only one more game than that for racism?”

The PFA should bring pressure to bear on the Football Association. As top-to-bottom custodians of the English game, they can make the difference by stepping up anti-racism campaigns.

listen to ‘Black players proclaim 'enough is enough'’ on Audioboo

There's no point in putting up a spokesman to talk up the initiatives they're involved in - because they're not nearly enough and appear to be a further cause for division.

It'd be a very bad day if the threat of a black players union was ever realised - not least because the sooner we all realise this is a problem for everyone - irrespective of skin colour, the more united we will be.