All in the game



Fans on song: Answering Ireland’s call Coulter style

MOTHER TRAP:THE website Joe.ieis urging its readers to find their “inner Joxer” and pen a tune for Euro 2012, and a few songsters have already answered the call.

It was hard not to be taken by one of the offerings, The Boys in Green Will Conquer,not least because of its “too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ra-loo” chorus and the fact that it’s written and performed by “Celtic punkrockers” Finnegan’s Hell . . . from Sweden. They’re hard to describe, but just imagine a blend of Metallica and the Kilfenora céilí Band and you’d be about right.

Owen Branagan is the man behind another of the tunes, We’re On The Way, the video for which features Giovanni Trapattoni decked out as Mother Teresa. Naturally. If Owen can get as many football supporters singing his song as a cousin of his has rugby followers warbling his, then he’ll be doing well. The cousin? Phil Ireland’s CallCoulter.

You can see all the tunes at, look up “Euro 2012 Song Search”.

Hacked off: Lineker lets loose

HEAD TO HEAD:SAY what you like about Gary Lineker (no, don’t), but the fella has been in quite stupendous Twitter form of late in his handling of barbs from the ever-delightful Piers Morgan.

“For bemused Americans, Gary Lineker’s resume: Soccer player who never won a World Cup, the League, or a tackle. Fled to Japan, big ears,” Morgan told his followers, linking to a video of Lineker missing a penalty against Brazil at Wembley.


Football 365 picked out the highlights of the exchanges last week, and mighty fine they were too: Morgan: I currently air in 200 countries/territories – how you getting on? #SmallPondMinnow.

Lineker: I think the 2 world cups I played in probably edged that.

Morgan: Did you ever actually tackle anyone? Lineker: Nope never hacked anyone.

Back. Of. The. Net.

Straight talking: Cotterill tells it like it is after defeat

WORD OF MOUTH (I):“If we’d kept a clean sheet tonight we’d have won 1-0.”

– Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cotterill after his side lost 2-1 to Middlesbrough. In fairness, he wasn’t wrong.

“Tottenham beat Milan last year, so we’re clearly capable of doing that!”

– Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in the latest issue of FourFourTwo magazine. Ooops.

“If Dalglish doesn’t sack Suarez, the Home Secretary should deport him.”

– Former MP George Galloway (right) calling for Luis Suarez to be transferred out of Britain.

“In a sense I see a little of myself in David De Gea.”

– Just when things were beginning to pick up for De Gea, Massimo Taibi has to go and hit him with the ultimate goalkeeping smear.

“You do not see many players like him. Charles N’Zogbia is one, Messi is another.”

– Wigan manager Roberto Martinez on . . . Victor Moses. Honest.

Alone he stands: Loyal Tiago keeps the Santa Cruz faith

SPLENDID ISOLATION:IT’S not even March and already we have our football supporter of the year.

Take a bow, Tiago Rech – the only person in the away section for Santa Cruz’s recent game at Gremio in the Brazilian league. That’s right, they had a single supporter at the match.

“I know our following is small, but I expected at least another 10 with me,” he said after the game. “Can you imagine? There were 6,734 fans there, and only one supporting Santa Cruz. Me.”

Tiago is now a bit of a celebrity in his native land after being picked out by television cameras at the game and enthusiastically hollering, in an otherwise silent stadium, when Santa Cruz took the lead. Alas, they went on to lose 4-1.

“At first I was upset because it could give the idea that I am the club’s only fan, but the media exposure for the brand Santa Cruz was much higher than had 20 fans gone to the game, so that’s a positive,” he said, looking on the bright side of the lonely experience.

With Tiago behind them, Santa Cruz will never walk alone. Almost, but not entirely.

Valentine gifts: Carlton’s cold

ONE FOR THE LADIES!:IT was lovely to see football showing its romantic side last week in time for Valentine’s Day.

Spurs, in particular, demonstrated just how much they appreciated their female fans by adding some items to the ladies’ section of their online store in time for February 14th: among them a Spurs suspender belt and bra (80 per cent polyester and 20 per cent elastane, in case you were wondering). £60 (€72)for the pair.

Where would you be going?

Then there was West Ham’s Carlton “Casanova” Cole who tweeted a photo of himself holding a tray full of Valentine’s gifts for his beloved. What was his lucky lady about to receive? Oxo cubes, an iron, fabric softener and miscellaneous household cleaning products. We noted Carlton was taken off in West Ham’s game that night, possibly handicapped by playing with an iron inserted where the sun don’t shine.

Dead cert: Ramsey goals have serious repercussions

AARON RAMSEY:AS if last week wasn’t glum enough for Aaron Ramsey (right), what with Arsenal’s 0-4 setback away to AC Milan and their FA Cup demise at the hands of Sunderland, he also found himself linked with the deaths of four people: Osama bin Laden, Steve Jobs, Colonel Gaddafi and Whitney Houston.

“Does he have a score to settle? Every time Aaron Ramsey gets a goal . . . someone famous dies,” announced the Daily Mail, before detailing the startling evidence.

“At first glance, the only obvious connection between the two military mad men, Apple’s founder and a legendary singer is that they have all passed away. But throw in the name Aaron Ramsey and suddenly we have a mystery . . . because each one of the four died almost immediately after the Arsenal midfielder scored.”


“Saving an Aaron Ramsey shot is like saving someone’s life,” as one fan quoted in the expose put it, although Nate, who commented under the article, thought it was all a bit harsh on the Welsh captain: “I think this is very unfair to Ramsey, poor lad will probably be too scared to put the ball in the back of the net again, coincidence I’m sure.”

Hmm, maybe. Maybe not.

Bedding in: Schalke shock

SINGLE SUCCESS:WHEN German side Schalke travelled to the Czech Republic to play FC Viktoria Plzen in the Europa League they were less than impressed by their sleeping arrangements at their Golden Fish Hotel. According to the Uefa website, the players’ rooms “only had a sole queen-size bed each”, so the Schalke powers-that-be informed hotel management that this was unacceptable.

So, how did management solve the problem? Ingeniously: “Hotel staff responded decisively, sawing the beds in half to transform them into pairs of singles.”


“The lads may need their accustomed partner at night, but too much cuddling is not good,” Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt kind of explained.

Cherry picking: Ranieri and Mourinho have their say

WORD OF MOUTH (II):“In Italy, tacticians are considered ‘moreish’ – like eating cherries, one leads to another.”

– The one and very definitely only Claudio Ranieri.

“I am the past, a very good past, but I am not there anymore and they should all be fighting together.”

– Jose Mourinho reminding Chelsea fans that the affair is over, it’s time for them to move on and show Andre Villas-Boas some love.

“We just keep our head down, backside up the in air and keep going.”

– Paul Lambert on Norwich’s bottoms-up approach to the season.

“You have to put your shoes in Daniel Levy’s shoes.”

– TalkSport pundit Micky Quinn regularly puts his feet in it – but not this time.

“I have a dream to play in England, I prefer Chelsea and Bolton Wanderers.”

– Zambia’s Stoppila Sunzu setting his sights pretty low.