The Football Ramble
Est 2007. The most entertaining voice in football

Champions League Draw: Idea for a sitcom

28 August 2015



By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Javier Hernandez: The fictional divot will not save you now

27 August 2015

Four goals up, 7-1 on aggregate and progression to the Champions League ‘proper’ in the bag.

You’d think that a missed pen and a Danny Baker-baiting steer over an open goal would be regarded as unfortunate, but not life threatening, to a striker of Chicharito’s current status.

But this is a Manchester United side whose potency upfront has been a point of some debate recently; their need for a shiny new goalscorer only partly mitigated by Wayne Rooney’s defiant hat-trick last night.

And whether the loss of Pedro to Chelsea was a calculated risk or yet another horrendous dropped catch by the Chuckle Brothers of the transfer window, ineptitude upfront is the last thing that Manchester United need to be demonstrating as deadline day draw ever closer.

No wonder Cheech went for the old ‘uneven penalty spot’ routine.


It could be the only thing standing between him and a dressing room meltdown of unprecedented severity.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!


H/T the glorious @thegirlsilver.

Mario Balotelli: Grounded

27 August 2015


AC Milan have issued Mario Balotelli with a list of protocols he must observe during his loan spell with the Rossoneri, which was confirmed this morning.

According to reports, the list is “based the clause on regulations which are applied to people who serve in the Italian air force” and requires the following of the Italian dramatist and sometime striker:


1. Be careful what you post on social media. You are forbidden to post anything that may harm the image of the club.

2. No extravagant hairstyles, tone down the image and wear clothes in keeping with the style that Milan is known for.

3. No smoking, blood alcohol levels kept to a minimum, no discos or nightclubs and be on time for training.


But while these rules are comprehensive, there’s nothing specifically barring Mario from engaging in any of his former hobbies, including:


visiting women’s prisons for investigative purposes;


chucking darts at youth team players;

wasting goal scoring opportunities by being a massive tart;


or antagonising notoriously eccentric managers to the point where they’re forced to swing him about by the bib in training.

You hear that? It’s the sound of all the football writers exhaling with relief.

He’s a few thousand words a season before he gets anywhere near the pitch, is Mario.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!


26 August 2015


I really hope that Brek Shea’s partner is pregnant.

Otherwise Orlando City are going to be short a midfielder for a considerable time to come.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Raul Meireles: From hipster to dipstick

26 August 2015


Flip flops on a motorbike?

Come on Raul, you’ve got your hipster and your dipstick mixed up there.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Paulinho: The swerve of the man!

25 August 2015

It’s a theme that began yesterday with Roberto Soldado scoring on debut for Villarreal.

If fortune decides to abandon Mauricio Pochettino, Daniel Levy and Super Harry Kane, it could well endure until May.

It’s #BecauseSpurs.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool: And that’s three

25 August 2015

While his own position at the heart of Chelsea’s defence might be a matter of some debate, John Terry has spent enough time standing in front of Petr Cech to know what the keeper is capable of over a season.

Despite an unconvincing start in an Arsenal shirt, Cech took the first steps to fulfilling JT’s prediction that he’d save his new club “12 to 15 points a season” last night, successfully repelling an aggressive Liverpool side eager to log three wins from three games and leapfrog Leicester City into second.

He had his work cut out for him though.

Injuries to Arsenal’s first choice central defensive partnership of Mertesacker and Koscielny saw Calum Chambers and Gabriel start together for the first time, and their inexperience as a unit left Cech horribly exposed, with Chambers in particular responsible for some misplaced passes that Liverpool should have capitalised on.

Ramsey’s disallowed goal notwithstanding, Arsenal were apparently encouraged by an improvement in the second half and a clean sheet to boot, but Wenger was less impressed, describing their performances so far as “very average.”

roy gif

For me, that’s generous.

Too frequently last night, Arsenal looked like the team Roy Keane was describing in those comments we hijacked and made this hilarious gif about.


Clearly it’s the Football Ramble’s remit to focus on the hilarity inherent in a man who walks around with a hedge on his face offering sartorial advice to the most moisturised men in North London, but for large parts of the first half last night, several of Arsenal’s players wandered about with the ball as though waiting for someone to catch their best side.

Fair enough if you’re ten points clear at the top of the table in April but challenging for the title in a season where Chelsea are already five points off the pace and we’re only three games in?


They need to get a grip. Although with all that hair oil knocking around, I’m not optimistic.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Weekend Highlights Pt 2: Best served cold

24 August 2015

*cough* wanker *cough*



Apparently, striker Eero Markkanen returned to Real Madrid for Castilla pre-season 18kg (two stone) overweight and they duly released him.

In a moment of satirical genius rarely seen in footballing circles, he promptly tweeted this photo, which we presume is him run through one of those ‘hilarious’ fat apps.

Otherwise, we’re just mocking an overweight twenty-four year old, which isn’t satirical at all.


Roberto Soldado scored on debut for Villarreal.

Because Spurs.


Third league game of the season and it’s not even a winner, it’s an equaliser.

And they say the magic of football is dead.



Oh, and kids?

Be careful out there.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Weekend Highlights Pt 1: Your mum

24 August 2015

If, just three games in, you’re already jaded with the excesses of the Premier League, try watching it with a parent or relative whose last meaningful interaction with football involved Bobby Moore lifting the World Cup.

How these people remain impervious to the assault and battery of the senses that is modern football coverage is a mystery to me, but a mere half hour spent with my mother in front of Manchester United vs. Newcastle United on Saturday implies that not only is there life on the banks of this warm, cloudy soup, but our objectivity might be compromised by our immersion in it.

I hate to tell you this, but I think we might be taking ourselves too seriously.


It all started predictably enough.

Mum hails from a time when TV coverage of football involved staring at black and white screen that offered so little in terms of definition, hours were passed watching the test card before someone realised, so several minutes were wasted while I explained which teams were playing, that possession statistics weren’t casting aspersions on the sides’ religious activity and Paul Scholes is actually a sentient being.


At that point I was just grateful she hadn’t caught a glimpse of Robbie Savage.

Louis van Gaal’s side started the better, lending weight to my pre-match prediction that Newcastle were ‘going to get battered’ (more on that later), but within seconds of Wayne Rooney’s fourth minute strike being ruled offside, her attention had wandered to the digital advertising boards around the pitch.

“Is it just me, or do they keep changing colour?”

“They do.”

“Aren’t they really distracting for the players? They’re really distracting for me.”


I rolled my eyes and opened my mouth to admonish her naivety, but… she has a point. I unwilling spend an unreasonable proportion of football matches reading missives from boot sponsors, airlines and betting companies because they’re constantly flashing in my peripheral vision, and even a cursory google of the subject suggests I’m not the only one.

Are they distracting for the players? They’re only human.

I had mere seconds to contemplate this before Mother reverted to form - admonishing Gabriel Obertan for running the ball out of play down Manchester United’s left flank.

“Why didn’t he just kick it off the board and run round that red bloke?” she asked.

I explained the rules again. I felt obliged.

Time passed and Newcastle United started digging in, I was engrossed in the action but as the camera panned to the Manchester United bench, I realised I was the only one.

“WHO’S THAT?!” she roared.

“The Manchester United manager, Louis van Gaal.”

“WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH HIS HAIR?” For the first time all game, she leaned forward in her seat, staring with utter joy at the screen. “It’s awful!”

Cue hysterical laughter and a look of increasing bafflement. A lot of pointing.

“His wife cuts that for him. His wife cuts that for him so he won’t have an affair. I’m telling you.”

And you know what? I had nothing. I spend my whole life doing this, reading about football, thinking about it, pondering the minutiae of tactics and decisions, looking for hidden meanings and considering alternative interpretations of statements from managers and players, chairman and officials, but, maybe it’s all bollocks.

Maybe, for all his bluster and achievement, reputation and status, Louis van Gaal is, at the end of the day, just a bloke with a dodgy haircut.

Maybe they all are.

She rang me later.

“What was the score?”


“I thought you said they were going to batter them? Shows what you know, doesn’t it?”

Yes, Mum. Yes, it does.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Ronald Koeman: Alone in crowds

21 August 2015


According to Sky Sports’ Amy Lewis, this is the current scene in Ronald Koeman’s press conference.


He’s making a habit of this. We’re beginning to suspect a personal hygiene problem.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Louis van Gaal: Sympathy for the (red) devil?

21 August 2015

“You are a little bit deaf.”


And having sat through a solid five minutes of Louis van Gaal explaining to his Friday press conference that he wasn’t going to comment on Manchester United’s failed bid to bring Pedro to Old Trafford, one wonders whether he might have had a point.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Football: Live & kicking

20 August 2015


On Tuesday, I tried to articulate the sheer, unadulterated joy of being part of a large crowd at football.

You can watch a game at home, I said, surfing wave after wave information that the TV throws at you, but all the giant iPads and pundit foul-ups in the world cannot compensate for the energy generated by several thousand people reacting live to what’s unfolding in front of them.

I shouldn’t have bothered.

Because while you can watch and enjoy both of these clips - dog on the pitch at a Chilean Primera Division match between Cobresal and Colo Colo and ex-Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo getting steamrollered by a Palmeiras player - with the sound off, the contribution of the fans articulates my point in a way that words never could.

I’ll get me coat.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Richard Keys: Our man in Doha

20 August 2015

Has anyone ever subverted the saying “living well is the best revenge” so beautifully?

A scale model of the Titanic, for god’s sake.

Take a bow, son.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

H/T @jamesleakey.

Sky Sports: All aboard the gravy train

18 August 2015

The foundations of football are built on following clubs and attending matches. It’s only in the last twenty years or so that there’s been any realistic alternative.

Yes, in the seventies & eighties there was Match of the Day and the FA Cup Final was on TV every year, but if you wanted to know more about a match than the scoreline printed in the paper the following day, you actually had to be there.


And despite the best efforts of Sky Sports, BT Sport, the BBC, ITV, Setanta, Prem Plus, ESPN and all the other fly-by-night platforms that have gratefully accepted my hard-earned in exchange for football coverage in recent years, I still prefer a live game.

The atmosphere. The bone chilling cold that makes you swear you’re never going again, right up until your useless overweight centre-half who has the turning circle of the QE2 inexplicably arses the ball into the net for an undeserved lead.

The abandonment of grown-up responsibility in favour of sweary, unashamedly partisan criticism of the most incontrovertible decisions.

It’s what football was invented for.


And to provide Keysy with gainful employment, obviously.

But last night’s coverage of Liverpool’s home fixture vs. Bournemouth prompted me to consider the possibility that televised football and social media might not be the reviled dilution of the game I love that I’ve always considered it to be.

It began traditionally enough. Me. The sofa. An iPhone. Sky Sports. Seeing the away corner and feeling that familiar pull in my chest as I realised what it must feel like to be a Bournemouth fan waiting for their team at that moment.

But then, during the what felt like fifteen-hour-interspersed-with-adverts-for-Nivea build-up, this happened.


It’s Ed Chamberlain, LITERALLY in and around the Liverpool team.

It was at this point I realised that football coverage, far from ignoring the sarcastic, even caustic critiques of its coverage from those of us not fortunate enough to be on the Sky Sports gravy train, is actually absorbing it.


We’ve long since suspected that the application of vast amounts of cash to players bank balances has prompted them to lose their grip on reality - above shot of Mario Balotelli in the stands included for illustrative purposes - but surely broadcasters should be impervious to it?

Well, yes. They should be. But the evidence against it has been building for some time. 


The patch of grass in the corner of the MNF studio. Keys and Gray generally. Glenn Hoddle’s camel toe.

You really have to feel for anyone who might have been abroad for twenty odd years with no access to football coverage.


And like a child with its hand in the air because it knows the answer and really, really wants to be picked, they’re too intent on showing off to realise that everyone else is just sitting back and enjoying themselves at their expense.

Yes, alright, in the end they’re winning anyway because we’re giving them a stack of our income to watch this asshattery unfold, but in their favour, you do get a stack of games for your monthly direct debit and the indescribable pleasure of hearing Gary Neville summarise Benteke’s goal controversy by saying ”They cock about with the offside rule every single year and I don’t think they make it any better any time.”.

Which you can then rewind to check you heard it correctly.


And I know this isn’t just me because the second best Kelly in English football was at it too. [Yes, I’m instantly ashamed of myself. But I had to.]

Don’t get me wrong. My heart (and the rest of my petrified flesh) will always be found in a sadistically designed plastic flip chair, balking at the smell of unidentified meat pies and wishing to god I’d got into tennis.

But you know. TV football isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. We might as well at least try to find the pleasure in it.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Gerard Pique: Comedy genius (once removed)

18 August 2015

Gerard Pique could be suspended for up to twelve matches for “using insults, verbal abuse or having an insulting attitude” towards the referee in Barcelona’s aggregate defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup last night.

Mr Shakira was reportedly sent off for telling the official “I shit on your bitch mother,” after disagreeing with an offside decision ten minutes into the second half.


It’s impossible to inject satire into an insult involving someone’s mum (believe us, we’ve tried) so we were going to scroll past this without comment, then we spotted this Reddit thread, which, we’re sure you’ll agree, lends an air of artful comedy to the whole sordid episode.

Which is considerably more than Pique deserves.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Weekend Highlights: INCOMING!!!

17 August 2015


Ooh, that’s a dig.

How will the notoriously well balanced Manchester United manager respond?


Yeah, that looks about right.


In other Manchester United news, these two are the same age.

You want proof? Here.


If Luke Shaw was any older, he’d have learned which washing cycle to put his jeans on by now.



What? Was the kit man too busy sewing velvet onto the inside of Kaka’s shorts to remember the basics?



As though Kingsley is the Partick Thistle mascot wasn’t alarming enough, some bright spark has seen fit to add a disturbing homemade soundtrack.

Literally a Jigsaw-esque franchise in the offing. Filthy.


Glorious though this drag back nutmeg whatnot is, there’s no excuse for those shirt numbers.

AFC United have existed in their current incarnation for three years and (if wikipedia is even remotely reliable) have 27 players on their books.

You’re taking the piss, Chidi Omeje.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Jose Mourinho: Come undone?

17 August 2015

With Eva Carneiro and Jon Fearn banished to the bandage cupboard, it was left up to Chelsea to sabotage their own hopes of retaining the Premier League trophy and, credit where it’s due, Jose Mourinho and his boys did a marvellous job.

It’s been a rough week for the Portuguese Man of Mind Games, whose carefully laid depth charges -  set to explode at carefully timed intervals and decimate his rivals’ self-confidence at key moments in the season - seem to be blowing up early and in his own face.

Just a few short weeks ago we were grudgingly admiring Jose’s ability to discombobulate his competitors with the most outrageous remarks, and do so while retaining a veneer of invincibility that was never rightly his to claim.

How ironic that that inferred sense of invincibility will be what eventually destroy him.


Don’t get me wrong, he’ll probably survive Medic-gate.

Despite the media’s best efforts to turn the whole business into a potentially ruinous sexism row (it’s not, and no amount of references to Carneiro’s “pre-Raphaelite curls” and ill-advised exposés of her apparently insatiable sex drive will make it so) a couple of wins and a debacle involving another team will be sufficient to throw ‘em off the scent.

We’ve all seen how annoyingly impervious Mou is to enemy artillery fire. It’s the damage he does does to himself that inevitably proves fatal.


His failure to acknowledge his error in dropping Carneiro and Fern from the Chelsea bench is the managerial equivalent of Michael Owen doing his cruciate on the touchline during England’s 2-2 draw with Sweden at the 2006 World Cup.

He’ll come back, he’ll run through his moves, but he’ll never be *quite* the same.

Mourinho’s refusal to admit he could conceivably be wrong about something in the face of such overwhelming evidence, most of which he’s generated himself via his protestations after Petr Cech’s head injury, undermines his usually dispassionate judgement. The same could be said for his decision to sub John Terry at half time in yesterday’s game.

Yes, he may well have felt the team would have benefitted from Kurt Zouma’s pace, as he insisted in the post-match presser, but he must have been aware that subbing his captain for the first time ever in a Premier League match would have huge ramifications, and not just send a ‘message’ to Roman Abramovich.


The unravelling of even the most complex and awe-inspiring fabrics begins with the dropping of a single stitch and in Real Madrid’s case, the thread of Mourinho’s exit can be traced back to the controversial replacement of Mesut Ozil after a poor first half against Deportivo La Coruña that prompted Sergio Ramos to stick the German’s shirt on beneath his own. A seemingly tiny act of defiance at the time, but one that proved crucial in Mourinho’s eventual undoing.


Even his comment that the comprehensive 3-0 result was “fake” have been met with cynicism, while the match report on the Chelsea website is one of the most blatant and embarrassing attempts at revisionism since the 2012 Champions League final.


One things for sure, if he does drop it all in a fit of pique, I’ve heard BT Sport are looking for a pundit.

He couldn’t be any worse than the one they’ve got.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Stuart Pearce: Guess who?

14 August 2015


He knows Mark Hughes have signed a lot of players with links to Barcelona.


He’s Stuart Pearce.

What did you think was going to happen?


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

The Football Ramble Live in Dublin: Now available to download on iTunes!

14 August 2015


With the Ramble ‘proper’ easing you back into the football season and The Summer Special still ringing in your oh so elegant ears, you might think you can afford to overlook our latest offering: The Football Ramble: Live In Dublin.

After all, you’d hate to think you were actually facilitating Pete’s forays into drunken auction site purchases or Marcus’s questionable tourism choices.


But ask yourself this. As a Ramble aficionado, is it worth hanging onto that £1.99 when you could exchange it for an hour and seven minutes of aural pleasure?

“But I can get it for free if I simply click the link at the bottom of this page”, you retort. “Or visit the Ramble archive, where there are over 300 episodes of hilarious football chat, again, all for free”.


Yes, I’ll counter. You smart arse. But can you hear Marcus articulate the arc of his Ramble career; peaking early and often, then troughing horribly with an Aberdeen seagull related gag in any of those episodes?

Bask in special guest appearances from the Scorpions, the Keith Floyd of football, Phil Babb, Gerry Francis and Sir Alex’s notched bedpost?


The rather unruly and ultimately #CleverGirl return of Going for Glold? All joyfully critiqued by one of the finest (if drunkest) audiences Dublin has ever managed to squeeze into the Laughter Lounge?

No. You can’t. So put your hand in your pocket, give us your money and we promise we’ll spend it wisely.


Well. Most of us will.


By Kelly Welles


Buy The Football Ramble: Live In Dublin via Paypal HERE! and iTunes HERE!

The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Andrea Pirlo: Five days is a long time in football

14 August 2015


Sunday August 9th, 2015

Thursday August 13th, 2015

It would appear that reports of Andrea Pirlo’s retirement have been greatly exaggerated.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Leigh Griffiths: The Reverse Ketsbaia

13 August 2015

Apparently, Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths threatened to kick his mate Kevin Bridges, “in the stones” if he was the target of any gags during the comedian’s Glasgow set next month.

Not to worry though. By the looks of this footage from Celtic’s game vs. Kilmarnock last night, Bridges can neutralise the threat with some carefully placed signage and mock away.

He won’t be short of material now, will he?


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

AD Caravaca Vera Cruz: Look Ma! No hands!

13 August 2015


And by the looks of things, the Spanish fourth tier side’s kit was designed by someone with no taste.


Still. At least the players are putting a brave face on it. Poor bastards.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!


H/T @waatp

Dear John… The comic strip

11 August 2015



By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!


NYCFC image via

Football Ramble Manager Profile, Part One: Alan Pardew

11 August 2015



By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!


10 August 2015

Oh god. You can’t buy these on eBay, can you?


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!


H/T @101greatgoals.


Weekend Highlights: Arsene’s ‘accident’ & other stories

10 August 2015

Mrs Advocaat should have insisted.

A long suffering football wife knows better than anyone when her husband’s usefulness in a dressing room scenario has expired.

Sandra Redknapp hasn’t understood a word Harry’s said since 1983, but having realised that telling him would result in her having to put up with him waddling about the Sandbanks gaff all day demanding plates of pasta, she kept quiet and he’s been terrorising unsuspecting football fans ever since.

That’s not to say Dick Advocaat’s tenure at Sunderland has been a complete disaster.

A five game unbeaten run at the tail end of last season kept the Black Cats in the Premier League and a cynical commentator could interpret Advocaat’s emotional outburst after the draw at Arsenal as relief rather than joy or expression of emotional attachment.

After Saturday’s first half panelling vs.Claudio Ranieri’s surprisingly offensive side, Sunderland fans might be rueing the decision to spend cash raised via a gofundme page on flowers for the Dutchman’s missus after he reneged on a promise to her that he’d quit, when they could have directed them towards more pressing concerns.

Like a new central defensive partnership, for example.



But as Claudio Ranieri should know, no good deed ever goes unpunished in the Premier League and even as he was soaring to the top of the table, news was breaking that could affect his season and the future of his club.


Footage leaked from a casino showing striker Jamie Vardy being racially abusive to “a man of East Asian appearance” appeared across the media on Sunday morning, prompting an investigation into the player’s conduct.

This is the second such incident to hit the club, who sacked development players Tom Hopper, James Pearson and Adam Smith for offensive remarks made during an orgy, footage of which was also leaked.

The incident is also thought to have contributed to a collapse in the relationship between former manager Nigel Pearson and the club’s Thai owners that led to Pearson’s dismissal.

Vardy scored the first of Leicester City’s goals on Saturday and his performances last season resulted in a call up for the England team, but fans were deeply unhappy about Hopper, James Pearson and Smith’s behaviour a few months ago and are unlikely to be any more impressed with Vardy.

“It is too early to say what the season will hold but if we can take confidence and pride in the way we play we will do well.” Mark Albrighton told reporters after the game.

If only it were that simple.


If anyone can testify to the speed with which football’s favour can change, it’s Arsene Wenger.

Fresh from a Community Shield win that saw his side fire the first shots in the interminable battle with Jose Mourinho, Arsenal limped to a 2-0 defeat to West Ham, with ‘signing of the season’ Petr Cech arguably at fault for both goals.


“We will respond to that accident,” said Arsene Wenger.

Roy Keane was not available for comment, although mocking laughter was heard in the vicinity of his personal volcano for several hours after the game. 


Speaking of volcanoes, Jose Mourinho has blamed his medical team for the draw at Chelsea, after “impulsive and naive” treatment of Eden Hazard left only nine players on the pitch.

Footage of Eva Carneiro taking a free kick has emerged on t’internet, as well as a brilliantly passive/aggressive Facebook post thanking ‘the general public’ for their support.


As a man who prides himself on only fighting the battles he can win, Mou might want to back off gracefully from this one.

He doesn’t stand a ruddy chance.


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble is one of the UK’s most-loved football podcasts and releases a new show every Tuesday. Download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Vardy image via Twitter.

From the desk of Cristiano Ronaldo…

7 August 2015


Oh god.


Player emojis are literally seconds away, aren’t they?


That’s one way to take the gloss off a new Premier League season, isn’t it?


By Kelly Welles


The Football Ramble releases a hilarious football show every Tuesday, so for more of this nonsense, download it here, and subscribe on iTunes here!

Ramble Round-Up: Out of character

6 August 2015

Will any match official ever be brave enough to thrust a red card in Lionel Messi’s direction?

Admittedly he doesn’t offer too much in the way of opportunities (he’s only ever received one red card in his career, and that was on debut for Argentina) despite some players making it a bucket list check mark to provoke him, but arguably this clash of heads between the Argentinian maestro and Mapou Yanga-M’biwa during Barcelona’s 3-0 victory over Roma was a gilt edged chance for Javier Estrada Fernández to reach for his pocket.


Presumably his hands were too busy practicing his next big handshake.

Jan Vertonghen. Defender.


As we’ve already established, preseason means nothing. Even it does get some people sacked and Wenger & Mourinho’s touchline behaviour indicates otherwise.

But the Premier League Champions have failed to win any of their July warm-ups for the season proper, two wins from five games coming by way of penalty victories vs. PSG and Barcelona.


I did set about an analysis of Chelsea’s pre-season results in earlier Premier League campaigns with a view to but then I remembered that a) I’m not a clever, Michael Cox type and have no business nosing around in stats, and b) there really is no correlation between pre-season and league form.

That became evident even before I got bored and started mucking about with Photoshop.

Anyway. This Kurt Zouma Vine is much closer to my idea of match analysis.


By Kelly Welles

Hitting the post with Robin van Persie

6 August 2015

It’s Robin van Persie’s 32nd birthday today.

Let’s celebrate by watching this nostalgic video of him trying not to laugh after a small child walks into a metal post.

He did well didn’t he? Especially since his injury record suggests that if there are any posts to be walked into, it’s going to be him that does it.


By Kelly Welles


Roy Keane: Football Wishlist #1

5 August 2015


Every photo Roy Keane has taken from this moment forward, please.

By Kelly Welles

When Pep met Jim White…

4 August 2015

That moment when you flick onto Sky Sports and see their #92Live coverage.


By Kelly Welles

Steven Gerrard: Red missed?

4 August 2015

Perhaps he was trying to clear the ball. He’s made mistakes before.

You know. Like that time when he thought Ander Herrera’s leg was a poisonous snake and tried to apprehend it for the safety of his colleagues.


By Kelly Welles

Weekend Highlights: Got Beef?

3 August 2015

“That’s a paddlin’”

You’d think everyone would be a bit more cheerful about this, wouldn’t you?

It’s the traditionalcurtainraisertothenewseason, we don’t have a terrible home nations failure to gripe about and yet football spends the entire weekend wittering about Arsenal overgrooming and who won the Handshake Snub; a hackneyed game we thought we’d stamped out when Luis Suarez left England.


Despite a promisingly homicidal start, Roy Keane is rapidly turning into the Ghost of Football Past; a once towering figure who now, with no discernible function to serve, hovers over football, emitting barbs about how much better everything was in his day through varying amounts of facial hair.


Yes, alright. The Gunners’ peculiar brand of identikit narcissism occasionally slips (probably on some spilt coconut oil) over the boundary into irritating, but bloody hell, Roy.


If you miss exercising your aggro that much, nip over to Russia and two foot the twats who just banned Emmanuel Frimpong for being racially abused.

Stage an illegal invasion of a FIFA press conference.


Go park outside Adrian Chiles house again.

We have like, three weeks until football reminds us how bloody irritating it can be. Just leave us be, will you?


Hey Dunc?

Some geezer is wandering about purporting to be the Scariest Man In Football. Have a word, will you?


In tests, scientists demonstrated that there was “no significant difference in the number of bacteria collected from 2 seconds exposure as there was from 6 seconds exposure.”

Even if Belgrano goalkeeper Juan Olave had observed the five second rule before picking up this burger and biting it, he’d be putting himself at risk of food poisoning.

The fact that it had been handled by at least one sweaty Racing Club fan before they chucked it at him leads me to suspect he’s still in the dressing room toilet as we speak.



NYCFC fans there.

Duh. Everyone knows his name is Frank Lapmard.


By Kelly Welles


Image via @Copa90

The Football Ramble Summer Special - Now available to download on iTunes!

1 August 2015

the beach
Why hit the beach when you can huddle around some microphones in a dark studio?

Despite recording close to 300-odd shows in the years since The Football Ramble was formed, Marcus, Jim, Luke and Pete decided to eschew a full summer break, instead opting to gather together this week and record a frankly quite chaotic summer special Ramble to tide you over until the new season starts.

Expect the usual frivolity as well as some absolutely remarkable games, courtesy of some wag’s creativity in and around the Ramble Wikipedia page, including Edgar Davids’ Daring Deals and Ronaldinho’s Party Train.

Interested? You bloomin’ better be.

Grab it for just £1.99 through PayPal here and iTunes here.

The Football Ramble returns weekly from Tuesday 4th August and continues throughout the season.

Everton FC: All About That Swag

31 July 2015


There’s an awful lot of clever going on at Everton lately.

Not so much on the pitch, admittedly - even diehard Toffees are still struggling to come to terms with last season’s debacle - but even the most steadfastly ‘traditional’  fan would have to admit that pride in one’s club is only partly derived from the game itself these days.

For a start, they’re at least trying to show a bit of stubbornness over John Stones’ virtually inevitable move to either Chelsea, or newly emerged suitor, Manchester United.


There’s the whole, ‘opening a club shop in Liverpool’s premier shopping precinct Liverpool One, and calling it Everton Two’ business.

line up

And now they’ve teamed up with Umbro and Marvel artist Will Sliney to produce this thoroughly immense ad for their third kit launch.

It almost makes you wish the Premier League would start issuing points for swagger.


Unless you’re a Spurs fan, obviously.


By Kelly Welles

Cristiano Ronaldo: Don’t Look Now

29 July 2015

Yes, alright. He’s an absolutely massive tart of the first order.

But if you could pull off this level of insouciant skill, you totally would.

And if you wouldn’t? Well, more fool you.


By Kelly Welles

Jose Mourinho: “I would love it if he shut his face…”

29 July 2015

At least Alex Ferguson waited until there was something to contest.

The former Manchester United manager set the industry standard for Mindgames 1.0 with his surgical deconstruction of Kevin Keegan’s spirit back in 1996, and while it could be argued that Keggles was an easy mark (being of a sensitive and emotional persuasion and probably still suffering a touch of gravel burn from that horrific crash in Superstars) most would agree that Ferguson’s work was a feat that has never been bettered in the field of football conflict.


Mindgames v2.0 is an entirely different beast. Having developed and beta tested it over the last few seasons, Jose Mourinho is now trailing his content, and first glimpses suggest it will be driving everyone who isn’t a diehard Chelsea fan to Keegan-esque heights of spluttering despair.

What’s special about v2.0 is that instead of using one massive, carefully timed and targeted blow resulting in a catastrophic and ultimately career defining meltdown, Jose plays the long game.

your club

Think of it like brain jenga.

He removes one brick.

Steps back. Contemplates the impact. Goes back in, removes another brick. Steps back, scratches his chin thoughtfully.


Before Arsene Wenger knows it, the entire foundation of his football philosophy has disappeared without trace and he finds himself in a heap on the floor at Lime Street Station.


But how to prevent this insidious, highly effective strategy from polluting everything? Call me a pessimist, but I think it’s too late for that. We’re already infected.

Yesterday I tweeted that Arsene shouldn’t rise to Jose’s thinly veiled digs, but this morning I found myself wondering whether in doing so, I was essentially just victim blaming.


I know. But this is how Mourinho works. He gets into your head. Makes you asks questions of yourself that you shouldn’t be asking. So the time you might otherwise spend doing something productive, like managing your football team or paying attention to pedestrians as you’re driving to work is wasted wondering whether to ignore the bully like your mum says or get all up in his face and let him play the wounded soldier for a bit. .

Given that he’s just issued a statement implying that Rafa Benitez is fat and his wife would be better employed sorting out his diet than commenting on her husband’s job, it’s increasingly clear that there are few, if any, strategies Mourinho won’t stoop in his quest to complete football with Chelsea.


We’ve got ten days to gather the energy and work out the button combination to issue a massive Hadouken in his general direction.

Otherwise it’s a pedal race with Wenger. And no one wants to see that.


By Kelly Welles

Philippe Mexes: Still not the most spectacular thing he’s done in a Milan shirt…

28 July 2015


On the volley, outside the area.


It’s almost worth forgiving him the cornrows.


If not the attempted murder of Stefano Mauri.


By Kelly Welles

Reuters: Do Not Adjust Your Text

27 July 2015

Reuters’ coverage of Manchester United’s 3-1 victory over Barcelona offers hope to all of us guilty of the occasional editorial ‘oversight’.

At the time of writing, the story, which states at the bottom that it has been edited to correct a factual error, is still maintaining that the third goal was scored by (Adnan) Jacuzzi.


Perhaps the writer had been enjoying the story of ‘Mike’ Smalling’s recent hot tub fire and got carried away?

Or maybe he’s the victim of awe inspiring autocorrect asshattery. Either way, his sub-editor should have picked it up.

That’s my failsafe excuse, and he’s welcome to it.


By Kelly Welles


H/T @PeoplesPerson_.

Ramble Round-Up: The War on Pards

27 July 2015


Optimism abounds oop the Arsenal, where fans watched the Wenger Boys lift the Emirates Cup for the first time in five years.

We could run through that whole ‘setting up your own competition to win some silverware then failing repeatedly’ business, but frankly battering Wenger for being the Premier League’s nearly man feels very 2014 (take note, Jose Mourinho), so let’s compliment them on what was a pretty brutal deconstruction of Lyon and resolve to nod agreeably every time an enthusiastic Arsenal fan tips them for the title.


While placing a sneaky side bet on them suffering a horrendous injury crisis from October onwards and finishing a tidy third, obviously.


Elsewhere, the redundancy of the free market mechanism in top tier football was neatly articulated by the aforementioned Special One, who followed a typically wilful statement accusing Chelsea’s rivals of trying to buy silverware with a debut for Falcao vs. PSG.

Last season, Falcao was an ineffectual Manchester United player; his ineptitude in front of goal only eclipsed (or possibly augmented, depending on whether you’re a season ticket holder or not) by Angel Di Maria’s ineptitude in delivering balls into the area.

That’s Angel Di Maria, who is rumoured to be the subject of a £46.5m bid from Paris St Germain.


Because working with Zlatan is precisely what a man suffering a crisis in confidence needs.


Exhibit ‘A’

Crystal Palace conceded two late goals to Sporting Lisbon and failed to lift the Cape Town Cup, which hopefully dented Alan Pardew’s ebullience off the back of some quite inspired signings.

Exhibit ‘B’

I’ve nothing against Palace per se, but even you Selhurst Park die hards have to concede that Angry Pardew (Exhibit B) is infinitely more tolerable that Hubristic Pardew (Exhibit A).


Oh, and while we’re in and around South London, here’s a message to Marouane Chamakh.


Take it off mate. It’s over.


By Kelly Welles


Images: Gallo Images via Getty

Soccer City: Back of the Net

24 July 2015

Oh god. It looks like a cross between Fighting Fantasy and Subbuteo.

We’re going to need you kids to fetch us some towels.


Y’see, you youths may have heard about Subbuteo.

You may even have watched a game at some hipster gathering designed to celebrate a bleak time in human evolution when inviting someone round to ‘play on the computer’ meant an afternoon of staring at a screen filled with this.


But could you ever know the sheer joy of spending literally days of your summer holiday hunched over the dining room table, bickering with your sibling or mate over the validity of a penalty shout, playing through the pain of a blackened fingernail and the agony of being on the cusp of an FA Cup Final victory, only for your striker to break off his base; the Subbuteo equivalent of an ACL injury with a terrible prognosis?

And don’t get me started on the time I’ve wasted on single-player roleplay gamebooks.


While the relevance of these pastimes is overshadowed by the laser lit behemoth that is modern gaming, the foundations of all are essentially the same. Strategy, chance, development and achievement are key components in any stimulating entertainment, which is why we see them in everything from Pong to Titanfall, GTA, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and back again.

And why Soccer City, a Kickstarter project I was recently alerted to, looks so bloody interesting.

Developed by Gonzalo Rodrigo and Lisandro Nembrini, Soccer City is “a football turn-based board game that reproduces every possible action in a real football match” using cards, concepts, simulation and presumably fistfights on the touchline, although their Kickstarter page wisely chooses to overlook that inevitable outcome.

But don’t allow my facetious take to put you off.


These guys clearly understand the proclivities of the average football fan and appear to have developed a game that panders to every single one of them.

The aesthetic is pure football porn - from the laced leather ball on the box to the old school drawings on the player cards, and the explanation of the gameplay suggests Soccer City straddles that awkward line between overtly simplistic and bogged down in detail as fleet footedly as Cristiano Ronaldo approaching Joe Hart in the penalty area.

Given the outrageous geekery that manifests itself at every Football Ramble Live extravaganza (I’m allowed to say that because I’m the one extolling the virtues of books that required one to roll dice to progress) I can’t help but feel there’s going to be a lot of you interested in seeing this project come to fruition.

Get on over to their Kickstarter page and have a look at the loving yet forensic detail with which they describe every aspect of their game.

If it doesn’t get your index finger twitching, you’re probably not cut out for football at this level.


By Kelly Welles


Images via


Ramble Round-Up: Throwing Peanuts & Punches

23 July 2015


The old adage holds true. For every staggeringly beautiful hipster must-have shirt photo, there is an equal and opposite Youssouf Mulumbu in a Norwich City 3rd kit reaction photo.

Despite it only being 16 days, 2 hours, 30 minutes and 53 seconds to kick off (not that I’m counting), football is still very much on holiday.

And not that sedate kind of holiday where people engage in passive aggressive assertions of sun lounger tenancy and big plate shenanigans at the buffet, either.

I mean the kind of holiday that footballers have. Intravenous ingestion of Cristal on the flight, endless pool parties infused with sneaky fags and nubile ladywomen, social media scandal and a tiring tabloid backlash.


Why not have a lie down while I take you through it all?



Laughing at African players’ unreasonable age claims became a bit passe after the whole Joseph Minala business. Kanu’s playing ninety minutes in a stationary position is is one thing, but being suspected of shaving twenty-five years off your age?

That’s a level up moment in career management.

Chancel Mbemba Mangulu

Until yesterday, when reports re-emerged that Chancel Mbemba Mangulu is in the frame to shore up Newcastle United’s defence.

The Democratic Republic of Congo man has been on the Magpie radar for some time but was named among potential targets for this transfer window by a couple of media outlets.


The reason we care about this is not because Pete’s got hold of the website login details again, but because Mangalu was recently the subject of a FIFA investigation because his registration documents appeared to state he had 4 (FOUR) different birthdays, making him anything between an ‘experienced’ 27 and a ‘dynamic but potentially volatile’ 21.

Mike Ashley might want to take the additional admin costs into consideration before making a bid. 



Moving slightly to the left and up a bit on our map of Africa, we find ourselves in Gabon.

Despite the occasional divergence in opinion with the Spanish tax authorities, Lionel Messi seems to be a nice chap. This makes the fact that he has apparently offended the entire nation by “dressing like he was going to the zoo” when visiting, quite startling.


He wasn’t wearing one of his Ballon d’Or suits or anything.

He turned up for the flying visit, which he has denied being paid for, in shorts and a tee shirt; and, in a statement by President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s party he was described as looking “dirty, unshaven [with] his hands in his pockets, looking for peanuts to throw to them!”


We’re going to have to take Gabon off the map of prospective Football Ramble Live show locations.

Peanut throwing would be the least of their concerns.


Poor sartorial choices had negative consequences for another player recently too. This footage of Gonzalo Higuain, shirt open to medallion level, trilby jauntily balanced, ploughing his way through a crowd of onlookers, did the rounds yesterday.

Apparently he got offended when someone shouted “you cannot score penalties” after he refused to sign an autograph for them.

His record suggests he’d have developed a coping mechanism for that by now.



“Right, gentlemen. We’re here at Melbourne’s Vue De Monde restaurant, where head chef Shannon Bennett is going to show you how to make kangaroo loin with wild mushrooms and nasturtium leaf.


“Er… what now?”


Alright, let’s not take the piss. I’m sure it went really well in the end.


By Kelly Welles


David De Gea: Murked

22 July 2015

Good. Well, that’s cleared that up, then.


By Kelly Welles

Bayern Munich & The Sorting Plate

21 July 2015


Like the sorting hat, only for establishing who’s in GrownUpMan and who will spend the next season representing LadBantz.

See me in my office, Arjen Robben.


By Kelly Welles


H/T @davidjmcelroy

Paul Pogba: Thighmaster General

21 July 2015


You know how Cristiano Ronaldo started that really irritating thing of rolling his shorts up in training to show off his absurd but admittedly impressive quadriceps?


This picture from pre-season training appeared on Juve’s Instagram feed yesterday.


No wonder Real Madrid have reportedly cooled their interest in the midfielder. The leg press at Valdebebas is already heavily over-subscribed.

Your move, Cristiano.


By Kelly Welles

Sepp Blatter: Gold Digger

20 July 2015

Far be it from us to condone putting the wind up pensioners, if Sepp had resigned when he said he was going to, instead of waiting for the furore to die down and then calling a presser to announce his plans to ‘reform’ FIFA, none of this would have happened.

Just go, Sepp. Honestly, it’ll be less embarrassing for all of us in the long term.


By Kelly Welles

Ramble Round-Up: Your move!

20 July 2015


Until now, the transfer window has mercifully remained rather sedate.

Aside from the odd Fernando Torres/Andy Carroll fuelled spasm, it feels sometimes as though it’s deliberately refusing to indulge the feigned hysteria of Sky’s coverage.


And now that BT Sport have entered the competition, the spectacle has become some sort of Chariots of Fire inspired race for the line; Robbie Savage and Jim White in vests, bursting through a cloud of yellow smoke, chests straining to be the first to inform us that George Boyd has arrived at the Hull City training ground.

But Sky’s decision to drop the only part of their broadcasts worth watching has changed all that.

The Premier League has picked up the purple dildo and run with it.


Mere hours after the football equivalent of being dumped on the dancefloor and watching your partner leave in a taxi with Ashley Cole had reached its conclusion, Fabian Delph performed a Messi-esque change of direction, leaving Aston Villa flat on their backsides with no idea what just happened.

The midfielder, who issued a statement on the 11th July confirming his plans to stay at Aston Villa after reports of interest from Manchester City surfaced, signed a five year contract with the Sky Blues on Friday, sparking social media mayhem and questions as to whether Micah Richards is a double agent.


Apparently, the former City defender, who signed a four year contract with Villa back in June, “helped change [Delph’s] mind” over the move, claiming that Premier League runners up were “the best club in the world and he [Richards] had the time of his life [t]here.”


Way to endear yourself the home fans there, Micah!


This really made me miss Steve Gerrard and feel like he really still has something to contribute to a Liverpool side at a crucial point of Brendan Rodgers’ tenure.

Okay, a significant proportion of his performances last year made Rodgers’ decision to play him in a deeper role and the subsequent delay in renewing his contract look understandable, but…  that positional nous. The awareness off the ball. The ability to dictate play.

When viewed alongside some of the signings that arrived last term, I can’t help but wonder whether - if Rodgers had managed the situation a little better - Gerrard might still be able to dominate at the highest level and remain a defining player of the Premier League era for at least another season.

God knows how it makes you Liverpool fans feel.



We’re used to parting shots when players leave clubs, particularly when the relationship between the two has become a little fractious.


But Iker Casillas’ agent claiming that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez “doesn’t like black players” is less of a parting shot and more of a Howitzer blast straight through the front doors of the Bernabeu.

And in case Perez remained unclear on how Santos Marquez feels about his client’s former club, he didn’t leave it there. In an interview with AS, Marquez claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo’s image rights being sold to a company owned by Valencia president Peter Lim “suggests that Cristiano is planning to leave”, that Gareth Bale is favoured over other players and that former manager Vicente Del Bosque was sacked because he is unnattractive.


“Del Bosque won everything there [was] to win,” Marquez said, presumably while quaffing his twenty-third glass of Ribena that morning, “But what happened to him is what happened to me – he’s a not exactly a looker.”

“So Florentino brought in a handsome bloke [Carlos Queiroz] who almost ruined the team.”

Iker Casillas has yet to respond. But when he does, it’s going to be worth hearing.


By Kelly Welles


Images via,

Cristiano Ronaldo: Party of One

16 July 2015


There’s no ‘I’ in team.

There is, however, a bloody great ‘ME’.


By Kelly Welles

Rivaldo: A long term view

15 July 2015

Apparently Rivaldo is not content with his legacy being that dive in Brazil’s 2002 World Cup group match vs. Turkey.

In fact, he’s so keen to be remembered for something else, he’s developed a method for halting the aging process to allow him to continue playing until he’s done so.

The Mogi Mirim president completed the first stage of this challenge last night, scoring in the same game as his son Rivaldinho in their side’s 3-1 win over Macae.

Being 20, Rivaldinho is almost certainly being encouraged by his father to commence procreation duties, with a view to having a son who can play in the first team by the age of sixteen.


Assuming he can sustain a playing career until his early sixties, Rivaldo could then be the first player to score in the same game as his son and grandson, who will invariably be known as Rivaldinhoho.

Let’s see who has the last laugh then, shall we?


By Kelly Welles

Tottenham Hotspur: Dire Diary

15 July 2015


“Eric, we’ve got this really fun idea for social media.”

“What’s that?”

“Your name has some of the same letters in it as the word for personal journal, diary. So we’re going to change one, add one, make a laboured hashtag out of the result and have you sit in front of a camera answering questions in a format that was fairly tired ten years ago.



By Kelly Welles


H/T @CharlieTimms.

Ramble Round Up: Sideshow Sterling

13 July 2015

The question isn’t whether he’s worth it.

That’s just a distraction. Something to keep us occupied during the barren month of July when the clubs are showing off to new markets in Asia or the US or playing in tournaments no one cares about.


Or, if we’re going really get the cynicism train going, we could call it contrivance by certain media outlets to promote interest in a product we all consume anyway. Have you noted the date of the Liverpool vs. Manchester City fixture yet? It accompanies much of the Sterling transfer coverage this morning.

The far more relevant question in these sagas is whether a player can operate under the weight of expectation their sale price brings. And that, of course, is a matter that can’t be considered until they have a good couple of seasons under their belt, perhaps even more.

The current most expensive player in the world is Gareth Bale, sold by Spurs to Real Madrid two years ago for £86m.

His first season there, during which he won and scored this goal (above) generated sufficient excitement to make most conclude that maybe, yes he was.


Now? After a difficult second season which has seen him struggle to make an impact, become the subject of press speculation regarding his relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo and suffer the consequences of that speculation from the fans, it’s tough to know how that transfer will be viewed in years to come.

It could go either way.


But at least he had one good season. Fernando Torres would probably offer a substantial proportion of his personal wealth in exchange for the memory of a first season like that at Chelsea.

Andy Carroll might even consider cutting off his pony tail for a sniff of the form he showed himself capable of at Newcastle.

That said, football has proved itself more than capable of throwing the narrative arc to the wall in favour of a suspension of disbelief challenging twist.

Radamel Falcao may yet regain the use of his feet at Chelsea. Bastian Schweinsteiger might help Angel di Maria locate the point of his existence in a Manchester United trident of terror that hasn’t looked capable of piercing a balloon for periods since Ferguson moved upstairs.

Raheem Sterling might rejuvenate Pellegrini’s tired looking team. He might use the weight of our disapproval as ballast, battering through defences to create goals for himself and assists for what could be one of the most terrifying front lines in English football.

He could carry his form through to the national team, his new found confidence inspiring England to kick the habit of a great performance in qualification followed by an early tournament exit.

This time next year, we could all be lying in a ditch, recovering from the three days of hysteria that followed him scoring the winner in the EURO 2016 final.

However unlikely that scenario may be, it’s still within the bounds of possibility.

Feels odd that we’re all willing him to fail, doesn’t it?


By Kelly Welles

Aston Villa FC: We salute you

9 July 2015


When your manager is as eccentric as Tim Sherwood, you can either try to ignore it and maintain a poker face, or you can embrace it.


It’s fair to say that with their 2015/16 kit launch, Aston Villa have embraced it by running with the hashtag #SayItLikeSherwood, a nod and a wink to their illustrious leader’s habit of veering into the nonsensical within seconds of opening his mouth.


They’ve done well there.

If only because they’ve managed to find enough quotes to run a campaign without invoking cheese, win percentages or gilets.


Which couldn’t have been easy.


By Kelly Welles


Images via soccerbible.

Take a bow, son: The history of the Football Ramble website

3 July 2015


While it’s in our interests for you to think that emitting witty, well researched, informative football content is as effortless as it is sexy, it’s only fair on those who enable us to do it that we give them a shout out occasionally.

Not often, because then they might start wondering how come we get all the glamour and kudos that inevitably accompanies such sparkling talent and why they have to work in a dimly lit basement, but y’know.

We should acknowledge they exist at least once.


Step forward Matt Isherwood, who has been supplying the Football Ramble with a respectable web presence for a solid five years this summer, despite never having committed a crime worthy of such a sentence.

Initially starting out as a platform for the podcast, the Ramble site has been nursed through four wildly different incarnations before swerving to an untidy halt at the aesthetically pleasing yet wildly accessible web experience you’re currently having. 


You should read his article about it. Not only is it a really interesting snapshot of how football coverage has evolved on the internet since 2010, but there’s also visual evidence of the boys pre their PR manscaping.

Unmissable, Ruud,


By Kelly Welles

John Terry’s trophy cabinet photo if…

3 July 2015


...he had but an ounce of self-awareness.


By Kelly Welles

The Middlesbrough FC Award for the Biggest Misinterpretation of the term ‘Promotional’

2 July 2015

Marketing department still on holiday, are they?


By Kelly Welles


Big scores are BACK! (In Estonia)

1 July 2015


What’s the best thing about this scoreline from the Estonia Cup?

That Sander Roivassepp scored a triple hat-trick or that this wasn’t the widest margin between two team in the tournament... in June?

I’ve been thinking about it for ages and I still can’t decide.


By Kelly Welles


H/T @SkySportsNewsHQ

Pepe: Oh, cheers for that, Dad

30 June 2015

Pepe was a little boy once.

Take that in for a moment.


By Kelly Welles


H/T @umbro.

Ramble Round-Up: In Shorts

30 June 2015


If we needed any reassurance that being on holiday and ignoring football for a few weeks was the right thing to do, the Independent were good enough to provide it yesterday with this bit of ‘breaking news’.

Still, even though we’re having a lovely time frolicking on the beach with Pete’s incredible collection of inflatables, we’re prepared to acknowledge some interesting transfer shenanigans is occurring.


And you deserve to see it.



Good news for Liverpool fans, whose side will be virtually unrecognisable from the carcass that hauled itself to sixth place in the table last season.

The infamous Liverpool transfer committee, who spent most of last year shielding themselves from the heat of their poor decision making behind Brendan Rodgers, have already confirmed the signings of James Milner, Danny Ings, Roberto Firmino and Adam Bogdan, with Southampton’s Nathianel Clyne as pending as pending can be.


As for Sterling? Who the hell knows? But Paul Doyle’s article in the Guardian earlier this week calling for the wantaway balloon fiddler to be made captain was a startling development.

Even for an acknowledged Sterling sympathiser like me.



Meanwhile, reports from Italy claim that Arsenal Hall of Famer Gervinho’s proposed transfer to Abu Dhabi side Al Jazira has fallen through because he wanted his deal to include his own private beach and helicopter.

Not since it was claimed that Nani had a lifesize statue of himself in his own living room has a man’s hubris outweighed his talent to such an embarrassing degree.


Sergio Ramos has apparently told Real Madrid that he wants to leave them for Manchester United.

In what appears to be a move coordinated almost as well as Sergio’s wardrobe, Manchester United have put in a bid of £28.6m for the defender.


It looks as though David de Gea is destined to go the other way, with reports that the goalkeeper has requested his future be resolved by “next week” abounding this morning, but Manchester United fans shouldn’t be too depressed.

While The Ramos has never been caught stealing from a Tesco Express, his own history is littered with wild misunderstandings, mainly involving fashion.

He also has the trophy handling ability of Chunk from Goonies. Given that Manchester United will fancy themselves this season, how can that ever be a bad thing?


Petr Cech has signed for Arsenal.

It’s hard to see how this isn’t going to be brilliant for the Gunners and landing the former Chelsea goalkeeper represents a tremendous bit of business for Arsene Wenger, who has defined himself in recent years by who he hasn’t signed, rather than who he has.

Here’s a video of Cech drumming to Eye of the Tiger, which, if Wenger is as smug about this as the memes would suggest, should be the music playing over the PA system when Arsenal take to the Wembley pitch for the Community Shield.


Awesome though these are, they’re still not the best transfer I’ve seen so far this summer. This is.

It’s not recent, but it makes the ball on a plinth schtick look like £16m for Mario Balotelli.

Get it in that Prem. Stat.


By Kelly Welles

Sol Campbell: His definition… his definition is this

25 June 2015



the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.


By Kelly Welles


H/T @tomwfootball

Meanwhile, in the Copa America…

25 June 2015

Uruguay crashed out against hosts Chile after having two men, including PSG striker Edinson Cavani, sent off. Cavani, who had been a doubt for the game after news broke that his father had been involved in an accident in which a motorcyclist was killed on Monday, received a second yellow for apparently slapping Gonzalo Jara.

Even more hilarious than Jara’s thespian-esque response to Cavani’s flick though, was this take on the events leading up to it from Kenya’s Daily Nation news service

“Camera footage… appeared to show Jara attempting to insert his finger into Cavani’s anus, prompting the Uruguay player’s reaction.”

The actual incident is nowhere near as vivid as the description, thankfully.

Or we’d all be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.


By Kelly Welles

Ramble Round-Up: Oh no you don’t

23 June 2015


Football, we haven’t forgotten you.

Just because we’re on our holidays doesn’t mean you can sneak through a bunch of stuff you’ve been holding back, hoping we’d be so drunk/incarcerated/immersed in adventures of sexual discovery and motorbikes that we wouldn’t notice.

Seriously. You thought you’d get away with this shit?


Self-awareness has never been a stumbling block for Diego Armando Maradona, so reports that he’s decided to hurl himself bodily at the increasingly wobbly FIFA Presidency platform should not have come as a surprise to any of us.

And let’s be honest, a hands on approach to problem solving coupled with a willingness to call in a favour or two to expedite a positive outcome are among the skill sets required for a job of this magnitude.


At this point it’s just a rumour. Or an impossible dream. We haven’t decided which.


“He’s what now?”

Speaking of distasteful behaviour, three Leicester City players who filmed themselves having relations and using racist language have been sacked by the club after an investigation.

Development squad players Tom Hopper, Adam Smith and James Pearson inadvertently brought new meaning to the term ‘goodwill tour’ when footage of their Thailand adventures was leaked to a daily newspaper, revealing far more about their predilections and personal hygiene habits than any of us wanted to see.

The incident was all the more embarrassing for manager Nigel Pearson, who is also a patron of anti-racism campaigners Kick It Out. That first meeting with son James must have been quite the spectacle.


England’s Women made history last night after coming from behind to win a knockout World Cup game for the first time.

The Lionesses beat Norway 2-1 after Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze cancelled out Solveig Gulbrandsen’s 54th minute opener and will face hosts Canada in the quarter finals.

Lucy Bronze, eh? Right foot like a traction engine.

Meanwhile, the U21s left it late to wrest control of their own destiny against Sweden.

After defeat to Portugal in the opening group game had left them needing points to stay within reach of progressing to the knockout phase, Gareth Southgate’s team conspired to emulate the fortunes of the seniors with numerous missed chances and a lack of creativity leaving Harry Kane with little to work with.

Fortunately sub Jesse Lingard was able to take advantage of a poor clearance by AIK keeper Patrick Carlgren, smashing in off the volley on 85 minutes to put England second in the group on goal difference. They play fourth placed Italy on Wednesday.


Let’s not get into this whole mascot debate bandwagon.

You can’t criticise Partick Thistle for the fact that their new oversized fluff clad representative is a weird sun thing with legs and an expression you’d expect to see on someone who’s just fallen into a mincer when a dinosaur with a gun and a lion wearing a gilet re allowed to maraud without comment. 

Especially when there’s so much else to pick up on. Like what the hell is that on the Kingsford Capital rostrum thing the investor, the general manager and the artist are leaning against? A typo? An artistic splodge?

A desperate cry for help? We should be told.


joe hart

Oh come on. You’re just taking the piss now.

We’re going back to the boozer.


By Kelly Welles

Brendan Rodgers: Supermarket Sweep

16 June 2015


It comes to something when the biggest supermarket chain in the UK is having a sly dig at your transfer policy.


By Kelly Welles

Climate change: No Pete, you can’t chase it away with a hose

11 June 2015


Football and climate change tend to be fairly separate specialisms; a reality we’ve been more than happy to leave undisturbed to this point.

We can barely keep you abreast of developments in the Premier League, Football League, Europe, internationals, transfers and the Ever Expanding World of Alan Pardew as it is. The idea of having to be informed about polar ice shields, temperature shifts and rising sea levels as well is, quite frankly, beyond our collective intellectual capacities.

But it seems that climate change doesn’t feel the same way. It wants to get involved. It wants to interfere. Its moist nose is pressed firmly against the smeared window of Ramble HQ.


We’ve ushered it away. We’ve sent Pete out with a hose.

But it keeps coming back, yelling about how playing football in air conditioned domes under piloted clouds might be a reality soon, not just an abstract idea invented by a bunch of people awarded the right an entirely improbable World Cup.

We’re seeing games called off due to poor weather conditions more frequently. There’s talk of some leagues switching to summer seasons to minimise the impact of poor weather conditions on fixture schedules.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.


Well, fortunately for you, the continuing existence of the human race isn’t dependent on The Football Ramble getting our arses out of our comfy office chairs and taking action.

Other people, like the Climate Coalition, have been working on raising awareness about climate change and its impact on the lives of everyone across the world. Their latest initiative is a day of action in Westminster on 17th June.

Aside from the opportunity to learn more about climate change, attendees will have the opportunity to meet their MP and discuss what they’re doing to address an issue that might seem like an abstract, but is impinging on our daily lives, including our ability to enjoy sport, every day.

If you’re interested in attending The Climate Lobby, you can sign up and get more information here. It’s a really great cause and one we shouldn’t turn our backs on.

Let alone our hoses, Peter.


By Kelly Welles

The Football Ramble Live in Dublin! Tickets on sale now!

10 June 2015

The Football Ramble live at the Bloomsbury Theatre. People did turn up later, we promise.

The Football Ramble are heading across the Irish Sea to perform a live version of the show in Dublin on Thursday 30th July at the Laughter Lounge, and tickets are on sale now! That’s right, after several months of wrangling with the authorities over Pete’s worldwide air travel ban, the paperwork was finally completed and we are now delighted to confirm our appearance…

Expect all your usual Ramble favourites as well as a few surprises as the four reprobates pick over the finer points of the game with all the enthusiasm of a FIFA Executive Committee member at an all you can eat buffet.

See you there!


For press/media enquiries around the show please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Saving you from ‘Peak Ramble’

9 June 2015


You can’t always listen to the Football Ramble.

Alright, there are literally hundreds of episodes, but as someone who’s had to listen to more than her fair share of Luke, Pete, Jim and Marcus waffling on, I can confirm a state of ‘Peak Ramble’ can be achieved.

And surpassed.

Thankfully, have stepped in to prevent that from happening. Just register for a one month free trial to claim a free audio book and spend the off season listening to something vaguely sensible. Or not. There are over 100,000 titles to choose from so you’re bound to find something you like. The 30-day free trial means you can choose a free audiobook which is yours to keep whether or not you decide to cancel in the trial period.

And while I haven’t listened to them all, I’m reliably informed that none are narrated by current or previous Ramblers.

Worried because, like me, you’ve achieved ‘Peak Ramble’ and took advantage of a similar offer from Audible before?

Don’t be. They understand and if you trialled the service over 12 months ago, you can still get your hands on another audiobook for free.

You’d be a fool not to, quite honestly.


Sign up for a one month free trial and claim your free audio book at

Football Ramble! Live in London - now on iTunes…

8 June 2015

Hello! Pete here. Oh god, I literally don’t have the first idea how to put stuff on the website. How does Kelly do this again?

If I accidentally make the internet fart itself inside out and send all the bitcoins in the world to North Korea, I’m sorry.

So we recently went to the Bloomsbury Theatre in central London and told a load of tired old jokes about Avraham Grant. But we’ve managed to get it past those Apple-men and Apple-women so it’s now on iTunes. Grab it here:

Or if you’ve been watching Springwatch and you prefer Sendowl because it has the world ‘owl’ in it:

Thanks for reading! Wow, think I didn’t cock anything up! Yay me!

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Champions League Final: The Inflatables

8 June 2015

England’s ‘friendly’ vs. Republic of Ireland aside, it was nice to get back to the football after a couple of weeks spent nosing about in the turgid mess that is FIFA.

But, I suppose inevitably given the freshness of the FBI investigation and Sepp Blatter’s resignation, the legacy of a regime defined by conspicuous consumption and the acquisition of massive shiny things loomed over Berlin’s Olympiastadion, in the form of an enormous inflatable replica of the Champions League trophy.

Under the circumstances, it was a touch ironic.

After a frantic opening couple of minutes, which saw Barcelona’s centre backs defending so deep they were in danger of treading on an FBI investigator, a quite delicious sequence that epitomised the Barcelona way resulted in an Ivan Rakitic goal and Juventus were 1-0 down.


But huge credit must go to Allegri, whose side didn’t crumple under the weight of expectation that an early Barcelona goal usually brings. His side held onto their lifeline until Alvaro Morata equalised, prompting a social media surge that looked unimpeachable, at least until Luis Suarez restored Barcelona’s lead.

Neymar’s first and Barca’s third effectively broke the internet, the cordon around the pitch and the heart of every hipster who’d bet on Juve just because Barcelona’s dominance of world football is so passé.

Well, they better get used to it.


Because if the celebration photos are any evidence, there’s a new generation of genetically superior proponents of the Beautiful Game™ already practicing their trophy poses.

By Kelly Welles

Images via Instagram, Facebook .

Rafa Benitez: Looking back on the warm, comforting glow of ‘interim’

3 June 2015


If the Facebook comments of Real Madrid’s official Facebook page are any evidence, Rafa Benitez’ appointment as head coach has gone down a storm with fans.

Bet he’s dreaming of the title ‘Interim’ now.


By Kelly Welles

The Football Ramble Live: Give a little, get a lot

1 June 2015


Loads of you were there.


But for the unfortunate billions who, due to the seating constraints of the Bloomsbury Theatre, inadequate manipulation of the space-time continuum and/or your own ineptitude at the rather basic endeavour of being a human being, missed out on The Football Ramble Live on 22nd May 2015, here’s a link to the audio download.


It’s a mere £1.99 and since we’re ace, you can look at these marvellous photos of the overwhelming handsome that is The Football Ramble while you’re listening to it free, gratis and without extra charge.


Next thing you know, we’ll be giving actual (Monopoly) money away.


By Kelly Welles




Photos by Phil Sharp. Gent.

Jack Warner: Our eyes are watering

1 June 2015

Jack Warner has to be an elite undercover agent, working within FIFA to discredit them.

No one living in the 21st century can be so unaware of the media and satire as a functioning entity that they would use a story from The Onion as evidence that the USA launched its investigation into FIFA because it’s upset about losing the bid to host the World Cup in 2022.

Can they?


By Kelly Welles

FA Cup: Highlights, lowlights & everything in between

1 June 2015

Aston Villa’s fate was probably sealed when I checked their odds on a popular sports website, saw they were surprisingly generous and slapped a small wedge of my hard earned upon them.

Turns out these betting companies know what they’re talking about. Who knew?

In my defence, Mr Sherwood and his band of merry men seemed plucky enough before kick off but the size and swagger differential was soon painfully obvious; Arsenal ran Aston Villa ragged in the first half an hour with only unlikely hero Shay Given standing between them and an embarrassing early doors hammering.

Which they’ll remember vividly from their visit to Southampton.

The oldest man on the pitch could only do so much though, and when Theo Walcott smashed in Nacho Monreal’s pass on the half-volley, it was clear to even the most deluded punter that throwing further fundage on a staggering second half comeback was a fool’s errand.

At least I was right about something.

Alexis Sanchez’s twenty-five yard scorcher was a shoo-in for goal of the weekend right up until Lionel Messi laid waste to the Athletic Bilbao defence (bet Jerome Boateng was loving that) in the Copa del Rey final, while Per Mertesacker and Giroud heaped misery on a knackered and bewildered Villa side, who probably didn’t deserve the humiliation of conceding eleven goals in their last three games, but got it anyway.

All in all, it was a thoroughly classy display from Arsenal, and I was pleased they’d won, despite my losing money as a direct result.

Right up until the point where someone thought fit to hand Jack Wilshere a microphone, Chris Waddle peppered his appearance on BBC 606 with references to Arzenal and an Arzenal fan phoned in to state that having watched the game, he figured the best course of action was to sell Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud.

Then I was as deflated as Tim Sherwood again.


Although I would like to state for the record that my hair, although badly dyed, has never looked *quite* this bad.


By Kelly Welles

Warning: Contains graphic imagery

29 May 2015


The Washington Post has compiled this graphic illustrating the estimated number of World Cup worker fatalities in Qatar so far, compared with other major international sporting events

Yesterday, FIFA president Sepp Blatter stated that:

“many people hold me ultimately responsible for the actions and reputation of the global football community, whether it’s a decision for the hosting of a World Cup or a corruption scandal.”

“We, or I, cannot monitor everyone all of the time. If people are going to do wrong, they will also try to hide it.”


True enough, I suppose.

But hypothetically, refusing to acknowledge that all this took place on your watch, allowing yourself to be re-elected in an vote universally acknowledged to be a joke and remaining utterly, brazenly impervious to the stink of corruption rising around you could prove to be equally effective, couldn’t it?


By Kelly Welles

Swiss Police have arrested several top FIFA officials…

27 May 2015

At the press conference, their Head of Communications Walter De Gregorio be like:



By Kelly Welles



Weekend Highlights: And then we go and spoil it all…

26 May 2015


The curtain is down, people.

The Premier League season has drawn to a typically baffling conclusion, the final spots in the respective leagues have been filled and Delia Smith has got a bit ‘tired and emotional’ in the vicinity of a microphone.

Managers are dropping like flies, Herve Renard is back in club management and about as close to Ramble Towers as it’s possible to be while still technically in France and I am on the very precipice of two months of ‘light duties’ on the Ramble website.

It’s been ace.


And then we go and spoil all by doing something stupid like nicking a shirt off a kid. At Wembley. On the telly. Then putting it on gumtree, like no one is going to put two and two together.

Prompting a huge social media backlash, forcing the woman in question to delete her social media accounts because of a subsequent ‘campaign for justice’, which in these modern times seems to mean bullying someone until they beg for mercy.


Yes, if the events that unfolded after Jermaine Beckford scored a hat-trick against Swindon and chucked his shirt at a bunch of people have been accurately represented, it was an immensely shitty thing to do and the individual involved should know better.

But let’s not pretend it’s the most horrific thing we’ve ever seen and it’s our duty to hound the woman until her life is ruined and she can’t leave the house or go on the internet without fear of being abused.

We’re not the morality police. Far from it.

Have your say, for sure. But if you really love the game, a sustained campaign of bullying, trolling and threats in its name will do it significantly more reputational damage than one person acting like a dick, while the other 48,235 people in attendance had a marvellous day.

Just because she appeared to act like a five-year-old doesn’t mean you have to.


By Kelly Welles

Newcastle United: Good luck tonight, Peetles. You’ll need it

22 May 2015


Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse at Newcastle United, Uri Geller has reportedly offered to swoop in and “save the club from relegation”.

Ramble aficionados and old people will remember Uri as a chap who used to bend spoons on daytime TV, but his CV is not without football experience.

At EURO 96, Geller may or may not have used his psychic powers to move the ball on the penalty spot during England’s fixture vs. Scotland, while in 2001 he claims to have helped Newcastle end a run of 29 matches without a win by running round the Highbury pitch eleven times.


If that wasn’t amazing enough, during his tenure as director of Exeter City, he tipped up at St James Park with his great mate at Michael Jackson. No one really knows why.

If his offer is accepted and he is successful, it’s possible that Geller will be offered the position of manager on a full time basis, replacing the permanently befuddled John Carver.


Alright. That’s just me specualting. But answer me this. Would Newcastle United be be any more of a clown show than it currently is if he did?


By Kelly Welles

Dick Advocaat & the Purple Gloves of Doom

22 May 2015

He claimed he’d never cried over football before.

This view of the incident, presumably captured from a previously overlooked grassy knoll, offers an entirely different (and far more plausible) interpretation of Dick Advocaat’s behaviour on that fateful day.

Remember kids. You shouldn’t always believe what you read in the papers.


By Kelly Welles


H/T Rambler John Thorpe!

Xavi: Got ink

21 May 2015

Xavi Hernandez has just announced he will be leaving Barcelona at the end of the season for Qatari side Al Sadd.


Everyone knows what an astonishing career he’s had, but if you’re not a close follower of the office stationery market in Spain, the fact that he’s a great guy might have escaped you.


These pictures were taken back in 2010 as part of a promotional campaign for a friend’s cartridge company.

xavi world

That’s 2010. About three months after he’d won the World Cup.


By Kelly Welles

STOP! Is it Ramble FC?

21 May 2015


It has been announced this morning that AC Milan and Italy legend Paolo Maldini will be the co-owner of Miami FC, the twelfth franchise to be launched in the second tier of US soccer, NASL.


The team will reportedly “play its home games in one of the existing world-class stadiums of Miami,”, news which effectively gazumps David Beckham, whose plans to bring his own soccer franchise to the Miami area have been hindered by a failure to secure permission to build their own stadium.


Paolo Maldini. NASL. Gazumping D-Beck.

God, it’s like some sort of fantasy sequence from the early days of the Ramble, isn’t it?


Like Steve McClaren: Time Lord. Only sexy and without the crap Danny Dyer impressions.


By Kelly Welles

Matty Taylor: Tonight Matthew, I am Justin Timberlake!

18 May 2015


Well, sort of. Cock in a cup is the same principle as dick in a box, just a bit more budget.


By Kelly Welles


H/T @terry_nutkin, @thegirlsilver.

Weekend Highlights: Looking a bit thin

18 May 2015

The media came close to ruining it.

By the time Steven Gerrard’s final game at Anfield rolled around, most of us were so sick of the tributes it would have been quite easy to dismiss watching the game in favour of whatever hideous offering ITV wheels out at that time on a Saturday evening.


But perhaps because we know football well enough to understand that Alan Pardew might just have a little something up his sleeve to ruin Stevie G’s day (an invite to Crystals, perhaps?) we tuned in anyway and got a little tingly as we watched one of the faces of our age wave goodbye.

Oh, come on, you cynical bastards. It was a moment.


Gerrard has represented Liverpool for as long as most of us have been interested in football and love him or hate him, things will be different next season.

Like Ferguson before him, he represents something we might not ever see again; an unerring presence that characterises a club and a style of play.


As another club legend pointed out last week on the 20th anniversary of Blackburn Rovers lifting the title, modern football simply isn’t set up to accommodate this sort of thing anymore.

A one club player from the local area. A manager who survives long enough to lead a team to glory, then rebuild it and do it again. A ‘small’ club splashing the cash and booting the big boys off the infamous perch, however temporarily.

Big JT and his satirical genius are all we’ve got left, people. Bloody hell.



Joe Hart is confidently sporting what was formerly known in football circles as the Raheem Sterling.


I’ve long suspected that England’s No.1 has been increasing the volume of his bouffant to mask a little thinning, but the principle behind this thinking has always eluded me.

Surely you’d want to draw attention away from the offending follicles, not towards them?


No good can come of this, Joseph. Mark my words.


It was the A-League Grand Final on Saturday.

Melbourne Victory beat Sydney FC by three goals to nil, but no one cares about that and quite honestly, it wouldn’t have received the coverage it did if 84-year-old Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy hadn’t plummeted head first off the stage during the trophy presentation.

Apparently he’s ok apart from some minor shoulder pain, which is lucky for Melbourne captain Mark Milligan, who stood about with a face like a stunned mullet as the scene unfolded, but I think I speak for everyone when I say,

Frank Lowy? Yeah, he’s had his fall”.


And while we’re on the subject of league wins, Barcelona secured the La Liga title with a 1-0 victory over Atletico.

They could now do the treble, which isn’t bad for a team universally agreed to be in crisis in January.

All Messi needs to do now is release a video of his son doing twenty sit ups and Cristiano will literally explode in a cloud of bronzer.


By Kelly Welles

Meanwhile, over at Sky Sports…

15 May 2015


Or perhaps a hog roast? Paintballing? Trip to Center Parcs?

Please. Let us know.


By Kelly Welles


Boca Juniors vs. River Plate: Live streaming

15 May 2015

The source of the pepper spray that burned and temporarily blinded several River Plate players and caused their game vs. Boca Juniors at the Bonbonera to be abandoned last night has yet to be established.

Some people reckon it was something to do with this guy, shown trying to burrow his way into the tunnel around the time of the incident by broadcaster Setanta.

Others suspect this drone dressed as a ghost, which was filmed flying across the pitch beforehand, was involved.


In fact, the only thing we can say for certain is that we’re really getting arsed off with people using football as therapy for their inadequacies and putting the lives and careers of players in danger,

Not to mention ruining it for the rest of us.


By Kelly Welles

Nigel Reo-Coker: Alan? Alan! ALAN? ALAN!!!!

14 May 2015


“[Pardew] is a fantastic manager to work with. I learned so much under him.

I had my best football education under him. If there is an opportunity to work with someone like that again, it’d be fantastic. It’d be an opportunity you’d have to take.”

Former West Ham midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker speaking to, seconds after confirming that he’d had no contact with Crystal Palace whatsoever.


By Kelly Welles


H/T @ChrisNeeFC.

Champions League: Meme fatigue

14 May 2015

So this was thrilling.

And not just for Jack White, who must have been overjoyed to hear Scudetto winners Juventus singing the riff from Seven Nation Army while celebrating reaching the Champions League final at the expense of Real Madrid.

jack white

He was bound to be watching.

The man’s a massive sports fan, as we all know.

You do realise that’s my destiny you just pissed all over?

Sadly, by the time the final rolls around on June 6th, the excitement will have eroded a little.

Within seconds of the final whistle blowing, even before Cristiano Ronaldo fled to the dugout for what was presumably the mother of all tantrums, social media commentators across the world were simultaneously hitting send on messages that included (but were not limited to) the words Suarez, Chiellini, bite, racist and handshake.

Actually, most were limited to those words, because it anyone had bothered to be a bit more creative, a thriling narrative could have been fashioned out of those loaded letter combinations.


And by a bit more creative, I don’t mean whipping out the MS Paint and sticking some vampire teeth on the already dentally abundant Luis Suarez.

This is the Champions League final, people. One of the biggest single football matches that happens in an increasingly competitive calender, and yet because of the nature of our information consumption, it’s increasingly being forced to fit inside messages of 140 characters or less.

There are so many narratives we could use to bring ourselves to the very edge of the football excitement precipice.

Buffon, Pirlo and Barzagli’s destiny.

The possibility of Luis Enrique responding in the best possible way to the critics who, just a few short months ago, were kicking his arse around the Nou Camp.


Cristiano Ronaldo’s face as first Lionel Messi and then Neymar score in the final to bounce him into third place in the Champions League top scorers competition, and then Messi snatches his Ballon d’Or back after an incredible season.

You’re excited about Luis Suarez facing Giorgio Chiellini and Patrice Evra? Really?

Do you actually like football?


By Kelly Welles

Chris Smalling: Flux Capacitor

13 May 2015

hot tub

Rumours that he deliberately spilt a radioactive energy drink on the controls because he thought it would turn into a time machine have not yet been confirmed by the club.


By Kelly Welles


H/T utdreport.

Steven Gerrard: Midfield engine

12 May 2015

Looks a bit more comfortable in that position, doesn’t he?

If only British Airways had replaced Brendan Rodgers at the end of last season. Things could have been so different.


By Kelly Welles

Arsene Wenger: Well, if you feel THAT strongly about it…

12 May 2015

“We were unlucky I think against a team who refused to play completely and just defended. We’ve scored plenty of goals until recently.”

“In the last two home games we didn’t score and that was frustrating when you have so much of the ball and play with such accuracy around the box.”

“They defended well. They came just to defend with four defenders and six midfielders, and they defended. That’s it.”

That’s Arsene Wenger, speaking after Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Swansea City at the Emirates last night.

You want exciting, attacking football, Arsene? Really?

Go and manage in League One. They’re bloody swimming in it down there.


By Kelly Welles

QPR: The statement formerly known as…

11 May 2015


... the Chairman deals with all that.


By Kelly Welles


H/T ‏@RobHarris.

Weekend Highlights: Arrested development

11 May 2015

This job has put me in a number of awkward positions, but writing a defence of Chelsea fans has to be the Inverted Locust of football writing.


Seriously, my muscles are screaming.

I’ve nothing against Chelsea per se, but even the bluest of the blue would agree that the actions of a minority have cast a dark shadow over the club’s reputation in recent months.

Not to mention the fact that since they’ve just arrived at the league title at a leisurely stroll, they require my support about as much as Jose Mourinho needs PR advice from John Carver.


But still.

If you’ve gently chided those Chelsea fans pictured holding ‘Caution: Steven Gerrard’ signs, it’s only right you should reserve equal disdain for the lad ‘imself for his petulant pout while lining up for Chelsea’s guard of honour.

Even if those signs were laminated, which, in a court of law, could be perceived as wilful provocation.

Yes, it was Gerrard’s last game at Stamford Bridge. Perhaps you could argue that as a player of his calibre deserves more respect on such an occasion.

But no player is bigger than the game. Chelsea have played an absolute blinder in performance terms this season, and as an elite professional, Stevie should be able to applaud their achievement without looking like he’s been told there’s no Phil Collins in the DJ’s record bag.


Personally, I think it’s all part of the pantomime. Going into a football stadium should be about leaving the responsibilities of being a grown up aside and letting go.

Not being racist, sexist, homophobic or a drunken, leery twat, you understand, but shouting and singing your heart out, surrending your emotions to a group of ill-equipped, overly moisturised men to toy with and ultimately crush.

Because on those rare occasion when they don’t, when they score in the final minute of the play-off final or to stay up, when you win the cup after being 3-0 at half-time, even if you’re a 6ft 5in bearded bald bloke with a beer belly and a van, you get to cry on telly and everyone loves you.

Don’t push it, mate.

In no other sphere of life is it ok to run onto some grass and grab a sweaty twenty year old boy’s shirt off his back and refuse to let go of it for three days, but you can in football.

It’s better than any feeling in the world. So good that all the purple prose in the world comes nowhere near describing it and rightly so.

If we’re going to have that moment, we’ve got to have laminated signs, ostriches, bedsheets, bitchface and chants taking the piss out of people who made a mistake.


Oh. And really short memories. They help too.


By Kelly Welles

Falling down is temporary. Class is permanent

8 May 2015


Posted on Jerome Boateng’s Instagram account an hour ago.

Smooth, yah?


By Kelly Welles

Nigel Pearson & John Carver: Mind games v2.0

7 May 2015

“Nigel, you’re a man who knows his way around a hostile press conference. What do you suggest I say to get them off my back, give me a bit of breathing space, y’know?”

“Try something like this:

“I still think I’m the best coach in the Premier League. That’s what I think. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, but I still do. If I have the right tools, I can do the job. I’m doing the job to the best of my ability at the moment and I’ll continue doing that for the next three weeks.”

“You know the press. They admire a man who exudes excessive, baffling levels of hubris, especially when they’re coming off the back of a run of defeats and facing a relegation dog fight with three games to go.”

“I know! I honestly didn’t think he’d fall for it either. Bird brain!”


By Kelly Welles

Champions League: “Nothing short of sensational.” And Messi wasn’t bad, either

7 May 2015

Forget the memes about the still inside out Jerome Boateng. Forget Jamie Redknapp’s joyously baffling analysis. The facetious and woefully misguided efforts to award or deny Lionel Messi the title of Greatest Player Ever.

Seriously, how you claim to be comparing like with like when football today is virtually unrecognisable compared to the version played by Pele or Maradona, Di Stefano or Best? 


Even comparing him to a contemporary like Cristiano Ronaldo is a fool’s errand; the vast differences in their physicality, style and approach is like trying to analyse the comparative importance of football and sex in your life. 

(You can decide for yourselves which player represents which essential element).

But as I said.

Forget all that. Summarising Messi’s performance against Bayern Munich last night and his contribution to the game of football as a whole might seem as impossible a task as keeping your feet (and your) dignity in the penalty area while he’s running at you but last night one man managed to capture the magic without invoking those trite analogies.


And that man was Mark ‘Stuck in the middle with you. Stealers Wheel’ Lawrenson.

I know.


As anyone who’s spent any time at all listening to the former Liverpool defender’s ill-informed waffle (or indeed the Football Ramble) will know that Lawro is one of the most insufferable pundits to trouble the unsympathetic contours of the Match of the Day sofa. 

Frequently criticised for his lack of enthusiasm and miserable delivery, Lawrenson often sounds like he’s been dragged into the studio under sufferance; his habit of leaving presenters hanging after petulant one word answers make him one of the few pundits to make watching or listening to football coverage a genuinely uncomfortable experience.

And yet last night, you couldn’t shut him up. Asked for his thoughts on BBC 5Live after the Messi inspired 3-0 victory, Lawrenson described the Argentine as “nothing short of sensational”.

Reader, he gushed. For ages. He eulogised. He sounded genuinely thrilled to have witnessed such an exhibition of football and, as someone who’s struggled through many of his bleak reviews of football matches, I can say, without caveat, that it was a wonderfully, gloriously infectious experience.

You want an accurate summation of Lionel Messi’s performance last night? Ok.

Lionel Messi made Mark Lawrenson sound like a man who loves football.

That, I think you’ll agree, is an incredible, unprecedented achievement.


By Kelly Welles

“You headbutt a girl and you’re labelled a prat, and that’s the game.”

6 May 2015

And to think we could have missed this if @ElFutlosofo hadn’t drawn my attention to it.

Deep breath, Ramblers.


According to reports in the Conneticut Post, University of Bridgeport midfielder Danielle Puddefoot attacked a team mate after her club failed to honour her at their end of season awards.

The newspaper states that, Puddefoot, who comes from Slough and used to play for Reading FC Women, was angered after a colleague picked up the coach’s player of the year prize and “head-butt[ed] Hailey Marquis before she was restrained by other players”.

Danielle Puddefoot. Almost certainly not wearing this hat when the alleged incident occurred.

The NY Daily News reports that Marquis “was treated at a local hospital for swelling on the right side of her face and two black eyes.

Puddefoot has been charged with third-degree assault and disorderly conduct.


Reports as to whether she then threw a shoe over the building in order to extend her delusions of winning have not yet been confirmed.


By Kelly Welles

Champions League: THIS IS JUVE!!!

6 May 2015



By Kelly Welles


Image via tumblr.

Weekend Highlights: Costume drama

5 May 2015


They reckon the Premier League is the “most envied league in the world” but honestly, unless you support one of the clubs floundering about in the relegation waters without armbands, why would you have given a crap about the top tier when there was so much mayhem going on in the Championship and beyond?

English football is virtually unique for its strength in depth; attendances outside the Premier League frequently usurping those of the major European countries’ equivalent leagues, but coverage of the Championship, Leagues 1 & 2 is scant compared to the big, shiny corporatised world of the top twenty.

It’s a crime. Or perhaps a blessing. You be the judge. 



Rotherham United boss and latest candidate for the vacant-since-Keysy-buggered-off-to-Doha post of Archbishop of Banterbury, Steve Evans, managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on Saturday by arriving at Elland Road in this outfit.


He pledged to do so earlier in the season if Rotherham stayed up and after they were deducted points for fielding a player whose loan period had expired, it looked as though we’d be spared the sight. But a 2-1 victory over Reading last week secured safety and after rubbing Millwall’s relegated noses in his celabratory pink champagne, Evans arrived at Leeds United for the final game of the season in his beach garb, including sponsored sombrero.

At least someone in the marketing department has their finger on the pulse.

Less so human resources, it would seem



Also difficult to look at, but far more worthy of praise were the scenes that unfolded at Bloomfield Road.


Far be it from us to encourage pitch invasions, but Blackpool’s fans have had to put up with so much shit from the Oyston family (including Karl Oyston driving around the town with this number plate on display), it’s tough to feel anything other than sympathy for their cause.


What else are they supposed to do? Complaints on forums have resulted in multiple legal actions, boycotts ignored and planned demonstrations outside their ground pre-empted by spiteful strikes such as the removal of the Stan Mortensen statue.

It’s only logical that fans should try and force the Oystons’ hand; making the atmosphere so poisonous that have no alternative but to sell up and move on.

A challenge that Karl Oyston seems happy to accept, if this video taken during the protest is any evidence.


The amateur dramatics weren’t limited to the relegation places though.

With automatic promotion already secured by Bournemouth and Watford, all Derby County needed to do to earn a place in the play-offs was draw against Reading. Whether it was nerves or the spectre of Newcastle United hanging over manager Steve McLaren’s shoulders as some have speculated, the Rams were unable to capitalise on their early season form and conceded early, eventually capitulating 3-0 to Steve Clarke’s men.


Ironically, McLaren has this morning rejected an offer to fill John Carver’s clown shoes at Newcastle, with BBC Radio Derby reporting “he will not leave for Newcastle this summer” either.

Could the last person to leave St James’ Park turn out the lights, please?


By Kelly Welles

UPDATED! Kanu: How old?!

1 May 2015


Kanu’s real age has always been a source of speculation on the Ramble but has the internet sensation that’s sweeping the nation finally caught the big man out?

For the record, in 2008 when he scored the winning goal in the FA Cup Final for Portsmouth, his ‘official’ date of birth had him at 32.


Due to public demand, we also ran Lazio teenager Joseph Minala through the scanner.

It didn’t go well for him, either.


By Kelly Welles

The Clare Balding Show AKA The Sum of all Fears

30 April 2015

So if average home attendance at the Boleyn Ground is 34,860,

Liverpool welcome about 44,658 to Anfield for every home game,

and Bournemouth entertain 10.265 at Dene Court, Clare Balding has managed to evoke terror and/or anger in nearly 90,000 fans in less than three minutes of interview time.

Fair play, Clare. You’re nothing if not efficient.


You can see these interviews with Chris Eubank Snr, Chris Eubank Jnr and Harry Redknapp in full on the Clare Balding Show tonight at 7.30pm on BT Sport or tomorrow night at 10pm on BBC2.

Midweek Musings: Featuring “Birds”

30 April 2015

What are the dressing room walls like at the King Power?

We can only assume they’re sufficiently thin for Leicester City to have overheard Jose Mourinho’s half time impression of Roadrunner and become so bewildered they forgot to play in the second half, with boss Nigel Pearson still babbling on about big birds in his post match comments.

Alright, enough of the sarcasm.

Chelsea have done superbly this season, all but tying up the title with four games to play and with 34 year old John Terry putting in a shift that earned him a spot PFA Team of the Year alongside centreback bezzie Gary Cahill.

That said, the big man’s call for respect for his team still put me in mind of this scene from Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia when I saw it this morning.

It’s ok. If yesterday’s video showed us anything at all, it’s that Terry’s got a sense of humour.

You heard him.



They managed to smother the mighty Bas Dost, but ‘plucky’ Arminia Bielfeld’s fairytale cup fell victim to the wily ways of Die Wölfe last night.

Despite beating Hertha Berlin, Werder Bremen and Borussia Monchengladbach on their way to the semi-final, Wolfsburg took control early on, Maximilian Arnold scoring on eight and fifty-five minutes, bookending strikes from Luiz Gustavo and Ivan Perisic.


Dieter Hecking’s men now face Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Cup Final, meaning that Jurgen Klopp’s last game in charge will essentially be a decisive battle between wolves and bees.

Which feels sort of appropriate.


He’s only scored two goals in sixteen appearances for boyhood club Atletico Madrid, but now it seems that Fernando Torres has embraced the fact that his legacy won’t be quantity, but quality

The syncronicity with which those defenders drop. Almost like our collective jaw.


By Kelly Welles

Dear Didier…

29 April 2015

A video posted by didierdrogba (@didierdrogba) on

Thanks for posting this video entitled ‘Boring boring Chelsea’ to your Instagram account.

Unfortunately it doesn’t counter the argument that your team plays boring football. It merely tells us that you have no table manners.

Lots of love,



By Kelly Welles

Bayern Munich: They need a hero

29 April 2015

Pep Guardiola went all Incredible Hulk last night when Robert Lewandowski sustained a suspected broken jaw in Bayern Munich’s bizarre DFB Cup semi-final defeat to Borussia Dortmund.

Manuel Neuer, Mario Gotze, Xabi Alonso and Phillip Lahm all missed penalties after extra time failed to separate the two sides, the latter two slipping on the Allianz Arena turf.

The defeat puts paid to Bayern’s hopes of nabbing the treble and possibly even progressing any further in the Champions League after Lewandowski was caught in the face by Dortmund keeper Mitch Langerak and Arjen Robben and Thiago Alcantara suffered further injuries.


Watching Jurgen Klopp lead his team to an unlikely farewell final may have stung but it looks like the Bayern fans are well placed to retain their good humour, producing superhero homages to crocked Franck Ribery and the aforementioned Robben before kick off.


At this rate, it’s likely to be the duo’s most productive appearance at the ground before the end of the season.


By Kelly Welles