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

Future Starts Slow: The Potential Perils of Multiple Club Ownership

5 February 2016

jim

As the January transfer window closed and we bid farewell to the mad ship Jim White, I glanced over what had been (for once) a quite sensible set of movements and noticed one Kenneth Zohore had been loaned to Cardiff City FC.

In itself, nothing extraordinary. Before joining the Bluebirds on loan, the 22-year-old striker had scored 9 goals in 24 appearances for Odense Boldklub in the Danish Superliga. But a quick drill down revealed Zohore wasn’t loaned out to Cardiff City by Odense Boldklub, but by Vincent Tan owned K.V. Kortrijk, who’d bought him earlier that day.

zahore

As we all know, with a transfer embargo in place for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations, Cardiff City (as well as Nottingham Forest and Fulham) are not able to sign players on a permanent basis for the remainder of the 2015/16 season.
As previously mentioned, Vincent Tan is not only the Cardiff City majority owner, he also has a majority stake in FC Sarajevo and Belgian Pro League outfit K.V. Kortrijk.

 
The embargo at Cardiff meant Tan had to get inventive with his business (as well as his look) if he was to pick up any players. During the January transfer window, K.V. Kortrijk bought Zohore, and immediately loaned him out to the Bluebirds.

Some would argue he is simply a canny operator. Others might say all he is doing is working the loopholes of the embargo, hoping this loan deal (along with that of Tom Lawrence from Leicester City) will ensure Cardiff remain in the Championship, but the ramifications of multiple club ownership by one person or organisation, could well be a danger to football as a competitive sport.

 
It can be a relief for fans to see their club bought by one of the mega-rich.

With investment there may come cup runs, trophies, promotion, star signings, more cup runs and (the slightly less thrilling but nonetheless ego boosting) global brand awareness.

But there’s a cost. These footballing institutions, that run beyond sport and deep into the history of towns and cities; institutions which can define a person and their place in the world, will have to bow to the whims and wants of the owner.

 
It’s not unknown for owners to make rash decisions simply because they can. 

The anger at Vincent Tan’s decision to change Cardiff City’s colours from blue to red still resonates, as does Assem Allam’s attempt to change the name of Hull City AFC to Hull Tigers; a move that was eventually blocked by the FA. And we only have to glance in the general direction of Leeds United to see what can happen when someone is allowed an almost free rein, even when the Board of the Football League have found him unfit under the Owners’ and Directors’ test.

 
As a Sheffield Wednesday fan, I could be seen as having being hypocritical in this critique of club takeovers. The infamous Milan Mandaric took majority ownership of the Owls in 2010, and with further investment from Dejphon Chansiri, the team currently sit just outside of the playoffs.

Yet even Mandaric had to step down as Chairman at Leicester City due to Football League rules preventing him from being the Chairman of two different clubs.

Ownership of multiple clubs is nothing new. As Glenn Moore states in a 2014 Independent article, “In the 1990s ENIC, the owners of Tottenham, began taking stakes in various clubs around Europe: Vicenza, Slavia Prague, AEK Athens and Rangers”.

It’s an unsettling proposition. Football teams can now be the hobbies of billionaires, rather than the domain of dedicated fans from the terraces up to the boardroom, and these people could quite easily decide from the teams they own, which club plays in what competition. The situation is not without precedent.

As Moore states in the same article, “when AEK and Slavia qualified for the same European competition UEFA realised it had to act to preserve the competition’s integrity”.

 
Integrity is indeed the key word here, especially when a team’s performance in home leagues and competitions is weighed against the loss/gain of competing in competitions such as the Europa League and Champion’s League.  Rules do dictate that an owner can still own more than one European club, but if both Udinese and Watford, owned by the Pozzo family, qualify for the Europa League, then, to wildly misquote Mad Max: Thunderdome, only one will enter.

If the trend towards the acquisition of multiple clubs continues, it’s an inevitability that two teams controlled by the same organisation will face each other at some point. And in theory, what’s to stop an owner picking their preferred team to win or offer each team a bonus to obtain the desired result?

Consider what we know.

Football teams can be bought. Two European teams (owned by the same person) cannot be in direct competition with each other.

Regulations exist, but as seen with the Kenneth Zohore loan, they can be worked around. The temptation of swapping players from team to team, improving their chances in competitions, could become a major factor in the modern game.
We’re already in the realms of tactical transfers, as you can argue this is exactly what Zohore’s Kortrijk to Cardiff move is. And between the teams owned by the Pozzo family, two Watford players are with Granada and two of Granada’s players are with Udinese.

The line between football and business is ever more blurry. Profit margins are already hovering perilously close to success in terms of the importance attributed to them and there’s no indication it will wither as a trend.

This is the crux of the mega rich acquiring teams like football stickers; there to collect and trade. If such a situation were to happen, it would be to the detriment of all involved in the game; fans would be paranoid their goalkeeper with the clean sheet record might be air dropped in to help the owner’s other team retain their position in top tier football.

What stops a striker from the owner’s ‘second’ club being deployed in the January window to help improve the chances of a team currently having a surprise cup run? Plus, none of this even touches on the effects these issues could have on the players themselves and on their psyche, or the manager’s ability to make long term plans.

Unfortunately, there is no neat conclusion to this, nothing that I can predict or anticipate, other than that it will happen eventually, and when it does, the mad ship Jim White and his band of deadline day buccaneers are going to look positively conservative in comparison, whilst the real pirates do what pirates have always done.

Chase the jewels and treasure.

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By Fuzz Caminski

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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!

Hector Bellerin: The first of the gang to cry

5 February 2016

 
I thought it was my own private fantasy that footballers live in their club’s stadium together with the manager, wear full kit at all times and, like all of us, hate the misplaced pomp and ceremony attached to Europe’s biggest competition.

It’s always nice to be proved right, of course. But perhaps also a little disturbing to have one’s internal monologue played out by a wailing twenty year old in shorts.

It’s a funny old game.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Firhill

4 February 2016

king

According to a press release that landed on the Welcome mat at Ramble Towers this morning, Kingsley the horrifying Partick Thistle mascot is looking for a mate.

It immediately gets worse.

1

If you’re at all interested in becoming Queensley (told you), which results the unique opportunity to run across the Firhill pitch hand in hand with your new beau in front of a shit ton of Aberdeen away fans, you need to write a poem (250 words or less) expressing your love for the abominable sun monster.

Far be it from us to try and destabilise a contest (we leave that to you Arsenal fans in the main) but we think this is a perfect opportunity for you Ramblers to get express your creativity.

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Without using swears, inflammatory statements, lies that can easily be disputed via the internet or sexually suggestive material (yes, that includes you, Donaldson) write your poem and send it to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). I’ll publish the best ones here in a few days.

If you really want to take your life into your hands and risk winning, submit it to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). You have to be willing for your work to be published on social media and prepared to accept ridicule from your peers, us and of course, the aforementioned Aberdeen fans.

If you’re a bit shy, don’t worry. It’s really simple.

Even I did it and I’m an idiot of the highest order.

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You’re alarming and yellow and likely to bellow,

if your team lose a lot, Which yours do.

But they’ve laid out the bait, they say you’re seeking a mate,

And I’m a sucker for crap foliage. And crisps.

I’ve written this poem, I know I can show him,

that I’m the one to run out at Firhill.

I may not be yellow but I’m brave and I’m mellow,

and my eyebrows are better. Than his.

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Alright. Shut up. I didn’t want to win anyway.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

An Evening With Gary Neville

4 February 2016

 
The time? 8pm. The place? Camp Nou, Barcelona. The fixture? Copa del Rey Semi-final, 1st Leg.

 
Gary prepares his team for kick off by advising they push forward whenever they have the ball.

 
Valencia haven’t had the ball for 13 minutes now. Luis Suarez has scored two.

 
Messi makes it three on 29 minutes.

 
Shkodran Mustafi is sent off for taking Lionel Messi down in the penalty area.

 
Messi scores again.

 
Phil thinks about talking tactics to his brother as the rest of the game unfolds, but wisely decides to keep his trap shut.

And they say he’s the dim one.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Midweek Highlights: There was something in the air that night…

3 February 2016

...but it was absolutely nothing to do with Francesco Totti, who at his age would be better employed studying a tactics manual than tormenting Miralem Pjanic in the technical area.

 

Still, we couldn’t all be at the King Power last night.

 
Fortunately for Jamie Vardy, Roy Hodgson was, and his uncharacteristically explosive response to the latest goal of the season shout offered supporters tangible hope of a starting eleven that doesn’t rely on the backfiring form of a record breaking striker on the Wayne.

Awwww, alright.

That’s a bit unfair on Mr Roozles, who has bagged seven in seven for Manchester United while simultaneously demonstrating he is capable of functioning at the peak of an attacking trident bursting with pace and confidence.

 
He’s had a lot of criticism this season and deserves this spell in the sun, but as the boys touched upon during this week’s show, it’s a double edged sword for those of us that want to see the likes of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy given a shot in their natural roles come tourney time.

A desire that doesn’t necessarily translate from distance.

Liverpool might only be thirty odd miles away from the Republik of Mancunia, but does anyone actually want to see whether Jurgen Klopp will go full serial killer if his team don’t start organising themselves into something approaching a cohesive football team?

klopp

Since acknowledging that he looks (alarmingly) like a serial killer in his new glasses, we’ve all been wondering whether the similarities extend further than physical appearance.

It seems his players are more anxious to find out than we are, given that his team are struggling to both create and convert chances. How angry does a man have to be before he goes feral?

 
In other, less tasteless news, Bournemouth inflicted a fifth consecutive league defeat upon Pardiola’s Palace, while the Manchester City manager-elect himself will have almost certainly been making notes as he watched his FutureClub grind out a stylistically bereft 1-0 win over Sunderland.

Am I the only one yearning for an England triumph at EURO 2016, not for the pleasure that alone would bring (although it would, of course, be marvellous), but because it might mean that Pards stays where he is and we’ll get to see these two giants of management face off against one another?

 
One thing’s for sure. Alan will have to come up with some new material. His Manchester manager stuff was great, but not really appropriate when it’s more applicable to you than your target.

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Ronaldinho Party Scooter Paradox

3 February 2016

axl

For the virtually the entirety of the game’s existence, satire and football have lived mutually exclusive lives.

The advent of the Premier League, huge investment, the subsequent deification of players and ever expanding media coverage have supplied the tools with which we gently pry, prod and scratch at the glittering edifice that insists it exists for fans, despite constantly pricing us out of participation.

muck

And boy, do we love it.

But their comes a time in everyone’s lives when they have to admit they’re beaten. And for Jim Campbell, that time is now.

ronald

Seconds into Sans Pellegrini, Jim becomes Ronaldinho’s agent and avails us of his plans to have his client endorse a ‘Party Scooter’; a sort of bastardised mobility scooter featuring all the equipment needed to take your celebrations on the road.

A brilliant idea, and one we all enjoyed greatly, until our friends over at EatMyGoal.tv tweeted Jim with the awful truth.

Alright, it doesn’t have a La-Z-Boy chair attachment, bongos, ticker tape bazooka, it’s not Autodance or Tinder enabled, self driving and doesn’t boast an expanding dingy thing or cost a million quid. It’s not made to order and as far as we know, Ronaldinho is not on the Scooter Man roster of employees. 

list

Everything else is pretty much there.

axl

As portly, Michael Owen moustachioed, red haired squawking machine Axl Rose once asked…

Where do we go, where do we go, where do we go now?

jim

Buggered if we know, Axl.

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By Kelly Welles

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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: Easily led, as it turns out

2 February 2016

dinner

Thanks for that, John.

Not only did you completely ruin the Ramble diets (I’ve got them on rice cakes and lettuce to ensure they’re fighting fit for the live shows) but we then got interested in the fabulously named Muangthong United and their decisive AFC Champions League Qualifying Round 2 match vs. Johor Darul Ta’zim.

We followed the action via text updates while enjoying a calorie heavy South East Asian buffet before the game finished 0-0.

We’ve figured there’s going to be a replay so now we have to work out when that is (estimated time: 2 days), order the buffet to accompany it (estimated time: one day, two fistfights) and learn everything about football in Asia so we can pick through the detail and analyse it to our usual high standards (estimated time: seventy two years, multiple deaths).

Our conclusion on the matter? Please be more responsible with your tweeting. We’re very busy people and simply do not have time to waste on wild goose chases.

Or duck, pork, chicken and tofu for that matter.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Meanwhile, down at Crystals…

2 February 2016

quote

I have a number of problems with this possibility.

Here is the most pressing of them.

no

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Lies, Damn Lies & Infographics

1 February 2016

Transfer Deadline Day Quiz - Brought to you by Free Super Tips

If you were one of those brave souls who’d planned to spend your entire day huddled round the telly waiting for an interesting transfer deadline day story, I have bad news for you.

trouser

It’s happened.

All you can do now is watch the coverage of Pep Guardiola’s summer move to Manchester City get increasingly meta until Jim White is interviewing Mary Berry about it and we’re all forced to stab ourselves in the faces with a French Fancy.

The answer? Make your own story. Our chums over at Free Super Tips have made this spangly infographic which allows you to enter information relevant to your career as an elite footballer until it can work out who you most closely resemble.

How you choose to answer is up to you but I have suspicions that when this went round Ramble HQ at speed, some of my esteemed colleagues weren’t as honest in their assessments of their abilities and habits as others.

How do I know this? Well…

spellsy

Marcus Speller.

gea

Luke Moore.

ozil

Jimmy Jim Jim.

giggs

Pete Donaldson.

Only Lord Ramble and I were remotely honest and what did that get us? Seth Johnson and Asamoah Gyan respectively.

Seriously, you’re better off just lying.

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By Kelly Welles

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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: John Terry. Special

1 February 2016

 
John Terry’s announcement that Chelsea have decided not to renew their Captain, Leader, Legend’s contract at the end of this season was shocking, but symptomatic of the hard nose business brain with which chairmen run their clubs these days.

It’s just ironic that it should have taken place on FA Cup fourth round weekend, which remains (despite evidence to the contrary supplied via phone ins every week) one of the few occasions in modern football that retains the possibility of any magic at all. Yes, fairy tale endings are an overworked narrative in football coverage, but that’s not John Terry’s fault.

A lot of stuff is, but not that.

 
We have to remember that football is magic and it’s these cliches that make it magic.

John Terry putting his face where other men would fear to tread. John Terry missing the penalty that could have won his club the Champions League title.

 
John Terry kneeing Alexis Sanchez in the backside during a Champions League semi-final, failing to take ownership of it and then infamously donning kit and shinnies for the trophy presentation.

And that’s just the on pitch stuff. Allegations about his life outside the game are so numerous and vivid as to be virtually unpublishable on a family website.

For reasons of taste AND decency.

Despite all this, there aren’t many of us who could say, hand on heart, that our respective clubs wouldn’t benefit from a player with his desire, heart and passion.

We’ll give it a good old go though.

Who wants to be seen to endorse a bloke whose career is tainted by a failure to understand that pot plants in night clubs are for decoration purposes only? Who doesn’t know how to behave in an airport? Or even just be a good bloke?

There’s an awful lot of stuff one has to put aside to clap him out of the Premier League with good grace, but the separation is essential if we’re going to continue enjoying this sport through the filter of the press, which is inescapable for all of us.

 
This isn’t the first time over the past couple of months that we’ve been forced to ask ourselves whether an individual’s behaviour or opinions should impact our perception of their achievements. There’s no single answer because the world we live in doesn’t tolerate nuance. To offer admiration to someone’s achievements is a tacit endorsement of them as a human being, but personally I find a distinction can and should be made.

Over the last eighteen years, John Terry has been a fixture in the Premier League.

jt1

Many of you won’t remember football without him, in the same way as you have no recollection, or no more than a vague idea what football was like without Sir Alex Ferguson or Steven Gerrard.

Alright, we spend a good proportion of our lives complaining about it, but we all devote our lives to it anyway and risk estrangement from our nearest and dearest on an hourly basis by relentlessly talking about it, abandoning family occasions in favour of a match and listening to updates about Bafetimbi Gomis’ proposed move to Newcastle United as though our continued existence depended on it.

 
What’s all this devotion for if not to occasionally step back and celebrate what it creates? This is is our era and he’s one of our greats.

And much as it grieves me to say it, he deserves better than to be binned off by Chelsea.

lamps

He knows that and now, so do they.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Pete Donaldson 2: Rise of the replicants

29 January 2016

When we told Pete to go forth and multiply after the travesty that was the Starkus Speller, this wasn’t what we had in mind.

We can understand how evolution could throw up one nattily dressed, smartly coiffed tech/gaming geek with a penchant for violent, sexually charged fantasy programmes starring Sean Bean, but two?

Nuclear winter is coming. You mark my words.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

 

Lionel Messi: How far would you go to avoid him?

29 January 2016

Let’s be honest, if you’re relying solely on anecdotal evidence (which for the purposes of this, we are) football attracts some bloody mad people who would do anything for their club.

messi

But there’s screaming relentlessly at 22-year-olds who earn more in a week than you can expect to in a year, boycotting matches over a principle or getting married in full Arsenal kit, then there’s blanking arguably the most exciting footballer the world has ever seen on account of your allegiance to Real Madrid.

I honestly don’t know whether to admire this kid’s chutzpah, or shake my head in disbelief that he actually had to be dragged across the dressing room by his gaffer and forced to stand next to an oblivious Messi.

I’ll be doing both until I decide.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Pep Guardiola: Prevention is better than Carnival

28 January 2016

 
Among the guidelines for players set out by Pep Guardiola for his last few months in charge of Bayern Munich are:

- players to officially sign out on days off

- a clampdown on what he describes as ‘meaningless trips’.

The threat of a curfew remains, but according to Kicker.de, is as yet unresolved.

 
It might seem a bit much, given that Bayern Munich team are strolling towards a fourth consecutive title, as well as firing on Cup and European fronts, but remember…

pep

Pep spent time working with Ronaldinho at Barcelona.

ron

He’s witnessed what the future holds for a man who inadvertently misjudges the balance of recreational activities and work.

 
So why now? Well, they probably put their holiday requests in and Dante’s applied for February 4th through 26th.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Class of 1992: Grooming Products

28 January 2016

That awkward moment when the world realises that Ryan Giggs is on the Manchester United bench for the sole purpose of keeping Gary’s seat warm.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

 

Ramble Theory Integrity Test: “James Milner is Minecraft Man”

27 January 2016

miln

Yep. That works.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Spot The Difference!

26 January 2016

downing

No.

Woody

Nope.

baptiste

Hummmm….

rea;

Ooh, is that real?

nuge

Yay! There he is! You win football for today!

This is you!

nugent

Well done.

Images via gazzettelive.co.uk.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Juventus & Jeep: They’re on a plain. They can’t explain.

26 January 2016

A conference room. Executives from Jeep and Juventus are gathered for the presentation of their latest partnership ad campaign.

A man (very possibly Brendan Rodgers) stands in front of a large screen, pointy stick in hand.

“Ok, so we start with a wide shot of a plain, right? Storm clouds gathering above it, wind swirling, mountains and sand and you know… dust.”

“Where?”

“It doesn’t matter where. It’s a plain. Worst case scenario, we CGI some more stuff in. Anyway, these jeeps suddenly scream into shot and we follow them as they navigate the terrain until they all skid to a stop in line.”

*Pauses video, points stick at vehicles on screen*

“Ok, looks good. Now we pan around, close in on the vehicles, highlight features etc?”

*Un-pauses video*

“All in good time. Wait, you’ll love this. First we have an interior shot of one vehicle. Paul Pogba, in full kit, is looking out of the windscreen at something approaching on the horizon. Then Bonucci, Barzagli and Paulo Dybala, all looking out of the windscreens.”

“In full kit?”

“Of course! They start driving again and we see a powerful tornado coming towards them but they’re not scared. They get out of their vehicles, Pogba grabs a ball and kicks it AROUND the tornado. It reaches Dybala, who smashes it round again, then….”

“Hang on. So what you’re essentially saying is that we advertise our brand partnership by putting some Juventus players in some Jeeps, making them drive into the desert and use their skills to confuse a weather system? What happens at the end? Does the tornado wither under the weight of their combined talent and the world is saved? Do they celebrate by doing the Dab?”

“Well… no. They just drive off. There’s some meerkats in it though.”

“Fuck’s sake… how much have we spent on this?”

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Unai Emery: Hiding in plain sight

25 January 2016

This footage of Sevilla boss Unai Emery’s response to being sent to the stands during his side’s 0-0 draw vs. Atletico Madrid last night has been edited so beautifully, only Mark Lawrenson would feel the need to to explain it further.

So just sit back, relax and bask in the unashamed joy of it.

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By Kelly Welles

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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: Drinking

25 January 2016

pards

Alan Pardew responded to allegations about his striking options in the transfer window by confirming Palace might be considering a punt for Emmanual Adebayor.

“It’s something that is in our mix and we’ll have to wait and see.” he said.

This is the beauty of Pards and Palace in a nutshell, isn’t it?

ade

For any other manager to acknowledge that their problems could be solved by a man whose home interior was designed by Stephen Ireland would be an admission of catastrophic collapse of confidence in the dressing room, but to Alan Pardew, Adebayor, and to a lesser extent, Nicklas Bendtner could be the poisonous liqueur that brings the whole drink together.

Buy into it if you like, but don’t coming running to us in the morning when you’ve woken up in unfamiliar circumstances feeling really dirty, with an awful headache and one shoe missing.

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giroudmert

Alan Pardew wasn’t the only manager making questionable decisions about strikers in London based football matches this weekend.

Or drinking cocktails prior to kick off.

It’s the only rational explanation for Arsene Wenger claiming that Diego Costa was ‘clever’ in getting Per Mertesacker sent off. Clever how? Clever for doing exactly the same thing as he did last time the two teams played and pretty much what he does every week when defenders rise to his purposeful provocation?

 
Or clever in the same sense as taking off your top scoring striker and replacing him with the guy that got sent off last time when you really need to score a goal?

Has anyone checked Arsene’s got both shoes on this morning?

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Thankfully, there were reasons to be cheerful.

 
Dele Alli’s retirement strike

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pearce

Stuart Pearce bringing to life the Malcom Tucker quote: ‘I’m not taking advice from someone who styles his hair by sticking his head up a cow’s vagina.” on Sky Sports.

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pog

With that in mind, we reached out to Tucker to see if he had anything to say about this monstrosity.

Nothing yet but a strange mewling.

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And finally… this chap.

nathan

Nathan’s disbelief and his mum’s apparent amusement over Adam Lallana’s last gasp goal against Norwich on Saturday was caught on BT Sport and quickly went viral.

I should clarify though. In my original tweet, I posited that Nathan’s mum didn’t ‘get’ football.

nath2

He later clarified in the most brilliant way possible, so props to him.

I’m not sure I’d react as well in those circumstances.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Behind the scenes at the footballramble.com: It started with a hat

22 January 2016

 
I don’t just throw this together, you know.

It might look like I do. It might feel like I do. But I’ll have you know that every word and image you see here is the result of several hours of rumination, cogitation and inspiration.

Not to mention an industrial amount of caffeine.

rich

For the first time ever, come with me behind the curtain at Ramble HQ, peer at my desk in horrified fascination, nod sagely as you see where Pete lives during the day and, once we’ve wiped the yogurt off your jacket, I’ll give you an exclusive insight into the mind that brought you the evocative and thought provoking ‘’ Admiral Ackbar guide to maintaining a healthy relationship’’ and ‘Binned off at the Bernabéu with Rafa Benitez’.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

bernard

*arrives late, drinks three gallons of coffee. Black*

tino

*computer crashes due to Tino Asprilla story about cow vaccinations*

*turns computer on, then off again.*

 
*scrolls through internet, finds this video of Bruno Arrabal from Ethnikos Achnas. Wonders idly whether this is the funniest thing someone has done with their face this year*

 
*continues scrolling, finds this photo of Sassuolo owner Giorgio Squinzi. Realises that it’s not.*

*starts thinking about footballers in hats. Finds this.*

 
*files story.Wanders off for a cake and a bit of a snooze*

Have a nose around if you like. Just don’t open Marcus’s drawer.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Use Your Illusion Pt.2: Marcus Speller

22 January 2016

Footage of comedian Kevin Hart fooling around in Manchester City’s training facility has been flooding across dem internets over the last couple of days, but what you may not know is that his technique is based on that of Leatherhead Reserves Hall of Famer, Marcus C Speller.

All that grandstanding, fancy footwork and interwoven threads of Shakespearean farce and tragedy were originally honed by our illustrious anchor, who retains the rights to corners, free kicks and penalties for the Football Ramble team, notwithstanding agreements reached with Luke Moore prior to kick off.

marcus

Couple that with startling new kit he’s taken to wearing and it’s no surprise that the phone at Ramble HQ has been ringing off the hook; with several clubs expressing an interest as a preferred alternative to Emmanuel Adebayor & Nicklas Bendtner.

Who knows where he’ll end up?

#Crystals

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

 

Use Your Illusion Pt.1: Brendan Rodgers

21 January 2016

This isn’t Brendan Rodgers,

But I’ve watched this clip about a thousand times now and it looks sufficiently like him to make the pretence serviceable.

Have a go, it’s great fun!

H/T SCH.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Kevin Nolan: Dance dance!

21 January 2016

sam

Secret footage captures Sam Allardyce’s reaction to news that his protégé, Kevin Nolan, has been appointed player/manager of Leyton Orient.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Paolo Maldini: This is not America (Or is it?)

20 January 2016

maldini

For various reasons too complex and/or litigious to write here, we’ve long suspected that people.com is run by incompetents.

Imagine our surprise then, when our baseless, ill-informed perceptions were confirmed via a brief Twitter exchange on the subject of Ramble heartthrob Paolo Maldini.

Here’s how it happened.
1

I posted this innocuous yet informative tweet earlier today. (If you don’t know what it means, refer to Chapter Two of your Ramble Manual, ‘Icons of the Ramble’, then come back. 

richie

This prompted #FriendOfTheRamble Dr Richie (@ElFutlosofo) to break cover.

It could, of course, have been a pernicious rumour, designed to provoke me into libellous acts for which I would be arrested.

So he sent me a screen grab.

richie1

Are you going to accept this slight on your footballing knowledge and appreciation of male beauty, ‘Murican Ramblers? Is this further evidence that the United States still has a long way to go before it can be regarded as a footballing superpower, or simply a perception problem local to the people.com offices?

people

A selection of previously anointed ‘Sexiest Men’ suggests the latter but we’re open to your arguments.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Boot Porn: From the desk of Mr Redknapp

20 January 2016

lead

It was only a matter of time before the boffs over in Footwear Central abolished the one remaining link to the past.

2

In a move sure to inflame traditionalists who still don’t understand that players wear colourful boots because their sponsors want their product to stand out (not because they’re tarts) Adidas’ ACE 16+ Purecontrol has dispensed with laces.

 
The fact that the result is a snazzy paint job away from those weird pull on shoes everyone was wearing ten years ago is neither here nor there when you’ve got Mesut Ozil flicking chewing gum with terrifying precision, so expect to see the influence across boot silos over the next year.

sock

Love it or hate it, it’s considerably better than their initial take on Nike’s Dynamic Fit Collar, anyway.

sera

Speaking of inexplicable forays into the already well serviced boot market, you might recall a post from last November which implied Harry Redknapp and Garth Crooks were promoting a product so odd, it had parody written all over it.

Astonishingly, a glance at the updated Serafino 4TH EDGE website suggests the ‘toe poke’ boot is actually a thing, and endorsements from football people previously believed to be sensible are flooding in.

Oh, and Glenn Hoddle.

4th

If you’ve got a spare £99 lying around, buy a pair and see if they actually turn up, will you?

We’re not ones to argue with professionals, and as Ray Parlour says “a lot of people like to toe poke.”

They do indeed, Ray. They do indeed.

Images via soccerbible & Serafino.com.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Stephen Fry: Standing on the shoulders of giants

19 January 2016

 
“My five years in the role have been an honour and a privilege beyond almost anything I can remember.”

“I wish I could take credit for ushering the club up from League One to the Premiership during that time on the board. Actually, I’m going to. It was all me. It can’t have been a coincidence,”

          Stephen Fry, stepping down from the board of Norwich City earlier today.

In Fry’s defence, he does specifically note that his tenure was five years.

He’s definitely not trying to claim any credit for any encouragement that may have been flung around Carrow Road prior to this period.

 
Stand easy. Delia’s crown remains untarnished.

We know this because it was found abandoned in a ditch on the A11 the day after this footage was shot. We wear it sometimes, when we’re alone in the office.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

“But can he do it on a wet Tuesday night in Stoke?” A (Hopeful) Eulogy

19 January 2016

ac

The ability of the world’s elite to play proper football in the uniquely unpleasant conditions offered by English stadiums was probably a legitimate question back in 2008, when Kaka peered out of the tunnel at Fratton Park and decided that perhaps he didn’t have it.

kaka

These days, it’s just a cliche wheeled out by inept football commentators who also complain about colourful boots and players who wear short sleeves and gloves in winter, but hopefully the work of Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague will lay it to a well earned rest.

boj

In a recent interview with Bojan (no slouch himself when it comes to tricksy moves on the ploughed field that the Britannia would need to be in order for this question to be valid), Balague revealed he’d asked the five time Ballon d’Or winner that very question.

Messi reportedly said:

“Those people that say that should realise I played in awful conditions in Rosario when I was 11 years old, with glass on the pitch, with holes and everything.”

wimb

You literally haven’t been allowed to put broken glass on the pitch since the Crazy Gang were in their pomp, and Messi’s tone implies he’s at one with our opinion that such a question is utterly irrelevant in modern football.

Unless you’re talking specifically about Adel Taarabt, we’re no longer accepting this as a legitimate and any usage from this point forward will see the offender hurled bodily into the Dean Windass Hall of Twats.

You know who you are. We’re listening…

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Shola Ameobi OBE: A review of the evidence to date

18 January 2016

Shola Ameobi OBE: The Case For:

 
Services to hats, clocks you don’t see very often and suspended ceiling systems.

Shola Ameobi OBE: The Case Against:

 
Disturbing new footage leaked online over the weekend demonstrates exactly how unhinged Shola Ameobi fans are.

Who knows what they might be capable of if their glorious leader is even tacitly condoned by heads of state?

It’s a no from us, Shola. But don’t leave the country just yet. An inquiry has been launched to see who let Pete have the password to the Ramble Twitter again.

You may be required to give evidence.

H/T @Taylor&Besty.
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By Kelly Welles

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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: Haunting or just taunting?

18 January 2016

 
It may not feel like it if you watched the interminable slog that was Liverpool 0 Manchester United 1 yesterday afternoon, but shades of the old United were visible through the dry ice and shrieking that is Sky Sports Super Sunday these days.

Not wave after relentless wave of thrilling attacking football, you understand, or even the win-or-die mentality that ran through Sir Alex Ferguson’s teams, regardless of personnel, but the ability to play badly and still collect the points.

 
Whether Marouane Fellaini should have still been on the pitch to smash the shot against the bar which was then rifled in by Wayne Rooney is another matter, but speculation about referee bias in favour of Manchester United is also a Ferguson legacy and one would be foolish to dismiss the hints of a resurgence.

Fifth in the table, seven points off leaders Arsenal and sixteen games to go? I’m not writing anything off at this point.

 
But it’s not just that, you scream! It’s the dynasty!

Ryan Giggs isn’t learning to emulate his former master by sitting about looking baffled on the United bench next to Van Gaal! Neither is Scholes, who’s too busy chucking cluster bombs from behind a BT Sport microphone to offer any optimism.

 
But despite incredible skills on the pitch, neither were the natural successor to a man who spent most of his time swearing indiscriminately, were they?

Gary Neville, on the other hand, gives the impression that he’s terrorising his players in the dressing room at half time as well as responding to criticism of his average results in a manner familiar to those of us who lived through almost three decades of Ferguson.

Spooky, isn’t it?

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Speaking of haunting images, is this the face of a man who’s recently had his future recalibrated from this

ramsey

to this?

mac

Literally haunting, Ruud.

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Let’s not be too hard on the Pards, though. Management is a tough gig these days.
 
Unless you’re in the stands, of course. Then it’s a piece of piss.

 
Maybe we should just cut out the middlemen and do it ourselves.

Who’s with me?

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By Kelly Welles

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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 No.1 Furniture Sales/Detective Agency

15 January 2016

ouimette

Are you in the market for some ‘gently used’ wooden furniture? Do you live in the New Jersey area and drive a large, suspicious looking van?

If so, do we have some exciting news for you!

ad

An internet person with way more time on their hands than you or I could ever dream of has stumbled upon this advertisement on Craigslist.

couch

Placed by someone who claims to be a “professional soccer player for the Red Bulls” who was “just traded, so everything must go ASAP.” the ad includes virtually everything a required to furnish a man cave including a selection of mahogany dressers and a sofa with super storage capabilities.

At the time of writing, Reddit’s best guess as to who placed the ad is defender Karl Ouimette, based mostly on the fact that the ad states he’s only had the furniture for ten months and Ouimette signed for the Red Bulls in March 2015.

Far more interesting is the comment thread, which wanders from expressing pity that someone’s life should be disrupted with little to no warning, to speculation as to whether “that nightstand was more expensive than that standing mirror with storage,” in seventeen statements.

It’s difficult to know who to admire more. The player, for his organisational skills and professionalism or the internet for its unconscious ability to turn absolutely anything into a point of fevered debate.

I’ve sent the ad to Pete, anyway. More info on his acquisitions next week.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Mystery Jets: You’ve let yourselves down there

15 January 2016

 
The rule is, unless it’s Diamond Lights or Ossie’s Dream, don’t get involved.

Rookie mistake. You hate to see it.

H/T @btsportfootball

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Lionel Messi: The Reflecting God

13 January 2016

Roar is temporary.

reflect

Class is permanent.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Steve Cotterill: Post Match Presser

13 January 2016

 
“They gave everything they could. A lot of energy and emotion was expended on Saturday and it was a bit like after the lord mayor’s show in the first half.

“The players gave their all. What they didn’t give, they left on the pitch on Saturday.”

Steve Cotterill made two statements after Bristol City’s 2-1 home defeat to Preston last night.

This one (above) was in response to media questioning about his side’s poor performance.

 
We can’t really understand this one. But presume it was his attempt to make the same point.

Only more succinctly.

H/T @thesackrace

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Admiral Ackbar guide to maintaining a healthy relationship. For idiots

12 January 2016

You are a professional footballer. You play for say, Nantes FC.

You’re having a lovely kick about in the park with your girlfriend when she tires of your gentle, patronising taps in her general direction and says “Let’s play for real!”

If you’re a bit of an arse, you might think this is an invitation to pass the ball to her, then as she’s running towards you with it, go to ground and tackle her as you might a burglar about to make off with your protein shake mix.

But don’t! For as Admiral Ackbar wisely advised us from a galaxy far far away…...

 
Her reasoning might seem impenetrable to you, but she just wants to inject a little competitive edge into your leisure time.

Not spend the afternoon hanging about in casualty. And to be blunt, if a member of the Mon Calamari species from the planet Dac knows that, you probably should too.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

FIFA Ballon d’Or: The suits are so bright… we gotta wear shades

12 January 2016

 
If Lionel Messi’s contributions to football are measured in the number of Ballon d’Or trophies he’s collected, he’s the best in the world by some considerable margin.

red suit of despair

If Lionel Messi’s contribution to football is measured in the number of horrific outfits his nightmare suits have inspired, he should be sent to work in a call centre.

Messi’s Ballon d’Or costumes have become folklore these days, with several ‘serious’ news outlets spending more time predicting who might be wearing what than talking about the journeys that brought these three players to the stage in Zurich in the first place.

 
Now he’s done all the damage he’s comfortable to sit back in a simple black number and watch his legacy unfold.

 
To the uninitiated, Paul Pogba is the man to be Messi’s successor; tipping up at the ceremony in what appeared to be a gold leaf suit jacket, accessorised with terrifying hair and matching mum.

 
But although culpable, it seems a bit unfair to blame Leo for this entirely.

While it’s true that If he’d argued more fiercely with Dolce and Gabbana in 2014, this travesty may never have found the fertile ground required to evolve but Mrs Pogba’s enthusiastic participation in this disco hell can’t be overlooked.

 
At best, it implies acceptance. At worst, we’re talking irresponsible parenting.

 
And so to Neymar.

To all intents and purposes the obvious successor to Messi’s glory, the diminutive Brazilian ended up looking quite… well, sensible, last night; his relatively straightforward suit sharpened with snappy bow tie and Carl Jenkinson hat.

neyhair

Then again, after 2011’s well publicised hair breakdown, the only way was up.

But with competition fierce, he can’t sit on his beautifully tailored laurels for long. A big gesture is required.

neymar

With the correct sartorial advice (available via a small retainer from The Football Ramble), 2016 could well be his year.

What do you reckon, Cristiano?

 
No? Thought not.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

FIFA Ballon d’Or 2016: A prediction

11 January 2016

cristiano

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By Kelly Welles

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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: The Roofe, the Roofe, the Roofe is on fire!

11 January 2016

morgan

If you swerved BBC606 last night, you were right.

Piers Morgan talked over Ian Wright constantly, interrupted callers (at one point bellowing over a chap called Lewis who had the temerity to try and speak) to talk about Arsenal and ‘introduced’ previously undebated topics like video technology and the Magic of the FA Cup with no self-awareness whatsoever.

I stopped listening when he began mansplaining sexism to Emma Barnett (above). But on this of all mornings, I thought you’d appreciate having your preconceptions about the whole mess reaffirmed.

 
Speaking of hackneyed, annoying cliches, football was riven with the usual predictions of momentous upsets this weekend, but it all felt a bit forced. 

Liverpool’s kidlings earning a draw at Exeter City on behalf of their hamstrung first team can’t have been a shock to even the most blinkered fan, while the only surprise available at Wycombe was that Villa somehow managed to sneak into the fourth round draw.

aston

Whether they survive to actually challenge in the replay is another matter.

 
The closest we got to a bit of Paul Daniels was at Oxford United, but even the Kemar Roofe brace that propelled Swansea City out of the cup and even further down the spiral of despair wasn’t the breathtaking shot of adrenaline it might have been ten years ago.

As for Manchester United’s last gasp penalty against Sheffield United, I’m sure some of the Old Trafford faithful are pleased with this result. If you are that person, please make yourself known at the Information Desk.

We’d love to talk to you.

 

Has the integrity of the Premier League product been compromised?

In the season prior to an absolute tidal wave of cash sweeping through the league, it seems an odd question to ask but in light of the inability of several ‘big’ clubs to keep their ships steady, it’s definitely a valid one.

fans

Since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, money has been a convenient door at which we can lay all our complaints comfortably. Influx of foreign players ruining the national team? Money. Ticket prices freezing out fans. Money. Elitism at the expense of grassroots football? Money.

But while money can build a pretty impenetrable fortress, no one and nothing is impervious to natural human forces and instincts. Jose Mourinho & Rafa Benitez will tell you that.

Ousted from their positions amid rumours of player dissatisfaction, at face value it might feel like another blow to the game, but player power at the top level has repercussions across the leagues.

 
If elite players are picking and choosing who they want to play for and in what style, it’s clear their motivation is compromised. Not a charge you could level at Sheffield United, Exeter City, Shrewsbury, Oxford United, Wycombe and Eastleigh, whose players, while not as skilful for the most part, are massively driven by the prospect of a Cup run.

It’s a bit paradoxical, but maybe the money could turn out to be the leveller we never predicted.

 
It’s no more batshit than anything else happening at the moment.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Paul Tisdale: Shots fired

8 January 2016

tis

“Paging Graham Westley. Would Graham Westley come to the Ramble HelpDesk please?”

tisdale

“Your position as the most quotable football manager of all time is under serious threat here.”

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

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H/T‏@mike_anstead

Birmingham City: Honestly? We’d rather be late

7 January 2016

watch

This watch, based on the infamous 1992-93 Birmingham City kit, is currently for sale in the club’s merchandise store.

roma

It’s not *quite* up there with the GERANIO - GLOSSY PADDED BOTTON JACKET we recently recoiled from in the Roma club shop, but if KRO keep this up, they could well be contenders in the end of year Baffling Merchandise awards.

Or Most Deluded Clothing Vendor.

multiple

Either works.

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By Kelly Welles

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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.

Craig Foster: The Internet will understand…

7 January 2016

Imagine how this would be construed if the internet wasn’t a place of tolerance and understanding.

Apparently, it’s his daughter. Which doesn’t help, really.

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Twelve Rambles of Christmas #12: Get Him On That (Cargo) Plane

6 January 2016

It is with some sadness (and a refreshing amount of relief) that the #TwelveRamblesOfChristmas finishes its run today.

It might sound like a riot, but listening to all of the Rambles all of the time in order to find the most entertaining, has its downsides.

 
Mostly because all of them are so brilliant, obvs, but you do begin to question your life choices when Pete Donaldson’s dulcet tones have been ringing in your ears for the last month.

Anyway. Without further ado, here’s Holt: Get Him On That (Cargo) Plane from Christmas 2011.

love shak

There’s a festive bent to the theme tune, a dig at John Terry during the opening question, Jim wins a competitive Going For Glold and cranial combat expert (and new Real Madrid manager) Zinedine Zidane is clapped into the Dean Windass Hall of Fame.

wallace

Rambling doesn’t get tougher than this.

LISTEN TO HOLT: GET HIM ON THAT (CARGO) PLANE HERE!!

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Greg Dyke: Redefining the Penalty Shootout

6 January 2016

greg

“I think we’ll all shoot ourselves if we don’t get out of the group,”

“If we don’t get out of that group then that really is bad news for English football.”

Don;t worry too much about Greg Dyke’s latest death threat, England fans.

 
If our national team are as inept with guns as they are at winning tournament football matches, everyone will be absolutely fine, although the Auberge du Jeu de Paume hotel meeting facility may require some minor structural repairs.

sol

Unless England recruit Big Sol, of course. He fancies himself as a target man these days.

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Twelve Rambles of Christmas #11: Theatre of Screams

5 January 2016

ferg

Careful, everyone.

Pete has got his anti-matter violin out and he’s playing a tune for all the Manchester United fans who booed their team after their 2-1 home defeat to the mighty Baggies.

mou

Football moves so quickly these days, the power shifting subtly in ways we cannot understand, that Manchester United struggling for form and attacking prowess has become the norm.

That makes this episode, from September 2013, a historical artefact. Listen to the Ramble reel from the loss of stability in the Premier League, just four months after Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager.

ash

Gulp as you hear them laughingly discuss just how bad things might get, never once imagining a future far worse than anything their fevered imaginations could construct.

Apart from John Terry’s mum signing for Newcastle United. Not even Mike Ashley could make that work, Pete.

LISTEN TO THEATRE OF SCREAMS HERE!!

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Rafa Benitez: Binned off at the Bernabéu

5 January 2016

 
There comes a point in a man’s career where all semblance of dignity is stripped away, exposing the soft pink flesh beneath.

For Rafa Benitez, this is that moment.

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Twelve Rambles of Christmas #10: Can I have some old ham?

4 January 2016

Early adopters will know that far from being the shiny, professional coast to coast listening experience it is today, the Football Ramble began in the marginally less auspicious surroundings of Luke Moore’s kitchen.

Don’t worry, you’re not about to suffer the aural assault that is a show from 2007. We love you. We wouldn’t do that.

bale

But today’s #TwelveRamblesOfChristmas choice kicks off with a surprising observation - that no one got punched during those early forays into football analysis - before moving directly into Wayne Rooney’s Bardsley assisted faceplant into the parquet flooring of his humble abode.

 
It’s tough to recover from an opening round entertainment flurry of that magnitude but we’re dealing with experts here and they windmill their way through the Champions League quarter finals, Real Madrid fans’ failure to take Gareth Bale to their bosom and Tim Sherwood’s success at Villa (a year is, after all, a long time in football) like Sam Allardyce through a hot gravy boat.

#BistoScenes

LISTEN TO CAN I HAVE SOME OLD HAM HERE!!

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By Kelly Welles

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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: #FuzzyLogic

4 January 2016

Did anyone else spend way too much of their festive break watching episodes of Premier League Years and eating leftover party snacks?

Seriously? I’m asking for a friend.

sven

As the Guardian’s Jacob Steinberg opined back in 2014, Sky Sport’s nostalgia fuelled retrospectives of previous top flight seasons is compulsive viewing at the best of times, but when one’s natural cynicism has already been suppressed by excessive exposure to classic comedy, presents, mulled wine and pine needles, resistance to the sight of Luis Suarez not shaking Patrice Evra’s hand in the 2011/12 episode is utterly futile.

keysy

So what I’m essentially saying is that a mind that should be focussed on what happened over the 2014/15 festive period *may* have be corrupted by excessive exposure to a shiny new Svennigans, Keggy suffering yet another blow to his management career or the weird yet compelling evolution of the football kit.

A roundabout way of saying, this Weekend Highlights will be a pictorial/hashtag summary of what I think happened until I figure out what actually happened.

I’m not a complete saddo though. I did watch a couple of episodes of Top Gear too.

clarkson

But it turns out that even the possibility of Jeremy Clarkson being sucked to an ignominious death in a Bolivian river mud pales in festive merriment potential to catching a glimpse of a soft focus Keysy.

It’s almost joyful when juxtaposed with the thought of the former Sky pundit’s career being overwhelmed by a wave of similarly coloured matter just a few years later.

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Liverpool

 
#Scheißen

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West Ham

 
#GetHimOnThatPlane

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Leicester City

 
#GroinBurst

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Arsenal

 
#TopOfTheTableTracksuit

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Manchester United

 
#TheBigManIsBackInTown

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Crystal Palace

 
#BackToTheDrawingBook

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Chelsea

 
#TheyCan’t #CanThey

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Twelve Rambles of Christmas #9: Baldy Beard Beard

31 December 2015

It’s the 9th May 2012.

The weekend saw Sheffield Wednesday promoted, Steven Bywater celebrating by assaulting the (surprisingly unbeardy) Mark Clemmit, a chicken in a cape become the latest figure to stage a protest against hapless Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean and John Terry get nutmegged three times in the first half at Anfield.

 
You’d think these hot topics would be sufficient to keep our heroes busy for a whole hour but no.

There’s still time for Luke to win Going For Glold (a gesture of apology for saying Peak Ramble was an episode he wasn’t on, lolz) and Peter Schmeichel is inducted into the Dean Windass Hall of Fame at such velocity, the ball he was trying to save actually burst.

 

And no, before you ask. The Dean Windass Hall of Fame will not be reopening its doors any time soon.

LISTEN TO BALDY BEARD BEARD HERE!

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Twelve Rambles of Christmas #8: A Lovely Big Strawberry

29 December 2015

 
Sadly, ‘Donaldson Yogurt’ is not the first episode of the Football Ramble in which the chaps explore the idea of forcing players to consume vast amounts of fat before playing football.

hart

It’s also not the first time Pete has regaled us with tales from the thriving hub that is Hartlepool town centre, although the subject of bathwater levels has remained mercifully unmolested.

A fate the cleaning facility itself can only dream of.

stawb

Follow me then, to the heady spring days of May 2014, when Liverpool were top of the league, Newcastle United had just beaten Cardiff 3-0 and everyone celebrated in a pub shaped like a strawberry, apparently.

You can rely on the Ramble, people. Unlike football itself, we’re not for turning.

LISTEN TO A LOVELY BIG STRAWBERRY HERE!

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Twelve Rambles of Christmas #7: Starkus Speller

28 December 2015

gam

“Everyone watches Game of Thrones.”

“I don’t watch Game of Thrones, I’ve got no idea.”

And so begins a meandering exchange that has become the stuff of legend among Football Ramble aficionados while simultaneously repelling hundreds more who tuned in for the first time expecting football chat.

ger

The perfect storm of Luke’s enforced absence, England effectively being ejected from the World Cup in the Group stages and recording commencing at 1.10am propels the boys into a maelstrom of hysteria, surreptitious shouts for Svennigans and Game of Thrones quotes which they never quite emerge from.

sven

Marcus does his best, but we all know how this ends.

Altogether now….“FOOTBALL RAMBLE, FOOTBALL RAMBLE, FOOTBALL RAMBLE…” *on and bloody on into infinity*

LISTEN TO STARKUS SPELLER HERE!

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Twelve Rambles of Christmas #6: Hacer historia

23 December 2015

ram

It’s not deliberate, obviously, but a study of Ramble shows indicates the gents come into their own in and around major tournaments.

pep

It’s true. Once this bunch of elite athletes are released from the constraints of league football, the incisive football analysis (Spain’s ability to beat England using just their keeper and back line), observational comedy (Portugal’s centre backs terrorising a small village) and offensive remarks involving lettuce, flows like yogurt.

lawro

If only the England players were the same. Or Mark Lawrenson, for that matter. 

#SwearyScenes

DOWNLOAD HACER HISTORIA HERE!

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

AC Milan: Skid marks

23 December 2015

BUY THESE TYRES BECAUSE HOT WOMEN WITH BREASTICLES, FAST CARS, HEROIC CRIME BUSTING FOOTBALLERS RAWWWWWWEEERRRRR!!

Ahem. We’ve got one thing to say to you, AC Milan.

Bells.

H/T 101greatgoals.

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Christmas Party: GET IT HERE!

23 December 2015

lairy

Marcus has been on the Snowballs.

He’s horribly excited as he introduces the opening question in the Ramble Christmas Party 2015, which in turn is greeted with hoots of derision, shouting and hardly any references to football.

So why should you shell out £2.49 to hear what we give you for free twice a week?

kramp

BECAUSE BONUS CONTENT, YO!

This year, the Ramble boys have gone out of their way to ensure you receive value for your hard earned cash!

luke

LUKE has prepared three quizzes to articulate precisely how little you need to know about a subject matter before building a brand upon it.

jim

JIM shares an anecdote about being bitten on the belly by a deer in Japan, ensuring Ramblers across the world are fully aware of how dangerous it is to be incompetent in a #travel situation.

marcus

MARCUS submits his application to be Sky’s new summariser, following in the footsteps of his idol, Mr Keys.

research

And most astonishingly of all, PETE does some research.


Want to try before you buy? Here’s a snippet:



You can’t afford it? You can’t afford to miss it, you mean! Download it from iTunes HERE. Non iTunes punters HERE.


May the Ramble be with you. Always.

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Twelve Rambles of Christmas #5: Slunge

22 December 2015

balo

Pete wouldn’t make a decision, so I had to make one for him.

For the fifth Ramble of Christmas, I selected one of my personal favourites that features some Pete highlights; his responses to Ramble Holiday Questions (a Luke skit that, like Zlatan’s Zeppelin, never really took off), a shout for the revolutionary ‘formal baseball cap’ and the finest Robbie Savage impression we’ve ever caught our tame representative of the Geordie Nation doing on tape.

sav

It’s not really in the spirit of this whole endeavour, but then neither is responding to a round Robin email requesting input with this.

pete

Still. Hailing from the dusty reaches of the Ramble Archive, Slunge was first broadcast in April 2011 and remains an absolute belter to this day.

#LivelyScenes

LISTEN TO SLUNGE HERE!

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By Kelly Welles

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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: This one goes up to er… four

22 December 2015

Several questions arise from this video.

It was assumed that Arsene Wenger implemented routine patrols on Arsenal’s shower facilities after Wojciech Szczesny was caught smoking a cheeky tab, so how did Petr Cech manage to get a drum kit in?

ugg

Are those Ugg boots he’s wearing? Why? A busy shower facility is bound to have a wet floor, which Ugg boots are singularly unable to cope with.

On the same point, is it wise to have all that electrical equipment in a room that could, at any moment, fill up with damp manchildren?

nach

Is Nacho Monreal always so baffled by percussion?

sanch

Has someone deliberately turned the volume down on Alexis Sanchez’ keyboard?

Anyway. Donate to their charity. If only to minimise the risk of this unpleasantness reoccuring on a regular basis.

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Twelve Rambles of Christmas #4: Brazil vs. Germany. The Reaction

21 December 2015

bra

Lukey Moore’s selection for the Twelve Rambles of Christmas is brief, to the point and shouldn’t be played at high volume near one’s elderly parents.

A bit like his social life. As the (vandalised) Football Ramble Wikipedia page indicates, Mr Moore’s evenings are booked up for now and the foreseeable future.

LISTEN TO Brazil vs. Germany. The Reaction HERE!

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By Kelly Welles

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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: Hatful of hollow

21 December 2015

 
There’s this thing with modern football.

It might be a side-effect of sudden wealth or the overwhelming demand for headlines technology has created, but the highest accolade available to the football analyst these days, particularly in writing, is no longer to tell the reader what happened.

It’s to make a call and get it right.

 
A fine distinction, perhaps, but nonetheless an important one. And one that reached critical mass with the sacking of Jose Mourinho.

table

Unless you’re Moorestradamus, football prediction is a mug’s game; a cliche that the Premier League is going out of its way to prove this season.

Leicester City top of the table, Chelsea’s fall from grace, Manchester United’s creative vacuum, Bournemouth’s recent run, Liverpool’s inconsistency. Surely if you watch football as much as one has to when paid for it, the signs should have been there?

If you’re any good at your job, you should have seen at least one of these things coming, surely?

gif

Nope. It’s a universal truth uncomfortable to most hacks that all the contacts within clubs, phone numbers of players, managers mean jack shit in terms of information.

Which is why, when they score an unexpected win, you’ll find them wandering rakishly around the media, Gauloise in hand, wearing the homemade jacket of win and leaving the faint scent of hubris in their wake. 

witter

Drawing on the spirit of Wittertainment, hello to (Telegraph journalist) Jason Burt.

The point of this post isn’t to commit some sort of career suicide by criticising the senior pros who stalk the back pages (or being disrespectful to same) but to highlight how an environment this competitive and reductive negatively impacts upon us and the game itself.

 
On Thursday last week, Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail published a piece in the wake of Mourinho’s sacking, pointing out that the club’s match vs. Sunderland was a lose lose situation. That if Chelsea stormed to a crushing victory, it would prove the players deliberately played badly to hasten Jose’s exit, which is a terrible indictment of player power at this level blah blah blah.

Or they lose, in which case, how did a team that strolled casually to the title last season lose their form so spectacularly?

It’s like one of those Fighting Fantasy novels that we cheated at as kids. You know, where you sneaked a look at the outcome before rolling the dice. You win, but the joy of your achievement is somewhat compromised by the path you took.

As it was, Chelsea won. Go directly to Page 26.

 
Admittedly it’s not Martin Samuel’s (or any other writer’s) responsibility to provide a platform from which we proles can enjoy the view, but being clever and predicting every possible outcome doesn’t make you a better pundit.

If you want to be a football manager, get out there and take your coaching badges.

Or are you not good enough? In which case, you remain in your ivory tower criticising those who do have the balls to stand on that touchline and deal with the day to day reality of the game?

Where’s the love? And, more importantly, where’s the point?

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jim

Thank god for Jimmy Hill, then. A man for whom the purity and spectacle of the game was a driving force and always, always enough.

His only interest was improving football, sustaining it and striving to create a better environment for everyone involved. He never made it about himself, which is why today it should be.

RIP Jimmy. The like of you we won’t see again.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Bayern Munich: Getting the old band back together

18 December 2015

ribs

Their wealth and dominance might place them firmly in the Dark Side of the Bundesliga but like many German clubs, Bayern Munich are also well known for their social engagement.

Their latest gesture was to invite “over 2,000 refugee kids, orphans and socially disadvantaged children” to a night out at Circus Krone.

 
Alright, so if we’re going to be cynical, photos of footballers ‘putting something back’ are ten a penny at this time of year, but most of the time the enjoyment of the experience is limited to those having it.

bong

Apart from Big Jurgen shimmying round a hospital ward with a set of bongos, the photos of Bayern Munich players being humiliated in the name of entertainment are the only exception I’ve found.

Among the unusual sights on view were:

 
Xabi Alonso playing sweeper.

 
Joshua Kimmich playing air drums.

 
Badly.

 
Sebastian Rode CHANNELLING The Scorpions.

But where was noted good cheer and merriment merchant Franck Ribery? Still encased in carbonite?

 
Nope. He went to the launch of a pizza cookbook at a nearby restaurant.

 
Obviously.

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Twelve Rambles of Christmas #3: Dinner on the Floor

17 December 2015

mou

What better way to mark the departure of Jose Mourinho from Chelsea than to revisit his first official meltdown of the season?

In Dinner on The Floor, the Ramble players run through Act Three of ‘Jose Mourinho at Chelsea 2’, taking in the Portuguese Flan of War’s changing relationship with the press, a prescient punt from Moorestradamus, a lovely mench of Joe Kinnear and what the future might hold…

carn

Bonus features of this episode include the inaugural play of the awe-inspiring Ramble Rap by Peter Stone, which includes a helpful reminder of where you can generally find Luke Moore between the hours of 7pm and 6am, seven days a week.

#InformativeScenes

LISTEN TO DINNER ON THE FLOOR HERE!

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Twelve Rambles of Christmas #2: Socctober

16 December 2015

Regardless of affiliation, few football fans would deny that Sir Alex Ferguson’s contribution to English football is almost as valuable as Marcus Speller’s contribution to the Football Ramble.

marcus

It’s hardly surprising then, that when pressed to make his selection for #TheTwelveRamblesOfChristmas (Patent Pending), Marcus chose the episode that followed the former Manchester United gaffer’s retirement announcement in May 2013.

 
Socctober sees the boys mull over a senior career spanning some fifty-six years, Fergie’s unrivalled ability to reshape his teams and whether David Moyes could be a worthy successor; all the while trying to grapple with the unnerving realisation that love him or hate him, football would never be quite the same again.

roo

Well, as they’re wont to say, even a stopped squirrel tells the right time twice a day. Or something like that.

LISTEN TO SOCCTOBER HERE!

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

This is how it feels to be Cescy…

16 December 2015

You’ll have read about this interview.

How Cesc fronted up at a Facebook Q&A on Tuesday night and said he and his teammates needed to pull their fingers out, start playing like ‘big’ players and justify their wages.

cesc

But did you see his face as former teammate and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, who was but three feet away from him on the sofa, deconstructed Chelsea’s current form with the intent and precision of an Arsenal legend in his pomp.

We’ll have to wait for the swelling to go down before a scan can ascertain how much damage has been sustained.

cescy

He should be alright. He’s recovered from massive public humiliations before. 

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Twelve Rambles of Christmas #1: Barry Chuckle

15 December 2015

ram

We had planned (in as much as we plan anything) to do the Twelve Rambles of Christmas before we saw this, but since you went to the trouble of leaving a review, Digimortal2076, it would be rude of us not to use it to labour our point.

If you’re new to the show, perhaps having been drawn to it by the lads’ foray into ‘Murica or via other, darker avenues, you might not be aware that the Football Ramble has existed as an aural entity since 2007.

I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but this means there is literally days of listening ahead of you if you wanted to attempt the full set.

muller

I’ve done it and you only need to look at my Twitter feed to see how it’s affected me.

logo

Anyway. The Twelve Rambles of Christmas is a curated collection of episodes carefully selected by us to either put you off completely, or, if you’re a brave soul, embark on your journey through football’s hilarious hinterland. We’ll post at least one every day, and hopefully might make twelve by the time the big day arrives.

Don’t put your charity bet money on it though.

ramble

Join us for a tour of major tournaments, classic DWHoF profiles, outlandish predictions, penalty algorithms, tech fails and even the occasional snippet of analysis that somehow sneaks through the edit.

To kick off, ‘Barry Chuckle’ which first emerged in May 2011.

Why’s it one of your favourites, you don’t care enough to ask.

I’m not telling. You’ll have to listen. But here’s a clue…

#Scenes.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Tim Sparv: Shall we make it sixteen?

15 December 2015

tweet

A lovely tweet from FC Midtjylland midfielder Tim Sparv upon learning his side will face Manchester United in the last thirty-two of the Europa League.

Not strictly true though, is it?

stats

We’ve scoured the football archives (looked on Wikipedia) and learned that far from ‘never’ scoring, Sparv has in fact put away a staggering 15 (FIFTEEN) goals in his nine year career.

The way your team is playing right now, United fans, those stats should make you afraid.

jones

Very afraid.

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Zanetti: A dip & a swirl

14 December 2015

 
Fortunately for Inter, Javier Zanetti showed slightly more commitment and tenacity during his playing career than he did during the Champions League draw.

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By Kelly Welles

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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: Cherries blossom

14 December 2015

 
Like most unfashionable sides who pull off a miracle, Bournemouth were showered with well intentioned but ultimately condescending compliments as they stumbled, blinking, through the golden gates into football nirvana.

Plucky, tiny, rags to riches, fairy tale, liquidation, charity buckets; all terms liberally employed by mainstream press and pundits desperate to frame the narrative that would accompany the South coast side’s brave but ultimately unsuccessful punt in the Prem.

 
But despite earnest interventions from the Gods of Injury, Norwich, Spurs and Manchester City, Bournemouth wake up this morning in fourteenth position in the table, two huge Premier League scalps quivering on their dining room table.

The fact that this is one of the strangest, most unpredictable seasons in Premier League history accounts for some of it. They’ve capitalised on what have so far been baffling runs of form from both the champions and Manchester United, for sure.

 
But while watching them battle to a 2-1 win over Louis van Gaal’s increasingly inept team on Saturday evening, it struck me that managers, chairmen, players and fans of the division’s traditional heavyweights could learn a massive amount from the way Bournemouth have conducted themselves this season.

 
The disbelief infused joy on the faces of their fans as the final whistle blew.

 
The self-assurance of Eddie Howe, who at thirty-eight is fourteen years younger than Jose Mourinho and possesses about seventy five times the professionalism.

It would have been easy, perhaps too easy, to drift into mawkish territory when commenting on the awful news about Harry Arter’s bereavement in the week, but Eddie Howe’s post-match statement belied his age and experience.

“He showed real strength to keep his emotions in check, and I’ve got to say his team-mates rallied around him really well,” Howe told reporters after the game.

“There were some emotional scenes in the dressing room afterwards. I’m really proud of him, but the pain for them won’t go away, so we’ll have to look after Harry, and our thoughts are with him and his family at this time.

“[He} wanted to play, there was no doubt in his mind that he wanted to play. I had to make an assessment of him, but there was no doubt once I’d spoken to him that I was going to play him today.”

Football is such a narrative driven game at the moment.

 
But beneath the layers of hypocrisy, mind games, mayhem and intrigue lies something truly meaningful. Instead of banging on about how woeful Van Gaal’s team were or the endless questioning of how Chelsea have transformed themselves from league conquerors to relegation battlers in the space of six months, let’s just take a moment to laud Bournemouth for their camaraderie, dignity and professionalism.

And of course, offer our thoughts and prayers to Harry and his partner. Brave is a word applied all too frequently in what is still just a game.

arter

This is one of those rare occasions when its application is woefully inadequate.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Three things we learned from Teófilo Gutiérrez’ goal celebration

11 December 2015

1, Vanishing spray does not lend itself to heartfelt birthday messages of more than one letter.

2. Confounding referees by doing entirely unexpected things is startling easy.

3. But if it’s creative enough, he’ll laugh with you as he’s giving you the mandatory yellow. Not at you.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

BREAKING: Being impervious to cold is not a measure of talent

10 December 2015

muller

“They’ve all gone soft. I think John Barnes wore gloves but to be fair I think that boy could play. That was just gloves. Then it went to tights. Now it’s scarves.”

                                                                                                    Roy Keane, 2011.

If you drive that train of thought to its logical destination, Roy, Bayern Munich are softer than an in-play Shoot 5.

Do you want to tell Thomas, or should we?

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Ramble Poll Results: Just as we suspected…

10 December 2015

votes

A Twitter poll conducted yesterday afternoon confirmed a number of suspicions about the Football Ramble listenership.

When asked, 91% of respondents agreed that I should post a photo of Herve Renard topless (acquired via a series of meetings with nefarious types in dark corners of the internet) in the full knowledge that it might break Marcus Speller.

marcus

Within seconds of going live, it was clear that you’re either really interested in challenging traditional gender stereotypes about the appreciation of male beauty…. or you’re all gagging to get eyes on Herve’s nawks.

Judging from the responses this, this and this got, it’s the latter.

hervemar

Then someone voted ‘No, leave him be.’

I was immediately deluged with tweets claiming Marcus himself was responsible for the downvotes; a claim which, when questioned, he refused to confirm or deny.

conf

You can make your own minds up about that one.

But the whole shebang was summed up by Rambler Abe Winfield, who waded in with this deliciously succinct, utterly pertinent question…

abe

Why indeed.

Anyway. Here’s the pic.

ren

Woof.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

And you’re going out in that, are you? Roma Edition

9 December 2015

logo

You can find some amazing things in club shops.

toas

That’s why we dedicate many an afternoon that could be spent on constructive pursuits roaming around them, hoping to come across some nasty club endorsed tat to post and ridicule.

jacket

This week, Roma,  who cheerfully present the “GERANIO - GLOSSY PADDED BOTTON JACKET”, or what we call “what happens when you leave Ashley Cole next to a sewing machine and that Dominatrix Clown outfit left over from the Halloween fancy dress do.”

You’re not easily kidded, are you? You’re about to dismiss this as a kids novelty item and click through to this morning’s brilliant Champions League round-up.

xl

Before you do, just note this. Not only is this alleged jacket listed in the Leisurewear section of the online store, size XL is sold out. Meaning that there’s a reasonable number of fairly big blokes wandering around in Italy’s capital city wearing them.

Probably stay away from there until they perish. Give it ten minutes, at least.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Champions League: A Song for Europe

9 December 2015

Wolfsburg 3-2 Manchester United

 
There’s no reason to feel sorry for Louis van Gaal.

He’s more successful, wealthy and involved in elite football than we’ll ever be. But watching events unfold in the Volkswagen Arena last night, it was hard to ignore the weight of irony bearing down on a team who, barely days before, were being urged by their own fans to “ATTACK, ATTACK” and criticised by the press for being too defensively minded, doing exactly that and still getting roundly beaten.

 
Let’s be clear.

Despite the wildly insular, uninformed opinions that light up dark corners of football punditry like the glare off Robbie Savage’s teeth, Wolfsburg are no slouches.

They don’t play in the Premier League, it’s true, but as the Ballon d’Or long list implies, inspired football talent is not confined to these fair shores and Wolfsburg have a their share of stars, even when you subtract the playmaking skills of Kevin De Bruyne.

 
Manchester United were a darn sight better to watch than they have been in recent weeks, but they couldn’t live with Wolfsburg’s accuracy and one touch football and despite a late rally that will have United fans clutching Chris Smalling to their hearts in relief, they were unable to overcome the twin pronged attack of Ronaldo’s half brother Naldo (ahem) and a frantic last twenty minutes at the Philips Stadion.

PSV and Wolfsburg progress, while Manchester United prepare to decamp to the significantly less auspicious surroundings of the Europa League. 

brent

Things like this don’t help, either. But I have to post it. It’s Brentian.

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Real Madrid 8-0 Malmo

 
He scored four and is now the first player to score more than ten goals in the group stages of the Champions League.

ron

If this were a fair world, we’d campaign for him to be forced to play in flip flops. Except he’d love that, because he’d get to incorporate his calves into that effing goal celebration.

Plum.

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Manchester City 4-2 Borussia Monchengladbach

 
“It was his birthday – I told him before the game that the minimum he had to do was score two goals,”

“I’m not joking – I told him that.”

Fair enough Manuel, you can have that. We’ve got no way of disproving it.

But it does beggar the question, what the bloody hell did you tell him before the Stoke City game?

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Paris St Germain 2-0 Shaktar Donetsk

 
ALTOGETHER NOW!

♫♫“Who’s that walking down the pitch? Bandy legs, educated feet, happy smile..now ain’t that sweet, it’s Zlatan.”♫♫

Don’t get the reference? Tough. I, like Zlatan and Grandad, am too old to care wink

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Adel Taarabt: He ain’t heavy, he’s just rubbish

8 December 2015


This isn’t the first time Adel Taarabt
has been accused of carrying excess weight.

At least he knows what to do next though.

adel

Just pop a photo of your boots onto social media, Adel.

conc

At the moment, everyone who’s seen this clip thinks you were wearing these.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

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Boot image via ayyamgallery.com

Gerard Deulofeu: How do you spell ‘reverse nutmeg’?

8 December 2015

 
Blimey. Imagine how good he’d be if they’d spelled his name right the first time round.

deul

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Christmas cut and shut with Gervinho

7 December 2015

christ

Have you seen anything that melds the lunacy of modern football and the festive period quite so effectively?

No.

Rejoice, for Gervinho is in (and around) you.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

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Get on over to Lookatwhatitmeanstohim.com for more of this glorious lunacy!

Weekend Highlights: You ain’t no defence, bruv!

7 December 2015

 
The mere fact that I spent Saturday lunchtime sitting at a desk, fingers poised over a keyboard, eyes glues to a screen not filled with prose, but with Stoke City marauding - yes, marauding - their way through 50 odd million quid’s worth of Manchester City defence, should tell you everything you need to know about the current state of the Premier League.

Ok, so this isn’t the rufty tufty, kick em’ hard n’ kick ‘em often Stoke City side of Tony Pulis gliding about the Britannia pitch like Barcelona on olive oil, but come on.

 
Stoke’s attacking play, the interchanges between Bojan, Marko Arnautović and the bafflingly built Xherdan Shaqiri, were at times worthy of comparison with the La Liga champions, which is in itself would have been a statement as worthy of ridicule as “Chelsea? Yeah, fifteen points from fifteen games,” just six short months ago.

 
Or Chelsea getting beaten by Bournemouth at home. Either works.

Still not buying it?

klopp

Premier League? Nah mate, I’m off. It’s batshit here!”

 
Leicester City are top of the table after a comprehensive 3-0 trouncing of Swansea and the Liverpool team that just smashed Southampton 6-1 got beat 2-0 by a team so uncoordinated in recent weeks, it’s been questionable whether they’ve been able to tie their own shoes.

Pete Donaldson’s going to be virtually incomprehensible in the next show, isn’t he?

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There was also the FA Cup second round.

You will instantly approve of Whitehawk FC, who ticked virtually every box in the FA minnows playbook during their draw with Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday.

cureton

Going behind in the fifth minute to a strike from a forty year old Football League veteran? Check.

sav

Manager who thinks Robbie Savage is a style icon? Check.

 
Injury time equaliser by a player whose career has been plagued by injury. Check.

I’m officially throwing my not inconsiderable Ramble-weight behind Whitehawk FC for the duration of their cup run.

They replace Hartlepool United in my affections, despite the fact that Friday night’s 1-1 draw at Salford City, combined with my *accidentally* watching Star Wars - A New Hope in its entirety on Saturday, threw up the surprising discovery that Hartlepool defender (and Football Icon winner) Carl Magnay actually had a cameo in the first episode of TheGreatestMovieTrilogyEvah™.

mag

And why the hell not? It’s no weirder than anything else that’s happened this weekend.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Ooh, burn!

4 December 2015

The Football Ramble website, 24th July 2013

spliff

The Guardian website, 4th December 2015

arse

In your face, proper journalist people!

We’re the Ramble and we’re on a roll! (Pun totally intended).

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Frankly Mr Sherwood…

4 December 2015

sher

Admittedly it’s not a new thing for Tim Sherwood to be called out for making remarks not necessarily based in fact, but his latest missive regarding the lack of scouts at lower league games has inflamed the ire of a man well placed to counter them.

 
Off the back of Jamie Vardy’s incredible record breaking run in the Premier League, Sherwood sought to explain the relative infrequency of the romantic rise through the football ranks that Leicester City’s main man has experienced.

“[Premier League] clubs are not sending scouts out as much to these lower leagues,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

“Years ago they found Ian Wright, Les Ferdinand and Stuart Pearce in non-league. You hear people say now they will never be found again. Vardy is proving they can. In the Football League, Callum Wilson has proved they can. John Stones has proved they can. A lot of clubs are just not looking because it is not sexy to sign a player from the lower leagues or non-league.

 
For most of us, grass roots football survives in the shadows thrown by the dazzling lights of the Premier League, and Sherwood’s point seems legit enough. His obsession with win percentages and touchline garmentry provide hours of material for those of us whose currency is caricature, but all the gilet flinging in the world doesn’t detract from the fact that Sherwood spent time in youth development at Spurs.

Surely it’s not possible to do that and still have literally no grasp of how the system works?

Chris Morton, Fleetwood Town’s Youth Development Coach, reckons so.

In a letter first published on Football365.com, Morton claims that “every time {Fleetwood Youth] hold a tournament or play a match, scouts are everywhere. We’ve had United down, Everton and Liverpool. In fact, the Liverpool scouts and coaches regularly come and put sessions on for our U7’s."

In fact, he's so incensed he manages to weave a virtually audible snort into his response to Sherwood's invocation of the second most tired cliche in football.

"My point is this out and out nonsense from Tim Sherwood about scouts not tramping all around the country to view young talent. About how they’d hate going to somewhere like Fleetwood on a cold, wet night in November. Words spill out of his mouth like a drunk man that’s eaten one too many nasty looking kebabs. It’s utter rubbish."

You should read the riposte in full. It’s fascinating.

fleetwood

And while Morton himself occasionally tips into shouty man territory, it’s easy to empathise. You probably would too if you spend your life grinding away at the coalface of your career with little to no reward, only to have your reality re-imagined by flash geezers when they need to remain relevant.

It might just be the Sherwood parody at work, of course.

gilet

But having scrutinised both sides, it feels more like a further indication of the yawning chasm between the haves and have nots of football that began as a small crack in 1992.

One thing’s for certain. If people like Chris Morton were offered a platform as frequently as the likes of Tim Sherwood, we might be less likely to walk blindly into it.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

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H/T @lucycrawford.

FIFA: Two steps forward

3 December 2015

fifa

”[These reforms] mark a milestone on our path towards restoring FIFA’s credibility as a modern, trusted and professional sports organisation.”

...acting FIFA president Issa Hayatou told the world’s media this morning.

Unfortunately, the effort of climbing over said milestone was too much for 69 year old Hayatou.

He was asleep half an hour later.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Rafa Benitez: Copa del Admin

3 December 2015

 
Here’s Denis Cheryshev being presented as a Villarreal CF player back in July 2014.

He was on loan from Real Madrid.

highlight

During his tenure at Villarreal, he picked up three yellow cards in Copa del Rey matches.

This earned him a one game suspension which remained live when he returned to his parent club earlier this season.

 
Despite reports to the contrary, Real Madrid claim no on told them or Rafa Benitez this, and Cheryshev started for Real Madrid last night in their Copa del Rey match vs. Cadiz and scored in the third minute.

 
According to reports, the club became aware of the situation during the game and Cheryshev was promptly subbed for Mateo Kovačić in the first minute of the second half.

Shall I fetch the coats?

 
Similar errors have seen clubs expelled from the competition.

pique

The current holder of the ‘Most Popular Opposition Player As Voted for by Real Madrid Fans’ offered his sage view on the matter shortly after the news broke.

Eso es una excavación, as illiterate Spanish people might say.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Jamie Carragher: Incisive analysis

2 December 2015

carra

Generous of Jamie Carragher to articulate precisely why Sky Sports will be a poorer place without Gary Neville, isn’t it?

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By Kelly Welles

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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, Animated! Week 4: Projectiles

2 December 2015

So good old Dean from 442oons is back and making our yap look in some way presentable.

This week Jim presents us with a cavalcade of projectiles he’d chuck at one Jose…

Please visit the Football Ramble YouTube page for more multi-platform mayhem! There will be more from @442oons next week.

Hopefully.

Loving this, we are

1 December 2015

If you don’t like this video of the Spanish national team getting outwitted by BB8, might we politely suggest that this isn’t the website you’re looking for?

You can go about your business.

Move along… move along.

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H/T 101greatgoals.

Luca Zidane: Ready for his close up?

1 December 2015

Seventeen year old Luca Zidane was sent off during an U19s fixture vs. Atletico Madrid at the weekend… for headbutting an opponent.

 
If this footage is anything to go by, it’s not quite the lever of cranial assault his father was sent off in the 2006 World Cup Final for, but then, what is?

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By Kelly Welles

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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: Nice guys finish last

30 November 2015

 
Seeing this reminded me of this.

 
I’m taking it as an indication that Mr Fate has seen fit to stop fiddling with Chelsea, at least temporarily.

We were but a fortuitously timed gust of wind from an Eric Cantona-esque lunge into the stadium seating, a flurry of punches and a hernia for everyone who doesn’t support Chelsea.

Mr Fate is no longer our friend, fellow humorists.

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Not to worry though.

For while he wanders off and assumes the form of Ryan Bennett to help with Arsene’s injury crisis, Cesc Fabregas has taken over the reins, and by god, has he got in in for you Blues.

 
Oh, and Arsenal fans? If your enjoyment of this is tempered by fears about Sanchez’ wellbeing after he was hurled into a concrete hole occupied by a camera wrangling cagoule, rest easy.

sanch

His Instagram post afterwards implied he’s fine. If a little unhinged.

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No one is on Steve McClaren’s side.

mc

The hapless Newcastle United manager was stitched up by a Sunderland fan at a charity do at the weekend.

Hours after humiliating defeat to Pardiola’s Crystal Palace, he was asked to pose for a photo by a chap who then proceeded to abuse his trusting nature by whipping out a card saying"I love Sunderland! #6InARow”

Fortunately, McClaren’s a lover, not a fighter and rather than dispensing what could be considered a deserving head butt, he posed for another shot and donated some signed photos for auction.

Presumably not the ones featuring him and a brolly. There’s only so much one man can take in a day.

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And finally, in response to Rambler James Newman’s plaintive request….

ice

Leeds United manager Steve Evans is sporting a white short sleeved polyester blouse with gingham accents, a pair of shorts, ice white shoes, ice white socks with navy blue double cadet stripes and a full sized sombrero (not pictured).

It’s a look that says “I’m in Leeds, and nothing’s going to stop me.”

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Well, this is awkward…

30 November 2015

 
Did you watch the fight?

I did. I wanted Tyson Fury to get his head pounded off by Wladimir Klitschko because I found his comments about homosexuality and abortion in the run-up deeply offensive.

I’m essentially a pacifist but I wanted to see a man brutally punished for espousing views I disagree with.

Talk about a difficult position to defend.

 
There’s been a lot of debate about this kind of thing over the past few days, not least because of Jamie Vardy’s incredible, record-breaking goal scoring run for Leicester City.

tweet

Telegraph journalist Jonathan Liew marked Vardy’s eleventh goal in eleven consecutive games with the tweet above, referencing the incident in August when Vardy was caught on a casino’s CCTV allegedly racially abusing an Asian man.

The response was as you might expect on a forum that requires opinion to be compressed into 140 characters. Liew expanded on his initial statement the following morning on Facebook, reminding everyone of the event in question and warning against minimising racist language because it suits us.

You can read it in full here.

It’s thought provoking and reasoned.  On an academic level, I totally agree with him. But I can’t endorse it. It would be dishonest.

cop

I listen to rap music. Ice-T. Notorious BIG. Metal. Pantera. Bodycount.  I love Charles Bukowski’s books. Edith Wharton. Some Hemingway. I like some of Roman Polanski’s films. I love Woody Allen.

I could go on, but essentially I’d just be listing the names of people who had been accused or convicted of crimes or acts of asshattery that I find utterly distasteful. I reject their views entirely but does that mean I should reject their art?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this over the years. Can I, or indeed should I limit my exposure to cultural contributions that offend my sensibilities? What would be the point? What if I really like a piece of music, then find out later that the artist behind it is a complete twat who beats up pensioners on the side?

 
Should I close my eyes when this comes on the TV because Gascoigne viciously assaulted his wife?

It’s inconsistent, yes. But the world is an inconsistent place. People are inconsistent. Ironically, nothing is as black and white as we’d like it to be.

I really, really wish it was.

 
So, (through gritted teeth, because I too am nowhere near perfect) congratulations, Tyson Fury. Well done, Jamie Vardy. I hate what you reportedly said, but I have to defend your right to say it.

And, after much thought, I defend my right to admire your achievements.

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By Kelly Welles

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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, Animated! Week 3: Route one

25 November 2015

So our very own Tex Avery is back at the lightbox and animating up a Ramble storm.

This week Marcus plays with his dollies, and Pete struggles to stay awake.

Please visit the Football Ramble YouTube page for more multi-platform mayhem! There will be more from @442oons next week.

Hopefully.

Jamie Young: GOT IT! GOT IT! ... DON’T GOT IT!

20 November 2015

 
Sorry, Jamie Young of Brisbane Roar.

But many among us play Sunday League and you’ve no idea how good it feels to see a professional even momentarily look as ungainly as we do for most of our ‘careers’.

You’re a gent.

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By Kelly Welles

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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: Faithful reproductions

20 November 2015

to be frank

New York City FC are the latest club to issue their festive catalogue, with these player mini figures among the highlights.

faith

The accuracy is quite outstanding. Not only have they captured David Villa’s soul patch in touching detail but Andrea Pirlo’s recent form for the club has also been faithfully reproduced.

Look.

pirlo

Other clubs could learn from this attention to detail.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Partick Thistle: Christmas Bizarre

19 November 2015

excite

It’s that time of year when your ineptitude at thinking ahead is highlighted for the world to see.

Yes folks, Christmas is around the corner and you haven’t bought anything. You haven’t even thought of buying anything. Let’s face it, by the time you get to the petrol garage, there won’t be anything left for you to buy.

If only a football club, preferably one with a universally loathed mascot, would release a series of themed gift items that the whole family will love…

ENTER PARTICK THISTLE!

seat

Scare the living shit out of elderly grandparents/young children by placing this in their armchair/cribs when they’re not looking!

t

Embarrass your dad/brother/sister by obliging them to wear it to the game on Boxing Day!

mug

Ruin their Christmas sherry forever by serving it in this mug!

lit

Take very poorly lit photos of the resulting merriment!

It might seem like a bad idea now, but if you do this now, you literally won’t have anyone to buy for next year.

king

Everyone’s a winner with Kingsley!

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Not unless you have a motorbike waiting, no

19 November 2015

 
It’s either this, or ping balls at his head from fifty feet away.

 
While tempting, we’ve seen on several occasions what happens when you piss Zlatan off.

 
Or even when you don’t.

Well done, Sweden. You made the right choice for the long term. And you qualified. Bonus!

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By Kelly Welles

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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, Animated! Week 2: Grate things

18 November 2015

It’s only his second week in the hotseat, but already @442oons is regretting his undertaking to animate the Football Ramble.

full

Let’s take a moment to applaud the guy.

It’s hard enough to work out what Pete Donaldson is talking about at the best of times, let alone commit it to cartoon form, but when a simple question about what you’d like to see Ronaldo doing upon retirement from football descends into European cheese mountain chat, all bets are off.

jim

Look at Jim’s face. He knows.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

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Please visit the Football Ramble YouTube page for more multi-platform mayhem! There will be more from @442oons next week.

Hopefully.

Brenda Perez: Expect Hats. Lots of Photoshopped Hats

17 November 2015

You’ve probably seen this footage of Brenda Perez righting some perception issues surrounding women’s football on Spanish TV show El Hormiguero.

It’s actually surprisingly good, when you consider that the last time El Hormiguero pipped the Ramble radar was when Sergio Ramos’ better half Pilar Rubio appeared on it to demonstrate how to have a baby in a car, using something called a ‘birth simulator’. (Think about the implications of that before clicking this link, please.)

But so excited were you to see Brenda make fools of battle hardened Spanish third tier journeymen, their delighted faces lighting up as she reveals she is, in fact, a woman, you may have missed this (0.36).

carlbren

Go on. Unsee it.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

 

FIFA U-17 World Cup: A Football Ramble Summary

17 November 2015

This goal, by Mexico’s Diego Cortes, has been voted the goal of the FIFA U-17 World Cup; a tournament we completely overlooked.

 
Since we have inadvertently set a benchmark for football entities that don’t pay much attention to actual football, we’ll follow it up with “it’s a cracking run and all, but did you know that the Nigerian U-17 team, who went onto win the tournament despite their lackadaisical defending, are known as the ‘Golden Eaglets?”

Amazing (if underage) scenes.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Ronaldo: The Sadness of Happier Times

16 November 2015

I’d have probably watched this even if I didn’t really like Ronaldo.

While not exactly an unpopular position to occupy, ‘liking’ Ronaldo is nonetheless a statement of sorts in modern football fandom, while ‘liking’ Messi is implicit in the title.

You’re not a football fan if you don’t admire Messi. Or if you are, you’re doing it wrong.

ronaldo

Ronaldo though, is different. While exceptional now, every one of his step overs, runs, headers and free kicks has been practised endlessly. Watch him for long enough and you start to feel like every gesture, interaction and pose has been practised endlessly too.

A feeling not dispelled by the hubris, excessive manscaping and desperation to be the ‘Best Player in the World™ that annotate his every encounter with the press.

It’s not unreasonable to suggest that Ronaldo wouldn’t be the player he is today, without the competition presented by his diminutive Argentine counterpart.

The same cannot be said for Messi.

 
So when it was announced that the team behind Senna and Amy were making a documentary about the Portuguese, I was curious how they would approach it.

While both Senna and Amy were emotional accounts of the lives of their subjects, their contribution to the worlds of sport and culture respectively were heavily contextualised by the fact that both had died young. Loss and sadness were the canvas upon which both images were painted.

There’s no such canvas in Ronaldo’s life. He’s alive, for a start. And while it’s arguable that the media construct of Amy Winehouse affected the amount of public sympathy afforded to her, most were all too aware of her genius and the weight she bore because of it.

lambo

Ronaldo’s image doesn’t evoke sympathy. And nothing in the first half an hour or so of this film seeks to address that. He’s got super cars, a beautiful home, two Ballon d’Ors, one World Player of the Year Award, innumerable trophies, a son who loves him and abs to die for.

It would be a fool’s errand to try.

But as fourteen months’ worth of footage unfolds before us - childhood, football, fatherhood, beyond – a low level discomfort begins. The mystery of Ronaldo, the key to the man and what drives him so relentlessly towards goal after goal is not revealed as much as glimpsed in the refracted glare from the lights.

About three quarters of the way through the film, Dolores Aveiro, Ronaldo’s mother, remarks that she tried to abort her fourth child. This isn’t news; Dolores spoke of the matter in her autobiography in 2014, and according to everyone involved, isn’t a point of contention within the family.

Indeed, a lesser filmmaker may have attempted to use the statement to create dramatic tension where none exists, but here you’re just as likely to miss it if you’re not paying attention.

If you are, every moment of Ronaldo’s story from that point on is viewed through that filter. You can’t turn it off. It clarifies what drives him. What propels him on, on, on, to play in the World Cup when injured, to beat this record and lift that trophy, to train and go again. To insist that he’s the best, regardless of what Messi doing or what other people think.

It only matters to him what his family think. What he’s worth to them. 

Whether the filmmakers, or indeed Ronaldo and his entourage, intended for that to be the counterpoint to the narrative of this film will most likely remain a secret, but it’s fair to say that given their creative output so far, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. 

Maybe that’s why there’s an overarching sense that this isn’t going to end well. 

I hope so.

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By Kelly Welles

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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 Football: United We Stand

16 November 2015

wembley

This is a football website; a place we visit to be with like minded people where we can exercise our allegiances and antipathies through the mediums of satirical comment and pictures of Alan Pardew.

We never usually feel the need to acknowledge events in the wider world, generally because they don’t intrude on our daily lives.

We’re very fortunate.

But any one of us could have been in Paris on Friday night, standing in the pit as Eagles of Death Metal played, having a meal in a restaurant or sitting in a plastic seat watching France beat the World Cup holders.

We’re compelled to show our solidarity with the victims, because we recognise ourselves in them and feel their fear as we go about our business. But while we’re doing it, let’s remember that the same fear propels people across borders in search of safety, to take what feel like unfathomable risks to to secure their family’s future and cope with the antipathy that brings.

If any good can come of this devastating event, it should be that we realise that far from being ‘other’, we are in fact, all one.

‪#‎HOPENOTHATE‬ ‪#‎VIVELAFRANCE‬

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Safety concerns forced the Germany squad to stay in the Stade de France on Friday night, with news later emerging that the French squad had insisted on staying with them.

The first explosion was clearly audible inside the stadium about fifteen minutes into the game, but play continued to its conclusion with France defeating Germany 2-0. A further two bombs were detonated outside, leading to delays clearing the stadium on the final whistle, with crowds gathering on the pitch.

 
Several sporting events were cancelled in the area, but reports confirm that the full France squad refused the offer to withdraw from Tuesday’s friendly vs. England at Wembley.

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In more heartwarming news (depending on how old you are), the highlight of David Beckham’s charity game at Old Trafford on Saturday was the moment Beckham senior was replaced by his eldest son.

brook

The last time Brooklyn was on the pitch with his Dad, he looked like this.

It’s later than you think, Ramblers.

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Although not too late in Ronaldinho’s career for him to still be chipping David Seaman, it would seem.

The fact that he retains this level of nonchalant skill despite pursuing a full time career in partying (he ‘megged a steward, too) is either impressive or deeply depressing, depending on your worldview.

 
Speculation as to whether Ronaldinho knew that he was running towards Sol Campbell at this point in the game cannot be confirmed at this time.

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Finally, work has begun on Pete Donaldson’s scheme to make scoring goals more fun and dangerous for goalkeepers has begun in earnest.

Carlisle United have lent Pete the use of their ground for trials of his ‘deep pool behind the goal line’ and the man himself oversaw the first stages this weekend.

Unfortunately he forgot to dig a hole before filling the ground with water, an issue he later described in an emotional interview as “a slight oversight”.

If you have access to a mechanical digger, or indeed a spade, please contact the Ramble via social media.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

We’ll have a blue, blue blue blue Christmas…

13 November 2015

city2

It’s Friday afternoon so we’re not going to test you.

Or ourselves.

eve

Both Manchester City and Everton are knee deep in Christmas preparations, but while City have gone for a traditional presents, jumpers, Eliaquim Mangala-looking-petrified-that-a fir-tree-is-going-to-collapse-on-him motif to tempt their fans into charitable purchases, the Toffees have dispensed with the pleasantries early.

lennon

Yes. They’ve gone last turkey in the shop.

 
It’s difficult to work out which is less conducive to festive merriment, really.

man

But Manchester City get the points because they’ve made their Christmas hat with beard attachment look *slightly* more appealing to the buyer.

everto

As the Ramble have proved time and again, a little bit of fluffing goes a long, long way.

Take note of that next time, Everton.
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By Kelly Welles

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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!

World Cup Qualifiers: Bully for Bhutan

13 November 2015

For reasons that become clearer once you study the above footage, a late decision was taken to postpone Argentina’s game vs. Brazil until tonight.

chiles

Presumably the ground staff at Estadio Monumental will be spending the day poking the pitch with forks while Gabriel Clarke hides in the tunnel pretending not to hear Adrian Chiles’ increasingly irritating attempts to engage him.

But don’t for a moment think that because the big game was off, there’s nothing to talk about, because much football was played elsewhere.

 
Possibly a little too much in China where visitors Bhutan had their arses kicked 12-0.

The Police Machine-esque drubbing included seven first half goals and a first half hat-trick for Yang Zu, but China were some way from beating their best ever scoreline, 19-0 vs. Guam.

Th ever optimistic Bhutanese will invariably take it as progress though - in September new footballing superpower Qatar stuck fifteen past them.

Keep this up and their goal difference could remain in two figures.

 
But at least they have a state. Palestine are still working on that, but managed to beat Malaysia 6-0... for the second time in five months.

Ahmad Abu Nahyeh was the star of the show with a twenty minute hat-trick spanning half-time and his team now find themselves third in Asia Qualifying Group A, one spot above their opponents.

Only one team has a worse goal difference than Malaysia’s -24 though. Yes, it’s Bhutan, with a staggering -42.

Maybe the idea of staying in the two figure range is a bit optimistic after all..

 

 
It looks a bit lumbering (especially when compared with his Puskas winner in the World Cup) but even one element of digging the ball out from beneath your feet in time to co-ordinate a 360° spin plus nutmeg is a feat beyond most of us who stumble in acres of mud and dog muck on a Sunday morning pretending to be a professional footballer.

james

When he was a boy in and around the volcanoes of Ibagué, James Rodriguez probably dreamed of being described like that.

You’re welcome, son. You’re welcome.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Mario Balotelli: The shoes have it

12 November 2015

camo

I love Puma football boots.

news

I love looking at them, wearing them, stroking them and thinking about them.

feet

But I’m a writer and, if the last sentence is a reliable indicator, a weird football geek. Either way, definitely not an elite player.

cartoon

Does anyone else feel that if Mario spent a bit more time training and a little less time shilling special editions, he might grow up to be the player we all hoped he would be?

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Don’t believe the porn people! It’s a ruse!

12 November 2015

cris

It’s just over a year since Pornhub offered to sponsor a university football team.

If you listen really carefully, you can still hear the screams of the administration staff at Kent Uni as they visualise the impact such a thing would have on their equality and diversity ratings.

lewy

Still, Pornhub didn’t get where they are – 18.35 billion visits in 2014 alone, fact fans - by offering a mumbled apology and politely closing the bedroom door and their desire to see their name emblazoned across the chest of what is essentially their target market continues apace.

First up, Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport is reporting that the adult entertainment site is seeking to sponsor a Serie A club for the 2016/17 season; a proposal that apparently includes an undertaking to cover ALL costs.

An undertaking that may prove expensive if they end up at Sampdoria where Antonio ‘Pastries’ Cassano is currently plying his trade.

graphic

And in case any wily football writers were hoping they could let that pass without acknowledgement and write about something more edifying, they’ve also issued a graphic telling us who UK punters search for when their proposed sexy times require the input of a footballer.

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It’s obviously a scientific study because they’ve got a graph, but the Football Ramble Institute of Statistical Analysis & Yoghurt is perturbed. If this is real, who hasn’t seen enough Cristiano Ronaldo flesh to formulate a functional cypher for personal sexy time? Isn’t the fact that Neymar has the torso of a fourteen year old boy a bit off-putting?

The whole business is clearly a crude ruse by Pornhub to ingratiate themselves into football and our ways. They don’t really know anything about us.

torres

The absence of Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Olivier Giroud on their list indicates this.

diego

The presence of Wayne Rooney & Diego Costa confirms it.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

It’s The Ramble, Jim. But not as we know it!

11 November 2015

Do you struggle to visualise The Football Ramble in action? Do the fevered imaginings of your heroes fail to paint themselves onto your frontal lobe with sufficient lucidity?

Are you under curfew and therefore not allowed to leave the house to visit a live show?

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Fear not, fair Ramblers, for 442oons has taken a significant period out of his life to animate portions of the Ramble into cartoon form.

And Marcus’s Giddy Aunt, it’s ruddy marvellous.

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From the comfort of your own bathchair, watch as Jim produces unreasonable amounts of props from beneath the Tardis-like table. Wonder why he’s the only one allowed a hot drink. Panic as you realise this is so good, there’s a serious danger of it getting picked up by the people who did Family Guy and the Ramble won’t be yours any more. 

Aw. Forget that last bit. We love you all too much to let fame and fortune come between us!*

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But watch it anyway. Even If it’s just a gesture of solidarity towards 442oons, who’s had to stare at pictures of those faces for ages.

Poor bugger.

*(Terms and conditions apply).

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Please visit the Football Ramble YouTube page for more multi-platform mayhem!

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Kieron Dyer: “Banter with everyone.”

10 November 2015

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He’s signed up for the full three weeks but we’ll only see him for two nights.

And on one of them he’ll be apologising for punching Duncan Bannatyne.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!

Toe Poke Boot? Is this a HOECS?

10 November 2015

Remember when Chris Morris and the Brass Eye team duped a handful of celebrities (including Gary Lineker and, memorably, Phil Collins) into endorsing an anti-paedophilia campaign called Nonce-Sense?

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You know the one.

It was a satirical dig at media hysteria and the ease with which people in the public eye can be persuaded to endorse pretty much anything.

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It was great, wasn’t it?.

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By Kelly Welles

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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!