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We’re not all sexist, racist, homophobic hooligans wearing our lack of education and devotion to cheap lager as a badge of honour.

In fact, you might be surprised to learn that many of us are generous, kind, intelligent and we go to games to enjoy ourselves. For many of us, our clubs are communities and if we can help someone, or fulfil a dream, we will move heaven and earth to do it.

Like these Sheffield Wednesday fans, who responded to an online shoutout from Chris Eales that his terminally-ill father Jonny would be attending the game vs. Charlton on Monday, by singing the big man a song.

eales

Lovely bit of work, you Owls.

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By Kelly Welles

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Image via owlstalk. H/T 101greatgoals.

Sheffield Wednesday

Having spent most of his career performing in a series of roles he cast himself, Jose Mourinho found himself in something of a quandary last night.

‘The Special One’ would be a bit of a stretch given Chelsea’s recent form and the debris he reportedly left behind him in the Real Madrid dressing room, ‘the Humble One’ a touch inappropriate for a Champions League semi-finalist and ‘The Mentalist’ totally inadvisable when up against Diego Pablo Simeone - a man so hard, he can wear a hipster undercut at the age of forty-three and be totally confident no one will take the piss.

 

As it was, Jose ended up looking a bit lost. He strolled the touchline nonchalantly, hands in pockets, occasionally wandering out of his technical area and onto the edge of the pitch in a vaguely threatening manner but mostly dropping to his haunches and peering into the dugout as though he had a fondue on the go.

Fortunately, his team were more focussed and while all the pre-match attention had been on the notoriously miserly Atletico defence, it was the central partnership of John Terry & Gary Cahill that impressed, reducing Diego Costa to a bit part role and limiting the impact of the more lively Raul Garcia.

 

That’s not to say that Chelsea’s forward line was any better. The Gods of Football temporarily vacated Anfield for a minibreak at the Vicente Calderón, where they amused themselves by taunting Fernando Torres with the prospect of an heroic performance in front of his hometown crowd, then ensuring he spent most of the game on his back.

Given the ‘difficulties’ surrounding Thibaut Courtois’ inclusion in the Atletico side, some might say Petr Cech’s injury, which reportedly puts him out for the rest of the season was ironic too, although that depends on your perspective.

ramos

Don’t be too quick to laugh though, neutrals. Remember a few weeks ago when I hilariously touted the possibility that Mou had a planned all this, that Chelsea would get through the semis, face Real Madrid in the final and win on penalties, humiliating Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas terribly in the process? Well, it appears I missed one vital element of this fantasy scenario - namely John Terry not playing in the final and then bravely appearing with the trophy in his kit and shinnies.

The Gods didn’t though, did they?

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By Kelly Welles

 

Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Champions League, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Jose Mourinho, Diego Simeone

Lineker’s Barred

lineker

Bets were being wagered across the Football Ramble social networks this morning as to how long it would take esteemed presenter Marcus C. Speller to mention a certain balding smoothie in conjunction with the recent vacation of a high profile managerial post on tonight’s pod. The estimates varied wildly, some of you demonstrating a quite staggering lack of faith (less than a minute) while others appeared to be working on the assumption that the boys would take measures to silence him (20mins 42secs).

In all, it was just a bit of bants. Until Lineker weighed in with the above tweet.

What you’ve done, Gary, is given official sporting endorsement to a man who genuinely believes that Darius Vassell should still have a starting berth in the England set-up.

You’re ruined for us now. We’re taking off our tribute bandages and everything.

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By Kelly Welles

Manchester United, David Moyes, Gary Lineker

moyes

Last seen leaving Old Trafford, Sir Matt Busby Way, Manchester on foot, at speed, having just been refused a second season.

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By Kelly Welles

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H/T @Bownox83.

Manchester United, David Moyes

 

He killed Barcelona.

They were already stunned - injuries and formation changes having dulled the tiki-taka sharpness, off-field pressures adding stress to otherwise straightforward squad augmentation - but he wasn’t swayed by their sudden vulnerability.

With the same speed and precision that left many a Premier League defence on its knees, Gareth Bale last night slit open the all-conquering Catalans and left them gasping for breath on their backs, their once impenetrable armour pierced by a pointing finger, a knock-on, a brief detour into the technical area and a turn of pace that left the not exactly slow out of the traps Marc Bartra in a befuddled heap.

Bet Cristiano’s chuffed.

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Gus Poyet. A bit batty?

Back in auld Blighty, The Engineer’s plans for an inaugural title win suffered an unpleasant staining courtesy of an increasingly unstable Sunderland. No one was more surprised by the Connor Wickham-inspired 2-2 draw at the Etihad than Gus Poyet, who later claimed that football was trying to kill him.

Someone should check his office. It’s very possible Paulo Di Canio left some sort of madness diffuser in a light fitting and is sat in a dormant volcano hideaway somewhere in the Pacific, stroking a cat and laughing uncontrollably. 

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Tony Pulis and his informal cap.

Liverpool fans had their misty third eye squeegeed clean last night, as Crystal Palace categorically stated their unwillingness to doff their cap to the Scouse fairytale. Everton’s ambitions of finishing fourth and qualifying Champions League football next season undoubtedly form part of an unlikely and unifying double for the city, but a 2-3 defeat simultaneously handed Arsenal the initiative and the Reds an answer to the question, will Pulis’s men ease off now they’re safe?

This is almost certainly the first and last time that Tony Pulis and Jose Mourinho share a common purpose. Enjoy it.

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By Kelly Welles

Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Everton, Manchester City, Sunderland, Crystal Palace

alex

Only FIFA would be complacent enough to imagine that gluing a bit of discarded dire wolf hair to Zico’s top lip would prevent one of his biggest fans from identifying him.

Still, inviting a Brazil 2014 volunteer to the Maracanã and having Zico present him with his uniform is a nice touch.

If they weren’t such a stand-up bunch of fellas, we’d think they were trying to distract us from something...

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By Kelly Welles

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Image via facebook.

FIFA, Brazil 2014

 
To a soundtrack evocative of the parps and farts that a cyber goth band might emit as they get to grips with their Korg squelch function, Gareth Bale and Dani Alves strap their boots on and smash footballs at liveried bags of paint someone happened to conveniently leave in a warehouse.

This is almost Bywater-ian in it’s abstraction and execution, no?

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By Kelly Welles

Gareth Bale, Dani Alves, Copa del Rey

shake

Football is in a rare vein of form right now. There’s an exciting title run-in, managerial meltdowns are occurring in the most unusual places and perhaps most importantly, we’re not being forced to suffer the indignity of our media being more interested in its representatives’ sex organs being in or around people other than their official partners.

Over in Italy, where emotion runs free to the point that grown men hide in hedges dressed in commando gear to spy on their upcoming opponent’s tactics, they cannot say the same.

tariga
Mauro Icardi, Wanda Nara & Maxi Lopez in ‘happier’ times.

Calcio experienced its own version of Handshake-gate on Sunday when Sampdoria faced Inter in a game that, due to a series of ill-advised and in some cases, quite tasteless, social media messages, became known via the press as the “Wanda Derby.”

icardi

The Ramble has been stretching the parameters of what can be called a derby for some years now, but as far as I’m aware, a game on English soil has never been fiercely contested because one guy nurtured another through his formative years at a club and was repaid by The Protégé getting involved with his ex and flaunting it by posting photos of himself with Betrayed Hubby’s kids on Twitter.

Not unreasonably, when the time came for Sampdoria’s Maxi Lopez to “show respect” to 21-year-old Mauro Icardi in football’s universally imposed manner, he declined, but the humiliation wasn’t to end there. Icardi, whose dignified behaviour was almost certainly one of the factors that drew Lopez’ former wife Wanda Nara into his sphere of influence, scored, then proceeded to cup his ear in front of the Sampdoria Ultras. He was booked, but although technically correct, it’s probably not the retribution Lopez was hoping for, especially since he had a penalty saved during the game. Sampdoria lost 4-0.

If you want all the juice, Paulo Bandini has written a gloriously detailed account for the Guardian. If you’re not interested in what footballers get up to off the pitch I would first ask you why you’re still reading this, and secondly to be grateful for small mercies.

In a World Cup year, this is the kind of disruptive crap we English usually have to deal with. It looks like Italy and Argentina are taking the hit for us this time.

If we win, let’s say we call it quits on the old Hand of God thing, yeah?

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By Kelly Welles

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Images: taringa, twitter,

Inter, Sampdoria, Calcio

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This section is edited by Kelly Welles, to contact her please send her an email.


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