Weblog entries for June 2004


We were not robbed

World Cups and European Championships are great. Suddenly everyone's a football fan. Last night's Portugal v England match attracted a record number of BBC TV viewers, nearly 20 million, not including those watching in pubs.

There's understandably a depression across the various English media outlets this morning. But I think a few things need clearing up.

If you score early, and then merely defend your lead, as opposed to continuing to attack, it is a matter of when, not if, the opposition will score.

If your defenders retreat inside your penalty area under pressure, it merely invites opposition forwards to take up positions closer to your goal. This puts even more pressure on your defence.

If all your clearances involve hoofing the ball back towards your two short strikers who are being marked by three tall defenders, all that will happen is that the opposition will get the ball back and immediately launch another attack.

If you replace attack-minded midfielders with defensive midfielders, you reduce pressure on the opposition defence and therefore allow them to commit more players forward in attack. This means that although your defence is bolstered, the opposition's attacking threat is increased as well, so you gain nothing.

Instead of bringing on Vassell for Rooney, they should have brought on a wide midfielder such as Dyer. This would have enabled Beckham to move into the centre, where he prefers to play, and allowed Scholes to take up Rooney's position 'in the hole' behind Owen, forming a link between the striker and midfield. What actually happened was Owen had to drop back and was far less effective.

Scholes has played in this position many times for his club and, with his former clubmate Beckham behind him, could have allowed England to pass the ball over short distances between midfielders. Instead, most forward passes were long-range, over-the-top attempts, which were a lost cause.

Should Sven go? I don't think so. Could he learn a thing or two from Scolari, who made attacking substitutions? Certainly. Did the best team win last night? Yes.


All estate agents are brainless

Here's an excerpt from a letter we received:

“We are currently carrying out a board campaign in your area and would appreciate your assistance. A 'Let By' board will be erected at the above property from 15th June 2004 for 3 weeks.”

Now that's all well and good. I don't have any objection to that. But is it worth me pointing out to them that we live in a small cul-de-sac which gets no passing traffic — literally, none — and so this exercise is ever so slightly pointless? Or are they just trying to advertise to our immediate neighbours?

Either way, my opinion of estate agents just sank a little lower.

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