Interview: Ed Chamberlin – Dream Goal, Southampton and Monday Night Football


The False Nine were invited along to Budweiser’s Dream Goal event launch in Regent’s Park last week. Ed Chamberlin stopped for a chat about that, Monday Night Football and Southampton…

Tell us about Dream Goal. How did you get involved?

“My agent got a telephone call that I was delighted about to be honest. Gary was right when he said earlier, it’s amazing when you think about it that it hasn’t been done before. I was delighted, and it’s been a lot of fun. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. My goodness did we giggle during that day filming it. We still don’t know how it’s going to come out, and you sure you guys are always the same on twitter you’re a bit nervous when you send that link out, and you imagine the abuse you’ll get a lot of the time for various shows. Suddenly, all that came back was how much people had enjoyed it, which for us is very unusual. It’s been great, and the thing I’ve loved is football people including us in tweets to their mates saying “Oh we need to send in Gary’s one from last week”, from village football matches to all round the country it’s been quite satisfying. None of mine have made it.

What’s the best goal you’ve ever scored?

I live in a village called Broughton, I think I’ve scored some great goals but I asked the lads which one of mine would you enter and they all looked rather confused, which was slightly disappointing actually, for a big, gallivanting centre-half who loves to come forward.

Do you play much?

Not as much as I used to. When you pass 40 the knees start to go.

So you’d say you’re more Gary Neville than Jamie Redknapp?

[Laughs] I have no idea what you mean by that! Yeah. I’m a very bad Jamie Carragher I think. I haven’t got Redknapp’s looks, midfield ability, passing ability, anything. Continue reading

The Dangers of Football Statistics

Billy Macfarlane returns to TFN with his take on the use of statistics in football…

Football is a sport with no place for statistics. It is a sport which is organised chaos. Moments which decide results are so few and far between that there is little use in trying to predict them. The emotional legacy of results on fans is the most important aspect of football to understand. From this point we can begin to qualitatively argue about the best players and sides but no conclusive answer can ever be reached.

Football is a sport inherently based on statistics. Quantitative measures of the number of times each side makes the ball legally cross the goal line result in teams receiving either 0, 1 or 3 points or progressing in a cup competition. From this point we can begin to quantify, analyse and predict the impacts of players on the causation of goals and securing victory. These measurements can be produced objectively regardless of who compiles them.

This, of course, is a false dichotomy. Those favouring qualitative appreciation of football do not view goals and points as irrelevant to making judgements. Likewise few of those who argue in favour for the importance of statistics would actually argue that there is no room for subjectivity and that you can form your judgements based purely on graphs and numbers. Continue reading

The Top 10 Moments of Football ‘Blunditry’


David Ahluwalia takes a look at the worst moments of football punditry…

For many of us, being a football pundit looks like the easiest job in the world. Relaxing on comfortable sofas, often with a cup of tea, and stating the things that are blatantly obvious with as many clichés as humanly possible seems like a job any fan could do.

Sometimes however, being a pundit isn’t quite so simple. Every so often we find our pundits, whether they be players, managers, referees or presenters, being a little too relaxed with their vocabulary, or making terrible analogies to describe a game. These often have the fans in fits of laughter or in a state of sheer shock at their stupidity and complete lack of self-awareness. Gillette Soccer Saturday regularly comes up with some moments of magic, but the team at Sky Sports are not the only ones who have had a blunder or two. Continue reading

Are English commentators that bad?


David Dodds explores the world of the English commentator…

Football hipster checklists have abounded over the last couple of months, and there have been more and more incarnations lately. Most of them are spot on and I imagine the writers and most readers of TFN find themselves either playfully nodding in agreement and being good sports because they see a picture of themselves painted in these checklists, or rendered incandescent because they see themselves in the lists but are reluctant admit it.

But there’s one curious omission to the lists I’ve seen. None of them mention our—which is to say the generation of hyper-informed and thoroughly post-modern omnivorous consumers of football from leagues of all shapes, sizes and stadium attendances—attitude towards commentators. When I say commentator, I mean play-by-play commentators, the people who are there to tell you what’s happening and who’s doing it. Martin Tyler, David Coleman and Ian Darke, for example. We often malign our commentators for their shoddy pronunciation, their obsession with regurgitating stats and their unbridled chauvinism during international and European games. These hipster checklists all point out rightly that we revile any pundit who isn’t Gary Neville or Pat Nevin, but make no mention of our similar attitude to play-by-play commentators.  Continue reading

The Death of Colin Murray


The False Nine debutant, David Wild, opines on the gradual decline of Match of the Day…

Like any promising youngster making his debut I’ll start with a healthy note of caution. I haven’t written for The False Nine before and so I don’t have a loyal fan base to rely on. Instead I’m relying on a John Sheridan “do the simple things well” attitude whilst praying for the appearance of a flash of brilliance a la Tony Yeboah.

My chosen subject for this article is the puerile and inane jabbering that infects the BBC institution Match of The Day. Don’t get me wrong I love MOTD but I can’t stand anything of the generic matey banter that oozes out, loosely classed as ‘punditry’. The commentary is about as interesting as that on my Lesbian Vampire Killers DVD. How I regret buying that DVD. Continue reading