Podcast: The Third False Nine Pubcast with Jack McInroy and Rob Pollard

TFN’s Greg Johnson, Hugo Greenhalgh and James Dutton welcome Jack McInroy of Yids and South London Hardcore and Rob “Typical City” Pollard onto the panel for a third live “Pubcast” at The Old Red Lion Theatre Pub, in Angel.

With Rob running late, racing across London in a taxi straight from the League Cup final, the diminished foursome chat about Spurs, anti-semitism in football and Alan Pardew’s fighting skills. Once completed, the five-piece then turn their attentions to City’s Capital One Cup win, directors of football and a footballing take on the Oscars.

The chat is interspersed with the usual frivolities, audience interaction and mind-twisting tangents to keep you and your ears entertained throughout the show.

Listen via Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/thefalsenine/the-third-false-nine-pubcast …

Or via iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/thefalsenine/id784149140

Why Jermain Defoe’s MLS move makes perfect sense

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TFN’s Hugo Greenhalgh believes recent criticism aimed at Jermain Defoe is unfair…

“Live for today, plan for tomorrow, party tonight.”

Say what you like about the quality of the MLS, but the recent criticism aimed at Jermain Defoe for his move to Toronto FC seems somewhat unwarranted. The striker had been phased out at Tottenham, rarely used under Andre Villas-Boas except in the Europa League. He had fallen down the pecking order behind Roberto Soldado and more recently, a rejuvenated Emmanuel Adebayor. While a ‘little and large’ strike partnership in a 4-4-2 seems like the kind of idea that would have new manager Tim Sherwood licking his lips, it would appear that Defoe’s mind had already been made up. Money talks, as does the guarantee of first team football, but it would be crass to assume that Defoe’s move is purely avaricious.

There seems to be significant indignation that Defoe would rather play for Toronto than for another top-flight club in England. But is this ire really justified? Let’s think about which Premier League clubs Defoe would realistically start for. It’s fair to say he would be a squad player at the rest of the top ten, like he is at Spurs. In the bottom half we can assume that he could start at most, if not all. With the greatest respect to Aston Villa, Norwich, West Brom et al., what can they offer Jermain Defoe? At 31, he’s a player who probably wants a new challenge. Is the prospect of a half-season relegation battle really that desirable? Perhaps he could have been reunited with Harry Redknapp at QPR for similar money but this seems no more credible than moving to the MLS. Overall, there’s a semi-nationalistic air of pomposity that playing in the Premier League is the ‘be all and end all’, when it’s really not. Continue reading

Podcast: Episode 6 – The Big Fat Pod of the Year 2013, or how Villas-Boas was sacked

The False Nine’s bumper festive podcast has been labelled a “beautiful disaster” by critics, and can be downloaded now from Soundcloud.

For The False Nine’s final podcast of 2013, host Greg Johnson and TFN editors James Dutton and Hugo Greenhalgh are joined by a star-studded cast of Tom Victor, Escape To Suomi’s Rich Nelson, Get Goal Side’s Bobby Faghihi and his brother Ash Faghihi.

Chaos reigns as the crew chat about Andre Villas-Boas’ future in a manner detached from reality, why Andy Carroll is going to win the World Cup, City’s key to the Premier League title, and more!

Knee-Jerkism prevails in Premier League sacking season

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As the Premier League enters annual sacking season. Jacob Mignano rails against the departures of Steve Clarke and Andre Villas-Boas…

Another weekend of Premier League football has come and gone. And another two managers have found themselves casualties of English football’s brutal win-now-and-at-all-costs nature.

I have never been a fan of knee-jerk firings. Tottenham’s decision to part ways with one of the world’s brightest young managers, following closely behind Steve Clarke’s sacking, reek of the term.

I can’t think of a manager in the past two or three years that has been quite as unlucky as Andre Villas-Boas. He could have been the right man at Chelsea, had he been given the time. As it turned out he was the wrong appointment, as Roman Abramovich searched for a quick-fix for his multi-billion-pound vanity-project.

At Tottenham it seemed Villas-Boas had found a much better fit, but despite having his side one-point better off than they were at the same stage last season – and in the midst of a far more competitive, and unpredictable, league season – he has paid for two humiliating defeats at the hands of Manchester City and Liverpool. Continue reading

Editor’s Column: The Premier League Season of Over-Reaction, Exaggeration and Paradox

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In his latest Editor’s Column, James Dutton surveys the top of the Premier League and tries to make sense of the six-point gap between 1st and 8th…

The third international break of the football season is upon us. This is traditionally the stage where journalists, bloggers and punters share their opinions and observations of the season so far.

In November 2013 though, to make sense of a nascent season that is knocked out of its rhythm week after week is to reckon against its perpetuation. Hindsight makes fools of us all, as those who reveled in Arsenal’s seemingly inevitable demise after their opening-day capitulation against Aston Villa and those who struggled to fathom the Moyesification of Manchester United (guilty) have found out.

That is not to say that Arsenal have both banished their demons of seasons gone by, or been found out by a resurgent Manchester United – who likewise have neither found the cure for their early-season woes or nosedived off a cliff into mediocrity.

This is the season of overreaction and exaggeration; the season of paradoxes.

Eleven games, a quarter of the season gone and six points separate the top eight. As this neat infographic from the whizzes at Sporting Intelligence show, this has been no ordinary start to a Premier League season…  Continue reading

Arsene Wenger and Jacques Derrida: The Search for Managerial Intent

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Joe Devine of The Illustrated Game takes a look at the complex notion of ‘managerial intent’…

“If he should reproach me by saying ‘what I really played was a bamboo flute, how could you mistakenly use the word jade?’ I would reproach him in return; ‘I have called it a jade flute, how could you mistakenly have played a bamboo one instead?’.”

Much like literary theorists search for authorial intent, managerial intent remains something of a tactical minefield. Despite the British media making it clear that their prerogative rests faithfully with one of the pre-existing good news stories (i.e. goal scorer hero, faithful dog manager, underdog does it better/overdog is better etc.), the near-constant hiring and firing of managers is statement enough to send a huge foot through the sand in favour of clear managerial intent. When Chelsea perform poorly and André Villas-Boas gets the sack, it’s his fault – when Tottenham perform superbly and André Villas-Boas keeps his job, it is Andros Townsend’s glory. Clearly, the search for managerial intent only appears to be an issue at the winning end of the job, which is why for this piece, I’ve decided to use the example of Arsenal & Jacques Derrida’s theory of deconstruction. Continue reading

Heurelho Gomes: the Octopus or the Clown?

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Chris Miller of WindyCOYS profiles Heurelho Gomes’ time at Spurs…

Heurelho Gomes was brought to Tottenham by Juande Ramos in 2008 – he was familiar to Spurs fans already, of course, having saved a Jermaine Jenas’ penalty to halt Spurs’ progression in the 2007/8 UEFA Cup. Indeed, reading the BBC’s match report from that day could have told Spurs fans all they needed to know: “Gomes had an erratic game, frequently keeping his side in the game, only to then endanger his team with a rush of blood to the head.” Those rushes of blood have, seemingly, ended his Spurs career.

Gomes often got what was, in my opinion, unfair criticism in the press and amongst football fans in general for another area of his game – punching. Gomes is a pro-active goalkeeper, something that English football fans are not too used to seeing. His natural inclination is to come for every cross, punch everything away, dominate his penalty box.

In Europe and South America, this style of goalkeeping is widely-lauded; it is seen as a positive for crosses to be punched to safety, punching being lower-risk than catching the ball, as there is less chance of spilling it. Goalkeepers are, therefore, trained to punch crosses rather than catch crosses when competing with other bodies in a crowded penalty area. Continue reading