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Pig Bladder Time - Football/Soccer/Bladderball thread
  • West Ham travel to Loftus Road to play QPR tonight, and it is vital that the collective vibes of TNM are behind the Mighty Irons.

    Come on everybody, raise a mug and sing along with me:

    alt text

  • Job done. 2-1 away, and joint 5th in the table, a point behind Man Utd and Man City, and ahead of our next victims, Arsenal.

    No thanks to you lot though ;-)

  • I have been silently pulling for your guys all day, seriously

  • I foresee your lot giving the Gunners quite a few problems today, Nick, since Big Sam’s no-nonsense style is likely to upset the finely honed speed-and-passing game of Arsenal.

  • I don’t like this. Everyone I talk to thinks we’re going to get a result! Diaby out, Arsenal’s defence doesn’t like it up ‘em, Allardyce will get his revenge on his nemesis, Wenger, etc. etc.

    I can see that it’s possible, but I’m sticking to the prediction I’ve been making all week, a 3-0 or 4-0 win for Arsenal. Our defence is great at holding a line, dealing with anything in the air and generally being imposing and determined, but I fear Arsenal’s fluidity and movement will cut us to ribbons. After all, we lost 3-0 to Swansea!

    It’s a cliche which is normally bollocks, but the first goal is everything in this game. If we pinch it early on, we might hold on for a win/draw. If they score first, I don’t see a way back.

    Whatever happens, we’re sitting pretty. I’d love a point, and even more so to avoid the embarrassment of a big score, but I’d happily take that on the chin in return for a win at home to Southampton next game.

  • Well, it turned out to be alittle bit of both really. We gave them a run for their money and could have got something if we’d finished our chances, but you have to say they deserved it on balance.

  • I feel better for the Gunners after that. After the first few games everybody was lauding their new defensive solidity, and I thought that they were hyping it up on the basis of too few good showings, but maybe there’s something to it.

    Man, I need to pick my captains for the fantasy team better if I’m going to hang on to 1st place!

  • ‘Hang on’ is right GI ~ I’m breathing down your neck.

  • One of the pundits at the Times made a good point on their podcast re: the Tottenham goalkeeping situation (where Brad Friedel, with over 300 consecutive league games and in red-hot form, but past 40 in age, has been replaced by Hugo Lloris, a very fine goalkeeper but one who the team don’t seem to have any need for). He points out that Lloris will be a wash, since he isn’t likely to warrant a mention in a Half Man Half Biscuit song.

  • Nice! God bless the Biscuit. They have a number of pig bladder references in their songs of course.

    “Friday Night and the Gates Are Low” spins ABBA’s famous opening line into a song title reference to Tranmere Rovers, Liverpool’s third team, who have to play on Fridays to avoid losing all their fan base to Liverpool and Everton. It’s a desolate tale of the frustration and ennui of a lower leagues football fan, and contains the existential pain of lines like:

    “Girlfriend said that it was fun Even though the others won”

    Speaking of Liverpool, the Reds’ famous anthem is appropriated to quite poignant effect in their 80s anti-Thatcherism track, “Turned Up, Clocked On, Laid Off”, which closes with the words:

    “Sign on, with no hope in your heart. When you walk through a storm, You get wet”

    Then there’s the venomous “Fear My Wraith” from the early album, “Some Call It Godcore”. The song is quite angry for HMHB (“They are scum and they’ll die because their wives are too fucking bubbly, and they say ‘lacksadaisical’”), but out of nowhere at the end it has a fantastically obscure couplet about one-time Colchester United (who play at Layer Road) forward, Bobby Svarc. I love the fact that this is what constitutes ‘The News’ in Nigel’s world:

    “I read the news today, oh boy, ‘Svarc rejects new Layer terms’”

    Yet another football-related song is “Even Men with Steel Hearts Love to See a Dog on the Pitch”. I once sang this aloud whilst on holiday in Spain, causing my 3 year-old daughter to ask, “Daddy, how can men have steel hearts?”. And without wishing to get too carried away, I must also mention the blackly hilarious “Dead Men Don’t Need Season Tickets”:

    “Telephone call telling me my old friend Graham had died, I took a ride down to where I’d be of assistance. I said to his wife, ‘Don’t give in to grieving cliche and turn The side of the room into a shrine, it just doesn’t work. My arm round her shoulder, Gently I told her, Dead men don’t need season tickets.”

    Lastly, there must be 20 or more HMHB songs that twist traditional football terrace chants into lyrics. My favourite being the short but sweet wonder that is “Vatican Broadside” (definitely NSFW, by the way):

  • After trying my best to ignore a depressing fortnight of racism, crowd violence and late Leeds United equalisers, I’m happy to say it’s finally back to business at the Boleyn today, whereupon Southampton will receive a severe thrashing at the hands of the rip-roaring Mighty Irons.

  • Too bad your boy Vaz Te is on the sidelines. He’d have flourished against the Saints, I’m sure.

  • There’s a lot of bad feeling after last season’s game. I think we’ll put them to the sword. 2 or 3-nil with Nolan scoring.

  • Enjoy your brief stay on top of the table, Nick. I don’t intend to give you a sniff of it for the rest of the season.

  • :-)

    Kevin Nolan as captain was my masterstroke.

  • In other news, have any of you seen the Germany-Sweden game this week? Phoar! http://www.footytube.com/video/germany-sweden-oct16-135963

  • I love the effect the end of that match had on the Swedish commentators. Do some damage to your image of dour Scandinavians and listen to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=8LkwRue9aK4#t=497s

    (it turns out the board software can’t handle embedded YouTube at a certain time in the video)

  • Hey GI. Having just sneaked ahead of you by a solitary point, my impatience has got the better of me and I’ve sacrificed 4 points in transfer penalties, allowing you back on top. But really, I’m like a jockey, just nestling in behind his quarry as we come around Aintree for the first circuit.

  • Well done GI, you’ve stretched out a bit of a lead there. I am left tinkering with my front line once again.

    In the real world, the Mighty Hammers are up to sixth following our 1-0 annihilation of Newcastle. Away too, how things have changed.Anyway, we’re ahead of Arsenal, Tottenham, Fulham, Newcastle and Liverpool and it’s all highly satisfactory.

    Lastly, can I just mention Belgium? I can? Oh, good. Amazingly, and after being basically crap for 25 years at least, they have managed suddenly to produce a whole generation of excellent young players. They’re top of their World Cup qualifying group, and have the following line-up when at full strength:

    alt text

  • Quite a few people are excited about the current Belgium team, but they seem to have quite a lot of division in the dressing room. They have some way to go to fulfilling their potential, and certainly could do with a sharper cutting edge up front. All three players up front you list are decent forwards, but do better playing off of a main striker than leading the line.

  • Here’s a wonderful article on the history of the Scottish national team: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2012/nov/14/scotland-football-success-scott-murray

  • Well at least there’s still the football thread. Tried to drop in to offer my congrats on West Ham’s place in the table and a certain Champion’s League win against a certain “Best Club Team Ever” a little while ago, but found that I had to come over here to do that.

    So, hello. I’ll keep showing up every month or so to talk about sport with you.

  • Hi Kyle! Great to see you here!

  • The latter half of last week was pretty crazy for me, and I forgot all about the FF till Sunday night, so I didn’t update my team. It went as well as you may have expected.

  • I’m predicting Liverpool going on a free-scoring surge and so I brought in Suarez and Sterling. It went well this week, but time will tell.

  • Win tonight and we go fifth. It will also mean Tottenham can’t overtake us eben if they beat us at the Lane next week. Come on you Irons.

  • I’ve had sterling for weeks, not very useful.

  • He’s done well for you this week though kyle - 11 points.

    15th best midfielder, ahead of Walcott, Pienaar, Lennon - not too bad? Almost the same points as Gerrard and half the price. Only 6 players better value for money in the whole league.

  • Great game from the Hammers today. I love seeing Chelsea in free fall.

  • kyle said: Great game from the Hammers today. I love seeing Chelsea in free fall.


    I was out with friends yesterday and so avoided all the scores in order to watch the highlights on TV late last night. However, I did spot a new post from you in this thread on the main board menu and my hopes were raised a little bit. Our first win over them since 2003!

    Next up, Liverpool at Anfield, where we last won 49 years ago.

  • Well luckily for you, they’re also in free fall. Also Suarez has got too many yellow cards so I’m pretty sure he’ll be banned for that game. I feel like the hammers should at least come out with a draw.

  • Also, I’m so glad November is over so that it will at least be another year before I have to see Big Sam with a moustache.

  • kyle said: Also, I’m so glad November is over so that it will at least be another year before I have to see Big Sam with a moustache.

    Yes, quite.

    Just checked - we’re at home to Liverpool, not away.

    I also ought to acknowledge that Marinus has tightened his vice-like grip on the Fantasy League and my team is in disarray, down, as ‘Arry Redknapp would say, to the bare bones.

  • They got the colours wrong, but the Irons were in the Simpsons this week….


    Apparently we’re a hipster team.

  • Bizarre, since blue and claret would have fit in very nicely with the other colours in there.

  • And they decided on the Norwich colors? Gross.

  • Trivia question: which Premier League team is referenced in the title of an ambient track? It’s from a key album from one of the better-known exponents of the genre.

  • Earlier I had names Christian Benteke among the Belgian strikers who work better playing off a main striker than acting as a spearhead. In Villa’s last game, against Liverpool, he proved me wrong. He was a monster in the air, wrestled with defenders and often won, did some great hold-up play, and so on. Good on the lad.

  • Yes, Lambert looks like being vindicated at Villa as those youngsters up front are playing some good stuff.

    Another young Belgian I was impressed with this week was Lukaku, who came on for WBA against us in the second half. He’s only 18, but I think he’ll have a big season next year, probably back at Chelsea.

    Oh, the answer to the scintillating quiz question was Fulham, whose ground is Craven Cottage, as in Stars Of The Lid’s Dopamine Clouds Over Craven Cottage. The track begins with a bit of commentary from a Fulham attack in which Brian McBride, namesake of one half of the band, scores a goal.

  • Up to the Bridge today with glorious delusions of a double over Chelsea, We haven’t won there for 10 years and have only won one of the last fourteen meetings, but, well, it was the last one, and there are 7 more hours until the bubbles start bursting at least.


    Wiyth 8-10 games left of the season, the relegation battle looks like this. QPR’s corpse has twitched a couple of times since Redknapp’s arrival, but looks well and truly lifeless now, and they have huge problems with their wage bill when they go down. Reading’s defeat against Villa yesterday (hopefully) means they’re gonners too. Wigan look adrift, but those two games in hand are against Newcastle and Norwich and they’re famous for fighting their way out at this stage. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the 8 teams above the drop sucked into it. Villa have had back-to-back victories against two of the bottom 3 and Southampton are playing well, but the others are all in poor-average form.

    10 Stoke 30 -8 34

    11 Fulham 28 -5 33

    12 West Ham 28 -9 33

    13 Newcastle 29 -10 33

    14 Norwich 29 -18 33

    15 Southampton 30 -10 31

    16 Sunderland 29 -9 30

    17 Aston Villa 30 -25 30


    18 Wigan 28 -22 24

    19 Reading 30 -22 23

    20 QPR 30 -22 23

  • This would surely have caught the attention of Nick: Paulo Di Canio installed as new manager at Sunderland.

    I’m a little sad to see O’Neill fail at Sunderland (and he sure as hell didn’t succeed), but they frequently looked directionless and for weeks at a time you couldn’t see where goals were supposed to come from. I don’t think they’ll go down (lots of bad teams there or thereabouts), but they’re definitely in danger of doing so.

    As for Di Canio, he’s as mad as a bag of badgers. And, as a manager, he doesn’t have the chance to score wondergoals:

    David Milliband, former Labour party bigwig who sits on the Sunderland board, has resigned in protest at the appointment of a self-confessed fascist.

  • This is going to be very interesting! I would have said they were favourites to go down under O’Neill but now anything’s possible. Their problems are 1) no wins in the last 8 matches, 2) Fletcher (scored a third of all their goals) and Cattermole (inspirational workhorse) are out injured for the season, 3) Villa and Wigan are both playing alright, while Sunderland are definitely not, and 4) they have a difficult run-in (Chelsea A, Newcastle A, Everton H, Villa A, Stoke H, Soton H, Tottenham A)

  • Another season comes to an end. My thanks to those who played the fantasy football league this year.

  • If you somehow managed to not see this interview with Jürgen Klopp, it is well worth your time: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2013/may/21/jurgen-klopp-borussia-dortmund-champions-league

    He is the father of two grown-up sons and his wife, Ulla, is a writer. “She wrote a book for children,” Klopp says. “It’s like Harry Potter – but it’s about football. There’s no Harry Potter flying on his fucking stick – just football.”

  • A few old photos you might enjoy.

    Sorry these are so big. If it causes anyone problems let me know, I’ll remove or try to resize them.

    First, Millwall fans trying to get a better view in 1957


  • Chelsea fans pass a kid down to get him a better view at Stamford Bridge in 1947


  • Arsenal fans in the Clock End at Highbury.


  • A packed Kop terrace at Liverpool in 1970.


  • Bramall Lane, 1903


  • War damage at West Ham’s Boleyn Ground


    Pele, 1970