The Badger

 
 

The Badger has just aced the Fit and Proper Person theory test, and is off to buy Pompey for a tenner

Let there be sackings and let the managers’ heads roll. Hire ‘em and fire ‘em, the Badger says. We are two months into the season and Phil ‘Tanny’ Brown is still in a job. The equilibrium must be realigned.

Hull’s manager is probably wondering what he has to do to get his sorry arse fired. He has barely won 11/2 games since January, and is only still in the coveted Premiership because Newcastle could only muster up minus two wins for all of last season – though Brown will be unlikely to get the sack, as long as he and Hull Chairman Paul Duffen are BBFFs (Best Boyfriends Forever).

Like Tangerine Phil, Neil Warnock’s dead ringer at Portsmouth must be pinching himself that he was still around to pick up a pay cheque at all. Paul Hart has managed to construct a squad of veteran Carling Cup players who would lose 5-0 to the Arsenal under 15’s second string. Hart can be cut some slack, though, having to deal with new owners requesting refunds after 40-odd days. Anyway, if Tommy Smith is your marquee signing of the summer, it would be a safe bet that you are looking down rather than up.

The Portsmouth fans, God love them, are refusing to accept that they are doomed for relegation. The Badger cannot fault their upbeat attitude but laughs off their delusions that they can turn it around. By adapting the common cliché; if winning when you are playing badly is the sign of champions; then obviously losing when you are playing well must be a sign of, well, losers.

As much as Hull and Paul Hart are showing the key characteristics of hopelessness, West Ham’s chipper gaffer, Gianfranco Zola, seems completely immune to negative press. His side might be sinking but it seems little Zola can do no harm. Ordinarily the Badger would like to see this guy strapped to a lamppost in Soho so that we could all throw moderately-sized fruits at him.

But not Zola. Dear Gianfranco is the nicest guy in football. He once visited a sick child in hospital to try and bring some happiness into his life. Later on that year, the child died and Zola promised himself that he was going to score a very special goal in his memory. Roughly two years later, Zola fulfills his promise, scoring that goal and dedicates it to the child in a post-match interview. True class by the Italian, unlike the current crop of spoilt and overpaid superstars who beat up DJs and get away with it.

Speaking of DJs and violence. Mr Gerrard (or “the defendant” as he’s more often known these days) has been awfully vocal in light of Liverpool’s really bad form. In his latest comments following two successive losses, Stevie MBE promised Liverpool fans that the team would react to the bad form and “continue winning again”. The Badger can’t read people’s minds, but one would assume that the main idea floating around Stevie’s head would generally be to win – does he plan to “continue winning again” as opposed to carry on losing? Talk about stating the obvious. Here’s one, Stevie: “We’ll never win the World Cup either.”

Such mental deficiencies might be the reason for Liverpool’s bad start to the season. While good performances and victories against West Ham, Burnley and Hull looked to have gotten the wheels rolling again, they left their season unattended for a moment, and their tyres and shiny alloys were proverbially snatched and their season put on bricks – not, of course, that it’d be the first time for that to happen in Liverpool.

On a more topical note, Ireland should seal their passage into the World Cup qualifying play-off extravaganza of death against Montenegro tomorrow night. However, just as we thought that we could see the glorious pastures of South Africa and were jumping on the plane, our innocent hopes were cruelly shot down by Sepp Blatter, like Bambi’s mother as she jumped the ravine.

This is the sinful work of FIFA in a pathetic way to get all the “big nations” at the World Cup – though the Badger has a different and more insightful view, speculated by officials inside FIFA’s coffers. Rumour has it that that FIFA president Sepp ‘Bloaty’ Blatter was very anti-Lisbon, and thus when he saw the Irish voting Yes, was a bit annoyed and promised to exact revenge. Remember, you heard it here first: you should have voted No. Next time there’s a referendum, someone think of the overfed Swiss children.

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