Sunday, 29 June 2008

Friday, 27 June 2008

Daft transfer rumours

'Crouch is eating his...' has an excellent editorial in which in lists the five stupidest transfer rumours of the summer so far. These being:

Ronaldinho to Boca Juniors
Del Piero to Inter
Samuel Eto'o to Marseille
Klaas Jan Huntelaar to Roma
Salvador Cabañas to Manchester United

Though these are undoubtedly stupid, I can't help wanting to add a few more. Crouch to Arsenal, Vieri to Hull and Arsenal for David Villa (sorry dad). Question is, who can name stupider?

Spain - the writing's on the...

Spain 3 Russia 0. Do you think that means they can rub it off now?

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

The dream is over

Bloody Germans.

For you. In your time of need.

Kazım Kazım: tonight's the night

A Brighton&Hove Albion reject he may be, as someone has pointed out on Dissensus, but how can you not like Colin Kazim Richards? He's done the unthinkable for a British (as in, born in Britain) footballer, by gamely moving to a 'foreign' country where he doesn't speak the language, rather than letting his career dwindle in the Football League - and he is something of a hero (and heartthrob) at Fenerbahce already. Sadly this video won't embed but it's well worth watching:

"They were singing some songs, I don't even know what they were singing, I don't know the words to it, I was just jumping up and down to the rhythm."

And as if that wasn't enough he's a local lad from Leytonstone and a Chelsea-hating Arsenal fan to boot.

Even with so many players out, it still looks like our Kazım is starting on the bench for Turkey tonight, but wouldn't it be wonderful to see a second half substitution when the inevitable comeback struggle begins. Make us proud bruv.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Qazillians break Iraq hearts

From the Guardian (the article is also available in our excellent feed):

Iraq's World Cup ambitions were finally broken on a foreign field. As Qatar's multi-national squad formed a human pyramid of celebrating bodies and their coach prayed on the touchline, the champions of Asia slumped to their knees and cried into the turf at Dubai's Al Rashid stadium, their home for the past 10 months of qualifying. Just one year after stunning the world, and their homeland, by beating Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the Asian Cup final, Iraq's dream was over and with it the chance of perhaps ever seeing the country grace a World Cup finals again.

Still remember the good times.

Turkey 1 Croatia 1 highlights - Türkiye! Türkiye!

Online Videos by
Absolutely astonishing. The fact that Turkey will now have to play a goalkeeper in attack, that Nihat has gone home, that Arda and Volkan are suspended, that there are only 13 available players, that even Tuncay won't be there to complain about, none of this matters. Turkey will now surely win the tournament after coming back from nine nil down in the Semih-final. Tuncay will return in goal for the final, with Rustu and Volkan upfront. The ghost of Attaturk will inhabit the legs of the injured Emre to help him score a double hat-trick on crutches. This little man will be happy.

Russia 3 Holland 1 highlights - Kak!

After last nights dulller than Dulwich Hamlet Italy-Spain match, sit back and enjoy the following from the weekend. Arshavin and Zhirkov (insert crap joke here) were fantastic, Pavluchenko continued to wink and strange pseudo-tsarist banners were seen in the crowd. Excellent.

Online Videos by

Friday, 20 June 2008

Chris Waddle

Aah a new addition to the myriad joys of watching Euro games in partisan venues: non-English commentary peppered with the names of forgotten footballers (0.37 and 0.41).
Tonight the HumbleFootballers again sat down in the hospitable Fenerbahce Sports and Social Club on Kingsland Road, this time to watch the Croatia v Turkey match (Turkiye! Turkiye!).
Among the largely unfamiliar Turkish commentary came the words "Pierre Van Hooijdonk", to the incredulity of the English-speaking folk who weren't exactly paying close attention to the commentary ("Did he just say 'Pierre Van Hooijdonk'?" etc).

So why were the Turkish commentators speaking of the horse-faced Dutch master of swerve?
Was it his time spent at Fenerbahce?
Or was it this?

Thursday, 19 June 2008

The Battle For South Lambeth Road

It's Quarter-Final time, and tonight, ladies and gentleman, Vauxhall becomes the front line. And not for the first time. Kennington Park was the home to a shallow 'trench-style' public bomb shelter during the Second World War, a site that was bombed in 1940, at the height of the Blitz.

The shelter was large enough to accomodate hundreds, and maybe thousands, of people, and it filled the whole of the south field in Kennington Park... [it] was an unpleasant place, and people only went there because the government stopped them going down into the nearby underground stations. One witness reported that "The public shelter was horrible, smelly. It had a mouldy slab of concrete for a roof. But you couldn’t go anywhere else - the Oval Station was full of barbed wire … they wouldn’t let you near it."

The direct hit on the shelter inevitably caused huge damage and horrible injuries. One witness reported that he "was 17. My job was helping to dig the bodies out. We put curtains up, so that people walking past couldn’t see in the pit. Eventually we couldn’t do anymore and we covered the remains with lime.". The chaos of war along with the need to keep up morale meant that no official toll of those dead and missing was announced, but historians now believe that 104 people were killed. It is said that 46 bodies were recovered but the majority of the bodies were left unrecovered when the site was levelled.

While lime-encrusted ghosts still walk the park, things are somewhat brighter in the area these days. Today, South Lambeth Road is famous for being the most Portuguese place in the world - Lisbon lags laughably behind in this regard.
And less than one mile away from the strip of Portuguese cafes, bars, bakeries and bookshops is The Jolly Gardeners, where the Germans are brewing something. And it doesn't come in steins. Nor does it have a reliable centre-back pairing.

That was London's small-but-vocal German community during their 1-0 win over Austria. If you think that got them excited, well... you didn't see the wolf-whistles they gave Angela Merkel when she appeared on the big screens. The Germans are frisky, and the Portuguese will be all hopped up on salt-cod and lamprey rice. And let's face it, if you're hard enough to stomach that, then you're definitely on a war footing.

Russia 2 Sweden 0 highlights - Russians put in quarters by sorry Swedes

Arshavin excellent. Immediately rumoured to be heading to Arsenal. Holland vs Russia shaping up as a classic?

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Italy 2 France 0 highlights

Bye bye Claude and Lilian. Not taking Sagna and Clichy is looking rather silly now eh Raymond? Still, at least that cuckold Giuly wasn't around.

I don't believe in astrology. The only stars I can blame for my failures are those that walk about the stage. ~Noel Coward

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Eating Devil biscuits in the group of death

Italy play France tonight in a re-re-re-match of the World Cup final of two years ago. The Italian players, however, are somewhat distracted by the possibility of Holland putting out a weakened side in their group C match against Romania, rendering Italy's match meaningless.

The Romanians seem less than bothered after gaining creditable draws against both Italy and France. As it happens Romania news centers on the fact that their coach is the devil and that they are being endorsed by Ceausescu from beyond the grave (OK by his son, but still...). All of which is the perfect excuse to post this:

Armed with a rifle, Ceauşescu went hunting in the craggy forest land of the northeastern Carpathians, home of the wild Rumanian brown bear. There, according to the International Council of Hunting and Game Preservation, Ceauşescu shot the largest bear ever recorded in the history of hunting in Europe. This month, the general manage? of the council, François Edmond-Blanc, presented Ceauşescu with a golden plate. He declared that the Rumanian leader had beaten the previous world record by 100 points, according to a complex formula involving the bear's size and the quality of its fur. A bit of East Bloc one-upmanship added to Ceauşescu's triumph. The previous record holder was the president of neighboring Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito.

Germany 1 Austria 0 - Jolly Gardeners, South London

The game may have been Ballacks, but the Germans went home happy.

Türkiye in Dalstanbul

Immediate reaction to Turkey's winner. Notice Mr. Fenerbahçe social club at the back in the Fener shirt. Cool guy.

Monday, 16 June 2008

The cocks that crowed

"I don’t want to reinforce stereotypes but…"

Words of imminent doom from ITV’s John Champion during last night’s game. How do you end that sentence well? He didn't try very hard - “I don’t want to reinforce stereotypes but… Turkey do like a conspiracy theory”. Sidekick Jim Beglin immediately backed him up: “They like to find someone to blame. They’ve done it in the past”.

Awful stuff from both. 75 minutes of favouring the Czechs all the way and then an orgasm of hyperbole in favour of Turkey. Andy Townsend even went so far as declare them omnipotent – “They’re capable of absolutely anything those Turks”. Special game though and I can see them beating the waiting Croats...

Euro2008: Turkey 3 Czech Republic 2 - among the Turk

"Cabuk parlayan cabuk soner," or as the proverbial Turk would understand, "What flares up fast, extinguishes soon." In Fatih Terim's camp of janissaries, they must be hoping that such old truths don't continue to ring true, after Turkey surprised everybody - including themselves - in scoring thrice in the last fifteen minutes of yesterday's clash with the Czechs. Longevity is what the Turks want, but with a difficult quarter-final against Croatia, the Turkish flame may soon be snuffed out.

Better living in the present. HumbleFootball crawled up the old Roman road to the Fenerbahce Social Club, much fuller and more buoyant this time than during last week's doomed tie against Portugal. Yet, several bottles of Efes and seventy minutes later, the mood was still grim in Dalston. Two goals behind and not threatening the unflappable Petr Cech's goal , the Turks looked set for yet another rejection by Europe. Czech supporters sensed victory, including a Czech-heritaged HumbleDan, who quietly hid his glee in very British equivocation.

But, as the Turks say, "vakitsiz oten horozun basini keserler" - "the cock that crows at the wrong time is killed." And that cock was butchered by Nihat Kahveci's sumptuous 89th minute strike, in off the crossbar and totally beyond the powers of an already disgraced Petr Cech.
Like a headless chicken, HumbleDan flapped about this way and that, spewing chicken blood up and down the high street. Cue scenes of jubilation in the Social Club, with even certain non-Turk Humblers joining in the throaty Kemalist chanting.

As Turkish yoof poured in for the last few minutes - joining their elder fathers, uncles, effendis, bashas, beys, pashas, etc - we had to survive a nervous finish. With Volkan sent off, Tuncay Sanli was forced into goal. He was worried: "suruden ayrilan koyunu kurt kapar" - "the sheep separated from the flock is eaten by the wolf." But the Czech wolf failed to materialise, and the final whistle blew, sending the Turkish diaspora into the streets of Europe. Cars honked up and down Kingsland High Street, Turkish yoof and not-so-yoof chanted on street corners, and HumbleDan's headless corpse was made into chicken kebab.

Ah, HumbleDan, all will be well. The pain you feel now is but the pale shadow of pain you will inflict upon your villainous enemies. Remember: "ignegi kendine batir cuvaldizi baskasina" - "stick the needle into yourself (to see how it hurts) before you thrust the packing-needle into others."

Turkey 3 Czech 2 - game of the tournament?

More reaction from Dalstanbul and your Humble crew to follow. In the meantime, enjoy this. Beep, beep, beep - Türkiye!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Howard Webb in 'not very popular with Polish people' shocker:

a ridiculous amount of images here

Picture, words, thousand - Holland 4 France 1

Friday, 13 June 2008

Smote the sledded Polack

MARCELLUS: Is it not like the king?

HORATIO: As thou art to thyself: Such was the very armour he had on When he the ambitious Norway combated; So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle, He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice. Tis strange.

Wurst-brat leaves krauts sauer

But at least the Croats are happy.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Euro 2008: Sweden 2 Greece 0 - among the Swede

PRIOR to kick-off, three Humblers and a substantial blonde (collective noun) of Swedes are feverish with anticipation before a contest between the reigning European champions and Sweden's team of ageing ever-presents. HumbleDan approaches a Swedish man wearing full colours, speaking very slowly and carefully.

"Excuse me my friend. Can you tell me. What you think your CHANCES are in this GAME?"

Swedish man: "Ah, nah mate, I'm English, I've just got a Swedish girlfriend."

HumbleDan shakes this off, approaches another Swedish man wearing a Swedish football shirt, and repeats the question, once again s-low-ly and care-ful-ly.

Swedish man II: "Ah, nah mate, I'm English, I've just got a Swedish girlfriend."

Conclusion? There is no such thing as a Swedish man. Surprising but true. Due to a genetic quirk, the Swedes have only been producing female offspring for several decades now, which is the same reason the Swedish football team are all in their late 60s.

THE GAME was absolutely awful. Sweden lacked ideas, and Greece don't have a football team, they have the inverse of a football team; like someone turned football inside out to see what was beneath the stitching and the pretty pattern: and just like a couch cushion, it's not good. The first half was so uninspiring that we spent the second half eating in Miso on Old Street. Full match report:

*** Prawn Toast 6/10 - showed early promise, but left a bad taste in the mouth
*** Salt and Chilli Spare Ribs 9/10 - as always a consummate performer, delicate but full of panache
*** Roast Duck and Noodles 7/10 - did the job asked of it, no more

Here, by the way, is our HumbleFlickr. Feel free to add us as a friend to keep up with all our latest adventures.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Holland 3 Italy 0 - A Grosso miscarriage of justice. But a funny one.

Humble Football continued its crawl of London's European-flavoured boozers by watching this game in the Golden Lion in Soho surrounded by Dutch folk.

A few quick points: 1) Of course, the atmosphere was awesome and the Dutch (including the Wolves lass in a Holland top) were on top form and in e(dam) good voice. 2) According to one Dutch chap before the game, Holland are analogous to England in being consistently dire in major Championships, with little-to-no detrimental effect on the masses' expectations. 3) Commiserations to the landlord of the De Hems pub on Macclesfield Street (by Chinatown), who, on the cusp of his most lucrative night of takings since July '88, suffered a powercut, sending his punters out to suckle copiously from the bosom of his nearby competitors. Doesn't that merit a minute silence these days?

The main talking point though was the newly-unearthed Unknown Rule of Football (URF). How many people before about 8pm Tuesday knew that a player lying injured, genuinely or otherwise, beyond the touchline could play someone onside? Sod all, but for a few swats.

For an essentially simple game that doesn't stand up to the weight of analysis and column inches it receives, in which the average fan can spot a foul throw from 100 metres, the URF is a truly phenomenal find; like when they find someone alive in the rubble 10 days after the earthquake.

Football is an open book compared to cricket, where there are whole chapters on 'taking the light' that remain unchartered by Aggers and CMJ, let alone Steve Bucknor.
So was the lino brilliantly aware of the URF, thus keeping his flag at half-mast? I reckon not; I think he fooked it up, making it a victory for the good guys, if not for common sense. Still, it couldn't happen to a nicer team.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Rambo to join Gunners

A week ago, representatives of the junta hidden up north in a secret lair built with slave labour bleated to their state mouthpiece, the New Light of Old Trafford: “Manchester United is delighted to announce it has agreed terms with Cardiff City for the transfer of Aaron Ramsey subject to terms being agreed and the player passing a medical.” But like the statements of Burmese generals, the reverse is true. For Rambo, as this mysterious young Welsh warrior monk is known among his fellow disciples, is Islington-bound. A meeting with the Dalai Wenger in Switzerland offered the former United supporter much needed Enlightenment and now he seems itching to don the red-white robes and hone those snake-lashing, bunker-incinerating skills on the Arsenal wing. With the aid of another newboy, Carlos Vela, Rambo hopes in time to channel enough applied righteousness to blow the slimy toads away. Failing that, Alex Song will come along and kick ‘em in the shins.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Iraq 1 Australia 0

Anyone who has paid even the slightest attention to this blog will know that we have one or two biases. Favourite teams who get disproportionate attention. There are also a few we don't like. So when one beats the other, well...

Iraq are back and better than ever. Bring on World Cup 2010. Meanwhile Australia seem to be missing Fiji and the Solomon Islands.

Euro 2008: Turkey 0 Portugal 2 - Among the Turk

Humble football kicked off it's Euro 2008 coverage in style last night, venturing forth to Fenerbache social club in Dalston, North London. We watched in horror as the assembled might of Chelsea, Man Utd and Real Madrid beat back the Turk. Besides a lone representative of West-West-West Kurdistan who celebrated with his Portugese brothers, the club was misery and smoke. Become a fan of Humble football to see a photo-essay of our exploits. Next stop: Lubuskie, South London for Poland vs Germany.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

»The little things make all the difference«, 2004 by Jonathan Monk. (via VVORK)

Friday, 6 June 2008

"Red army!" in Tehran

Chants of "red army" may have quieted around Ashburton Grove for the summer, but they're still rocking the streets of Tehran. The capital's giants Persepolis FC overcame a seven-point deficit to pip Isfahan's Sepahan for the title on the last day of the season, with over 100,000 fans of the "Reds" in attendance at the Azadi Stadium. Thrilling stuff indeed. Check out the awkward action video below.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Armenia vs Turkey - it really happened

Great news from Armenian blogger artmika who reports on the first ever (footballing) clash between Turkey and Armenia, in the European Under-19 Championships. That the match was played without significant incident - a single yellow card and Armenian fans whistling the throughout the Turkish national anthem hardly counts as trouble - is great news. Perhaps football diplomacy will help two countries with no official relations.

Next stop World Cup 2010 qualifying, where the two nations will play each other at senior level - I don't necessarily fancy being in the Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadı for that one though.

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Pale blue fire in a forest of football

In our absence much has happened. Trolls control the world. Frightening scum have vomitted themselves into a state of disarray. INRI has risen. All may be signs of a coming apocalypse. In the face of this it is heartening to hear of Chernobyl and the number of the beast.

(From The Global Game): 'By sunset on 27 Apr 1986, as Chernobyl reactor no. 4 burned, in one soldier’s recollection, like a “beautiful blue fire,” the town was empty.

Left behind in the silence: a newly built football stadium sitting just to the north of a bright yellow Ferris wheel, a gift from Soviet authorities in commemoration of the upcoming May Day holiday.

Read more here.

The secret history of black football in the UK

The excellent Pitch Invasion blog explores the little-known history of Arab and African players in British football. Beginning with Arthur Wharton (right), who played for a slew of clubs including the indomitable Preston North End of the 1880s, the piece profiles a number of other colourful characters who graced the mud-and-thunder pitches of the UK. These include Hassan Hegazi - the Egyptian who made his name at Dulwich Hamlet before turning out for Fulham in 1911 - and Tesilimi "Thunder" Balogun - the Nigerian who signed for Peterborough in 1955 on the condition that the club also find him an apprenticeship in printing. We often think of the 1970s and 1980s as the era when the colour barrier was truly crossed, when the likes of John Barnes overcame the racist stupidity of their own supporters. But spare a thought for the unsung figures of the past, who had to make do in a footballing world that was very much black-and-white.

Friday, 30 May 2008

And we're back

ta geeza

Yes, the moment you've all been waiting for... like Lazarus, HumbleFootball has pushed aside that rock of seasonal writer's block and now rises from the dead to breathe life into your summer ennui.

Expect regular updates and musings, transfer anti-speculation, our own brand of North London Euro2008 coverage and much more. Watch this space!