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SHARES
3 March 2008
So there we have it, the FourFourTwo Top 50 has been revealed (see full Top 50) and the general consensus on the night was that in Kevin Phillips, Jermaine Beckford and Keith Andrews, we had three very worthy winners.But, like all lists and polls, the results are open to conjecture – and the debate among many of the 800-strong gathering at London’s Park Lane Hilton stretched into the early hours, long after our lauded trio had walked off into the night with their polished trophies.Andy Gray second? Michael Kightly third? We heard cases being argued for James Beattie, Zheng Zhi, Jonathan Greening and the like, but at the end of the day, the results were there in black and white – the players and managers had their say, so too members of the media, but most importantly this was an awards ceremony for the fans, by the fans. It was your vote that counted most.Granted, Gray hasn’t had the best of times since his switch to the Valley in January, but it would take a brave man to argue against his achievements at Burnley while Wolves – as Mick McCarthy admitted last night – look a shadow of their former selves in Kightly’s absence.That there were a number of candidates vying for position among the Championship front runners is a reflection of the league itself this season. Phillips aside, consistency has been a problem for many players as it has many teams. Sorry, all teams.
SHARES
2 March 2008
Ladies and gentlemen, here it is, FourFourTwo’s definitive rundown of the 50 Best Football League players.
SHARES
29 February 2008
Four years ago, FourFourTwo did something rather strange. Risky even.
SHARES
29 February 2008
It has been a bad week for the Italian male following a high-court ruling that it is now a criminal offence to touch one’s genitals in public.
SHARES
29 February 2008
Atlético Madrid (4th) v Barcelona (2nd)
SHARES
28 February 2008
I was once talking to some sort of delegate of the European Union. He was from Slovenia, I from Britain, so we were discussing how our national characteristics affect our debating skills. "Each country is very different," he said, in English better than mine. "The British are very reserved and would rather not talk about the problem. The Scandinavian countries will sit down for a brief meeting, simple and to the point and get it out of the way. And the Latins... well, they will take to the streets, shake their fists and make a lot of noise."
SHARES
28 February 2008
A couple of weeks ago, La Liga Loca presented the best goal of the season so far and one of its favourite ever - not Alvaro Negredo's brilliant free-kick flick-up volley type thing, although that was bloody good, but Fernando Llorente's stroke of score-from-the-kick-off genius. This week, it proudly (and gigglingly) presents the silliest goal of the season so far and definitely one of it's favourite ever: this one scored by Ikechukwu Uche against Real Madrid at the weekend, complete with Arjen Robben's brilliantly blank expression.  (Not to mention some great commentary on the clip, including a bit where he seems to say "no young man, no young man!")
SHARES
27 February 2008
Footballer’s blogs are a peculiar business.Back when Crazy World was a lad, information about your favourite player was thin on the ground. The best you could hope for in the seventies and eighties was the odd Q&A in Match, in which youh’d find out that your hero was married to a woman called Joan and disliked rude people. Insightful it wasn’t.These days, quite the opposite is true. The internet has provided us with numerous websites run by dedicated fans or media organisations, packed with the most astonishing minutiae of players lives, from their literary preferences (“I don’t read books” says Andrew Johnson) to their pets (Dirk Kuyt apparently has a rabbit called Trigger).Most of them, it has to be said, aren’t worth bothering with. The blogs are dictated down phone lines by bored players to bored journalists, or collated by anoraks, and are chock-full of the usual bleeding obvious platitudes about being over the moon following the latest win.Strangely, the one time they do get interesting is when a time-rich, laptop-toting player decides to actually write it themselves.Things really took off with Aki Riihilahti’s wonderfully random web diary, in which the former Crystal Palace midfield maestro discussed life, the universe and everything with all the gusto of a Selhurst Park Hunter S. Thompson colliding with Karl Pilkington.The Finn, now plying his trade at Djurgardens IF, famously claimed he’d been very popular at junior school because of his ability to stand on his head for over two minutes.He revealed a philosophical side, claiming: "sure, I cry and feel pain about football results, but the view of an old man grieving next to his wife’s coffin is real pain.”And he had a unique talent for a metaphor. “Injuries are like ketchup,” pondered Aki once. “First there is long quiet period, but then suddenly there comes out a big wave of shit.”Next was Moritz Volz, a German so wilfully wacky that we’re surprised he doesn’t take to the pitch in a collapsible clown car, wearing a revolving bow tie.His blog is here, but all you need to really know about the Teutonic crackpot’s philosophy is contained in this FourFourTwo interview,  where the Fulham defender reveals his near-fanatical dedication to David Hasselhoff.However, this week a new blogger was brought to Crazy World’s attention who could conceivably be the most interesting of the lot: Joe Cannon of San Jose Earthquakes. His latest effort is a two thousand-word tract about breakfasts.It all started when big Joe, the Earthquake’s ginormous stopper, was running late for training, not leaving enough time to prepare his usual oatmeal.“I thought about my favorite smoothie in the world,” salivates the former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. “The gift that keeps giving, the dessert of the morning, the perfect blend of taste, nutrition and substance. I was thinking about the ‘HULK’.”The HULK, it transpires, is 20z of goodness containing weight gain, butter pecan ice cream, bananas, egg protein, soy protein, milk, carbohydrate mix, vanilla, wheat germ, turbinado, and honey.“I, Joe Cannon, put my name and reputation behind this,” states Joe solemnly.However, upon arriving at the purveyors of the HULK, Smoothie King, Joe gets a shock. The store is to be shut down this week. He isn’t happy. “I felt cheated, slapped in the face, and disrespected.”“Each of us have a "HULK" in our lives. To some it’s their wives, to others it’s their soccer team. The "HULK" is symbolic to all of us, to remind us that there are things in this life which are fighting for.”Cannon is now spearheading a campaign to save the San Jose store. “The chances are slim that I can help rescue Smoothie King, but I have to try.”He adds: “Life is not about the result, but the journey,” a wonderful philosophy that is in keeping with the teachings of the Dalai Lama, but at odds with the thought of most football folk who, conversely, are just happy with the three points even though we didn’t play as well as we know we can.Whichever school of thought you’re in, it makes a refreshing change from the norm. Crazy World will certainly be reading Joe's ramblings every week. And next time we’re stateside, our skinny ass is getting bulked up on one of these
SHARES
27 February 2008
“Bullshit.” That was the last word Ruud van Nistelrooy said to me as a Manchester United player. It was in New Jersey three years ago following a pre-season friendly between United and AC Milan. I’d asked Ruud to respond to accusations that United’s US trip was more about commercial gain than football and he replied with a well constructed argument about the players liking America because they enjoyed the relative anonymity, the excellent training facilities and a high quality of opposition. “Whatever anyone else says is bullshit,” he concluded.  Tomorrow, I’ve got a one-on-one interview with the Real Madrid striker in the Spanish capital, something I’ve been chasing for three months. Ruud was superb for United yet, if anything, he’s been even better for the Spanish champions. He’s maintained the phenomenal goal ratio, but he’s a more complete player who provides assists and has been central to the rejuvenation of Raul. He looks fitter, happier and more productive than he ever did in his final years at Old Trafford. I’m looking forward to the trip and not only because interviews with bright, articulate footballers are rare. I started spending time in Spain in 2001, driving from Manchester via the Portsmouth - Bilbao ferry to Barcelona with some belongings. The journey across the north of Spain contrasted between the lush mountains of the Basque country with the arid solemnity of the meseta – the high plateau on which sits much of inland Spain. Breaking the often desolate landscape was the construction of the high speed AVE rail link between Barcelona and Madrid. That link finally opened last week, three years late.Previously, a train between Spain’s two biggest cities took six hours, meaning the air route between Castile and Catalonia was the planet’s busiest, with planes every twenty minutes. Now, the 342 mile journey takes just 2 hours 38 minutes on one of the fastest rail routes in the world and you get a full refund if the train is more than 10 minutes late.Booking the ticket was a frustration, however. AVE’s website twice crashed when I tried to make payment and the lady at their call centre was thicker than the mud in Morecambe Bay. She was confused by a simple ticket enquiry between those unknown villages of Barcelona and Madrid. As she also seemed to be doing the booking on a ZX Spectrum, I gave up, cursed Spanish inefficiency, walked to the station and paid a hefty £150. For that price I expect Penelope Cruz to be driving the train and her sister Monica to be hooting the hooter.I intend to use the journey time well, finalising questions for the Dutchman and working out which team to play for Manchester La Fianna’s big game against Iveria, the reigning league champions and cup winners, this Saturday. Iveria are comprised of Georgian immigrants, several of them former professionals from Tbilisi and have around 100 fans at each game. We’re on a run of seven consecutive wins, our last defeat a 2-1 slip against Iveria in November. I was absent and received several painful score texts as I watched Bolton beat Manchester United. It was a bad day, but Manchester have improved since, a true test of which will come this Saturday. We’re without three key players, but don’t tell the Georgians that…

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