Forlan, Falcao & fantastic breasts

Fourteen things IâÂÂve done in the last few days...

1) Visited a town in southern Brazil where German is the first language and all the buildings look Bavarian. I didnâÂÂt catch Rudi Voller quaffing fat-headed beers in a beer hall wearing lederhosen though.

2) Bought Sexuality by Billy Bragg.

3) Got told off for singing it. I think the line: âÂÂIâÂÂve had relations, with girls from many nationsâ caused the offence, rather than âÂÂI had an uncle who once played, for Red Star Belgrade.â Or maybe it was my dreadful voice.

4) Watched United win on TV against West Brom and Everton. ItâÂÂs easier watching United on television in Brazil than it is in Burnage. Not that IâÂÂve ever watched United on the box in Burnage.

Though between 1999-2001, I often used Burnage station as a starting point for my journeys as it was the closest to my flat. I can recall one particularly nervy occasion when I was with a fully laden mountain bike ready to board a train north to do the coast-to-coast ride.

The local scrotes weighed my bike up. Had the train not arrived, it could well have been âÂÂliberatedâ next to be seen ridden on the streets of Moss Side by a young dealer.

That happened to me when I was 17â¦


5) Decided that IâÂÂm going to watch a Gremio away game in Novo Hamburgo. Alone.

6) Tried to work out the best way of getting to Punta Del Este from Montevideo this week. UruguayâÂÂs most famous current export Diego Forlan told me that Punta is the best place in the world for girls and nightlife. That opinion should be set against the fact that he was listening to INXSâ Greatest Hits at the time and describing it as âÂÂthe best album ever.âÂÂ

While IâÂÂm dropping names of strikers excelling in Spain, Samuel EtoâÂÂo once told me that I have to go to Cameroon because the women have âÂÂfantastic breasts.âÂÂ

7) Finally got hold of FalcaoâÂÂs number. I had intended to interview the brilliant Brazilian, the only one from the âÂÂ82 World Cup team who played in Europe. He was a bigger star in Rome than Cesar. IâÂÂve run out of time in Brazil though so it will have to wait until next year. Shame - I was looking forward to that.

8) Had a conversation with my brother Jonathan â aka the 'non league gypsy'. Aged 32 and about to become a dad, heâÂÂs just parked his caravan at Salford City, his 6th (sixth) semi-professional club in the last year.

âÂÂWhere are you?â he asked.

âÂÂIn a lounge at an airport,â I whispered.

âÂÂDoes it have free beer?â he continued, getting straight to what matters to him.


âÂÂWhy arenâÂÂt you drinking then?âÂÂ

âÂÂBecause I donâÂÂt want to.âÂÂ

âÂÂYouâÂÂre not right in the head,â he went on. âÂÂThereâÂÂs free beer and youâÂÂre not drinking. IâÂÂd drink until the plane came and stuff my pockets full of peanuts.âÂÂ

9) Conversed with Andrew Dickman, a boss at Channel M who has a fetish for stadiums and a 4,000 strong football programme collection. He keeps a card with the exact figure in his wallet and warrants a blog alone for some of his stories interviewing the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson. IâÂÂm to speak to Mancunian expats on my travels.

10) Emailed my other brother Sam, who is doing really well in Stockport County Under 14s. IâÂÂve given him a job selling United We Stand and collecting the mail from the PO Box. HeâÂÂs keen.

One of his jobs is typing out the names and addresses of subscribers and sending them to me to forward to the subscriptions man. SamâÂÂs common sense has room for improvement and heâÂÂs managing to get the names wrong of subscribers.  He listed a âÂÂSmithâ as âÂÂSmimâ last week and a âÂÂRobinsonâ and âÂÂRobisnâÂÂ. If they are actually called âÂÂSmimâ or âÂÂRobisnâ then I apologise.

11) Did a 58 minute interview for an American website about Mad For It. They were in LA. We did it on Skype, which is the best invention since Anne Hathaway.

If I fail to convince Andrei Kanchelskis to meet me in Sevastopol in May, IâÂÂll try and get him to do the interview on Skype. IâÂÂll put 33 pence on him never having heard of it.

"You want to interview me with a what?"

12) Finished reading Best and Edwards by Gordon Burn. ItâÂÂs one of the best books IâÂÂve read about football. The sad chronology of BestâÂÂs drinking was not dissimilar to Brian CloughâÂÂs in the two excellent books about him by Duncan Hamilton and David Peace â the other British novelist in the class of Burn.

13) Paid my tax bill. I hope Gordon Brown (donâÂÂt mix him up with the writer Gordon, nor the Gordon Burn who used to present the Krypton factor from a moor near Bury) spends the money supporting those thoroughly likeable and underpaid hedge fund managers and bank bosses who now find their bonuses reduced after years of living frugally in Dickensian conditions.

14) Had a nice cold glass of Shumpt, the Belgian soft drink advocated by Alan Partridge, who contravened BBCâÂÂs advertising protocol in the process.

The reason? To mark a year of doing this blog.

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