The lovely Helen hugs a plank of wood.

by Noel Draper

I like to watch football. There I said it. I make no apology for this fact. It’s the way I roll. One of the benefits of watching football is that you notice things. Things that amuse. Things that annoy. Things that make you shout very loudly at the television causing your family to jump and then shout at you. So here, for you to ignore, is a list of nine things that have caught my attention this season.

Gary Neville

No Sky, no! I have not paid for my digital package to have that rat faced buffoon offering his biased opinion to all and sundry whilst defending everyone of his former team mates. What were you thinking? Why do I have to watch that fu…oh, hang on, he appears to be talking sense. Sure he still looks like a rat and I still have a deep rooted hatred of him but a pundit who actually talks sense? Watchable, that’s what he is, watchable and the best pundit around. Damn him.

Television Cameras

Television directors spend ages finding a pretty girl in the audience and then zoom in whilst the commentator offers some slightly sexist remark. Suddenly the pretty girl notices that the camera is on her and starts waving. She then nudges the ugly girl sitting next to her who joins in. It’s a great moment or it would have been if the cameraman hadn’t switched to another view as soon as the pretty girl noticed herself on the big screen. Why do they do this? Why pick someone out and then cut them off in their prime? Here’s an idea Mr Cameraman, zoom in, watch the wave, watch the ugly girl join in and give them their moment of glory. Where’s the harm?

Wigan Athletic

The season starts in August. Just an observation.

Kick off times

The F.A Cup Final is going to kick off at 5.15pm on a bank holiday weekend. The train companies had told the Football Association that engineering work planned for that weekend would mean that no trains would be returning to Liverpool in the evening and that they would have a limited service during the day. The F.A went ahead with the time and date anyway. Why? Oh right, television. If you had a soul Football Association it was a long time ago as you appear to have sold it.


Mr Song. Mr Ekotto. Mr Cisse. Mr Frimpong. You are all role models for the younger generation. Sort your hair out. Please.

Soccer AM

You were very funny once when you introduced words like bouncebackability to the general football public. Now you have lost your way. A lot. Give it up guys. No one cares about you anymore. No one cares for words like tekkers and dench. The crossbar challenge? Great a few years ago but boring now. Time to wave goodbye. Sorry Helen and the wooden one next to you whoever he is. Sorry.


There was a time, not in the too distant past, when the art of tackling was just that. An art. I once had a week long trial with Ipswich Town the season after they had won the UEFA Cup. It was pre-season and all the star players were there including Paul Mariner and Paul Cooper. As an up and coming left back I was taken under the wing by George Burley, a no nonsense Scottish international full back. He spent a week drumming three things into me about tackling which were either win the ball, win the ball and take out the man or just take out the man. His preferred option was the second one. It was mine as well. Sadly, in today’s game, we would both have been banned for life which is a pity as a good tackle is a beautiful thing. Bring it back please.

Football Boots

If you want to see how funny modern coloured boots look, next time you watch a game on the television (it doesn’t work live), squint a bit. Obviously don’t do this if there are other people in the room with you as you will be ridiculed. Trust me on this.

Referee’s assistants or whatever you are calling yourselves these days

The ball is hurtling towards you with no-one anywhere near you. What do you do? Stop it with a bit of fancy footwork thus proving that you are human after all or let it shoot past you whilst completely ignoring it? Here’s a small hint. Try option one occasionally. It will make me smile.