OFF THE BALL

A one-way trip into Blatter's bonce

June 10, 2011
By Dominic Raynor
(Archive)

Off The Ball never rests in its mission to scratch around the underbelly of professional football to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories.

This week, Sepp Blatter ensures FIFA remains a laughing stock, Berti Vogts is bombarded by bog roll in an Azeri "attack", Rio Ferdinand is crowned king of the Twitts, Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez says he hopes never to return to the city and ghost goal that would make England's Frank Lampard proud.

A one-way trip into Blatter's bonce

Sepp Blatter
GettyImagesSepp Blatter: FIFA mastermind

If Star Trek's Spock were to mind meld with Sepp Blatter - and anything is possible in the imaginary land the FIFA chief appears to inhabit - it is unlikely the steely minded Vulcan would be able to survive the bewildering, unfathomable and befuddling vortex he encountered.

Only Sepp's perplexing psyche would consider crowning a week in which the number of FIFA executives denying corruption charges hit double figures, the controversial awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was again called in question and the man himself dodged bribery allegations to waltz through a farcical presidential election unopposed by appointing a "council of wisdom" to clean up football that consisted of an opera singer, an 88-year-old political scientist and Johan Cruyff.

This unlikely trio have been tasked with cleaning up the mounting mess at FIFA and this is not happening inside Blatter's bonce, but in real life. Cruyff aside, just how Spanish-Mexican tenor Placido Domingo and former USA Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who at least has a tenuous link to football as an honourary member of German club Spielvereinigung Greuther Furth, intend to get the house in order is mystifying.

Diego Maradona's statement earlier this week that "FIFA is a big museum and they are dinosaurs who do not want to give up power - everything will be the same" appears unusually insightful. A motley council of wisdom? Highly illogical.

Tevez still loving life in England

It safe to say that constantly grumbling £250,000-per-week striker Carlos Tevez doesn't like life in Manchester and this week the City star appeared on Argentinian Susana Gimenez TV show to voice his dissatisfaction and vow never to return to the English enclave.

"What's wrong with the city? The weather, everything. It has nothing. There are only two restaurants," Tevez said of a city famous for the Curry Mile restaurant district. "When I finish my contract I will not return to Manchester ever."

The outspoken, and obviously misinformed striker, then hit upon the real problem. "I don't have any new friends. I am always with my family and lifelong friends. I don't even leave my house. I'm the stay-at-home type ... The problem is I'm still speaking very poor English."

Erm, just a few questions Carlos: Why didn't you spend all those years staying at home in Manchester learning English? And why, if you dislike Manchester so much, did you leave Manchester United to join Manchester City?

Berti bombarded in bog roll "attack"

Former Germany international Berti Vogts may have won the World Cup as a player but as far as disgruntled Azerbaijan fans are concerned he's s**t at all that management lark and they've attempted to tell him so through a series of metaphor-laden protests.

Prior to Azerbaijan's Euro 2012 qualifier against Kazakhstan Vogts held his usual pre-match press conference during which a group of men, who may or may not have been journalists, pelted the 64-year-old with toilet rolls to illustrate "the worth of his three years in charge of the national team".

Unfortunately for Vogts Azerbaijan then lost the qualifier to leave the Odlar Yurdu rooted to the foot of the table and so the Azeri journalists presented the manager with a jug of water of the type used in Muslim countries to wash after using the toilet.

Vogts, who vowed he would never manage again after a torrid spell as Scotland boss was brought to an end in January 2007, didn't see the funny side and filed a report of the "attack" with police and said he would discuss the next step with his lawyers.

Rio the biggest Twitt of them all

Rio Ferdinand
GettyImagesRio Ferdinand: One year left on current Manchester United contract

Rio Ferdinand might be the most preeminent Premier League luminary on Twitter with over 1.1 million followers but his crown as monarch of the Twitts must have rested a soupçon uncomfortably this week after he placed hindmost in a vocabulary study of footballers who recurrently use the site.

A Google language analysis apparatus determined that 88% of Ferdinand's lexicon fell into the "basic" classification while 11% manifested in the "intermediate" category. Other players who were examined proved superior, with Ferdinand's United colleague Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) surprisingly articulate, with 43% basic and 56% intermediate.

Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) reciprocated by tweeting: "So if u shorten words to get wot u want in within 140characters it makes u a twit?! I think that's working well within the 140 boundaries!" Later adding: "I swear down, we need more than 140charcters on ere, I want 2 get tings across wivout avin 2 use numbers 4 words!"

Everton captain Phil Neville possessed the most expansive vocabulary among his peers, using 59% intermediate locutions amalgamated with 40% basic ... Phew! I hope that ameliorates my score.

Ipswich star blames Roy Keane for speeding fine

Ipswich Town defender Damien Delaney has blamed ex-manager Roy Keane after being clocked doing 44mph in a 30mph zone and as far as excuses go it's a cracker.

Delaney, 29, told South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court that he put his foot down because Keane would fine him thousands of pounds if he turned up late for training.

In a letter to the court Delany wrote: "I had an unreasonable boss and was worried I'd be docked two weeks' wages."

Although Delaney got four points on his licence for the speeding offence it did work out financially as the he was fined just £235. The overall benefit might not have been so great if the Republic of Ireland international's feisty former boss was still at the club.


Video of the week

Independiente Rivadavia may have lost 3-0 to Patronato in Argentina's second tier but the vanquished sides's task was made all the more difficult when Gonzalo Bazan's perfectly legitmate goal was ruled out because the referee didn't see it. Bazan's spectacular long-range effort clearly hit the back of the net before bouncing back into play. To see Gonzalo Bazan's ghost goal click here .


More than words...


Xavi poses with all 16 trophies he has won during his time at Barca ©Diari Sport


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