The Groundsman’s Shed


Do You Feel Sorry for John Terry? by groundsman

I know I wrote that somewhat emotional post earlier about what it means to be an athlete and a loser, but then I saw this…

…and all the vitriol I normally feel for John Terry (he will never be called “JT” on this blog) has made a sudden and swift return.  Seriously- blowing snot on an opponent?  Are you like, five?

I still maintain that it was a sad ending to the match for him, but I have a feeling that landing on his arse during what could have been one of the most iconic moments of his career still won’t take the snarly thug attitude away from him. 

For those of you struggling with lipreading, according to a few news sources and bloggery he’s saying to Carlos Tevez, “F**king Argie C**t”.  CLASS.

He’s a quality player! Why must he also do this?

Of course, he could just be wiping his nose so vigorously that he didn’t notice Tevez’ neck was in the way.

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John Terry’s Long Fall by groundsman
May 21, 2008, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Champions League, Chelsea, John Terry

In the dying moments of tonight’s Champions League final, I began to feel something I’ve never experienced.  It was a bizarre sensation, beginning in the pit of my stomach, and according to my coworkers- registering in my facial expression.

I felt sorry for John Terry.

Before smartass commenters come through reminding us all that he’s on between 131,000 and 135,000 pounds a week, he plays a sport for a living, and gets to have the summer off- I know, I know.  I’m with you.

But he’s also a professional athlete, captain of his club team, and briefly- captained his country.   Striding forward to take the penalty tonight, the look on his face was one of unquestionable authority.  I leaned back in my chair and folded my arms, already somewhat happy for Chelsea’s silverware (as a true neutral, going into this match I was just one step above the “if only they could both lose” mentality), and writing leads in my mind to sum up the match.  The storyline of Chelsea’s John Terry, their Captain Fantastic, who’d battled back from an injury just 10 days before, had an excellent performance throughout regular time, only to come through in the end for his team.  The most incredible thing? He wasn’t even supposed to BE the 5th penalty taker.  That spot was for Didier Drogba. 

However, there can’t always be happy endings.  The miss was slo-mo devastation.  It wasn’t as if he had been beaten by superb goalkeeping.   It wasn’t as if he were just off target.  He lost his footing, slipped, and fell. 

Watching him cry bitterly into Avram Grant’s shoulder may have been immensely satisfying for United fans and some neutrals alike- but that’s when my cynicism faded, and he looked like an athlete again.  I’ve lost on the field, you’ve lost on the field, and Chelsea will lose again.  Yes, where there are winners, there will also be losers– and sometimes, it’s hard to remember how much players have to lose for themselves. 

When Terry fell, it was a long way down to the ground for a man who looked as if he were already on top of the world.  That’s how quickly it can all happen.

Upside:  He’ll be over it soon, and in a few months Chelsea fans, you will too.  Care to re-live the tension? Watch the penalty kicks all over again, here.

To lighten the mood: One of my favorite radio personalities is BACK BACK BACK!! Danny Baker is returning to BBC’s 6-0-6



Manchester United has the title, while Middlesborough takes no prisoners by groundsman

…and there you go.

Manchester United clinched the Premier League title this afternoon with a 2-0 affair that only had me on the edge of my seat due to the grainy footage online and straining to make out the action on the field.  Bolton left Chelsea with a deserved draw after a dour 90+ minutes of football, Reading and Birmingham are joining Derby to take the drop down to the Championship, and Middlesborough spanked Manchester City 8-1.  No, that is not a typo. 8 – 1.  If this really was Sven Goran Eriksson’s last match at the club, then his positive season start ended in complete and utter shambles.

Congrats to ManU fans, but this groundskeeper’s heart was with The Cottagers for the day, as Fulham attempted to stay in the Premier League.  The job was finished with an 0-1 win over FA Cup finalists Portsmouth, but now a new task begins: summertime steps to avoid a future relegation battle. If “Fulhamerica” care to live up to their nickname, Roy Hodgson may be looking to scoop up more American talent on the (relatively) cheap.

A couple of the USA boys who could bring bang for the buck are 18 year old forward Jozy Altidore (The Rumour Mill showed him being courted by a few Premiership clubs earlier this year), or perhaps 22 year old midfielder Maurice Edu (currently of Toronto FC, but has been flirting with some English teams).  Yes, Fulham will surely need more than a couple of well-conditioned Americans to get them through the next season, but really any buys will be a step in the right direction.

Grounds Clippings:

John Terry could miss the Champion’s League final in Moscow after dislocating his elbow in the early parts of Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Bolton.

This season has NOT been boring, sniffs Paul Wilson in his column for The Observer. He also takes the time to have a few pops at Kevin Keegan.

-Everyone sing it with me, “It’s the moooost horrible tiiiiime of the yeeeeear!”   Yes, the club football season is winding down so it’s time for the obligatory end-of-regular-season-humorous-wrap up-of sorts. David Hill has done the hard work for us all with this snappy shakedown.

– Oh, and just to point out something interesting (to us, anyway)…  Manchester City’s fans decided that if they were going to be thrashed 8-1 by Middlesborough, they might as well try win the fight after the game.  Well done, lads.  So in our online jaunts we’ve learned that some (notice the stress on some) City fans cannot detect sarcasm, or read actual words, or can only communicate with adverbs and nouns like “facking” or “wanker”.   Once again, well done.  I see Sven’s elegance didn’t rub off on you in just one season.



In case you were in any doubt as to why England aren’t in Euro2008… by groundsman

…please see a replay of the second half of today’s friendly against France. 

It was supposed to be meaningless, but the saddest thing is that for the first half, before a massively unfortunate error by David James, the England team had a bright, if not desperate start, signifying that to these boys who have an empty summer stretching before them– this means quite a lot.  So eager were the lads to please the coach, the fans, themselves- they were all running out of their shirts.  It was sloppy, nervy play expected of guys who aren’t practising with eachother regularly, but it was a sight better than the mess that followed.

I don’t blame Capello– we all knew there were fundamental problems with the national team’s play.  I just wonder how he’s going to be able to teach these guys how to pass cleanly and quickly, tighten up their play, and react with their heads and not just their bodies.  Owen Hargreaves had a nice match, but then- his aggressive tactics usually make him shine in international play for some reason.   As for the captain situation, the Rappin’ Rhymin’ Cap’n and his immediate predecessor had a very rocky start, with Rio Ferdinand giving some very good opportunities up front for Les Bleus, while John Terry played an unfortunate part in the moments leading up to Anelka colliding with James, and after Franck Ribery‘s goal(and then the yellow card for a tribute to his deceased friend), he was fairly quiet  for the rest of his time on the field, leaving at half time with a sore thigh.  

I’m not entirely sure about David Beckham’s performance.  It wasn’t shambolic by any means, and he didn’t appear to injure himself, so those are two pluses.  As for his ability to still contribute to the team- he was never a fast boy, and his pace has tapered off even more- but while he was on the pitch, the plays did work through him very well- there was just incredibly poor finishing.  Rooney and Gerrard were taken off the pitch at halftime, perhaps fatigued from Sunday’s hard work for their clubs, and also– they were simply useless for the first 45 minutes.  However, the substitution of Owen and Crouch was like a child being promised a pony for her birthday only to recieve a mechanical bull. 

Overall, the team WAS different than they have in past years, they held posession a bit longer than usual and seemed intent upon trying to pass more often, rather than the ol’ “Hoof it up to the man up front” technique, which they lapsed onto whenever they seemed worried.  Which was often.  It was nice to see them trying something “different”, and it’s never good to see them lose.

On the bright side, my home country’s team won 3-0.  USA! USA! USA!  I was watching the above tosh live, purely because I wanted to see what Rio would be like with any sort of responsibility for anything held over his head.   I’ll see the US match a bit later, but I’ll just say this– if England play against Team USA like they did today, I’ll be dumping tea into the river Thames whilst wearing a tri-corner hat and screaming things about how much I love our Founding Fathers after the match. 

Going to London for the match on May 28th?  Let me know! 

[Photo: AP/Michel Euler]



John Terry Supporting Referees? by groundsman
March 23, 2008, 10:55 am
Filed under: Arsenal, Chelsea, Javy Mascherano, John Terry, Liverpool

There are few things more insane or ironic than John Terry backing a plan to get rid of confrontations between players and refereesJohn Terry.  The same man known for ripping cards out of referees hands, and getting in a mad funk and hurling abuse at a man with a flag who is simply going about his paid work.   Ridiculous.  This is all particularly interesting after Liverpool’s Javy Mascherano threw a tantrum which got him sent off at Old Trafford.  

Anyway- we’re just a few minutes away from the RSENL v. Chel$ki match.  Jamie Redknapp on Sky is still in a grand funk over Liverpool rolling over and dying for Manchester United, and accusing Arsenal players of “playing to the cameras” during their pre-match pep talk.  Of all the petty things!  Footballers really are children, aren’t they?