Category Archives: The Layman

Or maybe this is the best ever goal from a goalkeeper (Video)

Earlier on today, I posted a video showing what may well be the best goal ever scored by a goalkeeper. Or at least the most spectacular.

But here is a challenger for that particular title and it could not be more different to the previous one.

This time, we travel to Switzerland and to an amateur match between Dardania Lausanne and Genolier-Begnins, a match the former won 6-1.
However, one of those goals involves Lausanne’s goalkeeper, Dominique Niederhauser (one of those curious part French, part German names) taking a touch on his chest and whacking a volley past his opposite number. From 75 yards.

Boom.

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The potential peril of goal bonuses

Money makes the football world go round and if you don’t have cash, you have nothing. Just ask professional idiot Leon Knight.

Everybody in football wants to earn as much as their talents allow them which is fair enough; if people are willing to pay stupid amounts of money in wages for talent (no matter how dubious it is. Hello again Leon) then that’s their prerogative.

However, perhaps there is an element of this that is damaging to football clubs in another way outside of the huge danger to living beyond one’s means as a business.

If banking had a bonus culture that caused a world full of problems, football may well have it’s own particular bonus problem.

Reports this week suggested that Michael Owen’s transfer to Stoke on a free was greased through based on a huge goal bonus to supplement a salary Owen’s representatives felt was not large enough.

On the face of it, a goal bonus suits all parties. Stoke do not have to pay a massive basic wage to a player who could indeed be past it but Owen backs himself to still score goals enough to augment a salary he does not feel is enough for his talents.

If he doesn’t score, Stoke pay less in wages. If he does score, Owen earns more and Stoke inevitably place higher in the league.

Win win, no?

Well, no.

There is a risk with goal bonuses and it depends on a player’s mentality and what they think about in-game.

Say the ball drops to Owen in the last minute, with Stoke 1-0 down to a rival. He looks up from a position around 15 yards out. He spots a teammate in a better position to score than him but he has got glory and his goal bonus on his mind. He strikes for goal and the opposing keeper gathers it with ease. His teammate goes mental.

I’m not saying that Owen is a greedy footballer (he probably isn’t as he seems like one of life’s good guys and besides, he has enough business interests outside of football) but there is always an element of selfishness with strikers as that is what makes the best ones so lethal.

However, if his teammates get it into his mind that he deliberately went for goal in an attempt to get his bonus, could this lead to a divide in the dressing room and an erosion of team spirit?

This has the potential to be a particularly big problem at a club like Stoke where team spirit is crucial at a club where the team is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

It remains to be seen whether this is a problem that could materialise but while the deal is benefical to all parties on the face of it, scratching beneath the surface could discover some potential pitfalls.

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Possibly the best goal you’ll ever see scored by a goalkeeper (Video)

If you are going to do something that you shouldn’t really be doing, then you might as well do it in style.

That would appear to be the philosophy of Jakob Kohler, goalkeeper of Danish second division East side outfit Frem.

With his team 1-0 down in injury time to Skjold Birkerod yesterday, Kohler (helpfully wearing a vivid pink shirt) goes up for a corner with all the accompanying vague hope that as he is a goalkeeper and therefore a bit tall, he might well get his head on something and divert the ball goalwards.

He does indeed get on the ball and divert it goalwards but not quite in the manner you would expect.

Check it out.

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Whatever happened to David Bentley? (Video)

It is always a great shame when a footballer with an immense amount of talent cannot, for whatever reason, make the most of his skills.

Sadly, it is looking as if David Bentley is one of those footballers as he this week went on loan to Russian side FC Rostov until January. If not banishment to Siberia, certainly out in the footballing wilderness.

It seems an awful long time ago since Bentley and Morten Gamst Perderson were the best pair of wingers operating in the Premier League at Blackburn Rovers under Mark Hughes and that is because it was a long time ago. Bentley is now 28.

It is do or die time for his career, some three years after he joined Spurs from Ewood Park in a deal worth £15million.

There has been flashes of brilliance such as THAT goal against Arsenal but he has only made 62 appearances for the club and none since November 2010.

A loan move to West Ham in 2011 resulted in him being ruled out for the season with a knee injury and it is desperately sad that before news of this loan move emerged, this writer could not even remember what club he was at.

One hopes for Bentley’s sake he can finally reignite a career that promised so much but after so long without game time, one cannot help but wonder if it’s all too late.

Let’s hope that the one thing he is remembered for isn’t this, no matter how impressive it is.
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A tribute to Leighton Baines (Video)

It must be a right pain to be a very good practitioner at what you do but to live in a time when a true genius is operating in your field.

A writer operating at the same time as Shakespeare, a composer in the era of Mozart or a scientist in the same timeframe as Newton must know the feeling (conspiracy theories aside of course).

On a lesser note, footballers can have the same problem and Leighton Baines is one of those footballers.

Baines has been operating at a time when England have had probably their best ever left-back playing, one Ashley Cole.

Regardless of perceived personality issues (indeed, the one place where Baines would win a contest over Cole is in likeability), Cole is perhaps the one true world class player that has performed consistently for England over the last decade.

As a result, last night was Baines’ first cap in a competitive game and he marked it with a goal. Not bad going that.

In celebration, here are some of the likeable Scouser’s best bits from a very good career so far at Wigan and Everton and, at the age of 27, he is just coming into his prime.

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Retro Di Canio madness (Video)

In a week where Paulo Di Canio reminded us just how absolutely off his rocker he is, now would be a good time to delve into the vaults for some examples.

Yeah we could go into various arguments with just about anyone from his time at West Ham, or the infamous Paul Alcock incident or even the stopping play against Everton clip (cos good sportsmanship is mental in this day and age) but I’ve chosen this one.

Witness Di Canio, plying his trade at Celtic, do what can be described as leg-breaker on Rangers’ Ian Ferguson before the argument is solved with each offering the other one outside and Di Canio performing a gesture which probably doesn’t mean “I’ll break my Dairy Milk in half so we can share it”.

At the final whistle, Di Canio walks away down the tunnel after starting a near riot in a similar way to an action hero walking away from an explosion.

Truly mad.

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The ringer (Video)

It’s never particularly fair when your Sunday league opposition turn up for a game in the morning with what you suspect can only be a ringer playing for them.

You know the feeling; you and a dozen other blokes turn up in the morning a bit worse for wear after 12 mood-lighteners the night before and some guy half your age runs you ragged with his supreme skill and fitness.

Well, here is a clip of a variant of that happening where the ringer in question was arguably the greatest technical midfielder this country has ever produced.

This Paul Scholes turning out for Chadderton Park in between his retirement and second debut for Manchester United where he scored a tidy 12 goals in one game.

One particular, personal highlight is a pinpoint shot into the absolute bottom corner of the tiny five-a-side goal.

Enjoy.

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Remembering Wales’ last big win in World Cup qualifying

Not every match in international football has a large historical precedent to it as googling “Kazhakstan vs Republic of Ireland” for the last 20 minutes has shown me.

But Wales Vs Belgium this weekend does indeed have some historical relevance to it as the corresponding fixture in 1993 at Arms Park, Cardiff is notable for two reasons.

Firstly, it was the international debut of one Ryan Giggs and secondly, it is the only time since 1985 that Wales have beaten any team in World Cup qualifying that can be legitimately classed as not a minnow.

Yup, in 55 games since the qualifying games for the 1990 World Cup, the Dragons’ record stands at 14 wins, 14 draws and 27 losses and no qualifying for World Cups.

So, enjoy some highlights in typical early 1990s quality from that night in Cardiff featuring Giggs, Gary Speed, Mark Hughes, Ian Rush, Dean Saunders and Neville Southall.

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