Nani state-of-the-art teasing stirs an old maestro’s memories
The passage of ball-juggling that provoked William Gallas into a hack at the back of Nani’s calves and brought expressions of disapproval from Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon seemed to polarise opinion among football lovers. Some saw Nani’s behaviour as an affront to the game’s unwritten code. Biggest Prada Store In London To others, however, it Bergdorf Goodman Prada Mens Shoes was a marvellous expression of individual skill, evoking an era existing only in archive images of players with absurdly long hair and ludicrously short shorts. As the argument rumbled on, it seemed sensible to discuss it with an expert.
And not just any old expert. Duncan McKenzie lingers in the memory as English football’s most gifted, audacious and utterly unapologetic showboater. In the colours of Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Everton, the three clubs with which he became most closely associated in the 1970s (others included Anderlecht, Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers), his outrageous exploits entered into legend. And, yes, he had indeed been watching as Nani controlled the ball with head, knees and instep to take it away from Justin Hoyte, Arsenal’s struggling right-back, while Manchester United were cruising to a 4-0 victory in the final stages of their fifth-round Biggest Prada Outlet In Italy tie.
“I laughed,” he said yesterday. “I thought what Nani did was lovely to Authentic Prada Clothing watch. You like to see bits of individual skill. But I can see Ferguson and Wenger’s point, to be honest. It’s a different world now and that sort of thing is a lot less prevalent than in the 70s. In those days the defenders kicked 10 bells of hell out of us and in many ways they deserved to be on the receiving end occasionally. It was payback time. But every game is a big game now.”
Replaying the moment in question, it is easy to see that Nani was undertaking the job of getting the ball away from the danger area in his own half by using the best tool at his disposal, his wonderful skill. Circumstances play a part, of course, and if he is in the side at Lyon tomorrow night and finds himself in a similar situation with the game in the balance, Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Outlet Online he will probably resort to a more straightforward method of clearing his lines. But it was a treat to be in the stadium to witness his virtuosity, which almost received an unexpected reward when Gallas’s rash act of retribution threatened to earn him a suspension from the FA’s disciplinary commission. Arsenal were lucky not to lose their captain at a time when they will need all their resources if they are to hold United at bay as the title race reaches its climax.
By coincidence it was also in a fifth-round tie that McKenzie pulled off his most brilliant feat of gratuitous technical self-expression. The date was February 26 1977 and he was playing for Everton against Cardiff City in Apertura Outlet Prada Montevarchi front of a packed Ninian Park. The visitors won 2-1 and McKenzie’s goal came when he robbed Albert Larmour, Cardiff’s centre-half, on the halfway line and set off for goal, with Ron Healey, formerly of Manchester City, advancing to meet his arrival.
“I must have taken it round him six or seven times,” McKenzie said, “and while I was doing that all the Cardiff defenders chased back and got themselves on the goalline. I pretended to shoot, and they all went one way. I pretended to shoot the other way, and they went that way, too. Then I popped it between the centre-half’s legs.”
Cardiff’s fans, who thought he had committed a foul to win the ball in the first place, were convulsed with anger at his effrontery. Everyone else was convulsed with mirth. “I got frightful earache off the manager,” McKenzie remembered. “Gordon Lee said to me, ‘Why didn’t you just hit it?'”
Because McKenzie believed that entertaining the fans – and himself – was a part of football, of course, while Lee’s attitude was a forerunner of the puritanical disapproval voiced by both managers at Old Trafford on Saturday. My guess, however, is that Ferguson’s criticisms were for public consumption only. Inside he might just have been giggling along with the rest of us.
Canny Hatton looking for promotion outside the ring
Ricky Hatton, we were told at the weekend, will shortly “utilise the £15m from his superfight with Floyd Mayweather to set himself up as a big-time operator outside the ring”. The Manchester fighter may have taken a few blows to the head as his unbeaten record came to an end in Las Vegas but it seems unlikely that he has become completely stupid overnight.
The best advice to those who can’t resist the temptation to gamble is to play, whenever possible, with the casino’s money and, while the shrewd Hatton will probably go on to make an effective promoter, perhaps in partnership with Oscar de la Hoya replica prada handbags, the chances are he is bright enough to ensure that someone else will be paying the bills, even when the profits start rolling in.
Australia doesn’t need Premier League circus
After watching Newcastle Jets beat the Queensland Roar in Sunday’s highly entertaining play-off match for a place in the A-League’s grand final, I find it hard to understand why Australia should seem so keen on hosting matches from the English Premier League. There was everything you might want from a sudden-death football match, with extra-time, all-out attacking, a stadium full of enthusiastic fans and five goals from a bunch of competent players, including a Brazilian and a Korean, whose salaries do not remove them from the experience of life as it is lived by those who pay to watch them. My advice to Aussie football fans would be to cherish what they’ve got.
Warne’s last hurrah – hair today, gone tomorrow
Shane Warne continues to add to the gaiety of several nations as he masterminds his gradual departure from the game of cricket. Hampshire have learnt that they will be seeing less of their captain this season, thanks to another commitment. Not to the world of professional poker – which, he claimed in his Authentic Prada Trainers column in The Times the other day, involves only a single Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Official Website tournament in Las Vegas, happening to coincide with the Twenty20 tournament in England – but to his contract with the IPL, India’s new 20-over league, which threatens to reshape world cricket and through which Warne hopes to achieve another ambition. “I would like to take Advanced Hair Studios to India,” he said, “and this may be a way in.”
Ecclestone was right – FIA did overreact to racism
Actually Bernie Ecclestone was right about the outbreak of racism directed at Lewis Hamilton in Spain a couple of weeks ago. It was indeed an isolated incident and did not justify the FIA’s response, which was to set up a grand prix equivalent of football’s Kick It Authentic Prada Online Shop Out campaign. The governing body should have imposed an immediate ad hoc punishment. Instead it indulged in a bit of belated and pointless grandstanding.
Hail the Authentic Prada Handbags Online Blatter-Platini axis
The more I think about the good turn the disapproving words of Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini did English football last week, the more I am reminded of Hans Blix and Jacques Chirac vainly trying to warn Tony Blair against the advisability of invading Iraq. What a pity those two didn’t have Fifa/Uefa-style authority over our neo-imperialist ambitions. firstname.lastname@example.org