England’s Golden Generation X

England’s Golden Generation’s peak lasted about fifteen minutes, from when Micheal Owen, 12, ran through the Argentinean defense to when David Beckham tried to kick Simeone in the nuts. He missed.
England’s previous Golden Generation turned to custard when the successful vox-drums-bass-guitar formation was changed to a more European vox-drums-bass-guitar-guitar line up, resulting in an early exit from Glastonbury in the semi finals
Instead of, you know, developing young talented players and nurturing them until they were ready to win World Cups and that, England (who probably should have just built a team around Matt le Tissier) instead decided they’d just pinch the Man U youth academy and call it a Golden Generation.

David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdiand and, erm, Gary Neville (unluckily, Ryan Giggs, who would have been handy, was given suspect directions to a Welsh training camp as a youth) were going to take on the world and show ’em that Tel and Baz England hadn’t forgotten how to beat them foreigners at their own game. Or something. All they needed was a manager. That’s where it gets complicated.

First, England tried an English manager. Big mistake. Glenn Hoddle was like a swan on meth, elegant and stylish from a distance, but the closer you got, the more likely he was to bite your nose and fling shit at you. Kevin Keegan was fantastic at geeing the lads up, but hopeless at tactics, selection, media management, winning games, being generally coherent, brushing his hair and riding a bike. Steve McLaren was like teeth perched on a pair of legs. None of them, with the exception of Hoddle’s early days, none were much chop at managing football teams.
Then, seduced by the continent like an London businessman tipsy at a Parisian working lunch, England turned to foreign managers. Big mistake.

First there was Sven-Goran Ericksson, who has somehow managed some of the biggest clubs in Europe without anyone being able to ascertain if he’s actually any good. Strangely, his ‘biggest feats as England manager‘ wikipedia section omits shagging Ulrika Johnson. Sven spent most of his time in the hot seat shagging, making incomprehensible statements and giving the Golden Generation a sense of entitlement to rival David Beckham’s hairdresser. His 2006 world cup team were outplayed by their own WAGs, and Sven was out of a job.

Fabio Capello, despite a CV rammed with titles and Champions League trophies, had issues learning the language, and the culture. Seeing his players crowded around a telly willing Susan Boyle to a Britain’s Got Talent title and playing as themselves on the XBox was hard to take for this proud, sophisticated and urbane man. His squad’s obsession with the goings on in a boring Manchester pub boiled over in South Africa, as this extraordinary video reveals:
England’s Golden Generation now lies in ruins, like Cesar’s Rome, Mountbatten’s India or McCartney’s Wings. Despite dominating the Champions League and the tabloid headlines with their clubs, this gilded group never gelled for their country. And as the next generation coming though seems more interested in fucking about with their phones and threatening each other with knives, they may need a hero from down under.

Weekend preview

sportreview weekends aren’t what they used to be. Friday night drinking heavily at work. Drinking heavily in a bar. Drinking heavily at home. Watching videos for 24 hours and eating starchy, salty food to recover, before accidentally drinking heavily on Sunday night.


There’s a lot happening this weekend that isn’t me lamenting the fading of youth and opportunities to drink heavily (and responsibly! Har, forgot to mention that!). The All Whites are taking on a ninja.

The NZ Herald have captured a ninja on film, who has ninja-ed their way into the Italian squad.
Ninjas, as well as being awesome, are famed for manouvering silently, killing efficiently and spiderman-like crawling on the ceiling. Football in Italy is serious business, and the ninja call-up reflects how gravely they’re taking the All Whites’ onslaught. Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss will be kicking himself he didn’t bring a ninja, or indeed a sniper or slasher film protagonist on to do a job in midfield. Taking Shane Smeltz, Mark Paston or Winston Reid out of this mortal coil and the game would have greatly increased Slovakia’s chances of hanging on to their one goal lead providing the referee and referee’s assistants were unsighted.
It will be intriguing to see how Marcello Lippi deploys his ninja in the match, with the options of starting him at the top of the ‘christmas tree’ formation to create havoc in the All Whites’ back four (possibly using Shuriken or throwing stars), or bringing him off the bench to do a job. With a sword.
The whole country has gone Winston nuts thanks to his last minute equaliser, including this popular mobility scooter salesman.
Down south, the All Blacks will take on the Welsh in what used to be our national game. The All Whites’ World Cup run has shifted our national game paradigm significantly, it now looks like this:
1. Doing the fingers out the car window

2. Football

3. Rugby

4. Watching netball with a milo, silently wondering what the jiggins is going to happen tomorrow night on Coronation Street

5. Bitching and moaning

The Welsh have a strong rugby talking pedigree, fielding a great side of talkers in the 70s, who won respect with their flair for talking, before losing their talking edge in the 80s and 90s. Importing Kiwi talking talent has helped them become one of the modern era’s most feared talking nations in the six nations. The All Blacks were so rattled by Gatland’s fearsome ‘lost aura’ talking in 2009 that they only won 19-12.

Gatland appears to be keeping his talking powder dry in the build up to this two test series, mainly talking to himself in his hotel room, but there is still time to lay down some serious talking before his team runs on the field to be thrashed soundly. Enjoy your sporting weekend, team, and talk nicely to each other.

Rugby in crisis

Our national game is in a crisis of getting-it-stuck-in-the-fly proportions. No NZ team in the Super 14 final, more All Blacks out injured than out on the piss and a beloved ex-All Black stirring up a race war.
Haden in his playing days, when it was 14 moustaches per team – and that’s it
Sporting agent Haden, whose stable includes legendary sporting figures like Sale Of the Century’s Jude Dobson, talking very loudly’s Chris Harder, eating’s Peta Mathias and erm, Stu Wilson, blew the lid off the Crusaders’ ‘manual’ with his race-based selection claims. Other sporting manuals around the globe are now living in fear of similar outings, as sportreview.net.nz can exclusively reveal:
Springbok manual – one player on the ground wondering what fresh hell this is and that’s it
England manual – one RWC 2011 touring party that should feel right at home and that’s it
Crusaders manual – fifteen fellas a *bit* too keen to get their kit off and that’s it
Co-incidentally, Haden made his controversial comments on a show with a ‘three fuck-knuckles per episode – and that’s it’ policy.
Meanwhile, the All Black injury outbreak is reaching crisis point – in The Good Old Days™, when you could break a full backs’ nose without fear of television-enabled-reprisal, Colin Meads played with a broken arm, Grant Batty played with a funny name and one lock even took his place in the lineout while suffering from death.

Modern All Blacks, however, suffer new ailments like “Adidas poisoning’, ‘Powerade knee’, ‘Xbox’ and ‘Bench sickness‘. Getting potential All Blacks to play club rugby on Saturday backfired spectacularly, with Luke McAlister and Stephen Donald both going down with ‘Soft-cock’s elbow’.

Our playing stocks are at breaking point. Long gone are the days when you’d put the cat out and find four or five All Blacks sheltering on your stoop. Efforts to increase playing stocks by releasing All Blacks into lakes and the bush only seem to have made the problem worse.

Add in the fact South Africa has more big, scary players in hot form than Victor Matfield has leg hairs, while Australia has the best coach on the world by far, along with a crop of young players coming of age together and OH MY GOD WE’RE FUCKED, WE”RE TOTALLY TOTALLY FUCKED. In response, Graham Henry drove his vee-dub to an abandoned warehouse, had a beer and a smoke, danced around a bit and named his squad. And it looks pretty good. Relax, people, and that’s it.

Growing the game

So we’re taking the Bledisloe to Hong Kong. Again. Taking rugby to Asia sounds like it’d be cool, kind of like Indiana Jones getting on the razz in a Nepalese bar, but is more likely to involve a bloke called Charles Barrington-Unpleasant-Rolls boring your tits off with tales of the ‘barmy’ ‘army’ in a corporate box before vomiting on your shoes.
Getting a disinterested world interested in our interesting game is a challenge – Sportreview.net.nz Sporting Consultancy’s proposal involved Clive Woodward being driven through the world’s great cities on the back of a lorry, being repeatedly kicked in the nuts. Let me paint you a picture of the good people of Berlin, Chicago and Mumbai cheering the sickening thud of shoe leather on bollock and the yelping of a knight of the realm. They didn’t buy it.
In the meantime, we can all but dream of a world in the thrall of rugby – a World In Union:
The people of Iceland celebrate Sonny Bill Williams considering his All Black options with a traditional fireworks display.
Afghanistanis unhappy with the latest designs coming out of Canterbury New Zealand.
A Mexican rugby fan clambers to get into Yarrow stadium.
In other news, All Whites captain Ryan Nelson has been touring the country telling us how excited he is about the World Cup – but could he be MORE excited?
All the elements are there – his eyes are clear, not glassy or cloudy, legs crossed casually, and David Bellamy-like talking with his hands. Unfortunately for Ryan, the one audience member we can see is listing to one side, sleeping, or deep in thought, wondering if he left his copy of adult equestrian magazine ‘Horses For Courses’ out in the lounge where his flatmates might see it. With a few small tweaks, Ryan could be THIS excited:
This kind of energy would really lift New Zealand’s Football Fever™ (bought to you in association with Andrew Saville) to another level, and be handy for the All Whites if their matches go into extra time. Prepare the industrial sized tins of Sunny D, for the nation’s sake.

Black Caps T20 World Cup exit FAQ

Q: What the fuck? What the fucking fuck?

A: We went out to England, who’d already qualified for the next round, minus their best player, who went home to help his wife have a baby.

Q: Their best player went home to have a baby? Can’t they ALL have babies? We’d win then, eh?

A: Getting every England players’ WAG pregnant and due to give birth around the time of our second round encounter would have proved morally and logistically challenging. And then where does it end? Do we get all the Aussies’ WAGs pregnant too? And what about Lara Bingle? What if we’d got her pregnant just before she split from Michael Clarke? She seems pretty unstable now, judging from the headlines of womans’ magazines sportreview.net.nz can’t help but glance at while walking to the bus. Imagine her as a solo mum, pushing a pram around a mall all jacked up on hormones. Things would get even freakier than they are now.

Q: But jesus fuck, you told us we were the dark horses! We were the dark horses, right?

A: Well, yeah, one of the pre-reqs of being a dark horse is playing well and that.

Q: But we’ve got a top order capable of pummelling attacks like Tong Grieg pummels the English language!

A: Blame cow corner.

Cow corner – the dream: In the mind of an NZ cricketer, cow corner is a magical place where cows frolic with dolphins and fly above the water to a happy place, a place of glory, a place where no harm can possibly come.
Cow corner – the reality: trouble.

The Black Caps batsmen’s obsession with cow corner, and weird refusal to pay ANY shots on the off side throughout their innings against England would prove to be their undoing, with no less than 43 batsmen serving catches up to square leg like meals on very disappointing wheels. Yes, their shot selection could be questioned. At least they’ve stopped trying to ‘feather’ the straight ones into the stumps for the moment, small mercies and all that.

Q: That Ryan Sidebottom’s really, really, really annoying, isn’t he?

A: Yes, the fact he runs like a page 3 girl is most annoying for me.

Q: Where to from here for NZ?

A: First we play Sri Lanka three times in the USA, in the “Yee-ha!” series, for the “Hoo-boy!” trophy, bought to you by “Riding around in pickups hitting letterboxes with baseball bats and taking a heck of a lickin’ off the old man the next day,” to bring the charms of leather on willow to an un-enthused nation, following football’s excellent example. After that? God only knows. FAQs like this probably aren’t helping, but neither is cow corner.

Far Canal

Ma’a Nonu has hit the headlines in the eye with a  dreadlock like a dancer at a Fat Freddie’s Drop concert, turning the airwaves blue after his team scraped past the Chiefs from ‘We were good last year’.

Nonu’s outburst has blown the lid off the Hurricanes’ rampant swearing culture, where groups of players meet midweek at each others’ homes to swear behind closed doors. This kind of thing happens during matches all the time, but has gone unreported up til now, due to the age old ‘what happens on the field stays on the fucking field’ Omertà. sportreview.net.nz can unveil Andrew Hore as the ring leader of the Hurricanes’ swearing ring:

Andrew Hore: “Fucking catch it or I’ll fucking waste you!”
Andrew Hore: “Charge down! In your fucking face!”
Colin Cooper’s fears this poor example will affect up and coming players has already been realised:
Aaron Cruden: “Stop tackling me. You fuckers.”
While this language is familiar to anyone who’s traveled on a bus with schoolchildren or pensioners, or spent any time socially with six o’clock news presenters, in cases like these, journalists must get outraged and demand fulsome apologies, despite using these words and worse while performing mundane tasks like  putting the cat out.

Handily for Nonu, the four days of headlines so far is golden publicity for his post rugby career – he aims to make the transition to stand up comedian with the stage name Ma’a ther-fucker. Ahem.

Another who’s made the leap from sport to comedy is Herald writer Chris Rattue, who, faced with the choice of writing a column about how he didn’t have any ideas for a column this week, or the warm familiar bubble bath and highball that is his favorite topic, Banging On About Robbie Deans, Chris chose BOARD. Kind of like his audience. Bored. These jokes write themselves some weeks.

Black Caps in the West Indies: Party Time! Excellent!

Lock up your sun lounger and towel – the Black Caps are in the West Indies and ready to par-tay. Any student worth their beer bong knows you need to chop a few at home before you go into town, and so the Caps warmed upwith a 7 run win against the Windies before the cup kicks off proper.Even though it was a warm up game, most of the team didn’t bother warming up, and left the scoring runs and getting wickets and that to ‘Black To The Future’ duo Scott ‘The’ Styris and Jake ‘Snake’ Oram.
Oram and Styris light their farts in the general direction of the Australian team hotel
While getting one over your hosts is a good thing, acclimatising to local conditions is crucial also. When you step off the plane to find bodies in the sand, tropical drinks melting in your hand and steel drum bands after a month of eating Christchurch shopping mall food court lunches with the Crusaders, it’s easy to lose your head. The bars and beachs of the Caribbean have been a graveyard for touring teams over the years:
Fred ‘Andrew’ Flintoff prepares for a cruise on the HMS Ian Botham
The Caps go into this tournament in the now trademark role as Dark Horses™. It’s a fact that all cricket writers and TV analysts are contractually obliged to mention New Zealand as ‘possible semifinalists’, ‘dark horses’, capable of ‘suprising teams’, and ‘could go all the way’ in tournament previews, while laughing openly at previous semi final capitulations over port in the Hilton each night.
Black Beauty here is a Dark Horse™, black (like the caps) and about the size of NZ’s chances of winning the tournament.
The tournament will be an interesting come down from the recent IPL, more Ewan Gilmor than Julian Clary, and will hopefuly be better run than the last West Indian World Cup, which lasted several years. Jesse, and backing up the captain and old pros’ form will be key for us. Go Caps.

What drove Sione out of Hamilton?

As a youth in Hamilton, sportreview.net.nz often encountered youth gangs in Garden Place of a Friday night and thought “I wish I could drive to Auckland tonight, the Yuppies up there wouldn’t be all punching shit out of my knees right now.”  Early Saturday morning Sione Lauaki had the same thought, but failed the all important ‘get to Auckland’ part of the plan, which was unlucky, as he’s a  man with form when it comes to letting down the fans, but usually when he’s playing rugby or punching them in the face. So, what drove Sione out of Hamilton?

Maybe he was looking for some action. Hamilton’s nightlife options traditionally taper off shortly after lunchtime, and you can understand wanting to leave a city that can’t decide if it’s happening, if it’s more than you expect, if it’s ON, or whether it’s “Hamilton – ‘gis a fucking dollar and what the fuck are you looking at, mate?”.

A Hamilton youth protest, demanding equal council facilities for up and coming Heavy Metal bands as skateboarders
Or was Sione driving out of Hamilton as a solidarity chest thump for the Waipa Delta, the steam boat driven out of the tranquil brown waters of the Waikato River and forced to work for its keep in the Auckland Harbor ferrying ungrateful Yuppies about and having its foredeck wee-ed on like Matthew Ridge’s shoes?
The Waipa Delta in happier days – RWC organisers should note nothing says Party Central like a carvery, free Waikato Draught and a spew over the side
Or was the big smoke calling, the big smoke where ‘teh’ social media craze is creating an industry of experts not seen since the leaky homes expert boom. Like the Kids from Fame taking over a cafeteria with their dancing, you can’t walk the streets of Auckland move for social media experts forcing their friendship on you and threatening ROI.

You don’t GET these kind of personal in your online face experiences in Hamilton, where Broadband generally means a poofters’ gumboot.

Giapo, where you can ‘tweet’ about your ‘ice cream’ and upload it to the ‘pavement’ if you’re drunk enough
These are all plausible reasons (ahem – Ed), but sportreview.net.nz can reveal Sione was driven out of the fountain city by the cruel mocking of a fountain. This is a man deeply, deeply insecure about his hair. Exhibit A:

The Founders Theater fountain has spoken to many young Hamilton men as they relieve themselves in its waters after a night out, but mercifully, their memories are generally wiped the next day. If you’re a pro rugby player struggling with form, fitness and 13 JD and cokes, and a fountain talks to you, you’re best to zip up and move on, not get in your car and flee. There’s no escaping the fountain, bro.