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Thursday, 29 September 2011



It’s been two years since goal line assistant referees – those blokes that stand on the byline on one side of the goal like the kid in school who isn’t allowed to join in – were first trialled in the Europa League. It’s a testament to their complete ineffectiveness that we didn’t even notice their assimilation into Champions League fixtures until Danny Welbeck argued with one on Tuesday night. The reason for this argument? Not a penalty decision, or an incorrectly awarded goal kick. The ball went out of play by a fraction. Or did it? Apparently, by virtue of being right next to the ball, the human eye is impervious to slight of foot and fractional error. Yeah, right.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

All Change On the Continent

In amassing a collective 32 points and scoring a total of 41 goals between, the Manchester clubs have been the Premier League’s dominant forces thus far. If you don’t count Newcastle. But while all and sundry can only foresee the title race involving two Mancunian horses, it has been a little more difficult to translate such swagger onto the European stage, on which England’s current finest have thus far amassed a measly three points and five goals.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

A Tale Of Two Owens

'If I can... just... get...the... *TWANG*'

Much like being on a night out with Magic Spongers, the prevailing attitude towards the third round of the Carling Cup among the so-called ‘big clubs’ often appears to be sniffy indifference; something to be endured and survived with as little serious investment of energy as possible. In the last few years, certainly, this has meant throwing bit-part and reserve players into the mix and tailoring a post-match response around how much potential they’ve got or how it was good experience but priorities lie elsewhere, really. ‘No disrespect to the lads that have come in’, one might say, completely disrespecting the lads that have come in.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Overworked And Underpaid

"I'm poor... SO POOR"

Rumour has it that when he was a child, Rob's parents considered selling their house to Niall Quinn. Luckily, that friendship has stood the test of time (and career trajectory) and 'Dr Quinn: Medicine Woman' - as he is affectionately known in the MacDonald household - was able to provide Magic Spongers with what REALLY happened at the Stadium of Light over the weekend.

Monday, 5 September 2011

The Generation Game

"Frank Lampard never played for Milan... golden generation my arse."

*Disclaimer. Some or all of what follows may be completely fictional and not represent in any way, shape or form the beliefs of Magic Spongers.

When Spandau Ballet wrote their seminal hit ‘Gold’ in 1983 about the so-called golden generation of Trevor Francis, Tony Woodcock, Luther Blisset, Paul Mariner et al, the fanfare was short-lived as England failed to qualify for the European Championships a year later. Though the song would live on in chain pubs across the land on Saturday nights, the golden generation proved to be of pyrite persuasion, shining brightly in the April sun in a 2-0 victory over Hungary, before succumbing to the talents of Michael Laudrup and Jesper Olsen at Wembley in September ’84 and ultimately petering out.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Oligarchs and Question Marks

"Well this sucks"

Somewhere in the Mediterranean last night, a Russian billionaire strode on to the deck of his $1bn super-yacht clad only in a towel and angrily shook his fist at the moon. ‘Marquee!’, he shouted at the inky sky. ‘Fucking MARQUEEEEEEE!’.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, a wiry Portuguese with more tattoos than a man could realistically ever need walked into the largest marquee ever erected in West London; nay, the world, and felt pretty fucking small. ‘Don’t worry’, a weary Spanish voice assured him from somewhere underneath an enormous price tag. ‘It’s probably for the best’.