There's only four teams involved in football's top honours these days, so what's it like to win silverware every season? This is the blog of one football fan who decided to, fully and unconditionally, do the unthinkable and change the football team he supported to spend one season at the top... AND NOW HE'S DOING A SIMILAR THING FOR EURO 2008 WITH A MATE BECAUSE THE SEASON'S FINISHED AND THEY'RE BOTH BORED

Romania: the Brazil of the Balkans

06/06/08

I think that’s who I’m going with…

It was going to be Turkey because I have a mate who I was going to watch the matches with in the Turkish quarter. But he went back to Istanbul for three weeks today, so I can’t now. Bit selfish of him, but there you go… I’ll have Turkey as a back-up in case Romania are knocked out early doors.

Is that allowed? Having another team if your first choice is knocked out in the group stages? Of course it is! This is The Silly Season: Euro 2008 Special. We make the rules.

I can feel the liberation already. No more penalty shoot-out disappointments, no more drunk England fans fighting, no more Phil Neville! (Sorry Phil).

Ain’t international football brilliant!
If this is your first time on The Silly Season, then welcome. By all means have a look at the Catch-up timeline at the top of the screen to find out what I’ve been up to for the past nine months.

Anyway, here’s the first few reasons for why The Silly Season has chosen Romania, declared by my mate, the east Midlands top football expert and newly crowned Silly Season collaborator Adam Buss:

“Romania always have a good tournament when England don’t qualify (although this is based purely on World Cup 1994!)”
“They have a past of recent legends - Hagi, Popescu, Dan Pet Rescue etc.”
“They have a manager who likes to attack and play attractive football (Vitor Piturca)”
“They are from an impoverished and embattled country that always seems to punch above its weight”
“I genuinely think they can win. Greece did, and they are better than Greece (they qualified above Holland). Just as long as they keep Mutu and Chivu fit…”
“They have a real gypsy in their team (i think) - intriguing”
“They are the Brazilians of the Balkans”


Dan Pet Rescue yesterday

Is Romania a Balkan state? I think it is… I’ve just checked the internet, but it doesn’t seem sure. I’ve also just realised that Romania are in the Group Of Death. I didn’t think that through did I… Well, victory will be all the more sweet.

1 France
2 Netherlands
3 Italy
4 Romania

Anyway, stick around because there’s lots more to discover and discuss about our new teams. We’ll also be looking into how to get more involved; to get the full experience, like. Starting, for me, tomorrow, with a traditional Romanian breakfast of bread, salami, cheese, cucumber, tomatoes and eggs. Nice… I’m on to a winner already then, according Wikipedia’s Traditional Romanian Breakfast page.

Score predictions:

Switzerland 1-2 Czech Republic
Portugal 2-1 Turkey
Austria 0-4 Croatia
Germany 1-1 Poland
Romania 0-0 France
Netherlands 1-1 Italy

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The Silly Conclusions: homeward bound

03/06/08

I did consider spending another season at the top with Arsenal.

Hell, I might even have seen some silverware.

But, you know what, my missing Norwich angst is more intense than my trophy angst after nine months away from Carrow Road.

The things that spring to mind first when you spend so long away from your team is the memory of when you decided to support them in the first place. You know, the eureka moment.

Maybe it’s because it’s like denying yourself oxygen - when your brain thinks you’re going to die, your life flashes before your eyes, or so they say. Well, I keep seeing the City team photo with that amazing Hummel kit from 1986.

Plus all the other memories: the first time you went to your home ground; the first time you bought the shirt; the first time you experienced an away match… all that

No, I can’t shake my love for Norwich, and it’s not because of the guilt I felt at leaving the club for the season. I mean, I must be hated in Norfolk that much by now that it would probably be worth me staying with Arsenal just for a quiet life (and a European cup or two). But I can’t do it. I just can’t.

Doing The Silly Season has made me realise that, depending on certain circumstances, people can stop supporting a club in their heart and mind. It’s totally possible - don’t feel obliged to support a club, or feel ashamed if you don’t want to. Marketing twats rely fans like us to make many from a brand we don’t dare snub.

But the bond is still there for me. It would take a good five years of solid Arsenal watching for me to stop waiting for the Championship results scroll to come on Sky Sports News after the match (which is what I kept finding myself doing throughout the course of this season).

Norwich are the club that still give me that feeling.

In fact, I think football itself is the wider problem for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to watch a Norwich match next season – I missed it a lot. But, I don’t have the expectancy, or the belief… or even the hope that anything is going to happen for my club anymore. These are fundamental feelings a football fan should have - but they’re gone.

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Defection is infectious…

29/05/08

… Or something like that.

I noticed today that Norwich City’s head physio Neal Reynolds has left his post to join Arsenal as assistant to Gary Lewin.

That actually pissed me off. How stupid is that? I’m the one who defected to Arsenal, yet when I see it happen the other way around I think: “Traitor, he’s just going for the glory.”

Meanwhile, Roeder wished Reynolds all the best on the Norwich website: “We would have liked to have retained his services.”

Well, we would have liked to have retained Huckerby’s services, but that didn’t happen either.

Anyway, there’s just a couple more Silly Conclusions to come I reckon. Don’t want to bore you to tears.

But, many thanks for all the comments on who you’ll be supporting for Euro 2008.

It’s really interesting to see the freedom of choice we all have.

There are many reasons for the country selected: some of you have chosen your Pro Evo (it’s a computer game) teams; some choices are based on a particular player; one is even considering going for the best looking team!

Me? I haven’t quite decided yet. Maybe I’ll rope in a mate to help me choose - do this as a team. That’ll change the dynamic for The Silly Season 2008 Special, coming up in a week or so.

The Silly Season: Euro 2008 Special!

24/05/08

Yes that’s right.

It’s not over yet… Oh no

Coming soon is The Silly Season Euro 2008 Special.

You can all play along with this one…

Here’s how it works: none of the home nations have qualified for Euro 2008, so we have to chose a different country to support.

Easy…

The question is: are we really that patriotic? Or is it the buzz of the tournament that we get the real pleasure from?

Could we support any country and feel the same rush of excitement?

Anyway, I’ll explain this better when I know exactly what will be involved…

——————–

Well done Doncaster and Hull by the way

More Silly Conclusions to come

The answer to beating trophy angst

20/05/08

So, Portsmouth got their hands on the cup on Saturday. The first club outside the Big Four since Everton in 1995 – making The Silly Season’s theory complete and utter bollocks.

But the Champions League final has become the new FA Cup for the Big Four hasn’t it?

In which case, couldn’t the Premier League pull out of the Carling Cup altogether and leave it for the league teams? Sod the UEFA Cup place, they can have that back. I just want to contest a trophy my team could win. League One and Two have the Johnstone’s Paintbrush. Even the Conference has one. Why not the Championship?

Maybe that will help me lose my trophy angst… Maybe I don’t have to sell out to the Big Four after all.

Come on FA, sort it out!


It’s called the league cup, so make it
exclusive just to league teams please

As for the European Cup, well that’s just over-rated rubbish isn’t it really.

However, would I be fighting the urge to buy a vintage Norwich shirt off eBay so much if I had just touched down in Moscow with The Family for the final? Hmmmm…

Anyway, here’s a list of past FA Cup winners. Only six times in the last 25 years has a team outside today’s Big Four won the cup. Does that make my theory look like less shit now?

No? OK…

2008 Portsmouth
2007 Chelsea
2006 Liverpool
2005 Arsenal
2004 Manchester United
2003 Arsenal
2002 Arsenal
2001 Liverpool
2000 Chelsea
1999 Manchester United
1998 Arsenal
1997 Chelsea
1996 Manchester United
1995 Everton
1994 Manchester United
1993 Arsenal
1992 Liverpool
1991 Tottenham Hotspur
1990 Manchester United
1989 Liverpool
1988 Wimbledon
1987 Coventry City
1986 Liverpool
1985 Manchester United
1984 Everton
1983 Manchester United

———–

Former Norwich City midfielder and hero of Norwich City’s 93/94-season UEFA Cup campaign, Jeremy Goss is talking on Sky Sports 1 just as I’m writing this. It’s a programme called Where Are They Now?

These are his words:

“With Norwich, we finished third in the Premiership that season [92/23]. Will we ever see that happen again? I don’t think so, no.”

If the mighty Gossmeister is writing off the future of football what chance do we have?

————

More Silly Conclusions and that announcement thing to come…

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