Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rings that go bump in the night

My heart goes out to the clinically depressed and the morbidly obese, but I have a genuine illness; I suffer from sleep deprivation. I believe my condition is a result of an incident that occurred many years ago, when I was naïve enough to believe that physical attractiveness was not an essential requirement in the process of potential mate selection.

It was a Saturday night, and I found myself frequenting a nightclub with a group of friends, such was the custom at that time. As 2am arrived and a sense of desperation filled the air, I approached a lady who I thought looked quite hot. It turned out she was just very sweaty. As she made her intentions clear, I made the cardinal error of not topping up my alcohol level before exiting the building. On the taxi ride home, sobriety kicked in like a tortured mule.

Within two minutes of entering my humble abode, she was parading shamelessly in her birthday suit. It was at this stage that I fully appreciated the gravity of the situation. Unfortunately, my plea to go directly to the cigarette fell upon deaf ears. Without going into too much detail of what followed, I can confirm that I didn’t get a wink of sleep all night, and I’ve struggled to get my head down ever since.

As the dawn approached like a guardian angel, I plucked up the courage to ask her to leave by the back door, which was somewhat ironic. I made a conscious decision that morning to never return to the club, as the experience left me close to a breakdown. Kevin Keegan has been far less pragmatic. I do expect a significant short-term improvement for the Toon Army; I’ll be getting on the Geordies at 5/6 at home to Bolton.

I was quite surprised that Steve Bruce was never approached by Mike Ashley. Bruce has been in charge of Wigan for about seven weeks, so he is definitely due a move. I expect to see a massive move on Everton to beat Wigan at an exceedingly pleasant 11/8.

Fulham FC share a trait of mine: they start off quickly, but lack stamina. The Cottagers have lost a lead in 10 of their 22 Premier League matches this season, blowing 25 points in the process. I can only put Fulham’s lack or resolve down to poor conditioning; I’ll buy them a case of ‘Wash & Go’ after Arsenal turn them over at 8/15.

Blackburn are still struggling to find a replacement for Robbie Savage. They came close last week, but Sun Hill refused to release Gillian Taylforth. I‘m diving on the 4/5 for a Blackburn win over Middlesbrough.

With matches at White Hart Lane producing an average of 5.1 goals, Juande Ramos has been forced to tighten up at the back; so he’s dropped Paul Robinson like an opinionated girlfriend. Spurs are on an upward curve as a result, they’re a confident selection at 4/9 against Sunderland.

Manchester City are a Jekyll and Hyde club. When they play at home, they’re an object of unquestionable beauty, yet when they leave Eastlands, they’re as useful as a military recruitment centre in Paris. West Ham are making the now familiar trip to the City of Manchester Stadium, you have to like the even money for another home win.

I was genuinely surprised by the amount of appearances made by a relatively young Jamie Carragher. I haven’t seen 500 clocked up so quickly since the wife last stood on the scales. A Liverpool win over Villa will be a weight off my mind; I’m playing heavily at 4/6.

Ronaldo is on course to be the first wide man since George Best to receive the Golden Boot. There are many similarities between the two players. Best was a Manchester United hero, as is Ronaldo. Best was a phenomenal dribbler, as is the Portuguese step-over expert. Best loved his women. I’ll be trying to get on Manchester United at 4/9 to beat Reading.

John Terry has been outed as a Manchester United supporter, further perpetrating the myth that most of United’s support originates in London. That’s an insult to the Chinese. I’ll take it as a personal insult if Chelsea slip up against Birmingham at 4/6.

After starting the season on fire, Benjani has reverted to type. If missed chances were pints of lager, he’d have a liver like George Best. I’m taking a chance on the draw between Portsmouth and Derby at 10/3.

I can’t think of George Best without remembering the time that I had a badly damaged organ. That night still haunts me, and I can’t sleep without the aid of sedatives. Luckily, I’ve been carrying them around with me for a number of years, as you never know when opportunity will knock. Chelsea, Tottenham, Newcastle, Everton and Liverpool form a fantastic 15/1 betting opportunity that only comes along once every seven days.


Copyright (c) Gerry McDonnell & soccerphile.com

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