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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Why Martin Tyler Is Right, Losers But Winners, Henry-Cooper, Balotelli Anarchist Or Naughty Boy?

Written by on April 8, 2012 | 24 Comments »
Posted in General

 Newcastle maintained their challenge for a European spot despite being outplayed passed and outplayed for large stretches of the match by Swansea. Pappa Demba Cisse made sure he would be part of the headlines with both goals while Cabaye did his part as well with assists on both. And who would have thought that a centre back partnership of Perch and Williamson would go 180 minutes against Liverpool and Swansea without allowing a goal.

 This is a strange one but a case can be made that Bolton, Blackburn, QPR and Wigan all finished the weekend as winners even though they all lost. The reason? At this stage in the season it is often not just what your team achieves but what happens to its closest rivals. All four teams lost so no team lost ground.

What a turnaround for Milan in the last two and a half weeks. Knocked out of the Coppa Italia semi-final by Juventus; fell to Barcelona in the last eight of the UEFA Champions League; a four point lead at the top of Serie A had=s turned into a one point deficit in just two games. Last week it was a draw away to Catania while on Saturday it was an unlikely loss at the San Siro to Fiorentina. Meanwhile Juventus beat Napoli 3-0 and then went to Palermo and won 2-0 on Saturday. What’s more it was Amauri, a Juventus player on loan at Fiorentina, who scored the late goal that beat Milan.

 Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper are the hottest striking partnership in MLS. Thierry Henry has 7 goals and 3 assists in the last 3 games, while Kenny Cooper has scored in last three games for the Red Bulls and has 6 goals so far this season.

 They may have made a surprising run to the semi final stage of the CONCACAF Champions League but Toronto have lost all four of their MLS games this season. The latest loss came on Saturday against expansion side Montreal Impact. Just like last week against the Columbus Crew Toronto FC was again undone by defensive midfield players who lack the positional sense, intelligence, technical skill and anticipation to play the position.

The LA Galaxy put out an insipid performance in going down 1-0 to Sporting KC. No shots on goal from an attack as sharp as a chocolate switch-blade.

 Congratulations to Celtic who wrapped up a 43rd Scottish League title by beating Kilmarnock 6-0. A point was all that was needed but Celtic over-delivered by beating the team that upset them in the League Cup Final a few weeks.  

And so it goes on. Lionel Messi was on target again and became the first player to score 60 goals in a season in a European top-flight league in almost 40 years. “Der Bomber” Gerd Mueller scored 67 goals for Bayern Munich in the 1972-73 season and that record is now in Messi’s sight.  

Vancouver Whitecaps set a new record of 422 minutes without conceding a goal at the start of a MLS season. The previous record was set by the New York Red Bulls in 2007. However, the record is the only thing that the Whitecaps left San Jose with. Despite going up 1-0 the Earthquakes rebounded to win 3-1 and to maintain their fine start to this MLS season.

Mario Balotelli and it should come with no explanation.  I read a tweet yesterday that proclaimed love for Mario on account of him being football’s anarchist. Time to redefine all adolescents with a proclivity to lash out when things don’t go their way as anarchists it seems. Either that or the tweeter was just another little boy.

Another two goals for Clint Dempsey on Saturday. This time away to Bolton and that means he has scored 21 already this season for Fulham. A fantastic achievement but I am still not sold on the idea of this meaning a move to a bigger club is in his best interests. Seems to me that a lot of US fans are looking to indulge in some reflected glory and don’t see the many downsides of such a move.

No way to sugar coat it – Wigan and QPR came out on the wrong end of two poor decisions on the weekend. In the case of QPR the decision also cost them a player as Sean Derry was sent off. Commentator Martin Tyler makes sense when he points out that there is an inherent contradiction in sending off someone for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity when the punishment is a penalty kick –  which is in turn an obvious goal scoring opportunity. Better to scrap the double whammy and perhaps restrict the sending off to fouls outside of the penalty area or intentional hand balls that stop the ball entering the net. After all there is a difference between denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity and denying a certain goal.

Any winners and losers you would like to nominate?

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24 responses to “Why Martin Tyler Is Right, Losers But Winners, Henry-Cooper, Balotelli Anarchist Or Naughty Boy?”

  1. tati says:

    Completely ignore arsenal…. Good job bobby

  2. Grant says:

    I am beginning to think the only reason for the offside rule is to give people something to argue about after the game. And to get rid of sexist old men from Sky Sports.

    Your point about the red card and penalty punishment is a good one. What about giving the “sinned against” team the option of penalty or red card for denial of a goal-scoring opportunity regardless of where it happens on the pitch? Or is that too radical?

  3. Carlos Gallon says:

    I imagine you could cut the air with a knife in the M City Locker room for the past 2 weeks. Mancini’s gone short of admitting he needs a miracle.

    QPR got a double slap in that game didn’t they

  4. AntonioSaucedo says:

    Cooper-Henry. Like.

    Messi. Superior.

  5. “Any winners and losers you would like to nominate?”
    Tati – is that really too difficult to understand or would you like a picture?
    The other option is to just list the results for the weekend. Or just maybe Eoin and I will be talking about City and Arsenal for 40 minutes on the podcast today.
    But please do not let that stand in the way of you being presumptuous or sarcastic.

  6. Kenny D. says:

    Another thing Martin Tyler mentioned was the obvious stereotype between an English player diving (an English international to boot) and a foreign player diving. Even as a United supporter, I couldn’t help but cringe when Wayne Rooney slotted home his penalty. Your mention of Martin Tyler just got me thinking of some of the better English commentators. Martin Tyler and Dean Sturridge are at the top of my list.

  7. Kenny D – Martin T yes – Dean Sturridge I cannot stand . Given the choice of two equal matches I will go for the one that does not feature Sturridge.

    Anyone ever noticed how many of the color commentators played for Wimbledon at one time or another?

  8. JamesMc says:

    Regarding Dempsey and a move to a bigger club, the Guardian today said he might get a look from Arsenal. Would that be a bad move? I could see him taking over for Benayoun, making the left side a real threat again…

  9. fabr04 says:

    @Bobby – Totally agree on (Dean) Sturridge. My favorite is Efan Ekoku, but I haven’t heard him lately.

    I try to steer away from “referees/FA/announcers are all conspiring against my team”-type ideas, but I was really annoyed with Stewart Robson yesterday. I can’t remember how many times he accused Arsenal of being chronic cheaters – Sagna was his primary target, but he mentioned a couple of times that they all do it. Did you notice that as well? I’ve never thought much of Robson either way, but somebody needs to tell him that (a) he should cool it on the xenophobia, and (b) there’s a lot more to quality commentating than insulting players and referees.

  10. fabr04 says:

    RE: Dempsey, from his perspective I can understand why he would want to go to a bigger club. I’d rather aim too high and fail than aim low, succeed, and spend the rest of my life wondering what would have happened if I had been more ambitious. That said, I think it’s more likely he ends up a Crouch/Robbie Keane/Benayoun situation, a solid player who’s on the periphery of a big club but can’t quite manage to catch on.

  11. Ed Gomes says:

    It looks as if Abram/Chelsea have purchased a few results. The question i have is whether Harry is getting a cut or the FA for the distraction. Lol.

    I actually thought that in the beginning of the Arsenal game when the commentator said Arsenal was going to work the ref’s , it was meant as a good thing. And yes, Arsenal did indulge in their acting.
    In saying that, I really thought Balotelli was trying to get sent off in the first half.

    Mancini will be managing Inter next season.

  12. Rob says:

    Losers-Football fans in general. The officiating was absolutely horrendous over the weekend and only goes to reaffirm that the “big” clubs get preferential treatment. Might as well watch wrestling if it continues.

    I’m all about respect for the referees and linesmen but the linesmen botched calls weren’t split second decisions and the hand in the back of Young was just so ridiculous that it makes you wonder if football is actually a contact sport.

    And if I hear one more time that everything “balances” out over the season, I will scream. It absolutely, positively does not.

  13. I thought Robson over stepped the mark yesterday – he sounds more like someone with an axe to grind.

  14. joakal says:

    Have to agree re: Robson, he takes every opportunity to talk sh!t about the Arsenal. I don’t pay attention to the commentators names much, but I think I’m going to start because there seems to be a little group, like Robson, that just drone on and on, in every game, about all the stuff they don’t like, and stuff that “didn’t happen in my day” ect ect. I just want to listen to someone that actually seems to like football, Robson and some others talk like they have grandpa simpson syndrome and just hate everything.

  15. Alberta Gooner says:


    What did you make of Rooney’s tackle on Diakite? More poor officiating or a good non-card call by Lee Mason?

  16. AlbertaGooner – shocking tackle and amazed he stayed on the park let alone got away scot-free.

  17. Kenny D. says:

    A bit late with my reply, but the matches I watch with Sturridge I like especially because he doesn’t over-commentate. I like my matches a bit on the quieter side

  18. Alberta Gooner says:


    Do you subscribe to the theory that the difference between Rooney’s disciplinary record in the EPL and in Europe has more to do with the leniency of the officials and the unwillingness of the FA to piss in the cereal of England’s best player? When I see challenges like that one, I really wonder about a double standard.

    It’s also interesting that Rooney’s lunge received zero press and no commentary so I doubt the FA will follow up on it with a retrospective punishment.

  19. AG – not really. I think you might be able to point to a number of players who have picked up more yellow and red cards in Europe than the BPL on a pro rata basis. RVP might be an example of this although I don’t have the stats to prove that.

  20. Erik says:

    What I don’t get is the FA will be penalizing Balotelli because the official missed the play and thus can penalize him after the fact. Sean Derry NEVER gets called for the “foul” in the box if Young is correctly ruled offsides. So if the FA can retroactively penalize Balotelli (or whoever) for a missed call why can’t they retroactively take away Derry’s Red Card for a play that was offsides to begin with

    For me the biggest WINNER of the weekend is:

    Roberto Mancini: Not long after the season is over City will sack him. He will be paid for the remaining years on his contract and not have to put up with this merry band of misfits and malcontents and be able to go Manage for a team that wants to win.

    With that in mind – a potential LOSER is:

    Jose Mourinho: IF he ends up taking the City job he will have to deal with the misfits Mancini could not. Can you just imagine a Mourinho/Balotelli squabble! Hope there are cameras rolling when that takes place!


    Roberto Martinez: Good gosh the man can coach. If Wigan gets sent down and I am an EPL side looking for a Manager I call this guy ASAP. Right now Villa fans have to be crying about the fact they have McLeish instead of Martinez


    Fans of the LC Playoffs: Right now it looks like Southhampton and Reading will get the 2 automatic spots. Right now it looks like West Ham, Brum and Blackpool will be 75% of the teams in the playoffs. HOW AWESOME WILL THAT BE knowing ONLY ONE of these 4 – at most – can come back to the Premier League. You wanna talk about high stakes drama and some unreal games! How great will it be for the round with 2 of these 3 sides playing against each other knowing 1 side won’t make the Wembley Final! WOW! Imagine if the Hammers lose before Wembley and have to stay in the lC at least 1 more season – their fans might rip down whatever stadium they are playing that last game at!


    Lionel Meesi: Do I really need to explain why?


    Michelle Lissel for either getting contacts or laser eye surgery and ditching the glasses although I did like the “librarian look” from her with glasses!

  21. Alberta Gooner says:


    Mourinho coached Balotelli when they were both at Inter and they did have some pretty public squabbles and the omelet maker warned them not to sign him.

  22. Alberta Gooner says:


    Fair point although I don’t recall RvP ever doing anything like this and getting away with it.

  23. Astronomer says:

    Another week of EPL action and another set of referee controversies.

    And, surprise, surprise, Sir Alejandro is AGAIN one of the big beneficiaries.

    What a tragedy for Alejandro that UEFA will not allow Howard Webb and his gang of EPL goons to officiate Man Ure’s matches in Europe.

    Oh, what a tragedy it is !

  24. Carlos Gallon says:

    I just really want to know what the linesmen think is in their job description. If your going to completely miss call some offsides then I hope your attention is on other players making infractions like, you know, punching each other in the gut.

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