Tom Henning Ovrebo

Was it just yesterday that I complained that there wasn’t enough drama in the Arsenal v Man U UEFA Champions League semi-final to keep me interested? Well, evidently Tom Henning Øvrebø was reading while (possibly) getting instructions from various betting syndicates across the shadier parts of Europe. And he offered me some lovely Stilton to go with my previous evening’s chalk.

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Our Tom

I don’t think I have ever seen a more biased or inept refereeing performance in my life. Well, not one that didn’t involve Sheffield United or a match I was playing in, anyway. The refs always seem to be bent in those matches.
For me as a neutral to have been so disgusted at it tells you what the Chelsea fans must have thought. As does the fact that there are death threats against Mr Øvrebø all over the internet and the fact that he had to be smuggled out of the UK by police.
He must be thanking his lucky stars that the annual gathering of the Uncle Fester Lookalike Organisation was held in London this week, affording him some form of protection.
Now, I’m certainly not condoning the death threats, nor do I support the antics of Didier Drogba, who turned dramatically to the camera as he left the field at the end of the game and shouted, quite audibly:


“It’s a disgrace! It’s a [naughty word] disgrace!”

But I can quite understand why he felt that way. Because it was a [naughty word] disgrace. I mentioned this whole thing in February, when Peter Walton made mistakes in the Blades cup tie at Hull City. Once again, a referee has not done the job he is paid to do. And it’s cost Chelsea millions of pounds. Sod the fact that Roman Abramovich can afford it – that’s beside the point.

Drogba and teammate Michael Ballack will surely face disciplinary hearings over their actions last night. I would guess that Bosingwa and Lampard, who have also spoken out will be in trouble too. But what of the overweight baldy from Norway, smuggled back to Oslo by police overnight? What action will he face?

Well, if Euro 2008 is anything to go by – not much. Øvrebø refereed one match there and made so many errors that he was removed from the referees list for the rest of the competition. But UEFA still obviously trust him to have another go at making costly errors in big games. Surely that’s got to be it now, though?

Til next time, right?

EDIT: I was on John Maytham’s show on Cape Talk last night discussing this point.

EDIT 2: Drogba has issued a formal apology.

EDIT 3: 5fm reporting that Chelsea will dump Drogba at the end of the season and not renew his contract.
Really?

Inappropriate photo 101

I settled down to watch the ding-dong battle between Arsenal and Manchester United last night, only to have my wish for an exciting game ruined in the first 12 minutes by some dodgy defending, some dodgy refereeing and some dodgy goalkeeping, all of which left Arsenal needing to score 4 times to win the tie and left the game as good as dead.

I was irritated. But at least it wasn’t my team that lost. Heavily.

It was Suleiman Alphonso Omondi’s team though and he could apparently take no more, as Sport24 reports:

Nairobi – An Arsenal fan in football-mad Kenya hung himself following his team’s 4-1 aggregate drubbing by arch-rivals Manchester United in the Champions League semi-final, police said on Wednesday.
Suleiman Alphonso Omondi, a 29-year-old Kenyan living in the capital Nairobi’s Embakasi neighbourhood, hung himself in his Arsenal shirt late Tuesday after the match, police said.

“We were watching the match at Bamba 70 pub, and when Arsenal was defeated, Suleiman just walked out in protest and he was crying,” Calvin Otieno, one of his friends, said.
“We didn’t know he was going to hang himself until Wednesday morning when we received the reports and came here to find his body at the balcony,” Otieno said outside the deceased’s home.

Tragic tale – and one which, if nothing else, demonstrates Suleiman’s passonate support for his team.

But having reported the story, which staff reporter looked through the files for an appropriate photo to use and came up with this?

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Arsenal players training

Was there really no other shot available? Cesc Fabregas in full flight? An upset or angry Arsenal fan at the Emirates, maybe? Perhaps a pic of the scoreboard or one of the Bamba70 pub? Even one of ugly Ronaldo. Ugh.
In fact, anything  that doesn’t feature an apparently slumped black man being dragged away, really.

Is it just me or was the choice of this particular photograph mildly inappropriate?

EDIT: Sky News gets the story and uses Arsenal badge as graphic. Better.

3D Changes in domestic paste

One of the gifts which Alex got for his third birthday was a packet of Ben 10 stickers. Ben 10 is, apparently, a kiddie superhero  cartoon character who can be found on Cartoon Network, pajamas, backpacks, t-shirts and indeed, stickers. I have no other knowledge of this Ben 10 character, because Alex is still too young for Cartoon Network.
That, however, has not stopped him from becoming a big fan of Ben 10.

The other thing you should know about these Ben 10 stickers is that they are those cool ones that move (ever so slightly) when you tilt them from side to side a bit. If your hands are fast enough, you can make Ben 10 look like he is having a fit. And anyone watching you will probably think you’re having a fit as well. But that kind of thing is funny if you’re three.
And stickers are great if you are three years old, because you can stick them anywhere you can reach: in your sticker album, on your wardrobe, on your window, the inside of the en-suite toilet bowl, your little sister’s head – anywhere.

Anyway, I am glad that I could identify who and what the stickers were, because being completely honest, the packet they came in wasn’t overly helpful:

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3D Changes in domestic paste – the perfect gift for any child’s third birthday

And, as if to explain exactly what 3D changes in domestic paste is, there are some fishes swimming around some conservatory furniture. Maybe they were thinking fish paste. I don’t know.
To me it looks like there was an incident in the printing department and random words and graphics dropped into the Ben 10 sticker packet machine.

Either way, the stickers are a hit and have mainly gone into his sticker album, where they are making explosions and shooting lasers at the Winnie the Pooh Flat shine on bedroom glue.

‘What are you people doing up here?’

That’s what Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said he wants to ask the Americans, during an address to an assembly of Uganda’s top lawyers on Saturday. “Up here” refers to space, apparently – specifically the moon.

“Uganda alone cannot go to the moon. We are too small. But East Africa united can. That is what East African integration is all about,” he said. “Then we can say to the Americans: ‘What are you doing here all alone?’.”

I’ve never been to Uganda, but I have spoken with some people there using the medium of the telephone. While Africa may lag some distance behind the rest of the world, in urban areas, basic stuff like telephones are a given.
Kampala, particularly, has a fairly decent telecommunications network, which makes me wonder why Mr Museveni can’t just call some Americans on the phone and ask them what they are doing on the moon. A quick google search of “NASA telephone numbers” gives NASA HQ’s number as (202) 358-0000. I think you add a 1 before that to get to the USA, if that helps at all, Mr President.

Even if they are currently all alone on the moon, just leave a voicemail and they’ll get back to you as soon as they return. And then they can tell you what they were doing up there.  You won’t need to spend billions of Ugandan Shillings (at 2207.50 to the US dollar) on a costly, dangerous and lengthy space programme, you’ll just have to cough up for an international phone call.

If you get Skype, it’ll be even cheaper.

“The Americans have gone to the moon. And the Russians. The Chinese and Indians will go there soon. Africans are the only ones who are stuck here,” Museveni said.

Well, yes. The Africans, certainly. And the Peruvians. Don’t forget them. And the Spanish. And the Saudi Arabians. But Saudi Arabia is a great place and they probably don’t want to leave anyway. And the Welsh. And the Swiss. Nice mountains; great cows. And the Malaysians – most of them have never even been outside Malaysia, let alone to the moon. And the… [continues ad nauseum]

SAMA winners

This weekend gave us the 2009 South African Music Awards and I’m happy to report that several of the bands supported on this blog came through as winners:

But if Saturday night reminded us just how good SA music can be, we were brought right back down to earth by the final of SA Idols on Sunday. If you want to know just how good the standard of SA Idols is, then don’t ask me. I was just unfortunate enough to catch the last ten minutes in a poorly organised glance at what was on Carte Blanche at 7. I have now been put right off Mnet for life.

(For those of you interested, a duet by Sasha and Lee beat Jason into 3rd place, apparently.)