The Warm-Up: Eddie's ready for Arsenal; Carabao Cup commentator confusion
Adam Hurrey just wanted a quiet Tuesday night, but instead he witnessed some cracking Carabao Cuppage...
WEDNESDAY’S BIG STORIES
The Carabao Cup offers novel narratives
There is plenty of navel gazing when it comes to the League Cup: what its true worth is, whether weakened sides make a mockery of the competition, whatever happened to Rumbelows, that sort of thing. But, no matter how cynical the motivation, it does allow some fresh faces to be heroes (and, indeed, zeroes) for one low-key midweek night.
The chants of “Eddie! Eddie!” from the home fans was as gleeful as the ill-fated “Who are ya?” greeting he had received from the travelling Norwich support. And that’s football in a nutshell.
Amid the avalanche of hastily compiled “Who is Arsenal’s Carabao Cup hero Eddie Nketiah?” articles, the 18-year-old’s minimum objective now is to end up being remembered for more than just sparing some Tuesday-night blushes. Or just enjoy the moment, either is fine.
Young Lions Roar, Pt. 193
" We might have some [nerves] before the game, but when we’re playing we just go away and concentrate on our game. I wouldn’t say it’s a generational thing. Us young boys, we play with freedom and we have no nerves and I think we showed that [in the quarter final]."
Talk of coaching set-ups, ball possession and “pathways” aside for one blissful moment, how reassuring to hear an England international player brush aside any talk of pressure and focus on “freedom”. The FA might be a mess, we might have the Paul Mersons of this world still howling about the foreigns on Soccer Saturday, but the next generation of footballers are a world apart from the Golden Generation already. Because they’re succeeding.
England’s Under-17s have had a busy summer already, finishing runners-up to Spain at their Euros in May. The collection of youngsters sent to the Toulon tournament came back with the trophy. The Under-19s and Under-20s emerged triumphant at European and World levels respectively. The Under-21s, relatively speaking, were the big disappointment, losing on penalties to Germany at the European Championship.
Whatever happens in Kolkata today – and losing to a nation who have graced the final five times before would be no disgrace – it seems that England’s new harvest of double-barrelled, level-headed ball-players might be ready to make the most of what they’ve got.
IN OTHER NEWS
Have you ever stopped and wondered about the possible back stories when the occasional name is read out over the PA at a football game, asking them “to contact the nearest steward”? No? Just me?
Anyway, the traditional is that their wife has gone into labour, or that their car is about to be towed away, both of which seem to be met with equal mirth from the crowd.
Sometimes, though, the story is delightfully mundane.
Imagine that conversation at the front door.
HEROES AND ZEROS
Heroes: Magdeburg fans
These “tifos”, eh? I think we’re starting to take these European efforts for granted by now. Anyway, here’s the latest example of Things English Fans Aren’t Allowed To Do But Probably Couldn’t Be Arsed To Sort Out Anyway:
My solid GCSE German translates that as “you think it’s over, but the games have only begun” underneath the glowing red eyes. Crikey.
Dortmund won 5-0, by the way.
Zeros: The Government of the United Kingdom
Loyal readers of the Warm-Up may remember a recent petition – of astounding pedantry – that urged the powers that be to redesign the football symbol on British road signs because the existing one was incorrectly made up only of hexagons. In summary: “Changing this to the correct pattern of hexagons and pentagons would help raise public awareness and appreciation of geometry.”
Anyway, with the petition having sailed over the 10,000-signature mark, the Government were obliged to respond. And boy did they respond.
A summary of their joyless refusal to tackle one of the most pressing issues facing modern British society is as follows:
"The Government considers the current football symbol has a clear meaning and is understood by the public. Changing the design to show accurate geometry is not appropriate in this context…The purpose of a traffic sign is not to raise public appreciation and awareness of geometry which is better dealt with in other ways…For the reasons given, we will not be changing the football symbol used on a traffic sign."
IN THE CHANNELS
Back to the Carabao Cup, and there were some strange goings on in the at the Etihad: a squirrel invaded the pitch before kick-off, then Wolves stopped Manchester City scoring in 90 minutes for the first time since April, and then Pep Guardiola blamed the official matchball.
Finally, one TV commentator became very confused indeed.
After Wolves had failed with two of their three penalties in the shootout, Sergio Aguero stepped up to win it for City. Unfortunately for him, this obviously wasn’t going to count in his bid to overhaul Eric Brook as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer. Commentator Kevin Keatings, though, wasn’t having any of that…
Keatings is a fine commentator, and everyone’s allowed a slip, but this was a rather awkward few seconds indeed.
"We built him a stadium in our basement which is 15ft wide by 45ft long filled with turf. He’s usually either down there or outside in the front yard wanting me to take him to training. Every day the first thing he asks is: ‘Where are we going to train, who are we training with, Dad?’ If he says he wants to go to the field, I never say no. I figure out a way to get him there."
Look, I know his stock as a manager is close to going through the floor and all, but let’s remember Ronald Koeman’s true specialism: belting free-kicks.
A centre-back by trade, Koeman scored 239 goals in his career. He broke double figures 10 seasons in a row. He scored TWENTY-NINE GOALS in the 1987/88 season for club and country on the way to winning the European Cup and the European Championship.
Still, shame about that transfer window, eh?
After England’s kids give Brazil a seeing-to in Kolkata, hook some more Carabao Cup to your veins: Chelsea play host to Managerless Everton (to give them their full name), while Spurs welcome Soon-to-be-Managerless West Ham (to give them, etc) to Wembley.