The Badger: Return of the Jedi

Grasping at straws to get the headline to fit the article, The Badger somehow sees the Return of the Jedi in football

Return of International football

International football has long been regarded as the place in football where the Jedi of the sport usually reside. Since how long? Since the Badger said so.

It had a mini revival this week as something seemed to be in the air when players ventured to all corners of the world to kick around a ball for their country, but there is still one lingering question on the Badger’s mind that he can’t work out.

Since when did International football become cool again? Not even cool, but fun? Did the English press and fans alike not promise everyone post-World Cup that they would never get excited about international football again? Now one win over Denmark and here they are, proclaimed favourites for Euro 2012.

But just as the rest of the world seemed to be enjoying high quality football with matches like Germany v Italy, France v Brazil and Argentina v Portugal, Ireland had to drag down the mood by hosting the most pathetic and hilariously disjointed football tournament.

The Nations Cup had its moments last week, but most of those moments came from Scotland, so what does that say about Ireland? Not much, but maybe Ireland can gather themselves, regroup and come back stronger in 100 days time when this tournament unfortunately resumes.

Adding up the attendances, it was another embarrassing show for the Aviva Stadium, with not even the combined attendances from both nights hitting full capacity for the stadium. Maybe the Badger is overreacting, because Ireland are hardly any worse off than Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Sure, we actually won 3-0.

The Badger’s only plea is to not be simply satisfied that we have the best-decorated house on the street at Christmas.

Return of the Six Nations

Annually the Badger has a swipe at rugby and its Neanderthal ways, and here is the 2011 edition. Considered the lesser, more retarded, brother of football that likes banging its head against the wall, rugby is a sport whose fans can barely pool together 46 chromosomes between them.

Unfortunately, the Badger can’t even drum up any excitement for this year’s tournament. Though the Badger does like that the sport, it’s difficult to accept some of the pretty boys into the ranks of the top teams. It’s nice to see that the likes of Ben Foden, Morgan Parra, Toby Flood and Martin Castrogiovanni are now preferred to stone-cold pieces of meat that lack motor functions from the shoulders up.

The Badger’s main gripe, however, is not with the rugby players, but mainly with the glory-hunting fans. Every year people get excited about the Six Nations because it is a tournament that Ireland has a genuine chance of winning.

Being Irish is about being a graceful loser and not a glory hunter. We are a country that should be accustomed to losing and be satisfied with just being involved. So all those pretend rugby fans that pop their heads up for this minute segment of the sporting calendar, switch to soccer and get in line with the rest of the true Irish sport fans.

Return of Kenny

Liverpool are a club covered in tradition and trace their roots back to the holy trinity of Jedi-like managers that gave scousers something to be proud of. So it is rather pathetic that Liverpool are forced to call on Kenny Dalglish to save their nosediving season.

This time, however, the buck will have to stop with him, unless they are intent on digging up the decomposed corpses of Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley. Though it looks like King Kenny has this all under control. Albeit their draw against Wigan may not have been on the plan, but stability has been restored and Liverpool have reverted back to being a “building for next season” team.