The Lighter Side – This Week In Sport : Episode 9

Welcome to the another edition of ‘The lighter side – This week in Sport’, a weekly review show of all the goings on in the world of sport over the past week.
Before we get to the show,

a disclaimer: All the reports here are based on completely baseless unreliable sources. We only compile them and present it to you. If we catch hold of our reporters, we will sue them on your behalf.

On tonight’s show:

Ganguly retires … not quite

Newcastle 4 – 4 Arsenal

The men in blue to be felicitated

Kubica survives

Ganguly retires … not quite

In a bizzare series of incidents, Sourav Ganguly, regarded by many as the greatest Indian captain ever, retired from the game only to suddenly un-retire. Reports surfaced that Ganguly had retired from all forms of the game after his being snubbed by all the IPL teams for the forthcoming edition of the IPL. Said an agitated Ganguly, ‘Who is spreading all these rumors? I’ve not retired from the game. I retired from international cricket two years ago but have not retired. I will play the IPL but since I’m not going to, I cant. But if I play the IPL, I will play other forms of the game. But I will not play.’ These statements have left the media as bemused as the general public who read these statements. This was until Ganguly came and clarified his stance. ‘See, I retired. That is clear. But what you don’t understand is that I’m now retired from retirement. I’m sure this clears it all up.’, he said, grinning. We’re, however, not so sure it clears anything up.

Ganguly has also created a new storm within Bengal. ‘I see myself as a cricket administrator one day and also a CAB driver just like Jagmohan Dalmiya.’, said the ex-captain. This statement has enraged supporters of Mr.Dalmiya who demanded an explanation from Ganguly. Ganguly clarified, ‘See it was not  something that was derogatory that I said against Mr.Dalmiya. By CAB, I was referring to the Cricket Association of Bengal. The president steers the association and hence can be considered that its driver. This was what I was referring to as a CAB driver.’ This clarification has since, lightened the mood considerably and now everyone in the association yearns to be a driver. Many of them are even getting their drivers’ licenses renewed.

Newcastle 4 – 4 Arsenal

In the aftermath of what was one of the most lopsided matches in recent times, the Arsenal players have attacked the referee, Phil Dowd, for handing out two penalties to Newcastle that were not really penalties at all. They felt that the referee was biased. Arsenal were 4-0 up in 25 minutes but squandered the lead to finish the match 4-4. Phil Dowd awarded two dubious second half penalties thereby allowing Newcastle back into the game. When the Arsenal players complained incessantly against the injustice, Phil Dowd apparently use language that was uncalled for. ‘I won’t repeat what words he came out with but they should never come from a referee.’, said Backary Sagna. When asked what exactly it was, he said, ‘how would I know? I speak French and he spoke in English. So how would I know what he said? But whatever he said, I’m sure it was bad and he should never have said it.’ ‘ Why can’t I repeat it? Well, how many times must I tell you?! I don’t know English.’, he added, in a state of agitation.

Arsenal fans, however, were convinced that the referee had been bribed. ‘Can’t you see that the ref was bribed? I mean, it was so blatant! How could he have given those decisions? You know, Newcastle were awfully quiet in the transfer market but made a lot of money selling Andy Carroll but people fail to notice the new number nine at the club – Phil Dowd!’, said a disgruntled fan. There were even shouts of ‘Arsene! Sign him up!’ with regards to Dowd from the amused Newcastle fans who couldn’t believe their luck. Clearly, they hadn’t lost their sense of humor.

The men in blue to be felicitated

With public opinion firmly against the UPA government in light of the recent price rise and inflation, the union HRD minister, Kapil Sibal, has taken it upon himself to reverse the fortunes of the government. He has hit upon a brilliant idea to use the popularity of cricket among Indians to score some brownie points. ‘If India wins the world cup, we shall felicitate the winning heroes. For this, I am announcing here that the winning heroes will be made part of folklore and part of Indian history. If India wins, I will change a long standing nursery rhyme – Jack and Jill. I will personally make it, “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pale of water from the well of course. You know, Jack fell down and …Also, the popular story of little red riding hood shall be changed to little blue riding hood, in honor of the world cup winning heroes. Seeing that many of them have not completed their class XII, I shall even waive these off.’, he added.

Eager to cash in on the popularity, in an unheard of step, Mr.Sibal has also taken responsibility for India’s finest hour in cricket. ‘I am Kapil and I led India to world cup glory in 1983.’, he claimed. ‘No one can deny me or the UPA govt. this. It was all due to the leadership of Sonia ji and Manhohan ji. Without them, this victory would not have been possible. I think the real credit goes to them. I would also like to thank my family and friends for supporting me and helping me through troubled time. I would also like to thank Sonia ji and … er, I’ve said that already, haven’t I?…’ Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, however, is said to be incensed that his name was not mentioned and hence has decided to cut the Union HRD ministry’s budget, according to reports.

Kubica survives

Robert Kubica, the Polish F1 driver was involved in a horrific accident when he was racing in a rally car. His car was involved in a high speed shunt putting his life in serious danger. His arm and leg were said to be in critical condition and he was immediately rushed to the hospital and after a 7-hour surgery, the doctor came out and said triumphantly, ‘We’ve operated for a marathon 7 hours and have managed to saver Kubica’s hand.’ ‘When he came in, it was cold and almost gone but we have used great ingenuity and have managed to save his hand’, he said, beaming. At this point, one reporter (we are too humble to say that it was one of our reporters) asked, ‘What about the rest of him? Did you manage to save that as well?’ Upon hearing this, the doctor was heard mumbling something and dashed back into the operating theatre. We have sources who tell us that these were the precise words that the doctor mumbled: ‘Damn it! I knew I’d forgotten something!’ Thankfully, Robert Kubica is safe but it will be a while yet until he returns to competitive racing.

That’s it from this week’s bulletin. We hope you enjoyed it. Until next time, its good bye from us …

The season so far: Part 3 – The kid conundrum

Arsene Wenger told the world “Watch out for us this season”, and so the world watched. Being his usual astute self, Wenger forayed into the transfer market and bought only Thomas Vermaelen, the Belgian defender from Ajax. Naturally eyebrows were raised on the lack of “big name signings” but Wenger, in his  normal manner, brushed aside the thought, instead, reiterating his faith in the young guns.


Arsenal started off in the most brilliant fashion, disposing of Everton and Portsmouth 6-1 and 4-1 respectively, an in the meanwhile eliminating Celtic from the Champions League with the minimum of fuss. With 15 goals in the first 4 games, it looked as if Wenger had been vindicated. Then came back to back defeats at the two Manchester clubs but these were followed by a remarkable run of 11 wins and 2 draws in the next 13 games. Arsene’s men were well and truly on their way to something special; or it would seem.


December rolled onto January and defeat in the Carling cup was one of the series of mixed results that saw Arsenal keep pace with the leaders and even top the table on occasion. February came and Arsenal’s good run continued with progression to the next stage of the Champions League, after an utter demolition of Porto. Next in wait – the champions. March was again mixed with good wins marred by the draw against Birmingham and the remarkable come-from-behind draw against Barcelona. This game though, would turn out to be one of the most significant of the season, not so much for the result as for the injury to Cesc Fabregas, their talisman.


Come April, and Arsenal were very much in with a shot at the title in what has become perhaps the closest title race in recent memory. April, was where it tailed off. After a scrappy 1-0 against Wolves, they were handed something of a lesson by Barcelona at the Camp Nou. The diminutive Argentinian scoring all four goals in what was a virtuoso performance by the European and World champs. With just the Premier League to play for, Arsene Wenger knew that if his side put in a decent string of performances, the title could well be back at North London. What transpired though was a string of poor results with reverses at Tottenham and Wigan and  draw at Man City. Arsenal are no longer in the title race going into the last day of the season, and by the looks of it, even third place is not guaranteed.


What happened then? It was all going so well and then … implosion! To start off, the summer signing of Vermaelen was an inspired one with the Belgian becoming one of the signings of the season. Eduardo, Bendtner and Vela were touted to be the main support cast to the main man, Van Persie but somehow they failed to deliver. The midfield was overflowing with options and Song has been the absolute unsung hero this season (no pun intended). The problem then, as it has been for a few seasons now, was injuries. Far too many players played far too less to really maintain that coherency and chemistry. Wenger was forced to play players out of position and this had a telling effect. The defence was also hampered by injuries and the only replacement Wenger brought in the transfer window was an ageing Sol Campbell, who though, has been one of the stand-out performers in the run in. Ramsey’s breakthrough season was also cut short by a horrific injury that will see him miss the first half of next season too. Add to this the fact that Van Persie was out for a major part of the season and the lack of firepower  becomes evident.


Another problem, and an even bigger one has been the attitude. As has been the case over the past few seasons, when faced with crunch situations and high pressure, they’ve often bucked under it. Much as they are the best “footballing team” in the land, they too lack that all important Plan-B when things don’t go according to plan. Often, they’ve been outmuscled and roughed up by physical teams.


With Chamakh confirming that he will be joining the Gunners at the end of the season, their striking options should be bolstered. Arsenal’s midfield certainly has a lot of options but many are too similar. Most of them tend to play the same game. Song, for all his defensive qualities, is still a touch player. What is definitely needed is steel in the middle of that midfield. Someone like ex-captain fantastic, Viera. Also, with Gallas’ contract running out at the end of the season and there still ebing question marks about his temperament, another quality center back to partner Vermaelen is most definitely needed. All said and done, one of the most pieces of business that Wenger has to do is to tie down his captain and shield him from the Catalan advances.


“In Arsene we trust” reads many a banner at the Emirates and it’s a sentiment echoed by many Gooners. It’s been FIVE seasons now without a trophy now and even the most ardent fans are beginning to raise a question or two. Arsene Wenger is no longer just the manager; he’s much more. He is building not just a squad but a football club. Arsene must realize that his footballing philosophy is great but he definitely need that extra bit of quality, grit and determination. Now rid of all debt and armed with a transfer chest of more than 50 million, there will be no question of a lack of funds next season. It’s time for the professor to go forth; to splash the cash and bring glory once again.