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Last Updated: Friday, 9 July 2004, 07:02 GMT 08:02 UK
Named and shamed

By Derek 'Robbo' Robson
The Tees mouth

Hello Robbo.

Hello son - you all right?

Yeah, pretty good - how are you?

Oh not bad, just calming down after the tidal wave of sport we've just experienced - it was very hard to leave the house.

I'd like to say it's the lull after the storm, but given the weather we had down here last night, that's not quite true.

It's not been kind to you lot down there has it?

Mike Reid as Frank Butcher in EastEnders
Nice weather for it, Robbo

You don't sound too unhappy about that!

Well it's usually the reverse. Every time I come down to London, some Cockney wag says: "I see you've brought the weather with you", so it's nice to see you having some of your own.

Fair enough. Back to the sport and it has been a manic few weeks - what about the Greeks?

Aye, I thought the whole tournament was a bit of a let-down really. There were too many good players who didn't turn up, so there wasn't much good footie apart from Holland v the Czechs.

But good on the Greeks, you can't knock 'em. I still can't remember any of your names, but well done all of you.


Back to domestic issues now and Pete Jones in the UK says: Robbo, what do you make of this stupid restructuring of the leagues? Coca-Cola Championship? League One and Two? What's that all about?!

Well as a Boro fan I'm not really bothered what happens down there but as a QPR fan, Christopher, you'll be able to tell me what's going on.

As I understand it, your team are now playing in the Coca-Cola Championship, then after that it's League One. So if you were in the old Division Three, you're now in Division One - which is marvellous!

It's just a sponsorship thing isn't it really? Presumably the old Division Two will get a sponsor next year and it'll be called something like the Spa Corner Shop Championship.

Division Three will become the Ratner Championship and the Vauxhall Conference will be renamed the My Mum's Sponsoring It This Year Championship.

Ian Holloway
What happened to Division One?

I know what you're saying - we wait two years to get back in Division One and find ourselves in the Coca-Cola bloody Championship!

It does sound a bit like a kids' league. It's not like the Carling Premiership - you know, lager. It's a soft drink championship.

Maybe if they called it the Rum and Coke Championship you might be interested.

Whatever it's called, we won't win it. But then if we get relegated we go down to Division One, which means we'll have finally achieved our objective.

Well you can't go wrong! It's a marvellous restructuring for supporters of weak sides.

Thanks for that.

Did you see your manager, Holloway, by the way on TV Wednesday night?

No I didn't, did you?

No, I just wanted to see if he came across as well on telly as he does in print.

I'm sure he does. I've got someone to record it, so I'll send a copy up to Middlesbrough - do they have video recorders up there?

Aye - only Betamax though.


On to cricket now and Julian in New Zealand says: Well Robbo, any thoughts on England's one day performances? Let me guess, one dayers don't count and you beat us in the Test series?!

Andrew Flintoff
God moves in mysterious ways

Well that's one way of looking at it - but the one-dayers do count unfortunately - the World Cup's a one-day competition and we want to win that - we want to be world champions at something else.

I think England have been absolutely awful - I'm shocked. I put it down to the Pringle-isation of the team - it's chock full of all-rounders who can't bat, can't bowl and can't field.

And not only crap all-rounders, but fat ones. McGrath and Blackwell - what's that about? I've heard of filling out a middle order but you don't have to go that far.

Robert Key's not exactly slimmer of the year either.

Robert Key - that man's got about as much charisma as a block of wood. He hasn't got it - anybody can see that. He's one of those fill-yer-boots-at-county-cricket-but-can't-make-the-step-up players.

And he's not a one-day player anyway. Thank God for Strauss and thank God for Freddie, otherwise it would have been an annihilation.

Yes, let's have a quick word for Freddie. He's not fully fit yet comes out and scores back-to-back centuries.

He's a god at the moment. They'll be chiselling his face into the side of a Pennine hill soon.

And Strauss has held his end up well, but the the rest of 'em... I mean the fielding - this lot couldn't catch the clap off a two-bit street walker.

Every time a batsman comes out it's like golf - he hits it and shouts "Four!".

Trigger from Only Fools and Horses
The party has gone flat

And what about Saturday's final? It's like we've organised a party and not bothered turning up.

Exactly - it's like organising a wedding and then dying just before you get there.

They ought to stop doing this triangular thing. You've got to perm two from three and you know who it's going to be - the right-angle or whatever it is.


It's all a load of isosceles to me, Robbo, but we'll leave cricket for now. Final question comes from Grant in the UK, who says: I said a while back that Boro were relegation candidates.

I take that back now, but old Gibbo must have deep pockets. These has-been Dutch players command a fairly hefty weekly wedge.

Do you reckon you may go the whole hog now and get THE most over-rated and overpaid Dutch has-been, Kluivert? Hope he doesn't join us at the Toon!

Well I hope he doesn't join us at the Riverside either. It wasn't that long ago he'd ruled out playing for Boro because he didn't want to play for a small club.

Well he can go and find a big one as far as I'm concerned - and if he comes round here, I'll give him a big one.

Zenden did all right last year, Reiziger's pretty over-rated as well, but he'll be OK. But Kluivert? We've already got Viduka - can you imagine those two up front?!

That's the laziest forward line in football history. They'll be coming out in comfy armchairs. We can put up with Viduka, but Kluivert's more interested in running his bar.

And how do you reckon Boro will do?

Well I think we might struggle up to seventh or eighth this season. And if we have a freaky Charlton-esque season we might even get into Europe.

Patrick Kluivert
Where's my armchair gone?!

Another cup maybe?

Maybe we'll take the FA Cup this season - I think we need one every year now to keep that good feeling going.

Well good luck - that's all we've got time for. Next time I'll probably be talking to you about how Wayne Rooney will fit in at Man Utd. But I hope not.

Well I hope not as well. Poor lad's got himself into a bit of a scrape these last few days.

That's good advice from his agents, isn't it? You're a Merseyside lad - go and sell your story to The Sun - no problem there.

I don't know. I hope somebody's looking after him because we don't want another Gazza on our hands, do we?

Exactly. And finally - quick word for Ray Parlour?

Ah yes - the ex-wife gets a third of Parlour's future earnings. Hardly worth it, was it?

No! See you then Robbo.

Ta-ta, son - and remember, relax, don't do it.




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Derek 'Robbo' Robson
"England's fielders couldn't catch the clap off a two-bit street walker"




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