The Loneliest Jukebox

Graham Barnfield's weblog, being gradually replaced by his Twitter feed -

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Revenge of the Spider

No, not a sequel to the ropey B-movie. I'm talking about the performance of Zeljko "Spider" Kalac in the Australia-Croatia game in the World Cup. True to form, he managed to put Croatia in front as he dived low and the ball bobbled over him. Only a godawful performance from Tring's finest Graham 'Three Yellows' Poll spared Spider's blushes, although Kalac was subsequently dropped from the Australia team.

All this brought back memories from over a decade ago, when Spider first signed for Leicester City. I was a bit unsure of the signing from the start, not least when folks on phone-ins said 'he'll be great for the club, he's really wacky'. Generally speaking wackiness is not the first quality I look for in a goalkeeper. Several soft goals against West Brom and Bolton later and he was dropped to the reserves, resurfacing only to be seen tearing up fanzines in the player's lounge at Filbert Street.

Duleep Allirajah takes up the story from here, drawing parallels between Kalac and lanky England striker Peter Crouch:
"I once witnessed this very phenomenon at a First Division play-off final at Wembley between Crystal Palace and Leicester. The game was deadlocked at 1-1 and heading for penalties when Martin O’Neill played his joker, sending on substitute goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac who was, I swear, the tallest man I have ever seen. The unnervingly surreal spectacle of a giant suddenly appearing and starting to trot across the pitch was just like a scene from a David Lynch film. The Palace fans started booing, and rightly so, for the giant would certainly have saved every penalty or at the very least freaked out opposing penalty takers. I suspect that the Palace players were similarly distracted because, with seconds to go, Steve Claridge shinned a ball that looped in slow motion over Nigel Martyn’s head and into the net. Can Crouch do the same thing in Germany? The problem now confronting Sven is this: if he starts with Crouch, the surprise element of bringing on a giant to confuse the opposition is lost."

And now Kalac is back in the public eye. But for how long?
The 'google ad-sense' portion of this blog (i.e. the software that takes blog visitors to other websites, while forwarding me a microscopic amount of cash in return), is linking up to the English Democrats political party. One reason for not voting for them, based on the home page, is Bromley & Chislehurst Parliamentary Candidate Steven Uncles, who is '42 years old, married with two children ... By 2003, he had become aware that "something needed to be done for England"'. If the candidate took 39 years to realise that there were problems in this country, then his prospective constituents shouldn't hold their breath while awaiting any concrete results from him.


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