Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Top Ten Hangover Cures.

With the festive season well & truly upon us, I thought I might put together a little DIY guide for the readers of Beer, Footy and Birds, listing my 'Top Ten Hangover Cures.'
Some are obvious & well renowned, others might well be considered more far fetched or put into the bracket 'Old Wives Tales,' but hey........whatever you find works best for you, or should I say 're-floats your boat,' then surely the source becomes inconsequential!

In no particular order:

1/ PRARIE OYSTER (A variation on the Bloody Mary)

1 ¼ - 2 oz vodka (optional)
1 egg yolk
3 oz tomato juice
Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, salt and black pepper to taste.
Vinegar and ketchup are optional.

Pour in order into a wine glass taking good care not to break the yolk.
Down in one.

If made without alcohol, place ingredients in a shot glass and swallow all at once (Warning: Raw eggs may contain salmonella). Serves 1.


And plenty of it. Otherwise known as thiamine, this anti-oxidant is invaluable to the suffering hangover victim.

3/ IBUPROFEN preferable to paracetamol or Anadin – paracetamol can be toxic to the liver after drinking large quantities of alcohol, & asprin can irritate the stomach.


And plenty of it. Most hangovers are caused by dehydration. You lose a lot of water because of the diuretic effects of alcohol.
The number one remedy always has been, & forever shall be, to rehydrate it.


If you don't want to drink water, try a glass of flat ginger ale, which helps soothe your stomach.


Trust me on this – salt to replenish sodium ( however too much salt will cause dehydration ) & cola to burn up the alcohol & help prevent nausea.
You’ll be surprised!


Drink a glass of orange juice before crashing and as soon as you wake up. Orange juice will replace the potassium you lost during your drinking binge. A low potassium level leads to muscle cramps and muscle discomfort. Get your potassium level back to normal as soon as possible.
Orange juice will also help your blood sugar levels.


Your tummy is in an acidic state after drinlking and may cause your stomach to be very upset. Toast or bread can help neutralize the acid and make your tummy feel better. Honey contains simple sugars which will in turn help your body process the alcohol more quickly. Eat some toast with honey before turning in for the night or first thing when you finally wake up.
It'll can also help soothe the dryness in your throat.


Milk thistle is commonly prescribed for people with liver problems. Taking a few capsules of Milk Thistle before, during or after drinking may help your liver process the alcohol more quickly and minimize your hangover symptoms.


Many Puerto Ricans practice applying lemon juice to the underside of their drinking arm. If you share my sentiments for alcoholic beverages & 'double-hand frequently', a lemon for both arms is suggested. The application of the lemon juice must come prior to your binge for full effectiveness.


May I take this opportunity of wishing ALL the readers of my blog a very 'Happy Christmas & New Year' & may 2009 bring you much success & happiness in everything that you desire.

Thank you to each & everyone of you for all your support over the past year. Mark :-)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

'Footy's Top Ten' Hardest Men - Part Three!

I shall now conclude the final chapter on the subject of 'Football’s Hardest Men' with the final three names that I would consider as the most suitably apt nominees to complete my 'Top Ten' inventory.

In Part One on the 25th November, I focused on Duncan Ferguson, Claudio Gentile, Billy Whitehurst & Dave Mackay.

In Part Two on the 28th November, the men in question were Frank Barson, Norman Hunter & Andoni Goikoetxea.

Now in Part Three, I am going to focus my attention on the following 'hardmen' who have graced our beautiful game.

Before football became a non-contact sport, players frequently spoke about the first 10 minutes of a game as a period in which you had to 'earn the right to play,' essentially by being hard!
In the same breath it was arguably even more important the other way round: you had to earn the right to be hard by showing you could play; otherwise you came across as a sort of cowardly fraud, presenting the facade of being hard.

Step forward Graeme Souness.
Did Souness 'pass that test? He gave the test!'

In his playing days at Liverpool, Sampdoria and Rangers, the Scottish international midfielder was known as one of the toughest competitors in the game.

Graeme Souness, was similar in many ways to say Johnny Giles. He could actually play the game, he didn't need to just kick people up in the air all afternoon. Everybody knows what a gifted technician Souness was on the field, but if you're like me what you might well remember him for was some of the most horrendous tackles he unleashed on his opponents - potentially career ending ones. Perhaps the worst I ever saw was when he was playing for Scotland against Iceland one time. The Icelandic player had the temerity to go for a fifty-fifty with Souness and collected most of the Scotland man's studs firmly in his groin.

One of Bob Paisley's majestic trio of Scottish captures, with Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen, he cost £352,000 from Middlesbrough in January 1978. Five months later he supplied the pass at Wembley for Dalglish to score the only goal to beat Bruges & retain the European Cup. In general during his Anfield career the Scotland captain responded brilliantly to Paisley's demand to curb his explosive temperament and he became a midfielder of immense stature.

In six successful seasons as a Liverpool player Graeme Souness was at the heart of Liverpool's triumphs. Memorably described as 'a bear of a player with the delicacy of a violinist,' he was a high-octane blend of amazing strength & bewitching subtlety (centre left).

But when the legs & to a lesser extent, the eyes went towards the end of his career, he had to rely on an inadvertently hilarious thuggery.

He moved to Italian football in 1984, but returned to the UK as player/manager of Glasgow Rangers.

In 1986 Souness marked his Rangers debut with a red card inside half an hour, for a two-footed outrage on Hibernian's George McCluskey, thus sparking a mass 22-man brawl. (Souness actually nobbled the wrong gangling mullet, an easy mistake to make in Edinburgh in the mid-80s).

Even as a football manager he seemed to court controversy wherever he went.
Most famously in 1996 he nearly caused a riot while boss of Galatasaray, by planting a Galatasaray club flag on the centre spot of the pitch, of fellow Turkish side & arch-rivals Fenerbahce.

In Ron Harris, the man they called 'Chopper' you had a guy who was considered the unacceptable face of a talented Chelsea team in the late 1960’s & early 1970’s.

In that footballing era, every side had a so-called destroyer, a hatchet man, whatever you want to call them. There was at the Arsenal, Peter Storey, at Liverpool Tommy Smith, at Man Utd you had Nobby Stiles......& so on.

Harris was said to have tried to intimidate opponents even in the tunnel before a match, with a choice sentence perhaps containing the word 'ambulance'
Harris denies this saying that in fact he seldom used to speak to anyone before or during a game. However he said his manager at Chelsea at the time, Tommy Docherty did give him a tip about man-marking.
'He told me to larrup somebody in the first few minutes, and after that just to stay behind them & cough every now and then, to show them I was not too far away.'
The tactic plainly worked in the case of Tottenham’s Jimmy Greaves, marked by Chopper 19 times, scoring just the once.

It is Greaves, in fact, who wrote a foreword in a book saying, 'I've been acquainted with Ron Harris, better known as Chopper, for longer than I care to remember - and for most of that time I thought he was an evil git.' Harris came into his own in the 1970 FA Cup Final & subsequent replay against Leeds – two of the most bruising games ever seen!

His assault on Eddie Gray in the replay was one of the reasons the Blues won the trophy. Today there would not have been a player left on the pitch come the end of that Final. Nowadays it seems that too many teams have a soft centre where their midfield should be.

The game is much faster these days, of course, and the timing of a tackle is becoming a thing of precision. Old Chopper Harris, who was so short-sighted he had to be pulled back from scything down his own team-mates, would be permanently suspended these days.

Dissent is a major cause of cautions. And it seems that more modern players have difficulty in controlling themselves after being fouled. In the old days a player was willing to bide his time before getting even!

Last but by no means least, the final player to make my 'Top Ten' list of football’s hardest men is Forest legend Stuart Pearce.

Pearce was signed by Brian Clough in 1985 from Coventry City & he became a stalwart of the Nottingham Forest side of the 1980s & 90s. Pearce forged a reputation as one of the most uncompromising defenders in world football.

Given the nickname 'Psycho' by Nottingham Forest fans, the left-back cultivated a 'hard but fair' image that had him respected up & down the country.

There can be no doubt that Pearce was a hard man. He did possess an uncompromising tackle, but there was more to his game than that. He was a great crosser of the ball & had a fearsome shot on him whether it be from open play or a dead-ball situation. Probably his most notable goal was the bullet free-kick he scored in the 1991 FA Cup Final at Wembley.

Pearce was physically tough. He once tried to run off a broken leg in the twilight of his career at West Ham. But it was his mental strength to take a penalty for England in a shoot-out against Spain at the 1996 Euro Championships, which will live longest in the memory of all England fans, as he exorcised the ghost of 1990!

Pearce had missed a vital penalty-kick in the World Cup semi-final against West Germany in 1990, but made no mistake against Spain & the joy and relief on his face along with his clenched fist salute to the crowd when he scored, wiped out the memory of that miss & is one of English football's most enduring images (right).

Pearce later said in his autobiography of his penalty miss in Turin in 1990. 'My world collapsed, I had been taking penalties for as long as I could remember, but now I'd missed the most important penalty of my life.'

The 1992 Euro Championships saw him come up against a certain Frenchman Basil Boli. The giant Frenchman headbutted Pearce, without the referee noticing. Pearce was visibly angry and had to wipe blood from his face. Normally you would have given Boli five minutes at the most before 'Psycho' sent him to the treatment room. But the England captain surprised us all when he just got up and continued with the game.
You wouldn't have blamed Pearce for flooring the Frenchman, such was the ferocity of the headbutt, but Pearce showed he was better than that and beat his man by 'playing football.'

He won countless trophies with Forest and scored some classic goals. He made 522 appearances, & scored 88 goals for The Reds.
Whilst for England he made 78 appearances & scored 5 goals. Not bad for a left back!

*Putting together a list of foootball's top ten hardest men was no easy feat, & I am well aware that I had to leave out many other well-known players, who some of you might consider more worthy contenders than the players I did eventually choose.
So before I sign off I will add an additional list of some of the other players I considered but overlooked before I decided on my final ten
- Nobby Stiles, Joe Jordan, Marco Tardelli, Kenny Burns, Tommy Smith, Terry Butcher, Luis Medina, Peter Storey, Antonio Rattin, Roy Keane, Jose Batista, Billy Bremner, Vinnie Jones, Miguel Angel name but a few!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Physio Room - Injury Update

Click on the 'Link' below to see which Premier League footballers are currently suffering from a winter chill & instead of playing this weekend they will visit their local School of Performing Arts’ - all extremely relevant to 90 minutes on the football pitch - believe me!
Their amateur dramatics will come under scrutiny as they practice/rehearse & act out the following series of comedies & tragedies this weekend:

Collapsing as if shot, stabbed or poisoned – This can be done with the re-enactment of any of the following famous assassinations: JFK in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, Martin Luther King in 1968 or Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.
(All with the sole aim of winning a penalty or a free-kick at worst, for nothing more than a tap on the ankle, a slip on the turf, or the waving of a finger by an opponent).

Simulation & Manipulation – Practice this by rolling around on cushioned gym mats, clutching a bodily part combined with a well rehearsed but convincing grimacing face.
(Feigning injury in an attempt to get an opponent carded &/or sent-off).

Performing Imaginary Card Tricks – Practice for this involves the removal of an imaginary coloured card from ones pocket & then to display it forcefully at another individual by raising it skywards,
(An attempt to further enhance the thoughts of a referee on how to deal with the preceding event, usually a foul, by means of producing an imaginary card, in a cynical attempt get a fellow pro booked or sent from the field of play).

Timing & Facial Expressions – With the help of other performing art students they must brush up on their timing & facial expressions by lining up in a row & on the word ‘go’ they must move forward together & raise an arm pointing skywards & shout simultaneously ‘off’ whilst glaring menacingly.
This must be done in a confident professional manner for maximum results. Timing of the raising of arms is critical & the ‘stare’ must be convincing in a threatening way. With that a nonchalant nod of the head must follow.
(A back-four trying to claim that an opposition player is in an offside position, even if they were knowingly not. This is particular effective using a steely glare at the linesman & a nonchalant nod of the head at the referee in a manner which makes the linesman feel intimidated enough to give the decision in your favour & the referee convinced you must be right because you look so cock-sure of yourself).

We name and shame them...........!


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Seen Stoke's Sling-Shot Samba Style !

After seeing pictures of a certain young lady in a London newspaper this morning, I thought it only fitting to do a little bit of research on the background of this rising star of the Brazilian women’s national football team, and look at her own unquestionably unique and rather remarkable individual the female game’s answer to Rory Delap, (below left)
the man whose deadly throw-ins have attracted a host of media attention, and have been described in some circles as 'weapons of mass
destruction on the football field.'
Delap’s gargantuan throw-ins have been the talk of football this season as Stoke City have taken their Premier League bow.

Leah Lynn Gabriela Fortune was born in San Paulo,
Brazil to American parents.
It turns out her dual citizenship is a blessing in disguise: Leah can play with one foot in each continent, straddling playing time between her club, Team Chicago, and the U-20 Brazilian national team.
However, all bets are off once Leah turns 21, when she'll have to commit exclusively to the USA or Brazil.

But for now, as the youngest player on the team at 17, Fortune is taking full advantage of the opportunities that come with a starting role for Brazil.
With a 30-goal surplus against opponents over the course of seven games, Leah and her teammates stormed through the CONMEBOL South American U-20 Championships last March, as if every game was a carnival.

However the headline cascading across Brazilian televisions and newspapers during the Tournament was 'Leah Cambalhota Mortal' - for Leah is famed for owning a trick the Brazilians had never seen before! A throw-in in which she levitates the ball into the box with her hands by means of a somersault!

Click on the Link and watch Leah in action, for Brazil in their victory over Mexico at the 2008 Women's U'20 World Cup.


In her second game in the CONMEBOL, Leah connected with forward Pamela on a flip throw for the team's first headed goal in a 5-0 rout of Paraguay. 'The Brazilians had never seen anything before like it, so they were going nuts. The crowd loved it,' said Leah. Her father and Team Chicago program director, Hudson Fortune, was also on hand to see the games. 'Every time Leah had an opportunity for a throw-in, the crowd would stand and chant her name in hopes she would do a flip throw.'
And hers has a nickname, 'The Mortal Somersault.'

Leah may not be able to match Delap in the weights room, so she uses incredible leverage to get an insane amount of air underneath the ball and turn every throw in near the box into a poor man's corner, not unlike what Delap endeavours to do when he unleashes a throw for his club side.
'The Mortal Somersault' even earned Leah time on Brazil's 'SportsCenter' highlights reel following an U-20's win over Argentina.
The 'cambalhota' is a front handspring from the sidelines that slings the ball into a box teeming with targets. Fortune's flip allows her to hone in on a roving player - a move that can turn the game on its head.

After a year of gymnastics as a child, she transferred the skill to soccer and has been executing the flip throw since she was 9. The closest thing to a corner kick, the 'cambalhota' leaves most defenders gob smacked at the sight of a throw-in with 20 extra yards of firepower.

The U-20 World Cup in Chile concludes on 7th December.

Monday, December 01, 2008