Chamakh, Defoe, Van Persie … an A-Z guide on who to boo

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So who in football makes your hackles rise? Do the cheats, the poseurs or bonebreakers enrage you most – or is it a certain ref, manager, TV pundit or Fleet Street hack? I’ll start my own list here, but everyone is welcome to add to it, filling in the missing entries or second-guessing my choices. If the responses flow, I’ll keep bringing the item back to the top of the site (and insert your updates) …

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A list of who to cheer would be shorter. I’d put Howard Webb on mine, for dealing as well as he did – give or take a couple of errors – with the uncharacteristically thuggish Dutch in the World Cup final. But then I know he’d just reward me with one of those point(s)-denying decisions of his against Sunderland. Aaron Ramsey will definitely get a Salut! Sunderland cheer, but first he must recover from that horrendous injury.

So let’s make it, for now, an A to Z of the players, management, officials or others to whom we should consider giving a torrid reception in the 2010-2011 Premier League season. I will set the ball rolling; your job is to fill in the gaps or improve on my selections.

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Johann Cruyff on a very Dutch murder


Sunday was the night the Netherlands, with complete premeditation, killed football, or at least did their level best to do so. Everyone, except their own short-sighted and indignant fans, knows this to be true, including – as Jeremy Robson, pictured with his young ‘un, points out – a certain Dutch master of the Total Football at which his country once excelled …

I’ve always been a huge admirer of Johann Cruyff.

As a player, he was sublime. The now famous “Cruyff turn” which he introduced to the world in 1974 is a practice drill for aspiring footballers the world over. Hard to believe that up to 40 years ago, this move had never been witnessed on a football field.

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The Van Bommel snarl that epitomised this rotten finale


In another of our reflective glances at the World Cup, Bill Taylor starts and finishes with the sort of welcome a prisoner gives when told years have been knocked off his sentence. Four years off World Cup football – and the thuggishness, at the end, of a once-refined footballing nation – is maybe the least reward Bill can expect for getting the winners and runners-up spot on …

Ah well, at least we get another four years off before we have to go through this again. And the REAL football starts in five weeks.

There has been some good, some great football played during this World Cup but there have also been far more terrible moments than there should have been. Many of which were crammed into the final’s seemingly interminable 120 minutes.

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Spain v Netherlands, and the wonder of Darren Bent: through Spanish eyes


Where to go for a Spanish ‘Who Are You?’ in response to Edgar Meyer’s Dutch preview of the 2010 World Cup final. Marta in Belfast? “Typical kneejerk fan – probably couldn’t name any players,” said her husband. The tapas bar I like so much in Ealing? It’s Portuguese. Let’s try the Spanish Embassy in London then. And into our lives, with many thanks to the press office for putting us his way, came Benjamin Leyton* a fan of Cadiz, a Chelsea steward and, best of all, a man who admires Sunderland and Darren Bent. Three-nil to Spain, he reckons …

At one stage, people were saying Spain might go out at group stage. Now you are a step away from winning the World Cup – what went right?

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Raining on Spain’s parade


Tomorrow Salut! Sunderland brings you a very positive view of Spain, as you’d expect since it is our Who Are You? feature in which a Spanish supporter is interviewed; Jeremy Robson is not so sure, and gets his retaliation in first …

What a sad indictment it is that Spain will be contesting a World Cup final.

The only pleasure to be derived from this is vicarious. It’s great for the citizens of a true football nation to see their national side in the final for the very first time.

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Spain 1 Germany 0: send out a search party


So the World Cup winners will be either the Netherlands or Spain. Colin Randall considers tonight’s semi-final result a fair one, but needs to make swift contact with a warm, witty or wise supporter of each finalist …

My heart just wasn’t in this match. I sensed it would be tight, with none of the swashbuckling thrust of Germany’s earlier performances and Spanish flair struggling to break down Teutonic resilience.

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World Cup memories (10): around the world in 18 days

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Not really a break for Pete Sixsmith, whose series of World Cup reminiscences resumes tomorrow. But I also have reason to remember France 98. It was the year I feared I’d be keeping my head down in street battles, but ended up travelling the world …

Imagine you’ve been told at work that you’re going on a month of night shifts, and suddenly you’re given a paid holiday instead. Or that instead of representing your company at a winter conference in Skegness, the location has been switched to the Seychelles.

That was a bit like my France 98. I spent the first four months of the year or more expecting The Daily Telegraph to send me to report on hooliganism, especially any outbreaks involving England fans, or more accurately violent English criminals drawn to the location of football games. It would be an understatement to say I was not looking forward to it.

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