A salute to a decade of guff. The original collection of George Guff is here.

Mixed success

After Switzerland conceded late to Italy:
“And for once, the Swiss penchant for accurate timing was off as they sought to shut the stable door long after the Italian stallion had bolted.”

Holland and Sweden’s uneventful slog towards penalties at Euro 2004:
“It’s like a train pulling into a station slowing down. There’s an air of inevitability about this. It’s not going to crash into the buffers. It’s going to come to a gentle stop.”

An upfield surge from Japp Stam:
“He lumbered forward like a juggernaut and pulled the trigger and let fly.”

Arsenal would hit a bum note soon enough:
“Right now Jurgen Klopp’s heavy metal band is taking a bit of a pounding from the symphony orchestra.”

Crying fowl as Sparta Prague hit back at Old Trafford:
“Attacks on goal were as rare as hen’s teeth, but now they’ve bitten and United have felt the force.”

Beginning to doubt himself:
“The wind in the sails of the Kazak team, if that can be the case since the country is absolutely landlocked.”

Hoping to ferry Shay Given to World Cup 2006 in style:
“If Ireland are to get to Germany, he should go in some class of golden stagecoach.”

Eidur Gudjohnsen misses under pressure from Alan Stubbs:
“You could say Gudjohnsen is in Stubbs Gazette. His credit is nil.”

Long before bus-parking became fashionable, George had his own defensive vehicle:
“They’ve put a set of bull-bars in front of the Portuguese jeep!”

A rare moment of inspiration from Jesper Gronkjaer:.
”Having given us a fair amount of chalk, he’s finally come up with some vintage Stilton.”

Jose Mourinho struggling to keep them in tune:
“He is like a choir master but a demented choir master and the Chelsea choir wouldn’t win many choral competitions.”

Petr Cech’s cup runneth over:
“The beer capital of the Czech Republic has a champagne hero in goal.”

Celtic’s plumbing difficulties:
“It seemed they had prised open the floodgates but somehow they wouldn’t open and remain stubbornly ajar and the flood has been but a trickle.”


You sir, are an idiot!

No fan of Jimmy Jump:
“Some headcase has decided he’s going to make a point about Barcelona… I do think it’s stupid to be showing it because he’s only getting – what did Margaret Thatcher call it? – the oxygen of publicity. He doesn’t deserve it. I hope they give him what-for!”

Just what did the Lyon centre-half ever do to George?
“You can trace all that back to the sliced clearance from Boumsong, which led to a throw-in, which led to a free-kick, which led to a corner, which led to the goal.”

Unhappy with Dutch tactical substitutions:
“Dick Advocaat is Dick the Dope! They were two goals up but whoa ho ho, they’ve blown it!”

The hardship:
“I missed my afternoon nap because of the car horns blowing outside.”

Unimpressed with Tomislav Butina’s tendency to punch:
”There’s not a coach in continental Europe who teaches how to catch.”

Even after Tom plucked the next cross from the skies:
”Yeah good catch. That’s something he learned himself.”

Outraged at referee Cuneyt Cakir:
“A 36-year-old insurance agent from Istanbul knocked United out of Europe.”

George gets tough:
“Steve Bennett, you’ve made a fool of yourself!”

Not sugar-coating things:
“Twenty two years is a long time to wait but maybe never is even longer and that could be enough to spur Longford on.”

Porto sub Edgaras Jankauskas fails to impress with an ungainly challenge:
“That is not the way we do things in the Champions League, sir.”

Cruel to be kind:
“There’s no striker on the bench, unless you count Gary Doherty as a striker.”


What he gives with one hand…

“The ageless Jason Byrne… now 35 years of age.”

“It’s hard to believe he’s going to turn 40 next month. Ageless is a word that springs to mind.”

“The ageless, 35-year-old Frank Lampard.”

“Ryan Giggs, who’ll be 40 in November – the ageless Ryan Giggs.”


Drawing on his Lyric FM experience

Relishing another demolition of Man City:
“Money can’t buy me love and it can’t buy me the Champions League either.”

Portuguese centre-half Couto wasn’t a super trouper:
“Can you hear the drums, Fernando?”

Writing off the Germans:
“There was a 70s German singer called Katia Epstein. She had a song Wenn Eine Neue Tage Bacht – When a New Day Dawns – and one of the lines of the song referred to when the troubles of the past are being vergessen und verbei – forgotten and past. Well, they won’t forget the European Championship but they’ll want to , and it will certainly be something in the past for them!”

Unsympathetic to a Cypriot clutching an elbow:
“Is it his guitar arm?”


It’s only words

“The defender done unto Dunne what Dunne done unto him”

“It’s Hazard who hazards a shot that causes no hazard whatsoever.”


Oh the humanity

A tussle for possession between Zambrotta and Kilbane must have been down to bionics:
“64 years between them – 32 each – and they’re involved in a footrace.”

Unbelievable, Jeff:
“Isn’t it amazing to think that but for Chris Sutton’s third goal last week, the score would now be two all?”



He can’t resist a tap-in

“A couple of sombreros have been tossed from the stands. It looks like the Mexicans have thrown their hat at it.”

“The referee is from Pamplona, let’s hope there’s nothing bullish about the performance.”


An optimistic soul

Considering the full potential of every effort on goal:
“If that shot had been on target and delivered with a bit more pace, it might have troubled the keeper.”

Glass half full:
“It’s nil-nil but it could easily have been more.”

Seeing the best in Clinton Morrison:
“He did all that reasonably could have been asked of him. The only thing was it didn’t hit the target.”



At sixes and sevens

Sometimes it just doesn’t add up for Ireland:
“Unfortunately the sum of the parts didn’t equate to each other.”

Or for George:
“A certain symmetry in all of that, coming after 75 minutes, 15 minutes from the end.”

On Greek pecking order:
“They’ve lost their first choice central defender and their second first choice central defender.

George may have struggled in primary school:
“Petrov, Dimitrov, Petrov… heh heh… sounds like you’re doing your times tables.”

All credit, he’s caught up in recent years:
“Three and three is six, and four is ten. And the goalkeeper, that makes eleven”


It’s all wars

Worrying Ireland’s World Cup play-off might spill-over:
“We don’t really know what Iran are capable of when the gun is put to their head.”

Forever vigilant:
“Tomasson quickly through, but Galasek saw it from his midfield sentry box.”

Stepping things up:
“Otto Rehhagel has been watching tonight, and will plot the Greek assault on the Czech fortress.”

The Germans tend to come in for special treatment:
“Another siege gun kick from Manuel Neuer.”

A sketchy understanding of medieval battle techniques:
“Barcelona threw down the gauntlet and Manchester United punched right back.”


Making a meal of it

Commis George:
“Messi peeled the prawn and Villa served it up in spectacular fashion.”

Full of beans:
“It’s 57 goals for Robbie Keane and 57 varieties of goal.”

Just desserts:
“City’s defence has crumbled like a meringue being smashed.”

Autobiographical George?
“The Swiss are prepared to go and search for what they want, while the Irish are content to wait for room service.”


Going through the motions

Impressed with Dortmund set-pieces:
“Corner durch technik.”

More German advancement:
“Vorsprung durch possession.”

No heroics here:
“Robben’s set to take it – Batman’s in the middle.”

Phoning it in:
“That was telegraphed like a telegraph pole falling down.”


Inside information

PSV’s innovative approach to player recruitment:
“They actually employ a scout – a Dutchman who travels.”

Small Merseys:
“Liverpool lost the League Cup final to the eventual winners of that League Cup.”

Thanks George:
“Statistics will show that most corner kicks don’t lead to a goal.”

Happy with flag placement:
“Ireland have won a corner, and in a very good position”.


Ooh matron

A startling announcement late in the 2002 World Cup final:
“This thing just keeps on throbbing.”

Encountering temptation:
“The quality of the game is such that self-amusement should be the order of the day.”

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink:
“I think he’s more of a mouthful than a handful.”


Asking the big questions

“I wonder why a sack of potatoes is deemed to fall?”


One spoon in your commentary box

“Irony of ironies, last time out when they salvaged a draw against Sunderland, it was an own-goal that gave them that.”

“This Irish team failed to reach the World Cup Finals when they were held in Europe, but ironically now that they’re taking place at the other side of the world, they’ve qualified.”

“Isn’t it ironic that if France are to get through now by virtue of a penalty kick, that it was a missed penalty by Spain that got them this far.”

“Isn’t it ironic that it’s his cousin Les who should show the value of Rio Ferdinand to Manchester United?”

“Isn’t it ironic that the 2-2 should come as a result of two scrappy goals.”


Pure Guff

Unorthodox, possibly illegal:
“Griezmann takes all the free kicks with that white flash on the top of his head.”

Arsenal’s new era was a bit of a mouthful:
“The one-nil to the Arsenal era that brought them such success has moved on to a very different kind of era, a two-nil in the Champions League and a six-one and a four-one in the Premier League.”

A tailbone of the unexpected:
“Bryan Shelley with a problem with his coccyx, which brings to mind the grandmother in Napoleon Dynamite, who broke hers out on a motorbike on the dunes.”

Sometimes George just can’t leave a sentence lie.
“Given almost single-handedly won the match for Newcastle against Everton…although obviously he didn’t score the goals.”

“It was pretty obvious to everyone. Like the sword of Excalibur rising in the penalty area.”


Showing off now

A quick one-two with the Bard:
“Alan Byrne, tidying up. Autolycus. The snapper-up of unconsidered trifles.”


Danger here…

“A win’s a win’s a win. And it you want to win you need the goal… Italy are only one-nil up in Podgorica. This is Kishichev, Petrov… oh noooo.”

“Gareth Bale has had a quiet afternoon against the club who nurtured him… oh he’s done it.”

“Liverpool have got their campaign back on track… unless Lisandro can get in here. Lisandro!!”

“That knock Given got earlier hasn’t affected him adversely… oohhh, Given’s lost it.”


The great gantry love story

It was once the most beautiful relationship in the gantry, albeit a sometimes tetchy relationship.

Gilesy was never as impressed as George, for instance, with Spain’s famous drum-beating supporter:

George: “Ah, there’s Manolas. He’s got his own bar outside the Mestalla in Valencia.”
Giles: “He certainly marches to the beat of his own drum.”
George: “Of course the place is festooned with images of him and his drum.”
Giles: “I can imagine, George.”
George: “It’s a must visit whenever you take in a game in Valencia.”
Giles: “I’m not too bothered about that actually George. I think I’ll give it a miss.”

Gilesy was never all that keen to learn from George:

George: “Alenitchev… Alenitchev… Alenitchev… ALENITCHEV… thwarted by Casillas!”
Gilesy: “ALENOF was unlucky there.”

Always concerned about Gilesy’s pronunciation, George once warned him Lizarazu was coming on:

Gilesy: “It’s ok, I’m used to him George.”
George: ”But what about his first name? Bixente?”
Gilesy (clearly unimpressed): ”I’m not too bothered about his first name George. And I won’t try to say it in French either.”

Occasionally Gilesy would hold his hands up:

Gilesy: “They just have to knock long balls for Abramovich. Is that his name George?”
George: ”It’s Ibrahimovic.”
Gilesy: “Sorry George.”
George (in tone of indulgent if slightly disappointed father): ”We know who you mean.”

It never lasted. As Ibrahimovic went off, Gilesy was still clearly bitter at the verbal distress he’d caused:

Gilesy: “He got a good send-off didn’t he? I didn’t think he had that good a game.”
George: “He’s a bit of a favourite.”
Gilesy (not caring): ”Is he?”
George: ”You know the background. The son of a Yugoslav immigrant turning out for Sweden and giving it his all. Hero boy.”
Gilesy: “I see.”

In fairness, Gilesy was never afraid to rely on George for facts:
”Ahhh, have Porto lost in the Champions League this season, George?”

George was invariably quick and authoritative:
“Porto haven’t lost at all….

Especially after a glance at his cognotes:
”… since they lost in the second round group match against Real Madrid.”

And of course Gilesy was beside him for George’s finest hour of the past decade, which drew a rare hint at a past encounter with unrequited love from Gilesy. It was, of course, the moment Porto scored their third in the 2004 Champions League final and left the Monaco keeper helpless:

GEORGE: “Flavio Roma was left there like a jilted lover under Clery’s Clock.”

GILESY: “Ahh… ho ho ho… that’s brilliant George. A jilted lover under Clery’s Clock? I know the feeling. Not many people remember Clery’s Clock, let alone jilted lovers nowadays.”

GEORGE (chuffed): “Heh heh heh.”

His proudest moment.

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