I recently took part in a game for the Once Upon a Smile charity, although there wasn’t a lot of smiling during the match. It was one of those things that came through my new found social media, they asked me if I’d be interested. So I ventured down from Scotland, it was a beautiful day. I met Paul who was managing the team, Salford Saxons. I then met one of my new colleagues who produced a testicle and asked me to sign it! Safe to say, I wasn’t expecting that. No one’s ever asked me to sign one of those before. I said I’ll sign it if you get it tattooed, it might have brought a tear or two to his eyes!
Ryan Clayton from Corrie took part in the game. He plays a controversial character on the street and was getting stick from the opposition manager and team. He gave as good as he got, although I did ask him if he read the script before taking his role on the soap. With some of the grief he was getting I did wonder if people had muddied the water between real life and drama.
There was a guy, Dom Lever who was from Love Island, he’d flown up from Devon, I helped him find his kit, and I think he thought I was the kit man. I don’t know if his opinion changed after my performance.
I’ve not really seen Love Island, I know there’s a Scottish guy who does the voice who’s very entertaining, I saw him on Sunday Brunch, apparently it’s quite popular. I may have to take the plunge and watch an episode.
Dom was quite confident running forward or though, he didn’t show quite the same enthusiasm when it came to running back.
The opposition team had a few ex-players Danny Higginbotham and Richie Wellens. Danny Miller from Emmerdale was one of the organisers, he’s a good player who got his team two penalties, Danny took the second one which saw a bit of pushing and shoving and square goes. Danny being a generous chap decided he would let the goalie save it and then had the generosity to screw the rebound wide too.
Over 5k raised for charity which is always good, there was a good crowd, although the most entertaining part of the game was seeing people during a charity game taking it so serious they were ready to fight one another. Paul the manager, took it proper serious too, much to my amusement, when our team scored him and his assistant sprinted on to the pitch to celebrate, he was apoplectic with joy.
There was some good banter in the dressing room, a lot of professionals would say they miss that. The first time I saw Fergie after he’d retired he said he missed the banter of the day-to-day stuff. I’ve had a few occasions to be involved in charity games lately, I’ve been involved in winding players up and making outrageous comments.
We’ve seen some good games, some have been entertaining for different reasons. I don’t understand how you’ve got full time officials in England, yet not one has been chosen for the World Cup seems strange. It’s been entertaining with the VAR, although I’m not sure why they are sat there dressed as referees when they’re watching the video referrals? They’re video analysts but looking at the way they’re dressed you’d think they were referees.
For the Uruguay versus Russia game, why the Russian player pushes players out of the way to allow Suarez to score is baffling, yet if he doesn’t score would that not be reviewed as it looks like the Russian chap is taking part in the World’s Strongest Man?
Following the Argentina game, Gary Lineker suggested that Maradona would be the laughing stock of the world because he was gesticulating at somebody. I would rather be Maradona than Lineker, although I may be alone in that.
VAR has created some amusement for people and anger for others, one in particular was Carlos Queiroz, Iran could have knocked Portugal out, I think there’s some history between Ronaldo and Carlos that’s not been resolved.
I always got along with Carlos although I could never work out his logic for tucking his shirt into his underpants, maybe he just did that for my entertainment. He did get some pelters from me over it, perhaps it was just to provide some amusement. It certainly worked.
You don’t see a lot of the pundits who’ve featured prominently during the World Cup, during the normal season as Sky have most of the games, I’m not sure if they’re having a competition as to who can come out with the worst pun? The ex-pros have been a bit of a mix really. Roy Keane’s entertaining as he will always give you his honest opinion about the players and the games, he’s very forthright.
Jesse’s always been affable he’s a character, he’s intelligent enough, he’s embraced modern social media. He understands it’s how you perform on the pitch. I’ve said for a long time he’s a good player. He should be one of the first picks in the Manchester United team and now it’s the same for England. His performances have merited that, in the two games that he’s played he was England’s most effective player.
If you look at the games that Jesse’s played for United, Jose’s picking teams based on training, previous performances on matchdays, part of that is balancing the idea that you’re going to use a squad throughout, I think he trusts him as he keeps playing him in different combinations.
Paul’s played alright in the French games, I think all the attention he gets is a bit unfair. The expectation because of the amount money you pay is a little bit too much.
A lot of fuss about has been made about his form since Sanchez signed or Sanchez’s form since joining and their form together. It’s the responsibility for the players to build a relationship that’s mutually beneficial for them.
France are amongst a number of teams who can win the World Cup [at the time of writing], Brazil were my pick, they’re still looking good, Croatia could be a good outside bet as they’ve impressed.
Sometimes you don’t consider why teams have been successful, Uruguay got out of their group without conceding and I think Diego Godin has been a big part of the reason for that.
All in all it’s been entertaining and I’m looking forward to seeing the games this afternoon.
Follow Brian McClair on Twitter @BrianMcClair13
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