The Ramble: The Mooy boy and shirtless Russians

Paul Nicholls Roar Guru

By , Paul Nicholls is a Roar Guru

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    I thought I’d have a crack at a regular column. The football world moves like an express train so every now and then it’s worth getting off at a station and taking a moment to reflect.

    Then hop back on the next train that comes past.

    So that’s what this column is about. A ramble through the week’s football stories. A recap if you like. I’m a big fan of Australian football and for that reason this column will have an Australian focus.

    I may as well begin with the Mooy boy.

    Aaron Mooy’s man-of-the-match performance and cracking goal against Newcastle helped moved Huddersfield to a share of the Premier League lead after two games.

    I was talking this over with a friend during the week who complained that Mooy doesn’t bring his domestic form to the international stage. I agreed to an extent, and although I don’t think he plays badly, he doesn’t stamp his authority for the Socceroos.

    Aaron Mooy Huddersfield Town Premier League EPL Football 2017

    (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

    Why is this? Is it nerves, Ange’s system perhaps? Our old school coach, Mr Bruce, used to ask our best player which position he wanted to play then built the team around him. Maybe that’s what should happen with Mooy.

    We’ll need him to fire in our final two World Cup qualifiers.

    Wayne Rooney won’t be playing World Cup qualifiers any more having announced his retirement from international football. This coming during the same week he notched up his 200th Premier League goal. It’s a fine achievement, all the more for scoring it in front of the home fans of Rooney’s old arch-rivals, Manchester City.

    For all us folks who are getting a bit slower, heavier and with thinning hair (ahem), it’s nice to see a relative old-timer like Rooney reach this milestone.

    The FFA Cup rolled around on Wednesday with the game between Sydney Croatia and Fitzroy Alexander topping the bill. What did I just say? Of course I meant Sydney United 58 and Heidelberg United.

    It wasn’t a bad game. Nil-nil after ninety minutes. When Heidelberg went ahead in extra time it looked like they had it sewn up. But then Sydney United hit back with a goal in the dying moments and the Edensor Park fans went nuts.

    Such a pity that my IQ recording hit the dreaded ‘end of recorded program’ just as the penalty shoot out was about to start. Heidelberg won the shootout 4-3 to reach the next round.

    Liverpool reached the European Champions League group stages following a 6-3 aggregate win against Hoffenheim. A tick on the checklist for manager, Jurgen Klopp.

    Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge for Liverpool FC

    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    Having Liverpool in the Champions League, or European Cup as it used to be called, brings back some great memories. As a kid, me and my brother used to tune in to radio broadcasts of the games in the early hours of the morning.

    The short-wave radios we listened to were Russian made. I don’t know if the signals were bouncing off sputniks but they had this wonderful sound to them.

    The crowd noise would kind of oscillate and there were these high pitched whistles and pops. You had to keep tuning it all the time, so it was a very interactive experience.

    Speaking of things Russian, I was watching the highlights of the UCL qualifier between CSKA Moscow and Young Boys of Bern.

    I was intrigued by large sections of the crowd who seemed to be wearing flesh coloured uniforms that didn’t match either team’s jerseys. When the cameras zoomed in the mystery was revealed. The spectators all had their shirts off.

    So these must be the hard-core Russian fans people talk about. I wonder if they do this in the winter? And will it be shirts off for the World Cup? Can’t wait to see that. These Russian fans make Nix fans looked decidedly soft-core.

    In Premier League news over the weekend, Manchester United had their third straight win and are the only team with a perfect record. Behind them on the table are Liverpool, who thrashed Arsenal 4-0. Arsenal are now a lowly 16th on the table. Knives out for Arsene Wenger yet?

    Huddersfield kept up their unbeaten start, drawing 0-0 with Southampton. Mat Ryan had his first clean sheet as Brighton held Watford to a draw and moved off the bottom of the table.

    What review of the week’s football would be complete without mentioning the Mayweather-McGregor fight.

    I found myself in the only club on the planet not showing it so I had to rely on a mate’s SMS messages (as well as The Roar’s blog) to keep up.

    Since my mate is Irish I had to read between the lines but figured the message, โ€œGone,โ€ meant McGregor had lost. Still, my mate was proud of his countryman.

    In the end it was great to see some sportsmanship and respect between the two combatants. But then again, with a prize pool of a few hundred million, everyone’s a winner.

    Hopefully, I’ll see y’all next week.