Lear of the Rovers

The second weekend of being a FFZ (football free zone) arrives. A double tragedy as it coincides with King Lear (BOOM!) This lack of football is starting to addle the TLF little grey cells or else it was a very odd production…

King Lear, multi-billionaire owner of WSFC (William Shakespeare Football Club) decides to abdicate and divide ownership of his club between his three daughters. When the youngest, Cordelia, refuses to make a public declaration of her love for those live betting adverts of which ITV and SKY are so fond (especially the Ray Winstone ones), she is disinherited and married to Claudio Ranieri without a dowry. The veteran kit man , Eddie Kent defends her and is banished to the Sunday League. The two elder daughters, Goneril and Regan, inherit the club.

Long term but overly superstitious team coach, Gloucester, deceived by his record breaking summer signing, prima donna Edmundio, disinherits his home-grown and loyal club captain Edgar, who is forced to go into hiding to save his life. Lear, now stripped of his power, quarrels with Goneril and Regan about the club’s league position and the conditions of his corporate box and standards of hospitality offered to him and his entourage. In a rage, he goes out into the stormy night, accompanied by his Fool and Kent, now disguised as a St John’s ambulance volunteer. They encounter Edgar, disguised as an escaped club mascot. Gloucester goes to help Lear but is betrayed by Edmundio and captured by Regan and her husband, who as a punishment, put out his eyes. And then as if that wasn’t enough, dress him in Hemel kit.

Lear is taken secretly to the non-league ground of Dover City, where Cordelia has landed with a Blue Army. The blind Gloucester meets – but doesn’t recognise – Edgar, who leads him to Dover. Lear and Cordelia are reconciled but in the ensuing cup tie, are arrested by the sisters’s forces for public disorder acts.

Goneril and Regan are in love with Edmundio, who encourages them both. Discovering this Goneril’s husband forces Edmundio to defend himself against the charge of a failed drugs test. A disguised Edgar arrives to challenge Edmundio to a game of keepy-uppy and after spanking thr backside of his fancy-smancy ‘they-come-over-here’ opponent, reveals himself. Before killing himself for the shame of being beaten by a limited but full of heart English professional, Edmundio reveals that he has ordered a lifetime stadium and travel ban for Lear and Cordelia. He attempts to reprieve the order but it is too late. They are forever condemned to watch Celebrity Big Brother.

PLP Possibly losing the plot (BOOM!) Fox

Posted in Football deprived, Very random | 1 Comment


Remember when Sir Gary of Lineker tweeted about presenting MOTD in his pants if Lesta won the League?

Well actually there was a bit of a cover up (BOOM!) and the full tweet said:

“I’ll present MOTD in my pants if Lesta win the League….and then they lose on the opening day of the season to newly promoted and rather bereft Hull and then just as TLF thinks things can’t get any worse the Mighty Saints lose 3-0 away at Bath.” I will admit that is a few more than the acceptable 140 characters but either way that is what he meant.

TLF was of course, not exactly delighted by this news….but it was sketchy news as TLF was in the signal free zone that is Cropredy and Mr TLF’s updates were a little light on specifics par example, “Your team on telly. Oh dear. Things not good.” Clearly having a vivid imagination and having imbibed then TLF’s thoughts are not of conceding a goal but more like the team coach has been abducted by aliens or it’s just been announced that the entire population was on a massive acid trip last season and Lesta didn’t win the Prem at all – Tipsy TL’s need specifics

Bad news, even when its not quite clear how bad is always that bit more palatable when you’re in the sun with a beer, sitting watching a weekend of cracking music (Madness!, Ralph McTell!, Hayseed Dixie! Fairport! Other bands dear reader that you may not have heard of but take it from TLF most of them were great!), another beer, a cheese cob made by your mum (the best cheese cob in the whole world obvs), another beer and even a packet of bacon fries. As Ralph McTell didn’t say in the follow up to his massive (and only hit) The Streets of London,

“Have you seen the TLF,
In a field near Banbury,
Desperate for news on Twitter,
About her football team.
She’s no time for talking,
About Lesta humiliation,
Things gettin worse,
As St Albans concede.

But how can TLF tell you she is grummmmpppppy
And say for her that the sun don’t shine?
Let me take you by the paw and lead you through the fields of Cropredy,
I’ll show you something to make you change your mind.

Have you seen the TLF,
Sitting in a field in Cropredy,
Sun shining, and with good company.
She’s lots of time for talking,
Might be what she’s drinking.
Hope she’s wearing factor 50,
Or she’ll have a red nose.”

And as it turned out he didn’t mean pants. He meant a rather lame pair of white shorts. The nation deserved better….Or maybe that was better?

McTell Fox

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In the best possible taste

This is the slightly delayed blog that you should have been able to read by Friday at the latest. We apologise for any inconvenience caused – words come easily in a field at a music festival, sufficient signal to access the interweb less so.

In all the worry about new signings and the wringing of paws over the loss of crucial players one key element of a successful season seems to have been overlooked. Has the snackage, the refreshments, the pre and post-match refueling essentials been reviewed? Refreshed even to ensure they keep up with the demands of another season where the opposition will be wiser to the approach that worked so successfully the season before? Do we need to reconsider the formation, have opposition managers sussed us out – are we too predictable? Do we need to inject some youth and pace into a squad that has seen us through some tough times? Do we need to, dare I say it, TINKER?

To an extent, like a manager at a club with megalomaniac owner, a key decision was taken out of TLF’s paws. The heart of TLF’s match day ritual, the trip to Andy the Burger’s van for a crisped up bacon COB, is off. TLF doesn’t know the details but there was a new purveyor of fine fried goods on duty at the opening game of the season. TLF was too discombobulated to test out the new signing but there are tough tests ahead for this new member of the team; can they?
No, scrub that.
Will they crisp the bacon on request?
It has already been noted that like those who went before them they insist on calling a cob a roll but hey I’m not one to expect footballing miracles (I think I have had my lifetime’s allocation of those).

Easing the pain somewhat is the appearance of a cheeky, some might say, precocious new signing in residence at Clarence Park. The SACFC official donut. TLF was initially suspicious; too garish, too ostentatious for my liking – never keen on the flair player. Until the magic words, ‘lemon’ and ‘curd’ were uttered and small children were left scattered in TLF’s wake as I staked my claim. Excitement levels were such that I only remembered to pay for it at half time.

This season's key signing

This season’s key signing

Like your reliable centre half who has just signed a new 3 year contract, the bacon fries and ‘that German beer’ ensure some continuity. And they go down a treat in the resplendent surroundings of the recently redecorated club house; new paint (two tone blue and white), new ceiling and floor tiles and some brand new prints. All funded by proceeds from the SBYS race night and installed by brilliant SBYS volunteers. All light and airy it looks bigger and seems to make us all look a bit thinner (might come in handy if the donut thing becomes a regular feature). Even the ladies loo door has been replaced – although it should maybe come with a health warning as I gave it the same weighty shove that was previously required and almost decapitated a woman using the hand dryer.

On the pitch things weren’t looking too shabby either, with two cracking goals against Concord giving the Mighty Saints a winning start to the season.

Twenty four hours later and it was time for Lesta City’s first trip to the new Wemberlee and first ever Charity Shield (as it was called in old money). I know that technically it wasn’t their first, but 1971 at Filbert Street for random reasons including Arsenal’s unavailability and the FA not liking Leeds does not properly count. Clearly the donut had gone to TLF’s head as all of a sudden a cheeky Italian rose is called up from the sub’s bench, replacing the veteran lager as the pre-match drink of choice.

More traditional are TLF’s hopes for the game ahead, “I’d just like to avoid humiliation.”

As it turns out there is no humiliation on the pitch, although I think Mr TLF might have questioned the off-pitch humiliation factor of TLF’s fox ears. The defeat is, in the grand scheme of things, an easy one to stomach (BOOM!), being all about a ‘good day out’. Not even wine consumed will deaden the memory of joining in with the chant ‘Champions of England’ as we step onto the platform at Wemberlee Park tube station or the celebrations when we equalised, “Lesta just scored at Wemebrleeeeeeeeee” I bounced and screamed at Mr TLF. He knew that but tired and emotional Foxes can sometimes do no more than state the bleedin’ obvious.

Post match recovery is aided by sausage COBS and a return to the more traditional beverage of choice, lager. TLF – keeping the winning formula going on the plate, if not always on the pitch.


Egon Fox

Just glad to be ear (BoomBoom!)

Just glad to be ear (BoomBoom!)

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Hard Times or Great Expectations?

TLF is in a TIZZ
TLF is not MARDY
TLF has not GOT A COB ON (and if that doesn’t prove it’s the right word I don’t know what does as ‘having a roll on’ would sound like an expression of your deodorant preferences or possible something a little ruder)
Just in a TIZZ
Or perhaps even in a Chuzzlewit?
Or for the more London-centric Mr TLF
In a two ‘n eight.

But what the Dickens (BOOM!) I hear you cry, surely TLF should be in state of unbridled TLF joy? The football season, the next chapter in a tale of two cities is after all, almost upon us. Except it all feels a bit uncertain, a bit odd.

On the one paw, things look bleak; housing (BOOM!) as I do, fears that there might not be another season of rambling, quippage, whimsy, bad punning and literary football mash ups left in TLF.

On the other paw, if you pick wick your way through the local papers (pushing my luck there I warrant you) things look bright on the Clarence Park front. Arsenal’s third worst ever player (long story), Ian Allinson, avoider of relegation, owner of proper football manager apparel and all round genius has now had a whole summer to shape his squad, and set the tone for what is expected. As a result there is just a whiff of confidence about the prospects for the Mighty Saints.

And then on another other paw (see; paws much handier than hands if that’s possible – more of them to use in debate) there is just the utterly uncomfortable non-comfort zone that is supporting the reigning Premier League Champions. TLF should be dusting self down after another spectacular flirt with relegation not trying to manage giddiness levels at the idea of first trip to the new Wemberlee for Lesta and a first time in the Charity Shield (as we called it when I were a cub) and a first time in the (gulp) Champions League. And as any fule kno the number of good times for Lesta City are inversely proportional to the number of bad times so chances are it’s all going to go to eff and be really miserable.

But let’s paws (BOOM!) for a moment. As a wise author once told TLF (well in my head he did) “This is a world of action, and not for moping and droning in.”

There will be new adventures, new grounds and new people. Surely a rich source of inspiration awaits? And in any case looking at the TLF schedule, a Festival-Theatre-Holiday-Wedding roller coaster of weekends during August and September means that with one early exception TLF won’t be writing about football anytime soon.

And of course previously never experienced humiliations and angst are always good for crow barring in black humour and random Shakespearean tragedy references. The potential for comparing Saintly success with Lesta lamentation should not be underestimated. Defeat and misery will refresh parts of the blog that positive football stories cannot always reach.

Season 2016/17?
Could be the best of times.
Could be the worst of times.
Bring it on and prepare for rambling on a European scale.

And maybe even some larks.

Pip pip!

Charles Fox

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He who Eders, wins

I don’t think it is a phrase you hear tous les jours but ‘the tournament gets the final it deserves’ seems appropriate after last night’s underwhelming game. Much like the tournament itself it was average fare; you weren’t on the edge of your seat and just as the occasional tantalising amuse bouche of footballling skill and daring would pique your interest, it was momentary and you were back to school dinner stodge football.

That is not to decry Portugal’s success. They have been tenacious and resolute, well managed by the wily old (cliché alert) Fernando Santos, although it would be a step far to agree with the actor…sorry defender Pepe’s description of the team, “That’s what the Portugese are about: humility, work, overcoming hardship.” It’s true; rolling around on the floor like you have been run over by a herd of raging wildebeest (very common in European football stadiums I hear) when actually no one really touched you has always been my definition of humility.

And all this without the other, slightly prettier Pantomime Villain that is Cristiano Ronaldo who limped off, distraught after 25 minutes. Much as je n’aime pas la Cristiano he did go up in my estimation as he ignored the HUGE moth that landed on his head when he was lying injured. My leg could have been hanging off and if a moth landed sur ma tete I would be leaping up and down shouting, “Getitoff Getitoff Getitoff!!!!!!” like the big brave TLF that I am.

France were unable to take advantage of CR’s grand depart, having left their inventiveness and creativity on the team coach. And then Portugal did to France what Greece did to them 12 years ago, squeezed the space and were relentless. The aforementioned Pepe might be un peu of a d1ck but he did his defensive duties superbly. Winning was a step too far for France and perhaps a relief to the rest of us – safe in the knowledge that there would no further recycling of the weekend’s press coverage which see-sawed between the “victory-will-help-heal-this –country-still-in-shock” line and the “ people-who-say-victory-will-help-heal-this –country-still-in-shock-are-kidding-themselves-it’s-only-football.” Face it, sport can unite people for a moment, but big tournament wins are fleeting in their impact. (SEE I am doing it now!)

I would suggest for a future tournament that France consider adding yellow spots to their white change strip. If only so that we could all sing “He wore an itsy bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka dot Matuidi.” Sorry that’s been in my head since the first game all those weeks ago.

Eh bien, nous sommes fini. Temps pour la tableau mural to come off the wall, to put the tournament T-shirts in the wash and relinquish control of the television scheduling Chez TLF.

It hasn’t been something to always ecrire home about admittedly; for TLF too many teams and too many jours de repose. Ingurland were a predictable disappointment, led (I use the word loosely)by the highest paid coach in the tournament, whose main tactics seemed to be to employ rien de tactic and play to his players’ weaknesses as often as possible.

The other home nations were an utter joy – some great perfomances and fans who seemed to realise that it is not essential to spend the hours between football matches chanting about past conflicts that are nothing to do with football and where a lot of people died.

Every tournament needs its ‘everyone’s favourite second team’ and Iceland stepped up beardfully to the plate. From really annoying Ronaldo in their obstinacy to let him score to their humiliation of Ingurland they kept the interest up and fair play to Alyson Rudd and a couple of other Times colleagues who predicted that the men from the fijords would be the surprise package of the tournmanet.

This year’s tournament mascot,’Super Victor’ was noticeably absent at all times (apart from on offical over-priced UEFA tat), whether this has anything to do with the fact that Super Victor is the name of a best selling sex toy in America, I couldn’t say.

Being in France was, of course the icing sur la gateau pour TLF. Not quite the chilled out, informal, footballing vacance that was in TLF’s petite tete when booking those tickets two years ago but that’s the way of the world these days. Lens was an utter blast and while they were rubbish on and off the pitch, hearing Russia’s national anthem belted out in Lille’s stadium, with the roof closed was spine-tingling.

Financially things are even – Mr Jennings probably just edged it but TLF’s victorie in la sweep de stake has bought things back into the black.

Time for TLF to get sur sa bicyclette and stop this self-inflicted torture of a blog a day ; doesn’t have the same effect as une pomme per jour I can tell you. Normal service will be resumed in August.

A bientot!

Non je ne regrette rien
Edith Fox

Resultat – La finale
France 0 Portugal 1 (aet)

Malcolm and TLF en Lille, suitably refreshed.

Malcolm and TLF en Lille, suitably refreshed.

TLF's European HQ - aka the dining room table

TLF’s European HQ – aka the dining room table

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Marchons, Marchons!!!

A minor miracle has occurred. TLF will finally be able to watch a major tournament final and wear the shirt of a finalist at the same time. A first. This might of course be due to the rather random nature of my shirt buying – step forward the Honduras away shirt 2014 and a lack of German/Spanish/Argentinian/Brazilian items within the TLF wardrobe, rather than the exhibition of a cruel streak by the Footballing Gods of Fate (FGFs)

Fortunately for TLF and a whole nation those FGFs were on form last night, smiling down beatifically and chucking some largesse in the direction of les Bleus. They might pronounce it Lurve but there wasn’t any of that to be found last night for Germany’s coach Joachim Low.

Not that it was all down to FGF intervention of course. For all of Germany’s fluidity and calm possession they could not score. France had the confident goal scorer Griezeman who didn’t crumble under the pressure of taking that 45th minute penalty. Fair play to the eagle-eyed ref (Italian I note #justsaying) who spotted the arm of Schweinsteiger when no one else did. They also had a much improved defence, although their midfield could have done with a spot of Kante (But I would say that wouldn’t I?).

While triumph went to those in blue, the air did not turn blue in acknowledgement. Another first last night was the venue for semi final viewing – Auntie Dot’s. Ninety and most definitely spry, but not very footbally and not very sweary. The former she coped with brilliantly, the latter TLF had to refrain from. My hastily assembled special auntie football cursing lexicon was thorough:
Fool – w*anker
Rubbish – b8llocks
Idiot – tw*t
Flipping heck – fookin hell
Poor – utter sh1t

But the words just aren’t so satisfactory; particularly when the stakes are high. And swearing vicariously does not work – ‘amusing’ expletive laden texts from friends, who were aware of my dilemma, did not fall into the definition of ‘supportive’. More like ‘inflammatory’ or ‘TLF bait’.

Normal swearing service will be resumed this weekend. Four weeks after the rather slow and ponderous party started, vingt-quarte have been reduced to deux and after a month of relationship threatening football and bankruptcy inducing gambling it all comes down to Sunday night. No faffing about with 3rd place play-offs. Non; pas de tout.

Sunday approaches – chill your beers, purchase your snackage, cuddle up with Sir Gary of Lineker and Thierry, tune out Alan Shearer and lockdown the remote control. It is the FINAL.

Hosts versus underdogs, who when they were hosts, 12 years ago, lost in the final to the underdogs Greece (keep up!). It’s not quite what TLF envisaged when referring to 12 year rule earlier this week (that’s where rank outsiders – Denmark, Greece in the past – win the tournament every 12 years) but it is making me nervous. Ronaldo is a winner and leading Portugal to their first major trophy would be the panner-cle of his career. (Yes I am afraid the cheese puns are stilgoington).

A host nation expects.
And so does a TLF.
I didn’t learn their national anthem for nothing vous connais.
Don’t let me down chaps or I will greve.

Allez Les Bleus!!

Resultat d’http://thelostfox.org/?p=1244&preview=truehier
Germany 0 France 2

Sunday’s fixture – Il ne peut y en avoir qu’un!
LE FINAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
France v Portugal8p m, Stade de France, Paris

Les phrases francaises essentielles de TLF

As sober as a judge:
Sobre comme un chameau (As sober as a camel)
As in: TLF is unlikey to be sobre comme un chameau a le soir de Dimanche….Plus ca change…..

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Le grande fromage

And this really is a grande one. World Champions versus Hosts. Masses of tournament history between them, France seeking revenge for their quarter final defeat in the last World Cup. It could be a halloumi of a game.

With all due respect to previous opponents this is probably the first time France have faced a really good side in the tournament. It was suggested this morning on the radio that maybe if we didn’t call Germany, well Germany, we might assess them differently. That too many winning performances are bound up with the name to assess them objectively. Something in you head just goes, ‘German = winning a football match.” Even TLF, clinging onto one last tournament T-shirt isn’t feeling too brielliant about France’s chances:
Germany have yet to concede a goal from open play (boo!) during the tournament but they do have a few notable absentees (hooray!) either through injury or suspension – Hummels, Gomez and Khedira are not easily replaced. France have no such problems( hooray!) with a full squad to choose from – although full squad or not that still means a suspect defence (boo!). Perhaps the venue will make a difference – Marseille crowds will be a bit more edgy – expect a deafening raclette.

One thing for sure is that the German physio will probably not be wearing his CR7, Ronaldo boxers, the label of which , peeking out from above his waistband was picked up by an eagle eyed cameraman during their last game. Maybe they are great pants, but not to be worn at a stage when their namesake awaits in the Final.

Talking of the Portuguese equivalent of Violet Elizabeth Bott (for those not recognising this cultural reference point, see me after the tournament for children’s literature detention). I am of course gutted to report that Cristiano delivered a feta-ccompli, leading a Portugal team that hadn’t won a game in 90 minutes all tournament, to victory over Wales. Last night wasn’t Wales’s best performance of the tournament and Ramsey really was a big miss, a step too far perhaps against a team that seem to have learned to do just enough every time to get through.

Heart-wrenching though it is to lose at the semi-final hurdle, once the initial disappointment is over they and their fans must be soooo chuffed. They have exceeded everyone’s expectations (if not their own), given us some great football and just been everything that so many teams, especially England, are not. Relaxed, refreshing, engaged with their fans….Magnificent.

Diolch & merci Mr Coleman.


Yesterday’s result
Portugal 2 Wales 0

Le Demi Final 2, Ce soirLes phrases francaises essentielles de TLF

Every cloud has a silver lining
Apres la pluie, le beau temps (after the rain, the fine weather)
As in:
If ever TLF didn’t want a team in the final it was Portugal, mais apres la pluie, le beau temps, it is her sweepstake team.

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There be dragons

If the first knock out round is the ‘business end of the competition’ then presumably the semi-finals are les grande fromages of the business end.

Portugal will need to tread caerphilly (BOOMBOOM!)as they face the magic that is Wales. TLF does find herself slightly conflicted, having wiped from the memory banks, almost as soon as the name was out of le chapeau, that Portugal were one of her sweepstake teams. And indeed are now her only sweepstake team. Financial advantage versus the story of the tournament? No contest; TLF is on the hunt for some Welsh ancestry.

One thing that definitely won’t make it anywhere this evening are the team’s offspring. You may have seen the Welsh players frolicking with their nippers at the end of every game. Now however the UEFA elf has ruled that this is interdit. (elf and safety… ). Apparently the pitch is not a safe place for children, “It is a European Championship not a family party….it is not a safe place if fans invaded the field and with stadium staff operating machinery on the playing surface,” a UEFA Grinch explained.

Similarly missing due to what could be interpreted as a bit of UEFA harshness are Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies. Two yellow cards in five games mean a one match suspension for both of them. There are no easy solutions to managing persistent offenders in a tournament but TLF is not convinced that this is the best one. It could mean a first start for Lesta’s Andy King or, as the Evening Standard predicted (with no locational bias at all…honest), could see both the suspended London based players be replaced by a further two London based players.

For the press of course, they find it hard not to be distracted by the story that is Bale v the man who throws microphones into lakes. But it would be mad to detract from their team mates who are way more than a supporting cast to the Real Madrid megastars.

It would be harsh on Wales to lose to a Portugal team that have not exactly set the tournament alight. So cross your fingers/des doigts/bysedd and anything else about your person and invoke the 12 year rule (tell you tomorrow).
Dewch ‘malen Cymru!

Le Demi Final 1, Ce soir

Portugal V Wales, 8pm, Stade de Lyon, Lyon

Les phrases francaises essentielles de TLF

To think you are God’s gift.
Se croire sorti de la misse de Jupiter
(To think you are the gift of Jupiter)
As in,
“I don’t like to say it, Cristiano but se croire sorti de la misse de Jupiter

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The devil makes work for idle paws…….

It seems like the elephant in the room isn’t.
Isn’t there, I mean.
In the room.
If it was then presumably it would remind TLF.
About what?
About all the things TLF forgets.
Because elephants unlike TLFs never forget.
TLFs forget for a variety of reasons – lack of sleep, excessive levels of giddy excitement, hangovers (very rarely) and far too often the outrageous reality that is the need to get to and do some WORK.

So if I was actually le TLE (keep up!) maybe you wouldn’t have missed out on any of the following, which I have rediscovered after reviewing note books and removing from various trouser pockets small scraps of paper with little notes on them (hi-tech that’s TLF):

A rant about lazy journalism – During the stupid behaviour by a stupid minority that took place in Lille, reporters referred to the use of tear gas (and other phrases for indications of bad things happening) outside Lille’s railway station. Well do you know what they have three? Would it have been too much effort to say Lille Europe, or Lille Flandres or Lille the-other-one-just-out-of-town-that-TLF-forgot-the-name-of.

Pitch side French TV punditry – A laid back affair. Or maybe they employ pundits who know current players. Or maybe they get access to a better bit of the pitch pre-match. Anyway before one match the whole pre match analysis went to eff as Spanish players (various) came over to the pundits during the warm up and engaged in much hugging, badinage and by the looks of it some serious jokes regarding Pique’s beard. Heart-warming even though I didn’t understand a word. Who were Spain playing? Can’t remember.

German beer – That night I was in a German restaurant while Germany played. I wanted to keep in the spirit so drank this fantastic beer. Slightly incongruous – a traditional stein amongst the fine dining accoutrement, but no matter tasted great. I even saved the receipt so I could tell you what it was called. And when I find the receipt I will let you know.

The cockney rant – My hotel bar in France was full of Ingurland fans on the night before the Wales game. A mixture of those from the north and south they all bonded in a big, beery and blokey kind of a way. Until the northern group left and I was able to listen to one group of London boys express their true views of their country men, their likely abilities to survive in an unfortunate meeting with any Russians/French riot polis, and the fact that they would, “not be rescuing no northern monkeys from the gutter. And where do you think those ‘see you next tuesdays’ will be when it all kicks off. Particularly that ginger one. Who does he think he is? Tommy Tasty? Well he can effing forget it.”

The rogue ‘H’ – it has been pointed out to me by my linguistic adviser Mr TLF that my spelling of ‘hold tight’ was wrong. It is of course ‘old tight’. I forgot to drop me aitch.

Photos – there’s a couple of great ones from France. And when my iPad stops acting like Tommy Tasty (who he?) I will post them in a blog. I’d like to see the elephant do any better. Unless you are going to tell me that apart from never forgetting they are also good at IT.

A headline – There was no headline for the blog about Ingurland’s insipid draw with Slovakia. It just says Tuesday. You might have not noticed or you might have thought it was some clever post-modernist statement designed to indicate the bleakness of the mood de la TLF. Mais non. Pure incompetence. What had I come up with as a headline? Can’t remember. Ask the elephant.

Don’t worry. The football is back tomorrow. And all this will be a distant memory(!)

Hannibal Fox

Les phrases francaises essentielles de TLF

I would rather stick hot needles in my eye.
Je preferais me couper un bras (I would rather cut my arm off)
As in:
Je preferais me couper un bras than listen to Robbie Savage

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France take the icing off the Euro cake, the Welsh dragon melts Belgian chocolate hearts and Germany win on penalties

Sir Gary of Lineker’s assessment of the beautiful game remains accurate for a little while longer in this tournament, “Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.”

On Satday evening it took a little longer – 90 minutes plus extra time and penalties to be precise. That gave Mr TLF additional ammunition as he pointed out that, “Yes it may well have only been one game today but it lasted until half ten.” Mind you even he was open mouthed at the penalty shoot out shenanigans. Presumably the German misses were some sort of Teutonic in-joke designed to mess with our heads, bearing in mind that the Nationalmannschaft last missed a tournament penalty in 1982. Italy were determined to get in on the joke too…sadly they did it a little too effectively. Seven penalty misses in total and the most obvious lesson of the lesson of the night was that those little shuffley and faffy run-ups will frequently make you look like une peu of a tool.

Sounding like a bit of un outil was Martin Keown. Yes the match was tactical, but that doesn’t make it, “like a chess match,” Martin no matter what you say. Last time I looked chess was played on a board not football pitch, has teams of 16 and allows men, women, horses and bishops to play on the same team. Mind you lazy metaphors and clichés are a favourite of Mr K, as the number of players who either had or needed ‘nerves of steel’ during the penalty shootout, proved.

Gutted to think that we have now lost Conte from the touchline (although it won’t be long before he is gracing this sceptr’d isle) and potentially Gianlucci Vialli who may or may not grace the Beeb’s studio again now his home nation is out. The suit, the passion, the lovely smile and the use of the phrase, “squeaky bum time.” What’s not to love?

Iceland v France was BIG. Nooo not because it was the hosts against one of the great stories of the tournament or because it was a tense and close encounter but because Mr TLF had, in consultation more with last week’s visitor Iain than TLF, a acheté une nouvelle télé. Kind of glad he did it after Iceland had humiliated Ingurland as I imagine that the size of the screen is directly proportionate to the level of misery achieved in the viewing (it’s a new law of physics).

Sadly for Iceland their debut on TLF Tower’s new telly was not on

Fear not. TLF had not forgotten. But sometimes you do have to save the best jusqu’à ce dernier.

Wales, Wales, Wales. Just wonderful. Teamwork and spirit? Yes of course in llwythi bwced (le load de la bucket). But also skilful. I don’t know what the Welsh is for Cruyff turn, but clearly Hal Robson-Kanu does. With the exception of the first 20 minutes Wales were utterly in control. Chris Coleman is officially a genius and has made history – managing his team to the semi finals in their debut tournament and there may still be more to come. And if TLF can be a little paraochial for a minute (and in your own blog that is generally an option), it was fantastic to see a Lesta City player celebrating getting into the semi finals of the European Championships. And now there’s two of them!

What a weekend. The only downside was that with the exception of the Wales result, TLF’s tips were distinctly off. As a result TLF the pundit has, with only three games to go, been shown her cartes, obtenu la boot, given her ordres de marche.

The magic chicken worked on the pitch but not in the bookies. C’est la vie.

D’ TLFagnan, one of the Three Foxateers, from the famous stories by Andre Dufox


Wales 3 Belgium 1
Germany 1 Italy 1 Germany win 6-5 on penalties
France 5 Iceland 2

Les phrases francaises essentielles de TLF

It’s not worth jack-sh!t
Ca ne vaut pas un pet de lapin (It’s not worth a rabbit’s fart)
As in, “TLF’s betting tips ne vaut pas un pet de lapin.”

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