Last on MOTD: An Alanis Morissette moment

PEOPLE go on and on about that Carlos Alberto goal in the 1970 World Cup final as if it were the greatest football moment ever. Come on, it’s not even Brazil’s most memorable World Cup moment. That one came courtesy of Clive Thomas in 1978.

Thomas was the Welsh referee who denied Brazil a late winner in a group match against Sweden that year. Having played a whopping eight seconds of stoppage time, Thomas decided that enough was enough, and blew the final whistle while a Brazil corner was in mid-flight, just as Zico charged in to head the ball into the net.

The look of disbelief on Zico’s face as he climbs out of the net to realise his goal won’t count is priceless. And that’s why it’s a great World Cup moment – because it’s the kind of frustration we can all identify with.

Sure, Brazil’s football at the 1970 World Cup was mesmerising. Carlos Alberto’s goal in the final against Italy was, arguably, the best ever scored in a top-class game of football. But it exists in a different world to me. I’ll never achieve anything that beautiful. So while I can admire the artistry of that goal, I can’t relate to it in any way.

I can relate to the frustration of Zico’s disallowed goal against Sweden, though. We’ve all had moments in our lives when authority has frustrated us; perhaps when we’ve returned to our car five minutes later than we should have done to find a parking ticket slapped on the windscreen, perhaps when the bank has refused us an overdraft, perhaps when the council has got stroppy with us for failing to put the right rubbish in the right bin.

Sometimes, authority has its say and there’s little you can do but tear your hair out in frustration. Sometimes, life just has a way of defeating your best efforts. It’s somehow comforting to know that even the great Zico had days when the world (or, more accurately, an officious chap from the Rhondda Valley) could stop him in his tracks.

Alanis Morissette once wrote a whole song about these kind of moments. OK, she called it Ironic, when a more appropriate title might have been Annoying or Frustrating. And yes, she structured the lyrics in a clumsy manner, and thus inadvertently implied that finding a black fly in your Chardonnay was every bit as annoying as being executed.

But Morissette was only trying to get a handle on those moments when life defeats you. We shouldn’t be too harsh on her for that song; she was only a kid when she wrote it. In any case, both the song and its attendant album sold about 15 squillion copies, so I’d imagine she’s OK with any criticism.

Last night’s final match: Wigan 1 West Ham 0
Commentator: Conor McNamara

Carlton Cole had his own Zico moment yesterday. Had Alanis Morissette been commentating at the DW Stadium (and don’t tell me that the producers of Match of the Day haven’t considered hiring her), she would no doubt have observed: “It’s like that crucial goal, two seconds too late. And isn’t it ironic?”

Cole charged clear of the Wigan defence, ran the ball past Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland and tapped it into an empty net, just as referee Alan Wiley was blowing the whistle for half-time. As he turned round to see him goal wasn’t going to count, Cole had the look of Zico about him.

To make matters worse, West Ham lost the game to Hugo Rodallega’s second-half winner. It was a day to forget for the Hammers, who were last on Match of the Day for the second show running – and so moved to the top of the Gubbometer on Gubba difference.

As Morissette would no doubt have said: “It’s like being last on Match of the Day, when Last Night At The Proms has overrun and so you have to wait until half past midnight to see highlights of your team’s scrappy and forgettable defeat at Wigan. And isn’t it ironic?”

Actually, I’m not sure how that one would scan. Perhaps Morissette is best leaving the football commentary and sticking to music.


1. West Ham: 2
(GD: 1. 2L: 0.)
2. Wigan: 2
(GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
3. Gubba: 1
(GD: 1. 2L: 1.)
4. Blackburn: 1
(GD: 1. 2L: 0.)
5. Wolves: 1
(GD: 0. 2L: 1.)
6=. Birmingham: 1
(GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
6=. Fulham: 1
(GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
6=. Portsmouth: 1
(GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
6=. Stoke: 1
(GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
10=. Hull: 0
(GD: 0. 2L: 3.)
10=. Sunderland: 0
(GD: 0. 2L: 3.)
12. Bolton: 0
(GD: 0. 2L: 2.)
13. Chelsea: 0
(GD: 0. 2L: 1.)
14=. Arsenal: 0
(GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
14=. Aston Villa: 0
(GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
14=. Burnley: 0
(GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
14=. Everton: 0
(GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
14=. Liverpool: 0
(GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
14=. Manchester City: 0
(GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
14=. Manchester United: 0
(GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
14=. Tottenham: 0
(GD: 0. 2L: 0.)

GD = Gubba difference
2L = On second last
(Last night’s penultimate match was: Sunderland 4 Hull 1.)

(NB. Teams will receive one point for every time they appear last on MOTD. Appearances on MOTD2 are not included. Teams level on points will be separated by Gubba difference – the number of times a team is on last with Tony Gubba commentating. Teams still level will then be separated by the number of times they appear second last on MOTD.)


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