It was late on Thursday evening when the topic of conversation swung in the favour of Garth Crooks. Now, we all know Crooksy isn’t the brightest star in the night sky and before we knew it, the football loving fiends that most of us are began to list off the daftest things the former Stoke City, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, West Bromwich Albion and Charlton Athletic striker has said or done during his punditry career.
So, in no particular order, below is the compiled list of the baffling incidents that have seen us all laugh until we cry with our heads in our hands, perplexed as to what we have just heard or read.
Brazil are playing a 4-2-1-3-1
Oh Garth, we know Brazil often give the impression that they play with an extra man, due to their capability to perform to the highest standard. But, that doesn’t actually mean they play with an extra outfield player. Now, unless goalkeeper Gabriel was utilised in the position between the two banks of midfield, we count 11 players in that formation. Cue the watching footballing world scratch their collective heads in disbelief as to what they’ve just heard. Even Jake Humphrey couldn’t contain his laughter and re-questioned the decision to, as Crooks put it, “set-up quite interestingly”.
Van Persie in his recent team of the week
This beauty comes from his decision to select Robin van Persie in his recent team of the week. For those that missed the encounter, it was the Dutchman’s first against Arsenal since signing for Manchester United. However, rather than focus on the performance of the 29-year-old, Crooks opted to give us fans an insight into his train journey to Manchester that morning. I mean, it isn’t like the striker scored after 155 seconds or anything. But it’s OK, because the songs about van Persie and Spurs fans were “funny”. That’s a relief.
“I don’t know what an impact player does”
Garthy, Garthy, Garthy – the clue to what an impact player does is in the comment you wrote in the comment to justify your decision to select Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko. The powerful front-man had netted twice in the 2-1 win over West Brom, emerging from the bench to put the Baggies to the sword and secure the three points for the Citizens. Remarkably, having proclaimed that he doesn’t know what an impact player does, Crooks goes on to add “However, Edin Dzeko is proving to have an impact on games”...*bangs head repeatedly against the keyboard*
Wayne Rooney’s display
From the same team of the week – this one was a doozy to critique – Crooks compares Wayne Rooney’s performance during United’s 4-2 win over Stoke City last month to that of his 10 years ago, where the front-man netted the winner in Everton’s 2-1 win over Arsenal. Yet, that encounter back in 2002 saw the then 28-year-old appear as a substitute, emerging from the bench in the 82nd minute. This, Garth, this is what an impact player does, just for future reference.
Juan Mata – from the same team of the week
“This lad just keeps getting better and better. In a game that has suddenly become consumed by possession isn't it lovely to see a midfield player who does not play square or backwards all the time but looks to play the ball forward and follows it into the box to score goals. We used to produce players like that in England once upon a time!” The less said about this, the better.
His weekly formulaic revolution
Thank god Crooks isn’t a manager. I mean, his formations and tactical inadequacies are evident for all to see. It’s like every week he does his best to fit in as many strikers in his team as humanly possible, which would be 11 and a goalkeeper if his conniving plan to instigate the 4-3-1-2-1 comes to fruition. We’ve seen 4-1-5, 2-3-5 and 4-0-6 all utilised as he continues his dream of making Ossie Ardiles appear as tactically astute as Helenio Herrera.
His calls for Hodgson to consider James Morrison for England
A midfielder excelling in a team that continues to thrive under Steve Clarke as West Brom continue their push up the table. If James Morrison had played for a top four team, it can be argued that he would be part of the England set-up already. Oh, and of course the fact that 26-year-old has 25 caps for Scotland. Yes, Crooks championed the campaign for the Baggies star to be called up to the national team, post-haste. Naturally, the segment of his team of the week was quickly removed after those on Twitter began to pass the message around the social networking site and promptly tore his piece of “journalism” a new one.
Comparing Kagawa to Scholes
Even the most passive of football fans can differentiate between midfielders and their role on the pitch, but clearly not our Garth, no sir. The only comparison between Paul Scholes and Shinji Kagawa is their ability to pick out a pass – nothing else. Both offer different threats in the middle of the park, but it’s evident that if you’re a midfielder for United, you’re basically the same player.
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