Introducing Dubious Goals Panel

At Ruud Gullit Sitting On A Shed, I like to keep all nine of my fingers on the pulse. Here is a guest column from my cousin, Dave Eusebio, frontman of up-and-coming indie band Dubious Goals Panel.

Eusebio, Beckenbauer, Maradona, Pele

Let me tell you a little bit about Dubious Goals Panel before the rest of the world does. We’re a band that incorporates the previously mutually exclusive worlds of indie music and football to make the soundtrack of your lives.

A lot of people ask what we sound like, and we say that we’re kind of like the sound of the first shots of a war being fired, while Bon Iver plays in the background. We’re the sound of John Terry pleading his case by singing Pavement B-sides. We’re the sound of Jeff Stelling’s collapsed lungs being used as bagpipes.

We’re all friends from school but we’ve changed our surnames to those of football legends to reflect the ambition and scope of the project we’re projecting. I went for Eusebio as he’s my favourite player of all time (I’ve seen all his clips on YouTube), but we also have Boz Beckenbauer on bass, Gary El Diego on guitar and on drums we have Melvin Pele.

On stage we used to wear football shirts, but soon noticed that people weren’t really feeling our vibe. So we decided to wear matching shorts and socks too, and all of a sudden we noticed that people were really getting into the shows, and couldn’t take our eyes off us. It just worked, so we keep doing it, and the four of us take it in turns with each gig to be goalkeeper.

We decided to form a band, but didn’t know what to sing about. So we thought about what our ambitions were, and where we wanted the band to go, and realised that we really wanted to appear on Soccer AM, and also have one (preferably more) of our songs used by Sky Sports in a pre- or post-match highlights montage. With this in mind, we’ve written a lot of songs with clever, ambiguous lyrics. In songs such as This Love Is A Stalemate, we make it hard for the listener to work out whether we’re singing about love or football (‘Our love is a goalless draw/ I’m not sure if I want you anymore/our love has lost its thrill/nil-nil, nil-nil, nil-nil’). Intelligently, we’re actually singing about both, so this would be the perfect song to encapsulate a 0-0 draw between Stoke and Fulham. Not only would it get us to a wider audience, but it would also get people really thinking hard about what love actually means in this beleaguered age of the fat-cat city banker.

There are other songs based around familiar football scenarios, and this is what makes us the voice of the modern game. In I Won’t Celebrate If I Score I sing: ‘Being with you is like scoring against my old club/I might move up the table/but I’m mentally unstable/without you’. We once produced a three-track EP consisting of songs whose lyrics consisted entirely of Johan Cruyff quotes. We called it Turn (I’ll let you work it out), and it was very well received on some notable Tumblr pages.

We also have a lot of songs about how terrible it is to have a boring 9-to-5 desk job. Luckily I have a lot of experience when it comes to this sort of thing, as I used to spend a lot of time sitting at home after I quit sixth form, and whenever my Dad came home from work he’d complain about how I’d left the house in such a mess and couldn’t be bothered going to look for a job. He was obviously very repressed by The Man, and took out his frustrations on me. That’s why I hate office jobs so much. Plus, lustrous indie beards are rarely acceptable in places such as management consultancies, for example.

Some people say that guitar music is dead, but we just think of it more as a sleeping giant, like Swindon Town or Barnsley. Someone needs to rouse it from its slumber, and that’s where Dubious Goals Panel comes in. Speaking of which, we’re obviously very, very pleased with that name. It kinda tells you everything you need to know about us. The word ‘dubious’ says that we’re not afraid to be a bit controversial and split opinion; either you love us or hate us (DEAL WITH IT! WE HAVE!). ‘Goals’ refers to football. The word ‘panel’ neatly symbolises the sort of bureaucracy and politically (IN!)correct nonsense that is ruining so much about both football and the indie music scene. We recently tried to play an open-air guerilla gig in Bexleyheath Town Centre, but the police told us we needed a busking license. As if they would have said the same thing to Kurt Cobain! Ridiculous, but we just let it drive us on. The System fears change, we know that, but you can’t let it stop you or you’d feel like a right bellend.

Anyway, I’m sure we’ll make a few new fans with this. If you want to catch more news on us, keep an eye on this blog, as we don’t know how to set up a MySpace page, and anyway Gary’s laptop is broken. If you happen to work for Soccer AM, please get in touch and I’m sure we can sort something out, yeah?

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Ji-Sung Park: Asian Provocateur

Park Ji-Sung is not a controversial figure. However, last week he may have done something very interesting with potentially far-reaching consequences. And barely anyone noticed.

There was an understandable if disproportionate furore surrounding Anton Ferdinand’s refusal to shake the hands of John Terry and Ashley Cole. But there was also the relative non-event of QPR captain Park also snubbing Terry, during the pre-match ritual and when carrying out the similarly mundane coin toss. It is perhaps in keeping with Park’s valued-if-workmanlike style of play and low-profile (in England at least) that such a thing might slip under the radar, but this is what makes it such an intriguing gesture.

Park’s decision could have been triggered by three things:

· An attempt to curry favour with his new team-mates – Park perhaps sought a way of establishing an immediate sense of loyalty and kinship amongst those in the dressing room.

· The club captaincy – Park has been tasked with leading a cobbled-together band of misfits, and such provocative grandstanding may have been his way of legitimising his credentials, particularly amongst Rangers fans.

· Friendship with Rio Ferdinand – Perhaps he felt he owed it to Rio, older brother of Anton, and a former Manchester United team-mate of seven years.

All three of these factors would’ve given Park something to think about, but they were ultimately united by one over-riding notion – a lack of respect for John Terry. The idea of someone disliking the Chelsea captain is hardly mind-blowing, but footballers are given the requisite media training needed in order to publicly mind their P’s and Q’s. This has the unfortunate consequence of diluting personalities until they run clear, much like chronic dysentery, to the point where we are left with Michael Owen tweeting that he “had a belting haircut earlier!”. Someone as inoffensive as Park breaking rank in such a manner would’ve raised more eyebrows, had they not all been pointed the way of Anton’s anti-racism shake-snub.

Gary Neville spoke of the over-reaction to the latest handshaking drama, and said that there have only been a few instances where the gesture has not been fulfilled as intended. These previous incidents share a theme: Wayne Bridge refused to shake John Terry’s hand after the Chelsea defender slept with his wife; Luis Suarez refused to shake Patrice Evra’s hand after he felt he had been falsely accused of racism; Anton Ferdinand refused to shake Terry’s hand after the latter’s acquittal for the racial abuse of the former. Three separate incidents, but they all have one thing in common – direct provocation. Wherever you stand on the ethics of those rebuffs, the lack of a handshake was prompted in each case by one man feeling he had been wronged by another.

This is why Park’s disregard of Terry is so fascinating, as he wasn’t provoked at all. He simply didn’t respect Terry enough to want to engage him in a gesture of goodwill. With it, he crossed a boundary from which we may not be able to return. You only have to look at the current rash of side-shaved haircuts to see that football players are inherently Pavlovian and lack imagination. What’s more, they’re aggressive and hyper-aware of their own image.

Where does this now stop? What if Gareth Barry beats Peter Crouch the night before a game in a particularly heated game on X-Box Live? What if Wayne Rooney tweets an unsavoury hashtag to Vincent Kompany? What if Emmanuel Frimpong should accidentally spill Danny Guthrie’s tea on the set of Soccer AM?

What if players did resort to not shaking hands based on lesser disputes? Would it really be a black eye to sportsmanship, or would it be a moral victory of sorts? It could be good to see some semblance of personality restored to the modern footballer. People can’t all get along, so why do we expect footballers to always be friends? Perhaps it would be refreshing for footballers to offer a more accurate representation of real life, something that they’ve become ever more detached from in the pursuit of gilded careers.

Even before the latest, dullest twist in The Anton and Terry Show, Premier League managers across the board backed the suggestion that pre-match handshakes should be scrapped altogether. While Neville feels that such a decision shouldn’t be dictated by the few unpleasant incidents that have occurred over the course of four years, perhaps greater consideration should be paid to the potential repercussions of Park’s decision to vote with his hand – by withdrawing it altogether.