keresaspa: (Reiko Ike)
Cast your mind back if you will to 4th March 2006. A battle in more ways than one at the Hawthorns with a Chelsea side at the height of gittery (King of Divers Arjen Robben red carded for a two-footed assault on the mighty Jonathan Greening, Didier Drogba in his original incarnation before his rebirth as a modern saint) nicking a 2-1 win off the home side. Jose Mourinho also clashed with his hapless opposite number Bryan Robson although to be fair there was little actual clashing with Robson meekly backing down from the strutting Portuguese. Two things happened that day for me: (1) it confirmed in my mind that the mythical "Great Escape" had been an aberration and Robson's side were going down (2) Mourinho was a complete tosser. Up to that point I must admit I had rather enjoyed his antics in a love-to-hate kind of way. Sure, he had the devil about him but the devil in question was Mephistopheles, twirling his moustache, tipping his top hat and seducing cygnine maidens with his rakish ways. From then on he became Beelzebub, a buzzing, fussy annoyance no longer amusing on any level but rather deeply irritating.

As such the travails he now finds himself in fill me with more glee than is perhaps healthy. Not since the chaotic Leeds United side of 1992-93 have I witnessed champions make such an unholy mess of their defence of the league. Even then it doesn't really compare as Howard Wilkinson's title winners had always been rather a shock, a collection of odds and sods that somehow, against all wisdom, nicked a league title (not a million miles away from Claudio Ranieri's knockabout Leicester side, a team to whom I must doff the hat despite my personal distaste as an anti-racist and a Japanophile at Vardy) and who were undone the following year by a certain maverick's taste for a certain team-mate's certain (pre-trout) wife. No names, no pack drill. Certainly they weren't comparable to the current Chelsea side, upon which a king's ransom has been lavished by a cartoon supervillain in pursuit of kudos.

All poetic justice, of course, for his treatment of the daphnean Eva Carneiro, a woman hung out to dry by the ever hubristic Mourinho who at the same time sent the message to his players that the possibility of a permanent brain injury for one of their number was of less import to him than a result in a routine league match. That in the course of doing what she was there for a woman should be so publicly humiliated by Mourinho means that he deserves all he has coming to him. With her untamed hair and dark eyes she may look the sort of lady to draw a dagger from her garter and plunge it into the weasel's black heart, her bosom burning with a fiery passion that no mere man can cool (steady on, old chap, you're getting carried away) but back in the real world she was always within her rights and her treatment appears to have dampened morale considerably in an already out of sorts squad.

Beyond that remains the éminence grise of John Terry, a figure every bit as malevolent as Mourinho but possibly even more influential than the self-appointed Special One. In times gone by when Terry was at Mourinho's shoulder it all went swimmingly but now that he is slowly being sidelined he re-emerges as a dangerous internal check to Mourinho's power, filling the last days of Steven Gerrard role to Mourinho's Brendan Rodgers. With players out of sorts, frustrated and disinterested, Mourinho no longer has his captain to call upon in order to do his dirty work, leaving him looking increasingly lost. Mourinho has defended the indefensible manys a time where Terry was concerned but now the relationship looks dead in the water and in the power struggle that ensues Mourinho might well prove the casualty. And it couldn't happen to a nicer fellow.

Despite their plastic nature, that putrid core of National Front and Combat 18 boneheads that have always infested their support, the loyalist connections, Abramovich, Terry and the rest I don't necessarily hate Chelsea as an entity. When erudite lounge lizard Carlo Ancelotti took them to the double I had no issue with their success and indeed was glad to see Ferguson's lot being put in their place for a change. But with Mourinho in charge they just tip over into the realms of pure diabolical evil and as such I wish them all the failure in the world. As such, to witness the crumbling of the empire as Mourinho enters his Romulus Augustus phase is a joy indeed, with the Special One left looking terribly normal and his expensively assembled rabble of individuals being made to look as nothing. Joy of joys and long may it continue.
keresaspa: (West Bromwich Albion)
On the plus side I suppose it shows that Pulis really is getting a bit more clout than his predecessors and the crappy stooge-Burton-Day-Garlick-Peace structure that has hamstrung successive bosses at West Bromwich Albion is slowly being dismantled. But on the minus side can Albion do bloody nothing right?! No sooner has portly Scouse love-god Paul Jewell been installed in some role or other under Pulis than he is shipped out the door in order to make way for mulleted Cockney love-god Gerry Francis in some different role or other on a part-time basis. So no sooner does the new order begin to take shape than the fallouts and law suits follow. Piss-up in a bloody brewery at the Hawthorns as usual.

Other than that I suppose the Pulis era has got off to a pretty good start overall. The 1-0 win over Hull with their lousy chairman and their pro-rapist manager was a welcome one, putting some distance between Albion and one of their relegation battle rivals. The performance was hardly a feast for the eyes but it's Tony Pulis so I think we're all going to have to get used to winning ugly until he loses interest and hits the road. He's also come close to finally doing something with Saido Berahino, the most talented product of the youth system in decades but one unfortunately cursed with an at times lamentable attitude. If he can get the best out of him I may have to revise my hostile opinion of Pulis but that's some way off. For now though I'll give a cautious welcome to the start he has made, apart from this nonsense with Jewell. But, what with the revolving door "head coach" policy, the dressing room bust-ups and quenelles, we really could do with a bit of stability so if Pulis can deliver a nice, quiet 11th place finish this season I'll be a happy bunny.
keresaspa: (West Bromwich Albion)
I said he was the wrong man when he was appointed and I had already resigned myself to the club being relegated. And yet the sacking of Alan Irvine as West Bromwich Albion head stooge fills me with little joy. That he was the wrong man needs hardly be reiterated - he is a youth coach with a crumby record as a number one even at a lower level and was one of the most unambitious appointments the club could have made. And yet he was never more than a puppet, forced to pick from a pool of players that he had no role in bringing in and forced to answer to about five or sixes bosses. With that level of interference and lack of independence even a halfway decent gaffer would struggle.

His two mooted replacements - Tony Pulis and Tim Sherwood - both seem like a load of paper talk too. With Pulis' record I can see no reason why he would enter a club where he would be forced to take orders from Terry Burton, a man whose crowning accomplishment in football was being Joe Kinnear's bitch at Wimbledon. The same goes for Sherwood up to a point as well. He's done a lot less as a manager than Pulis but the man absolutely loves himself, so the chances of him being Burton's ballboy seem pretty slim. That's ignoring the fact that Sherwood flopped at TotHot and Pulis' teams are unwatchably tedious, but we'll worry about that in the unlikely event that arrive of the gruesome twosome gets the nod.

Whoever comes in the same old problems will remain, with Jeremy Peace acting like a cut-price Roman Abramovich, strutting about like a dictator with his plaything despite spending nothing like oligarchic levels of moolah and the Richard Garlick-Terry Burton-Mervyn Day mess at the top blowing money on old rubbish like Brown Ideye (four people identifying players and that's the best they could find?). Until they change all that nonsense and go with the simple manager in charge with a scouting network of his choice system that has worked so well for years then they might as well put Chris Hutchings in as head coach and be done with it. Peace out.
keresaspa: (West Bromwich Albion)
After three games this season, I know my club Birmingham City are going to be relegated. Is this is a record?

The above missive was printed in The Sunday People in 1977 and, four games into this season, I rather know how the Heathen that came up with that letter feels. There can be little doubt about it, Albion are heading down the hard way this year. Can there seriously be anybody in the civilised world that expected any less when Alan Irvine was put in "charge"? His record in management at lower levels is patchy at best, God-awful at worst, and he joins Sammy Lee, Chris Hutchings and Steve Wigley on football's great stooge list. Place any one of them in the dugout beside an actual manager and they make a useful addition to the coaching staff, collecting cones, frantically chewing gum and shouting with the best of them. But only a demented madman would ever give any of them even a modicum of power.

But to be honest I don't blame Irvine and will not hold him culpable when Albion do go down. The structure of the club is the major problem. As chairman Jeremy Peace is fast turning into a Ron Noades-esque caricature, sticking his oar into everything and making everything his business. Meanwhile he appoints Richard Garlick, Terry Burton, Mervyn Day and Tony Spearing to all do pretty much the same thing (bring in players) and plays a big role in that himself. Even if Irvine was any good he would go bananas trying to deal with that little lot. This five man player recruitment team then goes on a Barry Fry style spree of bringing in as many nonentities as they can find in the hope that some of them might stick. Pretty unlikely given that they're all has-beens (Chris Baird, I ask you) or the sort of nobodies that Tony Mowbray would have signed. Even when they finally did blow a reasonable slice of cheese it was on Brown Ideye, a man who is so good that he couldn't even get into the Nigeria squad ahead of such luminaries as Shola Ameobi and Michael Uchebo. And it took five of them to net that little lot; you've really earned your wages there, lads. Quite why we can't just have a proper manager with a scouting network under him like everybody else is anybody's guess but it was bound to end in tears somewhere and for me this is definitely the season when it will.

Still, I suppose it could be worse. I happened to be clearing out a cupboard recently and I came across some old football magazines. In a copy of Shoot from towards the end of the 1990-91 season (which ended in relegation too) I happened to discover the following match report:

God almighty! Don Goodman wasn't the worst and I can just about remember Gary Strodder and Paul Raven having a couple of good matches each but otherwise that is the pissiest Albion side I have ever seen. When an old crock like Graham Roberts is your best player it's time to cry. Not only that but Superbob scoring the winner AGAINST the Baggies! Dark days indeed. So, all things considered I can take comfort from two things - 1) we've been a lot worse in the past and 2) the aforementioned Birmingham supporter was being incredibly pessimistic as in fact they finished 11th with Trevor Francis laying waste to all before him. Albion are still going down, but hey, you never know.

I'll take my leave there as tomorrow is my 35th birthday (the midpoint of my Biblical life and thus the end of my inevitable rise from birth and the start of my equally inevitable descent into death) and I probably won't be spending it waffling old nonsense on here. There again I just might as birthdays rather do lose their appeal after the age of, oh nine or so. Stay cool, won't you.
keresaspa: (Cassidy says...)
I was probably about six years of age when I decided that I might start supporting Glasgow Celtic. As decisions went it was hardly the most radical one I ever made. In Northern Ireland the general rule is if you're a Taig you support Celtic, if you're a Prod you support Rangers. Both sides have their naysayers - be they those not interested in football, those not interested in Scottish football or those hardy few that support another Scottish club - and on both sides you get the very odd wind-up merchant who decides to support the opposite team as a piss-take (possibly the most notorious example being Glen Branagh, a member of the UDA's youth wing the UYM who died in rioting and was buried in a Celtic top). Nonetheless it tends to be what you would expect and so I fell into line as a youth, declaring myself a Celtic die-hard.

Down the years my fire began to dampen as I prioritised West Bromwich Albion, began equally looking for the results of Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish league, found myself rather seduced by Hearts after attending their match to the point that I wouldn't call myself a Celtic supporter at all. Still, I did have a good few years in which I would and yet in that time I never once visited the ground for a match (or indeed, any reason). Of course I saw a version of Celtic play Cliftonville two summers back but an actual visit to Parkhead? No.

Well strike a light as, despite no longer considering myself a supporter, it seems I'm going to go there after all. Later this month I'll be taking a post-birthday break in Edinburgh and it was my intention to take in a match whilst there. Alas and alack for the Hearts and Hibernian are both playing away that week, meaning a non-league tie between Edinburgh University and Hawick Royal Albert was to be my lot. "So be it" I thought, albeit considering it a tad tuppence-ha'penny until I chanced upon the website of Celtic, the opponents of Hearts on the Wednesday night. Given the disillusionment amongst Celtic support these days and the fact that it's only the League Cup tickets galore were to be had and so I decided to snap one up.

And there you have it. After years of being down in the mouth about never getting to go to Celtic I am to finally end up there long after I stopped caring. Still, I always like to get a match in when I'm away and that will be as good as any and I had intended to visit Glasgow for a day anyway. So, good show overall and a rare example of getting what one wants long after one has stopped wanting it. It's a funny old game, innit?
keresaspa: (Nina looking a tad pertubed)
And so it came to pass that the World Cup has reached that most auspicious of stages, where every team has been played and we can now gave a half-arsed opinion of all of them. So permit me to do just that:

Cut for you football-hating numpties out there )


Jun. 16th, 2014 01:25 am
keresaspa: (Cynthia of Witching Hour fame)
Well that was unexpected. My distaste at the waste of money in an impoverished country remains (not quite as bad as neo-liberals blowing billions on pointless crap like the Olympics or, worst of all, the Commonwealth bloody games, but I digress) but an absolutely blistering start has made this World Cup difficult not to like. There have been gripes obviously - Brazil being nursed to victory, a thumping win for my second least favourite team in the Netherlands, a lacklustre performance from Argentina, boring old Switzerland looking nailed on to advance, Adrian Chiles. But despite all that there has been more to enjoy, be it the triumph of France over brutal Stoke City clones Honduras, the delightful battle between the ever so orderly Japanese and the gung-ho crazy Ivory Coast during which the very existence of Didier Drogba seemed to both inspire his team and scare the hell out of the opposition despite his doing nothing of note and, of course, champions elect England getting slapped down by a spectacularly virile Italian side. Fun for the whole family with plenty of delights left in store. A really good World Cup is long overdue and if this one can continue in the vein in which it has started then it can finally be delivered.

My solidarity with the protesters remains as ever but my threatened lack of interest has evaporated as I'm now being carried along with the visual glamour on the pitch. Well what can I say, I face a season of gloom and misery under the single most underwhelming appointment in Albion history Alan Irvine, I have to take my fun where I can get it.
keresaspa: (Giant Haystacks pissed as a frt!)
Well, that's the Premiership season done and dusted for another year and for my part I was rather glad to see Manchester City winning it. I'm no fan of their lavish ways or their close ties to Middle Eastern despotates but the sudden anointing of Liverpool as the "neutral's favourite" (is anybody really neutral when it comes to football, apart from those who just aren't interested?) did start to grate very quickly. Suarez's racism may have been forgotten by most but I still remember and there is just something about that diminutive, narcissistic, management-speak spouting little tosser Brendan Rodgers that really rubs me up the wrong way so I was glad to see them fail. Certainly their re-emergence reminded me just how tedious I found their earlier dominance and the hollow claims that their success would have been something different rang rather hollow to those of us over 30 who recall their depressing period of endless success. A shame Arsenal didn't win it really, as I've developed a rather grudging respect for old Wenger and they're probably the "Big Five" team I can tolerate most now. "Big Six"? Spurs wish!

Theoretically, though, it was the best season in terms of excitement in some time and yet I can't recall a season that I took less interest in since my period in the early 90s when I was a teenage pseud who pretended not to like football as it wasn't intellectual (what a painful little shit I was). Manys a Saturday night this term I sat down in front of Match of the Day only to find myself wandering from the room for extended periods or on occasion even turning over to something else, an action I don't remember ever doing previously. I think my personal odyssey around east Ulster watching a more grass roots version of the game has something to do with it, seeing the young lads putting it all out there for nothing making it a bit more difficult to accept multi-millionaire prima donnas diving and bleating.

There again if Albion had had a better season I might perhaps have been better disposed towards it all. But they didn't. In fact this season for Albion was, undeniably, a pile of absolute tits. Had Albion been relegated after a crap season on the pitch it would have been a disappointment but I could have taken it on the chin nevertheless. Norwich City's relegation will have vexed their support but nothing major went wrong with the club and they'll probably be back in a year or two with the minimum of fuss. Albion on the other hand - sheesh. Anelka was a toe-curling farce from start to finish and left me ashamed by the whole club but beyond that so much went wrong that it's hard to know where to start.

Clarke's sacking was unfortunate but the insistence that any replacement had to keep all the existing coaching staff despite Keith Downing's rotten run as caretaker just made it all rather daft and ensured that Pepe Mel was only ever going to be a yes man. Inevitably the results during his tenure were crap and in the end Albion only survived because other teams were so poor. One of the few bright spots was the emergence of Saido Berahino but even that was naused up when James Morrison was allowed to get away with beating the bake of him in the dressing room scot free. If Berahino wants to leave in the summer I for one wouldn't blame him. Meanwhile ten first teamers are out of contract (although of the list only Chris Brunt looks worth keeping) and the manager might be on his way, although that would be little odds really. His spell in charge has been characterised by poor results on the pitch and he is hamstrung by the increasingly dictatorial presence of chairman Jeremy Peace, whose megalomaniac tendencies might even end up with him doing a Ron Noades and installing himself as manager. A lot needs to change at Albion or else relegation next season will be almost guaranteed but with Peace in charge that won't happen and it's becoming increasingly clear that his time needs to come to an end. Dark days ahead I fear as a saturnine pall descends on the Hawthorns.

So that was the season that was. Money triumphed, it became easy to hate Liverpool again, it became even easier to laugh at Manchester United again, Vincent Tan got his comeuppance for buggering up a proud old club in Cardiff City but Assem Allam didn't get his despite doing his best to bugger up Hull City AFC, we still had to endure the same old grind of Stoke City, Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew, Jose Mourinho came back a bigger tosser than ever but thankfully a less successful one, Roberto Martinez made us all smile with his pretty football and watery eyes and Felix Magath looked a bit like Penfold. There'll never be another. Well, as an Albion supporter, I certainly hope there weren't be another.
keresaspa: (West Bromwich Albion)
Well, it has been nearly two months since it happened but finally the FA have got their arses in gear and punished Anelka for his hate-filled gesture and as a result of that ban West Bromwich Albion have finally come within the ballpark of doing something vaguely right by suspending him. For my money he should have been sacked the moment this whole grubby incident first took place but obviously its far too late for that now and the shadow of shame that this has cast over the club will loom for a long time to come.

Frankly where Albion are concerned this season has been one disaster after another. First of all Dan Ashworth left and, rather than looking for a suitable veteran replacement or scrapping the director of football model altogether, the increasingly despotic Jeremy Peace decided to promote Richard Garlick, whose sole qualification seemed to be that he was a yes-man. Some duff summer signings, not least the chunk of change wasted on Anelka's massive salary, led to a poor start and the sloppy sacking of Steve Clarke, a man treated very shoddily by the increasingly toxic Peace. In comes Keith Downing as caretaker manager, a job he held far too long despite some very poor results, and then the Anelka crap broke out. Instead of coming down on him like a tonne of bricks the board backed him and Downing started pontificating about how the quenelle was not an offensive gesture when all he had to do was state his ignorance as, after all, who would have questioned a middle-aged former footballer from Oldbury stating that he knew nothing about the politics of anti-Semitic gesturing in France? Meanwhile in the search for a new manager the Imperial Lord Peace puts off all half-decent candidates by insisting that they must retain the existing coaching staff regardless of their abilities. Or to put it another way, only more yes-men need apply. Frankly I would have been happier to see Downing bounced out on his Dingle arse after his poor showing, both on and off the pitch, as caretaker but according to Peace both he and (the otherwise blameless but still expendable) Dean Kiely were absolutely essential. As such Pepe Mel came into a situation where it was very clear that he was completely subordinate to Peace and Garlick, and where his supposed underlings had more security than him, so it's hardly surprising that his tenure has been so lacklustre. Of course, the job was coming with the status of stooge as part of the description so anybody really good was always going to turn it down.

Now we are in a situation where Anelka remains at the club despite have finally been punished for his anti-Semitic gesture, with his brief spell at the Hawthorns having seen threats to retire, injuries and a cloud over the good name of West Bromwich Albion that will be hard to shift. A farce from start to finish and, as much as I hate to say it, were Albion to be relegated this season I would struggle to care. I've supported Albion for nearly 30 years on and off but my political ideology comes before football and the club offering support to the purveyors of hatred is something I cannot reconcile with my principles. I remain for now an Albion supporter but the fall of the club this season almost seems like poetic justice and a suitable conclusion to the most ludicrous season in the club's history. Albion have had poor spells in the past - the limp surrenders under Gould, Megson and Mowbray spring to mind - but most clubs produce the odd crap team and, whilst they can be hugely frustrating and even embarrassing, they never leave you justifying your support for the club, a predicament in which this whole Anelka debacle has left me.

That Anelka has to go goes without saying but this season has made it increasingly clear that it is time for Jeremy Peace to follow him out the door. The man has become drunk on his own power and is increasingly running Albion as his personal plaything, acting like Roman Abramovich albeit without at least leaving his wallet permanently open in order to soften the blow like the Chelsea godfather. Albion are a strong enough club to recover from this (although a period of hand-wringing is essential as they have really damaged themselves here) but changes are desperately needed and they need to start at the boardroom. Blyth Spartans, I'm still hoping I won't be troubling you any time soon.
keresaspa: (Trotsky)
Whilst there are those amongst us who crave above the new, the different and the strange, many of us are, to varying degrees, creatures of habit. For some of you out there a week in which egg and chips is not consumed on a Tuesday evening is a week you would rather not live, a frightening prospect that brings a shudder even at the very thought. Routine is for the most part an enemy but there are inevitably occurrences when I too feel the name to conform to a sort of pattern.

Saturday afternoon is, of course, one such time as that is the time I must be at a football match regardless of the teams in action. A spell of diluvian rain today ensured that Donegal Celtic's intended match against Ballyclare Comrades was ixnayed but, undaunted, I spent the day at Seaview watching a drab affair in which Newington YC lost by the single goal to Portstewart. A crowd of around twenty was all the match could garner, making Seaview an eerier experience than normal (and next time I bemoan the poor crowds at DC I'll remember this match), although I spent it in the company of a slightly bonkers old West Bromwich Albion fan who had got a boat over to Belfast on the off-chance of attending any live match. I doff my hat to such hardcore anorak-ism.

Saturday may be my day for football but for others routine on a Saturday means only one thing - standing outside the City Hall bleating about a flag no longer being a permanent fixture on the building. Yes, that's right after nearly a year and two months they are still gathering outside the City Hall griping about that bloody flag with the usual line-up of spides, the elderly, children and people not from Belfast (just what does it matter to "Loyalist Lisburn" is Belfast City Council doesn't fly a flag?).

With regards to all of this crap about flags and Orange marches Martin McGuinne$$ made a valid comment recently (well, there's a first time for everything) suggesting a grand coalition for bigotry between the Orange Order, the UVF and their PUP political arm being behind all this. Were I Curly I would have added the West Belfast Ulster Political Research Group and their associated UDA dissidents who have been prominent up at Twaddell Avenue, but otherwise the point is a valid one. The Regressive Unionists, and the increasingly Strasserite weltanschauung they have adopted under the führung of Billy Hutchinson, have their eyes on doing something at the council elections and, given that their previous flirtations with more normal social democracy got them nowhere, what better way to make the breakthrough than by marrying a message of being a persecuted underclass to one of ultra-nationalism, whilst seeking a direct alliance with the main organisation of right-wing middle-class backlash.

David McKittrick has characterised the work of the Loyalist Association of Workers and the Ulster Workers Council as a form of "sectarian socialism" and it was a policy followed to an extent by the UDA's lead spokesman in the '70s Sammy Smyth, a man who combined agitation on behalf of the Protestant working class with calls for ethnic cleansing and extreme anti-Catholic conspiracy theories and whose pronouncements became so extreme that in the end he was given a punishment beating and expelled from the UDA. It's along this path that the Regressives are now going, offering a vague version of socialism for one community whilst seeking to blame other working class people for their ills rather than capitalism. Socialism that purposefully seeks to divide the working classes and instead looks to class enemies as its natural allies? That's Strasserism in my book and no mistake. And I'm not even touching on their willingness to co-operate closely with dyed-in-the-wool right-extremists like Jim Dowson and Willie Frazer in their flag protests when I say that.

Their alliance with sections of the unionist establishment is inevitable and inevitably it will get them nowhere as they will be used by the Orange Order until they get tired of them, just as the LAW and UWC were by the Ian Paisley and William Craig. By continuing in their usual role as running dogs for the unionists, the Regressives have blown any hope of effecting change and indeed it leaves one with little conclusion to draw other than the fact the, far from wanting anything to change, Hutchinson just wants to get his and a few of his mates snouts in the trough alongside the rest of them. Given that he happily stands by whilst the UVF he represents peddles drugs and inflicts terror on the loyalist communities he claims to speak for then I can't see what else he has in mind. I'm sure plenty will be fooled and Hutchinson will get his wishes and this place will once again back bigotry and put a few more horse pedlars on the councils but let's not expect anything to improve by enshrining a divided proletariat. Same old Northern Ireland, forever and ever, Amen.
keresaspa: (Maurice Bishop)
Oh God Albion, no! Don't become just like Liverpool by defending a player for endorsing hatred. Nicolas Anelka claims he doesn't know what the fuss is about and then says it is a private gesture to his friend Dieudonné M'bala M'bala. That's the same Dieudonné M'bala M'bala whose close associates down the years have included leading Holocaust deniers such as Robert Faurisson, Serge Thion and the Neturei Karta, extreme rightists like Bruno Gollnisch, Thierry Meyssan and Alain Soral and who thinks the Holocaust is ripe for making comedy songs about. I consider myself to be a strong critic of Israel but being an opponent of Israel and Zionism is not a licence for anti-Semitism, a form as racism every bit as vile as any other, and it is certainly not a justification for denying or attempting to relativise the Holocaust. If Nicolas Anelka chooses to associate with hatemongers like Dieudonné M'bala M'bala then that's up to him but whilst he is representing West Bromwich Albion FC things like that must be kept away from the club. Sunderland rightly copped a lot of flak for their decision to employ a self-declared fascist and frankly if Albion continue to attempt to dismiss this then they deserve the same vilification for standing by a man bringing the stain of Holocaust denial to the club. I said from the word go that Anelka would be more trouble than he was worth but frankly even I wasn't expecting something as horrendous as this.

The club needs to step up now and condemn the gesture and deal with Anelka appropriately, preferably in a way that leads to him reviving his earlier threats of retirement. As it stands I'm ashamed to be an Albion supporter right now.
keresaspa: (West Bromwich Albion)
So as Albion enter the post-Clarke era it seems that there are five names in the frame for his replacement. And by God what a motley crew they are. I appreciate that Albion now operate "within the continental management structure" but a cursory look at the continent tells me that such a structure usually involves a high-profile head coach along with a wily veteran director, whereas judging by the list it seems Albion hope to team one complete unproven with another. No way that can go wrong then.

So what of the famous five? Mike Phelan has coached from here to ya-ya and he does have a brief, but undistinguished, spell as a player at Albion under his belt. But saying that he's a 51 year old who has never been number one and he comes from a long line of Manchester United assistant managers who have been a pile of poop as top men (Brian Kidd, Carlos Queiroz) so I'm certainly not turning somersaults at the sound of his name. Were Albion to announce Phelan's appointment as a member of the coaching staff I would be very happy but as top dog? Na.

Where Phelan would be a slightly flat appointment Michael Appleton would be a complete slap in the face. I have no idea why he is highly regarded in certain quarters because his record in football management is frankly pitiful. Admittedly his time at Portsmouth was blighted by the club being in administration but he was the one who convinced the administrators to blow a sizeable chunk of readies on high-value short-term contracts for good quality League One players like Izale McLeod, thus delaying the club exiting said administration, and, despite doing so, still came nowhere near saving them from relegation. By all accounts the vast majority of Pompey fans were dancing for joy when he left for Blackpool, where his legendary twelve game spell saw him win only twice before moving on to Blackburn. Once at Blackburn he failed to turn around one of the most expensively assembled squads in the division and was ditched after 15 games, with Gary Bowyer again forced to clean up the mess. Jeremy Peace likes him so if the appointment is to be a total yes-man then Appleton would be ideal but if they hope to accomplish anything whatsoever then don't let that moron anywhere near the Hawthorns again.

By all accounts Ole Gunnar Solksjaer's record in the Norwegian League is excellent, with two league titles under his belt. Mind you I'm sure Ståle Solbakken came to the Tatters with a fine record in Scandinavian football as did Henning Berg at Blackburn and they both ended well. To be fair Solksjaer might be different (and Uwe Rosler prospered after leaving the cold north, albeit at a lower level) so I suspect my reaction to his appointment would be one of neutrality rather than despair but he still seems a slightly small fry appointment if I'm being honest. Were we in the Championship I would maybe welcome him but in our fourth consecutive year as a Premier League club Albion really should be aiming a bit higher.

I'm struggling to have an opinion on Paul Clement as I've never heard of him before and so can't get too worked up one way or the other. With his lack of playing career he could be the new Arrigo Sacchi (yay), the new Andre Villas-Boas (pah) or the new Richard Dinnis (gulp) but frankly I think it's all a little too much of a gamble. Martin Jol I've already covered in entries passim. He would do in a pinch and is probably my preferred candidate out of the five listed, despite not being anything special really. If nothing else it would be nice to have another character back in the dugout as I for one missed that when Woy left.

Finally, of course, there's the extra option that has cropped up now that Gianfranco Zola has become available. In a way it seems ludicrous for me even to entertain the thought of somebody who wasn't good enough for Watford but as a more short-term appointment he has much to recommend him. Albion have been a bit on the ugly side for the last couple of bosses and Zola's teams always look good whilst the story of his career so far has always been a very good first season before the wheels come off. So why not a one year contract then a pat on the back as he's pushed out the exit door? It might just work.

So to sum up Jol or Zola will do for me, Solksjaer if it must be, Phelan not so much, Clement I'll pass and Appleton and I'm switching to Blyth Spartans!
keresaspa: (West Bromwich Albion)
Given that a football manager who presides over two consecutive draws is considered to be on the rack these days one can hardly be shocked when one gets sacked but I must confess that tonight's announcement that Steve Clarke has been sent to tend his azaleas rather caught me on the hop. Admittedly Albion have been on a poor run of late but it all does seem a bit uncharacteristically knee-jerk by a board that hitherto allowed Gary Megson, Bryan Robson and Tony Mowbray to get away with a lot worse than what Clarke has served up before finally dispensing with their services (involuntarily in the case of ToMo). There's also the facts that the club has been cursed with ill-luck this season (that ludicrous penalty award that robbed us of victory over Chelsea) and that he won a game at Old Trafford to be taken into consideration, but I suppose these days short memory syndrome dominates all thinking.

There can be little doubt that much of the transfer activity in the summer was somewhat poor. An excellent, hungry young striker in Romelu Lukaku left and instead of replacing like for like the club tried to replace him with a man in Victor Anichebe whose only hunger seems to be for another slice of cake and another in Nicolas Anelka who has made moody ennui his stock in trade throughout his career. If ever there was a player who was less likely to work hard for a club like Albion it was surely Le Sulk and if they had the notion to blow a chunk of change on an ex-Chelsea striker then Didier Drogba would have been a much better bet. Meanwhile the defence, which I for one still reckon needs an overhaul, was left untouched again. But then so what? None of that was Clarke's fault as he was, after all, merely a head coach with signings handled by the shadowy Richard Garlick, a man whose precise qualifications for his role I'm still struggling to come to terms with.

Clarke was, perhaps inevitably, a victim of his own success last season. That Albion finished eighth was frankly ludicrous but it raised expectations to ridiculous levels. For my part I always expected a weak looking squad to struggle this season but that was a lot to do with my own innate pessimism and I'm sure for others associated with the club it came as a surprise. Nevertheless it still looks something of a snap decision, the logic of which is not very clear. I never really warmed to Clarke as a man, with him coming across as something of a personality-free drone and, even at his most successful, still giving off the aura of number two that has dominated his career, but his relative lack of aplomb is not justification for what has happened. With the exception of Liverpool the club have held their own against all opposition this season and, although the last two results against Norwich and Cardiff were a worry, two winnable games against Hull and West Ham are on the horizon and Clarke could easily have taken six from these to pull away from trouble. Not to be now, obviously.

As for his replacement, the mind boggles. There's nobody obvious available at the moment. Albion aren't a big enough club to nick a boss from one of the Premier League rivals and I see nobody amongst the Championship front-runners to interest me. The spectre of relegation-Meister Ian Holloway looms scarily large but frankly that would be a suicidal appointment, although in saying that the only thing to recommend Olly would be that he isn't fascist lunatic Paolo di Canio, a man who, were he to be appointed, would force me to abandon supporting Albion for the duration of his tenure. So, Martin Jol it is then. After his insipid recent spell at Craven Cottage his is an appointment that would excite me about as much as an evening with Melvyn Bragg but who else is there? Strange, badly timed decision and a real shame for Steve Clarke, all things considered. I just hope it doesn't prove a costly error for Albion.
keresaspa: (Piggy Banks)
It's an annual tradition of mine to buy the Sky Sports Football Yearbook. There was a time I was first in the queue on the day it came out (well, the day after, given that almost everything takes an extra day to reach this backwater burgh of mine) but now that boyhood fire is no longer in my blood I tend to wait until around this time as by now Waterstone's (they can drop the apostrophe all they want, I'm leaving it in) have usually knocked a fiver off the price and when you're living under the yoke of brutal monetarism you need every penny.

In recent years the grand old annual has begun to look a little creaky as problems have sneaked in and, having got my copy a few days ago, I regret to report that it shows no signs of improving but rather is getting worse. The standard gripe about the book is the fact that they list all winners of the Football League as a single entity, relegating the achievements of all those clubs that were champions of England before 1992 to the same level as those that won the second tier afterwards. It's probably not worth bothering about that though as, even when it was the Rothmans, Jack Rollin was adamant he wouldn't stop doing that and there is no chance of it changing now that it is part of Rupert Murdoch's hype machine. All real supporters know that Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough getting promotion are not comparable to Huddersfield's trio, Liverpool's umpteen or the rest, but it still causes needless confusion with regards to Newcastle United, Sunderland, Nottingham Forest, Manchester City and Portsmouth, the five clubs to win both "versions" of the First Division.

But as I say, not worth worrying about as that won't change no matter how much people want it to do so. Besides, there are plenty of other problems with the book that could be fixed. Time was I could flick through the yearbook to find out who finished where in, say, the United Counties League but those days are gone. Coverage, perfunctory at best, ends with the top divisions of the the Northern Premier, Southern and Isthmian leagues with all other parts of the pyramid, along with the leagues under the auspices of the Amateur Football Alliance (admittedly of no interest to me personally, but others may well care), jettisoned, presumably to make way for the line-ups of every Champions League match to have taken place in the previous season. Perhaps I'm just out of step with what the modern consumer of football wants but for an almanac of British football surely it is much more important to include the final table for NPL Division One South than it is to include the full line-ups for AIK Solna v Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. By all means include the line-ups for the British teams in Europe and their opponents but the rest is a waste of space and I'm sure in no way connected to Sky Sports holding the rights to the Champions League.

The length and breadth of the book clearly makes it a massive undertaking so errors are inevitable but some of them are simply chronic. A lot of the information for the Scottish clubs seems badly researched, with the record transfer fees in particular looking rather outdated in a number of cases, but there are some pretty basic goofs. Livingston have apparently never had a player capped at full international level whilst at the club, something that will come as a surprise to Marvin Andrews, Horace Stoute, Gustave Bahoken, Chérif Touré Mamam and the other Livvy Lions to have represented their respective countries whilst on the books at Almondvale. Player records are also prone to problems. I was surprised to learn that I apparently dreamt Marc-Antoine Fortuné's 2009 spell at West Bromwich Albion as, according to the yearbook, he went straight from AS Nancy to Celtic. I would love to know who that was that scored two in the 3-1 win over Wigan then as he didn't half look like the big Guianese.

The inconsistent approach to best wins and worst defeats is also somewhat maddening. My understanding was that "Record League Victory", "Record Cup Victory" and "Record Defeat" meant in senior competition but this only seems to be observed in some cases. Fleetwood Town have, of course, only completed one season in the Football League but listing their record victory as 13-0 makes no sense when it was against Oldham Town in the North-West Counties League. Compare this to fellow relative newcomers Crawley Town, whose record victory is given (correctly) as 5-2 v AFC Wimbledon in League Two. Are we supposed to believe that big spenders like Crawley never managed better than a three goal win in non-league circles? Bollocks they didn't! Fleetwood's record victory should have been given as their 4-0 against Morecambe otherwise the book is using different standards to judge different clubs and creating pointless inequality. Stevenage's 7-0 record defeat against Southwick and Elgin City's 18-1 record win over Brora Rangers are among other results that should follow the Fleetwood one into the bin. Alternatively go through the history of every club and list their genuine biggest wins and worst defeats, taking in every bit of non-league they have ever played. Personally though I think the former solution is much more sensible but even the latter would be an improvement on the current mix and match approach.

The "did you know" features added to each English club page were also pretty lacklustre this year. Albion's duo this time out were one about the Chambers brothers becoming the first twins to represent England at any level (widely reported at the time but probably forgotten outside the Hawthorns now, so fair enough) and the fact that in 1888 FA Cup holders Albion lost 4-1 to Scottish Cup holders Renton in a match billed as the "Championship of the World". You don't say? As football trivia goes this is possibly the best-known titbit about the Victorian game going and anybody with even a slight knowledge of the history of the sport in Britain (which, let's face it, is everybody who buys the book) will know this like the back of their hand. If it continues in this vein we can expect the Manchester United page next season to have as its "did you know" that they once had a manager called Alex Ferguson who won some trophies.

It pains me to write this stuff in many ways as I love the Rothmans like my own sweet life and want it to continue forever. But in this day and age of online databases and instant access to the most minute of football information it is important for it to stay relevant and not drive people away with sloppy work and pointless stubbornness. If the Sky Sports Football Yearbook dies because, despite all efforts, it just can't compete with the internet then that would be a disappointment but if it dies because of neglect then that would be a crying shame. Time to pull your fingers out and rescue this design classic from the doldrums before it's too late.
keresaspa: (I got the last dodo!)
Alas and alack for [ profile] abstract_ellie is but a fleeting visitor round these part nowadays and, as the only other Baggie to frequent this area, her absence is the main reason for my lack of discussion on West Bromwich Albion's travails these days. But sod that because I simply can't ignore today's result - Manchester United 1 West Bromwich Albion 2. Yup, the most successful club in the soi-disant best league in the world, not to mention said league's reigning champions, beaten by Albion at their so-called theatre of dreams. Yes, I know Alex Ferguson is gone and under David Moyes they're easier to beat than a suspect in shackles but this is still a team that was able to take the field with Marouane Fellaini, Robin van Persie and Antonio Valencia - nearly 70 million quid's worth of talent - left on the bench so this is still a massive accomplishment.

I had expected Albion to struggle more this season than last (and I still do) but all credit to Clarkey-boy for this one. We may have played them at the optimum moment but player for player United are still miles ahead of Albion (and nearly every other club) so to beat them in their own backyard is excellent. Credit too to Saido Berahino for getting the winning goal. Albion's youth season, as I previously bemoaned, has produced absolutely nothing in years so it is heartening to see this lad coming along and finally giving some hope that at last the club that produced the likes of Bomber Brown, Bryan Robson, Ally Robertson and Len Cantello is finally going to grow another one. It's still very early days and I would hate pressure on him but he looks special already and the sooner he gets his new contract the happier I'll be. What with his emergence and new signing Amalfitano getting the other goal things might be looking up.

For my own part however, I spent the day in the less glamorous surroundings of Valley Park, Good Shepherd Road in the republican Poleglass area of west Belfast/Dunmurry filling up a DC-free Saturday by watching Colin Valley face Bryansburn Rangers in Division 1C of the Northern Amateur Football League. And what a game that was too! My last three matches have been a 3-2, a 6-1 and a 3-3 but today took the biscuit as I witnessed my highest scoring match ever. Colin Valley (the Colin being a small river in the area, not some bloke's name) took a very early lead and then had another disallowed before Bryansburn (an area of Bangor) got their act together and scored two of their own. Valley then scored a penalty but Rangers retook the lead and went 4-2 up after a comedy own goal by a Valley defender. That was only half time though as Colin Valley came out like lions and turned on the style scoring two to equalise things at 4-4 then striking again late on, this time an own goal by a Bryansburn man, to take the win by the odd goal in nine. Breathless stuff all round and a great advert for the non-league game here as, whilst the quality was certainly lacking, the entertainment definitely was not. DC are away in the hillbilly outpost of Castlederg next week so I'm unlikely to see them and as such will again have to get my Saturday fix at this level but if things continue the way they're going on I can look forward to Oragnefield Old Boys shading it against Abbey Villa with a 10-8 win. Or wherever I end up.
keresaspa: (West Bromwich Albion)
Transfer deadline day - same old crap as ever. That tosser Harry Redknapp spends the whole month tapping up players with the help of all his friends in the media, unsettles them to the point that they are of no use to their club and then splurges somebody else's millions all over them. If anybody else (except Alex Ferguson) did what he does every year they would be raked over the coals by the FA but 'Arry is immune to the laws of both the game and the land. As for Peter Odemwingie driving to QPR without permission in an attempt to force through one of Redknapp's tap-ups sod him too, the ungrateful bastard. Personally I think the ideal outcome will be if the move doesn't happen but he doesn't play for Albion again after his disgraceful antics. Let him rot in the reserves until the summer and see how much he wants to go to QPR with them relegated back to the Second (chance would be a fine thing, we all know the villains are always rewarded in football). For the moment I am ignoring just how bad a light it casts on Albion that an important player would want to leave a club in the top half for a club cut adrift at the bottom but I am consoling myself with the thought that Odemwingie is just a money-grabbing dickwad rather than the alternative that the Steve Clarke bubble has burst so much that rats are deserting a sinking ship. The clear lack of even an attempt to sign anybody is also a worry but Odemiwingie's dickery and Redknapp's blatant, and unchecked, disregard for the rules has made me too angry to think about that now.

And I'm fully aware that nobody on here gives a flying sod about this apart from me (explaining why I have virtually ignored Albion all season on here) but I'm so thoroughly miffed by all this that if I don't vent I will surely burst. And relax.
keresaspa: (West Bromwich Albion)
Well, cleaning out temporary files has made a surprisingly large impact as the laptop is almost like normal at the minute. I might just have to start doing that every time I use the blasted thing rather than once a week as is my wont. Either that or it just works better when the sun is out!

But enough about that as I'm sure you're all rather tired of hearing from me about my computer woes. I should probably take this rare opportunity of a working computer to comment on Albion's progress this season. Surprisingly, given that I was black pessimistic about the appointment of Steve Clarke, it has all gone rather swimmingly. I had feared that the defeat against a truly awful Liverpool team was the beginning of it all unravelling and a draw with an even worse Aston Villa side didn't increase confidence but things are back on track now after a decent win over QPR. OK, we maybe should have done a little better than 3-2 given that Calamity Mark is in charge there but the money they have spent means any win is still an achievement for Albion.

Given my tendencies towards half-emptyism I still see room for improvement. The defence still has quite a few question marks against it and, as I have previously revealed, I am less of a mark for Jonas Olsson than many Albion supporters so I won't be doing somersaults about him extending his deal. In the longer term too the departure of Dan Ashworth from the post of sporting and technical director could have deep ramifications given that he was responsible for a number of bargain signings like Odemwingie, Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob to name but three (although for all his success the youth system still consistently fails to produce any first teamers). Still, let's try to keep positive, enjoy a blistering start and prepare for those glory nights at the Bernabeu and Westfalenstadion next season.

And finally I've been going close to madness trying to figure this one out but who does old sourpuss look like? I've narrowed it down to Clagknot, Neil Tennant or Hank Hill but none of them are quite right.
keresaspa: (Squidward losing it)
It being Saturday the mountains bent down and beckoned me to their side, meaning that it was time to return to the theatre of dreams that is Glen Road Heights to witness the titanic struggle between the noble and true Sport & Leisure Swifts and their nefarious foes, the malevolent Lurgan Celtic.

The Lurgan lot make DC look original in their shameless attempts to ape that shambolic mob from Glasgow. It's not just the horrendously unflattering green and white banded shirts that they wear but they even sport the very same badge. Try to have even a little of your own identity, chaps. From the kick-off Leisure looked an altogether better prospect than the old rubbish that had been so mercilessly humbled by the PSNI a fortnight ago. Lurgan Celtic were, inevitably, a clearly better side but the home boys gave it a go and maintained a decent shape throughout. About half an hour or so in Lurgan took a lead that, whilst hardly undeserved, was not a sign of any dominance on their part and even then it lasted all of a minute anyway as Leisure hit an equaliser almost immediately after the restart. Finally I can say I have witnessed those mugs actually score a bloody goal!

The culchies were mad for their number seven, whom they referred to constantly as "Buckshot", a mean-spirited and petulant little man whose diving would have rivalled that of Greg Louganis but who admittedly was probably the best player on show. As the game wore on "Jazzer" and "Fitz" also received the praise from the travelling several, although as they weren't talking about Jim Bett and Robbie Coltrane I can offer no more on those two. Admittedly, like myself, Robbie probably carries a stone or seven too much for the rigours of even the IFA Championship 2 but that didn't stop Lurgan's keeper from having a go, a man whose belly and man breasts bounced and jiggled hypnotically every time he trotted out to take a goal kick. And in other news - the pot calls the kettle black arse.

A while into the second half a penalty was awarded to Lurgan Celtic although, to quote Arsene Wenger's mantra of yesteryear, I didn't see the incident and so can offer no thoughts on whether or not the decision was correct. I think it was for a handball although I list track as a section of the Lurgan crowd (I say crowd, the entire game had about thirty people there, nearly all of whom were Armagh men) yelled "handball" practically every time a Leisure player got near the ball. Perhaps they were just fixated on the notion of hands and balls, who knows. Inevitably the penalty was converted, with penalty saves at this level about as likely as a sensible haircut on Donald Trump.

Surprisingly given my tendency towards a Niagara of sweat regardless of the weather, and the fact that it was a pleasant 16 degrees, the match was bloody cold and the atmosphere wasn't helped by the constant crackle of electricity travelling between the pylons that flank the ground. OK to play football in apparently but the sort of place where you might have to be prepared to meet the grim reaper if you brought a kite or a frisbee. Mind you it's difficult to go anywhere in west Belfast without being surrounded by searing, naked electricity pulsating forth from huge phallic Eiffel Tower-like contraptions so at least it is in keeping with the politico-cultural geography of the region. Still, I was able to kill my fears by partaking in a mini Soreen, consoling myself with the thought that a pocket sized version of the sainted malt loaf is perhaps the single greatest invention since the Bohemian ear spoon.

And so it continued. A Lurgan player got a very late red card for two fairly innocuous bookable offences but, despite some effort, Leisure just couldn't get any urgency going and the game ended in a 2-1 defeat. Overall this was a much improved performance by Leisure, even though the defeat left them adrift at the bottom of the table due to Killymoon Rangers managing a draw with my alma mater in Cookstown. Lurgan Celtic were only marginally better and there was some neat passing at times from Leisure, with the two full backs in particular looking a hard-running, progressive duo in the mould of Cafu and Roberto Carlos (well, almost). Up front however there are serious issues. The number nine puts himself about but his lack of height is a big problem for a level where hit and hope cloggers are the norm. The Irish League is far from the land of the giants but this diddy man is about five feet tall and gets smothered by centre backs. It also doesn't help that high balls keep getting launched at him when he has as much chance of winning the aerial duels as Andy Fordham has of winning Mr Tight Buns. His strike partner on the other hand is a much larger young man but is cursed with a timidity that holds him back so as he misses out on the ball far too often when he really should be asserting himself and dominating the penalty box. By the standards of this league he is big, strapping boy but he plays as if he's made of porcelain. With proper coaching they could form a half-decent big target man/little nippy centre forward partnership but at this level coaching is practically non-existent and so they seem destined to continue playing a pair of strangers who each seem to be playing the other man's natural game.

And is if that wasn't enough I arrived home to find that Albion have been thrashed by Fulham. Is that the sound of the bubble bursting for Coach Clarkey? I certainly hope not and obviously we were never going to stay in the top four for very long but let's hope it was a one-off off-day (a one-off-day if you will) as Fulham and Albion should be mid-table rivals, even with Berbatov in their side. The hard work starts here Clarke, so it's up to you to turn things around in the next game against Reading and build on your good start. Might I suggest returning Chris Brunt to the starting line-up tout suite in order to do so? Thank you.
keresaspa: (Mikado)
So as usual my prophetic words have been borne out and the dark days of Steve Clarke inevitably started with a 3-0 defeat by Liverpool. What's that you say? Albion WON 3-0?! OK, I'll start again.

And yea did the new Messiah descend from the heavens on a cloud and vanquish the sacrilegious hordes of liver birds. And on that day God smiled on Steve Clarke and ordained him the new king on earth.

No, I'm not going to get carried away. I still think Steve Clarke is a highly unambitious appointment by the board but I have to doff my hat to the man on a faultless start. A right good gubbing at the hands of Liverpool seemed inevitable but instead by all accounts Albion spanked them senseless and were even able to miss a penalty on their way to the three goal win. Whether it says more about Clarke proving the doubters wrong or Brendan Rodgers being nothing but a one season wonder who is going to lead Liverpool down the drain remains to be seen but if Clarke can keep this sort of form up then I'll eat my words and hail him a success. To be fair this was a tough start for Stevie boy and he came through it with flying colours so fingers crossed that my pessimism was very misplaced.

I was unable to follow the match personally however as, it being a fine day and me rising at an unusually early hour, I took myself off to the west again to watch Donegal Celtic tussle with comparative giants (by Irish League standards) Portadown. Not a bad show by DC either, if not quite in Albion's league, as they managed to get a 1-1 draw, marking the first time I have watched them in the flesh and they haven't lost. DC were the better team in the first half, although Portadown came closer to scoring with the keeper pulling off a spectacular save. The Ports improved in the second half but DC scored through a Mark Miskimmin sucker punch around the hour mark. In the end however ropey defending combined with a howler by the keeper allowed Portadown to equalise in injury time and it ended all square. The result was fair enough over the course of the game although the manner in which it happened meant it felt more disappointing than it should have. Still, a point against Portadown is a good result for a bunch of duffers like DC and if they stay up by a point at the end of the season it will be very welcome.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - you can keep your Olympics and your lovely, sportsmanlike, polite, adorable, middle-class athletes I'm more than glad we can finally get back to the only sport that matters with all its cheating, gamesmanship and nastiness. Football - the only game in town!
keresaspa: (Piggy Banks)
Finally, at long last, we can put all the nonsense of people pretending to care about made-up rubbish like omnium and yngling and get back to the only sport that matters, football. OK, so there was allegedly football at the Olympics but any international football tournament that has the UK as a participant is clearly not worth the candle. The league is where it's at and as such I must now turn my attention to the coming season and do my usual load of waffle about how it won't pan out. Enjoy.

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