It was a little poignant to watch my humble home town team Blackpool take on the mighty moneybags of Chelsea at the Bridge last Saturday. They strived noblely but came away a little embarrassed by the outcome. A bit like the match I watched between the sides at Bloomfield Rd when the Seasiders coasting 3-0 at half time somehow managed to concede 4 goals in the second half to the Blues. It also made me recall some of my own interesting moments I had at Chelsea in the very early days of the mobile phone business.
Well Happy New Year folks! I haven’t done a footie posting for a while and despite feeling crap from the flu, it’s great to look forward today to the most intriguing stage in the whole of the FA Cup – the 3rd round. This is the day that footballing legends and history get made. All my teams are at home and facing finger-licking ties; Man Utd take on the oldest enemy (tomorrow) in dirty damned Leeds Utd whilst Blackpool host Ipswich with crazy Keano, Boro take on the new Princes of Excess, Mecca City, and humble Millwall must fancy a tiny bit of giant-killing against Derby County. Can’t wait.
So Avram Grant gets the sack. We forecast it months ago but he’s lasted longer than I ever imagined. It never was going to be an inspired appointment, although that’s how Kenyon and Buck tried to present it at the news conference to announce his appointment as Chelsea manager. He was following in the footsteps of the most successful manager in Chelsea history, Jose Mourinho, the self-anointed ‘special one’. But he came in as a friend of Abramovitch having, it is said, been active in undermining Jo-Mo’s position at the club whilst Director of Football (a position JM thought was unnecessary). The players never really took to him – referring to him as Avram Can’t. Several, including the influential Drogba, openly flaunted their disappointment over the Mourinho sacking ( and by inference their disenchantment with his successor). Not a good start… Continue reading
Well things are shaping up in the Premiership and it’s time to pay some dues I think. So hats off to:
– Pesky Heskey for scoring that late equaliser last night against Russia FC. They’ve doggedly pursued Man U but I can’t see them overhauling the reds now. Good on yer Emile (that’s twice this year you’ve brought a smile to my face)
– Avram ‘Hannibal’ Grant. I was sure he was dead man walking when Chelski were playing that crap football earlier in the season and they recruited Henk ten Cate as his assistant on apparently double Grant’s salary. But to be fair he has kept Russia FC in the title chase, in the semis of the Champions League with an opportunity to avenge the defeat to Liverpool and he’s matched Mourinho’s Premiership first season points achievements (minus a trophy of course) and maintained their undefeated home record. That’s not bad for a guy nobody rated. Of course it could all go tits up before season’s end but let’s not be churlish.
– King Kevin. Yep I’ve been slating the guy quite a bit since his 3rd coming, doubting whether he had anything in him as a decent manager any longer. I was forecasting possible relegation for the Toon and KK’s dismissal but he’s turned it around. 3 wins and a draw in their last 4 matches are not to be sniffed at and they have rescued the season. I still think that game against Fulham was a clincher. If they’d lost that I reckon a deep fog would have descended on the Tyne but they won the game – KK’s first victory and the spirit and the confidence returned instantly. He’s got a huge re-bulding job to do there and he’ll never recruit some of the best players in the world again (well that’s Dennis the Menace’s job now) but he’s got them going in the right direction.
– now that Newcastle have steadied the ship, I think a big hand is deserved for Messrs Hicks, Gillette, Parry and Benitez for turning a great club into the Premiership’s latest circus. It’s like watching the scouse version of Phoenix Nights. The co-owners detest each other and one wants the Chief Executive to resign. The CE hates working for the Americans and is trying to do a deal with the Dubai consortium he thwarted in the first place. The manager distrusts the CE and believes the owners don’t understand football at all. The owners and the CE don’t rate the manager and tried to tap up another guy for the role who’s never managed another club in his life. First Leeds, then Newcastle and now Liverpool. Such fun – unless you’re a hapless fan of course, in which case it must be a living nightmare. It only needs that dodgy Chairman of Man City to get extradited for corruption and embezzlement for the next Billy Smart’s to be created. Don’t you think the FA or the Gov’t should start to consider the possibility of denying overseas entities the opportunity of owning our major football clubs? I don’t know how you prevent it when clubs are publicly traded companies but it needs to be considered IMHO.
– Gareth ‘Jumpers’ Southgate. I’m starting to think he’s got the makings of an excellent manager. As ever hats off to Steve Gibson for his foresight and backing. Mind you he did also appoint Steve McClaren as manager which just proves that you can’t be right all the time.
– Paul ‘camcorder’ Jewell for showing the Derby fans that going down isn’t all bad.
Well I hear tonight that Tom Hicks one of the co-owners of Liverpool FC has today asked his CE Rick Parry to resign. It’s getting to be almost Newcastle like up there. Blimey I watched the Champs League match v Arsenal the other night and it was a tremendous game and fantastic win for Liverpool. Today the party celebrations are over eh… Continue reading
So Fabio Capello is the new manager of England. I know there’s a lot of gnashing of teeth that it’s not an Englishman but come on is there really a better home-grown candidate out there? There were good shouts for Coppell and Redknapp but neither of them can show a CV which comes anywhere near to Capello’s. Then again Coppell didn’t want it and though Redknapp did, the recent incidents with the fraud squad made him untouchable so far as the FA is concerned. O’Neill is the best qualified home grown manager (of those who might have wanted the job but aren’t discounted by having done it before) by a mile but he’d been burned by the FA’s cack-handedness last time around and had no intention of dancing to their tune this time.