spurs win; gertcha

Chas and Dave (and Colin and Shay) will be rocking tonight; Spurs came from behind to beat Chelsea 2-1 in the Carling Cup Final at Wembley. I’m sure it was the result most football fans would have been hoping for – a win for a team outside the big 4. And Spurs deserved it, they’ve hit a rich vein of form in the Cup and were the more determined side today. Plus the shoe-in Chelski manager Grant picked an odd side, dropping in-form Joe Cole and Ballack and having striker Anelka play out wide. He seemed incapable of spotting his mistakes until too late whereas Ramos was very decisive. I heard somebody say today that previous managers Mourinho would never have lost the game whilst Jol wouldn’thave had the conviction to win it. I thought that was an intelligent (if irrelevant) comment.

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bad week for the gooners

Well I was saying that Arsenal might suffer a reaction after that disinterested performance they put in against Man U in the FA Cup on the basis that once momentum is lost it is hard to turn on great performances just like that. Their overall game against AC Milan in mid-week actually looked alright but they ended up with a goalless draw and the away match will be difficult for them. Yesterday they had one of those games against Birmingham City and again came away with a draw. But they lost more than 2 points of course. That dreadful tackle, which was more clumsy than malicious I think, has robbed them of an in-form player for the rest of the season. That was bad enough but they seemed to lose their cool too yesterday – understandably upset at the injury to Eduardo and increasingly frustrated by some of the decisions that went against them yesterday. Although they remain 3 points clear at the top of the table, they had a resigned, losing look about them. That said I was pleased to hear that Wenger had modified his immediate post-match comments about Taylor. That was appropriate.

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can someone else do the draw please?

Well the Gods of good fortune have failed to smile kindly on Man U again in the FA Cup 6th round draw. We could have drawn Barnsley or Bristol Rovers or the Blades (or Boro) or Cardiff or West Brom but those old goats at the FA pulled another really tough tie (albeit at home) v Portsmouth after having had to overcome Villa, Spurs and Arsenal in earlier rounds. That’ll be 11 Cup ties on the trot against Premiership opposition. Surely it’s an FA conspiracy to let a London side win it again!

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arsenal blues against the reds

Well what a result in the FA Cup 5th round match yesterday at Old Trafford; Man U not just beating traditional rivals Arsenal but actually making them look no better than the Holloway Tavern Sunday league team. 4-0 was a tremendous anti-dote to that awful performance against the Blue Mooners and a fantastic way to celebrate SAF’s 100th Cup tie at the club.

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world of football

This is just a mix of thoughts about footie stuff tracking some of the main news items over the last 24 hours or so. Firstly did you hear the 5 Live interview with McClaren today? Very intriguing stuff. That £2.6M pay off isn’t going to last long in chez McClaren clearly and he’s a little bored now so he wants to get back into management. He did that mini charm offensive when the Newcastle and Derby jobs were unfilled, declaring his readiness to listen to any offers. Well ready or not, that didn’t work and now he’s out and about again declaring that he would be happy to work abroad or EVEN in the Championship providing that the club Chairman had a ‘vision and belief’ that matched his own. Oh that’s rich. How I hoped he would end up at Leeds but that’s not going to happen any time soon. I think you’ll be lucky to get a job within 2000 miles of Soho Sq though I’m praying that the Blackpool job doesn’t become available soon.

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ireland snare trapattoni

So after more than 3 months of searching the Irish Football Association have captured Giovanni Trapattoni as the next manager of the Republic of Ireland’s national football team. There was a lot of sniggering behind hands around the appointments of the completely untried Steve Staunton and Brian Kerr before him but the doubts proved valid. Now they’ve appointed someone with huge experience and you can feel the shock waves over here in sleepy Buckingham.

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Newcastle and Manchester, united in disappointment

Not a good day for Newcastle yesterday. It seems that Nigel Pearson has already had enough of the new Keegan regime and has resigned as assistant manager – or whatever title he had at the club. That didn’t take long and wasn’t the greatest shock – after Keegan’s failed wooing of Shearer to be his number 2. You wouldn’t have been terribly impressed with all that if you’d been Pearson would you?

I knew Nigel a bit – he was club captain at Middlesbrough when we first sponsored the team and he always struck me as one of the few principled footballers I ever came across. So I wasn’t surprised when his resignation was announced. Anyway he was off in the morning and yesterday afternoon NU got a real tonking from Aston Villa.

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the premier league goes on its hols

Well Scudamore’s gone and stirred things up now by suggesting that Premiership matches be played in attractive locations abroad – the host venues bidding for the rights to do so. What do you think? The marketing man in me can see the logic and the appeal of it. It’s a brilliant way to expand the brand and generate new revenues. As Scot Hastings pointed out to me this morning, the European tour already plays several of its golf events outside Europe with great success and he has a vision of seeing Scotland play Ireland at rugby in New York. Now that would be brilliant. But the football traditionalist in me thinks the idea of having Middlesbrough play Derby in Bangkok in an actual points-at-risk game is not just a little bizarre, it’s an attack on the soul of the game. What next, 10ft high goals, 15 a-side, time-outs, shoot-outs? This is the wedge developing from having sold our clubs to overseas billionaires who want to max their investments and squeeze every ounce of juice from it. When they’ve done that they’ll wash their hands of the game and chuck it back to its roots as a dried out husk. Maybe it’s me just getting old and reactionary but why should it be desirable to contrive these arbitrary extra fixtures? That just makes a nonsense of a season based on every team playing each other home and away. It’s very simplicity is its beauty. Can’t Scudamore and that half-wit Richards see that? I wouldn’t mind them playing internationals abroad or Cup fixtures but add-on League fixtures? Welcome to the Premiership Asylum; roll up, roll up ladies and gentlemen – come and watch the lunatics play a once-noble and beautiful game. Bye bye American Pie.