Despite His White Boots

Football, football, football and, if the mood takes me, more football.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I Never Said Them Things

Courtesy of Football 365 once again, Eric Djemba-Djemba denied criticising his manager earlier this week :

"I did not say the manager needed to change anything. I would not say that sort of thing. I wouldn't question his tactics. The manager was surprised because if he knows I have anything to say, I go straight to him and say it. The manager called me in on Thursday morning and when he showed me the papers and articles I was shocked. This makes me look like a trouble maker and I don't want that reputation. I want to do my talking on the pitch."

The usual, but here's the problem :

A video of Eric Djemba-Djemba saying them things

He'd better hope that his manager is as oblivious to the power of the Internet as he is. Still, Keano's just left United, perhaps they'll take him back.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Kids Are Alright

... but nothing special. I nipped down to White Hart Lane last night to see England U21 play their French counterparts, just for a change. Mainly because it was only £10, quite a novelty to see Premiership players for that money. Once I was used to the strange sensation of being at White Hart Lane and wanting the home team to win, I quite enjoyed it. Quelle surprise, the French team were much better technically, while the English had the edge physically. After an uneventful first half, Les Bleus took a deserved lead through ex-Liverpool forward Antony Le Tallec. England then huffed and puffed a bit harder, Bent had a header cleared off the line after chasing a long punt, and then skied a volley from 8 yards out when he "should have done better" in punditspeak, that is a Premiership striker should have scored. Dean Ashton came on with 10 minutes left (although a player with such a large bald spot should surely be ineligible for an under 21 team on principle) and his scuffed shot was turned in by Darren Ambrose, who for my money probably was England's best player on the night.

I also quite liked Huddlestone and Taylor at right back ; Whittingham looked out of his depth against a very skilful right winger though, and Richardson plays too much with his head down for a central midfielder. The rest I have to say were much of a muchness. On the French side, they had an extraordinarily quick and skilful forward who looked exactly like Gary Neville would look if he was French. You'll know him straight away if you see him. I would expect France to win the second leg if you fancy a bet. All in all a nice change from League Two, much as I enjoy a day out at Underhill.

17/11 Update : The "French Gary Neville" I mentioned, his name is Frank Ribery and according to the Daily Mail (I know but anyway) Tottenham are lining up a £1m bid, or "swoop" as the tabloids say. I'll tell you now, this guy would be a hell of a bargain for £1m, he's a top player already, and only 20 years old.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

And We Thought Hoddle Was Nuts

Check this out.

What price Mystic Meg for the Old Trafford hotseat. Come to think of it, she might make a bit more sense.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bet Of The Season

Chelsea 11/8 on Betfair to win at Old Trafford. They should be a healthy odds on. Why aren't they (a question you should always ask when seeking the value) ? I suspect because people simply want them to lose, to breathe some life into the title non-race. And because Mourinho is more of a cock every week. But if people think that United can do what they did to Arsenal last year (kick them off the pitch), I feel they are mistaken. I'm sure they'll try, but Chelsea are an extremely powerful side physically. Also Keane and Neville are busy making inspirational videos on the sideline ; charged with the kicking duties instead are Fletcher and Richardson. I bet Essien is quaking in his boots. United are rubbish. Lump on.

I was at Underhill yesterday, up for the cup and a very entertaining game it was too, against League One pace-setters Southend. Barnet keeper Ross Flitney made a string of fine saves and clearly hasn't let his Old Trafford nightmare weaken his resolve. Good for him. Southend looked decent enough but did confirm my suspicion that League One is particularly weak this year, if they're heading it.

Meanwhile Rangers had a bash against Reading but came up short. Physically short by all accounts, Rangers only had 3 6-footers on the pitch yesterday and, sadly, in the Championship that's a big (haha) factor. Predictably enough Reading scored a set-piece winner. I was very unhappy with the guy who called Talk Sport to moan at Holloway. When pressed by Micky Quinn (who is a top geezer) as to why, he just burbled nonsense. I hate it at Rangers when they all start whingeing. They should be bowing down to Holloway and the coaching staff for pulling the club back from the brink the way they have. You win some you lose some, everyone's doing their best, take it like a man for once.

15/2 I managed to resist the temptation to alter or omit this post ...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Nice Work If You Can Get It

It may be none of my business but I'm surprised that West Ham have given Alan Pardew a five-year contract. Pardew has been less than popular at Upton Park, on the whole, and they might consider themselves fortunate to have been promoted after finishing 6th in the Championship. Of course, they are currently 9th in the Premiership, but here's the kicker ... after 10 games. Basically by way of beating Blackburn, Aston Villa, Middlesboro (thanks to a very controversial goal) and Fulham. And they drew at home to Arsenal. Who haven't won away from home yet.

Now, this is all fine, maybe they haven't had the toughest start to a season but you can only beat what's put in front of you. But a five year contract ! Which you will have to, presumably, pay out in full if you want to sack him ? How sure can you be that Pardew will strengthen West Ham to the point where they will stay in the Premiership for five years ? People underestimate the "swings" in football I reckon. Over the season it usually evens itself out but, as well as they've done, who expects Wigan to finish second ? Are you sure they're not just "running good" ? Or look at Everton compared to last season.

Well, I would at least have waited until the end of the season. The way some clubs are run (and QPR have been very badly run over the last 10 years or so I freely admit) it's no wonder some of them are in such a state. Half of them will go tits up soon enough, mark my words.