Despite His White Boots

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

An Eye For An Eye

Football 365 made an excellent point today. What must Paul Scholes have thought of those "For You Smudger" T-shirts United were sporting on Sunday ? Smith's injury was nasty, yes, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Bottom line though is that Scholes may never play again with his eye problem, and could well be affected for the rest of his life. Similarly Liverpool's Mo Sissoko was 80% likely to lose his sight in one eye last I heard, which would surely end his career, and he's only 22.

Smith's break must have hurt like fuck and he'll have a painful rehabilitation but the bottom line is he'll be good as new in a year's time, if not sooner. I personally think that Scholes and Sissoko deserve more sympathy even though, I do stress, Smith deserves a lot. Maybe the reason they don't get it is that there's no gruesome footage of it happening for Sky Sports to show 100 times.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Barnet 1 Carlisle 2

A difficult game today, there was a very strong, blustery wind and for those of you who know Underhill it was mostly blowing down the slope. So for the first half, Barnet had most of the game in the Carlisle half. Strevens would have been in with a better touch once and Sinclair headed wide just before the break, but Carlisle came closest when Holmes' looping header hit the post.

Into the second half and Barnet did ok for 15 minutes without really threatening until Holmes headed home a more difficult chance than the one he missed. Unfortunately for him it was into his own net. They say you're never more vulnerable than when you've just scored though ... and Carlisle were level within 20 seconds of the restart. Barnet right back Barry Fuller inexplicably hacked a ball right across the penalty area, straight into the path of Michael Bridges who popped it in. Carlisle then took advantage of the conditions and penned Barnet in for 20 minutes before working an overlap and slotting the winner. They were comfortable after that and struck the post again from a 20 yard free-kick. Barnet had a brief flurry in injury time but only managed one header on goal and that was that.

Carlisle looked even less impressive than Wycombe to me, although to be fair the conditions didn't help anyone. Bridges was the difference between the sides. Barnet did ok for much of the game but Grazioli is well out of touch and so they're really struggling to score goals. The one straw to cling to is that the new striker Kandol was suspended today and will be back next week. They'll need him to keep scoring (2 in 2 so far) or they'll be looking over their shoulders.

Finally what a result for Rangers, who could have predicted that ! Hehe.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Shut Up Brain, Or I'll Stab You With A Q-Tip

It will be on with the thermal underwear and off to Underhill tomorrow for Barnet v Carlisle, so I won't be able to track the odds till kick off. I was doing better when I was just making tips up instead of thinking about them, so my top tips for the weekend on about 1 minute's thought are as follows :

Back QPR (+1.0) A to Sheffield Utd ; Rangers are the biggest underdogs in the Championship tomorrow but we have a good record against Sheffield United and had a good go against Palace last time out by all accounts. Worth a nibble.

Lay Carlisle A to Barnet ; Barnet are no pushovers at Underhill and I can see them avoiding defeat even though Carlisle are flying. If Carlisle should win I can just make stuff up about how lucky they were and who'll know the difference.

Back Blackburn (0 & 0.5) H to Arsenal ; I predict more domestic woe for Arsenal despite a great result in midweek, or perhaps because of (hangover effect).

Back Bolton H v Fulham (Sunday) : I can't believe Bolton are just shy of even money to win this under any circumstances. I don't think the UEFA cup defeat will hurt them that much.

Back West Brom H v Middlesboro (Sunday) : after pulling out 2 performances in big games, Boro will be back to can't be arsed form at the Hawthorns.

4 points on each at whatever you can get close to kick-off.

Results : 3/5 is certainly an improvement on last week. Would have been a nice touch if I had backed Rangers outright ! Makes 3/8 overall, - 8 points, give or take. In the real world I forgot to place one of the bets today. Guess which one. Marvellous. I'm a bit concerned that Birmingham might catch West Brom now. City's next two games are Boro away and West Brom at home which should clear the waters one way or the other.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Get It Quietly

Chelsea's no-mark puppet chairman today said "I think we deserve a European Championship". What for ? The grace and respect you conduct yourselves with ? More likely that than your great history before the Russian Roubles (one league championship with the lowest winning points total in the history of the competition).

Must control rage ! Must not go on expletive-filled anti-Chelsea rant ! I'm not one to wish ill on teams but I have never, ever been funking so strongly for an English team to lose in Europe. Come on Barcelona. Stick it up 'em good.

Whites 11 Blues 16 (ish)

We were unlucky though, 6 of their goals were deflected. Really, they were. It was like a Frank Lampard benefit match. So this is what it's come to, football bad beat stories.

With 27 goals shared between 10 players my brace turned out to be a below average haul. I was quite pleased with the first one, skipped round the keeper and finished left-footed from a tight angle. The second was a diving header, which sounds quite impressive, but in fact it was from about one yard. It was a good job we nicked a couple at the end to make the scoreline, erm, more respectable. If 11-16 could lay claim to any respectability. Everything's relative.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Magic Of The Cup

It's a shame that the cup quarter-finals are going to be an all-Premiership affair. You just don't see the clash of styles like we had yesterday. Long-ball merchants clumping it up to the big centre forward taking on the slick passing and movement of their much more attractive opponents. And you never quite know who's going to win on the day. Sometimes the bruisers win out. After all, Chelsea did yesterday. I'm so funny.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Gambling For Fun And Profit

Well definitely for fun. I don't know about profit. Not doing my bollocks would be sufficient. Of a Saturday I'm going to pick out some bets and post them up here. I'm not going to study the form all week or run a computer program over thousands of games of statistics like I used to because frankly that was a waste of effort. I might talk about the computer business at some point as it's quite interesting (in a way). I'm just going to use the force and feel my way to a few quid, hopefully.

If you're on line around Saturday lunchtime and you fancy a bet, take a look. If you have a different view on a particular game, post a comment, place the bet and now it's personal ! All comments must be in place before kick-off or it doesn't count. No ticket no rubdown !!

So what of today. I fancy Brentford to give Charlton a hard time today but the Asian Handicap on Betfair is still betting around 140%. If it settles down I will have a punt, probably 5 pts on Brentford +1.0. For the uninitiated, this means I win if Brentford at least draw, I lose if Charlton win by 2 or more, and it's a push if Charlton win by 1.

Nothing jumps off the page elsewhere in the Cup or the Championship. I'm moderately tempted to lay Norwich but I did that in the week and they won 3-0, Earnshaw bagging a couple. Forest would be a shoe-in to oppose at Port Vale if Megson hadn't jumped this week. Is the new manager effect real or just regression to the mean ? I'm going to do it anyway, how often this season have I heard the score "Scungeford 2 Nottingham Forest 0" and thought "why wasn't I on that ?". Swindon have picked up, Cureton is scoring goals and I fancy them at home to struggling Rotherham. I can't see much to tempt me in League 2 either. Barnet are usually worth a sentimental bet at home, but not on their travels.

Today's bets :

Brentford + 1.0, 5 pts @ 1.88 (matched)
Port Vale, 4 pts @ 2.54 (matched)
Swindon, 4 pts @ 2.20 (matched)

Results : Well that'll be just for fun today then. 0/3, 13 points in the hole ...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Boss Of The Bosses

It's been many years since I had a genuine interest in the Premiership through the presence of my own team. But it would be spiteful to just ignore it, tempting as that may be sometimes. If I am listening to a game I will generally be funking for one team or another based almost entirely on whether I like or dislike the manager.

So here's how they line up at the moment, from worst to best. This is a non-scientific ranking just based on how much I like and/or respect the manager in question. It's not all that much to do with how their teams play (if it was then Allardyce would be well down for a start) Who is the boss of the bosses ? Betting with 19 because Roeder doesn't really count.

Relegation fodder :

19 Redknapp. Didn't mind him so much at West Ham but really, has the man no shame whatsoever, the way he's carried on for the last two seasons.

18 Bruce. An absolute and utter twat who takes one-eyed analysis to a new low.

17 Ferguson. Never liked him. A bully and a shameless bullshitter who never gets called by shit-scared interviewers.

16 Mourinho. Is occasionally entertaining but much of Chelsea's totally classless behaviour emanates from this man. Could you not at least acknowledge that spending £500 million gives you a bit of a head start.

15 McLaren. I harbour no personal dislike for the man but he is a bit crap really.

14 O'Leary. A very lucky manager (in the situation he was given at Leeds) and a serial excuse-maker.

Mid-table mediocrity

13 Robson. I actually think he's done ok at West Brom, and has perhaps been unfairly labelled after his time at Middlesboro but his monotonous drawl is very annoying and I can't forget that he was frankly a dirty cunt as a player.

12 Allardyce. Isn't as bad as a lot of people make out. Was one of the first English managers to enter the 21st century in terms of diet and training methods, then again he does blame the refs a bit too much and by all accounts Bolton are absolutely horrible to watch. Still, I don't have to watch them, which explains why he isn't any lower.

11 McCarthy. On the plus side, conducts himself with great dignity considering how appalling Sunderland are. On the minus side, it's his team and they are truly appalling.

=10th Coleman, Pardew, Curbishley. Hard to have any strong opinions about these guys (much like their clubs) but they get it quietly and have a bit of dignity about them

7th Hughes. Blackburn have cleaned up their act somewhat and Hughes is generally fairly straightforward and reasonable.

Championship contenders (the ones I actually like)

6th Moyes. Made me £130 last year, which is a big plus, didn't panic this season when they were struggling and seems like an honest bloke to me. He looks a bit like me as well.

5th Wenger. Despite his much-mocked myopia, has produced a couple of fantastic football teams and has always conducted himself well IMO.

4th Benitez. Has done a great job sorting Liverpool out. Mourinho has made him bite once or twice but come on, that man would try the patience of a saint.

3rd Jewell. Despite being a chirpy Scouser, I like him a lot. Tells it like it is, gets on with it and is having a great season.

2nd Jol. Shot up to number one last year after his adult reaction to the disallowed four-feet-over-the-line goal at Old Trafford, and has impressed me throughout with straight talking, a sense of humour and taking it on the chin where necessary.

1st Pearce. A total legend who has shown up just about every other manager with his honesty, willingness to admit his own mistakes and general utter hardness and mental strength. Go Citeh, Stuart Pearce is my massive Boss of the Bosses !

Not Another Football Blog

Fraid so. Welcome to "Despite His White Boots". For shame if you do not know the origin of the name, it refers to my favourite ever Colemanball, Keggy Koogle's "Despite his white boots, he has genuine pace". Like all the best ones, it makes a strange kind of sense.

Currently this contains all the football-related posts from my Get It Quietly blog. I have copied over all the posts from this season, just to make sure that my tipping of Reading and Brentford is still in place. Unfortunately I have lost all the comments along the way so if you made a particularly witty comment on one of these posts you could always repeat it. Or, more sensibly, not bother your arse like me.

This blog will contain betting tips and results, reports on games I have attended and general musings on the beautiful game. Enjoy !

Whites 5 Blues 5

One must keep in touch with the grass roots, and it you can't go much lower than our weekly kickabout at work. We have cones for posts, not jumpers, and some of us have been known to take it rather too seriously, YHN (your humble narrator) not excepted.

We started off with 13 players today and the Whites (and Reds and Pinks) were fortunate enough to have the extra woman. Yes, we let a girl play. She plays National Division Two hockey and is a useful footballer, not least because she's one of the few who will actually look up and play it simple instead of launching blind 50-yard "passes" all the time. On the downside she is a little reticent to control the ball when someone whacks it at her tits as I did today. Sorry mate, a bit heavy that one. Anyway we forged into a 3-1 lead until she left and made it 6v6. From this point on they had a couple of the fitter players and we had a couple of the "hide up front and hope for a tap in" merchants and after a rather unfortunate own goal from YHN we found ourselves 5-4 down with time running out. Fortunately I made amends by planting a corner kick right on top of their flappy goalkeeper. He obligingly palmed it out to one of our boys who returned it with interest into the (imaginary) onion bag. Honour maintained for another week.

Monday, February 06, 2006

End Of An Era

I prefer to write about things as and when I feel like it ; in just the same way as you play better poker when you want to play rather than when you feel obliged to [1], it's more fun and you invariably do it better, whatever it is. However, I can hardly ignore Ian Holloway being placed on "gardening leave" by QPR.There has been a clear sense that all is not well at Loftus Road throughout the season. It's the first year since relegation to what is now League One when we have seemed to be standing still or even going backwards. A lot of players have been brought in who appear to be no better than what we had already. Much of the football has been, by all accounts, turgid. I can't say too much because I haven't actually been since September. The last two games I saw were absolutely dreadful in terms of entertainment. I also felt that £28 for a seat was taking the piss, and took to watching Barnet.

Truth will eventually out in regard to what's happening now ; it seems to me that the club are using Leicester as a smokescreen to try to oust Ian Holloway without paying him off, but we'll see. At least they are saying the right things about thanking Ian Holloway for what he did, and I'd like to join that. After being unable to avoid relegation, he had 7 players turn up for the start of pre-season, with the club in administration. He did an exceptional job in the circumstances and will always be fondly remembered by most fans I hope. By me anyway.

Now, as the Buddhists say, who knows what's good or bad. We might find a better manager who moves us forward ; we might not. I just hope they install someone relatively young. Martin Allen would be my number one choice by a mile, however Brentford will not want to let him go, and he himself might feel that if he was to move, he could do better, despite his links with and support for QPR. And while I said "doom" a few months ago when John Gregory was spotted in the directors' box, I've started to warm to him on TalkSport, he talks a lot of sense. We'll have to see. Just for God's sake not Peter Reid or someone like that.

Finally, for the moment Gary Waddock is running the shop and after meeting him last year I will try to get along there on Saturday to offer my support, coincidentally [2] against Millwall who he also played for.[1] As I am finding out in my Sit and Goes, more of that elsewhere[2] Like rain on your wedding day, this is COINCIDENCE. It is NOT IRONY. Damn you all to hell !

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Right Idea, Wrong Man

Casting my eye over the rest of the football world, I'm not afraid to hold my hand up when I make a mistake, and this post about West Ham makes me look a little foolish right now. Credit to Alan Pardew and his team for the way they're shaping up. It was a big win for them today - you might well ask why, seeing as it was only Sunderland, but I can assure you that when Rangers played at that level, without fail, any time they pulled off a result like winning at Highbury (it happened !) they would blow the next match. You have to follow it up. Maybe Pardew should negotiate another contract while his star is so high ! Five years is still a long time though, so we shall see.

But what must Middlesboro be thinking right now. They signed Steve McLaren up to a new five year contract only a couple of weeks ago, when they were already struggling. Now they lose 4-0 at home to Aston Villa, and the natives are hurling their gas-masks at the bench [1]. Why on earth did they sign him up to a 5 year contract the way the team was playing ? Once you know that you have to pay these contracts off, you end up in a situation like Newcastle's, where I'm sure they wanted to off Souness at least a couple of months ago, but he wouldn't walk (and why should he if he doesn't want to). Finally despite the payoff issues it just couldn't go on any more - and now they find themselves sacking the manager two days after the transfer window closed. It's all about timing.

[1] Don't blame me, they even call themselves the "Smog Monsters" - a marketing nickname they thought up for the club which (for some reason) hasn't caught on.