Despite His White Boots

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

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Not Much Happening Then

Wow. Where to start ? Let's start at the bottom and move up. Barnet ground out a 0-0 against Stockport yesterday in a tense game, although it would have been more tense if anything had actually happened. Ross Flitney made a couple of good saves for Barnet early on during the visitors' best spell. That's about it. Which leaves Rushden & Diamonds down and out, for which I can claim a degree of credit. A season and a half ago I tipped them to make the League One playoffs. They were relegated, and again this season. Sorry about that. Oxford United look favourites to join them. John Aldridge and Ray Houghton would be spinning in their graves. If they were dead. Barnet aren't safe yet but their last game is away to Rushden and a draw should be plenty.

Rumours link Ian Holloway with Swindon, newly relegated to League Two, and it would make a lot of sense given that ex-QPR boardroom types Mark Devlin and Bill Power are there. I hope he gets it, and good luck to them if he does. If he's looking for players, Gary Waddock has clearly been given enough responsibility to clear out the dead wood at QPR. So many players have been released or transfer-listed it's almost easier to name the ones who are staying. Unsurprisingly Santos, Evatt, Doherty, Langley and various stiffs you've never heard of are out the door. Perhaps more surprisingly, Bircham, Bignot and Lomas are all listed (though still in contract). I don't actually dislike any of them (not even Santos I must be going soft) so I hope they all get gigs somewhere. Bircham and Bignot are two players who did really well last season and have always busted a gut so I hope they at least can get decent gigs at Championship level.

Birmingham have already been linked with Bircham as they plan for the Championship next season. 1, 2, 3, Ha Ha ! Can't help myself. I was a bit lucky with that bet, I was expecting West Brom to sort them out but in the end it was Portsmouth who rode over the horizon to save the day. I really didn't see that coming, and only a couple of months ago I flat out ridiculed their chances. Well, Redknapp has proved me wrong there. He's still a cunt though.

Chelsea finally put it to bed, in some style by crushing their nearest rivals 3-0. Ferguson has already said exactly what he said last year about making it hard for Chelsea next time out. We totally believe you this time. I found it interesting that of the two Chelsea fans to call TalkSport last night, one came out with a bitter "You lot must be gatted you 'ate us so much" and another went off on a long spiel about Chelsea being fined 10 grand [1] and West Brom getting off and it not being fair. Happy days eh ?

Less happy for England, first of all Big Phil has either taken a look at the tabloids and thought "fuck this for a game of soldiers" or steepled his fingers like Mr Burns and said "eeexcellent" having used the FA to stick two million on his next contract with Portugal. Probably a bit of both. Which means we're back to the usual suspects. Not only that, Rooney and Owen are now both doubtful for the event. Frankly if Crouch is going to be England's number one striker for this tournament I advise everyone to just crack a few beers and have a laugh. I remember Crouch's celebrated Bambi on Ice impression during his time at Rangers. OK he's a bit better now, but if you had told me this guy would lead England's attack for a World Cup I would have called for the men in the white coats with the giant butterfly nets.

Should both the golden boys be absent, I would just play one striker with Gerrard in the withdrawn second striker role. It's got to be better than playing Bent. Or Defoe. Then at least the two players who might get you a goal (Gerrard and Lampard) won't be treading on each others' feet all the time like they are now. But it all smacks of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. Never mind, it's only a game :-)

[1] That's got to hurt. Oh no, wait.