Despite His White Boots

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

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Blank Weekend

Looks like I have a football-free weekend coming up. I was planning to go to some skanky FA Cup game but I have been invited to something a bit more sociable, so this would seem to be an apposite weekend to take off. In the meantime, some things we have learned this week :

Jimmy Smith is even better than I thought he was. Extensive video analysis shows that his postage stamp 25-yard volley against Derby was with the left peg, while the postage stamp 25-yard volley against Palace was with the right. None of which would raise an eyebrow on the Continent, but it is rare to see a genuinely two-footed English player.

One other recent peculiarity down at Loftus Road is Martin Rowlands' absence from the last two games, although he was on the bench against West Brom. Now, everyone loves Gareth Ainsworth, and quite rightly because he has two qualities that all fans love. He really does give 100%, giving the lie to so many "100%" players around, because that's the most you can give by definition, and Ainsworth gives as much as any of them and more than most. This is a guy who dives full-length to save a throw-in. His other crowd-pleasing skill is scoring spectacular goals. Naturally, 3 or 4 end up in the Row Z for every net-buster, but who's counting. Despite all this though, Rowlands is the better player. I hope someone at Rangers is considering the possibility of playing one or the other at right-back, as either would improve the back line considerably. Anything to get that carthorse Rehman off the pitch. Back to Rowlands though, on the website today the physio talked about Rowlands returning to training so he may have picked up some kind of knock.

Further afield, you may be unaware that Carlo Cudicini now qualifies for England under residency rules. It is patently clear to me that an English goalkeeper with Cudicini's credentials would be at least second choice and pushing Robinson very hard. Will McLaren include him given the pressure he's already under ? I hope that he does. It might make Jeff Powell and Ian Wright spontaneously combust, which would be good news all round.

Worst defence of the week award (well second worst after QPR) goes to Everton's James McFadden. Sent off by Graham "two more of those and you're off" Poll for calling the referee a "fucking cheat", McFadden protested his innocence vehemently by claiming he had actually called Poll "fucking shite". Now, although I am not averse to the odd naughty word, most of us would consider that to fall under the category of "foul and abusive language", which is written in the rules as a red card offence. However, I have been watching football for a long time at Loftus Road, often very close to the pitch, and I have been able to hear a lot of what players say. Given this, I have maintained for some time that if you talked to referees on a Sunday morning in the same way as professionals do, you'd be off in ten minutes. Which leaves us where ? Oh fuck it, what do I care.

Moving seamlessly on to cunts, this week Steve Bruce, the man whose picture should be in the dictionary as a definition of "hypocrite" (as well as a few other words), complained that "big clubs get all the decisions". Yes, I remember him complaining about that when he played for United. Oh wait, no I don't.

And finally, great to see United booted out of the League Cup not only by the mighty Seasiders but at the hands of Freddy Eastwood who lives in a caravan. According to my erstwhile employers Basildon Council, his two-wheeler is located in a road that "does not actually exist" [1]. When reporters from the Times sought an interview with the Essex hot-shot yesterday, they were warned off by some large men who "exuded a different kind of menace to Eastwood's on the field". It's just a shame that Southend have already visited Loftus Road this season. It would have been great fun to sing "Where's your caravan" to someone who actually lives in one.

[1] To be fair, having worked on their databases I can see how this kind of existence misunderstanding can come about.


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