Despite His White Boots

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Up And Down

Where to begin ? I suppose we have to start at the top. Mourinho castigated the Chelsea fans earlier this week for not making enough noise. Without making this particularly anti-Chelsea, the reason many top grounds are quiet, especially in London, is very simple. It's so expensive. Core ground-roots supporters of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have been priced out of the game. To be replaced by, as Roy Keane observed, the prawn sandwich brigade. To a lesser extent this is happening around the rest of the country as well. Fans are starting to dig their feet in at the prices. Man City only took 2000 or so up the road to Wigan because many fans organised themselves to stay away en masse in protest at the £35 being charged (£10 more than for the same game last season). How many Premiership grounds have a decent old-school atmosphere these days ? Portsmouth ? Erm .... Fortunately there is an alternative. A couple of weekends ago a West Ham fan rang TalkSport to point out how much he and his son enjoyed the atmosphere at ... Loftus Road for the Palace game.

Down to the bottom of the Premiership and Iain Dowie's sacking has caused my eyebrows to raise. I have seen Charlton a few times this season and caned them for being poor but they weren't sack-the-manager poor. Especially after only 12 games with the club. Charlton had at least started to keep clean sheets and one correspondent to Football365 pointed out that they had accumulated exactly the same number of points as from the corresponding fixtures last year. The Valley does remind me of Loftus Road in the early 90s. A bit bigger, but the same atmosphere of dissatisfaction with mid-table even though this is punching considerably above their weight. Many of them wanted Curbishley out, well, careful what you wish for, because now you've got it. I wouldn't wish QPR's two division descent on anyone (well hardly anyone) but I wonder whether Charlton will live to regret what they've done. Curbishley himself has immediately nixed a return, sensible fellow that he is.

Moving down, Football365 printed my Email in praise of Lee Cook (half way down). And moving up, if it is up, McLaren is now really struggling IMO. It's another case of "careful what you wish for" for those who said they'd rather see England lose under an English manager. Yesterday McLaren went into one after being questioned about a newspaper column which gave a different reason to his for Stewart Downing's omission from the last game (as if "because he's shit" wasn't the apparent reason anyway). "I don't read every newspaper column" he snapped. Well maybe he should have read this one, because it was written by his assistant Terry Venables. Don't think I'm wasting any time on that game this evening, and you won't either if you have any sense.


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