Despite His White Boots

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

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Barnet 0 Plymouth 2

Not much to say about this one really ; it wasn't a great game, in fact there weren't any clear chances for the first hour. Barnet flashed a couple of crosses over but no one could connect, and Plymouth were restricted to the odd long-range effort. Then Norris cut in from the right for the visitors and threw himself over DeVera's challenge. It probably was a penalty but he certainly made the most of it. Aljofree's penalty sneaked in despite Flitney getting both hands on it ; the keeper was clearly upset that he hadn't saved it.

Barnet pushed forward without threatening, and with 5 minutes left 17-year old Scott Sinclair, on loan at Plymouth from Chelsea, showed the one touch of class in the game by slipping Yakubu on the half-way line and beating King in the area before clipping neatly into the far corner, an excellent goal. Up until that point the Barnet centre-halves had been excellent, coping comfortably with Plymouths "ageing" (ie shot) frontmen Hayles and Gallen. Unfortunately, just a little bit of penetration from the wings was enough for Argyle to sneak through.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Well, I'm Back

And what's been going on in my absence ? QPR continue to find new and inventive ways to lose football matches, culminating in the most horrendous own-goal by that utter carthorse Rehman against Luton. The Luton forward's "cross-shot" was 50/50 to go out for a goal kick or a throw in when the QPR "stopper" took a swing at it with no one anywhere near him, missed the ball entirely, and diverted it in off his standing leg. Marvellous. Perhaps it was a cunning plan, because the fourth round TV tie against Blackburn would have pulled in £200-300K, and priority usage of this money would have been a replacement for Rehman, Z. And in a double whammy, that money now goes to relegation rivals Luton instead. On the bright side, Rowlands and Ainsworth should be back soon and Rangers always look much more potent when they can threaten on both flanks. Upcoming away games against Barnsley and Southend are, although it's the most over-used word in football, massive.

Up in the Premiership, everyone in the world who is not a Chelsea fan is no doubt plumping up the cushions and cracking open the popcorn as the evil empire unravels. I wouldn't write them off just yet mind you, 3.4 on Betfair would be quite tempting if the very thought of backing Chelsea didn't turn my soul to ice. Laying off Mourinho as a person for a moment, my dispassionate view is that he is an excellent tactician, organiser and winder-upper of the press and other managers. However, his record in the transfer market is not very good, especially when you consider that key players like Cech, who most people believe Mourinho signed, were actually bought on Ranieri's recommendation before the Special One breezed in. I think Robben was too, although of course wingers appear to be an endangered species in SW6. Time will tell on all fronts. I have to admit my heart leaped with joy when I read an uncorroborated report that Abramovich wasn't happy about the lack of love and hugs he was receiving from the Chelsea fans. Imagine if he pulled the plug, oh arglglgllrglrglrlglrglrgllgghhgghglghglghgl.

Anyway keeping it real, Barnet have been steadily inching up League Two and I must say that Paul Fairclough is doing a fantastic job at Underhill. Tomorrow they take on another manager for whom I have the utmost respect as Ian Holloway brings Plymouth to fortress Underhill in the FA Cup fourth round. I have just scored a ticket and even if I am still suffering from jet-lag I am sure that the raucous atmosphere will keep me going - seriously. 5000 would rattle around even in a ground like Loftus Road, but at Barnet that's virtually capacity and it should be rocking. I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sticks And Stones

Well, this is all a bit "he said she said", and if Lee Hendrie really did tell a disabled fan to "get up out of your wheelchair" that would be sick, but there are still a couple of points I'd like to talk about. When the guy says

"I called out to him: 'You're a professional footballer, you should be able to rise above it.'"

What ? Why ? This is the bentest thing in football. Fans give out the most horrendous stick to footballers, safe in the knowledge that they are hidden in the crowd, free from reprisal. Then if the player has a word back they report him. Now OK, I have told the odd opposing player where to go in the heat of the moment sometimes, it's a passionate game. But if he gave me some back I wouldn't go running to teacher.

And the other thing is, "You're a professional footballer, you should be able to rise above it" ? That sounds, to me, a remarkably unlikely thing for someone to shout out at a football match. Of course, here I must reference the case of Matthew Simmons, the Palace fan who was so memorably given the Hong Kong Phooey Chop by Eric Cantona. Simmons testified in court that he ran down from the 12th row to shout "It's an early bath for you Cantona !", when other witnesses reported his words as being more along the lines of "fuck off back to France you motherfucker".

Cantona was a mean son of a bitch, and he once scored a 99th minute goal that was instrumental in QPR's relegation from the Premiership. Nonetheless, you had to admire his swagger, and if you're going to be a bad guy, much better to be an out-and-out evil SOB than a niggly twat like say Robbie Savage. I'll always have a soft spot for Cantona, just for the picture of Simmons and the look on his face at the exact moment he realised that he wasn't safe in the crowd and that 14 stones of professional athlete was rocketing towards him studs first.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Oh Yes You Are

This is topical so I'll sneak it in quickly. I was reading about Micky Adams getting the push at Coventry on BBC Sport and they had the old "never mind that you pay our wages please write our copy for us in the form of 'reader feedback'". I clicked on this to check out the word on the street and someone said, really they did, "and Coventry is not an ordinary club".

My counter-argument would be, yes you fucking are. I can't think of a more ordinary club than Coventry can you ? Yes OK, QPR, but I don't go around saying "and QPR is not an ordinary club" !