Despite His White Boots

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

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Just When It Was Starting To Get Interesting

As usual, just as everyone was getting into the swing of it, everything stops for 10 days so England can play Andorra. Again. Still, a good time to chew over the action so far, especially in that the start of the season is so important, at least in terms of perception.

Say Team A wins their first three games, does averagely well over the bulk of the season, and loses the last three games. Team B does the opposite, 3 losses, average, 3 wins. Even though they finish level, fans and media will all go away thinking that team A had the better season. And in a sense, they did. Because Team A will have spent three months in the top 6 before settling down to mid-table, whereas Team B spend three months in the bottom 6 before clawing their way up.

QPR have matched the criteria laid down in the last post for a "good start". I am quite a bit more confident now than I was pre-season, not just because of results, but a few pointers gleaned from events so far. Mainly, the management team have adapted the system to the players available and made quick and effective changes to solve the problems that have arisen, notably after the hammering at Sheffield United. It's clearer than it's ever been (IMO) that truly no one has an automatic right to play, but players seem to be respecting this and responding in the right way. Captain Martin Rowlands will be back in the side soon enough, but as a substitute on Saturday, he was noticeably the first to congratulate Dexter Blackstock on his goal. Dexter's playing well as the lone striker and has already picked up 3 goals ; and while the defence still looks a little light numerically, as Dowie points out, if you have enough centre-halves (which we do) then you can change the system if need be. I'm not bothered that no one was brought in yesterday ; if the right players aren't available, wait until they are. Rangers will strengthen in January IMO if they're in contention. Seeing as this start is better than I anticipated, and yet promotion odds have drifted to 5-2, I have had a nibble. Dare to dream and so on.

By contrast, Barnet have stumbled out of the blocks horribly, losing the first 3 games and then taking a battering at Chester who had also lost their first 3. Any manager is only X games from the sack, with X being a variable according to past credit, character of board, etc. Time isn't on Paul Fairclough's side but he's done so well there I really hope he can turn it round soon enough. Rotherham are gobbling up their points deficit tout suite and Luton are suggesting that they might just do enough over 46 games.

Elsewhere, yet another fake apology that incenses me 100 times more than the actual thing being apologised for. Newcastle owner Mike Ashley at least has half an idea how to keep it real on the streets, even if his identikit Newcastle fan outfit almost looks too good to be true, right down to the receding hairline. You won't see Ashley carefully draping a scarf over a 2 grand suit like Al Fayed and men of his ilk. During the game at Arsenal on Saturday, cameras caught the Toon Army General downing a pint in the classic style (and by all accounts this was the most free-flowing move Newcastle put together all afternoon). Now, as I've been saying lately the rules should be the same for everyone ; and the police don't make the laws and are obliged to have a word because of course you're not supposed to drink in the stands. So they have a word. Newcastle's official response ? Let's consider the options :

- Oh FFS he downed a pint, what's the fine, here's double for charity
- Sorry, someone gave me a pint and in the heat of the moment I forgot
- Pathetic insulting cover-up ?

You guessed it. Salient extract : "Newcastle issued a statement which said: "Mike was offered a drink which he thought was non-alcoholic so he took it in good faith." ". Oh for GOD'S SAKE. He thought it was ginger beer ? That's why he went "Hey, look at me everyone, watch me make light work of this fizzy pop".

Further extract : "Arsenal confirmed they do not sell non-alcoholic beer in the stadium.". I hereby confirm that the world is full of pathetic scumbag lawyers who would tell you black is white for ninepence to insult and lower the intelligence of everyone around them unfortunate enough to be within earshot.

Finally there's only one transfer that caught my eye yesterday. You can keep your Berbatovs and Robinhos because West Brom have signed Ryan Donk from AZ Alkmaar. His position ? Well there would be something badly wrong with the Universe if a player called Ryan Donk wasn't a centre half, don't you think ?


  • At 8:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    During the game at Arsenal on Saturday, cameras caught the Toon Army General downing a pint in the classic style (and by all accounts this was the most free-flowing move Newcastle put together all afternoon)"

    Gooner humor. Srogd like.

  • At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Donk should have signed for Stoke City so he could play at the Victoria with the rest of them. (This joke only makes sense before 1997, but still.) J.


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