Despite His White Boots

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

Monday, May 03, 2010

QPR 0 Newcastle 1

Done and done. A predictably low-key game turned when Peter Ramage dived in on Shola Ameobi and got himself sent off seconds after half-time. It was a shame because Gorkss and Ramage looked a more solid pair than anything I'd seen for quite a while, and Ramage seemed quite upset to be sent off against his former club. I got the impression that both sets of players were asking the ref to be lenient but technically he had to go.

Peter Lovenkrands finished expertly from a one-on-one to put United one up, and five minutes later Jay Simpson fired straight at the keeper from an almost identical position. "That's why we're champions" sang the travelling support, and they were right. So ends another season and I'm sure I'm not the only one glad to see the back of it. Regarding players new to me, Dusko Tosic looked too good for this level, i.e. probably too expensive for Rangers, while in the other full-back position Josh Parker looked remarkably assured when he came on as a substitute for the once again disappointing Lee Cook. Rangers have probably been unlucky that neither Cook nor Rowan Vine are half the player they were before a bad injury ; then again Cook had had a lot of problems at Fulham and was probably bought with the heart rather than the head. Fulham are laughing either way. Or they would be if £1.7 million made any difference to a £200m debt. Plucky Fulham, don't start me off again. Meanwhile Alejandro Faurlin had the best game I've seen him play for the club and I wouldn't be amazed if he moved onwards and upwards in the summer.

Anyway, nuts to it. We'll see in August but I'm certainly not queueing up for a season ticket and I doubt many others are either.

Update : Just to underline that, Faurlin was voted both players' and supporters' player of the year.

Saturday, May 01, 2010


The row between the Premiership and the Football League gathers pace. Interesting blog on BBC Sport here. However, one could very reasonably say that the row is actually between the Championship and the two lower leagues. According to this blog 23/24 Championship teams voted for this payment plan, and all 48 in the lower two divisions voted against. It's not necessarily the gap between Premiership and Championship that's the issue ; one could argue that with so much dross in the lower half of the Premiership (by top division standards IMO) that gap isn't so big right now (see: Stoke kicking their way to mid-table with ease twice in a row). It's now the gap between Championship and lower leagues that is set to widen.

I have always thought that the parachute payments are a complete gyp but when the Prem says "take it or leave it" there's very little that the leagues can do. Some of the teams who get promoted make an unbelievable hash of their finances (see: Hull City) considering how much Premiership football is supposed to be "worth", something like £80m per season, with £10m added on every year come the playoff final. The other problem is that when a club is fairly sensible and sticks to a sustainable budget on being promoted, like Burnley, they end up with a manager jumping ship for someone more "ambitious" and fans booing the team off when they get a tanking off opposition that cost £300m to assemble.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this ; I did want to refer to one comment on the blog that said

"Smaller clubs will have to spend time and effort getting their youth set ups working and developing talent (much like Crew [sic] have with Dario Gradi) and using this as a source of income. If it works well they will have every chance of breaking through the "glass" ceiling of the top divisions."

Unfortunately this is not true at all. The top clubs, with their almost unlimited budgets, can afford to take punts on promising youngsters from the lower leagues. The smaller clubs can't afford to turn the money down or "stand in the player's way". At least Charlton got 30 games out of Jonjo Shelvey ; QPR have let Dean Perrett and Raheem Sterling go to Spurs and Liverpool respectively without them ever playing a first team game.

Conclusion : football is bent. I have a ticket for QPR-Newcastle tomorrow but even with it already paid for, if I go into day 2 of the FTOPs $2K tonight I'll skip it. So see you at Loftus Road :). But don't expect to see me much next season, barring the occasional social visit if the Camel's about.

and incidentally : Having a drink in the golf club yesterday (I know), people were talking about football and obviously Fulham came up. "Isn't it great what they've done for where they've come from" one guy said. I let it go at the time, but could well have pointed out that at the last reckoning, Fulham had the biggest debt in the country outside the top 4 - £200 million. And that was two years ago. That's what they've done to get where they came from - spent £200 million of other peoples' money. Where they came from is less relevant than where they will go if that debt ever gets called in.

final rant : Alex Ferguson says that Liverpool will not "throw away history" by "giving Chelsea the win" tomorrow. Is this just me or if I was Benitez (who lets face it has nothing to lose anyway) I would put the youth team out and say "I did that because you're a cunt Ferguson. Stitch that. Next time, shut the fuck up and mind your own or I'll do it again". I didn't notice Alex Ferguson respecting history when he put his youth team out against Hull last game of last season, in a game that affected the relegation places, and no one said anything. And then Wolves got fined this season. Football is so bent. I'm going to put that on Facebook. That'll show them.