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Your article today on Allardyce quotes was brilliant and just sums up why the guy is ridiculed.
Claiming he’d win the league with Inter or Real because y’know he managed to win the first division with Limerick all those years ago. Yep, the next logical step is Real Madrid!
Trying to argue his teams play anything other than turgid, long ball football is embarrassing. I’m not a West Ham fan, but as I recall they were growing pretty sick of the garbage that was being served up at the Boleyn, regardless of some decent results. Now, correct me if I’m wrong Hammers fans, but at the time I doubt they were expecting Barcelona or Borussia Dortmund football, they just wanted something a bit less of an eye-sore and Allardyce couldn’t even provide that. The job Bilic has done has completely exposed all of his quotes regarding his teams’ styles.
He didn’t even do that well with Sunderland. If Newcastle hadn’t persisted with Schteve for so long and appointed Rafa (or anyone) sooner, Sunderland would have gone down. Would he have been considered for the job then? Funny how things work out like that.
Basically, anyone trying to defend this appointment is only fooling themselves. As someone who does find it amusing to see England failing I’m delighted but also it makes me realise how lucky Ireland are to have Martin O’Neill and I’m sure the Welsh think the same regarding Chris Coleman.
Enjoy Kevin Davies being brought out of retirement to knock long balls down to Kevin Nolan and Lee Cattermole being sent off leaving Mark Noble to shield the James Tomkins-led defence.
Shane (don’t worry at least Sam will probably join in with your hooligan fans fighting at the next tournament) Ireland
Press the Gomez button, Arsene
Everyone knows Arsenal need another striker. Personally I think Giroud is very good at what he does but as someone pointed out recently he just doesn’t complement Ozil very well. Wenger’s right about a lack of really good strikers around the world at the moment. Unless he’s going to break the bank for Higuain or Lukaku, how about these alternative solutions?
1) Put Sanchez up front. OK so he won’t be properly available until September probably put he can play there; he has pace, can finish and is deceptively good in the air, what’s not to like? Arsenal would need to buy another winger to fill his slot there but pacy, skilful forwards are a hell of a lot easier and cheaper to come by than an equivalent striker.
2) Mario Gomez has just announced he won’t be playing for Besiktas any more. Not sure where that leaves him, presumably he is still under contract at Fiorentina. He must be worth an enquiry? He played and scored for Germany at the Euros (albeit as their only actual striker) and already has an understanding with Ozil. Age isn’t on his side at 31 but he has never been particularly quick anyway, and it often takes him a few chances to score but Ozil creates so many that shouldn’t be a problem. He is proven at Champion’s League and international level which is more than you can say about Lacazatte or even Lukaku.
Jose will Mikel Pogba
You do realise Mourinho is going to turn Pogba into John Obi Mikel don’t you?
In case anyone’s forgot, before Jose got his hands on him, John Obi Mikel was the best young attacking midfielder in the world (well, second best if you count Messi as an AM). His penchant for slight lapses in concentration, ego and lax attitude towards timekeeping for training and non-match events led Jose to do what he does best and create the disciplined but boring player we have today.
Outrageously talented, lapses in concentration (completely excusable due to age), ego, problems with timekeeping…. Sound familiar?
That’s the sound of Nampalys
In the article of new big hitting midfielders, you have mentioned the teams in 2nd, 3rd and 4th last season, but seem to have forgotten to mention the current champions of England signing. His name is Nampalys Mendy by the way.
Best of luck to Kante at Chelsea, best centre mid I have ever seen live. With him shoring up defence, Chelsea are my favourites for the league.
Toby (Champions) Mitchell
Behaviour towards officials
Away from the coronation of Sam Allardyce, the other big news story yesterday was the FA deciding to introduce a clampdown on poor behaviour towards officials. To do something like this is admirable and long overdue – the way football players, coaches and managers treat officials is an embarrassment compared to other sports (even if there are rugby union referees who could do with a run out on a football pitch to get taken down a peg or two).
However, for this to succeed, it needs to be applied dispassionately and with the same approach to all players. What seems more likely is that when these guidelines are applied, it will fall into the same category as things like shirt-pulling/pushing at a set piece – if you’re caught you haven’t got a leg to stand on, but the frustration comes from seeing others do exactly the same thing without punishment. It’s a bit like being caught speeding, in a way. It’s very easy to imagine someone from a rubbish team (like Crystal Palace) shown a harsh caution for dissent, while leniency is shown to a high-profile referee botherer like Wayne Rooney or John Terry, and the suggestion will always be that the referee has bottled it to avoid the abuse in the media and from fans. Again, the problem is not with the first example, but with the second.
Players can help themselves, though – after all, if you stick to the speed limit the police don’t have any reason to take a photo of your car. An ice hockey coach I know was commended several times for the way his players conducted themselves. All he said to them was that if they needed to approach the referee about a decision (usually a penalty being called), then they were to keep their hands by their sides, speak calmly and quietly, and listen to what he said. If they disagreed, then so be it, but you weren’t going to change his mind, so take your medicine and get on with the game.
I really want this to work, not least because our own superstar official Name Withheld has been lobbying for this sort of action for as long as I can remember them appearing in the mailbox. It might take a while to trickle down to the lower levels of the game, whether Sunday League or junior football, not least because the sanctions don’t cover angry parents yet.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven
Enjoyed Silvio Dante’s mail about the future home of Valencia earlier. Over here in the Czech Republic (don’t get me started on that ‘Czechia’ nonsense), one of the nicest things about the league is the variety of grounds you get to visit. There’s Slavia’s shiny but soulless identikit home. Sparta have Letna, which initially looks nice, but on closer inspection you might snag yourself on something rusty. Olomouc’s Andrův stadium has one of the oddest end stands you’ll ever see, Dukla Prague’s ground is just one, gigantic stand, while Střelnice in Jablonec is one of four grounds (Bohemians Prague, Mladá Boleslav and Příbram being the others) that only have three sides. The worst thing about the ground in Jablonec is that the open end has a giant scoreboard that, whenever there is a goal in any other Czech league game being played at the same time, lights up with that score and plays a railway station-announcement-style melody. Awfully distracting when there are six other games happening.
Srbska in Brno, however, has just had a roof put on the main stand to comply with league regulations. It’s at such an angle that it’s all but useless; however, it did prompt one wag in the beer queue in front of me one day to refer to it as the Br-nou Camp. How we laughed.
David (our front three look mighty fearsome this year) Szmidt, Brno, Czech Rep.
Big names in small places
Years ago, I watched ex-Cruyff Barcelona Dream team and Spain star Jose Maria Bakero turn out at the Abbey Stadium for Norwich in a pre-season friendly against the U’s. He must have been on trial for Norwich but was probably about 38 or so at the time. From playing in the Nou camp alongside Stoichkov, Romario, Koeman et al to boring pre-season friendlies in that footballing hotbed of Cambridge.
Also, England’s talent pool of potential footballers is also mined by lots of other sports that we are very competitive at on a global scale. Can Spain, Germany, Brazil or France field excellent national teams in several forms of Cricket, 2 codes of Rugby, hugely impressive medal hauls at the last 3 Olympics, a dominant cycling program, a Davis Cup win (OK a bit inaccurate as not England) etc not to mention other global sports that the UK are world leaders in such as Horse Racing/Equestrian, Motor Racing and even Snooker and Darts!!
Other countries focus on a couple of sports, we try to be the best at everything and the media wail and stamp their feet when we come up short.
Simon Fitzwilliams (I guess this is because the UK invented a lot of these sports so we don’t like seeing Jonny Foreigner beating us at our own game), Cambridge
Obscure shirt names
I have a good mate who, like me, is a long-suffering West Ham fan. However, he also has a track record for getting some ill-fated names on the back of his annual replica shirt.
In the the last few seasons he has spent good money on getting Thomas Hitzlsperger (injured after two games…), Sam Baldock (too small for Big Sam’s ’style of play’), Ravel Morrison (the flame that burns brightest…) and the returning and injury-prone Joe Cole.
Needless to say, he has stopped getting them done now. Anyone else had anyone on the more ‘obscure’ end of the shirt scale?