Friday, 24 December 2010

That' it for Xmas Eve (?): To be Resumed

Like others I have been keeping a periodic eye on the news towards the end of the day. Unless something unforeseen happens, then it looks like those concerned will take a Xmas break to chew it all over, and then focus on the final outstanding points.
I shall be continuing with the Czech Budweiser Budvar for the immediate future and hope to catch up with news at the Southampton game.
I cannot add to the speculation, but I have voiced to others on many occasions that I would prefer if Wise was not a part of it or if he is, that Varney and co have a strong lead!
Promotion is the key target which can potentially sort out some of the short term revenue problems.
On the wider front, it's interesting to note just how well both Leeds and Norwich are doing in the quest for a double whammy of promotion (i.e. to emulate CAFC's feat of the 1930's). Our target should be one of continuous improvement as the various motivational management games postulate; i.e. promotion this year, and a challenge next year in the same vein. This year continues to be tough, especially if form is not regained quickly over the Xmas period.
I have never been a Leeds fan. I can recall feeling distinctly unsafe whilst attending some games, especially those vital play-offs some years ago.  Even way after that game, the Leeds fans were in threatening mood returning to London down the M.1. The volume of traffic around 11PM-midnight was amazing and  periodically stationery. It seemed that every other car was a maddened Leeds supporter.
In these days of expensive seats and prawn cocktails (a La MUFC), their support seems a little less threatening, though no one should underestimate their passion.
They have done really well and are to be congratulated;. They have a feet on the ground manager and a good squad.. Lloyd Sam has made not that great a contribution and I suspect if they go up will be surplus to requirements.  Would we want him back? Not me,  he flatters to deceive like Martin and given time I think Martin may be the greater of the two, if we can hang on to him.
Happy Christmas Folks

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Another Blank: and not just on the pitch

I could not make the game, committed to a rousing carol singing event in Central London. I certainly made the right decision.
Given the fixture implication of getting through along with the dire weather warnings I guess on balance it is best we have kept up our Cup record.
From what I have read, I was very encouraged about Jenkinson at right back, (about the only encouragement other then the return of Dailly. is it just possible that he might be selected over Francis for the next game?. Francis has had about 2 reasonable games since joining us and is in the middle of a bad run at present; he needs a rest to recharge, and compose himself.
I was dismayed to hear on several BLOGS of the behaviour of a small element of the crowd, but like some others not surprised. I have seen it gradually coming, not just this season but over several seasons.
The small element who partake in some of the chanting and nutty behaviour just spoil a good day out for the majority. I’m no prude and general ‘football’ language does not offend, but some of this stuff is so pathetic and unfunny it just makes you sad that the reputation of our supporters is on the slide.
Some years back, (at Villa to be precise) the majority of our fans were berated by a small line of our own ‘fans’ behind them; they has specifically got behind them, for not singing.
It was a wet, cold day and our side did little to justify a cheer (which they got ) let alone a song. On that occasion I emailed a club “official”, who was there amongst us, (still in post), and did not even get a reply.
There are some of us who like to cheer and shout but not partake in aimless singing which rarely demonstrates any genuine excitement. Indeed you can see that many of those who “sing” are not even watching the game. On one tense occasion they were chanting to the opposing fans whilst ignoring an opposing corner right in front of them.
It comes to somehting when you have to carefully select where you posotion yourself at away games, just to stay clear of some of the rabble.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Dreadful Non-Event: Takeover Related Factors?

We were dreadful in all departments against Walsall. Our side just did not turn up. There’s not an awful lot more to be said but here’s a few observations:
No inventiveness in midfield and no punch upfront.
The overall perfromance was so poor that inevitably some of the weakenesses of some players, e.g. Samedo do be creative, stood out like sore thumbs.
Subs did not help. Reid made no impact and he focuses on impressing a small element of the crowd with his ball skills and not the overall team objective. His error was at the root of their goal. Martin had a run at them but flattered to deceive again for the short time he was on and looked frustrated at all around him.
Once Walsall scored the only real positive you can identify were some stupendous, last gasp defending by Doherty and others that prevented another 4 goal rout.
The tactic of substituting Fry (who did not play badly) for Reid and moving Jackson to full back again backfired badly. Jackson was our most likely first half threat and removing him was counter productive, and he is not as effective at full back as Fry.
I could not figure out whether the team was still shell shocked from their drubbing at Luton. Or, is the side unsettled about the takeover and any internal rumours?
Is it just a coincidence that their form has dipped following release of the news about the take-over? Do some players fell at risk and it's affecting their game?
If this could be the case then a ‘clear the air’ initiative is urgent
Hartlepool will not be easy and a home defeat against Southampton would pitch us back down the table with everything to do to get back to where we are.
A good position after the Xmas period is essential.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

2026 Front Runner

Insiders are predicting further shock decisions from FIFA for 2026.
Current front runner is Antarctica, which is seen to provide a major challenge to extend the influence of the game and the impetus for infrastructure development. 
A sole senior FIFA official was spotted carrying out some reconnaisance visits:

Extension of existing hotel arrangements are being considered:

And the local side has been undergoing extensive bonding sessions:

Friday, 3 December 2010

Cautious Optimism

I have no illusions of being a person with a good understanding of financial and corporate issues. My knowledge extends little further than IT strategies and depreciating personal investment portfolios.
However, the news from the club regardiing the planned takeover is still uplifting.
As others have noted, caution least is required about the ‘Xmas present’ news until we learn more about it and, most importantly, what group is behind Peter Varney.
Nevertheless, given Richard Murray’s (and his colleagues’) incredible support and dedication for the club in recent seasons you would have to be a real cynical pessimist to anticipate the club going into the wrong hands to a bunch of deviant financiers who had their eyes on exploiting whatever “assets” come as part of the deal. He has held on stoically for a long time, reducing his level of wealth considerably, in discarding some previous potential bids as being unfavourable to the club.
The club owes him and enormous debt in terms of his financial commitment, effort, time, and probable sleepness nights that it has cost him. I hope that any final deal brings him some piece of mind and, most importantly, it finds an important and responsible place for him in any new structure.
It bodes well that it is fronted by  Peter Varney who has undoubted credentials as a CAFC fan and has anm excellent reputation within the football world. It seems unlikely that he would have been duped by dubious financial backers. I would not have had the same confidence with Dennis Wise.
However, let’s not get too carried away by thoughts of some mega-bucks treasure trove being available for a transfer kitty in January. A modest implant of funds to cover investment of additional players in key positions and the retention of other squad players would be a major leap forward given the otherwise reliance on sales or loans to cover any team building.
There has been speculation of Curbs coming back into the fold. If money permitted him to take on some form of Football Directorship that he could undertake productively without interfering or stunting the role of Parks then fine, though this may be a tall demand. Otherwise, it would be a real kick in the teeth for a manager who has done well to get us where we are and make the club more attractive to potential bidders.

Qatar: a stroll in the sand

What a sad joke the selection of Qatar is for the future of football.
After sterile walking pace games in various hot and humid climates in recent World Cup tournaments (with FIFA efforts to spice it up by unpredicateble plastc footballs)  it goes to a country that has temperatures around 45 degrees or more at the time it will be staged.
Let’s forget about infrastructure, crowd, and training problems and focus on the football. Solar powered power is projected to drive air conditioning that will maintain temperatures at 27 degrees. ( probably wildly optimistic). For those still reluctant to commit fully to Celsius, that’s around 80F.
The South African tournament was characterised in the main by its walking pace, passing from side to side of the pitch and back to goal, and extreme caution displayed by all sides, occasionally sparked into life by the Germans. No wonder the broader non-‘soccer’ devotees in the States find it difficult to get enthused about the game.
The Qatar tournament will do little to enhance the quality and attractiveness of football other than to those in the Middle East who will rise to it in patriotic fervour.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Happy Birthday Phil

I hope Park's has a great birthday and a moment for brief relaxation.
He seems an amiable chap but I have been unable to find a smiling photograph of him, he obviously takes his responsibilities seriously unlike some who have gone before him. I guess with the way the weather is up north he may be able to look forward to a break over the weekend (let's hope for all concerned that if the conditions are that bad that the game is called off early enough to permit that. Nothing worse than a god forsaken trip up the M6 to find it is called off at the last moment).
This BLOG has been consistent in supporting Park's on the premise that he could overcome the hic-cup we had in form prior to the recent run. I suggested that he needed a fair amount of time to get specific good results and / or performances after the team had performed badly after the Brighton game. He did just that and we have marched ahead to get amongst the main contenders.
He has not got everything right but there are not many managers who had to face the rapid shedding of resources close season and the urgent rebuilding with such scarce resources.
The jury remains out on some player acquisitions and only time will tell whether they can dispell current doubts. However, the team he has assembled, warts and all, is getting results and showing an apparent personal commitment to him.
With the forthcoming schedule and complications die to the weather, it's crucial we keep players fit and do not incur unnecessary bookings (unless as is the current vogue, they are 'tactical'!
So, I am hoping we do not pick up silly bookings for dissent along the way.
Have a good one Park's.