Sunday, 27 June 2010

Forget Pundits: Bloggers’ Common Sense Required

I have just listened to so called specialist pundits’ reasons for the dismal result and England’s recent performances. They are inventing new ones to supplement the old "no break in January" and "tired players" hackneyed arguments.
The primary reason is staring us in the face. The Premier league imports and fields most of it teams from players from abroad (Arsenal being the prime example) and gives our youngsters little opportunity. Until that changes, the standard of the national team won't either.
The day of reckoning may be near. If world loses its fascination with the Premiership and SKY’s hard-nosed businessman reduce or eliminate their television sponsorship a rapid period of adjustment and pain for clubs and their prima donnas will rapidly follow. Most will be glad they took the money when available.
I generally have time for Graham Taylor, but now he is saying our kids must be skills orientated (fair enough) and never play in an 11 a side game until they are 14 years of age, so they are not branded into specific positions too early.
In my youth, we played in 11 a side teams on a Saturday against other primary schools when we were 10-11 years of age (after learning the skills in a tarmac playground with a tennis ball). It was that generation that last won the World Cup.
Taylor also postulated about the problems these young kids would face due to the size of the pitch. My recollection is that most of our pitches were cut down and not full size pitches for competitive games.
In addition to the Premiership problem, our kids are most often not interested in playing on Saturdays and would prefer computer games or a weekend job. Even if they did show interest, their teachers seem are increasingly unprepared to turn out to officiate. I would put money on these problems not being a major factor on the continent.

Friday, 25 June 2010

We can only hope




Let's hope the East Stand is as free of the dreaded Vuvuzela as it was at the "Last game at the Valley" prior to Selhurst Park.

A Good Deal for Bailey!

The reported £1.4M sale of Nicky Bailey looks like a good deal to me. The size of the fee in the current climate surpasses what most anticipated. There is a suggestion that this could be "an initial" fee with top up amounts possibly forthcoming, maybe based on appearances or 'boro's performance next season.
Pity we are not able to bag the whole fee though, given Southend's recent equally perilous situation, maybe their share of the fee should not be begrudged (especially as we prob. got him on the cheap from there in the first place).
I have mixed feelings about Bailey, who bore a striking resemblance to our old Millwall import Dave Mehmet.
He was without doubt a combative little player, in the same mode as Strachan but less skill. Though he scored some impressive important goals last season, he also lost us several with either sloppy passing or writhing on the floor complaining about being fouled when he should have been on his feet defending.
I think his reputation for this put referees increasingly on their guard for his tantrums before games even started to his and our disadvantage. This can result in such players not being awarded obvious, genuine fouls and being given no benefit of the doubt.
However, I wish him well and with the right attitude he could do really well at 'boro and may well go on to prove his worth in the Premiership.
I just hope that the fees we received for Shelvy and now Bailey gives us some breathing space.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

FIFA Tinkering

I expressed reservations about this bloody ball before the tournament. This new example of Anglo German, FIFA induced technology has as much to answer for ruining the tournament to date as those blessed horns blown by a new generation of not too knowlegable fans.
Though most of the players are much maligned on the quality served up so far, I cannot believe that so many full time pros are blasting crosses to the other touchline and shots 20 feet over the bar (a La Bailey).
This incessant tinkering by FIFA to try to find a ball that will result in more goals and popularise the game for the armchair viewers has further ruined the tournament. Various parties are trying to get away with saying it is all due to the thinness and general air characterstics and atmosphere: balderdash!
If promoted, we must resist 'moving with the times' and not be coerced into adopting this ball.
I sometimes wonder whether a good old fashioned leather ball would improve the game!!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

The Dreaded Vuvuzela

My understanding is that indivudal clubs can determine the policy on letting vuvuzelas into the ground next season.
LET'S BAN THEM NOW: NO NANCYING ABOUT!!

When men were men! (& the South Africans)

Reading our "Man from Queensland's" '60's thoughts (via Dr Kish) spurred a few memories of my own. When Dave Hickson came to the Valley with Everton, he was one of the most agressive and feared centre forwards in football with a record second to none. Willie Duff carried a little surplus weight but was not a big man, Hickson at least matched him physically and was prob. bigger. When Will Duff took 'umbrage to Hickson's antics in a heated cup match there was no messing. He flung full blooded right hook to Hickson's chin who fell like a bean poll, rather in the way Cassisus Clay did to our 'enery. None of these nose to nose or 'handbags at dawn' stuff. He knew what he was going to do, did it and marched straight off the field. In referring to John Hewie and other South Africans, I remember what great service they gave the club. I missed their introduction (before my time) but saw Hewie, Stuart Leary, Brian Tocknell, Peter Firmani and brother Eddie on his return. We seemed to have a monopoly on S Africans. Why we did not continue to milk this source I will never know. We did get one more South African, the late Cliff Durandt, a podgy left winger from Wolves. He fought unsuccessfully against his weight problem and I can remember an article in the national press indicating that his 13 cups of tea a day was the root of the problem, unlike some of our later better known players who consumed an equivalent number of pints of a different type of liquid. However, Cliff is remembered for his last ditch, freak goal in the last game of the season at the Valley (half cross/half shot) that Second Division survival. I presume our rich source of S Africans dried up as the game became of less attraction to white South Africans who moved towards Rugby leaving Black South Africans to take up the mantle for their national game. The modern squad may have been outclased by Uruguay but one wonders whether the club could yet find a new rich vein of players from that country. .

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Not Just a dodgy Keeper or the Beach Ball

If England have to rely on Carragher then his total embarrassing lack of speed will finish us.
Picking King was a mistake, how can you pick a guy whose legs swell up after every game.
It was suggested that this time it was a groin strain; while others suggest it might yet be the same old leg swelling. Surely the chances of getting a groin strain or some other trivial yet short-term incapacitating injury must be heightened if the guy cannot participate in run of the mill training for days on end.
Picking both King and Carragher look almost as big an error as not picking Adams and Parker.
At least we showed some attacking flair against the Yanks but what a poor miss by Heskey (irrespective of his otherwise fair performance).
I get annoyed with the pundits praising the contributions of Lennon and Wright Philips: yes they showed a turn of speed but (just like Charlton's wingers) seem incapable of putting in a good cross. As a pundit said, how can you select two wingers who have not played that many first team games and cannot cross with their left foot when they are expected to take over on the left wing (echoes of Jerome Thomas!¬).

Friday, 11 June 2010

It's Bending time

Looks like the World Cup could degenerate into a farce according to detailed reports on the new (British invented) football.
FIFA have tampered with the game to try to make it yet an even more popular game, catering for the armchair supporters who cannnot hold any concentration for more than 5 minutes without a high scoring game. A rivetting low scoring game with umpteen goalmouth incidents is not for your average US hamburger gobling, chattering baseball fan.
Seems like the new ball is even more like a beachball and will bend at the slightest provocation.
Pros have taken intended curling free kicks and the ball has started out as planned and then without any reason curled back the following way leaving keepers totally bemused.
Apart from this, the main critism is that it seems to have the taken yet more skill out of the game.
Back in the 60's it was Ferenc Puskas who first curled (the old fashioned) ball, that no one else could. With successive introductions of lighter and more plastic based balls anyone has been able to curl a ball, though some better then others. One wonders what Puskas would have been able to do?
As far as I am aware there is no plan to introduce it into the English game; if they do will we ever find a forward to get in on target?!