Filed: Wednesday, 6th June 2012
By: Gordon Thrower
He's cleared his domestic football inbox and written it all down so he can concentrate on watching the Euros. Well for three games anyway. Here's the final part of Gordon Thrower's end of season review. Let's see who he can annoy this time.....
Defender George John returns to FC Dallas having failed to impress during his loan spell which consisted of two Development squad matches and no appearances in the first team squad.
Southampton manage a 1-0 win at Leeds despite being played off the park, the home side failing to take any of the numerous chances that coe their way.
This gives Southampton a four point lead making it rather important that we get something out of our international trip the following day. This we do in decent style beating Cardiff 2-0 with goals from Nolan and a collector’s item from McCartney, whose 50 yard run finishes with him putting away a rebound. With his right foot. The disembodied head of Ray Winstone explodes as the bookies for whom he does those adverts struggle to compute the astronomical odds of Linda scoring at all, multiplied by the even more astronomical odds of such a goal coming from his right foot.
There’s more fun to be had at the expense of Chelsea as Abrahamovic decides that AVB (as I can’t be bothered to look up the spelling of his name) is not the man to run the club after all. AVB has lasted just about as long as it takes to conceive and give birth. There’s little sympathy for him however given the no doubt large payoff that he receives for going. In any case, people are too busy laughing at Chelsea to have any time for sympathy.
Southampton drop two home points to the in-form Ipswich whose goal comes from Jason Scotland. This is possibly the first time ever I can recall smiling at a Scotland goal. However, despite dominating our match against Watford we fail to take the opportunity to go top, as the clock ticks on. Sub Ricardo Vaz Te notches a late equaliser but try as we might we fail to net the winner, despite 9 minutes of stoppage time being added for a serious-looking (but thankfully not as serious as it looked) injury to Watford defender Dale Bennett who is stretchered off with his neck in a brace.
With Winston Reid still feeling the effects of serious concussion obtained playing for the Kiwis against Jamaica we look a bit short handed at the back and Stoke defender Danny Collins comes in on loan, though quite how he’ll adapt to playing football after his move from Stoke is anyone’s guess. Another loan signing is set to be ‘keeper Stephen Henderson who will come in from Pompey. Henderson’s signing is made with a view to a permanent deal, something that renews speculation as to the future of Rob Green, whose presence at the club is said to be dependent on what division we are in next season. So the deal is in no way a clever way of saving Pompey a few bob to make sure they don’t disappear before the end of the season with our six points then.
As if to underline the feeling that Portsmouth must survive, because it would get just too complicated if they went under, the Football League promises £800,000 in staggered payments to get them through to the close of the regular season on 28 April. After which, presumably, nobody will give a monkey's.
We draw at home for the third consecutive match as Doncaster Rovers come to the Boleyn and leave with a point after a 1-1 draw. Nolan scores early on as it seems that only referee Andy D’Urso’s long-standing grudge against us will prevent us running up a cricket score. However, the loss of Ricardo Vaz Te with a hamstring injury sees us struggle to show any type of creativity and Doncaster pick up a deserved equaliser. It could have been worse, Green pulls of a remarkable save to stop us leaving empty-handed.
Reading close the gap between second and third to goal-difference whilst Southampton’s win means that a win in the game in hand over Peterborough will be sufficient to see us reclaim top spot. As long as we can muster eleven goals in the process.
A difficult trip to Leeds follows as 3,000 travelling Hammers see us go a goal down with seven minutes left. On-loan Danny Collins pops up in stoppage time to rescue a point which is a decent return from Elland Road, though when taken in the context of wins for both Reading and Southampton , the point is not enough to keep us in the automatic promotion places. Southampton’s 3-2 win at Millwall is particularly galling coming as they do from 2-1 down with two more laughable penalties.
Such matters put into perspective by events at White Hart Lane as Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba collapses with a heart attack during the first half of his side’s FA Cup Quarter Final. The player’s heart stops for 78 minutes and a defibrillator is used as the medics perform heroics to keep the player alive. Ref Howard Webb abandons the match at 1-1 with players and spectators visibly upset at the whole affair.
Meanwhile, we return to action at home to Boro’ and draw. 1-1. Again. We go 1-0 up (again) through a deflected Faye header but a baffling series of substitutions sees us try to shut up shop rather than try to exploit the space created by opponents drawn out of their shell. With predictable consequences. Ogbeche’s curled drive levels the scores late on. Despite the indifferent form we remain in the mix for automatic promotion as Reading slip up at Peterborough leaving us two points adrift with a game in hand.
The turgid 90 minutes against Boro’ contrasts hugely with events at Elland Road on the same night where Colin’s side are trounced 7-3 by Forest, for whom McCleary nets four. Leeds take the lead but by half time Forest are 2-1 up. Forest then go 3-1 up before Leeds peg them back to 3-3. Then Forest score again. And again. And again. And again. Colin is understandably embarrassed. “I’m embarrassed” he says, before going on to blame Carlos Tevez for the defeat.
Things don’t improve much for the Irons in the first half up at Burnley. Despite dominating and missing a succession of chances (pardon me if we’ve been here before) we somehow find ourselves 2-0 down at the interval. Things perk up in the second half as Nolan (now in double figures for the season) and Tomkins level but yet again the forwards miss a number of opportunities to give us all three points. Ten unbeaten then, the last five of which are draws.
The impressive away form continues with a midweek trip to Peterborough where second half goals from Vaz Te and O’Neil give us all three points. The win is our eleventh on the road, which equals the club record.
All looks set fair for the big showdown with Reading whose inexplicable run of victories despite playing poorly has put them in a strong position for promotion. We start well with Cole putting us 1-0 up early on. We dominate the first half so much that boxing referees are seen on the sidelines begging to be allowed to intervene. However, we discover a clue to their form in the shape of Premiership referee Chris Foy who allows a blatant handball from ex-Hammer McAnuff to set up the equaliser. Things get worse as a flukey deflection plays in Hunt to put them 2-1 up at the Interval. A Noel Hunt dive over the nearest leg is enough for Foy to give them a penalty which is converted by Harte. Vaz Te gives us a bit of hope with a header that makes it 3-2 but Foy caps a dismal match by repealing the offside law for a three yards offside Hunt to play in Leighterwood to give them a 4-2 win and leave us four points off the promotion slots.
The final month of the normal season begins with a Good Friday trip to Barnsley where goals from Nolan, Noble (a clever chip after a goalkeeping error), Maynard and Vaz Te give us a morale-boosting 4-0 win, thus setting a new club record of 12 away wins.
Leeds kick lumps out of Reading and for once the rest of the league turns a blind eye. Despite being reduced to ten men Leeds look the better side but Reading dig up two late goals from somewhere to maintain the gap.
The Boat Race becomes interesting for once as a privately-educated privileged idiot halts proceedings by swimming in front of the boats as a protest against, er, privately-educated privileged idiots or something. Still it distracts everyone from making the “funny how Oxford & Cambridge always make it to the final” joke. Well apart from this time anyway.
There’s another big one at the Boleyn where Birmingham come to visit. Awful defending sees us go 2-0 down before Vaz Te makes it 2-1 in the third minute of first half stoppage. Even hanging on to that position is beyond us as Birmingham add a third in the fifth minute of the stoppage period, the extra time being caused by lengthy treatment to George McCartney following a clash of heads. We storm the second half and a 70th minute effort from Cole and a last minute penalty from Vaz Te give us a deserved point.
Reading beat Southampton at St Mary’s yet again taking three points from a thoroughly unconvincing performance. This means that a win against Brighton is a must. We get the win and then some, as one of the performances of the season sees us run in six without reply. Goals from Vaz Te (3), Nolan, Cole and an og give us the points and do the goal difference a power of good as well. Vaz Te’s third is a bit special, a mid-air scissor kick instantly propelling him to the top of the “goal of the season” nominations.
Unfortunately hopes of automatic promotion are dealt a major blow in our next match. We go 1-0 up through a Tomkins effort but an uncharacteristic slip from Rob Green gives relegation threatened Bristol City an equaliser. Once more a plethora of missed chances cost us dearly and the draw leaves us needing snookers to have any chance of avoiding the playoffs.
Elsewhere Didier Drogba creates a world record for the number of dives in a match during Chelsea’s So-Called Champions League Semi Final against Barcelona. Southampton players are seen pouring over their Sky+ machines for tips. Drogba gives Chelsea the lead in one of the three minutes of stoppage time added for treatment to his non-existent injuries and, despite Barcelona playing them off the park, Chelsea take a 1-0 lead into the second leg.
Drought hits this part of the country prompting the traditional hosepipe ban, followed by the even more traditional heavy rain. Which proceeds to last for weeks. And weeks.
Results elsewhere mean that Reading, despite their obvious limitations, have somehow become Champions. There is dancing in the streets of Derby as Rams’ fans look forward to finally losing the embarrassment of being tagged the worst Premier League team ever.
There is still an outside chance of automatic promotion for us but a win away at Leicester is required to keep that particular flame alight. The home side take the lead against the run of play but the lead lasts less than 4 minutes as Reid turns in a Taylor cross. A rejuvenated Jack Collison buries a spectacular 25-yarder to give us all three points.
Chelsea are yet again played off the park by Barcelona as the home side take a 2-0 lead. John Terry (“the greatest Captain England have had ever” – M Lipton) knees Sanchez in the back and then has the cheek to deny any wrongdoing claiming “he must have backed into me”. Terry eventually concedes that it might just possibly look like he was guilty from a certain angle – that angle presumably being one where you were facing the screen. Ramires gives Chelsea the advantage, Messi (suspiciously) hits the bar from a penalty and even more suspiciously Torres scores late on to send the Pensioners through to the final v Bayern Munich. It’s almost worth seeing Chelsea qualify in the realisation that Terry will be suspended.
The following morning’s newspapers are full of the news that enquiries into the phone hacking scandal that doesn’t involve Spurs have resulted in the conclusion that Rupert Murdoch is not a “fit and proper” person to run a newspaper, something which, apparently, is news. One paper which doesn’t run with the story is the Sun whose front page simply states “Torres Scores!”
Back in the realms of proper football we go into the final match of the season needing a win and some goals, if Southampton draw, or just a win if they lose. The only problem with that scenario is that Southampton are playing already-relegated Coventry. Coventry are so poor that Southampton don’t require any dives to win 3-0 and leave us in the playoffs. A Carlton Cole double either side of half time puts us 2-0 up but as the news filters through from Southampton we sit back and important players are wisely substituted in advance of the extension of the season. Hull pull a late goal back after a bizarre cock-up from Guy Demel.
We finish in third place a mere three points from top spot. The club record 13 wins away from home contrasts with the home form where too many draws have cost us automatic promotion. However, possibly significantly, we’ve won two on the trot at home – which will be handy in the playoffs won’t it where Cardiff lie in wait…..
The month starts with the tabloids being outwitted by the FA as Roy Hodgson is appointed England boss. Redknapp’s journo mates cry foul as their man is ignored in favour of someone with a proven track record of coaching at international level and no recent court appearances.
At first the English public seem to follow the redtops’ lead but the Sun scores a spectacular own goal by publishing a front page taking the mickey out of Hodgson’s speech problem. The FA complains and any thoughts that the Sun might have a lucid and coherent case are immediately dispelled when they trot out Jonathon Ross as witness for the defence.
We pay another visit abroad for the playoff semi-final first leg against Cardiff City. Tickets are again collectable from somewhere really inconvenient. For some reason everyone connected with Cardiff seems to feel it necessary to go into print regarding how awful we must be feeling about missing out on automatic promotion and how much pressure we must be under. We are under so much pressure that Jack Collison puts away two first half goals in a performance that has the word “professional” stamped right through it.
Cardiff boss Malky Mackay puts a brave face on the demolition job carried out on his team. “We’ve got them worried now – 2-0 is a really dangerous lead”. It’s a warning partially heeded by Blackpool in the other playoff who take care to only take a 1-0 lead into their second leg against Birmingham.
A major dilemma faces the nation on FA Cup Final day where Chelsea face Liverpool. On the one hand there was a side with dodgy owners, ignorant fans and racist players whilst on the other hand, er…
The final is hidden away on Saturday evening to hide the embarrassing nature of the participants. Prior to kick-off the charmless scousers whistle and jeer the National Anthem. The match ends up 2-1 to Chelsea with Liverpool being denied an equaliser by a Carroll effort that doesn’t cross the line, despite all efforts of the TV pundits to stir up controversy. The best thing about the final is the way that we are allowed to see the look on the faces of the likes of Gerrard picking up their losers’ medals before turning off before the obnoxious Terry picks up the cup. The scouse supporters in the stadium further display their lack of class by legging it before the trophy is presented.
Cardiff come to London via a detour to Turkmenistan to pick up tickets for the second leg of the semi final. We cop a deaf one on Mackay’s “2-0’s a dangerous lead” comment and render the point academic by half time, taking a 2-0 lead through a close range header from Nolan and a powerful Vaz Te drive. Maynard’s first goal at home towards the end makes it 3-0, with another fine performance to send us to Wembley for the first time in 31 years.
The chicken dance that accompanies Nolan’s goal is emulated at Ewood Park where supporters lob a live chicken on the pitch in protest at the stewardship of the poultry farmer owners Venkeys. Blackburn lose 1-0 to Wigan and are relegated in the process while Liverpool immediately place a £35m bid to sign the chicken.
The other playoff semi final sees Blackpool throw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 against Birmingham. It’s still enough to get them through to face us at Wembley but they are holding on at the end.
Fed up with continually having to order their employees to apologise for stuff, and annoyed at the fact that their club hold an end of season lap of honour following their sixth home win of the season, Liverpool’s owners sack Dalglish. “He’s not been close enough to the fans” they comment. “However, now that he’s unemployed he will be”.
Ticketing arrangements for the playoff final start to turn a bit daft as it’s revealed that Blackpool have been given the same 39,000 or so allocation as us, despite having a much smaller average gate. Rumours of poor ticket sales in the north-west abound despite every supporter being able to take two or three mates each. If they have any.
Idiot of the pre-playoff week award goes to the tool who publishes a two-year old photo of an away kit, announces it as a new kit and uses the existence of the Premier League badges on the sleeves as examples of our supposed pre-playoff “arrogance”. When caught out, the idiot goes one further by replacing the old photo with a supporter’s mock-up from the kumb.com forums. Worse still, Seasiders’ defender Ian Evatt is dumb enough to fall for it and makes a tit of himself by repeating the stuff as fact.
The build-up to the big match concludes with Blackpool sending back a record 7,000 tickets. Because of the way they’ve been dished out all attempts to reallocate the spares fall on deaf ears due to segregation issues.
The big day finally arrives. Everyone sings the National Anthem (scousers please note) and, Collison’s shoulder injury having healed it is an unchanged eleven that starts the match. We take a half time lead through Carlton Cole but Blackpool restore parity after the interval. Although we don’t play nearly as well as we have been of late we still have good chances to win the match before Vaz Te’s effort with but two minutes left is enough to take us up in front of 40,000+ Hammers and as many waifs and strays that Blackpool could muster.
John Terry turns up in full kit offering to help out with lifting the trophy but security tell him to sling his hook. Undeterred, England’s Greatest Ever Captain (©M Lipton) jets off to Munich where he is able to pick up another trophy that he had sod all to do with winning.
Big Sam admits to having taken a Beta Blocker before the final to control his nerves. Sheffield United’s lawyers’ ears prick up at the thought of suing over a potential failed drug test.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the defeat, Blackpool’s Alex Baptiste delivers the most hilarious of sour grapes tirades against West Ham. “I know which team I’d rather play for” he says, conveniently ignoring the fact that nobody is likely to give him the option. “Their players are all 8ft tall” says the 5ft 11in tall Baptiste who, despite the fact that he himself is taller than several Hammers, seems dreadfully upset at having been made to play football against the bigger boys. Sep Blatter, who has been quiet on the “really stupid ideas” front, muses over introducing boxing-style height divisions in football before the realisation that John Terry would still probably turn up to pick up the trophy in the women’s 5ft and under tournament.
The play-off season (yes there were others) continues and there isn’t a dry eye in the house as Sheffield United play Huddersfield Town in one of the dullest matches ever seen anywhere. A bizarre penalty shoot-out takes place which, after an incredibly poor first five penalties, finishes at 2-2. It then gets silly as all the players considered not good enough to take any of the first lot, bury their spot-kicks in brilliant style, leaving just the ‘keepers to go. Town ‘keeper Smithies dispatches his and, is able to put his feet up as Hypocrite’s net-minder Simonsen becomes an honorary Hammer by thumping his kick into the stands. I expect we’ll stop laughing eventually.
As contracts come up for renewal, it’s farewell Abdoullaye Faye, John Carew, Papa Bouba Diop, Olly Lee and Julien Faubert. Unlike last time he left these shores, Faubert is not expected to pitch up at Real Madrid, despite having a fine 20 minutes in the play-off final.
Rob Green is in Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad amidst rumours that he’ll be on his way. The tensions between Rio Ferdinand and “England’s Greatest Ever Captain” (according to M Lipton who either needs psychiatric help or a good slap) mean that Hodgson decides that he has room for only one of them. Terry gets the nod meaning that he’ll be there to pick up the trophy when Spain win it. Terry warms up with a trip to Azerbaijan where he is on hand to take a bow as Sweden win the Eurovision song contest.
In typical cack-handed style season tickets go on sale for the 12/13 season. Season ticket holders due a 20% discount for having renewed for five consecutive seasons are baffled by the lack of mention of the discount in any of the stuff appearing on the official site. Eventually there’s an announcement. Sort of. “All will be revealed in the renewal packs which we’re sending out, er, soon”. Another period of silence follows before an email goes out to supporters. The dreadfully drafted missive points out that the proposed discount would cost a lot of money and it was those beastly Icelandic chaps that had made it in the first place. The email appears to suggest that the original offer is invalid – though cleverly it stops just short of actually saying so – and suggests supporters take 5% off over the next four years instead. Crucially, it is implied that the original offer is somehow off the table and supporters are given only the option and ability to renew at the club’s preferred rate.
When challenged again the club, realising that they are on dodgy ground legally, finally concede that they have to honour original offer, though even this admission is limited to those who bothered to ask and is laden with so much emotional blackmail that one would think supporters had asked to take money from the mouths of starving Africans, rather than simply asking what the position was. Ironically many supporters now claiming the 20% claimed that they might have accepted the revised offer had the club not apparently attempted to mislead them. All in all, not the finest hour for the board who came on board with a wave of promises of openness and transparency.
Barry Hearn is in the news again. Having at various stages been in favour of Tottenham taking over the Olympic Stadium, then nobody taking it over, Hearn graciously decides that we can move in after all and that he’ll let us share the place with Leyton Orient. Gosh thanks Barry. Mind if we get back to you on that one?
Despite the discount fracas, there apparently remains enough in the coffers to put in a £1.2m bid for Yakubu, who is seeking a Premiership club after Blackburn’s relegation. George McCartney, available on a free from Sunderland, is also offered a permanent deal. Rob Green looks for a reported £50k a week. This is an amount that the management seems to baulk at and the player goes to the Euros with nothing decided as to his future.
With the goalkeeper situation in a state of flux, transfer speculation links us with Blackburn’s Paul Robinson and Bolton’s Jussi Jaaskeleinen. JJ, as he is known to anyone who has to type his name, spent much of 2011/12 on the bench having failed to regain his place after injury. The down side for JJ’s replacement Adam Bogdan was that Bolton ‘keepers have to wear pink shirts. Which is a bit of a nightmare if you are as red-headed as Bogdan is.
Rumours of possible riots amongst fat people in velour tracksuits start to gather pace as the Government issues a consultation document that raises the possibility of adding VAT to Cornish pasties. The Sun newspaper leads a campaign that is short on quotes from those against the proposed tax due to their mouths being full every time someone calls to ask them a question.
The Soccer Aid charity match takes place at Old Trafford where the usual 70,000 crowd of people who know sod all about football is replaced by a 70,000 crowd people who know sod all about both football and music, coming, as most of them have, to scream at Robbie Williams (once memorably described by one of the Gallagher brothers as “that fat dancer with Take That”). The England XI, managed by Sam Allardyce, prevails over a Rest Of The World XI 3-1. The first half highlight is the ROW’s goal scored by Kasabian guitarist Serge Pizzorno, whose chip finds David Seaman stranded off his line (how odd, not). The second half highlight involves tv chef Gordon Ramsey who leaves a foot in on Paddy McGuinness prompting a spot of ball throwing. Teddy Sheringham exacts revenge by ploughing straight through the foul-mouthed ex-Rangers (yeah right – and I played for Barcelona) defender/chef, putting him in hospital with a shocking tackle that we really ought to condemn but can’t quite bring ourselves to do so.
There’s dancing in the streets of, er, Copenhagen, as the much improved Winston Reid picks up the award for New Zealand Footballer Of The Year, beating off strong competition from all the other New Zealand footballers who were in contention. Whoever they were.
Robert Mugabe comes out as a Chelsea supporter which tells you all you need to know about both him and them. Mugabe instantly overtakes John Terry in the list of most obnoxious people in the world with Chelsea connections, though he fails to dislodge Tim Lovejoy from top slot. M Lipton’s article “Why Mugabe is football’s greatest ever supporter” is put on hold after even he can’t get past the opening line of “Ok so he may be a ruthless dictator with genocidal tendencies but......”
Premiership manager news and Liverpool appoint Swansea boss Brendon Rodgers as their new manager which comes as a shock to “Dodgy” Dave Whelan who had been mentally spending the compensation cash that he, er, sorry Wigan, would have received had he not priced Roberto Martinez out of the market. Following his discussion with Wigan, Liverpool supremo Ian Ayre refers to Whelan as “a comedian” – something that confuses us on the grounds that Whelan has never made us laugh. Then we remember the likes of Tom O’Connor, Stan Boardman, Ken Dodd etc and realise that “being funny” isn’t a prerequisite for comedian status on Merseyside. (By the way, if anyone who knows “Premier League Manager” Neil Warnock is reading this, can you pop over and tell him that he can stop waiting by the ‘phone now).
England’s preparations for Euro 2012 are thrown into turmoil as Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard (jr) are both ruled out by injury. Lampard (jr)’s injury causes suspicion, coming as it does as the Government announces a U-turn with regard to the proposed “pasty tax”. Those that might otherwise be dancing in the streets at the news that pasties will remain tax-free (if not warm) decline the opportunity to do so on the grounds that dancing looks an awful lot like exercise.
Lampard’s withdrawal from the squad means that Hodgson at least doesn’t have to wrestle with the age old question of whether Gerrard and Lampard can play in the same side that has troubled England managers ever since the great “do we have room for two ludicrously overrated players in the team?” question first came to light.
Carlsberg run a competition to give ordinary fans a chance to become part of the England squad by completing the sentence “I think I should play for England because....” . Mr J Henderson of Liverpool wins with his entry that reads “some of my mates are going and they’re no good at football either”. Emile Heskey considers an appeal at the decision on the grounds that Henderson had help from his mum with the spelling, but he falls over on the way to the post box and the appeal never makes it to Carlsberg, who, since I’ve now mentioned them twice in a paragraph, ought really to think about sending me some product.
England’s final warm-up games see victories away to Norway and at home to Belgium both by 1-0. Gary Cahill withdraws from the squad with a broken jaw. Hodgson allows him to be replaced by Carlsberg (I’m getting thirsty here) competition runner-up Martin Kelly (competition answer: “so I can hold my friend Jordan’s hand”).
Cardiff’s Malaysian owners resurrect a plan to change the club’s colours from blue to red which will make them, er, easier to see in Asia or something and will be the solution to all their problems. Presumably nobody called Liverpool before thinking that one up.
The final transfer speculation of the period leaves us looking at Wolves’ Michael Kightley, Wigan’s Mohammed Diame, Nicholas Anelka (lately of somewhere in China), Rangers’ Stephen Naismith, Stoke’s Kenwyne Jones, and, bizarrely, Ronaldinho who has fallen out with his current employers over a disagreement over wages, Ronaldinho believing his contract entitled him to some.
Tottenham are rumoured to have put in a £5m bid for James Tomkins. No official confirmation comes of the bid which is too daft to be taken seriously. Even they’re not that stupid are they?
So, to summarise, we went up. We have the Euros and the Olympics to look forward to in the summer. The fixtures are out on June 18th. The season starts on 18 August so Sky have a whole two months to mess up your plans, though as usual you can probably rely on them to leave it until an hour after you have left for the match before announcing any revised dates. Our tv coverage will be on a bit earlier – though on past form from the BBC that’ll only be by a minute or two.
And this time next year I’ll be looking back at a really dull season and won’t have had a thing to write.
Which will make a change.
Have a good summer!
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
by Gordon Thrower
12:03PM 11th Jun 2012
''Thanks all - with the possible exception of Phill who managed to uncover my cunning ploy of disguising my total lack of research into NZ football by making a joke of it. Curse you ;-)
10:09PM 7th Jun 2012
''Brilliant season review! And hilarious. I'm still laughing while I'm typing this. Keep 'em coming mate. COYI''
by Ian Pittaway
12:55PM 7th Jun 2012
''Great article . Really enjoyed reading it.''
11:45AM 7th Jun 2012
''Four very thoughtful, well written, funny articles covering the past season. Very subtle little innuendos and the not so subtle makes this well worth reading three or fours times, in order that you have missed none of the hidden shrewd observations.''
11:22PM 6th Jun 2012
''Just a note regarding who the other New Zealand footballers are:
Chris Wood: The promising 20 year old West Brom Striker who had a very successful loan spell with Birmingham City, including a perfect left foot, right foot and head hatrick against Millwall, and a 100th minute winner in the Europa League away to Club Brugge, the club's first ever loss at home to an English team.
Shane Smeltz: A experienced proven goalscorer at International level (19/40) who took his team to the Hyundai A-league (Australia) grand final with 19 goals in 26 games.
Other players include the promising Marco Rojas of Melbourne Victory, Tommy Smith of Ipswich Town (who did the double on us this year?), the experienced and inspiring Ryan Nelson of Tottenscum, Chris Payne of Blackburn Rovers and Michael McGlinchey of the Central Coast mariners.''
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