Filed: Monday, 24th June 2013
By: Gordon Thrower
Will we get sucked into a relegation scrap? Will we get a refereeing decision in our favour at Anfield? And will Reading suppoters ever get over their strange infatuation with inflatable toys? These and other questions are answered in the concluding part of Gordon Thrower's review of the 2012/13 season, which covers the months of May, February, April and March 2013. Just not in that order though.....
David Sullivan starts the month off with an interview in which he reveals that the transfer deadline came with threats of violence from an unnamed agent who wanted part of a particular deal. The thought occurs to us that, that over the years in his chosen profession, Mr Sullivan is likely to have made acquaintance with a number of very large gentlemen happy to look after him and, as a result, the agent concerned is either very brave or very stupid.
England beat Brazil 2-1 at Wembley with goals from Rooney and Lampard. A double blow or fat power then. The unlikely name of Fred is on the scoresheet for the Brazilians, who also see Joe Hart save a penalty. Ashley Cole gets his 100th cap. No comment.
On the pitch we return to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Swansea at the Boleyn. We are a lot more dominant than the score suggests, though JJ is required to make a couple of late saves to keep all three points where they belong leaving us back in 11th spot on 30 points with 13 matches left to play. Andy Carroll is on target in his first start since November, prompting thoughts of what might have been had his season not been so blighted by injury.
The club announces a new shirt sponsorship deal for 2013/14 with Alpari. Not having been paying attention when they blagged the naming rights to what I still think of as the West Stand, I am surprised to discover that the company is, in fact, a foreign exchange trading business, rather than the manufacturer of the sort of breakfast cereal made from the stuff found at the bottom of budgie cages.
Some of that sponsorship money will come in handy at Allardyce Towers following an FA fine of £8,000 for pointing out that Man Utd get more than favourable treatment from referees. Allardyce’s comments are deemed to bring the game into disrepute whilst the bias and generally dreadful standards of refereeing in this country are not. Messenger shot. Again. The FA goes on to charge Galileo with heresy for suggesting that the Earth orbits the Sun and not vice-versa only to find that the Catholic church got their first.
Our perennial propensity to travel sickness continues as a struggling Villa side beat us 2-1 at Villa Park. An og is our only reward as our tendency to not win games away from the Boleyn reaches worrying proportions. Sam maintains that we deserved something out of the game, even though our only consolation in the match comes through an own goal.
For what seems like the tenth month in a row, we are promised a decision on the Olympic Stadium “within a week” meaning that there will be at least another week of us having to dodge stupid press statements from Barry Hearn.
One person who won’t be about should we move up the road is Freddie Piquionne. Admit it you thought he’d gone ages ago didn’t you?! He’s off to the states where Portland Timbers snap up his services.
The 20th anniversary of the passing of Bobby Moore arrives. Kumb radio, having survived a dodgy choice of opening night guest, produces what can only be described as a masterpiece grabbing interviews from such luminaries as Sir Trevor, Bran Dear, Harry Redknapp and many many more, all of whom give their time to reminisce about the great man. If you haven’t heard the podcast you really are missing out. It’s on something called “iTunes” if you look hard enough apparently. Kudos once more to messrs. Scull and Longman.
Our old chum Paolo Di Canio is in the news as he walks out of Swindon following the transfer of a player without his authorisation. Just about everyone else walks out with him leaving the physio and the kit man as the only backroom staff available to the club. Di Canio memorably sneaks back into the club offices in the middle of the night to pick up his personal belongings.
There’s more commemoration of Bobby as we play Spurs. Or rather Gareth Bale as they have rightly become known. Bale is on target twice and a Sigurdsson scramble give Spurs a largely undeserved 3-2 win, Bale’s winner coming in stoppage time to give Spurs a win in their cup final.
The League Cup Final is contested between Swansea and League Two (Division 4 in old money) Bradford City. Contested is probably the wrong word as for Bradford, who have eliminated Wigan (tee hee), Arsenal (tee hee) and Villa (meh), it proves to be a match too far as the Taffs romp home 5-0 winners. Bradford eventually return to Wembley where they are promoted via the playoffs.
The shortest month ends with us a place lower in 14th spot with 30 points from 27 games. Still ten required for the magic number. Don’t panic just yet…..
It’s a quiet month on the pitch as a combination of international breaks and our not being in the Cup means that we only get to play three games.
Someone at the club has discovered the “Quells” as we finally shake off the travel sickness. We claim a victory for football as well as we shake off the need to make two early substitutions and win 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium. Jack Collison is on target as Stoke’s already tawdry reputation is dragged further through the mud by a succession of blatant but unsuccessful dives in an attempt to win penalties.
The club announces that it will be making a “Lifetime Achievement Award” to Billy Bonds MBE at the end of the season. If Alou Diarra is reading this, we suggest that you needn’t wait by the phone for someone to announce yours.
Another Olympic announcement is made. This updates the previous announcement and confirms that another announcement announcing the imminent announcement of a decision on the Stadium, is imminent. Or at least it will be soon. Probably.
Barry Hearn announces that his legal team, none of whom have any interest in unnecessarily prolonging the whole process thus increasing their fees, honest, have told him that he has a case for judicial review should the Stadium be given to West Ham. The announcement can only just be heard over the sound of lawyers’ cash registers all going “kerchinggg”.
We return to losing ways on the road again as Chelsea - aided by another dreadful refereeing decision - beat us 2-0. Andy Carroll’s effort is ruled out for a non-existent foul by another referee whose conduct can be said to bring the game into disrepute far more than anyone who complains about the standard of refereeing in this country.
Finally, after another announcement promising an announcement about the future of the Olympic statement, an announcement is made. The stadium will be rented out to West Ham from 2016 once alterations have been made. Barry Hearn’s lawyers stick in their request for judicial review, barely suppressing laughter as they order new yachts on the strength of Hearn’s cash.
The details of the deal are revealed: the club will cough up £25m towards the conversion costs with LDDC and Newham chipping in the balance of the reported £175m cost of turning the place into a stadium fit for football. These costs will include some form of retractable seating to cover the running track, thus enabling the spectators to actually see the match. The track will remain in place for athletics in the summer and the stadium will also be used for concerts, though if anyone who performed at the closing ceremony of the games (except the Who) is reading this, you’ve had your go – go and play at Brisbane Road instead.
The club will also pay an index-linked £2m a year in rental costs. Profits from the operation of the stadium will be split between the club and the taxpayer and the owners agree to split any profits from the sale of the club with the taxpayer in the event of any sale occurring within a set period of our moving in.
The club commit a PR own goal. In amongst all the Olympic stuff about having a “commitment to affordable football” the club sends a letter to all disabled supporters informing them of what appears to be an effective doubling of ticket prices for the 2013/14 season. The club later denies that a figure has been decided – merely that tickets will be linked to a particular price band, though on 2012/13 prices this would seem to double the cost. Eventually there is a bit of climb down and the increase is eventually reduced but the whole affair leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.
The whole thing has the air of a governmental announcement. You know the sort of thing, wanting to increase a particular tax by 25p they announce a 50p rise and then reduce it to 25p after the inevitable furore, leaving us all to feel really grateful while getting what they wanted all along. Cynical? Us? You bet.
England’s World Cup campaign continues to cough and splutter. An 8-0 win over San Marino is welcome, if expected. Two from Defoe and one each from Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lampard, Young, Rooney, Sturridge and an OG improve the goal-difference against a team that probably contains a postman or two if I could be bothered to research its composition. However, a few days later a 1-1 draw with Montenegro, a country with the same population as a village in Wiltshire, is less satisfying. Rooney gives us the lead but the Montenegrans’ second-half equaliser from Damjanovic is no more than they deserve. Roy Hodgson stops just short of saying that there are no easy games in international football, presumably the trip to San Marino being to fresh in everyone’s minds for him to be allowed to get away with that one.
The double header is overshadowed by a(nother) row over the selection of Rio Ferdinand. Disappointingly, having been selected for the squad Ferdinand withdraws due to a clash with his personal treatment and training regime. Another sad reflection of the malevolent influence his employers have had upon the game.
We return to league action as former assistant boss Steve Clarke’s West Brom are sent packing 3-1 at the Boleyn. Carroll nets a brace, the second of which is a peach of a volley from a pass dropping over his shoulder. A Goal Of The Season candidate. In between the Geordie striker’s pair, Gary O’Neil dispatches a volley that is itself no mean finish. Much humour is derived from the second half introduction of Peter Odemwinge, “he drove to QPR. They left him in his car” and “what a waste of petrol” chants greeting his arrival.
The only down side of the win is the reappearance of George McCartney. Well not Linda’s reappearance as such, more his almost immediate departure with a recurrence of the knee ligament injury that has kept him on the sidelines all season. It’s confirmed that the injury has effectively ended his season.
After a winless streak lasting 8 games Sunderland sack Martin O’Neill and replace him with Paolo Di Canio. In a spot of hypocrisy and cant that is amazing, even for a failed politician David Milliband stirs up some publicity for himself by announcing his resignation from the board of the Wearside club over Di Canio’s alleged political sympathies. Strangely, nobody picks up on Milliband’s earlier eulogy of deceased historian Eric Hobsbaum, whose views on the deaths of 20 million Soviet citizens could mark him down as an apologist for genocide. The fact that Milliband’s new job as the head of a charity in New York would probably have meant his quitting Sunderland anyway also eludes the papers, for whom Di Canio makes a much better story.
The two wins in March have effectively steadied the ship a bit, not that it was ever rocking at all, honest. We end the month in 11th spot with 36 points from 30 games – a game in hand over just about everyone else in the league as well. Nearly safe then…..
The month commences with the traditional kumb.com April 1st story suggesting that Barry Hearn will be fundraising for his increasingly pointless legal costs by releasing a revamped version of “Snooker Loopy”. A fair number of people fall for it, suggesting that, where Hearn is concerned, his past record of stupidity is so well established that nothing is too daft to be considered implausible where he is concerned. We decide not to include the England Supporters Band in the list of participants on the proposed record as we reckon nobody would believe that they’ve actually learnt to play a fifth tune.
Rumours that Jimmy Tarbuck has been arrested are confirmed. Though hopes that Cilla Black, Ken Dodd, Stan Boardman and Tom O’Connor might also be rounded up for crimes against comedy are sadly wide of the mark as it transpires that the Tarbuck arrest is part of Operation Yewtree rather than a general clampdown against unfunny scousers.
Whilst we’re on the subject of legal shenanigans, the three investigators who were in no way employed by Tottenham Hotspur to spy on anyone, appear in court on charges of fraud by false representation. All three plead “not guilty” and are remanded to appear in court in January 2014. Rumours that the three had had cyanide capsules stamped “THFC” confiscated from them when arrested are, of course, totally made up.
Operation Yewtree notches up a conviction as Stuart Hall pleads guilty to 14 counts of indecent assault during the height of his “It’s A Knockout” fame. Hall is eventually sentenced to a remarkably light sentence of 15 months, which should see him out inside a year. Or possibly six months if he plays his joker.
The winless streak at Anfield extends into its 51st year as we draw 0-0. Yet again we are on the wrong end of a scouse-friendly refereeing decision as Tomkins is kicked up in the air in the box. Strangely, ref Taylor, who was so ready to issue a red card to Carlton Cole for something that wasn’t a foul in the Everton match, when presented with a clear and obvious penalty decision to give chooses not to. Taylor's inaction continues the tradition of many a year as bent refereeing assists the Anfield side once more. Collison has a late effort cleared off the line, though the suspicion remains that unless the ball actually breaks the net up there we won’t be awarded anything. And even then it’ll probably be a throw-in.
The draw at Anfield is followed by another as we pick up our fourth point of the season from Southampton. Carroll equalises with a free kick. Southampton’s supporters add to their already poor reputation for football knowledge by shouting “hoof” at every pass over two feet whilst forgetting to do the same at all the 60 yard clearances their own defenders make. The suspicion that the media are just too lazy to watch games properly is confirmed by the tv commentary which states something like “West Ham’s long ball game will mean that the home side will have dominated possession this half” just as the graphic appears on screen: “Possession Southampton 45% West Ham 55%” Still best not to let the truth get in the way eh lads?
And talking of the truth Man Utd come to the Boleyn and get a point, yes, you’ve guessed it, totally thanks to another friendly refereeing decision. Vaz Te opens the scoring with a header, a goal which is cancelled out by Valencia’s close range effort fifteen minutes before the break. Diame gives us a deserved lead ten minutes into the second half with a wonder goal that puts one in mind of his strike against Arsenal earlier in the season – only much, much better. Where do you think you’re going with that Goal Of The Season trophy Andy?
Van Persie’s late late equaliser comes from him being offside. Not a little bit offside mind, a good couple of yards. Predictably the dishonest Ferguson tries to deflect attention from yet another point cheated out of a match by suggesting that Andy Carroll should have been sent off – presumably for potentially damaging Vidic’s elbow with his head.
Having already swelled the FA coffers for pointing out that Ferguson owes a hellofa lot in his career to mysteriously beneficial decisions from officials, Sam is a bit more careful in his words this time round. Meanwhile, the rest of us wonder which division of the Salford and District Sunday League Fergie's whingers would be in had referees had done their job over the years.
Journalistic standards plumb new depths in the form of one Patrick Collins who turns out a piece that has “I’m scared of Fergie” stamped all through it. Repeating the “long-ball” myth the “journalist” does a hatchet job on Andy Carroll that has “I’m writing this to avoid being banned from Old Trafford” shining through like a watermark. At least I hope that’s his excuse – I’d be horrified to think someone could be so stupid to have written that without being commissioned to do so.
Collins’ effort contains comments to the effect that those nice foreign players play the game in a much nicer way to us nasty old English. Not quite sure of what he made of one of those nice guys, Luis Suarez then. Racist diver and serial cheat Suarez adds a new chapter to his already sordid book by biting Chelsea’s Ivanovic. Not something I can imagine Carroll doing, Mr Collins.
Suarez gets a ten match ban and, having defended the player throughout his racist diving days I suppose it’s sadly inevitable that his employers go straight into victim mode and express shock at the length of the ban.
Meanwhile, attempts to respond to Collins’ article in an infinitely more measured and sensible manner than it really deserves are stymied by the Mail’s website, as anything that shows even the mildest criticism is blocked. How strange that the paper that backed the Nazis in the 1930’s should end up mimicking news agencies from Soviet-era USSR.
Not that there were any, but any lingering doubts as to relegation are dispelled as we beat Wigan 2-0. It’s a repeat of the opening game of the season against Villa as the visitors have a load of possession and do the square root of damn all with it. Jarvis’ cross eludes everyone to give us the lead and Nolan’s late effort seals all three points, giving him his 100th career goal in the process. The win has the added bonus of pushing Wigan nearer to the drop – not long now Whelan….
Reigning Hackett Of The Year Barry Hearn gets some bad news from m’learned friends as he is told that there are no grounds to have the decision to lease the Olympic Stadium to West Ham subjected to judicial review. The summing up reads: “whilst we have every sympathy with the legal profession’s desire to relieve Barry Hearn of every last penny he has, there comes a time when one should stop milking it. Trebles all round then”. Or something like that.
We go down 2-1 at Man City – hey guess what. Yup a clear penalty is turned down by Howard Webb who, presumably, is too confused by the Manchester bit of the home team’s name to do his job properly. Mind you it’s been years since he did his job properly anyway. Carroll is on target deep into stoppage time as Joe Hart makes a complete hash of things to give us a consolation comedy goal.
Reading supporters, some of whom had been convinced that a European spot was on the cards this time last year if the customers of a certain hostelry in north Hampshire are anything to go by, are confused by their end of season plans. Having been relegated along with QPR by the end of the month their supporters desperately try to find an excuse to avoid having to watch their team’s last game of the season at the Boleyn. They hit upon the idea of pretending that they are boycotting the match on the grounds that the tickets are a few quid more expensive than the amount they charged us. Others are worried that this will affect the sole reason many of them go to football matches, namely their end of season inflatable party. “If it’s not organised there’ll be less inflatables” warns one really worried correspondent, whose use of grammar promotes speculation that he may have been the spotty Herbert responsible for printing off all those “Judus” pages all those years ago.
With QPR and Reading taking their hoops back to the second tier there is only one relegation place left to avoid as we end the month well out of it all in 10th place with 42 points from 35 games. Never in doubt. Now can we hold on to 10th……
The Geordies are in town for a match that has “end of season” all over it as it finishes 0-0. This still leaves them still not quite clear of the drop and some of us get a bit concerned that Whelan might somehow manage to scrape his way out of it yet again.
The “Hammer of The Year” awards night takes place up west. Winston Reid gets both the supporters’ and the players’ version of the award. Tickets for the glittering event cost something like the same amount as the Greek national debt. We write to the German government to see if they’d like to finance something more worthwhile for a change by buying us a couple of tickets. I expect that their letter is still in the post.
Sky clear their schedules to brown nose Man Utd yet again as their manager announces his retirement. Journalists write eulogies that wax lyrical about the miserable git, somehow managing to omit the fact that he’s a liar, a cheat and a thuggish bully whose team would be plying its trade in the Salford And District Sunday League but for his systematic intimidation of referees. In fact the media are so far up the backside of the ignorant oaf, fifty journalists are offered life memberships by the Institute Of Proctology.
Sam causes a spot of mild consternation amongst TV executives by uttering a slightly rude word on Sky. Referring to his missing out on a player whilst Bolton manager due to an administrative snafu, he suggests that the guilty party might have received a “bollocking”. Sky presenters fall over themselves to apologise to those watching because, like, us football supporters never usually encounter bad language like that and we’re really, really likely to be shocked. I myself have an attack of the vapours and have to lie down in a darkened room for a few days at the sheer horror of it all. Sky’s nauseating coverage of Ferguson’s retirement is, of course, far more offensive but we’re still waiting for the apology for that one.
David Moyes is announced as the new manager in Salford, meaning that our forthcoming trip to Goodison will coincide with his last home game in charge there. A hiding to nothing then and, predictably, we go down 2-0 as everyone says their goodbyes.
Rio Ferdinand announces his retirement from international football. "I've checked the fixture list and I'm at the hairdressers for the Ireland match and the manicurist is coming over for the Brazil trip. I think the World Cup qualifyers clash with my pottery classes as well" his statement probably doesn't read.
Strangely, for an organisation that is celebrating its 150th anniversary, the FA seems to lack any sense of the fact that it really ought to be the guardian of the game’s traditions as the FA Cup is once more shoved to teatime on the penultimate Saturday of the season. This gives supporters of Man City and Wigan about ten minutes after the final whistle to get to Euston after the game to catch the last train back to the northwest. The train companies eventually sort something out, laying on a few extra trains to Manchester for the City fans, and one of those push-pull trolley things they had on the Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery for the Wigan fans.
Wigan’s chairman happens to mention that he once broke his leg in a Cup Final. In every interview. “Nice day Dave” his postman opines. “Yes postie. Did you know I once broke my leg in a Cup Final?” replies the dodgy one. The postman rolls his eyes and replies “yeah I think you mentioned it once”.
Whelan leads his team out at Wembley, though we reckon a few of the kids employed as slave labour to enable him to make his millions might have been a more apt choice of mascot.
The match itself is a disaster for City who blow it as Wigan notch a late winner. Bizarre stats of the match include the fact that it’s the first Cup Final between teams managed by managers with the same first name since 1963 (Matts Busby & Gilles), and the fact that the Cup Final has now been won for the third consecutive time by a manager called Roberto. Deed Poll Sam, is what we’re saying. It’s the way forward.
The Sun ties itself into knots over the Man City manager role. Having earlier quoted a Spanish source as confirming “100%” that Pep Guardiola would be taking over in the summer, only to see the ex-Barca boss go to Bayern, they now confirm that Mancini will stay at the Etihad “even if they lose the Cup Final”. City lose the Cup Final and Mancini gets sacked. Still they had a 50-50 chance of getting it right I suppose.
The footballing gods return from their day off a few days later and a 4-1 defeat at Arsenal relegates Whelan’s mob to the second tier. Relegation enables Whelan to return to his default setting of trying to cash in on Roberto Martinez. In a rather obvious attempt to increase the compensation levels Whelan suggests that Everton might not be big enough a club for Martinez, adding “I broke my leg in an FA Cup Final once you know”.
Reading are the visitors to the Boleyn for the last game of the season, their supporters managing the neat trick of somehow being outnumbered by their inflatables. We go 2-0 up through Nolan and Vaz Te. Whilst we’re looking at the holiday brochures in the changing room they start the second half before us and level the scores before a late brace from the skipper completes his hat-trick and gives us a 4-2 victory.
The muppet quota in the Premier League for 2013/14 is maintained as Crystal Palace (basically they're what Reading would be if they were based in Croydon) are promoted via the playoffs joining Cardiff and Hull in the top flight.
Palace beat Watford 1-0 in the final, spurred on by their manager Ian Holloway’s criticism of Watford’s extensive, but quite legal use of the loan system. Nobody seems to want to point out that the main player responsible for Palace’s pogress through the playoffs is Wilfried Zaha, a player who signed for Man Utd in January only to be loaned back immediately to Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, Cardiff’s arrival means that they will join Swansea and Gareth Bale as the Welsh teams in the top flight.
Karma, already hard at work in the relegation of Wigan (whose chairman once broke his leg in a Cup Final) puts in a spot of overtime as Sheffield United are knocked out of the League 1 (Division Three in real money) playoffs by Yeovil Town, for whom ex-Hammer Marek Stech features in goal. Some of us muse on the fact that Lord Griffiths was satisfied that Carlos Tevez was the sole reason for Sheffield United’s relegation in 2007. Given their subsequent relegation and failure to return to the top flight, that theory is pretty much knackered then. Any chance of our money back Lord G?
Tony Pulis arrives at a board meeting at Stoke clutching an 800-page dossier. “This is my vision for the club’s future covering everything from the Academy to the first team” he proudly announces. Chairman Coates is not to be outdone. “Here’s my own dossier” he announces. “It’s only one page long – take it with you on your way out” he continues, handing Pulis his P45. Mark Hughes is announced as Pulis’ replacement.
Benitez’s long reign as boss comes to an end as Chelsea win the Europa League by beating Benfica 2-1 in Amsterdam. Now we all know John Terry is stupid. However you’d have thought that he’d have sussed out that there is no need to prove it by now. Nope. Yet again he strips down to his playing kit to collect the trophy from a match he didn’t play in. This prompts another rash of photo-shopped efforts on the web showing him picking up various accolades, including the Eurovision Song Contest trophy. An attempt to show him picking up the Mastermind fruitbowl fails as the processing power required for such a suspension of disbelief exceeds that available in total on the planet.
Meanwhile Chelsea fans bid farewell to the manager they’ve been abusing all season with a banner proclaiming “We Forgive You.” Quite for what Benitez is being forgiven we can’t quite work out – not being Roberto Di Matteo presumably.
For a few days Chelsea hold both the Europa and Champions League titles. This means that during 2012/13 we’ve beaten The European Champions, Europa Cup winners, FA Cup Winners and League Cup winners. Also, but for some dubious refereeing we’d also have beaten both previous and current Premier League title holders. We’ve also been beaten by two of the three relegated teams. All of which means something deep and meaningful I expect.
Chelsea’s reign as European Champions comes to an end as the all-German so-called Champions League final at Wembley is won by Bayern who beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1. Insert your own beach towel joke here.
We get down to the serious business of preparing for 2013/14 by confirming the arrival of Razven Rat, whilst an almost tearful Carlton Cole is released – he goes with our best wishes for the future. Unlike Marouane Chamakh and Emanuel Pogatetz, who simply go after uninspiring loan spells.
We agree a fee with Liverpool for Andy Carroll, who goes on holiday to muse over the club’s offer having picked up a heel injury that keeps him out of the England squad for the post-season friendlies with the Republic Of Ireland and Brazil.
We are linked with a chap called Ludovic Sane who we are praying joins us if only for the gift that his surname presents to those of us who write match reports.
Oop north Dave Whelan announces that he has had talks with Roberto Martinez and that he is confident that his most valuable asset, er, I mean prized colleague and manager will stay at the club, which is owned by a chairman who once broke his leg in a Cup Final. Apparently. This announcement is followed by an announcement that Martinez wants to go and talks open with Everton.
Dodgy Dave starts bigging his asset up. “Martinez is a must for Everton” he spouts. When it’s pointed out that he had previously been of the opinion that Everton were not a big enough club for Martinez, Whelan changes the subject: “Have I ever shown you my scar? There’s a funny story about how I got it” he starts as journos stampede for the exit.
Martinez eventually signs for Everton whose owner Bill Kenwright, has his own memories “I used to be in Coronation Street you know” he informs everyone, though with the current climate being what it is, boasting of having appeared in a soap opera only seems to interest those running Operation Yewtree.
More fun at Liverpool where Suarez claims that it’d be difficult for him to stay on Merseyside if Real Madrid came in for him. This is followed by a statement from the player’s agent to the effect that he has no desire to leave. This, in turn, is followed by a self-pitying statement from the player that, actually, he does want to leave because of the nasty English press, who aren’t judging him on his undoubted talents as a player. We feel sorry for Suarez – I mean racially abuse someone, dive, cheat and bite someone and those horrid journos label you as a racist, diving, biting, cheat. So unfair. Liverpool claim he’s not for sale which means that by the time I write the opening month of next season’s review I expect he’ll be gone.
England draw an uninspiring match with the Republic Of Ireland 1-1 at Wembley. Having not given him the honour of leading out the side on his actual 100th cap, England make Ashley Cole captain for the match. Well, they’ve given it to John Terry and Steven Gerrard in the past so what’s another ignorant thug amongst so many. We fully expect future England captains to be selected from a list provided by those involved in Operation Yewtree, though even the FA would presumably draw the line at Jim Davidson. After all he is of Scottish extraction.
So that’s about it, No trophy to finish up with this term but there again no depressing thoughts of spending the following 12 months in a lower division either. It was a creditable top ten finish including some fine performances from the players, who, in stark contrast to our last season in the top flight, have spent the season looking like a team.
This review also ends with us on the verge of signing Britain’s most expensive player, though you’ll have to wait until next season’s review to see how that one pans out.
Given a top ten finish it seems churlish to have a moan but next time round, if I had a magic wand I’d ask for us to be a little more adventurous away from the Boleyn - after all who knows we might win a few more games that way. A cup run would be nice as well – I sort of miss Wembley. The deed poll forms are in the post Sam – Roberto Allardyce has a decent ring to it!
Have a good summer (if/when it finally comes).
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.
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