The Game's Gone Crazier

For all the latest on the exploits of Uncle Festa, Godfather Cellino, Friar Brian, Old Big Gob, GianFredo Zola, Butterfingers Green, 'Arry the Albatross, The Grand Puppet Master, Il Duce Di Canio, Timmy Sherwood and a cast of thousands!

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Redknapp's 23% win percentage in 2013 spells disaster for QPR!

With 18 points from the last 13 games, the match with Doncaster is rapidly assuming the status of  a must win game. Average that points return over a full 46 game season and it would leave QPR with just 64 points and a mid table position - no title, no automatic promotion place, not even a play off place.

More worrying still, 'Arry's boys have collected just one point from the last three games, and haven't mustered a single goal in any of them. And this isn't just a blip, as a dreadful return of just 10 goals from the last 12 games shows - with three of those netted in a single game against Bournemouth. You are not going to win anything with a goal return of less than a goal a game.

Redknapp will moan on about injuries but what did he expect from Zamora and Johnson, whilst Hull pulled out of a deal for Austin because he failed a medical. The problem is, his squad is top heavy with midfielders as 'Wheeler Dealer 'Arry has collected players like a fourteen year old boy collects football stickers in a World Cup year. Never mind who it is, it's another sticker for the album! Yossi is the latest example. Sure he is a good player by Championship standards, but he can't lead the line can he?

Look at Redknapp's record at QPR without McClaren at his side, and it is dire, with just 8 wins in 2013 from 35 games in all competitions. That is a win percentage of just 23%! Given the money spent, that is pathetic and Fernandes would be perfectly justified if he were to ask what exactly he is getting in return for his investment.

Of course, a home game against little Donny is the perfect opportunity for QPR to get their promotion push back on track, but they managed to lose at Doncaster so even this game comes with no guarantees. And if this match does not yield three points, the pressure is sure to mount, with a tricky fixture away to Ipswich up next in the league. Meanwhile, McClaren's Derby got back to winning ways at Barnsley and Leicester are four points clear at the top. Counting his games at QPR, McClaren has an amazing win percentage of  79% this season which reads amusingly alongside Redknapp's 23% unassisted in 2013, because the two almost add up to a round 100%!

But QPR fans should not despair - Neil Warnock is kicking his heels in Cornwall!

Monday, 30 December 2013

Sherwood one game closer to Tottenham Hotspur exit despite victory over Stoke

Timmy is pleased, and rightly so. Spurs actually won at home. And scored three goals. And kept a clean sheet. But so what?

Four games in, and does anybody really think that Spurs wouldn't be in a better position now had they retained AVB? The League Cup exit to West Ham was inept, and Timmy must carry a large slice of the blame because of the withdrawal of Adebayor.

True the win at Southampton was a bonus, but it came courtesy of an own goal, and the home draw against West Brom was an appalling result. As for the Stoke victory, the result was no better than par, and Tottenham needed a penalty to get the ball rolling. That Soldado is a genius from the penalty spot isn't he?

And now Timmy is promising to attack at Old Trafford! Great if it comes off, but if Tottenham get hammered Timothy will be lambasted for his naivety. Levy will be squirming ahead of the game, and if there is a repeat of the Etihad debacle, he will be fuming. If you are going to attack the Mancs, don't shout about it in advance - that will just get them fired up!

But Timmy doesn't know any other way, as he innocently admits. For him, football is a simple game. Defenders defend, attackers attack and midfield players do a bit of both. With that sort of scientific understanding of the game, Timmy could be the next England manager, but he is unlikely to plot a route through to Champions League qualification!

Timmy Time is ticking down already, and the clock may speed up if Tottenham suffer a New Year's Day Massacre!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

McDermott hits the panic button after Leeds stumble at Nottingham Forest

Well I said before kick off that the match would be a season defining game and it seems as if Friar Brian agrees with me. Having witnessed the Leeds United McFeelgood Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond come off the rails in Nottingham, the Bald Controller suddenly wants a whole new load of rolling stock, with a call for four new players to be purchased in the January Non Sales.

Now this is going from the ridiculous to the extreme! Sure Leeds need another striker - to replace the injured Blackstock if nothing else, and the need for a pacey wide man has been obvious for two seasons now, but does McDermott really need another two players given the progress being made by the youngsters? Byram is on his way back, and when fully fit he will be like a new player added to the squad this season, and meanwhile players of the calibre of Warnock are parked on the bench. He can't have expected Pugh to have performed so well, so that's another bonus.

Rather than "spread thin", surely Leeds would do better to go for quality. Two good 'uns would be much more useful than four Average Joes when the season gets to the business end. There is probably a creeping paranoia at play based on the team's near total dependence upon McRoss for goals. If McCormack pulls up lame, it feels as if Leeds would be Mcfcuked.

Maybe the four names are his wish list and it is two from four that McDermott seeks. That would make more sense to me. I still think Zaha would be a better bet on loan than Gradel, but maybe both are on the list with Friar Brian saying one or the other. And the forwards? Well Becchio may be one option but as my beloved West Ham have discovered, fit forwards are not falling from trees at the moment. My tip would be young Kane from Spurs. He is big, mobile and can belt a ball hard.

So, has Friar Brian got twitchy? Two would complement what he has, four might disturb the harmony. It may be time to take a deep breath, take stock and think: the train has run pretty smoothly on the Feel Good Factor fuel so far so why risk everything by making too many changes?

Derbyshire Screamer Derails Leeds United's Promotion Charge and Helps Nottingham Forest Pick Up Steam!

Oh dear. Within seconds of McCormack equalising with his side's first shot on target all afternoon,  super sub Matt Derbyshire collected the ball 30 yards from goal, strode forward a couple of paces, looked up and let fly - and the ball travelled like a heat seeking missile into the top corner of Podgy Kenny's net. 2-1 just as I predicted, but 2-1 to the wrong bloody side!

Not that Leeds can complain. They were second best for most of the game and could have gone 2-0 behind moments before McCormack's equaliser, when Tubby Reid drilled a shot against the post, with Podgy beaten all bellies up. There would have been no coming back from that, and there was no coming back either from the body blow delivered by Derbyshire even as the travelling fans were celebrating McCormack's goal. Talk about the ecstasy and the agony!

That McCormack goal apart, the Forest defence rarely looked troubled, with McRoss invisible for most of the game and Smith being used as an all too predictable aerial target. The lad did his best but Forest defenders were doubling up on him each time the ball was lumped towards him and Leeds could not get enough players forward to support him, in part because of the decision to start Shit Brown. The midfield enforcer was belatedly withdrawn, but by starting him, Friar Brian betrayed anxiety and signalled a more defensive approach - and his team responded by playing conservatively when really they should have had the confidence to play the game in Forest's half given Billy Davies was trusting to make shift striker Halford up front.

The withdrawal of McCormack with Leeds 2-1 down and with 10 minutes still to play is worrying. True he had been quiet prior to his goal, but you don't take off your goal machine when you desperately need a goal, unless he is unfit. Maybe Friar Brian was saving him for the game on New Year's Day, but if so, it was a strange decision to make, as it as good as handed the 3 points to a major promotion rival. It was asking a lot of young Poleon to come on and rescue the game, whilst the even younger Ariyibi wasn't going to be shooting in a hurry after his first attempt on goal flew so wide that it went out for a throw in.

So the Leeds United McFeelgood Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond has been temporarily derailed. Happily, however, many of the other results went in their favour. Yes Leeds have slipped out of the top six, but only on goals scored, and with Wigan and Burnley sharing the points as well as Watford and QPR, the damage done to McDermott's promotion aspirations is nowhere near as great as it could have been. The trouble is, the top 4 are that little bit further ahead, and the Play Off Place chasing pack have edged that crucial bit closer. Suddenly Ipswich and Brighton are right in the mix and level on points with Leeds.

But look at the positives. At the end of the game Leeds had Byram, Lees, Smith, Poleon, Ariyibi and Murphy on the pitch - young colts all, instead of Warnock's knackered old carthorses; so even if promotion is missed this season, the future looks bright under Friar Brian.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Emperor Tan's Antics Leave Cardiff Utterly Friendless

How the hell can you make an innocuous club like Cardiff City one of the most detested football teams in the country? Easy, it seems, if you are Emperor Tan! Many a chairman has made a complete arse of himself in the past, but Tan has outdone them all with his appalling conduct over the last fortnight.

Poor Malky. He seems a decent, down to earth sort of guy and he has not only guided Cardiff into the Prem but, half way into the season, has kept them out of the bottom three. Now every football fan in the land, outside of Cardiff, is praying that Tan's Redbirds fall flat on their faces and crash out of the Prem - because that is the only way that Tan will get what he deserves.

Apparently poor Malky was sacked because he aired the club's dirty linen in public, but its hardly the Scotsman fault that his chairman is incontinent! The bad smell around the club is coming 100% from Tan and with any luck, he will suffer the same fate as his Malaysian compatriot, Tony Fernandes.

Here's hoping Cardiff splash the cash QPR style and buy a ticket back to the Championship!

A season defining game for Leeds and Nottingham Forest

The Leeds United McFeelgood Factor Sleeper Express for the Premiership, Europe, Infinity & Beyond pulls into Nottingham tomorrow for what promises to be a season defining game. Of course, despite all the talk of a six pointer, there's only three points at stake, but the ramifications of the game promise to have a far greater resonance.

If  Leeds can win this one, I fancy there will be no stopping McDermott's Merry Men; but should Forest prevail, Leeds are likely to find themselves outside the top six at the half way point of the season and so, once again, playing catch up.

However, should Leeds win, dreams of the playoff are likely to be cast aside as thoughts turn to claiming an automatic promotion place. QPR travel to a Watford side buzzing under new manager Sannino, Burnley face a Wigan team that simply have to win to stay in with a shout of promotion, and Derby have a tricky looking game at Barnsley; should all three lose, Leeds will be on their shoulder with a win at the City Ground. And the same applies to Forest should they triumph. And meanwhile, my money is on Leicester to stumble at home to Bolton. 1-1 I reckon.

A draw would be a decent result for Leeds but a victory would really set the cat amongst the Championship pigeons and I expect McDermott's Merry Men to prevail 2-1.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Sherwood moves one game closer to the sack as Tottenham Hotspur struggle again

Well that was a brief honeymoon! Timmy now has a full house after three games: one loss, one win and one draw. And today's dropped home points were certainly not what Daniel Levy ordered.

According to Timmy, West Brom's equaliser was a "kick in the privates" but if he thinks that was painful, just wait until his chairman swings his boot. The victory at Southampton only came courtesy of an own goal and the inability of Timmy's team to protect a lead against very modest opposition in the form of West Ham and West Brom does not bode well for his management tenure.

Bookmakers will be offering spread bets soon on how long Timmy remains in charge. He may just make it through to the end of the season, but many more results like today and Levy could be pressing the ejector button yet again!

Zola curses as Sannino gets all the luck at Watford!

Poor Gianfredo. Towards the end, nothing would go right for him at Watford.

Then when he is pointed towards the exit door and, unlike Malky, puts dignity ahead of clinging on, Lady Luck promptly removes the strap on that she had been shafting Zola with and lies down on the bed with her arse in the air - just as Sannino walks through the door!

What would Zola have given for a penalty in the tenth minute of a game, with the opposition reduced to 10 men as part of the bargain? From that point on, it was plain bloody sailing! And just to rub salt into Zola's ripped rectum, Watford were then awarded a second penalty to help them romp to victory!

4-0! Watford and Sannino are on a roll.

Bring on Redknapp's stuttering QPR!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Could this be the best Leeds Christmas and happiest New Year for decades?

Well it has certainly been an interesting year! Old Big Gob was shown the door, Master Bates was ushered out soon afterwards, and GFH Capital and Friar Brian have been overseeing a velvet revolution at Elland Road.

The Dirty Dirty Leeds tag has been consigned to hibernation, and suddenly the most hated club in the land are looking, well, half decent. Warnock's rag bag collection of old yard dogs and war nags have been shuffled into the reserves and onto the substitutes bench and youth has been given its head. Mowatt, Wootten, Poleon, Smith, Murphy, Byram, Lees...these are the future; and the likes of Shit Brown, Hell Hadji and Reg Varney will soon be an embarrassing footnote in the club's history.

Meanwhile, McDermott is impossible to dislike. From the moment he arrived he has been polishing the Leeds United McFeelgood Factor Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond and with remarkable effect. Leeds are now nestled inside the top six and despite Noruddychance's downbeat message a couple of games into the bad patch, there is now genuine hope of a tilt at promotion. And another buyout is on the cards, and this time it's a real one rather than a money laundering venture. Dear God, they are even talking about SPENDING money in the January transfer window!

Happy days indeed!

It's well done to Haigh, well done to McDermott and a HUGE well done to McCormack.

And a Happy Christmas to all you Leeds fans. I know you love me really!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Sherwood wins the Tottenham Hotspur shoot out at the OK White Hart Lane Corral

You could hear the spurs jingle as Sherwood and Levy strode into the middle of the road at dawn and twitched their fingers over their Colt 45 packed holsters. The faint hearted closed their shutters and dropped to their knees to pray, whilst the town's undertaker took visual measurements and made a mental note of the appropriate coffin according to which man fell to his knees holding his gut. Levy stared, but Sherwood stared harder.
"Van Gaal?", snarled Timmy. "This town aint big enuff for Van Gaal an' me."
"But Timmy", protested Desperate Dan. "This cow pie is big enough for the both of you!"
"I aint sharing no pie!" growled Timmy. "It's the 'ole pie or no pie at all for me. So what's it to be?"
"Give me a second," pleaded Dan.
"Give you a second and you'll take a few more days!" Timmy spat. "I aint 'avin it. It aint right. It's the 'ole pie and nuffin but the pie till deaf do us part."
"But it's a big pie Timmy!" protested Levy. "It may be too big a pie for you alone!"
"It weren't too big for 'Arry, an' if it weren't too big for 'Arry it aint too big for me!"
"But look what happened to Glenn Roeder! The West Ham pie was too big for him after he replaced Harry."
"I aint Glenn Roeder!" yelled touchy Timmy. "I'm Timmy Sherwood!"
"But Timmy, the pie is huge. Truly huge. Look what happened in the West Ham game."
"Yeah but look at what 'appended in the Souffampton game!" Timmy retaliated.
"We won because of an own goal!" protested Dan.
"We won because we scored free goals!" argued Timmy. "But enuff talking. Talking aint goin' to resolve nuffin. So what's it to be? Is it the 'ole pie or no pie. I aint messin'. I aint bein' disrespected."
"Ok, ok! I give in Timmy. Don't shoot! The job is yours!" blubbed Levy as he contemplated two highly winnable home games against West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City. Six points, he calculated, could put us right back in the running.

And the two men went their separate ways. Timmy to prepare a team for the West Brom game, and Levy to phone Van Gaal to tell him that the job is his in the summer; unless he wants it sooner!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Sherwood might walk out on Tottenham Hotspur

After the epic victory over Southampton and the narrow defeat against Allardichi's free scoring Hammers, Tim Sherwood has established his credentials and should surely be a shoe in for the vacant manager's job.

And the former Spurs super star has made his position crystal clear. He "aint" interested in a caretaker role, just keeping the seat warm for some European arse - no, he is a big enough arse himself for the job. Yes sir! So he only wants the job for the duration.

So with news of the Van Gaal approach, Timothy's position has become pretty much untenable. If he hangs around like a bad smell awaiting Levy's latest air freshener he looks pathetic, and any respect the squad has for him diminishes - so there's only one honourable course left open to him, and that's to hammer on Levy's door and say, "You aint treating me with the respect I deserve so I aint taking it any longer. As of this moment you aint got a manager. 'Appy Christmas."

And if he does, it won't only be the turkey that's stuffed at White Hart Lane!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

QPR's Benoit Assou Ekotto mocks sacked Tottenham boss AVB

BAE is a happy bunny at the moment isn't he? Apart from when he has a domestic with a QPR team mate of course!

After being photographed smiling following Tottenham's five goal thumping at home to Liverpool, the full back made his position regarding AVB crystal clear in a Twatter in the immediate aftermath of the Cocky Fools' 3-2 victory at Southampton. A gleeful BAE wrote: "How adebayor (sic) didn't play before. (sic) Is a good question...LOL. What a stats (sic) in 2 game (sic) thanks who? (sic)"

Two fingers up to AVB or not two fingers up to AVB? THAT is the question BAE!

Did QPR owner back the wrong horse when he let McClaren leave for Derby?

Tony Fernandes must be sweating a little after yesterday's results. Surely QPR have to win promotion this season or fall foul of the FFP rules. And whilst 'Arry's boys stumbled to a home defeat against Leicester, McClaren's Derby kept up their amazing charge.

So how much of QPR's revival at the start of the season was down to the Wally with the Brolly? The former England man is a figure of ridicule amongst fans, but the QPR players credited him for rebuilding belief on the training field, and he has had an amazing impact at Derby since replacing Nigel Clough.

And meanwhile QPR under Redknapp are stuttering. Given the money spent and the wage bill, QPR should be storming the division, but with yesterday's defeat they have now only taken 11 points from the last 7 games, and over a 46 game season that works out at 72 points, which only just qualifies you for the playoffs; and if you average out on the basis of the last 11 games, the figure reduces to 66 which amounts to 8th or 9th place! And the next two games have the potential for further slip ups, away to Nottingham Forest and Zolaless Watford.

Of course, QPR have a cushion thanks to the results achieved when McClaren was still at the club, but that buffer has been chipped away over the last 6 weeks and many more slips up could spell big trouble.

Leicester are level on points with 'Arry's boys now and Derby are only two points behind with a superior goal difference. With Dyche's Burnley refusing to drop away, it looks like any two from 4 at the moment - and after all the money Fernandes has invested, that really isn't good enough.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Sannino passes his first Watford test with flying colours

Ok, he didn't win and even Zola picked up draws when the team went away, but a point at Ipswich is not to be sniffed at, especially after Watford fell behind to a late penalty: it takes spirit to come back from a blow like that.

Still more impressive was the diplomacy of the Italian in his post match press conference as he steered a middle course between respect for Zola and making it sound as if everything is in place for an immediate turn around in form.

According to Sannino, Zola did "an amazing job" - which might have been a tad too generous had the words "LAST SEASON" not been added!

Sannino is delighted to have traded unemployment in Italy for a well paid job in England, claiming it was something "that I was always dreaming about", which makes you wonder how many jobs he has applied for in England in the past. And who can blame him, because who wouldn't trade Tuscany for Watford?

Tactically, Watford were "good" - so it must have been part of the plan to give the opposition 58% of the possession - but there's "still a lot of work to be done", as you might expect given "this was Zola's team". And as Sannino says, he's no magician, unlike Steve McClaren who first whipped QPR into shape and who is now leading Derby in a charge up the table. But he was never in the running for the Watford job because he's not Italian!

Mind you Sannino needs to take care after announcing "I was able to show my passion on the touchline" - somebody should tell him that you can get arrested for that sort of thing in England. Keep it zipped up Giuseppe!

Leeds continue to climb despite home draw with Barnsley

Well, who would have thought a goal less home draw against Barnsley would be enough to see Leeds climb another place in the table? It is just further evidence that the Leeds United McFeel Good Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Champions League, Infinity and Beyond has got up such a head of steam that it is pretty damn unstoppable at the moment.

Of course, come the end of the season, fans may look back on this game as a terrible missed opportunity. True derbies are unpredictable affairs, but a team chasing promotion really should be burying a club like Barnsley, especially when the relegation strugglers are reduced to ten men and the officials introduce Fergie Time in order to help the home team win. But 14 minutes in total against the ten man Tykes was not enough.

And it's not as if Leeds were especially unlucky. The stats reveal that both sides had 11 shots on goal whilst Barnsley saw marginally more of the ball over the 90 minutes.

But no matter, Leeds have climbed a place courtesy of the stumbles of others. Mind you, Derby are looking a bit tasty under the Wally with the Brolly so the problem with today's draw is that Leeds have fallen further adrift of the automatic promotion places courtesy of wins for Burnley, Leicester and the Rams.

The big plus? The gate of 31,000 plus on the last Saturday before Christmas. There must have been a lot of wives fuming!

Tottenham won't be playing De Boering football any time soon

So Frank De Boer has put two fingers up to Levy and the Spurs board by saying that he has no intention of switching to Tottenham from Ajax.

And, of course, his rejection of the job makes absolute sense given he can qualify for the Champions League year in and year out at Ajax, whereas qualification at Spurs comes around with the same frequency as Halley's Comet!

However, one can't help feeling that Franky boy is missing a trick. Let's face it, if you take the Spurs job and have half a dozen "Ooh Betty!" moments over 18 months, you are guaranteed the sack and a £4.5million pound pay off; which sounds like nice work if you can get it to me!

Still, Spurs shouldn't fret yet. True one big name has rejected them, but Warnock is still out of work and the mighty Tim Sherwood reckons he knows what it takes to lead the club to glory. Who needs the likes of De Boer when men of that calibre are available?

Friday, 20 December 2013

Tim Sherwood deserves shot at Tottenham Hotspur job after West Ham game

Poor Tim Sherwood, some unkind Spurs fans seem anxious for him to be replaced sooner rather than later, which is so unfair and illustrates how fickle fans can be.

Those calling for a big name replacement have clearly failed to grasp the significance of the narrow defeat against Alliardichi's Hammers; they should be asking, how long ago is it since Spurs were rolled over by the very same team at the very same ground by three goals to nil?

Look at it in the round and you have to acknowledge outstanding progress, given Tottenham: a) Managed to score; and b) Only shipped two goals instead of three. That is a net gain of two goals!

The decision to select Adebayor - so stupidly ignored by AVB whilst in charge - proved inspired, with the mega wage earner giving Tottenham the lead; and it would be churlish in the extreme to point to his withdrawal as a reason for Tottenham subsequently losing the game, because his substitution was only made possible by his inclusion in the first place!

It is true that Sherwood looked clueless when things started to go wrong, but again context is needed. He has inherited a team on its knees after the recent hammerings by Man City and Liverpool, so it is little wonder that when Alliadichi sent on his offensive unit, Tottenham crumbled. When you are defending against the might of Mogadon Maiga, who hadn't scored a goal in over 12 months of football so was long overdue a goal, what chance do you stand exactly?

No, all the criticism is unfair. Tottenham were trying to beat a team with the mighty Linda McCarthorse playing at centre back and the almost as mighty Carlton Cole up top - not to mention that midfield maestro Matty Taylor! Keeping all this in mind, it would surely be perverse of Levy to look elsewhere.

Give the job to Tim, I say; and I'm sure the majority of West Ham fans would agree!

So why on earth have Watford appointed Sannino?

I know Watford can't expect to attract an AVB or a Jose, but why on earth have they appointed Sannino? I mean, what is there in the guy's record that screams out, "Give us a job?"

Had a little bit of patience been shown, Malky Mackay might have returned for some unfinished business. He has a track record in the Championship and, of course, has strong ties with the Hornets. However, as I blogged earlier in the week, the speed of Sannino's appointment suggests that he was lined up before the invitation was given to Zola to walk out of the door with his head held as high as is possible when you are only 5'5 tall.

But why worry about a manager's CV? All that matters to the Pozzos it seems is that the appointee is Italian! And having failed with the big name Italian, they've now opted for the Nobody Italian, presumably on the basis that a guy who only played football at  non league level will not be filling the Watford players' heads with any notions of total football; unless by total, we mean total crap football of course!

Bloody hell Warnock is out of work, and he has an impressive record in the Championship but, again, he has the problem that he is British!

Sannino, Mackay or Warnock - who knows the Championship best? Who has a track record of success in the division? And who would you put your money on to inspire a promotion charge as soon as he steps through the door?

I would be amazed if Sannino is ticked in answer to ANY of those questions.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Leyton Orient planning name change to West Ham United Reserves

Bless. Barry Hearn wants to move Leyton Orient to the Olympic Stadium to share with West Ham! It's a bit like letting the younger sibling go to her brother's birthday party. True she will be out of place and end up crying in the corner with nobody taking any notice of her, but if it stops her screaming the place down for two weeks prior to the event well...anything for a quiet life!

Quite what Hearn hopes to achieve, other than realising the redevelopment potential of Brisbane Road is anybody's guess. Hang on, did I just write that sentence? Realising the redevelopment potential of Brisbane Road is, of course, EXACTLY what Barry Hearn is trying to achieve.

And once the stadium becomes Brisbane Road Mansions, what purpose does the football club serve? Let them share the ground with West Ham for a few seasons and then let them fade away as Hearn applies for a name change: and given the ground share, West Ham United Reserves would fit the bill nicely!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Speed of Sannino appointment suggests Zola was pushed out of the Watford door

Well he put a brave face on it, and as at West Ham, suggested he might return some day, but the speedy appointment of Sannino suggests that poor Gianfranco had a choice between resignation and being sent for a swim in a pair of concrete boots.

The decision was probably made after the hammering at home to Yeovil. That result was beyond a joke.

And meanwhile, poor Bibsancone hasn't received the call from Consiglieri Duxbury that he might have been hoping for. Where now for the dour Scot one wonders?

With three Italians joining Sannino's backroom staff, it is going to be a disadvantage to speak English at Vicarage Road!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Watford weighing up Sannino and Bibsancone for manager post

So, after Zola's resignation, its looking like a straight fight between ex Chievo manager Giuseppi Sannino and recently sacked West Brom boss Steve Bibsancone.

Of course, should Bibsancone join, it would be a real kick in the teeth for Zola, who regarded him as his best buddy at West Ham, until rumours circulated that the Scot had questioned the Italian's ability to turn things around in a private chat at the training ground with David Sullivan. That was the beginning of the end for both men at Upton Park and following their dismissal, the pair went their separate ways.

Bibsancone quickly found a job at Liverpool when West Ham sacked the pair, but Zola was left kicking his heels for the best part of two years until he was able to call in a favour from the Pozzo Family.

But amazingly there are rumours linking Zola with West Brom - and how weird would it be if the two men simply swapped jobs? As a West Ham fan fearful of relegation, I would open the champagne should Zola be given the Baggies job as that would be one relegation berth as good as filled!

Who is in the Bibsancone camp? Well the Grand Puppet Master for one, and possibly Filthy Lucre Nani.

What about Sannino? He is clearly the Pozzo candidate. Who wants useless British managers like Dyche when you can employ an Italian eh? Not that this guy has much of a track record of course. But in Italy it's all about the extended family and you don't want outsiders getting involved in your business.

So Sannino is the very short priced favourite but Bibsancone may yet come up on the rails. True he failed at West Ham. True Liverpool looked clueless under Dalglish and his less than able assistant. And true West Brom sacked him less than 18 months into the job. But all of that may count for nothing if Consiglieri Duxbury knows and likes you.

Leeds looking backwards as they dream of the Prem

It's strange that the only two names that Leeds are being linked with are Max Gradel and Lucy Becchio, two former players who have not been tearing up any trees since they have moved elsewhere. I suppose the "Better the Devil you know" argument applies, but given neither is playing football regularly at the moment, it's hard to imagine that they will add the vital spark that Leeds fans crave.

Becchio wasn't universally admired amongst the fans even when he was at the club, and his decision to defect to Norwich will not have made him any new friends. His limitations have been cruelly exposed at Carrow Road and, looking ahead, he would seem a poor option if Leeds really are planning on being in the Prem next season.

Gradel, meanwhile, looks like a classic case of a player who has not trained on. Leeds fans have fond memories, but the record books are littered with players who looked the dog's bollocks for a season or two but ended up as little dried up hamster grapes.

Wildred Zaha on loan from the Scum would be a much more imaginative option than Gradel and there must surely be a better striker out there somewhere than Becchio.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Get your money on ex Leeds boss to replace AVB at Tottenham Hotspur!

Well Levy has tried the Flash 'Arry and the Flash Andre options, so surely it's now time to get back to basics. No more continental whizz kids nor Monaco bank accounts, what Spurs need is a good old fashioned, feet on the ground, blood and thunder British manager, somebody who understands the importance of effort, sweat and bone crunching tackles; and the ideal candidate is out of work and awaiting the call!

Yes, Neil Warnock would fit the bill perfectly. He would get in the face of the Continental underachievers and tell them where to stick their paella. Get Lennon back on the wing, stick Kane up front, lump it long or hit it out to the flanks. Leeds don't need Shit Brown so he could return to his spiritual home and add steel to the midfield. And with Leeds targeting a new keeper, Podgy Kenny could head south too.

Forget £20m signings, all Warnock would require is ten or so thirty-five year olds with the experience and knowledge of what is required to kick opponents up in the air. Get in their face, they don't like it up 'em, break their legs before they break yours!

Yes it is time to go from the sublime to the ridiculous, to switch from chess board football to cage fighting football. Neil Warnock is awaiting Levy's call, Old Big Gob's destiny beckons. Unless Pulis can be tempted away from Crystal Palace of course!

Zola deserves respect after Watford resignation

Credit where credit is due, Gianfranco recognised his own limitations and did the decent thing, leaving with dignity rather than waiting for the Board to sack him.

And his dismissal was never going to come easy. Duxbury, Nani and Zola are an unholy alliance and there would have been a real reluctance to stab Gianfranco in the back. So, I suspect that rather than playing the Brutus role, Consiglieri Duxbury paid him a visit in the exercise yard, offered him a cigarette, talked about the good old days, honour and the Family and then reminded him what the Romans did to avoid disgrace. Flying home to Sardinia is preferable to opening your wrists in a warm bath!

So, the local horses have been spared and a fishing trip on Tolpits Lake has been avoided.

The hope now is that Zola will face up to his limitations and become what he should always have been, a coach at a big club blessed with players with the talent to put into practise what Zola preaches. Who knows, he may one day rise to the role of Assistant Manager at a top club, whilst coaching the Italian national team may not be beyond him into the future.

But managing a club? Sadly Zola is a square peg in a round hole.

But Watford's troubles aren't over yet. There's still the little matter of the Laurel & Hardy combination of Scotty Duxbury and Gianfilthylucre Nani!

Still, young Savio hasn't been signed for £9m - yet!

Capello the next through the Tottenham Hotspur managerial revolving door

So AVB has gone. Just like that. Give Levy his due, that was bloody decisive! And how 'Arry must be chuckling as he fills out his tax return including his severance payment from Spurs!

How much of the Bale money is left one wonders. Never mind transfer fees and sky high salaries, Tottenham seem intent on spending it all on paying up the contracts of sacked managers!

Tell me, if somebody keeps making the wrong decision when appointing managers, shouldn't that somebody be shown the door? If the buck has to stop somewhere, shouldn't it stop with Levy, either for making duff appointments in the first place or for cutting short managerial projects before they have time to flourish?

So who is next? Fabio Capello is strongly tipped and I bet Spurs fans are over the moon about that prospect given the guy's performance as England manager!

Once again, the word farce comes to mind. 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Tottenham Hotspur desperately seeking Arsene Wenger

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. West Ham fans thought it was all down to Alliardichi's tactics when West Ham rocked up at White Hart Lane and trounced the Baleless Spurs 3-0. But nothing could be further from the truth. Norwich, Sunderland and Stoke City have proved that the present West Ham team is shite. No, it takes Villas Boas to make the Hammers look like World beaters!

So is anybody really surprised that Liverpool slayed this gutless Spurs team today? The truth of the matter is that AVB is out of his depth in the Prem - just like Oneday Ramos, Christian Gross, Jol and Santini. The only manager who has come close to realising Tottenham's potential in recent years is 'Arry Redknapp and he wasn't intellectual enough for the erudite Tottenham fraternity.

4-4-2? Wingers? Big man, small man up top? Honest hard tackling midfielders? English players? All so passé! What's the point of winning games if you have to win them in such a crude, unsophisticated fashion?

So even as we speak, Levy will be looking for his next managerial Messiah. As Judas Redknapp guides QPR back to the Prem, AVB has been dismantling the team 'Arry left behind whilst building a complete shambles.

How much did he blow in the summer and what have Spurs got to show for it? Progress in the Capital One Fan Cup and the Your Ropey League! It's hilarious, so funny that even in this most miserable of seasons, I will be looking forward to watching MOTD tonight.

So who will be the next Spurs manager? George Graham is still alive isn't he? How about Glenn Hoddle? What about Avram Grant? Well he is Jewish! Jol's out of work, of course.  But no, Levy will look abroad, desperately seeking his very own Arsene Wenger. But who ever is appointed, one thing's for certain, Tottenham are destined to remain in Arsenal's shadow for a good few years yet!

McDermott Repeating his Reading Trick as Leeds United's Promotion Push Gathers Steam

Many mocked when I labelled Friar Brian's promotion push as the Leeds United McFeel Good Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond, but now the metaphor is acquiring a certain resonance.

It's only December 15, and Leeds are already in the top 6, well ahead of schedule if we look back to McDermott's crazy promotion season at Reading. Then, the season only really kicked off on December 10, with the 3-0 thumping of West Ham. Until that game, Reading had been ordinary in the extreme and looked destined for a middle table position at best. But once McDermott's promotion train got up a head of steam, there was no stopping it!

And that Reading side wasn't very good. Dear God, Simon Church scored twice in the victory over West Ham after replacing the goal less Total Hunt. The sixteen on duty that day were Federici, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, Cummings, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Kebe, Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre, Total Hunt, Church, Andersen, Tabb & Antonio; and not one of them would be guaranteed a start in the present Leeds side.

And crucially, all the momentum is now with McDermott's boys. Yes QPR look a safe bet to go up, but Leicester and Burnley have been stuttering recently and neither team is very good. And as for the play off pack, well Derby apart, no other team is in a mauve, never mind a purple patch!

And just as at Reading, this is not a team heavily dependent on individuals, if we set aside McCormack for one moment. The injury to the Serial Killer looked a cruel blow, but young Smith has stepped up to the plate and suddenly nobody remembers that Blackstock was at the club. Byram is supposed to be the best full back since Cooper but he can't get in the team and even England international Warnock is sat on the subs bench at the moment. Get injured and you lose your place, such is the hunger in the squad!

And better still, the squad should get stronger in January. There's actually talk of spending money and no talk of selling players to raise finance for new signings. Of course, McDermott will have to be careful here because he doesn't want to disturb the harmony at Elland Road; if we go back to 2011-12, the Reading team that thumped West Ham 4-2 on March 31st showed only one change from the team that triumphed on December 10, with January signing Jason Roberts added to the mix. But Roberts was added, and to brilliant effect, showing that Friar Brian has the ability to swell his flock without upsetting the apple cart.

Whites fans really do have good reason to dream.  The Leeds United McFeel Good Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond has picked up a head of steam and is tooting gleefully as it thunders through the backwaters of the Championship. Only a fool would bet against a top six finish now - unless talisman McCormack were to pick up a serious injury - and as McDermott proved at Reading, a tilt at the title is not beyond the realms of possibility.

But McCormack's fitness is the one big concern because if you take out his goals, Leeds would be nowhere. And just think, there was a body of Leeds fans who argued that the £2m not quite offered for the Scot by Miserablebrough would have represented good business.Thank God the Smoggies Board baulked at that figure, because GFH Capital may just have been tempted. And how bloody stupid would that have been?

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Watford's Zola is officially a laughing stock!

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. There's bad and there's bloody terrible, and Watford have now crossed that line. After chucking away a two goal lead at Leeds last weekend, the Hornets were offered the perfect opposition to make amends with Sheffield Wednesday heading south. Surely not even Zola could cock this one up, even after the shambolic home trouncing by little old Yeovil. Could he?

Well of course he could! This is Gianfredo Zola - lovable, cuddly, smiley, great on the pitch but a clown of a football manager! This is the man who turned Curbishley's top ten West Ham team into a shambles twelve months into the job, and he is repeating the trick at Watford.

And Watford fans can't claim they weren't warned by this blog.

Zola will say all the right things. He always does. He will blame the officials, praise the effort of his players, defend his tactics, curse bad luck, promise to hang on in there until he gets things right, talk up the quality of his players blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But he will not understand that if you have limited players, you have to play a game tailored to their limitations. Tippy tap football is fine for the gods, but for journeymen, it is suicidal! Five home defeats on the bounce. Five home defeats. And this was Sheffield Wednesday's first away win of the season!

Automatic promotion is now a forlorn dream and the play off places are drifting away as each winless week passes. In fact, the relegation pack are now closer to Zola's team than the promotion chasers! Of course, Zola will tell everybody that Forestieri would have salvaged a point but for the low confidence that is afflicting his team, but what sort of excuse is that? Whose job is it to inspire the players to perform? That would be the manager surely.

It's sad because he is a lovely guy, but Zola really isn't up to the job of management.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Respect to QPR's Barton!

Well said Joey Barton! The popular press are going after him for his latest "Twitter rant" about Manchester United's golden boy Ryan Giggs, but I think his comments are absolutely spot on. What Giggs did to his brother was truly disgusting, and to show the guy any respect after that is hypocrisy gone mad.

So, for once, Barton is absolutely right to spew forth his bile. In fact, the big question is why the BBC didn't ask the Welshman about it when they were interviewing him ahead of his fortieth birthday.  Perhaps the question could have been phrased, "And after passing forty, do you think it will be as easy to get into the pants of your in-laws?"

Mind you, if Joey is going to come over all honest, perhaps he should now tweet about 'Arry. Might I suggest something along the lines of, "Forgetting you have a bank account in Monaco in the name of your pet dog? I'm not having that!"