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!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Suarez Bites The Liverpool Hand That Feeds

So it seems the guy really is mad. That is the only possible explanation, unless he has a slow burning form of rabies. Maybe his victims will, in turn, start taking chunks out of opponents, proving this is a medical problem, but if not, insanity is the only plausible answer.

How else can you explain the bite, when he knew that cameras were guaranteed to capture the incident? Maybe he hoped that Chiellini would simply grin and bear it, rather than grin and bare it! But with his shirt pulled aside to show the world the imprint of Suarez's teeth, all doubt was removed. No question. No debate. Unless you are Uruguayan of course.

And we will condemn the Uruguayans for that! How very dare they close ranks behind such a beast? How very dare they claim that nothing happened? The evidence is as clear as day. That couldn't, wouldn't happen in England would it? If Suarez played for our team, we would collectively condemn him and accept that he should never be allowed to kick a football again. Because we are British and we understand fair play.

Well, that's what we would like to believe. But as I write this, there is a Scouser on the BBC claiming that Suarez has made "big strides" over the last twelve months and is a "work in progress", wondering aloud if the football authorities will have the patience to see things through. Translated, that equates to the Uruguayan claim that the incident is no big deal. So what, he bit somebody; what about the Italian elbow in the face; what the Italian knee to the head, what about all the "good work" Suarez has done over the last year to overcome his problems?

And the sad thing is that half of Liverpool will now find ways of either justifying Suarez's actions or of claiming that what he does in the World Cup has nothing to do with Liverpool FC. There are two men, you see. The one who pulls on a Liverpool shirt - who has absolutely stopped biting opponents - and the little Uruguayan animal who behaves exactly as you would expect those nasty little South Americans to behave. So what has any of this got to do with Liverpool FC then?

Well Suarez has betrayed Liverpool FC, Brendan Rogers and all those fans stupid enough to idolise him. FIFA will no doubt duck the issue today, failing to apply the world wide ban that should now be automatic, but Liverpool FC should prove to the footballing world that, in Britain, we have values and that the days of turning a blind eye to vile behaviour were buried with Jimmy Savile. Suarez has betrayed the game of football and Liverpool FC has a duty to terminate his time in the British game.

And the PFA should help. All members should be instructed to refuse to train with, play with or play against Suarez. He is foul. He is scum. We do not want him in the game. In fact we don't want him on British soil. So the British government should step in too and remove his work permit. The excuses must stop. Suarez must not return!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Good News Comes In Threes For Leeds

Well what a great few days it's been for Leeds United! To begin, the search for a new coach ended with the inspired appointment of David Hockaday; then came the news that the winding up order had been dismissed after Cellino agreed to settle the outstanding loan of close to £1million; and finally comes the announcement that Lee Peltier has, like McDermott, left the club by mutual consent. So, let's look at these three in turn.

First up David Hockaday. Wow. Now we know why it took so long to make the appointment. Cellino must have had one hell of a job on his hands persuading such a sought after man to link up with Leeds Disunited. Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United, Barnsley, Halifax...there's no end to the list of clubs who must have had Hockaday on their radar after his outstanding stint in charge of Forest Green Rovers. And Hockaday no doubt struck a hard bargain, demanding a say in who the club bought and sold, seeking a commitment on the size of the transfer war chest and requesting a massive salary for himself. From Revie to Hockaday, the Leeds United journey is surely complete!

Then came news of the failed winding up order, rejected because Leeds agreed to repay the loan that Cellino was hoping to welsh on. As victories go, this one was a bit lame, but at least Leeds are still in business - just!

And whilst Leeds fans would prefer to hear news of new signings, the release of Peltier is the next best thing. And now Cellino is desperately trying to get out of the Stewart deal - well the last thing he wants to do at the moment is spend money on new players!

So, it's been a great summer so far, England's exit from the World Cup excepted. And if Leeds need funds for new signings, Hockaday could always knock out a couple of paintings of homosexuals in swimming pools!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Sheffield Wednesday's Mammadov rejected Leeds before buying Owls

Oh dear, how desperate is it getting? Not so long ago, Leeds fans were convinced that oil money was going to fund a resurgence of the club, with rumours of a stinking rich Arab buying out Master Bates. Instead they got GFH Capital.

And now, hell and damnation, a real oil magnate has come along and bought - Sheffield Wednesday of all clubs! So not only are Leeds no longer the giants of English football that they once considered themselves to be, they are slipping into the third tier of Yorkshire clubs!

It was bad enough playing second fiddle to FA Cup finalists and Premiership stalwarts Hull City Tigers last season; now Leeds fans are having to come to terms with the fact that Wednesday are about to overtake them too! And with a Clough in charge at the Blunted Blades, it is probably only a matter of time before the Off Whites are looking enviously at Shafting United as well!

Bradford City have made it to a Cup Final in living memory, Miserableboro have enjoyed a stint in the Prem more recently than Leeds and with Rotherham now in the same division, Leeds could even find themselves kissing the arses of the Millers!

Managerless, groundless, training-pitch less & piss pot less! Still there's no indignity in playing second fiddle to the mighty Owls. They are, after all, a bigger club, having won more titles, more FA Cups and having won a major domestic trophy more recently than Leeds.

It's no wonder then that Mammadov rejected Leeds in favour of Wednesday.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Appointment of new Leeds United manager is imminent

So, how many days is it since Nice Guy Brian was invited to step off the Feel Good Factor Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity & Beyond? Eleven days and counting. If you believe the Bible, God created the heavens and the earth in six days, then sat back on the seventh and enjoyed his work over a chilled pint of Ursus, but Cellino is close to doubling that time just to name McDermott's replacement.

And it's not as if the Bald Controller's departure came out of the blue. Cellino sacked him months ago, so presumably had a replacement in mind way back then - otherwise, why create a vacuum?

So what's happened since, exactly? Has there been a falling out with Uncle Festa? Or have other targets been approached, only for them to reply, "Leeds Disunited? You must be bloody joking!"

Whatever the reason, the situation is now nothing short of farcical. Clubs are approaching targets as we speak, and players generally like to know the identity of the manager before they commit to a contract. Why would you sign for Leeds knowing that the incoming manager may not fancy you as a player?

So what is Cellino up to? Well eleven days without a new manager is eleven days without paying a new manager's salary. And eleven days without signing any new players is eleven days without having to pay the salaries of new players. And eleven days without new players is also eleven days without paying agents' fees. So, this is a pretty good way of keeping down costs, and that's the primary objective at Leeds - for the time being at least.

Of course, none of this bodes well for the approaching season. So surely the announcement of who replaces McDermott must be imminent. But then again, twelve days without paying a manager's salary is better than eleven, and thirteen days is better than twelve, and fourteen days is a nice round fortnight, and fifteen days is half a month, and sixteen...

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Leeds United Latest - Salerno's Concrete Hypothesis

Cellino's best mate Nicola Salerno must have been reading Romeo & Juliet because, as oxymora go, his description of Leeds Disunited as a 'concrete hypothesis' has to be up there with any of the Bard's best!

Mind you, we could trot out any number of Shakespeare's very best and apply them to the once mighty club. "O brawling love! O loving hate!" could be applied equally to the 'vile animals' fan base or to the dirty dirty players of the Revie era.

'Feather of lead' resonates beautifully both with the club's dreams, which time and again fail to fly, and with a whole succession of owners who arrive promising gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and, who, instead, deliver a far baser metal, Frankenstein monsters and mire. 

There is a cast of thousands qualifying for the titles of "honourable villain" or "fiend angelical', although David Haigh and Cellino seem to be the chief contenders at present!

"Dove feathered raven" is self explanatory given the kit; "sick health" sums up all the so called rescue packages; "Serious vanity" could have been coined for a club that crawled up its own arse in 1968 and hasn't climbed out since; and "misshapen chaos of well seeming forms" could describe either the team's tactics under a succession of failed managers, or the club's accounts under a whole succession of exploitative or incompetent owners!

The future under Cellino? How about 'bright smoke" (screen)?

But the one that best sums up the entire club?

No doubt about it, "Poor living corpse, clos'd in the dead Revie's tomb!"

Cellino Breaks With Leeds United's Past

The decision to move Paul Reaney, Mick Jones, Norman Hunter, Terry Yorath and John Hendrie off the pay roll says everything about the new Cellino era at Leeds. Forget the past glories, forget the great history, forget the Revie generation and even the great man Revie himself perhaps - and count the pennies.

Leeds face a winding up order today over a paltry sum, disputing the legitimacy of the invoice submitted under the tenure of David Now I Understand The Meaning Of Sharia Law Haigh, and all we have heard from the club since the Cellino buy out is how the once mighty Whites need to cut costs and save money. God, anybody would think Master Bates was still in charge!

Except Bates respected the former greats of the club and was happy to employ them in ambassadorial roles - providing, like Lorimer, they were puppets of course.

What will be left of Leeds after Cellino has finished his financial purge one wonders? The administrative team has been decimated, the legends have been tossed to the dogs, the manager has been thrown off the derailed Feel Good Factor train, the former MD is languishing in an Arab prison fearing electrocution of his genitalia and the club may not even have a training pitch unless the rent is reduced. Still, Cellino will probably retain a personal pot to piss in.

Maybe there is a grand plan. Maybe transfer targets have been lined up at the request of a manager who has still not been appointed. Maybe Cellino understands that it is because Leeds fans live in the past that they don't understand that the world has moved on and that Leeds are now a smallish, somewhat irrelevant, busted club. Maybe.

But without its past, what has Leeds United got exactly?

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Cellino Desperate To Talk Up Price For Leeds United's Goal Machine

So, having agreed the sale of Cagliari to a consortium he now says doesn't exist, Massimo reckons he has rejected a "substantial bid" from Newcastle for McCormack because the Scot doesn't want to leave. But, strangely, Newcastle claim no bid has been made.

Who do we believe? Well if McCormack really has turned down the chance to talk to Newcastle, then he must be totally lacking in ambition and seriously worried about his ability to translate his Championship form to the bigger stage of the Premiership. He must also have no sense of the value of money because he would surely double or treble his salary should he move to the Prem. And he only has five or six years of his career left in which to achieve financial security for his family.

So, on balance, I suspect Cellino's claims are utter bollocks. Newcastle's interest may be tepid at best and the Italian is probably trying to provoke another club - West Ham perhaps - into upping their offer. Leeds fans should note that Cellino was happy for his star striker to talk to Newcastle - if he is to be believed - so that suggests its only a matter of time before the Scot leaves. If anybody actually wants him!

Latest Cellino-Leeds Knock Back

What is it about Leeds United and take over deals? They never seem to run smoothly it seems. And now, the Leeds Effect seems to have assumed the status of an Inverse Midas Touch, as anybody who comes in to contact with the club seems to be contaminated with a new disease known as Buy Out Collapsivitis.

So, after GFH Capital's ludicrously protracted buy out of Leeds and the collapse of the the David Haigh & Andy Flowers deal, it seems that Cellino himself has been infected - for not only was his bid for the off-Whites initially blocked by the Football League's Fit and Proper Crook Committee, now his proposed sale of Cagliari has collapsed.

It seems the proposed buyer - the marvelously named Silvestrone - has not been fronting up a consortium as he claimed after all, he's simply been on a massive ego trip; or so Cellino claims. Either way, the Italian is suddenly light of something like sixty five million quid, and that can't be great news for fans of Leeds.

I reckon it's time for Newcastle and West Ham to reduce their bids for McCormack: Cellino may be happy to grab at any money on offer! 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Newcastle Fancy Nicking Leeds United's Ross McCormack from West Ham

So, Newscastle are the latest club to be linked with Leeds United captain Ross McCormack. As a West Ham fan, I wish Newcastle well because I really don't think the guy is worth anywhere near eight million. Three yes. But not a penny more!

The big question is, why would Newcastle be interested? I mean the guy isn't French is he?

But then maybe the club aren't that interested, maybe it just Pardew who has had his fancy tickled.

Is there a Mrs McCormack?

And is she a looker?

Monday, 2 June 2014

Lallana Betrays Southampton Fans As He Eyes Tottenham Move

How sad. We all knew that the baby rats would follow Daddy Rat Pochettino out of Southampton, but it leaves a disgusting taste in the mouth when a player turned into a star by a club then betrays the fans of that club by slapping in a transfer request.

We have been through it at West Ham, and Judas Defoe will never be forgiven for slapping in a transfer request the day after we were relegated. But Lallana doesn't even have that excuse! Southampton are - for the time being - still a Premiership club and the fans have been brilliant, paying good money to back the team even when the club was in the old Third Division with a then unrecognised Lallana in the side.

The club were going to sell him anyway, so Lallana could have shown some respect to the fans by biding his time. Instead, he has kicked those who idolised him most in the bollocks and stripped Southampton fans of any pleasure they may have gained from watching him in the World Cup.

The transfer request is cruel and heartless and Lallana should be ashamed. He shouldn't be thinking of where he will be plying his trade next season anyway, he should be totally focused on helping England to win the World Cup. Just imagine for a moment the pride the fans of Southampton would have felt had Lallana, Shaw and Lambert done a Moore, Hurst and Peters; now any World Cup glory will be bitter sweet in deepest Hampshire.

Shame on you Lallana: the club may not deserve loyalty and respect after sacking Pochettino's predecessor, but the fans deserved better!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Leicester Planning for Immediate Return to the Championship?

It probably makes sense given the squad's limitations, but it's rare for a club to come out and announce that they expect to go straight back down following promotion. But how else can you interpret the decision to sign Matty Upson?

Dear God, the guy was past it in his final season at Upton Park so unless he has found a way of reversing the ageing process, he's going to be as much use in the Prem as a eunuch with a blistered tongue at an orgy!

Slow, injury prone, uncommitted in the challenge, a poor passer and 35 years of age - it's a recipe for disaster at the highest level. Still, when you look at the rest of the Leicester squad, Matty will fit in nicely!

What price are Leicester to be relegated? It must be a good bet!

Forget Southampton, Pochettino should work with the present Spurs squad

OK, important fact number one: Spurs finished above Southampton last season. Important fact number two: Spurs finished the season stronger than Southampton. But would you believe it, with Spurs repeatedly linked with raids on Southampton's squad?

Now, why was Pochettino recruited and Timmy Sherwood sacked exactly? Presumably because Pochettino is thought to be the better manager and coach. And what do better managers and coaches do? They get more out of the players at their disposal.

OK, so how much did Spurs spend last year? That would be something in the order of £100m. And believe it or not, quality players do not become rubbish players overnight. Bad tactics, bad man management and squad disaffection can trigger underperformance, of course, but a new manager is meant to address that, isn't he?

So, let's look at that bad season. Spurs finished 6th  in the Premier League which, whilst disappointing, hardly constitutes a disastrous year. They finished above Manchester United and, apart from Everton, all the teams that finished above them might, by neutrals be expected to finish above them. In other words, that bad season would be called par on a round of golf.

And now let's look at the backdrop. People keep going on about the money spent, but that takes no account of the debilitating effect of losing Gareth Bale, arguably one of the best five players in the world. Any team would take time to adjust to losing a player of that calibre, a player who won games single handedly in the previous season. Take the games against West Ham. Back in 2012-13, Bale tore us apart in both games. At White Hart Lane he scythed through our midfield and opened up our back four with all the ease of Brad Pitt opening a woman's legs. At Upton Park he scored that wonder goal in the last minute of the match and turned the game in the last twenty minutes. Without Bale, Spurs hammered at the Allardyce defensive wall but could find no way through. So, in two games, you have the Bale effect in a nutshell. Add the six points lost to West Ham and Spurs would have finished on 75 points and in fifth place - which is more points than Bale inspired Spurs finished the previous season with! And in 2012-13, Spurs did not change managers in mid season.

Of course, players need time to settle in to a new club, especially when signed from abroad. Look at Bale himself when he joined Spurs. True he was young, but he didn't make a great impression initially did he?  Liverpool might well have jettisoned Suarez last summer, considering him more trouble than he was worth, and what a mistake that would have been! Spurs bought half a team last summer and somehow expected all the pieces of the jigsaw to fall magically into place immediately. That rarely happens.

Is Soldado a crap player? His record before joining Spurs suggests otherwise. Lamela has looked lost but a good coach should surely be able to get him back to playing to his best. Yes Spurs need to replace Defoe and need a quality left back, but those positions apart, the squad is strong and doesn't need any major overhaul. If AVB and Timmy can get the current mob to sixth place and 69 points, surely it's not asking too much to expect Pochetinno, if he is any good, to add value and turn that 69 points to, say 81. That's four extra victories! Two wins over West Ham and two other inexcusable reverses turned into maximum points. The defeat at Norwich was disgraceful and a victory at Burnley would make up for that; Spurs fans can nominate another game to make up for the other three points, though I would suggest Liverpool and Manchester City are not factored in!

So, if Pochettino is any good, he should be able to qualify for the Champions League without employing a transfer revolving door. Spurs should aim for stability now. Tell the new manager to prove himself worthy of the job by bettering AVB and Timmy. Is that really that big a challenge?

McCormack to follow McDermott out of Leeds but hopefully not to West Ham

As sure as night follows day, so the man made captain of Leeds looks certain to follow his mentor, Nice Guy Brian, out of Leeds. Recreated by McDermott into a goal poaching striker, the Scot is, unsurprisingly, unhappy at the treatment of his father figure and, like Lampard who followed 'Arry out of West Ham, wants away. Well, after topping the goal scoring charts last season, why would he want to hang around for an impending battle against relegation regardless?

Mind you, as a West Ham fan, I hope he finds a different home than Upon Park. Ross may relish the opportunity of playing in the Prem but it is questionable whether he has the ability to deliver on the top stage. Dear God, he's not even been able to establish himself as a fixture in the Scotland team.

£8 million is far too much to speculate on a guy who is now in his later twenties and who, until last season, never suggested that he was anything other than a run of the mill Championship player. Rhodes has done it consistently for much longer and looks the better bet to me.

Gold and Sullivan should check out Becchio's record at Norwich before they rush in with big bucks! The gulf between Championship and Premiership is huge - and the transition is especially hard for strikers.