Tuesday, 8 May 2007


Hiya Lads,
Mark here.

So, an eventful weekend saw United champions, Charlton relegated and West Ham take a huge step towards survival.

United are expected to field a relatively fringe team tomorrow vs Chelsea, so I think it will be quite amusing to see Terry, Lampard et al forming a guard of honour for the likes of Richardson, Dong and O'Shea. I think we could all guess their thoughts. To the weekend - United deservedly beat a terrible Man City side, though they had VDS to thank for his lucky peno save. City are now the worst home scorers ever - since the leagues began over 120 years ago. On Sunday, Chelsea had the hapless Boulharouz to thank for providing an impression of Traore. Khalid was out of position, making poorly timed challenges and finally gave away a penalty and was sent off. To those slagging off Mourinho for playing Essien at centre back, they got their riposte that afternoon. Overall, Chelsea did well to come back into the game with ten men, though they were helped by the profligacy of Adebayor - a skillful player who needs to step up his scoring to be 1st choice at the Arse next season. Ultimately, Chelsea's endeavour wasn't enough and United took the title.
At the start of the season, there was much talk about United's squad weaknesses, but this was overcome by the 19 different players who scored in the league, and a ruthlessness at putting teams away, while their contenders stumbled (example: United scored 4 home and 4 away to Bolton, Chelsea 1-0 away and 2-2 at home). I'll expand more in the podcast this week.

Charlton are down, and I can't say I'm disappointed. I'm a fan of Pardew and I do not believe another manager could have done much better in keeping them up. Their squad is paper thin, and plainly not good enough. I would like to see Wigan relegated, as they add nothing to the Premiership - atmosphere, fans, history, players (Heskey). However, it will be a disgrace if West Ham stay up. The Premier league think they are on safe ground because the precedent of points deductions to other clubs occurred because of incorrect registrations - Tevez and Masch's registrations were fine - other rules were broken. This is, obviously, complete bollox, a way to deflect attention. Also, the wording of the outcome was strange to say the least - they didn't want the West Ham fans to suffer, etc.

I haven't enough time to go into all the other news from the weekend, but briefly:

As usual, we'll take the pick of the stories from football for our pub talk section on the podcast. Feel free to leave comments below or email comments@okeydokefootball.com




JJ said...

Agree on the west ham point, apparently the Prem Chief Executive Richard Scudamore used the excuse that West Ham 'would certainly' have been relegated for not giving them a points deduction. This makes sense how? They broke the rules Dick!

Roeder indeed did have to go – he doesn’t look like he has the respect of the players nor the capability to manage a big side. He can’t say he wasn’t given a chance as their squad, central defence excluded, is decent enough to be in the top eight. It would have been a token gesture had Newcastle kept him on and I’d say he was merely encouraged to go in a dignified way. He’ll get a decent coaching job or director of football somewhere and good luck to him as he seems like a decent enough bloke.

If Stuart Pearce is sacked, considering that home goals stat, then he can have no complaints. His foolish flirting with the under-21 job didn’t help either.

Mal said...

Congrats to Utd. Worthy champions though it pains me to say it.

Mark V said...

Scudamore - perhaps if you didn't wait 3 months to have the decision, it wouldn't have affected their relegation battle.

Roeder - well, results are results, but he certainly wasn't helped by injuries to defense and strikers (though you can't really call Ameobi a striker, can you?). Unfortunately, it is unlikely he'll be given a chance at another prem club.

Pearce might hang on to his job, but the only reason for that will be either the lack of good replacements or the uncertainty over the future of the club, what with that dodgy Thai geezer hovering...

(and 'shit on a stick' has now entered the footballing lexicon, pure class, up there with bacon slicer)

JJ said...

It is painful but yes they did deserve it, Mourinho's mad decisions and lack of humility last tuesday and on sunday is proof enough of that. Ferguson is a force of nature and looks ten years off retirement yet. It's amazing that it was only about 18 months since he was booed off the pitch along with his team after losing 2-1 to Blackburn.

I also hope Eagles gets a hat trick tomorrow. I'm pissed off that Chelsea have robbed everyone of a great showdown by dropping players on Sunday. Bring on next year.

Mal said...

Don't know if I'm bothered watching tomorrow night. I reckon sky shot themselves in the foot by moving this match to the end of the season. Jose's decision to rest players against Bolton was crazy. Think that he was trying to copy Rafa who he knew was going to rest players.

Mal said...

Wasn't Valdano the director of football who sacked Del Bosque after winning the league in 2003? Madrid haven't won anything since. Genius.

Mark V said...

not sure but he did win the league with them in 95 as manager.... That del bosque decision was pure insanity though, then they later compounded it by selling Makelele.

Re: Chelsea resting players - Jose seemed to concede the title, he rested players at Newcastle, Bolton and vs Arsenal, and all 3 were draws. 3 wins and tonight would be a cracker. if it was a caluclated risk, it failed miserably.

Mr C said...

I think the whole West Ham thing is too dodgy to go away at the end of the season. Legally speaking, I don't think the other clubs have a leg to stand on as the body designed to make a verdict has done so. Its hard to see where you could go after that really, although I don't think that will stop people trying and there's going to be at least a year's worth of mud raking ahead of us. The bottom line, as has been said here is simple, they should have had points deducted but didn’t. Let the conspiracy theories start here.

Wigan will go down and I take great pleasure in this. Paul Jewell has evolved swiftly into a jumped up tosser who doesn't has the balls to turn his anger on the failings of both him and his squad and prefers to blame anyone in earshot. The chairman is also a nasty piece of work and his ownership of JJB, a company who have been frequently busted for misleading and ripping off the public means he has no right to take the moral high ground on anything. I felt a bit sad for Roeder having to fall on his sword like that. Whilst they were perpetually inept, the first season post Shearer (both goal wise and dressing room support) was always going to be tough, especially without Michael Owen’s year long injury, leaving Ofembi Martins, whose pace made him a magnet for 'no nonsense' tackles. No one seems to have brought up the complete lack of financial support the board gave him. Souness always allowed to piss away £8m on Luque but his replacement was forced to stick with misfiring messrs Bramble, Dyer, Ameobi and Babayaro. I hope too, that Big Sam doesn't get the Newcastle job or any job for that matter. He is the anti-Christ of football; all that cynical elbows-up, long ball football that works only because its so persistent that it grinds teams down through frustration and tiredness. Interestingly Eriksson and Houllier have come forward as other candidates for the Newcastle job. Ah, to be a Geordie right now....

As I live in Southampton, the Paul Allen thing is invariably the talk of the city's football fans. I was talking to one guy on Sunday and he was saying that there's a lot of scepticism amongst fans that this may happen and that the coverage that its receiving is fuelled by the current obsession with tycoons snapping up football clubs. Whilst some fans are excited by the idea of having huge sums of money to throw at signings, there are others who are curious about what would happen if this did go through- what would happen to ticket prices? Would George Burley (who is quite popular right now) be kept in charge and what would happen to the club's tradition of bringing through players from its academy (the current squad features about six or seven such players)?. It may well depend on if they get promoted I suspect. Niall Quinn and his disco pants may well have started the trend by buying a Championship club for far less money then one in the Premiership, getting in the right staff and players and cementing their infrastructure before they actually get promoted. I’m told that at Championship level, some clubs have a fanbase the size of upper tier Premiership ones, (Southampton being one but also Hull, Derby, Wolves, Leicester, Leeds and Cardiff) so I guess its no surprise that people are turning away from the Prem and looking further down the leagues for their cash cows.

JJ said...

I'm not sure when this happened but how come all of sudden people think they can make real money from the game?

It has always been the case that chairman - even at the highest level (or actually especially at the highest level) have said that it's impossible to make any real profit.

I know Allen doesn't need any more cash since he could lose a billion down the back of the couch and not notice for a couple of years, so I'd say it's an ego thing first and foremost.

To buy southampton and get them in the prem is fine by me as I've always liked the club - despite the chairman and his sir clive debacle - and who couldn't have a soft spot for one of the mid-90s most entertaining, unpredictable sides?

But what then? Quinn's investors have all put in relatively small amounts and might be happy with corporate tickets, reflected glory and a chance to feel Roy's designer stubble every now and then.

Allen, like Glazer and Hicks/Gillet before him would be expecting a big return for a big singular investment. He’s probably read that recent Premier League article in Time Magazine and decided to get in on the act but whereas Liverpool and Manchester United have huge worldwide appeal, Southampton have great local support but little else.

I don’t see the sense in it, but then it’s never made sense to invest in football before so perhaps nothing has changed at all.

Mal said...

On Valdano from Wikipedia - "He finally coached Valencia CF in 1996/1997, before becoming Real Madrid's Sporting Director until his resignation in June 2005."
On Del Bosque - "Shockingly, Real Madrid decided to not renew Del Bosque's contract in 2003, just a day after he won the club its 29th League title and a week after the club signed David Beckham. Del Bosque was offered the post of technical director but turned it down, leading to many suggestions in the Spanish media that there was indeed a much rumoured about political split at the club involving Del Bosque and several players, especially captain Fernando Hierro (who was asked to leave the club in the summer of 2003), on one side, while Jorge Valdano and Florentino PĂ©rez wielded the axe of control to in their words, 'shake up the team', on the other."

Mark V said...

'tis very risky stuff alright to make your money back. However, all these guys are taking out monster loans against the clubs to take them over, and although they're guaranteeing the loans, they are putting nearly all the risk on the club. I'd like to see the Saints in the Prem, purely to see whether they could get another loyal, slightly overweight, football genius to keep them up. And I'm not talking about Fat Sam :)

Mark V said...

on the money Mal. as the wiki says, there may have been stuff going on behind the scenes that we might never know the full truth of.

Valdano and Perez fairly shook the team alright, they've been mediocre since

Mal said...

This sounds interesting.

Mark V said...

that's an excellent idea, I just signed up, come on Grimsby!

Fans owning clubs eh? Didn't work out too bad at Barca...

Mr C said...

My own club (Cambridge United) are second for this myownfootballclub.computer thing. And I'm terified. We'll be taken over by championship manager fan boys who'll try and and play 2-3-5 at every opertunity. Experimental democracy is all well and good but not with my football club! We've had enough problems with people who know nothing about football, now we're in danger of being taken over by over-enthusatic sixteen year old with too much pocket money.

Mark V said...

mr c. - fair point, perhaps I didn't think this through fully! I do think it's either genius or madness though, and definitely open to a bit of sabotage