Monday, 28 January 2008

The Return of Random Monday

Well folks, where better to start this Monday than at the soccer circus itself – Newcastle United. Hot of the presses comes the news that, and I quote, “Leeds United boss Dennis Wise will be offered a role in Newcastle's coaching set-up, BBC Leeds understands”. BBC Leeds understands eh? Why does the BBC, in Leeds or anywhere else for that matter, always have to assure us that they “understand”? There’s just something about the choice of that word which I don’t like.

But moving on from my odd obsession with news-speak and on to the story itself…

Wise of course has a solid record with Leeds this season, a blistering start obliterating their 15-point penalty for the financial mish-mash they ended up in last year. Currently they sit in fifth place in League One, 12 points adrift of Swansea at the top, but within two points of second-placed Nottingham Forest. Yes, yes, I know they’d be top without the points’ penalty but then again, had the whole saga not started – thereby putting a freeze on all financial transactions last summer – they would have lost most of their squad before the end of the August transfer window. They forfeited the points, but they kept the players to win them back.

Wise, like Paul Ince at MK Dons (who are topping League Two), has taken the route of going down the divisions to build a solid reputation. One that, coupled with Premier League experience as a player, should comfortably see both of them into a top division job within the next few years.
Wise and Ince could well be disasters at the top level, but even though we hate both of them at ODF, you have to give them some credit for the job they’re doing in the lower reaches of the game. Certainly it’s a route that “man’s man” Alan Shearer is a little reticent to take.

I can’t see Wise taking the job, whatever it may be, mainly due to the little Londoner’s ego issues. Wise sees an opportunity to establish himself at a club with a huge (and hugely battered) reputation. Being number two at Shambletown United on Tyneside would seem like a step down to him I would say.

Moving on and we’ve just had the FA Cup draw with Man United pitted against Arsenal in what we can only hope is not a repeat of their 2005 final. Dear god that was an awful game and should serve as a reminder to all that neither Arsenal nor Man United have stuck to any policy of ‘always entertaining the crowd’, especially when it comes to big games. When it calls for dour, they both do it with aplomb (ah aplomb… now there’s a BBC word I like far more than this ‘understands’ bullshit).

You’d have to pick United what with this game coming in the middle of Champions League and Premier League fixtures. In these circumstances, United’s superior squad, plus their home advantage, should ensure victory. The full draw reads like this:

Bristol Rovers v Southampton: Eh, I’ll go for a win for…. (insert flip of a coin here) Southampton.
Cardiff City v Wolves: Right, where’s that coin again? I’ll go for good old Mick McCarthy to keep the backside off the bacon slicer and win this one. Away win.
Sheffield United v Middlesbrough: Start crying into that Guinness Bryan. Boro to go through.
Liverpool v Barnsley: Pool to stumble onwards. The club get more embarrassing with each passing week and will most likely choke in the semi finals.
Manchester United v Arsenal: Please let it be good. Please don’t let Jonathan Pearce be commentating. Man U win.
Preston v Portsmouth: Interesting one, I’ll go for the draw, with Pompey to take it in the replay. I’d like to see Portsmouth win the cup this year actually.
Coventry City v West Brom: Eh… going on Championship form, an away win.
Chelsea v Huddersfield Town: Foregone conclusion. Home win.

After those exciting predictions, what could be more fun than, yep you guessed it, more predictions. The Premier League gives us a midweek blast of games so here’s a quick rundown of what I expect to happen in Tuesday games (I’ll leave Mark to stick his neck out for the Wednesday matches)

Arsenal v Newcastle: Little Keggy Keegan couldn’t really have asked for a worse start to his reign. Playing against the anti-football of Bolton, then facing the total football of Arsenal and now he has to face Wenger’s men again. Hopefully he gives a better team talk than the rumoured one on Saturday, but I can’t think it’ll make too much difference. 4-1.
Bolton v Fulham: I have a feeling that Fulham might win this one, or at least get a point. It’s one of those predictions that has no basis in fact or form, but I’ll go for 1-2.
Middlesbrough v Wigan: Home win here I’d say, with Boro boosted by their cup win at the weekend. 2-0.
Sunderland v Birmingham: Sunderland to take an early lead, Birmingham to equalise, Sunderland to win late on. That’s what I would have thought earlier in the season. Now though, I think McLeish’s men may have too much for Sunderland. Split the difference and I’ll go for a repeat of the early season 2-2.

That’s 12 predictions in one post. This is going to end horribly.

Later, JJ

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JJ said...

Oh yeah, in case ye didn't see it. Here's the link for news of Keggy's pre-match speech:

JJ said...

Oh dear, no games even played yet and one of my predictions goes south... or north in this case. Wise, you tit.,17033,8652_3084968,00.html

Mark said...

enjoying your conversation with yourself?

anyway, yes wise is a fool for going there

JJ said...

First sign of madness apparently. Talking to yourself isn't a great sign of sanity either... bah-dum-tish!