Category Archives: Football

For Megson, read Roeder…

Different club, different manager (although Gary Megson worked his magic at City too in the past), same story.  This article says it all. 

 Is there a pithy phrase for the way waste spirals down the toilet bowl – it might be more appropriate than ‘managerial merry-go-round’.

Still, ticket prices might be cheaper in League One…

Sick as a Canary

Norwich City have won once in the league and scored twice since my son Noah was born.  The only controlled physical co-ordination he is currently showing is the (very entertaining) ability to spit out a dummy.  But it looks as though he would do a better job in the team than some of the players.

A change is needed.  Not since the Championship winning season have we looked like a team who were committed to playing for the shirt.  Nigel Worthington made the mistake of dumping most of those (Mackay, Roberts etc) and replacing them with 3rd rate foreign players and loan signings.

Can we have our team back please?

 😦

It’s that time of year again

Gales; rain; cold, dark nights and live football on the radio – it must be August!

 I cant share Norfolk Blogger’s optimism that a 0-0 draw at Preston is a good start for City’s ‘injury ravaged’ squad – it’s the first day of the season for heaven’s sake, did they all trip over their sand castles or something?

But I will no doubt be drawn in again by peaks of excitement and despair and the thought of Jamie Cureton knocking in a hat trick at Portman Road.

 At least Rapid are off to a good start, thanks to a dodgy pitch and some woeful defending at Cluj where they came back from a goal down to finish the day 7 points from 9 and well placed in Romania’s fledgling first division.

Blarst my ol boots, bor

Thanks to Robin Whitmore for sending me this.  Some of the narrative is a bit hit and miss but scroll down to the vocabulary (voocablary) section and if you have ever had the pleasure of living in Norfolk, you will larf til yoo croy.

They aren’t even a proper team…

Doncha just hate people who claim to be football fans and then reel off a list of ‘second’ teams – they just don’t get that being a real fan means complete investment in a single team and ideally the developing of a profound and irrational hatred of the local rivals.

 Weeeeell, that would be me.  Norwich will always be my team (allowing for my recent rants here about the state of football in general) and whoever is playing Ipswich is elevated to temporary favourite.

But I also keep a raft of second teams.  Firstly there is Nottingham Forest.  

As a kid, when I didnt know any better, I supported Manchester United (you can’t accuse me of glory hunting, they were a bit rubbish in the mid 70s).  The Greenhoff brothers, Martin Buchan, Alex Stepney (I cried after the 1978 Cup final), Gordon Hill and Steve Coppell – ah the mud, the violence and the romance…

Then as geography lessons started to kick in I realised Manchester was nowhere near North Lincolnshire.  But Nottingham is and not only that, Forest were getting good (these things do matter in your formative years – admit it).  Unfortunately for Brian Clough’s red and white army, some time around 1982 I discovered politics and lost interest in football for best part of a decade, by which time I was living in Norwich and considered the Canaries to be my team.

 I also adopted Rapid Bucharest – the Legione Granata – when I was living abroad.  There are three teams of note in Bucharest – the army team (Steaua), the police team (Dinamo) and the railway team (Rapid).  Given the choice between the army, the police and the railway workers, I know what side I am on… (well that and the fact they won the league the day I arrived in the city for the first time and they have a cool kit).

But my real guilty secret is that I always look out for the results of all four Lincolnshire teams (Humberside, you understand, is a fiction invented in Whitehall forty years ago and in this House was never officially recognised).  I am pleased Scunny are doing so well.  I hope Boston stay up and I am glad Grimsby have recovered from their wobbles.  But Lincoln City are the team I follow with the greatest of interest – guilt probably that I opted for Forest all those years ago instead of my genuinely local team.

And that is why I am feeling so pained tonight.  I dont think there is another team in the league who has got into the play-offs so many times without ever winning promotion via them!  It’s disastrous, therefore, that defeat against Swindon today leaves them adrift of the automatic promotion places and probably condemned to another futile attempt on the play-offs.

What is even more galling is that the third automatic promotion spot will probably be taken by MK Dons.  Milton bloody Keynes.  Its not even a proper place let alone a proper team!  Plucky Lincoln – the first team to be automatically relegated from the football league (an event Adrian Sanders still celebrates).  The holders of the record points haul under two points for a win (in the days before Graham Taylor turned into a turnip).  And the club bought by a fans trust to save it from bankruptcy – a genuine community club – will probably lose out on promotion to English football’s first US-style franchise.  It’s not, as they say, like it was in my day…

Mike Newell – what a hypocrite!

Mike Newell plants his foot in his mouth again and finally finds a boot planted firmly in his a*** by his bosses at Luton Town.It’s impossible not to feel a certain fondness for Newell because of his habit of launching spectacularly tactless rants to the listening media.  Football is an entertainment business where spin (and over exposure) has washed all of the colour out of is media coverage.  Newell at least made a refreshing change from the norm.

But hang on a minute, Mike.  In your latest outburst you criticise the Luton Town board for selling all the team’s best players.  Yet, I read that in your contract you had a clause that paid you 10% of any transfer fee received from the sale of players.  Isn’t that a massive conflict of interest?

What would we think if the Head of a school insisted on being paid 10% of the salary of any teacher who left to join another school?  Wouldn’t we think the Head might be focused on off-loading his best and most experienced staff rather than developing the best quality education at the school?  Or, in the days when I worked for PwC, imagine what my boss would have said if I had asked for a 10% cut of the fee value of all clients who left the firm for a rival consultancy?

If Newell’s contract is standard in the industry then something is truly rotten in the state of football…

Forza Italia! And the end of a beautiful relationship…

Magnificent, magnificent end to the Wales v Italy game this afternoon.  Apologies to all my Welsh friends but for the last 10 minutes of the game I was on the edge of my seat chanting “Italia!”  The build up to their try was fantastic and the conclusion of the match will make it on to Question of Sport for decades to come.

All of which leads me at last to the conclusion that I should give up on football and turn to rugby for entertainment.  It’s not just that City are having such a grim season (there’s plenty of solace to be had in how well Lincoln and Scunthorpe are doing or the fact that Ipswich are worse than Norwich.)  It’s a growing sense that something is deeply wrong with the game.  I am sick of listening to Paul Jewell, Sam Allardice and Arsene Wenger blame the world (but particularly the referees) for the failures of their own teams EVERY time they lose.  I’m sick of the unjustifiable salaries paid at the top of the game, the ridiculous ticket prices and the fact that the only thing that makes Premiership teams recognisably English is that they play most of their games here.  The icing on the cake was the rash of whingeing (Wenger again) about replays in the FA Cup.  How many more advantages to the big clubs want for **** sake???  If they care about winning the trophy, buy more players, if not, prioritise a different competition and play your youth team but dont complain about playing too many games when it is the result of you winning things!!!!

Now, don’t misunderstand me, pompous commentators and predictable ex footballers who take the ‘it’s not like it was in my day’ line on virtually any subject wind me up almost as much as all the other things I have just listed.  Football is the entertainment business, not some sacred national treasure, so if people want to pay a fortune to watch it (and lets face it if City get anywhere next season I shall no doubt get sucked in again) that’s just fine.  But, for now, football on me are officially on a trial separation.