A week of international football as England did what was needed but with controversy for Tottenham’s Kyle Walker as Alan returns to the Lane for the first time in many years.
Alan’s Season 2013-14 Diary 5
England beat Moldova 4-0 without breaking a real sweat. Daniel Sturridge looks good, getting 2 goals but booked and banned from the next game. I haven’t seen anyone else comment on the one incident that stood out for me. It was James Milner’s pub football swipe in the last seconds at a cross that was crying out to be buried in the back of the net for 5-0. That is an unacceptable standard for anyone with pretensions to be an international footballer and is indicative of the skill levels that must be frightening Greg Dyke. We’ll need better than that against the Ukraine. They won 9-0 on the same night against San Marino. Let’s hope we don’t fail to qualify on goal difference.
Greg Dyke Watch
As I suspected, the backlash against Greg Dyke has already started. In today’s Mirror the main back page story consists of the paper haranguing him for attending a business meeting instead of England’s match in the Ukraine, implying hypocrisy on his part. The Football Association have already felt obliged to put out a statement confirming that the business meeting was arranged before Dyke ever got the FA job and that the FA are maintaining their normal practice of either the Chair or the Deputy Chair attending games. In other words, their behaviour is no different to normal. If Greg Dyke had not made his speech, do you think the Mirror would have been having a go like this? I don’t think so. That makes me ask, why did they do it? What was their motive? It can’t help the FA or the national team and can only hurt the new chairman. Given Dyke’s history in the media I expect there is some previous there that I have not picked up on.
Monday 9 September
I have previously set out my views about the need for clear disciplinary procedures and penalties and I am not about to step back from them just because it is a Spurs player that has hit the headlines. Even though it was a “legal high”, Walker has been stupid at best. That is not the kind of behaviour we expect from a professional footballer. Both Spurs and England should have disciplined him as soon as the offence was proven and publicised the fact they had done so. Presumably that was back in June when he snorted the nitrous oxide at a party.
Nearly as reprehensible though is the totally mischievous behaviour of the newspapers. Having known about it for months, they waited to publicise it until just before our most crucial qualifier for years. It could only do the team and the country’s interest harm. You have to ask yourself again why the Mirror and Daily Mail would want to do that. Is that good journalism or gutter press?
Tuesday 10 September
Roy Hodgson continues to make an (almost) silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Not an impressive performance by top international standards but very impressive when you consider he had to throw in a bunch of inexperienced youngsters with several players including first class strikers unavailable. England got a 0-0 draw and were lucky not be 1-0 down to a penalty in the first minute.
I see Andy Carroll is injured again. I seem to remember predicting this when West Ham signed him permanently. They say this time it could be 4 months. I bet they wish they had him on a pay as you go deal, instead of a contract. He obviously must have passed a medical but my gut feeling was that he was injury prone, based on the previous year’s evidence. I am surprised Sam Allardyce and Karen Brady didn’t come to the same conclusion.
Wednesday 11 September
Stuart Pearce has held forth with some home truths about the attitude of some of the young players getting above themselves once they have had a bit of success and a place in the senior national squad. Removed from the diplomatic restrictions of being an FA employee, he is free to speak up on behalf of his country and typically has not been afraid to do so, knowing full well that those representing the interests of the league clubs over England’s will say it’s just sour grapes on losing his job. Well done for having the courage to speak up mate. If they all had your commitment to their country, we wouldn’t have half the problems we do.
Back to the Lane
Really looking forward to Saturday now. I should be at the Lane for my first game in years, regular attendance having been interrupted by issues beyond my control. I am being driven up by a good mate. Should be meeting up with my nephew, Logan our editor who is coming over from N. Ireland for the game and some of the guys from South Dorset Spurs. It has the potential to be quite a day for me. I’ll be using my season ticket for the first time, down on the front row, West Stand, not far from the manager’s seats. An arm’s length reunion with Chris Hughton, who I saw play countless games for us many years ago. Not that he knows me from Adam. What’s that? A tear in my eye? Don’t be daft. What do you think I am soft or something?
Finally, something to put all this into context. On my bedside table I have a little pewter souvenir of the Twin Towers in New York in a Perspex box. It was bought for me by nephew who had been out to see his mate Dov, who I used to drive up to Spurs games from Bournemouth when they were both kids. They grew up and got jobs with Chase Manhattan at its Bournemouth campus. By 9/11 Dov had been posted to New York. On 9/11 he had passed through the subway station at the Twin Towers on the way to his office – and thankfully out the other side. Obviously he never got to make the return journey. Thankfully, he wasn’t harmed in the attack. He came that close. He is happily married now and living back in this country, still supporting Spurs. Gives you pause for thought doesn’t it? Time to salute the memories of those who weren’t so lucky.