Alan’s 2013-14 Season Diary No 7
Wed 19 September
Will i An surprised. How Eggciting. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. The papers are all over Jose’s class A eggs analogy. No wins in the last 3 games for Chelsea. Beaten at home by Basel in the Champions League. No Mata, well not until he came on as a substitute for Greedy Guts that is. Snigger. Jamie Redknapp said that if you didn’t know it was Jose Mourinho, you’d think the manager didn’t know what he is doing. It’s early days yet but I’m already looking forward to when we beat Will I’m Out (of the Champions League) in the Europa League. Will I Laugh? You bet. Bearing a grudge, who me? No way. [OK, now that’s enough Willian jokes. Ed.]
Ronaldo (did you see those step-overs for the second goal?) and Messi are at it again. A hat-trick each in the Champions League. Welcome to the big time Gareth.
Wenger pours Ozil on troubled waters as Arsenal get a record 10th away win, beating Marseille away 2-1.
Our fixtures are already piling up nicely. 4 matches in the next 10 days. Shame it’s not still called the Carling Cup (Tuesday, Villa), we could do with something to refresh the parts other beers cannot reach.
Heart on his sleeve
I meant to include this quote from Ian Holloway about his reaction to England’s draw in the Ukraine in last week’s diary. I think it is the football quote of the century so far.
“How much my country means to me I just can’t put it in words. It’s just unbelievable. The passion I’ve got. The game that we play and what it means to me. I was dying to wear an England shirt but I just wasn’t good enough. I tried and I kept trying but I wasn’t selected. I wasn’t good enough. I thought I was but I wasn’t and I know when I’m looking at them here I couldn’t have tried any harder so I haven’t let myself down and that is how I was brought up. Us winning as a country means everything to me and it is not just winning. It is the way you do it.”
If that doesn’t get you right in the heart or the gut, then I venture to say you are not really an England fan. Isn’t that how we all feel about England summed up in one emotional statement? He was trying at a higher level than most of us and still didn’t quite get there but anyone who has done their best even to get in their school or scouts team must recognise that feeling.
As a kid I used to dream of turning up at games as a fan with a pair of boots in my bag and being asked to come on as a substitute when someone got injured. I read too many comics. Billy’s Boots, now that was a story. Roy of the Rovers. I think that’s why we get so angry when we suspect that some of today’s players who have made it to the top of the tree might not be so dedicated to their country. It’s why we have the right to vent our anger, frustration and disappointment when they pick and choose what internationals to turn up for.
Writing for the Times on Saturday, September 7 Giles Smith said,
I am so glad he said that because I wouldn’t dare. Still, fair dos. Wayne soon got himself a padded Alice band and there he was bravely playing for United again in the rough and tumble of the Premiership 5 days after he was too poorly to stand up and be counted for his country. I am really concerned for him and any player such as Daniel Sturridge who finds themselves in a similar situation.
Mind you have you seen a ‘photo of that head wound? I mean it’s not actually bleeding is it? Man up and shove a plaster on it Wazza. There is a World Cup to be qualified for you wuss.
I still maintain that whenever a player is prevented from representing his country by an injury, he should automatically be banned from playing for his club in their next competitive game. For health and safety reasons and to protect his future career. A few days later and Wayne is scoring two goals in the Champions League and the pundits who were running him down a few weeks back are now with Alzheimer – like insouciance praising him to the high heavens once again as the saviour of English football. I’ve had a brain tumour and a lump of my beer gut shoved up my nose to plug the walnut-sized gap left when it imploded (yeah I know, can’t you just tell?). Now that’s what I call a head injury. What’s their excuse? Oh and can someone let Roy know that if I can have one of those Alice bands, I will still be available for the next England game. Me and Ian Holloway both. I’ll bring a pair of boots just in case.
Thurs 20 September
Tottenham 3 Tromso 0.
A similar comfortable performance to the one against Norwich on Saturday, despite several changes to the starting line-up. A dominant, patient passing game against a team that came to park the bus, as Mourinho would say. Two goals for Defoe, looking sharp. A competent debut from Lamela, A brilliant goal from Eriksen to round it off. He looks a much better buy than Will i Stayonthebench.
A comic cuts ending when Younes Kaboul chooses to go off with a knock, thinking he would be substituted but we had already used all three. Gordon Strachan and Gus Poyet were in stitches in ITV’s studio. Strachan said, “Perhaps he had a bus to catch”. D’oh.