Alan’s 2013-14 Season Diary No 15
Saturday 19 October
Terry Venables says in the Sun, “players won’t be “withdrawing” from England games now. Quite. I hope Roy has kept a note of who did it before and the reasons given. It will help him decide who he should give a place on the flight to Brazil. Look out for “retired” internationals changing their minds and issuing statements like they would be honoured to represent their country once more if called upon. Yeah, right. Hodgson wasn’t born yesterday.
Karen Brady’s diary in the Sun on Saturday gave me the idea to try something similar for this site. I found it entertaining and liked the fact that she mixed serious comment with the odd jokey entry and didn’t feel constrained just to stick to West Ham. But hang on, now she is stealing my jokes. In today’s diary she has a dig at Man City and says they have a manager with a name like fizzy water. Come on luv, I did that one months ago. I think her eyesight must be a bit dodgy too. In teasing Wayne Rooney for still using his Alice band, she said he doesn’t have a scar. What’s that 3 inch red line down the middle of his forehead then? A join? Thinking about it, she makes a bit of a brain damage joke. I did that at the time too. Perhaps she really is reading my diaries now. I wonder what she thought of Corrie Brazen’s diary?
Sunday 20 October
Last night’s Match of the Day carried extracts from the Sunday papers saying there is civil war at the FA only a few short months after Greg Dyke’s appointment. I knew from the moment he made that first speech that people would have it in for him but I didn’t expect it from within. At least, not this early. The Premier League must be rubbing their hands and laughing their heads off. A neat trick if you can manage it. From where I stand, the only thing Dyke has done wrong is to have been a bit hasty in deciding the composition of the commission, missing a trick on the diversity front. That would be easily put right if he moves swiftly to expand the membership. I wonder if the dissenters would be so quick to stick the knife in if we had not just qualified for Brazil.
A fortnight ago when it was in the balance there seemed to be a groundswell of support for his determination to improve the prospects of young English players. A couple of good Under 21 results, two decent performances by the senior squad and it’s as if in the afterglow of qualification everything in the garden is rosy after all. Who needs a controversial root and branch review? Who needs this Greg Dyke stirring everything up? Mistake. Big mistake. If we back down from the review and hound him out we can look forward to another 40 years at international level like the last 40.
Greg Dyke has put out a written reply to the criticism he received over failing to include any black people on the commission. Guess what? He did after all. He chose Clark Carlisle but the PFA insisted they use their current chairman instead. In which case it’s up to the PFA to explain why they put their interests before those of diversity on the commission and everyone should get off Dyke’s back now the truth is known. He also said that there are two or 3 appointments to come. If he moves to make them soon he can quell this storm and then look around to see where the next attack is coming from. It would also help if the Sports minister held up her hands to the fact that she has criticised before she knew the full story. Whether it’s Roy Hodgson or Greg Dyke, it seems that the main qualification required to do a job these days is the ability to walk on eggshells without cracking them. Forget the ability to actually do a decent job. Whilst analogies are all the fashion this week, whatever happened to “You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs”.
I feel like my football knowledge has received a bit of an endorsement again. I wouldn’t want to encourage excessive gambling but there is something to be said for putting your money where your mouth is. I have just had my second win of the year on the Soccer Saturday Super 6 accumulator on Sky Bet. To win, you have to correctly predict the results of all 6 matches chosen by Sky. It’s a free game and if you get the actual scores right, it’s quite a fortune but the winnings on an accumulator bet on the overall results aren’t to be sniffed at either, particularly if you double it up with the £5.00 free bet they give you every week. When Southampton’s equaliser went in, that was a monkey winging its way to my account. (Before anyone gets on their high horse, I should explain that in this context, a monkey is slang for £500). Thanks very much.
I have just checked. The parsimonious odds being quoted on Andros Townsend scoring at the World Cup are only 3/1. They are similarly poor at 22/1 on England winning the whole thing, given that no European team has done it out there before. I am no mathematician but by my calculations, if I put this week’s monkey winnings on as a double, I would reel in 22 x £500 = £11,000 x 3 = £33,000. Now that would be ironic. I’m tempted. It’s not like I even had the money yesterday morning, so easy come easy go. Don’t tell the wife. She wants to spend it on a new set of side gates. I feel like Basil Fawlty when he was trying to conceal his winnings from Sybil. Should have kept quiet about it major.
What is it with Millwall fans? They seem determined to keep their bad reputation and hold their own club’s face down in the gutter. They threw the football into Joe Jordan’s face and then Harry Redknapp’s. No arrests though. The police seem very selective on that front.
Gareth Bale finally makes another substitute appearance for Real Madrid. He runs into the penalty area with the ball and falls onto his bad back as he is shoved in the chest by a defender. He earns a penalty. What a difference a move to Real Madrid makes. If it had been at White Hart Lane, he would have been booked for diving. If we’d had Spanish referees last season, Spurs would be in the Champion’s League now. Of course the other difference is that back home, he would have picked himself up and scored. In this instance though, Ronaldo took the ball and the penalty to add to his impressive personal tally. It helped to justify his return to the top of the pay pile and his position as number one man at the Bernabeu. Gareth is such a nice lad, I am sure he was pleased to be of assistance.
In the end a comfortable win for Spurs against Villa. I’ve posted a separate report on the game. Back within 3 points of Arsenal at the top. Talking of Arsenal, I really enjoyed the rapper Lethal Bizzle on MOTD 2. Can we call him Bex? The Olivier Giroud chant is a bit dull though. Whenever I see him score, I think of the T. Rex song Metal Guru. Much better. Come on you Gooners, sing up “ ‘Livier Giroud is it you? Na na na. ‘Livier Giroud is it you? Na na na. All at home in the penalty zone, uh huh. ‘Livier Giroud is it you?” There. You can have that one for free. Just hope you don’t have the occasion to sing it too often.
Also on MOTD2, Dionne Dublin and Sir Les are knowledgeable and entertaining. Two more black candidates for Dyke’s commission. He has appointed Rio who would not have been my choice. Too much messing about in the past and self-publicising for my liking but at least he is thick skinned enough to ignore the claims of tokenism.
Glenn Hoddle spoke well on Sky this afternoon about the need to take action to ensure we have many more good youngsters coming through on a conveyor belt rather than the occasional exception. Perhaps they will now be allowed to get on with the job. Don’t bet on it though.
This week; once more unto the European breach dear friends…