Thurs 21 November
I seem to remember writing in a previous blog why Leeds United were my least favourite team. There was the fact that they played such hard cynical football in their most successful years, the way they treated Brian Clough and the way Don Revie walked out on England but worst of all was the way their fans smashed up Bournemouth town centre in 1990 and terrorised the gentle residents, my young wife and I out shopping being two of them.
In case anybody thought I was exaggerating, I have just read former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp’s account of that weekend in his recently published autobiography “Always Managing”. He wrote,
‘Leeds needed to get a win to get promoted to the First Division and their fans just took over the town – and wrecked it.
It was a May Bank holiday, blazing hot, a seaside location – a real recipe for disaster. The Leeds supporters left Bournemouth in a horrendous state. Streets and property were smashed to pieces. The police estimated there were as many as 15,000 of them. They were taking the tickets off Bournemouth fans and every vehicle in the club car park was damaged in some way. It was horrendous behaviour, windows caved in, cars ruined. Our chairman had a Rolls Royce and by the time they had finished with it there wasn’t a window intact and all the doors were missing. The police tried to intervene and were chased off. There was a charge and the next thing we knew the police had turned tail and were running the other way. The fans had been on the run all weekend and just ran riot. It was just as well we lost 1-0 because I don’t know if we’d have had a ground had we beaten them. It was one of my worst days in football.’
Friday 22 November
Well fancy that. International break week isn’t even over and Arsenal have already announced that Theo Walcott is “fully fit” and back in the squad for Saturday’s game against Southampton. Shouldn’t be allowed. If that’s the case he was fit to play for England the other day. Shame on them. If that’s his and Arsenal’s attitude to his country, he can stay at home next summer to make sure he is fit to play for Arsenal in August. It’s not as if we haven’t got decent alternatives.
Saturday 23 November
am. Hooray! Breathing the oxygen of the Premiership in all its glory again. First thing,
Plan ‘B’ – 4-4-2
Sky shows an interview with Andre Villas-Boas where he reveals he has been trialling a Plan B after all. There is more on his selection options in Logan’s latest blog. It’s quite a change from what he was saying just several days ago when he told fans that he had no intention of playing 4-4-2 instead of 4-2-3-1.He revealed yesterday that he had in fact been trying it out in training and in a match against a local team with Adebayor partnering Soldado up front. If for PR purposes only, I think it was a good move to show that he is prepared to be flexible after all.
It is clearly not his favourite formation and the way he referred to it being something that is popular in this country had a hint of suggesting we live in the dark ages. Fair enough but it’s good to have another string to your bow in the right circumstances. He also said that he would not necessarily use it in the games against Man City or Man United.
I think that’s sensible because we really do need to compete in midfield against them to have a chance. I would be more tempted to use 4-4-2 from the outset against some of the so-called lesser teams on the premise that we will score more than them.
Final Chance for Adebayor
Using it between now and Christmas will also be an opportunity for Adebayor to show he has still got it when he wants to use it and put himself in the shop window for January. It might be his last chance to persuade a potential buyer it is worth spending big money on him. There might still be a big club out there that he can persuade that he will maintain his performance and commitment for more than 6 months – but only goals now will do that.