Nacer Chadli's free-kick [Photo: Alan Hill]

Alan's Summer Diary: Super Goal, Success For England, World Cup Hopes


Alan’s Summer Diary looks at a late contender for “Goal of the Season” and enjoys England’s success at Under-17 level while considering England’s World Cup hopes.

Alan’s Summer Diary – No. 4

Goal of the season?

We always seem to be in such a rush to give player and goal of the season awards before the season is over. There is a risk to this – apart from the effect that it can have on the fitness of players attending gala award nights days before crucial matches at the end of the season, history might just miss out on recording a truly great performance or goal. In my view, this has happened in the season just ended.

Just in case any of you missed it, the best goal I have seen this season was scored by Joe Garner for Preston against Rotherham in their play of semi-final. Too late for inclusion in any of the major “Goal of the Season” competitions. I’m not sure, with it being so recently embedded in my consciousness whether it is the best individual goal I have ever seen but it certainly comes close. It had a bit of everything; the chest control as the ball dropped out of the sky, keepy-uppy, the Gazza v Scotland-like flick over the defender’s head and the magnificent volley from distance into the net. If you haven’t seen it already it is really worth checking out on You Tube.

Of course, someone might score a better one in one of the play-off finals, or the Champions League final but I doubt it.

Wednesday 21 May

I try and remain even-handed and fair when spouting off my opinions in these blogs. I also try and show restraint no matter how angry someone’s actions might make me feel. So I can make no claim to the following being my own work. It is a verbatim reproduction of Dan Jones’s column in today’s London Evening Standard,

‘Sepp the slug is a blight on football. Sepp Blatter’s use of the word “mistake” to describe the decision to award a summer World Cup to Qatar is hardly a surprise. There is pretty much nothing that Blatter won’t do or say to keep his nails dug into power. So instead of the buck stopping with him for FIFA’s most egregious balls-up in a generation, he will use the 2022 World Cup fiasco as ammunition for a World Cup campaign. The man really is a slug; a blight on the game he oversees.’

Nuff said.

A Good Omen for England

Thursday 22 May

Congratualtions to Tottenham’s Joshua Onomah
England beat The Netherlands last night in a penalty shoot-out in the European Under-17 final after a 1 – 1 draw. This after the Netherlands beat them in an earlier round. How ironic that they triumphed at all but particularly in this way just as there is all the fuss about youngsters not breaking through into Premier League first teams. This bunch have already proved that they have the class against top opposition. It is up to the Premier league teams, under the watchful eye of the FA to ensure they play them in the coming years. Saying foreign players are better doesn’t stand up where this group is concerned. It’s fantastic news and a fillip for the senior team who are going into this World Cup with two penalty specialists in Lambert and Baines and young strikers full of confidence. There is no reason to fear the penalty shoot-out this time.

No Pressure Wayne

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney spoke well at yesterday’s press conference at England’s training camp in Portugal. He honestly acknowledged that this may be his last chance to cement his World reputation. That may be true but soak up the atmosphere and enjoy it mate. Everybody has acknowledged that expectations on the team are low this time. It is the ideal situation to surprise everyone. Rooney will be surrounded by young fit in-form players who have been playing fearlessly in the Premier League plus a couple of level headed old stagers who are still at the top of their game. It is Wayne’s opportunity to do a Cantona and pick his moments to strut his stuff. No need to feel it is all on his shoulders. As supporters let’s go into it with optimism that this might just be the year it all comes together. Time to put the cynicism and history to one side for a few weeks.

News comes through that Louis Suarez has been injured and has had an operation. He hopes to be fit enough to play England but he clearly won’t be 100% match fit. I wouldn’t wish hurt and injury on anybody but it may just be a sign that luck is turning in England’s favour. Let’s hope all our players get fit and stay fit for a change.

England in Brazil – Time for the Press to help not hinder

The media can have a massive influence on the mood of fans and players. Let’s pray they stay behind the England team in the run up to the tournament. This has traditionally been the time when scandal sheet stories came out, particularly in the Sundays. In the past stories of drunken behaviour, broken relationships, accusations of sexual assault, and criminal activity of family members have distracted us all. Even serialised biographies and columns in newspapers by managers have caused tension. Let’s have none of it this time. Fleet Street editors, If you truly love your country and want England to win – and if you do have news of scandals, what harm will it do to sit on them for a month until it is all over?

Good news for Tottenham?

Nacer Chadli has joined Hugo Lloris and Sandro in talking positively about being at Tottenham and delivering improved performances next year. Interviewed in Genk at a Belgium training session he said there were too many changes lasts season but expects to do better for us in 2014-15. That’s what we want to hear.

Yaya Toure

The statements from Ya Ya Toure’s agent and his own twittering really take the biscuit. The reaction seems to be universally critical. City’s fans deserve better after having lived through so many dark days before the recent success, albeit purchased at great cost. The owner’s massive riches means they can afford to stick him in the stiffs until he behaves himself. It would do all of football a favour if they did just that. Despite his undoubted ability and flourishing end to the season, he went missing at crucial times and Sky’s stats show that the teams win percentage was actually better when he was out of the team, so letting him cool his heels would not be as risky as it might seem a first glance.

Meanwhile, Logan and I are keen that Spurs do not make the same mistake and leave their players feeling unloved, so we have come up with some ideas for birthday presents.

Tags: Goal Of The Season Nacer Chadli Soccer Tottenham Hotspur World Cup