Monday, 27 October 2014

Rough ride for Leeds United fans

You support a team from when you are young and most people stick with that team throughout their lives. More often than not, you'll pick a local team.

For me, in Guildford in Surrey, the choice of top division teams was lacking. Way back before they had ever won anything I chose to support Leeds United (I thought L-E-E-D-S was easy to spell).

My oh my, what a club to pick. Without dwelling on any successes in the many years since then, or indeed, on the many failures, I can come bang up to date and wonder what the hell is going on at the club.

Darko Milanic became the third manager to be sacked by owner Massimo Cellino since late May. Firstly, Brian McDermott, and then since the start of this season (six games each), Dave Hockaday and now Darko Milanic, have both been sacked. In between times academy boss Neil Redfearn had a successful spell as caretaker manager, and now might get the job on a "permanent" basis. "Permanent" might only mean half a dozen more games if Redfearn can't turn the team into a winning one. Milanic won no games of his six in charge.

After yet another defeat (1-2 at home to Wolves) on Saturday, you wonder where it's all going next. There seem to be some decent players at the club (mostly on loan!), but no consistency or a seeming steady improvement.

Johnny Giles has called for Cellino to go himself, but the owner has settled the finances at the club, brought in many new players and has talked about buying Elland Road back. Good things, surely? Of course, the Football League are still hoping they can prove him to be not a fit or proper owner, despite those good things.

It's a rough ride for all Leeds United fans, but you can't change your team, can you?

Monday, 13 October 2014

England must punish lesser teams more convincingly

I suppose we need to give them a chance because they're young, but the England performance in the two games against San Marino (5-0) and Estonia (1-0) were as uninspiring as they have been over the last few years.

It was definitely time to move on from the so-called "golden generation" who never delivered, and the likes of Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Raheem Sterling may turn into good international players.

But how England failed to see off Estonia yesterday with more than one goal yesterday was a bit worrying. England were by far the better team in possession and it was good to see how quickly and hard they worked to recover the ball. But they need to do more to score goals!

Surely, they need to get wide, they need an injection of pace, they need to shoot...

Surely what we don't need is sideways passes among the back four with a midfielder occasionally dropping in to join them with more lateral passes.

I can't believe Roy Hodgson tells them to do this. It's all very professional and keep-ball, but perhaps they need reminding from time to time that the objective of the game is to score goals. Why wait a half (or an hour, or 80 minutes) before any urgency bubbles through?

Get lively early on. Let's punish these lesser teams more convincingly.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Games on foreign fields will see the death of English football

The emetic idea of playing Premier League games abroad has reared its ugly head again, I see.

Those who raise this idea have no regard for English football whatsoever. All they are concerned about is making money - plain and simple.

But what is left of English football?

The owners are foreign.
The managers are foreign.
The coaching staff are foreign.
The players are foreign.
"They" want to play the game on foreign fields.
"They" would no doubt use foreign officials.
Many fans are foreign - that's why "they" want to play games abroad - to cash in.

All that would be left would be English club names.

This revived idea is not for a "39th game" as before, but for shipping an existing round of matches to somewhere in the Far East.

The idea makes me sick and I spit on it.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore says the clubs still want a game abroad. Of course they do - to fill their coffers. It is up to him to say no!

But it seems he doesn't care.

It is a slow painful death for English football