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Bizarre selection
at 13:31 8 Aug 2022

I have in the past defended some of the selection choices made by RH. Normally these were in games that meant little or nothing in terms of survival (in the PL) and as such could be forgiven (perhaps).

Saturday was different.

Spurs made some decent buys in the close season and even the most unsophisticated of football tacticians could see that they would play with high wing backs and players arriving from midfield, late into the box.

So we pick a back 5 (rather than a 4 with 4 more in midfield to squeeze the wing backs for space). Worse, we include in that back 5 at least one player (perhaps 2) who should be nowhere near the first team of a Championship side, i.e. Djenepo.

We have JWP who is now apparently expected to chase back, cover space, win the ball and play it forward to who? Adam A is literally not in this league. Stuart A is not a striker.

I get the need to pick a team from available players but come on.

The best player remains JWP and he needs to be able to do what he does best and instead he's doing everybody else's job.

We also needed to ensure that we got a result - perhaps a draw or a close loss - not a thrashing. Salisu was at fault for two goals at least but the rest of the defence was not much better.

If RH is having issues with players not wanting to be in his team, get them off the bench and leave them at home.

No more odd selections please. Pick the best 11 and ensure that give JWP the space to play.
Blatter "too ill to attend trial"
at 16:19 8 Jun 2022

Blatter was meant to give evidence in his corruption trial today but was apparently too ill to attend.

His lawyers had already failed to have the trial moved to a small local court and to have FIFA's claim for compensation ruled ultra vires.

I suspect that this "illness" is just a delaying tactic. Unfortunately I think it unlikely that Blatter will see the inside of a cell for any length of time either.

It does however mean that holding those who took bribes to hand the WC to Qatar might sleep a little less easy tonight.
World cup break in 22/23 and effect?
at 09:00 20 May 2022

The PL season pauses on 12 Nov and resumes 26 Dec.

It will be interesting to see how this will impact clubs with many international players who will be at the world cup.

There's a fair chance that this will include a number of our players - JWP, KWP, FF (if still our player), Che and SA, Salisu?, but some clubs are almost all international players.

Renew my ST or not?
at 12:35 19 May 2022

Plus side:

Supported the team since the early 60's
We have a couple of decent individual players
Occasionally upset the big teams
New owners may mean a couple of new players
Promoted teams look to have limited quality which helps us avoid relegation
Not interested and don't watch other teams on TV

Negative side:

Inconsistent form without explanation
Sometimes think the players/manager don't care so long as we stay up
Minimum five hour round trip often in heavy traffic (I live 20 miles away)
Frustration with managers tactics/use of subs/commitment
TV schedules moving games to inconvenient times
Can get tickets on an ad hoc basis if needed

Cost is manageable but at north of £35 a game, plus fuel, parking, etc, is it value for money given that for at least half the home games I leave fuming at an unnecessary loss or gifting the opposition a goal or stubborn refusals to react to the opposition? Do I need that in my life no matter how much I want the team to do well?
Summer recruit wish list - names
at 10:13 17 May 2022

I see that Gundogan from City is likely to be available.

Also Bale is leaving Real but at 32 perhaps a bit old?

Inconsistent consistency and the cure (?)
at 14:06 10 May 2022

I was not at the Brentford match and have not seen whatever highlights might be available, but given the pounding we gave them at our place, I'm disappointed with the result. In fact I'm disappointed with the results since the middle of March.

If Leeds lose tonight (home to Chelsea) then we're all but mathematically safe but that hides a number of structural problems that need to be addressed if we are to avoid a repeat next season of the position we find ourselves in now.

Starting at the top, I hope that the new owners can find a way to make some investment in the playing squad. With the debt they inherited I'm not sure that's entirely possible but on an ideal shopping list would be a CB (perhaps two if JB leaves), a defensive midfield, an in the box finisher. If funds allowed, decent replacements for a creative midfielder, another striker and a GK. That's close to £80m probably.

For me, I'd look to move on Walcott, Redmond, Long, Smallbone, Djenepo, Telle, Diallo and McCarthy. We're not going to recover much of that £80m on this list but perhaps £20/25m?

On the list of "you've got until January" goes AA and SA. AA because he's had plenty of minutes but has shown no improvement in his game. SA because he seems to be totally switched on or off - nothing in between.

The strategic management of the team in and out of possession needs to be completely overhauled. We either play like title chasing, hungry, pressing, in your face winners, or completely disengaged individuals with no will or desire to play as a team or be difficult to beat.

That poor form/good form/bad form is not a way to play in the PL because any run into decent form is likely to coincide with a top 4/5 fixture which is going to be difficult.

For me, this is a coaching problem. Time and again this season we've flown out the blocks, had decent chances to establish a first half lead, failed and then struggled to maintain the pace/pressure in the second half. It's almost as though we need to be able to play different strategies in each half. But we have not done that.

RH needs to look hard at whether his high block/press is right in every match or whether a more controlled/controlling first half is needed.

If we can play both then clearly we can move from one to another with much coaching input but for whatever reason we don't. In my view that needs to be fixed.

I'm intrigued to see the "Moneyball" strategy play out. Personally I'm a long way from convinced that a strategy designed with commercial objectives will meet the fans needs for a stress free season with a decent cup run but it worked for Brentford so why not us?

Finally there's the question of RH.

On the one hand he has made some mistakes and made some very strange decisions which he has not acknowledged or explained - at least not to the fans.

On the other, many of the potential replacements have no better a PL history or perhaps top division in Europe history and if they arrive but are starved of funds and new blood, then will they be any better?

On balance, given that RH has said he wants to stay until he retires, I'd like to see his backroom staff indulge in some recruiting with a view to putting some "play ugly" grit into the team because we're going to need it next season. If he doesn't then I think he could be on his way by Christmas (which of course this year will be a seasonal break because of the World Cup making the January window all the more important.)

So in summary, a business plan with room for new players, at least three new first teamers and preferably 3 to 5 more pushing for the first team, new coaches and RH told that he has until Christmas to find some consistency. (Assuming we stay in the PL of course).
Saints v Liverpool - when?
at 11:18 26 Apr 2022

Seems to have disappeared from the fixture list.

Keen to know when it might be on as have some long planned leave coming up.
Blooding young players
at 15:08 19 Apr 2022

It would take a wholly unprecedented turn of events for us to be relegated now.

We have games coming up with teams around us. Obvious exception of Liverpool.

If the strategy is to identify players at the start of their career - who will improve in ability and worth - would these games be a chance to bring in a few squad players and given them a game?

Might help those struggling for form (Salisu, Tino, Broja) and give some of those who have worked hard recently (Ely, Adams) a chance to recover?

Or do we continue to pick a first 11 and keep the squad players on the bench?
We need to talk about ... throw ins
at 09:53 13 Apr 2022

I'm sick and tired of seeing us struggle to throw the ball to a Saints player from our throw in whilst allowing the opposition to stroll around and have the ball thrown to their feet.

One of the many errors last weekend was to allow Chelsea to have the ball from all of their own throw ins and a good proportion of ours.

Further, WTF is Salisu going? His "long" throw is way short of being dangerous and by going out the line to take the throw, the inevitable loss of possession and a quick punt forward by their defenders and he's out of position.

This is coaching 101.

You should never lose the ball from your own throw (barring not controlling the ball) and unless your CB can reach the middle of the goal with a throw, no point in pulling him out of position.

If (when) Norwich are relegated, I would try to sign ...
at 16:11 24 Mar 2022


He seems the sort of player RH likes, fast, always looking to get into advanced positions, good reader of the game, not afraid of hard work to close down defenders.

Not sure any of the others would be of interest though.
JWP for England
at 14:06 17 Mar 2022

Just announced and in my view justified.

(Although he needs to get back to the form he was in three weeks - and so does the team).
Chelsea want to play in an empty stadium - yes or no?
at 14:10 15 Mar 2022

Chelsea have asked the FA if they can play Middlesborough behind closed doors to preserve "sporting integrity".

In other words, they can't sell tickets for the game and they don't want the Smoggies to have the whole ground.

(I think Chelsea have sold 500 tickets before they were stopped).

Personally, that's asking other clubs to be punished for Chelsea living on dirty money and the request should be quickly thrown out.

Dan Roan of the BBC says he's been contacted by senior Gov't types who are incredulous at the toys/cot interface shown by Chelsea.

I'd agree.

Live by the sword (or dirty money), die by the sword.
If Everton are relegated ... ?
at 09:46 15 Mar 2022

Given that they are presently the club with the largest rolling deficit (apparently we are second in that league - not good) and the EFL fair play rules are much tighter and less easily abused than the EPL, they may have to sell players.

Who might we be interested in?

I'm thinking Pickford.

Not sure any of their other players would be of interest?
Wet Leg
at 09:57 10 Mar 2022

Not waiting too late to use the facilities or an accident with a drink.

A two piece band from the IoW who are making it big in the US and now over here.

Worth a listen.
at 18:06 17 Feb 2022

Young (15) Russian skater who returned a positive drug test.

Was apparently allowed to continue to compete because she is very young and presumably at the mercy of the entourage, one of whom at least is clearly not above trying to drug her.

CAS decided that she was a "protected person" because of her age.

She competed today and was clearly on no fit mental state.

So how can a vulnerable "protected" person be cleared to compete but no account is taken of her mental state and no action taken to remove her from the entourage?

Surely this can't be the IOC seeking to protect their battered reputation and increase Russin TV viewing figures at the expense of this poor girl?
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