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WHUFC vs Burnley EPL 2014 -2015 02/05/2015

May 2, 2015 Leave a comment

I have been back a few hours since the end of game wondering what to write, and to be fair I’m still struggling. Anyone with knowledge of these two teams current form could have written this at 10am this morning.

Before the start of the game, a mention was made offering condolences to Ex- Hammer Rio Ferdinand and his family following the tragic loss of his wife that morning. Nice touch and the chants of Rio, Rio, echoing around the Bobby Moore bought a bit of a lump to my throat. Read more…

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WHUFC vs Manchester United EPL 08/02/2015

February 8, 2015 Leave a comment

First WHU blog of this year, as various work and personal stuff has kept me away from Upton Park for nearly 6 weeks. This post up until about 45 seconds from the end of the game was going to be based on the famous Norwegian “We beat your boys ” speech. However as we probably all know by now, Danny Blind , shinned in an equalizer in the dying seconds of the game.

Games ends one-one and 30 odd thousand WHU fans go home royally pissed.

That said Kouyate as well as scoring, played very well as a drafted in centre back. Everyone in fact played well including everyones favourite hammer, Kevin Nolan. Yep. He actually played well.

We have been talking about getting in centre backs as cover for ages, but no, we spend most of transfer deadline day pissing about lodging good strikers to buy pain in the backside strikers, and moving on wingers who have had no opportunities and then failed at all of the above. Hence today we play one of our best midfielders next to James Tomkins. And we still dont know what’s happening to Winston Reid. Well, we do but no one wants to admit it.

Our opponents today were the rejuvenated Man Utd. And to be honest they didn’t look a patch on previous teams I’ve seen over the years. Falcao will not be there next season based on his performance, not to mention missing a clear opportunity. Rooney cannot be enjoying playing the midfield with Van Persie, Falcao and Di Maria missfiring all over the place. Jones still doesn’t look good enough to lead the Man U defence and should be replaced at the earliest chance.

I’m sure in time we will respect the point, but at the moment, I feel as if we threw away 2 points. Even more annoying, is our opponents will feel they won a point. I did call a representative from Man U for a quote but unfortunately couldn’t get through so you will just have to believe me when I say they were lucky to get anything.

MOTM Kouyate, and hopefully WHU are back on the road to winning after our recent blips.

Pre match test of new phone

Pre match test of new phone

Another failed attack

Another failed attack

England vs Montenegro – WC 2014 Qualifier

October 13, 2013 Leave a comment

After an unbeaten qualifying campaign and littered with too many draws, Roy Hodgson’s England need to win their remaining two games to secure qualification to next years World Cup. Both are at home, and the right results are possible, but first up were Montenegro, who England have had four previous tussles, all ending in a point a piece.

The weather was shocking and travel was not much better with an hour delay at Ebbsfleet. The tube trip went a little old skool when a north south divide looked to kick off on a packed train.

So a lot later than expected we took our seats and i was quite pleased to see Hodgson had picked a remarkably attacking formation with Rooney, Wellbeck and Sturridge all starting. Also starting was Tottenham’s current flavour of the month, Andros Townsend in front of his team mate Kyle Walker. Joe hart was in goal following the worst run of his career, cementing the manager’s faith in his no.1.

The initial play was pretty cagey with England getting the odd chance and as usual at Wembley this set the tone for the rest of the half. Just before half time, England had their best chance when Wellbeck tried his usual reverse back heel to no effect. He needs to cut that out of his game.

The second half started better with Rooney getting on the end of a Wellbeck shot that deflected into his path. England pushed on post this and got their second when a Wellbeck shot was deflected towards goal from its initial route by a defender to register an OG. OG is actually the 3rd highest scorer for England these days, just 2 goals behind Gary Lineker! England looked comfortable and the subs started with Lamps coming off for Carrick. Then the away team scored and you could feel the tension. We knew the Ukraine had already beaten Poland, and so another draw would not be enough. The clouds dispersed when debutant Townsend smashed in a cracking low 20 yarder to open his account. This ended the game as a contest and the icing on the cake was when Sturridge won and scored a penalty just after the 90.

The scoreline did not reflect the game, and England will need to step up in the middle of the park next year in Brazil if present. However the bold attacking formation was a massive positive as was the selection of Townsend (if only because Walcott and Lennon are injured). Let keep that up for Poland, and moving forwards as a more pressing team. This should not remove Ricky Lambert and Andy Carroll from the frame though, as sometime you really do need just to lump it.

MOTM : Townsend. Looked completely comfortable on this stage. Tore up the wing like he did last week against WHU (thought i wouldn’t mention it? LOL).

Aldershot Town vs Macclesfield Town – 07/09/2013 SKRILL CONFERENCE

September 10, 2013 1 comment

Saturday was an international break for me from West Ham, so I had a nice golf weekend lined up with some of the boys. A reasonable round (joint 1st out of our fourball), would be followed in my estimation by a few cheeky homebrews in Ian’s garden and maybe an Indian later.

So while relaxing in the kitchen you could imagine my surprise, when he said “You not getting changed ?” “Why?” says I. “We’re going to the football”. Oh.

I should say at this juncture Ian and Albie his boy are big time Aldershot Town supporters. A club that rose from the ashes of Aldershot FC who went bust in 1992. And have just rose again after similar events last year, which resulted in relegation and needed a supporter bailout. Just before the start of the season they had 6 professionals on the books, administrators everywhere and no cash. The administrators said they had 48 hours to get 50k, else that was that. The supporters dug deep and found 68k, and into the Conference they went with a -10 point start. I always wonder how much the administrators get in these situations, but no matter the Shots are back in business and start this game on -3.

In order the balance the books they now have Chelsea’s BPL U21 team playing their home games at the recreation ground, in a deal which covers all their bills in running the club. This does lead to some odd advertising hoardings for Samsung and Chelseafc.com dotted around the ground.

On getting to the Recreation Ground we negotiate the turnstile. I don’t think my quote of “for 17 quid i expect at least a squad number” went down to well with the locals, but it is steep. If the cash is there, you need to garner the support by making it more accessible to the drive by and armchair fan. £12 would add 50% on the gate and nearly fill the ground.

Anyway, that said we put ourselves into their usual place on the East Stand, and it hits me. A real ground, with real supporters. No premier league rising stands, no binoculars needed to watch the game. And standing in a terrace. STANDING. Still enjoy it, even if my legs don’t any more.

The crowd of just shy of 2000 were “entertained” to a first half of no real chances and no real pattern. The Macc lads were on top early but faded after 15 minutes. The Shots players all have tags which don’t allow them within 10 yards of the touchline. I believe this is called a compact midfield. I called it poor at best. At half time and nil nil we have cheerleaders and a raffle. Real football. Apparently the cheerleaders were Ian’s idea to the board !

The second half was more of the same, but with the Shots now attacking our goal, we saw a little more of them. And their number 9 Brett Williams. This guy made my current slated player, Maiga of West Ham, look like Alan Shearer. He was the biggest guy on the pitch, and couldn’t win anything in the air, and that was all that was supplied. Absolutely shocking.

The breakthrough came in the 65th minute when according to the BBC Molesley crashed in a shot via the crossbar. Let me tell you my view of proceedings. Molesley gets the ball, takes a touch, miss hits a shot, it spins off his foot and loops to the bar, and drops in. No crashing, no taking a chance, just pure luck after a poor shot.

For the last 20 Aldershot introduced a winger who looked useful, but no one passed to him as he was outside the zone of influence as far as they were concerned.

Macc hit the bar in the last knockings and the Shots held on to a win, with their fans singing “Zero points, we got zero points”.

With their “compact” play, and bustling style (3 yellow cards), Aldershot will stay up which is the only target this season, so fair play.

Do not mistake the Skrill league sponsor as a play on words around skill. I have to say apart from Rowlands for the Shots, none was on display. Another point of order was fair play to the 43 Macc fans who made the journey and didn’t even get a roof on their stand. Once again real football. My journeys into the non league are few and far between these days, and although the game doesn’t compare to what i usually watch, it was still good to get back to the roots of the game.

Gutted i didn’t get a “non league dog” to snap, but I did introduce the team to the full kit w**nkers twitter feed !

England vs Brazil Friendly 06/02/2013

February 7, 2013 Leave a comment

Growing up as a football mad kid in the 70’s, the Brazil national team was a thing a fantasy. Pele, Rivelino, Carlos Alberto and Jairzinho were in the pantheon of world football in an age where global travel was sparse and the Internet was the property of the US military.

Yesterday, although an occasion, was England against 3 blokes from Chelsea, QPR’s keeper and the fella who scored against England last in 2002, and had just been recalled.

So the key point was, are Ramirez, Ruiz and Cesar and co up to the mark on the international stage. Before anyone thinks I’m taking the piss, i do understand that between them, there were at least 5 champions league winners in the squad, and the fella on the way back has 2 Ballon D’Ors ! Also playing was the latest wonder kid off the samba production machine, Neymar.

The England team look refreshing with Walcott allegedly starting up top with Rooney and Wellbeck. Ashley Cole made his 100th appearance which meant that with Steven Gerrard, history was being made, as the first centurions to ever play together for England. Jack Wilshere started in the middle edging out Frank Lampard.

There was a minutes silence for both Munich and Bobby Moore prior to kick off which was observed by about all but 5 imbeciles out of 87000 + people.

Silence ! Please !

Silence ! Please !

Once kick off got under way it was apparent that Walcott and Wellbeck were pushed out onto the wings. Talking of Wellbeck, there was one other weird stat. He had scored for England with every shot on target !

Wilshere was looking industrious from the off, but so did Brazil. The way they naturally move the ball around was great to watch but not a lot of end result. England were more direct with Wilshere tearing forward when he had the chance. On 19 mins Ronaldinho tried to cross a ball after some more 1 -2’s but the ball  got as far as a jumping Wilshere, hit his arm, and a penalty was given. This was similar to the Ryan Giggs ball to hand incident here and not in my opinion a pen.

So up steps big Ron, up against someone a little more agile than Dave Seaman this time, and takes his best. Joe Hart gets down to his left and makes the save, but the ball bounces out in the path of the incoming Brazilian. Hart stops again, and then Cleverley clears the ball and was lucky not to give away another pen in the process. Great work Joe, as he adds another chapter to the CV.

Will he be this calm in a WC Final ?

Will he be this calm in a WC Final ?

This deflated the visitors a little, and England started to push on . They finally took the lead just after the half hour mark, when Wilshere (again) burst through, slid a great ball through to Walcott, whose blocked shot came all the way out to Rooney, who smashed it home. England went into the break still on top.

Half time brought the usual subs so the game should die off, but Brazil didn’t read that script, and came out all guns blazing. Within 3 minutes, due to a rare Cahill error Fred pull off a screamer to equalise and nearly did the same thing about 3 minutes later, just clipping the bar.

England dipped hugely after this, but held on. Some further subs brought on Lampard. Who slotted in the Cleverley’s position but seemed to be more natural at moving the ball about.

Walcott hit some fierce form in the middle of the half and seemed to be roasting the Brazilian left back at will. But instead of coming into the middle as he was he just hit the line and got the crosses in. Rooney went close with a header for his second, and you could sense the tide was turning. On the hour mark, following a pass back from Rooney, Lampard showed every bit of his experience to volley past Cesar, off the post, for the winner.

Rooney hits bar and his backside !

Rooney hits bar and his backside !

So to sum up, Wilshere is definitely one for the future, and just needs to learn to shoot, or at least take on the responsibility. Scott Parker has had this issue as well, and it should be easy to fix. That said he was still MOTM. Hart’s penalty save was brilliant. Rooney was swashbuckling, Lampard seems to be beginning an Indian summer of his career.  I will say the jury is out on Cleverley and Wellbeck. One last thing, Glen Johnson, good as you are, you are not Roberto Carlos, get back and defend, and stop leaving your position uncovered.

Half time random unannounced Samba dancers !

Half time random unannounced Samba dancers !

England VS Ukraine WC Qualifier 11/09/2012

September 15, 2012 Leave a comment

After the easy win last week, this game was always going to prove a little more tricky for Roy’s boys. The close 1 nil win against the hosts of the Euros showed that the Ukraines were no push over and England would need to be on their best.

Without their Talisman, Mr Shevchenko, Ukraine started a little cagey. With our untried midfield (Gerrard and Lampard, lol) we did too. Seriously, these guys have had nearly 10 years to get it right, and just fail  every time. It has to be egos, but that has no place at this level, either they were both too far forward or too far back, normally back. How we think we can punish teams at home when both our central midfielders are in our half, i really dont know.

One other surprise was Mr Cleverly at no 10. Number 10 says to me, Maradona and Cryuff (Rooney ?), not someone who hasn’t yet scored for his club. This is not his fault, but when Sturridge was on the bench does suggest some odd thinking from the manager.

Defoe had a stunner disallowed after an alleged misdemeanor, and that was about it for England’s first half, outside of Cleverly missing two sitters. The Ukrainians, although equally as drab scored a sreamer just before half time to go in 1 up, thanks to Konoplyanka.

For the second half no subs were made and England carried on as usual with no one utilising Defoe and trying to play around the back. The Ukrainians just held up and moved it on (albeit to nothing).  Cleverly was finally put out of his misery on the hour mark, and some small gains were made as Wellback started to run about a bit and cause trouble. Then Sturridge replaced the Ox (who was very inefficient) , and once again England stepped up. Wellbeck had already tried to claim one penalty when he got the second, and Lamps put away his 27th goal  in 93 appearances for the national side.

Then with hardly any time left England press on for victory, until Mr Gerrard capped off a poor performance with a very mistimed tackle in no mans land to get a red and seal the game at 1-1.

So the honeymoon is over for Hodgson and the real work starts. He has had a favour with Gerrard being out for at least one game as he can make a new captain, and feel easier about dropping Gerrard if he feels the need. Who’s it to be?, probably Lampard, as the best of a bad bunch. Hart seems obvious but i’m never too sure about keepers being captains, but he has done it before at U-21 level.

Rooney is needed, if fit, and Wellbeck should step up as a starter. There is still a place for Defoe, but only as part of a two up top. This leaves Tom Cleverly. Just too old for the U-21, but definitely out of his depth in this company and especially near the front of the team. Also the Ox needs to to improve after blasting onto the scene.

In short Roy needs to hand out some hairdryers and get the team focused again. I feel he has spent the summer blowing smoke up them, to encourage a team rather than building one. Thats OK for one tournament, but we now have a campaign to manage.

San Marino next. No surely not. Stranger things have happened………………………………….

Obligatory Wembley Photo. Ukraine in Blue !

Diving pt 2. Or just falling over ?

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

So after my well received tirade against diving 10 days ago, it was bettered by something i watched last night. Just before i went to bed i flicked over the telly to the near end of the “Grand Final” of the A League. Basically the FA Cup final for our friends down under. This was contested between the Brisbane Roar and the Perth Glory.

With a couple of mins to go Berisha of the Roar got a great header to equalise, so i thought i would catch the end of this, expecting fireworks. What i got was beyond belief.

In a nut shell, at 4 mins into the time added on (of 4), this Berisha character, dances around the glory defence, and goes to pull the trigger. He misses the ball, and his body momentum means he falls over. No one is anywhere near him. He waves his arms around, and gets a PENALTY. In a cup final, in a packed stadium. So, he could just take his luck and be happy. No. He charges off like a man possessed, who has just won the World Cup.

He then cooly takes the penalty, and the Roar win the cup.

Ashley Young look out, this cheat is the real deal.

Click on the link below to see the action in all its glory (or not if you are from Perth).

Berisha getting away with it

Gotta love the commentator, “I’m not sure about that at all”