Friday, 28 October 2011

4-4-2 it's a football thing

It's that friday feeling, the start of the weekend is almost upon us! For a change it's like the good old days in regards to the fixture list this weekend, with no less than 16 top flight teams playing on a saturday! We take a look @ a few of the fixtures that have caught the eye. The headliner early kick off is between two of the modern day 'big four' as Chelsea entertain Arsenal @ the Bridge. 

Chelsea have been in and out the news this week, as the battle of the pitch invaders looks like it's gonna be going on for a while as the group known as The Chelsea Pitch Owners refuse to sell back their shares to the Chelsea board. The fans want the club to explore every avenue in extending the capacity @ the Bridge before they except any offer for their shares. This could get messy! 

Next up for high flying Norwich are struggling Blackburn! @ the start of the season this would of been one of them games that you would of expected Rovers to win.... how the tables have turned. Paul Lambert's lads will  be looking to land the killer blow, resulting in the ever so popular Steve Kean losing his job!  With only a hand full of wins in over 30 odd games it's not rocket science to see that his time is almost up! 

Up @ the DWG stadium Wigan entertain an inconsistent Fulham team. Martin Jol hasn't really got the best out of his team upto now! A 6-0 hammering of local rivals QPR is the only bit of joy the Fulham fans have had so far this season, After last weekends disappointment of losing 3-1 @ home to the Toffee's, Jol will be looking for the Whites to show some spirit, along with Zamora showing some composure in front of goal. 
As for Wigan, they need 3 points and fast, this winless run is sucking out all of the confidence of the team, this one could go either way! 

United will look to put last weeks drumming behind them as they travel to Everton, The Toffee's have a good record @ home against United, Will Rooney keep calm as he returns to his boyhood team or will the fans get the better of him? One things for sure if Sir Alex's team crumble like last week.... it will be more than the odd boot going flying in the dressing room come full time! 

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The term 'LEGEND'

The term 'legend' gets used all to often in the modern world of football, 'oh did ya see that goal by Walcott? he is a legend' or 'That sliding tackle by Terry was legendary.' It's got to the point now where people are calling Rory Delap's thow-ins 'Legendary'

Years ago players would only be classed as 'Legends' once their playing career had finished, The likes of Bobby Moore, George Best, Pele & Ruud Gullit. Players that offered more to the game than just the odd flash of brilliance. 

I get fed up with the Sky sports commentators  in particular Alan Smith, always banging on how such and such a player is a legend! It's as if the guy's worried about calling someone average! Grow some balls mate! 

Pundits go on about how the games changed, and how the likes of Pele and co may not have been so successful if they were playing today! How on earth do they work that out? The ball is lighter, half of the old-skool tackles have been outlawed, Players get away with diving and on top of all that the pitches are now like cricket lawns! Bloody hell Pele & Best would of had a field day!

After hearing City fans @ the weekend claim that the likes of Mario Balotelli, James Milner & David Silva are  now 'Legends' i couldn't help but wonder what if...... 

(Lets get things in perspective City won the F.A Cup last season, their first bit of silverware in so many years but they couldn't get the consistency in the league.) 

@ The end of the day they played United off the pitch, scored 6 goals and looked a good attacking team.... But no matter how many goals a team scores they can only get 3 points for a win! There is no point beating United away if you end up losing to QPR @ home! 

So if City finish 2nd or 3rd this season will the likes of Balotelli, Milner & Silva still be classed as Legends? 

Personally i feel that pundits and commentators should back up their claims when they call a player a 'legend'
Could you imagine Jeff Stelling turning around to Iain Dowie and ask him to elaborate on why Leighton Baines is a 'legend'  

Maybe this is why modern day players walk around like super heroes? they need to be pegged back a notch or two! 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Unsung Heroes - Martin Peters

Think 1966, think the World Cup, think England, Wembley, Germany 4-2, Hurst, Moore, Charlton, Nobby dancing.

An unsung hero for me though, Martin Peters, only twenty two, the Final only his eighth cap, he was called up just before the World Cup and was hailed by Sir Alf Ramsey as a player "ten years ahead of his time".

Ten years ahead? Maybe more, we never saw another midfielder like him for England again arguably until Bryan Robson, it's a cliche but for England's "wingless wonders" he covered every inch of grass - he had to - with everything coming through the middle. Not that that mattered, for his domestic club West Ham he had played (at one time or another) in every outfield position.

For England he scored a goal every three games and his career spanned eight years, playing for only four clubs in total. At West Ham he was "The Ghost" timing his runs into the box to perfection and appearing as if from nowhere. We all know the claim that "West Ham won the World Cup" and it's true (to a certain extent) with Peters playing no small part, it was his goal from a half volley that put the hosts ahead to settle the nerves. The understanding at domestic level between Hurst, Peters & Moore transferred well from club to country and also helped to provide some much needed backbone.

His move from West Ham (where he had graduated through the Academy) to local neighbours Tottenham Hotspur for a then record transfer fee probably didn't help relations with one of their fiercest rivals, in fact I know of at least one Hammers fan who held it against Spurs for the rest of his life saying that "Spurs had got a World Cup winner, while they had ended up with an alcoholic has been" - a bit harsh perhaps (we all know he liked a tipple) but Jimmy Greaves who did move the other way as part of the deal still had a few goals left in him.....

Peters who had already won a European Trophy (with West Ham) and a World Cup had continued success at Spurs. His pace, stamina, distribution and discipline that had marked him out as one for the future was still there even though the game had got quicker and players more skillful, he captained both club & country finding a new band of admirers amongst the Tottenham faithful.

By the time he hit thirty, inevitability perhaps for one starting out and hitting such heights so young his time at the highest level began to slip away, he still played another five years after to moving to Norwich City helping them to promotion and consolidating their place in the then First Division.
But this was no 'has been' seeing out his days, in fact he was voting Player of the Season twice @ Carrow Road and was also inducted into the Norwich City Hall of Fame.

His influence can still be seen today, @ West Ham Frank Lampard Jr would have been no stranger to tales of this magnificent box to box midfielder years ahead of his time and it's quite something that Martin Peters is loved by so many fans from two rival London clubs and is regularly welcomed back with open arms - something which can't be said by many others.......

This is the first of which I hope will be a series, what's your view? Who would be your unsung hero in the world of football? Feel free to comment and keep up to date with us on Facebook & Twitter!

The midweekers midweek cuppa

As we sit down for a cheeky cup of tea and a few hob nobs, The Midweeker reflects on the past week. 'well i aint gonna bang on about the Manchester derby, it was a great game, you only get 3 points for a win, regardless how many you stick in the back of the net' After the first swig of tea, The MW points to an image of Sven, 'The man should knock it on the head' From the glory days of Benfica & Lazio, to the cold wet nights stuck up in Leicester, the last 10 years haven't gone to plan for the ex-England boss. Big name signings haven't delivered and it was only gonna be a matter of time before Sven was thrown to the Wolves.

Next to feel the wrath of the MW was England captain John Terry! 'Regardless if he said this or that, the lad's form has been suspect of late, needs to take a cold shower and get his head down' How could Chelsea show such a lack of discipline against QPR? The only saving grace from that game was the score line, to lose only 1-0 with 9 men was a feat in itself.

On the red side of North London, The Big German lad, Mertesacker has got the rest of the footballing world laughing! The German has been quoted as saying that they will finish in the top 4! 'I'm very confident and I think we'll do this.'

Meanwhile on all things England Stevie G has given his backing for 'Arry to take over the hot seat when FAB calls it a day after the Euro's! 'Harry Redknapp's name crops up a lot and he's done an unbelievable job. I don't think he gets the credit he deserves for what he's done at Tottenham'

With some eye catching performances over the weekend, the MW is quick to point out that Newcastle's Cabaye looks a right touch! That was a great bit of business from the Newcastle board over the Summer!

So as the last drop of tea hits the spot, the MW is up and off to catch the early train to Aldershot for their Carling cup game against United.

Cult Heroes

Next up in our Cult Hero series sees 'hard man' David Batty enter the hall of fame. Born back in 1968 in West Yorkshire, Batty first made his name @ his local club Leeds United. Going on to make over 200 appearances as well as winning the old first division championship back in 91, 92.

Batty fact: During his early days @ Leeds, Billy Bremner thought Batty was a bit of a lightweight, and needed to man up. So every morning Bremner would call the sheepish Batty into his office, and give him a cheeky glass of Sherry, topped off with a raw egg! 

During the autumn of 93, Then leeds boss Howard Wilkinson decided it was a good idea to sell the defensive midfielder to Blackburn! During Rovers title winning campaign, a dodgy foot restricted Batty to just a handful of appearances. Although being offered a winners medal, Batty declined the offer. 

In 96 Batty was on the move again, this time further up north to Newcastle, it was @ this time that Newcastle were right up there trying to win the title. After a few seasons with The Geordies, Batty moved back to Leeds in a deal for around £4.4 Million. 

Although Batty played 42 odd games for England, he will be best remembered for his miss in the penalty shoot-out against The Argies back in 98!