Is it to early to judge?

Is it to early to judge?

With just 7 games gone in the championship and 4 games gone in the Premier League already some fans are calling for their manager to be sacked. This is an absolute nonsense in my opinion and just sum’s up how the game is changing year on year especially when it comes to expectations.

The game is about winning and always has been but surely 4/6 games is nowhere near enough to make a judgement on the season ahead.

For me it’s the unrealistic expectation that causes problems. Sure you always go to a game hoping your team win but expecting them to invariably can lead to disappointment. Why do some fans think they have a divine right to beat any other team? You may feel this is a game you should and could win but having a mind-set that says “it’s only xxxxx team and so we have to beat them because we are bigger and have spent more money”.

Football is not a science it is a game and for 90 minutes players make decisions and the team whose players make better decisions win the game and those that make poor decisions usually lose. And also the team with the better players should make better decisions. However we are talking about human beings who can and will have good days and bad days. It’s not like it is on football computer games where it is so easy that is fantasy football at kick off time at your club its reality.

Crystal Palace sacked their manager Frank de Boer after just 4 games and 4 defeats. I watched them against Burnley and they had enough chances to win two games but didn’t take them. However the manager’s tactics saw them control the game and create the best chances so although the manager is accountable for results he is not responsible for missed easy chances.

I wonder if the clubs foreign owners made the decision to sack him from afar.

It seems that two defeats on the spin creates pressure and of course the media love pressure because it fills a lot of space in newspapers, TV and radio.

The game has a number of examples of owners who were patient and reaped the rewards-Alex Ferguson at Man United where the fans wanted him out early on in his reign and even more recently at Birmingham where in 2006-7 season Steve Bruce was clearly not wanted after losing to Norwich 12 games into the season but the board kept faith and were rewarded when the team won 12 of the next 14 games and ended up winning automatic promotion. Every manager knows it’s about winning games but the time a manager is allowed is getting lesser each season.

Back to the bread & butter of League football-but with new tasty fillings

Back to the bread & butter of League football-but with new tasty fillings

I am not a fan of international breaks and to be fair they were brought in to help the England manager prepare better by having more time with his players yet we have not been anywhere near winning anything have we. However it’s back to the bread and butter of league football this weekend with all our teams having new players on show following the frantic last few days of the transfer window.

Yet despite lots 0of new players arriving fans are not as confident of success as I would have thought. I conducted a twitter poll to gauge the fans feelings about where they would end up this season with 4’500 voting.

Villa supporters surprised me with 54% thinking they will finish outside of the top six while 54% of Blues fans thought they would finish outside the playoff places. Lot more positive among Wolves fans with 52% certain they would finish in the top 6.

Baggies fans are delighted with their summer signings with 56% of them saying they will finish between 7th and 12th in the Premier League.

Down in League One a massive 70% of Saddlers supporters are convinced they will finish lower than 6th place.

Apart from Baggies and Wolves fans who have a positive realistic outlook for the season ahead there is a lot of pessimistic but perhaps realistic negativity among other supporters. I am sure this cautious approach is borne out of so many seasons of promise that ended in disappointment?

At the end of the day polls are only opinions there are so many other factors to take into account that will have a huge impact on how the season goes.

Will the new players settle in and make an immediate impact or take time?

Who will have more than one striker netting 15 plus goals?

Who will have a goalkeeper who’s hotter than a Balsall Heath Balti?

Who will suffer least with injuries and suspensions?

Who will have the rub of the green?

All will be revealed between now and May in the soap opera that is football. I can’t wait for Saturday to come.

 

Club over Country-but why?

Club over Country-but why?

 

Does anyone really care about the England national team these days?  That is definitely not my opinion but a question following a twitter poll I conducted on the Goalzone ahead of the game against Malta. Over 2000 fans voted with 89% saying they would always put club before country. I was staggered at the result.

I watched England’s two world cup qualifiers this weekend and they won them both and if as we say it’s always about the result them surely with 6 points from 6 we should be happy? However fans are not happy at all with complaints about boring negative football.

Sometimes no matter what the ranking of the opposition they can be well organised and set up to frustrate. Patience is what is needed to break them down. Against Malta England controlled the game and spent long periods in the Malta half but did not turn that into goals until late on. Slovakia were a decent team in my opinion and England played much better especially in the second half.

The question is are England as good as the hype surrounding them? I am not sure we have the all-round quality needed to win a major competition. Many people say there are great players coming through and it won’t be long before England are competing for the biggest of prizes. To be brutally honest we have been hearing this for years. Perhaps the problem is that we pick the so called best players but not the best team?

In 1966 I along with multi millions watched Sir Alf Ramsey’s England lift the World Cup on that magical day at Wembley where they kicked off the competition as second favourites to the mighty Brazil. Worth remembering that the manager said from the outset that England would win the World Cup.

Four years later the whole country was captivated as we watched for the first time in colour on TV what many thought was an even better England team go out at the quarter-final stage in the greatest of all World Cup finals-Mexico. It was England who looked comfortable but amazingly let a 2-0 lead against West Germany slip to eventually go out 3-2 after extra time. To this day I cannot believe what I witnessed! The first choice keeper Gordon Banks was ruled out with food poisoning with Peter Bonetti taking his place. It’s fair to say it was not Peter’s finest hour. I also remember to this day Geoff Hurst’s goal ruled out for offside when it was obvious to everyone but the referee and linesman that it should have been allowed and also the legendary Jeff Astle’s great chance that went begging.

The point I am making, while reminiscing, is that everyone put England first the whole country was backing the Three Lions. Whereas today lots of people say “I don’t care about England I just care about my club”. That is backed up by the results of my twitter poll but why? Is what is bugging me?

It's not often (pt3)

It's not often (pt3)

It is not often I get angry as a boxing fan the Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor event being top of the “Boxing” bill in Las Vegas left me fuming. Mainly because it was not genuine boxing but more a circus act, albeit entertaining, for those who paid fortunes to see it live or watch it on TV-they were in my opinion mugged off.

I get it was massive in financial terms but how was it top of the bill when Nathan Cleverly’s genuine World title fight was second? Boxing and the authorities who sanctioned it should be ashamed of themselves.

Mayweather has been a great boxer and champion and his record of 49 and 0 is remarkable but if he honestly believes he is the new record holder beating Rocky Marciano’s record 49-0 record he is mistaken certainly in the eyes of genuine boxing fans.

As for McGregor’s pre-fight screeching and screaming nonsense! Don’t kid yourself that it was just to sell tickets. In my opinion to be that nasty and arrogant with the “I will finish him in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th round” attitude made me ashamed for the sport and made me want to see him get taught a lesson and he was.

He was breathing out of his backside after a few rounds a sign, many pro boxers tell me, of not enough work on the “bags”. Was he fit enough? Did he genuinely believe he won first six rounds? Perhaps he will change his opinion when he has watched it back.

True he is tough fit and courageous but he was also classless post fight by saying it was stopped too early when it was clear it was stopped to prevent him taking more punishment and for his own well-being after being “schooled” by Mayweather. However in UFC he was always respectful to his opponents after defeat

Having said all that were they to fight under MMA/UFC rules then in my opinion McGregor would win convincingly. They are different sports albeit strength fitness and courage being the requirements for both.

I would love to see McGregor fight on a UBADD “BKB” bill although I suspect there would not be enough money to tempt him. Hopefully BKB Top promoters Joe Brown and Jim freeman will ask the question and try to persuade him to fight on their Wembley bill next year.

Now next month there is a real genuine 100% great boxing match in Vegas when the undefeated unified world middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin takes on Canelo Álvarez who’s only defeat by the way was to Floyd Mayweather. I would not miss this fight for anything and if Golovkin, who is 37-0 goes on to beat Mayweather’s new artificial record then I and millions of boxing fans will be delighted.

It's not often (pt2)

It's not often (pt2)

It is not often football makes me laugh but Stoke manager Mark Hughes certainly did a week ago last Sunday. Implying that they didn’t win because the baggies had not cut the grass short enough was hilarious. It was the same for both teams and if the grass really was not short enough to suit how you play how come your expensive squad of players could not adapt? Surely your job as a Head coach is to have them prepared for any eventuality? For example monsoon like rain? Or does everything have to be perfect. What next? The goals not wide enough? The pitch not short enough? The referee not good enough? The lines not clear enough? Get a grip Mark.