Captain chaos? A case for the defence

It won’t have escaped the attention of beady eyed Huddersfield Town fans that we are yet to recruit a centre back this summer. Even after Ross Wilson has been made so aware of the fact through his twitter account.

This will alarm many, as the defence is seen as a weak link, and having conceded six goals on more than one occasion last term, it’s certainly not absurd to suggest that it’s not exactly rock solid.

However, as we find our feet in the Championship and adjust to the limitations of financial fair play, we must realise that we won’t be able to just buy a top class defender, or even a defender who’ll be significantly better than who we currently have.

Now club captain Peter Clarke is currently being highlighted by many as the root of all evil, but I’d suggest he’s getting a rough ride.

He’s unquestionably a limited defender but he isn’t the clown he’s being portrayed to be. Fully committed, strong, and picked by three consecutive managers as their captain. He must be doing something right, as when managerial job expectancy is about a year, there’s little room for sentiment.

He’s consistently saved the team more times than he’s cost them, and I’d suggest this will continue to be the case.

Like everyone he’ll have bad games, and his critics will go out of their way to point out his mistakes. However I’d argue that the defence was consistently let down by the midfield last term, and hopefully this has been addressed.

Given time I’m sure we will replace him, but I for one won’t be crying out if I see his name on the teamsheet at any point this coming season.


The 90 second Championship Preview

The Championship is one of the most-watched leagues in European football, so it’s only right that we give it a full 90 seconds-worth of a preview.

Struggle to match other clubs budgets, but have a good man in charge in David Flitcroft and have recruited wisely. Could struggle.

Massive squad, difficult to see what their first XI will be week-to-week. Could struggle.

Nearly went down last season despite having a 30-goal striker on their books, which is impressive in a way. Could struggle.

Still have highly-rated Tom Ince on their books at time of writing. Might not by the time it all kicks off. Could struggle.

Finished on an upward curve last season. Big squad, lots of depth. Could struggle.

Smallest ground in the league, but with a manager comfortable in his surroundings and capable of getting the best from limited resources. Could struggle.

Released Vicente, so why should we be interested any more? Stylish football, exciting new manager, should go well. Could struggle.

Workmanlike manager with side created in his own image. Managed to hang onto the prolific Charlie Austin, for now at least. Could struggle.

Solid if unspectacular looking squad, but a manager with a burgeoning reputation. Could struggle.

Nigel Clough is still there, in case you were wondering. Squad looks alright, I suppose. Could struggle.

Disastrous Saunders experiment over and promoted amidst incredible scenes at Griffin Park. With a decent start on the crest of that wave, they might be alright. Could struggle.

Squad less reliant on loanees and a manager who might have an actual style – we just don’t know yet. Questions over whether they have many goals in them. Could struggle.

Mid-table squad, mid-table manager. Could struggle.

Much-promised investment still seems some way away. Could struggle.

Widely-tipped to do well. Got money behind them, goals aplenty from all over the field, plenty of experience. Could struggle.

The post-Julio Arca era begins. Possibly still a couple of players short of a real title challenge. Could struggle.

Jackett gone, Lomas in, Morison back. Decent enough squad, if you like that sort of thing. Could struggle.

Nottm Forest
Canny recruitment under the returning Billy Davies. Will most likely do well. Could struggle.

Lavishly remunerated squad of outcasts, misfits and wasters. Managed to get progressively worse as last season went on, but surely have the resources to more than compete a league below. Could struggle.

Managed to keep the bulk of a squad that got relegated last season together. Decent manager and a bit of continuity might be a good thing. Could struggle.

Sheffield Wednesday
Tough squad with massive defenders and a bit of pace. Not massively changed from last season where they struggled. Could struggle.

Further utilising links to parent (Udinese) and sister (Granada) clubs to build a decent squad. Will miss the goals of Matej Vydra, but have plenty of talent to cope. Could struggle.

Out of the Premier League and now without Roberto Martinez who took a few players with him to Everton and may yet take more. Jordi Gomez and Roger Espinoza ought to be too good for this level. Could struggle.

A season of pat-on-the-head patronisation awaits. Good manager and a good League 1 squad. Could struggle.

The unacceptable words policy

At 90 second football we find ourselves standing on the shoulders of giants, so we’ve seen Liverpool’s list of unacceptable words and devised a list of our own.
We don’t accept any of the following words


That group with the Leader from the Simpsons: Movementarians
Anything Ricky Gervais goes on about

Piers Morgan
Alan Shearer
Four Four Tom
False 9
BBC Sporf
Lad @richaskew
Thronker @ron1981rs
“He’s not his dad” specifically banned at Pride Park @tweddytwedds

If you think we’ve missed any then do hesitate to add some.

The 90 second League 1 preview

Following our 90-second look at League 2, it’s time to apply the same principle to League 1.

A major cup-final and promotion leaves a lot to live up to in the new season. Could struggle.

How do they pick themselves up from promotion heartbreak twice over? Could struggle.

Bristol City
Relegated with a whimper last season, though Sean O’Driscoll was at least able to start rebuilding. Could struggle.

Danny Cadamarteri? Could struggle.

Have some familiar players, but does Colchester really have a football club? Most elaborate hoax, ever. Could struggle.

What an absolute mess. Could struggle.

Steve Evans isn’t in charge any more and that’s all anyone knows about them. Could struggle.

As pre-season preparation goes, getting half a side charged with rape isn’t a good idea. Could struggle.

Martin Allen is still in management. Could struggle.

Unless Wikipedia has been vandalised, they’ve got a player called De’Reece Vanderhyde. Could struggle.

Milton Keynes
Hope they struggle. Could struggle.

Notts County
Cosmopolitan squad, nice bloke in charge. Could struggle.

Foetal manager. Could struggle.

Called ‘the Posh’. It’s a lie. Could struggle.

Port Vale
Promoted last season, but little to suggest they’ll carry that momentum on. Could struggle.

Dour manager, though one with a habit of getting clubs promoted from this division. Kevin Davies lends experience and elbows to the attack. Could struggle.

Runners-up in League 2 last season, though difficult to see how that happened. Could struggle.

Sheffield United
Rapidly becoming a fixture in this division. Huge squad which includes American expressionist/neo-Dadaist painter Jasper Johns. A maverick move. Could struggle.

Skinny squad, low on recognisable names. Could struggle.

Formerly a set of alehouse long-ball biffers under Graham Westley. Well he’s back. Could struggle.

Start the season without a manager. Could struggle.

Having Max Power on your books should ensure success. Could struggle.

Another one of those clubs it’s easy to forget about. Unremarkable in so many ways. Could struggle.

How did it come to this? By hiring Dean Saunders, mainly. He’s gone, Kenny Jackett is in. Surely they can’t drop lower than this. Could struggle.

The 90 second League 2 preview

All you need to know about league 2 in 90 seconds. All the modern football fan needs. Thanks to John Dobson for this. Follow him on twitter @johnnydobbo

Wikipedia shows them to have only a small squad. Could struggle.

AFC Wimbledon
Seem to have turned things round under Neal Ardley and have a few players I’ve heard of. Could struggle.

Bristol Rovers
Good manager, got German and a Brazilian midfielders. Could struggle.

Burton Albion
Did well last year, but second-season syndrome? Rory Delap can throw it a long way. Could struggle.

Financial difficulties, low attendances. Could struggle.

Jamie Cureton is still playing? Who knew? Could struggle.

Ritchie Humphreys is still playing? Who knew? Could struggle.

Struggled last season. Could struggle.

Sartorially elegant manager, good goalkeeper. Could struggle.

Fleetwood Town
Rich as Croesus, signed some exciting players. Could struggle.

If their Peter Hartley is the former Yorkshire fast-medium bowler, could struggle.

Won the Conference last season with a physical, long-ball approach. Could struggle.

Popular manager, but difficult times off the field. Could struggle.

Have some players I’ve heard of. That is no guarantor of quality. Could struggle.

Lewis Hornby sounds like Lewis Holtby. Could struggle.

Have some good players and a reliable goal threat. Lugubrious journalist Jonathan Meades a left-of-centre signing. My top to go well. Could struggle.

Emerging from a period of turmoil and looking in much better shape. Could struggle.

High expectation that they’ve hit rock bottom and are now lookimg upwards again. Could struggle.

Jack O’Connell is a fine loan signing from Blackburn. Could struggle.

Matt Sparrow returns to boost their chances of an immediate return to League 1. Iwelumo and Burton don’t lack experience. Could struggle.

Phil Brown and his little earbud will have a job on their hands here. Could struggle.

Small squad of relative unknowns, so will probably be really good. Could struggle.

Plenty of goal threat, solid defence and strength in depth. Could struggle.

Signed an Estonian and lots of tall players. Could struggle.

Retweeting failed predictions: the tedious twitter trend

With a new season on the horizon every football fan will be making futile predictions about the fortunes of their team.

Now you are basically asking someone to predict the future, with only a select amount of information to hand. It’s not easy, and if you get it right you’ve been lucky. However, get it wrong and you’re clearly a moron.

Now it’s an increasingly common twitter practise to trawl back months to find a prediction from a tweeter and retweet it to illustrate what a clueless dickhead a person is.

If someone has made a prediction with the clear intent to wind people up, and to “troll” then to highlight their cretinous nature is fair enough. However, when someone has made a fair prediction and just got it wrong, then surely ridiculing them, and retweeting ad nausea makes you the dick.

What we are basically doing is jumping on someone who has made a prediction. It leads to people not making bold statements and as a result people will play it safe to avoid the tedious crap that follows.

Seemingly we want bolder pundits, but we aren’t happy when people take a chance and get it wrong.

So here goes: All 3 promoted teams will struggle as they were all average in the league below, and Norwich won’t be anywhere near as good as people think they will be.

Technology in sport: why it can f**k off

There seems to be a universal love for technology in football. As far as I’m aware, and I don’t research these things, there’ll be goal line technology in place in the Premier League next season. Hooray say the masses, and boo say I.

Why do I dislike technology in sport? Well it isn’t the fact that the right decision is usually made, but more the fact that it sanitises football. The game, basically an organised chaos, will soon enough be without error. Talking points will be removed, the pain & passion ultimately alleviated by constant breaks in play.

To illustrate my point about breaks in play, hang on I just want to make sure that last sentence made sense (draws tv with hands) now we have to wait a few minutes, forget what they say about a few seconds, and we’re good to go again. Result: inconclusive.

Now where was I? Oh yes breaks in play. Now stop there, got to check that spelling now. (Draws tv with hands) now whistle for a minute or 2. Good to go again. Result: it was fine.

Football & other sports are made great by split second moments. That brief second before the ball hits the back of the net, followed by that euphoria. It’s a perfect second that sets sport apart & makes it so popular. If you then have to wait 2 minutes to check if it was a good goal, then you’re eliminating something so vital to the enjoyment of the game.

Ultimately, I don’t expect anybody to agree with me, but I’m of the opinion that football is fine, and all the better for mistakes. The clearing up of the 2 or 3 contentious goal line decisions made every year, won’t change anything, and trust me, when referees start going to the video ref for clear goals, you’ll start to tire of it too.

Preseason: let’s not get confused, football isn’t back.

Yesterday I did something I said I would never do again: I attended a preseason friendly.

I had some time to kill before attending the wedding celebrations of a friend in the evening, so I thought I’d go along.

My expectations weren’t high, in fact they were hitting the heights of a snakes stomach at the start, and sadly by the final whistle the “game” couldn’t even reach that.

It was a nothing affair. Goals went in, players looked slow and off the pace, and Chesterfield looked a touch fitter and like they were taking it a touch more seriously.

Huddersfield brought a fair number of fans, and Chesterfield’s stewards decided to keep us all together in one section of a stand.

This rather pointless act ended when a few “lads” sat in the next section, and much like the middle aged man who sees kids on his car, but doesn’t do anything about it, the stewards realised this wasn’t a fight worth having anymore.

Ultimately though, it was the sort of game synonymous with preseason. Drink breaks, mass substitutions, and players who you’ll never see play during the season getting a game & making no impact whatsoever.

It was a reminder that football doesn’t start in July and preseason really is best ignored. My advice, watch the cricket until football actually returns in August

What on earth is happening in football? Hayden Shaw edition

Being asked to do anything where taking less than 90 seconds is the goal is great for me because, well, you get where that was going, I’m not going to spell it out for you because you’re clearly both bright and filthy enough to work it out.

On the subject of bright and filthy – Marc Muniesa – a bright young talent, has joined Stoke City – a bunch of filthy, cheating, hoofball bastards. I can imagine Charlie Adam is going to need a pint or two to get over the shock of Muniesa trying to pass it out to him from the back whilst Shawcross looks on in horror.

Jonjo Shelvey, who reminds me a little of the computer game (and awful film) character Hitman, but uglier, has joined Swansea in a move rumoured to be worth 2.5 Michus or 0.1 Fernando Torres. £5m to the uninitiated. Wages haven’t yet been disclosed but my sources (a guess) tells me it will be a lot of nurses and soldiers salaries per week. It’s an unusual move for Liverpool, a summer where they’ve bought players for roughly what they’re worth or slightly under, and sold for roughly their value or slightly higher. This is probably a hustle before they bid £20m for Francis Jeffers.

Thiago and Higuain are both still plying their trade in Spain, despite what seems like a year of being “about to sign” for Manchester United and Arsenal respectively. Luckily for everyone involved this means that the transfers have now been escalated to “sagas” with only days remaining before they move up again to “protracted sagas”.

Portsmouth have signed 9 players so far this summer, proving that you can take the Wheeler Dealer out of Pompey but you can’t take the Wheeling Dealing out of Pompey. Hopefully you can take the numpty with the bell out of the crowd though.

I happen to be one of those genius level people with a reading age around 13 so all of this has taken me like 3 seconds to read, but for the slower readers out there, this is your lot. Thank you and good day.

Kick Memes out of football



I bet I can.

Ever since memes went mainstream, people have been using them at every opportunity to describe an emotion or make a quick joke. Some football fans thought it would a cracking idea to introduce memes into football for a good laugh, but they have become so popular and frequent that they are the fat tumour growing in the football side of Twitter and Facebook.

The purpose of football meme accounts is take an action of a player or club, poke fun at it and recycle the joke for a few months to earn endless retweets, angry responses of “yeah we got the joke 4 tweets ago” and gain more followers than Andorra’s population. No surprise this type of account is so popular; people love repetition and basic humour, hence why KSI still has an audience and keeps rolling in the Youtube dollars.

Their frequent use of the words ‘overrated’, ‘legend’ and ‘respect’ combined with poor grammar and an inability to make their mind up on a player make these accounts hard to like and cause you to hate anyone who regularly retweets them. Take GeniusFootball for example on Neymar. The account posts this but then later posts this about him. Come on now GenuisFootball, please make your mind up on the player because you’re coming across as schizophrenic and thick as a Geordie Shore cast member after a lobotomy.

If you ever see a poor example of a football meme, tweet a link to it and hasthag #KickMemesOutOfFootball or #AgainstModernFootball. Maybe this will start a fight against poor football discourse. Or something.

Follow me at @MikeDingDong.