Managers come & go and it’s time to accept it

Every season it seems that about half of all football league clubs part ways with their manager. It usually starts about 5 games into any season and once it starts it soon spirals out of control.

Deserved sackings for consistently poor results, hard luck stories, fall outs with the board. Multiple reasons are given, but all that remains is a quote from a “shocked” journalist saying “nothing in football surprises me anymore”

Now I want clubs to stick by their managers, and I strongly believe that long term planning & proper coaching systems should be in place at every club, but this sort of planning is alien to football. It’s short term gain they want, and the future will just have to pull it’s socks up and look after itself. Right now we’re going to drink that vat of grease & damn to the long term consequences.

The truth of it is if you don’t sack your manager this season, he’ll be gone the next. Managers have an impact for a while and everybody buys into their philosophy, but that soon gets stale and a desire for something different takes over.

Consistency is the opposite of what most football fans want with their manager. If you’re playing it on the ground, they want it in the air, if you’re rugged & tough, you want finesse. For fans of football the grass is always greener, and the opposite is always best.

Much as some of us long for a manager to take our clubs forward for the next decade, what we must realise is that they’ll probably only be there to navigate your club through a few matches & a difficult lunch time.

Short term planning is king in football, and unless things change radically we should just accept regular managerial sackings as an inevitability. Don’t get to know their names, they won’t be here for long.


Sitting at the football

As a football fan it seems that you have to be pro standing at the game. That if you aren’t, you’re part of the problem. A no good soft lad, who would be better off at the Theatre.

I’m not bothered, I hate standing at the match, I always have and I always will. If others want to, I’m fine with that, however it’ll never be for me.

I was probably about 5 when I went to my first football match. I’m not even certain about that to be honest, but I know I went to see Exeter City at St James Park.

I don’t remember the score, or the opposition, or if Exeter won or not. What I do remember is the bon bons my dad bought me before we got to the ground, and I remember having to stand.

I loved the sweets, because they were delicious, I hated the football, because I had to stand up. I wasn’t incapable of standing, but having to do so for 90 minutes, whilst not really being able to see was so utterly boring.

I do remember looking on longingly at the bars that people lean against on terraces, and thinking “I wish I was near one of them, I could sit on that”

I didn’t enjoy the game at all, in fact I couldn’t think of anything much worse. I told my dad this, because as a child you don’t tend to think about others when you express an opinion. He might have been hurt, or bothered by this, but he certainly never told me about it.

A few weeks later we went back, and although I still have no recollection of the score, or who they were playing, this time we sat down. I could actually see things, and had a chance to try and gain some understanding of what was going on.

I didn’t succeed in this, I still remember thinking that the aim was to score past your own goalkeeper. However, being able to see everything, being able to talk to my dad, and being capable of absorbing the atmosphere allowed me to enjoy the experience a whole lot more.

Since that day I’ve always preferred to sit at the football, and always found standing on the terraces at places like Saltergate to be the most miserable experience. You inevitably get wet, and you stand behind the goal which is another thing I hate. You can’t really see what’s going on.

There’ll always be those who long for the days of terraces, but I’m not one of them. I want to stand when we score, or for a one minutes silence, but I want to sit down for the rest of it.

For me watching football is about enjoying the chance to talk to the person sitting next to me, filling the gaps where the action on the pitch is less than exciting with conversation.

They might one day reintroduce safe standing, but I’ll still be sat down even if I have to bring my own armchair, boring the arse off anybody unfortunate enough to be sat next to me.

Why it’s no fun being in on the joke

The Go Compare adverts now have the opera singer, who used to jump out on people and sing in an annoying manner, pitching his ideas to disinterested marketing executives.

The company, they probably think hilariously, have admitted that this was an annoying character and now they’re mocking him, and letting us all know they’re in on the joke. Ho ho hum.

This self aware, we’re in on the joke style has recently come into many England fans thinking. “have we got a chance in the World Cup? Duh, what do you think?”

Now the culprit in chief is probably Adrian Chiles. He spends broadcasts basically saying to viewers “yes we know they’re totally shit, but if you’ve nothing better to do, then why not watch, although nobody would blame you for driving a forklift through the national grid”

Now, my expectations of England aren’t always sky high, but without the hope that they can do something impossible then what’s the point watching? Football and realism rarely make comfortable bedfellows, so we should try and keep them separate where possible.

Surely we need to be able to dream, rather than have it pointed out how bad we are by the people who are meant to be telling everyone that we’re actually worth watching.

England aren’t much fun when they’re arrogant, but now we’re just Eeyore, moping about the place telling anybody who’ll listen just how crap we are.

It’d be nice to actually just watch the football, and let it surprise us, rather than resigning ourselves to the scrapheap.


What does David Beckham have in common with Royal Mail? They’re both getting fucked by Tories.

That’s right, a privatisation joke, because that’s the opposite of nationalisation. Which is in fact the wrong word entirely to describe somebody being Nationalised. But when you go to the trouble of making up a joke, why let things like the correct word get in your way. This is the closest I’m going to get to newspaper journalism.

So, becoming nationalised, it seems to be the big talking point ever since Roy Hodgson was asked about young Adnan Januzaj. It’s not the first time of course. England have been wank for so long that players as ridiculous as Manuel Almunia have been suggested by virtue of living here ages and not being good enough to get a cap for their own country. Arteta is a slightly different kettle of paella as he’s actually pretty decent, but he gets vetoed for having beautiful hair and some kind of possession obsession – not exactly going to fit in around here.

Of course in Rugby and Cricket you pick a team in much the same way as you would when playing Drinking Rules Fifa. You get 3 picks with the randomize button, you don’t have to use all 3, but once you do you’re stuck.

A few suggestions have been made for criteria for becoming Nationalised, but to me the best would be that when a player reaches the age of 18 he comes before a selection panel who will decide for him. This panel won’t be a group of his peers, experts in their field, or even particularly wise. Instead we should get a bunch of old bigots (from different nations – equality is important) and they can pick which country the player looks like he should be from.

Sounds ridiculous right? Almost as bad as hosting a World Cup in a country so hot it would melt the sun and then once the bribe cheques have cashed moving it to winter. Only almost though, after all none of my judging panel would kill thousands of migrant workers. Something to mull over anyway, Sepp.

10 things Jack Wilshere doesn’t understand

Never say that 90 Second football is off trend. People are talking about Jack Wilshere, and here’s a post by John Dobson all about him.

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool the to speak and remove all doubt” wrote author Maurice Switzer in 1907. Unfortunately, the pre-match press conference is an area where remaining silent isn’t much of an option and so the propensity for verbal garbage to spill forth is very high. And so it’s proved ahead of England’s game against Montenegro where Jack Wilshere provided more than enough ammunition – and not for the first time in recent history – for supporters of the old adage about footballers being, in general, a bit thick.
With that in mind, here are the top ten things that Jack Wilshere doesn’t understand.

10. How the Large Hadron Collider works.

9. Why Pluto isn’t a planet any more.

8. How big infinity is.

7. If air is made up of molecules, and molecules are made up of atoms, what is it that exists in the space between the atoms?

6. The plot of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

5. Mans inhumanity to man.

4. If the meat we get from chicken is called chicken and the meat from lamb is lamb, why isn’t beef called cow?

3. Reasons for and processes involved in human migration.

2. The health risks associated with smoking.

1. Where John Barnes, Terry Butcher, Tony Dorigo, Owen Hargreaves etc etc were born.


“Why Yen?” you say. Well it’s about Age and Money.

It doesn’t get better so if you want to turn around now, we’ve already banked the hit – to hell with repeat business and word of mouth.

I’m not normally one to quote Glenn Hoddle, especially not on some shit, but he once came out with something approaching wisdom when he said that if Michael Owen “was good enough then he’s old enough”. Since then it’s been re-quoted hundreds of times by various different people from business leaders to politicians, though thankfully not by any in the dock nonces.

Hoddle in that one comment was able to completely cut through ageism. Which sort of balances out saying that disabled people were dicks in a previous life. It’s a quote that’s since been used to justify young players being “thrown into” starting line ups and veterans being bought back for one last hurrah, and it would seem that as long as the player is good enough, nobody really minds. See Paul Scholes and Adnan Janujaj for opposite ends of the spectrum.

So, when it comes to time on the pitch, age isn’t an issue. So why doesn’t the same apply to contracts?

Adnan Janujaj and the various discussions about his contract renewal are what have prompted this whimsical verbal wander and the opinions that are being thrown around seem to vary from “pay him what he wants, he’s going to be mint” to “He’s just a little lad, you can’t give him that much you’ll spoil him”. Plenty of players have been spoilt by plenty of things, poor advice, attitude, injury and even ego, but a contract itself isn’t the root of that.

Right now Janujaj has only played a handful of games, but already looks the real deal and is considerably more useful than, to name just two, Anderson and Young, who are earning at least 30 times the wage of the young *Insert chosen nationality here*. Is that fair? Of course not. Would it be fair if Janujaz signed a contract and it was considerably lower because of his age? Again, I’d say no.

A child genius who graduates from Oxford at 11 and has multiple doctorates by 18 walks into a job and gets paid less than somebody doing the same job but who is their senior in age alone. Is that fair? No. But in football it seems to be regarded as being the right thing to do.

Young players traditionally earn less because they aren’t yet ready for the first team, if Adnan is then he should be getting the right deal. If he has good people around him, he’ll keep his feet on the ground, trying to pay under the market price when he’s got the ability, just because of his age doesn’t fly.

What happens when the window closes?

As the season starts to establish itself, it’s about time for people to start saying: “we need to give him more time” and “he just needs to play in his actual position”

That’s right I’m here to discuss the fear that your clubs new signing might just be a terrible waste of money. That those transfer deals you conducted might be a drain on the clubs finances for years to come.

Now every season fans get frighteningly obsessed about their club buying everyone on earth, without considering any kind of long term future for these players.

They just want them for the game at the weekend, and otherwise they really don’t care. At this point getting the player, any player, to sign on the dotted line is all that matters.

However, once these signings have played a few games the excitement dies down, and the long term future of the player then suddenly becomes a consideration.

They might dazzle from the start and you just hope they stick around for ever, but sadly at least one of the players you signed will flop, and you’ll just want them to go, and soon.

What happened? The stats looked good, they said the right things in the interview, but on the pitch they look slower than you expected, their first touch is heavy & they’ve missed about 3 very good goal scoring chances already.

Suddenly the doubts kick in, and you find yourself like Chandler when he realised that his new roommate was more than a little off.

Before you know it that signing is using a dehydrator on his fruit and has put his goldfish in his pocket. And you’re left thinking “what have we signed here?”

The flop signing is almost inevitable, and I’m sure you already have doubts about one or two of the players your club signed this summer.

Sooner or later that player you were so keen to sign will be sat on the bench, then in the reserves, then out on loan to the club you signed them from.

And yet we never learn, and next year we’ll demand we sign a whole load more future flops. That’s football, I suppose.

All I need is Cigarettes and football…

I’ve always intended this site to be a collaborative effort, and recently it’s been a whole heap of attention seeking nonsense from yours truly.
So with that in mind I was lucky enough to get a 90 second post from Greg Marah. Be sure to follow him on twitter @mrgregmarah after you’ve read his musing on the latest twitter explosion.

Overreaction is far too common these days. It has been fuelled by rolling news channels, social media and every person who has an internet connection.

Today’s overreaction seemed to be Jack Wilshere having a puff of a cigarette on a night out and clearly anyone earmarked as one of the few bright talents in the English game cannot do such a thing.

Take the primary school faced cricketer Joe Root who was snapped having a roll up, alongside fellow ashes winner Tim Bresnan, a few months ago. Uproar, debate and a conclusion the professional sport is changing was the name of the media game over the next few days.

That last point then makes you think; perhaps it’s not an overreaction. A player on tens of thousands of pounds a week who has his fitness and diet scrutinised daily to make him the professional athlete he is, should not be doing anything which could affect his fitness and ability. The stats are out there, smoking does that to you.

Whilst people may sight numerous former sportsmen who regularly lit up or smoked at least ten a day in defence of Wilshere, they forget sport is totally different in the age of specific sport sciences and where the backroom staff of top clubs probably equal the squad size, analysing every aspect of a players game.

Whilst the Arsenal midfielder took to the old medium of twitter to deny being a smoker, those who choose to pass judgement on every slightly newsworthy story ridiculed Wilshere. These same people most likely forget the past indiscretions of Terry, Rooney et al. Thus an overreaction took place.

However, the old arguments that “he is only human” and “let him have some fun whilst he is young” don’t really go a long way in defence of Wilshere. He may not realise it but he’s a role model and supposed to be professional. Stick to the candy cigarettes Jack (whatever happened to those?!).

5 reasons that I’ll never be a journalist

I have a confession: I cannot type. Throughout my time at university I used to type out 3000 word essays using 1 finger.

This is just one of the many reasons I’ll never be a journalist.

Sadly the list of reasons is now too long to overcome, and sadly the job I wanted most as a 16 year old will forever remain a pipe dream alongside professional wrestler.

I’ll list the 5 main reasons below:

1) In a world that requires fact & stats I much prefer to write using my instincts: A well used one liner would give me far more joy than a well placed fact backed up with stats. Unfortunately without facts I’m sure you risk legal proceedings & even worse comments calling you a “lazy journalist”

2) Unlike the 18 year old me I no longer live for football: I like a choice of what I can do on a Saturday, and although I still love the game, I don’t want to commit every weekend to it.

3: I cannot make mountains out of molehills: every week in football a big club is in crisis. I never believe this, so I’d find it hard to write about it. For example in a few months Manchester United will be fine again.

4) It’s not what you write, it’s what you leave out: every time I’ve written anything, I always get comments about not mentioning something. I could constantly respond with “I can’t nor do I want to include everything” but then I suppose they might be right and I do fear that I miss the point quite often.

5) I have no specialty: I don’t like tactics, I’m not particularly interested in football outside England, I’m not very funny, I’m not controversial, I’m incapable of banter, I don’t bet, I rarely predict scores correctly, so I suspect I’d end up being the journalistic equivalent of a journeyman footballer.

So there you have it, 5 reasons I’ll never be a journalist. Don’t give up on your dreams though kids, as you should never make people like me your role model.