Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The Adventures of Allardyce in Sunderland

Allardyce was beginning to get very tired of sitting in the shadow of his own ego outside the bank, and of having nothing to moan about: once or twice he had peeped into the book of tactics his replacement was writing, but it had no pictures of long balls in it, 'and what is the use of a book about passing,' thought Allardyce, 'without pictures of the route one ball?'

He was considering in his own mind (as well as he could, for thinking made him feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of beating Wenger again would be worth  the trouble of getting up and applying for a job, when suddenly a Red and White Striped Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by him.

There was nothing so VERY remarkable in that; nor did Allardyce think it so VERY much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, 'Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be relegated!' (when he thought it over afterwards, it occurred to him that he ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually TOOK A CHEQUE BOOK OUT OF ITS WAISTCOAT-POCKET, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Allardyce started to his feet, for it flashed across his mind that he had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a cheque book  to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, he ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole beside the Wear.

In another moment down went Allardyce after it, never once considering how in the world he was to get out again.

The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Allardyce had not a moment to think about stopping himself before he found himself falling down a very deep well.

Either the well was very deep, or he fell very slowly, for he had plenty of time as he went down to look about him and to wonder what was going to happen next. First, he tried to look down and make out what he was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then he looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with empty trophy cabinets; here and there he saw pictures of Montgomery and Porterfield  hung upon pegs. He took down a jar from one of the shelves as he passed; it was labelled 'Premiership Victories', but to his great disappointment it was empty: he did not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody, so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as he fell past it.

'Well!' thought Allardyce to himself, 'after such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they'll all think me at West Ham! Why, I wouldn't say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of my own ego!' (Which was very likely to be true.)

Down, down, down. Would the fall NEVER come to an end! 'I wonder how many positions in the table I've fallen by this time?' he said aloud. 'I must be getting somewhere near the bottom of the league. Let me see: that would be nearly one hundred places down, I think—' (for, you see, Allardyce had learnt several things of this sort in his lessons in the hard school of knocks  and though this was not a VERY good opportunity for showing off his knowledge, as there was no one to listen to him, still it was good practice to say it over) '—yes, that's about the right distance—but then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I've got to?' (Allardyce had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say, like total football, the false number nine and free flowing football.)

Presently he began again. 'I wonder if I shall fall right THROUGH the league! How funny it'll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think—' (he was rather glad there WAS no one listening, this time, as it didn't sound at all the right word) '—but I shall have to ask them what the name of the division is, you know. Please, Ma'am, is this the Blue Square Prem or the National League?' (and he tried to preen himself as he spoke—fancy preening yourself as you're falling through the divisions! Do you think you could manage it?) 'And what an ignorant big Sam they'll think me for asking! No, it'll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere.'

Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Allardyce soon began talking again. 'Sullivan'll miss me very much to-night, I should think! I hope they'll remember his bottle of champagne at tea-time. Sullivan my dear! I wish you were down here with me! There are no Payets in the air, I'm afraid, but you might catch a Nolan, and that's very like a Payet, you know. But do Premiership clubs want a Nolan, I wonder?' And here Allardyce began to get rather sleepy, and went on saying to himself, in a dreamy sort of way, 'Do Premiership clubs want a Nolan? Do Premiership clubs want a Nolan?' and sometimes, 'Does Nolan want a Premiership club?' for, you see, as he couldn't answer either question, it didn't much matter which way he put it. He felt that he was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that he was walking hand in hand with Nolan, and saying to him very earnestly, 'Now, Kevin, tell me the truth: did you ever play a pass over five yards?' when suddenly, thump! thump! down he came upon a heap of dirty kit and boots, and the fall was over.

Allardyce was not a bit hurt, and he jumped up on to his feet in a moment: he looked up, but it was all dark overhead; before him was another long passage, and the Red & White Rabbit was still in sight, hurrying down it. There was not a moment to be lost: away went Allardyce like the wind, and was just in time to hear it say, as it turned a corner, 'Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it's getting!' He was close behind it when he turned the corner, but the Rabbit was no longer to be seen: he found himself in a long, low hall, which was lit up by a row of miner’s lamps hanging from the roof. There were doors all-round the hall, but they were all locked; and when Allardyce had been all the way down one side and up the other, trying every door, he walked sadly down the middle, wondering how he was ever to get out again.

Suddenly he came upon a little three-legged table, all made of solid glass; there was nothing on it except a tiny golden key, and Allardyce’s first thought was that it might belong to one of the doors of the hall; but, alas! either the locks were too large, or the key was too small, but at any rate it would not open any of them. However, on the second time round, he came upon a low curtain he had not noticed before, and behind it was a little door about fifteen inches high: he tried the little golden key in the lock, and to his great delight it fitted!

Allardyce opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not much larger than a rat-hole: he knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest stadium you ever saw. How he longed to get out of that dark hall, and wander about among those retractable seats beneath that Olympic roof, but he could not even get his head through the doorway; 'and even if my head would go through,' thought poor Allardyce, 'it would be of very little use without my shoulders. Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only knew how to begin.' For, you see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, like West Ham winning at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City that Allardyce had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.

There seemed to be no use in waiting by the little door, so he went back to the table, half hoping he might find another key on it, or at any rate a book of rules for shutting people up like telescopes: this time he found a little bottle on it, ('which certainly was not here before,' said Allardyce) and round the neck of the bottle was a paper label, with the words 'DRINK ME' beautifully printed on it in large letters.

It was all very well to say 'Drink me,' but the wise and wily Allardyce was not going to do THAT in a hurry. 'No, I'll look first,' he said, 'and see whether it's marked "relegation" or not'; for he had read several nice little histories about managers who had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts and other unpleasant things, all because they WOULD not remember the simple rules their friends had taught them: such as, that a red-hot poker will burn you if you keep it up your back passage for too long; and that if you cut your finger VERY deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and he had never forgotten that, if you drink too much from a bottle marked 'relegation,' it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later.

However, this bottle was NOT marked 'relegation,' so Allardyce ventured to taste it, and finding it not so unpleasant, (it had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavour of jock straps, coal dust, Geordie tears and hot pies) he very soon finished it off…

To be continued...

Friday, 13 June 2014

Never mind Qatar, how much did Brazil pay to win last night's game?

Well what a diabolical start to the World Cup. The opening ceremony was cringeworthy with unimaginative dancers and singers that nobody could hear, but that proved the perfect prelude to the most embarrassingly engineered home nation victory you could ever dread to see.

It really is time for referees to be marched in front of the world's media and interrogated about decisions which are so ludicrous that they bring the entire game into disrepute and leave everybody suspecting that either money has changed hands, or political pressure has been brought to bear.

Yes there was contact in the box, and yes a referee can hide behind that fact, but look at the way the opportunity to award Brazil a penalty was seized upon! The referee would have been genuflecting in thanks for his personal salvation had he not been surrounded by understandably irate Croats. If that was a penalty, then a penalty should have been awarded at every single corner, because defenders from both sides had their hands all over the forwards. Shouldn't a referee be obliged to explain that level of inconsistency?

And tell me, had that happened at the other end, would a spot kick have been awarded? Not a chance in hell!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Joe Cole's Downward Spiral complete with move to Aston Villa

Well, it seems even 'Arry and QPR didn't want him and clubs on the other side of the Atlantic said, "You did us over with London Bridge when we thought we were buying Tower Bridge, so we aint buying the duff Cole, be it Carlton or Joe." So what was the former Boy Wonder to do when even Batman 'Arry and the Yanks of Gotham City didn't want him?

The downward spiral started with that switch to Chelsea of course. Then it was Liverpool and Lille, before Joe returned to his spiritual home and proved that he truly is washed up and past it. So what's a knackered old has-been supposed to do as he contemplates retirement?

Why, find a nice Villa to see out the rest of his days of course!

A change of badge, shirt colour and name is long overdue

We sold the club's soul when we appointed Allardyce. We've agreed the sale of the ground too. And any player worthy of the title has been converted into cash at the earliest opportunity since the days of Greenwood and Lyall, so why in God's name get into a tizzy over the badge?

Maybe crossed dildos could replace the hammers. Instead of the castle, move in the Olympic Rings, with each dildo piercing a ring in ultra suggestive fashion.

Why not add London or Olympic to the club's name? In fact, we simply have to get the word West out of the title because it is so confusing for tourists - the club is situated on the East side of the city is it not? And as for "Ham", well that is just plain provocative and insensitive in the new multicultural metropolis - surely East London Olympic Halal and Kosher would be a more representative name for the club.

And let's change the bloody shirt whilst we are about it shall we? Claret and Blue is so, well you know, yesterday! Why not the multicoloured Olympic rings worn as hoops? That would be simply divine!

Those fans voicing concerns need to get with the programme. Hang on, programmes? No, let's have an issues based women's glossy magazine instead featuring a tiara adorned Princess Brady on the cover!

There! The makeover is complete! Next stop, the Champions League! Or maybe London Fashion Week might be more our cup of caffe latte!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Tottenham already have Lennon, so why not sign McCartney?

With Spurs desperate for a replacement for Danny "A Rose by any other name would smell as shite" and with cash limited following the £100m splurge last summer, surely Pochettino should consider reuniting Lennon with McCartney, by signing the West Ham man recently released on a free.

Before Spurs fans scoff, they should remember that West Ham did the treble over their rag bag bunch of overpriced millionaires last season, and "Linda" played in two of those three games, starting at centre back in the League Cup game in December and in his more accustomed left back position in the penultimate game of the season.

It's true that McCartney is no spring chicken and it's true too  that he is pretty crap, but he still ran out a winner in two games against Spurs last season, and if £100million pounds worth of "talent" can only conjure  one goal over 180 minutes of football with McCartney in the team, he can't be that bad can he?

One thing's for sure, although ordinary, he's a better left back than Danny Rose will ever be! So come on Levy, pick yourself up a bargain! And with Lennon and McCartney on board, it shouldn't be too hard to locate a Harrison somewhere in the lower leagues and, once he's in place, Spurs would surely make sweet music because every other expensive signing must be a genuine Starr.

Mustn't they?

Sunday, 1 June 2014

West Ham and QPR miss out on Midfield Maestro

What a shame. It seems the lure of mega dollars has persuaded Fat Frank to ply his trade on the other side of the pond, rather than return to his roots or to link up again with Uncle 'Arry.

A move by West Ham for the best player produced by the club since Moore, Hurst and Peters (and yes I'm counting Brooking!) was always unlikely given the fans' antipathy for a player who, supposedly, was only selected as a teenager because of nepotism, but he would have been a wonderful addition to the ranks, guaranteeing either more goals than Nolan and Morrison put together if played behind Carroll, or wonderful control if selected as a deep seated play maker. Yes he's old, but when you ooze class, age doesn't matter.

As for QPR, he would have boosted morale both in the dressing room and on the terraces and would have been the pivot around which the Hula Hoops could have spun.

But, instead, he's heading for New York - until January at least when, who knows, if either club is desperate, a loan deal might yet be done.


Saturday, 31 May 2014

Should West Ham Rescue Scott Parker From Fulham?

It seems amazing doesn't it, that such a great player as Scott Parker can be relegated from the top division of English football THREE times in a - as yet unfinished - career. Anybody would think, looking at that record, that the guy wasn't that much cop!

Incredibly, despite helping Fulham to a next to bottom place finish in the Premier League, Parker was overlooked for this season's Player of the Year award. Maybe his team has to finish rock bottom to merit that accolade!

But now the poor guy is stranded in the Championship and we all know how Scotty hates to play in the second tier of English football. So surely, after giving such great service to West Ham, before being forced to request a transfer when - following our relegation - Spurs made a cut price bid, we should step in and rescue him.

It's the very least we can do for a player who loved the club so much that he signed a contract extension, securing a massive wage increase, a week after Spurs bought Van Der Vaart; poor Scotty delayed and delayed signing that contract, only for Wheeler Dealer 'Arry to let him down by switching his interest to the Dutchman at the last moment. And how did West Ham reward him for his loyalty? By getting relegated! Just like Charlton! And now Fulham!

So, let's forget all the other transfer targets and prioritise bringing a true West Ham legend back to Upton Park. True fans of the club - who lauded Parker's heroic efforts as we finished bottom of the Prem - should launch a "Bring Back Scotty" campaign without delay. We owe it to the guy. And let's name the Olympic Stadium after him when we make the move too!


Do one Lescott!

So it looks like Lescott has shunned our advances. Well thank God for that! He laughed at suggestions that he might come to Upton Park on loan in January, and there's no way we want somebody with that attitude at the club.

In truth, Lescott is a very average player who has got more average by the day whilst living off the fat of Unreal City's inflated wage bill. He lacks focus, consistency and composure and isn't half as committed in the challenge as Ginge. God knows what he is looking for in wages, but one thing's for sure, he will have inflated expectations after adjusting his spending to his salary at Man City.

Jog on Kryten, we don't want you at West Ham!

Friday, 30 May 2014

If Sunderland's Jack Colback is the answer, we are asking the wrong question!

So the latest big white carrot topped hope is apparently Jack Colback, because he is available on a free from Sunderland. Allardyce regards him as the best player presently available for nowt but he would wouldn't he? Colback is an Allardyce type of player - high on energy and effort but very seriously lacking in one key department.

Question. Aged 24, how many goals has Colback scored over his career? Answer, ten.

Even more seriously, how many has he scored in the Prem? Answer, four.

Why did we struggle last season? We didn't score enough goals. So how is four goal Colback going to improve the situation exactly? When you play a single striker, you need midfield players who can score goals. Noble can't. Diame can't. Downing can't. Jarvis can't. So why add another goal shy player to the "armoury" exactly?

Somebody tell Allardyce we need GOALS!

It's Mo-Go Diame!

Well he lost his mojo when Allardyce started playing him as the front man in a striker-less formation and then as a wide man because Jarvis was so consistently hopeless, but now, it seems, Diame simply wants out.

How else can you account for his ridiculous comments about team mates not trying? Team mates not good enough might be a reasonable observation, but the one thing I witnessed all season was a team desperately trying to overcome its very severe limitations. Who, exactly, were the non triers?

Well, for sure, it wasn't any of O'Brien, Noble, Collins, Tomkins, Reid, McCartney, Carlton Cole, Taylor or Jarvis. Now you can question whether some of those should be in a Premiership team, never mind a team striving for a top ten finish, but to question their desire and effort would be madness in the extreme. The one thing every one of them could be relied upon to do, is run until they drop (which we only just avoided!).

What about Nolan? Well according to Diame, things got better after January when the competition for places increased. That rules out Captain Kev then, because with Morrison's departure, his place in the team was absolutely guaranteed. And with the situation improving in January, he clearly wasn't thinking of Carroll, because he hadn't kicked a ball during the period when players were supposedly not trying.

Does the finger then point at Demel? If so, it seems harsh because he always looked committed to the cause to me, even if lasting 90 minutes seems to be a challenge for the guy. Adrian or Jussi? Daft idea.

So, who are we down to? Joe Cole, Downing and Morrison? Well they were contenders for the one area of the team where there was competition for places, so Diame's argument flounders even if he is right that these three were more interested in themselves than in the team - which I can well believe. But to be fair to Downing, he did a lot of tracking back and I lost count of the number of blind alleys he ran up in most games.

So maybe it was Mogodon Maiga that Diame had in mind. Maybe Mo doesn't understand that the guy is just shit!

Or Boomtown Rat perhaps? Well the fact he defected mid season tells us he was unhappy at being used only occasionally by Allardyce but, again, I saw a player running and running and running whenever he wore the shirt.

If I've forgotten anybody, I apologise. But what difference did the new arrivals in January make anyway? They barely started a game between them, so the "competition for places" that they offered was virtually zero.

No. Mo was talking out of his arse, unless he was talking about his own attitude of course. One thing's for sure, he has guaranteed himself a cold shoulder from his team mates when they return to training, which suggests to me that he wants out of the club before the start of the new season. But if he's dreaming of a top 6 club coming in for him, then he's in for a disappointing summer. True Allardyce played him out of position for most of the season but that's because he was found out in the engine room of the team, giving away far too many free kicks on the edge of our box, which, with Jussi in goal, led to goals!