The Great Big Drop…

4 05 2009

With the end of the Premier League season approaching, three teams naturally find themselves struggling to stay afloat. West Brom look certainties to go down, and although Mowbray’s attacking instincts are commendable, I’m still not sure whether they are realisitic for a newly promoted side in the division. However, I hold no fear for West  Brom, one of a few yo-yo clubs at the moment, and I think that, providing that they hold onto their better players, they will bounce back again pretty quickly.

Instead it is Newcastle for whom I fear the most. I think now they will go down, as I cannot see them picking up the requisite number of points to keep them up.  If they are relegated, the club will sink in the manner of Leeds, Charlton and Southampton (all recently Premier League clubs who find themselves either in League One, or joining it next season). Newcastle are club prone to turmoil, it seems poorly run from the top down, and there is nothing Alan Shearer could realistically have done to prevent the collapse. It is a longer term problem within the club than simply a season full of bad results indicates. They will continue to struggle I think, over the course of the next two or three seasons, and may very well be rubbing shoulders with the teams in League One sooner than they will be back in the Premier League.

Of course, there are two teams already heading to the Premier League to replace West Brom and probably Newcastle. Birmingham City, who, if I’m honest, have not impressed me much this season in footballing terms, have secured second spot in the Championship and make an immediate return to the Premier League. It is however Wolves who have finally pulled clear of the chasing pack, finishing seven points clear of Birmingham as the top scorers in the league. It has truly been a roller-coaster season for Wolves fans, the thrills of last autumn were followed by the pains of early spring. Even as recently as April 6, when the team lost to Birmingham, the fans were still muttering that automatic promotion would not be achieved. However, for the team which had remained top since October, avoiding defeat in the final five games meant that the other clubs simply could not stand the pace and fell away (Cardiff in spectacular fashion). Wolves deserve to win the Championship, there is little question about that. For the team though, the hard work starts now.



Football Thoughts…

19 04 2009

It’s been a busy week for football this week. As I’m now sat watching the second FA Cup semi-final instead of finishing an essay, I thought I would do at least some writing.

Yesterday’s semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea was an interesting tie. Won late on by Didier Drogba, the tie was played in the shadow of the Hillsborough tragedy (of which I have previously written), with presentations made to members of the Hillsborough families. The teams were meant to play wearing black armbands as a sign of respect. Yet Arsenal played the first half armband-less. Which was a point of criticism undoubtedly. Until Chelsea came out in the second half, without their armbands. They did, it appears, somehow jump onto the Arsenal players arms at half-time. This seems both bizarre, and slightly disrespectful. Was there only one set of black armbands at Wembley yesterday? I had always thought that the armbands were little more than black tape, so why would there need to be ‘proper’ bands? Did the FA simply forget the second set of bands? Whatever way you look at it, only having one set of armbands is distinctly unprofessional from the FA, and two teams could have simply made do with the traditional tape, as opposed to apparently sharing the armbands.

Secondly, briefly, I’m becoming more and more convinced that the next Manchester United manager will be David Moyes, who, to my mind, has many of the same traits as Sir Alex Ferguson, and who has proven himself consistantly with hardly any money at a high standard.

Finally, I cannot finish a football related blog on this day without mentioning the success of my own team. Wolverhampton Wanderers have been promoted to the Premier League two games before the season ends. Barring any freak results, they will go up as Championship Champions too. It has been a roller-coaster season, our autumn was brilliant, our winter less so. Our spring has been necessarily strong, and our summer will be exciting. Sitting atop the league since October, Wolves have proven themselves to be the best team, scoring the most goals and having the league’s top scorer in our ranks. Congratulations to Wolves, and here’s hoping for a solid season next term!


17 12 2008

2008 has been an interesting year punctuated by various disappointments. Here I will look at the things which I have been disappointed with over the course of the past year.

Slated Film: –

Quantum of Solace. Whilst there may have been worse films, this is, I feel, one of the biggest let-downs. Whilst Daniel Criag was praised by critics for reinventing Bond in Casino Royale, Sean Bean’s quip in Goldeneye seems apt in regard to the latest offering: “No glib remark? No pithy comeback?”. The point is that whilst Craig has made Bond into some super-strength hero, he has lost what made Bond special. Bond is a womaniser, a chauvinist, loyal and intelligent; that’s why the public love him. Craig’s Bond is lacking in the very dislikable qualities which make Bond so likeable in the first place. Craig is very much more like Jason Bourne than James Bond. We want him to order a Vodka Martini, “shaken, not stirred”. We want him to sleep with the Bond girl, and we want him to save the day, with some quick witted remarks laced with innuendo thrown in for good measure. We don’t want him fighting his way through an hour and a half for the sake of drama, some plot is better than none at all. Oh, and we want an insane meglomaniac bad-guy too, not some wet-behind-the-ears foreigner as Dominic Greene was. I think we have learned now that a rolling plot through films hasn’t worked, and sticking to the tried and tested formula of a new plot for each film is still the way to go.

Slated Album:-

Perfect Symmetry – Keane. As a huge Keane fan, I will admit that I have been left a little disappointed by their new album. The mournful songs of ‘Under the Iron Sea’ and ‘Hopes and Fears’ have been replaced with bouncier tunes, and this isn’t a good thing in my opinion. The first single, “Spiralling” is a grower, and whilst my opinion of it has improved, I would still rather listen to “Bedshaped” or “The Frog Prince”. There are a few good songs on the album, but this doesn’t compensate for the album as a whole.

Slated Single:-

I could slate many many songs, anything by any TV manufactured band, anything by a gangster rapper, anything remixed into a dance tune. I won’t as that’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Instead my slated song is “Rockstar” by Nickleback. As someone who owns the two first Nickleback albums (the first bought on the merit of “How You Remind Me” alone), I have grown so hugely frustrated by a lot of their new releases. They seem to be everywhere at the moment. The trouble is that you can barely distinguish between songs, and Chad Kroeger’s voice is very grating. This song pips others in my opinion due to the fact it has become the noise of a sofa advert too. Which makes it even more annoying than it was already.

Slated Sporting Moment:-

As England failed to qualify for the European Championships last year, my sporting moment is closer to home. In May the Wolves finished 7th in the Championship, which itself was a disappointment given the finish of the previous season, but to lose out on goal difference was all the more galling. To lose out by a goal difference of 1 to “Hoofball” Watford was very difficult to stomach.

Slated News Story:-

The recession. As a recent graduate, finding a job in an economic climate that is going down the pan was hard work. Keeping the landlord off my back, and food in my stomach has proven to be hard work. The economic climate has affected the world, and I’m feeling the pinch.

This Was the Week That Was…

21 09 2008

In a busy week for news, I am going to offer my brief thoughts on various issues which deserve to be looked at more thoroughly than I am prepared to do at this point.

First up is the increasing dissent within the Labour party ranks. Whilst those at BULS remain unwilling to discuss this growing concern, and those at the Labour party conference batting it away like an annoying mosquito, I firmly believe that there can be no doubt that all is not well within the party. We are bombarded with different stories of various backbench MP’s calling for Brown’s head. The arguement for keeping Brown is simple, there is no-one better. This is not an endorsement of his abilities (which he has himself defended today), more an observation about the potential of the other options. What, therefore, this boils down to is, he is the best of a bad bunch.

Another argument to keep him runs along the lines of: “We are in a difficult economic period. He has the experience to deal with such problems.” Whilst this is obviously true, there are a couple of issues I have with this naturally defensive statement. Firstly, that it should not be read as a pro-Brown stance, instead it should be read more as a “need-for-stability” stance (the two are subtlely different). Secondly, I don’t buy it anyway because, whilst he does have the experience, perhaps the need for fresh thinking is upon us. This one man has run the rule over Britain’s economy for the best part of a decade, some new thoughts and a new approach may be worth the punt.

Anyway, that’s enough about the Labour party’s problems. My next issue is with football.

Obviously I have already written about Manchester City and the huge investment they have received. My issue is with people who therefore make them ‘favourites’ to break into the so-called ‘big four’.  not this season I’m afraid. Yes, they have money. Yes, they have signed Robinho. No, this doesn’t mean they will claim anything above fifth for me. Robinho will make a difference, but he cannot, by himself, drag City into the upper echelons of the league. Essentially they have the same squad of players they had before the money came in, and will do so until at least the new year. By which time, they will be out of the running for the title, and be struggling to stick with whichever team is in fourth. Ryan Giggs is one of the few people I have heard talk sensibly about this, when he maintained the same thing to Sky Sports.

Next, as we know the season is but a month old, and the FA’s ‘Respect’ Campaign has received wide publicity, for all the right reasons. There seemed to be more respect to officials from players and staff and vice versa. However the cracks were there, as David Moyes was sent to the stands for explaining to the fourth official why his team should have been given a penalty as Leon Cort handled the ball in the box. He was right, the officials were wrong, yet they dismissed him anyway, and now he faces an FA charge. However, the death of the campaign came today as Manchester United travelled to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea. It was not the final score (a thrilling 1-1 draw by all accounts) but the nature of Man Utd’s play which was the final straw to break the proverbial camel’s back. They picked up seven yellow cards. The club automatically receives a fine for six yellows, so there was something amiss at the Bridge. The cards, for a variety of things, ultimately, I beleive, shows that the Respect Campaign is failing just weeks into the season, as the Champions cannot, and have not, given the campaign itself the respect it deserves.

Finally, I would just like to point out that the mighty Wolves are top of the Championship pile, and now three points clear of Birmingham City. The team are scoring goals for fun, and are really looking good. Obviously there is a long way to go, and injuries and suspensions will play a big part in the campaign, but the initial signs are encouraging. They are one of only two teams in the league who haven’t lost yet (the other being Cardiff), and have many fans dreaming of next May already.

Community Aid…

21 08 2008

I thought I would bring to your attention this article. It means nothing to me other than the delight of hearing about the mighty Wolves in Parliament. Well, I suppose that isn’t strictly true, I am of course delighted to hear that Wolves Aid is doing a great job in the wider community. The article, for those of you to lazy to read it, explains that Wolves Aid is the “biggest club charity in football”, which is great for everyone connected to Wolverhampton and the wider area. At least we are hearing about football in parliament for all the right reasons, as opposed to this from BULS a few months back…