It makes me laugh when people say there is a ”no blame culture” at their work or wherever.
Do me a favour! If something goes wrong the first thing you look for is who made the cock up, you might not do anything about it but don’t say you don’t identify the culprit.
Of course it’s the same in football. Take the England team. When they were unceremoniously dumped out of this year’s World Cup there was suddenly a post mortem into what’s wrong with the English game. Let’s blame it on not enough youngsters coming through. Add in last week’s draw with Macedonia and it’s now Capello’s fault because he can’t speak English well and therefore can’t get his message across? Then there are the perennial fall back excuses of too many foreigners in the game or no grass roots investment, on it goes?
The same can be said for club football. If your club goes into nose dive then everyone seeks to find a scapegoat. Recently we’ve, rightly, taken the “blame the American owners” route for our ills, even though Tom Hicks, after his crocodile tears interview last week, would state we were wrong. However as the bad form continues and a new owner starts his honeymoon period with us and ramps up his charm offensive (nice but slightly obvious touch walking into the street and letting everyone see he is reading Rogan Taylors “Football and it’s fans..” book) we need to look for someone else to blame? Step forward Roy Hodgson.
Of course HRH hasn’t helped himself recently. Leaving aside current results his post match comments last weekend that he thought we’d played the best he’d seen in ages were of staggering ”kings news clothes” proportions. Perhaps when a game of such emotionally significance goes against you it is best to keep quiet? However, all the defending of his team and, by implication, his, position has served to do is to increase the pressure on him. One could look to the players themselves and suggest that they aren’t performing. I am slowly beginning to wonder with each game what planet some of them are on however it is part of the manager’s lot that, rightly or wrongly, he takes the responsibility.
Criticism of HRH is justified just as it would be for any manager with our record this season. I am not happy with the way we are playing however, I do not want Roy Hodgson sacked, yet. To call for his head after only eight games is premature in the extreme and brackets us with those sets of fans that let reason and logic be overtaken by impatient, rampant, unchecked passion – I bet they open their Christmas presents before 25th December! In mitigation some would say that HRH should go before we blow our season and can’t win anything. However, this ignores the fact that, given the state of the club at the moment, such achievements were unlikely in the first place. Whoever takes over will be faced with the same problems. Even if he manages to improve things, it will take time?
You might not agree with HRH’s recent post match interview however at least he was more coherent than Rafa the other day. Has anyone any idea what the score is with all this “bottle of white liquid” stuff? Given his complains about the way things changed in the last year, no point in picking over the past as we’ve got the present and future to worry about, I can only assume that he is saying that things aren’t what they seem or is he being paid by the milk marketing board…. or tippex?
Anyway whatever the case Rafa will be very pleased with his new teams result last night (Gareth Bale’s efforts excepted) and tonight, around 480 miles down the road, we face up to Napoli as we resume our stint on the Thursday night Europa naughty step!
HRH repeats the routine he used at Utrecht by travelling without Gerrard or Torres and we are also without Agger and Johnson, both are injured. Said HRH
“Some of the more important senior players won’t travel because their participation on Sunday is going to be so important to us. It’s not just a question of playing three matches in a week it’s also a question of injury. I don’t think our squad is so strong that I can afford to risk them”
It’s a brave decision. Although we got a point at Utrecht it wasn’t the best of performances and one wondered if HRH was tempted to field Torres and Gerrard in order to get the result that would go some way to easing the pressure on him? However, I am comfortable with his decision, we need to make progress in the league and I guess, as usual, the first teamers absence will mean more experience for others.
Prediction? Napoli won’t be a push over. They sit fourth in Seria A with only defeat in seven. I’m not even sure if we’ve ever played them before in Europe before I certainly can’t remember please correct me if I’m wrong. I am not confident given the team and the circumstances facing us but I’ll take a draw 1-1 but will it ease the pressure on HRH?
Finally I seems we are being flown to the game by Iron Maiden’s lead singer, and erstwhile airline, pilot Bruce Dickenson. It’s like something out of Viz’s Billy the Fish! What next Lemmy as the coach driver or Angus Young as the kit man (we’ll be OK for shorts)? I wonder if Dickenson will be tempted to write a “song” about it? I hope it won’t reflect the result …. for example it could, ominously, be a variation of “Can I Play With Madness”!