So no game yesterday due to a frozen pitch at Bloomfield Road.
It was suggested in the papers that Blackpool might be fined as this is not the first cancellation they’ve had. The problem is their lack of under soil heating however, I have no issue with this. Blackpool will get it sorted presumably because they have lost money through these games being called off. I guess there is also a credibility issue? They and Fulham are the only Premiership clubs that don’t have under soil heating. For the record Fulham can’t install it because it would mean alterations to the Johnny Hayes Stand – a listed building. Sometimes working with an avid Fulham fan pays dividends!
Presumably the Premiership knew about this when Blackpool joined the league and were perhaps willing to let it go. As I recall the club only had three sides to their ground so I suspect completing the final quarter to get the crowds in took precedent, something that Premiership would no doubt understand?
So it was a barren Sunday spent watching Fulham v West Ham and then Villa v Spurs. As usual it was commentator’s cliché time. Charlton Cole’s first goal for West Ham was a “Christmas gift”, West Ham and their fans (away at Craven Cottage) were “travellers from the East”. After they went 3-1 up it was assumed that they would be wishing “it was Christmas everyday”. I should have taken a longer walk!
The walk was long in an attempt to find a shop that was open to buy a paper. All that was on offer was a certain grubby little Sunday red top but I was on orders to get something, sorry! Inside of course we treated to more rumour about the futures of Joe Cole and HRH.
The Joe Cole article highlighted his loss of form and the possibility that if it didn’t improve he might be tempted to move on, as if in some way it’s our fault. It also suggested he was a one trick pony, ie only comfortable playing “in the hole” and that he didn’t possess the tactical intelligence to adapt to the changing footballing demands of the Premiership.
Quite what these changes demands are we weren’t told however, there is no doubt that Cole is having problems. He began his spell with us brightly but since returning from injury has gone backwards. Playing out of position hasn’t helped but perhaps he is too predictable and easily read which may account for so many anonymous performances this season? Maybe he is too eager to please his new employers and his new fans?
Perhaps the best advice HRH can give Cole is to go out and just enjoy playing? If he makes a mistake forget about it just try and express himself and play football as he appeared to do when he was younger. I think this is a better way of handling him and trying to get the best out of him rather than going on record as HRH did last week and talking publically about his problems.
“I have not lost faith in him in any way. He is a good footballer, but you can’t deny the start he wanted has not materialised. He came with high hopes of taking Liverpool by storm and that has not happened. He should be convincing me and everyone watching that he is a player who can help Liverpool win things and I think you could not say that has been the case so far.”
There Joe I bet that really made you good eh?
The ironic thing is that in South Africa many were saying that Cole was the answer to England’s problems. Furthermore I suspect that Cole does not need to be talked about in the way HRH has done so. His form since he came to Liverpool hasn’t been impressive but from what I can see his attitude on the field and the way he speaks off it has been first class. It sounds stupid but you can see he wants to do well and because of this when he doesn’t I feel his frustration. Being compelled to criticise him is the last thing on my mind.
As for HRH himself he is now the subject of fresh speculation, like he’s never been used to it! Step forward Didier Deschamps, the person whom HRH was preferred to for the Liverpool job. DD has now emerged as favourite to oust HRH this summer if things don’t go well in the second half of the season.
Whilst not especially enthusing about the start HRH has made the prospect of him being replaced by someone such as Deschamps doesn’t have me turning festive cartwheels of anticipation and celebration in the ice and snow. Deschamps’ record is no better than Hodgson’s and I reckon there are at least half a dozen, may be more managers who would fit the bill over him. His record is hardly something that makes him a sort after target and surely arguments such he is a World Cup winner (with France in 1998) just don’t wash in today’s game? One of the reasons we went with HRH as opposed to DD was because he had experience in the Premiership, so what has changed since then? Nothing as far as I can see.
We need to be patient and give HRH at least a season. After that I think HRH is pragmatic enough, he’s been around for a hell of a long time, to realise that come the summer the new owners might want to make a change and get their own man in. However, I fail to see what Deschamps will bring that HRH might not have already bought to the side by the summer and can bring to it in the future? If we are to make a change it will need to be the right one and for the right reasons. The Premiership is still our priority (sounds slightly wistful at present doesn’t it?) so we need someone who understands it and someone who can take over from HRH and make the transition as seamless as possible. I have nothing against foreign managers but will they provide that continuity? Can we afford to have another season or so of new managers fiddling around, getting caught out and familiarising themselves with what’s required in the Premiership?
If HRH is to go who is the best option? There are many but we could do a lot worse than a man who was probably sitting in his armchair yesterday enjoying a football free Christmas and watching the last club he managed lose to Spurs?