Bolton and belated thoughts from the Forest of “unplenty”

So ensconced in the New Forest for a week and no internet. However, this blog also serves as a form of footballing diary for me so I can look back over things. So although much of this will be old hat by the time you read it, forgive me if, only for the record, I spew out my belated thoughts from the last week.

Saturday 20th August 2011

Arsenal 0

Liverpool 2
Ramsey (og) 79) Suarez (90)

It may have escaped your notice that Liverpool actually won this game. I say this as most of the papers decided to concentrate on the fact that Arsenal lost it! One paper went on and on about this and the fact that the club, after two games and bit of transfer shenanigans is clearly destined for the Blue Square League! The writer took until the very last paragraph to mention us and even then it was Jamie Carragher talking about… er Arsenal!

Arsenal’s “problems”, if that’s what you want to call them, are their own to deal with and in addition many of their fans will probably bemoan that, in addition to this, they had the added injustice of our two “off side” goals to digest oh and a sending off? Apparently our second wasn’t offside because Suarez was involved a particular “phase of play”, I thought he was just waiting for Moreiles’ pass. I’m flummoxed, every time there is debatable offside decision a new rule or explanation crops up! Suarez was actually onside because he was on the post coital side of the pitch or something equally as baffling. The first goal, Ramsey’s own goal, looked offside to me however, in one well known right wing paper (which I didn’t buy) Graham Poll said that technically, if the rules are followed to the letter, it was on side. So if Mr Poll said that then I am more than prepared to concede that the goal was offside!

Anyway it was an efficient performance. When Frimpong (sounds like a panda) was sent off, and Kenny threw on Suarez and Meireles, you sensed there was only going to be one result. There were a few negatives Henderson looked a bit lost and Carroll played like he’d just got out of bed (perhaps he had given the kick off time) however one certainly can’t complain and for once it was nice to dominate possession at the Emirates, make the home side work and, dare I say it, look ordinary.

Sunday 21st August

Went to Bournemouth today and travelled through a place called Everton, still can’t think of anything to say about that! Sat on the beach looking at the air show and flicking through the papers. The Sunday Times Culture section’s TV Listings prints letters from readers commenting on the previous weeks programmes. One discussed Caroline Quentin’s (Martin Clunes’ girlfriend in Men Behaving Badly) commentary on a programme called “Restoration Home” which was described as akin to “reading aloud to as five year old”. Another letter said “Was I the only one who felt eight years old when listening to her?”

Well all I can say to those writers is to try listening to Five Live’s 606 if you want a real talking down to. When it was fresh out of the box and run by Danny Baker it had something, a different slant on football however, now it is a cheap, dummed down listen that unashamedly plays on fans kneejerk reactions. The programme seems to be full of wall to wall moaning from listeners who are upset about their team losing or complaining that they don’t receive enough credit when they win. I guess this is understandable as they’ve phoned straight after the game however any level headed fan would not be on the phone bleating to the nation, they’d be in the pub! Moreover, the presenters patronisingly indulge them and egg them on in an attempt to make something out of a situation that plainly isn’t there This weekends clubs in crisis were Everton and Arsenal, phone now and let’s try and start a party on their graves! Trouble is that, in most cases, the spade has yet to hit the sod!

Monday 22nd August

With the transfer window about to snap shut next week the clamour for final bargains continues. Some go on longer than others, for Arsenal read Nasri for us read Alberto Aquilani. Today we learn AC Milan are circling but it could be any club as long as they are Italian, we’ve already had Roma and Florence,. Having spent the best part of £50m this summer surely Aquilani will go if only to off set some of this expenditure however, it is taking it’s time and readers of this blog will know that I hope time runs out. I doubt it will!

Elsewhere and it’s something of a shock farewell to Sotirios Kyrgiakos who has joined Wolfsburg on the free transfer. I thought he had ridden out the “those for the chop” storm. At one stage, only for a few months or so admittedly and I can’t remember if it was last season or the one before, he was our best player. I was taken in by the looks and experience and thought he would add the hardness and roughness we needed in defence so I felt a bit crushed when he was battered off the ball on more than one a occasion last season, there was one particularly whimpish episode at Blackburn. Nonetheless I will be sorry to see him go, Kyrgiakos was one of those players whose mistakes I tolerated because well, I liked him. Of course there are silver linings with Kyrgiakos gone youth gets more of a chance and when writing this nonsense, I won’t need to continually refer to the web or a newspaper to make sure I’ve spelt his f*cking name right!

We went to Marwell Zoo today and experienced and apposite event. There was kid lost, crying his eyes out. We looked after him and eventually found his parents. I not sure if his crying was because he couldn’t find his folks or a wider appeal for help, he was wearing a Sunderland shirt!

Tuesday 23rd August

Two opposites today. The e-petition to lobby to government to release ALL the Hillsborough documents grows and grows, if you haven’t signed it yet click here you have to be British to do so. The number of “signatures” has rocketed, to over 100,000 now which means the government has to respond. Social Networking sites have played a significant part in this surge a positive force for good this time contrasting with their part in the recent riots? The government seem to be stalling siting the current enquiry via the Hillsborough Independent Panel as a reason for not releasing the papers immediately however can they hold out if the volume of signatures continues to increase?

Sorry if this sounds sugary and over sentimental but I watched my two sons playing on the beach today and wondered how I would feel if I had to wait twenty years plus for the truth if they had died. I doesn’t bear thinking about. Moreover as Hillsborough is over twenty years ago I suspect some of the relatives of victims have gone to their graves without getting full and proper answers. This begs the question why have the government taken so long over this? I often wonder if it’s because they are waiting for those responsible to die or retire before they release the papers? If so then clearly, in their eyes, some people’s feelings are more important than others, forget about basic principles such as doing the right thing. Should we be surprised sadly it won’t be the first time government has put “the few” before “many”?

Elsewhere and proof the football can be snide friend with a habit of exploiting complacency and knocking you back just when you think things have taken a turn for the better. Still happy about the weekends result I get the papers this morning and my blood ran cold. Tucked away in small corner between copious articles about Arsenal and Arsene Wenger was the news that apparently we are interested in taking Craig Bellamy back as he is out of favour at Manchester City. I can see the local headlines now The Ego has Relanded”. It is likely that Bellamy will be a free transfer so a cheap replacement for David Ngog should he go but perhaps Kenny should ask himself why the player finds himself in this situation at Eastlands, and why he was also in a similar position at Newcastle? Inevitably people will also make comments about Bellamy and Andy Carroll being at the same club seeing it as an accident waiting to happen. Reputations are sometimes unfairly acquired and Carroll, while he’s been at Liverpool has done no wrong, the same cannot be said for Bellamy, I would have turfed him out immediately after the golf club incident. It’s the sort of idle nonsense we can do without and surely there are more physiologically stable, less egotistical people than Bellamy we can take on? Avoid!

Wednesday 24th August

In Carling Cup action tonight against Exeter. It’s on Sky but can I find a pub? Every one around here looks like a nice local until you walk through the door and discover it’s been given the “make over” equivalent of lobotomy and changed into one of those obscene gastro efforts – hence the tile of this piece. This involves taking out the TV and being greeted with “Good evening Sir, what would you like to eat?” Anyway I‘ll continue to try if only to hear the inevitable phrase “from the Emirates to Exeter” someone on Sky, or the “normal telly”, highlights is bound to say it.

I think this year’s Carling Cup has an increased importance for us. We are not in Europe and haven’t won a trophy since 2006 and also lost embarrassingly to Northampton in last year’s competition. So this presents us with a good opportunity to put things right while the other so called big clubs keep players back for so called bigger fish. Re tonight’s game, of course I expect to win but, as mentioned before, football can be snide so one should never rule out the unexpected.

Thursday 25th August

No worries! A good win at Exeter, straight forward with no surprise or arduous bouts of extra time. Kenny perhaps gave us an indication on how seriously the club will be taking this competition by fielding a strong side all the big signings featured at some stage players such as Reina also played when normally we would have been used to seeing the reserve keeper. Suarez showed that he is more than willing to get his boots dirty at this level and played well whilst Andy Carroll’s finish showed why we had signed him.

Elsewhere and perhaps surprisingly but equally as welcome we have put a bid for another defender, Sebastian Coates who plays for the Uruguayan Club Nacional. I think it’s fair to say he is no relation to Ralph (if you are young or don’t support Spurs or Burnley Google it!). The offer appears to be in the region of £7m although Nacional seem intent on starting a bidding war as others, including Manchester City and Arsenal, are also interested. City have already singed a defender this summer and who knows what Arsenal want to do however, as last night’s ITV panel of “accountants” concluded last night they have money.

I have to say I know nothing about Coates, perhaps I should have stayed up and watched the Copa America! The fact that he has attracted so much interest is a good sign and perhaps it will be even more of a good omen if he chooses us over others?

Friday 26th August

Looks like the government will be willing to hand over all the Hillsborough papers. I hope it is all of them if it turns out they’ve been keeping some back all hell will break lose. I still would like to know why it taken twenty years, what is the reason?

Aqulinai’s move to AC Milan is a done deal done however I’m slightly surprised that it is only going to be a loan deal, I’ve given up thinking why and why Roy Hodgson and now Kenny don’t want him. Is it to do with money or the player himself?

Meanwhile less complicated, or so it seems is Joe Cole’s situation and possibility that he might join Spurs. He and Harry Redknapp were together at West Ham and although Cole will probably need to take a wage cut, perhaps a spell under his former boss is just the thing to resurrect his career which, given the number of midfielders we now have (even allowing for Aquilani’s departure), looks to be going nowhere with us.

Anyway I was travelling home today and looking forward to tomorrows game against Bolton. I don’t know how you class this game. The guy on Five Live said Arsenal’s visit to Old Trafford this weekend was “the first major clash of the Premiership” So our visit to the Emirates or Spurs’ to the Mancs doesn’t count does it. It’s little things like that plus not being involved in the European draws that …

Anyway being underestimated isn’t necessarily a bad thing and this game gives us a chance to put away the bad bits of the Sunderland game and build on the good we saw at the Emirates. Bolton were one of the few sides we did the double over last season however, I seem to remember we weren’t exactly impressive in either game. The Anfield match was significant because the crowd was so low a sign, with hindsight admittedly, that Roy Hodgson;s days were numbered.

One wonders what side Kenny will field. Surely Suarez will start this time although we are still without Glen Johnson and now Meireles who injured his shoulder at Exeter.

Prediction? 2-1 to us and like Liverpool this weekend it’s good to be at home!

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