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Monday, September 25, 2006

Neither here nor there

Well, it's really starting to get to TDH that virtually every minute of Toon action this year has gone unwitnessed. TDH could only read, from San Francisco today, about the draw with Tim Howard. At least TDH will be able to see the match against Manure next Sunday, from a footie-friendly island thousands of miles away from here... yes, TDH is talking about Hong Kong.

TDH is not too sad that Bramble was sent off, as it'll give Steven Taylor time to get back into the swing of things. And with Amoeba possibly suffering an ankle injury, it's a shame that Rossi isn't allowed to play against Sir's scum. But we might just get a chance to drink in the bracing aperitif made from two young stars who are barely old enough to drink it... yes, TDH is talking about Martins & Rossi against the Estonians in midweek!

So, tune in as the Toon turn Tallinn into, er, vermouth. In the meantime, groan about being a bottom-half team. Enjoy the fact that Bobby Convey and Marcus Hahnemann helped Reading to draw against the Red Mist - a fact that would have been unbelievable a year ago. And revel in having predicted the rise of certain towering Greek striker... yes, TDH is talking about Giorgios Samaras! Okay, enough already.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

As predictable as a bottle of Newkie Brown

TDH hates to say, "I told you so," but.... It warn't pretty at Anfield. And for TDH, it all comes down to this: we're not ready. We don't have the depth of the top squads, and our top young players need time to develop. Give us a couple of years.

There was a similar refrain a little while back when Sir Bob guided his crowd of young tykes to third place - "Give us a couple of years, and we'll win it all" was more like it - but, alas, they turned out to be a bunch of unmanageable delinquents. Hopefully Roeder will have better luck with Oba, Zog and company. But either way, the level of ambition must now be significantly lower.

Perhaps it's time (have we really sunk this low?) to use the Stevie Mac recipe for success. Win the Carling Cup, use it to recruit a few more players, then tussle for something a bit more important. Who knows, Roeder could end up coaching England in 2014.... You heard it here first.


About those bungs. First of all, TDH believes in free labor markets, and the rest of this is so much horseswaddle. If a club wants to sanction its own player for talking to other teams, fine, but the league should stay out of it. Even if Big Sam's guilty - how come it's always the son who screws up, Kofi? - TDH hopes he fights it into the Bosman rule of the 21st century.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Rumbling along with all the grace of a three-wheeled Morris Minor

After the total deflation of last week's Premiership loss, TDH struggled to find the enthusiasm to keep posting. Was it just to be another season of iniquity, new signings notwithstanding?

Well, perhaps not. Oba has finally broken his duck, and Duff is showing that yes, he is class, and not just another waste of Geordie cash. TDH considers the Toon lucky to have played West Ham before Carlitos and Masche had really hit their groove. Roeder will have gained a bit of confidence after sticking it to his old club. With the Euro away victory, things are starting to tick along.

But seriously. Only 1-0 in Talinn? Things are still not as they should be. Yes, we'll have to see what Rossi has in his locker, if he ever gets a look-in. And the defense looks to be a bit better with Craig Moore - the longest-lasting Magpie in the World Cup! - doing the organizing. Still, TDH is yet to be convinced.

Moreover, POMPEY TOP? What is the world coming to, one wonders. At least those cool blue shirts will be up for sale if we make it to the UEFA Cup group stage....

Monday, September 04, 2006

Who are these guys?

Dunga's done a bit of housecleaning, and apparently he's found some decent players tucked away in some dark corners. Like Elano, a supposedly quiet midfielder who managed to outrun Daniel Bilos - Argentina's answer to the Empire State Building - twice on his way to scoring.

TDH took in the match at Manhattan's football mecca, the famous Nevada Smith's, with an Argentine friend. The Argies looked pretty good, with plenty of talent and plenty of chances. But the final touch was lacking... always.

And Coco Basile didn't seem to have done much with the team in his first few days. But TDH wasn't surprised. Without Ayala keeping things organized at the back, there was the same lack of communication between El Pato Abbondanzieri and Coloccini that TDH had ridiculed in the Croatia friendly before the World Cup.

Meanwhile, Dunga tried out a few more new faces. (Dudu! Sobis! Maicon!) And as Kaka ran halfway across the pitch to score the third in instant replay, TDH heard a Brazilian fan saying, "Maradona can go to hell," or something rather more colorful to that effect....

Friday, September 01, 2006

Transfer deadline shockers!

Well, there is a stunned calm of pure awe at the TDH compound tonight. How, how, HOW did West Ham manage to sign Carlitos Tevez and Javier Mascherano from Corinthians??!?! It defies belief. Not to Chelsea, not even to one of the top clubs, but to WEST HAM??!?! These guys were two of the best players at the World Cup. They could have gone to any team in Europe. TDH is dumbfounded. Explanations and conspiracy theories, please.

In Argentina, to answer Mara (hey Mara, shouldn't you already know what's going on in Argentina?), they're saying that Kia Joorabchian of Corinthians is actually buying West Ham, and the alleged $58 million transfer fee (or $45 million, depending on whom you ask) may be paid to himself. This certainly puts the Abramovich Hypothesis, first formulated by a Russian mathematician known to his colleagues only as Grishka, in a different light - he'd never be stupid enough to involve his money in two clubs in the Premier League, would he?


TDH would like to be more generous, but really Roeder and Shepherd only deserve a 6 out of 10 for the transfer window. TDH's big beef is that they failed to sign a central defender... like Huth. Oba looks promising, but it's a shame that they only got Rossi for four months. (And it's a double shame that the New Jersey boy decided to play internationally for Italy - what was he thinking?) TDH was somewhat relieved that Milner wasn't sold to Villa, but Sibierski is a bit of a conundrum. Sure, he's a hard man, but TDH could never figure out how he fit into City's setup - now Roeder will have to answer the same question.


Gooners are probably crowing about switching Ashley for Gallas, but for TDH the bigger coup is unloading Reyes - whom TDH never, ever liked - for Julio Baptista. Baptista is a horse and always has a great attitude, which is why TDH coveted him for the Toon for so long. At least we'll get to see him play in England. He can't possibly be more useless than Reyes. If Real get goals out of the latter, it'll show once and for all that Spain is a pretty boy league.


Lastly, TDH is excited that DaMarcus is coming to DaMoonies. Long may he prosper under Psycho's psuper tutelage, except when he plays against Newcastle.

EXTRA: Soccernet is reporting that Newcastle obtained old boy Olivier Bernard on a free on September 1. Two questions: 1) how is that possible - is it because he was technically without a club? and 2) can he play in the center?