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Monday, January 07, 2008

Not good enough. Period.

That's it, fellow members of the Toon Army. Our squad simply isn't good enough. You only needed to watch a few minutes of the match at Stoke City to see it. Every time we needed a short pass, a flicked header, a solid clearance, a through ball... it simply wasn't there. It was a match full of nothing more than misfires. Pathetic.

The only bright spot for TDH was St. Seamus, the Irish Cat himself, who saved us once again from almost certain ignominy. Without this master of the nets, in what division would we currently be playing? The Championship, if that?

The thing is, we have a bunch of name players, but almost all of them seem to be woefully over the hill. Is it the arc of their careers, is it their fitness, is it the coaching? No matter. If a side with Duff, Owen and Viduka in front can't score, we've got serious problems.

It's not just the damnable reappearance of the useless Alan Smith in midfield. It's something deeper. That TDH could not see a single decent thing among the outfield players, with the possible exception of that one Lualua run (ah, that name...), sends buzzers screaming and red lights flashing throughout the TDH establishment.

Are we even a cup team, at this point? We are so fundamentally disorganized, so irredeemably lacking in fundamental skills, that TDH wonders whether we won't end up down in the depths before too long. All the hopes raised by new management, a new coach and those new players have been dashed as far as TDH is concerned. Apologies, loyal readers, but TDH has hit rock-bottom.


Meanwhile, TDH covets the signing of one Humberto Suazo, lauded previously here during his days at Colo Colo, by Independiente to give the clausura season a boost. But El Rojo will need someone to sit behind El Rolfi, bossing the midfield, in order to succeed. Hopes have not been raised just yet, but TDH might even brave a trip to El Cilindro in order to see Suazo live and in person.


In other news, TDH must ask whether Dimitar Berbatov is really worth the crazy sums Spurs are apparently demanding. The man is capable of magic - of that there is no doubt - but only when he decides to get his rear end in gear. Would that happen with any greater frequency at a bigger club? At first, perhaps, but TDH bets that he'd join Sulkers FC before long, no matter where he played.


The semi-annual exodus of Argentine players has already begun, with the signing of Ever Banega by Valencia, for yet another ridiculous amount of money, as Exhibit A. These days, Argentines have to be content with the odd returning star - viz. Veron, Riquelme, Piojo Lopez, Sava - because all the up-and-comers are either in Europe, if they're lucky, or in Mexico.


And speaking of those guys, have a look at the bind in which Mascherano now finds himself. He's owned by a team for which he doesn't play; thus, they can sell him freely without worrying about how it will affect their performance. Really, it's more of a bind for Liverpool than it is for Masche. He'll end up at a good team no matter what (though he could be cup-tied in UEFA, which would make any move bittersweet). Rafa, on the other hand, would have to do without the services of his quiet rock at the number 5 position. Well, perhaps it doesn't matter. Rafa's just waiting to replace Spain's answer to Ron Atkinson anyway, right?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hold on a minute. I might have worked out how this 'Typekey' thing works now.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aha! Right then. I can't disagree with much of your analysis TDH. You ever do that thing where you go through the team and evaluate each player's performance? Of course you do. Last night I was engaged in just that- but could not for the life of me remember who had been alongside Butt in midfield. I needed the Metro newspaper this morning to remind me. This tells you all you need to know about the contribution of our Rooney-wannabee- and about Allardyce's understanding of the importance of a central playmaker.

Not that the other nine outfield were much better. Duff's default move now consists of a knock-kneed run into the full-back's legs followed by a baleful glance at the linesman. Owen has forgotten how to judge the flight of a ball. Arsenal must be licking their lips at the prospect of facing our sorry bunch in round four.

What Given- who has yoked himself to us surely against his better judgement, destroying his own career prospects in the process- must make of it all is anyone's guess. An honourable mention also for Taylor, who can be bet upon to liven up even the most dire display with a cameo featuring smacking his head against the opposition goalpost, tipping a piledriver round the post with a nimble index finger, then clearing a point-blank shot off the line with his nose. You just can't coach that stuff.

10:30 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Well, Jonathan, this was the fear when Big Ham arrived, right? That rather than taking advantage of the creative talent for which the club has often been known, he would Boltonize the squad by turning us into a bunch of brutes who relied on long balls, crosses and headers. Look what's happened: Nobby out, Emre sidelined, Parker out; Smith in, Butt favored. And we can't even do the crosses and headers right. Ugh.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Palms said...

Hmm, focusing on the negatives just a little bit. How about the performance of Faye and Taylor who were excellent and should be the first choice paring? Duff and owen are just coming back from injury remember, so the rustiness is understandable. That said, I seem to recall Duff skinning his full back a couple of times. With him in the team at least we're guarenteed some width.

I'm reasonably happy. There were finally phases where we were playing the ball along the ground and isolated moments of good one touch football. we were generally hesitant going forward but I think the instructions for the game were to not lose. i don't blame Sam for that.

i agree Smith should never play in midfield. he's awful there. But he is still an excellent centre forward and has excelled everytime he's playd up front. It's baffling why sam sees him as a spoiler/winger/creator.

12:00 AM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Hmm, Palms, not sure which match you were watching. Shay had to bail us out far too many times against lower-league opposition for me to consider Taylor-Faye the best possible pairing.

Also, not sure which Alan Smith you've been watching. Even in his best season for Leeds, four years ago, he had only 9 goals in 34 starts (the year before, it was 3 from 33). In his best year for Manure, he had 6 goals from 22 starts and 9 substitute appearances. Hardly incredible.

At Leeds Smith was an inspirational figure - of that there is no doubt - but his numbers hardly set the world on fire. He was overrated before he arrived, and he ought to create huge doubts over Big Ham's recruiting prowess.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Palms said...

Well, well, well, it seems Mike ashley and Mister Smithers seem to disagree with me as well. Oh for some stability at this bastard club.

I was specifically referring to the 2 or 3 times Smith has started as a striker for us. I thought he linked up really well with Martins, and if it wasn't for Martins' awful awful finishing, they had the makings of a pretty darn good partnership.

who the hell in their right mind is going to want to succeed Allardyce? on the bright side, at least Emre might stay now.

1:57 AM  

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