Day: October 2, 2010

Match Of The Week: Wigan Athletic 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

During their season in the third tier during the late 1990s, Manchester City supporters had a song that summed up their feeling of disbelief at the turn for the worse that their club’s fortunes had taken: “We’re Not Really Here”. This lunchtime, Wigan Athletic have taken this to its logical conclusion by being not actually there. There are gaping holes in the crowd for this lunchtime kick-off, most likely on account of the Rugby League Challenge Cup final being played today. To this extent, the town of Wigan remains, in sporting terms, conflicted. Yet this is an important match, in its own way. The nature of the league programme means that there is a tendency for the points accumulated at the end of the season to be treated as more important than those won earlier on in the season but, of course, they’re not. If either of these two clubs wants seriously bolster its chances of avoiding the relegation trapdoor, picking up points from matches like this is not far from essential. Take a moment, if you will, to consider the amount of preparation that a professional football club puts into its match on a Saturday afternoon – the training, the tactical preparation, the logistical side of matters and the travelling supporters, who give up the majority of their Saturday afternoons (and, let us not forget, a reasonably voluminous...

Read More

Light At The End Of The Tunnel At Bournemouth

Even I’m getting bored with my cynicism these days, so I can only apologise to you. The moment I saw the ice being applied to Wayne Rooney’s “injured” ankle at Bolton last weekend, I was applying those inverted commas in my head. I was not a jot surprised when Man Yoo’s BBC spokesperson Michael Phelan said that Giggs was the main doubt for the Valencia. Even when the “Rooney out for three weeks” story came out and I saw pictures of the spud-faced nipper leaving hospital, I never once thought, “Oooh, maybe this injury is for real after all.” When I read the Portsmouth News headline “Clampers are not down to us, say Pompey,” my first thought was, “what’s Gaydamak up to?” remembering that he still owned the land around Portsmouth’s Fratton Park. And every time Andrew Andronikou opens his mouth, I hear Jeremy Paxman’s voice inside my head (which is not fun), saying “why is this lying bastard lying to me?” (even though Paxman no more said that than Bogart said “play it again, Sam”). Now, OK, I was right about Gaydamak. And there is a school of thought the size of Lincolnshire that I may be right about Andronikou. But my ability to see the worst in football finance people from the word go is, I’m sure, clouding my judgement on some issues. So I’m more than...

Read More