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The 200% Podcast 12 – General Election Special
Saturday Night On Channel Five For The Football League
The Decline & Fall Of Leyton Orient
Rape, Disrespect & Fury: The Oyston Family & Blackpool FC
Is It Time For A New Football Club For Newcastle?
Tranmere Rovers & Cheltenham Town Stare Into The Abyss
I hereby declare today to be Schadenfreude Sunday. Enjoy it while it lasts, because days like this don’t come about very often. Chelsea, Arsenal and Rangers all losing on the same day? My cup runneth over. I watched the match at White Hart Lane this afternoon, and Spurs did out play Chelsea. Considering the rumours coming out of Stamford Bridge towards the end of last week regarding Chelsea’s “interest” in Aaron Lennon (though how much of this was genuine interest is very much open to question – I suspect Jose Mourinho and his increasingly tiresome “mind games”), there was a certain delicious irony in Lennon scoring the winner. I suppose it’s conceivable that Chelsea will bid for Lennon at some point in the future, but he only has to look at the last great hope for the right side of the England midfield to see what a misguided decision this could be – Shaun Wright-Phillips. Lennon is having a fine time of it at White Hart Lane at the moment. He’d be a fool to go to Chelsea – but I wouldn’t put any act of stupidity past a professional footballer.
I haven’t seen any of the West Ham United vs Arsenal match yet, though it certainly looks like it will be worth staying up to watch “Match Of The Day 2″ for. Robin Van Persie felled by something thrown from the crowd, Alan Pardew and Arsene Wenger coming close to having a fight, and a late, late goal to condemn Arsenal to a second defeat of the season? You can’t tell me that this isn’t worth losing an hour’s worth of sleep for tonight. Arsenal’s increasing discomfort in front of goal continues to delight me. Considering the moral stance that Arsenal have taken over being the heart and soul of “the beautiful game”, it’s almost obligatory for me to use this modest platform to remind Monsieur Wenger that there are a few fundamentals that perhaps he should be focussing on. I expect to see his players all being issued with a cow’s arse and a banjo each at training tomorrow morning.
In Scotland, they should probably just pack up now and give the SPL championship to Celtic. I’ve seen Celtic a couple of times in the Champions League this season, and they’re no great team. They’ve got Kenny Miller playing up front for them, after all. Rather, the Scottish League has been given to them by default, as their only conceivable competitors, Hearts and Rangers, have imploded since the start of the season. Everybody knows the problem at Hearts – their owner may well have pots of cash, but he’s also a fucking idiot. Before last week’s match against Dunfermline, of course, he told the team that they’d all be put up for sale if they didn’t win. I’m not altogether certain what this frankly insane statement was supposed to achieve, but they didn’t beat a mediocre Pars side, and lost again yesterday at Celtic Park. It’s difficult to say what exactly is going wrong at Ibrox at the moment, though it has to be said that Paul Le Guen’s team is a young team, and a quick trawl through some Rangers messageboards and blogs shows a lot of people using the dread phrase “this was always going to be a transitional season”. I doubt, somehow, that Rangers fans will tolerate a second straight season of not even making the top two in the SPL, though, and I can’t help but think that Le Guen is living on borrowed time already.
Yesterday’s schedule provided nowhere near this level of excitement. Manchester United trundled on with a routine win against Portsmouth, and Watford finally got their first win of the season against an increasingly hapless looking Middlesbrough side. How long will Steve Gibson’s legendary patience last this time? It’s frankly bizarre that a football club chairman with a background in business would appoint a manager with absolutely no experience whatsoever, but there’s no telling them really, is there? Finally, there was some respite for the Earthworm-Jim-a-like Ian Dowie, as Charlton won for the first time since the end of August against Manchester City – but, then, Manchester City just do that sort of thing, don’t they?
In The Championship, the honeymoon period is clearly over for Dennis Wise, whose Leeds side lost at Barnsley yesterday. While I can’t help but think that a quarter of a century is rather a long time for Wales to have gone without a team in the top division, at least we can take some solace from the upset that it will cause the deeply unlovable Sam Hammam if Cardiff City blow it, which is looking increasingly likely after they lost at Colchester United yesterday. It could turn into a very interesting battle at the top, though, especially considering the geographical proximity of Preston and Burnley. I still think that Birmingham will get their act together and win it, though. Further down the league, Scunthorpe United are looking ominous in third place in League One – what price Scunthorpe vs Newcastle in The Championship next season?
Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.