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The Decline & Fall Of Leyton Orient
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Tranmere Rovers & Cheltenham Town Stare Into The Abyss
Over the course of the normal working day, many things flash through my head which I either don’t have the time to write up in full or aren’t quite fleshy enough to warrant a full article on here. Here are some of the things that have been playing on my mind over the last week or so.
Wasn’t January Great? I can’t remember another month which has provided so much entertainment. We’ve seen the crisis at Anfield (which has opened up the Premier League in a way that no-one would have anticipated at the start of the season), the ongoing circus at Newcastle United, two marvellous rounds of the FA Cup, Leeds United losing Dennis Wise and slumping in the league, Franchise letting the chasing pack catch them up in League Two and the outstanding group stages of the African Cup Of Nations. If 2008 carries on at this rate, it’s going to be a great year. It won’t, though, will it?
Steamy Windows The press are the only people that get massively excited about the January transfer window, aren’t they? There’s always a frantic rush of excitement on the back pages towards the end of December with feverish speculation over who is going to be going where, and it always turns out to be a bit of a let down. Jermaine Defoe to Portsmouth, Nicolas Anelka to Chelsea and Jonathan Woodgate to Spurs have been the big moves over the last month or so, and Defoe’s move was only really exciting because it happened at the very, very last minute. I’ve got a mental image of it taking place on a bridge in the middle of nowhere, rather like spies being exchanged in a cold war thriller, for some reason. Except, um, there’s only one “spy”.
Fabio Luvs David It is a clear sign that the world has gone mad, when acres and acres of press coverage are given over to the England squad selection for a friendly match against Switzerland, but I’ll allow some slack to be cut on it because it does at least allow us a window into the world of the curious relationship between Fabio Cappello and David Beckham. Cappello was, of course, Beckham’s bete noire at Real Madrid, dropping him from the first team and then offloading him to LA Galaxy. Now, with Beckham on 99 England caps and desperate to win his 100th, Cappello has left him out of the squad for the Switzerland match. It is easy to come to the conclusion that Fabio just doesn’t like David that much, but I don’t think that this is necessarily true. Cappello is a ruthless pragmatist, and I am inclined towards thinking that this was partly a pure football decision (Beckham has barely kicked a competitive ball in the last three months) and partly Cappello imposing his will on the no squad (“bollocks to this so-called ‘golden generation’ and their entourage, if you play for Fabio, you play on merit and nothing else”). Also, Cappello has sought to assure Beckham that the door isn’t entirely closed, which strikes me as being merely good management. Personally, I think he should put Beckham on the bench, bring him on with two minutes to play, and then substitute him again thirty seconds later. Beckham would get his cap, Fabio would send out a clear message, and it would kind of sum up Beckham’s international career into the bargain.
Oh Bugger I was momentarily feverishly excited at the news that AFC Wimbledon had drawn Torquay United in the Third Round of the FA Trophy, until I remembered that I’d already agreed to go to Preston to see friends this weekend and that even if I rescheduled this, I’d be helping some friends move house in Brighton this Saturday afternoon. Sometimes the football gods conspire against you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Should anybody be interested in watching it, I’ll be doing a topless raindance on the balcony of my flat at 9.00 tomorrow morning in the interests of getting it postponed and rescheduled to Tuesday night, when I would be able to go. Just kidding. Good luck on Saturday, Wombles.
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.
Just a point on the Defoe move. Just heard him saying how frustrated he was being at Spurs and not playing so that’s why he’s joined Pompey. Fair enough, but why then, when asked over and over again in the past month, did he always say he was happy to stay at White Hart Lane? and the fact that he was totally committed to the club. I understand his reasons for going but it just frustrates me that footballers seem to be able to say what they want hoping people believe them when, in truth, it’s rubbish.