The Game's Gone Crazier

For all the latest on the exploits of Uncle Festa, Godfather Cellino, Friar Brian, Old Big Gob, GianFredo Zola, Butterfingers Green, 'Arry the Albatross, The Grand Puppet Master, Il Duce Di Canio, Timmy Sherwood and a cast of thousands!

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Redknapp's 23% win percentage in 2013 spells disaster for QPR!

With 18 points from the last 13 games, the match with Doncaster is rapidly assuming the status of  a must win game. Average that points return over a full 46 game season and it would leave QPR with just 64 points and a mid table position - no title, no automatic promotion place, not even a play off place.

More worrying still, 'Arry's boys have collected just one point from the last three games, and haven't mustered a single goal in any of them. And this isn't just a blip, as a dreadful return of just 10 goals from the last 12 games shows - with three of those netted in a single game against Bournemouth. You are not going to win anything with a goal return of less than a goal a game.

Redknapp will moan on about injuries but what did he expect from Zamora and Johnson, whilst Hull pulled out of a deal for Austin because he failed a medical. The problem is, his squad is top heavy with midfielders as 'Wheeler Dealer 'Arry has collected players like a fourteen year old boy collects football stickers in a World Cup year. Never mind who it is, it's another sticker for the album! Yossi is the latest example. Sure he is a good player by Championship standards, but he can't lead the line can he?

Look at Redknapp's record at QPR without McClaren at his side, and it is dire, with just 8 wins in 2013 from 35 games in all competitions. That is a win percentage of just 23%! Given the money spent, that is pathetic and Fernandes would be perfectly justified if he were to ask what exactly he is getting in return for his investment.

Of course, a home game against little Donny is the perfect opportunity for QPR to get their promotion push back on track, but they managed to lose at Doncaster so even this game comes with no guarantees. And if this match does not yield three points, the pressure is sure to mount, with a tricky fixture away to Ipswich up next in the league. Meanwhile, McClaren's Derby got back to winning ways at Barnsley and Leicester are four points clear at the top. Counting his games at QPR, McClaren has an amazing win percentage of  79% this season which reads amusingly alongside Redknapp's 23% unassisted in 2013, because the two almost add up to a round 100%!

But QPR fans should not despair - Neil Warnock is kicking his heels in Cornwall!

Monday, 30 December 2013

Sherwood one game closer to Tottenham Hotspur exit despite victory over Stoke

Timmy is pleased, and rightly so. Spurs actually won at home. And scored three goals. And kept a clean sheet. But so what?

Four games in, and does anybody really think that Spurs wouldn't be in a better position now had they retained AVB? The League Cup exit to West Ham was inept, and Timmy must carry a large slice of the blame because of the withdrawal of Adebayor.

True the win at Southampton was a bonus, but it came courtesy of an own goal, and the home draw against West Brom was an appalling result. As for the Stoke victory, the result was no better than par, and Tottenham needed a penalty to get the ball rolling. That Soldado is a genius from the penalty spot isn't he?

And now Timmy is promising to attack at Old Trafford! Great if it comes off, but if Tottenham get hammered Timothy will be lambasted for his naivety. Levy will be squirming ahead of the game, and if there is a repeat of the Etihad debacle, he will be fuming. If you are going to attack the Mancs, don't shout about it in advance - that will just get them fired up!

But Timmy doesn't know any other way, as he innocently admits. For him, football is a simple game. Defenders defend, attackers attack and midfield players do a bit of both. With that sort of scientific understanding of the game, Timmy could be the next England manager, but he is unlikely to plot a route through to Champions League qualification!

Timmy Time is ticking down already, and the clock may speed up if Tottenham suffer a New Year's Day Massacre!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

McDermott hits the panic button after Leeds stumble at Nottingham Forest

Well I said before kick off that the match would be a season defining game and it seems as if Friar Brian agrees with me. Having witnessed the Leeds United McFeelgood Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond come off the rails in Nottingham, the Bald Controller suddenly wants a whole new load of rolling stock, with a call for four new players to be purchased in the January Non Sales.

Now this is going from the ridiculous to the extreme! Sure Leeds need another striker - to replace the injured Blackstock if nothing else, and the need for a pacey wide man has been obvious for two seasons now, but does McDermott really need another two players given the progress being made by the youngsters? Byram is on his way back, and when fully fit he will be like a new player added to the squad this season, and meanwhile players of the calibre of Warnock are parked on the bench. He can't have expected Pugh to have performed so well, so that's another bonus.

Rather than "spread thin", surely Leeds would do better to go for quality. Two good 'uns would be much more useful than four Average Joes when the season gets to the business end. There is probably a creeping paranoia at play based on the team's near total dependence upon McRoss for goals. If McCormack pulls up lame, it feels as if Leeds would be Mcfcuked.

Maybe the four names are his wish list and it is two from four that McDermott seeks. That would make more sense to me. I still think Zaha would be a better bet on loan than Gradel, but maybe both are on the list with Friar Brian saying one or the other. And the forwards? Well Becchio may be one option but as my beloved West Ham have discovered, fit forwards are not falling from trees at the moment. My tip would be young Kane from Spurs. He is big, mobile and can belt a ball hard.

So, has Friar Brian got twitchy? Two would complement what he has, four might disturb the harmony. It may be time to take a deep breath, take stock and think: the train has run pretty smoothly on the Feel Good Factor fuel so far so why risk everything by making too many changes?

Derbyshire Screamer Derails Leeds United's Promotion Charge and Helps Nottingham Forest Pick Up Steam!

Oh dear. Within seconds of McCormack equalising with his side's first shot on target all afternoon,  super sub Matt Derbyshire collected the ball 30 yards from goal, strode forward a couple of paces, looked up and let fly - and the ball travelled like a heat seeking missile into the top corner of Podgy Kenny's net. 2-1 just as I predicted, but 2-1 to the wrong bloody side!

Not that Leeds can complain. They were second best for most of the game and could have gone 2-0 behind moments before McCormack's equaliser, when Tubby Reid drilled a shot against the post, with Podgy beaten all bellies up. There would have been no coming back from that, and there was no coming back either from the body blow delivered by Derbyshire even as the travelling fans were celebrating McCormack's goal. Talk about the ecstasy and the agony!

That McCormack goal apart, the Forest defence rarely looked troubled, with McRoss invisible for most of the game and Smith being used as an all too predictable aerial target. The lad did his best but Forest defenders were doubling up on him each time the ball was lumped towards him and Leeds could not get enough players forward to support him, in part because of the decision to start Shit Brown. The midfield enforcer was belatedly withdrawn, but by starting him, Friar Brian betrayed anxiety and signalled a more defensive approach - and his team responded by playing conservatively when really they should have had the confidence to play the game in Forest's half given Billy Davies was trusting to make shift striker Halford up front.

The withdrawal of McCormack with Leeds 2-1 down and with 10 minutes still to play is worrying. True he had been quiet prior to his goal, but you don't take off your goal machine when you desperately need a goal, unless he is unfit. Maybe Friar Brian was saving him for the game on New Year's Day, but if so, it was a strange decision to make, as it as good as handed the 3 points to a major promotion rival. It was asking a lot of young Poleon to come on and rescue the game, whilst the even younger Ariyibi wasn't going to be shooting in a hurry after his first attempt on goal flew so wide that it went out for a throw in.

So the Leeds United McFeelgood Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond has been temporarily derailed. Happily, however, many of the other results went in their favour. Yes Leeds have slipped out of the top six, but only on goals scored, and with Wigan and Burnley sharing the points as well as Watford and QPR, the damage done to McDermott's promotion aspirations is nowhere near as great as it could have been. The trouble is, the top 4 are that little bit further ahead, and the Play Off Place chasing pack have edged that crucial bit closer. Suddenly Ipswich and Brighton are right in the mix and level on points with Leeds.

But look at the positives. At the end of the game Leeds had Byram, Lees, Smith, Poleon, Ariyibi and Murphy on the pitch - young colts all, instead of Warnock's knackered old carthorses; so even if promotion is missed this season, the future looks bright under Friar Brian.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Emperor Tan's Antics Leave Cardiff Utterly Friendless

How the hell can you make an innocuous club like Cardiff City one of the most detested football teams in the country? Easy, it seems, if you are Emperor Tan! Many a chairman has made a complete arse of himself in the past, but Tan has outdone them all with his appalling conduct over the last fortnight.

Poor Malky. He seems a decent, down to earth sort of guy and he has not only guided Cardiff into the Prem but, half way into the season, has kept them out of the bottom three. Now every football fan in the land, outside of Cardiff, is praying that Tan's Redbirds fall flat on their faces and crash out of the Prem - because that is the only way that Tan will get what he deserves.

Apparently poor Malky was sacked because he aired the club's dirty linen in public, but its hardly the Scotsman fault that his chairman is incontinent! The bad smell around the club is coming 100% from Tan and with any luck, he will suffer the same fate as his Malaysian compatriot, Tony Fernandes.

Here's hoping Cardiff splash the cash QPR style and buy a ticket back to the Championship!

A season defining game for Leeds and Nottingham Forest

The Leeds United McFeelgood Factor Sleeper Express for the Premiership, Europe, Infinity & Beyond pulls into Nottingham tomorrow for what promises to be a season defining game. Of course, despite all the talk of a six pointer, there's only three points at stake, but the ramifications of the game promise to have a far greater resonance.

If  Leeds can win this one, I fancy there will be no stopping McDermott's Merry Men; but should Forest prevail, Leeds are likely to find themselves outside the top six at the half way point of the season and so, once again, playing catch up.

However, should Leeds win, dreams of the playoff are likely to be cast aside as thoughts turn to claiming an automatic promotion place. QPR travel to a Watford side buzzing under new manager Sannino, Burnley face a Wigan team that simply have to win to stay in with a shout of promotion, and Derby have a tricky looking game at Barnsley; should all three lose, Leeds will be on their shoulder with a win at the City Ground. And the same applies to Forest should they triumph. And meanwhile, my money is on Leicester to stumble at home to Bolton. 1-1 I reckon.

A draw would be a decent result for Leeds but a victory would really set the cat amongst the Championship pigeons and I expect McDermott's Merry Men to prevail 2-1.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Sherwood moves one game closer to the sack as Tottenham Hotspur struggle again

Well that was a brief honeymoon! Timmy now has a full house after three games: one loss, one win and one draw. And today's dropped home points were certainly not what Daniel Levy ordered.

According to Timmy, West Brom's equaliser was a "kick in the privates" but if he thinks that was painful, just wait until his chairman swings his boot. The victory at Southampton only came courtesy of an own goal and the inability of Timmy's team to protect a lead against very modest opposition in the form of West Ham and West Brom does not bode well for his management tenure.

Bookmakers will be offering spread bets soon on how long Timmy remains in charge. He may just make it through to the end of the season, but many more results like today and Levy could be pressing the ejector button yet again!

Zola curses as Sannino gets all the luck at Watford!

Poor Gianfredo. Towards the end, nothing would go right for him at Watford.

Then when he is pointed towards the exit door and, unlike Malky, puts dignity ahead of clinging on, Lady Luck promptly removes the strap on that she had been shafting Zola with and lies down on the bed with her arse in the air - just as Sannino walks through the door!

What would Zola have given for a penalty in the tenth minute of a game, with the opposition reduced to 10 men as part of the bargain? From that point on, it was plain bloody sailing! And just to rub salt into Zola's ripped rectum, Watford were then awarded a second penalty to help them romp to victory!

4-0! Watford and Sannino are on a roll.

Bring on Redknapp's stuttering QPR!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Could this be the best Leeds Christmas and happiest New Year for decades?

Well it has certainly been an interesting year! Old Big Gob was shown the door, Master Bates was ushered out soon afterwards, and GFH Capital and Friar Brian have been overseeing a velvet revolution at Elland Road.

The Dirty Dirty Leeds tag has been consigned to hibernation, and suddenly the most hated club in the land are looking, well, half decent. Warnock's rag bag collection of old yard dogs and war nags have been shuffled into the reserves and onto the substitutes bench and youth has been given its head. Mowatt, Wootten, Poleon, Smith, Murphy, Byram, Lees...these are the future; and the likes of Shit Brown, Hell Hadji and Reg Varney will soon be an embarrassing footnote in the club's history.

Meanwhile, McDermott is impossible to dislike. From the moment he arrived he has been polishing the Leeds United McFeelgood Factor Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond and with remarkable effect. Leeds are now nestled inside the top six and despite Noruddychance's downbeat message a couple of games into the bad patch, there is now genuine hope of a tilt at promotion. And another buyout is on the cards, and this time it's a real one rather than a money laundering venture. Dear God, they are even talking about SPENDING money in the January transfer window!

Happy days indeed!

It's well done to Haigh, well done to McDermott and a HUGE well done to McCormack.

And a Happy Christmas to all you Leeds fans. I know you love me really!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Sherwood wins the Tottenham Hotspur shoot out at the OK White Hart Lane Corral

You could hear the spurs jingle as Sherwood and Levy strode into the middle of the road at dawn and twitched their fingers over their Colt 45 packed holsters. The faint hearted closed their shutters and dropped to their knees to pray, whilst the town's undertaker took visual measurements and made a mental note of the appropriate coffin according to which man fell to his knees holding his gut. Levy stared, but Sherwood stared harder.
"Van Gaal?", snarled Timmy. "This town aint big enuff for Van Gaal an' me."
"But Timmy", protested Desperate Dan. "This cow pie is big enough for the both of you!"
"I aint sharing no pie!" growled Timmy. "It's the 'ole pie or no pie at all for me. So what's it to be?"
"Give me a second," pleaded Dan.
"Give you a second and you'll take a few more days!" Timmy spat. "I aint 'avin it. It aint right. It's the 'ole pie and nuffin but the pie till deaf do us part."
"But it's a big pie Timmy!" protested Levy. "It may be too big a pie for you alone!"
"It weren't too big for 'Arry, an' if it weren't too big for 'Arry it aint too big for me!"
"But look what happened to Glenn Roeder! The West Ham pie was too big for him after he replaced Harry."
"I aint Glenn Roeder!" yelled touchy Timmy. "I'm Timmy Sherwood!"
"But Timmy, the pie is huge. Truly huge. Look what happened in the West Ham game."
"Yeah but look at what 'appended in the Souffampton game!" Timmy retaliated.
"We won because of an own goal!" protested Dan.
"We won because we scored free goals!" argued Timmy. "But enuff talking. Talking aint goin' to resolve nuffin. So what's it to be? Is it the 'ole pie or no pie. I aint messin'. I aint bein' disrespected."
"Ok, ok! I give in Timmy. Don't shoot! The job is yours!" blubbed Levy as he contemplated two highly winnable home games against West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City. Six points, he calculated, could put us right back in the running.

And the two men went their separate ways. Timmy to prepare a team for the West Brom game, and Levy to phone Van Gaal to tell him that the job is his in the summer; unless he wants it sooner!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Sherwood might walk out on Tottenham Hotspur

After the epic victory over Southampton and the narrow defeat against Allardichi's free scoring Hammers, Tim Sherwood has established his credentials and should surely be a shoe in for the vacant manager's job.

And the former Spurs super star has made his position crystal clear. He "aint" interested in a caretaker role, just keeping the seat warm for some European arse - no, he is a big enough arse himself for the job. Yes sir! So he only wants the job for the duration.

So with news of the Van Gaal approach, Timothy's position has become pretty much untenable. If he hangs around like a bad smell awaiting Levy's latest air freshener he looks pathetic, and any respect the squad has for him diminishes - so there's only one honourable course left open to him, and that's to hammer on Levy's door and say, "You aint treating me with the respect I deserve so I aint taking it any longer. As of this moment you aint got a manager. 'Appy Christmas."

And if he does, it won't only be the turkey that's stuffed at White Hart Lane!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

QPR's Benoit Assou Ekotto mocks sacked Tottenham boss AVB

BAE is a happy bunny at the moment isn't he? Apart from when he has a domestic with a QPR team mate of course!

After being photographed smiling following Tottenham's five goal thumping at home to Liverpool, the full back made his position regarding AVB crystal clear in a Twatter in the immediate aftermath of the Cocky Fools' 3-2 victory at Southampton. A gleeful BAE wrote: "How adebayor (sic) didn't play before. (sic) Is a good question...LOL. What a stats (sic) in 2 game (sic) thanks who? (sic)"

Two fingers up to AVB or not two fingers up to AVB? THAT is the question BAE!

Did QPR owner back the wrong horse when he let McClaren leave for Derby?

Tony Fernandes must be sweating a little after yesterday's results. Surely QPR have to win promotion this season or fall foul of the FFP rules. And whilst 'Arry's boys stumbled to a home defeat against Leicester, McClaren's Derby kept up their amazing charge.

So how much of QPR's revival at the start of the season was down to the Wally with the Brolly? The former England man is a figure of ridicule amongst fans, but the QPR players credited him for rebuilding belief on the training field, and he has had an amazing impact at Derby since replacing Nigel Clough.

And meanwhile QPR under Redknapp are stuttering. Given the money spent and the wage bill, QPR should be storming the division, but with yesterday's defeat they have now only taken 11 points from the last 7 games, and over a 46 game season that works out at 72 points, which only just qualifies you for the playoffs; and if you average out on the basis of the last 11 games, the figure reduces to 66 which amounts to 8th or 9th place! And the next two games have the potential for further slip ups, away to Nottingham Forest and Zolaless Watford.

Of course, QPR have a cushion thanks to the results achieved when McClaren was still at the club, but that buffer has been chipped away over the last 6 weeks and many more slips up could spell big trouble.

Leicester are level on points with 'Arry's boys now and Derby are only two points behind with a superior goal difference. With Dyche's Burnley refusing to drop away, it looks like any two from 4 at the moment - and after all the money Fernandes has invested, that really isn't good enough.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Sannino passes his first Watford test with flying colours

Ok, he didn't win and even Zola picked up draws when the team went away, but a point at Ipswich is not to be sniffed at, especially after Watford fell behind to a late penalty: it takes spirit to come back from a blow like that.

Still more impressive was the diplomacy of the Italian in his post match press conference as he steered a middle course between respect for Zola and making it sound as if everything is in place for an immediate turn around in form.

According to Sannino, Zola did "an amazing job" - which might have been a tad too generous had the words "LAST SEASON" not been added!

Sannino is delighted to have traded unemployment in Italy for a well paid job in England, claiming it was something "that I was always dreaming about", which makes you wonder how many jobs he has applied for in England in the past. And who can blame him, because who wouldn't trade Tuscany for Watford?

Tactically, Watford were "good" - so it must have been part of the plan to give the opposition 58% of the possession - but there's "still a lot of work to be done", as you might expect given "this was Zola's team". And as Sannino says, he's no magician, unlike Steve McClaren who first whipped QPR into shape and who is now leading Derby in a charge up the table. But he was never in the running for the Watford job because he's not Italian!

Mind you Sannino needs to take care after announcing "I was able to show my passion on the touchline" - somebody should tell him that you can get arrested for that sort of thing in England. Keep it zipped up Giuseppe!

Leeds continue to climb despite home draw with Barnsley

Well, who would have thought a goal less home draw against Barnsley would be enough to see Leeds climb another place in the table? It is just further evidence that the Leeds United McFeel Good Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Champions League, Infinity and Beyond has got up such a head of steam that it is pretty damn unstoppable at the moment.

Of course, come the end of the season, fans may look back on this game as a terrible missed opportunity. True derbies are unpredictable affairs, but a team chasing promotion really should be burying a club like Barnsley, especially when the relegation strugglers are reduced to ten men and the officials introduce Fergie Time in order to help the home team win. But 14 minutes in total against the ten man Tykes was not enough.

And it's not as if Leeds were especially unlucky. The stats reveal that both sides had 11 shots on goal whilst Barnsley saw marginally more of the ball over the 90 minutes.

But no matter, Leeds have climbed a place courtesy of the stumbles of others. Mind you, Derby are looking a bit tasty under the Wally with the Brolly so the problem with today's draw is that Leeds have fallen further adrift of the automatic promotion places courtesy of wins for Burnley, Leicester and the Rams.

The big plus? The gate of 31,000 plus on the last Saturday before Christmas. There must have been a lot of wives fuming!

Tottenham won't be playing De Boering football any time soon

So Frank De Boer has put two fingers up to Levy and the Spurs board by saying that he has no intention of switching to Tottenham from Ajax.

And, of course, his rejection of the job makes absolute sense given he can qualify for the Champions League year in and year out at Ajax, whereas qualification at Spurs comes around with the same frequency as Halley's Comet!

However, one can't help feeling that Franky boy is missing a trick. Let's face it, if you take the Spurs job and have half a dozen "Ooh Betty!" moments over 18 months, you are guaranteed the sack and a £4.5million pound pay off; which sounds like nice work if you can get it to me!

Still, Spurs shouldn't fret yet. True one big name has rejected them, but Warnock is still out of work and the mighty Tim Sherwood reckons he knows what it takes to lead the club to glory. Who needs the likes of De Boer when men of that calibre are available?

Friday, 20 December 2013

Tim Sherwood deserves shot at Tottenham Hotspur job after West Ham game

Poor Tim Sherwood, some unkind Spurs fans seem anxious for him to be replaced sooner rather than later, which is so unfair and illustrates how fickle fans can be.

Those calling for a big name replacement have clearly failed to grasp the significance of the narrow defeat against Alliardichi's Hammers; they should be asking, how long ago is it since Spurs were rolled over by the very same team at the very same ground by three goals to nil?

Look at it in the round and you have to acknowledge outstanding progress, given Tottenham: a) Managed to score; and b) Only shipped two goals instead of three. That is a net gain of two goals!

The decision to select Adebayor - so stupidly ignored by AVB whilst in charge - proved inspired, with the mega wage earner giving Tottenham the lead; and it would be churlish in the extreme to point to his withdrawal as a reason for Tottenham subsequently losing the game, because his substitution was only made possible by his inclusion in the first place!

It is true that Sherwood looked clueless when things started to go wrong, but again context is needed. He has inherited a team on its knees after the recent hammerings by Man City and Liverpool, so it is little wonder that when Alliadichi sent on his offensive unit, Tottenham crumbled. When you are defending against the might of Mogadon Maiga, who hadn't scored a goal in over 12 months of football so was long overdue a goal, what chance do you stand exactly?

No, all the criticism is unfair. Tottenham were trying to beat a team with the mighty Linda McCarthorse playing at centre back and the almost as mighty Carlton Cole up top - not to mention that midfield maestro Matty Taylor! Keeping all this in mind, it would surely be perverse of Levy to look elsewhere.

Give the job to Tim, I say; and I'm sure the majority of West Ham fans would agree!

So why on earth have Watford appointed Sannino?

I know Watford can't expect to attract an AVB or a Jose, but why on earth have they appointed Sannino? I mean, what is there in the guy's record that screams out, "Give us a job?"

Had a little bit of patience been shown, Malky Mackay might have returned for some unfinished business. He has a track record in the Championship and, of course, has strong ties with the Hornets. However, as I blogged earlier in the week, the speed of Sannino's appointment suggests that he was lined up before the invitation was given to Zola to walk out of the door with his head held as high as is possible when you are only 5'5 tall.

But why worry about a manager's CV? All that matters to the Pozzos it seems is that the appointee is Italian! And having failed with the big name Italian, they've now opted for the Nobody Italian, presumably on the basis that a guy who only played football at  non league level will not be filling the Watford players' heads with any notions of total football; unless by total, we mean total crap football of course!

Bloody hell Warnock is out of work, and he has an impressive record in the Championship but, again, he has the problem that he is British!

Sannino, Mackay or Warnock - who knows the Championship best? Who has a track record of success in the division? And who would you put your money on to inspire a promotion charge as soon as he steps through the door?

I would be amazed if Sannino is ticked in answer to ANY of those questions.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Leyton Orient planning name change to West Ham United Reserves

Bless. Barry Hearn wants to move Leyton Orient to the Olympic Stadium to share with West Ham! It's a bit like letting the younger sibling go to her brother's birthday party. True she will be out of place and end up crying in the corner with nobody taking any notice of her, but if it stops her screaming the place down for two weeks prior to the event well...anything for a quiet life!

Quite what Hearn hopes to achieve, other than realising the redevelopment potential of Brisbane Road is anybody's guess. Hang on, did I just write that sentence? Realising the redevelopment potential of Brisbane Road is, of course, EXACTLY what Barry Hearn is trying to achieve.

And once the stadium becomes Brisbane Road Mansions, what purpose does the football club serve? Let them share the ground with West Ham for a few seasons and then let them fade away as Hearn applies for a name change: and given the ground share, West Ham United Reserves would fit the bill nicely!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Speed of Sannino appointment suggests Zola was pushed out of the Watford door

Well he put a brave face on it, and as at West Ham, suggested he might return some day, but the speedy appointment of Sannino suggests that poor Gianfranco had a choice between resignation and being sent for a swim in a pair of concrete boots.

The decision was probably made after the hammering at home to Yeovil. That result was beyond a joke.

And meanwhile, poor Bibsancone hasn't received the call from Consiglieri Duxbury that he might have been hoping for. Where now for the dour Scot one wonders?

With three Italians joining Sannino's backroom staff, it is going to be a disadvantage to speak English at Vicarage Road!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Watford weighing up Sannino and Bibsancone for manager post

So, after Zola's resignation, its looking like a straight fight between ex Chievo manager Giuseppi Sannino and recently sacked West Brom boss Steve Bibsancone.

Of course, should Bibsancone join, it would be a real kick in the teeth for Zola, who regarded him as his best buddy at West Ham, until rumours circulated that the Scot had questioned the Italian's ability to turn things around in a private chat at the training ground with David Sullivan. That was the beginning of the end for both men at Upton Park and following their dismissal, the pair went their separate ways.

Bibsancone quickly found a job at Liverpool when West Ham sacked the pair, but Zola was left kicking his heels for the best part of two years until he was able to call in a favour from the Pozzo Family.

But amazingly there are rumours linking Zola with West Brom - and how weird would it be if the two men simply swapped jobs? As a West Ham fan fearful of relegation, I would open the champagne should Zola be given the Baggies job as that would be one relegation berth as good as filled!

Who is in the Bibsancone camp? Well the Grand Puppet Master for one, and possibly Filthy Lucre Nani.

What about Sannino? He is clearly the Pozzo candidate. Who wants useless British managers like Dyche when you can employ an Italian eh? Not that this guy has much of a track record of course. But in Italy it's all about the extended family and you don't want outsiders getting involved in your business.

So Sannino is the very short priced favourite but Bibsancone may yet come up on the rails. True he failed at West Ham. True Liverpool looked clueless under Dalglish and his less than able assistant. And true West Brom sacked him less than 18 months into the job. But all of that may count for nothing if Consiglieri Duxbury knows and likes you.

Leeds looking backwards as they dream of the Prem

It's strange that the only two names that Leeds are being linked with are Max Gradel and Lucy Becchio, two former players who have not been tearing up any trees since they have moved elsewhere. I suppose the "Better the Devil you know" argument applies, but given neither is playing football regularly at the moment, it's hard to imagine that they will add the vital spark that Leeds fans crave.

Becchio wasn't universally admired amongst the fans even when he was at the club, and his decision to defect to Norwich will not have made him any new friends. His limitations have been cruelly exposed at Carrow Road and, looking ahead, he would seem a poor option if Leeds really are planning on being in the Prem next season.

Gradel, meanwhile, looks like a classic case of a player who has not trained on. Leeds fans have fond memories, but the record books are littered with players who looked the dog's bollocks for a season or two but ended up as little dried up hamster grapes.

Wildred Zaha on loan from the Scum would be a much more imaginative option than Gradel and there must surely be a better striker out there somewhere than Becchio.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Get your money on ex Leeds boss to replace AVB at Tottenham Hotspur!

Well Levy has tried the Flash 'Arry and the Flash Andre options, so surely it's now time to get back to basics. No more continental whizz kids nor Monaco bank accounts, what Spurs need is a good old fashioned, feet on the ground, blood and thunder British manager, somebody who understands the importance of effort, sweat and bone crunching tackles; and the ideal candidate is out of work and awaiting the call!

Yes, Neil Warnock would fit the bill perfectly. He would get in the face of the Continental underachievers and tell them where to stick their paella. Get Lennon back on the wing, stick Kane up front, lump it long or hit it out to the flanks. Leeds don't need Shit Brown so he could return to his spiritual home and add steel to the midfield. And with Leeds targeting a new keeper, Podgy Kenny could head south too.

Forget £20m signings, all Warnock would require is ten or so thirty-five year olds with the experience and knowledge of what is required to kick opponents up in the air. Get in their face, they don't like it up 'em, break their legs before they break yours!

Yes it is time to go from the sublime to the ridiculous, to switch from chess board football to cage fighting football. Neil Warnock is awaiting Levy's call, Old Big Gob's destiny beckons. Unless Pulis can be tempted away from Crystal Palace of course!

Zola deserves respect after Watford resignation

Credit where credit is due, Gianfranco recognised his own limitations and did the decent thing, leaving with dignity rather than waiting for the Board to sack him.

And his dismissal was never going to come easy. Duxbury, Nani and Zola are an unholy alliance and there would have been a real reluctance to stab Gianfranco in the back. So, I suspect that rather than playing the Brutus role, Consiglieri Duxbury paid him a visit in the exercise yard, offered him a cigarette, talked about the good old days, honour and the Family and then reminded him what the Romans did to avoid disgrace. Flying home to Sardinia is preferable to opening your wrists in a warm bath!

So, the local horses have been spared and a fishing trip on Tolpits Lake has been avoided.

The hope now is that Zola will face up to his limitations and become what he should always have been, a coach at a big club blessed with players with the talent to put into practise what Zola preaches. Who knows, he may one day rise to the role of Assistant Manager at a top club, whilst coaching the Italian national team may not be beyond him into the future.

But managing a club? Sadly Zola is a square peg in a round hole.

But Watford's troubles aren't over yet. There's still the little matter of the Laurel & Hardy combination of Scotty Duxbury and Gianfilthylucre Nani!

Still, young Savio hasn't been signed for £9m - yet!

Capello the next through the Tottenham Hotspur managerial revolving door

So AVB has gone. Just like that. Give Levy his due, that was bloody decisive! And how 'Arry must be chuckling as he fills out his tax return including his severance payment from Spurs!

How much of the Bale money is left one wonders. Never mind transfer fees and sky high salaries, Tottenham seem intent on spending it all on paying up the contracts of sacked managers!

Tell me, if somebody keeps making the wrong decision when appointing managers, shouldn't that somebody be shown the door? If the buck has to stop somewhere, shouldn't it stop with Levy, either for making duff appointments in the first place or for cutting short managerial projects before they have time to flourish?

So who is next? Fabio Capello is strongly tipped and I bet Spurs fans are over the moon about that prospect given the guy's performance as England manager!

Once again, the word farce comes to mind. 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Tottenham Hotspur desperately seeking Arsene Wenger

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. West Ham fans thought it was all down to Alliardichi's tactics when West Ham rocked up at White Hart Lane and trounced the Baleless Spurs 3-0. But nothing could be further from the truth. Norwich, Sunderland and Stoke City have proved that the present West Ham team is shite. No, it takes Villas Boas to make the Hammers look like World beaters!

So is anybody really surprised that Liverpool slayed this gutless Spurs team today? The truth of the matter is that AVB is out of his depth in the Prem - just like Oneday Ramos, Christian Gross, Jol and Santini. The only manager who has come close to realising Tottenham's potential in recent years is 'Arry Redknapp and he wasn't intellectual enough for the erudite Tottenham fraternity.

4-4-2? Wingers? Big man, small man up top? Honest hard tackling midfielders? English players? All so passé! What's the point of winning games if you have to win them in such a crude, unsophisticated fashion?

So even as we speak, Levy will be looking for his next managerial Messiah. As Judas Redknapp guides QPR back to the Prem, AVB has been dismantling the team 'Arry left behind whilst building a complete shambles.

How much did he blow in the summer and what have Spurs got to show for it? Progress in the Capital One Fan Cup and the Your Ropey League! It's hilarious, so funny that even in this most miserable of seasons, I will be looking forward to watching MOTD tonight.

So who will be the next Spurs manager? George Graham is still alive isn't he? How about Glenn Hoddle? What about Avram Grant? Well he is Jewish! Jol's out of work, of course.  But no, Levy will look abroad, desperately seeking his very own Arsene Wenger. But who ever is appointed, one thing's for certain, Tottenham are destined to remain in Arsenal's shadow for a good few years yet!

McDermott Repeating his Reading Trick as Leeds United's Promotion Push Gathers Steam

Many mocked when I labelled Friar Brian's promotion push as the Leeds United McFeel Good Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond, but now the metaphor is acquiring a certain resonance.

It's only December 15, and Leeds are already in the top 6, well ahead of schedule if we look back to McDermott's crazy promotion season at Reading. Then, the season only really kicked off on December 10, with the 3-0 thumping of West Ham. Until that game, Reading had been ordinary in the extreme and looked destined for a middle table position at best. But once McDermott's promotion train got up a head of steam, there was no stopping it!

And that Reading side wasn't very good. Dear God, Simon Church scored twice in the victory over West Ham after replacing the goal less Total Hunt. The sixteen on duty that day were Federici, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, Cummings, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Kebe, Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre, Total Hunt, Church, Andersen, Tabb & Antonio; and not one of them would be guaranteed a start in the present Leeds side.

And crucially, all the momentum is now with McDermott's boys. Yes QPR look a safe bet to go up, but Leicester and Burnley have been stuttering recently and neither team is very good. And as for the play off pack, well Derby apart, no other team is in a mauve, never mind a purple patch!

And just as at Reading, this is not a team heavily dependent on individuals, if we set aside McCormack for one moment. The injury to the Serial Killer looked a cruel blow, but young Smith has stepped up to the plate and suddenly nobody remembers that Blackstock was at the club. Byram is supposed to be the best full back since Cooper but he can't get in the team and even England international Warnock is sat on the subs bench at the moment. Get injured and you lose your place, such is the hunger in the squad!

And better still, the squad should get stronger in January. There's actually talk of spending money and no talk of selling players to raise finance for new signings. Of course, McDermott will have to be careful here because he doesn't want to disturb the harmony at Elland Road; if we go back to 2011-12, the Reading team that thumped West Ham 4-2 on March 31st showed only one change from the team that triumphed on December 10, with January signing Jason Roberts added to the mix. But Roberts was added, and to brilliant effect, showing that Friar Brian has the ability to swell his flock without upsetting the apple cart.

Whites fans really do have good reason to dream.  The Leeds United McFeel Good Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond has picked up a head of steam and is tooting gleefully as it thunders through the backwaters of the Championship. Only a fool would bet against a top six finish now - unless talisman McCormack were to pick up a serious injury - and as McDermott proved at Reading, a tilt at the title is not beyond the realms of possibility.

But McCormack's fitness is the one big concern because if you take out his goals, Leeds would be nowhere. And just think, there was a body of Leeds fans who argued that the £2m not quite offered for the Scot by Miserablebrough would have represented good business.Thank God the Smoggies Board baulked at that figure, because GFH Capital may just have been tempted. And how bloody stupid would that have been?

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Watford's Zola is officially a laughing stock!

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. There's bad and there's bloody terrible, and Watford have now crossed that line. After chucking away a two goal lead at Leeds last weekend, the Hornets were offered the perfect opposition to make amends with Sheffield Wednesday heading south. Surely not even Zola could cock this one up, even after the shambolic home trouncing by little old Yeovil. Could he?

Well of course he could! This is Gianfredo Zola - lovable, cuddly, smiley, great on the pitch but a clown of a football manager! This is the man who turned Curbishley's top ten West Ham team into a shambles twelve months into the job, and he is repeating the trick at Watford.

And Watford fans can't claim they weren't warned by this blog.

Zola will say all the right things. He always does. He will blame the officials, praise the effort of his players, defend his tactics, curse bad luck, promise to hang on in there until he gets things right, talk up the quality of his players blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But he will not understand that if you have limited players, you have to play a game tailored to their limitations. Tippy tap football is fine for the gods, but for journeymen, it is suicidal! Five home defeats on the bounce. Five home defeats. And this was Sheffield Wednesday's first away win of the season!

Automatic promotion is now a forlorn dream and the play off places are drifting away as each winless week passes. In fact, the relegation pack are now closer to Zola's team than the promotion chasers! Of course, Zola will tell everybody that Forestieri would have salvaged a point but for the low confidence that is afflicting his team, but what sort of excuse is that? Whose job is it to inspire the players to perform? That would be the manager surely.

It's sad because he is a lovely guy, but Zola really isn't up to the job of management.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Respect to QPR's Barton!

Well said Joey Barton! The popular press are going after him for his latest "Twitter rant" about Manchester United's golden boy Ryan Giggs, but I think his comments are absolutely spot on. What Giggs did to his brother was truly disgusting, and to show the guy any respect after that is hypocrisy gone mad.

So, for once, Barton is absolutely right to spew forth his bile. In fact, the big question is why the BBC didn't ask the Welshman about it when they were interviewing him ahead of his fortieth birthday.  Perhaps the question could have been phrased, "And after passing forty, do you think it will be as easy to get into the pants of your in-laws?"

Mind you, if Joey is going to come over all honest, perhaps he should now tweet about 'Arry. Might I suggest something along the lines of, "Forgetting you have a bank account in Monaco in the name of your pet dog? I'm not having that!"

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Leeds fans can afford to smile, even in defeat!

Well, if there was ever a good time to lose, it was today. I posted last week that the game at Blackburn looked tricky, and so it proved; but happily for Leeds, on the same weekend when leaves on the line delayed the Leeds United McFeel Good Factor Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond, QPR, Burnley, Watford and Forest all contrived to lose as well. So Leeds are down to seventh, but remain very much in touch with the promotion race.

And happily, Friar Brian knows exactly why Leeds lost. Showing a degree of perception that would have left previous boss Old Big Gob Warnock shaking his head in admiration, the Bald Professor declared, "The first goal today proved to be the most important." And honestly, it is difficult to take issue with such a keen assessment, other than to suggest a slight revision so it reads, "The ONLY goal today proved to be the most important."

Of course, it would have been a different story had Pugh taken his golden chance. Flack me, any one of Barney, McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble or Grubb would have buried that one!

Still, with so many of the rivals losing, Leeds needn't worry too much. True Reading, Leicester and Blackpool all recorded victories but it could have been so much worse. Mind you, should Derby draw or win against Wigan, Leeds will settle back into eighth, the very position I predicted they would finish the season in!

Watford's horses hoping Zola resigns before something terrible happens!

Well, it was always going to happen sooner or later, but Watford fans refused to see it.  The longer you leave Gianfredo in charge, the more his authority wanes. When things are going well, he's great to have around - so positive, so upbeat, so smiley; but when Lady Luck closes her legs, pulls out a vibrator and tells him to roll over instead, Zola is clueless and simply relaxes his sphincter and thinks of Italy.

A 3-0 reverse at home to bottom club Yeovil is catastrophic. Dear God, in 16 games prior to this match, the Glovers had only scored 10, so Watford managed to ship in 90 minutes a third of the goals Yeovil had "amassed" in the previous one thousand four hundred and forty!

Still, Gianfredo has at least woken up to the fact that Watford are now in crisis! Suddenly it's not the fault of the referees and bad luck, suddenly it has something to do with the team he is sending out to lose each week! Not that the players themselves are to blame - dear me no - as with the squad he had at West Ham, he accepts that they are all trying and he retains his faith in them; it's just that their confidence is shot to pieces.

Zola then says something very interesting, claiming "To play this type of football you have to be full of confidence." And what type of football is that exactly? Zola football. Football that only the best can play. And that's Zola's problem, he doesn't understand that you have to cut your suit according to the cloth you have available - and if you have Primark offcuts, you don't try to fashion an Armani suit out of it!

The lovable Italian has admitted that he is "not happy" and that he doesn't need the threat of the sack to make him react. Maybe not, but a horse's head in his bed might just drive home the message!

And meanwhile, if I was Gianfredo, I wouldn't go out fishing on Tolpits Lake in a hurry!

Monday, 25 November 2013

McDermott pulls another rabbit out of the Leeds United hat!

Credit where credit is due, Friar Brian keeps pulling rabbits out of the hat, with the latest being Danny Pugh.

The former Manchester United starlet's career seemed to be going nowhere under Old Big Gob and with McDermott ignoring him until all the other options had been exhausted, it looked as if he was booked on the first train out of the club, rather than on the Leeds United McFeelgood Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond. But given an opportunity, he grabbed it with both hands and now has seemingly secured himself a place in the team.

His emergence is, of course, a huge bonus for McDermott and the former Reading maestro must even now be searching through the dusty cupboard at the back of the training ground entitled "Warnock's Rejects".

Who knows with this Pugh raising eyebrows, McDermott may stumble upon his twin brother, along with a host of other forgotten talent going by the name of Barney, McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb. You can picture McDermott now, barking the orders to his boys, "Right men, action stations! No, no, not the hose!"

And Flack me, Leeds United may actually be in with a chance of promotion!  Steadily, sensibly; never too quickly, never too slowly, edging their way to the Premiership!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Zola fiddles as Watford Calcio burns and Leeds surge!

Oh dear, poor Gianfredo looked so good last season, but now? Well, sadly, he seems destined to wake up some time over the next 12 months with a horse's head in his bed. Watford aren't now just adrift of the automatic promotion triumvirate, they are drifting away from the play off flotsam.

Three home defeats on the trot is not what the Pozzo Family demanded. According to Gianfredo, the recent slump has nothing to do with his formation. One win in seven games? Don't blame the tactics, blame bad luck, referees and the phases of the moon apparently!

There's not even much point in working on how to defend set pieces because, to quote Gianfredo, "Sometimes you can train and work as hard as you want but some sides are just very good at them". So the answer it seems is to accept you are going to concede whilst striving to "capitalise further when we have an advantage". Not terribly re-assuring is it?

Of course, Watford Calcio fans don't accept that the club has gone backwards since last season. They know that Zola is doing a brilliant job. Much better than that idiot Dyche would have done. You know, that red haired tosser who never played international football for Italy and who never back heeled a wonder goal but who presently has Burnley top of the division!

Meanwhile, as Watford slide down the table, so Leeds charge up it! What a performance against Miserableboro, securing an epic victory even after the Smoggies had their keeper sent off and then had the cheek to equalise McCormack's opening goal.

There's no stopping Leeds now! Although next week's game at Blackburn looks tricky!

Still, things could be worse for Watford fans. You could support West Ham!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Radebe could derail Leeds United's promotion push

Just when everything seems to be going swimmingly, along comes Lucas Radebe to announce his interest in buying into the club, triggering another round of destabilising speculation.

McDermott needs this like he needs a second hole in his arse. Everybody has to be utterly focused on what is happening on the pitch right now, not worrying about who might own the club come the end of the season.

Tell me, what is the point of Radebe going public at this stage? If he genuinely has the best interests of the club at heart, he would conduct negotiations in the deepest, darkest secrecy. It's not as if an injection of cash at this stage would make any difference - the transfer window is shut until January. So, if the Radebe fronted consortium is serious, there's time to thrash out a deal and ride in on a Whites charger just as the cash is required. And let's face it, if the £7m figure reported is anywhere close to accurate, there's no full take over on the cards.

Given the way Radebe and his chums are playing it, you can't help feeling that this is a publicity stunt at best, and at worst a tactic designed to derail the present promotion push - because if Leeds go up, the price will rocket.

So why has the Pearson / Radebe consortium come out now? To try to buy a stake on the cheap, knowing that if Leeds miss out on promotion they have paid the right price, but aware that should a Premiership deal be secured, they will land the deal of the decade.

And in the process, they are endangering the nascent Leeds United surge.

If GFH Capital have been talking to Radebe behind the scenes, they must be pretty bloody angry that he has unilaterally announced his interest to the press. Meanwhile, there's the little matter of a game with Miserableboro at the weekend for Leeds to worry about!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Time for authorities to clarify FFP rules in relation to QPR

So a newspaper claims that QPR face a massive fine under the Financial Fair Play rules and Tony Fernandes has come out and said that the gRRRs should ignore the article, claiming that it is simply evidence of the size of the QPR "brand".

As a football fan, I might have a bit of an issue if a foreign owner put my club on the same level as Durex and Andrex, but that's another matter. It is surely now time for somebody in authority to clarify the situation: what are the rules, exactly, and how are they going to apply to QPR?

One thing is for certain, on gates of 18,000 QPR are in breach of the rules as every other club seems to understand them. Ridiculous money was spent last season and with 'Arry in charge, spending has continued this year too. Now Yossi may be about to join the League of Mercenaries that Fernandes has enlisted, swelling the wage bill still further.

So, do the rules apply to QPR and what action can football fans expect to be taken? At the moment, it looks as if the Hula Hoops are cheating, driving a coach and horses through rules designed to safeguard the game and  so surely all fans deserve to have those rules clarified once and for all.

Let's hear it, what penalties can QPR expect to face? If any.


Monday, 18 November 2013

Should Leeds risk the crocked McCormack against Middlesbrough?

With news breaking that McCormack has pulled out of the Scotland squad with a "slight hamstring injury", the question arises as to whether he should be risked in the game against Miserableboro.

McCormack is convinced he will be 100% ready for the game, but players themselves are not always in the best position to make the call. He is hungry at the moment - not surprisingly after his four goal performance at Charlton - but, for that very reason, he may need to be saved from himself.

How sickening would it be if he started and that slight injury became a pull or a tear? And do Leeds really need him to beat the very modest Smoggies? Sometimes, discretion is the better part of valour and resting McCormack may be the sensible course, with a host of winnable games on the horizon.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

LUST want GFH Capital out of Leeds United

Interesting. It seems that ex Leeds director Adam Pearson may have made another enquiry about buying a controlling interest in Leeds, trying to sugar the deal for Leeds fans by including Lucas Radebe in the consortium - and LUST have fallen for it hook, line and sinker with Gary Cooper choking on his KFC Bargain Bucket when hearing the news.

According to Cooper, "Leeds United winning promotion back into the Premier League with a group involving Lucas, who is loved by all Leeds United supporters, would be an ideal scenario.

"He knows what it takes to be successful at Leeds United, because he was part of those great European nights in the late 1990s and early 2000s."

Of course, there are a number of presumptions made here. Leeds are not even in a play off place at the moment and, according to GFH Capital, no bid has been made anyway.

And meanwhile, the figure quoted for a 51% stake in the club - a miserly £7m - sounds absurdly low. That money could be recouped by selling young Byram if he ever regains full fitness!

LUST, of course, welcomed GFH Capital with open arms - now it seems they can't wait to get rid of the Arabs. Fickle friends indeed! Or maybe Mr Pearson has promised Bargain Buckets all round if he swings the deal!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The best day for years for Leeds United!

Could it have gone any better? A 4-2 win at Charlton was pretty damn special, but add to that Burnley's inability to beat Bournemouth, QPR's draw at Reading, Blackpool's defeat at home to Ipswich and Watford's failure to beat Middlesbrough, and almost every result was perfect for Leeds. Maybe, just maybe, a share of the spoils in the Forest v Leicester game would have suited Friar Brian's men better, but victory to the Nottingham club means than even Leicester are now catchable! And West Ham lost to Leeds United's second team, Norwich City!

As for McCormack, well the guy is on fire! If he keeps banging them in at the present rate, the only concern is that Norwich will come in for him in January. Still Becchio might then return in his place!

Amazingly, this victory was achieved without Byram and Warnock so, in theory, there is scope for further improvement!

The ghost of Old Big Gob Warnock has been slayed. The team is now McDermott's and is playing to McDermott's tune. And as he showed at Reading, when this guy gets inside his players' heads, he can inspire them to perform far, far better than the sum of the parts.

So, it's all aboard the Leeds United McFeel Good Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond once again. Leeds may still be in the all too familiar position of eighth but are now just one point shy of the play offs - and next week's game is at home!

How does that poem by Larkin go?

That season, we were late getting away:
    Not till about
Three thirty on the sunlit Saturday
Did our three-quarters-empty train pull out,
All windows down, all cushions hot, all sense   
Of being in a hurry gone. We ran
Behind the backs of houses, crossed a street
Of blinding windscreens, smelt the fish-dock; thence   
The river’s level drifting breadth began,
Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet.

All afternoon, through the tall heat that slept   
    For miles inland,
A slow and stopping curve southwards we kept.   
Wide farms went by, short-shadowed cattle, and   
Canals with floatings of industrial froth;   
A hothouse flashed uniquely: hedges dipped   
And rose: and now and then a smell of grass   
Displaced the reek of buttoned carriage-cloth   
Until the next town, new and nondescript,   
Approached with acres of dismantled cars.

At first, I didn’t notice what a noise
    The weddings made
Each station that we stopped at: sun destroys   
The interest of what’s happening in the shade,
And down the long cool platforms whoops and skirls   
I took for porters larking with the mails,   
And went on reading. Once we started, though,   
We passed them, grinning and pomaded, girls   
In parodies of fashion, heels and veils,   
All posed irresolutely, watching us go,

As if out on the end of an event
    Waving goodbye
To something that survived it. Struck, we leant   
More promptly out next time, more curiously,   
And saw it all again in different terms:   
The fathers with broad belts under their suits   
And seamy foreheads; mothers loud and fat;   
An uncle shouting smut; and then the perms,   
The nylon gloves and jewellery-substitutes,   
The lemons, mauves, and olive-ochres that

Marked off the girls unreally from the rest.   
    Yes, from cafés
And banquet-halls up yards, and bunting-dressed   
Coach-party annexes, the wedding-days   
Were coming to an end. All down the line
Fresh couples climbed aboard: the rest stood round;
The last confetti and advice were thrown,
And, as we moved, each face seemed to define   
Just what it saw departing: children frowned   
At something dull; fathers had never known

Success so huge and wholly farcical;
    The women shared
The secret like a happy funeral;
While girls, gripping their handbags tighter, stared   
At a religious wounding. Free at last,
And loaded with the sum of all they saw,
We hurried towards London, shuffling gouts of steam.   
Now fields were building-plots, and poplars cast   
Long shadows over major roads, and for
Some fifty minutes, that in time would seem

Just long enough to settle hats and say
    I nearly died,

A dozen marriages got under way.
They watched the landscape, sitting side by side
—An Odeon went past, a cooling tower,   
And someone running up to bowl—and none   
Thought of the others they would never meet   
Or how their lives would all contain this hour.   
I thought of London spread out in the sun,   
Its postal districts packed like squares of wheat:

There we were aimed. And as we raced across   
    Bright knots of rail
Past standing Pullmans, walls of blackened moss   
Came close, and it was nearly done, this frail   
Travelling coincidence; and what it held   
Stood ready to be loosed with all the power   
That being changed can give. We slowed again,
And as the tightened brakes took hold, there swelled
A sense of rising, like an arrow-shower   
Sent out of sight, somewhere becoming a dream!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Leeds United's McDermott shows nasty side and refuses request to play the White man

Poor Sheffield United. As if they don't have enough problems to deal with! Back into the bottom four of the old Third Division, they now face a tricky FA Cup trip to the mighty Colchester and, thanks to the mean spirited formerly Nice Guy Brian, they have to do so without the services of the great Aidy White.

It never rains but it pours for the poor old Blunted Blades. Just when they thought they had signed their own Carlos Tevez - or at the very least the next Eddie Gray - the "third party" that is Leeds United, tells them that they can't play the guy!

And why did West Ham pay Shafting United twenty five million quid? Because, in THEORY, a third party could have told the club not to select Tevez for a game!

Still, Colchester can't select West Ham's goal machine Elliot Lee either, so Nigel Clough can't complain too much. But here's hoping ex Hammers Dominic Vose and Freddie Sears dump McScab's scum out on their arses regardless!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Leeds United McPromotion Express pulls out of Siding as Burnley, Reading, Watford, Nottingham Forest and Derby stumble!

Well, without wishing to sound cocky, it all went pretty much as I predicted on Thursday. Leeds dispatched Yeovil Town with the mcminimum of mcfuss whilst rival teams cut one another's throats. Burnley avoided the defeat I anticipated, but only courtesy of an own goal after going two goals behind. Mark my words, the Clarets will now slip down the table and will do well to finish in the top six.

And that is great news for Leeds. Leicester and QPR will probably remain out of reach, but Blackpool are no great shakes and are eminently catchable, whilst Watford and Forest are now within striking distance. Reading's defeat at Sheffield Wednesday meanwhile, will put huge question marks against the Royals promotion credentials. At the end of the day, sixth place is all that matters, and then Leeds have a ticket for the one in four lottery.

And courtesy of McCormack's goals, Leeds are now just three points shy of a play off place despite a truly dreadful October. As I have written before, Friar Brian's promotion charge at Reading didn't start until early December with that 3-0 thumping of nine man West Ham, so at present, Leeds are arguably ahead of schedule.

McCormack is back in form, Smith is finding his feet (which can't be easy when you are that tall!), Blackstock is an alternative and the new Lithuanian is now available to bolster the defence. What a shame that Albrighton wasn't snapped up on loan, because I suspect he could have proved the vital ingredient to turn a decent team into a good one.

The big question, of course, is whether or not Leeds can do away from home what they can do at Elland Road. If the gap swells back out to six points next week, the Leeds United Feel Good Factor Sleeper McExpress to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond will again be shunted into a Championship siding, but a win at mediocre Charlton will result in a build up of steam, and then God help Miserablebrough when the Smoggies chug into Elland Road.

Leeds fans can hope, and this time hope with some justification!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Is Zola moving in to borrowed time at Watford?

Oh dear. Yes the first goal was farcical, and no manager can be blamed for keeper stupidity - except Zola signed Almunia of course - but conceding three goals in two home games on the trot must invite questions about a manager's tactics.

Gianfredo will, of course, keep bemoaning his bad luck - deprived of three points at Brighton because of the absence of goal line technology, and falling behind today to a freak goal - but the truth of the matter is that the automatic promotion places are already a distant dream, and Watford now find themselves as the bridge between mid table and the play off places, with Leeds, Wigan, Blackburn et all closing up on their shoulder.

Until now, Watford fans have retained patience with the diminutive Italian, refusing to accept what is obvious to everybody else - that the Hornets are flying in reverse, based on last season's third place finish. The trouble is, Zola started well at West Ham, but then ran in to problems in his second season and it is increasingly looking as if we are in for a repeat at Vicarage Road.

The squad is more than good enough to challenge for automatic promotion, so the buck has to stop somewhere, and nice guy though he is, it may be that Zola lacks what it takes when the going gets tough. Yes he managed well the cards dealt unfairly to him by Pozzo last season, but this season his players know that their futures are in the Championship cul de sac and so, perhaps, are not so hungry to prove themselves worthy of a place in the Udinese first team instead of the Watford Calcio shadow squad.

Duxbury, Nani and Zola are best mates, of course, and he seems to have his sponsors in the Pozzo Family, but sooner or later, patience will be exhausted unless results turn around. I had Watford down as a banker for the top six a few weeks back, but now I'm not so sure.

One Wally replaces another Wally at QPR

So, with the Wally with the Brolly departing for Derby County, 'Arry 'as moved quickly to replace him with another Wally - appropriately given the Hula Hoops' recent slump in form, called Downes.

Any gRRRs excited by this appointment might like to check out West Ham's defensive record with Wally in charge of our back four, and our record since his departure. To save them the effort, I can confirm that we have been vastly superior since the only man at the club capable of making Big Fat Sam look slim was shown the especially widened door.

'Arry is "delighted" with the appointment - and so he should be as, with all his self promotion activities, he needs somebody to oversee the training between games. It is difficult to see quite what Downes will bring to the QPR table, apart from freeing Redknapp up from tiresome training chores, however as his coaching and management career, one season at Reading apart, is mediocre at best.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Opportunity knocks for Leeds courtesy of fixtures for Watford, QPR, Leicester, Derby, Burnley, Nottingham Forest and Blackpool

The home fixture against Yeovil presents Leeds with a great opportunity to get right back into the promotion mix. True the Glovers surprised everybody with an impressive 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest last weekend, but with the fixture list presenting difficult games for Burnley, Leicester, QPR, Derby, Watford, Nottingham Forest and  Blackpool, there's every chance that the once mighty Whites could be at least tapping on the promotion door come 5pm on Saturday.

The key for Leeds is the pairing of so many of the contenders in games against each other. The fixture between QPR and Derby is particularly fascinating given McLaren has recently switched from the Hula Hoops to the Rams. Some gRRRs are already questioning whether it was McLaren or Redknapp who orchestrated the early season push for the top, and should Derby win this one, the voices of dissent will grow. Redknapp had the audacity after the Wigan game to claim that the Latics had the bigger squad, seemingly forgetting that he has bought Phillips and Austin for big money, welcomed back Barton, and brought in a host of other players on permanent deals or loans. QPR should be romping to the Prem with their squad, but instead remain alarmingly goal shy, with the last two games failing to produce a single goal in the opposition's net. Best result for Leeds? A 0-0 draw.

The Watford v Leicester game is another six pointer, and should the Hornets lose this one, questions will surely be asked about Zola. Again, here is a manager blessed with an outstanding squad when judged against rivals in this division, and yet Watford have gone backwards since last season. Leicester, meanwhile, are on a roll and tails will be up after that epic victory over Fulham. Best result for Leeds would probably be a Watford defeat as it could mark a phase of soul searching at Vicarage Road with the up to now popular Zola beginning to come under the microscope.

Then Forest entertain Blackpool and any result would probably suit Leeds in this game, given the realistic target at this stage is a play off place. If Leeds beat Yeovil, they will be closer to one or both irrespective of the final result.

And, of course, Burnley's claret was knocked over by West Ham on Tuesday, meaning that they will travel to Millwall a little less confident. And I fancy Lomas's Lions to tear them apart.

The table doesn't look great at the moment, but come 5pm on Saturday, Leeds should be on the shoulder of the play off pack. And then, who knows, the Leeds United Feel Good Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond could really pick up steam!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Have West Ham just done QPR, Leeds, Leicester & co a massive favour?

Well until last night, Burnley were looking pretty damn undefeatable and were threatening to run away with the division, putting together a run reminiscent of Reading's two seasons back. But then along came West Ham and urinated in the Claret, and there is now every chance that the Burnley bubble will prematurely burst.

Those who try to suggest that West Ham were fortunate to win the game are missing the point. This was very much a second string West Ham side, made up of kids and reserves for the most part. Ruddock, Potts and Chambers are only just out of nappies and can only eat well mashed up solids, so it is no wonder Burnley had a few chances over the course of the game, but even with against a kindergarten defence, the mighty pairing of Ings and Vokes couldn't muster a goal between them.

And in the second half, following the introduction of Collison and Downing, followed by Nolan, West Ham totally bossed the game.

So, Burnley have suddenly been reminded what defeat tastes like, and with Treacy dismissed for taking out Collison as the Welshman steadied himself to knock the ball into an unguarded net, the Clarets are already carrying a hang over into the next match. And that match, at Millwall, now takes on huge significance because a second defeat on the trot would send alarm bells ringing around Turf Moor.

Burnley fans will argue that the Cup is an irrelevance but confidence is a brittle thing, and West Ham may have just snapped Burnley's last night. Which would be great news for all the Championship clubs currently trailing in the Clarets' wake.

An example for QPR, Leeds and the remainder of the Championship

So Burnley are running away with the Championship. Interesting. And according to Leeds and QPR fans who respond to this blog, West Ham are heading for the drop. Interesting again. Well, on the basis of last night's game, there's not much point in any side winning promotion from this season's Championship then because the gulf to the Prem is patently huge!

West Ham took to the field just 48 hours after playing Swansea. A combination of reserves and kids were selected. The management had precious little time to prepare, with a journey from Swansea to London and London to Burnley involved in completing the back to back fixtures. The West Ham team included Potts, Chambers and Ruddock, three young kids. There were nine changes from the starting 11 against Swansea and both Diame and Tomkins, the two retained, were substituted to save their legs. And West Ham utterly dominated the second 45 minutes.

It's true that two penalties were required but both penalties were conceded to prevent goals being scored, and the referee was kind to the Clarets when producing only one red card. In the twenty minutes building to the first goal, poor Burnley could not get the ball, chasing shadows to such an extent that you would think West Ham's stiffs were Barcelona. So how the hell are Burnley top of the division?

From a West Ham perspective, it was all very pleasing. The three kids look good and may well have a future. Maiga didn't look out of his depth - perhaps THIS is his level. Collison and Downing combined well when brought on. Adrain looked our best understudy keeper for a few seasons now. And there's the consolation that if we were to go down, even selling the major wage earners, we should storm the Championship!

As for QPR, Leeds and co - God help them if they do get up! Because, like Burnley, they will then find out what the Premiership is really about!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

"How I F***Ings blew it at QPR" - New Chapter Added to Redknapp's Autobiography!

Instead of appearing on the One Show and endless other promo events for his latest "Nice little earner", perhaps 'Arry should have spent more time at the training ground, preparing his charges for the top of the table clash with little old Burnley, the club he stole Charlie Austin from.

But then who needs Austin when you have a guy called Ings?

Poor 'Arry was so talked out that he couldn't even make it to the post match press conference, passing the buck to Kevin Bond instead; who then came up with the classic line, "It was always going to be a tight game and one goal was probably going to be enough" - which is an interesting observation given Burnley scored twice!

So the Hula Hoops are down to third and will be in dire, dire trouble if they do not win promotion given the ludicrous wage bill the club is carrying.

Financial Fair Play anybody?

Leeds United's Yo-Yo Club Status Confirmed

Maybe I am mixing my metaphors after reading Friar Brian's post match comments. Maybe instead of a Yo-Yo club, Leeds should be hailed as a Two Step club, or as the Bald Controller says, "One step forwards, one step back."

Regardless, just like last season, Leeds are establishing a pattern of climbing to eighth one week, before slipping back to tenth the next. Win your home game and lose the away fixture that follows, and you bob up and down like a cork in a swell, and don't actually go anywhere.

After all the excitement generated by that tonking of Birmingham, the Leeds United faithful climbed aboard the Feel Good Factor Sleeper Express to Huddersfield, the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond fully expecting a repeat of last year's triumph over the once mighty Terriers - only to end up swallowing yet another dose of bitter reality. For all McDermott's positivity, this Leeds team is no better than the one left behind by Old Big Gob Warnock.

Still, the serial killer came off the sub's bench, just as I predicted, and scored Leeds' second goal - exactly as I predicted. Sadly, I didn't reckon on Huddersfield netting three times.

So it's back to the drawing board. Can Leeds play three at the back away from home? Maybe not. Will McDermott give it another go for the next home match? Probably. But formations are largely irrelevant if the squad isn't good enough, and the evidence suggests that this lot are no better than a mid table outfit.

Still, looking on the bright side, if results go right, Leeds could Yo-Yo back up to eighth next week!

Leeds set to park serial killer on the bench at Huddersfield.

Who needs the Yorkshire Ripper when you have Dexter? And who needs Dexter when you have just slaughtered Birmingham?

Surely Friar Brian will not upset his Merry Men by changing a winning team against Huddersfield. Dexter has been brought in to add a cutting edge to the side, but everything clicked perfectly last game out, so his introduction against Huddersfield from the start seems like an unnecessary risk. If it aint broken, don't fix it!

So surely Dexter will be on the bench at kick off, though should Leeds be goalless after 70 minutes, it's a fair bet that the Forest reject will be introduced. And if it's 1-1 with 10 minutes to go, I back McDermott to twist and go for the winner.

My prediction? 2-1 to Leeds with Dexter scoring five minutes before the end!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Leeds United Go Lithuanian!

The imminent arrival of Marius Zaliukas reminds me of a trip I made to his homeland a few years back. Travelling around the heavily forested nation, I was stopped for speeding twice in the space of an hour. The first time was probably a fair cop - it was a country road and I came face to face with a speed camera after cruising around a gently curving bend in my rental car. After pleading innocence, I was obliged to donate the equivalent of £20 in Lita to the local police benevolence fund.

An hour later, it was a completely different story. I was stopped on a motorway with Lithuanian drivers bombing past me in the outside lane. When I was told that I had been filmed driving at 100 kilometres per hour, I replied that as I was on a motorway with a 100km per hour speed limit, I couldn't understand why I had been stopped. The Lithuanian policemen smiled and replied: "Yes on most motorways that is the case, but on this stretch of motorway, it is 80km per hour." He then proceeded to ask for £1,000 as a fine, which we negotiated down to another £20!

As I was getting out of the car, the copper asked why I was in Lithuania, and when I replied "For a holiday" he raised an eyebrow and said: "On holiday? In Lithuania? You should have gone to Hawaii instead!"

Well now the tables are turned! I hope a copper stops Zaliukas and, after giving him a ticket for speeding asks, "What exactly brings you to Leeds?" And when the Lithuanian replies "To play football", I trust the copper will reply, "Play football? In Leeds? You should have gone to QPR instead!"

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Has Holloway left Crystal Palace to take over at Manchester United?

How bloody absurd. Crystal Palace should have promised Holloway a ten year deal for taking them to the Premiership, but instead they have let the guy go!

How much will Palace make this season? And then there's the little matter of the parachute payments which will give the Eagles every chance of flying straight back up again following relegation. Palace should have knighted the guy!

Let's face it, relegation was always going to be odds on so Olly faced an impossible task from the off. No defence in the world would have prevented Fulham's first two goals on Monday so he can hardly be blamed for that result can he?

One thing's for sure, Holloway won't be out of work for too long. In fact, if Moyes can't turn things around at Man Utd...

Nottingham Forest's serial killer fits the Leeds bill perfectly

So Friar Brian is closing in fast on Nottingham Forest's Dexter Blackstock and he looks the perfect fit for Leeds United. With Reg Varney knocking them in at a rate of  a goal every 4 games, Complete Hunt scoring at a similar rate, and McRoss mcnetting them in a mcsimilar mcvein, Dexter could join  a tried and tested club as he scores his league goals once every 3.88 games. And a number of those goals were bagged in a division down from the Championship of course.

But then beggars can't be choosers. News has broken of a loan to the club from a financing outfit which has a certain David Haigh as a director - and if that doesn't sound like a dodgy Master Bates like deal, I don't know what does. And Dexter Blackstock is at least proven in the division, although he is proven not good enough for promotion contenders Nottingham Forest.

Can Dexter slay opposition defenders and fire Leeds to promotion? He's got to be better than nobody so he is surely worth a gamble.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Are Leeds United bullying Ryan Hall?

I expressed my disgust yesterday, when it was suggested that Hall had been suspended for his innocuous comments after being dropped by Sheffield United. That was bad enough.

Now it appears that he may have been suspended for a comment he didn't make himself! Now this is Big Brother gone mad!

According to the Yapping Post, the talented young winger has fallen foul of the Arab sensors because he re-tweeted a comment from a supporter (Carl Smith) who wrote, "“Ryan Hall comes on and sets up a goal from a decent cross. Something we’ve been missing all season so wake up McDermott.”

Bloody hell, so now people are being taken to task based on the opinion of others! Whilst there is criticism of McDermott here, the Twatter is about how good Hall is, so it should come as no surprise that he chose to share it with his followers. Why wouldn't you when a fan sings your praises?

It looks like victimisation to me. McDermott clearly doesn't rate the lad and the suspension is both heavy handed and designed to intimidate the boy, maybe even trying to force him out of the club.

The PFA should get involved immediately and the local MP should be making statements about how UK residents enjoy freedom of speech, unlike the people of Bahrain where GFH Capital are based.

If we can't quote what other people are saying about us, then God help us!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Hall Falls Foul of Leeds United's Sheffield United Loving Big Brother

So yet another player has fallen foul of the Twitter Police. Young Ryan Hall has apparently been suspended by the club pending an investigation into a disciplinary issue. And the poor lad's crime? He stuck two fingers up to his temporary employers Shafting United by saying on Twitter that he would still collect his wages, irrespective of being dropped.

How bloody absurd! Who amongst us isn't happy to take money for nothing? When the bad weather cuts in and it is impossible to get into work, who doesn't lie under the duvet and think, "Bloody marvellous, I'm being paid for this!"? And it's better still if you end up having sex on your employer's time!

So if this really is young Hall's only crime, then Leeds are being ludicrously heavy handed. There is a right to Free Speech in this country which the Arab owners perhaps do not fully understand, and whilst all the players are bound by contracts which, no doubt, have clauses inserted about bringing the club into disrepute, no contract of employment should be allowed to remove basic human rights. If I were Hall, and I would fight any penalty all the way through to the Court of Human Rights!

Dear God, the lad was taking the piss out of Sheffield United, and Leeds fans should be delighted with that!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Manchester United's Moyes Misunderstands Ferguson Fear Factor

Poor David Moyes, since his appointment at Manchester United he has got almost everything wrong. His latest cock up concerns the loss of the "Fear Factor" at Old Trafford since Ferguson's departure.

According to the former Everton man "the fear comes from the team on the pitch", not the manager, which suggests he really hasn't been paying attention for the last twenty odd years. It's not the intimidation of opposition players that is the issue, it is the terror of underperforming that Ferguson instilled in his own charges, and the fear of incurring his wrath that he induced in the match officials.

When Ferguson lost it with his players they sat up and listened - or received a flying boot in the face or a one way ticket out of the club if they didn't. And they listened with good reason, because Ferguson had established his credentials - he was the only man bigger than Manchester United. Who would dare to take on a man who kicked out Beckham and who kept temperaments like Keane's, Cantona's, Rooney's and Ronaldo's, for the most part, in check?

However, in the case of Moyes, there is no respect for the very simple reason that the guy is not a winner. Sure he did a good job at Everton, but Ferguson did a much better job at Aberdeen because he won trophies whilst getting a lesser club to punch above its weight - and the Manchester United superstars know it.

And then, of course, there are the referees who no longer fear demotion for upsetting the ferocious Scot. Gone are the days of an extra six minutes to facilitate a winner. Suddenly, Manchester United have to win games purely on merit!

4-0! Are Leeds about to do a Reading?

Well not many people saw that one coming! OK, Jack predicted a 2-1 win but the bookies wouldn't have taken a lot of money on Leeds to score 4 goals. Loan signings? Who needs loan signings when you can rip Birmingham apart and win so comfortably?

I had the misfortune to be at the Madjeski Stadium two years back to see Reading begin their charge to the title under McDermott. Going into the game with West Ham, Reading's form had been at best indifferent, and the Reading fans I spoke to pre kick off were pessimistic in the extreme, despite our dreadful record against the Royals. And on paper their team looked decidedly average with the ineffectual Church leading the line.

Ninety minutes later, things looked somewhat different. West Ham had two players sent off - O'Brien and Collison - and Reading ran out 3-0 winners. And from that moment, Reading never looked back, going on an amazing run that tore up all the record books and saw them storm to the title.

That game was on the tenth of December, and Reading were in mid table at the time, so today's result is a month and half ahead of McDermott's Reading blueprint. Of course, one result does not make a season, and Leeds need to put a run together now, but suddenly things look a whole lot better. And unlike West Ham after the 3-0 thumping of Spurs, Leeds do not have to face Manchester City in their next game.

Huddersfield, Yeovil, Charlton and Middlesbrough are all in the bottom half of the table so it is perfectly conceivable that Leeds could now win five on the bounce. And if that happens the Leeds United Feel Good Factor Sleeper Express to the Premiership, Europe, Infinity and Beyond would be just like the Reading Runaway Train! And McDermott will be telling his charges precisely that!

Byram was back, Murphy was back, Wootton was back and Smith and Mowatt started. This was McDermott's team; the ghost of Warnock was slayed when the team sheet was posted on the dressing room door. And that must be the secret. The old nags must be sent out to pasture and the McDermott stamp must be firmly impressed upon the team.

It's only one result, but one result is sometimes all that is needed to change the thinking from negative to positive. So the train currently standing on Platform 8 could yet be heading for the Premiership!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Leeds can take heart after Watford lose and Nottingham Forest draw

Ok, Burnley won making it six out of six, and Leicester won too. And Blackpool's victory wasn't the best result, though it meant Wigan lost. Reading's emphatic win was a nuisance it is true. But there are two automatic promotion places and 4 play off places up for grabs, so Watford's defeat was great news - though it meant Derby won again - and Forest's concession of two home points was just what the doctor ordered too. And QPR failed to win, conceding two goals in the process.

So, although Leeds have slipped down to fifteenth, a victory tomorrow could see them right back in the mix, just 5 points behind sixth placed Reading. In fact, three points could see Leeds climb to the heady heights of eighth. So if Derby can believe, why shouldn't Leeds if sitting just one place and one point below the Wally with the Brolly's Rams?

All that stands is their way is Birmingham City and Birmingham City aren't exactly Manchester City are they? Opportunity knocks for McDermott's team tomorrow, and if they don't open the door, then all hopes of a promotion push will be as good as dead. It's time for Friar Brian's Merry Men to stand tall and deliver!

No news is bad news at Leeds United

Birmingham have extended Jessie Lingard's loan, Derby have taken Tottenham's Simon Dawkins on loan, Nottingham Forest have extended Billy Davies's contract and Leeds United have...well the Board and management at Leeds United have sat on their hands and done precisely nothing. Never mind a Murray, you can't Hurry a McDermott it seems.

How good is young Dawkins? I have no idea, but he has to be better than nobody, and the fact that he is on the books of Spurs suggests that he can kick a football. Based on the last game before the international break, which team is most in need of a new player or two, Derby or Leeds? So why is it Derby that have recruited first exactly?

Friar Brian initially insisted that he wasn't a fan of loan signings, but after the Derby game indicated that he would "step up the search" for somebody to bring in. But so far that search seems to have drawn a complete blank, unless Leeds are going to call a dramatic press conference today to unveil young pup Keane or old dog Keane or Zaha or whoever.

And on the subject of inactivity, what exactly has happened to the new investment that Chairman Noruddychance said was "close" some time ago now? It's in the pipeline, presumably, just like all the oil money that Leeds fans expected to pump through when the Arabs initially declared an interest in buying the club.

Leeds fans themselves seem to understand better the urgent need to bolster the team and it will serve the club right if they are as slow to get their money out of their wallets as the club are to spend theirs. When you can see the Seventies on YouTube free of charge, who wants to pay to watch a club big on history but devoid of ambition exactly?