Football Blog: Tangerine Flavoured

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

One to forget - the Mighty vs Blackburn Rovers

The usual sort of intro... Is Josh Bowler playing? Something about the weather. Is Josh Bowler playing? Perhaps a shit attempt at satire. Is Josh Bowler playing? Maybe some sort of quasi literary observations on the journey. Is Josh Bowler playing? Perhaps mention a tune listened to in the car... IS JOSH FUCKING BOWLER PLAYING OR NOT? 


He's playing. It's ok. Breathe out. For tonight. 


It's hard to describe the first bit. We kind of dominate without dominating. Essentially, Blackburn do absolutely nothing and we press really well. They can't get out, but we can't get through. Bowler has a shot from a ball that breaks to him blocked. Madine even wins a ball with some closing down. He's so shocked that he just passes it against his man as this has literally never happened to him before.

We're playing well though. More of this and we'll unlock them eventually. It's a matter of time. 

They score. It's a piece of piss break away, ball up the middle, the scruffy get that scores all their goals scores their goal and suddenly there's noise from the east. If you don't make chances you won't take chances and then other team will score from their first attack and this, my friends, is football when you aren't Manchester City.
We look gutted for a bit. They look happy enough to continue to not do a lot but also not let us through. There is a small collection of half chances, A flick from Gaz creates a vaguely threatening far post moment. Dougall takes a great deep corner. Gaz charges in. The ball hits him in the face like he's recently read a copy of 'how to head a ball' by J. Bowler. Bowler himself has a shot that curls and dips but is always 3 yards over on the turn from superb Yates control. A deep ball is swung to the back of the six yard. Gaz and Jerry show their Yorke and Cole style telepathy by jumping in the same space and putting each other off.
Rover's are happy enough to watch us not really getting very close and occasionally break. I think they muster one more shot in the half. Two at most. 

Marvin has it. He's got people outside him but he's seen something and pinged a lovely flighted ball from deep. Thompson has gone round the outside. He's taken it, raced into the box, someone gets a toe on it, the ball breaks and then he's clattered with an ankle breaker of a challenge. It's no penalty because the ref has followed the ball and the tackle was late and linesmen don't actually do anything so useful as watch the game and help the referee or owt like that.


It's been neither fish nor fowl. We were decent enough for a bit, we've also looked frustrated, been loose with the ball and struggled to make anything. Lets have that energetic press back. We look a bit fearful to be honest. Fuck it lads. Get at them. 


We don't. Rovers have two golden chances. We help them to a third by generally faffing about and looking confused. No one wants the ball. Grimmy doesn't want the ball. Marvin and Ethan definitely don't want the ball. They decide to celebrate not really wanting the ball by playing hopeless triangles between each other and then giving it away. It is not the return of the energetic press. Jezza and Gaz might as well just sit down on the half way line cos there's no one to press cos we're incapable of getting the ball more than halfway out of our own half.

Some time passes where I think 'fuck me, I am going to have to write this shit up into a blog' and wonder 'why?' Their manager looks like a boring golf club pro. He looks like the kind of man who says 'I love camping!' but owns a camper van not a tent and has all his things ironed and laid out when he goes what he calls 'camping' but is really 'driving a big luxury van house to a field. He definitely has a gas barbecue that's really clean. Fuck me! we have a move of more than two passes that isn't twanging it at Gary (been a while since he's scored any) Goals hopefully. It's a passable football move but at the end Lavs lashes wide.
There's a little fitful burst of what seems vaguely like action and intent. Lavs scampers away, he does his man with a brilliant little drag and shimmy... Go on Shayne! Here we go! He passes straight into the lad shadowing him back.

Rover's decide to have another go at killing the game, it takes both a brilliant Grimmy save and for them to blast the rebound wide to keep us in it.

Jerry gets loose this time but he passes into a defender as well. Gaz has a breather with his hands on his hips.

Frustration abounds. Fucking get up Madine! What's that Thompson? Fucking hurry up! C'mon. Good lad Gabs, oh, for fuck's sake. Don't knock it square! Get down the line. MOVE! Fucking hell. Don't give it to Marvin. Fuck off, you've given it to Marvin. Williams! Get tight. Fuck off Dougall. Fucking hell. Get up!
The natives are frustrated. It's a frustrating game. We've got no rhythm. Nothing is quite breaking either. It's not that we're not trying, far from it, it's just everything is, well, a bit shit and when it's not shit, every 50/50 seems to fall as a 60/40 for them. It clearly needs changing but we've got no other midfielders to change it. The sexy football types are all broken and what largely worked against the last two opponents isn't working against this lot. We've no calming presence, no sense that we're in control of what we're doing. 

A corner! It drops to Bowler, he controls, buys space. Here is where he saves this game, ignites the fuse, we spark into life, I visualise a glorious 25 yard drive, the whole ground throbbing with his song. What transpires is not quite that. He gets robbed of the ball - they streak up the pitch, all the way. Josh races back but he's never going to get there. Grimmy does though, low to his left. A superb stop, getting a strong hand to a near perfect, hard, bottom corner effort. Bowler should be all over Grimmy, thanking him, but he's just muttering to himself in the D as he waits for the corner.

We break in return. Josh Bowler accelerates. Josh Bowler gets clothes lined. Maybe Forest reserves would be more fun than this shit to be fair. Dickheads writing letters or not.

Lots more frustration. What the fuck is that? Fucking press! What's the point? Why are you fucking about? Go on! Fucking hell pass it to a fucking tangerine shirt for fucks sake. Not strong enough! Not strong enough! He's wrong fucking side. Again. C'mon. Who is that to? Fucking hell.

Thompson has been energetic and he goes on another run. Some of his runs have gone nowhere but he likes a tangle and has managed to come out on top a few times. This time, he bursts down the line and slips in Jerry. Yates makes space, a sidefoot effort. A save. Fairly comfortable...

Theo comes on. He gallops about with the ball bouncing around him until eventually he smashes one first time. It goes in, but only in an imaginary goal that's three goals higher than the actual goal. The ground groans, but one lad in the North claps him for having a go. Fair play.

A corner... Williams ghosts in! It's in! It's not. From where I am, it looked like it went through the net but I'm guessing it went over the top. Rovers do some generally crap falling over and getting cramp and suchlike. I'm bored of this game. I actively dislike this game.

Theo wins a free kick right next to the box...There's a big build up. He knocks it back to DT who winds up a big drive, but like a golfer slicing over a ball, all the effort of the shot is dissipated as he cracks it into the ground and into the wall. Poveda picks it up... he's looked handy to be honest and (to be frank, this isn't the greatest reportage in the dubious history of this blog), he runs about with the ball and something happens and I think we hit the bar. I get my foot stuck under the seat as I half jump in frustration and almost joy. It hurts. It's that kind of night. --- Sometimes football is like this. We're a middling side when everyone is fit, but everyone isn't fit. We've done good things in the last 3 games but tonight, the lack of a plan B was evident, but then, that's because plan B was plan A and plan A is on the treatment table. Rovers weren't daunted by the press for very long and we couldn't maintain the energy anyway. We were really wobbly at the back, but we won't simply sit in and do two banks and probably, on balance, as ugly as tonight was (and it was) that's the right thing to do as we're trying to go from a side that hopes to not lose and therefore maybe get luck and win, to a side that wins by attacking. The attacking was shit and we were crap, but we did create a bit and it's the inevitable and delayed impact of having to revert to the reductive midfield of the previous manager. I hope the magic sponge is working...
We weren't very good, we had no luck and when I get in the car, somebody is paying 'experts' to go on the radio and give insights like 'Man City have quality all over the pitch' whilst I look forward to driving an hour home, writing a blog about a shite game for free and getting up at 6.30 to drive to work whilst those blokes probably lounge in bed till noon and then go on the radio and say 'y'know what, I can't see past City for the title this year Alan.' and get paid more money for that shit than I do for going to an actual job. 

That's life though. That's English football. A few teams purr about the pitch looking class almost every week, whilst most others are shit sometimes and if you can be a bit less shit than the other sides then you'll do ok.

Keep it in perspective. 


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Sunday, August 28, 2022

Dear Josh...

"I loved the game, I loved the ball. I used to treat it like something that was... wonderful" 

(Matthews, S 1996) 

Dear Mr Bowler. 

I don't know you and you don't know me. It's a bit weird to write a letter to someone you don't know on the internet but hey ho, it's the 21st century and life is strange. I'm writing to give you some advice. I have no qualification to do so and you may well wonder why I think I'm entitled to do so - it's up to you. Plenty of people ignore this blog and you may do so as well. I won't mind - I'm just a shite blogger. 

Lets get to the point. Rumours are swirling. As a fan, I don't really have a clue about who is in for you and how much they're going to pay and what your wages will be and all of that shite. We like to think we know, but we really don't. I want to start, by saying, if a really good Premier League club comes in for you, slaps an offer that makes Big Ben and Simon cough a bit and then their manager says 'Josh, lad, we love you and we're going to play you every week' and when they tell you that, they look into your eyes and don't look all shifty about it - snap their hand off. I don't begrudge you that chance. 

If, however, it's a lower ranking club offering you the chance to 'be in and around things' and trying to barter on the price then... be warned. 

You are as good as ANY player I've ever seen in tangerine at what you do. Seriously. On form, you are (to use a technical term) fucking magic and as you've developed as a player, form is becoming the norm. 

You can go to a club who will use you as a bit part. That's fine. I can't stop you and I don't blame you for seeing that as progressing your career. You'll have an agent in your ear and you'll take advice from people with way more qualifications in the game than I. 

What I want to ask you to think about is - what does it feel like, as a footballer, to know that you are the main man every week? How much has that contributed to your development in the last 2 years? How might it feel like to be on the bench again, to be in and out the team, to be playing for your place again? Will that help you or hinder you to realise your ability? You've had rejection, you've fought back from injury. The time to play is now... 

Where you have matured since first I saw you play, is in knowing when to go, when to play the easy ball, when to try to slip a pass, basically, in understanding how you fit into the side. That's come, because you know you are part of things. The calmness that explodes into intensity to devastating effect has become a serious talent and I reckon (you will know better than me) that being confident of your place (and confident that you are being asked to be 'you') has allowed you to really become the player you are now. 

You did really well last year. I'll remember that run against PNE where you hurdled sliding tackles till I die. The goal against Fulham similarly. So many dribbles, so many players beaten, so many moments I could name. There was though, a cross-field pass away against QPR that made me think 'aye up, this lad is more than just a daft winger' - there was the link play with Jerry for the goal against Stoke, there was a slide tackle in a home game I can't remember where the whole ground delighted in you getting stuck in, another time when you tripped someone for a yellow and everyone realised you were really taking this seriously. You weren't just a lad who runs about having fun surfing on his natural ability. You were a footballer. Once you even tried to head it. It didn't go quite as well as everything else, but you're good enough to not need to do that. 

Here's the key point now. Everything you did last year, you did in a rigid structure. The previous manager did well. He did well for you too, but I'm not sure he ever quite trusted you as he would trust a more workmanlike dogged player. You did well, but I think there's more to come. You scored some goals, you set up some goals but just imagine, for a moment, what you could do in a real attack minded team. A side built to service what you do best, that doesn't put you in a weird inverted winger role in a 442 every week and ask you to simply beat everyone. A side with other players on your wavelength and a manager that wants to give you 3, 4, 5 attacking players to link with, a side where you can give, go, drift and find the space and unleash your ability at the right moment... 

What would a season of that do to your value? What would a season of that do for your long term career? What would a season of that make you feel like? How much would that year work as a base for the rest of your career. We all go through ups and downs, but if you know you've done it, you know the numbers are there... then the downs are that much easier to climb back up from. 

Are you going to get that from a bit part role at a Premier League club who've signed half the world already? Why weren't they in for you in July? If these clubs deserve you, they should have been beating the door down months ago and giving big Ben and Simon absolutely nothing to think about. 

You clearly love football. You play with joy in your stride. You play with your soul. You take risks and you fail or succeed with a raw energy and an honesty I love to watch. Your ability (and to be honest, your attitude) deserves a platform. You've not shown everything yet. Not by a long way. 

I don't know you, but when I've heard you speak, you seem thoughtful, intelligent, humble and honest. This is why I've bothered to say this. You don't seem like a dickhead who just wants flash things and nothing else. 

You have a platform. Right here. Right now. You have the manager that you need, who wants to play the game the way you love it being played. You have a team of players around you who trust you and feed you. You are part of a unit and you make that unit purr. 

You could do so much this season. You could post numbers that make teams in the top half look at you. That makes sides like the one you left think 'why did we let him go?' That makes sides above them think 'we need to take a proper look at this lad.' Literally everything is there for you, right here, right now, to propel yourself from the fringe of the big time, to being a player who everyone wants to know. 

The stage is set. You could sign a little extension, get a decent release fee sorted and forget about all the doubts, questions, contracts and just get your white boots on and weave some long hair eccentric magic. You could score 15 easily this year. You could set up just as many. You are electric. 

It's a risk, I know, but so is joining the massive heap of footballers who jumped too quickly and got lost. The names who never quite made it. The players who languish in the reserves or spend half their lives on loan only to end up back where they came, 6 years older and talent burned out. 

If that happens to you, it would be a tragedy. Football is always a risk, but on the pitch, I've never once known you to play it safe and do the sensible thing and that is why I love watching you play. The gamble is not, will you get a move, but will you get the chance to play yourself to the move you really deserve. You've got to work out where will give you the best chance to do that. 

It's up to you of course. No one else. 

Go well. 

Kind regards 

Mitch Cook's Left Foot. 


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Saturday, August 27, 2022

And he scored for the Pool... : the Mighty vs Bristol City

Lads and lasses. You probably won't be able to carry on reading MCLF for much longer cos charging your phone or laptop will become a luxury. I'll try doing some futile crowd funding to get me to games but no one will have any money and we'll all be huddling around bins fighting for warmth as the Premier League elite install en-suite toilets with £10 notes to wipe your arse on next to their diamond plated boardrooms because football is the people's game.

But today, the sun shines. It shines with a gentle warmth that reminds me of both Autumn and childhood. A biplane stalks the path of the M55 like it's that scene from North by Northwest. I don't get strafed by bullets. A Blackpool shirt lies on the carriageway being thrown about by the updraft from cars. How. Did. It. Get. There? It's a tragedy and a mystery...

The team. Gary Game Changer is once again plain old Gary Goals as we respond to the fact all our technical players have been exiled to Moldova or something by going old school. Lovely stuff. To be honest, whenever I agree with the selection, it goes tits up and Bristol City look pretty good on paper so I'm hoping Gaz has had his pistachio nuts this week and is in the mood cos they've got some lovely footballers and we've got... well, some footballers and Josh Bowler. 


We're off. These lot aren't as good as I thou... Oh, they've hit the post. Very easily. They've not brought many but they're making a racket already. We look all a bit shaky but we calm ourselves a bit by winning a corner. It's not hitting the post to be fair, but it's something to cheer. They're still on top. They put one onto the roof of the net. We mock it, but it's fairly close. They look a bit like an unlucky version of Burnley from the first 10 minutes last week. We look a bit like ourselves against Burnley from the first 10 minutes last week. 

Marvin slams in a great tackle. Then he does another one. That's better. It gets us going a bit more. Thompson is looking well up for it. Shuttling up and down, taking quick throws, lifting the ball over the top. The crowd is a different beast to the last home game too. We're growing into the game and the noise is appreciative, we're urging, not castigating. 
Then, a ball from the right. It's nice, but not sensational. Madine, backing in, taking down, fuck me, that was magnetic stuff, he's holding his man, he's waiting, he's released it and Bowler has... SCORED!!!! YES! It looks a bit scuffed from where I am but I don't care. Gary Game Changer Goals made it and he's punching the air to the south before everyone mobs each other and we sing with delight. The West Country lot are silent and mutter amongst themselves about commuter journeys to London and complimentary therapies for a bit. 

We're really good for a while. Even Gary is pressing (again!) and he nearly repeats the feat of setting up Bowler with an acutely angled back heel, but Bowler runs just past the ball. There's a ball over the top that Lavery races on to, doesn't quite steer past the keeper. It pops up, Gaz slides in with the keeper but doesn't quite turn it past him and then the ref blows up because anyone who gets slid in on by Gary Madine probably needs a check over at A+E at least. 

There's some wild moments where we pinball it about from side to side across the box and no one wants to shoot until Bowler, who will always want to shoot doesn't quite get it right but everyone celebrates the idea of shooting and the general concept of Josh Bowler as if we've all finally collectively realised he's actually pretty fucking good at once. There's one where Jerry just can't get it out of his feet and, one when a ball is curled to the far post and Lavery stretches everything and another where Gaz reaches it but can only kind of turn it back into play to the keeper.

It's been great! We've seen Jerry coming deep to help the brutal Connolly and the tigerish but slightly erratic with his passing Dougall. Bowler has tracked back. There is a rumour he's actually headed a football in this very game, but I've not seen it if he has. Even Gaz has had a stint at full back (no really, he has) covering for Gabriel who is winning everything in the air and generally setting a tempo.

We're just fading a little though. The snapping into the press is a little less sharp. We let them dally on the ball a bit. Our midfield is outnumbered but you wouldn't have known. Hold on to half time... Fuck's sake Pool. From the right, low ball in, smashed into the roof of the net. Mandalas, turmeric lattes and dreamcatchers go everywhere in the the East and we all slope off for a piss or a pie having been brought back down to earth by the miserable truism that if you don't score when you're on top, it'll bite you on the arse.
--- I notice that Thorniley isn't warming up with the rest so assume Williams is going off cos he got a knock first half. It proves to be so. We need a quick start here. I'm imagining that Brizzle were surprised by how we played as it's not like we've lined up in previous games but I can't imagine they'll remain surprised once Pearson has got into them. --- We're doing ok. The energy that flagged a bit is back. Brizzle are clearly on a mission to batter Gary Madine. I can see Pearson, his masculinity bruised by another burly bloke doing well against one of his teams, going down on his haunches and saying some macho shite like "oi, dickheads" (his centre backs) "are you going to let that lump piss on you? He turned you, you daft cunt. Kick him. When the refs not looking, fucking drop him. Or I'll drop you" 

We break on the right. the ball comes in. Jerry... oh, Jerry, you fucking football genius. He's dummied it and Madine is in. He controls it... slowly... He always looks like a kid carefully balancing something breakable on a shelf when he's about to shoot... He strikes it well, bottom corner, but the keeper throws himself down and has a hand on it... So close.
  Corner... In it comes. Someone is up on it. Someone is hooking it, The net bulges! Jerry runs away... YES!!! The PA gives it to Connolly for no apparent reason but the North makes it clear that we're on a piss up with our favourite no 9... WHERE WE GOING? 

We keep going. The first half ended with us chasing them a bit and conceding fouls but this is them chasing us and snapping at our heels in a bad tempered way. Marvin nods one at goal. Gary shoots into a defender... Keep going! Josh Bowler then sets off. I don't know if I'll ever get to write about Josh Bowler again, so I'm going to write for my life with this. The boy has given me so much pleasure I can feel the tears of an 8 year old who is has just found out that big teams take their heroes from them welling at the back of my eyes as I imagine him not being ours anymore. I don't care about the money, I don't care about 'sensible future planning' and 'long term realities' - this run is what football is. It's just... breathtaking. He takes it deep, a cushioned touch, then pushes it out of his feet. "Go on Josh" shouts a bloke behind me, like this moment is what makes his week. "Go on!" echoes round the ground. It makes all of our weeks. He's still cruising, the defender is doing all the right things, watching the ball, shadowing, not diving in, but wait for it... wait for it. BANG! he goes, he's away, like a police launch past a fucking canal barge. Magical. That's not the half of it. The next lad is there and clearly Bowler has shown him too much of the ball, but oh, no, he's not. He's just fucking taking the piss as he leaves the ball behind, then suddenly drags it with him as close to his foot as a mother holding a baby tight as she runs through streets with exploding shells and shrapnel. No one is going to take that ball. No one. A feint and he's past a third into clear space. I literally whoop out loud. In a weird high pitched way. I don't make weird involuntary high pitched noises very often. I really don't. This lad. Fuck me. It doesn't matter that the ball across comes to nothing and (I think) Jerry falls over instead of doing anything with it. That. Was. Unbelievable. We are and have been blessed with this lad. A few more months here and he could make a name for himself that will take him anywhere he dare to dream of, instead of being third choice at a relegation threatened side. C'mon Josh... It makes sense... It does... Your fucking agent doesn't see stuff straight. They're just blinded by the money. This, right here, is the platform to show just exactly how good you are. Every week. We can only hope and dream. No matter how far fetched it may be. We're well on top, but the ref decides to give them a free kick for no reason. We're not happy, but they take it quickly and our rage turns to panic as they go up the middle in a space vacated by us being a bit cross and into the box. Thompson gets back, gets a tackle in but the ball just bounces up to their man. Thompson twists and turns and does everything he can do to fill all the space in front of their lad but he can't be everywhere at once and the ball is arrowed perfectly inside the far post and into the side netting. It's a superb finish but a fucking shitty goal against the tide. C'mon! Brizzle are bouyed and their fans let us know about it. 'Ci-dy' 'Ci-dy' they chant. I don't trust a set of fans that replace t's with d's. They're a bunch of dossers and dwads. It's possibly a sign of Bristol's rampant gentrification. Maybe they're all trust fund city types who've downsized and cashed in and moved west? Where's the cider and stuff?
  Worse is to come for us and from them. Another free kick. We have the usual faff setting up. Grimmy is just having a bit of water, his mouth a bit dry from all the smoking... Grimmy hasn't realised that the right hand bit of his goal is entirely exposed. Their lad has and he skids a very sharp effort that Grimmy has to flies across goal like he's realised someone is stealing his BMX and throw himself down to stop. It was poor positioning, but a superb stop. Luck is rarely our friend and of course the ball bounces straight upwards, where Wells slams a header in. Hang on, maybe luck is our friend today, cos the header hits the bar. Luck then turns and gives us the finger, before running off laughing as the ball comes off the bar, hits Marvin in the face and falls into the goal. I drop to my knees and crack my right kneecap on the concrete. The pain feels about right. They're jumping about singing 'lets go fucking mental' enthusiastically. What is this crowd? Is it a group on their gap year in getting a bit over excited after 3 drinks? I hate them. Football can fuck right off. We're not getting back into this... We make one chance which the dogged Connolly shanks wide. That's it. Gaz has gone, Theo is on. CJ is on. Brizzle will just knock it around and their fans will remind us that 'they pay our benefits' in a hilarious satirical chant and then Nigel Pearson will strut about like a big angry old rutting walrus beating his chest with his flippers. I'm not up for that. Bez is doing the world's longest lunge. He's there for about 5 minutes, down on the same knee. Has he got the tightest thigh muscle in the world? Has he stopped working? Has time frozen in the Northwest corner? Why is he doing this? It says something, that I'm thinking very much of chucking him on to run around like a madman and bump into people cos that might work (it won't, but it might)

Brizzle do indeed knock it around for a bit but then Jerry gives them the hurry up. How is he still running so hard? The hurry up results in a sloppy square pass. The Mountie is harrying the last man. He can't do it again surely? This is literally the same as last week. He fucking is! He's robbed it, he's shoulder to shoulder... He's through. The ground takes a breath... Just like last week, Theo seems to control time itself and then, just like last week, he arrows a shot into the corner and just like last week there is DELIRIUM! Take that SS GREAT BRITAIN, FUCK YOUR SUSPENSION BRIDGE, FUCK YOUR QUIRKY GREEN MAYOR, FUCK GREAT WESTERN TRAINS, FUCK MASSIVE ATTACK, FUCK BANKSY AND FUCK OFF HOME. THIS IS OUR SHITHOLE - IT'S WHERE WE BELONG - SO FUCK OFF AND TAKE YOUR SHITTY SONGS WITH YOU. They don't really deserve that spiel to be fair, but there we go. That felt good. If you want balance and reason, read the live text on the BBC or do crochet or something. We even have a chance to win it. Bowler goes right up the middle. He's in full flight again and for reasons I cannot fathom, when he's cut down, the ref just gives a free kick and nothing else. Theo is understandably on a high so he takes it. It smacks the wall and that is pretty much that... ---

Today was a bit ragged if we're being picky. Gaz was great for a while but got smashed about and when we lost his focal point we were a bit lost. We were careless with the ball sometimes, but then, we don't have the players fit who can ping little triangles about so it was what it was. I thought Thompson was great, he may have been a bit slack on the first goal perhaps, but his energy is infectious. Jerry was everything you want him to be, Marvin was really good, the own goal was just shit luck and I thought he played as well as he has this year. We're not the finished article, we're having to chop and change and we're sure as hell not going up like this, but I fucking love it. Appleton played his cards perfectly, both in recognising he couldn't play as he wanted and in shuffling a really depleted pack of cards to get us back into it. You can pick at little bits if you want and point out errors, like you think you're on the Sky couch but why fucking do that, when you can instead, revel in a side that is playing football like they enjoy it, a side who is thinking for itself on the pitch, with a manager that takes brave risks and knows no fear. That's something and for tonight, that's plenty enough for me. I love us. 


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Saturday, August 20, 2022

Breathless: Burnley vs the Mighty

Ah, Burnley. In many ways the Lancashire equivalent of one of those beautiful Mediterranean hillside towns you get in travel documentaries that are all valleys, sunshine, grapevines and terracotta tiles. 

Oh, how we laugh. No, but seriously, when I was a kid, I remember driving through Burnley at night and deciding it looked like an absolutely amazing place with the glittering street lights clinging to the dark slopes. It seemed so exotic to my child's eyes. 'When I grow up' I told my Dad, 'I will live here'

Like many childhood dreams, it never came true. Maybe that's for the best. 

On the way across, I ignore the motorway for a bit and drive through back road East Lancashire - Driving can be a dream state and music gives a rhythm to the landscape as it undulates in time to the sounds from my speakers. Images flash past. Gritty grey stone cottages on exposed hilltops. Occasionally a breathtaking panorama. Down below vast estates of Victorian terracing and then latter day social housing flood the valley bottom like a reservoir of humanity. Broken down mill buildings, now MOT centres and gyms with misspelled signage. Car showrooms and roundabouts.

A jogger wiping shit from his shoe, his moment of fleeting escape from his mortal coil spoiled by a stinking reminder of mundane grimness. Everywhere, signs telling you how great Burnley is and imploring you to work, eat, play, enjoy Burnley!. Almost as if it might not be that great really. The oldest person I've ever seen with a topknot, if not 70, not a day under 69. Suntanned, with bleached yellow hair scraped into a man bun with union jack shorts on. Fair play to the lad. Buildings with exposed roof timbers skeletal against the changeable sky. Chimneys everywhere. 

I know it's not allowed, but nonetheless, I actually quite like Burnley. It's just so, well, resolutely Burnley. It's the kind of place people from leafier places turn their nose up at that actually contains more soul and character than they could ever grasp. Literally everyone appears to be going to the game. The Beehole end once held 20k on its own. For what is not much more than a moderate sized town, that's mental. Enough of this. I think I'm going soft. I am, of course, contractually obliged to describe it as a mill town dump full of six fingered types...  

The team. As we expected but... The Mountie. In midfield. We'll see. A certain number 14 is on the bench. 

We're off. The Mountie isn't in midfield. What is this team? Why is Bowler in midfield or up front or whatever he is? This is weird. I feel disorientated. 

Long ball. Rodriguez with a nice touch. Some other lad has it. It's ok, he's got people to beat yet... FUCK OFF. What the fuck was that? An absolute belter from miles out that curled away past Grimshaw leaving him clutching at air like a climber hoping for a miracle on a fatal fall from an Everest cliff face. That was superb. It was them though, so I can't appreciate it. 

C'mon POOL!!!! 

Again they come up the middle. FUCKING HELL. That one was like we just let them score. What is this? We just stood off whilst they played about and chipped a little nippy fella in to tuck it away. Are we actually here? Are we going to do anything in the game other than shuttle about and then let Burnley score every 10 minutes? Fuck's sake. They're singing Burn-e-ly which has always irritated me as I don't understand why they don't just sing a two syllable version to a different tune. 

Now they're just knocking in triangles and we're chasing shadows. Kenny is sprawling into tackles and missing. Jerry is haring about on his own up front but getting nowhere. Grimmy looks flustered every time we knock it back to him. It's going to be a long day. They politely let us know that we should probably go home and I consider it. More triangles. Even the keeper is playing them. Here he goes. Hang on... There centre back is mugged (quite politely) by the Mountie. He's on his own in the box. He's going to blaze this wide. I can tell. It will end up in the second tier of the stand. Time seems to stand still... YESSSSSS! He's rifled it into the bottom corner, turned and just run back to position like he does this all the time. How we needed that... 

We get a little bit more going on. Connolly nips, Lavery charges. Bowler is struggling a bit in the middle but he runs a little, lays a nice ball wide. Marvin makes a gorgeous crunching tackle. This is better. The ball is worked across the box, Yates is the spare man, the keeper is lost, he just needs to hit it. He controls and tries to dribble. He's trying to walk things in at the moment. He needs a goal. Lavery needs a goal too and he does the opposite of Jerry when he's left spare with the goal gaping, snatching at a golden chance and the ball squirms wide. He just can't get a break... 

The subs warm up. Gaz is doing a bit of coaching. He's basically on the pitch. He catches the ball, he throws it back. He walks on to the field cos he's Gaz and he does what he wants and has a word with Jordan Gabriel. Jimmy runs past him as if to say 'what's he doing now, the big idiot?' 

Then calamity. More quick interchanges and dangerous ball lifted in from the right, Lavery reads it well and gets a crucial toe end to it. Gabriel is there to clear but... Gabriel slips and they're in. Marvin throws himself at it but all he achieves is to deflect the shot over Grimmy. It's a punch to the stomach and it knocks all the air out of everyone. 


Some days the other team just seem bigger and better than you. This is one of those days. I just hope we don't turn on them. Burnley are millions of quid better than us and it shows. At least the drive over was nice. 

The subs languidly knock a ball about. It's like they're just doing it cos they're bored. Gaz and Jimmy knock it between themselves and then walk back to the dugout like two housewives having a bitch. 


No changes. We're better though. The pressing is more systematic rather than just one hyperactive striker doing it on his own. Bowler is finding a little bit of a pocket of space as well now. They really do look shaky at the back... A run up the middle from Bowler, a lay off, a cross from Lavery, over everyone. Better. A run from Bowler after some sublime control. He's going, he's cut down. It's a free kick right on the edge of the box. Connolly is going to drill this. You can tell from the way he's stood. Jerry is being a right nuisance, just stood in front of the keeper. The ref tells him he's offside. Jerry looks at him like that's the stupidest thing anyone has ever said. Here comes Connolly, but instead Bowler just kisses it and it arrows at the bottom corner. How can you hit it that hard with barely any backlift? I really think it's in for a second but the keeper manages to see through Jerry and tip it round. Even better. 

We've got a free kick wide. This is made for one man. Here he is. Corbeneu is the man to make way, much to his surprise. He's scored and done ok, but he's also done some things that are literally identical to what CJ would do in the same situation... The Goal Machine runs on. Most of the second half he's been warming up as close as he can humanly get to the pitch and he wastes no time getting all tangled up with his marker, throwing him off in that controlled but dangerously explosive way about that he has when he's up for it. Nothing comes of it, but we're going for this. Yates, Bowler, Lavery and Madine all on the same pitch. 

Is this desperate or can we make this work? A ball in, Madine on the turn drags it wide... Applause. A ball across the box, Gary slides in, Jerry can't turn it home. Noise.. C'mon! Another bit of football. Jerry gets bollocked by Bowler for not passing it to him. The irony! We've got it going now. Fucking hell Lavery. He's somehow turned a chance to shoot into a moment of pure black comedy as he's just lofted it nowhere near anything. He looks very fed up. Someone behind me calls him absolutely shite. C'mon... C'MON!!! Up the middle, Madine with one of those fucking genius little flick lay offs that change the direction of play. Bowler with a slide rule pass. Gabriel, going at his man. Gabriel still going, Gabriel has taken too long surely over this. NOOOO! He's only stubbed it across goal and SHAYNE LAVERY HAS SCORED!!! YESSSSSSSS! 

It's all gone quiet over there! 

Subs. Lots of subs. Jimmy, CJ, Sonny on. Gabriel and Lavery go off having just made a goal and Dom Thompson goes too. He's had a bit of a run around today with them picking out diagonals into the space behind him. C'mon... CJ, Sonny, Madine, Yates and Bowler now on the same pitch. This is even braver. 


FUCKING YES!!!! Jerry fucking Yates!!!!! YESSSS! There's a vacuum opened up and I'm sucked inside it. My ears are ringing. There's so much noise and yet no noise. I can hear myself and yet I can't. I'm hugging and I'm jumping and yet I'm outside my own body. Fucking hell. Jerry sprints right across the front of the fans. Blackpool's number 9. Have you ever wanted a player to score as much as Jerry? 

I need a moment. I need to sit down. I need to stand up. I need to sing. I have no breath. I have nothing left and yet I am more alive than I've felt for ages. Wow. 

We're still coming... the ball is with us. All that chat about Burnley being this possession side who will just have us chasing about and now they can't get it off us. Bowler tries his luck from the edge of the box, the keeper is squarely behind it. Bowler then with a little weave and slips in Jerry. Yates does the thing he hasn't done for ages that he does when he's on it and feints, sending the defender and buying space and he thrashes it at the spot just inside the far post, the keeper sprawls, the ball spins up and falls, it's falling and it's not quite dropping in. It was nearly a goal twice. I'm smacking the seat in front of me... 

C'mon!!! A corner. The ball bounces about, it won't sit... They break. We're lost here... Shit... Carey is haring back and taking out his man. It's cynical but it was needed. We'll take the booking all day. Whilst Carey turns to the ref to say 'I played the ball!' (he didn't) the offended Maatson gets up and launches himself full body slam style into Carey who is thrown to the ground so hard he literally bounces. It's gone mad. Marvin is pushing Maatson away by his thoat, Connolly is grappling. Most of the two teams are locked in a fucking brilliant scrap. Graeme Souness would probably expire in erotic joy if he saw this. Loads of men. At it. Gaz just wanders about and kicks the turf. Far too cool for this nonsense. 

A red! Yes! Hang on. What this? What the fuck? He's sent Carey off? Why? For inciting Maatson? That's not how it works! You don't get a red card cos the other player clotheslined you now do you? Carey stalks off, his face red as his hair. That wasn't a red card. Maatson goes too. His was. Now what? Jesus... CJ is in central midfield. I feel nauseous. Somehow we get by long enough to send on a sub. The heroic Yates comes off. I'd say he's run his arse off, but that doesn't come close. Virtue is on to go in the middle and let CJ go wide. 

8 minutes. It's like drowning or being stuck in a dream where you know you are asleep but you can't wake up and you're running away from a giant monster made out of an old piano that makes horrible doomish out of tune sounds that get louder and louder but no matter how hard you run, you don't move. C'mon POOL! C'mon. 

Gaz is pressing. He really is pressing. We keep winning it and then losing it. We slice clearances. We head things but they don't seem to go very far. Grimmy should claim one, but Marv takes it instead and shanks it way up into the air and it's back with them. Grimmy comes and punches. They keep coming. Grimshaw stops it. Williams heads away. Husband heads away. Husband heads away again. The fella behind me is counting down in every break in play. 5 minutes 50 left. 3 minutes 25 left. 50 seconds left. A ball in. Please no. It's away... We break. We run out of steam. Gaz chases. He can't make it, they get it back. It just seems to last forever. 8 minutes seems 3 times the length... How long now...? 


I am exhausted. Unreal. Gaz and Jerry are loving it. Jerry is saying to Gaz about the missed chance. Gaz shows him how he'd have finished. They have their arms draped round each other. Michael Appleton seems to melt away at the end of the game. We serenade them all. We serenade Jordan Gabriel cos he's Jordan Gabriel. Ooh. Ah... They drift away. We sing some more. 

Then we float home.... 


I don't think I can do a meaningful postmortem. It was incredible. We really could have won the game. Burnley scored with their first 3 shots and thereafter, we really were the better side. Bowler was excellent when released wide and he's such a good player when there's more than just him to worry about. Playing him central was a canny idea that didn't quite work, but it was really when we threw more attackers on and let him do what he does that we prospered. I am thrilled for Yates of course, but also for Lavery. He's such a mixed bag at the moment, some awful luck, some woeful finishing over several games, but also some really good stuff and he deserves that goal just for keeping getting there and keeping going and it will hopefully bring him a bit more composure, let him believe he can take his time, pick a spot, back himself. Jerry though, well, what can I say? If you don't enjoy Jerry scoring, then you are clinically dead. 

Gary Madine changes games. We're averaging a goal every 39.3 mins with him on the pitch (fact of the week). Keep him hungry, keep him onside, keep him feeling loved but just a little tiny bit angry. He'll change many more games like that. I could go on. I'm too tired. I love what we're trying to be. Fearless, bold, brave. What else is there to say? Fucking Tangerine Wizards. I love them.

Football. Fucking hell. Wow. 


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Friday, August 19, 2022

How I accidentally became a global media influencer

The notion of influence and influencers is a really weird thing. I don't really understand why those annoyingly ebullient people with YouTube and Tiktok channels exist, nor why millions of people watch them taking shit out of boxes, talking about their headphones or putting on their blusher. They're people who aren't celebrities who pretend to be celebrities and somehow crack on and become celebrities by doing that. How does that work? I dunno. 

I've tried to influence things in my life,with limited success. I've long advocated a total revolution but no one appears to have taken much notice as yet. I've proposed that football at night should be played with glow in the dark kits, pitch lines like something from Tron and a light up ball but I'm still waiting for FIFA to get back to me on that. To be honest, more often than not, my attempts to influence my other half over what we're going to have for dinner are largely doomed to failure. 

Imagine my surprise to realise I was responsible for what was going on in marketing department of a Serie A giant. 

No, really. 

Without even trying, it genuinely appeared as if I'd inadvertently caused something to happen that literally millions of people had seen. 

You might be sceptical. I would be. But hear me out. 

The evidence: 

During summer, for reasons I can't really explain to myself, let alone anyone else, I decided to spend most of my waking hours using the Dall-e mini artificial intelligence image generator to produce pictures. New things are interesting aren't they? 

However, rather than explore the artistic potential of such a tool, or consider the social and cultural impact of something that could create visual representations of the human hive mind, I mostly typed in "Gary Madine" and then added some kind of search term. 

Cos, basically, why not? 

The results were surprisingly addictive. Seeing (possibly the worlds youngest famous) Gary rendered in different circumstances, painted by long dead masters and subject to fantastical circumstances appealed to my sense of humour (sorry) and I'm always in favour of leaving an audience wanting less, rather than more. (not sorry) 

It was done with love cos, basically wor Gaz is my favourite footballer and I'm not even arsed that having a favourite footballer makes me sound like I'm 9, not 42. Don't give a fuck. 

The above images represent only the tip of the horrific iceberg I subjected those who were not wise enough to mute me with.

One of the final images I created was of Gary Madine, in full kit, immersed up to his waist in the sea. 

The reasons for this are complex, but suffice to say, it was a 'witty' attempt to bring some levity to a depressing transfer breakdown in which a player had seemingly turned down Blackpool, at least in part because he had a pond at home. (Again, no, really) 
So, there we are, now. It's 29th of July and I've put into the world a picture of a fully kitted up footballer up to his waist in the sea and that, I imagine, will be that. Onwards! Etc. It's not like anyone is paying much attention to the barrage of shite I've been subjecting twitter to is it? 

Imagine my surprise, therefore, when, checking twitter, I see that not only have my beloved Blackpool FC launched a rather dapper third kit but they've launched it by asking Gary Madine to immerse himself in the sea! Literally, the absurdist image I'd put into the public domain 5 days earlier. 

Ok. I thought. Well. That's a thing. Who knew? 

To be clear. This one is the real Gary Madine. I know it's hard to tell with deep fakes

But it didn't end there.

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery and a further 3 days layer (8 days from the original tweet) I was somewhat surprised to discover that the none other than AS Roma had issued a (frankly slightly tepid) cover version of the Blackpool kit launch video. It's shit, cos it's got no Gary Madine and the lad doesn't even put his head under the water and Rome isn't even by the sea and their kit (unlike ours with its rather natty wave symbolism) has fuck all to do with water and they used a swimming pool as well but none the less, there it was. It's basically a rip off of our video which, in turn, seemed bizarrely too close to my tweet to be a total coincidence. Like, Gary Madine goes 32 years without anyone creating any kind of visual representation of him in the sea and then it just happens twice in a week? I know we are hard wired to see coincidence in chaos, but that's a bit unlikely. 

So, it seems I'm a global influencer after all and all without even trying to be one. 

The upshot of all this? I dunno. I'm just waiting for big brands to start inundating me with offers to feature in the blog. I'll probably start a YouTube account and detail every aspect of my life. I'll start saying "hi guys" and "like and subscribe" a lot. You'll probably be able to buy lots of "merch" and to "show your love by smashing the bell" and all that type of thing. 

Alternatively, I'll just keep churning out the same old shite and hoping Gaz doesn't ever realise that I am to blame for his promotional dip in the Irish sea. Not really arsed what Wijnaldum thinks tbf. He's shite compared to the Goal Machine anyhow. 

All media enquiries and promotional opportunities to MCLF: PO BOX GM14. 


Fucking c'mon Pool!!! 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Life turns on small things: the Mighty vs Swansea City

Sometimes I love writing this blog. Not just when we've won and I'm all fizzing with expletives and metaphors for how good we are but also sometimes when we've lost and it's a cathartic way to sort out what I've seen and move on to the rest of life. Occasionally, it's a right pain in the arse and feels like walking through treacle. Today is one of them. Why do I have a fucking blog anyway and why do I feel like I need to write a game up like my opinion matters? Is it just an extended version of a call to 606 except Chris and Robbie can't cut me off? Who the fuck rings 606 anyway? Seriously? Why would you? Why am I doing this? What am I doing with my life? No one has a blog anymore do they? Fuck's sake MCLF. What even are you? Anyone want to buy a book? No, didn't think so. 

It's hot. I don't cope well with heat. 

Hopefully the players will do better. 


I can't remember the game very well (fucking great start for a blog about the game) but we started ok and then trailed off. 

Swansea are passing. Passing. Passing. Passing. "FUCKING GET INTO THEM YOU CUNTS" shouts a bloke who doesn't seem to have noticed that it's a million degrees. 

Swansea aren't very interesting. Their manager has a name that sounds like a celebrity hairdresser and from here, in his all black outfit, he looks very much like one too. Appleton looks like a bloke who is brooding on something. His manner on the touchline gives me the feeling he's got a sense that he's forgotten something but he isn't quite sure what it is. He rubs his chin a lot. He looks on, slightly aloof from what is happening. It's possibly what people would call 'studious' if he was Arsene Wenger but to me is like the look I think I have when I've put on a boiled egg, but I'm not too sure how long to cook it for and am deciding whether or not to risk cracking the shell. 

Jerry and Bowler do one of their 'to me to you' runs and Bowler lifts the ball at the goal, but the keeper makes what looks to be a good stop with possibly a flying foot. That was something. 

Carey has a go at spinning. He loses it. They pass some more. At some point, they skim the top of the bar. Grimmy makes a save, it was offside anyway, but it's none the less a really, really good stop. Then Grimmy makes a really fucking incredible save as they shoot, the ball hits a defender and he defies time and space to pivot in the air and throw a hand down low and get a whole palm to it. It's fucking sensational but we're all too hot to really give it the credit it deserves. 

Connolly is not a right back. I repeat. Not. A . Right. Back. No matter what the big boss man with the hedge fund says, he's not a right back. He's a good player, he's a wholehearted player but he should not be doing the delicate work of trying to shepherd the ball up the touchline and overlapping when his main quality is chucking himself around in a disruptive and energetic way in the middle of the pitch. This is a long winded way of getting to the fact he's just kicked the ball out of play. 

The Mountie controls the ball. He puts his arms out for balance. It looks worryingly like he hasn't done this before. He looks up, spots a run and... puts the ball out of play. 

Jerry runs down one of their defenders. They pass it round him. Jerry turns to the rest of the team and gestures as if to say "eh? where the fuck are you?" Ten minutes later, Dougall, who is playing quite well, is the highest player, pressing with Jerry and has exactly the same message for his team mates. Everyone looks at their shoes and pulls up their socks a bit. It's not exactly pre match hugs with Gary and defensive huddles with Uncle Richard at this point. I think this unit needs to bond a bit... 

Probably some other stuff happens but it's all a bit shit. Swansea keep knocking exactly the same chipped pass and it never works. We don't do very much at all. Everyone is very sweaty. Swansea nearly score just before half time. Swansea sing a very tuneful song. Someone calls them cunts. The whistle goes. People boo. Someone calls the manager a cunt. A lot of people are very angry. I'm too hot to be angry.  


It wasn't very good. 


Mikey big arms has made a change! Lavery is on and the Mountie has gone off. He seemed perpetually surprised by everything that happened, like he wasn't expecting football to be like this. Sometimes he ran into someone and other times he fell over a bit. It's mad to think he's probably going to be at the World Cup whilst I dunno, Andy Robertson or whoever won't. The World Cup is great. It won't be great if it's hot like this though. Loads of boring possession football and probably summary execution for letting off a smoke bomb. Not far from the English League to be fair. See what I did there?  

We're loads better. Lavery is straight into a brilliant clattering tackle. The ref books him because it's a bit exciting. He's shit (the ref) but he is fairly consistently shit and he does have the added bonus of looking like he's from the 1950s cos he's a really old looking fella in mad long black shorts. Look at old FA Cup finals, refs used to be ancient, gnarled and school masterly, not the lithe blokes who look like aggressive little close cropped gym goers whose main life regret is not joining the forces because they didn't make the height limit that many refs today resemble. 

Thompson takes a throw. It goes straight up and down. He takes another. It does the same. I'm wondering how long it will be before someone says "Look, Dominic, you're a lovely lad and we like you and your careering about a lot, but that is NOT a long throw. However much you say it is. It isn't" 

Lavery is fucking flying. Book him? He doesn't give a fuck. He's been liberated by the Barrow game. Nothing can be as painful as that so now, he's fearless. There's a flick that's so bright I'm dazzled that starts the best move of the game, quick, incisive, pass after pass, the Pool are a tsunami, Swansea are running for higher ground, we fizz across the pitch and the ball drops to Bowler who hits it into the keeper's arms. For once, Bowler is the damp squib and not the firework. That was the best move we've had since about last March. 

Lavery again. Ratting, fighting. He's a man reborn. Threaten to sell him to Millwall? Make a lukewarm statement about how 'we've got no one else so we can't?' He'll show you - Shayne is a little streetfighter today and he's cutting in, chasing down, to the byline, charging about. I've missed this. You might say he's smouldering a little, maybe even a flame flickering about him. Their defence is actually a bit terrified. 

Wide again. Across the box. SHOOOOOOOT. Dougall shoots. Blocked. Back to Kenny. He flops to the ground. Penalty. Ha! Nice one. Take what you can. Jerry steps up. He looks nicely confident to me. He's juggling the ball cos he's fucking great at penalties. Here we go. One, two. Smack. Good low penalty, down the middle, keeper gone the wrong way Ye..... For fuck's sake! It's hit the keeper's feet for fucks sake. Fuck my life. Why is it shit? 

Head up Jerry. Get yer head up. C'mon Pool!!! The ball comes across. Yates spins and is clattered on the ankles. That WAS a penalty. Surely? The ref just runs off as if to say 'You know how this works. You don't get another one' Jerry trots off looking rueful. He knows how it works. No one said life was fair. We should be fucking singing his name now, not worshipping a Youtube idol on the bench but thems the breaks. One day you're king, next day, you're old hat. Get yr head up Jerry. 

Here's Bowler. I love it when he does this. He's like an overclocked electric scooter weaving between pedestrians who are trying to get out of his way. Jerry! Give it to Jerry. GIVE IT TO JERRY. JOSH!!!! GIVE IT TO FUCKING JERRY. FOR FUCKS SAKE! JOSH! Fucking hell. Jerry looks at the sky. The sky burns down on him. He sighs. He trots back. We go again. 

The ball is up and bouncing in the box. CJ is up waiting to come on. It's obviously Bowler's reward for not squaring the ball. Micky has decided the egg is hard boiled. He's not happy. He wanted a runny yolk.  Bowler controls. He controls like only he can. He swivels and .... ooooh. It wasn't far away. Bowler looks at the sky. He knows. 

We're pushing... It'll come. We'll get this. We don't though. I can't summon how or why, but suddenly Fiorini is losing the ball and we've all run beyond him apart from Dom Thompson who tries to foul his man but somehow doesn't. It's one of those horrible moments where they seem to run for about 5 minutes towards the goal, Grimmy can't win cos there's two of them and no defenders. They draw out Grimmy, it's squared, Patino (fair play to the YouTube kid, he's got heart) has galloped back and nearly but not nearly enough gets a slide in and the ball nestles in the net. Swansea go mental. I would if I were them. 

His number is up. Off he goes. Christopher James Hamilton is on. I feel a bit like part of me dies when Bowler goes off. It's like Bowler is the prospect that it might happen. No matter what. Bowler sits down. Appleton lets him go with the slightest of touches. He slumps onto the pitchside and empties a water bottle over himself. He looks hollow. He knows.

Get off his fucking back. 

Still time... A free kick. nothing. Another free kick. GET GRIMSHAW UP! We don't. Nothing. 

Whistle from the ref. Fuck's sake. 


Where are we at? I don't know. 3 games is no time. It's really not. We're all in this age of instant decisions and where we're all supposed to know everything and be able to see exactly the problem. It's constant punditry and dickhead blogger and cunts on podcasts giving their opinion on shit and actually, it's a really short time. We used to give managers a season and a half unless they'd only gone into the club to troll the fuck out of it like Clough at Leeds. No, really. We did. I remember this. 

There were moments where we clicked and the movement was really good but for a lot of the time, we  didn't look coherent. It felt to me sometimes like the old guard were pressing and some of the newer players weren't up to speed with it. Corbeanu. I don't know what to say really. There must be more to him than we've seen. The first half was dire, but Appleton didn't dither and he got a reaction. We missed chances, but most of the chances were made by Bowler and missed by him which is kind of same as it ever was. Equally, we got more than a bit lucky with not being behind in the first half. We lost and we could see that as fair, we could have drawn and called ourselves lucky or unlucky and we could have won. It was fairly close but also an odd, fitful sunbaked game that was at a few points quite good, but often not great. 

I think we look too young, too quiet (there's not a lot of leadership) and too reliant on one player but there's Gabriel to return, Madine to add variety and Lavery playing like this regularly would add a lot. We must surely be in for a couple more signings though. The three above (especially Gabriel and a hopefully renewed Shayne) will help, but they won't make the jigsaw complete. There is experience missing. I actually think there's quite a lot of quality in some of the young loanees but I think we need someone who really knows their own game in their midst. Someone whose confidence is unshakable. The kind of figure that Madine or Dougall was to the Critch side 2 years ago. We need that player to knock heads and drag us along a bit by force of will. Confidence transforms teams. It transforms strikers, it bleeds into everything that happens on the pitch.

We need some. 


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Blog Archive

Yet another bad owner. Where do they breed them?

This is Brooks Mileson. He owned Gretna FC. If you don't know who he is or what the score is with Gretna, it might be worth giving it ...