Football Blog: Tangerine Flavoured

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Festive flops - Burton Albion vs the Mighty

The radio promised travel chaos. It didn't materialise. I am therefore in the car park at the Pirelli stadium nice and early. The most generic sounding euro dance music wafts from the stadium away to my right. Music aside, it would be difficult to tell if it's a football ground or the industrial estate headquarters of a firm specialising in logistics if it weren't for the floodlights.

The journey was uneventful. A lazy kestrel does not exist, but I saw one have a brief moment of CBA, taking off from a motorway light, circling round and sitting back down again in a way that seemed to say 'fuck it. That mouse can have 5 more minutes'
Closer inspection reveals the ground to be actually not as bad as it looked from a distance. There's terracing on three sides, an odd little inside bar in the away end and to get into one of the home stands you have to cross a river on a little bridge. I quite like it. 

As I'm here unusually early, I watch the warm up. There's snoods aplenty amongst the players as they run out, even though I don't think it's actually that cold. Maybe they got them for Christmas from Neil and don't want to upset him by not wearing them. I watch the keepers. Grimmy actually yawns in the warm up, making a save and then letting out a big long lion style exhalation as he gets up. 

I just don't want us to fuck up Christmas. A few days of just being moderately happy and on a level are nice. It's Boxing day, it's a decent away following. Burton have lost about their last 50 games in a row. 

What could possibly go wrong?


We make a slow start both literally and figuratively. We're pinned in by some pacy Burton aggression. This isn't the plan. Burton waste the pressure and we proceed to cruise about for a bit. We knock it about.  All good. We're a lot better than them after all. Aren't we? 

They're streaking down their right. One of their pacy and aggressive lads checks back and delivers a cross. Another pacy and aggressive lad runs towards it. Grimmy hesitates, the defender with him hesitates. The striker hesitates. Then everyone panics and throws themselves at a ball that's gone past them as it curls right into the bottom corner of the net. For fucks sake pool. For fucks sake. For fucks sake. Fucking fucks sake. Pool. For fucks sake. I had the perfect view of that and I'm going to give the high level tactical analytics viewpoints that it was a fucking typical fucking fuck up from us. Fucking hell. Fucks sake Pool. 

At this point I'm going to introduce the ref and his team. Jimmy is stood, with his arms outstretched. He's just won a throw, except he hasn't because it's been given the other way. His eyes are bulging with disbelief, he's screeching 'How.. how? How? ... How?' and then once more for good measure... 'How???!' 

It goes a bit like this all afternoon. We get nothing. That isn't to say we actually deserve anything from the game holistically but one linesman is like a bloke who wandered in from walking his dog and didn't expect to be running a line, the other one keeps getting over ruled by the ref and the ref is just fucking shit so the combination of the three of them is something to behold. 

To be honest, trying to cobble together three paragraphs which aren't 'what the fuck was I thinking expecting anything other than abject and crushing disappointment?' is a challenge. 

I can manage the following: At some point we get the ball to Rhodes. He belts it over. He's not really on it today. He seems tired or to be playing off his heels instead of the balls of his feet. Joseph hares around but can't hold the ball up. CJ isn't very ole' and Lyons is struggling to make an impression. 

At least there's Karamoko. He doesn't really have that great a telling impact but he picks it up and runs like a dream to win a free kick on the edge of the box. Nothing comes of it, but for at least 10 seconds I had the pleasure of imagining a goal, which is nice. Maybe I could invent a new stat. Pwmyttmbagwtgtb*. Kaddy is +2.5. The rest of the team is about -3.


All else I can remember apart from us being shit, the ref being shit and wondering why we're using a yellow ball when it's not snowy is Norburn banjoing one over the stand. At least he tried. 


We're poor. We look out paced at the back. The midfield can't get a grip, the ball won't stick up front and Grimmy is having a shaky day. Burton are compact and have an aggressive style. They've been the better team. They've certainly made better use of what they've got anyway... 


We start the second half by nearly conceding again. Well done everyone. It's too far away to really tell what happens but basically, the ball looks in, but then Grimmy emerges from a crowd of players clutching it. 

Then suddenly, he wakes up. He hurls it long, Kaddy takes, touches it to CJ, CJ races forward. We're in. CJ falls over. His fall actually results in a better through ball than he manages all afternoon when upright, Rhodes takes over. He does everything but shoot when Dembele is screaming for it, unmarked and the chance is gone. 

We attack a bit more, but we really don't convince. There's a very desperate shout for a penalty as Lyons is bundled over in a regulation shepherding out of play moment. I shout. I'm kind of ashamed of myself for doing so, so weak is the claim. 

Dembele has another mazy run. He offloads to CJ. CJ seems a bit taken aback by having the ball, so he just gives it back to Dembele who, after using all his magic on the run, needs to recharge for a minute, so the ball just kind of bounces off him and rolls away. 

Norburn lunges wildly. I'm convinced it's a red as it looked a bit like a scissor challenge, but it's only a yellow. We're already flailing unconvincingly, frustrated by a combination of our impotence, Burton's gamesmanship, the official's lack of will to do anything about it and the general unfairness of them being quite well organised. 

Kaddy runs again. He finds Rhodes. Jordan appears to just break down in the box, running in a weird arc, not shooting or passing and looking, for the first time in a 'Pool shirt, slightly less than world class. Kyle Joseph has been the bright spark of the second half. He's struggled to get into the game, but just as he is starting to cause trouble with a few pacy runs and some really tigerish closing down, Critchley takes him off. 

Some fireworks go off. The man behind me says 'there's no fireworks on the pitch' - sometimes this blog writes itself. It's a team effort. 

Beesley takes over. We have a shout for handball after Bees makes a good run, but then fails to control the ball and it bounces around like mad on the edge of the box. We shout again as Lyons cuts inside and slaps the ball hard at a defender. That one looked more convincing. We hang a ball up to the edge of the box, CJ goes to head it back, but instead chests it back and Jimmy belts it over the top. I leap for the ball as it flies over my head. I miss. 

Things are getting desperate. The keeper is chucking out textbook shithouse behaviour. We're getting edgy at the slow pace at which we move the ball. Burton are seemingly not fooled by us stringing it along the back line. Dale and Carey come on. Dale is innovative in the way he actually goes at his man a few times. Carey also notable for running forwards with the ball. It's Sonny's canny pass that puts Dale away that creates the next chance, another cross, another block. 

We get 6 minutes injury time. We've resorted to counting the seconds out loud every time the keeper picks the ball up. At one point we reach 24. The ref isn't arsed. Luckily we don't throw anyone up front because that would be crazy stuff. We win a flurry of corners. Luckily, we don't load the box, or send Grimmy up or anything like that, because why would you do something so silly? We hit the bar but even then, it's not us, but one of their defenders and it's never that close anyway. The game ends with a corner and an uncontested take by the keeper. We wouldn't want to do anything daft like putting a man on the keeper for a corner. We've got to make sure we retain our shape you see. 

Fuck's sake Pool. 


There's no way to dress this up. It was poor. We didn't compete, we didn't really make anything beyond a potshot or two and we looked languid, predictable and were utterly baffled by the fairly regulation challenge posted by Burton Albion who got into shape quickly and played aggressively and retained a bit of threat by having some muscular and pacy forwards. It's not exactly being beaten by tactical innovation. For fuck's sake, they had the actual real life Bez fucking Lubala as their main man. (Well done Bez.) For fucks sake.

I totally respect what Burton did today. I have no complaints. They aren't very good, they had, for example, several players who couldn't kick the ball very well. They executed a basic and effective game plan. It's not a dissimilar game plan to that which was used by Northampton, Cambridge, Port Vale, Exeter (and so on - you get the idea, we're shit against teams that play like that - i.e. the kind of football that a load of League 1 teams play) 

I have absolutely no problem with us trying to play a certain way. In fact, I want us to have a 'style' and to work towards a defined set of roles. It's how you progress - by setting out a playing style and recruiting to a template and rinsing, repeating, improving each window. The first problem is that yes, when that style is suited to the game, we look very good, but when it isn't, we look pretty shit and in probably about half our games this season, we've looked lost. We neither moved the ball around to feet with pace and intent, nor played the channels with pace or aggression. We just, like quite a few other occasions, seemed to go into our shells and play little slow 5 yard passes across the back line, midfielders coming deep to join in, before eventually lumping it long anyway, long after Burton had marked everyone and then repeated the whole affair again. The second problem is, we seem unable to innovate within that style, let alone change actual shape at all. We have no positional fluidity, no sense that we can swap people round, change the match ups, try players on different feet and so on. 

When we're poor, we look defeated after about 25 minutes of the game. We just don't seem to have the belief. We're like a pretty yacht that is made of balsa wood. It's all very nice and graceful in calm weather but as soon as the sea gets rough, we fall to bits. 

I don't know if we don't have the belief to stick to plan A come what may or we don't actually have any convincing plan B but we've seen enough games this season where we fall into a kind of nothing state, between two stools, neither fish nor fowl, where we have a load of possession and are what Critchley would call in 'good areas' and we do next to fuck all with it as if we don't believe in ourselves at all. It's not losing that I object to, it happens. It's the manner of it, the fitful and flimsy manner of it that really irks. 

Then, after I'd resolved to get home and forget about the shit show my car broke down and the nice warm team bus drove past me as the floodlights flickered out, leaving me stuck in the cold and dark for about 2 and half hours with only a nearly dead phone for company. 

Fuck off football. 


You can follow MCLF on facebook or Twitter or use to get posts sent to your email If you appreciate the blog and judge it worth 1p or more, then a donation to one of the causes below which help kids and families in Blackpool would be grand.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Job done - the Mighty vs Bristol Rovers

Is this the least Christmassy Christmas since the one before the original manger/Herod/gift and wisdom bearing lads in bunches of 3 scenario? Is it just me, or is there something missing? I can't put my finger on it, but I've never felt less festive.

Christmas this year is drizzle, more drizzle, some drizzle and anticlimactic shopping trips where you get to town and realise it's still drizzling and then remember the last decent shop closed 3 years ago, therefore unless you want a charity shop or some vape liquid, you'll have to go home and order Christmas off the internet. 

Christmas football has a potential to be anticlimactic too. I hope it isn't. I'd like an early gift of a Kenny Dougall present and correct on the team sheet playing the role of a gnarly and sturdy trunk of an attacking Christmas tree style front 7. I guess that makes Jake Beesley the star of Bethlehem on the top. Why not. Lad works hard. Might as well be. 


King Kenny is absent. Hmmm. It's tempting to catastrophise about him leaving, but I suppose we also should consider it might be possible that things are not ok in Kenny's world. Either way, I don't like it. The prison guard is in for him. He never shoots you know... 

We start pretty well. The little genius is at the heart of everything good. First, he's wriggling free in the centre circle then he's darting and bobbing forward, he's shaping to shoot, and now he's just flowing like mercury past the defenders block instead, now he's actually shooting and the ball is skipping off the turf into the keeper's gloves. We're on our feet, pounding our hands together in appreciation of his intent. If the shot was a bit tame, the run was wild... 

Now, he's taking a pass from Beesley and he's cutting inside, if he held on to it above, he's letting fly early this time and a viscous effort is tipped wide by the keeper and again, the ground is up as one for this most singular of players. 

He's scooping a pass, it's up, it's over, it's dropping and it put Rhodes free, the angle is acute, but the keeper is drawn and if Rhodes is anything, he's made to exploit a moment like this and he does, driving it firmly towards the far corner. It's hacked away but we win it back and then, it's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 passes to work it back round to a shooting position again but for fucks sake Pool, we give it away and it looks like the moment is gone, until, that is, Norburn wins it back, the ball breaks nicely for him and as the crowd takes a breath in, to implore him to shoot and I'm visualising him just turning and laying it sideways cos that's what he always does... Norburn is shooting and the ball is rocketing into the absolute top corner, swirling away from the keeper and thumping into the net with a beautiful resolution. 

YESSS! It's a glorious hit. Superb goal. You won't see a better, more cleanly hit, satisfying shot for the rest of this year. We deserve it. Norburn probably needs it and everything is good with everyone. His celebration is vaguely threatening. Good lad Ollie.  

Right. Lets go again. We've dominated, so lets get a few more... 

A corner for Bristol Rovers. It's about the first thing they've done all game. In it comes. What is going on? Grimmy is diving like a man who's suddenly realised his left his handbrake off on a hill desperately trying to get back into a car that's already rolling away at speed. Now they're running away celebrating. I think they've actually scored. In fact, it appears they definitely have. What the fuck happened there? Fucking hell 'Pool. This is us in a nutshell. We've just played about 30 mins of really good football, made multiple chances, are obviously better than them and it's 1-1 cos of a shitty goal we just gave them for free.  

C'mon Pool. C'mon. A lovely ball from Carey puts Hamilton in. He slams it the wrong side of the post. A free kick. The wee lad is over it with Sonny. Carey stutters and steps away, Dembele crafts a beautiful lifting, dipping, curling effort that hits the top of the bar with the keeper nowhere near it. Heads in hands. 


This has been the season in a nutshell. We should have more than we do but we don't. 


We're off immediately, putting pressure on them. It looks as if our first attack has broken down when their keeper clears weakly, Dembele controls beautifully (can we just mention how good his control is? - it's got to the point now, where I've stopped noticing how well he takes the ball in as his first touch is so consistently magnetic) and then quickly kind of deliberately scuffs a filthy low chip to Beesley, whose control isn't quite what Karamoko's is, but who nonetheless takes it down nicely, then, pivoting like a large crane on a building site turning with a heavy load, bounces the ball into the corner of the goal. YES!

I didn't expect that to come so quickly. 

Beesley has impressed me of late. He's run hard, he's closed down, he's won headers and he's generally played really well for the team. He's getting closer to his centre back and making things more difficult for them. Today he had an absolute unit to play against and he did it intelligently. He's not going to win 'most aesthetically pleasing footballer of the year' but he's such an honest grafter that you can't not be pleased for him when he scores. 

Rovers have a spell of play. Perhaps it's more fair to say, that for the first time in the game, we're not dominant, so that lets them go forward. There's some nice work at the back in the air from Husband and Connolly, one Jimmy header, so firm it almost reaches the halfway line. There's an excellent diving block from Pennington at the near post. The linesman is our friend as Rovers score but an early flag means we can celebrate instead of them. For a while, we look a bit scruffy and a bit jaded, but we stick at it. 

There's one fucking ridiculous run from Dembele, picking it up in a crowd somewhere inside his own half and then going, beating one, his shoulder drop sending their man grasping at air, then another, repeating the same move, with the same result, then a third, faking to do the same thing, then knowing their lad has cottoned on to what happened to his team mates, turning it into a double bluff and just running past him directly, their lad spinning in his boots, not knowing what hit him. He goes on. Stumbling, bouncing up, he's just unstoppable... It comes to nothing in the end, but I don't care. What a player. Defending against him is like trying to have a judo match with a ghost. He's just of a different realm. 

Then his final act is to lift a gorgeous pass from the centre spot into the path of Joseph. The substitute runs hard but then, showing great awareness, squares the ball to Rhodes who pulls out his old slowing down time trick, steadying himself, waiting till the exact moment the angle is perfect and then, rolls the ball into the corner of the goal with an acuity that it frankly ridiculous. It's such a calm finish. It makes 'zen' look positively frantic. The man must have a resting pulse rate of about 5 bpm. I don't think I've ever seen a better finisher in tangerine. 

There's time for a superb save from Grimmy from a point blank header late on and then there's the whistle. 

'Pool haven't fucked up Christmas for once! It's a miracle.


We played quite well. The first half, we played good football and made plenty but one error of judgement meant we were level. I was worried that the game might turn after half time cos Bristol weren't so bad, but ironically, we made a lot less but were more clinical. 

After the game I look at the table. We're still 8th. We seem stuck there. I notice Man Utd have lost again. They seem to lose every week but remain 8th in their league. I know we're not exactly consistent, but it feels like we're not as shite as Man Utd yet, here we are in 8th. I suspect a fix. 

I enjoyed today. We deserved the win and we had to battle a bit to get it. It was a bit of a break from the pattern of 'win very convincingly/don't really turn up in next game' as Bristol Rovers had enough to make it seem as if there was a game in the second half. It was good to see that after things going awry in conceding such a quick and poorly defended equaliser, we didn't fall to bits this week. There's no doubting our potential and ability, but we have struggled when stuff has gone against us, so whilst 'not imploding when anything goes wrong in a football match' is a fairly low bar, it's good we got over that today.

It was also nice to feel the crowd behind us. We didn't do everything perfectly, but we had the intent and the crowd responded. Like the team, the noise isn't quite what it could be, but it was better today.  It's halfway and we're lurking in the pack. We're not quite where we want to be, but there's a long way to go yet. 



 You can follow MCLF on facebook or Twitter or use to get posts sent to your email If you appreciate the blog and judge it worth 1p or more, then a donation to one of the causes below which help kids and families in Blackpool would be grand. Home-Start Blackpool Food Bank

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Forest Green Felled - the Mighty vs Forest Green Rovers

What are we all doing here? It's the FA Cup game that the FA doused in cold inconsistent water and drowned any bits of magic that lingered. The prize for winning a game that the manager emphatically doesn't want to play? An away trip to the not all that exciting team we played the season before in the cup.  Woo-hoo. 

Before the game I'm starving. My mind flits about. Things I think about include:

Isn't it weird how people used to call podcast apps 'podcatchers' but no one has used that phrase for at very least 5 years... I really hope Kenny Dougall's absence isn't a sign of some kind of unrest. He's been brilliant this season once he got back into his groove. Kenny Dougall doing Kenny Dougall things is such a vital cog in our (slightly unreliable) machine this season....How harshly the fella in front of me at the till speaks to his kid. In fact, looking around the shop as I studiously (I'm a coward) avoid the big fella speaking to a tiny kid as if he's going to land her one on the mouth, the run up to Christmas seems to have brought a pinched, harassed and anxious look to the faces of many. Ho ho ho ho. Merry Christmas.

That's a bit depressing innit. Think of Super Gaz dressed up as a jolly elf or something. In fact super Gaz would probably be the big man himself and Lavs would be his elf. Critch would be the shoemaker. Now I've said that I'm not sure if shoemakers actually feature in yer typical Xmas scene or not. For some reason they're in my head as doing playing some kind of part. Whatever, Critch would be one. I can imagine him working in Timpsons.

Sorry. This is a football blog.

Actually, just before I get to football I think I've got Christmas mixed up with 'the Elves and the Shoemaker' which may or may not feature Christmas but definitely features elves and a shoemaker. Lavs and Dembele with Critch putting nails in a pair of clogs wearing those little spectacles that I imagine all shoemakers wear. Do elves and imps get on? I don't know. Do they even belong to the same universe of small fictional creatures? This is possibly not the kind of conversation to have with yourself at the beginning of a football blog if you're aiming to be big in the world of 'shit fan blogging' is it? 

Where were we?

The team. It's sort of a hotchpotch of players who mostly don't normally start with a few who do and there's no sign of Kenny. It will be nice to see Matty Virtue who is always just about  on his way to becoming a favourite player of mine as he gets injured and then I forget about him for 4 months and repeat. In fact, I'm starting to hope that for Virtue's sake, he never plays well again as every genuinely good game where you can see why he was captain of Liverpool once, seems to come with cost of another 20 on the sidelines with another random injury.  


We start slowly. In fact, It's hard to work out if the game has started at all from the atmosphere. It's very quiet. Forest Green have brought about 25 fans and they're audible as the 3000 or so of us mutter quietly amongst ourselves. Even Tony Parr sounded downbeat before kick off. 

I'll be honest, this game isn't one I want to linger on for too long. I didn't pay it rapt attention.

Some things happened in the first half. They included a goal. Beesley getting wrestled off the ball, possibly unfairly but that then resulting in a ball back that Owen Dale cut off before it got to the keeper and he sort of poked the ball round the goalie, vaulted him and walked it into the net. Never have I seen or witnessed a goal celebrated with less vigour than this one. It barely registered as a thing, let alone as the kind of maelstrom of blood vessel bursting, chest pounding, terrace tumbling, falling over the people and ending up in heap two rows down sheer release that a goal can be. All goals are great goals, but this one, well... I've seen routine clearances given more acclaim. 

Other things included, Morgan looking like he's nearly really good but not quite. pulling off the clever things he tried. Virtue being his usual virtuous self, Dom Thom taking a long pass down beautifully, racing in on goal and then missing by, if not a mile, at least a good 10 yards and Forest Green almost equalising late on with a ball across the box that their striker inexplicably didn't chuck himself at. 

The main highlight for me was being near the bench. I've not been so close to the dugouts since forever. A few things struck me. Ian Brunskill's coat is too small for him and he has the vibe of a Liverpool jazz busker dressed as a sports teacher as if a supply posting has got confused. Mike Garrity is bigger than you think he's going to be and looks like a fella who would chase after someone who'd been making trouble in the street going 'come back ere!!!' Critch though, is, at close quarters, more intense than you'd imagine. I'm usually at the end and at away games, if you're at the side, he's normally on the other. He's a bit of a coiled spring tonight... Is he always this edgy? I don't think he is... 

Fooooooorwaaaard' bellows someone. Critch turns round, shakes his head. The cry goes up again. More head shaking and a gesture. Critch goes out and claps the player vigorously and exhorts them on. Another exhortation to attack from the stand. Critch turns and mouths something in response. He's icy when he's angry. Someone misplaces a pass. He throws his head skywards and has a little meltdown, like a John Cleese doing a Basil Fawlty tantrum but in a straightjacket. I like Cross Critch. Anger is an energy and football needs a bit of passion. He spits. It's a purposeful spit, it's the spit of a lad in tracksuit hanging out at a bus stop and spitting cos there's nothing else to do. You have to say, he's nailed that bullet phlegm action. It's very un-Critch. Maybe there's yet another Critch locked inside the endless onion layers of  enigma that is Neil.

No more Lighthouse Family. Never Mind The Bollocks. Here's the new Critch. This one is all Jonny Rotten stares and incitement. I prefer that to love hearts, platitudes and respectful pre match interviews to be honest. 


It's all fine. 


We're better second half. There's much notepad scribbling in the dugout. Everyone except Critch seems to have some kind of folder or pocket diary to write in. Perhaps they're doing the menu choices for the Christmas meal. Who knows? Perhaps Neil has already chosen his and doesn't need to write anything down. 

We have a load of chances we don't quite score. Joseph looks lively but not very deadly. Beesley nods one over. We even clap a few times. 

Norburn comes on with Dembele. I'm surprised to see the little genius getting a game. It's Norburn though who provides the moment of the match, turning and spraying a fabulous raking ball right into Gabriel's path. He takes it on, draws the keeper and finishes nicely. It's a lovely goal. 

We score again, but I don't actually see the move. I swear someone calls my name. It's possible some actually does, but it's not aimed at me as other people also have my name, but anyway, I'm looking round to see if I can see someone I know and when I turn around there's a mad scramble in the box and then Marvin is running away and I think the ball has basically hit him and gone in. It's probably not the worst goal to have half missed. 

Weirdly Rhodes comes on and gets clattered a few times. It seems a bit odd to put him on but then Critch is as Critch does and I'm too scared of him after his first half fury to question it. I look at the clock and 88 mins has gone. It's been a really odd atmosphere. If you'd asked me, I couldn't have told you whether 57, 75 or 88 mins had passed in the game. It's been devoid of the usual atmospheric markers - the celebrations, the tension, even the  howls of justice and derision. It's just kind of 'happened' 

Critch gives a quick thumbs up and heads off down the tunnel to neck a bottle of JD and go out fighting*. 

*Part of this sentence may be artistic licence. 


A sold performance and one that shouldn't be underestimated in that, despite the fact we clearly didn't want this match, we had a good go and we dominated a side that, ok, aren't the greatest team ever, but aren't the worst team in the world either. We kept going and looked as if we wanted to score a fourth. Norburn was poor at the weekend, but played well tonight, Virtue needs the minutes, Marvin had a solid enough game after his last outing was quite shaky, Gabriel played the full 90 and Thommo won man of the match and pulled off some spins and tricks, the best of which involved some pure Brazilian skill, followed immediately by him falling over which basically sums him up. 

I quite enjoyed it.

Wembley is on. (multiple visits, sea of tangerine, endless glory is the only possible future etc)   


 You can follow MCLF on facebook or Twitter or use to get posts sent to your email If you appreciate the blog and judge it worth 1p or more, then a donation to one of the causes below which help kids and families in Blackpool would be grand. Home-Start Blackpool Food Bank

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Strangely straightforward: the Mighty vs Carlisle United

This week Critch was hopping mad. He was irritably over tightening the lid on the skimmed milk before putting it quite forcibly back in the fridge angry. He was grinding his jaw a bit too much when eating his plain ham sandwiches (on best of both bread) at lunchtime cross. He was uncharacteristically not enjoying the usual post drive car hoovering furious. He was pursing his lips and staring into the middle distance and needing to apologise for being distracted as Janine suggested a drive out to the garden centre for a soothing walk on the gravel paths and a scone seething.

This is the best Critch. No doubt. A diminutive rebel. He's as mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore. Muttering darkly in the corner. Mike having to bring him a cold towel. Ian Brunskill considering whether a shaman (he knows several from his time hiding in South American jungles) needs to be brought in to cleanse Critch of bad vibes

Just when all seems lost, he rises from the stool he's been hunched on all day and says 'fuck em all. I'll just have to give a masterclass won't I?'

My week has been dark and dreary. Just give me football. Now. I need it.


The wind swirls. The rain is blown up and over the stands, looking in the lights like that weird film deluge that is overlaid in front of action. The pitch looks as good as it ever has in December.
It's clearly not an easy prospect, playing in this weather. Long balls are tossed forward and they hold up and swirl, defenders beneath them panicking as the predictable becomes devilish. Sonny almost threads the needle a couple of times. We have corners. Lots of corners. Carlisle resort very quickly to fouling players they can't catch. Some away teams come for a draw. From the outset, it looks like Carlisle have come for a 0-2 defeat. They're so deep. At times, it genuinely looks like they're playing 7-2-1, their two holding midfielders, not so much holding as folding into the back line. The most notable thing about them is they have a keeper who looks like he's out of scale with the rest of the players. He skews my sense of perspective completely. He's too big to be that far away...

For all our pressure, we don't create too many thrills. Pennington's eyes widen as one falls to him but his shot is a defender's effort, kind of rolling down his shin and snaking away, wide of the post. It's in danger of becoming frustrating, but none the less, there's a sort of calmness in ground. We're sheltered from the winds blowing from the sea by the curvature of the stand walls and we're safe from Carlisle attacks because their starting position is generally somewhere around their own penalty box and we're able to snuff out anything they do attempt at source.

Beesley chases a diagonal. He deserve much credit for making nothing into something and forcing a throw. From the throw, the ball ends up with Kenny Dougall. He lofts a hopeful ball into the box and the keeper is distracted by someone in the box and flaps. Lyons is there, alert, bustling in, lifting it at an odd but effective angle up and into the net, past the completely wrong footed giant.

We carry on controlling the game. Carlisle react to going behind by doing absolutely nothing any differently. Dembele moves between the rain drops, spinning and turning like the players around him are just cones laid out for a drill. His cross is almost turned home by Beesley. Carey's raking ball is misjudged by CJ. Rhodes puts one just wide. We're in total control but we haven't turned the screw, so as the whistle goes, there's a sense that it was fine, but no more. 


At half time they do that running round the centre circle with a giant ball thing. I don't normally watch it, but because I never really have paid much attention to it, I do. I notice how seriously they take it, making one of the lads rerun it because he didn't follow the rules. As entertainment goes, I don't think it's inline for a prime slot on ITV to be honest. My attention wanders to Carlisle warming up. For a minute, I'm convinced Carlisle are using tiny tennis ball sized footballs. I'm sure this is some sort of hitherto unseen ploy to increase touch and skill. I am disabused of this notion by my neighbour. The balls are perfectly normal, size 5 footballs. It appears my head has been fucked by first the giant keeper and then the giant footballs and I can't trust reality any more.


Carlisle still fail to respond in any meaningful way. We're again completely dominant without really setting the world on fire. The best bits are a really neat bit of control and a turn from Beesley, who then lays in Lyons who draws a good save and a piece of sheer magic from Dembele who turns his man like an illusionist, feinting one way then, whilst the defender is setting himself, going the other, leaving the poor Carlisle lad flummoxed and CJ with a direct run on goal, but the resultant shot is clipped just the wrong side of the post.

Lyons has it. He floats it in. Beesley leaps, it's a picture book jump, his neck craned and then snapped, the contact perfect, glancing the ball, sending it downwards. The giant plunges and makes a good save, but Jordan Rhodes, like a crystal ball gazing promenade gypsy, has read the future perfectly and is in exactly the right place to guide the ball home. Simple as you like. 

Carlisle finally respond by having a shot. Poor old Grimmy looks freezing and bedraggled, but he's equal to what they throw at him. He stops one from distance easily. He goes down bravely at the feet of one their players, to smother the ball after stopping another shot. He judges well as one of their lads stretches at the far post. He watches one go over the top that they really should have buried. That little flurry is all they muster and a good lot of their fans don't see it, having left after the second went in. 

Jimmy trundles forward and smashes one. I wish that went in. Dembele is so watchable because he'll pick up the ball anywhere and just attack with it and he snaffles the ball on the edge of his own box and runs the length of the pitch. The move ends with a poor pass, but after such intent it's kind of churlish to complain about that. 

The third goal is the most satisfying. I'm just thinking that the game has lacked the kind of goal you can really enjoy, when Lyons wins it and picks a beautiful pass, 40 yards into the path of CJ who looks like he's going to race free before being sent sprawling. Joseph (on for Beesley) picks it up and looks like he's going to score but the keeper gets a long arm on to it and it looks like we've wasted the moment, but there is is Jordan Rhodes on the rebound. He doesn't waste an inch, controlling, seeming to go backwards and sideways in a fluid few steps to make the angle and then smashing it home, timing his effort to perfection, his thought always two steps in front of the the keeper and the ball two yards beyond his defeated flop towards it, what starts as a dive, ending as a kind of defeated collapse, with the ball smashing into the net as he completes his fall. It's a terrific finish, making something that was actually reasonably hard, look so natural and easy. 

That is that. 


Critchley is fizzing. He's hopping with delight. He's running towards the Kop and spotting a ball on the six yard line and he's smashing it home like he's a fun dad at a kids party. Yes... yes... yes!!! He's literally jumping with each swing of the fist and now he's trotting away, skipping away, clapping and bouncing towards the tunnel. I've rarely seen him so giddy. I'm sure I can hear him shouting 'fuck you Graham Kelly' as he goes... 

It's been a long, bleak week. I needed that. I think he did too. 

It was a weird game. By that, I kind of perversely mean, it wasn't weird at all. WE were a lot better than them, we had a lot more shots (at least up until the point we were well clear,) we scored more than enough goals and I never really felt worried. Carlisle were really unambitious but we looked a division better than them, which, when you consider that a couple of years back at this time of the season, we were starting to have mad ideas about a play off push in the Championship and they were looking anxiously towards non-league football is perhaps not a surprise. It's every credit to Simmo for getting them up from where they were and really quite a shame we fell apart as we did. That's the beauty of the game though - it can turn on you, and the enigma that is the Tangerine Wizards is such that we often fail against the teams we're palpably better than so today was an odd experience in that it went totally with the form book and logic.

A routine, professional, solid and worthy win. Loads of hard work and sprinkling of class on top. Doing the expected is actually quite un-Blackpool. More of this sort of thing. 


(If you enjoyed this blog and can afford to, it would be grand to give the club appeal some cash.)

(You can also buy a book of this shite if you haven't already, and I'll give the money that is left over from what Jeff Bezos takes for printing it to the same fund - I can't promise you'll enjoy the book, but it's pretty cheap and I managed to spot and correct most of the mistakes) 

You can follow MCLF on facebook or Twitter or use to get posts sent to your email 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Classic Blackpool - the Mighty vs Northampton Town:

There are many things that are 'Blackpooly' - just a few of them include: red brick Edwardian houses with mock Tudor gables, Jimmy Armfield playing the organ, 1930s semis with bay windows, Ballon d'Or winners jogging down the beach and playing football with a tennis ball, sunsets to die for and sunrises to live for, a spectacular adjunct of suburban aspirational property types and grinding poverty stats, milk roll, that Nolans song, the all time greatest FA Cup final ever, mad shit you just don't see elsewhere that you could go on forever listing like those lit up first princess horse drawn carriage things as just one example, late 1920s balloon trams with green and cream livery, not going to town in summer if you can avoid it, piers, towers, parks, boating lakes, play off glory and tangerine, tangerine, tangerine. Fucking beautiful tangerine.

There's many more things that are Blackpooly. Some are great. Some less so. It probably true to say that Blackpool is more distinct than anywhere else I know.

Here's the thing... to twat the top of the league away from home (and to look like Brazil, combined with peak era Ajax) and then to fail to turn up at home, (against some random club that are from some random place that have never really done owt and you don't know who any of their players are as we play like we've never met before and are in fact a team of trainee clowns doing a comic impression of a shite football team) is probably the most defining quality of Blackpooly things that there is

Northampton. It's somewhere. In that void where nowhere places are. Shoes. Purple kit. Used to play at a cricket ground. Not actually anywhere near Southampton. Not sure what else there is to say. Had Bez Lubala for a bit probably the only thing I can remember about the last decade of Northampton related things. They're like one of those Scottish teams that just are. Why, no one is sure, but there they are always. You're never quite certain if they're in Div 3 or 4 at the moment. Graham Carr. That's another thing...

I'm frankly terrified. I'll take one going in off Beesley's arse whilst he's looking the other way and then hanging on for dear life...

We're unchanged. That calms me a bit. The moon is high and bright. The air is crisp and anticipation mixes with nerves. Into em' Pool. Maybe my nerves are just a way of trying not to get involved in all the expectation shit. That'll be it. Nothing to fear. Total sexy football all the way. Nothing can possibly go wrong...


It starts out ok enough. Actually, it doesn't. Marvin has been back, back, back with a vengeance of late, but he kicks off the evening by inexplicably miscalculating everything and giving them a shooting chance that Grimmy saves in spectacular fashion, full on superman dive with a trailing arm that is flung up to turn the ball over the top.

That should wake everyone up.

We chuck the ball over the top a lot which seems like it might work when Bees wins a few but doesn't really lead to anything too meaningful. Dembele gets a breakthough and is haring towards goal, Beesley yells for it, Kaddy* gives it and Beesley goes for a spectacular first time effort. Don't get me wrong, it's actually lovely and heartwarming to see that Bees has the confidence to do that, but he could have probably popped down a picnic blanket, trotted over to Ian Brunskill, collected a hamper (I'd assume of all the backroom staff, Ian Brunskill is the most likely to be in possession of a hamper) got out a pork pie, sliced it and had time to take the lid off the piccalilli before he'd have been closed down so it might have been an idea to control it and place it instead.
*I'm not sure why I'm calling him Kaddy. Critch does, but if I took 'Critch does' as a measure for my own behaviour then I'm not sure where I'd end up. Probably earnestly reading a document on the best tyre pressure for fuel efficiency at legal motorway cruising speeds and ordering my clothes from a 'smart sportswear' catalogue in bulk.

There are some shots. They aren't very good. Kaddy and Rhodes get polite applause because they are Dembele and Jordan and we're lucky to have them so we're always nice to them. Other efforts get a more typical groan. We'll be alright though. We're just going through the gears aren't we? These are just sighters. Preliminaries. We're football genius now. We can't score all the time. It would get boring... Only a matter of time. Dembele takes a really good corner. See. It'll be grand...

Then the nightmare manifests itself. I can't really remember what happened. Who remembers the other team's goals anyway? (you can fuck off if you're going to say stuff like 'you should if you're going to write a blog about it' cos I'm not watching the highlights just so you can read me tell you about a thing you could just look at yourself.) Essentially, suddenly everyone seems very wrong side and it looks for all the world like they're going to score and they do, indeed, score. It doesn't seem to my untrained eye like we dealt with it as we should have done. Fuck's sake Pool.

We respond by everyone generally looking like we might have just got off the bus from Pompey about an hour ago. The first touches aren't there, the little stretches and slides aren't in their legs. A move bursts into life, but someone doesn't run or the pass is behind them. It's lethargic.

Beesley runs at the defence. Rhodes, Dembele and Carey offer runs. Beesley elects to shoot. He hits the legs of their defender. Again, it's nice he has the confidence but...

We have a little splutter of attack around half time. Carey whistles one over the top after what is probably the most convincing move for 30 minutes. There's maybe a corner or two. There's a lot of booing at Northampton's sluggish taking of set plays. It's all a bit frustrating.


Critch hasn't rung the changes. Quele surprise. 'Go and give me some fire lads' he might have said. We get sodden wood and a little bit of grey smoke. Did anything happen until we put the subs on? I'm not sure. I've forgotten that bit of the game. I can't even do another passive aggressive comment about not watching the highlights because there wasn't anything that would make the highlights. Even Dembele isn't very good.

I do notice the following. Their no19 is giving Marvin a horrible time. We're booing him for reasons I've failed to notice. Marvin looks like he's in the wrong gear. He keeps chugging after the ball quite slowly when surely it makes sense to run quickly. I'm not a UEFA licensed coach, so it's probably not my place to say it but it's weird. This lad was utterly sensational on Saturday.

I also notice their no 7 is quite rotund. That pleases me a bit. It's ages since we've had a convincing 'footballer who looks like a real person' and Northampton's (*checks the internet*) Sam Hoskins (300+ games for them and he also played for Southampton) is the best one for a while.

We make a whole substitute. Kyle Joseph for Jake Beesley. C'mon Pool, drag yourself out of this torpor for fucks sake. CJ has it. He runs a bit. He lays off, Dougall crosses, Rhodes rises and YESSS! We're back in it. It's a lovely header, absolutely in the style of a goalscorer who needs just a sniff. Everything is right with the world again. The floodgates will open, those nowhere, purple shoe fetishists won't know what has hit them.

They swap the 19 for a lad with a headband. I think he must be good because he has a head band and long hair. He looks a bit like a poundshop Tom Eaves who is a poundshop Andy Carroll. I wonder about if you could create a set of russian dolls of similar players with the most famous one as the biggest doll and then tinier and tinier versions of less and less famous players till you get to some bloke who plays for Weeton Seniors but has a pony tale at about doll no 13. I think we're learning that this game wasn't a spectacular feast of footballing moments aren't we?

Jimmy. He's the model of reliability. He's the formally topknotted god. He's been absolutely outstanding this season. He goes around not putting a foot wrong. You know absolutely what you are going to get from Jimmy Husb.... WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?

Hubby has his head in his hands. He's just sold Grimmy short with a no look back pass that was expertly intercepted and neatly tucked away by the surprisingly rapid Hoskins. For fucks sake Pool. Fucking hell. I can't be angry at Jimmy. He's Jimmy. I'm just angry at the world. The fucking state of everything. It's all gone to shit. I stare at the roof of the South Stand. It stares back, slightly faded panelling that impassively watches my agony. I sigh. C'mon Pool.

Albie 'the new Matty Virtue' Morgan comes on for his scheduled runabout. I'm a bit surprised to see Dougall go off as he's looked the one player who has dug in a bit and gone toe to toe a few times. Andy Lyons comes on as well cos possibly Dembele got a knock. I fucking hope not. I don't even want to imagine a world where he's crocked. We play a weird 3 up front type thing with CJ in there.

We scrap but we can't get hold of it properly. For all the boos, I can't help but admire the solid and committed approach of Northampton. They've fought, fallen over and lingered over things like they've been reading 'How to be a Shithouse, by G Madine (aged 33 and a bit)' and that's football isn't it? They've kept us honest by having enough threat to make us think twice and also got solid and dared us to unpick them. We haven't. The ref is a bit crap but we're really not making much of anything. CJ has a run. He appears to kick himself over. I think that's probably the highlight of the game. 

There's a scramble. A shout for a pen. It's not a pen. I can't see it really, but I can tell from the shout. Then we go again into the box. Marv is up. There's a mad big shout. That's something. The ball is flying around in the box like a squash ball being knocked about in furiously masculine business way by some high flying executive type that'll work for the club for 12 months before parting ways as they all seem to do... the keeper is flapping, the ball is in the air, Owen Dale has seen his chance... It's all gone slow motion... the goal is gaping and.......

Owen... Dale... heads... it... over...

For fuck's sake Pool. Fucks sake.


Here's the irony. The tinkerman didn't tinker when perhaps (definitely) he should have done. Had he tinkered, I'd have probably moaned a bit and rolled my eyes performatively at the tinkering. It was a game too far for the same 11 and the energy of a player or two with a point to prove would perhaps have galvanised the tired legs of players who'd already proved some points in the previous performances. I'm not sure I can really rage at Critch for doing more or less what I'd have done though. I just hope this doesn't set him back on his road to attacking enlightenment and mean we have to revert to fearing and setting up to counter the counter of teams like Northampton because I honestly think that had this game come first, the energy and crucially, the movement and pace in moving the ball we showed at Portsmouth would have been too much and once we'd have got in front, we'd have seen them unravel and got at least another.

I think I've already said something like this this season - Critchley mk 2 appears to have modelled us on a Steve Macmahon team. For the kids, that means - When we're good, we're very good and we can look a division or more better than we are. When we're not good (which is at least as often, if not more often than the former), we're inexplicably prone to calamity and lethargy and the previous footballing superpowers we possessed in the moments of glorious fury and fire appear to be entirely alien to us. Who knows why? Not me. I am but a shite blogger and the best I can manage is the frankly lame and superficial 'they looked a bit leggy to me Clive'


You can follow MCLF on facebook or Twitter or use to get posts sent to your email If you appreciate the blog and judge it worth 1p or more, then a donation to one of the causes below which help kids and families in Blackpool would be grand.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Shrews swept aside - the Mighty vs Shrewsbury Town

Straight away, I like the team. It's not always about the individuals, it's about the balance and it just feels right. The product of thought, not of a roulette wheel. We're playing Shrewsbury. There's nothing to learn from pretending we're playing Real Madrid and trying to grind it out. Go for it. Treat yourself. Kick the autumn leaves into the air and spin around in giddy delight. Live a little.

I'm surprised. Critch doing this seems a bit like him getting involved in a touchline bust up or slagging off the board in a post match interview. He's released the handbrake. The car is rolling free. The top is down and the wind is ruffling his side parting. Neil 'carefree' Critchley unbuttons the polo shirt, puts on his aviator shades and gets ready to enjoy the ride. Hell, he's even going to overtake that caravan ahead without triple checking his mirrors first. Caution to the wind Critch. YOLO Critch. Critch and Mike, like Thelma and Louise, driving the car off the cliff... 


I'm slightly panicked at kick off. What if this is an illusion. What if he's *actually* playing Dembele as an extra centre half? What if Sonny's job is to kick people? What if CJ's been told under no circumstances to cross the halfway line? 

The first few minutes are slightly wobbly. Shrewsbury give the false impression of being up for it and being anything other than haplessly bad. Mainly though, they foul Dembele. Again and again and then... ref for fucks sake... again...

The ref isn't bothered until he is. Carey with a quick thinking header to not only block a clearance but to also cleverly direct the ball to Rhodes who in turn plays a deviously intelligent, beautifully executed pass to the little wizard who is instantly clipped. The ref is blowing before he hit the ground. To be honest, it looked less like a foul than the ones the ref didn't give, but if your game plan is essentially 'kick the other team's best player and nothing else', then you reap what you sow.

Rhodes looks so cool as he waits. We chant his name. He's calm. He's calmer than a meditation tape voiceover artist on his annual relaxation retreat. Calmer than instant karma Then, one step, two step and bang. Never. In. Doubt.

Jimmy is causing havoc. He's clipping little fizzing balls into a channel, just where they don't want to defend them and they're completely overwhelmed by this approach. He's whipping a cross and we're somehow not quite turning it home.

Dembele is just pure delight. Cushioned touches, twisting turns and graceful,gliding meandering that becomes a sharp sprint in a split second. We're good with the ball and when we lose it, we just win it back, pressing and harrying and forcing Shrewsbury into all manner of panicked, ugly touches.

There's a cross to the far post, it's Dale or it's Sonny, (I don't remember, both of them playing nicely, carrying the ball, working with purpose, moving and taking it in and moving it on) and it takes the merest of deflections and goes just over Rhodes' head.

CJ, a deft moment as he seems to step through his man and reappear with the ball, a feint that takes him away from a challenge and he's away, he's in and will he shoot? No, he squares it to Beesley who can't miss and despite seeming to do everything in his power not to score, the ball is over the line and Jake is running away. That's a lovely moment. CJ is all redemption and rebirth of late. Maybe, just maybe, as unlikely as it seemed last week, Jake could be too.

There's 9 minutes injury time because someone in the Kop needed treatment early, Grimmy running out as fast as I've ever seen him move to alert the ref. I think and hope it ended up ok. The half certainly has. We've been virtually untroubled.


Please don't sit on this. Please. It never fucking works.


Will Shrewsbury come out with fire in their bellies? They emerge and look more like a damp box of spent matches than a raging inferno of stung pride. Nothing happens at all for a bit. We move it around in leisurely manner, entirely unhurried by anything they do. Marvin is having a lovely afternoon, again, far more himself than the jumpy early season Marv. Dougall is just purring away in midfield, ratting with a biting purpose, swaying his hips and turning away from anyone who tries to nick the ball off him and prompting from the heart of the pitch. Only Pennington really looks less than totally comfortable, slicing a couple of straightforward touches, maybe a little discombobulated by playing against the team that finally gave him a home after a peripatetic loan career up till signing for them. Even then, he doesn't really do too much wrong and nothing comes from his couple of shaky moments.

Through the middle we go. It's touched off and Carey has it, a little step inside, I'm on my feet, I love a Sonny goal, but his low shot is well saved and then Beesley's sharp follow up is brilliantly stopped by an arm thrown out almost impossibly quickly to claw the goal bound football out of the air and push it away. Bees has done well today, winning his fair share, linking nicely and running the channels with purpose. Maybe it's the effect of Rhodes - other strikers seem to suddenly understand their own game just by standing next to him.

Shrewsbury fans do the Poznan. They do some weird dance. They then pretend they've scored and go mental. They sing about losing and going on the piss anyway. They briefly chant for their sacking of their manager. Then they sing about being on the piss again. I like them. They're not taking it all too seriously.

We're treading water ever so slightly. I don't like it when we do that. Albie Morgan comes on to be a bit of an enigma as he always is. Kyle Joseph replaces Rhodes who hasn't had his best performance but has still looked class. That's the level he is. It's a privilege to watch him play really. I like the subs. It's just a bit of fresh energy, a couple of players with something to prove and no reason to cruise the last 20 minutes. I like that he's left Dembele on.

Critch plays a bit of football when the ball goes out of play. He kind of toe pokes the ball a few times back to the player waiting for a throw. He looks a bit like a dad who doesn't really like football on a park wearing his work shoes. I wonder if he ever joins in when they're training.

Then Dembele receives it from the right. He drifts, he's like a moon walking sand dancer, a fluid liquid joy of a thing. A little diagonal, Joseph, a little touch to find space and then SMASH! The net is lifted up by a rocket of an effort that might have reached orbit had it not been caught by the goal. It's a moment to cherish and what slight gathering tension their was at our failure to put them to the sword dissipates. It's over.

Joseph isn't done though. A sublime little bit of control, taking Morgan's hard won ball forward in, swivelling and chipping a perfect little sand wedge pass to Beesley. Jake is bearing down on goal, Jake is feinting to go one way then dragging the ball the other, the keeper staggers and goes to ground, Beesley is an acre of space now, the goal at his mercy, the keeper erased like an errant pencil mark by his skill and there he is, tucking the ball home and trotting away to acknowledge the roars like he's always just doing this, it's no big deal and we're home and dry, with the fire on and our slippered feet up, drinking a warming mug of 3 point brew.

Lovely stuff. 


We played well today. Shrewsbury were rank bad, that is without question, but we never gave them a sniff of getting into the game and sometimes, in fact, quite often, we struggle against bad teams. We didn't so much blow them away as just power past them with cruise control on. This wasn't the kind of manic 20 minutes where we got back into the game against Fleetwood, or tried in vain to claw back Peterborough. This was probably our first really controlled and convincing 90 minute performance of the season. They tried to bully us and couldn't. That's a good omen. We'll play more sides like this. 

We probably can't play exactly the same next Saturday. That's fine. You can do be justified in being more balanced and thinking about the other team when you're playing a decent side and Portsmouth aren't bad. Now we've risked it against an average side though, there's no reason to not repeat this sort of performance at home against pretty much anyone. We played the best team we could and we let it attack. It wasn't ever close. Shrewsbury's fans were great. Their team were really poor. We were fairly subdued, lulled into a kind of contented appreciation of us finally properly showing up for an entire game and looking like we all hoped we would when we told ourselves 'we should be good this season' in August.

Well done Critch. A lot better.


Tweet You can follow MCLF on facebook or Twitter or use to get posts sent to your email If you appreciate the blog and judge it worth 1p or more, then a donation to one of the causes below which help kids and families in Blackpool would be grand. Home-Start Blackpool Food Bank

Follow on Twitter!

Get MCLF in your inbox!

Subscribe with a feedreader!

Buy the book (proceeds to Blackpool Foodback)

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 ...