Soapbox: Swansea treks, Bent duds, Jordan Henderson’s boo boys

Pete Sixsmith wonders what to do with himself now that footie is over. He casts his eye over assorted topics, and wonders whether the ominous interest from Anfield and Old Trafford will bring at last pleasure into the lives of those so eager to barrack “the best player we have produced since Colin Todd” …

The last week
in May brings the end of the football season.

The so-called close season lasts for the whole month of June, unless there are exceptional circumstances like European Championship qualifiers. But local football grinds to a halt and the club committees have the opportunity to re-seed the pitches, paint the goalposts and sort out the budget for next season.

For dedicated anoraks like me, it’s a six-week period for recourse to reading books, going for walks and generally mooching around looking for something to do. Exam marking is usually on the agenda, but they have put it all online this year and I do not relish that, so may drop out.

It does give a little time to look at other aspects of our game. After a superb performance from those masters of the passing game, Barcelona, Wembley was treated to a very exciting Championship Play off game between Swansea and Reading.

The 4-2 scoreline allowed nearly every commentator to reflect on the epic final of 1998 when Charlton Athletic managed a win against us. Once Scott Sinclair slotted home his third, the ghost of Clive Mendonca stalked the land as his name was, in the words of the late Kathy Kirby, “shouted from the highest hills” as a previous hat trick provider in these games.

I was pleased Swansea went up. I’m not fond of Reading as a town or as a club. They speak “New Football” to me. When they were tootling along at Elm Park with crowd of 5,000, they were a perfect fit. Now, with the immodestly named Majdeski Stadium (out of the Boro/Derby/Stoke box) and a chairman with a penchant for a ridiculous hair style, the Tory Party and Cilla Black, they irritate me.

I have visited the Liberty Stadium in Swansea and it is out of the same rectangular container as Reading and is also on the edge of town. It’s a city that has had little to shout about recently and I can’t say that I warmed to it in August 2009 – but that may be because I had just heard of Stephen Wilson’s tragic death and the local evening paper was full of assaults and drunken brawls. Not the best time to be there.

It’s a hell of a trek for us as well (345.9 miles from ground to ground) but Swansea are going to put some miles on next year. Their “local derby” will be at the Hawthorns, a mere 145.2 miles away, while in addition to us, they will have trips in excess of 300 miles to Newcastle and Norwich. I’d love to be a tyre retailer on the Gower; book that Tenerife holiday now …

After the pleasure afforded by Barcelona and Swansea, we then had to put up with the goings on in Zurich. Far better people than me have spoken about Blatter and his motley crew, so it just leaves me to taunt him by saying that his “mother was a hamster and his father smelt of elderberries. I break wind in your general direction”.

Finally, England. What can we say about Darren Bent missing that chance at the end, other than “Hee hee hee”. I always said that he was not up to it at international level, apart from a brief hiatus between August 2009 and January 2011.

He certainly didn’t look out of place alongside the likes of Lampard, Parker and Milner, who made our midfield of Cattermole, Henderson and Colback look positively Olympian.

As for Joe Hart – well, it took me back 30 years ar so when I featured for Shildon Sunderland Supporters and was prone to let the odd one in at the near post – and the far post and under the bar. Poor keeping from a man who threatens much but achieves little.

We may well lose Jordan Henderson in the next couple of weeks. The fact that Kenny Dalglish appears to rate him as highly as Sir Alex Ferguson may register with those noisy individuals who berate him at every opportunity. I would hate to lose him, but football is a business and money talks. He is the best player we have produced since Colin Todd.

The count down begins now; only 38 days to go until Bootham Crescent and the fixtures are out in two weeks. Lovely.

6 thoughts on “Soapbox: Swansea treks, Bent duds, Jordan Henderson’s boo boys”

  1. love the entirely appropriate Blatter comment, and I’d be really sorry to see Henderson go – despite football being a business

  2. Have no time for Reading since they dropped the Biscuitmen nickname to become the much blander Royals.

    Last time I went there I got to the ground 40 minutes before Kick Off but had to wait outside for a mate who had my ticket. He arrived as the teams were coming out and by the time I’d got into the ground, had a much needed pee and climbed the stairs I had missed the only goal of the game! We lost mind.

  3. The guys I go to the matches don’t “rate” Henderson – I can’t understand this mentality of berating your best homegrown talent for decades . He comes across as a level headed lad , playing the game for the love of it ; I only wish someone would teach him to improve his dead ball technique . Personally I think Meyer is a more effective player – but I don’t know if he will come back the same player after his injury setbacks

  4. No mention of impending retirement Peter? I wish I could be there for that rail journey. Best of luck for the future.

  5. We have made great progress over the last couple of seasons and i think we could cope with loss of certain players, but not henderson. I think that he should be kept at all costs as i think he will be to this club what gerrard is to liverpool. Key player, local lad, always gives 110% for the team, great attitude, never loses the ball, great pass, tall, fast, great feet and in my opinion has the potential to become a great goalscoring midfeilder. and to be honest, i doubt bruce will make ‘quality’ signings judging by what ive been hearing. Roger johnson for 14 million when we could probably get scott dann, who is younger and in my opinion, much better, for the same price if not less. And craig gardener? scores a couple of goals but is he really good enough to help this club acheive its targets? because i dont think so.
    I think Henderson should be kept no matter what the offer as this club no longer has to sell to survive with ellis short willing to spend. Ithink the benefits of keeping him far outwheigh the benefits of selling him

  6. I can’t understand the boo boys with Jordan. He’s a local lad, gives a lot of energy for the club and not the highest earner. Total disbelief as to why anyone would want to boo him. Now Kenwyne Jones who didn’t seem to put the work load in, yes, but Jordan no. Also, I am not sure what the boo boys are trying to achieve? It effects the whole team adversely.
    They did the same with Kevin Kilbane. Perhaps KK didn’t fulfill his potential ok, but no need to boo the lad. Not helping.
    On Darren Bent, – he dropped us in it with the January Villa move and he’s not my favourite, but I think he can cut it at international level. Lets face it, he’s a big loss for us.

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