John McCormick writes:
There are a quite a few posts and comments coming in as we enter the last week of a tumultuous season. They are all good but this one, from Pete Sixsmith, is a cracker. It contains words of warning to the manager, suggestions for a pre-match warm up, and lots of memories.
Not to mention a little bit of gloating.
Over to Pete:
SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND, SIR?
Those time-honoured words, whispered by barbers to mature customers, also relate to those of us going on the jolly jaunt to Vicarage Road on Sunday for what could be an interesting afternoon. The Hornets (Watford not Rochdale) have opted not to renew Quique Sanchez Flores’s contract, i.e. they have sacked him, so the mood amongst the home support may be rather flat. He is the seventh manager that the Pozzo family have got through since 2012 – maybe they are waiting for Rafa.
Our local press are suggesting that some of the heroes who have lifted us to the dizzy heights of 17th (good enough for a small minded club like ours – although infinitely better than being 18th or 19th) may well be rested, with the manager giving some of the youngsters a run out.
Be careful, Sam. Watford is not a cheap day out for those of us scraping along on the pension, so we don’t want a situation like the one at Wolves a few years ago, when Steve Bruce did the same and we lost 2-1. A certain Jack (“I have absolutely no intention of playing in the Championship” – that should alert Bristol Rovers scouts) Colback made his debut there and was sent off after nine minutes on the pitch.
It’s always risky pushing youngsters and fringe players in and if Sam wanted to, he could leave the XI who have performed so well at home and play those who have been warming the bench and sitting in the stands. How about this for a mix and match line up;
Pickford; Jones, Beadling O’Shea, Van Aanholt; Rodwell; Honeyman, Larsson, M’Vila, Watmore; Defoe.
And bench warming; Stryjek, Yedlin, Brown, Cattermole, Borini, N’Doye, Greenwood.
Or maybe not.
It’s been an entertaining couple of days as we have enjoyed a Premier League class gloat at the outcome of Wednesday’s game. The party line is
“We didn’t relegate you, you managed it without any help from us”
but is nice to remind them that we strode over the line with two victories, one splendid and one comfortable while they slid away after a stuttering win over Palace and an abject failure of responsibility by their players and their manager, who hoped for a pinched goal against the Premier League’s worse side since Derby County.
There have been some good spoofs. I like the Newcastle Doon Ale and have installed it on my Facebook page and I have also enjoyed the cartoon called “F****d On The Tyne” a variation of that song Fog On The Tyne by the Tyneside folk-beat combo, Lindisfarne.
But the best one is the video that the work experience child has put together for The Chronicle. They have issued it in an attempt to get The Great Fraud Known As Rafa to stay at The Sports Direct. We couldn’t embed it in our page so to see it follow the link or type
into your browser, scroll down to the video, sit back with a bottle of Double Maxim (always a better beer than Down Ale) and, having sat open-mouthed at it (the video, that is, but don’t try to drink the beer with your mouth closed), go on to read the comments underneath. Then, find a needle and thread to stitch your sides up afterwards.
The only people more disappointed than the Geordie Nation at Wednesday’s result are the executives at Sky TV. Three weeks ago, when Leicester dropped points to West Ham and Jamie Vardy was sent off, they must have been rubbing their hands together at the prospect of having a final day where the Premier League title and the relegation places were decided in front of the Sky cameras.
The helicopter would have been booked, the ribbons would have been ordered and the studio would have been decked out in team colours – blue and white, white and navy, red and white, black and white and yellow and green. Jim White would have been polished and buffed, while Jeff Stelling would be practicing his best Hartlepool accent (“There’s a bit of chew at The Sports Direct as Dele Alli bites a chunk out of Steven Taylor”).
Alas, it was not to be. At the top end (an area of which we know absolutely bugger all), Spurs’ inability to beat any of the Baggies, the Pensioners and the Saints meant that the Foxes romped home with two games to spare.
At the bottom end (an area we know all too well), we strolled out of the bottom three as casually as Bertie Wooster wandered down The Strand on his way to the Drones Club, leaving the Avian Pair to occupy the last two relegation places. The prospect of Spurs winning the title or Newcastle staying up in front of the adoring Geordie Nation disappeared – and so did Sky’s Super Sunday.
What they have now is a North London showdown to finish second. Outside Chas and Dave and Rupert and Monty there won’t be too many concerned about that.
Then there is the Manchester connection, as The World’s Wealthiest Club, under departing manager Pellegrini, look for a point at Swansea to ensure a tie in the Champions League against TNS or Crusaders or Celtic, amongst others.
Meanwhile, Louis van Gaal, having been introduced to the cheeky and lovable cockneys at Upton Park, hopes that Swansea can do him a favour and that his stuttering Manchester United team can beat Bournemouth, a team who have fallen like a stone, to end up one place above us.
A nation yawns.
Hopefully, the play offs will prove to be a darn sight more exciting and interesting. I would love to see Sheffield Wednesday come up from the Championship, Barnsley (under former Sunderland player Paul Heckingbottom) climb out of Division One and welcome Newcastle United, with or without Rafa, to Oakwell, and Accrington Stanley (“Who are they? Exactly”) can negotiate their way out of Division Two. And that Grimsby Town can get back into the Football League on Saturday .
We can sit back and enjoy the summer with just a tiny bit of gloating……….