Then Saturday Comes… the half decent football blog

The native american Ta-Kaka, hull collapse & ranking gaffers
January 29, 2009, 11:27 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog

After a longer than expected Christmas break, your favourite football blog is back and bigger and better than ever!  At a muscular 1,800 words, this blog is for the true work avoider.  I salute you.  Please feel free to post any comments below!


refused to sell out his heritage for tha dollar

TAKAKA: refused to sell out his heritage (unlike Tatanka whose head was turned by the Million Dollar Man)

Criticism over an ambitious attempt to bring the best player in the world to a club that was in League One a decade ago showed how years of conditioning has turned football fans into a dishartening blend of dull consevativism and jealousy.

The transfer saga was of course Manchester City’s courting of the wildly talented Kaka, which Joe Public decided was unethical.

True, the £500k/week wages reportedly offered were huge.  That works out at £26m a year.  However, numerically those figures are not too different from the top stars in other aspects of the entertainment industry.

Will Smith earned £60m last year, Tiger Woods makes £70m and Oprah Winfrey brings home a cool £180m.  Anybody who therefore says the tired cliche of ‘no footballer is worth that much’ patently puts the sport on a lower platform than golf, a chat show and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

The whole economic argument is farcical anyway.  If the billionaire Shiekhs want to spend that, I dare say they know more about the way of the market than Chris Kamara and the gang on Sky Sports News.

The real problem was not the fee, it was the injustice felt by the other 91 clubs that this overnight success was unwarranted, in other words, they were jealous of Man City’s new wealth.

However, this new financial backing should be seen as a victory for anyone outside the 21st century big teams (Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea) and that one delirious big team wannabe (Spurs).  They have bankrolled over a decade of bullying other teams out of their prized assets.

why do the 'small 16' accept losing players to the big 4?

Ready Teddy Go: why do the 'small 16' accept losing players to the big 4?

Man U fans: don’t forget how that ‘glorious’ treble team had a strike-force armwrestled from the midtable Premiership teams.  Newcastle’s Andy Cole, Villa’s Dwight Yorke and Spurs’ Teddy Sheringham all left after Ferguson courted them publically, nudging them towards handing in a transfer request and then swooping in with the Sky money.

But anyone who says Man U were wrong to do so are morons.  That is the nature of the modern game – players want to play for the team that can offer them the most assets.  And who can criticise the three players mentioned, who went on to cement their legacy while their old clubs floundered in the mid-table.

Yet, when it is a new team that offers these assets of huge money and a chance to create a new legacy, people are furious.  I would have loved to see Kaka every week on Match Of The Day, and to break up the ‘big 4’ in the meantime would be an added bonus.

The obvious reason even those who don’t support that elite group are angry at Man City’s new growth is because they are jealous.  But on a subconscious level, the ‘small 16’ mentality pushed upon other clubs has socially conditioned teams to accept the status quo of Man U, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool at the top.  Their aggressive transfer policies continue without criticism or complaint.  We just accept that they will get the best players.

Not me though.  League One is too low down to fall for their crafty tricks.  Those four teams deserve to be priced out of the top end of the transfer market which they have monopolised ever since the Premiership started.

I know what you’re thinking; it is an unfair comparison because Liverpool, Chelsea, Man U and Arsenal all built towards their status as a big team.  Imagine though that this is happening in Scotland.

Say that Hibernian got bought by Bill Gates, and he started to bankroll them to overtake Rangers and Celtic, would pubs be talking about how much of a travesty it is?  Of course not.  It would be great to see their arrogant domination broken, just like it would be to see the big English teams knocked off their pedestal.


Tigers! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty... For tonight, we dine in Hull!

Tigers! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty... For tonight, we dine in Hull!

Who would have ever thought that Hull City being 10th in The Premiership in late January would constitute ‘the decline of the decade’?  But it could well turn out that way.

In October, Phil Brown’s men were coasting in the Champion’s League spots and making a mockery of the dreaded ‘step up’ to the top flight.  However, they have picked up just 2 points since November and are on a 6-game losing streak.

But Hull won’t get relegated this season.  The gap in points is not great (just 6), but the quantity of teams between them and the drop is too much.

They don’t deserve to go down, even if they carry on this miserable form for the rest of the season.  There first few weeks were too good for that, it would be a travesty after teams like Newcastle, Bolton and Boro have tread water for so long.  The rise of Hull City would be the equivalent of any of those teams winning the Champions League.

Anyway, Phil Brown is a far more astute manager than most in the Premiership.  But that’s not saying much.  Let’s have a quick look at who he is up against in my next section…


Here is a round-up in who has been performing in the dug-out this season and who has been joining the growing list of mentalists inexplicably put in charge of multi-million pound companies.

  1. Martin O’Neill (Aston Villa): Biggest change over the last 12 months, five points clear of Arsenal and going well in Europe.  The man with the midas touch, please give him the England job next time it comes available. martin-oneill4

  2. Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United): Obviously the best team in the country, kept off top spot only because he has spendt £10m+ on all his subs and the fact I love Martin O’Neill.

  3. Steve Bruce (Wigan Athletic): Has moved Wigan along so much in the last six months it’s unbelievable.  You do still get the feeling it’s all a bit ‘Peter Taylor’ and the bubble is about to burst, though.

  4. Roy Hodgson (Fulham): Anyone who reads Dostoyevsky before bed deserves to be in the Champions League spot.

  5. David Moyes (Everton): Literally the perfect manager for Everton.  Who else could engineer so many scruffy wins with no strikers on the pitch (or even bench)?

  6. Phil Brown (Hull City):If this was two months ago, he’d have probably been top.  Has recently shown a few signs of going a bit crazy (look at those eyes, them are murdering peepers).

  7. Gianfranco Zola (West Ham United): Who would have thought he’d be so good?

  8. Gary Megson (Bolton Wanderers): Yup, he’s seriously the 8th best manager in the Premiership this season.  That’s how bad things are getting.  Still, he’s quietly stabilised the ship at Bolton despite having to sell the best player (Anelka)  and having 20,000 morons in the crowd booing him every week.

  9. Arsene Wenger (Arsenal): Obviously a far better manager than 9th, but placed lower for failing to achieve the standards he has proven are well within his grasp.  For about 4 years now he’s clearly needed a sabbatical.  To watch a man so revered descending into fighting with Alan Pardew was a sad, sad sight.  Give him a break and he’ll be able to see the wood for the trees (ie buy a real goalkeeper and bring in some players who aren’t effeminite dwarves with bushy eyebrows)him every week.


  10. Sam Allardyce (Blackburn Rovers): I still think he’s a Neanderthal manager who tricks people by wearing a microphone, but he’s at the right team for that nonsense now.  Like Moyes, the perfect fit for his club, and will guarantee their once improbable survival.

  11. Mark Hughes (Manchester City): Should probably be doing a good 5 places better in the Premiership than he is now, but deserves credit for turning Stephen Ireland from a peripheral player to an outside contender for Player Of The Year.  Don’t worry though Man U fans, Vidic will win that in May.

  12. Tony Pulis (Stoke City): Rubbish, but what would any of the managers below do better?

  13. Tony Mowbray (WBA): As above, but without the Delap throw-in tactic.

  14. Ricky Sbragia (Sunderland): He’s not really done anything either way yet.  Still, he’s got a lot of morons below him so if Sbragia is half as good as his name suggests The Black Cats won’t have any real relegation worries this season.
  15. Gareth Southgate (Middlesbrough): Southgate has spells where he looks average in between long periods of looking dreadful.  Benefits from having the nicest chairman in the world behind him, a man who wouldn’t even sack Bryan Robson.  Things like that must make Martin Jol go crazy.

  16. Rafael Benitez (Liverpool): Speaking of going crazy… Rafa was having a great season until it mattered.  His bizarre fury at (the admittedly loathesome) Sir Alex Ferguson symbolised the antithesis of a Premiership-winning mentality.  Rafa’s time is running out on Merseyside.

  17. Big Phil Scolari (Chelsea): Looks like he is way, way out of his depth.  A terrible reign so far, with Chelsea looking a shell of the team they did under Avram Grant (who looked a shell of the team they did under Jose Mourinho).  If this carries on you can expect Roman Abramovic to test the resolve of Stamford Bridge legends Jose Mourinho, Steve Clarke and Gianfranco Zola to return to the club in the summer.

  18. ‘Appy ‘Arry Redknapp (Spurs): First he claimed Spurs had the best squad he’s ever worked with.  Now he says they’re a ‘terrible mish-mash of players’.  Was lauded for being a great man manager, now he says his wife is better than their £16.5m striker.  Was supposed to be a great ‘wheeler dealer’ with one of the best contact books in the world.  Now he’s rebuilding Spurs’ squad from last season.  Plus he spent all Portsmouth’s money before bailing out before the reality set in.  Absolute scumbag of the highest order.  To read more about him just check the back page of any newspaper; he’s sure to be there unsettling one of the aforementioned better managers’ players.harry-redknapp

  19. Tony Adams (Portsmouth): Harry’s former No.2 seems to be genuinely happy every week to be playing the role of a proper manager.  An absolute shambles of a person, whose appointment only suggests that Portsmouth can’t afford to bring in anybody external to the club, thanks to ‘Appy ‘Arry leaving them economically ruined.

  20. Joe Kinnear (Newcastle United): Has there ever been a worse Premiership manager?  Sent off about one in three games, terrible record and more excuses than Arsene Wenger, but without a shadow of the success.  Has gone beyond a joke now.  Ashley must replace.  A half-decent manager would keep that squad up comfortably.  Give Joe Royle the job ASAP!!