Then Saturday Comes… the half decent football blog

May 15, 2009, 4:42 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog
"If you can believe you can achieve innit"

The coolest man alive


Roy ‘Woy’ Hodgson has been out of the spotlight on this blog for far too long.  Due to the natural desire to gravitate towards criticising idiots it is all too easy for a nice and competent person like Woy to become a peripheral figure.

This blog entry will serve to redress this oversight and give the big man the props he deserves.

The difference between Woy’s Fulham and the Fulham he inherited from Lawrie Sanchez is outrageous.  What’s more, he reads Dostoyevsky before bed and looks like a 1960’s gangster.  Apparently when he met his wife he pretended he was Italian, and felt he had to carry on the charade for weeks.

“My wife always claims that when I met her, I told her was Italian.  There was obviously something that attracted me to the country.”

On the pitch, the Cottagers’ 3-1 mauling of Aston Villa last weekend pushed them up to 7th, which would be their highest ever finish in the top flight.  They are the overwhelming people’s favourites in the battle for the last European spot.

jredFulham have been in Europe before, but you get the impression if they got there with Woy they would really push on and it would make a huge difference to the club.  Spurs and Man City would just field reserves and get knocked out in the quarter finals.  Woy knows his European apples and it would be good to see him managing on that stage again.

However, rather than just continuing this banal lauding of the big man, I’ll refer you to a quote he made after Jamie Redknapp’s top, top opinion that Norwegian referees shouldn’t officiate Champions League matches after blaming Tom Henning Ovrebo for Chelsea falling out of Europe.

“Do you want to go down the Redknapp route – only England, Italy and Spain count?

“There’s 60 countries in Europe. Do we say to the other 57: ‘Sorry pal, you’re not Premier League’.

“Norway is good enough. The average crowd in Norway is 15,000 and that’s in a country of 4m. We can only average 25,000 in a country of 60m people.

“What are we going to do in future? Are we going to make certain because the Premier League has Sky Sports behind them and loads and loads of money if you are not in England then forget all about it?

“Are we going to say ‘You’re from Spain, you might be just about okay but the rest of you, Switzerland, France, Poland, Russia, Austria, Ukraine, Slovenia, Serbia, you don’t count?’ It’s nonsense.”

Woy is verging on Sir Bobby Robson levels of being a person it is impossible not to love.  Next England manager perhaps?


I'll be joining Uncle Mike in the Newcastle boxes on Saturday

I'll be joining Uncle Mike in the Newcastle boxes on Saturday


But old Woy faces a tough game this weekend, when he will take his troops on the long trip up to St James’ Park where Fulham will face a buoyed up Newcastle United.

Newcastle’s 3-1 win over relegation rivals Middlesborough has meant they are back on course for the ‘7 points from 3 winnable home games’ to keep them up.

I’ll be in St James’ Park on Saturday, making my first ever appearance in a box.  There is a macarbe part of me that hopes to see a Fulham win and then have to fight my way out of the ground as thousands of furious Geordies attack the prawn sandwich brigade they blame for their predicament.

I will endeavour to introduce myself as Mat Ashley to anyone who has at least two tattoos and is preferrably shirtless.

Anyway, Boro and Hull are both a shambles and will probably win the race to play Leicester City next season.


Keane's assistant was barking instructions from the touchline

Keane's assistant was barking instructions from the touchline


And this prawn sandwich / Championship talk leads us onto another Roy.  Isn’t this smooth!

Big Roy Keane and his assistant Triggs have taken over at Ipswich Town, automatically making them one of the promotion favourites for next season.

An interesting summer will ensue at Portman Road, although I doubt Roy will implement the same rotation door  policy that imploded at Sunderland.

roy keaneApparently 19 players were summoned to face-to-face meetings with Keane and Triggs, hopefully being asked to audition for Ipswich Got Talent.  I hear David Norris does a cracking version of ‘Locked Up’ by Akon that would be right up Keano’s alley.

With loads of money and a good (if crazy) manager, Ipswich could become  a proper team again after years of mid-table finishes.

They have the basis of a good team and with a 3-4 quality additions they could be promotion contenders, and then finally Danny ‘aynes could grace the Premiership.




There was some sad news today, after Aston Villa captain Martin Laursen announced his retirement from football.  Laursen’s five years in England have been blighted by injury, and I wouldn’t have been able to pick him out of a line-up before last season.

But his form over the past two years has been fantastic, and he is one of the most criminally underrated players in the league.  Villa have struggled since he got injured, despite having good players such as Curtis Davies and Zat Knight as replacements.

According to rumours, Laursen’s retirement at 31 could be outdone by Michael Owen’s at 29.  That would be a disgrace.  Owen is going through an admittedly long bump in the road of his career, but if he worked with a decent management team he could easily become a great player.  Going back to Woy, a team like Fulham would be perfect for Owen, although you would imagine his ego would prefer a move to moneybags Manchester City.

Anyway, it’s always a shame to see any player retire for anything but age.  As a lower-league afectionado, I love seeing players drifting down the divisions as they age.  I’m sure Merson/Beardsley/Anderton get more closure from the end of their career than someone who bows out at the top level.

Sadly, Laursen wasn’t afforded the opportunity to choose his exit from football.  He was a criminally under-rated as a footballer, and this may be the last time you ever read about him – sad times!



ledley king (MLK)DEADLY LEDLEY

Right I think you’ve read more than enough for this week and I want to go and eat some bangers and mash.  But I do want to touch on Ledley King’s drunken antics, after he was arrested for engaging in a 3am fight on a night out.

I shaln’t write about it too much out of fear of defamation, and I would hate to expose Ledley to ridicule, hatred or contempt, cause him to be lowered in the estimation of right minded members of the public or disparrage him in his trade, office, employment.

However, I believe the following photograph could receive the fair comment defence, as it is only comment that is based on proven or priviliged fact, published in the public interest without malice, is not invective and does not impute an improper motive.

spurs of rage ledley


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