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All Things Footie | Monday, January 19 | Jordan

humble pie anyone?

“If anyone’s going to drop points, it’ll be Arsenal”

And to think, there I was, in William Hill 5 minutes before kick-off, thinking how insulting it was to put a home side 7-1 to win; and how 7-1 in a two horse race was actually worth a flutter no matter how unlikely. The most satisfying thing about the result is that Wolves deserved it. Sure, United looked very dangerous when they picked up the ball in the middle of the park, and they broke quickly and directly, but Wolves defended their defensive third with all the dedication and determination of a team fighting for their lives. Wolves created the best two or three opportunities of the game, and Miller scored with a delightfully cool finish after Wes Brown underlining just why Rio Ferdinand’s impending suspension is going to hit United hard. Talking of that saga, this made me laugh.

I’ve made no secret of my desire to see Wolves stay up this season—I like the team’s attitude, I like Dave Jones, and I respect the club—I don’t think this magnificent win is necessarily going to be enough of a catalyst to give the team the belief to string a few good results together, but if they can, going down will not seem so much of a foregone conclusion.

If there were ever a foregone conclusion it’s the demise of Leeds United as a ‘Big Club’, when the administrators come knocking tomorrow morning it’ll all be over for the Leeds we know and hate. I would be very surpirsed if the club is granted a stay of execution, as the administrators iwll want to get in early to help strip arguably their most valuable assets, the players, before the transfer window closes. I would assume that the only reason the club would be allowed extra time is if a concrete, but not finalised, rescue package has already been sorted out. There will be lots of sympathy for a club with such a history going down the pan (well, into the first division), but you won’t find any here. It’s entirely their own fault—they’ve had champions league revenue, top four finishing revenue, and the constant stream of cash from Sky TV and the league’s sponsors; there can be no excuses.

Unfortunately I had to miss the televised matches on Sunday as I was at the Cinema for my Grandad’s birthday, but I did manage to catch 606 last night, and I’ve not laughed at moaning Villa fans so much for some time. I saw the free-kick last night, and it’s one of those ones that’s gutting if it happens against you, but in all honesty, you really don’t have any cause for complaint. If the goalkeeper’s tying his shoelaces, then he shouldn’t be, if defenders are chatting and trying to get organised then they shouldn’t be, it’s not like serving in Tennis, you don’t have to ask your opponents permission to strike the ball. Well done to Mark Halsey for not buckling under the pressure, applying the rules of the game, and most importantly—trying to keep the game flowing by allowing things like quick free kicks.

After getting call after call of miserable Brummies moaning about ‘Arsenal’s twelfth man’ and ‘the worst referee in the league’, as well as host (and Man Utd fan) Mark Chapman insisting that the penalty given should have been an indirect free-kick as it was an obstruction and no more, Halsey called the show to inform its presenter that there is no such thing as obstruction anymore, just ‘impeding’ which is punishable by a direct free-kick.

On to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, missing Mutu and Crespo there were many excuses, though as Birmingham were actually away from home, and missing eight first team players, they really can’t complain that much can they? Claudio Ranieri is right, all you irritating, arrogant, and plain stupid Chelsea fans yapping about winning this and dominating that are wrong. Simple as.

Finally, I mentioned Louis Saha’s transfer last time around, and now it seems signed, sealed and deliverd, I’ll mention it again. Alan Mullery was on Sky Spors last night claiming that Saha only plays well when he’s up front alone. Naturally, this begs the question about how he’ll play with Van Nistelrooij, at which point Mullery tells us that Saha is one for the future United, and not Van Nistelrooij’s regular partner. Now how does that work? What’s the point in spending £10m on a 25 year old ‘for the future’? He has to play up front with Van Nistelrooij! Doesn’t he?

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