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All Things Footie | Monday, January 5 | Jordan

I’m back

Greetings one and all! All things footie would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers a happy and prosperous New Year, and hopes that your Christmas break was as lazy and self indulgent as ours.

The one truly great thing about Christmas is that while much of the country gets an extended break from work, footballers are still asked to keep us entertained regardless. They may be overpaid, spoilt and get more time off than a train driver, but can they get rat-arsed on the 25th and sleep in on Boxing Day? Actually, I couldn’t do that either, stupid 12 o’clock kick-offs.

Since my last post, so much has happened it would be hard work to try and summarise it all—and I’m not one for hard work—but I will say this: The Pattern seems to be continuing. Each week, two out of the top three do well, while the other side … not so well. I’m beginning to wonder if there’s some kind of conspiracy going on to ensure a grandstand finish to the season. Imagine it; three games to go, Arsenal, United and Chelsea all on equal points; then they’re set loose on the Premiership. The only thing about that theory, is that it’s clearly rubbish. That said, it does suggest that perhaps the Premiership is stronger than we give it credit for—a team is taking points of one of the top three sides practically every week—this of course flies in the face of the fact that the top three have more points so far this season than in any of the Premiership’s previous years. One word. Odd.

I watched most of the Old Firm game on Saturday morning—loving the live domestic football on terrestrial TV, even if it is the loosest definition of ‘the beautiful game’, Scottish football—and I have to say I wasn’t impressed. I’m constantly told not to judge Scottish football on Old Firm clashes, ‘they’re too heated’, ‘too competitive’, well damn me for wanting to see a game that isn’t a processional drubbing of a team supposedly in competition with the big two. The fact that they play each other about fourteen times a season now must surely dampen the fire a little. I was impressed with the touch and vision of Peter Lovenkrands and the sterling defensive work of Craig Moore and Stefan Klos, but I’d be lying if I said that I was impressed by anyone of Celtic’s but Alan Thompson. For all the hype, I just don’t see Henrik Larsson as a top Premiership quality player—I’ve seen him play a few times and he’s never impressed me. The fact that John Hartson and Chris Sutton look like prolific goalscoreres says all that needs to be said about the qualities needed (or not, as the case may be) to score goals in the SPL. So don’t give me this fifty goals in a season crap. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, both Rangers and Celtic would struggle to finish mid-table if they were moved into the Premiership—they’re Leicester with a dash of flair.

Enough moaning, this has been a great weekend. I have a huge soft spot for the FA Cup. Aside from some of the fabulously memorable moments the competition has given me personally over the last few years, it’s a truly wonderful, unique and a very, very British Institution. This weekend saw Watford holding the (relatively) mighty Chelsea, Telford beating Crewe, Accrington earning a third-round replay and Yeovil … Yeovil. Knowing that the managers of the big teams take it just as seriously as the smaller ones makes these results even more special—with some notable, walrus-faced exceptions. I was listening to Radio Five’s 606 football phone in yesterday, and a caller made an interesting point regarding the polices of Sam Allardyce. In these days of foreign managers being criticised for devaluing anything but the Champions League and the Premiership, how come it takes an English manager to build a side full of foreign players and field his reserves in the World’s oldest knock-out competition?

I heard a Leeds fan call in as well and start bemoaning Vieira, Cole, Edu and just about any Arsenal player who’s name he could think of. Disgrace! Cheats! If I were to offer any advice to the supporters of Leeds United, it would be to familiarise yourself with some first division stadia, because with a defence like yours—and when you rely on a fat, grumpy windbag like Mark Viduka—you’re going down, down, down, down.

One more thing; Harry Kewell, shame on you. And shame on you Houllier, you boggly-eyed git, for calling it a ‘professional performance’, when the rest of the country, with their eyes stapled shut and cotton wool in their ears could see it was anything but. Why is cheating a third division side worse than cheating Chelsea or Southampton? To a third division side, the fourth round of the FA Cup means more than not being moaned at by your supporters.

I’m looking forward to the fourth round draw this afternoon, and hoping for Arsenal vs Telford.

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