Lucky Col
Dance as though nobody's watching, love like it's never going to hurt

Friday, October 31, 2008

Crystal Palace 1:2 Forest (not nil any more, oh no)

As I tried to explain to the Palace fan in the pub before the game, for some bizarre reason Selhurst Park is one of my favourite away grounds and the possibility of spending a half-term week holiday on a coach to South London with one of my boys was too tempting.

The trip's awful, 4 1/2 hours in stop start traffic with only Phoenix Nights for comfort, before sitting in a ground where both goalkeepers probably have a post in front of them.

I've spent many a happy pre-match in the Alliance just up from the station, and it was there I headed again. Unfortunately, their children's license had run out at 6pm, so we had to go to the Weatherspoon's over the road for a nice pint of Orkney's "Dark Island". Every silver lining etc .....

Why all the pre-amble, well, I wasn't expecting anything from the evening except maybe a numb backside, a good hammering and a late night. All for nearly £70. Just like a normal night out then, eh ?

But half an hour into the game something strange happened. We'd been on top for the first 20 minutes, as usual, not scored, as usual, and the Forest fans were expending their energy on the oppostion manager, as usual, so nothing new there, but there seemed to be a strange bulge in the back of the Crystal Palace goal. No-one seemed sure who'd put it there, so it was decided the best course of action was to jump around like loons celebrating a full solar eclipse.

The first half ended, and to be fair, we deserved to be a goal up. Not in a Colin Calderwoodout sense, where we deserve to be a goal up but actually we're losing, really properly really deserved to be in front.

It wouldn't last, and we all knew it. Wes & Breckin at the back were doing a sterling job, but the ball just wasn't sticking up front. Mind you, having two of Snow Whites house-mates up front didn't help. When Rob Earnshaw is the man you're launching high balls to, you know you're in trouble.

So off comes Earnshaw to be replaced by Tyson, who drops into midfield. 4-4-2 becomes 4-5-1.

The siege gets worse, the ball is never out of our half, so a tactical masterstroke is called for. Obviously 4-5-1 isn't defensive enough, so off comes Garner for Thornhill and for a couple of minutes we are actually playing a mind-boggling 4-6-0 formation. In the distance I can just see what looks like Colin Calderwoodout nursing a semi. I could be wrong .....

And then the predictable happens. A long ball to Kuqi, a man so big light bends round him, it hits his more than ample chest, bounces down before he hits an unstoppable shot into the corner for the equaliser. OK, some of that isn't true, he hit a pea-roller into the middle of the net, but an unsighted Camp still let it in.

The bit about Kuqi being fat is all true.

But we didn't yet know what the maserstroke was, for it was Matt Thornhill himself, on the end of a twice missed effort from Perch from 6 yards and a twice failed clearance who played the ball pinball like into the net off a Palace defender. Not only the winner, but surely we get royalties from goals like that now.

The snow on the way home and having to scrape my car at two in the morning were a small price to pay to be able say that I've seen EVERY SINGLE Forest win this season. And there's not many who can say that.

Forest nil 0:1 Cardiff

Once again proving that playing well means f**k all if you can't put the ball in the back of the net.

Don't let anyone tell you we deserved something from this game, we didn't. Another correct refereeing decision, another away team smash & grab and another Saturday evening with only the ability to avoid the sodding X-Factor as comfort.

A-Block did their best to remind us all of something important. What was it again ? Oh yes, that everyone in A-Block is a third class w****r.

Not a good afternoon at all.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Forest nil 1:1 Ipswich

The game last Tuesday night was there for the taking, 1 up at half time, 2 disallowed, we should have been going into the second half with all guns blazing.

No complaints from me about the ref, as clear a penalty as you're ever likely to see, but he got no help from the Trent End linesman, who seemed to think he was watching WWE, two holds and a submission being perfectly legal tactics.

For me, there were four fundamental and, quite frankly, amateur managerial mistakes on the night:

1 - Unless Smith has been given some time off, or doesn't fancy a stint on the bench, why wasn't there a substitute goalkeeper ? The injury that did for Bennett was caused by a collision with Camp, so could quite easily have been reversed, leaving us with no goalkeeper. This is a warning for Calderwoodout, will he head it ? Will he b.........

2 - Again, team selection. It's a bit of a risk picking one player who you know isn't going to make the 90 minutes, but two ? Anderson couldn't move for the last ten minutes of the game, while Cole couldn't move for the first 60.

3 - With Bennett struggling, it's quite right to take him off. But two minutes into first half injury time ? Leave it until half time and make the change then, that way the opposition don't have 15 minutes in a warm room to deal with any differing tactics. David Pratt used to do that a lot, and we all know he was an idiot.

4 - Changing to 4-5-1 in a must win game at home is just mind boggling. Clearly at that stage of the game he'd settled for a point, so he's probably well chuffed. The lack of forward options in the last ten minutes was frightening, predictably leading to the ball being given away far too often creating chances for Ipswich.

Basic schoolboy amateur errors.

If it ain’t broke …..

From the BBC

Pubs could soon offer drinkers two thirds of a pint if measures are changed after a consultation exercise.

The National Weights and Measures Laboratory (NWML) is considering new food and drink measures to give consumers more choice.

The NWML will look at introducing two thirds of a pint alongside current measures like half or full pints.

If customers don’t want to drink a full pint, some pubs have got a completely radical solution:

Buy a half pint.

Obviously this is something I don’t condone, a pint is a taste as far as I’m concerned, half a pint to me is classed as “spillage”.

But seriously, what will happen here is the same thing that has happened to milk at your local corner shop. Where one day you would be paying 35p for a pint of milk, along comes new EU legislation that packages have to be labelled in metric measurements and boom, you’re now paying 35p for 1/2 a litre, nearly 10% less milk for the same price.

So following on with the same profiteering mentality the drinks industry has fallen into over the last 30 odd years, the “choice” of being able to buy 2/3 of a pint will be replaced with paying the same extortionate price for 33% less beer.

Just say no.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The two best words in the English language are …..

..... “Beer” and “Festival”.

One of them is a cracking word all year round, while the second is useful for only one weekend in 52. See if you can guess which is which.

But put the two words together, and something magical happens.

This year the festivities have been moved away from the Victoria Leisure Centre, which is a shame as I’ve been personally going for 22 years and is the only time I ever get to that part of town. And I’ll also miss moving into the ‘swimming pool’ room and making my way across the scaffolded pool area to the tables, if you don’t feel drunk enough on the beer, you will when the floor’s wobbling under the weight of a couple of hundred 18 stone beer bellied real ale enthusiasts.

This year, the festival will be held in the grounds of the castle, a very fitting setting and hopefully the weather should stay fine for the duration.

If you’ve never been before, you don’t know what you’re missing. If you go to your local every night and drink the same thing pint after pint, it’s like eating in McDonalds every day and then suddenly turning up to a tasting session of every top chef in the land.

Talking of beer, some cretin has decided to complain about Orkney Brewery’s “Skull Splitter Ale” on the basis that it might encourage young people to drink and become aggressive.

Like they need any encouragement.

In the report, an Orkney Brewery spokesman says Skull Splitter is bought by:

”Discerning drinkers who appreciate its quality and who drink it responsibly.”

He’s wrong. Skull Splitter is bought by curious drinkers keen to find out how an 8.5% ale tastes, before being spat out by now uncurious drinkers who remember that ale that strong usually tastes like pish.

But on this logic, when I go to the beer festival I’ll need to avoid drinking Brampton Brewery’s “Wasp Nest” (because it’ll obviously contain wasps), White Horse’s “Village Idiot” (not necessary) or “Giraffes” from Alloa’s Williams Brothers, as then I’ll turn into a 12 foot vegetarian.

And I’ll need to let Twycross Zoo know if I have any Glastonbury’s own “Love Monkey”.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Health Warning

From the BBC: Fears over electronic cigarettes

Fears are being raised about the boom in sales in the UK of so-called electronic cigarettes.

The cigarettes use replaceable cartridges with shots of nicotine, but have become popular because they are not covered by the smoking ban.

While the products do not contain tar, tobacco or carbon monoxide, experts are worried as users inhale a fine heated mist and there is a lack of regulation.

But retailers said they were healthier than normal cigarettes.
Since the smoking bans came into force, smokers have been forced to go outside to light up.

The single best thing to happen to this country in the last ten, if not twenty, years is the smoking ban. No longer do I have to quarantine my washing after a night out, no more sickly head-aches the morning after, no more risking a slap from complete strangers for asking them to move their cigarettes. Speaking of which, why was it that these anti-social b******s were quite happy to suck their poison into their own lungs, more than happy not to give the choice to everyone else whether they want poison in their lungs as well, but they all held their cigarettes away from their own faces so as not to get smoke in THEIR eyes ? W*****s.

So, as there has been absolutely NO testing done on the prospect of passively inhaling this fine mist rubbish and bearing in mind the lack of associated health warning, I’ll create my own, specifically for any t****r who decides to flaunt the law with one of these things anywhere near me.

WARNING. The ability to stand or successfully go to the toilet may be impaired when you have one of these devices forcibly rammed up your a**e.

Forest Nil 0:2 Crystal Palace

Thought I’d best give this a couple of days, give my self time to calm down a bit, no knee-jerk reaction here.

So, after calming down, letting the dust settle and making sure my knee is still at the correct angle on my leg, this is my honest, unbiased and intelligent opinion on the game last Saturday.

It was b******s.

I sent a text to an absent fan at five past three. It simply said:

One up front, at home, three defenders on the bench and one nil down after 3 minutes. For f***s sake.

And that sums it up for me, whatever the ability of the players, if they’re told to go out and play with just one striker on the pitch, then they’re not going to be in the most attacking frame of mind from the off. All week there were reports coming out of the club that Rob Earnshaw would be fit, so Palace would have been set up to deal with a pacey attack. When they saw the Forest team sheet with only one centre forward on it, they must have though it was Christmas. To have two on the pitch at Sheff Wed and not look like scoring is negative enough, but to then REDUCE the number of attacking options beggars belief.

I like Nathan Tyson, he’s clearly good enough, quick and puts the effort in, a good sign in a Forest shirt, and he’s got a bright, settled head on his shoulders. It’s just that when he plays from the off, and this is in no way his fault, our only tactic is to aimlessly hoof the ball forward quickly in the hope he’ll get to it first. And then what ? He’s the only one up !!!

And then the manager, Colin Calderwoodout, has the nerve to pretend he’s playing some kind of deranged 4-3-3 formation. Well, I can see us getting completely over-run in midfield, so there’s your three midfielders, but where are the three attackers when we go forward ?

I don’t want to knock Paul Smith because (as a goalkeeper myself) I think he’s a fantastic shot stopper, but I’m going to. Sorry. For Clough’s sake open your mouth once in a while. And learn how to kick straight. And don’t go walkabout when there’s defensive cover. And release the ball quicker, just once in a game would be a start.

There’s no complaints from anyone at any lack of effort, a symptom of previous relegation struggles. And make no mistake, we are in a relegation struggle. Five points adrift before the clocks go back is not a good place to start our notoriously bad winter period.

Calderwoodout can complain about all the bad luck he wants, penalty decisions at Swansea and at home to Burnley hiding the fact that we deserved absolutely nothing from those games anyway. A goal off the back of Wes Morgan’s head at Wolves was cancelled out by exactly the same piece of good luck for our consolation, and ignores the other FOUR perfectly good goals scored that day, the two that were disallowed and the Wolves effort off the bar. A goal off a Plymouth players shins is unlucky, but letting a long throw-in bounce twice in the area before dealing with it is just rank bad defending inviting a ricochet in the area. We’ve had good luck ourselves this season, a goal off the post for the winner against Watford. A similar story for our consolation at home to Burnley.

All of these things hide the fact that we haven’t scored from open play since August. And that’s relegation fodder.

So, what next ?

I said on Saturday that I’d got to the end of my tether with Calderwoodout and a few days later, my mind hasn’t changed. I’d like him to change it, I really would, but time after time after time he shows that his tactics are far too negative, there’s no attacking option for the team and opposition teams are still capable of scoring knowing they can ride the game out.

We haven’t looked like a relegation threatened side before Saturday, we’ve been nearly there, just missing that vital something.

But not any more. We look doomed already, and I’m pretty sure Calderwoodout doesn’t know what to do to stop it.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sheff Wed 1:0 Forest

My second away trip of the season (I'll be getting a nose bleed soon) and yet another away defeat.

It seems to me that the problem CC faces week in week out, and let’s face it, every manager up and down the country in every league, is how to get the balance right between defence and attack.

Taking this game as a good example, the formation at the start was designed to stop Sheff Wed from scoring, and on the whole, they did quite well, limiting them to only one decent chance in the whole first half. The problem is any team has to defend exceptionally well away from home to keep a clean sheet, and defending quite well isn’t enough. Once we concede, and it’s largely irrelevant as to whether it’s a deflection or a ricochet off the centre-forwards shins, we simply don’t have the balance right to create serious chances going forward. Our ONLY attacking tactic on Tuesday was to get the ball up field as quickly as possible to Tyson, which, despite the 110% effort Tyson put in, was never going to pay off.

Only after we went 4-4-2 on Tuesday night did we (instantly) start looking like a threat up front. Sure, it then created chances at the other end as well, but IMHO we are more than a match standing toe to toe with enough teams in this division for the league position not to be an issue.

Taking the Watford match as an example of free-flowing, attacking football from both sides, we won a cracking game by the odd goal with bags of entertainment. Would it have been better on Tuesday night to have lost 2:3 in a tight end-to-end game, or play too defensively with no recourse once we concede ?

Forest fans have been spoilt in the past being successful AND playing attractive football. All most Forest fans want now is, again, a balance between the two. Dave Bassett didn’t get the stick for his (relative to Forest) long-ball game because he was successful, in the same way that Paul Hart never got the stick that his successors have had because of the attractive (but albeit eventually toothless) football.

If Forest were to finish mid-table this season playing 4-4-2 every week, with goals aplenty for and against, it would give us something to build on next season.

But as it stands now, we’re heading backwards, and downwards.

"B******s to Newcastle"

This is absolute quality, good to see Joe Kinnear has settled into Newcastle so quickly.

From the Guardian:

The following is an edited transcript of Newcastle interim manager Joe Kinnear's first official press conference yesterday

JK Which one is Simon Bird [Daily Mirror's north-east football writer]?

SB Me.

JK You're a cunt.

SB Thank you.

JK Which one is Hickman [Niall, football writer for the Express]? You are out of order. Absolutely fucking out of order. If you do it again, I am telling you you can fuck off and go to another ground. I will not come and stand for that fucking crap. No fucking way, lies. Fuck, you're saying I turned up and they [Newcastle's players] fucked off.

SB No Joe, have you read it, it doesn't actually say that. Have you read it?

JK I've fucking read it, I've read it.

SB It doesn't say that. Have you read it?

JK You are trying to fucking undermine my position already.

SB Have you read it, it doesn't say that. I knew you knew they were having a day off.

JK Fuck off. Fuck off. It's your last fucking chance.

SB You read the copy? It doesn't say that you didn't know.

JK What about the headline, you think that's a good headline?

SB I didn't write the headline, you read the copy.

JK You are negative bastards, the pair of you.

SB So if I get a new job next week would I take the first day off? No I wouldn't. If I get a new job should I call my boss and tell him I am taking the first day off?

JK It is none of your fucking business. What the fuck are you going to do? You ain't got the balls to be a fucking manager. Fucking day off. Do I want your opinion. Do I have to listen to you?

SB No, you can listen to who you want.

JK I had a 24-hour meeting with the entire staff.

SB Joe, you are only here six weeks, you could have done that on Sunday, or Saturday night.

JK No, no, no. I didn't want to do it. I had some other things to do.

SB What? More important things?

JK What are you? My personal secretary? Fuck off.

SB You could have done the meeting Saturday night or Sunday. You could have had them watching videos, you could have organised them.

JK I was meeting the fucking chairman the owner, everyone else. Talking about things.

SB It is a valid point that was made in there. A valid point.

JK I can't trust any of you.

Niall Hickman Joe, no one could believe that on your first day at your new club, the first-team players were not in. No one could believe it in town. Your first day in the office.

JK My first day was with the coaches. I made the decision that I wanted to get as much information out of them.

NH But why Monday, no one could believe it?

JK I'm not going to tell you anything. I don't understand where you are coming from. You are delighted that Newcastle are getting beat and are in the state they are? Delighted, are you?

NH Certainly not. No one wants to see them get beaten, why would we?

JK I have done it before. It is going to my fucking lawyers. So are about three others. If they can find something in it that is a court case it is going to court. I am not fucking about. I don't talk to fucking anybody. It is raking up stories. You are fucking so fucking slimy you are raking up players that I got rid of. Players that I had fallen out with. You are not asking Robbie Earle, because he is sensible. You are not asking Warren Barton? No. Because he is fucking sensible. Anyone who had played for me for 10 years at any level ... [but] you will find some cunt that ...

Other journalist How long is your contract for Joe?

JK None of your business.

SB Well it is actually, because we cover the club. The club say you are here to the end of October, then you say six to eight games which would take it to the end of November. We are trying to clarify these issues. We are getting no straight answers from anyone. How long are you here for. It is a dead simple question. And you don't know ...

JK I was told the length of contract. Then I was told that possibly the club could be sold in that time. That is as far as I know. That's it finished. I don't know anything else. But I have been ridiculed. He's trying to fucking hide, he's trying to do this or that.

There follows an exchange regarding the circumstances under which Kinnear had met the owner Mike Ashley and executive director (football) Dennis Wise.

Steve Brenner (football writer for the Sun) We are all grown men and can come in here and sit around and talk about football, but coming in here and calling people cunts?

JK Why? Because I am annoyed. I am not accepting that. If it is libellous, it is going to where I want it to go.

Newcastle press officer What has been said in here is off the record and doesn't go outside.

Journalist Well, is that what Joe thinks?

JK Write what you like. Makes no difference to me. Don't affect me I assure you. It'll be the last time I see you anyway. Won't affect me. See how we go at Everton and Chrissy [Chris Hughton, assistant manager] can do it, someone else can do it. Don't trust any of yous. I will pick two local papers and speak to them and the rest can fuck off. I ain't coming up here to have the piss taken out of me. I have a million pages of crap that has been written about me. I'm ridiculed for no reason. I'm defenceless. I can't get a point in, I can't say nothing, I can't do nothing, but I ain't going to be negative. Then, half of you, most of you are trying to get into the players. I'm not going to tell you what the players think of you, so then you try and get into them in some way or another, so I've got a split camp or something like that, something like that. It's ongoing. It just doesn't stop.

Journalist It's only been a week.

JK Exactly. It feels more like a year.

Journalist It's early days for you to be like this.

JK No, I'm clearing the air. And this is the last time I'm going to speak to you. You want to know why, I'm telling you. This is the last time. You can do what you like.

Journalist But this isn't going to do you or us any good.

JK I'll speak to the supporters. I'm going to tell them what the story is. I'm going to tell them. I don't think they'll interpret it any different, I don't think they'll mix it up, I don't think they'll miss out things. I mean, one of them last week said to me ... I was talking about in that press conference where you were there, I said something like "Well, that's a load of bollocks ..."

Journalist "Bollocks to that" is what you said.

JK Bollocks to that. And what goes after that?

Journalist That was it.

JK No it wasn't, no it wasn't. What was after it? I don't know if it was your paper, but what went after it?

Journalist I don't know.

JK It even had the cheek to say "bollocks to Newcastle".

Journalist I didn't write that.

JK That was my first fucking day. What does that tell you? What does that tell you?

Journalist Where was that? Which paper said that?

JK I've got it. I can't remember. It was one of the Sundays, not a Saturday. It was a Sunday.

Journalist But you didn't say that to the Sundays, you said that to us. That was during the Monday press conference.

JK I'll bring it in and show it to you. Why would I want to say that?

Journalist Are you saying that someone has reported you saying "bollocks to Newcastle?"

JK Yes. Lovely.

Journalist I don't know who's reported that.

JK I'll tell you what, I'll bring it in.

Journalist That's obviously going to damage you. That's not a good thing. But I don't think someone's done that. We have to have some sort of relationship with you.

JK So have I. But I haven't come in here for you lot to take the piss out of me. And if I'm not flavour of the month for you, it don't fucking bother me. I've got a job to do. And I'm going to do it to the best of my ability. I'm not going to spend any more time listening to any crap or reading any crap. Stick to the truth and the facts. And don't twist anything.

Journalist You know, you know the game ...

JK Of course I know, but I don't have to like it.

Journalist Today we'll print the absolute truth, that you think we're cunts, we can all fuck off and we're slimy. Is that fair enough?

JK Do it. Fine. Fucking print it. Am I going to worry about it? Put in also that it'll be the last time I see you. Put that in as well. Good. Do it.

Much, much later after long discussions over whether Kinnear had promised Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan would be returning to the club

Press officer Let's get on to football. Let's have an agreement that everything said so far, if anyone has got their tapes on, it's wiped off and we're not discussing it.

Journalist But that's what Joe has said he thinks of us.

Press officer I'm saying don't push it. Let's accept what's been said and try and move on.

Journalist: Move on to not doing any more press conferences?

PO: No, to doing something now.

Journalist: What, one press conference only?


Journalist: Any knocks?

PO: Come on, let's go football.

Journalist: What are your plans for training in the next three days? How's the training going?

JK It's going very well. No problems at all.

Journalist Enjoyed getting back in the swing of things?

JK Absolutely. I've loved every moment of it.