Where do we go from here ?

We are going to finish mid table , so surely the ambition next year must be the play offs or better. Here is one view on how to get there.

1) Goalkeepers , Hendo is already brilliant and Popey ( despite a couple of bloomers) is nearly brilliant , so let’s keep those 2.

2) Full backs ,  Solly , Wiggins and Fox are all good enough . We need another right full back.

3) Centre backs , This is very tricky and a potential banana skin. Gomez is unbelievably good and is already our best No 5. Personally , I don’t think there is anything to choose between Ben Haim, Bikey and Johnson. My choice would be to keep Bikey ( I don’t really understand why he is Luzon’s Eskimo ) extend Ben Haim’s contract, let Johnson go and get another experienced but younger centre back or 2 if  Joe goes for gazillions ( nothing less). A possible problem area.

4) Midfielders, Cousins is already a fantastic player and probably the most important piece of next years jigsaw. We need to resign Buyens. Diarra’s pedigree suggests he will be good enough. Skipper is a hero but is not likely to play a major role next year. We need another creative midfielder in the Danny Murphy, Wes  Hoolihan mould and another holding midfielder.

5) Wingers, JBG is brilliant and we need to keep him for a promotion push. Bulot got better as the season went on particularly after the ANC . If Guy thinks he is going to improve again , let’s keep him. I feel a bit sorry for Harriot. After a brilliant end to last season ,often played out of position ,he has had a poor year. We need another winger who has tricks and can beat defenders. Personally I wouldn’t keep Eagles , but Guy will decide.

6) Strikers. Tony Watt has been a revelation. Igor has started to look very out of sorts – no idea why but he looks like a shadow of his early season self. Churchy will surely leave. Hopefully , Ahearn Grant emerges next year , but we need at least one additional  top class striker who can head the ball and score goals . Neither of the current strikers is great in the air , although Igor punches above his height .

Any injuries or player sales will necessitate additional top class replacements and not just network fill ins.

To my mind , next year is the time to build on the good parts of this season and  challenge for promotion seriously  . I know some people don’t think West Ham and their move to the Olympic stadium affects us , but offering thousands of relatively cheap season tickets , over 100,000 free tickets for Premiership football in a transport friendly place just down the road seems to me to pose a highly competitive threat.

Come on Roland  , can we give it a right go  ?

Missed opportunity

My mate who owns a pub called me in January and said did I want to buy a 25% share in a racehorse called the Druids Nephew because one of his regulars owned it in partnership with a guy who had died and the executors wanted to sell quickly.
It wasn’t hugely expensive. He knows I’ve owned a few over the years ( including one I called charlton )and I did think about it for a week or so but decided not to do it .

Fast forward 3 months and the horse had won easily at the Cheltenham festival and was now 2nd favourite for the Grand National , so I’m beginning to feel like I made a pretty big mistake . There I am sitting amongst the addickted at hillsborough, not really concentrating on the game from 4.15pm onwards because I have managed to get the grand national text commentary up on my phone. When he takes the lead 5 out,I start to sweat profusely . Obviously I’ve had a good bet in case he wins and my mate is involved so I want him to win – but I suppose when he fell 4 out and it appeared on my text , I was well ( if I’m honest and I know it sounds really mean ) but possibly a little relieved.

Anyway, it allowed me to enjoy our lads night out in Sheffield ( what a great place by the way ) without constantly imagining the ‘ what if ‘ scenario.
14 pints later , a jolly good night ended at 12.30 pm in us 5 middle aged blokes being evicted from the curry house for disturbing the other customers by arguing too loudly amongst ourselves about whether we should remain in the EU or not – that’s what you call proper middle class hooliganism.

Luckily when we returned to our hotel the bar had just shut otherwise we were about to order another 5 pints of strong lager and debate the merits of fox v wiggins or possibly the Kyoto protocol , I can’t remember which

Groundhog Day

I know it doesn’t help , but its just one of those things in life, it wouldn’t be any different if we were 10 points clear at the top of the Premiership and they were languishing at the bottom of the Conference. Today , we were top of the form table , they were basically bottom and hadn’t won at home since the Gulf War. The Racing Post tipped us as the special how many goals we should score bet.

I’d be tempted to change the matchday routine like stay overnight in Blackburn or make all the players wear blindfolds on the way to the game in the hope that they don’t know where they are going. Brian Clough used to stop the Notts Forest team bus and make the players walk the last mile to the Den to sample the ‘atmosphere’. Maybe , we should just ask the league if we can give them the points without having to play the game.

In life’s disappointments , losing in the last 10 minutes ranks up there with spending all night chatting up the best looking woman in the night club only for her to go home with the ugly , fat , hairy chested bloke. Its buying a jam doughnut as a special treat on a Saturday to find that there’s no jam in yours.
Its going to watch your kid in the nativity play thinking he is going to be Joseph and when you get there, he is one of the sheep.

We will recover but for now maybe only strong lager will work…………

Leadership debate

I’ve listened to the debate for the potential prime ministers and after a lot of careful thought I’ve decided to vote for Nicola sturgeon – oh hang on , she’s only standing in Scotland.
Never mind, if I can’t vote for her I really like that Welsh lady, Leanne Wood. I’m going to vote for her – err what’s that , I can’t vote for her either.
Oh for heavens sake , that’s it I’m going to have to vote for the Australian lady.

If I can’t vote for her, I might vote for Barack Obama…………

The English Voter 2015

Where’s JonJo ?

Admittedly I don’t really pay too much attention to the Premier League , but watching England last night , we started by playing 3 midfielders in Delph, Jones and Henderson who are all essentially defensive and none of whom ever seem to be able to ‘ pick a pass’ unless it’s a square ball. I can’t see how we will ever beat the better teams and win any kind of tournament without at least one central creative midfielder who can do unusual, strange and wonderful things. I don’t understand why they don’t give our Jonjo a run out in these types of games . There is much more chance of him developing into a Pirlo than the 3 chosen last night. If not Jonjo, then surely there must be someone else. The second half was much better because Carrick is capable of passing a ball forward , but , good player though he is , he’s not the future is he ?

By the way , listening to Glenn Hoddle , what on earth is he talking about. Is he speaking English ? His tactical insight is almost as straightforward as Russell Brand’s views on politics.

Anyway, turning to Friday, even though Millwall are shockingly bad and we are full of confidence – history tells us to expect the normal result ,unless maybe Glenn is helping Neil Harris with his team talk.