GLF 71:Geoff Baby covers the forst half of our season, the latest at Blackpool as well as insights about Porter, Kaka and Klimpl.
MOTHERWELLThe shoots of hope showed signs of beginning to bear a little fruit recently.Sure we're not the team we were but we have ground out a few points when earlier in the season we'd have succumbed to the opposition.
Once Clarkson had returned from suspension and Craigan from injury we entered the New Year with a surprisingly strong bench. The Hearts match saw us without Marc Fitzpatrick who would certainly have been pushing for a starting role, and who among us would have thought that was a statement that could be made with such confidence a while ago. We had a sub goalie in Krysiak and we'll probably only ever have a 'sub' goalie as there's no way we could afford two first choice contenders unless we had a versatile one like Keith MacCrae.Bob Malcolm and John Sutton were first team regulars in the first half of the season, as was Steve McGarry.Darren Smith and Jamie Murphy gave us options with experience while Steven Saunders, despite only a few games, can count himself very unlucky to be back on the bench.Add to that the return soon of Brian McLean and some might question why Mark McGhee was talking in terms of wanting as many as four players coming in.
The Dundee United game showed just what is possible when the team is on their game, conversely the Falkirk game shows what happens when we don't have our shooting boots on.All part of the Motherwell rollercoaster.So where to now?Top Six or Bottom Six?Hard to tell but we are capable of getting into the Top Six but the teams above us are all playing well and we will need to take points off them while also avoiding dropping points to teams below us. We've never been very good at being consistent but we might just scrape sixth although I think we're more likely to be in the bottom half of the table.
BLACKPOOLTalk about all your eggs in one basket.Blackpool played the loan game to the maximum prior to the transfer window opening and paid big time when EIGHT players had to be returned to their parent clubs on December 31st. The fact that many of these were regulars in the team left the club with a huge problem in replacing them and rebuilding morale.Of course the manager responsible, Simon Grayson, will not have to paper over the cracks he created since he chased the money and joined Leeds United to replace Gary McAllister.It sent me scurrying to find out what limits there are on loan players. It would appear that clubs can have as many loan players as they want but only five can feature in the 16-man matchday squad.Pool quickly moved to get another batch of loanees signed up for the duration of the season. Is it just me or does that seem a ridiculous way to run a football club?
Oh, and the South Stand shows signs of building having begun.If they want to fill it then they are going to have to drop their prices.It's the only way I'll be going back.
CHRIS PORTERA burst of goals around the time the transfer window opened (hmm, just a coincidence?) brought a solid bid from Huddersfield plus reported interest from Nottingham Forest and those Jambo scum, sorry, Hearts.In Porter's shoes I would have knocked back offers from all three even though they would all have offered an increase on his wages, albeit occasionally a little late going into his bank account from one team.I very much doubt he'll stay beyond the summer, indeed I hope that in writing this he hasn't snuck off at the end of the window, damn printing deadlines.We know that he came to us to put himself in the shop window and he has achieved that.A flurry of goals in the remainder of the campaign will see him open to better offers and he and his agent can put a few more pennies in their pockets.Good luck to him if that happens.He's come here and done a good job and will be hard to replace but he's not prostituted himself in an effort to get a move unlike some.
KAKA Just how obscene was that projected transfer?It just shows how much money is in the game at the top level when sums like £108m plus £500K weekly wage are being bandied about.Kaka to his credit turned the offer down, probably since there is little chance of immediate success at Manchester City. Would he have turned down a similar move to Chelsea, Liverpool or Man Utd?I doubt it but I also doubt they'd be stupid enough to offer such a deal in the first place. At least City managed to pick up the second best player in the world when the deal fell through.If you can't get Kaka then get Bellamy instead!Mr Bellamy, charm personified and a true sportsman dedicated to football.Or maybe just a mercenary who manipulated a move from West Ham just two weeks after promising to stay at the club. God help City when this obnoxious piece of work arrives and starts disrupting the dressing room.
MAROS KLIMPLSuper Maros has at last shown us that he is a more than capable footballer.His move into midfield allows him to do what he does best and he has been a breath of fresh air in there after the stench of Malcolm.
Maros has begun to resemble the player we saw on the Youtube video when his arrival was initially announced. How long our referees will allow him to play the way he likes remains to be seen but long may it continue.In many ways he reminds me of Luc Nijholt and it would be great if he could stay with us for a similar length of time but probably unlikely.Sure he's wanted off the wage bill at Midtjylland but as a big money signing for them I bet he's on a fair amount that we might struggle to match.If he continues to play as well as he has been then I'm sure there will be plenty of other teams sniffing around willing to make him an offer as well.Could be we'll just have to enjoy him while we can.
SPLDeadly deadly dull and so loaded in favour of the Old Firm that it gets harder to see the point of teams playing or the attraction in turning up to watch.Four games a season against some teams is not attractive in the slightest.The big two show little sign of ever being overtaken in the race for the title.Referees are scared to make big decisions against the Gruesome Twosome. Just what is in it for other teams?Well, there's the occasional gift of a small transfer fee for any rising star that you may dare to produce and that's about it really.The SPL is crying out for a change in format, but whatever change is made the Bilious Brace will still rule the roost.Our game is stagnating before our eyes.Sure, we enjoy our occasional big days but does it make everything else worthwhile?I've hardly been to a football game this season and can't hugely claim to have missed it.Have I got out of the habit very quickly?With money being tight everywhere our clubs need to do what they can to attract punters through the gates.Sadly a lot of the top flight football on offer is not good enough to keep them coming back.
STRANRAERRemember that great Cup day out a few years back?Given Stranraer's current predicament we may never be going back.The club are living on a week to week basis and may not even survive till the end of the season.The credit crunch could possibly be claiming it's first football victim.No longer will banks allow clubs to just rack up debts, although the Government has recently bailed out the self same banks.Clubs are having to tighten their belts. Stranraer are looking at a share issue in the summer as a possibility of raising cash.That along with punting some high earners at the club.But just who in these turbulent financial times would consider putting money into a club, especially one struggling as they are at the moment.I've always said there are too many teams in Scotland but I still wouldn't like to see one going bust.I'd like a particular two to go bust but that's highly unlikely.I just wonder how a club like Stranraer could rack up a quarter of a million debt.Then I remembered their ground and thought of how much we have to pay in upkeep for Fir Park each summer just to get a safety certificate.It doesn't take a huge debt to kill a club, just ask Airdrieonians, and it might not take a lot to kill off Stranraer.Would the SFL then feel the need to bring in yet another team?Foolish in my opinion.
Come on ye 'Well
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