GLF 72:Geoff's view from the seaside.
MOTHERWELL Remember that first season under McGhee? That sense of excitement, the flair, and a manager who showed up well in the media. It seems we've got that all back again and this time with a manager who isn't whoring himself at every opportunity. Maybe it's just the thrill of the Europa games that's got our hearts a flutter. Whatever it is it has been a refreshing start to the season and not many of us would have imagined that when McGhee upped and left. Jim Gannon has brought in seven new players yet not the seasoned pros we might have expected. This man certainly likes his kids, in the nicest possible way. They play without fear, except maybe a fear of getting hooked very early in a game. The rollercoaster will have as many highs as lows this year, that is a cert, but it might just be a lot more fun for the passengers. Make sure you're strapped in.
MARK MCGHEE Okay, he wanted every job going when he was here. He told us that from day one but we didn't expect him to prostitute himself. He had a great first season and heaven knows what we could have achieved if we hadn't lost our captain and driving force in midfield. The second season was best forgotten. We were never under real threat of relegation, even when we were at the bottom but only the most confident of our fans would have thought us capable of the top six. Our team was slowly being dismantled before our eyes and there was no forward planning. McGhee certainly had no intention of bolstering our squad although it's alleged he tried to bolster Celtic's squad with some of our youngsters. Then he left the first instant he could. He had let us down and badly but that still didn't excuse the over the top reaction he got from a moronic element amongst our support at Aberdeen. They did our club more damage that day than Mark McGhee ever did.
COOPER STAND On the bright side the club has now decided to give the Cooper back to Well fans. They tarted up the announcement by saying that they're listening to fans. It's only taken bloody years for them to listen. Surely the decision had nothing to do with the decreasing number of Old Firm fans visiting Fir Park or am I just cynical? At least we won't have to listen to Celtic fans insulting Davie Cooper while sitting in the stand named after him.
BLACKPOOL While we look at some loan players arriving at Fir Park it seems Blackpool are the masters of bolstering a squad with loanees. Last year when a full football team of loan players left in January Pool just replaced them with more of the same. By the end of the season Blackpool had brought in a total of 21 players on loan. Twenty-one! An unbelievable amount of players. But what does it do for the players on longer contracts at the club and the fans? It must be so difficult to get a settled pattern in a team and to get the fans behind loan players. Look at Cillian Sheridan as an example. Now multiply that by eleven at a time. Maybe the saving they have made on long term contracts and the need to pay bonuses accordingly has contributed to the rising from the ground of a South Stand! The Oystons cancelled building halfway through last season but it does actually exist and is growing nearer to complation. Not before time but how many fans have they pissed off on route to a three-sided ground, as well from me.
BROOKMYRE Christopher Brookmyre loves those football references in his books. Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks brings us another notable reference point. The book deals with the subject of psychics and contains the following passage: I do recall witnessing a spectral apparition myself in a park in Paisley. It looked like a man dressed in black and white stripes and whenever someone kicked a football in its vicinity it seemed to go right through him like he wasn't there and sometimes it was as if he completely disappeared. Legend says his name was Andy Dow.
SCOTLAND I wonder just what George Burley actually knows about football. When he was at Hearts he looked like seriously challenging the Old Firm for the title. Since then he has hardly set the heather alight. He hasn't inherited world beaters in the Scotland squad but he has some good players and some that can actually change a game. The rest of the squad is made up of workmanlike players. That isn't always a bad thing, look at how well Northern Ireland have done for themselves. But George Burley doesn't have that team ethic amongst the current squad. Neither does he seem to have the respect of the players, witness the McGregor and Ferguson fiasco. They were wrong, very wrong, to do what they did but would they have done that with, say, Alex Ferguson in charge? Holland are a quality side and we did well at Hampden against them but it wasn't defeat there that cost us a Finals place. It was poor performances earlier in the group. Burley may well have paid with his job by now. Football can be harsh but maybe George is too much of a soft touch.
DIVING Here we go again, more hand wringing and claims that something needs to be done about diving. It seems that you can only get a ban if by diving you win a penalty for your team. There is no consistency in the way that the authorities deal with the problem. Within a week of the incident in the Arsenal Celtic game there were more high profile incidents including, hilariously, McGeady seeing red. But the problem remained and will remain. What is the more serious problem? Someone who sets out to injure another player or someone who deliberately sets out to cheat his way to victory, usually with the backing of his club. Ask any player and they'll tell you that an injury could kill a player's career. Ask a fan and they might tell you that cheating could kill the game.
Come On Ye Well
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