Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Wayne Rooney for Manchester Utd (v Wigan Athletic), 26 February 2006

Predictions updated. Er, I'll take the February prize (thanking you) and El Tel is our new overall leader, although there's only 25 points or so separating the top 5.

Still all to play for.... (unlike the major European top divisions this season...)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Andreas Johansson for Wigan Athletic (v Tottenham Hotspur), 19 February 2006

Predictions again....

Birmingham 2-0 Sunderland
Blackburn 1-2 Arsenal
Charlton 1-1 Villa
Chelsea 3-0 Portsmouth
Newcastle 2-0 Everton
Bolton 1-1 Fulham
Liverpool 1-0 Man City
West Brom 0-2 Middlesbrough

and a couple of Cup wildcards:

Gretna 2-1 St Mirren
Man Utd 2-1 Wigan Athletic

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Ruud van Nistelrooy for Manchester United (v Blackburn Rovers), 25 January 2006

So, I have today turned down the opportunity to go to this weekends Carling Cup Final at the Milennium Stadium. I have my daughter this weekend and as I am not seeing her next weekend (more about that soon) I didn't want to spend all day Sunday in Cardiff.

And so, my brother and my mum are off to see the United v Wigan game instead. I have been to a Carling Cup Final - I was a corporate guest at the 2003 Final when United lost 2-0 to Liverpool so I am not that disappointed - but I'd have certainly gone had I not had the nipper.

So why the photo of Dermot Gallagher? I hear no-one cry. Alan Wiley is referring this seasons Final...!

Dermot and Alan are pals. Dermot was supposed to be going to Cardiff on Sunday to support his mate Alan. Dermot forgot to book the weekend off work and has been rota-d to ref the Liverpool game this weekend instead. He therefore had two tickets for the Final that he couldn't use. My brother works with a lady called Liz Gallagher who is Dermot's ex-wife. Apparently, Dermot and Liz are still on reasonable terms even though they are divorced and he offered her the tickets. She knew my brother was a United fan, and so she gave him first refusal on the tickets.

So, technically, I could have been in Dermot Gallagher's seat for the Cup Final.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Peter Crouch for Liverpool (v Manchester United), 18 February 2006

I have to say that this one of the most horrendous things I have ever seen on a football pitch. Ruud van Nistelrooy walking over to see if he was OK and reeling in horror as he saw the damage to Alan Smith's leg was quite, quite awful.

Get well soon, Smithy.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Richie Wellens for Oldham Athletic (v Nottingham Forest), 15 February 2006

Predictions are here.

So today, after a disappointing season, Gary Megson parted company with Nottingham Forest.

Not only did Megson fail to keep Forest in the Championship, defeat last night to Oldham Athletic leaves the double European Champions four points off the drop zone to League Two.

Megson came to Forest with a reputation for ugly but effective football having achieved some success on a limited budget with his previous club West Brom. He was also apparently the best paid manager outside the Premiership. But, 17 wins in 59 games after spending £1.2million (a small fortune for a third division side) was simply not good enough, especially when the expectation was that Forest would bounce straight back into the Championship.

With absolutely no disrespect to these clubs, look who is ahead of Forest in the table. Colchester. Brentford. Doncaster Rovers. Chesterfield.

So, Nigel Doughty is looking for his fourth manager in three years. Will he turn to his friend Glenn Hoddle, himself under pressure after a disappointing season with Wolves? Paul Hart for the rest of the season? Would Nigel Clough want the job? Claudio Ranieri? Martin O'Neill? Paul Merson? Gazza? Who would you choose?

Luis Garcia for Liverpool (v Arsenal), 14 February 2006

Hello folks. FA Cup predictions time again...

Bolton 1-2 West Ham
Charlton 2-1 Brentford
Liverpool 1-0 Man Utd
Newcastle 2-0 Southampton
Villa 2-1 Man City
Chelsea 2-0 Colchester
Preston 1-0 Middlesbrough
Stoke 0-2 Birmingham

and a couple of wildcards from the Championship:

Sheff Wed 0-2 Sheff Utd
Leicester 1-1 Leeds

Friday, February 10, 2006

Luke Young for Charlton (v Liverpool), 8 February 2006

Predictions again, my lovelies:

Arsenal 2-0 Bolton
Aston Villa 2-1 Newcastle
Everton 1-0 Blackburn
Fulham 2-1 West Borm
Middlesbrough 0-2 Chelsea
Portsmouth 1-2 Man Utd
Wigan 1-2 Liverpool
Man City 2-0 Charlton
Sunderland 1-2 Spurs
West Ham 2-1 Birmingham

and how about some Saintly wildcards?

St Johnstone 0-1 St Mirren
St Albans 1-0 Sutton United

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Alan Shearer for Newcastle Utd (v Portsmouth), 4 February 2006

So, Graeme Souness has gone, and Newcastle United are, again, in search of another manager. All the signs point to ex Leicester and Celtic boss Martin O'Neill as the man charged with spending gazillions of pounds on show ponies and other assorted sh*t in a doomed attempt to actually bring a trophy to St James Park.

I don't like Graeme Souness and never quite understood why he got the job in the first place (other than for the reason that Fat Freddy thought he might be able to handle idiot divas Craig Bellamy and Lee Bowyer.) His signings were pretty poor and his dour humourless attitude (although my team's boss can hardly claim the high ground in that regard) never clicked with the Newcastle fans.

Alan Shearer has already says he doesnt want the job. He is a hero on Tyneside and for that reason alone needs to steer clear of taking the Newcastle managers job....forever. Is it the worst/most difficult job in the game? Whilst I like Newcastle United, it strikes me that the gap between the expectations of the fans and the reality of the team are wider than with any other team in the league. Although, perversely, the size of the ground and the financial backing should mean they ought to be competing at the top end of the league instead of scrabbling around in mid table with Fulham and Aston Villa.

Newcastle are not going to win the Premier League in the next decade. Fact. Their turnover of managers and comedy board should prohibit that alone. However, it must be galling for Newcastle fans, desperate for silverware, to watch the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Millwall, Southampton, Bolton, Leicester, Tottenham and particularly Middlesbrough get to major cup finals, and win trophies over the last ten years.

With a decent manager and some decent signings (come on, Toon fans - given a clean slate how many of your current first choice XI would you retain? Parker? Given? Owen?) they could start competing for Champions League football and certainly with a bit of luck could make it to Cup Finals and win a trophy. But it's such a thankless job that I can't see why you would put yourself through the heartache....

Thursday, February 02, 2006

David Bentley for Blackburn Rovers (v Manchester Utd), 1 February 2006

Hello all. Predictions for January and for the season are up to date, and the big news is that Charby has been reeled in and is now only top on alphabetical order from the legend that is El Tel Venerables. Alex not far behind in third.

And congrats to Weenie, who just won January's league from Dom and Swiss.

This week:

Birmingham 1-1 Arsenal
Bolton 2-0 Wigan
Everton 1-1 Man City
Man Utd 2-1 Fulham
Middlesbrough 0-2 Aston Villa
Newcastle 1-0 Portsmouth
West Brom 0-1 Blackburn
West Ham 3-0 Sunderland
Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool
Tottenham 2-0 Charlton

and a couple of local derby wildcards:

Norwich 1-1 Ipswich
Northampton 2-0 Rushden and Diamonds