Broccoli update 27/09/2006Posted by Matt Rowson in Five-a-day Awaydays.
Big respec’ to Ben Khanna and mate Rob (pictured), for this pic from the JJB at the weekend. One has to suspect that the picture is set up to disguise the fact that this is a pretty piddly bit of Broccoli…. but Broccoli nonetheless. Good work, chaps…
Broccoli Pics 24/09/2006Posted by Matt Rowson in Five-a-day Awaydays.
Slightly better take-up at Wigan, but still a bit disappointing. More participation at Arsenal, please…
Wigan Athletic 1 Watford 1 (23/09/2006) 24/09/2006Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.
Today’s one word match report is:
On a bung and a prayer* 22/09/2006Posted by Ian Grant in Thoughts about things.
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The problem is quite a simple one, in essence. It is that “REVELATION!” is no longer a word which has any gravitas within football whatsoever. On the contrary, it has much the same effect as being loudly commanded to sit still for “A CONTROVERSIAL INTERVIEW WITH JOSE MOURINHO” during the half-time break of a Champignons League match on ITV4; that is, a stifled but heartfelt sigh. It’s a bit like going round the Saatchi Gallery in London, where so many of the pieces address themselves directly to the reactionary media for a predictably hot-under-the-collar response, leaving you, once the audience for all of this and therefore an important part of the equation, with no real role left to play. You might as well not be there.
And so, Tuesday’s Panorama documentary did indeed offer a rather effective exposé of certain unpleasant practices within football. Bravo. Backslaps all round. Thing is, it did so in the commendably, hopelessly old-fashioned belief that anyone watching – beyond those wanting to fill back pages and news bulletins with yet more REVELATIONs, of course – would genuinely give a stuff. Most of us, I suspect, are way past that point.
What is modern football, if not a monstrous, seething feeding frenzy? What fuels it, if it’s not pure greed, arrogance and infinite ego? God bless Mike Newell for suggesting that we should care because supporters’ money is involved…because, deep down, he’s absolutely right about that. Except that if we’re going to care about that, we should care about the whole stinking, ugly, rotten mess, not just a few quid here and there to oil a transfer deal. Not just fairly arbitrary rules being broken. Really, why should it make any difference to me if a manager is taking a cut on the sly? That cash would be used to reduce ticket prices, would it? Or improve facilities? Or buy better players? Or fund schemes in the local community? Nah, it’d just find its way into someone else’s fat pocket: an agent, a player, an investor, a chairman. Someone’d gobble it up sharp enough and buy themselves another 4×4, conscience clear.
Anyone who casts more than a passing glance over modern football doesn’t need to have it exposed, revealed, stripped of romance. Not necessary. On the contrary, most of us spend as much time as possible trying to conjure up that romance from somewhere, to shroud the stark reality in mystery for the duration of a Saturday afternoon, at least. It’s supposed to be fun, after all. In the main, we have no power whatsoever to influence anything ourselves, no means of triggering the drastic change that would be so desirable and so incredibly beautiful. The revolution would be televised, of course…but it’ll never happen.
So, instead, we have what football supporters have always had: a largely misguided sense of passionate loyalty to something that can’t be clearly defined. Without that, nothing much. “Football’s big business now!” bellow those with their faces in the trough. It’s a boast, a brag, a justification for all sorts of extremely unbusiness-like nonsense. Amid it all, you start to wonder where the product of all this relentless and feverish activity is, beyond mere hot air, expensive watches and stupid haircuts. And whether there’s anything left to watch except ridiculous sums of money swilling around, hither and thither, for all eternity.
*Or has someone else already used that one…? If so, insert some kind of convoluted wordplay involving, say, “bungee jump” and we’ll say no more about it.
This is not a match preview. 21/09/2006Posted by Matt Rowson in Uncategorized.
Look, old habits die hard OK? But in acknowledgment of the need to not encumber BHaPPY with the constraints that beset its predecessor I’m not going to discuss Saturday’s opponents at all.
It is, however, impossible not to acknowledge the return to centre stage of pantomime villain Rob Styles, who takes charge of a Saturday’s game. It’s testimony to Styles’ infamy that he’s still almost certainly Watford fans’ leastest favourite referee despite the fact that it’s a full five years since his reign of terror in which five Hornets were shown red cards in three games within little over twelve months. In the intervening period he has refereed one Hornets game, an innocuous 0-0 draw with Sheffield United, Betty’s second home game in charge, in which nobody was booked.
Whilst acknowledging that it’s the pompous “how” as much as the “what” with Rob that has always grated, his roll call of six red cards dished out to ‘orns over the years with varying degrees of silliness reads: Jason Lee at Gillingham in 1997, Robert Page against Everton in the Cup in 2001, Page again and Helguson at home to Blackburn a month later and finally H again plus Stephen Glass at Millwall the following season. All of which makes Styles a top referee, quite obviously.
The one-word match report on Tuesday night’s cup tie follows below.
Accrington Stanley, who might they be…?* 19/09/2006Posted by Matt Rowson in Uncategorized.
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Don’t know, is the honest answer. Very little in the way of familiar names; to my knowledge only centre-back Michael Welch, who was in Macclesfield’s defence when we knocked them out of the FA Cup in 2003, has ever faced us before. Paul Mullin has a quite ridiculous goalscoring record, having averaged almost a goal every other game over his 300+ appearances, and, in Benin midfielder Romuald Boco Stanley have a full international, which, Marlon’s fall out with the Jamaican FA and Ben Foster’s England call-ups notwithstanding, probably means that they have more current, full internationals than we do.
Accrington have a reputation for being rather direct, even by Div 4 standards, but we’ve been tarred with that rather lazy brush already without even having had the temerity to beat anyone yet, so perhaps that should be treated with caution. Stanley hve won their last couple of games but have yet to win away this season. They knocked Nottingham Forest out in the previous round, which made everyone laugh. Massive club, though, Forest.
It’s been widely trailed that we’ll be fielding a largely fringe eleven; this in itself implies progress in the size of the squad since last season when there really wasn’t any such thing… you were either in the team or aged about twelve, and the twelve year olds largely got the run. Will still be interesting to see who plays alongside Tamas Priskin up front though.
* took a great deal of effort to resist the obvious…
Broccoli to Wigan 18/09/2006Posted by Matt Rowson in Five-a-day Awaydays.
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In the second in the “Five-a-day awayday” series, our trip to Wigan Athletic on Saturday sees that staple half-time snack Broccoli come up as the specified greengrocery to smuggle into the ground. Please send us pics of yourself and your broccoli. Thengyew.
Watford 0 Aston Villa 0 (16/09/2006) 18/09/2006Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.
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Saturday’s one-word match report is :
Next up, the Villa 15/09/2006Posted by Matt Rowson in Uncategorized.
It’s a bit of a shame that David O’Leary got the boot (unless you’re a Villa fan). In a division not short of thoroughly dislikeable characters, O’Leary managed to stand out. Given the effect that his porridgey brand of management had had on the Villa team, you’d have fancied us quite strongly to break our duck and gain three points this weekend had he still been in charge.
As it is, Martin O’Neill‘s arrival, along with the drawn-out takeover, has coincided with an upturn in the general ambience around Villa Park, with results and performances following suit. Admittedly Villa will have to do a little more to comprehensively convince that they’ve turned a corner… two away points from games they might have expected to lose plus two home wins, one rather fortunate (Reading) and another against the bluntest weapon in the top flight (Newcastle) is pretty good to be going along with, but no more than that. Much has been made of them giving West Ham a hell of a game last weekend, but then we’ve done that also. Either way, O’Neill’s arrival doesn’t make a win for the ‘orns any less imperative.
Villa’s major pre-deadline capture was that of Stilian Petrov, once a Watford target under GT before he signed for Celtic, but by all accounts a hugely impressive figure last weekend. Another ex-Celt Didier Agathe has also signed but is likely to be a bit short of match fitness for the moment. O’Neill has fielded a 4-3-3 thus far with Juan Pablo Angel flanked by Luke Moore and last season’s most anonymous loan signing Gabriel Agbonlahor (insert your own Angel Gabriel pun here), although Milan Baros has returned to fitness and could be suited to one of the wide roles.
For the Hornets, Smudger Smith should make his second home debut, Jordan Stewart is likely to continue in the enforced absence of Chris Powell, and given the pace in Villa’s attack, Jay Demerit could well come back in for Malky Mackay.
We don’t half need a win in this one. You do kinda feel that if we gain a lead in a game (something we’ve held for roughly a minute so far this season) then we’re still very well equipped to murder teams on the break. This will happen sooner or later. Tomorrow would be more than welcome…