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“More praise for plucky Hornets”. Sod off. 11/09/2006

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.
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Big Sam Allardyce this weekend joined Alan Pardew in the list of managers to have sung our praises this season. In a similar vein, our enforced time-killing wander around ASDA in search of comfort food before braving the M6 was peppered by countless apologies by white-clad locals of all ages for the daylight robbery seemingly perpetrated earlier in the afternoon.

All of which no doubt sincerely intended, but it’s beginning to grate and I’m hacked off with it. I’m looking forward to the first win, the first time we bully some poor buggers, put the ball in the bloody net and come away with three points leaving their manager to bleed all over Match of the Day rather than proffer cheap compliments, and 6-0-6 to be inundated with callers protesting at a result that few will go into a game with us expecting at the moment. We want a “Spurs away, 1982” result to get the fires burning… the loudest sneer at that point, of course, having come from then Spurs boss and now Betty mentor Keith Burkinshaw.

Unexpectedly, it’s the failure to stick the ball in the net rather than issues at the other end that are costing us. “Daylight robbery” at Bolton only in that the home side were (made to look) awful with key players missing and a record signing off the pace and not looking as if he’ll fit terribly neatly into a 4-3-3 even when he gets his sharpness back. We were tidy and aggressive and were within inches on several occasions, particularly late in the game, of claiming a famous victory on a ground where little is given away.

You don’t get points for nearlys or shouldas though, and this is becoming a bit too repetitive to keep blaming fortune. Nor, really, should it be about blame… we had no right to expect to be here at all, it seems churlish to complain when all that’s missing is final touches to moves. But much as he’ll be being watched by a better class of minder now than he was last season, Marlon must be disappointed with his start, piledrivers against West Ham notwithstanding. His miss at the end of Saturday’s game caused a mass double-take in the away end, but earlier on his lack of movement subdued more than one promising breakaway. This is, for me, the source of greatest concern… his weaker performances last season were still characterised by a single-minded workrate that put pressure on opponents and made openings even when King himself wasn’t having the best of games. He’s the firmest banker in our squad, and Betty will be hoping that he rediscovers that vim sooner rather than later.

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