Monday, 30 December 2013

Football club owners, who'd have 'em?

The eyes will tell you everything about a person, ignore the facial expressions and ignore their posture, go straight to the eyes. There are many football fans who would like to look at the Chairman and Owners of their respective clubs in the football pyramid and ask ‘What are you playing at?’. Football has changed, gone are the five year plans and the promise for time to develop and nurture talent instead managers are given players that are not their players and thirteen months at best. Most owners are multi million or even multi billionaire businessman, they are self-made men.  In business luck is a part but skill, patience and sensible judgement are the main stay. Chairman seem to have lost  the plot when they take on a football plot and the question has to why?

Abramovich is the most brutal owner of a football club in England’s top tier , managers have come and gone, trophies have been won and lost and players have succeeded or  failed. Yet it has to be pointed out that since 2003 Chelsea have won multiple FA Cups, three league titles, the Champions and a few Carling Cups. This is surely not a bad record, yet any footballer lover will have been taught the football like business is about stability. So is this now an outdated concept? Ferguson left Old Trafford , having achieved what would now simply seem impossible  to happen in the future, 26 years and forty plus trophies in a trophy laden management stint. That will not happen in the future and that’s sad. The English and to a large extent the world football fan has to accept that football has changed for good. Not right or wrong –it’s just a fact!

One thing that people neglect to consider is that when an owner buys a club to them they are not buying a business but instead are buying into a new identity and they want to have fun. It’s the equivalent of one of us mere mortals going out for and curry before hitting the town but instead of having a hangover  and a fry up in the morning; having an emergency board meeting and indulging in a huge managerial pay off. There is the first problem no one approaches a hobby with 100% logic and the heart rolls the head.  Instability then becomes business as usual and football clubs quickly work up debt to almost incredible proportions. Before you know it you are down in League Two struggling for your very existence.

Fans are fans and owners are owners, they are great as separate entities but when the joined it becomes a major issue and common sense is thrown down the river. It’s never a good idea to mix business with pleasure- it’s the coffin nail for most relationships and ends most friendships. Chairman’s should be rational, patience and knowledgeable not emotional, illogical and rash. Mixing the owner and the fan is not going to ever be a winning formation. When the heart starts ruling the head, the heart wins and poor decisions are made. If a self-made businessman goes decide to buy into their passions quite often their trust comrades will abandon them and then they struggle to cope and all entrepreneurs have blank spots and faults. Without their backroom staff entrepreneurs soon become very ordinary.  Football is a victim of this circumstance, that’s inevitable.

Money is football is a big player, and money is what drives success in football. Therefore owners constantly look at figures, spread sheets and financial forecasts and this drives the sacking of managers. The irony is there for everyone to talk about that often after sacking managers clubs go from bad to worse. The money involved causes boardroom tensions and leads to the appointments of numerous yes men , what is a technical director or what is the point of a director of football? This is often about politics and not about football. The manager is the manager, let him manage. The Head Coach has appeared more and more often recently and expect that to continue.

When you owners buy clubs they like to make an immediate statement of intent and this seems either to mean the sacking of managers or the signing of a marquee signing.  Managers should dread new owners because they should realise that new ownerships means increased demands or the sack. England fail to produce top class English managers and coaches and it’s not difficult to see why in the slightest. Until owners gain patience we will not produce the Mourinho’s, Wengers and Hiddinks. The death of the English coach could indeed be nigh, the sun is already beginning to set.

Egos are prominent in any walk of life and in football they are particularly wild. Owners are the worse far worse than their managers . The pick a guy to pick the team yet they want to pick the team , they want a say on transfer and choose which players get a new contract. An impossible situation ensues and the manager is quickly ushered out of  the door. Egos cause serious problems in sport and that will only change if the culture in which they are allowed to breed dramatically changes.  Managers have no chance in the current climate and the change is not round the corner its on the other side of the Galaxy.

Football has become a tense game with boardroom politics begging to reign supreme , once it’s on top its likely to stay dominant. The impatience that exists is not a football problem, it’s a social problem and that will never alter. The technical director and director of football role will become more and more prominent. Not all owners are bad but many are often na├»ve and miss the point when it comes to football. Football is a business but as daft as it sounds must also remain a sport. The sporting drama of the boardroom should never take away from the tactical battle on the pitch, that is for sure.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Arsenal edge close encounter with the Magpies

Newcastle United ended 2013 with defeat and disappointment against Arsenal.

But they at least put up a bit of a fight against the Premier League table toppers.

A second half goal from Olivier Giroud grabbed the points for Arsene Wenger’s men on a day of few clear cut chances for the Magpies.

The Magpies had a great opportunity on 12 minutes when Yohan Cabaye clipped the ball through for Mathieu Debuchy but he failed to control the ball right in front of goal and the threat was snuffed out by the Gunners.

Three minutes later Cabaye sent an effort just over.

On 18 minutes Loic Remy hooked in a decent looking cross from the left hand side and Moussa Sissoko’s power header was held on to by Wojciech Szczesny.

With 25 minutes on the clock Debuchy clipped another effort wide and Arsenal had served up very little to suggest they were going to stroll to victory.

At the end of the first half Sissoko had an effort pushed over the bar by Szczesny and United won a corner.

From Cabaye’s flag kick Debuchy rose to crack the underside of the bar and Arsenal cleared the danger.

The game was still locked at 0-0 after the hour mark and Alan Pardew made what looked like a positive move to introduce Hatem Ben Arfa.

Five minutes later though and the Magpies fell behind after switching off at the back.

Cheick Tiote took out Carzola and Theo Walcott’s free-kick was met by Olivier Giroud who flicked home a slight touch to beat Krul.

The United keeper should have done better with that one, but the Magpies weren’t out of the game.

Pardew threw on Shola Ameobi for the last 17 minutes and overlooked Papiss Cisse.

With 10 minutes left there was bemusement from some sections of the St James’ Park crowd when Pardew introduced left-back Massadio Haidara when his side required a goal and left Cisse on the bench.

There was hope when Szczesny’s clearance cannoned off Remy but rolled wide.

A flurry of late corners saw even Tim Krul enter the penalty area as United tried to salvage a point but they couldn’t push the Gunners hard enough.

And on a day when United needed to really push a weakened Arsenal team they managed just three shots on target.


NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Debuchy, Coloccini (c), Williamson, Santon; Anita (74', Sh. Ameobi), Tiote, Cabaye; Sissoko (79', Haidara), Remy, Gouffran (62', Ben Arfa).

ARSENAL: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs (70', Arteta), Flamini, Rosicky, Wilshere, Walcott (80', Jenkinson), Cazorla, Giroud (85', Bendtner) 

Friday, 16 August 2013

5 alternative apps

Looking for 5 alternative apps to write about for this article wasn't hard because of the amount of bloody apps that are available ( On the Apple I-Store anyway ). The majority of the apps are pointless pieces of shit that people have to pay for, but I have no idea why - Angry Birds Space? Clearly you haven't figured out what a girlfriend is yet you knobhead! Anyway if you don't agree with the 5 apps I have chosen send me a message and tell me why and I will more than likely ignore it because I don't care what you think, ToThePointLAD.

TV Catchup:

First of all TV Catchup is the stupidest name possible for this app because there is no flippin catching up involved. The app is essentially live TV channels that are available on SKY, but only a selection. So it is basically an app for people who don't want to pay for SKY TV and would rather steal the TV channels and watch them on the go! TV Catchup also shows how technology is taking over the world, Terminator is going to happen! On the other hand it just shows how fucking lazy most of us are becoming, including me because I have the app on my I-Pad ( HypocriteLAD ) But TV Catchup is a free app and with the way the economy is at the minute I don't blame people for using it, "Stop getting all technical you boring knob!" Fine, if you like to watch TV, stay in bed and be lazy in general this is a great app for you!

Shave Me:

I honestly have no idea why you would want to own this app. Well unless you are someone whose beard hasn't started to grow yet and you want to practice on an app where you can get your friends to send you photos and you add beards to them, yes that includes me! To make this app even bloody wierder you can "Choose over 100 different beard types and shavers" how many different types of shavers do you need on an app where you can't even shave something real? There are some strange fucking people out there! Just like TV Catchup there is something pointless on this app, the chance to add tattoos to your body... Erm what?! WierdLAD. So not only do you have the ability to shave your friends bodies, depending on what part of themslef they send to you in a picture, you can then become a tattoo artist. No wonder kids these days want tattoos at fucking 5 years old! But if this is your thing, you strange lonely freak, then the app is free and will satisfy your wierd thoughts such as shaving your friends! 

RaceFan Radio:

And back to reality! RaceFan Radio is for people, like me, that live and breath NASCAR. What the fuck is NASCAR I hear you cry? BrutalLAD. Well just imagine F1 if it wasn't boring. There that was easy to do wasn't it! This app gives you the opportunity to listen to the races from anywhere you want, taking a shit on the toilet or during that awkward sex scene in a film when you are watching it with your parents, we've all been there! Listening to the races on the app, which is free - always a good thing! - makes you feel like you are actually at the race, without being at the race. Well that's bloody stupid! I hear someone else shout, well no because if you don't want to spend £5000 in total to get to the race the. It is a perfect alternative, so there you loud mouthed tit - sit down and shut up! If you are a hardcore race fan that doesn't want to pay £10 a month to get the TV channel that the race are on, then this free app is a great alternative!

FFT Stats Zone:

Now I know that FourFourTwo is not something that is really an alternative, but the stats zone app is -an alternative to becoming a sports journalist and watching at least 10 football matches at once and taking note of everything that happens during the games. Everything from number of corners, shots that a player had had during the game to how many times Gareth Bale decides to dive during a game. FaggotLAD. Okay I made that last one up, but that would make this app even better if that was one of the stats available! If your a budding statto - get eating the pies mate because your going to have to become a fat bastard - then this app is something that will make you dribble in more than one place! "Torres had 55 shots and only 1 was on target, I can add that to my stat book" whatever takes your fancy or makes you happy mate. I must admit that I like this app because it shows that sport is becoming more technology based and more information is becoming available to the fans, next stop cameras in the dressing rooms like that sport where they play with a funny shaped ball!

A Granny's Big Adventure:

You would not have got something like this 10 years ago, "we'll yeah you knobhead because apps didn't exist 10 years ago!" Okay, I wrote myself straight into that one, but what I meant was that this just shows how much people don't respect the elderly in modern society! Which isn't surprising after that ITV comedy show which got elderly actors to prank the younger generation. This app was probably created by some who either wanted to take the piss out of Granny's or Granny's are his thing and he wanted his Granny to go on an adventure! Whatever the reason is for creating this app, it is defiantly a laugh and if some "Angry" Birds could take the world by storm and get their own video game, Figures and song then why can't a nighttime Granny who needs to find an exit from each level you have to play do the same? Well maybe because angry birds are wow thigh that no one has seen before, whereas Granny's are fucking everywhere! GrannyLAD.

So there you go 5 alternative apps criticised and praised by me, someone whose opinion you will probably not give a shit about and either get these apps or totally ignore what I have said because you think I am a twat because of what I have said and buy other apps! 


Mark Smith

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Extra column for around the grounds in TwentyFour7Football

So what's it like?

Any opposition fan that has been lucky enough to watch a game in a packed St James' Park can admit that the atmosphere is breathtaking. Even though they are stuck up "In the gods", a number of away fans have commented on how intimidating the stadium and how passionate the fans are, 52,000 Geordies singing Blaydon Races is certainly a sound to be savoured. Talk to any Sunderland fan about the wave of noise that hit them after each of Newcastle's five goals in the derby game in 2011and I'm sure that even they will admit it was loud. There is never a quiet moment because the Toon Army in the Gallowgate end are continuously singing and supporting their team for the whole 90 minutes.

There are a number of places to go before the game including the greatest pub in the world, The Strawberry. Situated right outside the ground, the pub is jam packed on match day. Memorabilia line the walls and it's certainly an atmosphere to experience, away fans are welcome (Apart from Sunderland or Middlesbrough obviously). The Back page shop is an oasis of football memorabilia for all football fans, from Barcelona to Barnet. The Gate in the city centre has bars, restaurants and even a Casino.

In terms of refreshments within the ground, a number of pies are on offer including the chicken balti pie and burgers and hot dogs are also available, all of which come in a Newcastle branded packaging. Alcohol, which is also served in branded Newcastle cups, is also available for those who haven't had enough before venturing inside the ground to watch the game.

Newcastle can also lay claim to two multi talented people as fans, Ant and Dec. The pair who were both born in the city are lifelong supporters of the club. They both share their famous fan status and passion for the club, along with cricketer Graeme Swann, who regularly voices his love for the club and actor turned fisherman, Robson Green. Along with ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Around the grounds piece for TwentyFour7Football

Since 1892 Newcastle United Football Club have resided in this magnificent stadium. St James' Park can boast at being the third highest capacity stadium in the Barclays Premier League, beaten only by Manchester United's Old Trafford and Arsenal's Emirates stadium.

The ground is steeped in history and has seen some amazing games over the years, including the 5-0 drubbing of Barcelona and more recently the humiliation of local rivals Sunderland in a 5-1 victory on Halloween.

Since 1892 disagreements and worrying financial positions had meant that the stadium wasn't developed to its full potential, apart from the West Stand being renovated and named the Milburn stand in honour of Newcastle's greatest number 9, Jackie Milburn. Until 1992 when Sir John Hall arrived on Tyneside, the Gallowgate end was transformed and the Leazes end structure rose from the ground and was re-named the Sir John Hall stand.

In the following years United's popularity grew to an extent that lead to a second tier being added to the Milburn and Leazes ends. Work was completed in August 2000 and the stadium now has the largest cantilever roof in Europe.

Although the stadium was re-named the Sports Direct Arena for a short period of time, new sponsors brought back the legendary name at the end of last year. Everyone knows that as long as this truly breathtaking stadium is seen on the beautiful skyline in Newcastle, it will forever be known as St James' Park.

Football affective disorder's (FAD's)

Many people across the world suffer from a condition known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), where the weather can have an adverse effect on one’s mood and general happiness. I am writing to inform you of important new studies into the condition known as FAD (Football Affective Disorder). This condition tends to develop as a young supporter grows older and much more susceptible to FAD tendencies. These tendencies can widely vary across two ends of the spectrum.

We have RTG (Rose Tinted Glasses) which stems from an improbable result, or in rare cases a string of results and can last from anything between hours to several years. With RTG the sufferer will feel a sense of overwhelming calm and euphoria. Colours seem brighter and stress levels are reduced. However, as these symptoms subside, there is a rather nasty Liverpool derived turning point known as KOP (Knocked Off Pedestal), where a rather harsh reality takes place and the initial Euphoria is replaced by disappointment and a realisation of how delusional they may have sounded throughout the week and face up to some terrible side effects such as outlandish predictions, sometimes even backed up with money. I have paid my own penance towards RTG in the past with £5 on my beloved Newcastle to win the Europa League, Newcastle have in fact have played an integral role in this study and have allowed me to experience the other end of the spectrum known as PMS (Post Match Stress).

PMS will have had an impact on most supporters, I have had the opportunity to experience the full, long term effects of this affliction and the devastation it can bring. The most common response is ramblings of tactics that could have been used, bile infused rhetoric in which a scapegoat is vilified and the answer to your team’s problems is glaringly obvious to you, but nobody else. This will fuel the PMS and it can spill into your home life. The first non-football fan you meet will generally bear the brunt and be ignored in the best case scenario or subjected to the ramblings of tactic laced hatred towards players or manager, of which they know nothing, care little and don’t want to hear about.

Much like the symptoms of RTG this will mellow and subside in stages. First comes the paranoia, the FA, the referee, your own players or manager are out to sabotage your club. You nervously look at tables and imagine the teams below you hurtling past at breakneck speed and a general feeling of fear substitutes the anger you once felt. This is a horrible situation as you now suffer in silence, the passionate outbursts of the previous stages are replaced with an internal monologue, distracting you from work and making the world a terrible place. Finally though you are given the mercy of apathy, you stop caring about the results, you stop looking at fixtures and a sad expression reminiscent of a time when you broke a toy you loved will remain on your face until the next hit of RTG.

So what can we do? There is nothing to stop FADs I’m afraid, the best thing to do is not let it affect life outside the game. For those in the paranoia stage this is a time to remember that there is life outside the game and remember FADs don’t last very long. They swing wildly and whatever your club has done to your poor mind will probably change next weekend and this time next month it’ll be a fresh dose of RTG for us all. Two signings and we’ll win the league! We can do it! I feel my hit of RTG, where’s my fiver!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Is sacking managers the immediate solution?

A quick answer from Old Trafford is no, while the Russian at Stamford Bridge is in favour. There is hardly a universal answer, but most teams sitting at the bottom of the Premier League decided to put the blame on their former managers. It can only be known in May how effective their moves are. The Linesman pre-assesses case-by-case whether the decisions of the board are justified.
Reading: Was it the manager’s fault?

They have surely produced some entertaining football. Two goals in the last ten minutes frustrated Chelsea; leading Manchester United three times was nullified by conceding four goals before the interval; and the improbable 5-7 loss in Capital One Cup, despite leading Arsenal 4-0 at half time.

Yes they can score, but they are better at giving away goals. Brian McDermott could not elevate the team to another level, but in fact, the quality of the squad and their playing style are just short of Premier League standard. Being the best defensive team in Championship last season, limited emphasis were placed on further improving their defence. This only made their mission even harder.

Is solid defence what Nigel Adkins is going to bring? He was more well-known for leading the exciting and attacking Southampton. Even if he is an expert in defence, how influential could he be with six matches to go?

Sunderland: A little bit too late?

In contrast to Reading, the Black Cats can’t quite find a way to score. 7 goals in 9 matches since Danny Graham has joined is not what Martin O’Neill anticipated. The spending on Steven Fletcher, Adam Johnson, as well as the existing talents of Stephane Sessegnon and James McClean hardly manifested on the scoresheet. Martin O’Neill has failed to transform the attacking form he brought to Aston Villa to the Stadium of Light.

The decision to farewell O’Neill only came when the alarm started to ring – currently at the edge of safety zone on goal difference. The aggressive and controversial Paolo Di Canio is appointed, attempting to re-ignite the team. With the Italian made himself available a month ago, has Sunderland left it all a bit too late?

Aston Villa: Staying faithful

The humiliating 0-8 night at Stamford Bridge was followed by two more white-washed defeats. Entering the year 2013 on a low, Aston Villa is starting to discover the way of winning. The somewhat stubborn Paul Lambert is adamant youth is the key to success. There might be more experienced players in the squad than Andres Weimann and Christian Benteke, but their enthusiasm and desires are what Lambert embraces. There are occasionally schoolboy errors, but the growth and improvement throughout the season is encouraging and a sign that Lambert is keen for long-term development rather than a stepping-stone onto a bigger club. Although still far from guaranteeing Premier League status next season, their tolerance and faith towards Lambert is a rarity and at least a partial success in the realistic world.

Southampton: Doing it the right way?

David Puncheon rescued the Saints at Stamford Bridge, but could not save the job of Nigel Adkins. It was a debatable decision to sack the manager on a high. Now it proves Pochettino is indeed the right man to rely upon.

The Argentine is able to bring Southampton to the next level of football with the same crop of players. Utilising the work rate and pace of their frontline, characteristic in the Championship last season, Pochettino advocated a high pressing style, which further eases the pressure at the back. It is a risky tactic but Southampton has been executing it close to perfection, in particular Ricky Lambert and Jay Rodriguez. Victories against Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City say it all. There is more work to be done before claiming it safe, but the Saints are looking very confident at this crucial stage of the season.

QPR: It is Just All Wrong

They have got quality players; they knew Mark Hughes’ philosophy did not work; they made the right decision as early as in December. Unfortunately, it is the players that disappoint the supporters and left Harry Redknapp dejected.

The ex-Tottenham manager first restored the order by solidifying the defence. The arrival of Loic Remy, Andros Townsend and Jermaine Jenas represents stage two of the fight for survival — playing to win. Just when it seems they are about to produce a miracle, they self-destructed. Christopher Samba was worryingly clumsy at Craven Cottage, raising doubt if the seldom-used Nedum Onuoha is even fitter. Bobby Zamora’s ruthlessness and more crucially Stephane M’bia’s indiscipline took away the important 3 points against Wigan.

These are all out of Harry’s hands, who has already done a marvellous job to restore hope for QPR. While the board made a logical decision in managerial change, it could be the promised relegation clauses that contributes to the lack of fighting spirit in Loftus Road.