Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Look The Other Way

Well, that last blog post, all the way back in October turned out to be a pile of old shit. There are reasons for it, some more valid than others, but I can't be arsed going into that now, I will though, very soon, maybe. I'm sure it will be fucking fascinating when I get round to doing it...... first though, I have to get some practice in writing more than 140 characters.

Frankly, I'm disappointed in Roy Hodgson.  He's a man I'd like to like. I like his crumpled and dishevelled look, and I like his generallly bewildered but amused air. I like the fact that he comes across as urbane and well read; I like the fact that he has a hinterland. What does he know who only cricket knows, as it were. Or some such shit. I think he has a form of Tourettes though, one which compels him to bark "footballing reasons" as his response to any difficult question. This would be hilarious if it didn't also compel him to regard the football supporters of this nation as idiots.

This tendency first came to light when, at his first press conference, he was asked why he had broken the sporting boycott of South Africa. To be honest, I thought it was a bit of  a cheeky fucking question, and not entirely appropriate, not at that time: it became interesting in retrospect though. Roy's response was that he had gone to South Africa for "footballing reasons". Well, Roy, few of us thought that you had gone for gastronomic reasons. I suspect that  few people care about this, it was just some smart arse journalist trying to make mischief, but this was the first sighting, by me, anyway, of the footballing reasons response.

Regardless of the cheek of the question, Hodgson could have given a much more interesting answer. I don't know why he went, maybe he wasn't as intelligent then as he is now, and hadn't given it any serious thought, or didn't think it mattered, or was a supporter of apartheid;  it would have been interesting though, to hear if his perceptions had changed while he was there, and if he had any regrets about his decision. He chose not to be interesting, which, in the light of subsequent controversies with Micah Richards, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry, is, well,  interesting.

We all know that Rio was dropped for footballing reasons. Fair enough, but to continue to drop him for footballing reasons, as defenders drop like flies, looks a bit clumsy. He looks a bit of a butterfingers. When it comes to football, I have no idea what Hodgson's reasons are for repeatedly disregarding Ferdinand, and I have no brief for Rio at all. Frankly, I could give as much of a shit about him as I could anyone who does not play for the Blues……..not much of a shit at all, but, something seems wrong here, and it wouldn't be entirely irrational to consider that Rio is a victim of John Terry's poor behaviour and reputation. Few would now believe that Rio has been dropped for footballing reasons, and, in my opinion, as worthless as it is, if anyone should be dropped for non footballing reasons, it should be Terry, not Ferdinand.

In fact, as footballing reasons go, they are both serial failures. This pair are part of a golden generation that has succeeded only in humiliating the nation. Could the team have coped without John Terry? Well, Chelsea managed it, and it seems unlikely that he would be missed on account of his winning personailty. According to a few reports I have read, half the squad can't stand him, if not for one indiscretion, then another. Then there is his laughably egotistical behaviour at the Champions League final. The wrong man has been sacrificed here.

Does it matter? Most pundits are writing us off before we start, so this is where will see the mettle of Hodgson………in how he gets the players he has taken to perform. He has a way and style of playing that he likes and he will have picked players to suit that style, people he can trust to do the things that he wants them to.  Apparently, his preparations are meticulous and his players are extremely well drilled. He likes a solid defence and midfield, his teams are very hard to break down. We will, no doubt, make life very difficult for the opposition when they are in our half, I'm not so convinced that we will make life difficult for them when we are in their half, but, football truly is a beautiful and strange game, and anything can happen.

If you are interested in Hodgson's philosophy, there is a brilliant article in todays Guardian

So. Blues. It's really good being a Blues fan. I don't know how many times I have said it on this blog over the years, but there genuinely is never a dull moment. Once again, we are enjoying a close season of drama and intrigue. Will we get our accounts published? Will Carson manage to pay his rent? Is there a mystery buyer waiting in the wings, maybe another Ken Wheldon, waiting to flog off the few bits of silver we have left?  Will Chris Hughton leave for some mediocre bunch of nobody's? Who knows, who knows.

Last season, there was some debate around whether we would prefer to win that tin pot cup nobody but the winner cares about, or stay in the prem. My preferred option was both of the above, but, if I was only allowed to choose one, it would have been to stay in the prem, not because I have much love for the place, I don't, but because the indications were that if we went down we would be in serious shit. Many on the various message boards were blase about relegation, believing that we would quickly rise again, as we had before. I never believed that, the whole of last season reminded me throughout (and I said so across various social media) of the year Saunders took us so disastrously down. People were saying then that it wouldn't hurt to go down for a season, regroup and come back stronger. It took 18 years. I was worried last season that history might be repeating itself, and I am more worried now.

Not overly worried, you understand. I am a Blues fan, after all. Most of us are stoics, we don't expect much. We are made of tough stuff. If nothing else, we should be able to shed a few of the cry babies that have decided to support us since our brief elevation to yo yo club. There is a disappointment though, or a potential disappointment, as no one knows what the next few weeks and months will bring. Chris Hughton has been a breath of fresh air. Last season was the most enjoyable since the 70's. Not all of our performance were delightful, but enough of them were. Hughton brightened up a place that had become rather grey. He did it with cast offs from other clubs, bargains from obscure Scottish clubs, our own flotsam and jetsam that weren't good enough to be pilfered by others, and some young talent of our own.

It looks likely that Hughton will go, and I would also be surprised if we can hang on to Butland. It would be ace to have one of ours play for England, but never to have seen him play a first team game for us. Redmond, Mutch and Burke will probably be wanted as well, and maybe King, and with our finances the way they are, I can't see us refusing any money, for any player. For the first time in years, we have a manager and players with the potential to keep us smiling, and there is every chance that we will piss all that potential and talent up the wall.

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