Tuesday, September 13, 2005

One man team?

The phrase gets used quite a bit, fairly frequently nowadays at Macc. Last season at times it was either Jon Parkin scored or the team didn’t as a whole. When you think about it though, the way we played most of the time was to play every attack through the big man, hoping for him to spread the play or knock in down to someone. Such a strategy is surely going to yield a lot of goals for Parkin himself, and with him still injured, we seem lost.

Playing that style just doesn’t work without him and although we seem to be able to play good football at times, those times just don’t occur often enough. At the moment the only time we look like scoring is when Martin Bullock has the ball at his feet running at the defence. The other week he terrorised the Boston defence but he can’t be asked to be our only creativity for 90 minutes every week.

So we again lost away without managing to score, and even though from what I’ve seen Russell was unlucky in hitting the post, no goals in seven games isn’t great for a striker.

Flashback to last season and at the same stage our strikers had scored 8 between them, Tipton 2 and Parkin 6. So far this season only Kevin Townson has hit the net twice, one of them being in the Carling Cup.

The strange thing is though that it’s the defence that’s letting us down more than anything. Despite being the same back 4/5 as last season apart from Potter leaving, we are conceding goals far too much, and mainly from set pieces.

Will things be all rosey again in a few weeks with BJP back then? Well so far the midfield has been the only positive, Martin Bullock seems to be a brilliant acquisition and Danny Whit looks nearly back to his best of a few years ago, so hopefully the answer will be yes. Losing someone who scored 26 goals the previous season would be a huge blow to any team, let’s just hope it wasn’t a one season wonder. And even if we are in some ways a one man team, he is quite a big one man!

That’s enough of my pessimism for the moment, I’m predicting us to win tonight. So far this season I’ve been scarily right on most occasions so I reckon if I say Macc will win then they will…Well it’s better than superstitious lucky pants surely!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Erhalten Sie innen dort!

As they would say in Liechtenstein. Well it’s German really but I don’t think they have enough inhabitants to create a Liechtensteinian language. Come to think of it, I think the main reason is that Liechtensteinian would be too hard to pronounce. But what’s this got to do with football?

Well due to constant disappointments with England, I was trying to think which nationality I’d like to have a link to. I think the boys in blue from Vaduz get my vote.

In one of the biggest matches in European football history they beat Luxembourg 3-0 the other night, only their third ever competitive win. Imagine the celebrations when you actually win a game, or even score probably.

I’d love to have some Liechtensteinian (I wish there was an easy abbreviation!) blood in me, I might have got a game for the national team myself! The fact that I read a book about them a few years ago must make me eligible surely? It worked for Tony Cascarino and Ireland anyway.

As you guessed I don’t really enjoy weeks of international football, it gives me less chance to talk about Macc. That service will resume at the weekend when we get thumped by Carlisle, don’t think I’ll be going myself and with our form at the moment I can’t see us doing anything special. Having said that last time I was so pessimistic we won at Forest so maybe lightning will strike twice.

Oh and for those non German speakers amongst you it means Get In There, if you were wondering…

Who’s Next In Line?

So if Saturday’s win over Wales was boring and unconvincing, we had to go a step better, or worse, last night didn’t we.

I would firstly like to point out that although yes we lost, yes we were crap and yes it was Northern Ireland, it’s only the fourth competitive game we’ve lost under the Swedish ladies man. Cries of sack him now are on everyone’s tongues but shouldn’t we first try and think of someone who would take his job?

I’d say most of the blame should be heaped on the players anyway, who were playing a different formation and in different positions in some cases, but made mainly lower league players look good. Not that I have anything against lower league players of course!

It did annoy me how in the first 20 minutes every time we got the ball we got kicked, but I suppose that was just roughing up our “world class” players, which seemed to work. The midfield did nothing, defence looked dodgy, and was the £17m man even playing? And don’t get me started on Rooney, I wish Beckham had slapped him just before half time when he spat his dummy out.

Enough of that though, they don’t deserve any more column inches. I’d prefer to talk about our other national team in action in the crickeeeet. This last test could go either way after the first day, I still think our best chance of winning is going to be hoping our usual lousy weather works in our favour for a change. For those who say cricket’s boring compared to football, did you not watch that game at Windsor Park, oh dear I’ve started again…

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Subs are allowed before the last 15 minutes you know Brian

On Sunday (yes Sunday we had to play because of bloody England, why can’t they play on Sunday and then everyone else wouldn’t have to move? That’s a different rant entirely though…) we were 2-0 up and coasting at half time. Boston then bring on two forward players, one being Julian “I used to be good” Joachim. They pulled one back straight away and then were attacking us pretty much constantly for the next 15/20 minutes.

Now I know I’m not a manager and haven’t had that much training in that field but to anyone watching it’s blatantly obvious if things stay the same they are going to score again. And they did. And how I shouted. Then lo and behold here comes the double substitution for us, talk about shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Why do managers do crazy things like this? Even sometimes when losing they don’t bother, I’m sure they must think “Oh this formation/crap striker Allan Russell doesn’t seem to be doing too well at the moment, but if I leave it long enough it will work eventually.” No it won’t!

Three substitutes are allowed so why not use them when things aren’t going right.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Why Can't I Run FIFA?

There are so many rules in football that you wish didn't exist aren't there? Just little things usually that do your head in, they usually annoy you far more when you've just lost of course. Football can never be perfect cos then there would be nothing to argue or moan about but here are seven rules I'd have changed (Yes I know 7 is an odd number to choose but off the top of my head I couldn’t think of 10!):

1. "Shephearding" the ball out. No not shephearding, obstruction you mean. Anywhere else apart from the little channels near your own goal and it would be a foul, but no, it's an excuse for big fat defenders to shove people out of the way for a goal kick.

2. Harsher punishments for giving the ref so much crap his ears go blue. Wayne Rooney would only play 15 minutes a week before being shown red but it’s worth it. In fact, that’s the main reason I would enforce such law, the lad needs to learn some respect! God I sound like I’m middle-aged not 19…

3. No yellow cards for goal celebrations. In fact, yellow cards for boring celebrations, yes Big Al I’m looking at you. What’s wrong with taking off your shirt, doing a dozen somersaults or going to the crowd when the ball is in the net?

4. Players conceding free kicks, and then walking off with the ball. So irritating, and to make matters worse, the ref usually has a go at the other team for not taking it back again! If I was Mr FIFA I’d say if the other team runs away with the ball then you can take it where they drop it if it helps you.

5. The second yellow card always has to be for a worse foul than the first. If someone has already been booked, you’ll see the ref go up to them, reach into his pocket and think “Oh sh*t I’ve already booked him I can’t give him another,” and usually lets them off! If it’s bad enough for a first card, it’s bad enough for a second.

6. Fouls on goalkeepers. Simply translated as “An opposition player jumped for the ball within 3 yards of David James/any other bobbins keeper who drops it, so they must have been fouled.” Forwards are entitled to jump for the ball so let them, it’s a man’s game as they say.

7. Well I’ve got to say something about this annoying new interpretation of offside. It seems to me it just gives linesmen the opportunity to give even later decisions as they only raise the flag when someone touches the ball or interferes some other way. Is there no better way of doing offside? I actually can’t think myself on this one but surely there is!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Sh*t ground, no fans. Yeah 'cos they are all "supporting" united

For all you big shots who “support” the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and man united, I’ve got some advice for you. Go and support your local team instead!

Of course I say that because it always annoys me when probably half the people you speak to off the cuff about football are united “fans”.

“Oh you go and watch them much then,” I like asking even though I know what the answer will be. And before you say it yes I know it isn’t easy getting tickets for united games but you could at least know something about the team you supposedly support.

So I’d just like to give reasons why supporting a small team is so much better. Firstly you don’t have to worry about getting a ticket as it’s never full, or anywhere near in Macc’s case. It’s usually far cheaper and Ok you won’t see the best players in the world but that doesn’t make the games less interesting.

You can actually talk to the players without them looking down at you as if you were some sh*t on the bottom of their expensive shoes. It’s also a lot easier to go to games as you know that three quarters of them will be at 3 o’clock on a Saturday or a Tuesday night. Who wants to play on Sunday morning or Saturday tea-time?

Most importantly of all you feel much more a part of the club than you would going to watch one Premiership match a year surely?

Think about it, are you really a fan watching your team occasionally on TV or down the pub? Oh and yes it might be “the lower leagues” but you couldn’t say that if they disappeared, then there might be nobody for you to look down your noses at anymore.

I said Big Macc not Big Mac

Right well here we go! I could talk for hours about my beloved Macclesfield Town but I will try to stick to things that any fan may find mildly interesting!

If you opened this up thinking it was a tribute to McDonald’s finest sandwich then I’m afraid you’ll have to be directed elsewhere, come to think of it maybe I’ll get more visitors talking about them, but anyway I’ll try and stick to the football.

It seems as though everyone must like us though as apparently we are one of the least hated clubs in the country, probably because few people take any notice of us. Man City fans had to though; I’ll forever remember the looks of sheer embarrassment for them as they had to play us in a league game a few years ago. We of course lost both games, just, but it was worth it all the same.

It’s things like that which make you love your team, and for me personally I’ve seen the best ten years in the club’s history. From being one defeat away from relegation out of the Conference to playing City, Fulham, Wigan etc in league game in five years was some achievement. Not that I can see it happening again, more likely we will be back to where we started soon enough…