Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Refs aren't the problem Lennon


Knocked out the League cup in the quarter finals after a “soft” penalty decision gave Aberdeen victory at the death over Falkirk, manager Steven Pressley would not have been blamed if he had spent his whole post match interview ranting about Steve O’ Reilly’s decision, however this was not the case.

Pressley said: “It's a sore one and everyone is disappointed but I don't want to talk about the penalty. I could talk about things and that will become a headline and I don't want that to be a headline. I want our performance to become the headline.”
A smart move from Pressley avoiding any backlash for the referee and instead highlighting the fact that his young squad with an average age of 23 nearly caused another cup upset after beating Hearts in the last round.
If only another ex Celtic player could handle defeat as well as Pressley.
Neil Lennon has confirmed that for the second week in a row Celtic will be writing to the SFA about decisions against them to ask why this is happening?
The SFA should reply that Referees and assistants are human, everybody makes mistakes, and Celtic are not helping with the amount of pressure they are putting on officials before and after games such as Willie Collum, before  Old Firm game Lennon was in  the papers speaking of his hope he was strong enough to take charge of the game and right after he was out berating him for THAT penalty decision.
Dougie Mcdonald is being hauled in front of the SFA this after Celtic’s visit to Tannadice last week involved an incident where he changed his mind of awarding Celtic a penalty after  consulting with his linesman Steven Craven who has since resigned because of the backlash to the incident form Celtic and the media.
What Lennon doesn’t seem to understand is the fact that the RIGHT decision was made not awarding the penalty as the United keeper touched the ball, not the man so there should be no problem, however Celtic have a different stance on this.
The Old Firm match could be looked at again and  before the penalty decision, Willie Collum could be seen to be wrong in not sending off Anthony Stokes, Georgios Samaras three times and Glen Loovens, all of Celtic who were lucky to stay on the pitch after many incidents, again Celtic have a different stance on this but they should look at themselves before blaming everybody else.
Willie Collum has received death threats from mindless idiots because of his mistake and Celtic complaining will not help the situation get any better but Lennon must look at the facts instead of for people to blame.
The facts show that Rangers beat Celtic on Sunday, not the ref and were already ahead before the penalty was  awarded.
The facts also show that Lennon has failed every test he has been given as a manager so far at Celtic. Ross County, Braga, FC Utretcht and now the Old Firm game  have shown Lennon still has much to prove and many problems to deal with, particularly his defence before he blames everybody else for his team’s problems.
If anybody still has doubts and believes Lennon and Celtic are in the right then this video will shed some light on why Lennon knows so much about diving for penalties and how his condemnation of the situation should raise a small chuckle

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Is Rooney's departue that much of a problem for Man u?

Wayne Rooney
All the sports pages of every paper and every sports channel or news on radio and television have today have been dominated by one major story that came out of Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Sir Alex Ferguson admitted in a press conference that Wayne Rooney wants away from Old Trafford and is refusing to sign a new contract. There has been rumours of this since all of Rooney’s dirty laundry was spread all over the papers in August however, this was still a shock to many and has created nerves and discomfort among Manchester United fans and Rooney’s statement today will not help their matters.
Wayne Rooney released a statement today claiming his desire to leave was not down to money or contract terms, it instead due problems with the future of Manchester United. Whether he meant the current squad or the lack of big signings is being quizzed as fans begin to fear the thought of life without their star striker, however is Rooney leaving really as big as it is made out?
Wayne Rooney over the last few years has been the talisman in the Manchester United team and has led the frontline as the main goal threat, particularly after the loss of Christiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez a few seasons back.
He has been off form this season and although Manchester United remain unbeaten in all competition, they have struggled to kill off games and mixed with defensive errors has led to a slow start which mixed with the fact they are currently behind rivals Manchester City is a hard fact to take for fans, although the season is still young to be fair.
When United have looked impressive this season however Wayne Rooney has rarely been involved which can be seen as a positive for the fans as players like Berbatov, Nani and Hernandez have shown the class they have with a mixture of skill and great goals giving fans at Old Trafford reasons to celebrate.
If Rooney leaves in January and no strikers are brought in until at least the end of the season, Berbatov will become the main attacking threat at United and if he keeps up the form he has been on this season then he will be successful in this role if support and more goals are provided from Nani and Hernandez who have been impressive in their own rights so far this season.
Apart from these three who will most likely be the three main attacking forces there are many other players Sir Alex can chose to help the fans forget about Rooney. Young players such as Macheda, Obertan and Bebe, who although he had never seen him in person, Sir Alex paid 7 million for him so he must be a good player as Ferguson hardly gets signings wrong (Djemba Djemba a rare mistake!)
One other player who could step forward could be Michael Owen, at least in the short term. To say Owen has had problems with injury is a massive understatement, however when fit Owen could be used effectively starting (maybe not finishing all) or as a super sub. He has been referred to by some as “past it” however Owen still has an eye for goal and a double at Scunthorpe and his goal against Bolton have reminded Ferguson he still has plenty to offer for United if given the chance.
Rooney may want to leave and a large cash sum would help cushion the loss (unless from City!) however Manchester have many attacking options that should not be overlooked and there is plenty of reasons for the fans to look on the positive side and see Rooney’s departure as the chance for others to take over and show what they can do.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Some national pride returned, but for how long?

No matter how it is looked at,facts will show that on  Tuesday the 12th of October 2010 Scotland were defeated 3-2 by Spain, the reigning European and World champions.
     However on Tuesday night Scotland restored some pride to the national team, showing a certain amount of character and fight that has not been under Craig Levein's so far and if being a little harsh, any of George Burley's reign either.
   Under Walter Smith and continued by Alex Mcleish as manager of Scotland, Scotland battled for everything and the players looked as if they were proud to be playing for the national team unlike the chore it has seemed to turn into.
  Playing the World champions and going 2-0 down seemed to spark something inside Scotland which has not been seen in the past few years and was a welcome sight for Scotland fans. Goals from Steven Naismith and an unfortunate Pique own goal sent Hampden wild with belief that Scotland could go on and win the game. In the traditional Scottish way however the gun was aimed at their feet and a Mcmanus error led to Spanish sub Llorente or "the Lion King" as he is known firing past a helpless Alan Mcgregor who was on top form again for his country.
    Scottish hearts sunk and Spain held on but rightfully so as the final whistle went and national pride returned to the fans and belief that Scotland had recovered form their recent slump but for how long will it last this time?
   When Levein was announced as the replacement for George Burley, the Scottish fans and media tipped him  to take Scotland to their first International final since the 98 World Cup.
  The reality however, is that after four Euro 2012 qualifiers, Scotland sit in third place with four points and have played one more game than Spain who are first with nine points, Czech republic who are second with six and Lithuania who are 4th with three points.Not the greatest position and Levein must hold his hands up for a lacklustre campain so far. An opening draw in Lithuaia was decent but the following last minute 2-1 win over Liechtenstein and the controversial toothless 1-0 loss in the Czech Republic where Levein played the infamous 4-6-0 has almost certainly cost Scotland any chance they had for a place in Euro 2012.. Pride after the Spain game will not last much longer unless Craig Levein makes some changes and begins to make them now.
   Scotland do not play another competitive game until the Czech republic come to Hampden on the 3rd of September 2011 which is 11 months away and now is the best chance Levein will have to start making changes that benefit Scotland for longer than the next few games.
   In my opinion a five year plan could be effective if put in place over ther next few months by Levein to help Push Scotland back up the World Rankings and get into a International finals again. During the long wait before games , three or four Squad training get-togethers should be organised when possible with these being used to introduce younger players into the fold and practice formations and tactics so they are not just thrown together at last second. Players like Danny Wilson, David Goodwillie and Paul Caddis should be brought in for the older squad members and this will make sure if it works, that Scotland will have a younger squad that will be together for the next few years atleast and will be able to improve as a team and hopefully bring Scotland up to the level they want to be and make sure the pride the fans have lasts longer than until the next game Scotland struggle against a team that is supposed to be an "easy win."