Friday, 20 March 2009
Crewe Alexandra v Leeds United preview
When we played Crewe at ER earlier in the season I left the ground feeling as if we'd lost, even though we had just triumphed 5:2. The reason for my dismay was the fact that despite entering added time with a 5 goal lead we managed to gift two goals in a minute to a team that was clearly destined for a long hard season in the lower reaches of the division. In effect the match exposed the Achilles heal of the Leeds team, the soft underbelly of their defence. Little did I know that the frustration at conceding soft goals was going to be a continuing theme and irritant for the first part of the season and one that ultimately cost Gary Mac his job.
We now travel to the return fixture in a much more robust condition, thanks to Larry, to face a Crewe side who will also be a different proposition to the one who meekly surrendered at ER. They have put together a decent run that has seen them rise out of the depths of the relegation mire to the relative safety of mid table. They've done this by compromising their more traditional "total football " style for a more pragmatic and robust approach more suited for Div 3. So what might have seemed a good chance to increase our poor record of away wins at the expense of The Railwaymen has now changed status and falls into the "tricky place to go" category. It is however a must win game if we are to clinch the 2nd automatic spot which is not entirely impossible if we can maintain our unbeaten run.
Of course tomorrow we will be without our petulant talisman Mr Beckford who will be serving a one match suspension for last week's red card and as we all know any team will sorely miss a player who has already notched 29 goals this season. Things might not be so bad though. Liam Dickinson's debut last week offered the promise of someone who could be a reasonable foil for Lucianno despite his lack of full match fitness and with Mike Grella champing at the bit on the bench the journey back from Cheshire could still be a satisfying one.
Andy Hughes and Robbo are also travelling with the squad tomorrow although I don't think they are forced to make the bench but it all augers well for competition for places as we enter the really squeaky bum stage of the season.
One thing that registered on my antennae this week is the latest saga in the Carlos Tevez, or is it Ugly Betty, affair. No first let me say that right from the outset the football authorities have mishandled this issue with glorious aplomb. I mean how ridiculous was the original fine of £5.5m for West Ham? This was given for blatant cheating in illegally signing two players on the run in to the end of the Premier league season in an attempt to stave off relegation. The fact that one of them, Tevez, scored vital goals, including the one that ultimately saved them, just added to the seriousness of the misdemeanour. In Sunday League football Tevez would have been called a "Ringer" and his team thrown out of the competition but this is the money grabbing league and the minds of the powers that be move in mysterious ways..........................I mean where was the logic with a fine of £5.5m that then enabled them access to £30m of Premier League money for the following season?
Now that The Blunts have been successful in suing for compensation the floodgates have opened for other parties to claim their "entitlement" from Neil Warnock to the guy who has the burger van on Bramall Lane who thinks he would have sold an extra 2000 salmonella baps at each home game. Even Capt Birdseye, never one to miss a chance to make a quick buck, is looking at the possibility of invoking claims for bonus payments included in the transfer contracts if the Blunts stayed up for Killgallon, Hulse et al. And whilst the chairmen, managers and players argue about ££££££££££££ the poor old fans of Leeds, Luton, Rotherham, Northampton and any other team that have had points docked for "financial irregularities" are incredulous that the Hammers escaped without any points sanction for cheating in the most obvious and knowing way possible.
So here's hoping for another 3 points tomorrow that will turn the screw on the teams above us and induce attacks of sweaty palms and worse amongst their players and fans..................just in time for next weeks visit of the Franchise Dons. Brilliant..........who needs the money grabbing League anyhow?