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Saturday, 11 February 2012

Tommy Smith, our 'Arry & the search for a new manager.

Tommy Smith will have enjoyed putting 'Arry Redknapp into row Z of the stands on more than one or two occasions during their playing careers in the 60's & 70's.  Tommy Smith was the archetypal defender of his time hewn out of granite with thighs of oak and a snarl that would freeze a winger from ten paces.  A scouser through and through he signed for his boyhood favourites, Liverpool, straight from school and went on to play 18 years for them capturing 4 league titles, two European cups and two FA Cups aswell as a couple of UEFA Cups, the odd European Super Cup and a few Charity shields.  By any measure he had a very successful career.  At the time our 'Arry was a sparrow legged cheeky winger plying his trade for his local club, West Ham United, in a team moulded from the Hammers academy and sprinkled with famous World Cup winners such as Moore, Peters and Hurst. In lots of ways both players epitomised the culture of the game at the time.  A working class game watched by working class fans with successful teams populated by talented local players  who mirrored the environment in which they had grown up in.  Fans and players understood each other in those far off days.

So why am I reminiscing about an uncompromising Liverpool full back and a tricky Cockney winger from another century?  Well both have hit the headlines this week for different reasons.  Splashed over the front and back pages is the news that Our 'Arry is the public's favourite to takeover from Capello as England manager whilst hidden away on page 6 there is a brief comment that the Liverpool hardman has put all his medals and memorabilia up for auction to raise some much needed cash for his family.  Smith is expecting to raise around £120k from the sale of his European Cup, FA Cup, League title medals which is a good £60k shy of what 'Arry received as a bung, sorry bonus, for selling a not very good centre forward and then getting his dog to bury the cash in Monaco. Somehow I think that encapsulates how far football has drifted from the true values of the game where the only drivers of the modern game are measured in pound notes, assets and balance sheets rather than trophies, entertainment and pride in your local club?

Back on Planet Leeds there have been lots more column inches speculating who the next Manager of the mighty whites might or might not be.  Keith Hill was seen on the M621 and his odds dropped from 33.1 to 3.1 in minutes.  Billy Davies' odds dropped after he was spotted arguing with a ticket inspector at Leeds station whilst Sven Goran Eriksson spent the early part of the week loitering in Ikea at Birstall drinking copious amounts of coffee waiting for a reply to his job application.  The Happy Chocker's prediction of the inexperienced Neil Redfearn taking up the reins looks more solid after Capt Birdseye announced Leeds "aren't in a hurry" to appoint and Redders will be in place for another three games.  Funny that..............I'm sure the white bearded one said the reason Larry got the sack was because the were in a hurry to replace so as not to miss an opportunity to get promoted? Maybe I dreamt that or maybe he is once again talking total bollox!

Brighton are the visitors to the "Theatre of No Ambition" today.  Poyet's team has slipped from the lofty position in the table when we played them earlier in the season and are now level on points with Leeds just two points off the play off spots. The arctic weather in Yorkshire will make for a chilly afternoon but with more protests planned off the pitch and a keenly fought game to look forward to on the pitch another unpredictable trip to West Yorkshire is in the offing.  My slightly frosty crystal ball is suggesting a 2.0 Leeds win.  That would do nicely thank you very much...............................finally some breaking news......Fabio Capello has just booked a table at Bibi's for 6.30pm he wouldn't come to Leeds would he?
Can't wait.

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