Inn his wisdom Harold Wilson once said that seven days was a long time in politics. He should have triend being a Stokie!! Seven days on it all feels so much brighter for us. Two deserved victories and we can breathe a little easier. The Birmingham game was one of our more hair raising days. From being two goals up and in total control we were suddenly clinging on for a point. Then We somehow bagged a crucial winner and the three points we seemed to have gifted away a quarter of an hour before. It was a fantastic win albeit with a 2nd half littered with faults. But after the awful run of defeats a win was a win and that was that. Fuller’s goal was a real masterpiece. I don’t doubt that if that goal had been scored by certain other teams in this division it would have received maximum media exposure. At the end of the Birmingham game the players must have felt fatigue abundance. It was exhausting enough just watching it on television!
There were few faults on Saturday against Liverpool however. As accomplished a showing as we’ve had since reaching the Premier League in 2008. An impressive showing that earned the win we thoroughly deserved. In the first half we overpowered Liverpool and outfought them. The significant factor in respect to our evolution as a team is that after going ahead we out-thought them. Stoke left little traps for them to fall into and on winning the ball back broke forward with confidence to keep our increasingly bedraggled opposition on the backfoot. Pennant and Etherington carrying the ball forward and, just as importantly, keeping possession when getting closed down. We stifled their threat in relative comfort. Our control was so comprehensive that Jonesy’s late goal just gave the scoreline a more realistic complexion, and so we achieved our first victory over Liverpool for 26 years . Some may choose to emphasise that this Liverpool isn’t the Europe conquering powerhouse we defeated 26 years ago but to under estimate the scale of this result is to miss some salient points. Two of Liverpool’s players returned from South Africa with World Cup winners medals. Gerrard Torres and Reina alone would be worth 60m pounds in transfer fees. Torres was in excellent form before we stifled him, his finishing, as ruthless as it is graceful, had returned and less than a week before he’d scored two classy goals to see off the champions. On Wednesday at Wigan Gerrard’s brilliant through ball had been met with a superb run and finish from their dynamic frontline leader. That we limited Liverpool to hopeful potshots and overhit through balls is a healthy testament to both our players application and workrate and Tony Pulis and our coaching staff’s attention to detail. The corner is turned and the elephants in the red and white room are evaporating. We go to West Brom with a chance to win three games on the trot for the first time since promotion. It’d be a great way to cement and celebrate the turning of the corner! By the time Jonesy scored darkness had given way to appropriately bright rays of sunshine here in Brisbane. Coffee tasted as luxurious as vintage champagne. As much as we gripe some moments are golden. This was a moment for us to be proud of our team. What a difference a week makes!
The FIFA mismanagement of the investigations into the bribery for votes allegations continues. The top table are, as ever, self governed by an indecipherable set of ethics. It seems that the Sunday Times and BBC’sPanorama expose have seriously, perhaps fatally, damaged the England bid. This is a baffling, depressing set of circumstances. Strangely, Blatter and his sycophants seem particularly aghast by the cloak and dagger nature of the findings. It does put the suits in a pickle. A spot of mock shock and futile gestures won’t be enough to extinguish this fire, yet the England bid is suffering. Those running the 2018 bid have felt the need to write all of the FIFA committee members to apologetically point out that they have no control of the British media… despite the articles in question being excellent pieces of journalism exposing deep seated corruption. So instead of being active in publicly addressing the skullduggery involved they sulk and take their embarrassment out on England’s bid. If ever there was a misplaced case of misplaced shoot the messenger it’s this. Whoever hosts the 2018 and 2022 World Cup, expect the allegations of wrongdoing to continue. This will run and run… and while the ruling body lacks the will to address the situation the brown paper bags will continue to be surreptitiously passed under tables in darkened rooms.
Brisbane Roar remain in fantastic form. A 2-1 win away to Melbourne Heart cementing the place on top of the league. This is the best Brisbane Roar side in their (admittedly short) history. The game against Perth glory has been re-arranged to take place on Wednesday 24th November. Bearing in mind the Ashes starts here on Thursday 25th and the whole city will be have poms swarming all over it and Robbie Fowler plays for Perth that is a rare piece of sharp marketing from the club. If current form is maintained the larger than average crowd will see some stylish football and a Roar win…. hopefully Robbie Fowler won’t get a touch of the ball!!
Fabio Capello’s selection of Jay Bothroyd is a surprise but primarily indicative of the dearth of English talent. That’s nothing against himself who has been in good form, but it’s common sense that international players have regular experience of playing against top level opposition. The England set up has been hit by the traditional flurry of injuries that accompany get togethers which doesn’t help. Andy Carroll has stated he’s desperate to recover from his injury and face France but when there such a lack or emerging talent he must know his chance won’t be too far away.