Well the beggars and borrowers have shuffled out of the limelight now and it’s time for the big boys. Ooh lovely. The Carling Cup chucked up a few surprises but not Boro who now head off to that most welcoming of London retreats, the New Den. Can’t wait to get off that South Bermondsey platform – oh, it’s like stepping off a quaint little set on Thomas the Tank Engine.
Apparently this is Miss Millwall, but look at the state of the pitch!
And in the interest of balance here's a camp Mourinho-looky-likey
Anyway enough discussion of the lowly. It’s the Premier League, boys n girls! We got a taste of the usual suspects on Wednesday night as Capello’s ‘new look England’ incorporating so many flops the line-up resembled a clinic for erectile dysfunction.
Despite some necessary jeering, the fans were warm, civilised and strangely respectful, like the Members Stand at Lord’s in the 80s when the cricket selectors had sent out eleven new fluffy white-flannelled lambs to the slaughter.
There was a bit to be chipper about. Walcott did what we know he can – the shovel is ice-cold and the shit is red hot when he gets going – and I wonder why neither Wenger nor Capello hasn’t bunged him down the middle on occasion.
Adam Johnson did enough to prove he should’ve been ahead of Shaun Wright-Phillips in the queue for South Africa (for example he passed to a team-mate a few times). And his missing of a sitter reminded you that Emile Heskey wasn’t playing.
Gerrard, surprise, surprise, looked better in a central area. Lampard appears to have remained in some sort of non-executive role, like some recently retired politician at a merchant bank. Bench him for Chrissakes.
Other than that we had Capello doing a strange impression of Sven-Goran Eriksson, sitting tight, emotion barely flickering across his chops. At times I wondered if Madame Tussaud’s had sent a Fabio replacement.
And of course Capello is in hot water for telling everyone except the sainted Becks that his England career is over. We’ve discovered a lot that’s lacking in the England manager in the last few months and that was just bloody mean-spirited.
It’s not like it’s the wrong decision. David might sneak back into the side under an assumed name given that he currently flounces about as a weird mixture of Grizzly Adams and Rod Steiger in The Illustrated Man. But for God’s sake call the man first, Fabio. Maybe send James Corden along with some flowers...
'Come on Becks, pick yourself up son!'
Any road, I’m not expecting a marked improvement soon with England, although I do anticipate that the likes of Rooney, a man who currently looks less like one of the top five players in the world and more like a ravaged inmate of the Big Brother household, will return to form in the bosom of their adoring club support.
I don’t reckon on the Premier League serving up a feast of footy this season but it’s going to be a tight one, I reckon – and all the better for it. Here’s my reckoning.
Given that Wenger’s held on to Fabregas like a drowning man clinging to a bit of driftwood, this could be a good year. Schwarzer, if he gets him, won’t let him down and a fit RVP will help. But if you build in the inevitable post-Christmas dip then... 4th.
I picture an enraged O’Neill bouncing furiously out of Villa Park like an Ulster Yosemite Sam. Lerner’s post-resignation comments suggest that the ghost of Doug Short-Arms-Deep-Pockets Ellis has returned. A tricky season. 8th.
I’m assuming McLeish has his eye on someone other than Zigic to beef up his squad although the Serbian will bring new dimensions to the phrase ‘a bit of a handful’. More like a ‘lorryload’. Can’t see them improving on last year though but. 12th
Another season of clogging and humping and midfielders gazing like forlorn astronomers into the night sky. And Big Sam’s great gob keeping Wrigley’s in business. 11th.
Jaunty Ian Holloway will be his usual engaging self. His team are doomed, I tell you. 20th.
Owen Coyle re-introduced his players to grass last season and they’ll improve this. My surprise team of the season. 9th.
There’s lot of talk of kids being blooded this season. Not sure when. It’ll be the same old suspects and the return of Essien makes them look better already. The team to beat. 1st. (Yawn).
Moyes has managed to keep hold of his top players and Kenwright’s kept hold of Moyes. On the coat-tails of the Champs League but, like a Shaun Wright-Phillips dive, falling short. 7th.
FULHAMSparky wants to bring in Santa Cruz. That’s right, a good solid hard-working team really needs a gorgeous preening layabout up top. A struggle for them. 14th.
Meanwhile Hodgson is looking good. The limbs of Torres are vital, and Coles Joe and Carlton (?) will help and if the club’s finances get sorted this could be a very good year. 3rd.
The Abu-Dhabi billions tower over the Premier League like Canary Wharf lours over the estates of Tower Hamlets. Still there’s a lot of selfish fuckwits working in Canary Wharf and I reckon the same could be said of Citeh. Plus they’ve got a dud manager. 5th.
I dunno. If Rooney continues his wretched form, Rio’s back keeps creaking like a woodwormed wardrobe and Scholes and Giggsy can’t start their mobility scooters they could struggle – who am I trying to kid? 2nd.
They rise again. We await the next chapter of the Gospel According to St.James. Toonites’ expectations are, for once, realistic. And getting round Sol will put a good mile on a strikers journey. 15th
Headguards on lads, it’s time for a Tony Pulis team-talk. They’ll keep plugging away. And get by. Still no one has quite worked out how to defend the Delapidator. 13th
Haven’t got a clue how they’ll do. Don’t think Brucie has either. 9th or 17th. Let’s say 11th.
Well, the nation’s favourite geezer – the friendly face of the Mitchells – has been associated with everyone from Stephen Ireland to Bobby the ball-playing bulldog but I reckon the Champs League – win or lose – is going to take it out of them. 6th.
Well they’ll do better than Blackpool. 18th.
The Gold n Sullivan generation. Keeping hold of Scottie, 20 million for Carlton, Becks is going to walk through the door any day... larvely... we won the World Cup, mate!... Sigh. 17th.
They should go down every year but never do. Somehow an array of Central American jugglers do enough for ‘em. Give or take the odd 9-1 pounding, they will survive. 16th.
WOLVES‘By ‘eck’as like. We’re right poor, us and nobbut middlin’ so owt we get’d be right good cos we’re nowt compared t’ Big boys.’ Cue the violins, Mick. 19th.
You see if I'm not right. May your teams prosper, entertain, and avoid too many Scottish purchases.
I do love the footy.