Friday, 20 March 2015

Total Eclipse of the Premier League

WHERE THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN?

Well that's what the wife said when I got in, but it's what a lot of you have been tweeting darkly over the past few months, Well I've been working in America, home of the freak-based sports of basketball and US football, so I've not really caught up with the footy save by social media.

The fact that my absence both in the real and cyber worlds has coincided with a vein of form of Bill Gates-sized richness by my beloved Boro has filled your correspondent with no end of dread. Better surely to shut the fuck up until May and hope that sees Aitor's Avengers over the line?

Plus I've been working with this bloody Watford fan who keeps crowing about his scatty ragbag of a team so I really don't want to put the kybosh on my boys.

What we have agreed on though is that Championship football far surpasses Premier League footy for excitement, intrigue and unpredictability. And we'll keep saying that if neither of us get that promotion.

Then again, most Europeans would agree with that damning indictment of what they call the EPL. Any league that finds an absolute Horlicks of a team like Manchester United in third place has to be struggling.

The runaway leaders, mean-spirited ref-badgerers that they are, hardly represent the most thrilling entertainment you'll see this summer. Apart from the occasional glint of brilliance form Hazard, Chelsea seem to spend most of their recent games up the noses of the opposition. Everybody's bogey team, in other words.

PSG, shorn of their chief antagonist by a collective act of cynicism that would have made HSBC blush, deserved to grind their way past Mourinho's miserly misfits. But at least Chelsea got close.

Manchester City were taken apart like a poorly constructed Lego kit by a Barcelona whose early season travails seem long gone. Mind you if Burnley can roll them over then there's trouble in them their Etihads.

Arsenal failed to recover from an abysmal first leg v Monaco, and seem intent on provided plucky but fruitless second legs. Wenger will probably bag the FA Cup again and retain his job but if that club is going forwards then I must be walking backwards.

Liverpool ducked out at Besiktas and now have a bullish manager talking up an apparently revived squad. And Everton, the last hope, surrendered so meekly last night it was embarrassing. Rumours are that Martinez has got the team in early today to watch a film together: Escape From Alcaraz.

So should we be worried about the prevailing standards of our club football? Well first of all the days when we all got behind a British club in Europe are long since past. Celtic famously won the 1967 European Cup with a team made up of lads born within twelve miles of Parkhead. The next British club to win the Champs League will probably have at least two players from outside the Solar System.

It's hard to identify with a team whose only relationship with the country is that it is nominally based here. You look at Man City and you just see a collection of mercenaries who can't be bothered to be good for more than one season at a time. Had not Joe Hart De-Gea'd his way through the game at the Nou Camp we might well have seen one of the greatest humiliations in club football in recent times.

Chelsea too are little more than a managerial wish-list made real. You want to try and identify with the Brits involved but when the heart and soul of a club is John Terry even applauding them leaves you feeling soiled.

I think there's another factor at play here though. The rich clubs play with this ludicrous sense of entitlement, and with that comes complacency. It's as if George Osborne has designed the Premier League pecking order. Arsenal showed it against Monaco; Citeh against Burnley. The sheer delight of both of the uber-rich bastards getting turned over by Boro and Bradford in the Cup still brings me a rush of joy so complete that it almost means I have no need of alcohol.

The fans feel a similar inevitability about success too. It's partly why the Wenger fundamentalists are crumbling at the Emirates. And why Pellegrini has blown it, despite last season's success. And why even Brendan Rodgers, after a ridiculous level of over-achievement last season, was being ushered to the exit door by impatient Koppites before Christmas.

Then there's those of us that wait in line to see these moneybagses have to trundle up our street and take on our lively lads. Of course I'm desperate for the Boro to get there this season. They deserve it. But what to we get for it? Some top players at the Riverside. A better standard? Technically, yes, although compared to German and Spanish clubs, hardly the best.

But also you get to roll around in that trough of inbetweenness currently occupied by Leicester, QPR, Sunderland, Hull... Clubs that are on a weird extended holiday in a posh hotel but are really just waiting for some superior Maitre D to tap them on the shoulder and point them in the direction of Pontins.

Still, we'll take it, be grateful for 17th and hang around trying to become a Stoke or a Swansea. It could happen. We've got a top manager. We play nice stuff. But damn it, I'm getting ahead of myself, and putting the mockers on it already.

Because yes it'll be great to have these Euro also-rans down our way but we're not kidding ourselves. Citeh, Chelski, United... welcome back.

But don't get ahead of yourselves.

It's not like your Bayern or Barca is it?


33 comments:

  1. Missed you Robbo! WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN!!!

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  2. Where in the States have you been hiding Robbo? Heard Alaska's nice this time of the year.

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  3. Watford and Boro look good for 1 and 2. Will take an "EPIC FAIL" of seismic proportions if they do not get promoted. Chelsea on the other hand, will win the league, Liverpool look positive, i'd pen them down for 2nd, City 3rd and Arsenal 4th. Champions league will go to Barca, Messi looks beautiful! This lad!!!!! Forget world cups, continental cups and international teams, Messi has just got to be the greatest!

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  4. Thank fk something good to read, actually considered working today to pass the time

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  5. Welcome back----maybe to the EPL too next season??

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  6. Good stuff Robbo and welcome back. The last time we had a good spell was when we too borrowed players from rich Londoners! Your Bamford will be badgering like the rest of them next year, it's a disgrace to the game and they should all see red for it. Let's see the refs flashing the red card around and get things back to how they should be while these cheating, whining fucks sit in the stands (on 200 grand a week).

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  7. Back in black (humor)!

    I propose a badgering cull. Too many too close to the ref and the opposition goalkeeper gets to blast some balls at the mob. First player in the group (other than the captain) he nails receives a red card, and he can keep firing away to try to injure players until they back off at least five yards. At least it will give him something to do.

    Even from the outset we picked the bogey team to run away with the title. At issue here is the stuffy style. Word from the linesmen is that Mutu has been sniffing around again...

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    1. that's a great idea, the referees association place crack snipers on the roofs of all the stands, they should perhap test it with paint guns before hollow point bullets.

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  8. Hi Robbo, thanks for writing. I was almost as happy to find your new blog as I was for Barkley's late goal against Newcastle (Lord knows we might come down to goal differential).

    Martinez calls for winter break - well, Everton took one, the rest of the league might just as well. Thank you, I'll be here all week...

    I'm glad you share my bemusement at the success of United. Must be that van Gaal brilliance I've been hearing so much about. As for ref-mobbing, it seems like we keep coming around to the same issues (diving comes to mind) without real solutions.

    As a Yank, can I ask those wiser than myself: does the Professional Referees Association have power? Could the referees start showing some red cards, or would they be out of work if they tried? I think of the NFL's awful decision to lock out their referees, and the slapstick antics that occurred with their replacements...

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  9. Welcome back Robbo. Yep the above pretty much sums it up. I want to support English clubs in Europe but they seem like international franchise which could just as easily be based in the Czech republic for tax reasons. And as the torygraph says Liverpool/man United are like two bald men fighting over a comb. Rarely have I seen a team more hideous than United. Vintage Pulis era stoke perhaps, back in the day when the Delapidator scored most of their goals direct from thrown ins?
    Bayern and Barca have a core of home players who actually care on account of having pride and all those old fashioned things like a sense of honor etc. I don't know this, I'm guessing but your piece begs the questioin what do they have that we don't. Sterling is angling for 150k per week as 100k isn't enough. If I earned that in my job I'd work for ONE WEEK and retire. But no it's not enough for Raheem. Sigh.

    The Witty brothers of Crosby helped set up Barca and one story is that the barca kit is their school's rugby kit.

    December 1899 Barca played its first official game against an English Select at the Velòdrom de la Bonanova, now known as Turó Park. The teams only had ten men each and the English Select actually included several FC Barcelona players, among them, Arthur Witty. The English Select won the game 1–0 with Witty scoring the only goal.

    Where did it all go wrong?

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    1. Blogs, you're reading the Torygraph - are you ill? Mind you the comb joke is so funny it must have been lifted from one of Robbo's old BBC blogs! As for the Witty brothers, I thought you were having a laugh about Shrek and Schtevie!

      Spider

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    2. I read it cos it's free on my phone spider and it probably won't surprise you that i tend to ignite the lies and ISIS propaganda for posh twats and just read about the twats in the sports pages. The Comb joke is an old one i don't know why i bothered attributing it tbh

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    3. "Vintage Pulis era stoke perhaps, back in the day when the Delapidator scored most of their goals direct from thrown ins?" You have to admit, it's incredibly impressive for him to take the long throw AND then score from it!

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    4. Yes I admit it's incredibly impressive

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  10. Nice having you back Robson..........reminds me of the time I pissed my pants while sitting in a holding cell after a spell of drunken driving. Honestly thought I was playing GTA on my PS3

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  11. Glad to have you back Robbo - only problem is that as soon as you get back, Boro lose. Does this mean you'll be back off to the States until the end of the season in the hope that in your absence Boro will return to winning ways?

    You can see how bad things have become - in the absence of a Robbo Blog your keenest followers have been reduce to reading the Torygraph ffs

    Spider

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  12. Looks like Your Cock has perked up at Robbo's return...

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  13. Happy to see you back, Robbo.

    It seems that ALL teams think they have a right to succeed, even those who are going to get relegated: No matter how many managers get changed, three teams drop down at the end of the season, PERIOD (see what I did there Robbo?). Maybe we could learn from American sport and have no relegation or promotion and "franchises" can move to wherever they want and play a home game at the Bernebau or the Bird's Nest to bring some more deserved money in to their coffers.

    Never mind local players, some teams don't even have local fans anymore (the infamous ManUtd prawn sandwich brigade being a prime example).

    I was told that failure makes a man of you. (I must be a real man, man! - there was something about getting back up and trying again but I don't remember exatly the details)... so relegation, losing cups, failing promotion, etc is all part of the process. Unfortunately, spitting, stamping cheating, diving, intimidating the ref all seem to be part of the process too.

    Rasta - the diving, spitting, stamping -Red Card in 38 seconds - Fairy

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  14. Wow. Robbo is still alive!

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  15. Woohoo..welcome back to the land of the living.

    Sad days for Liverpool, just when push comes to shove, gerrard sees red after 38 seconds, then sturridge and lallana get injured and now skrtl gets banned for 3 games. Unravelling. If that's not enough, Spurs, Gooners and Mancs seem to be finding top gear as well. I just hope we don't make it to the top 6 or the FA cup final - if we cant make top 4, certainly don't want to be playing Europa next season. Sorry, sorry tale.

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    1. After seeing what it's done for Everton, all I can say is: Liverpool for the Europa!

      Oh, and welcome back, AH...

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  16. sick as a dog this week, congested, achin' all over, feels like I've had a day out in Liverpool

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  17. Harry Kane IS Roy of the Rovers

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    1. no, I think you're thinkin' of his brother, Roy.

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  18. Wonder how long it took Chris "pelanty" Waddle to come up with the "Even Michael or Citizen could have scored that" comment.

    Probably uses the same script writer as Lawrenson.

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    1. His manic Other Brother, Co, would probly have missed

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    2. he would have headed it high

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  19. Real promise from England at the moment but we all know they're going to be more disappointing than the eclipse in the end. Anyone see it? It was shit. And someone told me it was safer to view it through a colander but I think I've strained my eyes.

    I'll get me coat.

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  20. all set then, my golf season starts on Friday. Taking a page out of the mid-table football manager's handbook, I'm confident of closing the gap between me and Tiger this year.

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  21. Bournemouth, Boro and Brentford would be the best trio to go up just to see whether Brentford would still let Mark Warburton leave if he gets them up

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