Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Hardy Vardy*

All strikers get on a roll. Even Darren Bent. Hell even Paul Mariner, a man who looked like a featherless goose and often played like one, managed a fine run of goalscoring for England once. Last night Wayne Rooney got on the scoresheet for Manchester United and equalled Denis Law's total for the club. Despite the fact that Wazza increasingly looks like a concrete-booted version of his teenage self, we might have to start acknowledging that his record speaks for itself.

But Jamie Vardy is a case apart. I think we've all played against a Vardy. This lad stalks across your ploughed field of a school pitch. Not a scrap of fat on him, possibly whiffs of the Silk Cut he just toked behind the hedge, and he's already spouting off about how these are nowt much to look at.

The whistle blows and he's off like a ferret, scooting over the furrows, elbows and knees in a geometric blur. He's nagging the back four, leaving his foot in, a one-man bundle of thorns. He's backing his blade-edged bones into the centre-halves, spinning and leaving their galumphing strides in his wake like a streamlined trout swimming through the legs of a twenty-stone fly-fisherman,

But obviously the lad's in the side for his pace, his nuisance value, his chippiness. He's Robbie Savage with a sensible haircut and a turn of speed. And you might have thought that except he's just waltzed round the keeper and slid in his third goal of the morning, having dinked him earlier and scuffed in a side-footer before that.

If this sort of lad gets anywhere in modern football then by the time he's nineteen someone's come along and knocked the edges off him, buffed him up, and made him fit for purpose. That is unless he falls through the cracks and ends up plying his humble trade in non-league footy. Then somehow the rougher, ruder parts stay unrefined.

Of course, Vardy's passage through non-league somewhat mirrors his staunchest advocate Ian Wright. Wrighty, currently hoping a pair of outsized Harry Potter specs might encourage you to believe that his enthusiastic burblings are laced with wisdom, sees a kindred spirit in Vardy. And to be fair Wrighty knows.

There's a bit of the attack dog in both, a relentlessness to their pursuit of vulnerable old centre-halves. Neither seem to know when to stop running. Both seem to be driven by the injustice of a premature dismissal from the realms of professional football.

Vardy hopped around from Halifax to Fleetwood, scoring goals for fun it seemed, until Leicester scooped him up for a record non-league fee. Wright schlepped around with Greenwich Borough and had a fortnight in jug before a Palace scout sought him out.

Wright thinks Vardy should be in the England squad permanently, which is difficult for some of us to contemplate. Theoretically there are riches available to Hodgson upfront - Kane, Sturridge, Sterling, Welbeck, Walcott - all of them swaggering away with proper elite football teams that get to play big matches all the time...

Except (1) half of them are injured almost perpetually and (2) what does Jamie lack in comparison? And (3) no I didn't mention Rooney and maybe that's cos he's not worth mentioning right now. Indeed Rooney is barely a year older than Vardy and yet the Leicester forward possesses much of what the England captain appears to have lost in the last couple of years: pace, passion, stamina, desire...

A bit ago I posted a blog with my England squad on it. Vardy was conspicuously absent. And I suppose it depends, such is the fickle way with us footy fans, and I don't mean this tantrically, on how long he can keep it up. And how he gets on when he's up against the likes of France and Germany.

And whether he can keep his gob shut in a casino of a Saturday night. At least he's apologised though eh? Unlike, say, former England captains who are struggling at club level at the moment and won't take advice from Welsh pundits.

So yes, Vardy on the bench at the very least. And give him a run-out down the middle rather that stalking the flanks. Let's see whether the flinty Yorkie has what it takes. And if he fails, he'll keep on bloody well trying anyway.

*Out of respect for the dignity of his personal conduct this season, this blog contains no reference to the manager and arch apologist of Chelsea Football Club, Jose Mourinho. And if you're disappointed with that, don't blame me. Blame everyone - fuck it - anyone else.


  1. Replies
    1. You've given me the right hump.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. At the moment, Vardy reminds me of a young Michael Owen. Nippy as f*ck, brimming with confidence, with only one thing going through his uncluttered mind - SHOOT! I reckon he could do the business for England in a match where they are defending and playing quickly on the break. I'm surprised "He who shall not be named" hasn't signed Vardy up for his "park the bus" matches.

  3. Robbo, the footnote of your blog was pure genius!

  4. Good stuff Robbo. Vardy for the ballon d'or, followed by an OBE and a knighthood later.

    Chelsea, hahahahahaha.

    We miss you Bells, join in the fun!

    Well done Jacks!

    1. Cheers me dears.

      Badly needed win for my brave lads.

  5. Top blog, Robbo - Seems England need to shake things up, as they keep doing that 'definition of insanity' thing - namely, same-old same old, and expecting different results. Example: storming qualification for a major tournament, bollixing up in said major tournament.

    This Vardy lad, at the very least, seems to offer something different to those others, like an Andy Carroll would. Surely they would be better off with different options in attack, in order to exploit weakness in another squad?

    Then again, I'm a Yank, so all I know of football is pickup truck, Beckham, guns, England 1-1 USA Means We Win Somehow, dogs, Manchester U-nited, flag, Damn Our Wimmin's Team Is Good, cheeseburger.

  6. The problem with players like Vardy is that he plays best with fast direct play on the shoulder of the last defender and leaving them for dust. As England are a footballing great they play the ball square more often than forwards and by that time there is no space to run behind anymore. As such he is less useful and will score less goals.

    Unless England can learn there is more than one way to play the game he will be stuck out on the wing where he is less likely to do any damage to the opposing team, if he even gets a game. As much as it counts I rate him highly and would play him as striker with Rooney in the hole behind him. They should use him in the friendlies in the first half when the decent players are on and see how he gets on.

    His biggest competition will be Sturridge in that position but there is nothing wrong with having a second option.

    I love the last comment. Be nice to have a blog on the rest of football.

  7. Cheers Robbo.

    I like Vardy, looks like a no nonsense sort of chap. He gets a sniff of goal and wellies the fuck out of it. No subtle chips or fancy Dan flicks, just whack the bastard into the back of the net. Very effective, and with confidence brimming, when he's on one of those runs into the box you almost know he's going to score.

    With another round of those, so called meaningless, friendlies coming up, I see no reason why Woy shouldn't at least give him a run out. But it has to be in the CF role, not on the wing. Rooney isn't a striker and Kane is still pretty much dining out on last season's form, so give the lad a chance.

    Anyone who keeps Andy Carroll away from the first team (or squad) is alright by me.

  8. my favourite jamie vardy story is that he once played a game wearing a tag after being convicted for assault. He's like a fan out of a lager advert or an authentic version of rooney's idea of himself who runs on the pitch and scores 10 goals in consecutive goals . I'd love to think he could continue this at a higher level but i somehow doubt it.


    arsenal take a kicking by bayern. best play the u21s avoid the europeya and give the prem a good go

  9. great blog btw robbo : "He's backing his blade-edged bones into the centre-halves, spinning and leaving their galumphing strides in his wake like a streamlined trout swimming through the legs of a twenty-stone fly-fisherman" .....up there with John Arlott

  10. Best do the "in defence of Paul Mariner" bit.

    In defence of Paul Mariner he was a regular goal scorer for Ipswich,until we flogged him to Arsenal.Every player we've sold to Arsenal has then gone on to be utter rubbish,but that's not my problem.

    It helps if you have Muhren,Thyssen and Wark in your midfield with Brazil (Alan,not the nation) and Gates up front alongside you.Anyway,moving on.

    Vardy's first goal for Halifax was against Buxton.Quite a few of my regulars that go to The Bucks didn't think he was much cop,but then again they support Buxton.

    Give him a go.And up front,not out on the left wing.He certainly can't do any worse than what we've got.

    As for Shrek,who seems to have gone from promising youngster to over the hill without the usual middle bit of being good.Most of the Un**ed fans I talk to want him dropped.(Possibly from a great height,but that isn't mentioned)

    We've got some decent friendlies coming up (Spain,Germany,France) so why not give him a go.

    I've also done him the huge favour of not picking him for my FFL team as I'm an utter kiss of death to any player this season.

  11. it's true, Wazza is giving the ball away more than ever and catching up to it less than ever, he'd better pull his finger out because there won't be a job for him in television, unless it's animation work.

    1. Not worried about tv work Trott, He'll follow the previous Un**ed greats and become a failed manager.

  12. It was a week of good results for British teams in Europe with the exception of Arsenal and Celtic. I didn't see the Arsenal game but they were always going to be up against it in Germany.

    The Celtic game was such a disappointment though. They were down 2-1 at half-time but had been the better attacking team in the first half and just needed a bit of luck in front of goal. The second half was annoying because they seemed to not play any more, almost as if they wanted Thursday nights off from now on.

    Although it is sad when your team lose it is 10 times worse when they have not given it all for the cause. This does nothing to help the cause of Scottish football and was a painful watch.

    Ok that's me finished my rant, we can get back to talking about proper football now ).

  13. I know nothing about Vardy so I'll make no comment (other than this one) about the lad.

    As for Shrek, I've been saying for the past 3 years (at least) that he should be dropped from the England team. The problem is, he is the only "star" England have and is therefore automatically selected. The only way Rooney will not make the team is if he is injured, he retired from International football or does something monumentally stupid like that fuckwit, Terry... I can only hope.

    1. Trouble with Rooney is he always produces the goods...except when it matters. I still think he's worth his place in the hole. I suspect Vardy lacks the subtlety and variation to make it at international level...whereas Kane is probably the real deal. england always play like a bunch of fucking strangers though so no matte how good enough they all are individually on a team level we haven't been able to compete with the top teams for as long as i can remember.

    2. Your right blog, he produces the goods against the likes of Montenegro and San Marino, which is just as well otherwise he wouldn't have come close to Charlton's record.

  14. Stoke 1 Chelsea 0, oh dear, how sad, never mind.

  15. Great weekend results wise for Leicester and Man Utd. Can't believe Aston Villa getting a point. This has been a strange season so far but long may it continue. As for other results I have nothing to say.

  16. And Klopp feels Alone (Heart) in the place where you never Walk This Way (Aerosmith). Also, it looked like Pardew was in a head-butting mood in pictures of some of the exchanges with Klopp and the 4th official...

  17. Some great FA Cup results this weekend. Great stuff from Chesham, Whitehawk, Salford and a few others. Shame the crowds weren't bigger at some of them though