Daily Archives: 13/06/2014

Fallen Canaries Still Chirping as Rumours Surround Leeds’ McCormack – by Rob Atkinson

Over the past few years, Leeds fans have had to grin and bear it as little Norwich – an unfashionable club from the back of beyond – have used the fact of their temporarily higher league status to pluck such gems as Snodgrass, Howson, Becchio and, erm, Bradley Johnson from the Elland Road payroll.  In truth, only the first two of those four departures were all that painful – the odd twinge caused by Luciano’s departure has been relieved by his zero contribution to Naaaarritch since he joined them – but that hasn’t stopped those loveable Ciddy fans from gloating and grinning and taking the mick.  Every time another transfer “coup” has been completed, there they’ve been, savouring the novelty of lording it over Mighty Leeds, crowing about us being their “feeder club” (no marks for originality there, lads) and generally cavorting all over the internet like the small-time wurzels they are.

Now, these cheeky, chirpy, safely-anonymous internet trolls are at it again, all agog with excitement that their little irritant of a football club are tipped by the gutter press to make yet another raid on a club that has looked down on them for the bulk of their undistinguished history.  It’s the classic small man syndrome; you suffer for years at the hands of bigger boys like Leeds, Ipswich – even Colchester and so on – and when the chance crops up to puff your chest out and do a little crowing after all those decades of feeble cheeps, well, you fill your boots (as it’s only too easy for those six-toed feet to do).

And where, after all, is the harm you might ask?  If this internet bravado helps the currently happy (despite demotion) Ciddy fans forget their inglorious past, then good luck to them, right?  After all, prior to their recent double promotion success, their club was mainly famous for the tired and emotional display of Delia Smith when she unwisely seized the match-day mike after lavishly sampling the vino cabinet, and treated the stunned home crowd to a slurred and cringeworthy motivational speech:  “Wheeeere aaaare yoooouu?  Let’s be ‘aaaavviiiin’ yooooouuu!!!”   It was entertaining for everyone outside Carrow Road, but let’s face it – it’s hardly a siren call to tempt a Scotland star who already has a first team berth in a far bigger club – or so you’d have thought.

However, money talks and – as one easily-pleased Canary reminded me just today (via a tweet, appropriately) – Norwich have recently copped for around £70m simply for achieving relegation.  Against that, we have Mr McCormack’s recent assertion that winning promotion as captain of Leeds United would mean a lot more than playing for “just any Premier League club”.  We must presume, then, that the attraction is that much greater again – when the option in front of him is just any ex-Premier League club.  Norwich is the arse end of nowhere, after all – you’d have thought that last season’s Championship top-scorer could do a hell of a lot better.  But, it’ll likely come down to just how many zeroes there are on the end of that bottom line.  Rossco is tied to a contract at Leeds, and there seems to be little suggestion that the club are minded to improve it.

Yesterday, the talk was that a firm bid of £5 million had been made by a Championship club – later tentatively identified as Fulham, another of the parachute payment brigade, lavishly rewarded for last season’s calamitous failure.

To be quite frank, I could cope if he went there. It’s not ideal – and I’m not saying a few more millions than that measly five would sugar the pill rather better – but at least Fulham’s not bleedin’ Norwich and those cocky bloody internet Canaries. I swear if I ever caught one of those I’d pretend I thought it was a lemon and squeeze it into my drink.

Roll on the end of the transfer window. Rumour has it that what’s left of our squad might start playing a few games of football then…

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New Era of Success for West Ham Could See End of Leeds Obsession – by Rob Atkinson

New Plans for Allardyce and West Ham

New Plans for Allardyce and West Ham

After a long history of flattering to deceive, West Ham United, doyens of London’s East End as the locally-famous ‘Appy ‘Ammers, are at last about to embark on a period of real achievement – by the simple expedient of switching their priorities away from the stony ground of league football, in which any seeds of success have stubbornly failed to flourish in the 119 year history of the club.  It’s a bold move – but the feeling is that something has to be done, as football has never been a happy environment for the Hammers or for their long-suffering fans, many of whom would rather talk and write about true giants of the game, such as Leeds United – rather than waste any time on the Boleyn Boys.

In that long history, there has been the odd Cup success, including – as many Hammers fans would have you believe – the World Cup in 1966.  But league success – that true indicator of a big and successful club – has eluded the East London hopefuls.  Their best top-flight finish was third, 29 years ago.  A symbol of the club has been the bubble, famously linked to West Ham by their “Forever Blowing Bubbles” theme song.  Like the bubble, they can be pretty, and they can promise to fly high – but again, as with the delicate and fragile ephemeral phenomenon that is that glistening envelope of water, they tend to flourish only briefly before bursting abruptly and disappearing from view.

Now, the club’s owners, highly respectable porn barons Sullivan and Gold, have had enough of all that bubble stuff, and they intend to seek success where it might more feasibly be achieved.  A source close to the two dirty old men was quoted as saying, “The guys see us as having more potential in the field of light entertainment, rather than plodding around a football field with a load of rough boys, getting kicked and invariably losing.  So the plan is to switch targets for this coming season; we’ll be entering a team into Strictly Come Dancing, and we might possibly stick a couple of likely solo acts into BGT or maybe even the X-Factor.  But all of that is just the beginning.  If this goes as well as we think it might, we’ll be pulling out all the stops and giving it the full 150% for The Big One.  Yes, folks – watch out.  The Hammers are going all out to win Eurovision in 2015!  We just have to do something – win something – to get our fans talking about us – instead of bloody Leeds United all the time.  It’s humiliating…”

A source at the FA was cautious when asked for a reaction to this.  “It’s quite unprecedented for a club to pull out of league competition and concentrate on light entertainment, dancing, crooning, acrobatics, prestidigitation – that sort of thing.  We did have that time when Man U pulled out of the FA Cup to go poncing about on a beach in South America, but …”  Our man scratched his head, bemused like.  “We’ll have to see what the full committee make of it.  I suppose if any club were to make this sort of switch, it’s more likely to be West Ham than anybody else.”

The mood at Upton Park, though, is one of grim determination.  “By the time we switch to the Olympic Stadium, we want some silverware on the sideboard,” said our source. “Dancing, magic, tricks with dogs, anything. Singing, certainly.  Look at the bearded lass who won Eurovision just the other week.  Dead spit of Billy Bonds, she were – weren’t he?”  When asked whether the Hammers would still be playing football at their new venue, our man was cagey.  “There’s more to life than bleedin’ football, you know! There’s lots we could do there to make a crowd like ours happy.  Dancing on ice, all sorts.  Just watch us go, once we start winning stuff. You wait and see, mate, you just wait and see – starting with ‘Strictly‘.”

In related news, the club are expected to announce that the iconic “Forever Blowing Bubbles” song is to be dropped, with immediate effect, due – it is said – to those connotations of fragility and ultimate disappointment. Instead, and to signal an era of success unknown in the ‘Ammers’ ‘Istory, the club tune will be “Stranger in Paradise” from the start of the 2014/15 “Strictly Come Dancing” season.  It is anticipated that new lyrics will be sung by the Upton Park crowd, beginning “Hail Fat Sam, He’s a Walrus Called Allardyce”.

The Hammers’ two surviving World Cup winners, Martin Peters and Sir Geoff Hurst, have issued a joint statement, reading simply: “It’s Bobby Moore that we feel for.  If he was alive today, he’d be turning in his grave.”

Alf Garnett is 95 (and supports Spurs).