Tag Archives: Robbie Savage

Leeds’ Gjanni Alioski: Just Like Robbie Savage, Only With Skill – by Rob Atkinson

Ezgjan Alioski – brilliantly annoying

In football, the effective player may be summed up as follows: skill, plus boundless energy; dedication to the common cause and – last, but definitely not least – that priceless knack of being able to wind up and annoy the hell out of the opposition, so that they’re simply psyched out and don’t know how to cope.

Some players have one or two of these attributes, there’s not many that have the lot. When you find one that does possess the full house, what you then need is a coach able to get the most out of such a valuable individual. Here, Leeds United with their very own genius mentor Marcelo Bielsa, can be described as very well blessed.

Macedonian international Ezgjan “Gjanni” Alioski has been a stand-out player in a very impressive Leeds United side for some time now, particularly since he moved into an attacking left back role to cover for the injury absence of Barry Douglas. Because of his capacity to run all day and through the night-time too, Alioski has been able to start from very deep and still offer a threat up front. This is more than an overlapping full-back – this is a scourge of the opposition, all the way up and down their right flank, niggling, passing, running, tackling, shooting and heading. A proper pest.

Alioski’s energy and running power is a given; to this, add his ability to create and score, as well as covering the left back patrol. At the very end of a typically busy performance against West Brom, there he was, this ersatz full-back, all the way upfield on the opposition goal line to tap home a low cross from sub Jamie Shackleton. This is not a man you find on his haunches, wheezing with exhaustion as the clock runs down. Alioski puts in the miles, and his level of performance lately has been a joy to behold.

The other thing about Gjanni is that he’s annoying. He’s the kind of player you love to hate in the opposing team, someone who will pester and hassle his opponent, taking the mick, getting in his man’s face, trying all he knows to ruffle and unsettle his opponent. He’s got an annoying face, annoying hair, an annoying attitude and an annoying smile, with the ability to get right under the skin of the other team’s more volatile characters. You hate this sort of opponent, but they can be your heroes when they wear your own team’s shirt. Just as long as they can play, too.

Because it’s not enough to be annoying, you need the other things too. Robbie Savage was the classic example of a player who nicked a living on the basis of his irritant factor plus not a lot else. He had the kind of face and hair that made you want to own a baseball bat and a pair of shears. But he couldn’t really play, though – as I well recall from a 6-0 Leeds victory in the League Cup away at Leicester – he wasn’t the type to hide. If Robbie Savage had had more ability to add to his dislikability, he would have been something approaching the player Alioski is. Even now, in his role as a radio gob on a stick, Savage continues to show more irritant value than talent.

Gjanni Alioski though is much more of a complete product, and he’d be a good bet to score a few goals as well as wind up a few victims, for any team prepared to utilise his strengths. Leeds, under Marcelo Bielsa, are uniquely placed to get the best out of a player who, in less ideal circumstances, may have struggled to fulfil his potential.

As it is, though, Alioski looks set to make a significant contribution to what, for United, could well be a landmark season.

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How Trash Media is Giving an Undeserved Platform to the Clueless End of the Leeds Support – by Rob Atkinson

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The Leeds United purveyor of clueless rubbish – now with own media platform

One of the worst things about any Leeds United defeat is venturing on to social media afterwards and having your senses bombarded by the witless comments of the knowledge-free element of Leeds United’s online support – those armchair experts who are suddenly sure that they know far better than Marcelo Bielsa and that, into the bargain, they are somehow equipped to do a far better job, be it in player recruitment, tactics, selection or coaching. The easy thing to do, of course, is laugh at such brainless rubbish, as well as at the overgrown spoilt children who spout it. But the time after a chastening defeat is a raw and uncomfortable interlude – perhaps it’s better to stay away from Twitter, Facebook and the other mouthpieces of the terminally idiotic, and concentrate on more informed sources instead.

Sadly, though, even that course is not free from its irritant factor. Because, over the past year or so, it’s been noticeable just how many of these “news sources” seem to consist largely of websites that spend far too much time trawling the gutter section of social media, and recycling the arrant nonsense to be found there as some sort of reportage. So, you get headlines like:

‘TERRIBLE TODAY’ – THESE LEEDS UNITED FANS WERE FAR FROM IMPRESSED WITH MIDFIELDER IN WEEKEND LOSS

or:

”ALWAYS BOTTLE IT IN THE BIG GAMES” – LEEDS UNITED FANS CRITICISE UNDERPERFORMING STARS AFTER STUNNING DEFEAT

Rubbish like that will always get the clicks, of course, which has to be the sole reason for quoting such uninformed, nay, brainless sources in the first place. But it’s all so dismally disappointing, and moreover it’s incredibly depressing that so many so-called fans will provide such material in the first place, when their first and only function is to support the team. The point is that, before the advent of social media, the ramblings of such ignoramus fans would only bother those unlucky enough to live with them, or perhaps share a public bar with them in those difficult early post-defeat hours. But now, everyone can tell the world their idiot opinions and, as if that were not bad enough, there’s some eager hack ready to take such bletherings down, for quotation and recycling as “news”. That’s such a crock, I can hardly bear to write about it. As if it’s not bad enough having that IQ deficient has-been Robbie Savage foisted upon us. At least he once played the game, or at least his own version of it.

I exempt Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything, of course, from these very salient and all too relevant remarks, along with various other highly reputable Leeds United blogs, and even some from other clubs too. The problem that I’m targeting – and I’m entirely sincere about this – is the consequence of the knee-jerk reaction merchant, who simply goes onto Twitter or Facebook to vent some spleen, with no thought or intention of being taken seriously as news – and who then finds him or herself quoted as some sort of authority, even when they’re calling a respected footballer some childish name, or otherwise making solid gold asses of themselves. You’re always going to get that, sadly – the real guilty parties are those who lazily reap these worthless comments wholesale and retail them piecemeal, simply as clickbait. It’s deeply annoying – and God only knows what the professionals must make of it. The fact of the matter is that what some herbert in Bramley thinks is not news – but it’s being presented as such by cynical opportunists, along with the collective lack of wisdom of the dimmer end of Leeds United’s (or any club’s, for that matter) support.

It appears, though, that trash media will be with us for as long as there are enough clueless so-called “fans” to spout their rubbish into the ether – and that’s likely to be forever, as we live in the age of instant and unconsidered opinion. It’s almost enough to make you miss the days when the worst problem of this sort were the sad little legion of pub bores. At least, with them, at the cost of a pint of perfectly good ale, you could if you so chose empty your glass over their thick heads and douse the problem that way. Maybe some virtual equivalent of that drastic option would be a useful next step for those who seek to improve the Internet and online news experience.

I’m honestly not putting the knock on thousands of football fans out there with perfectly valid views – it’s just that those fans seem to be both in the minority and ignored by the said trash media, who only want the laughably extreme views – because that’s what gets the clicks. Every now and again, you get somebody sensible being quoted, or maybe a knowledgeable ex-pro – but it’s becoming rarer, because so many “news sources”, the online equivalents of the Sun or Daily Sport, choose this easy, lazy option of scraping the social media barrel and giving a voice to those who would, quite frankly, be better off with laryngitis.

Let these opportunist websites do a bit of honest work, for a change, and switch to seeking quotes from the clued-up and not the clueless. And let the rentagob “fans”, who seem to think they know better than a world-renowned coach like Bielsa, stick to the pub where they belong. And may they end up with those well-deserved and nobly sacrificed pints right over their empty heads.