WBA 2-3 Arsenal F.C.
i thought i had all summer to write the report on this game - but i really should have known better. especially with roy hodgson having taken the england job.
while i am hugely proud to be english, and think there is much to be admired about this country, when it comes to football i am not at all patriotic. the structure and philosophy of the national team has little to capture the imagination of anyone but the most jingoistic clown; and the refusal to look beyond the top six teams for players from which to make up the team selection reflects the unrealistic sense of expectation that the side generates within the ranks of their supporters.
the ridiculous pressure that the public puts on the situation only makes it worse and their most exciting footballing moments of the last twenty years have all been emotionally draining losses in major tournaments. now they have taken my club's manager, i have been alienated even further and you can add "resentment" to the list of feelings i have towards the english national team. for my money, france has always been a much more compelling side to follow. they have given me the most consistently exciting and memorable moments of international football (as well as some of the most controversial and shameful ones as well) that i have yet experienced, and you can bet that i will be cheering for them to wallop the english at the upcoming EUROS.
with this being the week that the nation celebrates the queen's diamond jubilee, i am reminded that i am a staunch republican and that unlike almost any country i can think of, one of the great things about being english is the right to exercise one's freedom not to be bloody ENGLISH.
i can appreciate the difficulty that jeremy peace and co. have in replacing a figure like hodgson; but in a week that has seen brendan rodgers take over at liverpool, roberto martinez decide to stay at wigan, paul lambert going to aston villa and chris hughton no longer a consideration (and as of this morning, linked to the manager's job at norwich city), the situation is beginning to look more than a little desperate.
claudio rainieri emerged as the first choice candidate and was expected to take the job. however, he has now gone to monaco, and ralf ragnick - who subsequently looked set to take over at the hawthorns - is now being linked to the vacancy with the belgian national side. with the appointment of a manager now overdue, the pool of top-flight candidates is quickly drying up.
the problem isn't only replacing the manager. there are contracts that need to be signed and the baggies are in danger of losing the spine of the team if they don't act quickly on this front.
personally, i have always liked ian holloway, but am quick to acknowledge that he is not a manager in the west bromwich albion style, so is probably not appropriate for consideration. i would be happy with gus poyet, chris powell or michael appleton; all of whom are managers who would fit in well with the structure at west brom. although, at this point, most supporters would expect a higher profile appointment of someone who has more experience in PREMIER LEAGUE football.
baggies fans have now been frustrated since the last day of the season when the team lost a match that they should have won. little did any of us realize how that frustration would carry over into the off season.
it was a strange way for the gaffer to make his exit, and none of us could have imagined how much of a reflection of things to come it would be. west brom is known for being a really well run club, and their system of recruitment and personnel management is second to none. however, at the moment, the care and diligence that is employed in running the club - both on and off the field - is working against them. in much the same way that goalie, marton fulop, contrived to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against arsenal, the measured and careful selection process for which the club is known has created a situation that just gets more desperate, and becomes more difficult by the day.