Jim Thornton takes a look at the past week in football

Written by Jim Thornton.

A big girl’s blouse by any other name (1)

Falkirk manager Steven Pressley has “blasted” the loan system, saying: “You should not be able to go out and sign players after the transfer window closes.”  This is the same loan system which has been in place since Hibs last won the Scottish Cup, and Elvis has never previously flagged-up his displeasure with it.  It’s probably just a coincidence that his comments come after Dundee loanee Carl Finnigan scored a late equaliser against the Bairns the other night.

Is it just me, or do these grapes taste funny?
Friends reunited

It’ll be interesting to see how new Leeds’ manager Neil Warnock gets on with Ken Bates, the Elland Road chairman.  Neither of them is exactly a shrinking violet, and Warnock, of course, turned down the manager’s job at Chelsea when Bates was in charge there prior to the Roman invasion.  I can see trouble at t’mill before the season’s out.

You may recall that fans’ favourite Bates famously wanted to erect an electric fence at Stamford Bridge to keep hooligans off the pitch.  Nowadays, he restricts himself to calling Leeds’ supporters ‘morons’ when they demonstrate against him.  He’s obviously mellowed over the years.

Warnock had a largely undistinguished career as a journeyman winger in the lower reaches of the Football League.  It was only when he moved into management that Mr Hyde came out of the laboratory.  To be fair, however, he’s since won promotion with various clubs on seven occasions, and if Bates keeps his nose out of things you wouldn’t bet against him doing it for an eighth time.  A qualified referee himself, Warnock doesn’t hold back when expressing his opinions on match officials.  When at Sheffield United, he was particularly scathing about Graham Poll, whom he blamed for the Blades losing an FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal.  Poll subsequently got his own back by referring to Warnock as “Colin Wanker”, an unfortunate anagram if ever there was one.

Mister Bates and Colin Wanker.  Why do you reckon they rub people up the wrong way?
Groomed for management

I see Ryan Giggs is being touted in some quarters as the successor to Sir Furious at Old Trafford once the latter decides to hang up his hair-dyer.  I’m just away down to Paddy Power to stick some money on Allan McGregor being the next Rangers’ boss.
A big girl’s blouse by any other name (2)
Remind me again why it’s Craig Levein who keeps getting flak over the Steven Fletcher saga?  Surely it was the Wolves’ prima donna who took the petted lip at some perceived slight and said he didn’t want to play for Scotland anymore?  So why is Levein asked by the media to justify Fletcher’s omission every time an international squad is announced?

Even Carlos Tevez is taking the manager’s side on this one.
War games
I see BBC Alba are to show this season’s Junior cup final live.  Teuchter viewers who think shinty is a bit towsy should look away.

I happened to catch the TV news the other day, when the lead item was yet another outbreak of violence in the Middle East.  People were firing machine guns at random, and bombs and grenades were being lobbed from one side to the other as if there were no tomorrow.  Cars were on fire, buildings were falling down, and folk were looting shops right, left, and centre.  At which point the reporter breathlessly announced to camera: “And the winners get Auchinleck in the final.”
England, their England

So, England will have a new manager, a new captain, and a new strip for Euro 2012.  But one thing won’t change; we’ll still want them to get humped.
Vladimir Romanov : an apology

Hearts’ manager Paulo Sergio has admitted that he thought that the drawn first game against St Johnstone in the Scottish Cup went to extra time rather than to a replay.  And you wonder why Mad Vlad doesn’t let him pick the team?
Should have gone to Specsavers

Alan Curbishley dropped out of the running for the manager’s job at Molineux because he “didn’t share the same vision for the club” as Steve Morgan, the Wolves’ owner.  Wise man, Alan.  That wasn’t a vision you were looking at, it was relegation staring you in the face.

And Smith must speak

We’ve heard ad nauseam about Rangers’ monetary woes from respected financial experts such as Derek Johnstone and Mark Hateley.  Funnily enough, one person who hasn’t put his wig above the parapet is the Ibrox Director of Football, Gordon Smith.  Perhaps there’s a gagging clause in his contract.  If so, can he do us all a favour and give Andy Walker a loan of the gag?
Sky Loyal

And if the worst happens, and Rangers do go out of the game altogether, which team will all the Bar-room Bears in the pub support instead?
It’s all in the name
A man has been charged with criminal damage at Newcastle United's stadium after its old name was painted on a wall.  This was after workmen had removed the “St James' Park” lettering from the famous ground, which has been renamed the Sports Direct Arena.  The supporter had daubed the old name in white paint close to where the lettering had been removed.

You can hardly blame him for sticking up for tradition, can you?  For example, if you’re a Stirling Albion fan, do you sing “We’ll drink all your whisky and Newcastle Brown, the Doubletree Dunblane Stadium Boys are in town”?  No, I didn’t think you did.

At least the Binos have kept the club’s name intact since they were founded, and, after moving from their original ground at Annfield in 1992, it’s only just recently that they’ve changed the new stadium’s name from Forthbank, as it was previously known.  Compare this with Livingston, who started out as Ferranti Thistle, and then became Meadowbank Thistle before assuming their present guise.  Since they moved to the new town in 1995, their ground has been called Almondvale (twice), the West Lothian Courier Stadium, the City Stadium, and this week it’s apparently the Braidwood Motor Company Stadium.  Does their chairman have a signwriting business, by any chance?

And what will Aberdeen call their new park?  New Pittodrie Stadium?  The Stewart Milne Dome?  If the latter, will it come with a thatched roof?
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