By Jim Thornton:
Let’s All Sit and Watch the Moneygoround
So, another transfer window has came and went, as Charlie Nicholas would say. The Old Firm signed some foreigners even their own agents hadn’t heard of, Sir Furious paid more than £20m for a Dutchman whose chips are worse than McDonald’s, and Joey Barton finally did what everyone’s been telling him to do for years – he got himself to France.
And what will change after all the millions have been swished around? Hee-haw, that’s what. Will Manchester City end up fighting relegation because Roberto’s bosses didn’t give him any more money? Will Sunderland be challenging for a Champions’ League spot now they’ve signed the goal-machine that’s Steven Fletcher? Or will Rangers manage to pip Clyde for the Third Division title now they’ve signed David Templeton? I think not. For once I find myself siding with Craig Burley, who thinks the transfer window’s a waste of time and should be scrapped. Well, even the Sage of Cumnock can’t be wrong all the time, can he?
Blackburn manager Steve Kean has come under flak for admitting he’s not seen some of his new signings play in the flesh; they were brought in by the Ewood Park chicken-pluckers on the say-so of director of football Shebby Singh. So what’s new? How often do you think Neil Lennon went to watch some of his latest recruits? Celtic apologists point out that no-one had heard of Victor Wanyama or Emilio Izaguirre before they arrived at Parkhead. Fair do’s, but then again I hadn’t heard of Mo Bangura or Morten Rasmussen either.
Not that Celtic are the only side who prefer to sign unknowns from countries so backward they don’t even know the meaning of the word ‘Administration’, rather than take on some home-grown talent. It makes you wonder why clubs bother to build academies and have expensive youth policies when they then go out and buy players from the football equivalent of an Argos catalogue; and you know they’ll not be as good as they look in the pictures. Leave them in the box!
One transfer that did go through, albeit more by the back door than through the window, was Kirk Broadfoot’s move from Copland Road to Bloomfield Road. For some reason, the words ‘coals/Newcastle’ and ‘donkeys/Blackpool’ spring to mind.
A couple of my mates are Kilmarnock supporters, and made the long trek north to watch their team against Ross County last week. This was their debut at Victoria Park, or whatever the hell they call it nowadays. Much as they enjoyed it – well, wouldn’t you like to get away from the wife for the best part of fourteen hours? – they don’t think they’ll be back anytime soon.
The guys regularly go up to Inverness on one of the supporters’ buses, so they’re used to travelling up and down the A9. On this occasion, however, because of the extra time and mileage involved in going over the Kessock Bridge to Dingwall, they tell me that the coach operator had to provide a second driver, which knocked the price of the bus up to £800. Yes, you read that right, £800.
Bad enough for the Killie boys, but what sort of money do Ross County fans have to cough up to go to away games every other week? Just remember that the next time you complain about them not bringing a big travelling support.
Sunshine on Broadwood
Yes, the mighty Bully Wee are sitting second top in Division Three, just one point off the lead and above two of Glasgow’s lesser teams. As one guy put it on leaving Broadwood last week: ‘We welcome the chase.’
Mind you, our next game’s at Hampden against Queen’s Park after the international break. The Spiders currently have a bit of a hex on us - Arthur Montford did the commentary the last time we beat them. Still, we’ve won both of our away games in the league so far this season; usually it’s about the middle of February before we notch up six points on the road. I just hope we’ve not peaked too soon.
Last Saturday was, of course, Clyde’s first game on the new plastic pitch at Broadwood. Up to now I’ve never been a fan of artificial surfaces, and I was worried how our boys would cope. But now I’m a convert; I know what Peter Kay meant. Plastic??? Pitch??? It’s the future!!!
I thought I’d heard pretty much all of the Shanklyisms over the years, some of which might even have been true. But I stumbled on one new to me the other day.
The Liverpool manager was apparently had a habit of going ever so slightly over the top in extolling the virtues of his new signings – they were the fastest, the most two-footed, great in the air, the best tacklers, man-markers etc. So the local press guys thought they knew what to expect when they were summoned to Anfield to greet the latest arrival, and sure enough Shankly went straight into his spiel in describing his new recruit. ‘He’s got everything,’ he told the assembled hacks. ‘Bed bugs, lice, trench foot, and a dose of the clap.’
I Wish I’d Said That
Stuart Hall of ‘It’s a Knock-Out’ fame still does a nice line in match reports for the BBC, but even he’ll have to go some to beat one of his own quotes from some twenty years ago. Covering one of Roy Keane’s very early games for Nottingham Forest, he describes the moody Irishman thus: ‘… legs like oak trees and a brain like an acorn.’