By Jim Thornton:
A Wee Boy Did It and Ran Away
Ah, the romance of the Cup. Queen’s Park against Irvine Meadow at Hampden, a day to remember for the Ayrshire side and all their fans. But should they be there? After all, Queen’s can’t play in the Junior Cup, so why should Meadow get the chance to play with the big boys?
League reconstruction is back on the agenda once more, and, as always, a pyramid structure is almost taken as a given. Why? At least, why as far as the Juniors are concerned? Apart from Spartans, who aren’t really a junior side albeit they do run an eleven at that level, none of the top junior clubs has ever expressed serious interest in joining the SFL when vacancies have occurred, and I don’t hear any great clamour from them now.
Unlike Highland League sides, or those in the East/South of Scotland divisions, junior sides aren’t members of the SFA. They’re happy to stay in the SJFA and play amongst themselves, contributing little or nothing to the senior game. They should know their place and not try to mix it with their betters. And yes, I am scared they would hump the Bully Wee!
The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly
It looks as if poor old Steve Kean’s goose is well and truly cooked at Blackburn. Owners Venky have previously chickened out from bowing to fan pressure and getting rid of him, but it now seems that they’re going to curry favour with supporters and give him the pullet.
Over at Newcastle, however, Mike Ashley has just handed manager Alan Pardew an eight-year extension to his contract. Ashley inherited Sam Allardyce when he took over the club, but didn’t waste any time in getting shot of the big man. He then went through fans’ favourites Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer, and Chris Hughton amongst others, before appointing Pardew at the beginning of last season. It’s fair to say that neither the owner nor the new manager was flavour of the month at the Cheap T-Shirts Arena, but subsequent results have got the Toon Army onside. Where else would supporters buy club tops from the owner’s shops and then take them off to watch the game?
Big Sam, meanwhile, found himself once again in the wrong place at the wrong time when the Venkys took over at Blackburn. He quickly fell fowl of the new owners, and was controversially replaced by his assistant, Steve Kean. Fortunately for Sam, he landed on his size elevens at West Ham, got them back into the Premier League, and has got off to a decent enough start this season. Mind you, if he ever has to look for a job outside the game, he could always exploit his looks and go on the road as a Les Dawson tribute act.
Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard was quick to come to the defence of his team-mate Luis Suarez after the striker had a penalty claim turned down against Manchester United last week. According to the Anfield skipper, whose own centre of gravity gets higher every time he crosses the opposition eighteen-yard line, the Uruguayan is suffering because he has a reputation for diving. Which, of course, begs the question: how did he get the reputation, then?
Put on the Spot
I was genuinely glad to open the papers on Thursday and read all about Rangers excellent win over Motherwell the previous night. From what I saw of the game on TV, the Ibrox side thoroughly deserved their victory, and it was a welcome change to be talking about the game itself rather than about EBTs and double contracts.
Which isn’t going to stop me asking the trivia question put to me by a mate after the Gers’ defeat by Queen of the South the previous week. ‘When was the last time Rangers got six penalties at Ibrox and still couldn’t win?’
A Prickly Subject
Did you see the headline on the BBC’s website when the mascot for the 2014 Commonwealth Games was unveiled? ‘Thistle Man Clyde’, it read. I can tell you now that nobody called Clyde has ever been a Thistle man.
Always Look on the Bright Side
And, yes, I know the Bully Wee have stumbled a bit over the last couple of weeks, managing to lose to both Queen’s Park and the mighty East Stirling.
But, are we downhearted? No way. I prefer to take a leaf out of Craig Levein’s book. Rather than dwell on a couple of disappointing results, I prefer to think we’ve still got ninety points to play for.