Angry Fans 23/1/2006

The Examiner’s football correspondent Liam Mackey likes a good argument when he hears it, and he’s got strong views of his own.

Today, and every Tuesday, he will be acting as referee on your opinions on the Premiership. Let him know what you think and he’ll argue the toss with you. We’ll be offering a free sports prize to the star contribution each week.

As we enter the business end of the season there’s conflicting views on the Jol/Wenger catchweight bout; hubris from supporters if not from Mourinho, a fond farewell to Alan Shearer’s elbow and doom, gloom about the renegotiation of Premiership TV rights and some retirement advice for Keano.

Prize letter goes to Peter Wogan of Kilkenny for dumping on the Premiership’s insistence that Glenn Roeder can’t have the Newcastle job. If he was mad enough to want it, that is!

ISN’T it time that something was done about the “convention” that opposing teams should kick the ball out of play when a player goes down injured. The practice is open to abuse at worst and misunderstanding at best. Shouldn’t it be left to the referee?

Nick Delaney, Sligo, by email

The only reason Wenger made an issue out of Spurs’ goal was that he was embarrassed that his team were played off the park. It was unreal like Leinster v Munster. Spurs destroyed Arsenal in almost every area of the pitch. The game showed how inept Arsenal are without Henry. It was robbery that Arsenal got a point. Number One in North London by about a mile!

Patrick Keating by email

WHEN Arsenal profited in a cup game against Sheffield United a few years ago by playing on while a player was injured they, sportingly, offered to replay the game. Perhaps Martin Jol should do the same.

Sinead Kelly, Cork, by email

IF I was Rijkaard, or even the Villarreal manager Pellegrini, what would have been most interesting from the North London derby was the short fuses of Pires and Lehmann who ran 40 and 20 yards respectively to square up to Davids. What was that all about? Do that with European referees and Arsenal will be defending their one-goal lead tomorrow with ten men, or trying to stop Ronaldinho, Eto’o and Messi without their first choice goalkeeper.

Liam Geraghty, Kildare, by email

ARSENAL fans will be watching EastEnders next season while Tottenham visit Europe. Won’t that be sweet?

Dermot Riley, Navan, by email

THE way Arsène’s going there aren’t going to be any managers left to shake his hand, send him a Christmas card, or share a pizza with him. But I think he’s punching above his weight when he tries to take on Tony Soprano.

Phil Murphy, Carlow, by email

OUR SHOUT: True enough, Phil, but note that he waited until Big Tone had been shot by Uncle Junior. It was Wenger and Jol going head to head which turned a drama into a crisis. A pity they couldn’t take their lead from Henry and Carrick whose post-match interview was a model of sportsmanship. If a player thinks another is seriously injured – and the ref hasn’t spotted the problem – then clearly the right thing to do is to kick the ball out of play. Otherwise, I think Nick Delaney is right – after all, one of the first phrases you learn in the game is: play the whistle.

NOT so Special now José?

Anfield Road, by SMS

WELL, that’s the Mourinho air of infallibility well and truly punctured. And perhaps no bad thing. As soon as I saw the team on Saturday I knew he had committed a major ricket. Three full-backs, one of them playing in midfield, and the other disastrously out of form. A team set up to contain a Liverpool side which brings fresh meaning to the word mundane in the style of its play? The sentimental selection of Cudicini instead of Peter Cech. No Joe Cole until it was too late despite his fine record against the Merseysiders. Chelsea deserved to lose because they were too cautious. That’s the pure and simple of it. Nothing to do with undeserved free-kicks and disallowed goals. Still, there’s always next year. Ballack and Shevchenko. Wembley and Athens. Book the flights now.

Cork Blue, by email

CHELSEA always used to be a cup team while Liverpool and Arsenal racked up league titles. Strange how times change. At least Liverpool scored legitimate goals this time.

Mickey Burke, Mahon, by email

JOSE Mourinho and Neil Warnock. They’ll be the Jekyll and Jekyll of next season’s campaign. What a prospect!

Pat Clarke, Dublin, by email

THE semi-final proves that if one manager has got the measure of Mourinho it’s Rafa Benitez. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde ... to lose one semi-final might be considered unlucky, but to lose two begins to look like carelessness.

Sean O’Connor, Dublin, by email

EIGHTEEN titles and five European cups. That’s what we call history.

Limerick Red, by SMS

I SEE that the Oxford Union have invited John Terry to address them. Perhaps his subject should be “how to deal with a difficult boss.”

Tony Walsh, Waterford, by email

OUR SHOUT: Earth tilts on axis shock! Cork Blue criticises Jose’s wingless blunders (one for our older readers, there). Of course then he goes and blows it all by saying something stoopid – and gets his customary red card. Mind you, as Limerick Red reminds us, Liverpool may have the history but, in the here and now, Mourinho is about to secure back-to-back titles. How wholly inept is that?

THE Premier league is being petty and unfair with its refusal to acknowledge the claim of Glenn Roeder to the Newcastle job. I don’t know whether he wants it but I do know that he managed West Ham in 2001; that he got them to 7th in the league; that he collapsed four games from the end of their relegation season in 2003 because of a brain tumour; that he’s got a UEFA “A” licence and that he just needs to do a course to turn it into the full Pro licence. I also know that he has overseen nine wins and a draw in Newcastle’s last 13 games. The Premier League should cut him some slack.

Peter Wogan, Kilkenny, by email

OUR SHOUT: You can accumulate all the bits of paper you like, but there are no better qualifications than hands-on experience and a bit of success. Letter of the Week.

WON’T be sorry to see the back of Sunderland, West Brom, and Birmingham. They haven’t exactly entertained. In fact Sunderland’s most entertaining game was the 0-0 at Old Trafford. Well done to West Ham and Wigan. Let’s hope that Reading, Sheffield and Leeds (?) give it a go.

Chris Logan, Kanturk, by email

HARRY Redknapp’s wheeled, dealed, and integrated lots of new players in a short space of time. That Harry Houdini name couldn’t be better coined. Manager of the Year, surely, if Portsmouth escape?

Dennis Greene, London, by email

OUR SHOUT: Red card Chris for kicking people when they’re down (or nearly down). As for the inimitable ‘Arry, well, fair enough Dennis, but just once, for the sheer novelty of it, I’d like to read a paragraph about him that doesn’t use the words “wheel” and “deal.”

SO Alan Shearer’s elbow has gone into early retirement. Shame. Should have joined United and he and it would have won 18 more medals.

Red Devil, Limerick, by email

OUR SHOUT: This just in: Alan Shearer’s elbow has come out of retirement and was last seen boarding a train for Limerick. Stay tuned!

WHAT are the chances of Roy Keane moving directly back into management as soon as his testimonial is over? Do you think he should start off with a smaller club first?

Peter Geraghty, Cork, by email

OUR SHOUT: If I was Keano (and but for that sprained ankle in the U-12 school B-team trial . . . ) I’d take a year out to smell the roses.

BY THIS Thursday bidders have to make their sealed offers for the six packages of 23 Premiership games each which cost Sky some e1.8bn three years ago. Among those bidding are Setanta. So choice is always better, right? My prediction ... higher prices, the potential of being forced to switch platforms to watch your team, and confusion.

Der O’Grady, Dublin, by email

OUR SHOUT: Always nice to end the column on a cheery note. From now on we’ll be putting Angry Fans out to tender. Highest bid secures the Letter of the Week prize. (Obviously this special offer does not apply to Cork Blue).

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