Angry Fans

OUR normal host Liam Mackey has been unexpectedly called away for more pressing New Year’s Eve duties so this week we’re calling occasional substitute Allan Prosser from the bench to mediate over your angry views and decide who will win the first glittering prize of 2008.

This week contributors are vexed over Sven’s defensive display at the City of Manchester Stadium; the failings of Liverpool to make up points in the title race; future of Fabio Capello; the loyalty or otherwise of Dimitar Berbatov; impending meltdown at Newcastle; Shay Given’s neat trick with a water bottle; the lunacy of the transfer window; January transfer targets and if tackling is worse than it used to be.

Letter of the week goes to Ken O’Leary in Abu Dhabi for devotion beyond the call of duty in scouring the Examiner website to find a report which doesn’t give Liverpool their dues. Let’s have an address Ken.

IT WAS with utter amazement that I read the Manchester City v Liverpool match report on the Examiner website. I don't know who wrote it but the guy or girl is deluded. The report maintains that it would have been a travesty if City lost! When a team lying in fifth place in the league sets their stall out for a 0-0 draw at home, they deserve to be beaten! The only difference between the actual score and a 5-0 drubbing was the fact that the City keeper and Richard Dunne did everything but turn water into wine! Also, I think Uriah Rennie proved why he has been reffing outside the Premier League for so long, given his turning a blind eye to the City centre halves kicking the bejasus out of Torres for the entire game. Go back to Hull, Rennie!

Ken O’Leary, Abu Dhabi, by email

TEN points might not be so far behind in the league if Liverpool still had the main title rivals to play at Anfield. They don’t, and they still have to go to Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and the Emirates. When the story of the season is written it will be our failure to beat the big teams at home that explains why we couldn’t press for the title.

Limerick Red, by email

JUST how can anyone be lauding Sven after the sterile display that his team put on at the City of Manchester Stadium on Sunday? They had no interest in winning this game. At least the other pretenders in the title chase . . . Blackburn, Everton, Tottenham go out and try to score goals. He was a dull club manager in Italy, a dull international manager, and now he’s a dull Premier League manager.

Peter Boyle, Limerick, by email


Whoa there. The reason for all the Liverpool angst was that this was a weekend when they should have made up points onManchester United. That’s what potential champions do, they seize their time and if you look at the title race for the past three seasons that’s been the case consistently. As for “first half good, second half not so good” Sven, give the guy a break. Not being beaten at home is first rule. in building a challenge, as Limerick Red points out.


CAPELLO would have learned a lot about the flaws of English football if he watched Blackburn take on the Arsenal kids in the league cup just before Christmas. Arsenal were down to ten men going in to extra time and there for the taking. If Blackburn got the ball down and played they would have ran Arsenal’s exhausted youngsters ragged but of course they failed to do so. Blackburn, like most Premiership sides, just can't play. The same goes for England, Capello should quit while his ahead, I'm sure Rio and the boys would throw him a great going away party.

Mike from Cork, by email.


Maybe, Mike. But if Capello want to learn anything about English football (as opposed to Premier League football) then it won’t be Arsenal he goes to watch, will it? He might have been better off observing Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor in a cracking match at Stamford Bridge on St Stephen’s Day. The demise of the England team is greatly exaggerated.


THERE’S something deeply disloyal abut Dimitar Berbatov. Earlier this season he was a man in a sulk. Now just as the transfer window arrives he bursts into action. Coincidence?

Anthony Reilly, Dublin, by email


Probably not, but never mind. You can always get Freddi Kanoute back. Swap one sulker for another.


IT WILL be a scandal if Tottenham allow Dimitar Berbatov to leave in January and will make a nonsense of everything the new manager Ramos is trying to achieve. What’s the point of trying to break into the Top Four if you simply sell your best players all the time?

Stephen Murphy, Cork, by email


Agreed Stephen, but as they showed over their treatment of Martin Jol, Tottenham are a club who can behave eccentrically. And I can’t help thinking there’s a Dimisized vacancy at the front of the line at Old Trafford, whatever Fergie might say about January spending.


HOW predictable that the FA would uphold the red card for Ashley Cole. To do otherwise would have meant that the equalising penalty for Aston Villa should not have stood.

Cork Blue, by email


Agreed, Bluey. But I have just had a chat with the Liam Mackey disciplinary committee and he thinks you should have an unjustified red card to keep Ashley company. Oh, and the winner against Newcastle was offside as well. The ying and yang of football, you’ve got to love it.


YOU know things are getting bad when Bobby Robson joins the attack on a manager. How much longer will “Big Sam Allardyce” get at Newcastle?

Dublin Toon Army, by email

WAS signing Joey Barton the biggest mistake that Allardyce made? What possessed him? Michael Kennedy, Galway, email WAKE up Newcastle. Get Shearer in place now.

Donal O’Sullivan


Ah yes. Sacking the manager in January. With the exception of the appointment of Harry Redknapp in 2006 one of the great brain-dead responses of boards everywhere. Get rid of Allardyce and cue thousands of bare-chested Geordies flocking to St James’s Park to greet the next Messiah.They may as well give Shearer the job; he’s been the manager-in-waiting ever since he contributed to the downfall of Ruud Gullit. And at least he will be out in the open then. As for Barton, there is a streak of vanity in Big Sam. He turned round Campo, El Hadji Diouf and Nicolas Anelka but maybe a scally from Merseyside was a bridge too far. Shame, he’s a good player.


I WAS at Stamford Bridge on Saturday (disguised in the home end) and saw Shay Given spray Chelsea supporters with water after a second-half of non-stop barracking. A change from kung-fu drop kicks.

Nick Bourke, Dublin, by email


Maybe Shay thought they were thirsty. Or perhaps that they should wash their mouths out?


HOW much money will be wasted in this transfer window?

Red Devil, Limerick


Quite a lot. I refer the Honourable Member for Limerick to my previous answer in yesterday’s edition of Champions. The transfer window is bonkers, and probably illegal. It adds a premium of 20%-30% to the price of players.


WHO would be the best five players for clubs to sign this January?

Ian Kelleher, Waterford, by email


For United — Berbatov and Boswinga; for Chelsea Anelka and Daniel Alves; for Arsenal Boruc and Benzema; for Liverpool Christian Chivu; for Sunderland, Steve Sidwell.More than five . . . but that’s transfer window inflation for you.


THERE have been some disgraceful tackles in the Premier League in recent months. Isn’t it time to crack down hard on the perpetrators with lengthy suspensions?

Dennis Greene, London, by email


There have always been disgraceful tackles (Norman Hunter, Peter Storey, Tommy Smith anyone?).Sorry, this topic is just flavour du jour (as diving was last season) whipped up, in this order, by Sky TV, old pros (step forward Paul Merson and Tony Cascarino) and ex-refs turned media pundits (that’s you Jeff Winter and Graham Poll). Football’s a contact sport.


WHAT did you think about Gus Poyet’s comments that 6-4 games might be good for supporters, but managers hate them? Surely we all want goals

Liam Callaghan, Wexford, email


Thought Gus gave the professional manager’s view very eloquently. We all love goal-fests. But sometimes the close 0-0 can be just as thrilling.

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