Angry Fans

The Examiner’s Chief Football correspondent Liam Mackey returns to active service next week so it’s back to the benches after a run in the first team for your current mediator Allan Prosser.

And he’s got plenty to pore over this week as angry fans debate the appointment of the Ireland manager; the continuing disgruntlement at Anfield; the spot the ball competition among the blue balloons at Bramall Lane; Dennis Wise for Newcastle; whether Jonathan Woodgate is a sound investment for Spurs; and whether this will be the season when the Big Four’s dominance of the FA Cup can be broken.

Letter of the week goes to Anthony for his forensic and myth-busting analysis of the problems at Liverpool and the role of Rafa the Baffler. Let us have a postal address for you please Anthony and a glittering prize will be on its way before you can say DIC.

DOES anyone want it? The search for an Irish manager is becoming one of the jokes of international soccer, the English manager was sacked four weeks after Staunton and replaced within a month, the Scottish manager resigned after the qualifiers and was replaced last week. You'd think the way the FAI are going on that it was the most sought after job in the world of soccer or are the three amigos on the advisory panel being paid by the week? It's become a bigger joke than the PD's search for a new leader and you have to ask the question does anyone really want it?

Noel Reidy, Waterford, by email

I LAUGHED at your spoof of I am Legend in yesterday morning’s Examiner with O’Tel in the Will Smith role. Just about right I reckon. God help us if that’s the best we can come up with . . . one of football’s greatest mercenaries, and a not very successful one at that.

Liam Donnelly, Waterford, by email

ROY Keane has called it right again. The search for the new Ireland manager is just like watching Big Brother.

Pat Clarke, Cork, by email

OUR SHOUT: Ah well. Not too long to wait now I suspect. Perhaps there should be a public vote? As for Roy I would think he’s got other things on his mind right now, like strengthening his squad for the second half a season which increasingly looks like it might go pear-shaped.

I'm disillusioned by the situation at Anfield. I was at the Villa game and was surprised by how much pro-Rafa/anti-Yanks chanting coming from the Kop. I even heard "Parry out”. Have these same people been watching the last four weeks of dreadful football. At the end of the day, RAFA has signed these average players (Voronin/Kuyt/Pennant/Sissoko . . . and don't get me started on playing Kewell) and his rotation policy is a shambles! He is a quality manager but maybe the idea of playing your best team is beyond him? Liverpool fans are very loyal to the club/manager/team but there are serious problems at Anfield that needs to be sorted soon or fourth place will be unachievable. Yanks out, Rafa in . . . what changes on the pitch??

Anthony, by email

PERHAPS Rafa should tell Gillett and Hicks that his lads managed to beat two teams at Anfield on Saturday . . . Havant AND Waterlooville. With the problems he’s got, anything’s worth a try

Red Devil, Limerick

OUR SHOUT: Letter of the week goes to Anthony for going against conventional wisdom and pointing out that Liverpool’s main problems at the moment reside on the pitch, not off it.

DENNIS Wise to join Newcastle? Isn’t it a bit early for the pantomime season to start?

Steven Clancy, Cork, by email

DO Manchester City fans have any other party tricks. How to make a safe cup tie into a defeat by twisting balloons was a real pearler.

Sean O’Reilly, Dublin, by email

GOTTA smile at the Blue Mooner Barry Hatch on Sky TV who explained that it wasn’t his 1500 goalmouth balloons that caused City to concede the first goal against Sheffield United . . . it was the person who threw on the only white balloon onto the pitch. What a deflating experience for Sven.

Luke Collins, Bandon, by email

PERHAPS Liverpool should have thrown 99 red balloons into the Havant and Waterlooville goalmouth at the start of the match?

Patrick O’Keefe, Cork, by email

OUR SHOUT: Nice try, and a cigar, Patrick for name checking one of my favourite songs. Luftballons. Nena. Those were the days. As for Manchester City, there weren’t any balloons around in the second half were there? And they were woeful. Anyone else think their balloon has burst for this season?

JUST why do Tottenham think it’s a good idea to sign Jonathan Woodgate? They’ve already got one near-permanently injured centre half in Ledley King and another clumsy clod (Dawson) who is an accident on legs, as his handball on Sunday at Old Trafford showed. Surely Ramos can do something more intelligent than this?

Disgruntled Cockerel, Dublin, by email

JONATHAN Woodgate has a questionable personal reputation so why would he move to London with all its dubious attractions. This is a bad deal in the making for both parties.

Anthony Feely, Carlow, by email

OUR SHOUT: Well Cock, if I can call you that, might you pause for a moment to consider that a combination of a fit Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate might just be about the best in the Premier League, certainly up there with Terry and Carvalho and Ferdinand and Vidic. As for Woody, chequered career he may have had but it’s interesting that they rated him so highly at Real Madrid, and that Newcastle would have had him back in an instant. Arsenal wanted him too. Could be an inspired piece of business. If he stays fit.

I REALLY don’t see the problem in the Premier League with holding a minute’s silence for the victims of Munich. This was a landmark event which transcended club loyalties. It was one of the founding events of modern football and was a factor in the massive support for the Red in the Republic. It says a lot about things today that the authorities are worried that it won’t be respected.

Sean Behan, Dublin, by email

OUR SHOUT: Agreed Sean, but you can’t help thinking that the FA have made themselves a hostage to fortune by agreeing to do this at Wembley where United have repeatedly been booed by England “fans” down the years. The thing about Munich is that it attracted national and international sympathy in an era when club loyalties were much less febrile than they are now.

IS anyone in any doubt that if it had been Michael Essien or Jon Mikel Obi who had shoved his arm into a Wigan player’s face, as Wigan’s Michael Brown did to Makelele at the JJB on Saturday, that they would have been on the receiving end of a red card. Brown is a serial offender with a bad record of aggressive player. The fact that Uriah Rennie was refereeing explains things of course. And while we are on the subject of discipline how is it that Adebayor escaped an FA punishment and was available to knock Newcastle out of the FA Cup? And why weren’t Arsenal fined for “failing to control their players.” Oh, I forgot, that’s Chelsea’s rap isn’t it?

Cork Blue, by email

OUR SHOUT: The Chelsea Rap? Is that anything like the Anfield Rap, Corkie. And have the red card that Michael Brown should have been given on Saturday.

CAN anyone see Derby being a “world brand”? Have those Americans been led to believe that Brian Clough is still around. Or is it because Pride Park sounds like a ground in the NFL?

Tony Doherty, Dublin, by email

OUR SHOUT: You can just imagine the Americans looking at each other after 14 minutes on Saturday and wondering whether they would have been better off buying London Bridge and transporting it to Arizona.

I’LL believe that Cristiano Ronaldo is as good as George Best when he has been top scorer at Old Trafford for six consecutive seasons. And when he stops being a Thierry Henry wannabe with all that shrugging and scowling. He’s a classy player, but he lacks class in his celebrations.

Nick O’Mahony, Cork, by email

OUR SHOUT: Well observed. He’s got a long way to go to be better than Best at the moment. Like in big games for a start.

UNITED v Arsenal in the FA Cup. Will this finally be the year that the trophy isn’t won by the “Big Four”?

Liam Green, Cork, by email

OUR SHOUT: No. Next question please.

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