Goodbye Champions League.
' ' Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did'
I have been deluged by a request from a respected correspondent to try to find some nuggets of gold in the mountain of shale accumulated in the course of the Wolves fiasco. Now, like Ledley, I don't do knee jerk reactions but 48 hours later but I am struggling for the words that might ' lift' our supporters.
I can only conclude that we must be going for the Cup this year. Do you really want me to go through our performance at Wolverhampton Wanderers? No I thought not. Bale played well and that's about it. The rest were average to poor on a day when we needed to prove that the game against Liverpool was just a blip. Apparently it wasn't.
I did raise the possibility of us losing and the possible consequences but fortunately our old mates at W.Ham beat Birmingham; and our dear chums at Arsenal beat Liverpool. But we can't go on depending on our friends like this. There might be a few more twists to this story. We still have a third of the season to go and all you can say with certainty is that we won't get relegated but you couldn't honestly say we deserve anything.
Theoretically we could still win the League or finish mid-table. If we get it together for Wigan next week and play well for the rest of the season we might get fourth but can you see that happening? Wolves did the double over us for the first time since 1953 the year in which Norma Jean, now Marilyn Monroe, shot the iconic shot over the grill of the New York subway. They were not a better team than us individually, except for Doyle, but they certainly played better than us. I can only hope that these references to Ms. Monroe are having the requisite uplifting affect.
I can't say I'm angry: just resigned. The doctor said I wasn't to get angry at my age in any case. Defoe hasn't had a shot on target in two games. Harry gambled on Gudjohnsen who hasn't played a competitive game this season and lost. Pavlyuchenko scored within 5mins. of coming on in his last game and was left on the bench. I'm not pointing the finger here you understand. Actually I'm sitting on my hands but even so the cat has shot onto the sideboard; the dog is cowering under the sofa and the goldfish is hiding behind a rock.
Those people, including me, who have been asking for changes got what they wished for but not what they wanted. You obviously have to be more specific with your requests and draw attention to the small print. To look for individual players to have ago at would be like shooting fish in a barrel. Wolves didn't even park the bus. Their keeper made one save and our keeper didn't. 'End of story' as they say. Their midfielder David Jones swept the ball into the net unmarked, like a 20 goals a season striker hoping to go to S.Africa.
The candle I have held up for Jenas in the teeth of some quite scathing criticism over the past couple of seasons is flickering and will shortly, like me, be gutted.
So farewell Champions' League
'Our candle burned out long before
Our legend ever did'
And that's where we are I'm afraid this season, left with our glorious legend, as our assault on the Champions' League splutters and dies.
My pre-match plan to put some dead sheep in the centre circle to tempt out the Wolves badly back-fired as they not only feasted on the dead carcases but had a go at our midfielders too. They probably didn't notice the difference. If Harry has decided that we have more chance of winning the cup than finishing fourth then some will question more than just his judgment. We could easily beat Bolton and draw Chelsea away. Actually on Wednesday's performance we couldn't easily beat anyone.
Harry has surprised us before and might do so again. We miss Lennon but Bentley hasn't played badly and one player does not make a team. Recruitment during the January transfer window was unfocused, and our performance in the second third of the season patchy rather than disastrous which is why we are still hanging on in the top six. Other results have gone our way but we can't rely on this to continue. Harry seems to have has touching faith that anything that has 'a present from Portsmouth' stamped on it is a guarantee of top quality which is the only reason I can think of for Kaboul's selection.
Most of the players talk a good performance especially on the Official Site but that's not where it counts. It counts on a cold Wednesday, on a slippery pitch, against a team scrapping for its Premiership life. Once again we were found wanting.
I'm off to watch my DVD collection of old Marilyn Monroe movies starting with the 1953 classic 'How to marry a millionaire' which some desperate supporters may think is our only hope. So put the champagne on hold for another season. I've had a bottle in the fridge for years. I might use it to launch my electric wheelchair if I need one before we get into the Top Four.
Bolton on Sunday? I'm good but I'm not that good. We are back to second guessing Harry for the team formation although if its not Crouch and Defoe up front, I'll eat the goldfish wherever it's hiding. The score? If I could predict that I would concentrate on the lottery. I'm waiting to write the headline: 'Super Pavlo. gets a start: his impact is ferocious.' (Apologies to Mary Poppins)
Feeling better? No I thought not.