Beattie officially signs!

January 13, 2009

After a smidgeon of doubt, Beattie is ours for a fee that could rise to 3.5 million. I don’t know why they don’t just tell us the initial fee, therefore we can fully judge how good a signing it is. Imagine buying a newspaper for a fee that could rise to £1.50! the kind of confusion ensuing would be mind boggling.
As i mentioned before though this signing makes perfect sense. A consistent striker with premiership experience. Never mind his terrible time at Everton, he obviously much prefers to wear red and white stripes on his shirts, and refuses to score otherwise.

Another experienced Englishman is essential for a club like us because he will already possess leadership qualities. With such a large overall selection of strikers, it will only be beneficial not only for the squad, but for the strikers involved. When someone else nicks your spot, you’re likely to be a bit cheesed off and it therefore contributes to increased determination and work rate to want to win it back.

Pulis said: “James is a player who has an absolutely phenomenal goal scoring record and I am delighted to have him here. He has averaged more than a goal every other game for Sheffield, and he has a proven record of scoring in the top flight. He is someone I have admired for a very, very long time.We have signed two fantastic players in Matthew Etherington and James Beattie, but we are still looking for two or three more before the closure of the window.”

To be honest, i think there’s not many areas on the pitch left that need strengthening. I feel our defence has been superb, we have several industrious midfielders, and now a large quota of powerful attackers. Maybe what we’re lacking is in the creativity sector. Most of our chances this season has come from direct balls strongly contested, creating defensive unrest. Perhaps if we could mix things up a bit with a range of passing and a bit more confidence on the ball we could have more chances created and thus more goals. This is not such a glaring weakness in our team however as our performances this season suggest. If we were to want to mix our play up a bit, it might have a devastating effect on our season. Look at how West Brom are doing with their version of total football. The fact is, to survive our first season we need fighters. Changing our style of play will take a couple of seasons. A worthwile addition to the squad therefore would be a few young midfielders noted for their creative genius. This way, they can learn all the advantages of being strong and physical, whilst also have the technical capabilities of mixing the play up a bit. The result would be a gradual change which i feel would have the desired effect.

In other news, Cristiano Ronaldo has managed to steal the world player of the year award. I wonder if the judges actually realised that it was in fact ‘of the year’ and not ‘of last season’ because this season he’s been absolutely shocking. It seems he’s been watching his own youtube videos and thinking; ‘i could improve the standard of these’ the result being that he’s taking every opportunity on the ball to practise a trick he managed to pull off yesterday in his back garden… and failing miserably.

I suppose one thing in his favour is that he’s an extremely brave man. The way he gets his legs constantly broken during matches, only to shake it off and soldier on is admirable.

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Beattie doubt + Sidibe is bored

January 12, 2009

Some doubt has emerged over the seemingly imminent transfer of James Beattie. Tony Pulis claiming “I shall do my business with the football clubs I deal with and not through the media. That’s the best way of doing business.” Damn right too. I don’t really see much doubt about the transfer however as he’s doing nothing to rule it out. Perhaps he has other targets lined up? He might be trying to tease good value out of the likes of Harewood and Dindane first. I personally don’t mind who we sign out of that selection, they all have their advantages.

In the same interview, Pulis voiced his appreciation over the Matthew Etherington signing and how Saturday provided a preview of his quality. He also stated that he needed some work on his fitness. I’m not sure why he would need to get fitter, as he was already a regular for West Ham. Perhaps we have higher standards? On the basis of Lucas Neill’s stomach this could well be the case. It’s always great to have a hard working winger to both help out the full back and proceed to be dangerous in going forward, a fitter Etherington would therefore be an obvious advantage. I expect that if James Beattie were to arrive, he would undergo much the same treatment which i feel would really benefit the player. Beattie does seem to be a tad overweight right now and this would have a negative effect on his work rate. (It may well be the case however; that the body mass is merely pure manly brawn) One of the primary attributes required for our team is work rate. For all Dave Kitson’s shortcomings this season,  at least he puts in a good shift and gives no rest for the opposing defenders by his chasing down. The perfect player would need this asset, whilst also possessing a large amount of skill which would put him above any of the strikers we have at the moment.

Assistant manager Dave Kemp spoke of the game against Liverpool. Telling of how we could have won a famous victory. It is very true that we could have done, we had a number of great chances to do so, 1 goal is all it would have taken thanks to a superb defence that day. Likewise with Tony Pulis, Dave Kemp refused to speak of the Beattie transfer, I sense a conspiracy.

And finally, Sidibe has spoken of how much he’s hating having to watch our games instead of being out there himself. I’m sure he likewise would have had his head in his hands after Dave Kitson’s quite shocking miss. We really could have used his domineering presence to ruffle a few more of Liverpool’s feathers, Creswell for me didn’t impose himself as much as he could have done. It’s a much safer out-ball to knock it long in the striker’s direction. When you have such a player as Sidibe who competes for every ball, it gives every more incentive to do so. Against Liverpool, we tried to pass the ball out too much which sometimes left us in a bit of a muddle.

Not much news besides that really. Our opponents for next weekend lost 3-0 to Man Utd. I’m really not sure if this is a good thing or not. Either Chelsea will be low on confidence and we can compound their misery, or they’ll now be looking for an immediate response. The least we can do is play like we did against Liverpool and we’ll be fine.

Stoke 0-0 Liverpool

January 11, 2009

What a performance from the lads! A stubborn, rigid, incompliant showing from a significantly weakened side. Despite the majority of possession going Liverpool’s way, we were the ones who most troubled the opposition goal. Liverpool were very much reduced to half chances thanks to a determined and solid defensive display.

Not even the ‘talismanic’ Steven Gerrard with all his outstanding initiative and drive could force the ball into our net. Not even the lethal predator Fernando Torres could impose himself and capture a win for his team.

 We saw a clear indication of Matthew Etherington’s talents having deservedly picked up the man of the match award. What a brilliant influence he seemed to have. Calming the build up down when no obvious gain can be had, then proceeding to drive the attack on with his direct approach. I hope today built his confidence up, so that in more winnable games he can provide that touch of class we need.

We could well have won this game. Delap early on had a superb chance to put us in the lead, foiled only by the cursed (although later- blessed) woodwork. Then Kitson displayed how agonisingly low on confidence he is by hitting the side netting after being too indecisively deliberate in finishing off a gift from Reina.  Whelan came so close to hitting the top corner in a free kick just outside the box.

Another positive to take out of this game perhaps is that Delap seems to be hurling them like a madman again. It took a while to warm up, but once those arms were moving freely he really let fly, like a trebuchet. Considering a few of our goals have come from this resource it does give us a large boost.

This draw lifts us out of the relegation zone, and it could stay that way if Wigan beat Tottenham. Lets hope Zaki and co can give Harry Houdini the same fate that Houdini suffered himself.

Diego Maradona decided to pop along to soak in some sexy football.

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and obviously didnt get what he came for, got bored, and decided to binge again…

jabba1

the swelling will go down soon enough.

Liverpool preview + Beattie?

January 10, 2009

Before we look ahead to the Liverpool match, there is news (though not officially confirmed) that James Beattie has been signed for 2.5 million. If indeed this is true then my suspicions will be very much confirmed… that Tony Pulis is a genius.

Rumours were abundant concerning the likely transfer of Harewood. In my opinion, we already had around 4 of him. James Beattie has always been touted as a natural goalscorer along the same lines as a Robbie Fowler or Kevin Phillips. I really do believe in this signing (not only because he happens to share the same birthday as me, but) because he can bring an extra dimension to our attack. He is the type of player you can always have faith in to be there at the right place at the right time. Not only does he bring this intelligence but he fits into the Stoke City mould, being himself a strong and powerful lad.

For a quite measly sum of 2.5 million, this is yet another major bargain for us. A former England international, he was highly rated in his Southampton days. He seems to be one of those players that thrive on confidence, and you would put your season ticket on Pulis supplying him with exactly that. 

If he does sign, then this would leave Pulis with a quite pleasurable dilemma on his hands. Does he go with the established and quite potent Fuller and Sidibe (Fudibe) or does he establish Beattie as a first choice? And don’t forget the goal-hungry Dave Kitson! Further down the pecking order lies Creswell and Pericard, a position they would understandably not be content with, and willing to fight against. 

For potentially little under 5 million, we would have brought in two experienced Englishmen with huge premier league experience. With these signings, i personally can’t see us getting relegated at all, which draws us back to the previously labelled ‘genius’ of Pulis.

Now we can look ahead to the Liverpool game.

We are without the previously mentioned Fudibe duo, which you think will give us Kitwell or if you’re feeling extravagant- Kitcard. Our visitors are without Arbeola and dirty tackle recipient Xabi Alonso. Crucially though, a man named Fernando Torres has emerged from Mark Lawrenson’s bedroom wardrobe to feature. We should be able to handle him however, much in the same way we prevented Cristiano Ronaldo to showcase his ballet.

While Pulis has called on his team to put in a strong performance, Rafa benitez has referred back to the game at Anfield. In the words of Rafa,

 “For us, it was unlucky. For them, they worked very hard. For us, we will try our hardest. For them, they will falter. For Alex Ferguson, he’s a wanker!”

Etherington will be making his debut, which i personally am quite excited about. We should be able to put out quite a strong side with the inclusion of recently returned Lawrence. His dog has come out for his first inteview since that shocking tackle and claimed that he is not a malicious dog, and has sincerely apologised for the incident. Arsene Wenger meanwhile has launched a blistering attack on it, calling for it to be put down.

If  i were Tony Pulis, i would have a 451 formation to overpower Liverpool’s midfield and hit them on the counter.

                                                 Kitson

Etherington        Lawrence             Diao          Tonge       Delap

         Wilkinson          Higginbotham        Faye         Griffin

                                                      Sorensen     

The ball will be highly contested in all areas of the pitch today. A really interesting one for the neutrals too. There is absolutely nothing to say we won’t manage a shock, as we are superb at home. For me, the breakthrough will come down our left hand side, where Etherington can muster up all the enthusiasm that comes with arriving at a new club and expend on giving the stand-in right back a real problem.

I will be predicting a 1-1 draw.

It’s Official!

January 9, 2009

Matthew Etherington has signed a 3 and a half year deal with Stoke City for a fee of 2 million. I mean- what a signing! And how at home he seems to look against that glorious jersey!etho

Like an extra from The Godfather (alongside Berbatov of course) he seems to radiate an air of smug confidence. Seeming to be safe in the knowledge of his own experience in causing defenders a great deal of bother. That experience can only contribute immensely to the expansion of his footballing brain, a quality which can benefit greatly the way we play and therefore help our cause for the season.

In his first interview he echoed that confidence in his own ability, stating,  “Hopefully I can bring something going forward, make goals for the strikers and pop up with a few myself,”  and,  “I like to run with the ball and take on the full-back so that’s what the supporters will see me do.” It is always impressive and exciting seeing a winger having the ability to be able to carve open the channels as a means of penetrating a defence. I feel this will give us something different for us to work through. Also, having a habit for sending dangerous and inviting crosses into the box, i can only imagine Fuller and Sidibe rubbing their hands together in eager anticipation.

He looks likely to be thrust straight into the action at home to league leaders liverpool, an excitable proposition for most fans i’m sure. We have shown we have nothing to fear against the so-called and so-overrated big four.  having picked up points against Arsenal and Liverpool, and given Man Utd a scare which they were incredibly lucky to get away from. The fact that we are at home will give us that extra boost. Huge flaws seemed to be exposed for hyped up opposing individuals coming to the Britannia. (just look at Ronaldo’s pathetically abominable showing a few weeks ago) Liverpool have been pretty inconsistent this season despite being perched on top of the table. I am of the opinion that we have a good chance of picking up points if we inspire the lads into another of those impressive, no fear, in your face, no room for the weak performances that left Arsenal in a spot of bother. A more in depth assessment of out chances will be provided tommorow.

In other news, Ritchie De Laet has been signed by Manchester United. To be honest i don’t know what to make of this one. He didn’t seem like making an appearance for us anytime soon. The fact therefore that arguably the best team in the world has decided to buy him is confusing. I don’t for the life of me know how far they intent him to go with them. Though, when we see him scoring the winning goal in the 2012 champions league final we can have the enviable opportunity of claiming to have discovered him first (we win! in the most minor way possible)  A remark instantly rebuked however by anyone knowledgeable about captain Ryan Shawcross’ origins.

Amidst much enthusiasm about the signing of Matty Etherdog (call him what you like… he’s ours after all) is the announcement that Mamady Sidibe has won our player of the year award for 2008. I would not disagree with this. He has been a fighter ever since he joined us. His strong, uncomprimising attacking play seems to create gaps in the opposing defence, leaving the likes of Fuller and Lawrence to take full advantage of. He is a highly important player and we can see the lack of his presence thorugh injury now. Such a fearless individual should rightly be awarded.

Finally, having a look through Lawro’s predictions on BBC football confirms what a biased and clearly ignorant twat he is. Because, in all the times i have decided to check out what i so wrongly used to think was a revered pundit’s view on the match, i have not once seen him predict us to win a game. ‘An easy win,’  he claims. Well; what i’d give to see him confidently striding into our final third thinking what an easy outing he’s having. How i’d then delight in watching Abdoulaye ‘the panther’ Faye emerge and unleash the full force of the South American jungle onto Lawrenson’s feeble orange frame. Then to hear him utter in his already frail voice, ‘it’s not as easy as it first looked!’

We can always dream.

Later.

Etheringt-on?

January 8, 2009

I happened to come across an article on the Stoke official site claiming to be the initial bearer of any news involving any potential transfers. It was with some surprise therefore that i chanced upon a headline from BBC football detailing Etheringon’s impending move to the Britannia stadium. Mixed with this initial astonishment was an overwhelming sense of joyous acknowledgement of this quite sensible and shrewd acquisition.

I remember watching him playing for West Ham at the short period at the beginning of the season where they seemed to be playing with flair and flamboyance. In one particular match, the sight of him terrorising the quite fragile opposing right back confirmed for me the fact that he is a technically superb, and often underrated player. (a word not frequently applied to Englishmen… just look at Rooney) 

What with West Ham’s much spoken about financial situation, it makes sense to take advantage of the cascade of players seemingly rolling down from Upton Park. In Tony Pulis’  case, directing him towards Stoke for a reported region of around 2 million is another stroke of genius and will help the cause considerably.

We were obviously in need of someone with width, that someone who can offer us something else down that left hand side. He is also an intelligent player who understands the benefits of getting the ball down and passing, and hopefully he can influence others to do likewise. A combination of directness and patience will surely put us at more of an advantage towards the humble task of staying clear of that awful relegation zone.

It would be interesting to ponder the probable first team line up with the inclusion of Etherington and everyone back from injury (all 72 of them)  the way i see it, we would have a seriously formidable team. A well organised and drilled defence, a possible midfield of Etherington, Faye, Lawrence, and Delap, and the hulking great duo of Fuller and Sidibe to lead the line. If that’s not enough to keep us afloat i’m not sure what is. (Messi wold perhaps give us that extra boost, of course only until he gets his long throw ins sorted out)

Abdoulaye Faye (the slightly scarier looking one) is able to play this weekend’s game against Liverpool, a welcome bit of news. If theres anything that can unnerve Fernando Torres in the act of bearing down and goal and generally looking dangerous, to force him to squat down in the brace position (a much practised move for young girls playing cricket) then it is in the knowledge that a panther-bloke is bearing down upon him. 

No other news concerning Stoke then. Expect the Messi transfer to be made official tommorow morning. I shall leave you with a joke:

Where did Tony Pulis put his son?

on De-lap!

if theres a more pathetic joke than this then i’d like to hear it, merely to comfort me.

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January 8, 2009

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