Monday, February 28, 2011

When I was growing up I would have loved to have been a professional football. I'm sure most of us reading this did.

They were our role models. We imitated them in the playgrounds and fields all over the land. We looked up to them. Wanted to be them. But they seemed like they lived in a different world from you altogether. An inaccessible world where you couldn't contact them and apart from the odd Shoot or Match Q&A, you didn't really know much about what they got up to when they weren't playing at 3 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon.

My personal heroes were Kenny Dalglish for his Scotland exploits and Trevor Brooking for his West Ham ones. I know Trev isn't exactly an exciting, charismatic figure, but when I got his signed autobiography many years ago, I was ecstatic. I got to learn all about him.

Nowadays, twitter and other social media have players more accessible than ever. We know far too much about them. Who really cares what they had for breakfast or what they thought of the latest happenings on TV? Magazines like OK and Heat have turned them into public access figures and the mythos I had of them in my childhood is long gone. I liked it the way it was.

Of course, a lot of the current crop of top footballers are just fame hungry whores and although footballers have never been considered to be the brightest folks in the world, so many of the current batch just appear to be complete dicks.

What goes through their minds? Or have they just lost them and their grip on reality completely?

If it's not the latest sexcapades, it's fights in nightclubs, arrests and kiss and tell stories from other kinds of fame hungry whores.

Occasionally you get a real gem like Clarke Carlisle. Bright, articulate and a credit to the game. Could we possibly clone him.

Were football players always like this or did we just never hear about it? Was it only the likes of bad boys George Best and Rodney Marsh or was everyone at it but just out of the public spotlight?

A lot of the actual action on the pitch has been overshadowed this weekend by two players who are no strangers to making the front pages for all the wrong reasons.

Wayne Rooney and Ashley Cole are tiresome bores. At least Rooney's antics have happened on the pitch this time around.

Mr Potato Head's elbow on Wigan's James McCarthy was truly baffling. What the fuck comes over a player to do that? You can't blame the referee for not seeing it. He was shown to be correctly watching the ball. That's what he's paid to do. Watch the action in the game not the off the ball antics from assholes like Rooney.

Full credit to McCarthy. He could have totally over-reacted. You can't excuse what Rooney did though. In no sane world can that be rationaled off. It's not a witch-hunt on the player like Fergie claims.

If Rooney didn't do stupid things like this, then no one would be going after him in the first place.

If it had been the reverse, there would equally be outrage and a lot of it coming from Sir Alex. Managers should defend their players when they can. This though is undefendable.

Then we have Ashole. No matter what the full ins and outs of the air rifle incident that the News of the World reported involving Ashley Cole and Chelsea, there is one big question in it all. What kind of idiot even brings a fucking air rifle to training?

What good can come out of doing that? What is there ever to gain by bringing one of those into the training ground. Again, it's not a witch-hunt. It's calling a prick a prick.

I just despair.

What makes a lot of footballers these days such assholes? Is it society or is it just them?

I do know one thing. I don't want to be a footballer any more.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Birmingham City's dramatic late winner at Wembley this afternoon was a great result for the English game and also the Carling Cup.

The Blues 2-1 victory over Arsenal was pleasing because they were a team that, on the whole, took the competition seriously throughout.

No fielding teams of just kids and fringe players. No performances where it made you wonder if the intention all along was just to lose and avoid the hassle of additional games. No devaluing a trophy with history.

As much as I still despise Alex McLeish for leaving Scotland in the lurch for the cash lure, it was a great Cup campaign by the tortoise headed one. It gives me no pleasure to say well done to him, but I do have to congratulate Birmingham City for a spirited performance and not just trying to sit back and hope to catch their more illustrious opponents on the counter.

The calamity nature of their winning goal was also pleasing to see. I love the whack on the head that the Birmingham player gave Koscielny as they ran off to celebrate. When the final whistle went, you could see just what the win meant to the players and the supporters.

It's a great shot in the arm to the smaller clubs and shows that it's not just the 'big five' that will always win all the silverware.

Hopefully Birmingham's win will be a wake up call to the other in the Premiership that the League Cup should still matter and if you treat it with respect, then look what you might achieve at the end of the day.

Fans want trophies, not just league survival.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

East Fife were pish today.

1-0 loss. Could have been much worse.

That is all.

FINAL SCORE: East Fife 0 - 1 Airdrie United

EAST FIFE: Brown, Park, Ovenstone, McGowan, Muir, Johnstone, McCulloch, Young, Linn, Wallace (Hislop 50), Hamilton (Fagan 69) [Subs Not Used: Lyness, Smart, Cargill]

ATT: 664

Friday, February 25, 2011

The series that was never meant to be a series continues today with a follow up to number 3 in the series, referee's being hit in the face. The only obvious way to go was with players being hit in the face.

This wasn't the planned topic for today but was inspired by this master fail from Chilean under 20 internationalist Bryan Carrasco in a recent game against Ecuador...

It's great the referee gave the foul against him. Dunno whether a booking followed but he should be embarrassed out of the game after that! I just love the commentators reactions to it all.

Now obviously that was a self inflicted and planned whack to the face. When it's not your player, and even sometimes when it is, we love to see players inadvertantly being smacked in the chops.

Whether it be kicking the ball straight into your own face, like Bury's Chris Brass...

Or standing too close to the person taking a thrown in...

Or if you're Robbie Savage by the ball, your team mates, the opposition and even the referee...

They're all classic things we love to see in football and not just us. I think this musical montage sums it all up rather quite nicely...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

We asked Forrest Gump what he thought about watching East Fife this season. "They're like a box of chocolates" he replied. "Because you never know what you're going to get?" we said. "No, because they're fucking bad for your health". We nodded.

What last night's emphatic 4-0 victory over Ayr United at Somerset Park told us more than anything was that we perform best when there's not many Fife fans in attendance!

It was a much needed and surprising victory for the black and gold and a win that lifts them out of the relegation zone, two points clear of a severely struggling Peterhead side and with two games in hand.

The manner of the victory was also pleasing. It was a dominant performance from start to finish. Well maybe not straight from the start. Ayr did look lively in the early exchanges and had a couple of good chances which were way off target. After Jim Hamilton fired the ball home after 31 minutes, there was no looking back for the Fifers.

The opening goal came when Bobby Linn cracked a 20 yard effort off the bar, with Hamilton quickest to react to scramble home the rebound.

New boy Ryan Wallace endeared himself to the Fife faithful in his first full start, adding a second three minutes later when Ayr keeper David Crawford couldn't hold on to a Div Muir effort and Wallace pounced to send East Fife in 2-0 at the half.

The Fife continued the fine work after the break and Hearts loanee Matthew Park added a third on 49 minutes with a breathtaking solo effort that saw him pick the ball up at the half, waltz past four Ayr players and coolly slot home past Crawford.

Ayr hit the post and Hamilton cracked a spectacular 25 yard effort off the bar, before Wallace rounded off the scoring with his second, and the Fife's fourth, on 66 minutes.

A pretty good all round performance. Lloyd Young was looking particularly fine in the middle and the defence look composed. An overall disciplined and workmanlike performance against a very poor Ayr side.

For the 20 or so East Fife fans that made the journey, it was all worthwhile. What we really need to do now though it to actually string a run of wins together. That's been hard to do this season and last, but no better time to do it than now.

Mon the Fife.

FINAL SCORE: Ayr United 0 - 4 East Fife

EAST FIFE: Brown, Durie, Park, Ovenstone, McGowan, Muir (Smart 90), Linn (Fagan 62), Wallace, Hamilton (Hislop 68), Young, Johnstone [Subs Not Used: Collier, Cargill]

ATT: 789

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

East Fife are having a bad season in the Second Division. An up and down season, but at least the more optimistic amongst us can see some kind of hope that we won't be relegated.

Stirling Albion are having a worse season in the First Division, but for their supporters, there's not really any light coming through the end of that particular tunnel. They are just happy to have a team to watch though.

Four points adrift of a soon to be revitalised Ross County, Stirling are firmly rooted to the bottom, with their only hope realistically being in catching the smellies and getting into the relegation playoff place instead of the automatic one.

When Dundee can be docked 25 points for going into administation and then quickly leapfrog you and send you to the foot of the table, you know it's not really going to be your season.

Three league wins all season, a minus 31 goal difference and the players not taking wages are also big clues!

There's not much love lost between the Binos fans and ourselves, so who gives a fuck how badly they're doing?! Our friendly inter-fanzine football team bonding is long over. They took our Toro!

Stirling's off the field problems have been well documented in the past and with the club now being owned and run by the fans, they are held up as the benchmark and way forward by many.

For those that don't know, the Stirling Albion Supporters Trust agreed a £300,000 deal last summer to clear debts and make a one-off payment to the then Chairman, Peter McKenzie. The deal made them the first Scottish senior club to be owned by their fans.

Their on field performance since that time hasn't exactly been a great selling point for those of us who, like myself, want to see more fan ownership in the game, although the debts still hanging around don't help them get out of this mess.

It is the way forward though and the sooner we can have this at East Fife the better. Can't be much worse than an undertaker and a schoolgirl at the helm.

The excellent The Footy Blog have made an interesting "blogumentary" around the Stirling fans' takeover and the problems they are now facing both on and off the pitch. Talking to manager Jocky Scott, player Chris Aitken, a director and a local journalist about how things are going with the team under this new structure, you can see the will to succeed is clearly there.

You can watch the full documentary below. Maybe we'll get one on East Fife's ownership situation next. That's one that is long overdue.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Just a very short blog today.

As a West Ham fan who has been going through a hellish season, tonight's complete dominance of Burnley in the FA Cup Fifth Round was a joy to see.

Some readers will already know this, but I was lucky enough to be at West Ham's dismantling of Man United in the League Cup back in November. A fantastic night in the snow.

That's two fine Cup demolitions. Why can't we do it in the league? Do we need to play every game under floolights?

Also, what is it about Avram Grant? The man seems to have a magical knack in Cup competitions.

He did wonders with Portsmouth last season. Took us to the brink of a League Cup final place and now the quarters of the FA Cup await.

He even smiled tonight!

Let's hope we don't go the same way as Portsmouth after their Cup final appearance last season. I don't want to pick an FA Cup win over survival in the Premiership.

I'm selfish. I want both.

As a final word of warning though. In the 1988/89 season, West Ham lost in the semi finals and the League Cup and then the quarter finals of the FA Cup. They were then relegated.

Let's hope we're not going to see history repeating itself 22 years later.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

It was looking like the romance of the FA Cup was going to be over for another year. With all respect to Burnley and Reading, either of those sides going through in the remaining 5th round games wouldn't have been a huge giantkilling shock or create that much of a nationwide buzz.

Left with a pretty much all Premiership quarter final, my interest in the Cup would have been starting to wane for another year, aside from cheering on my own West Ham to lift the trophy at Wembley in May of course.

Then up stepped Leyton Orient's Jonathan Tehoue to add some romance back into my cold heart.

The Orient-Arsenal game wasn't a particular Cup classic but it was good viewing and great to see a ground with character like Brisbane Road on the telly. It's hard to find a ground that stands out too much in these days of all seater plastic stadia but having flats on all four corners and people enoying the game and a beer on their balconies gives Orient that something a little bit different.

Tehoue's goal will be a huge moneyspinner for the O's and comes at a much needed time when they are worrying about their future with West Ham moving into their patch at the new Olympic Stadium in the foreseeable future. They're a great club, with a long history and hopefully their moment in the sun will help raise people's awareness to their current plight.

They may face little hope in the replay at the Emirates, but then that's what Cup football is all about and with Wenger likely to still not risk his top stars, I'm already looking forward to it. The O's will have nothing to lose and will be sure to just go for it.

Just look at Crawley Town. A defensive lapse of concentration at a set piece and the width of the crossbar. That was all that was between the non league side and a place in the FA Cup Shock Hall of Fame. When Fergie comes out and says they deserved a draw, then you know how close they came to that giantkilling feat.

Even with the side Man U had out they should have been way too strong for Crawley. Regular readers of this blog will know what I feel about them but I have to give them full credit for the way they went about their business at Old Trafford yesterday. They defended well, they took the game to the Premiership leaders at times and although they didn't really threaten too much in front of goal until those dramatic closing minutes, they did non league football proud.

Never thought I'd be saying that about Crawley! If only they conducted themselves on and off the pitch in that manner more often.

It was a shame that two fourth round replays had to be settled this weekend. It devalues the competition a little when they can't fit in the replays due to other commitments of the clubs. It also gives ammunition to those that want the FA to do away with replays and have a straight knockout competition. That works great for the League Cup but don't mess with the tradition of the FA Cup. The chance of replays is one of the things that adds to the magic.

The two replays this weekend were good games mind you.

Everton hadn't been at their best but that was one hell of a dramatic late, late show from them. Some of the Chelsea players just didn't look interested from the start. No idea what was going on in Drogba's head early on and Anelka's whole demeanour before, during and after his spot kick was mind boggling. Of course, the fact that Gashley Cole was the villain of the piece just makes the Toffees victory all that sweeter.

The other replay today saw Man City run out 5-0 victors at home to Notts County, in a scoreline that certainly doesn't portray the tale of the tape. If you didn't see the match, County went for it from the off and were unlucky not to take the lead in the opening minutes and then hit the post a little later on before the Premiership moneybags took over. Pity.

The game we were least looking forward to over the weekend was the all Premiership clash between Fulham and Bolton. As it turned out, it provided the WTF moment of the seven cup ties with the second half flare up between Fulham's Chris Baird and Bolton's Martin Petrov.

It was hilarious to watch the whole thing play out at the top of the screen with referee Stuart Atwell absolutely clueless as to what was going on directly behind his back. An elbow, some pushes and he missed it all. Luckily the lino saw it, or clearly didn't despite his long chat with the ref, since both players only got yellow when Baird at least should have been shown red. Kind of summed up the officials afternoon mind you as they could spot blatant shirt pulling throughout the first half either.

Let's just hope that if we end up with a FA Cup all Premiership quarter final line up, we'll still get all the drama and enjoyment. If it's like the Premier League week in and week out, then I'm not so sure we will.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The worry that a lot of East Fife fans have at the moment is where are the goals going to be coming from for the remainder of the season.

After today's performance, that's not going to change any time soon by the looks of it.

There's not too much to say about today's game. East Fife didn't play badly, they just lacked a killer touch in front of goal and once again failed to take full advantage of the opposition going down to ten men.

Brechin edged the first half and Rory McAllister was proving a handful for the Fife defence, causing Michael Brown to make a few fine saves and stops. Despite the pressure, the great thing to see was that the defence held firm.

East Fife had their own chances, the best of which was a John Ovenstone header which was tipped over early on.

The second half was end to end stuff and East Fife edged this one. Both teams were creating chances and when Dougie Hill was sent off after 63 minutes for retaliation, the Fife faithful saw their chance to turn the screw and land all three points.

Not to be though and although we had some great chances to win it, Brechin were to have to best when McAllister broke through in the final minute but shot wide.

After Tuesday night's woeful performance as least we steadied the ship. No goals conceded but we need to turn it around at the other end of we won't be leaving that relegation playoff spot any time soon.

Mon the Fife.

FINAL SCORE: East Fife 0 - 0 Brechin City

EAST FIFE: Brown, Durie, Park, Ovenstone, McGowan, Muir, Linn, Hamilton, Hislop (Wallace 74), Young, Johnstone [Subs not used: Smart, Fagan, Cargill, Lyness]

ATT: 526

Friday, February 18, 2011

Back for another instalment. Things we love to see in football, just so long as if it's a misfortune, it's not happening to our side.

Early sendings offs are great and the earlier the better. They don't come that much earlier than the fate that befell Ebbsfleet United goalkeeper Preston Edwards in the Blue Square South match against Farnborough two weeks ago.

The video for the incident has become a You Tube phenomenon, so you may have already seen it. We wanted to keep it till our Friday Fun section though to air it in the blog.

Edwards was sent off after just ten seconds when he brought down a Farnborough player following a horrendous backpass. You have to feel for him, as it's the defender's error all the way:

To make matters worse for Ebbsfleet, they didn't have a substitute goalie on the bench so 18 year old midfield, Tom Phipp, had to go in the goal for basically the entire game. He only let in three goals as Ebbsfleet went down 3-0 and nearly saved Bradley Bubb's penalty from the resulting sending off.

Edwards sending off is thought to be the quickest early bath for a goalkeeper but the record for the fastest sending off ever appears to go to Chippenham Town's David Pratt, who was sent off in a Southern League Premier Division game after only THREE seconds for a lunge on a Bashley player in December 2008. Aptly named.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

So King Kenny has finally got to manage Liverpool in a European competition (even if it is just the pointless UEFA Europa League). The Heysel tragedy and the subsequent European ban, meant he never got the chance to do that in the late 80's and early 90's. You'd think that after a 20 year wait, he'd come up with something a little bit more exciting than the 0-0 bore draw against Sparta Prague. I'm always harping on about the return to the 80's and 90's set up for the European competitions. They at least tried to replicate the cagey cagey approach of them on the pitch tonight. When the most exciting thing to happen was pretty much a stoppage of play when a flare came on the pitch, then maybe another 20 year wait is in order.


Staying in Europe, Rangers made it a fantastic one win in 16 attempts (qualifiers excluded) after their 1-1 draw against Sporting Lisbon tonight. It's not too bad a result against a quality side I guess, but should we just not bother with European competitions in Scotland for a while? I would say it's just getting depressing, but when it's Rangers that are fucking up, it's more hilarious than saddening. Still not a good reflection on the Scottish game though.


Last word on European competitions for today and a follow up to the whole Gattuso Is A Head Case story from yesterday that everyone's been talking about. The Milan nutter has been charged with "gross unsporting conduct" by UEFA and could just face a one match ban, although by assaulting someone off the pitch he is likely to face at least three. With his previous track record they really should throw the book at him. Possibly a book about how to deal with spoilt children or on anger management.


Ross County appointed their third manager of the season today and it's a great appointment for them. Jimmy Calderwood has joined them, as he tries to help them out of the relegation playoff place in the Scottish First Division. With Cowdenbeath above them, that shouldn't prove too difficult. Three managers in a season is crazy, although if John Robertson keeps getting some of the abuse he's getting at East Fife, we may find ourselves in the same boat before too much longer.


We meant to cover this last time, but Clyde made one of the most interesting managerial appointments of the season when Jim Duffy and the legendary Chic Charnley took over the reigns of the Third Division side. Sitting ten points adrift at the bottom they can't exactly take them any lower, so with no pressure on them, it'll be interesting to see what they achieve. They've already secured four points from their first six available and with the addition of veteran former Scottish international Charlie Miller, who I would have gladly taken at Bayview, it's shaping up to be an exciting season run-in for the long suffering Broadwood faithful. Probably just in time before they end up with no fans left.


The FA Cup is back on Saturday and all eyes will be on a team that AFTN loathe - Crawley Town. When the draw was made we said it put us in a difficult position. As an AFC Wimbledon fan, I hate the way that Crawley have gone about getting to where they are. The spend, spend, spend approach is great when it's your side doing it, we'll admit in a complete two faced way. Crawley Town and their fans are particularly obnoxious off the pitch though. This story about one of their "fans" who is now banned for life for taunting Man U over the Munich air disaster didn't surprise us. Nastly little bunch some of them down there. Every club has it's dickheads. Crawley has more than most and in their boss, Steve Evans, they have one of the biggest of all. Still don't know if I can find it in my heart not to root for a non league side against a Premiership one, and especially Man U. What a tough call. Damn you draw!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"We were both speaking Scottish"

Who'd have thought that would be the quote of the Champions League games this week?!

Yes, the UEFA Champions League For The Rich is back and some of the games actually have me excited for that rarity of occasions.

I won't bore you all again with how I feel about the Champions League and the death of the proper European Cup. Search the blog, click the label tags and you can find all that out.

Last night's game between Spurs and AC Milan though piqued my interest. Well it did more than that. It was a game I was looking forward to seeing. Harry Redknapp has his lads playing some pretty fine stuff in Europe this season. Would never want them to win the thing of course, heavens forbid, but they've livened up some dull weekly rounds and deserve a lot of credit.

The game at the San Siro against the Serie A leaders wasn't a classic though. Had me fast forwarding through bits as the usual CL dullness crept in. Gennaro Gattuso certainly livened up proceedings though, fucking wee asshole that he is.

I've no idea what came over him, but he's a disgrace, as were Milan in a number of areas.

Gattuso should have seen red for the first square up with Tottenham coach, and Scotland legend, Joe Jordan. Having his hands round his throat was bad enough, but the after match headbutt on the 59 years old was incredible to watch. I had to play it back a couple of times as I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

For an old guy though, Jordan looked like he wanted to rip the wee nyaff's head off. He deserved to. Joe showed amazing restraint in not skelping him one off the pus. I'd have backed big Joe in a fight with him too.

There's no truth to the rumours that UEFA are wanting to charge Jordan with bringing the game into disrepute for not immediately falling to the ground, clutching his face like he's been shot. If the incident had been in the reverse, the Italian would have been convulsing on the ground like Ian Curtis at a Joy Division gig.

There is no doubt that Gattuso is going to be punished. He's already missing the next game, but he's going to be missing a lot more besides that. Gattuso's temper has let him down before and he never seems to show any signs of maturity.

In 2003, he slapped Ajax striker Zlatan Ibrahimović (ironically now his team-mate at the San Siro) in the face with the back of his hand, earning him a red card and a ban.

When Jordan and Gattuso were having their verbal altercation, I was wondering whether it would have been in Italian or Scottish. Couldn't quite lip read to find out.

Joe Jordan spent two seasons with AC Milan, scoring 12 goals in 52 appearances from 1981 to 1983. Gattuso played just over a season with Rangers in Scotland, scoring just 7 goals and falling out of favour quite quickly.

Turns out they were speaking Scottish!

"I lost control. There is no excuse for what I did. I take my responsibilities for that. I was nervous. We were both speaking Scottish, something that I learned when I played in his home city of Glasgow, but I can't tell you what we said".

Judging by what played out, I'm pretty sure a Glasgow Kiss was mentioned somewhere in there.

Gattuso's actions were just part of an overall disgraceful show by Milan.

It all started with Mathieu Flamini's horror tackle on Vedran Corluka, which was lucky not to leave the Spurs player with a broken ankle. How that was just a booking is beyond me. Feet clearly off the ground and he jumped in two footed. Once a Gooner, always a goon obviously.

The most hilarious, disgraceful incident though came from Milan's Alexandre Pato. After Ibrahimović correctly had a late goal disallowed for the 'i Rossoneri', Pato lost it running up to the linesman and screaming abuse after abuse at him, all the time whilst his "respect" patch on his sleeve was in full flow. He won't have got the irony.

All in all, not a great couple of day's for Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi.

*** These incidents are always way better to listen to with an excited commentator in a foreign language! ***

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

East Fife are like some sort of reverse Chumbawumba at the moment. We get up and then we get knocked down again.

I don't know why we bother even trying to be optimistic. We get our hopes raised then East Fife turn in a performance like tonight's shattering all that built up confidence as they send themselves back into the Scottish Second Division relegation mix. Incredible.

Taking a look at the AFTN forum right now would leave you calling the Samaritans right after. I think some of our support are already in the queue.

In our second big season defining game in the space of four days, East Fife went down at home to fellow strugglers Dumbarton. It was a comfortable 3-1 win for the Sons and one which saw them leapfrog the Fife and send us back into the relegation playoff spot, in front of a pitifully low crowd of just 392.

It could have been different had Bobby Linn converted a Bobby Linn penalty late on, but I'm not sure that even that would have given us the push that we needed to grab at least a point.

We said on Saturday that the turning point then was an early enforced substitution. This worked in a positive way, but this time it was the opposite. When Robert Sloan was forced off after just 8 minutes, we seemed to lose all ability to create and attack.

Patrick Walker and Mark Gilhaney fired Dumbarton ahead after 17 and 23 minutes. Michael Park pulled one back just before half time for the Fife but the teams should have been going in level if he'd converted another easy chance.

Andrew Geggan wrapped up the points on 55 but it was never that much in doubt.

We still have games in hand, but I'd rather have points in the bag. Our already stretched squad will struggle to cope with what feels like a never ending two games a week schedule.

It's still incredible to see that we're sitting second bottom with the fourth best goal difference in the Division and the only team in the bottom sixth with a plus record. If we keep showing the lack of fire like we did tonight then that's not going to be lasting too much longer.

Who'd be an East Fife fan?

FINAL SCORE: East Fife 1 - 3 Dumbarton

EAST FIFE: Brown, Durie, McCulloch, Ovenstone, McGowan, Muir, Linn, Young, Sloan (Fagan 8), Hamilton (Hislop 63), Park (Johnstone 63) [Subs Not Used: Lyness, Smart]

ATT: 392

Monday, February 14, 2011

We haven't featured much non-league stuff in the blog recently, so we'll change that today.

Refereeing decisions, controversy and football are all unhappy bedfellows. Every level, at pitches up and down the country and across the world, every weekend. Someone, somewhere is screaming at a referee because he's got it wrong.

I always wonder just what makes someone want to be a referee. Never come up with an answer that fully satisfies me!

As neutrals, we all love the controversy and seeing the ref and the officials get it wrong. When it happens to your team though, you're lucky not to have a coronary.

We found this great balls-up from the FA Trophy 3rd Round match between Blyth Spartans and Droylsden at the start of this month.

Unbelievable Jeff.

I know it's not big and it's not clever to abuse the officials (ahem) but the look of fear on these guys faces is priceless. I thought the lino was going to shit himself! I particularly love the shaking of the tunnel, which of course no-one at AFTN would ever do or condone!

The fact that Droylsden's Ciaran Kilheeney punched away Michael Tait's goalbound header and then went on to score the equalising goal is the kind of thing you wouldn't believe in a TV drama. Justice was served in the replay though with Blyth Spartans running out 4-0 winners.

It all got me thinking what was the worst refereeing decision I've seen. Apart from Don McVicar's seven minutes of stoppage time against Dundee United in 1991, I can't think right now what the worst decision I've seen in person has been. Please jog my memory or share yours.

Most comical wrong decision was Scotland hero Mauricio Espinosa's decision not to award England that goal in South Africa last summer. Still chuckle at the mere thought.

I think I have to go with this refereeing decision as my all time favourite worst one. To some, it will be the first time of you seeing this. To others, you already know it as an all-time classic. It comes at 1 minute and 15 seconds in:

All these years later and I still have to laugh. Even if you don't award Dundee United the goal, it's at least a penalty! The guy hands the ball back to the goalie!

Good old Les Mottram, your refereeing spirit clearly lives on today.

Happy Valentine's Day to refs everywhere. We love to hate you.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Another weekend in the Premiership and another stunning multi goal comeback. Thankfully for my team, West Ham, this time. 3-0 down at the half to West Brom, the Hammers looked buried so deeply that not even Burke and Hare could get them out. A stunning three goal comeback, which also saw them hit the woodwork at least three times, certainly gave them a survival lifeline, just as it was looking like the Olympic Stadium would be the best Championship grounds going - and one of the emptiest.


The Premiership relegation battle is shaping up to be mouthwatering. Everyone from Stoke in 9th place down must now be worried about going on a streak that could spell relegation and possible financial disaster for them. Nine points separate the bottom twelve sides, with only six separating 9th place and the last relegation one in 18th. Really can't wait to see how this plays out and as long as West Ham and Blackpool don't end up in the bottom three, then I'll be more than happy. The top's down to a two horse race now at best, so screw that and let's just watch the action at the bottom.


What has happened to Ashley Young? I used to be such an admirer of his. Cracking wee player. So skillful. Yesterday though, against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road, he spent the game moaning, timewasting and diving about all over the place. He picked up one yellow card, but could easily have had four. What a waste of his talents, unless he's trying to wangle a summer move to Chelsea.


Everyone is talking about Wayne Rooney's wondergoal in the Manc derby, and rightly so. Not a fan of him as a player or a person, but what a peach! There was a fantastic goal scored this weekend by a Scottish player although not as many of you will have seen it. Robert Snodgrass, fresh from winning his first international cap midweek, scored a beautiful goal which showed some amazing ball control. Try and find it online. It's not up on You Tube yet that we could see. Scotland are definitely building up an exciting squad of depth at the moment.


The Championship is once again turning out to be the most exciting of the four English divisions. A fantastic match this afternoon, with an electic atmosphere to match, between the two sides that I think will be going up automatically come May, Queens Park Rangers and Nottingham Forest. A 1-1 draw full of incidents and with two teams that knew what was at stake but didn't let that get in the way of some entertaining football. Just what you want from a Sunday afternoon game and not the usual Premiership bore. Can't be happy about QPR going up though. Can't want any club that has both Queen and Rangers in their name!


What is it about referee Mark Clattenburg, who the ref in the QPR-Forest game? He just seems to attract trouble and controversy. We're not saying he's always wrong either, because he's usually not. It's just he seems to be in the centre of things week after week like some kind of bizarre magnet. Could do without his trademark "go away" shout and armwave though.


Finally, a huge well done to Glenrothes Juniors who triumphed 2-1 over Arthurlie at Warout Stadium on Saturday to move into the 5th round of the Scottish Junior Cup. Before being deemed "big enough" to go and watch East Fife in big bad Methil, my Granddad used to take me to watch the Glens up till his death in 1980. Still tried to get to their games at the end of the season or if I wasn't following the Fife away. Still gives me a tingle being at Warout watching them and my mind always goes back there whenever I smell liniment, as that smell always seemed to be in the air. Standing with my granddad, watching hard tackling football, then home for tea before settling down to watch Doctor Who and the Generation Game. Childhood footballing memories are made of such things.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

You know you're not having a good season when the six pointers come early. At least we've waited till February and it turned out to be worth the wait.

With East Fife rooted bottom of the Scottish Second Division, today's game at Ochilview against the team one point and one place above us was massive.

No understatement. No hyperbole. This was a must win game for East Fife for the confidence factor as much as the points one.

And the lads came up trumps, with East Fife fairly easily dispatching Stenhousemuir 2-0, with a fine all round performance, another clean sheet and amazingly our first away league win of the season.

East Fife were deserving of the win, against the team that have become our whipping boys at Bayview in recent times, but it was scrappy at times. Some would argue that the turning point came in the 19th minute, when Stevie Hislop had to go off injured and Lloyd Young came on. Many have been crying out for Young to have a regular starting spot once again and his performance today will have added to that number.

Young gave the Fife the lead on the stroke of half time, firing home after a nice build up. Lloyd then set up Bobby Linn three minutes into the second half, for the Boabster to double the advantage as he rounded the keeper and put it away from a tight angle.

Stenny were reduced to ten men on 63 minutes when Stevie Murray was sent packing for kicking out at Jim Hamilton. After that East Fife made it home to the three points, despite being under some pressure from the weakened Warriors.

Young had a good game, but praise also has to go to Dylan McGowan and Michael Brown for some solid defending and goalkeeping. The defence on the whole looked a lot tighter and inspired more confidence. Another clean sheet will help too. In the middle Robert Sloan and Div Muir are forming a great partnership. We just need a prolific one up front and some optimism may start to creep back into the black and gold faithful.

The win lifted East Fife up two places to eighth, with another huge game coming up on Tuesday at home to 9th placed Dumbarton. A win there would open up a three point gap on the relegation playoff spot with three games in hand and a five point gap on bottom spot with two games in hand over Stenny.

With East Fife having at least two games in hand on all of those in the bottom six, this would set us up for at least a more comfortable run in to the season, albeit a meaningless one.

Mon the Fife.

FINAL SCORE: Stenhousemuir 0 - 2 East Fife

EAST FIFE: Brown, Durie, Ovenstone, McGowan, McCulloch, Linn, Sloan, Muir, Johnstone (Park 73), Hislop (Young 19), Hamilton. [Subs Not Used: Lyness, Smart, Fagan]

ATT: 590

Friday, February 11, 2011

With the 2011 Monkey Tennis World Cup taking place in Germany in July and Valentine's Day coming up on Monday, it's all about the ladies in AFTN today, as we bring you our top ten ways we think we could make women's football more entertaining.

Here to help ladies :

(10) New Rules for goalies - save a penalty, win the shoes of the girl that took it

(9) Games only to be played in the rain

(8) Eleven girls. Ten strips.

(7) If a player misses an easy chance, announcer gets to tell her that her bum looks big

(6) Did somebody say half time pillow fight???

(5) Substitutes warm up by riding around on giant dildos on wheels

(4) Sole shirt sponsorship deal with French Connection UK

(3) Losing captain has to go on a date with John Terry

(2) Conceding a free kick results in loss of possession - and shorts

(1) Twenty-two girls. One cup.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It used to be so much simpler. As a footballer, you knew you were Scottish, English or Irish and who you'd play for internationally.

Then came all the grandparent loopholes and residency rules and countries like the Republic of Ireland exploited them to the full. Owen Coyle - Irish internationalist. Gtf.

Obviously Scotland has benefitted too. Two of the star performers in last night's win over Northern Ireland, Kris Commons and Phil Bardsley, were both born in England and you'd not mistake them for Scottish in any shape or form if you just heard them talk.

On the flip side, there's not really any top players who we've missed out on because they turned their back on Scotland to play for one of our Celtic neighbours. It's countries like Canada who seem to miss out on players for this reason. It's almost treason as far as I'm concerned.

Now for those of you reading this who are not in Canada, you may be surprised to know that English international Owen Hargreaves is a Canuck. He chose to play for England and not Canada. I know, can you imagine?! Another lesser known player, Teal Bunbury, chose to play for the US and not Canada. That would be like someone choosing England over Scotland. The plus side for Canadian fans is that he has a fucking ridiculous name to be one of your star players.

The reason we're talking about all of this today of course is due to the situation that arose this week with Wigan Athletic's James McCarthy.

McCarthy was born in Glasgow. He promised his Irish born grandfather, not long before he passed, that he would play internationally for the Republic of Ireland if the opportunity arose. It did.

He's been capped at under 17, 18, 19 and 21 levels for Ireland, as well as earning a friendly cap as a sub for the full squad against Brazil last February.

McCarthy was selected for the Republic's Nations Cup squad this week and was likely to play against Wales on Tuesday night. He pulled out of the squad before the game and this has led to intense media speculation that he will be changing his allegiance and waiting for a call up to play for the country of his birth, Scotland.

Now, I know Scotland are set to benefit from getting a young, talented and highly thought of fully fledged Scottish player in their international ranks, but the situation is farcical. If it had happened in reverse, I'd be fuming.

Under FIFA rules, youth team and friendly appearances don't count. Only competitive games. It's ridiculous. Once a player makes his mind up who he's playing for (sigh) and once he's been selected for that country, especially at under 21 or full level, then that should be the country he represents. Don't go changing because you've had second thoughts.

McCarthy should have been playing for Scotland from the start. That said, you can't fault a young lad for wanting to keep a promise to his granddad. I respect him for that decision but once made it's one that he has to stick to.

The countries that are going to get most shafted by these rules are the smaller ones. If you're picked for say Andorra and then Spain or Portugal come a calling and you can change, then most players will take that option.

McCarthy is saying that he won't be rushed into his decision. The easy way to get round it is for the SFA to just come out and say they won't select him.

At a time where the Scottish national team is in full re-build, that would be a brave decision to make. But the right one.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It may have only been against a pretty depleted Northern Ireland squad, but Scotland made a tremendous start to their 2011 Celtic Nations Cup campaign at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin this evening.

They ran out 3 - 0 winners, and it was the performance as much as the result that's boosted the spirits of the Tartan Army.

The first half in particular was one of the best from a Scottish international side for many a year. Two goals and a slew of close calls, including a penalty that should have been awarded. Good stuff.

The second half fizzled out a little, but it was job done by then, as Scotland recorded their first win over Northern Ireland in 19 years.

There were a number of fine individual performances too.

Kris Commons looked sharp and now that he's moved to Celtic, I think we'll see his international career flourish. We could finally have the attacking threat we've been badly needing for the last few years.

Sunderland's Phil Bardsley had a strong, attacking first half and James McArthur's goal was a peach. Clearly meant as a cross, his chip into the top left hand corner of the Irish net was as deft a touch as you'll see. "The proverbial postage stamp", Sky commentator Bill Leslie proclaimed. I'd hate to see the state of the letters he addresses then.

We've not been a huge fan of Kenny Miller in the past but we have to fully commend him tonight. As captain, he led by example. Making the trip over from Turkey also impressed. Would he have made the trip had he still been at Ibrox?

With most of the Scotland starting eleven coming from players plying their trade in the English Premiership and most the Northern Irish ones bizarrely coming from the Scottish one, the gulf in class was very clear. Pretty much like the gulf in the two Leagues themselves.

Having this strong weekly competition for the players is what we've been missing for a while now. For too long, our top players have been in just the SPL and the Championship. This move up in class can only help the national side and it's already showing.

We've been critical of Craig Levein's reign so far. Obviously if we're being honest, the fact he's a Cowden wanker will always have something to do with that. You can't take too much from tonight's game due to the threadbare nature of the opposition but we've struggled against similar quality very recently. The signs are there though that he's starting to stamp his style on the squad and the players are responding. It's nice to see us playing a passing game, even though it was pissing down throughout. The players are starting the gel and seem like they actually care about playing for the jersey. All we can ask is that they give all they've got for the navy blue.

We don't want to get carried away but we've had so little to cheer about in recent years, that we'll take any crumb we can and build the best damn sandwich out of it.

There may have only been a crowd of 18,742, a little less than last night's game between the Republic of Ireland hosts and Wales, but the atmosphere was way better.

The travelling Tartan Army was in full voice and it was great to have the banter between the two sets of fans. "You can stick your Union Jack up your arse" indeed. Sad bastards that they are. It's been missing for a long time in a competitive match.

You can argue that the Nations Cup is just glorified friendlies, but whenever you have the four Celtic nations together in anything, it's going to be competitive.

Joint top of the league though and looking forward to the remaining two games in May. C'mon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The inaugural Nations Cup got underway in Dublin tonight.

The opening game in the round robin tournament saw the hosts Ireland triumph over Wales, thanks to a fine second half display.

I'd been looking forward to the tournament, hankering as I have been for many years for the return of the end of season Home Internationals. It's a stepping stone to getting these games back on the calendar and the signs have been promising so far.

Hopefully we don't find this tournament having a detrimental effect on the return of the Home Internationals though and being used a reason to say the fans don't care.

The fans are cleary not into the Nations Cup at the moment. Only 19,783 turned out to watch first game. Aviva Stadium was just over a third full and the atmosphere was flatter than some reserve games, which hopefully this tournament won't become. As Scotland prepare to take on Northern Ireland, I shudder to think what tomorrow's attendance is going to be.

Playing the Cup at this time of year doesn't help either the tournament or the enthusiasm for it. Having it as an end of season spectacle, in better weather and when more managers are likely to be more willing to release players, should be how they look to proceed in future years. If it indeed lasts that long.

Another aspect which doesn't help the credibility is the fact that teams can make SIX substitutions. It devalues the tournament and makes it no more than a glorified friendly and the fans of the three non hosting nations aren't exactly going to go to a lot of time, expense and effort to support that.

One of the biggest complaints fans have about friendly matches is the ridiculous substitutions aspect.

The Nations Cup had the potential to be a great thing. I'd been looking forward to it since it's announcement. It may get better, but for now it all just seems a bit flat and pointless and a good opportunity gone to waste.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I can't really believe I'm saying this but yesterday's Old Firm Scottish Cup tie was a great advert for Scottish football!

I watched four games yesterday and each one should have been a cracker.

As a West Ham fan, watching them feebly fail in a vital relegation clash didn't raise the excitement. Fernando Torres didn't end up with a broken leg in his first game for Chelski against his old Pool team-mates and after Saturday's escapades in the Premiership, that was a first half of lacklustre proportions. Even the usually fiery Welsh derby between Swansea and Cardiff went off without a bang.

Thankfully the Old Firm saved the day and served up the best game of the afternoon. It was a match I'd happily watch again and if they can serve up the same in the replay next month then I'll be extremely happy.

If you strip out the sectarianism bullshit that still surrounds the fixture, and the fact that the big two kill the Scottish game as much as they help it, you're not usually left with a lot except pure hatred.

Hatred in football is not a bad thing. Don't let people tell you it is. I'd always argue that the game needs it to fully thrive. A plain hatred of your rivals though, not what race, colour or religion they are. You also need to have decent football on display to back this up.

The Fifth Round clash at Ibrox was a scintillating affair, with football being what is being talked about and not refereeing controversies.

Every season I watch the SPL kick off in the hope that someone is going to challenge the Old Firm and that all of the clubs, but especially Celtic and Rangers, actually decide to bring through Scottish talent and not Irish and European.

I'm usually disappointed and not least by the football on display.

I've found myself watching more SPL action this season though than in recent years. The horrorshows of Hibernian and McGhee era Aberdeen have helped. You just didn't know what's been coming next with those two. Hearts have been a breath of fresh air this season, but are now sadly looking like they've faded and fallen away and will have to settle for third spot. The Hearts-Hibs New Years Day derby match was a terrific game, played in an electric atmosphere. Overall, there's been some great goals and some great games. Pity the crowds seem to be dwindling all over.

No matter what goes on elsewhere though, everything is overshadowed by the Old Firm and it always will be. Today's meeting was the 391st Old Firm derby we were told, with the 2-2 draw meaning that the Glasgow rivals will be playing each other for a record seven times this season. I'm sure there will be enough hate to go round.

Celtic impressed me no end and if the SPL title isn't heading to Parkhead way come May then I'll be amazed. They are simply a much better all round team than Rangers at the moment. I find it staggering that Rangers are still going to go top if they can win their two games in hand.

Neil Lennon may be despised by many, but he has Celtic playing some nice football at the moment and his decision to go for it with his attacking substitution midway through the second half turned the game, showing some tactical nuance too. If there had been extra time yesterday then Celtic would now be in the hat for the next round.

For those that think that the Scottish game is just all kick and rush, then their performance today would have put many in the Premiership to shame. Long may it continue. We've had some bad years in Scottish football and if a team can win the SPL by playing some football that makes you want to watch them, then that's a start of the comeback.

I have to end by covering my three favourite things from yesterday's game.

Steven Naismith is an absolute prick for taking that dive in the box right in front of the referee. Second booking and off he went. Great to see a ref not afraid to fully punish the player for doing that. If only more were so brave. Can't believe only two players saw red.

I absolutely LOVED Scott Brown's celebration right in the face of El Hadji Diouff. Well worth getting a booking for that. Diouff's moved to the perfect club. A cunt surrounded by dicks. Perfect fit.

Final word goes to Celtic's Green Brigade supporters group. They've been much talked about this season, but they have brought a terrific atmosphere to the terraces in Scotland. More fans need to take note of what they're doing. We need more tifo, more style and more noise in the Scottish game. I've been enjoying that kind of atmosphere for the last three years in Vancouver and loving every minute of it. At a time when fans are voting with their feet and staying away, this is the kind of atmosphere that will bring them back.

Plus any fans that can turn Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough" into a terracing classic, deserve all the praise they can get.

Maybe the signs are there that the death of Scottish football has been greatly exaggerated. All they need to do now is a dramatic overhaul off the pitch.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

*** Well what a Saturday that was in the Premiership. 8 games, 41 goals, 7 of them penalties. Two eight goal games and a seven goal game in there. Fantastic stuff. Possibly the best day of EPL action ever. Still don't feel it's the "best league in the world" but yesterday it made a strong case.

*** Everyone is talking about the Newcastle-Arsenal game of course. Best comeback I've seen since Mali stunned Angola with a similar four goal comeback in last year's African Nations Cup. Mali's was better though as there were two goals in injury time. Plus I don't have a deep hatred of Mali brainwashed into me by my best mate and my old boss, who are both Mackems.

*** Hard to say who had the biggest nightmare moment in the above game. Arsenal's Abou Diaby, who's incredible act of arseholeness arguably cost them two vital points, or the officials who gave Newcastle a penalty that wasn't and didn't give them a goal that was or the stupid Newcastle fans that left early. Have to give it to the latter. You'd not get over walking out of a game like that for a while. That's why you shouldn't leave early. I stayed to the end of that notorious 7-1 drubbing of the Fife by Raith in 1987. Looking back, even if I was still there today, I don't think we'd have tied things up.

*** I think it's fair to say that the Lino in the Toon game had a mare. Trevor Massey. Good job it wasn't his namesake Sian. Maybe we owe her an apology. Must be the surname.

*** Blackpool need to get some wins going again soon. Great performance once again from them but that counts for nothing if you leave empty handed. You have a horrible feeling they're going to do a Burnley and fall just short. Hopefully not but at four points off the relegation places and 12 points away from the magical figure of 40 points that many talk about, it's looking like a tough ask ahead of them. I think the fourth bottom team is going to need more than those 40 points this season.

*** Moving away from the Premiership, Barcelona notched up a record breaking 16th consecutive win in La Liga, with a 3-0 victory over Atletico Madrid. Ten points clear, one loss all season, unbeaten away from home with only four goals conceded. Almost flawless football. Real Madrid must be looking on in envy. They spend all that money on big name flops and still can't win anything. Win for the good guys.

*** Uefa has reminded clubs that new financial regulations will be rigorously enforced come the 2012/13 season. Clubs must break even over a rolling period of three years. We will be interested and delighted if they do get tough on the worse offenders. On the day that Chelsea signed Fernando Torres for the obscene amount of £50 million, they announced losses for the year to June 2010 of £70.9 million. In what universe does that make any sense?

*** After last weekend's FA Cup excitement, the Scottish Cup was a severe letdown yesterday. Is there anything we can ever do to make it exciting, epsecially once your team has crashed out? With the last non-league side, Buckie Thistle, going out 2-0 at home to Brechin City yesterday, there's nothing much left to excite. I'll watch this afternoons bigot brothers derby, but you're always watching that for non footballing reasons and the hope that there's gonna be a big rammy. At least one of the bastards won't be in the final.

*** In the Scottish Junior Cup, my home town team, Glenrothes, are having no luck with the weather. Having finally got their third round match at home to Tranent played at the eighth attempt last week (which they won 3-0), their mouthwatering fourth round tie at home to Arthurlie fell foul of the rain yesterday. With several other third round ties still trying to be played, this years final could fall into 2012. It's like watching the Fife Cup.

*** And finally to all my readers of a non black and gold persuasion, spare a thought for East Fife. It was only after I posted the blog yesterday that I realised that not only are we the only club in the bottom six that have a plus goal difference, we're also still the highest scorers in the league and two points away from safety. Is there any other league in the world where this is likely to be the case? It could only happen to us.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's no longer our pessimism. It's now official. East Fife are in the shit.

With a free Saturday due to Ayr United's continuation in the Scottish Cup, the black and gold kept themselves busy with a 5-1 defeat against a Hearts XI at Bayview.

As our strong line up went down to a bunch of fringe players and youth team guys, more concerning stuff was playing out at Alloa Athletic's Recreation Park.

Bottom side Dumbarton, who have turned to their youth set up to try and kick-start their season, edged a five goal thriller to lift themselves off the bottom of the Scottish Second Division and send East Fife crashing to the basement in their place.

We're now firmly in a relegation dogfight for the second season running.

Sure we have games in hand over the two sides directly above us. Two on second bottom Stenhousemuir and three on the now third bottom Sons. I'd rather have the points in the bag than the games in hand.

The fact that we have a defence with more gaping holes than a Cowden prostitute, means we can't rely on taking anything from these matches.

It's such a frustrating season. We can hold our own, but without taking points, from the likes of Livingston and then we draw blanks and can't take our chances in games like Tuesday nights match at Forfar.

When you look at the fact that Ayr and Brechin are sitting in second and third spots, having played the same number of games but with nearly double our points total, you see just how far we've fallen off the pace.

On the plus side, we have half a season of games still to play out and it's quite scary that we have no firm idea as to just how they will.

Friday, February 4, 2011

We never meant for this to become a running series, but it's proved popular, so here's another.

Following on from 'Goalkeepers Scoring' and 'Dogs On The Pitch', here's another one of our favourites things we love to see in football - goalkeepers being hit in the face or head by the ball.

And if it knocks them flying, then all the better!

Here's three cracking examples of this art form in action...

The last game features the classic crowd "wahey". Love the "knock a bit of fucking sense into you" shout from a wag in the crowd.

This game was a Bangor City home game from November 2006. Two years later...

Don't think Clandeboye Park will be top of many refs places to officiate!

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stevie Crawford gained a lot of respect in his time at Bayview.

Joining the Fife in July 2008, the former Scottish internationalist probably never thought that 8 months later he would be replacing the guy that signed his as gaffer.

He was joining the Third Division champions but as things went from bad to worse on the pitch for the team, manager Dave Baikie resigned in April the following year. Stevie was first appointed caretaker manager and then got the job permanently but didn't really manage to turn around the Fife's on-field fortunes.

With a 2009/10 season seeing the Fife narrowly avoiding the relegation playoffs on the last day of the season, Stevie continued to have the support of the Fife faithful. We knew he needed time. We knew he had the right ideas. The Craw obviously didn't think they were working though and when he resigned earlier this season, it came as a shock to most down Bayview way.

What was an even bigger shock was that Stevie decided to stay on as a player and help the Fife cause. He was already a respected figure at the Club and this just put him up further in most people's estimation.

Leaving East Fife in the recent transfer window, Stevie has gone to Cowdenbeath and taken a big wage off the overall weekly bill. As classy as ever, Stevie left with a great parting message:

"I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone connected to East
Fife F.C during my spell at the club as both a player and a manager.
Thanks to the board for giving me my first chance in management and
all the admin staff and volunteers for their help as well during my
time in charge. I would also like to thank the players, Jason Dair, Scott Crabbe,
David Westwood, Gordon Forrest and Brian McNeill for all their efforts.

A special mention to Monty, Jim Berry and Dave Marshall for the way they look after the playing surface. It's up there with the best in Scotland.

Thanks to the supporters for their support throughout my time at the
club. I will keep a close eye on results from now on and wish the club
all the best for the rest of this season and in the years ahead.

The team is in very good hands with Robbo and Jukey and I am sure
their experience will be invaluable to the club over the next few

Thanks again to everyone,
Best wishes"

Nice words Stevie. We wish you well personally but obviously can't wish the Cowden scum to do well at the same time.

Stevie's playing career with the Fife saw him net 10 goals in 50 games. In a fine spell this season, it's sad to see him go but at least he's left with his head held high.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yesterday's last minute frenzy before the transfer window closed was amazing.

We complained last year about the lack of activity and how boring it had all become. This year couldn't have been further removed from that and it was all strangely rivetting in the process.

I can't believe how much enjoyment I got from watching text updates at work on the ticker! That could just be because I need to get out more, I will admit that.

English Premier League clubs are reported to have have spent a staggering £225 million in the transfer window, an increase of £50 million from the previous record of three years ago.

When you consider how many people in the UK and throughout the world are struggling because of the recession this is mind-blowing. Actually it's obscene.

That's also just the teams from the Premiership remember.

Somewhere, someone hasn't been able to pay their electricity bill today or been able to afford food and Liverpool have just spent £35 million on a player that has only scored 32 senior career goals, played only 91 games and is currently injured. That figure is also what Vancouver Whitecaps paid MLS to get the 17th 'franchise' in 2009. That's a whole club.

Carroll has a talent but there is no way on earth that he is worth that sort of money. It's a transfer record for a UK player moving between English clubs. For how long? How much money would the likes of Dalglish, Rush or Law have been worth if their prime had been the current market?

Carroll has been highly critical of the move himself, in a bizarre turn of events.

He is reported to have said that he had been "pushed out the door" by Newcastle United Chairman Mike Ashley, although earlier reports from the Toon said he had handed in a transfer request when the first bid was turned down. If I was a club chairman and someone offered me that kind of money for a player not yet fully proven at the top level, I'd bite their hand off and considering Ashley had struggled to sell the whole club for £100 million not that long ago, he must be cock-a-hoop today.

The Newcastle fans certainly won't be. At least they won't hate Carroll for leaving his home team. He's now guaranteed a great reception whenever he returns to St James Park. What he gets from the Liverpool support we'll see soon enough.

Better than Fernando Torres will get from the travelling Reds support at Chelsea at the weekend anyway. By belittling Liverpool's "big club" status, he turned the broken hearts he'd left behind into ones repaired and filled with hate.

I'm not a Liverpool fan but he really has come across as a bit of a wanker over it all. Wonder what odds I can get on him getting injured in the forthcoming grudge match.

The whole Torres saga did give us our favourite story from the proceedings though!

The other player we were carefully watching was Charlie Adam.

He was almost the forgotten man after all the big name comings and goings and, much to Blackpool's relief, he will remain a Seasider till May at least.

Liverpool were knocked back and a last minute attempt from Tottenham to snag him apparently fell through because of two missing signatures from Blackpool board members. Good for them!

Losing him in the death throes of the transfer window would have killed Blackpool. They'd be struggling to replace him anyway but not at that late stage and this is now the problem that Newcastle faced.

It's ok having all the money in the bank but if you can't spend it and the team on the pitch is suffering as a result, is it worth it?

You know you're getting old when you can clearly remember the news generated by Trevor Francis' £1 million transfer in 1979. Nowadays, that wouldn't get you much.

Who knows where it will all stop but it needs to before we're left with only the top sides and then where will all their transfers come from?
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