LIFE’S a beach for Liverpool at the moment.
Bad enough that your two key players are injured, but to then be beaten by the intervention of an inflatable – I guess it’s not hard for Anfieldites to blow things up out of all proportion.
But I must admit the beach ball fiasco just brought back fond memories of that time in the late 1980s when football went inflatable crazy.
If legend is right it all started when Manchester City fans called for the appearance of substitute Imre Varadi.
The chant mutated and he was henceforth known affectionately as ‘Imre Banana’.
Cue a flood of three-foot long bunches of Fyffes on the Kippax, to be followed by a series of equally air-brained ideas by fans at other clubs.
My favourite was the sight of a horde of Grimsby Town fans (yes there were enough of them to describe them as a horde) arriving at Halifax Town’s home The Shay armed to a man with ‘Harry the Haddock’ balloons.
In fact there were times when I sometimes felt that the compulsory introduction of a variety of inflatables to the field of play at half-time would actually have enlivened things at those matches – but then that was Friday nights at The Shay in the late 80s for you.
IF IT were school sports day, leading the sack race would be a good thing – but it is probably a phrase that Phil Brown is fed up of hearing.
As his Hull City team slipped to defeat at Fulham on Monday, again the question was raised whether the Tiger in the Savile Row suit would be heading for the door marked exit and become the first Premier League manager to get the boot this season.
It really does just serve to underline the fact that those who put their heads above the parapet and go into football management have to be prepared to put up with a level of fickleness that doesn’t exist in any other job.
This time last season Phil was being lauded as a breath of fresh air and even being touted as possibly the rising star to take the reins next time the FA felt they wanted an England manager actually from these shores.
But 12 months down the line Brown is being portrayed by some as a liability prone to grave errors in judgement that seriously undermine his position – the half time dressing down for the Hull players on the pitch at Eastlands last season being the most regularly cited example of Phil ‘losing the dressing room’.
My first recollection of Phil is not as a sharp-dressed man stalking the technical area, but as a very tidy right full back playing in the Football League’s basement with Halifax Town.
Phil was a product of a Hartlepool set-up that also included John Bird and Billy Ayre, who both went on to manage at The Shay.
Had you asked me 20 years ago to bet on which one of this former Victoria Ground triumvirate would make it to management in the top flight I would have thrown my money down the drain.
At the time the only signs that Brown – best known at The Shay for having the type of tan that was more often seen in La Liga and being thoroughly entertaining company with an ability to ‘socialise’ with the best of them – showed of being interested in managing was helping to run the Fleece Inn at Barkisland.
It was something he did with some panache, though I don’t ever recall him taking us all out to the car park 45 minutes before last orders and berating us for not drinking our pints fast enough, or criticising the quality of our choice of chasers – and therefore he never risked ‘losing’ the tap room.
But having served his time at Bolton and learned the management trade under Sam Allardyce, I for one cannot help but be impressed by what he has achieved.
It just shows what short memories some fans have because the concept of Hull City being in the top flight was just laughable until Phil turned up at the KC Stadium.
I for one hope that in another 12 months time Brown is being touted for England boss again having enjoyed further success – but just now, sadly, he might be heading for the first prize at school sports day.
I JUST love the idea of there being an ECB Recreational XI in next summer’s new one-day cricket schedule.
There is something about the name (I wish I had been present at the meeting that decided on that one) that, despite playing in the ECB 40 League, suggests a rather more social than professional approach.
The ‘Recreational’ tag to me smacks of the type of cricket team that shortly after the tea interval has someone at third man primed to shout ‘Forget this lads (obviously I’m paraphrasing) the bar is open’ leading to a rapid capitulation.
Even better is the fact that the team will be selected from ‘players without full county contracts’.
Now I am sure I have never had a full county contract, so if anyone at the ECB is reading this, if you want a fairly awful wicketkeeper who has struggled to drag his batting average into double figures for most of his career, but is distinctly strong on the recreational side of the game, then I’m your man!