The reasons we will be relegated

There are two of them: failing to invest in Chris Coleman…and then sacking him. Simple as that.

If Cookie had been given proper resources a couple of years back then there’s no way we’d be staring relegation in the face. If any further proof was needed then you only have to look at who have been the best players for us this season. McBride (Coleman signing); Bullard (Coleman signing); Dempsey (Coleman signing); Niemi (Coleman signing); Davies (Coleman signing).

Cookie’s critics accused him of running out of ideas. Oh right. I presume they mean the box of tricks that Sanchez and Hodgson have brought with them. Well, they have worked very well haven’t they? If their goal was to bring Championship football to the Cottage then I’ve got to say that the master plan seems to be working. Well done guys.

Everyone forgets what Cookie brought to the table. He took Tigana’s underperforming side and turned them into a classy outfit that clinched our best ever league finish in the first full year under his reign (9th). We then became a selling club…Saha, Van der Sar, Malbranque, etc, etc, and he wasn’t given enough resources to bring in fresh blood to the team. He paid for this situation with his job.

Fulham v Liverpool: Player rankings

Here’s how I scored the lads against Liverpool.

Keller – 5/10
Poor performance from the big man. Could have done better with both goals.

Konchesky – 5/10
Not one of his better days. Was skinned on numerous occasions.

Hughes – 6/10
The one bright spark in the back four. Solid and reliable throughout.

Hangeland – 5/10
Not a triumph for our giant. Culpable for letting Pennant squirm away for the opener.

Stalteri – 5/10
Not bad but caught out of position a few times – and skinned on other occasions.

Bullard – 6/10
An A for effort but too many passes went astray.

Murphy – 5/10
Shocking stuff. He’s at least a yard slower than he was in his prime – and it shows.

Davies – 6/10
Tried hard but not one of his better performances.

Dempsey – 6/10
The usual battling display but his first touch let him down on a number of occasions. Came close with a second half header.

McBride – 6/10
Gave it his all. Was out on his feet by the time he was subbed late in the game.

Healy – 7/10
Scuffed a couple of shots but definitely our danger man. Battled relentlessly, won free kicks and illustrated his worth as a play maker. Unlucky to be taken off.

Substitutes

Nevland – 5/10
Failed to make any impression

Andreason – 6/10
A good shot late on.

Kamara – 5/10
Didn’t have much time to make an impact. Should have been given longer.

Man of the Match: David Healy. His all-round performance and effort was top drawer.

Just not good enough…

What a difference a week makes. Last Saturday evening we were experiencing the most unbelievable high after taking all three away to Reading. Tonight we are staring relegation in the face once again. It wasn’t for the lack of trying. We had plenty of chances to get something out of this match but a combination of poor finishing and defensive mistakes (the story of our season) meant we ended up with nothing. The atmosphere in the stadium after Pennant crashed home Liverpool’s opener died instantly and never recovered. To be honest we didn’t do enough to lift the players, but then again we didn’t have a great deal to cheer about. All told a thorougly disappointing afternoon. We now travel to Man City with everything slipping away…

Song for Simon Davies

He’s arguably the club’s most under-rated player so it’s high time that we had a song for Simon Davies, our Welsh wonder.

My preferred option would be: We’ve got Simon Davies; We’ve got Simon Davies: and repeat…used in recent years by the Gooners towards Denis Bergkamp.

What does everyone suggest? Any alternatives?

Reading v Fulham: FtF coverage

Here are the links to all our pieces on yesterday’s match

Match report

Player rankings

Post mortem: Anecdotes from the game

Post mortem: Reading v Fulham

A few assorted things, events, comments, that either happened or came to mind during the trip to the Madejski…

1. Amusing pre-match moment: The Reading fans proudly passing the flag over their head – but failing to notice it was upside down. We serenaded them with: You don’t know what you’re doing!
2. The poor, tubby stewards who were told to climb up the 1001 steps to the top of the stadium to tell those at the back to sit down, only to find they were already sitting by the time they arrived. By the time they returned the fans were up and the process started all over again.

3. The same stewards failing to notice extra fans were squeezed two-on-a-seat so they could be at the very back. Either that or they chose to ignore it.

4. The stadium announcer who read the Fulham team out like he was at a funeral and then switched to a ‘Smashy and Nicey’ over-excited radio DJ voice when it came to the Reading names. Hilarious.

5. The chorus of “We can see you sneaking out!” as the Reading fans went off for their half time pie and pint.

6. Chant of the season: “We’ve hit it three times, that fu***ng crossbar, we’ve hit it three times”. Full marks to whoever made that up.

7. Liam Rosenior. Great to see him and he clapped us when he sang his name. However, he played dreadfully. Surely he was better than that when he played for us?

8. Marcus Hahneman: Some nice comments about the club during the week from the big fella who made two outstanding saves to keep the score down.

9. Alan Mullery’s outspoken comments about why our season has gone wrong so far. Guess he’s not wanting to be friends with Joe Kamara…

10. Full credit to the players for coming over to applaud us at the end and for throwing their shirts into the crowd. Top stuff.

11. Very magnanimous comments from Steve Coppell at the end saying we deserved the win. Can you imagine Moyes, Curbishley, etc, saying anything similar?

Reading v Fulham: Player rankings

Here’s how I scored our lads after the win away at Reading

Keller – 7/10
Solid as a rock throughout. Hugely reassuring having him at the back, and apart from a header that whistled just past his post, didn’t look like getting beaten all day.

Konchesky – 610
The usual solid performance we’ve come to expect. Would still like to see him really tearing down the wing rather than checking back but it’s a small complaint.

Hangeland – 7/10
That was more like it. Recovered from last week’s nightmares to put in a great performance and almost scored with a towering header.

Hughes – 6/10
A decent display and no repeat of last week’s horror show (thankfully)

Stalteri – 5/10
Dreadful first half but recovered for a decent display in the second 45.

Bullard – 7/10
Okay, so a few passes went astray but he was all over the field for the entire 90 minutes. Came very close to doubling our lead from a set piece.

Murphy – 6/10
A good game. Floated some great passes around the field and was always involved. Am warming to him…slowly.

Dempsey – 8/10
Outstanding. Gave us a glimpse of what we have been missing. Beautiful skills combined with a tireless work rate.

Davies – 7/10
Some excellent skills to set up both goals. Can be proud of his contribution.

Healy – 7/10
Fantastic work rate. Set up the opening goal and had a few attempts on goal himself.

McBride – 7/10
Not as mobile as he once was; nor wins as many headers, but he’s there when it matters. Scored the opener and came close to a second. Great stuff from the captain.

Substitutes

Nevland – 7/10
Did everything asked of him and scored a belting second to wrap up the points.

Bocanegra – 6/10
Added a bit of extra steel at the end.

Andreason – 6/10
Same as Boca, came in to provide the muscle effectively for the last few minutes.

Man of the match: Clint Dempsey. Any one of four players could have been given the nod but Deuce shades it for me due to his sheer work rate and outstanding skills.