Wales's new manager Gary Speed tried to blame the pitch at the Millennium Stadium for his team's inept display against England last week- end. I was there. Wales's defenders seemed to fall all over the place in the first 15 minutes, while England mysteriously stayed on their feet. England's players, especially in the first half, managed to play incisive passes, yet our young captain Aaron Ramsey (a great passer of the ball) invariably found the opposition.
England were motivated to play well by our fans booing of 'God Save the Queen', yet the Welsh players weren't similarly inspired by England fans booing 'Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau'.
I unashamedly booed the 'Queen' and will always do so. I know quite a few English republicans who would've joined in. If the English national anthem had been Blake's wonderful 'Jerusalem' I'd have probably hummed along!
Gary Speed should look to himself and players if he wants to progress as a manager. He'll have to learn fast and blaming the pitch merely detracts from our abject performance.
He got everything wrong. Firstly, Aaron Ramsey is too young and inexperienced to be captain and it distracted him : I've never seen him play so badly. Secondly, we didn't compete and close them down first half at all, playing too deep and leaving the lone striker Morison isolated ( it was like Tosh's teams). Thirdly, why wasn't Vaughan selected? He's a regular Premiership player for Blackpool and on fine form ; when he came on as sub. he was our most effective player! Finally, both Bellamy and King were out of position, presumably in an effort to negate their attacking full-backs. In the first half, Bellers looked lost and King never plays wide for Leicester.
For all his qualities, Cardiff City's manager Dave Jones is master of excuses. He's probably been giving Speed private tutoring.
When we recently drew at home to lowly Barnsley the fans were to blame according to DJ. Apparently, our nervousness transmitted to the players. Sitting as ever in the Ninian Stand, I failed to detect any biting of nails. Like most old-timers I am pretty philosophical about our chances , and would actually be delighted if we reached the play-offs, never mind automatic promotion.
No, the biggest factor influencing our form until yesterday's great win v. Derby has been DJ's poor signing of a loan keeper and the form of Jay Bothroyd. Bywater has been totally unconvincing and Heaton's commanding presence yesterday only showed what we've missed. While Bothroyd's head hasn't been right since he played for England and he should've been dropped. However, after scoring the penalty yesterday, he returned to his best.
DJ's blaming of everything except himself doesn't help. He vilified young full-back Adam Matthews after one defeat, yet protected his summer signing Lee Naylor after many poor performances when fans criticised his selection. Ironically, Naylor hasn't played since, despite DJ insisting he wasn't going to be influenced by fans! Not only that, we've signed JLloyd Samuel, a left-back, on loan : hardly a vindication of Naylor!
If we reach the play-offs, let's hope he gets the tactics right, as he did v. Swansea at the Liberty this season and failed to do v. Blackpool at Wembley last. Also, let's hope the grass is perfect at Wembley, otherwise.............
THE MANAGER'S EXCUSES
Well, the pitch was too hard,
too soft, too bumpy, too rough.
The ref? We had two good shouts
for penalties he refused,
three goals disallowed,
he kept blowing up for stupid fouls.
The sending off was appalling,
I know their player was stretchered off, but.......
The media should leave us alone,
they're always having a dig,
they expect us to win every game ;
okay, we've lost four on the trot
and we've not played well,
but whose fault is that?
It's the crowd, our fans
are so n...n....n...nervous
it's getting to the team ;
imagine being booed at half-time
just because we're 3-0 down?
What's that all about?
We've had injuries, too many loanees,
players with personal problems,
players on International duties
(now that's a distraction!).
The press have been saying 'RESIGN!'
but who are we going to get? Mourinho?
what's he, a horiculturalist?
Even he couldn't cope with our pitch:
they'd be better off appointing Titchmarsh.