2014/15, the season which just keeps on giving when it comes to boring football!

CoymayUnless there is a wholly unexpected finish to the season which sees entertainment levels flying off the chart, 2014/15 is not going to go down as one of the most memorable I’ve experienced.

Of course, with so many televised matches these days, the armchair fan is always going to get to watch the occasional great game and a decent number of good ones. However, as someone who likes to attend as many matches as I can, the five teams I watch hoping they win have not really done the business for me this season.

Some of them are less guilty on the lack of quality and entertainment front than others – Wales have been great when they’ve played with two fine games in October played in cracking atmospheres and, although their results have been patchy, City Under 18 games are invariably entertaining affairs with plenty of goals in them.

The other three have certainly not done the business when I’ve been watching them though – City’s Under 21s are full of good intentions, but they’ve forgotten how to score goals at Cardiff City Stadium this year (I see they drew another blank when they switched their match to the Vale training ground last week).

So, that leaves City’s first team and Newport County. I’ll have some brief words about City’s match at Huddersfield later, but if you’ve watched them live this season, you’ll know that when it comes to results, entertainment and atmosphere, there have been far better seasons for them in the recent past.

As for County, well, they’re a bit like Wales in that I’ve only watched them twice this season, so I’ve not really seen them enough to be too judgemental on them, but I came out of today’s game with Morecambe at Rodney Parade thinking that County couldn’t be having the season they are, if they were really as bad as they have looked in the two matches I’ve seen.

Kenwyne Jones battles for possession - somehow, in lots of ways, this picture sums up Cardiff City under Russell Slade as an outnumbered striker looks towards the sky for the next long ball from deep, free kick, corner or throw in to come his way. *

Kenwyne Jones battles for possession – somehow, in lots of ways, this picture sums up Cardiff City under Russell Slade as an outnumbered striker looks towards the sky for the next long ball from deep, free kick, corner or throw in to come his way. *

To be fair, they deservedly beat Stevenage 2-0 in December, but then County manager Justin Edinburgh admitted himself after the match that it was pretty poor fare and it was more of the same today I’m afraid.

After a misleadingly promising start that saw County earn a corner inside twenty seconds, Morecambe opened up the home defence so easily in their first serious attack in the sixth minute as Jack Redshaw neatly shot past Joe Day.

It was all so simply done that it was quite surprising that they were never to come close to repeating the move in the remainder of the game – the visitors showed a pace and a purpose when they broke that County couldn’t really match, but were mostly prepared to sit on their lead and, given the lack of invention and threat from the home team, they were probably right to do so.

With a front two consisting of Shaun Jeffers (one goal in twenty nine games for Newport according to Wikipedia) and Rene Howe (whose career record makes you think that the term “lower league journeyman” was invented with him in mind), It always looked like County would struggle for goals and, in truth, I cannot remember them creating anything worthy of qualifying as a chance throughout.

County did work up a bit of a head of steam in the second half. There were a succession of corners and they had the ball in the net only for the goal to be ruled out for offside against Jeffers, but, by and large, Morecambe coped quite easily – they got their blocks in and County were limited to just the one on target effort all game.

This isn't meant to be critical of Matt Kennedy who was very good on his debut against Blackburn and did pretty well today by all accounts, but this team seem a pretty faceless bunch to me - in this picture Kennedy leaves Huddersfield skipper Mark Hudsom on his backside, but Hudson still seems more like

This isn’t meant to be critical of Matt Kennedy who was very good on his debut against Blackburn and did pretty well today by all accounts, but this team seem a pretty faceless bunch to me – in this picture Kennedy leaves Huddersfield skipper Mark Hudsom on his backside, but Hudson still seems more like “one of us” to me than nearly all of those who have come in since the end of last season.*

It was turgid stuff, but there was at least the chance to see how City’s David Tutonda got on in the second match in his loan spell.

County caretaker boss Jimmy Dack has scrapped the back three favoured by previous boss Edinburgh in favour of a flat back four which meant that Totonda played as a left back. Whatever the merits of the argument for a back four, I’d say that, purely from Tutonda’s point of view, using him as a wing back outside a back three would be preferable because that would be playing to his strengths. Tutonda wasn’t faultless – he gave the ball away in dangerous areas once or twice, but he also showed an ability to wriggle clear of opponents in confined spaces and there was an intelligence to some of his passing when in advanced positions that few of his colleagues could match.

Just a few words about the City’s 0-0 draw at Huddersfield. Given the precarious position that they found themselves in after their defeat by Derby at the end of last month, I would have thought that any fan would gladly have settled for the next four matches to pass without any of them ending in a defeat, but when your team has not won in eight in all competitions and has only one win in their past fourteen, draws are not really good enough.

Yes, City are inching their way away from the Blackpools, Wigans and Millwalls, but a defeat to the second of those three sides on Tuesday (Wigan have not won at home in the league since August, fourteen games ago) would make the “improvement” that has seen our run of league matches without a win stretched to seven would count for absolutely nothing.

City really should have beaten Blackburn in midweek and, the little I’ve heard about today’s match suggests that even though we were well beaten in the possession stakes again (61/39), we had the better opportunities to win a match that I’ve heard the words “dour” and “lack of quality” applied to on a couple of occasions already.

The best of these chances fell to Eoin Doyle who was denied by a great save from home keeper Ian Smithies, but the incident that attracted most attention came just before half time when Kenwyne Jones was brought down on the edge of the penalty area by Huddersfield’s Tommy Smith. The Radio Wales commentators were adamant that, as the last defender, Smith should have been shown a red rather than yellow card, but with us having lost both of the second halves we’ve played against sides down to ten men 1-0, we should perhaps be grateful to, rather than angry at, referee Mark Heywood for his laxity!

* pictures courtesy of http://www.walesonline.co.uk/

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5 Responses to 2014/15, the season which just keeps on giving when it comes to boring football!

  1. rhondda blue says:

    i, like yourself could not make the game at huddersfield but listened in on the radio, to another painful bore by the sounds. no surprise from rusty in his team, whitts and gunner still keeping their place even though all season, to put it mildly, they have been crap (i have no agenda with these players, they are good players on their day) but it’s just not working, is rusty the only one that can’t see this and what message does it send out to other midfield players that are trying to get in the side. that apart matt kennedy sounded as if he was having a good game as opposed to craig noone (nothing against noone, good player) but what does rusty do, takes matt off. will he play fabio if fit against wigan, doubt it, he will probably move peltier and bring connolly to the right, that’s two changes when there should only be one. the guy is out of his depth, the signing everyone could see that we were lacking, a midfield general and maybe captain he never got, that’s why we get overrun in every game we play, i can’t remember the last game we dominated in any shape or form. rusty has as poor return of games as ollie, but at least with ollie we were going on the attack, we hardly have any shots on goal with rusty at the helm. if we stay up we need a top class manager in the summer that knows what he’s doing and a better class of player, else we’ll be back to square one.

  2. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Russell Slade said that the team was beginning to look a bit more like one of his sides after the draw with Blackburn in midweek Rhondda Blue. There’s no doubt it was a better performance than so many under Slade, but, put it in another context (i.e. in a side that is used to winning matches) and it would have been viewed very differently.
    By the sound of it, things were back to normal in many respects at Huddersfield and I can’t say I’m confident of us getting that win tomorrow.

  3. Anthony O'Brien says:

    I listened to the match on the wireless (as I still like to call it) and was irritated by the number of times the commentator kept referring to the “sending-off “that wasn’t – an indication of how dire the match actually was. The other thing that struck was the lack of much if any reference to Paul Trollope. Had he been told to keep a low profile and if so, by whom? Reference was certainly made to the way in which Russell Slade throughout the game remained in his little area next to the pitch but reference to Trollope was conspicuous by its absence. Am I reading too much into this or is there a personality clash already?

    Good points made by Rhondda Blue – he hits the (“rusty”) nail right on the head.

  4. The other Bob Wilson says:

    I think Paul Trollope was more of a story in his first game Anthony and there is every chance that, on public platforms at least, he’ll fade into background somewhat now – that’s what coaches rend to do. If we come out of this drawing run with a win and follow it up with a few more in the coming weeks, I believe that Trollope will get some credit, but if results continue to go poorly, he’ll not be mentioned much as Russell Slade keeps on copping the flak. As for a falling put between our new coach and the manager, I’d need more evidence of one before I started considering it, but we are talking about Cardiff City here, so it would be wrong to rule it out completely!

  5. Dai Woosnam says:

    Hello Paul.
    Thanks for your ever-thoughtful report.
    I have been clambering into the workings of some fifth rate minds in the comments section of WalesOnline.
    Yes, it is a deal less cerebral company I keep there, compared to your fine blog.
    At times it is plain abusive.
    A poster called CCFC17 took me to task for telling my friend from schooldays in Porth Grammar, Richard Hart, that in calling Moody and Mackay’s texts “harmless banter”, he was behaving like a German turning his face away as the Gestapo took away his Jewish next door neighbour.
    You might be interested in my response. Here it is:
    Alas dear Seventeen, you are in cloud cuckoo land.
    Not just because you totally fail to grasp the true seriousness of Mackay’s racist language, but because you also have an incredibly rose-coloured view of his managerial skills…if “skills” they be.
    Let’s deal with the second first.
    He would have kept us in the Prem?
    Thou canst not be serious?
    This manager who got to the Prem in the first place by flooding the midfield at home and parking the bus away!
    His team had none of the attacking flair of a 100 pointer like Steve Coppell’s Reading.
    Tell me what other teams have won the Championship with a top scorer of just EIGHT League goals all season?
    Most Championship winning teams have a player pass that mark by November…and certainly by Christmas.
    But his negative tactics were by no means his ace card.
    His degree of hubris is surely what really marks him out.
    John Brayford, just arrived, and easily the best full back outside of the Premiership. Worshipped by Derby fans (as he is now at Bramall Lane).
    Mackay does his version of Shanks to Tosh on signing day (“Son, you have been performing in a Cardiff church, but now you are in Liverpool CATHEDRAL”).
    He tells JB that he has achieved little so far…now he has to up his game as he is with the big boys in the Prem.
    And what does JB do?
    Unwisely responds with words to the effect that he was not aware that MM had reached dizzying playing heights himself!
    Silly boy.
    For that, poor JB found himself immediately frozen out.
    And all because of the manager’s pride had been momentarily pricked.
    JB was sent to footballing Siberia. At the expense of Mackay’s employer!
    Mackay never did think of saving City money.
    Spent money like a sailor on leave. Look at Sean Dyche! Spent a tiny fraction of what Mackay wasted…and are doing no worse than City were this time last season.
    And dear Seventeen now tells me that Mackay would have kept City in the Prem!
    In itself, that very stupid selfish treatment of JB by Mackay, really doomed City.
    Sure Ole compounded the crime by loaning him out, but the Norwegian was clueless about non Prem players, and all he knew on arrival at CCS was that JB had not played a Prem game and Nigel Clough wanted him on loan.
    The damage was done by Malky’s fit of pique.
    Had JB been the ever-present he SHOULD have been that Premiership season, then I believe Malky might have survived by a whisker, despite wasting millions on relative nonentities. But playing NONE of the attractive football our arch enemies play 45 miles down the road. The Jacks BTW, for years had Third World training facilities compared to the Bluebirds.
    So, that is me dealing with Seventeen’s first point re what he claims is the footballing nous of Mackay. My friend, to put it simply (even if Wigan win tonight): he is a busted flush.
    But then we come to the question of racism.
    And here I declare an interest.
    Richard Hart and me were in the same class in Porth Grammar back when the Pope was an altar boy. We are three weeks apart in age.
    I know him well. He has said as much of me in a previous posting on WalesOnline.
    We email each other regularly.
    I love him dearly. He has many qualities.
    But I chose my words carefully re Nazi Europe.
    Were we back in WW2… would he be a collaborator?
    No. Not in a thousand years.
    But he WOULD turn his face away if the Gestapo came for his next door neighbour.
    Maybe I would too. I am no great hero.
    But the difference is this: I would be suitably ashamed of myself if I did nothing (as alas I fear I would).
    Richard by contrast, would convince himself that no harm would come to them.
    And similarly he – like you Seventeen – has it in his head that Mackay is an upright fellow. But, as so many eloquent voices have stressed, calling it BANTER is a disgrace. Richard Hart please note.
    Richard Bevan of the LMA was daft enough to issue a statement suggesting just that, i.e. that it was harmless banter, and such was the national outrage over the use of that word “banter”, that he immediately withdrew the statement and made an abject apology.
    The kind of apology Mackay made when he tried to shaft Vincent Tan, but in doing so had severely underestimated what he and Moody might call the Ch**k*e.
    Vincent Tan did not get where he is today by being a mug, and when he saw Mackay’s people leaking that email, and winning over the Media, he decided that two people can fight dirty. And in the end completely outflanked his thoroughly disloyal manager, and got Mackay and his mate squealing like stuck pigs, falling at his feet and asking for mercy.
    And yet it had all started so well.
    I remember Mackay’s first press conference.
    How impressed I was.
    I really liked the cut of his jib, after those years of the surly Dave Jones.
    But alas, it is all a FRONT with Mackay.
    Those texts show the real man, I fear.
    “Rehabilitated” Seventeen? You are having a laugh.
    I am not accusing you – or Richard Hart for that matter – of being spiritually on that Metro train in Paris stopping fellow human beings boarding. But I am accusing you of being gullible.
    Not seeing that the Kimbo signing (well I call it a “purchase” because although no fee has changed hands, Wigan have agreed to pay him fat too much money for his limited talents – yes now I have said that, he will doubtless get their winner tonight!) as a cynical “get out of jail” card for Mackay and his mate Whelan. And he will probably succeed, BTW. The FA are mugs …as just evinced by the Ashley Barnes case.
    And I am also accusing you and Richard Hart of not seeing that observing the “use of language” is of the very ESSENCE in getting into the psyche of someone.
    Oprah Winfrey recently made me sit up when she talked about why she would never use the N word.
    She said she was mindful of the fact that it was the very last word many of her race had heard on this earth as they dangled from a tree in the Deep South.
    “Die n***er!”
    Forget though their use of language. What really the texts also convey is a thoroughly unpleasant tone re people who are in their employ.
    And that is the real charge against Mackay.
    Not that he is an overrated football manager. Not that he uses injudicious language.
    But that this “hail fellow well met” thing is …all an act. He is not what he seems.
    And he is busy now telling Wigan folk that they live in a grand town and are the salt of the earth.
    Like he told Cardiff, Watford and Norwich folk before them.
    Now telling the Press that Cardiff fans are great.
    And when Whelan sacks him – as he surely soon will – he will go on to do the same act in God knows in how many towns/cities in the years ahead.
    But it won’t wash any more. He is damaged goods.
    And I will leave you with this thought on his current mate Whelan.
    When he spewed out that hateful “Jews love counting their money” line, he should have put a picture up of Ron Moody as Fagin to illustrate his point.
    And I got to thinking, “where have I encountered these words, before?”
    And then it dawned on me.
    In the pages of Mein Kampf.
    Remember you “banter-fantasists” like Richard Hart: “In the beginning was the word”
    One little misplaced word like an acorn grows.
    And in time, soon becomes a forest ablaze, and burning all before it.

    Ah well, Paul…these things are better out than in.
    I can get off to sleep now at 4.20 am.
    Kindest, as ever,

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