England v Moldova

Friday 6th September 2013

I watched the documentary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uW0ebsf7ZRs earlier on in the day, documenting one of the worst England managers in history, as he failed to qualify for USA 94, despite having players like Shearer, Gazza, Seaman, Ince, Platt etc

Watching Graham Taylor flounder in a situation of his own making was embarrassing at the time in 1993, but watching it 20 years on hasn’t made the spectacle any easier to stomach or easier to forgive. Taylor really had no idea what he was doing…and we made him the NATIONAL team manager!

Later on in the day, I went to watch England play a world cup qualifier, and the parallels were shocking…Roy Hodgson is Graham Taylor. As clueless as each other, and getting similar results. I suddenly go the feeling that not only will England fail to qualify for Brazil as group winners, but if they do get through the play offs, it will be a shambles even greater than South Africa…despite Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney, Ashley Cole, etc

England 2 v 4 Italy

Sunday 24th June 2012

Man of the Match: Andrea Pirlo. The playmaker was kept quiet for all of 15 minutes as England set a man to shut him down. But he soon shed his shadow and pulled the strings for an Italy side that should really have won in normal time. His cool, chipped penalty inspired his team-mates to victory during the shootout.

England verdict: Started the game really well and created some early chances, but got the jitters as the game went on and allowed Italy to dominate possession. Mario Balotelli beat the offside trap on numerous occasions as the defence pushed up but he was eventually nullified. A lack of ability to keep or pass the ball eventually told as Roy Hodgson’s men looked very tired after about 60 minutes, never mind extra-time. England’s most creative player, Steven Gerrard, was tied up with defensive duties for most of the game.

Italy verdict: Deserved winners. The Italians eventually dictated the play after some shoddy early defending gave England a head of steam. Mario Balotelli’s forward runs provided huge spaces for Andrea Pirlo and Riccardo Montolivo to work in midfield and they punished England with a fine display of passing. It was a shame the Azzurri forwards’ finishing was not up to the same standard as they squandered chance after chance. Extra-time also went Italy’s way but again they were wasteful in front of goal. They finally bagged the victory in the shootout.

Could do better: Ashley Young. His place was one of the few that was in doubt prior to kick-off and his confidence appeared to be dented when the game kicked-off. The winger had chances to run with the ball when his full-back Ignazio Abate was isolated but spurned the opportunity to do so. His passing was way off target and he took too many chances in defence. He missed a great chance when England were under the cosh …. and then came the penalty miss.

Stat attack: Mario Balotelli has never missed any of his ten penalties in official matches.

England 1 – 0 Ukraine

Tuesday 19th June 2012

Man of the Match: John Terry The ball may have crossed the line when Terry cleared, but it was a herculean effort from the Chelsea skipper to get back. He was a man mountain at the back as Ukraine pressed and pressed in search of a goal.

England verdict: It’s the style we’ve come to expect from Roy Hodgson’s England: never looking to dictate the attacking nature of a game but happy to sit a little deeper and take the chances when they come. They could have had the game tied up sooner than they did and will need to be more clinical against better sides.

Ukraine verdict: The co-hosts took the game to England but lacked the ability to really cut through their opponents. Their tendency to shoot on sight doesn’t help their cause and they may have had more success with a bit of guile. They were desperately unlucky with the ‘ghost goal’ which crossed the line despite John Terry’s best efforts, but England will feel that is justice for Frank Lampard’s at the World Cup.

Could do better: James Milner and Ashley Young Yet again they failed to deliver and were the cause of frustration throughout. Young went missing for large chunks of the game while Milner’s only true contribution was a cross moments before he was subbed.

Stat attack: Wayne Rooney ended a run of 673 minutes without finding the net for England at major tournaments.

Hodgson leaves Liverpool

Saturday 8th January 2011

The best news since Gillett and Hicks left LFC!

Roy Hodgson has left Liverpool by mutual consent after a dismal seven months in charge, with Kenny Dalglish taking over as manager for the rest of the season.

Roy Hodgson gets that sinking feeling

GettyImagesRoy Hodgson gets that sinking feeling

Hodgson had been under pressure for some time and speculation over his future intensified after Wednesday night’s 3-1 defeat at Blackburn Rovers. That left Liverpool in 12th, four points above the relegation zone.

The former Fulham boss was expected to face the media on Friday lunchtime ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup showdown with Manchester United at Old Trafford, but the club pulled the plug on the scheduled press conference.

Liverpool face a crucial week, with a trip to Blackpool on Wednesday followed by the Merseyside derby against Everton an Anfield next weekend on the back of the game at United.

Hodgson had lost the supporters following a run of form which included defeats home defeats to Blackpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers, as well as losses at Newcastle United and Stoke City. Liverpool also suffered an embarrassing Carling Cup defeat to League Two strugglers Northampton Town at Anfield.

There has long been a clamour for Dalglish, who successfully managed the club to the Double in the 80s and won the Premier League title with Blackburn Rovers in 1995, to replace Hodgson at the helm. While the move is currently on a temporary basis it will be difficult to replace him should he transform Liverpool’s fortunes.

In a statement on the club’s website, principal owner John Henry said: “We are grateful for Roy’s efforts over the past six months, but both parties thought it in the best interests of the club that he stand down from his position as team manager. We wish him all the best for the future.

“We are delighted that Kenny Dalglish has agreed to step in and manage the team for Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Old Trafford and for the remainder of the season.

“Kenny was not just a legendary footballer, he was the third of our three most successful managers – three giants. We are extraordinarily fortunate and grateful that he has decided to step in during the middle of this season.”

Chairman Tom Werner said: “No one who cares for this great club has been happy with the way this season has unfolded and we have examined options and considered at length what is best for us going forward.

“Kenny will bring considerable experience to the position and provide management and leadership for the rest of the season.”

Hodgson said of his departure: “Being asked to manage Liverpool Football Club was a great privilege. Any manager would be honoured to manage a club with such an incredible history, such embedded tradition and such an amazing set of fans.

“Liverpool is one of the great clubs in world football. I have, however, found the last few months some of the most challenging of my career.

“I am very sad not to have been able to put my stamp on the squad, to be given the time to bring new players into the club in this transfer window and to have been able to be part of the rebuilding process at Liverpool.

“The club has some great, world-class players, with whom it has been a pleasure to work and I wish the entire squad well for the rest of the season.

“I thank those with whom I have built up a close working relationship at the club for their loyalty and support during very testing times, and finally of course to the Liverpool fans, your passion and dedication to the club will see Liverpool at the top of the game once more.”