A fickle world that rightly embraces the big impacts
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Football is fickle – no great revelation there. And there is no proof needed, but plenty of it out there.
• I’m not sure there was likely to be any other result in Sunday’s League Cup final. Sure, Bradford had pulled off a few shocks along the way – but Swansea were a Premier League side used to playing at Wembley, trying to secure their first major trophy in their centenary season. No one takes their eyes off the prize that much. What Bradford need to make happen now is return to a proper level. As for Swansea, watching them in Europe next season will be very interesting.
• It can’t be long before Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino puts Jos Hooiveld out of his misery and the defender’s keen eye for goal to better use. I know a few strikers who would love for the ball to ricochet off them into the net. The big Dutchman’s just getting greedy.
• Yes, it’s Manchester United at Old Trafford – but with that vital Champions League second leg at home to Real Madrid three days later and a 12-point gap at the top of the Premier League, I’m not sure City could ask for a better time to visit.
One case circled Twitter this week – a report Spurs “flop” Gareth Bale would be given a £3m move to Birmingham so he could end his “torrid time since arriving at White Hart Lane”.
That story was written in October 2009. It harks back to similar stories based on the old statistic that Tottenham couldn’t win with Bale on the pitch.
Now, I’m not so sure they could pick up a point without him.
Of course the Canaries are not immune from their own brushes with the fickle side of life – be it writing someone off too soon, or investing far more faith in someone else than they’re worth.
Even if only looking in the more recent past, David Nielsen’s goal-laden loan spell little more than a decade ago was the stuff of dreams – so much so, the reality of his permanent move never quite matched those heights.
Another that sticks particularly in my mind was the brief impact of Ulf Ottosson. The on-loan Swede scored a cracking header at Sheffield United live on Sky in a win that lifted plenty of spirits.
Sadly, he went on to trim his flowing blonde locks and never looked the same again – both literally and metaphorically.
I’m sure we also remember when a particular City boss introduced Wes Hoolahan to Norwich fans as a “new hero” – which raised more eyebrows than cheers long before the Irishman became the firmest of City favourites.
In truth, hindsight doesn’t do anyone in football much in terms of favour. The game is built on the here and now; today’s coverage only exacerbates the feeling.
Which of course, all leads on to Kei Kamara. The man whose four-minute impact against Fulham was promising, and his significantly longer cameo facing Everton memorable – maybe even season-defining. Time will tell.
Whether Sierra Leone’s most talked-about striker becomes a long-term hit will play out how it is destined, no matter what is said and written following Saturday.
But the impact? That’s already been enjoyed. Etched on memories.
And that should be considered an achievement in itself.
• Buckle undone all too soon… My quotes from Mark Tyler and Jon Shaw minutes after Luton’s FA Cup shock at Carrow Road are still warm – yet boss Paul Buckle has already left Kenilworth Road for “personal reasons”.
Whatever those are, they are unlikely to come out any time soon.
The simple fact is Luton should be getting themselves out of their Conference malaise – but following what was a famous victory last month, their league failings got worse.
Of course, it may be a symptom of how cups and leagues now fair against each other – Bradford beware.
But as was verbally repeated after their Canaries scalp, promotion from the Conference is Luton’s bread and butter, their primary aim and ultimately why John Still has a new job.