Marti Pellow

Bolton.  It would have to be Bolton. There’s something so stolidly lower premiership about them. If you want to come back to earth quick, come to Bolton.

After Moyes, I have to confess to another soft spot.  I am and always will be a Tottenham supporter – but there is one other team that does melt my heart a little bit and that team is Clydebank FC (I like Celtic too but hey – artistic licence, right?). You can stick your (Partick) Thistle up your arse – although I wouldn’t recommend it.

Owen Coyle was one of the players I remember most from my hours spent on the school benches of Kilbowie – Britain’s first all-seater stadium. He had a better than one in two goal ratio for the Bankies. They barely scraped 1000 people most games, but they were born entertainers. Keep the ball on the ground and play football. One season they got to the semi finals of the Scottish Cup, and they managed to stay three years in the Premier League. Ok, it was Scottish football, but Scottish football was ok back then. You might remember them because they were briefly sponsored by Wet Wet Wet. I remember being horrified by this at the time. After that it was inevitable they would go into administration although in recent years they have risen, phoenix style as a junior (non-league) club. I’ve got to go see them some time (Clydebank, not Marti Pellow).

I am pretty sure it must be the Bankie in him (Coyle, not Pellow) that has seen fit to transform Bolton. Either that or it is simply the Field of Dreams effect: If you sack Gary Megson, they will come.  What’s clear to me is that most of the small Premiership teams – with the exception of West Ham – try to entertain these days.

If you aren’t ever going to win anything – if you aren’t even going to try to win anything – then all that’s left is to entertain. Blackburn are another exception. Why would you ever go to see Blackburn? I don’t care what Sam Allardyce says, they are dull. All they want to do is stay up. Of course, the hardcore will always go to see their team and I salute them for that, but they will not fill a premiership stadium. Perhaps in such an anti-competitive league, in such a gloomy economic climate, nothing will. But surely providing watchable fare is the only sensible way to go? Wigan, West Brom, Blackpool – they’ve all seen the light. Wolves aren’t as dull as people say. I’m glad to see this new Bolton emerging.

And not just because it pleases the football purist in me. It also gives us a better chance up there. We have a horrible record at Bolton in recent years. Apparently we’ve only lost one of our last nine against them, but we also haven’t beaten them in the top flight since 1996. Pre-Reebok. But Coyle is no mug. Whilst he likes to play football, that doesn’t mean he won’t use Kevin Davies as a battering ram target man. We haven’t been able to cope with Davies in the past. Whilst we are obviously the superior team, that doesn’t mean we can definitely cope with him now.

The key to  challenging for the top four season after season has to be our away form.  We got into the CL despite it last year, not because of it – it was the sixth best in the league. That was better than usual, as well.  Against Inter, we won because we have pace, guile and skill going forward. But we also won because the whole team defended brilliantly. In particular, watching Modric and Huddlestone drop deep – allowing Inter into our half but not to the edge of the our penalty box – was a revelation. It reminded me of last season’s run in and the games against Chelsea and Arsenal. This is how we play against the top teams at home and it more or less seems to work these days, conceding of obligatory 80th minute goal apart. Surely this is the blueprint of how we also need to play against the less illustrious premiership lights away from home. Drop relatively deep, keep our shape and discipline – the rest should take care of itself now. This isn’t negative – it’s about strangling them when they are in possession so that we can apply more pressure ourselves when on the ball. If you’re the better team, the challenge is to give yourself the platform from which to prove it.

I’d be tempted to rest VDV (if he is even fit) and go with our second half team against Inter – JJ deserves a chance, perhaps stick Pav in there too. It’s time to push on in this league and we have three very winnable games coming up before a double header against Arsenal and Werder Bremen. After these five fixtures we should have a much clearer view of where we are and what we can achieve this season.

I won’t be watching the Bolton game. I’ll be nearby though,  at the ‘Liverpool Biennial’ art exhibition. Lady Oog, being European and cultured (hey – like Tottenham) loves the Venice Biennial and wants to check it out. I have explained to her that Liverpool is no Venice. Then again Bolton is no Milan. If we go to the north-west with the right attitude, we’ll come away happy.


6 responses to “Marti Pellow

  1. Bankies had the first all-seater in britain? Nailing wooden benches to the terraces doesn’t constitute seating surely! Harder and harder to stay a Thistle fan nowadays, the high points of having the best floodlights in europe and winning the tennents sixes are very long gone.

  2. There weren’t any terraces. There rows upon rows of benches. Benches are seating, last time I checked!

    Anyway, 7-1 and all that. Silly little sideburned studenty thistle man.

  3. Now, now, still jealous of our floodlights I see.

  4. Rearrange the folowing into a well known phrase or saying:
    Back Earth Down To With Thump A

  5. Bloody Bolton. At least they did it by playing good football. Actually, I’m not sure that makes me feel any better.

    Thankfully, other results were generally ok this weekend and we’re not at a stage in the season where it’s time to panic but I could do with not having to think like this at all. How about three points against Bremen and then sack off the game against Twente with a team full of Walkers?

    Actually, one thing I was a bit annoyed with over the weekend was our change to two up front in the second half. We just never got possession after that and I always feel at the moment that, if we have the ball, we’ll do something good with it eventually. Any road. Time to win league games, please

    The Bagel.

    PS. I hate Owen Coyle. No substance behind it. I just hate the way he wears shorts all the time but more than that I hate his stupid flat face. Doubtless, I’ll meet him one day and find out he’s the nicest bloke ever and actually suffered from a face flattening illness as a child after he rescued his infant sister from their burning house at the age of 3. She died of smoke inhalation in his innocent arms. I’ll feel like a right c8nt then. Or maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll just be too busy getting irritated with his stupid flat face.

  6. Spurs can’t defend, apparently. I think we might’ve performed better with a healthy Corluka at right back (but then again, Hutton scored, so…) but we made all sorts of mistakes. Why didn’t Redknapp leave Palacios on and take Sandro off instead?

    Glad to see Pav score a goal, but all this lack of playing time has to be hurting his game. Same thing for Kranjcar. These guys are good players. They ought to be given a chance. Any team that competes (somewhat successfully) in European football has to have almost two full squads. If we’re going to play Bale, Crouch, etc in mid-week, we need to give them a rest on the weekend (and feel secure in the knowledge that the guys being given the nod are going to be able to get the result we want). I feel like Redknapp’s burning the candle at both ends with some of these players.

    Finally, the more press coverage Bale gets (and the better his performances), the uglier the tackles are going to get. He could be injured at any time. We cannot afford to rely on him to score or help us score in every match.

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