Up by the Bootstraps
Dickhead in Dock Seen?
Next up in the US attempt to extradite FIFA officials accused of accepting bribes is the former CONCACAF supremo Jack Warner. The extradition has been approved by Trinidad’s attorney general but Warner is currently opposing it in court. For years he has acted as if he is untouchable. You may remember David Cameron and the England 2018 bid team shamefully brown-nosing Warner because of the votes he could deliver. Warner made much of returning a £230 Mulberry handbag given by the English delegation. If he ends up in the dock there won’t be many tears shed here. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I expect many involved in the 2018 bid wish they hadn’t sullied themselves in pursuit of his favour.
Saturday saw the worst possible scenario for the club come true. Defeat by a newly-promoted club on our own patch, and a thoroughly deserved defeat at that. We go into games against Chelsea and Man City 2nd bottom only by dint of a single goal advantage in goal difference. Try and guess where we’ll be afterwards. Steve McClaren says the situation isn’t a crisis and I suppose that because we have a long time to turn things around, he’s right, it’s not yet at crisis point. Though it may not yet be a crisis, we certainly are in danger of being left adrift with the season barely begun. He’s also said we should judge him after 10 games. If we’re no better off by then the verdict will be a negative one.
Our judgement of Steve McClaren will be a side issue though. More important are the problems we can see already for which there are no solutions in the near future. We are short up front unless Mitrovic gets in the side, stays there and scores a hatful. There doesn’t seem to be any spark in midfield. Our defence is error-prone, don’t look like a unit and inspire no confidence. Between now and January all that can create an upswing is coaching. McClaren and his staff need to earn their corn now.
That Ship has Sailed
It’s striking that our problems have remained largely unchanged for a number of years. Our current form is a continuation of last season’s almost-fatal freefall. After noting the other week that Kevin Nolan was without a club and training with Orient, I spotted Joey Barton unused on the bench for Burnley as they drew with Derby on Monday night in the Championship. There are still a few of our fans who’d welcome that pair back to the black and white, especially when our current midfield is so lacklustre at the moment. I think their current situations prove that particular ship has finally sailed for good. That’s not to say of course that a little of the spirit and drive they embodied would go amiss right now.