Posted in Manager Profile, Matches in Brief

Unlucky No. 13

Last night there was a match where I was feeling a lot of pain if I’m honest. I felt like John Coffey in The Green Mile when Eduard Delacroix was getting executed, rocking on a bed in agony. Unfortunately I didn’t have Mr Jingles to look after and then scurry away as light bulbs burst around me!

Too much?

Anyway, it was heartless and professional from Zulte Waregem. Francky Dury said he wanted the job done last night and that’s what he did. He masterfully carried out two jobs. The demolition of Beveren and the sacking of Sven Vermant. To be 5-0 up at halftime was a signal of their intentions. I said to someone on Twitter, couldn’t Essevee have taken it easy? Reminded me of Germany vs Brazil in the 2014 World Cup semis where they took their foot off the gas. Zulte just didn’t and it was nearly even 9-0!

The feeling I have regarding Waasland-Beveren is that the players loved and admired Phillipe Clement so much, that Vermant seemed like a rebound to a girlfriend you loved so much, but you couldn’t help but adore the woman who left you. Boljevic and Ampomah both said they’d run through walls for Clement. I’m not questioning their professionalism at all, honestly, but when I tweeted that I though Vermant would get sacked this morning, a Beveren fan suggested that the players wanted that.

I just feel so bad for WBE fans that I haven’t given enough credit to Zulte Waregem who have done the double over Kortrijk, won seven out of eight, scored 28 goals and could now have the Taureau d’Or. They have been a class above defensively and in attack. It all goes down to recruitment and Harbaoui has been outstanding. Whoever they face in both finals to get into Europe will be difficult for the opposition. They’re incredibly confident and Dury can even have the benefit of resting players too if he really wants. Everyone accuses me of being a Kortrijk fan, when I’m simply an Arsenal fan who loves Belgian football, so for all of those who say that, you can’t say I’m not purring over how good Essevee have been.

I wonder what’s next for Beveren though? Is there a manager they could hire now or just wait? Could a Yannick Ferrera come in or is there another youth coach somewhere who’d get another chance? The club is in disarray with the quality who have left or are going, and they need to keep as many quality players as they can, whilst scouring places for hidden gems again or getting quality loan signings too.

A tale of two playoff campaigns here…

Posted in Matches in Brief

What’s going on?!?

A weekend of Belgian football that I kept abreast of without really commenting, it’s taken another twist in two of the groups, but mainly in Playoff 1. In a league system which I totally disagree with, and a nation of football fans where 50-100% hate VAR and the awful decisions not being given, it’s what’s causing concern, unrest and, well, it’s pathetic how it’s costing points, and in the process, costing success and eventually and possibly, jobs, even though the technology is there.

Gent and Club Brugge fans have been most vocal as Anderlecht and Standard are benefiting. That is unkind to those two teams ‘benefiting’ but those two have come into a one horse race and could steal a title from Brugge. It’s not a campaign from me to say these should win and these shouldn’t, but without sounding like a broken record, this stinks. You still have to play, create chances, create your own luck and not make mistakes. It’s not solely down to referees. Without players doing certain things, referees would never have a decision to make. But when you have the technology and you have to do what you’re paid to do, then at least get it right.

Going to the results and what they mean, Standard Liège are irresistible right now and Mehdi Carcela is just a dream of a player. Majestic, mystical and magical really. With quality around him as well, they destroyed Genk in a group where I just don’t know why they’re there now. I had more hope for De Smurfen than to just get your tummy tickled some weeks. I’m sure Clement didn’t accept that performance at all and the result is embarrassing frankly. That’s not taking away from Standard though. They’ve been THE team of 2018 so far!

And to the BIG match of the weekend, have Club Brugge bottled it or…? Who do you blame? It can’t just be VAR. Is it Leko? The players? The club not properly strengthening in January when Anderlecht are signing Morioka, Saief and Markovic and Brugge are signing a hapless 34 year old Russian goalkeeper and youngsters. Ruud Vormer has come off the boil and Hans Vanaken can’t always do everything. Like I’ve said, I disagree with the playoffs and it’ll leave a sour taste in my mouth if Anderlecht snatch the title, but other people who look on the surface will most likely criticise Blauw-Zwart rather than the layout of how this league is setup. I’m not saying I’m right, it’s my opinion, but that’s just how I feel.

Other than De Derby between Kortrijk and Zulte Waregem, where I’ve heard from a very good Essevee fan, Zulte Waregem battled very well and put on a good defensively display to see off De Kerels. Without being too unfair, it may be an inferiority complex. That is harsh, but teams have that in derby situations. When Essevee have had the lions share of joy over the recent past, I thought Kortrijk would win this because they’re at home, but a 2-1 defeat, it basically ended their hope of European football, strengthening Zulte Waregem’s belief of reaching that playoff match.

The big match in PO2B saw Lokeren lose their first match in these playoffs and bring Antwerp just that bit closer to overtaking them. It’s not unlikely that they won’t, but you’d think maybe Lokeren have the tougher run with STVV and Oostende away to come, even though the Tricolores are better away. I just feel Antwerp may sneak it and contest a huge match against Zulte. What if STVV managed to get that win against Eupen that I thought would happen, this group would be finely poised with STVV, Lokeren and Antwerp all have a mini tri-series.

I guess the other big news on the pitch is Beveren finally winning their first playoff match, with Floriano Vanzo scoring a belter in the process and Isaac Kiese Thelin reminding people he is still in this fight for the Taureau d’Or. Fighting back late to beat Mouscron would’ve been satisfying for Vermant who probably forgot what a victory looked like. Entertaining at the Freethiel.

Ending this, its devastating how Lierse are having to look at different avenues to stay afloat. That this can happen, it’s obviously not the club or players I feel for, but the fans. The fans don’t deserve things like this and that it happens quite a lot in Belgium, I don’t know what I’d do if the club I love had to restart or merge, and in Lierse’s case, lose 112 years of history. It’s disastrous.

Posted in Uncategorized

Does Anyone Care?

Has this season taken it’s toll on you? Do you feel it’s gone on forever yet we’ve had almost a two month break in between? I have never felt so, I don’t know, weird, as I have done towards the end of this season. The pressure of getting into the top six and Mechelen getting relegated was the last bit of hope and passion that I’ve felt this season. I start watching a match and then give up. That’s where I feel weird, as I love football, but now maybe I feel like I’m overdosing on it.

Maybe it’s because my own team have been an utter disappointment all season and that’s reflected in how I feel about Belgian football right now. Not my lack of love for the Pro League and what still can happen, but how this season is slowly chugging along to an end and I can’t get myself up for it.

The top six haven’t disappointed. It has tightened up so much and it’s become really entertaining. But below that the playoffs have kind of hit the buffers. Well, maybe PO2A, but I don’t want to see a non event that only those competing ‘care’. To be frank, I honestly don’t care about Lierse-OHL, Beveren-Mouscron and Beerschot-Oostende. Those three can fuck off in my humble opinion. One is a second tier fixture, another is two teams playing out a season and the last one…blurgh!!! That does mean there’s six fixtures I will be ‘interested’ in but I guess the entertainment value is what draws us in more than anything else.

There are great matches. De Derby, Brugge-Anderlecht, Standard-Genk. A lot to look forward to, but I doubt I’ll throw all my time into them. That’s why I’ve been quiet if I’m honest. Not through lack of time on my hands, but more lack of enthusiasm. I don’t mean to be in and out but I just don’t want to write for the sake of it. I know that’s what it looks like I’m doing right now, but I’m kind of telling you my inconsistent offerings over the playoffs compared to nearly a daily effort I brought up in the regular season. I know you’ll lot will still love what’s left of club football this season. It’s the best kind of football and always will be, but right now, I’m kind of seeing it out, like a defender shepherding a ball out of play, patiently waiting for the ball to cross that line.

Posted in Uncategorized

Cyclical Form

An amazing season in Belgium is drawing closer to an end. We only have 21 days left of the playoffs and three teams top their groups, but are we closer to seeing who will be where once the playoffs have ended? The only constant this season is the domination of Club Brugge. They have led the way and have been unbelievably good, and occasionally lucky, but hard work and effort could pay off soon. They just need to win their next two matches to guarantee the title. However, below them there have been clubs who have fallen in and out of form throughout the season.

Right now it’s the turn of Lokeren and Zulte Waregem who are playing very well and are showing the way. With how well Essevee are playing, I’ve got to heap more praise on Lokeren. Obviously these mini groups, you have an easier task playing the same teams twice in eight weeks than playing a different team once in about ten weeks. Regardless of that theory, you still have to actually beat these teams, regardless of who and how. I’m sure people had Zulte Waregem or Kortrijk to challenge, which is the case, but I never had Lokeren. I had them to finish fourth or even fifth.

It shows that it is their time to actually do well this season, right at the pivotal moment. In PO2B there have been a couple of teams who have also been cyclical with their form in Antwerp and STVV. Both have been in with a shout of Playoff one and have been impressive until this year. Things happen in a season which can disrupt mentality. STVV have had a tough season in the dugout and with a takeover. Could that have upset things? And Antwerp may have just run out of steam with a horrible run of fixtures at one point and I think the draw against Club Brugge at the Bosuilstadion blew the wind out of their sails. Doesn’t mean these two haven’t delighted us this season defensively and at the top end of the pitch.

If we go right back to August/September/October, you have to give full credit to Mouscron. The first team to beat Club Brugge this season and were entertaining with Bolingi, Govea and Mohamed. Rednic saved the club so early that once their form dipped, they were already safe. It’s weird how keeping them under the radar was a huge achievement. Defays will have a huge task next season and will have to have a mentality where if they have a 40% win rate, that could be key. Maybe not even that high.

And now we have the biggest and most entertaining turnaround in Kortrijk. I’ve said this many times. I was in Beveren when Anastasiou got tinned and that saved De Kerels season. Players came out of their shell and unfortunately could’ve opened the door for other clubs to snatch them. Makarenko is going and will that mean more? De Boeck just looks like the kind of guy who has it under control and doesn’t take any shit which is why I think next season could be a big one. This season could still be memorable, but it’s been a great ride either way.

I’ll finish with these final three who have been great in patches, but one right now are just scintillating. Charleroi and Beveren have been very good this season, regardless of playoff form. For Les Zébres, it shows when to hit form. This season could in a weird way act as a blueprint sort of thing as they’re being overtaken just at the wrong time. They’ve been hit and miss now and again and haven’t recovered after the 5-1 defeat to Club Brugge in the cup. Beveren are another who were so entertaining. Such a potent front four, I just loved watching Thelin, Boljevic, Ampomah and Morioka play. Again like half the league, 2018 came and their form left. Obviously the managerial situation and selling of players never helps but this was a fine season if we take into account some of the results.

The third team is THE team in Belgium right now. Standard Liège have had it rough. Antics from Sa Pinto and ill discipline cost them occasionally. I thought he should’ve been sacked as well. But like many Portuguese managers, they have that siege mentality and pulls results out of his arse one way or another. The team have bonded over all sorts of things. Criticism, racism, and the flack they were getting. They are a joy to watch attacking and defensively. A quality goalkeeper, a rock at the back and superb attacking players has seen the team play without fear and of course win the cup. A joy in 2018 unlike most, you can’t help but love them right now.

Some teams did eventually do well like Anderlecht, Genk, Gent and Oostende towards the end of the regular season, but they haven’t been ‘outstanding’ at points like those I’ve mentioned in my opinion.

Posted in Transfers

Looking to next season?

Is it far too early to be doing this? I was looking at the playoff picture right now and could anyone surprise us whatsoever? I had a top nine going into this season. I had Anderlecht as dead certainties for the title with Michel Preud’homme moving on and even Gent pushing. The top 9 featured those who are currently in the top six, along with Zulte Waregem, Oostende and Mechelen!!! How wrong was I? How wrong was everyone? I had a tighter league though in the regular season. Not just one horse galloping clear to the finishing line.

At the other end I had Eupen, Mouscron and Antwerp fighting for survival, with Beveren, Lokeren, Kortrijk and STVV making up the numbers. I was wrong and right. Drastically wrong and comfortably right, not that others wouldn’t have predicted the four who did finish in safe positions. The thing is, I’m answering my own question from the opening gambit. It is too early. Not saying you can’t prepare for next season of course. Clubs will have summer targets, players who will be leaving. I mean Anderlecht under Marc Coucke are definitely preparing.

It’s okay for Club Brugge, Gent, Anderlecht, Standard Liège and Genk. Two of those are guaranteed European football right now and others will hope to squeak the other places, along with Essevee and Lokeren right now, but the latter two, along with the rest of the league and those who miss out in the top six are fucked in a way. How do you compete with clubs who DO have European football? Certain clubs (Sint Truiden) haven’t got a manager for next season right now whereas Oostende have. The rate managers come in and out of this revolving door which is the Pro League can make players uncertain, with short contracts and not a huge amount of cash.

Nothing is for certain in football. A question was asked to Gordon Strachan over here where they said ‘do you look at the fixtures coming up, and the next five for your opponents and guess where they’ll drop points?’ And he said you simply look at the next game. I thought Eupen would go, but they beat Charleroi, drew with Kortrijk and versus Gent. People have their reservations re the Mouscron win but since then they’ve downed tools. You can’t be confident predicting anything in Belgium.

You can’t be confident predicting anything anywhere though. How will Cercle fair? Will Beveren continue this slide? Will Makélélé be snapped up after the tremendous effort he put in? Will the best of the best be picked off again and moved on? Could Ivan Leko go? I know most of these are changes in the dugout but these are men who change things. Anastasiou to De Boeck. Changed everything at the Guldensporen.

As I’ve said, far too early to say will Lokeren, STVV, Kortrijk, Antwerp etc tear up any trees next season when we don’t know where they’ll be this season in the playoffs. I’m already excited for next season because it’s a new journey and let’s face it, we all love something to look forward too. On an unrelated note, I’m currently en route to Manchester to probably see that shower of shite called Arsenal get walloped. Good stuff…not!

Posted in Uncategorized

Fountain of Youth

Last season I did my Under 21 Team of the Year, and I scraped the barrel. The only players I remember are Youri Tielemans, Eric Ocansey and Henry Onyekuru who did well and played regularly. I even had to put Hendrik Van Crombrugge in goal and he was 25 (I think. I’m going by memory here). But this season I’ve learned a couple of things.

Firstly, there is a lot more youth in the league. I basically had just an 11 last year. Not many at all and I just about managed to get a 4-4-2 formation. The positive I guess is that I didn’t have a headache over who wouldn’t make it. But secondly, you notice that this season, nearly every player is an attacking player. There are of course the odd defender, but the majority are attacking, either as a striker or winger.

Defensively you have Dion Cools, Dries Wouters, Sander Berge and Victorien Angban. All very good players, and unfortunately, they probably won’t be in the league for much longer. Maybe not leaving this summer, but soon. This is what I mean though. Four players who have played regularly in a defensive capacity and two play defensive midfield. It kind of shows that maybe younger players aren’t as trusted in defence in Belgium, but coaches don’t mind ‘risking’ younger players further up the pitch, which is understandable, but still. If you’re old enough you’re good enough. I think that’s how it goes?

In an attacking sense, this league has amazing potential with players who are 21 or younger. Without literally listing everyone, there are standouts. Chakvetadze at Gent definitely stands out. So young and probably will never play at a big tournament either internationally, you’d think he’ll get picked up by a bigger league sooner rather than later. Hassane Bandé is already training with Ajax after having an amazing season at a team who were relegated, proving quality can come from anywhere originally, and then progress to bigger things. Ajax won’t be his last stop for sure.

Personal favourites of mine are Razvan Marin at Standard Liège and Siebe Schrijvers at Genk. You’d think these two won’t last long either in the JPL. Both are just so good, I enjoy watching them and with Marin being Romanian, he already has international caps and will likely play at a World Cup one day. The only way Schrijvers will probably get into the full Belgian squad is if he moves abroad, and obviously has to play too, to develop his quality.

There were a couple of younger goalkeepers too, with the youngest who played regularly being Lucas Pirard. That does say something if younger players are being trusted more. Maybe not in goal but around the pitch. Genk have the most regular under 21 players playing, and you’d think that’ll continue with Phillipe Clement in charge, although you could say the same at Beveren with Sven Vermant coming from a youth background. They know how to handle them better and will be good for the club in signing younger players too.

Same can be said for Anderlecht too with Vanhaezebrouck. Although he isn’t a regular, Francis Amazu was so affective when he came in, and he isn’t the only youngster getting a run out for Les Mauves. You don’t have to give youth a chance, but when you can, definitely throw them in. Adult football only helps. I don’t like the notion of ‘B’ teams, but could that be more beneficial to young players playing against first teams and getting stronger, wiser, fitter? Then again, the better players just play in the first teams anyway.

There were players who started the season as a 21 year old in Nana Opoku Ampomah, Aleksandar Boljevic, Joseph Aidoo and Pieter Gerkins. It’s great seeing younger players who will most likely progress, but a shame too as they make the league so good. There can be a lot of average players in every league, and the youngsters add excitement and tenacity because they want to succeed. If they don’t they can fall away, but at least they had the chance, not that it’s a consolation.

Hopefully next season sees more superb talent have a chance and who’ll be the next star?

Posted in Uncategorized

Finding an angle

I’ve been procrastinating so much. I think Antwerp vs Lokeren threw me off with Monday football. I mean, you’re so used to Friday-Saturday-Sunday and then they add a Monday! I’m used to it in England, but with there only being very few Monday matches, it throws me off, and I’m a man who likes routine! Maybe that’s why I don’t like the playoffs. I like routine. Am I having some weird self intervention/episode? I say episode because I’m clearly talking to myself via a thumb on a screen!

Besides writing about ‘what a game at Brugge’ or ‘Gent and Anderlecht have bottled it’ I wanted to focus more on how Playoff 2 is looking. Both are very similar in that there’s a four point gap at the top and it is still competitive. A three point gap in Playoff 1 has turned into a seven point gap! Can there be a swing in points that could aid a Kortrijk or an Antwerp or Sint Truiden? I can’t see why not.

We have to praise Essevee for their superb form. One clean sheet in five, but who cares when you’re averaging over three goals per game (and that’s just Harbaoui). I felt that they may have even got top six after the winter break. But then again, I felt Genk and Standard would get it too. A bridge too far in the regular season, but they can’t allow to let anyone overtake them, which is possible with Kortrijk unlikely to give up.

I want to say something about Beveren too. I think the total dismantling of the squad has hit home. You have very good individuals there, but mentally you must feel ‘what has gone on here?’ To lose your manager, captain, a Swedish international full back, another leader in defence goes to Canada, your best player only lasts six months and your star striker isn’t technically yours. If this was a Premier League club, Beveren has lost over £100 million pounds worth of talent if you put WBE in say Newcastle’s shoes (I know what I mean anyway). The Playoffs have been a total disaster and Vermant has to try signing players now, probably selling the dream of if you’re good, you can go onto bigger things. I know that would mean an ongoing cycle, but if Lokeren do manage to get Europa League, they’ll be more appealing than Beveren.

Talking of the Tricolores, they’ve dicked Antwerp twice at the Bosuilstadion, showing again how good they are away. To be top right now and undefeated, Peter Maes has worked his magic again. I honestly have never been so confident after Monday’s result on how Lokeren will do. I’ve said before, they’re unbelievably good away, but getting seven points at home in these playoffs, they’ve almost caught up with their regular season tally. Just like 2A though, you can’t just say it’s done and dusted. Antwerp and STVV will be desperate to finish well, and with Oostende hiring Gert Verheyen this morning, players will be keen to do well so that they’re good for next season.

I’ll end on the Championship Playoff. As I’ve mentioned, with Anderlecht and Gent both slipping away, we have an exciting battle for second spot. All teams will put their case forward either because of the gruelling season that got them there or current form. I actually see Standard getting it because they have real attacking quality, the best keeper in the league on his day and a desire to not quit. Every team is capable of beating everyone, including Club Brugge, but with not long left, it is unbelievably tight and to put money on just one team? You can’t do it!

Posted in Matches in Brief

Big matches as things hot up (pt 2)

After I broke down into an emotional wreck during a blog yesterday, I’ve settled down and thought I’d write a soliloquy of the goings on right now in Playoff 2. I could write about Playoff 1 but I covered some of that yesterday, and I’m not interested in Genk and Charleroi (right now).

The groups below Playoff 1 are beginning to have a different look. After last nights fine victory over Kortrijk, Zulte Waregem have put some daylight between themselves and De Kerels, possibly their closest rival for topping the group, let alone geographically. This could open the door to Mouscron if they decide to take advantage. They started well but have slightly faded away, even though we have only played four matches. Traveling to OHL will be tricky. Points wise and positionally they are the best of the second tier clubs. You’d think Mouscron will do well though because they can surprise.

Playoff 2B is looking great for the neutral who cares. Four teams separated by four points. It’s great. What’s better is that Lokeren are top and I never expected that. Antwerp? Yes. STVV? Yes. Even Oostende? Yes. They were all above Lokeren in my head. Like I’ve said, Lokeren are great away, but they’ve turned their home form around and could be even further ahead. What is positive for the group is that Antwerp and Sint Truiden are battling as well. They both tailed off in the regular season and now, it looks like the Antwerp players are putting themselves in the shop window.

STVV could be the beneficiary of this weekends action because Antwerp host Lokeren and if that ends in a draw, they’ll overtake everyone. De Roeck will hope to do well so he can maybe get another job this summer after announcing he is leaving. I’m not going to talk about Oostende just yet because they’re not totally in there just yet, and I’d be wasting my time discussing Eupen and Beerschot.

Two groups which are close in their own way, but one is taking shape a bit more than the other. It is starting to look better in the Playoffs below PO1 because Brugge are beginning to get their act together and could well win this title that we all expected them too.

Posted in Uncategorized

Big matches as things hot up

That’s not just a comment regarding the weather, although we’ve had the hottest day in April since 1949! Think it reached 29 degrees Celsius yesterday. Roasting hot today too! It could be like a cauldron in Belgium though (on the pitch). Big results needed by big clubs, still hoping to progress further and break some ground in the process.

Humongous derby tonight, which is the match of the weekend in my opinion, because these too have been fantastic. Zulte Waregem hosting Kortrijk in a must win for both. Whoever wins this could give themselves the psychological edge going forward for the rest of them season, with two of the hottest strikers in the country. Hamdi Harbaoui vs Teddy Chevalier, with both looking to be the hero tonight and beyond. The atmosphere will be fantastic for sure. It could really be a cracker because of the quality on show right now!

Playoff one is actually really fun in that Gent and Anderlecht stumbled, and can Standard take advantage? Could Les Rouches miraculously get Champions League football? It’s unlikely, and undeserved because of their regular season form. But they’re doing what most clubs do. They’ve won a trophy, guaranteed Europa League and are playing without any fear. With the South American vibe they have, they can turn on the style and be extremely dangerous. Sa Pinto May be getting his point across just at the right time and they’re just three points off of second!

On the other hand, can anyone explain what’s going on at Charleroi? I feel sorry for their fans as I felt they could challenge, but this calendar year has been a disaster. Les Zébres have picked up ten points this year. Seven of those points are draws. Embarrassed in the cup as well as last night to a Hans Vanaken master class. They’re finishing on a whimper and it’s a shame. Europe is surely out of the question, not mathematically, but confidence wise, Mazzu will have to dig deep and drag his players, and himself, out of this slump.

(Halfway through this I had a little cry reading about Arsene Wenger)

Forgotten my place now…I don’t think I can finish. I feel like eulogising about Arsene Wenger. I am only 28 and just about remember Bruce Rioch. But Arsene Wenger is a different class. I am Wenger Out because he has stagnated and taken the club backwards in terms of league position, but we have also gone so far forward under him. Everyone talks about dietary introductions he brought in and training techniques, but he brought in style and a way of playing. The thing I loved most is when we had our backs against the wall, we’d come back fighting every time. Sometimes it was too late, but sometimes it made you even more proud to be a Gooner. Arsenal fans went too far when they sung certain songs about him dying when protesting. We all love our clubs and when all said and done, football isn’t everything unless you have nothing else. When he fell at Stoke and people laughed, he is an elderly man. Any other elderly man would’ve been helped up. There have been embarrassments too under his watch, like the 6-1 and 8-2 at Old Trafford, 5-1 at Anfield, 6-0 at Chelsea. But we won at the Bernabeu, Allianz, San Siro against both Milan clubs, even Monaco. All these never ever being achieved by am English club until then. I won’t continue because I get more emotional by the word…

Posted in Uncategorized

Thank You

I don’t know how much I’ll write in this post. I was looking at how many people had read my blog and switched it to just this year. I have already surpassed how many people had read my blog throughout the entirety of last year already and we’d only had 107 days at the point it was overtaken. Every time when I see how many people have read it, I am shocked because I can talk a load of bollocks, but I am also extremely grateful. You all know me. I’m an Englishman who loves football and have fallen in love with the Pro League. No cutting edge stories. Just opinion.

People always ask ‘why?’ As well as being called a ‘tourist’ and probably worse, but I just enjoy this. I’ve been a bit quieter recently because I’m not interested in the playoffs, but doesn’t mean I’m not interested in opinion from anyone who reads my stuff. You’re all passionate about your clubs and have love as well as hatred for your team and others. It’s why football is up there as possibly the greatest thing invented. Something we pour our hearts, soul, money and time into and more often than not, we get nothing in return except for hopefully the three points we all crave.

I’ll keep this short and sweet because as I’ve gotten older, I forget what I’ve written before and then think that I’m just regurgitating what I’ve previously said. Then again, football can be as surprising as it is familiar.

Thank you