I made the mistake of writing this article, or rather, its previous iteration, before the WBA match. Following the Wednesday debacle (Everton) it was unusually pessimistic in nature.
Then we dominated the Baggies, peppered their goal with shots and played some very nice football. OK, we should have scored more, in fact, we did score more, so there is very much still work to be done, but having turned more corners than the combined cast of The Shining maybe we’ve turned the corner, again.
The most pleasing aspect of the match for me was the performance of Rolando Aarons. I was disappointed we hadn’t signed cover at left-back, and sure enough Dummett joined Hairdryer on the treatment table. After a less-than-convincing showing against the Scouse Mackems I feared the worst. The lad stepped up though, and while Pulis’s Punters could have forced the right-wing issue a lot more, young Rolando barely put a foot wrong. He is not a defender, he is a tricky winger, but he stuck manfully to his task, so praise where praise is deserved.
Similar can be said for Steven Taylor, who stepped into Chancel’s boots admirably. Obviously more accustomed to the role than Rolando, but without the game time necessary, he had Anichebe in his pocket. I think he also has to be credited with the invention of ‘head control’, the ability to bring the ball instantly to the feet via the head.
Anyway, that’s enough about the match.
Gong Hei Fa Cai, or possibly Gong Hei Fat Chequebook.
Yes, it’s Chinese New Year, and from a personal perspective I’d like to wish all those who observe the lunar calendar a happy new year. I’ll follow that by making sweeping judgements about China and therein their footballing ability…
China has long been a footballing wilderness, despite having a colossal population, not to mention a fairly widespread diaspora (spread of population).
It has always surprised me that there aren’t more Chinese footballers, particularly given the emphasis they place on physical fitness. Well, is that changing?
I know from teaching literally thousands of Chinese students over the years that they do love watching the game, and having been involved in an international football team (as in, a team made up of international students) I know that they like playing it too (even if like me, the guys I played with weren’t very good).
The transfer window just passed brought some excitement, we didn’t do too badly (welcome Henri, Jonjo, Andros and Seydou), but for me, the transfer of Alex Teixera to Jiansu Suning for £38.4m took the biscuit. That’s the player Liverpool wanted, but they were blown out of the water by a club with apparently bottomless pockets.
He wasn’t the only one, and it seems that the elite world footballers are developing a taste for dumplings, only previously enjoyed by chancers and has-beens (sorry Gazza, but you were past your best when you went there).
So it got me to wondering, is this going to be the future trend or can Euro clubs compete? Then, is it possible that a(nother) Chinese billionaire might fancy a folly in the Prem?
NUFC seems a good bet…(we have the second largest concentration of Chinese students after Manchester). They have shown more than an interest in buying Tiote from us, why not go the whole hog?
Would this be a good thing?
Will the interest be sustained?
Going a step further, will the Chinese national team develop some half decent players? If they do, they have the resources to be a genuine force, teamwork shouldn’t be an issue!
A ton of questions to consider, and potentially exciting times ahead for world football. I would be very interested to hear your views on the matter, my stance is that anything that improves the game is welcome, and a more diverse interest in the world’s best sport can only improve things.
(To feature like Ben, send in your articles for our website to [email protected])