Anorak News | Digging A Hole

Digging A Hole

by | 19th, January 2004

‘WE are used to football managers talking rubbish, but West Ham fans might be alarmed to hear this particular gem from manager Alan Pardew.

David O’Leary’s new babies

“We are at the bottom of a mine,” he tells this morning’s Times, “and there is a lot of digging to do before we reach the surface.”

No wonder the Hammers are sliding down a Division 1 table, which they would comfortably be at the head of if they had any idea how to hang onto a lead.

The Hammers have been in front in an amazing 16 of their past 20 games. Of those, they have won a paltry five – dropping 25 points in the process.

It was therefore a familiar story on Saturday when they “dug deep” and managed to squander yet another lead, drawing 3-3 at Brammall Lane after leading Sheffield United 3-1 at half-time.

Perhaps they should take lessons from Arsenal who rode their luck yesterday to take all three points against Aston Villa.

“Very, very, very, very hard done by” was Villa manager David O’Leary’s assessment of the 2-0 scoreline – and, for once, it was hard to disagree with him.

The Telegraph puts the first goal – a quickly taken free-kick by Thierry Henry, which caught the Villa defence napping – down to the Arsenal man’s speed of thought.

Of the second, a penalty given for a foul by Olaf Mellberg on Kanu, O’Leary’s observation that “the fella’s knocked it and run right through him” seems a pretty accurate description of what happened.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger – “with an uncharacteristically clear view of a moment of contention” – thought it “a definite penalty”.

Another example of a football manager talking rubbish.

In rugby, the words are of the honeyed sort as players, fans and journalists pay tribute to Martin Johnson, the England World Cup-winning captain, who announced his retirement from the international game.

“Teak-tough all the way through,” writes Richard Williams in the Guardian, “reluctant to open up to outsiders who might fail to appreciate the old code of an eye for an eye, never favouring a dozen words when a couple would suffice, he embodies certain traditions and values of the old game.”

The kind of man who would get to the bottom of a mine and carry on digging?’

Posted: 19th, January 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink