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Hackney Canary

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  1. I’ve always had a soft spot for Newcastle, and its fans, who always seemed proper and authentic in some old fashioned way. Yesterday I looked across at them with nothing short of contempt. Fans have choice and power. Newcastle fans, like some others before them, have chosen to accept blood money in exchange for success. They have exercised their power in support of something deeply, deeply problematic. They have rendered themselves meaningless as a football club and have become a diplomatic play thing, an instrument of a murderous regime’s soft power. Sod ‘em!
  2. This is the heart of the matter. The recruitment last summer was appalling. Not necessarily because of the quality of the players (although we can all see that wasn’t great) but because it introduced a wholesale change of system that bore no relation to the philosophy of the head coach and the system we had committed for the preceding four years. As a consequence, we effectively sacrificed the best head coach we’ve had in years, abandoned our principles and now look an absolute ****show. I’d dearly love to know what Webber’s thinking was and the extent to which he involved Farke in that thinking. Take Gilmour as just one example. Why sign a player like that when last time round in the Premiership Farke effectively froze out Leitner, who was pretty similar in stature and style? It boggles the mind. At the same time, I do think we need to give our collective heads a wobble. We’re in a pit, for sure, but I still take pride in the idea of our model, the determination not to sacrifice financial integrity in pursuit of the big league. Sure, I wish things were different, but most of all I wish the Premiership hadn’t become so corrupted by dirty money from Russia and Saudi - and elsewhere for that matter. It’s not sexy, but it’s what I believe. One way or another, we’ll build again. I just wish we could turn back the clock to last summer and have a word with Webber before he embarked on a Football Manager-style ego trip. OTBC.
  3. I’d love to have Ceefax back. Used to watch the cricket score on there as a lad after school. (Before having a lump of coal for tea).
  4. Apols if this is common knowledge, but do we know the detail on Lungi’s injury and likely time out? Can’t find anything on the internet (as I believe it is called).
  5. Pleased to see this thread. Have similarly been advocating Sorensen’s inclusion, but thought after Villa I might have made a terrible misjudgement. However, while others were more prominent yesterday, I thought Jacob was unobtrusively very good. He might not be the most athletic, but he reads the game very well, his positioning is strong, and doesn’t panic in possession. He seemed to have time, when we might imagine another player might panic. Most of all, he’s got a brilliant way of getting a foot in at just the right moment; several times he nicked possession in a very tight spot. He’s not perfect, but he can definitely do the job of DCM for us, and would like to see him continue as one of the double-pivot, even - and perhaps especially - when Normann returns. I can imagine that as a pairing that gives a defensive platform, while also giving Normann the chance to push on a bit. Promising signs. Separately, went to the game like many with a sense of creeping despair. Came home not feeling quite so bad. At this point, I’ll take it.
  6. I think the recruitment strategy quite rightly has to come under scrutiny. It’s interesting to wonder on whose promptings certain players were signed. There was a lot of chat after the last relegation that we had failed to sign players with the strength and athleticism required in the PL. Also, in that premiership season we had a mercurially talented, but lightweight, midfielder - Leitner - in whom Farke lost faith in the first instance because he couldn’t compete physically (it may be true that other issues came into play after he lost his place). Regardless, it always seemed strange that after that our marquee loan signing was Billy Gilmour. Now, I like Billy, think he has a lot of talent, but he doesn’t have the strength and drive to pull us out of a game like last night, and without some protection he can go missing in a game in the same way that Leitner could. My point, really, is whose idea was he? Farke’s? Webber’s. And what was the plan to use him? I don’t quite get it. Look at the other signings and ask what the plan was: Tzolis - fail, a big risk bringing in a young lad and expecting him to shine. If they thought he wasn’t for now, why sign him for £10m in a season with so much riding on it. Sargent - fail. I love his effort and think he offers us something in terms of stickability, but in the box and around he is shocking. Unbelievable, in retrospect, to sign a striker with his numbers when we knew we had to give Pukki a hand. Lees-Melou - fail. I like the guy. He’s decent, but is he an upgrade on what we have? No, not really. Rashica - success-ish - the second best of the bunch, offers a real threat, but still hasn’t scored or directly created anything. Still, he can operate in the PL. Billy - half and half. Clearly talented, clearly willing, now he’s in the team, to get stuck in, but lightweight. Normann - success, but probably arrived too late. He’s got a bit of everything. Injured at a disastrous moment. Kabak - hmmm…. One good game, one nightmare. Can see why we signed him, but what has he changed? Been unlucky with injuries and the like, but looked panicked last night. Williams - decent, combative, but how did he fit with January’s plan to bring in Giannoulis? Seems like we’ve sacrificed the latter on the altar of the former and done it pretty quickly too, which doesn’t cast good light on the strategy. All in all - and I accept we’ve had bad luck with injuries, Covid - but that is not a strong record of achievement on current evidence. Webber has to be the one responsible. I’d say two of the signings, in the context of our situation and needs, are genuinely shocking: Sargent and Tzolis. Nothing against the players, but for what we need, in this crucial season, they represent a very expensive wasted opportunity. It’s incredibly frustrating. In 2 or 3 games recently we’ve deserved to win, but haven’t had the quality to get over the line. Take 6 additional points from those games - absolutely plausible - and we’re out of the bottom 3 and right in the mix. But we didn’t and now we look well and truly sunk. Happy Bloody Christmas.
  7. Slightly surprised by the relentless negativity. If we want decent coverage of our football club, by local journalists with connections to the club, who care about keeping the fans as much in the loop as possible then, in this day and age, we’ve got to pay for it. The alternative is something like The Waveney Advertiser for sport, with a couple of paragraphs of content for every chunk of ads. Of course, people can make their own minds up, but I reckon Paddy, Dave and Connor do a decent job. Connor, in particular, is capable of first class stuff - his work on BK8 was excellent, and his piece on the Norwich model, the nature of football and investment was genuinely superb and picked up on by a lot of front rank journos, including Rory Smith and Max Rushden. I say be as grumpy as you like, but be careful what you wish for. Anyhoo, I’ve signed up and paid up. Happy with what I’ve seen so far and looking forward to more.
  8. ‘And so I said, “why don’t you bring on Lees-Melou at half time?”
  9. I’m reminded of that bit in The English Patient, when Almasy and Katherine Clifton get caught up in a sandstorm in the desert. They manage to barricade themselves into a jeep and she says to him, ‘Will we be all right?’ ‘Yes,’ he says. Then he pauses, then says, ‘Yes, absolutely.’ ‘Yes is a comfort,’ she says, ‘but absolutely is not.’ All of which is a very long way of saying, ‘Yes, of course we can stay up, but if we do it will be because we haven’t allowed ourselves to get cocky. If we survive, it will be because we have fought until the last minute of the last game of the season. It will be a monumental effort and will require us to have more than a couple of games of new manager bounce. For what it’s worth, at this point in time I believe we can do it. The new signings are really starting to find their feet, and the defence is looking solid. Under Deano, we’re more aggressive with and without the ball, and are looking capable of causing most teams some problems. My only major worry is whether we will be able to score enough goals - and that is quite a big question mark. However, if we’re looking for an omen, Almasy and Katherine Clifton survived the sandstorm.
  10. He may be recovering from glandular fever, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Deano isn’t looking at him and thinking ‘spare loan slot’ by the time January rolls around.
  11. As a lot have already said, a really good PL performance. Full of intent and bravery, loads of energy, no sitting off. As I was sitting there watching it all unfold, I thought it was the kind of performance we used to see regularly under a certain former manager who also had Villa connections. Collective endeavour, and a growing sense of belief, making us, perhaps, more than the sum of our parts. If only we could have nicked the win. Although in fact it wouldn’t have been a steal.
  12. I think Deano is doing an outstanding job, but I think it’s harsh to say DF was out of his depth. My take on it is that he was simply done in, and had nothing left to give. Covid affected pre-season, plus fixture list cruelty, and he ran out of gas, couldn’t lift the players, and couldn’t lift himself. It happens. Anyway, that’s the past. It’s still early days, but the signs are really encouraging. I thought Rupp was excellent - neat and tidy, doesn’t do much wrong. I said to my mate as he came on that he won’t win us many games, but he won’t lose us many either. I’d say that’s about right. It’s interesting that Smith brought him in ahead of Lees-Melou. Rashica MOM for me, then a cluster of others Billy, Brandon and Kenny among them. Overall, a very good premier league performance. Big night to come on Tuesday…
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