Tag Archive: Wigan

  • Football Window Watch: Wigan

    No not that kind of window, the Transfer Window


    It’s with the usual shot of tequila and morning-after pill that we welcome Eliot this glorious Monday morning. He’s a great writer, here to continue his fantastic Transfer Window series…

    What they need


    Midfield is the area the Latics will have to strengthen this summer. However, the somewhat suprising emergence of Lee Cattermole as a driving force behind England U21s, should provide new boss Roberto Martinez with a huge boost ahead of the new season.

    Who they don’t need

    Michael Brown still sees the shin as an attractive alternative to the ball, so one can’t quite see him fitting into silky, sexy Roberto Martinez’s plans. Daniel de Ridder and Olivier Kapo tend to follow Steve Bruce around, and there will be no tears shed if they pitch up at Sunderland. Mario Melchiot is past his sell-by-date whilst Richard Kingson has done little to undo the stereotypes surrounding African goalkeepers.

    Don’t mention

    Lower league managers. Promoting a boss from the lower divisions does occasionally work and the words David and Moyes will no doubt be used by Dave Whelan to justify the appointment. He won’t mention any of the following; Peter Taylor, Paul Sturrock, Paul Ince or Micky Adams.

    Inevitably linked with

    Swansea players. Obscure Spaniards. Decorative, small playmakers.

    Any other business


    Having lost Palacios, Heskey, Zaki and now Valencia, Roberto Martinez‘s job may not be as simple as first appears. Wigan are almost accepted now as a mid-table Premier league team, as for example Charlton were a few years back. The departure of Curbs induced a dangerous spiral. Wigan have to be wary – Premier League security is tough to earn, but so easy to lose.

  • Football Window Watch: Sunderland

    No not that kind of window etc…


    It’s with the usual single shot of morning vodka and demi-cig from the ashtray that we bid a fine good morning to Eliot. He’s here to continue his excellent Transfer Window series with talk of Sunderland. He had this to say…

    What they need


    Although Sunderland aren’t short on players, they are desperately short on commanding figures. A dominant centre half to play alongside James Collins is essential, as too is a ball-winner to complement the skills of Malbranque, Reid and Richardson.A Roy Keane figure if you like – just not the one who attacks his players with a chalk board. They’ve had him already.

    Who they don’t need


    Anton Ferdinand shares only a surname with his brother, and not any discernible talent. Michael Chopra has done little since that winner against Spurs two years ago, whilst Phil Bardsley was kicked out by Fergie (as opposed to lets say, John O’Shea) for a good reason. Likewise you, Liam Miller.

    Don’t mention

    Being down to the bare bones. Sunderland have drafted in a staggering 27 players since their return to the top flight. Whatever their deficiencies are, being light on numbers is not one of them.

    Inevitably linked with

    Players from deepest, darkest South America. Wigan players. Middlesbrough players.

    Any other business

    The last team standing in the region, Sunderland’s derby this season will be against Hull City.

  • Football Window Watch: Stoke

    Nooo, not that kind of window, the Transfer Window!


    It’s with the usual slice of grapefruit with a cherry in the middle that we welcome Eliot to the fold this morning. He’s a fine football writer, here continuing his excellent Transfer Window series with a glance at Stoke…

    What they need

    The front two of Fuller and Beattie will trouble even the most formidable of Premier League defences next season so its at the back where Stoke need reinforcements. And if Pulis is serious about taking Stoke’s game up to the next level, a more cultured centre half than Abdoulaye Faye may be required.

    Who they don’t need


    Nobody called Danzelle St Louis-Hamilton should be allowed to play in the Premiership.

    Don’t mention

    Second season syndrome. As suffered recently by Ipswich in 2002, and Reading in 2008. Yet both of those sides played open, pretty football, and were always potentially susceptible to being found out, once the surprise element of their first season had worn off. Stoke can be better compared with Wigan or Bolton, who managed to deal with a second season (and more) by continuing to grind teams down whilst slowly adding better quality players to the fold. Pulis’ signings in January suggest he will follow this latter method.

    Inevitably linked with

    Poor little Michael Owen. Big target-men. Steve Backley.

    Any other business


    The audacious bid to sign Michael Owen show both how far the club has come in the past few years, and how far Owen has fallen. When Owen won the Ballon D’or in November 2001, Stoke were busy getting humped 6-1 at Wigan Athletic, in the third tier of English football.

  • Football Window Watch: Birmingham City

    No, not this window, the Transfer Window


    It’s with the usual open arms, and massive over-the-top smile that we welcome words for today from the excellent sports writer, Eliot. Here, he’s turned his enormous arched eyebrow on Birmingham City. Yes, Birmingham City. He had this to say…

    What they need


    Martin Taylor may not get the warmest of welcomes back to the Premier League, and should probably be put on some type of Care in the Community scheme whilst he settles back in. Centre-back partnet Liam Ridgewell gave away seven penalties in 05/06 at Villa, so with that duo, another centre-half is essential. Much hinges on the signing of Christian Benitez. If it comes off, he and Kevin Phillips could score the goals to keep Brum up.

    Who they don’t need

    Cameron Jerome wasn’t good enough for the Premier League on his last visit, and its unlikely he has improved sufficiently after a year in the Championship. Ditto Gary McSheffrey. Just ten league goals between them in 07/08.

    Don’t mention


    Steve Bruce. The man not deemed good enough to manage Brum by chairman David Gold, has established a reputation for unearthing jewels from across the world. Instead of signing Zaki, Palacios and Figueora for Birmingham, he took them to Wigan.

    Inevitably linked with

    Scots. Aston Villa cast-offs. Violent men.

    Any other business

    With Lee Bowyer, Franck Queudrue and Martin Taylor all in their ranks, expect absentees through suspension to be a common theme throughout Birmingham’s season..

  • Football: 10 New Faces of 2009

    Yes, this is one of them…


    As ever, it’s with a great big cheer and a shot of the strong stuff that we welcome Eliot back to the Interestment fold – he’s got a gigantic brain stuffed to the brim with news and opinions about sport. He had this to say about his top ten people made famous by the year in football…

    1. Tom Henning Ovrebo


    One minute you have a meagre three line entry on Wikipedia, the next you are responsible for the worst swearing on ITV since Gordon Ramsay ceased his tiresome and rather blue, attention-seeking routine. Ovrebro certainly didnt have the Semi Final second leg between Chelsea and Barca under control, but that was no excuse for the sanctimonious outburst from Jamie Redknapp in the Sky studio post-match. Fuming that dear cousin Frank would miss out on yet another ill-deserved medal, Redknapp railed against the craziness of UEFA in allowing someone from little old Norway to officiate in such a big match. Much better allow an Italian. Roberto Rosetti perhaps, whose ludicrous sending off of Darren Fletcher cost Manchester United a ball-winning midfielder in the final, and possibly the trophy itself.

    2. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan


    Not as easy on the tongue as previous owner Franny Lee, and no less easier on the human rights abuses than previous incumbent Thaksin Shinawatra either. But this is the football world we live in today, a mad world where a man with a towel on his head is hailed as a Messiah (a concept he wouldn’t believe in) and whom one of the club’s centre half (Tal Ben-Haim) would be banned from visiting at home due to his nationality. Take a glance out the window to your left, and that would be the recently defenstrated ethics in football flying past.

    3. Federico Macheda


    Such is the hype and comprehensive coverage of football these days, it is rare a player that nobody has heard of makes a name for himself in a big fixture. With reserve team football live on television and even Youth Cup Final rights battled over by Sky/Setanta, players tend to emerge onto the stage fully born, with the football pitch being more reminiscent of pantomine (“I’ve seen him in something else”) than an obscure production of Midsummer Night’s Dream at a provincial theatre in Somerset (“I’ve never seen this Bottom before”) Joe Cole, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen were all new Gazzas whilst barely out of school, and Arsene Wenger uses the Carling Cup to saucily hitch up the skirt and give us a flash of his next generation. So although he scored a goal in the most commercial league in the most commerical arena, in a minute of injury time that existed purely in the mind of Mike Riley, there was something beautiful about Macheda sending Luke Young the wrong way, and curling the ball past Brad Friedel. That goal meant the title was heading back to Old Trafford, and the banner on the Stretford End will now read Twenty Years and Waiting from August.

    4. Brede Hangeland


    Although he signed for Fulham last January, it arguably wasnt until the 1-0 home victory against Arsenal in August, that Brede Hangelandshot to national prominence. Having scored the winner in a Man of the Match display, short of lining up the post-match roast, there is very little extra a modern day footballer can do in a game. It’s easy to laugh at Roy Hodgson – although Jonathan Ross arguably owes his career to the bloke whose lisp he has aped all these years – but his itinerant time in management has certainly paid off. At Viking FK he first coached Hangeland, and ultimately signed him for Fulham. At Inter Milan, he won the UEFA Cup. As manager of the United Arab Emirates, he made a lot of money. Trophies, knowledge and hard shekels – Roy Hodgson, Interestment salutes you.

    5. Dan Gosling


    It was a cold February night, a cracking cup-tie between the fiercest of rivals on Merseyside, set for penalties with just seconds on the clock. Then a ball over… the tic tacs are a refreshing sweet, suprisingly low in calories and perfect for refreshing… and jubilant scenes around Goodison.

    6. Amir Zaki


    Egyptian centre forwards – occasionally brilliant, frequently temperamental, but every so often struggle with the concept of stepping on a plane marked for Heathrow. Amir Zaki certainly isnt one to rebuff a streotype, starting brilliantly with that goal at Anfield – a goal so good that we all questioned our very existence in its aftermath – before spending much of the winter sulking, eventually vanishing home. Yet there can be no doubt Zaki is a decent player, and it will be interesting to see whether Steve Bruce, who played such a part in the Egyptian’s falling out with Wigan, attempts to sign him up top for Sunderland. If Amir thought living in Wigan was a long way from Cairo….

    7. Charles Insomnia


    A man we still wouldn’t have heard of were it not for Joe F*Kin’near’s tremendous Wordsworthesque pun, describing his winger Charles N’Zogbia in terms symptomatic of his tiresome whinging. Back in the 90s, when Kinnear was last managing a club in the top 6 of the Premier League, it was appropriate to mock foriegners with exotic names. Those days, alas, are no more, despite rumours of keeper Georg Koch signing for Hull City. So who was the eventual winner in this tiff? Well, Kinnear ended up with a triple bypass, N’Zogbia ended up at Wigan Athletic. Lets call that a no-score draw shall we?

    8. Sandra Redknapp


    Given young Jamie’s domestic bliss, it is hard to imagine Harry not enjoying a similar status – lovely palatial gaff, a couple of top top ornaments, and a cracking wife. Alas Harry revealed earlier in the season that his wife is in fact adroit in the air at the far post, as following Darren Bent’s lamentable miss in the match against Portsmouth, he claimed spouse Sandra (above, left) would have put it away. We now imagine Sandra as a Peter Withe figure, irrepressible from a decent cross with a large sweatband around her prominent bonce.
    Redknapp is often hailed as the archetypal hand-round-the-shoulder man manager. Quite how Darren Bent felt after this snide cheapshot is perhaps best left unsaid. Top, top stuff Harry.

    9. Ched Evans


    Not since Anna Friel’s lesbian kiss on Brookside has there been such a storm over a sex act on primetime television. Michael Essien’s “raping” of young Man City striker Ched Evans caused such a furore, that one half-expected a re-enactment on Crimewatch the following evening. As it was, all we got was a remorseful Alan Pardew, a man who allegedly once shared a bellydancer with Xabi Alonso. More than that, however, we were worthy of a tremendous insight into the common football vernacular, with the training ground perhaps the last bastion of political incorrectness in the workplace.

    10. Susan Boyle


    Well everyone else has jumped on the bandwagon so we might as well. And it’s not as if all this attention is doing her any harm….