Jen Offord’s Football Renaissance continues…

Unbelievable. The VERY WEEK I decide to get all interested in football again, Charlton Athletic (who I know aren’t a Premier League team, but just indulge me for a moment), promptly go and remind me why I decided I just couldn’t be arsed with it all.

Chris Powell

So Sheffield United beat us in the FA Cup and are in League One. And we’re now at the bottom of the Championship. But we’ve played three games less than almost every other team in the league and I can’t help but think, instinctively, that sacking manager Chris Powell at this stage in the season isn’t a very good idea, morale-wise.

Chris Powell made five appearances for England under Sven-Goran Eriksson

Chris Powell made five appearances for England under Sven-Goran Eriksson

So I sought the views of other, more knowledgeable CAFC fans (because unbelievably I know four other CAFC fans and only one of them is a direct family member) and they mostly agreed (though admittedly with some questioning of his recent tactics). Actually, my brother gave me what seemed like a pretty good list of reasons as to why sacking Chris Powell is bad for football, not just non-Premier League team Charlton, so I’ll share, briefly:

  • He was one of only two black managers in all four professional leagues
  • Considered by many to be a bright young British manager, replaced by a more-or-less unknown British manager
  • With only three years in the post, he was the eighth-longest serving manager in four divisions

Still, I’m given to believe that disliking the new owner of a club is the done thing in these circles and having cause to dislike new Charlton owner, Roland Duchatelet, makes me feel like a real football fan again.

Premier League

Back in the Premier League (which is what I’m supposed to be learning about, after all) and returning to “pushed him away with my head” gate, Old Blue Eyes, as my brother used to call him and probably won’t thank me for sharing that with you, Alan Pardew has been handed a record seven-match ban by the FA. So I guess they thought it was a headbutt, after all.

Cardiff managed to beat Fulham last weekend. This made me happy, mostly because their time in the Premier League is entertaining my mate Becky’s mum, who apparently “visibly took another swig of gin” during Match of the Day the other week, on hearing that I think Alan Hansen is not bad looking for an older chap. They’re going to have to beat Everton this weekend if they want to consolidate this boost, which seems, frankly, unlikely. Further dog fights at the bottom end of the table include Crystal Palace and Sunderland, but with three games in hand, surely the Black Cats (that’s Sunderland, I Googled their nickname to appear better informed. You’re welcome) must be the favourites of the three bottom clubs to avoid relegation?

At the top of the league, Sunday looks to be entertaining as a North London Derby at White Hart Lane provides one of those twice-yearly opportunities for the exchange of racial slurs, and remind us of all the things we find unpalatable about football. Arsenal need those points if they’re going to improve on third place in the league, but Spurs have a point to prove after their 4-0 trouncing by Chelsea last week, and given that in their last five league meetings, the home team has won every time, my money is on Spurs.

Simply Red's Mick Hucknall grimaces as The Red Devils dropped more points at home in February

Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall grimaces as The Red Devils dropped more points at home in February

But Sunday’s fireworks don’t end there, with Manchester United taking on Liverpool – apparently they hate each other, too. Surprisingly, since my last flirtation with the Premier League, and the departure of Fergie, Man Utd seem to be a bit rubbish. The Intertoto Cup doesn’t actually exist anymore, it seems, but Man Utd wouldn’t even qualify for that, based on their current league position. Though as I’m re-learning, football is a fickle mistress. A lot could change in their remaining 10 league games and they might yet put a smile back on Mick Hucknall’s face.

So that’s this week’s whistle stop tour of top-flight football, to get you through any awkward silences in the pub this weekend. Probably try to avoid referring to Alan Pardew as Old Blue Eyes, though.

Were Charlton right to sack club legend Powell? Is Jen right in saying that Sunderland are favourites to stay up? And will Fergie and Hucknall be able to raise a smile come May?

Follow Jen Offord @inspireajen

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