Posts Tagged ‘Roy Keane’

Weekly Photoshop – 2009 Review


Hello hello, long time no speak. This week there’s no Photoshop theme in the Guardian, merely a collection of the year’s best entries. They’ve decided to not just use the weekly winners (not sure why) hence Emmanuel Eboue gets in from way back in January while October’s effort for Old Trafford Injury Time also makes it.


My three personal favourites from this year are as follows:

3. Nicklas Bendtner (more for Ade as Ike Turner):

Nicklas may think he's "simply the best, better than all the rest" but sadly for him Ade is the Ike in this relationship.


2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (proving me wrong to be fair):

zlatan ibrahimovic barcelona guardiola

"Of course you can rely on me in the big games Pep." Zlatan's already epic nose suddenly seems to increase in size...


1. Roy Keane (both entries):

roy keane ipswich

There'll be none of this Tractor Boys business now Keane is in charge, it's manual labour all the way...

roy keane ipswich mick mccarthy

Mick McCarthy may have escaped Keane's clutches for now but he'll soon hunt him down.


Hope you enjoyed them all, I’m going to try to spend more time on them next year. Alberto Aquilani is first up in the new year.




Season Previews 09/10 – Sunderland



Last Season: 16th.

Say hello to your new teammates: Lorik Cana, Frazier Campbell, Paulo da Silva, Darren Bent, Lee Cattermole.

Close the door on your way out: Michael Chopra, Dean Whitehead, Greg Halford, Dwight Yorke, David Connolly.

Predicted star: Darren Bent has lots of critics, many of them at Spurs but there’s no denying that he scores goals. He was Tottenham’s top scorer last season which says a lot about the way they work if they’re willing to let him go. In Kenwyne Jones he should have an ideal strike partner whose strength and ability to hold up the ball will complement Bent’s speed and play off the last man. I mentioned in a betting preview that you can get 50/1 on him to be top goalscorer which is a great each way bet. I reckon he’ll get 15 league goals for sure.

Needs a big year: Kieran Richardson was being touted as a regular England player for the problem left wing position not too long ago but he lost his way somewhat in the last season or two. He doesn’t have any real rivals in that area (Andy Reid is too slow to play wide) and he be looked to for service to the new look strikeforce.

One to watch: Lorik Cana was signed this summer from Marseille and immediately installed as captain, which shows how highly Bruce regards him. A tough tackling midfielder with an eye for goal, the 26 year old Albanian should fit right in the Premier League. I think the duo of him and fellow new signing Lee Cattermole will be amongst the better central midfield partnerships this season.



What they want to happen: Steve Bruce to work his magic and lift Sunderland away from the annual struggle to avoid relegation back to the Championship. Top half could well be in sight.

Nightmare scenario: Sunderland’s defence proves to be a weak link as they fail to respond to Bruce’s organisational skills.

Plan A: Become tough to beat by tightening up at the back. The midfield of Cattermole and Cana is aggressive and defensive enough to allow Malbranque and Richardson to create down the flanks. A big man and pace merchant duo up front will try to improve on Sunderland’s measly 34 goals last season.

Plan B, just in case: Play it direct to Jones, whose underrated creative skills will hold the play up before playing in Bent.

Predicted finish: 9th.

Why? There is cause for optimism at the Stadium of Light this season. After the drama of Roy Keane leaving mid-season and Ricky Sbragia only just keeping them up, there was a need for some stability and re-assessment. Bringing in Steve Bruce is quite a coup – I think he’s amongst the best managers outside the top four. The signings are no longer limited to Irish reserves, Man United rejects and other various cloggers.

Imaginative, good quality players have been brought in and most of the Wearsider’s needs have been addressed. A new look midfield will provide bite and improve the side’s away form. Cattermole was linked with Liverpool while Cana is an aggressive, destructive yellow card machine (this is a good thing though). Instant leadership on the pitch too.

Should work well with Bent.

Should work well with Bent.

Darren Bent does miss a lot but he also scores a lot and he should turn some of the 1-0 losses into draws and some of the draws into wins. If Bruce can get the defence organised as well as he did at Wigan then they will be much harder to break down. Only Paulo da Silva has been signed in defence but Anton Ferdinand is a good enough player to base the back four on. Looking to the future, Bruce has an extensive scouting/contacts network which will bear fruit in coming seasons (see Valencia, Palacios, Zaki etc). I think Sunderland are in line for an excellent season and led by Jones and Bent should get enough wins to progress to the top half of the table.



End of Season Reviews – Newcastle, Portsmouth, Stoke, Sunderland




Where they finished: 18th

Season in five words: Joke club gets just desserts.

Successful season? Hmm, absolutely not. I almost don’t know where to start. Let’s do it in bullet points (imagine a Benny Hill style montage). Best outfield player sold (Milner). Keegan resigns, again. Who should replace him? I know let’s get Joe Kinnear! Barton in trouble with something or other. Kinnear does ok. Ashley wants to sell. Ashley doesn’t want to sell. Ashley downs pints. Best player sold (Given). Kinnear has heart trouble. Slide down the table. Shearer returns! Eight games to save them. Only wins one. Newcastle are relegated. That’s just the brief story. In reality, this is a club which has been mismanaged for years, both on and off the pitch. At some point it would catch up with them, the irony being that this was a year when a particularly low points total was needed to stay up.

Defining moment: Keegan resigning, again. There have been so many errors over the season, but had he stayed you feel things may have been a lot more stable. Bottom half, but not relegated.

Player of the year: Nicky Butt has been solid in an otherwise poor midfield. Bassong has impressed in defence and will be targeted by other clubs.

Goal of the season: I literally spent about 15 minutes trying to find some kind of good Newcastle goal this season but had no luck. Any suggestions are more than welcome. This by Duff is the best I could do.

Flop of the season: Coloccini has the unique ability to drag down those around him. Can you think of a single thing Xisco did?

Highlight: Shearer returning was a false dawn in the end but at the time it was quite an amazing story.

Summer homework: Complete the sale by Mike Ashley, sign up Shearer permanently. Get rid of all the deadwood on large contracts and sign young, hungry, pacey players who can get them up at the first attempt. Keep hold of Taylor and Bassong.





Where they finished: 14th

Season in five words: Harry leaves, Tony rubbish, safe.

Successful season? Not really. They came into the season as FA winners, top half finishers and with a talented squad. The debt accumulated to achieve this however could not be maintained and Muntari, Defoe and Diarra were all sold during the season for big money. Harry Redknapp left for Spurs and Adams was promoted in his place. The Arsenal legend couldn’t seem to get the rub of the green and coupled with some curious tactical decisions went on quite a long winless run. He was replaced by Paul Hart who guided Pompey to safety without too much stress in the end.

Defining moment: Redknapp leaving for a second time, he won’t be back again.

Player of the year: Glen Johnson was excellent at right back all season. He needs to cut out the positional lapses but that wil come once he is playing for a big club again.

Goal of the season: Glen Johnson’s left foot volley from around 30 yards. Brilliant stuff.

Flop of the season: Tony Adams? It’s hard to see his managerial career recovering after his spell at Fratton Park. David James and Sol Campbell have started to look their age.

Highlight: In terms of occasion, hosting AC Milan in the UEFA Cup and holding them to a 2-2 draw shows just how much they’ve come in the last few years.

Summer homework: Reduce the average age of the squad. Buy some young, pacey players. Keep Johnson and Crouch. A lot depends on whether the rumoured takeover will happen.





Where they finished: 12th

Season in five words: Not pretty but very effective.

Successful season? Yes. Amongst the favourites to go down at the start of the year, Stoke were never in any real danger of going down. Their home form at the Britannia Stadium was excellent and they picked up plenty of impressive results there to be safe with games to spare.

Defining moment: Signing James Beattie in the January transfer window. Six goals in nine games followed and by the end of that run Stoke were safe.

Player of the year: Abdoulaye Faye was a beast at the back, leading the defence whilst also popping up to score some vital goals. Special mention to Rory Delap and his bullet throws and Jame Beattie for his run of goals.

Goal of the season: Fuller against Villa early in the season.

Flop of the season: Dave Kitson, who quickly went back to Reading.

Highlight: There were many impressive home wins this season but the victory over Arsenal was the most satisfying. When you make Wenger angry and talk about physical, anti football, you know you’ve had a good win.

Summer homework: Sign some more squad players and perhaps some creativity in midfield. A striker to push Fuller and Beattie wouldn’t go amiss.




Where they finished: 16th

Season in five words: Keane’s shadow still looms large.

Successful season? So-so. The aim at the start was to stay up, but given the manager (Keane) and the money he spent, initial expectations were perhaps a little higher. Keane resigned in December citing that he was fed up (and also a run of five defeats in six) but not before he has wasted much of the budget given. Niall Quinn appointed Ricky Sbragia, who started well but then didn’t really have the personality to impose himself (especially after Royston). They stayed up, just, and Newcastle and Boro went down. In that sense it was a great season!

Defining moment: Keane resigning in December. It left them without a figurehead and a proper manager for the rest of the season.

Player of the year: Danny Collins was good at the back. Jones appeared to play well once he returned from injury.

Goal of the season: Kieran Richardson scored one of the few great free kicks this season against Newcastle.

Flop of the season: Cisse scored quite a few but did little else. Lots of other signings didn’t really have great years either (Malbranque, Tainio, Ben Haim etc).

Highlight: Newcastle going down.

Summer homework: Part of it is already done in the sense they’ve appointed a good manager to replace Keane. Getting Steve Bruce to join is quite a coup for Sunderland and he should prove better than Keane in working with a similar size transfer budget. Basically more quality is needed. Lots of honest pros but Sunderland need that spark to ensure they avoid another scrap next season.




Weekly Photoshop – Roy Keane


SUCCESS! The Sportboys win first prize in this week’s Guardian photoshop gallery as new Ipswich manager Roy Keane provides the inspiration. I win a £100 bet, you get two entries to chuckle over, everyone’s a winner. Everyone except Sportboy P, who won’t be getting any of Sportboy T’s winnings.


We’ll start by looking at the strict regime Keane is likely to bring in:

There'll be none of this Tractor Boys business now Keane is in charge, it's manual labour all the way...

There'll be none of this Tractor Boys business now Keane is in charge, it's manual labour all the way...


and then focus on Keane’s arch-enemy (well one of many), who for now has escaped via promotion:

Mick McCarthy may have escaped Keane's clutches for now but he'll soon hunt him down.

Mick McCarthy may have escaped Keane's clutches for now but he'll soon hunt him down.


The rest of this week’s gallery can be found here.




Previous entries: Messi, Vidic, Cahill and the rest.

The Six Pointer – Is Roy Keane Any Good, RVP’s Right & more…


All eyes were on Sunday after one of the least appealing set of Saturday games this season. Only Sunderland v Bolton served up anything interesting and that was in part to all the comedy defending. As Mark Lawrenson would say (he would and you know it), Christmas is the season of giving. 


1. Is Roy Keane any good? We’ve touched before on how Sunderland’s strikeforce of Kenwyn Jones and Djibril Cisse has more than enough quality to keep them up. However, judging by the state of their defence (Saturday’s comedy here), it may not be enough. They’re down to 19th with just one win in seven. Keane has spent more than £60 million since taking over in the summer of 2006. There are some decent players there (Malbranque, Ferdinand, the two main strikers, a few others) but also a lot of tosh. His reliance on Man Utd rejects and Irish players who aren’t Robbie Keane has led to the biggest squad in the Premiership but arguably very little genuine quality. Squads are important but your first choice eleven take priority given that they’ll play the majority of games when fit. I think part of the problem has been the lack of a first choice defence – he has used six different back fours thus far. Looking at their squad I guess you would choose Chimbonda – Ferdinand – Nosworthy – McCartney. Hmm. As always, he’s being very frank in his assessment of his team and his own future but I reckon that as long as he keeps Sunderland up he’ll get a new contract. Great beard by the way but has he been taking styling tips from Abel Xavier?

Maybe I'll copy the hair too...

Maybe I'll copy the haircut too...


2. Is Gary Megson any good? Quietly, Bolton have won four out of their last five games and climbed to the dizzy heights of ninth in the table. Universally derided upon his appointment a year ago, Megson led Bolton to safety with a similar run at the end of the season where eleven points were taken from the final five games. Until then they were in dire trouble and looked set to be relegated. This year, they were in most people’s bottom three in the pre season predictions but have been steadily gaining points. So is he any good? I’m not convinced. His main summer signings were gambles to say the least (Muamba and Elmander for a combined £15 million) but to be fair the latter has started to score regularly now. He needs more than a 17th place to be judged a success, they should be looking towards mid table. I will reserve judgment until their next four games have passed – Chelsea(H), Villa(A), Pompey(H) and Liverpool(A). If they get anything from those then perhaps I’ll start to believe Gary Megson is a decent manager.

Oh noes, it's all going to go wrong!

Oh noes, it's all going to go wrong!


3. Somehow, Fulham’s defence is very good. Only 11 goals conceded all season. Only Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd have conceded less. This despite playing without a traditional defensive midfielder – more four guys who are quite good at attacking and not bad at defending, especially Bullard and Murphy. I’ve always had a soft spot for Fulham, they play decent football and Roy Hodgson is one of the good guys. This was dented slightly after they beat Arsenal but I will be quite happy to see them stay up.


4. Van Persie’s left foot is very, very good. His right one wasn’t bad at the weekend either. His first was offside but then this goal three years ago wasn’t and yet was disallowed. It all evens itself out, eventually. The win for Arsenal was one of those where the performance wasn’t all that good but the result was fantastic. To score two goals at Stamford Bridge after being behind means maybe, just maybe they can be legitimate title challengers. However we were here a month ago after the United game saying the same thing. Let’s see if they can beat Wigan at home next week (play the kids perhaps?) before saying so for sure. 


5. If John Terry wasn’t England captain and Sagna didn’t just get on with things and Sky weren’t so biased in what they choose to replay he’d be looking a three match ban right now (here 8 mins in) … 


6. Can Liverpool sustain a title challenge without a fully fit Fernando Torres? I’m not sure they can…
Haven't seen too much of this yet...

Haven't seen too much of this yet...



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