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Pre-season With Bob Flemming


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The Bob Flemming Pre Season Report.

The anticipation of seeing all your old favourites running around at half speed! The new signings! Are they any good? (I’ll never forget seeing Grabbi’s first game for Rovers on a pre-season tour in Germany, “Here we go!” I thought “Seven million pounds worth of striker here, he’ll rip this German pub team to pieces!” He had no pace, he constantly drifted out to the left wing and had very little of that unquantifiable thing called a “presence” about him, still I’m no judge.)

I think we’ve done pretty well this close season in the transfer market. Jason Roberts is more than a handful for any centre half, he posed us problems last season at any rate. Franny Jeffers? Who knows, the potential is there. I’ll not hold my breath though, anything from him will be a bonus. We also bought a keeper who I know nothing about, Jason Brown. We also brought in McCarthy more on “him” later.

Downside was obviously losing the occasionally hamstrung Welsh Weasel, but by bringing in two players in the shape of Roberts & McCarthy I can’t see how that area has been weakened. Of course Neill and Bert refusing to sign new contracts, isn’t the best of news (I’m joking about Bert by the way).

Some still believe and prattle on about Nelsen going to Portsmouth, this despite; Rovers turning down the initial £4.3m bid (they’ve since upped it to £5m according to reports- wooooooooo!), the player making the right noises about wanting to be fit and back in the team to face Portsmouth, Rovers playing European football next season and finally Portsmouth buying a new centre half in the shape of a wardrobe in Sol Campbell. We shall see.

Anyway, the pitch? How will it look? All yellow and burnt like my lawn?

Will the same people be sat round you as last year making the same rubbish jokes?

Has the price of a pint gone up on the Blackburn End? Has it gone down?! Will the bar staff be as inefficient as in recent seasons?

I’d just like to clear something up. There was talk at the back end of last season on BRFCS.com of my leaving for www.rovers.co.uk in the summer. I’m pleased to say that it never happened, they said they wouldn't get the money together but mainly it was because they didn’t want me in the first place, but if they had made an approach I’d have turned it down flat. I love this place, the town, the people, even the endless, boring, Transfer Rumour threads. Everything. In fact I hope to do all my monthly reviews on BRFCS.com for the rest of my career unless of course something better turns up. And they say there’s no loyalty in football anymore?

Moving on, we beat near neighbours Accrington Stanley 3-0 pre season on July 19th. Goals from two of our new players Jason Roberts and Francis Jeffers. Matt Derbyshire with the third.

Good luck to Stanley next season, their first back in the league since 1962. Older viewers will recall the events that surrounded their demise, but just in case here’s a reminder. Basically Stanley were forced to resign from the Football League. Apparently, so I’ve been told, there was a meat shortage in the burnley area. burnley’s then Chairman, Bob “The Butcher” Lord, wielding his financial strength like a rusty meat cleaver, actually bought Stanley’s first team squad, management team and board of directors and used them to make pies, which he then sold at turf moor on match days. Some in Accrington will never forgive burnley for what happened. Who can blame them?

July 22 - saw us take on Hamburg somewhere in Europe. We drew one each, Morten Gamst Pedersen (as he now likes to be known – and that name will appear on the back of his shirt next season) scored with a trademark spectacular goal from 25 yards smacked high into the top… blah de blah – you know what he does.

July 28 - Rovers watched Greek champions Olympiakos.

August 5 - Rovers beat Ale Mania Aachen 3-2 somewhere in Europe. Sounds like a good place to visit. McCarthy opening “his” account, Jason Roberts with the second and Morten Gamst Pedersen with the third, which was probably a volley or something from an acute angle that he had no right to score from etc etc.

August 9 – Sparta Rotherham beat Rovers 1-0 in a game played in Holland, Nr Belgium.

Which brings us to Saturdays match against the New Zealand national team. A strange choice for our last friendly before the season starts. In fact a bloody stupid choice. Have you seen the size of those lads? They’re huge! Their pack will simply be too strong for us and we’ve too many light weights in our scrum. I can only see this going one way I’m afraid. I just hope there aren’t many injuries. I know the Welsh like their Rugby but this is taking things too far as far as I’m concerned.

But how can I finish this review thingy / nonsense without recounting the tale, no make that the saga, of our attempts to sign a third new striker. I’ve done a little search on the internet on two of the main characters via top internet search engine googel, I was surprised by the results…

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Mido: Overtired

First of all Hughesy went after Mido, the big burly purple Egyptian with stupid hair. Last year he was on loan at one of the biggest clubs in the world (up there with Birmingham City), London mega club and the second biggest club in North London, Tottenham Hotspurs.

Mido is known to many within football, bizarrely, as “the fourth choice Tweenie”. Basically, as I understand it, and I still don’t, he just messed us about for a month whilst looking for a better offer from Children’s ITV. Probably.

Oh well, whatever, nevermind.

So Hughes looked elsewhere and did we get lucky or what?

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Benni McCarthy: Nice Eyes

Our glorious Welsh leader turned his attentions to South African Benni McCarthy.

Well, what can you say? I’ve gone on record before (“Nothing Surprises Me Anymore (In Football)” EMI Cat. No. 79573220. Released Feb 12 1987 – Deleted Feb 13 1987. No one bought it) to say that nothing surprises me in football anymore. And now this!

Good Heavens! What a good looking lad!

This could be the signing that puts a few more bums on seats. Hughes is said to have been chasing Benni for well over 12 months now, it’s not hard to see why.

The new third kit will not sell well though. Mark my words on this. Red “shirt”, blue shorts and no socks is not going to catch on.

There are already doubts in some quarters about Benni’s strength though. On signing “he” said “I’ve had so many opportunities for me to come to England but always something seemed to go wrong, the wind always blew me to Portugal, to Spain or Holland but never to England.”

That doesn’t sound good to me. Last thing we need on a wet and windy day in December is for our star centre forward to go up for a high cross at the Blackburn End only to be caught by a gust of wind and end up in the middle of Amsterdam, Barcelona, or as above, Las bleeding Vegas. Franny Jeffers could well suffer a similar fate.

Still, Hughesy know’s best and he hasn’t let us down yet has he?

So, there you have it, they’ll be more of the same weak gags as last season coming up over the next few months, hopefully you’ve forgotten most of them by now.

Another new season! European football as well! Bring it on!

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