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August / September Review

bob fleming

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OK, here we go. Here’s the first bout of nonsense for the new season. Six league, and two UEFA Cup games to look back on. So sit back, open another can of Carlsberg Special Brew and between us let’s try and piece together what happened….

Saturday 12 August. Rovers 5 New Zealand 0. This was Rovers last friendly before the season proper. We beat the New Zealand All Whites with a minimum of effort. Benni with two goals, Jason Roberts with two and Steven Reid with the other. Rugby is the National Sport of New Zealand.

Tuesday 15 August. After weeks of speculation and bids from Portsmouth (bids that ranged from as low as £4.3m and rose eventually by a staggering £700,000 to £5m) defender Ryan Nelsen signs a new four year contract. Great news. The nearest thing we’ve had to Colin Hendry since, er, Colin Hendry.

Thursday 17 August. Preparations for the new season are dealt a sickening double body blow rabbit punch. Steven Reid was injured playing for Ireland and Bert Emerton, according to reports, was on the verge of signing a new contract. Which he later did sign. A four year deal. The inclusion of a get out clause should Bert get too near the touchline could not be confirmed or denied by the club. In fact it was met with a curt “Don’t be so bloody stupid”.

Saturday 19 August. Portsmouth 3 Rovers 0. Oh dear. Very poor. Very poor indeed. Lucas Neill had an absolute nightmare. You could see him thinking for the first goal “Watch that striker, he could turn me here, got to be careful with this high ball, but what was it Johann Neeskens said about me once? I’m good enough for Barcelo… - Doh! I’ve missed the ball and now they’ve scored. What am I like?”. Or later in the game “Just think two more weeks and I could be off to AC Milan!, I’ll just foul this lad here on the half way line. Oh no, I don’t believe it, I’ve been sent off again. Why is it always me? I’m a good player.”

Todisoff scored first. Gangly Star Wars extra Kanu scored a brace. The second of which he scored when makeshift centre half “Th’axe” actually tried to hide behind him instead of heading the ball clear. Todd has sent off late in the game for making a good clean goal saving tackle but the game was well and truly over by then.

Still despite what many believed on BRFCS.com we weren’t relegated just yet, there was still time to rescue the situation in the remaining 37 games.

Tuesday 22 August. Andy Todd had his red card rescinded by the FA. “It was all a mistake, I shouldn’t have sent Todd off” stated the referee “I thought it was that Robbie Savage.”

Wednesday 23 August. Rovers 1 Everton 1. McCarthy with our goal, taken with great aplomb, and in a style not unlike that of a drunk Martin Dahlin, he placed the ball in the bottom right hand corner beyond the keepers reach before falling over.

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McCarthy: A Bit Twisted

Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and Rovers defence decided to re-enact a scene from the Keystone Cops 1912 debut, Hoffmeyer's Legacy in conceding the equaliser. Tim Cahill, keeping a straight face, did the damage after much slapstickery and high jinks in our penalty area.

Emerton played at right back and did very well, suggesting that he can secure a place in the team and make the right back / scapegoat position his own on a full time basis. You’ll not catch me slagging him off though.

Still, it was a point to the good and Rovers got themselves out of the relegation mire. A good job too with only 36 games left, time was running out fast.

Also on this day we completed the signing of Dutch International defender Andre Ooijer (pronounced: Ooijer.) from crack outfit PVC Eindhoven.

Friday 25 August. Rovers incredibly draw Australian side Salzburg in the UEFA Cup. First leg away.

Sunday Bloody Sunday 27 August. Rovers 0 Chelsea 2. New signing Ooijer was thrown in at the deep end, with no arm bands, wearing a deep sea divers suit and with his arms and legs tied together. Behind his back. Apart from giving away the penalty (Lampard),(when John Terry incredibly lost the use of his legs), getting booked and getting skinned for the second goal (Drogba) it all went really well for him.

We’re bottom of the league. However there are several plusses. There are 35 games left to try and add to our one point. Bert Emerton played very well at right back again. Incredible. Like a new signing. Lucas did well at left back as well. In fact the performance showed a lot of promise.

Thursday 30 August. Transfer deadline day! Hurrah! The transfer window slams shuts meaning that the transfer window thread on BRFCS.com can also be closed!!

We brought in Shabani Nonda, who arrived in a Hondah because of all the wongah. We can’t go wrongah. Have I turned into Mark E Smith-ah? (non-Fall fans please ignore this bit). A good player by all accounts although he has suffered with injuries.

Jon Douglas left for Leeds United on a permanent deal and Keith Barker went to Rochdale (the football club I presume, although he may have just gone for a day out).

Surely the biggest surprise though was that Shefki Kuqi also left, to Crystal Palace. For £2.5m. Yes, that’s £2.5m. Million. Pounds. A fantastic deal for the big guy who will live long in the memory.

The good news was offset somewhat in that Fleming junior, aged 3 and 3/4’s was a big fan of Shefki’s. Blissfully unaware that Rovers have a habit of selling their best players (and Shefki) if good money comes along, on hearing the news she just burst into tears. (As did John Williams probably when Palace offered £2.5 million, all your Christmases….. etc ). Explaining that it was a lot worse when Alan Shearer left did little to cheer her up.

After careful consideration I’ve advised her to choose Lucas Neill as her next favourite player, “He won’t leave us” I explained.

Wednesday 6 September. The Lancashire Telegraph, always first with the news, pick up on a story that the Daily Mirror reported the previous week. Bad news. Ryan Nelsen requires surgery on his troublesome hamstring and will fly to Finland for the op next week. The unique and bizarre procedure involves removing muscles from the back of the patients eyes and stapling them to the damaged hamstring. We were later to learn that Nelsen will be out until after Christmas, his hamstring is fine but he can’t see.

Friday 8 September. The Sun: “England Striker Lashes Out”. “The shame of Wayne Rooney. Fat disgrace Wayne (20), seen without his comedy ginger beard, was in shame last night after it was revealed that he punched a man, knocking him to the floor, whilst out in Manchester last weekend.

A source said that Wayne was so drunk he couldn’t stand up.

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“More drinks please barman”

The victim, a blonde floppy haired man with limited pace and questionable positioning technique, innocently approached the steaming drunk England International for his autograph. The drunken pie disposal unit, currently banned from playing for his Country (although he showed no shame at letting the entire country down, he was even seen laughing at one point, according to an onlooker), snapped and lashed out, incoherently shouting expletives before soiling his trousers with his own wee.

Wayne’s girlfriend, Colleen, felt sorry for the man and bizarrely offered to take him home with another lady friend for an all night poker session it was claimed by a passer by who decided to stick his nose in.

No one at the nightclub, apart from a source, an onlooker, and a passer by, was available to make things up.”

Well that was what they were going to print anyway until they found out it was Mickey Gray. Booooo!!! Mickey Gray from Blackburn Rovers. Booo!!! Hisssss!!! Not them again… Boooooooo!!!!!

Also on this day Rovers move to plug the gap left by Ryan Nelsen’s injury by re-signing Stephane Henchoz from Blackburn with Darwen Council Tourism.

Saturday 9 September. Sheffield United 0 Rovers 0. A tale of three penalties this one. McCarthy was cynically hacked down for ours but somehow managed to play on afterwards. Lucas stepped up, their keeper guessed right, but dived left, and made a comfortable save.

At the other end Zurab gave away the Blades first penalty on the account that he has arms. The referee spotted Zurabs arms connected to his body when a corner was taken. He had no option but to award a spot kick which the legendary Brad saved, diving to his right.

The final penalty was actually given by the linesman when he noticed that Lucas Neill chested the ball down in his own penalty area. Noting that Lucas’ chest is near his arms, that there wasn’t much time left, that the home crowd made a loud appeal and that he couldn’t see the incident from where he was stood, the linesman quickly realised that he had little option but to make the wrong decision. Brad saved.

Still our second point and up to the dizzy heights of 19th.

Thursday 14 September. Red Bull Salzburg 2 Rovers 2. We return to Europe with a visit to Australia.

We score two away goals and could have won this one had it not been for a very late equalizer from Janko who rose high at the back post (as though he had wings) to head home.

Red Bull took the lead through Zickler after some pretty von Trapp style defending, only for Robbie Savage to equalize and score his best goal yet for the club (better than the other one) with a 25 yard curling free kick into the roof of the net.

We then took the lead when The Artist Formally Known As Pedersen struck a 30 yard free kick that their keeper could only spill into the path of Benni, who made no mistake.

A good result really, it was never going to be easy going there with their plastic pitch, they hadn’t conceded a goal at home all season either. All to play for and hopefully we can get to the group stage so I can get to an away match and not have to listen to Radio Lancashire. Read on to find out what happens!

Sunday 17 September. Rovers 4 Manchester City 2. League game 5 and our first win. Sending us up to 12th and banishing all thoughts of relegation for another season. Surely we’re safe now?

A superb display of defending excellence from the lads, especially in the first half when City somehow managed to score two goals against the run of play. Joey Barton with their first equalizer when he was allowed to run through the impeccable Rovers defence, despite being clearly offside, apart from Bert playing him on. How the linesman didn’t raise his flag is beyond me. I mean most of our players played him off, it was very harsh.

The second fluke of a goal for City must surely have been the work of witchcraft. The commanding and assured Andre Ooijer scored an own goal when the ball somehow swerved and hit his foot in a “funny way” and flew into our goal.

Before then The Artist, who dominated the midfield for the entire 90 minutes, bagged a couple with two trade mark free kicks form 25 yards that the keeper managed to avoid saving. The first of which The Artist directed in off Sincalirs head. Clever stuff from the Norwegian hard man pop star.

Second half we stepped it up a gear (into 2nd and briefly into 3rd) and scored two more goals. Benni McCarthy with his third in six and then Paul Gallagher, back from his loan spell playing in goal for Norwich, adding the fourth.

Saturday 23 September. Surely we’re good enough to win the league now? Middlesbrough 0 The Mighty Rovers 1.

Our second win of the season, up to 10th and just seven points off the top of the league. It’s up for grabs now, we just need to keep the run going. Rovers played well and the highlights showed that we dictated play. When Boro did threaten we ensured that only Jason Euell had the chances. Good thinking lads.

Chris Nonda, or as the Lancashire Morning Telegraph call him, Doctor Congo, scored the winner with a cracking header from a bending Bentley cross. This guy looks good to me and certainly isn’t afraid to put the effort in.

All of a sudden we're in the top half.

Also on this day Rovers drew London club Chelsea in the League Cup. Hopefully they’ll just play their second string (worth about £80million).

Thursday 28 September. Rovers 2 Red Bull Salzberg 0.

Well what a good do! Didn’t think it was possible but we did it. We won in Europe for the first time since we beat Rosenborg 4 – 1 at Ewood on 6 December 1995.

McCarthy scored his fourth goal in eight games (keep that ratio up please Benni!) with a nice little trick and a well placed finish. Dave Bentley scored a spectacular second goal to wrap things up with a fantastic half volley from 30 yards. He then attacked the corner flag which must have been giving him a bit of stick for not scoring since February last year. It was good to see the fella show such raw emotion to be honest. Although he got booked for his troubles as UEFA and FIFA are trying to stamp passion out of the game.

Hughesy “We’ve not covered ourselves in glory in Europe in years gone by, which is why we made it a priority to reach the group stages, and hopefully now we can progress from there.” I like that “we” bit for all number of reasons.

“The crowd were excellent tonight and we are now looking forward to more European nights like this at Ewood Park.” It was a great night, I’m already looking forward to the next one.

Finally, this review wouldn’t be what it is today (whatever that is) without a few words on the star of the season to date.

Bert. or more specifically: Bert Mk II.

There can’t have been many of us who hadn’t written him off if we’re honest, he was going nowhere fast. Yet by simply moving to right back Bert has been in impeccable form. Every credit to him. A new and a very good player, if there was a player of the season trophy awarded at the end of September it would be ridiculous. But Bert would walk away with it.

Sometimes it’s nice to be proved wrong.

So Wigan up next tomorrow. August seems a long, long time ago all of a sudden, we were unbeaten in September (surely not Manager of the Month material?!?). Let’s keep it going.

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We brought in Shabani Nonda, who arrived in a Hondah because of all the wongah. We can’t go wrongah. Have I turned into Mark E Smith-ah? (non-Fall fans please ignore this bit).


Another good one Mr F. In particular I agree with the Bert comments

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We brought in Shabani Nonda, who arrived in a Hondah because of all the wongah. We can’t go wrongah. Have I turned into Mark E Smith-ah? (non-Fall fans please ignore this bit).

About time you posted one of these things. Did you see the feature on The Fall last week on BBC2?

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Also on this day we completed the signing of Dutch International defender Andre Ooijer (pronounced: Ooijer.) from crack outfit PVC Eindhoven.

Subtle Bob. :D

Your work is appreciated, thanks. Hopefully someone from the lancs morning telegraph reads this, there should be a contract in the offing.

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