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October Review


bob fleming
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Have a look at yourself will you?! Come on, it’s time to leave the Special Brew alone for a few minutes, you’re not doing yourself any favours with that stuff. So, grab a Supermodel, stick on a Babyshambles CD, take copious amounts of Class A, and let’s delve back to the beginning of the month the Romans used to call “October”.

Sunday October 1. Rovers 2 Wigan Athletic 1. Simple Blackburn Beat The Piemen, Wigan say “Not Fair!”

Emile Heskey, who has been on the Peter Crouch diet for professional footballers, has a habit of scoring against Rovers and did so again after just two minutes of this category A++++++ local derby. Rovers were a little jaded it would appear following our game in mid week against Salzburg. We equalised on the stroke of half time, David Bentley curling one off after good build up play involving Liverpool’s Lucas Neill and Rovers’ Francis Jeffers.

The second half was a different story and Rovers played some of the most attacking football that Ewood has seen for weeks. Both full backs have been given licence to roam it would appear this season. Unfortunately Oh Yeah? was left a little exposed and decided to bring down Emile Heskey, who by now had lost another stone in weight. Penalty to Wigan. Jason Brown, making his debut, pulled off a fine save and then stopped both follow up efforts. That’s four penalties out of five saved this season.

This spurred us on. Neill played a simple ball over the top of the Wigan defence. “Offiside! Not fair!” shouted Paul Jewell but McCarthy had the simplest of finishes after great work from Roberts and Kirkland.

That’s us up to 9th. More remarkably we’re only five points from the top, how did that happen?

Tuesday October 3. The UEFA Cup group stages draw. We’re now old hands at this Europe lark and after recording our second ever victory, confidence was high that we can progress this season.

We drew FC Basel and Nancy Lorraine at home. Swiss club FC Basel were formed in 1983, the Rovers connection is there for all to see, they were named after ex-Rovers left back Mick Rathbone. There is nothing even remotely amusing about us playing a French team called Nancy and Lorraine. Nothing at all.

The away games are far more interesting. Wisla Krakow of Poland. Could be colourful, as could Feyenoord of Rotherham. I’ll be making the trip for Feyneoord but not Krakow. Three of us setting off Thursday morning at 7.00 from Liverpool, we’ll fly to Leeds and then get the train down to the porn and hash capital of Europe (or was it pie and mash?), Worksop (Travel lodge £45.00). Then it’s the tram up to Rotherham for the game, before getting the hell out of there afterwards. The riots of 1992 when they played Spurs are still fresh in the memory, a lot of Spurs lads still have the scars after they were on the receiving end of a barrage of giant Yorkshire puddings and whippets thrown at them by the home fans.

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The impressive “Space Age” Feijenoord Stadion, Rotherham

Wednesday 4 October. I think it was today, it was around this date, that Rovers announced they would slash prices for the Bolton match on Sunday 22nd. £15 a ticket for anywhere on the ground. A shame that the Telegraph didn’t mention it for two weeks. Those who say that going to Ewood is too expensive surely now have no excuse for missing this one. Although I’m sure they’ll find one soon enough. How’s about “I just can’t be arsed to be honest, I’d rather just slag them off to anyone who’ll listen to me down the pub than actually go to the match. Still if anyone asks when I’m on holiday, I’m a big Rovers fan.”

Oh, but I jest. Really the club can do no more. We’ve all been critical in the past and rightly so (£36 for the BBE vs Wigan is not the future in my opinion) but this is superb. This and “The Card” are cracking ideas.

Anyway, it could be worse, we could have to watch Steve McLarens England week in week out. They’d be lucky to shift tickets at 10 bob if the performance in Croatia was anything to go buy. Absolutely bobbins.

Saturday 14 October. Liverpool 1 Rovers 1. Rovers travelled to Anfield, home to one of the favourites for the league apparently and now UEFA Cup hopefuls, Liverpool. No doubt we were in good spirits, we’d been on a good run.

Rovers took the lead through the boy McCarthy who couldn’t miss after the Liverpool defence opened up for him when Dave Bentley crossed from the right. Shock horror some bloke called Bellamy scored the equaliser in the 2nd half with a free header from a corner. Another good performance from Rovers though

After the match Sparky Hughes voiced his delight at how Lucas Neill and Bert Mk II are able to play football after spending 24 hours sitting on their arse watching films and listening to music on a plane coming back from International duty after playing for Australia.

Thursday 19 October. Wisla Krakow 1 Rovers 2. Ah yes! The magic is back! The ridiculously early kick off time, the inability to get time off work, the cheeky, chirpy Scousers that you work with telling you that we’re one nil down (after you explained that you really didn’t want to know the score as you wanted to watch the match in the evening. They really do have a great sense of humour), the Sky+ box going on the blink so the commentator sounded like a drunk Roy Hodgson, the inept refereeing, the constant diving and theatrics that you’d normally associate with a team from more Mediterranean climes, the fouls on our players that went unpunished, the officials with comedy facial hair, the needless bookings, the racism. The magic of European football!

But none of that really mattered did it? (racism and ridiculous facial hair apart) Hurrah!! The 400 odd fans who made the trip witnessed history, we’d finally done it, we’d won away in Europe!!

They took the lead through Flukeski with the help of a wicked deflection in the 1st half. We kept at it and by and large played the better football throughout. Bob Savage equalised with a well placed header from a Dave Bentley cross and Dave wrapped it up in the last minute smashing home from the edge of the six yard box after a double save from Unluckyvic.

A great start to the group stages, we go top of the group after Feyenoord and Mickey Rathbone only draw. Nancy and Lorraine didn’t play, I can only think that it must have been raining or something and that they didn’t want to get their hair wet.

That was our eigth game in an unbeaten run.

Friday 20 October. The Lancashire Telegraph promote the Bolton match at last, two days before kick off. Celebrity fans Carl Fogarty, Wayne Hemmingway and Jim Bowen (Mark’s brother) all say what a great offer it is to be able to watch Premier League football for £15. Were they there though? Did anyone see them? More to the point will anyone from the Sports team at the Telegraph be there apart from Andy Neild?

Sunday 22 October. Rovers 0 Bolton Wonderers 1. The Entertainers came to town. Every credit to little Sam Allardyce for assembling a team capable of playing such free flowing football. At times some of the Bolton play took the breath away, like a bad asthma attack.

Yet despite Bolton’s obvious footballing superiority Rovers managed to keep things pretty close.

The only goal of the game was scored by that clown Campo. A free header from a corner. That sounds familiar.

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Campo: Clown

Johnny Slippers (aka Zurab) looked to have scored when his header appeared to be over the line. Rovers also had two harder chances to get something out of the game in the last three minutes. Jason Roberts, on as a sub, was brought down twice in the box. Instead of awarding us a penalty goal the referee made us try and put the ball in the back of the net from twelve yards by kicking it. Harsh in my view and it was asking a lot of our strikers. Sure enough we didn’t score and opted to pass back to their keeper on both occasions. With hindsight that was probably a mistake.

But surely even the biggest Rovers fan couldn’t begrudge Bolton the win, they have style and guile, play the game with a smile on their face, never moan to the referee, they have El Hadj Diouf, a manager gracious in victory, a team that never employs dirty tricks such as time wasting from the first minute and they have a purple away strip. Every credit to them. 27,500 people witnessed this festival of football.

Tuesday 24 October. More or less recovered from the Bolton defeat.

Wednesday 25 October. Rovers 0 Chelsea 2. The League Cup or whatever it’s called these days. Chelsea came, Chelsea won, Chelsea did enough, Chelsea players moaned a bit, Chelsea are a good team.

We made a few changes, Jay McEveley played at left back, Stephane Henchoz made his second debut and brought the weather with him. Davey B played in the centre with Th’Axe, Doctor Congo was carried off with a shin injury, The Artist also hobbled off and was replaced by Sergio Peter who played very well I thought, very efficiently (although he clearly lacked a little sense of humour at times).

Talking of people from a European country that started a couple of world wars several years ago, that Michael Ballack is a big lad for a German isn’t he?

Joe Cole should have been sent off for swinging a punch at our Davey but the referee, noticing that it was Ewood, that the culprit wasn’t Lucas Neill, Andy Todd or Robbie Savage, but England International Joe Cole, decided against it. He also managed to book Davey for not ducking.

Anyway, they scored twice, Joe Cole and some other fella. Whatever.

Wednesday 25 October. Quarter to ten in the evening. More or less recovered from the Chelsea defeat

Sunday 29 October. West Ham United 2 Rovers 1.

Pardew’s last stand? Are you having a bubble? Have a butchers, that was never going to happen was it? Pardew must have used his St Louis’ to kick one or two Aris’ into gear before this one.

We went to West Ham with them right up to their Gregory in the Eartha. Eight straight defeats,their worst run for 70 years. We lost. It never really happened for us, we missed too many players

Lord Edward of Sheringham scored with a free header. Th’axe reminded us, although it wasn’t necessary, why he isn’t a centre half by ducking down behind Sheringham rather than making a challenge (see also Portsmouth).

We played well in patches but there was no end product. Another injury as well, Jason Roberts broke his toe and will be out for “months”. (See that there? ‘Toe’, so much easier to spell and shorter to read than metatarsehole).

West Ham won a corner after they punched it out, Mullins scored from about six yards and practically unchallenged. Groundhog day.

The 92nd minute, Benni lost his man with a great turn, got a shot in and Davey followed up. It was all too late unfortunately.

There is obviously a lack of strength in depth and this was probably Mickey Gray’s last game. Hopefully West Ham will move to a new stadium in 2012. Upton Park is clearer cursed.

October crashes to a disappointing end. Three straight defeats to go alongside our earlier two wins and a draw in October. The size of our squad, or rather the size of the quality in our squad, is a concern.

So, it’s onto November, Villa, ManU, Spurs, Mickey Rathbone and Rotherham. It should be an interesting month. I can guarantee they’ll be fireworks.

Edited by bob fleming
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