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Everything posted by Herbie6590

  1. Herbie6590

    An evening with Matt jansen

  2. Herbie6590

    Lewis Holtby

    Liked what I saw today. Simple passing, respect for possession, read play well...should have scored though 😉
  3. Herbie6590

    An evening with Matt jansen

  4. Herbie6590

    An evening with Matt jansen

    Matt on Sky earlier today... 73B07EB3-0B88-4393-A3A7-1B597247D167.MOV
  5. A slightly longer version of this week's Accrington Observer column Transitional Rovers Strive To Remain Part Of The Conversation As the old gag has it, “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be...” and for various reasons this last week, my mind has wandered to times gone by, evoking many different emotions and memories, let me explain... Over a weekend that saw the final test cricket of an epic summer being unfurled, it was cricket, albeit of a somewhat lower standard, that prevented me from attending Ewood in person last weekend. I found myself “doing my bit for the (cricket) club” by standing as an umpire in a match that was part of the centenary celebrations of the bank’s sports ground in Beckenham, at which I had first played in my halcyon days shall we say. The afternoon of sport was opened by a former bank clerk and World Cup winning captain in yet another sport, 2003 hero Martin Johnson, still looking outrageously fit and healthy, whose entertaining and eloquent reflections on his career in and out of rugby set the tone nicely. “Sport is about bringing people together....” was Johnson’s main message, whether that is as teammates, opponents, spectators or even match officials. That said, his second main point appeared to be that if you worked for a bank in the 1980’s, playing international rugby was a cracking way to obtain extra holidays and don't worry too much if your till didn't balance at close of business. I could have used such a concession myself as staff and customers of Midland Bank Accrington will no doubt testify..! Whilst travelling, I had been passing time on the train by browsing through my digital photos, recalling my cricket from ten years previously and that set me off on one of those Google rabbit holes, as my mind inevitably drifted to events at Ewood ten years previously. Who were we playing? What team was selected? How did we fare? How were we feeling? Well, full marks to anyone who can answer without reference to Google, but I shall reveal all. It was of course the last full season before the infamous sale of the club to Venky’s and the ninth consecutive top-flight one being enjoyed at Ewood. Rovers had started relatively poorly under Sam Allardyce, taking one point from the first three games and scoring just one goal. Wolves were due up next and were despatched 3-1 with goals from Diouf, Roberts and Dunn. How much has changed since then? Well clearly, quite a lot; Rovers are in a different division, the attendance that day against Wolves was a healthy 24,845 in the days before the Waggott Tax and the squad that season included Champions League winning Michel Salgado (making his debut as a late substitute that day against Wolves), a midfielder who in 2018 would go on to win a World Cup for France, namely Stephen Nzonzi and a promising young English defender, discovered and nurtured by Steve Kean (!), one Phil Jones...whatever happened to him and all those add-on bonuses we were sure to earn from his transfer? Fast forward to September 2019 and it’s now Millwall that are the visitors in front of 11,873 spectators. Tony Mowbray elected to shuffle his pack, employing a new formation and giving John Buckley his first League start. Mowbray has tinkered with three centre backs before but chose to combine it here with Armstrong up front. The cost was that Graham, Gallagher and Travis all started on the bench. It surprised many Rovers fans and seemed to have a similar impact on Millwall boss Neil Harris. I’m not sure why this match was chosen for such an experiment and whilst in recent weeks I have queried the seeming lack of chemistry in central midfield between Travis & Johnson, it was quite a surprise to learn that Travis was the sacrificial lamb to accommodate Buckley, especially as it was Johnson who was hooked at half time against WBA. Buckley would be the half time change this time and Travis wouldn't feature until the death, replacing the impressive Stuart Downing. I suspect that Derek Williams is not the player that many would have identified pre-season as being the prime candidate to take over the Charlie Mulgrew mantle of “key goal-scoring defender”, but hot on the heels of his winner at Hull he opened the scoring here with what could rightfully be described as a scorcher. If I were Williams I would consider practising free kicks and penalties and affecting a Scottish accent. Last season, Sheffield United’s overlapping centre backs were the wonder of the age but the second Rovers goal could have been straight out of the Chris Wilder playbook; Lenihan crosses, Williams desperate to add to his tally slides in at the back post but narrowly fails to connect, leaving the lively Dack to slot home. It’s perhaps just as well that the goals are being shared around, as Gallagher and Armstrong are still to open their league accounts, Danny Graham is seemingly being courted by Western Sydney Wanderers and Brereton is recovering from knee surgery. Dack is currently carrying the lion’s share of the scoring burden and must be grateful for any assistance from whatever source. Four clean sheets in five, (the WBA aberration apart) is definitely welcome news whether it will prove to be three or four at the back that endures. Ten years on, Rovers find themselves still seemingly in transition. The plan for a Premier return still undergoing recalibration. Rather than being right at the heart of the promotion conversation, Rovers remain in earshot, but no matter what the transfer activity in the previous window, we seem to be perennially consigned to being a couple of players short of a genuine promotion push. What are the chances that the next two inbound transfers will be a former Real Madrid favourite and a future World Cup winner? Well at the time of writing, the next player in is set to be free agent and German international (with an English father), Lewis Holtby. This potential move for the former Spurs and Fulham man seems to confirm that a significant factor in signing for Rovers now, is having the same first name as an existing squad member. Bradley, Sam, Joe and now Lewis adds credence to the emerging hypothesis. If there's a 13 year old "Kylian" or "Lionel" in the academy I might just get giddy with the potential... Midfield is possibly well stocked in terms of numbers and by possibly, I mean definitely. One can only imagine that if this move is finalised, then the likes of Smallwood, Davenport and Rankin-Costello may well be candidates to exit in January, on loan at the very least; albeit for different reasons. Reading away next up and that falls into the category of one of those fixtures that a serious promotion candidate will look to win. They have lost their last two, at home to Charlton and away at Middlesbrough, but looked very impressive as they dismantled Cardiff City earlier in August. They do however, boast “Pele” and “Puscas” in their ranks so perhaps deserve some respect. Now if they had two Peles and two Puscases, well that would really be something.
  6. Our special guest is stand up comedian, author, blogger, podcaster and now, hotelier, Ian Moore (yes, he's THAT bloke off Fighting Talk!) who tells us about his Blackburn childhood, moving south in increments, "that" accent, living in France, becoming a French citizen and what to do when an audience member pulls out a gun, plus so much more. See also https://ianmoore.info https://www.lapausevaldeloire.com/chambresdhotesgitevotre-hotes Contributions also from Bryan Light who discusses Venky's, FFP & the fans, from last month's "4000 Holes" all hosted as usual by Ian Herbert. View full record
  7. Herbie6590

    An evening with Matt jansen

    150 sold so far - fear not 😀
  8. Herbie6590

    An evening with Matt jansen

    Yup 👍🏻
  9. A slightly longer version of this week's Accrington Observer column Five Talking Points From The Season So Far Writing a weekly column about your club brings certain challenges, not least of which, is during one of those pesky international breaks when they don't actually play. Faced with this dilemma, I have therefore decided to employ the tired and timeworn cliché of the “listicle”. #LazyJournalism indeed. Step aside Buzzfeed, there’s a new kid in town... 1. Rovers Ladies Hit The Mainstream In the early 70s, the nearest the club had at that time to a “marketing guru” was the commercial manager, one Keith Cafferty, who was credited with creating the slogan “Rally Round The Rovers” as part of a campaign to persuade more fans to come down to Ewood, fill the ground and swell the coffers (the more the things change, the more they stay the same as they say...). Car stickers, programme adverts and raffle tickets all bore the slogan. Recently, a fan-led Crowdfunding campaign to sponsor one of the Rovers Ladies team truly went viral and the net result was over 300 Rovers fans eventually contributing over £4k; which was enough to sponsor the whole team. Lindsay Lewis’s initiative has truly captured the imagination and the extent of the rallying round these particular Rovers really warmed the heart. For so many fans to feel sufficiently engaged to contribute to another arm of the club was tremendously uplifting. Rovers Ladies of course finally were granted the promotion they so richly deserved at the end of last season and this weekend their Championship game against Aston Villa at Villa Park even featured as a live game on the new FA Player application. Sadly, the result was a 2-1 defeat (*see below) but Rovers Ladies are clearly now viewed as an integral part of the club, just like the academy and the youth teams. Some sharp marketing using the opportunity of an international break weekend saw record crowds at the Etihad for the ladies Manchester derby and another, albeit free ticket incentivized, at Stamford Bridge for the match against Spurs Ladies. A watershed moment in the development of the ladies game ? 2. Goalkeepers & Goalkeeping Rovers have enjoyed a long lineage of very capable goalkeepers, in my lifetime stretching back to Blacklaw, via the likes of Jones, Bradshaw, Arnold, Gennoe, Mimms, Filan, Friedel and Robinson. However, in recent years, the goalkeeping position has proven to be one of the most troublesome ones for various managers to resolve. David Raya has moved on of course and been replaced by the on-loan Christian Walton, who clearly has potential, but on current form, appears not yet to be the finished article. Walton’s physique lends itself to commanding high crosses but as yet his understanding with his defence is still very much embryonic and his play with the ball at his feet seems at best a marginal improvement on Raya. Is he the upgrade on Raya that Mowbray wanted, that the team needed ? The jury, I suspect, is still out on this one. 3. Goals From Open Play Do they matter in modern football ? During the last World Cup much press chatter was based around England’s ability from set pieces and by way of contrast, their inability to create from open play. The same charge can be levelled at Rovers so far this season, but probably could also have been levelled at Allardyce-era Rovers. “So what?” I hear you cry. A goal is a goal however it is scored and that’s absolutely correct of course. However, from my perspective, football is very much in the entertainment business and watching a tricky winger dribble past opponents or to see intricate passing movements unlock a defence gets me out of my seat and adds to the overall enjoyment of the match. Rovers so far seem to lack a creative, cutting edge, someone who can do something wholly unpredictable but effective. The prime maverick, Bradley Dack, has so far struggled to deliver consistently, presumably not helped by the rotating cast and various permutations of central and wide men being played around him. A lot rests on the shoulders of the likes of Armstrong, Downing and perhaps even at some point, the long awaited Harry Chapman to get us all out of our seats. 4. Change Kits...or Away Kits *That* grey kit. I’ve tried to keep an open mind, but having seen it in the flesh at West Bromwich Albion...it’s awful. I’m sure the marketing team at Umbro will be devastated to hear of my verdict and resignations are being handed in right now. Surely one of the fundamental requirements of a change kit is that it clashes less with your opponents than would the first choice ? In the sunshine at the Hawthorns, when play was at the far end of the ground, it wasn’t easy to differentiate. Watching TV highlights later, it was even worse. Conveniently, from a commercial perspective at least, it also doesn’t differentiate with white kits and so naturally, a third kit is required...in another shade of blue. The club shop does a roaring trade and the bean counters are happy. Red & black halves. That is all. 5. Matt Jansen This week, the long-awaited autobiography from Matt Jansen was published and it is a terrific read. It provides insight into the life of a footballer rising through the ranks, having a major accolade snatched cruelly from his grasp at the eleventh hour, the physical and emotional fall out of a tragic accident and the road to some kind of redemption via coaching and management. If you need an excuse to trawl YouTube to remind yourself of his talent, reading this book is sufficient incentive. This project has taken something like four years from original idea through to publication, it’s well worth the wait. There are some intriguing anecdotes regarding Michael Knighton and plenty of reasons to understand why the likes of Graeme Souness and Mark Hughes were so highly regarded at the time. I still choke up at the memory of Matt doing a lap of honour at Ewood in a Bolton shirt and being resoundingly cheered and applauded on all four sides of Ewood. Hopefully Matt’s career has another chapter or two left in whatever capacity he desires. Finally, Saturday sees a return to League action at Ewood with the visit of Millwall. Since the ignominious FA Cup quarter final defeat in 2013, Rovers record against Millwall is pretty good with four wins and three draws. An extension of that record would be the perfect tonic after the Baggies setback. *More on that Rovers Ladies match courtesy of Rovers fan Matt Moon :- “From my perspective, I thought the new signings are helping. Stenson in goal was amazing, I feel a lot better about our defence with her in the side. Neither goal was her fault. We brought Whitham in at the weekend and she played right wing & was busy & making a difference until I think she got concussed just before half time. Lord-Mears played up front & looks like she will do well against most of the Championship (pacy, first game of the season, was suffering cramp towards the end). Put all of those together with Flint coming back from an ankle injury (probably out for a few more weeks as per the match commentary) then I think we'll be ok. One other point of note, despite wearing a rare Blackburn shirt in amongst Villa fans. I didn't feel any threat at any time, no-one said anything & there were families sat around me but I felt like a few sat either side of me weren't used to dealing with having an opposition fan in their midst. I celebrated our goal by standing and clapping but nothing more, which I thought was about right. If the NFL & women's football can have unsegregated fans, it makes men's football look very much like the exception. I prefer watching football without that edge although some will clearly disagree. I don't think that women's football should look to just copy the men's game, it should look to retain what makes it better in some ways than the men's game.”
  10. BRFCS is delighted to announce that renowned Rovers historian & author Harry Berry (A Century of Soccer, The Blackburn Rovers Miscellany, The Men Who Made Blackburn Rovers since 1945) has given us access to his archive records of Rovers first team players. The initial batch of records representing players with surnames beginning with A have been loaded & can be accessed from the new Home Page &/or by following the link below :- https://www.brfcs.com/mb/index.php?/player-archive/ Our sincere thanks go to Harry for sharing this content, over time the record will build up to cover all players with a first team appearance but rather than wait until all the records are complete, we thought we would load them in instalments. Thanks also to @OnePhilT who once more has done a sterling job building the infrastructure to house these records and has single-handedly loaded this first batch of records. Hope you enjoy using this as a reference point for all your Rovers player enquiries...
  11. I can confirm that this is a terrific read. Offers great insight into the life of a professional, some astonishing stories from all stages of his career, a view of management styles & of course the trauma of having an innate natural talent taken away from you at the peak of your powers. Well worth a purchase...book signing at Ewood being planned, but I have a horrible feeling it will be made an 1875 member event to sell more memberships just you watch... 😉
  12. A few questions if I may... Who’s commissioned the documentary ? Is it your project ? Who controls the editorial line ? What’s the overall objective ? Who is the intended audience ? Why now ?
  13. Herbie6590

    (Too early?) January transfer window 2020

    Too early...waaaay too early...😆
  14. A slightly longer version of this week's Accrington Observer column The Hawthorns is of course the highest ground in the Football League, it’s a pub quiz staple over the years; but can you name the second highest ? (Answer at the foot of the column). Notwithstanding the apparently 551 feet separating it from sea level, there was a point between midday and 2pm on Saturday when there seemed to be a distinct probability that we would all soon be under water. Monsoon like conditions for a couple of hours served to dampen the mood, flood the streets, wash away the cricket matches playing on nearby grounds and generate grey skies to match Rovers miserable new away kit. Once inside the stadium, the weather relented, the sun briefly shone and astonishingly the groundsman decided this was the precise moment to turn on the sprinklers to water the pitch. If the pitch drains that well, cricket clubs should get in touch to learn his mystery soil maintenance secrets forthwith! Rovers benefitted from some very early charity from a West Brom defence seemingly in a generous mood. Some eager pressing right from the off by Travis forcing an error which gave Dack the opportunity to open the scoring and all this from open play. Barely a minute in and a goal ahead – the question asked on social media was, “Is it possible to score TOO early ?”; Rovers fans really are the masters of dark humour, though the fears were soon proven not to be entirely without foundation. Conceding so early seemed to spark some life into an Albion team without a home win in their three league and cup games to this point and both flanks were soon being exploited in the hope of some return. Nimble, tricky wide midfielders supported by rampaging full backs in a 4-3-2-1, very much a Mowbray template, but here, it was being executed by the team in the stripes and Rovers couldn’t cope. Former Blackpool man Philips and on-loan Hammer Diangana in particular made hay. Greg Cunningham wasn’t having the easiest of days. It started badly when he tried to hold off a challenge from Philips encouraging Walton to come and collect. The only problem being that Walton clearly hadn’t got the text and he resolutely stayed put. Philips nipped in, outmuscled Cunningham and with the ball nestling in Rovers’ net, an unseemly row then erupted between left back and keeper, each seeking to apportion blame. In truth, neither was entirely innocent, but if ever a “heave it into Row Z” solution was required, this was probably it. Philips was also instrumental in the second; following some balsa strength defending from the disappointing Armstrong, a pass to Philips allowed him to produce a lovely, deft chip which came back off the post to Pereira, who with plenty of time, set up Livermore to pick his spot. It wasn’t quite the Tom Cairney-esque levels of space we saw against Fulham but Rovers do rather seem to have fallen into the habit of allowing opposition midfielders a lot of space to measure their shots. The third Albion goal was delightful, the aforementioned Diangana scoring with a delicious chip following a simply horrible mistake by Darragh Lenihan, a peaky blunder you might say. Caught in possession and out sprinted, at least Darragh had a great vantage point to watch the ball float elegantly over Walton. A miserable twenty-minute spell had left Rovers bereft of ideas and the main aspiration seemed to be to get to half time with no further damage. The next goal was scored at the other end, thankfully, still in the first half. A stoppage-time Cunningham free-kick which seemed to be fairly innocuous was met by the head of Lenihan; a keeper fumble, a couple of pinball type attempts and the erstwhile disappointing Johnson, had somehow scrambled to put Rovers back in it just before the interval. There’s no bad time to score but this was a particularly good one, as it served to deflate the home crowd and introduce an element of doubt where, once past the twenty-second minute at least, there had been very little. Mowbray rang the changes and Dack became the lone “false nine” striker, the ineffectual Gallagher and Johnson sacrificed for Rothwell and Buckley. I expressed doubts over the efficacy of the Travis/Johnson midfield partnership last week and nothing in the first half here alleviated those concerns. These substitutions seemed to suggest that packing the midfield with nimble, young tyros was to be the favoured approach. Against all odds, it seemed to do the trick, albeit Rovers best chances came from a series of crosses with defenders facing their own goal and then panicking, rather than from Dack & Graham interplay. Following one such incident Rovers thought they had an equaliser but in fairness to the officials and with the benefit of reviewing a few times on TV, it definitely falls into the category of “one you wouldn't like to be given against you”. Buckley in particular was eye-catching. Not everything he tried worked but he stuck at it and he seems to have the ability to glide effortlessly, treating the turf as if it were ice, with him on skates, nicking the ball away just before a defender can clean him out, pirouetting to leave an opponent facing entirely the wrong direction. The trusty Mowbray Plan A (now turned Plan B), Danny Graham; was thrown on with a quarter of an hour remaining but Albion’s Semi Ajayi, a player who had impressed against Rovers when playing for Rotherham last season, snuffed out the danger. The best legitimate chance came from a neat, low free kick which Downing turned against the outside of the post but that was a close as Rovers managed, there was to be no repeat of the drama of last season’s encounter. One footnote worthy of comment were the early and sustained chants berating the EFL for their role in the demise of Bury FC as a Football League member. As Mrs Doyle might have said, “the bad F word...worse than ‘feck’...” but it was heartfelt and authentic. Such solidarity was encouraging to hear as the all-pervading sense of “who’s next?” is hard to escape. Bolton seemed to have survived for now but Macclesfield, Oldham...who can say? Next week is an international break and I for one welcome a chance to return to Ashes mode for a while. A reminder, if it were needed, that in sport anything and everything is possible…even something as remarkable as a goal from open play. *It’s Port Vale’s Vale Park which stands at 525 feet above sea level – 100 lines for all of you suggesting Boundary Park!
  15. Herbie6590

    Rovers badge

    Putting halves in the background is a daft idea...oh hang on...
  16. A slightly longer version of this week's Accrington Observer column... On a day when the mercury rose to levels that broke records around the country, the scene was perfectly set for a keenly-fought contest. Visitors from another country venturing north, seemingly set to impose their will on the hosts and demonstrate their belief in their inherent superiority. Blue skies, glorious sun, the smell of freshly mown turf combining with the knowledge that with some rugged defiance and determination, the hosts, you hoped, could at the very least frustrate the visitors, if not chalk up an unlikely win. On this glorious Saturday, England’s middle order did for once show some grit and determination at Headingley, setting up what was to become a truly Superlative Sunday, but for now, let’s turn our attention to the events that unfolded at Ewood! Cardiff are many people’s favourites to bounce straight back up to the Premier League. They have largely kept their squad together, adding Vaulks from Rotherham Utd, who only made it to the bench but under the canny and experienced Colin Anagram, only the foolish would under-estimate them. They have proved to be obdurate opponents in recent times, Rovers’ sole victory in over thirty years coming in an FA Cup replay in 2005. City showed their incisive attacking ability in the first half, hitting the post from their best opportunity, created down Rovers’ perennially troublesome right back channel and shortly afterwards, forcing a smart, low save from Walton. Rovers too created chances, the estate agency of “Dack & Graham” (see Old Blackburnian passim) largely responsible; a number of viewings, a few exchanges but sadly no completions this time around. (That’s enough estate agency allusions- Ed). Downing looked lively throughout and the answer to the pre-season poser, so far at least, is that he is closer to Wagstaffe than Whittingham in the magic left peg stakes. We need to talk about Amari’i Bell. He looked lively early on, encouraged to go forward, he seems to be suffering a crisis of confidence. His decision-making currently lets him down on too many occasions. He has had a tough year losing his father, but playing through it, which shows his commitment and strength of character. You can’t help but wonder if a spell with a sports psychologist might just unlock the fear that currently seems to grip him? You sense that Greg Cunningham’s primacy is not currently under threat, except in games against Cardiff City of course. For once, Tony Mowbray’s second half substitutions seemed to re-energise the side. Adam Armstrong’s pace and tenacity in particular presented Cardiff with a different problem to solve. Dack & Graham had been well marshalled by Cardiff’s strong centre backs (Flint certainly exemplifying his nominative determinism) and if the Flint lock was to be picked, the sense was that subtlety or pace, rather than brute strength might prove crucial. Nyambe’s introduction allowed Bennett to move forward to a position in which he seems more suited and the side from then on, seemed more balanced and threatening. Rovers best spell of the game was probably the last ten minutes. A reaction to some Cardiff pressure that had seen them hit Rovers’ post for a second time, saw the newly discovered potent attacking threat of *checks notes* Derrick Williams, (see…it’s not just Sheffield Utd that do overlapping centre-backs) responding in kind; same post, same outcome as Cardiff’s earlier. It was to be Rovers’ best chance of the game. Darragh Lenihan channelled his inner Roy Keane but his always rising shot on the turn flew into the Blackburn End. Gritty defiance on display at Ewood but a distinct lack of a cutting edge. The script at Headingley on the other hand… One curious footnote, albeit from an entirely unscientific study conducted with my own, admittedly flawed, eyesight. During the entire match, I don’t recall Johnson ever passing to his midfield partner Travis. I shall watch out for this in future games to see if my evidence gathering is faulty or if there is some sort of a trend developing, but it seems unusual for two central midfielders to be disconnected in this way. Tuesday night brought Carabao Cup action back to the menu with a trip to Bramall Lane and an encounter with the newly promoted Blades. Rovers came off second best twice in last season’s Championship encounters but until you see the team sheets in this competition, predicting any outcome is something of a fool’s errand. As it turned out, both sides made significant changes; Rovers gave a start to Buckley and later introduced Rankin-Costello for his second appearance. An early spot kick from Armstrong was saved, no Charlie Mulgrew nor Danny Graham of course; Armstrong might just have dropped back to the bottom of the list. Deputy keeper Leutwiler looked shaky at a corner as Shearman nodded Utd in front. Whilst Walton seems to be slowly but surely building some confidence, Leutwiler does little to inspire confidence in his back four. For such a tall guy, he seems unable to capitalize on his physique. The goalkeeping position remains unresolved. Norwood made it two just before half time and that seemed to be that. However, a second half fight back saw Gallagher notch the first of his second Rovers spell and it was suddenly game on. Rankin-Costello dribbled into the area and around the keeper but couldn't finish. The match ended with a couple of feisty encounters on and off the pitch, Tony Mowbray was sent to the stands after apparently offering an etiquette lecture to a ball boy…no really, but all to no avail. The Carabao Cup can be parked for another season. Next up is The Hawthorns and a meeting with the Baggies that naturally evokes memories of last season’s quite extraordinary fixture. A match which saw the emergence of the #GingerNinja phenomenon, Smallwood going in goal following Raya’s clash with Jay Rodriguez and the sight of Charlie Mulgrew standing outside McDonalds on his phone right after the game, in full club tracksuit. The fact that none of those players will feature on Saturday shows how quickly the composition of football teams changes, but not so the fans. We’ll be there once more of course, around the country, supporting our teams…unless you are a Bury fan and cannot be sure whether you will have the chance ever again. At the time of writing, the deadline from the EFL has passed and Bury have been expelled from the League; 72 become 71 and their fans now must hope for a phoenix club to rise from the ashes of this debacle. Learning that 43 of the 51 businesses that Steve Dale has been involved in have been liquidated, yet he was allowed to take control, truly beggars belief. Hopefully the farcical events of this season will finally prompt some changes in regulations by the EFL, but I wouldn't reckon on it. A sorry state of affairs all round, which highlights some serious governance shortcomings in the clubs and within the League. There but for the Grace of God…
  17. I haven’t...I thought you were asking me...
  18. I’m struggling to rationalise it...still gathering evidence. 2nd half today, thought Travis was a lot better when Johnson went off. Be interested in other observations as I might be introducing confirmation bias.
  19. To the point about is it any different ? Not massively, but I for one am happier that when advice is sought these days, it comes from accountants rather than agents & accounting firms’ motivations are fee generation rather than getting their kids a playing contract & suggesting sacking all the existing directors & manager 😉.
  20. This is conjecture of course but here’s my take on strategy for what worth... Objective - get to PL to cash in on TV money, until then manage losses down to levels within FFP tolerances, whilst hoping that a crop of young players comes through at the same time to enable us to “do a Burnley” Action Plan 1. Income growth needed Keep academy status to develop & sell promising young talent review contracts regularly to avoid losing talent on Bosmans 1875 club so we can increase away fans ticket prices upselling to season ticket holders (lounges etc) - optimise income from existing fans three kits regularly on sale in club shop new concourse catering contract sleeve sponsors/ training kit sponsors/ shirt bottom sponsors 2. Cost containment/reduction Loan out players wherever possible to reduce wage bill - e.g. Mulgrew small number of staff redundancies after consultants came in (Speculation) reduce amount spent on ground/stadium maintenance
  21. It’s an observation often made that if a team is struggling or a star striker is having a barren patch, then an upcoming fixture against Blackburn Rovers can be just the tonic to relieve the pressure. Given Middlesbrough’s recent travails; new manager struggling to find his feet, recent home league defeat, Carabao Cup exit at home to lower division opposition; all pointers indicated that the ideal opponents might just turn out to be Rovers at Ewood. Rovers too have already had their problems in a season barely out of the traps; a lack of chances created, especially from open play, defensive frailty and difficulty in despatching lower league cup opponents, Saturday was all set to be a classic “must not lose” encounter. Tony Mowbray resorted to his tried and tested formula, restoring the old firm of “Dack & Graham” – a partnership that sounds for all the world like a metropolitan estate agent; “two up, semi-detached, in need of some attention” might also describe Rovers’ early season forward line. The restoration of Graham just seems to provide a focal point for the team. Dack looks more assured, Downing has someone to aim for, opposition defenders have to be on their mettle. That Mowbray has spent so far, roughly £14m on Armstrong, Brereton & Gallagher, but the only way any of them makes the team sheet, with Graham on song, is as a “wide striker” or if you prefer “winger” is a cause of some concern (or if you are D. Graham, Esq.) perhaps the source of some personal, professional pride? One of the charges levelled at a Rovers side containing Graham is that the play becomes more direct; full backs and wingers take the easy option, the “direct line” as it were, providing Rovers with a fully comprehensive insurance policy should Plan A fail. On Saturday, the early signs were positive, chances were created, impressive loanee full-back Greg Cunningham, surprisingly had the first two on-target chances. A Dack shot was almost turned home by Graham, although it was from a cross from the right flank that led to a blindingly obvious shirt pull by Dijksteel on Graham and a penalty kick the inevitable result. The hapless Dijksteel of course played for Charlton at Ewood on the opening day and was responsible for heading Bradley Johnson’s goal bound header against his keeper for an own goal. This latest mishap means he currently has provided more assists than any of the home squad (hat tip to the Lancashire Telegraph’s Rich Sharpe for that little gem). A distinct lack of Charlie Mulgrew around the place meant that DG himself took responsibility for despatching the kick to open his account for the season. Dack at one point “tried a Beckham” from his own half, but other than both Rovers full backs receiving yellow cards, the rest of the half was largely uneventful. The second half almost saw another obligatory “old boy notching against his former club” when Stewart Downing tried his own version of “Arjen Robben style” cutting in on the left foot and curling into the far corner. His attempt flew narrowly wide on this occasion. Boro had spells of pressure, most notably when a speculative cross from the right deceived Walton who badly misjudged the flight, Browne could only deflect it onto the outside of the post and Rovers breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Tony Mowbray responded with a batch of substitutions that once again served only to distort the team shape, resulting in a formation that had more square pegs in round holes and momentum ebbed away. Gallagher wide right with Armstrong through the middle seemed obtuse at best. Buckley once again was introduced from the bench ahead of Evans, a sure sign that Mowbray has faith in the youngster. This match of course also marked the 19thanniversary of the passing of Jack Walker and the fans responded with resounding applause on the 19thminute. Jack himself would have recognised steely determination on display to deliver three points. The trip to Hull on Tuesday is one that is punctuated these days by conversations about the perverse ticketing and pricing strategy in place at the KCOM. The Allams have a unique take on how to encourage fans to attend, it’s fair to say cheap tickets and attractive concessionary offers are not their preferred choice. With the game live on TV, it’s especially hard to understand such an approach. Rovers have their own foibles but even the famous “Waggott Tax” pales by comparison. On the field Hull initially proved to be worthy opponents and Rovers struggled to build on the weekend success. An early penalty concession afforded Walton a chance to win some hearts and minds and his impressive save was to prove invaluable. On an evening where post and bar alike were subject to several strikes from both sides, Rovers gradually imposed themselves on proceedings and Downing’s left footed attempt across goal to hit the foot of the far post was probably the pick of the woodwork attempts. This performance was quite the evidence to place before the doubters as to the virtues of Downing. I was far from convinced as to the efficacy of the signing but let's agree that his attitude and technique so far justify Mowbray's faith. The winner from Derek Williams also came courtesy of Downing’s sweet left foot, though in fairness, in a post-VAR world the position and interference of Adam Armstrong would almost certainly have led to it being chalked off. At last a reason to be thankful for playing in the EFL! The weekend's furore over the new handball rule and the use of VAR to enforce it in the Premier League means that the EFL here, for once, has a real product differentiator. If I was in the senior hierarchy of the EFL I would be sorely tempted to make capital of the fact that the EFL offers football, warts and all, right or wrong...at least for now. It's fair to say that two consecutive 1-0 wins really lifts the mood; as Mowbray admitted after the game, this was an evening where the result was primary, the performance secondary. The embryonic league table now looks a little more palatable for sure with Rovers positioned in the top half. Now if we could win on Saturday with three or four goals from open play that should address a number of residual concerns. That home fixture against Cardiff City over the Bank Holiday weekend will of course feature Neil "Colin" Warnock, once coveted by certain officers of the club; seemingly less so by other key decision makers. Warnock remains pretty much the ultimate footballing Marmite, certain to polarise opinion and he will bring his side to Ewood, chastened by their recent encounter with a revitalised Reading but boosted by a midweek victory over "Hapless Huddersfield" as surely they will have to be renamed soon. Premier League Sheffield Utd also lie in wait in the Carabao Cup on 27th August, a testing encounter certainly, based on the evidence of last season's Championship and early PL fixtures. However, with almost every club in the competition deploying squad rotation, the only prediction from me is that parking* around Bramall Lane, much like facing Lewis Travis, will be tough and challenging! *A hint from a local, try the APCOA car park on Eyre Street
  22. In business, cash is king. If the cash coming in exceeds cash going out, you stay in business. When the reverse applies, you go bust...in VERY simple terms. Profit & Loss shows trading performance but it does not equate to cash flow...a company consistently making losses will struggle with its cash flow eventually. A business can sell off assets to mask trading losses but you can only sell your ground & star centre forward once. You are correct about the balance sheet - if a company is asset rich but cash poor, it may still be an attractive proposition as a new owner may think they can generate income (cash) from those assets. A basic rule is that money only comes from three potential sources; trading (profit), cash injections from owners (shares or loans) or external borrowings. Profit is the best source (obviously), owners cash next best - preferably shares but benevolent loans a good proxy, last is external borrowing as that is outside the business’ direct control. It often comes with associated lending covenants, arrangement fees and of course interest rates. Dividends are optional, interest bills are mandatory. Come back here same time tomorrow accountancy fans for another in our popular series of “Finance for Beginners” courses...brought to you by BRFCS, the forum of choice for financial directors everywhere... 😆

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