October 26, 2009
A Rovers spokesman said last night(Sunday) that "A couple of cases of swine flu have been confirmed and other members of the squad have complained of virus-like symptoms." This may partly explain the debacle we witnessed in the 2nd half on Saturday.The players in question happen to be Dunn and Samba who were both missing at Chelsea.
There is now a serious doubt as to whether the League Cup tie against Peterborough will take place at Ewood on Tuesday. It appears that the club tried to get the FA to cancel the Bridge fixture at the11th hour but as FA policy dictates, this is a privilege reserved for the Big 4!
All Rovers fans will wish Dunny and Samba well and we should know more when the club releases information later in the day.
October 20, 2009
My apologies for the delay in responding to the events on Sunday. The celebrations immediately after leaving Ewood went on and on and on and... But on sobering up and reflecting on the afternoon and after watching a re-run of the match for the first time,I have to agree with many of the Burnley viewpoints which have been aired since the game. In no particular order:
1. Burnley were by far the most inventive side who created countless chances and limited Rovers to half ones at best. Burnley's gorgeous free flowing football, which now must eclipse Arsenal's passing game, was in complete contrast to Rovers ugly long ball stuff. The build up play which led up to Rovers first and third goals was more good fortune rather than swift incisive passing. Indeed Di Santo's touch to bring in Dunn for the equalizer was so lucky. He definitely did not mean to do it. The two Rovers forwards certainly did not deserve their men of the match awards. What did they contribute?
2. Rovers were certainly the aggressors and on more than one occasion should have seen them being reduced to ten.Wade Elliot did not show violent conduct when he unfortunately 'tangled' with Chimbonda on the touchline and Clark Carlile was desparately unlucky to get a yellow with a fair tackle on Dunn. Oh, and Brian Jensen did not deliberately take out Roberts.
3. Despite the police stopping the club from selling further tickets, I firmly believe Rovers would not have sold more as opposed to Burnley who could have filled the ground five times over. Historical facts back this up. Lest we forget the world record attendence of 349,456 for Burnley's final game in '87 gainst Orient when every Burnley supporter was there and that same season in Div 4 they did average well over 100,000. We all know they have always
commanded bigger gates than Rovers.
Overall folks, a good day all round. A great advert for East Lancs, with a passionate and partisan crowd, with little hint of nonsense ( apart from some clowns who decided to impersonate cavemen in Cherry Tree.) I firmly believe we have the greatest derby in the country, which has been witnessed by a whole new audience around the world and it's something ALL OF US in this part of the county should be proud of and wish to continue.
The morning of the match brought feelings of apprehension and excitement and reminded me of how it use to be when nothing else mattered in life apart from your club being successful. And then we had to grow up!
Now it's time to move forward and build on the home form to enable us to enjoy the return fixture in March in a relatively comfortable postion. We will not forget Sunday but use it as a springboard to move forward and climb the table as we did after Turf Moor in 2000.
Next stop, The Bridge.
October 16, 2009
Irony and subtlety are in short supply in East Lancashire this week. As the title of the most recent Burnley blog will testify, grown up, intelligent men may lose some perspective and all rational can be thrown on the scrapheap. In defense, the novelty factor of the fixture is having a huge part to play in the build up.
The media, as is usually the case, have used this rare opportunity to dust down their reference books and educate the country as to the meaning of the rivalry. From Frank Keating's historical piece in Wednesday's Guardian, to the Mirror's view that this is the most vicious derby in England, each publication will have their own slant in the build up. But if ever a game did not need any hype, this is one. There is no need to give it some snappy title(as sky love to do) or create an artificial atmosphere by playing some ridiculous gladatorial music as the players enter the arena. This is a throw-back game to another era and is just as much about the towns as the teams.
October 6, 2009
One arm of the Arsenal propaganda machine (aka the Matchday Programme) reliably informed us on Sunday that Rovers' record defeat was suffered at the hands of the Gunners in 1933, 8-0 if anybody is interested. This statistic would surely have been re-written had it not been for the brilliance of Paul Robinson. I had to look twice when I watched the highlights that evening and saw Fabio looking on from what I have always considered to be a souless new build.I was convinced he would have gone to the Bridge to observe players he already knows inside out.
Robinson deserves his chance again but could the unthinkable become reality and Capello decide David Dunn is playing with the same confidence and swagger he possessed all those years ago when he last won a cap. Dunny is fitter and stronger and more arrogant than at any time since the beginning of the decade. There are always at least 2 wildcards included in any World Cup party and he would certainly be a brave choice.
Sam was correct in believing Rovers should have been awarded a spot kick at the Ems,but wrong in thinking it would have changed the course of the result. Arsenal were in another stratosphere compared to the rest of us. It was the greatest exhibition of attacking football I have seen in the flesh for a hell of a long time. I have often criticised Wenger for undermining the traditions and fabric of the English game but nobody can argue with the way his teams can play.