“Two Dutchmen walk into a bar …”

koeman-LVG

Finish the joke, folks. Ronald is speaking.

Well what an odd first month to the season!

Southampton lose their highly-respected manager and all-bar-one of their best players, yet improve.

Leicester spend very little after their promotion, but immediately take points off the Arse, the bluenoses and – spectacularly – the Mancs.

“Awful, negative” * Norwich lose their expensive No.9 and their other star Dutchman, and somehow turn into an entertaining goal machine.

QPR insist they’ve learnt their lesson after their last relegation, but ‘Arry signs all the same players AGAIN, and they turn in one of the most inept performances I have EVER seen live.

Man Utd ship out their ageing defenders and spend gazillions on new . . . forwards!?

Both Merseyside clubs start their bids for European glory with wins, but domestically find themselves hovering a point or two above the relegation zone.

Celtic are fourth in a one-horse race.

Real Madrid are apparently “in crisis”, as you would be if you’d “only” put eight (EIGHT! Sorry, lambre!) past a newly-promoted side, and are having to make do with Bale, Ronaldo, Rodriguez, Benzema, Kroos & Modric as your forward half of the team.

Staring contests; treating muscle strains with Tesco cheddar; marketing campaigns to sack your own manager; messianically cheering the opposition player who takes two points off your own team, etc., etc.

To quote the unfortunate Plank , “WTF is going on?”

 

* – Not my words: see one saneshane of this parish a mere five months ago.

 

15 thoughts on ““Two Dutchmen walk into a bar …”

  1. To start us off, here’s what barbryn just posted in the last footy thread:

    I meant to reply to this sooner, but:

    – Southampton fans: sleeping any better now?

    Yep.

    It’s been a good few weeks. I’m still sorry about what might have been: I miss Lambert (sad but hardly surprising to see him restricted to 20-minute cameos) and Lallana (like your childhood has left you for someone richer and more glamorous, and you kind of hate them, but you can’t help remembering all those wonderful years together). I’m sorry to see Shaw and Chambers join the ranks of Academy alumni upgrading quite so soon. I miss Pochettino’s interpreter.

    But right now, things are looking pretty rosy. I don’t suppose we’ll finish the season above many or any of those that left us in the summer, but at the moment we’re looking down on all of them, and enjoying the sweet smell of schadenfreude.

    Arguably, we strengthened our squad during the transfer window, while making a cool £30 million profit. Toby Alongsurname, Gardos and Fraser Forster in exchange for Lovren looks like a very good deal (and Lovren looks like a liability for Liverpool, which is fun to say, and not just for the alliteration). Bertrand probably isn’t as good as Shaw may one day be, but already has more assists in 5 games than Luke managed in 2 years (damn lies and stats…). Tadic and Pelle seem to have made the step up from Dutch football seamlessly. Long may have been overpriced, but is a someone you’d rather have in your squad than have to face. Mane, who we’ve yet to see, sounds exciting.

    Best of all, Schneiderlin seems happy – he’s the player we could least afford to lose, and it amazes me that no serious team made a serious bid for him (sorry Tottenham). I’ve always assumed he’ll end up at Arsenal one day, where I think he’d make a massive difference.

    As for Koeman, he’s fast becoming a hero. He seems open and droll as a person and has obviously got the squad to gel tremendously quickly (which was hugely important after this summer, but also one of the question marks over his CV). He also seems to be tactically astute – we’ve played better in the 2nd half of every game this season, and he appears to have a plan B, which Pochettino never did (though his plan A was breathtaking when it worked).

    OK, this is turning into a Consortium11 post… time to stop. I’m going to enjoy being second in the league while it lasts, because come next Saturday…

    …if we beat QPR at home by 3 goals, we’ll be top 😉

    Reply

  2. Oh, and to pull a stunt my mother HATES me doing (using the third of those “lies, damned lies and statistics” again) :

    Actually, Liverpool are only one point worse off out of those five games than out of the same five games of last season. This year and last we beat Spurs away, lost at the Etihad. We’ve swapped last year’s home defeat to the Saints for a win, but lost against Fat Sam instead of last year’s victory. We scraped a home draw against Villa last season, but last week, we absolutely battered them, er, 0-1.
    Given the large-scale changes to our squad, and Studge’s injury, I don’t reckon that’s too much to worry about. Put it this way, if you offer me now a mere 7.6 points less than last season’s total, I’ll take it.

    • I’d beg to differ – the past few seasons usually only one team plays above their station and creeps into the top 7 even at this early stage.
      It’s why it has felt like a different league to supporters of those outside the elite – Man U self destructing last season letting Southampton get in it’s place, and Liverpool shooting themselves in the foot the year before, allowing WBA’s loan stars to shine, were the only stories outside the ‘normal’.

      (at this stage)
      last year:
      1 Arsenal
      2 Liverpool
      3 Tottenham Hotspur
      4 Everton
      5 Chelsea
      6 Southampton
      7 Manchester City

      year before:
      1 Chelsea
      2 Everton
      3 Manchester United
      4 Manchester City
      5 Tottenham Hotspur
      6 West Bromwich Albion
      7 Arsenal

      This year – as yet – it’s still fun…like the old days pre skydosh. (The old days still because tedious after Christmas/Easter with the same old teams winning – but at least it lasted longer).

  3. I Believe someone once said: “It’s a funny old game, football.” There’s more than a little truth in that.

    Personally, I’m dumbfounded how Tim Howard can be so magnificent against Wolfsburg and then gift Palace two goals for no discernible reason.

    But, as a City fan said to me last night: “5-3!!” One fan’s misery is another fan’s way of dealing with their own disappointment. Seeing United fail is a joy, particularly after they seem to have spent real money on some excellent players.

    • As much as it pains me to say it, yes, with Di Maria and Blind in particular, the Mancs do look to have [over]spent very well. Herrera has also started well, but I don’t know enough about him to know how he fits into the plan LvG undoubtedly has. Rojo will take some time to settle, as I now have first-hand knowledge of how little English he speaks. But Lawdy oh Lawdy, LONGmay they continue to resemble the Keystone Kops in defence; it’s hilarious to watch! XD

  4. Two Dutch managers walk into a bar …
    “we’re looking for a striker with a long face”, they say
    Van Wolfswinkel grumpily looks up from his latest contract an sighs “even retired van Nistelrooy can do this better than me”

    so:
    “Awful, negative” * Norwich lose their expensive No.9 and their other star Dutchman, and somehow turn into an entertaining goal machine.

    ha ha it’s losing the awful, negative manager (‘advised’ by the board not to lose in the Prem) that has changed our season –
    Just wish in this technological day an age that I could get hold of an hour of the matches after each game – so as to analyse the play more.. 2 minutes on the football league show doesn’t give any idea of the play.
    The club puts out you tube ‘highlights’ i.e. the goals (and has a subscription which gives only a few more minutes) shocking. The goals are like the added sprinkles or froth on top of a coffee – all very pleasant and enjoyable; but doesn’t give you the kick needed from the whole of the mug.
    I analyse football as I do lyrics – I need the depth.
    The film is there as cameras are at every match – I don’t need a spanner ‘talking’ over the action either – just an hour of film – then I’d pay the club. Why can’t they do that?

    In other news, sorry QPR, I watched Fer in training when he arrived at Norwich and I can’t understand why a manager would use him as a midfielder/striker. He can’t play with his back to the oppositions goal – his languid laziness doesn’t suit spinning and finding a player near or running faster than a jog… players CAN do this Berbatov, but he has a brain to help him.
    Convert Fer to a midfield position sitting in front of the defence, short passes, long passes, or defence splitting passes, he could also control the tempo of a game facing forwards and intercept players/balls NOT tackle. Soon as he runs back he his a liability; crashes into people – gives up – passes to team mates in vulnerable positions.. etc etc

    His brain might not be up to the job, but he would be safer coming into the oppositions box slowly – and running out of his own area rather than scuttling back.
    Hope that helps Harry.

  5. Of course soccer is a girls game in Japan and so you should really say .. . . two Dutch women walk into a bar . . .

    I never played real soccer, but I played futsal which is a type of indoor five person soccer and very energetic and a lot of fun.

    Here is a selection of Futsal from the Japanese Sphere League and I think you will agree the premiership looks like a rather slow and poor imitation ! ! !

    • Of course soccer is a girls game in Japan

      Ah, now that, to the Orientally-ignorant me, begs the question:
      What are the major male professional sports in Japan, and what kind of following (live crowds, TV audiences) do they get?

      • Hi DSD ! ! !

        I was really teasing a little when I said soccer is a girls game in Japan, well half teasing . . .The women’s team is really so much more successful than the guys, but there is a lot of guys who watch the J-League. The biggest sport in Japan for men is Baseball, I just Googled attendance and the average attendance is 25,000 people for each game – which is second highest after the USA Baseball Major League. I enjoy watching baseball in the stadium as I like the atmosphere and the social part of it. Baseball is much slower than soccer so you can go and get a drink or a burger, or eat your bento and chat to friends without missing any of the action ! ! !

        I enjoy going to soccer matches less as the atmosphere is less relaxed and I do not like all the noise in the stadium all the time.

        I think I might like cricket and I have become a little interested in it as the Japanese Women’s Cricket team will play China for the Bronze medal in the Asian Games in the next day or so and I saw it on TV and looks like fun ! ! !

  6. Of course mybe the greatest ever soccer player in history is a Japanese woman ! ! ! Sawa Homare san played since 15 years old as a full international player she has won the world cup, and she has been nominated and won the FIFA world player of the year.

    She is a great role model for girls everywhere and skill and determination and humble behavior and sportsmanship, despite being a sporting superstar is makes her a real role model. Sadlly she retired recently.

    Her she is in action ! ! ! ( with English commentary ! ! ! )

    • 197 international caps is impressive in any sport. Sadly I never saw her play. I did work at the 2012 Olympics on football (men’s & women’s), but none of the Japan Ladies games were where/when I was on shift.

    • >Baseball is much slower than soccer so you can go and get a drink or a burger<

      Natural cricket fan here I think. Next time you are in the UK factor in a test match (lasts up to 5 days), you can eat several 7 course meals, write a novel, raise children, go into politics, achieve a personal best in the 10k metres, all during the course of a single match. DaddyPig is your man for Headingley but I once went to Lords and Lourdes in the same week.

      This happens occasionally, but you are required to attend for 15 consecutive years beforehand prior to witnessing it.

  7. Good summary. I think the Newcastle fans campaigning against Pardew are ridiculous. Give the guy 10 games at least. They all seem to think you get better every year automatically!

    • The more that comes out about the whole Newcastle setup, the more farcical it seems.
      There is a story that Pardew had no prior knowledge of Rivière, yet the club spend millions to put him in the crucial – and to Toon fans, sainted – centre forward spot.
      I do think his position has become untenable, but in his position, I wouldn’t walk away either. Given the number of managers out of work for years at a time (e.g. Glenn Hoddle) would any of us resign from a contract whose pay-off is a financial setup for life?

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