CELEBRATING KLUTZ OF GUNSELS MONTH
Mickey Blue Eyes
As we all know, professional football is usually a great and healthy sports spectacle dogged by off-field delusion, hypocrisy, corruption and plain insanity. And there are two occasions when some footy patients, Othellos all, escape in droves over the asylum wall to shout at road signs and throw orange peel at innocent pigeons. These are the month-long "transfer windows" in August and January, when matters get so stupid, so comically out of hand, so full of idiocy, they should be labelled Klutz of Gunsels Month. It is a time for malignant farce, bogus martyrs from Moronia and a deluge of fish-wife bilge. As if the game didn't have enough problems. At such times your average pipe-fitter, clerk, computer programmer and counter assistant suddenly becomes a footy gauleiter and mystic medium with a touch of Mr. Bean. It can demonise worthy of seventeenth century Salem on a bad Sunday. It generates enough rabid spittle for sane fans to see where Eric Blair got the idea for Two Minutes Hate in 1984. Mainstream media can be even worse. Social media, of course, is now beyond parody.
But perhaps it is just as well. Perhaps it is better to let loose demagogues and mountebanks for a short while. Perhaps it is better to let puerile madness out in two great farts rather than in a slow, toxic exhaust. Perhaps it is a necessary catharsis. After all, the game has been bedevilled with that kind of riffraff for as long as I can remember and it isn't going to disappear any time soon. Sadly, there will always be ill-will and ignorance attached to the game. For some, the only motivation they know is bilious misery. The comedy comes into play when they fail to realise they are hitting themselves in the head with a hefty volume of their own inanity.....which is why there is some light relief in prodding them with a stick every now and then just to see their spluttering red-faced outrage.
The worst most recent example I am aware of came at the end of our away loss at Stoke as the "window" loomed. As usual this season we had had most of the possession but were virtually non-existent in the final quarter of the pitch. The only time Stoke got into the match was during inevitable phases when they had more of the ball. It was as maddening and irritating as any other similar match since August. It ended in a melancholy 2-0 loss to an average side. At the end of the match as David Moyes walked off a sizeable minority decided this was the time not only to boo but to get a small cluster together to shout "advice" at him, like "Fuck off Moyes," "You fuckn defensive twat" and "Sign someone you useless cunt," before they got back on the unfortunately named Happy Al's buses. Where, doubtless, they busied themselves thinking up other delightful loyalist slogans in between liquid and powder sherbets. It was the kind of sickening tirade that makes you look fondly on your dog's intelligence. Still, it was no real surprise given the hate-filled hysteria created by said minority. We have heard it all before and we will hear it all again, long after Messrs. Moyes, Elstone and Kenwright have departed the scene. Anybody who thinks otherwise is living somewhere on The Yellow Brick Road.
So, prompted by the Stoke experience, Iet's consider the "defensive" nonsense levelled at Moyesy. The charge, of course, is complete bollocks. It and its crackpot perpetrators deserve only short shrift, which is all this fan ever gives them anyway. Now, as every reasonably informed fan knows, every team in the Premier League plays 4-5-1 except in phases when they get on top and get more players forward. Absolutely nobody plays 4-4-2 from beginning to end. There is a solid and elementary reason for this: Play four in midfield and you get swamped and suffer the consequences. Each time we have tried 4-4-2 this season it has resulted in playing disaster. The home match V West Brom is an example and so are the appalling first half displays at analfield and at home to West Ham; there are others. Quite apart from that Moyesy has tried all the strikers individually and in pairs and none of them have delivered, except for brief moments. Nobody really knows why; the best guess is that Yakubu's Achilles Tendon snap has finished him at top level, Saha's injury-proneness is finally telling, Anichebe and Beckford simply haven't got what it takes, and James Vaughan too is paying the price for wretched luck with injuries.
What is not in dispute - except amongst authentic knob heads - is the quality of pass-and-move play everywhere apart from the final quarter of the field, which is one of the reasons this season has been so maddeningly frustrating. The number of draws speaks for itself. Overall, Moyesy couldn't have done much more than he has with the clay he must work with. There have been only a few matches in which the team have been outright abject from start to finish. This is a long, long way from the situation he had to deal with in his first years at Goodison. The level of expectation his improvements created is in some ways rebounding on him. But you can't expect your run-of-the-mill gunsel to understand that.
As to incoming transfers the following remains true:
- We have little if any spare cash for them.
- We are at or very near the limit of indebtness and go further at our peril.
- In any case, borrowings are in short supply due to the international banking "crisis." You must have noticed it in the media.
- Revenues are severely limited by an outdated stadium with restricted capacity. A new stand-alone stadium is not on the horizon, nor is it affordable.
- UEFA Financial Fair Play rules are soon applicable. The aim of these is to restrict clubs to spending that matches revenue.
- There are no publicly prospective buyers of the club. Given our situation, none are likely except for those with limited finances and intentions.
- There is no such thing as an economic magic wand.
So the Klutz of Gunsels can continue to whimper, whine and otherwise talk their usual line of self-pitying, empty-headed claptrap from here to the Bering Straits, it won't make a blind bit of difference to the future of the club or, quite rightly, the way Moyesy deploys his team. But frankly you can't expect the culprits to pay attention to reality even with a pack of rabid dogs biting at their arses.
After all, it's that time of month.