Richard Keys Blog

Don't panic Mr Mourinho

on Monday, 19 September 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

It certainly hasn't been the best week of Jose Mourinho's career. All of a sudden all kinds of damning statistics are flying about.

Here's a couple - losing at Watford meant United had been beaten for a third successive match, in the Portuguese's worst run of results for 15 years, since he was in charge of Porto in 2002. I can think of a few coaches that would love a record like that!

It's now 15 defeats in his last 33 matches - described as 'an utterly damning statistic for a manager in charge of two high end clubs' in The Mirror today. How many of those were due to the unprofessional manner in which his players at Chelsea 'downed tools' to get rid of him at Stamford Bridge? My maths tells me 12, so the stat isn't quite as 'damning' as it reads.

Another headline screamed 'Just not special anymore' referring to both Mourinho and Rooney. Rubbish!  They both are.

Granted, after a very good start to the season, the last seven days haven't been great and because Mourinho makes himself such an easy target for the media when things go wrong, he's always going to get a kicking, but I have no doubt that he'll sort things out.

I do hear worrying stories of a little unrest amongst a few players and I understand that Antony Martial is not his biggest fan - nor Mourinho Martial's. That's certainly something to keep an eye on. Martial wouldn't be the first wide man that Mourinho has fallen out with would he? He's got some serious 'previous' with some very high profile names on that front.

Having said that, who hasn't got unhappy players at a club? No-one. It's generally those who aren't playing that make the most fuss.

Mourinho will settle things down, but I'm a little concerned that he hasn't yet got to grips with what's in the DNA at United. I mentioned last week that I was surprised that they were so 'passive' in the derby. He set up 'not to lose'. That's not United's way. Every time he picks Fellaini I think Mourinho is open to that allegation. Quite simply, Fellaini is not a Manchester United player. He trollies about totally out of his depth, passing sideways and backwards. He gives too many free kicks away and there are times that his behaviour is totally unacceptable.

I thought at Watford the game was crying out for Michael Carrick, someone to give United momentum and forward movement. Their passing was both negative and slow.

And how about putting Marcus Rashford up top in those games? He was a breath of fresh air last season running away from defenders and frightening them to death with his pace. United don't have that option right now. I'm sure there will be times when Ibra will be needed to influence 'big' games. On that basis, I'd keep him fresh for those games. Why play him at Watford?

As we know, I'm a massive Rooney fan, but I admit that he looks out of sorts at the moment. He's confused by all the different jobs he's been given and plays far to deep. Get in the box Wazza - it's the only place you'll score goals and influence matches.

So one or two little gripes, but Mourinho is a far better judge than me and he'll sort it!  More than anything I want to see him take United off the leash. I want them to play like his first Chelsea title winners did, with flair and pace and an ability to excite. That's what United teams do.  

I must confess I've been very impressed with City so far and if there's a player in better form in the P Lge right now than Kevin de Bruyne I haven't seen him.

Liverpool were terrific on Friday night and have very capably overcome the handicap of playing their first three games on the road.

I like the look of Everton as well. There are bigger tests to come than they've faced so far but what a relief it is to see them getting the ball forward more quickly and entertaining the Goodison faithful again.

Spurs are still short - way short of where they were last season. Again, I'm hearing all is not well behind the scenes. I'm not convinced that Pochettino got what he wanted in the transfer window and he wasn't that impressed by what he did get. Watch this space!

There are certainly problems at West Ham. I've resisted talking about them so far after what turned out to be a really good first season for Slaven Bilic. I like him, but what I'm seeing now is what I expected post-Allardyce, compounded by the stadium move. Historically the Hammers have always had a 'soft' centre. Allardyce fixed that and last season Bilic took them on with a mixture of 'realistic' football and some fantastic results, but now there's trouble.

I say 'compounded by the stadium move' because I genuinely believe that will be a factor for quite some time yet. Other than Arsenal, I can't think of another team that's made a trouble-fee move to a new stadium.

West Ham have already had their teething problems and I suspect it'll be a while before things settle making Ms Brady's ludicrous claims on July 25 this year look even more ridiculous. She said then 'The move has been a complete success on every level...be in no doubt, we are part of the most successful migration in history'. Really Karen? I don't think so, not by a long way. 

Special 1 Pep 2

on Monday, 12 September 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

With both apologies and thanks to the sub editor at the Sunday Mirror that came up with the best headline of the weekend. It was so good that I had to nick it! 

So was the game. I really enjoyed it. Often those big matches get surrounded by so much expectation that they fail to live up to the billing. Not this one. It was a terrific game. 

Full marks to Guardiola. I wasn't convinced that he'd be able to take his style of football to Old Trafford and dominate for virtually the whole game. But he did - and City thoroughly deserved their win. For me, they were the better team. But - and it's a big but - United should've had a penalty and Bravo was a lucky boy not to be sent off. There's no guarantees that United would've scored with the pen, but the keepers reckless lunge at Rooney met all the criteria for dangerous play. He should've gone and I'm really surprised that Mark Clattenburg, who I believe is our best ref now, thought differently. Mind you, so did my mate Andy Gray, but he was wrong as well! 

I said Saturday on Twitter that I thought Mourinho had picked the wrong team. I'm pleased he's been big enough to come out and admit it. Not not only did he pick the wrong team, I felt that United were far too passive. They sat off for virtually the whole of the first half and invited City to run rings round them. And so they did. 

I still can't understand why. I really fancied United because I thought they would be more 'powerful' - typically Mourinho - but I also thought that playing at home they'd get on the front foot, like United teams of old, and steamroller City. 

Mourinho had the personnel to do that and I thought he looked so relaxed pre-match that he genuinely believed for almost the first time he had a better team than Guardiola. 

If you cast your minds back over previous meetings I can't remember too many occasions when Mourinho set a team up to 'beat' a Guardiola team. He's always set out to 'not get beaten'. That's why I think he's happy with all those draws in the head to head. For Mourinho they're like wins. This time I genuinely thought he'd go for the jugular.  

Anyway, as I said, top marks to City. I thought they were great. 

Andre Marriner was at it again wasn't he? How didn't he see Fer's foul on Gary Cahill? I did - and I was sitting in a tv studio 3500 miles away! Must do better Andre! And it didn't get much of a mention at home, but wasn't Costa's equaliser 'dangerous'. Have another look if you get the chance. He nearly decapitates that Swansea defender. Of course we don't want to see magical moments denied on the pitch, but that should've been. Or did Marriner realise his earlier error by this time and just even things up? Perish the thought! 

Well done Watford. What a stunning comeback at West Ham. Arsenal got lucky, again! There'll come a time this season that Arsene Wenger is complaining about decisions, but he's had two big ones go his way already. Arsenal should've conceded a late pen at Leicester and what was Bobby Madley thinking handing them that late chance to win it? 

Whatever else, they were genuine errors, and it happens, so we have to accept that. What didn't happen this weekend - for the first time this season - was that a ref gave a penalty that could've been avoided. Now why was that? Well in my view because that one-man wrecking ball Mike Dean wasn't in charge of a game. And why was that? Well, I'm hearing that he's been told to calm down a bit - and that neither the Sterling pen at Stoke, nor the award for shirt pulling on Benteke was a pen. Perhaps it was just a co-incidence that he was only 4th official at Old Trafford? 

I don't the new tv gantry at Anfield. Amazing isn't it, a club spends all that money on a new stand, in an era dominated by tv, and yet can't deliver a gantry to allow the game to be covered at an angle that's easy on the eye. It's too far away. My solution? Move it to the other side and look into that magnificent new stand. 

I'm looking forward to the game tonight. I'm intrigued by what David Moyes is going to be able to achieve at Sunderland and Ronald Koeman might just be on the brink of returning better times to Everton. I'm delighted to say that a 'strong' Ray Wilkins will be in the BeIN Sports MNF studios. It's been good to spend time with Ray this weekend. He's had his problems recently as we all know, but he's on the mend. 

Honest Mark Halsey

on Monday, 05 September 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

He was Jose Mourinho's favourite ref. The two became close friends and remain in touch to this day, although not quite on the same regular basis. 

Asked why Mark Halsey was his favourite, Mourinho replied 'because he's honest'. I could stop writing now. What else is there to say? Well, quite a lot actually. 

Mark has been a friend of mine now for more than 10 years. I too have found him to be nothing but honest and honourable. 

Why is this important? Let me quote from Andy Dunn's excellent column in the Sunday Mirror today 'And his (Halsey's) allegations - if true - render the Professional Game Match Officials Limited unfit for purpose'. 

Of course I'm referring here to the furore surrounding Sergio Aguero's ban for throwing an elbow at Winston Reid. Those who follow me on Twitter will know I broke the story that Aguero would be charged at 9.30 on Tuesday morning. My sources told me that ref Andre Marriner had told the FA that he handn't seen the incident. We have to take him at his word, but why didn't he see it? He was 10 yards away. He MUST have seen the incident surely - if not, what is he doing taking charge of such important high profile football matches? 

The reason I'm wondering is not because City fans set Twitter alight asking the same questions, but because I'd seen another X-ref, Dermot Gallagher, tell Sky Sports News on the Monday 'Marriner had to see it. He's got an unobstructed view'. It was that statement that sparked City's appeal and one that everybody seems to have conveniently forgotten. That was a story I broke on the Wednesday having heard of City's intent. The question on everybody's lips was 'had Marriner been told he hadn't seen it'? 

It was at this point that Halsey got involved in the Twittersphere with the following reply to an enquiry 'Paul, I have been in that situation when I have seen an incident and been told to say I haven't seen it'. Cue chaos, especially once Gary Neville had got himself involved.

Things will only get better

on Monday, 29 August 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

Things will only get better. Admittedly, not bad if you're a Chelsea, United or City fan but I can't think of too many other clubs' supporters that will be too happy about what they've seen from their team so far this season. It's been an ordinary start hasn't it? But it will get better. I think the international break has come at a nice time. 

Actually, Hull City fans have got to be pleased with what Mike Phelan has done - but I can't imagine anyone on Humberside is expecting anything other than a long hard season. How good were they against United? I'm delighted for Mike. I really do hope that he gets the job full time - and a realistic chance of some kind of success to go with it. Success this season would be staying up. 

I tweeted Saturday that I thought we'd seen a 'title winning result' from United. How typical of days gone by was that - a Fergie time winner? United look strong. The 'fear factor' is returning. I don't think they played particularly well, but that's what made the outcome - and the manner of it - all the more impressive. Taking three points away from a game like that is what champions do. They wouldn't have done last season. In fact, I think they would probably have been beaten. They're my tip to win it and I'm more confident about that after the first thee games. 

City were 'smooth' for 45 minutes weren't they? Their football was a delight and West Ham could've been buried before half time, but credit the Hammers with a really good second half. They dusted themselves down and gave it a go and let's not forget how short of their 'big guns' they were. They'll only get better. 

They underlined where City will come unstuck for me. At Barca and Bayern Guardiola's style of football would sweep teams away. They could play the way they did in that first half at the weekend for 90 minutes, running up cricket scores against second rate opposition. The P Lge isn't like that. It's an age old cliche, but there really aren't any easy games. If Guardiola thinks he can win 'big matches' playing the way he did on Sunday - open and entertaining - I think he's in for a bit of a shock. That's why I can't wait for the derby. It's going to be a fascinating clash of cultures. Aguero, by the way, was bang out of order. At the time of writing he hasn't been charged with violent conduct, but if he isn't then the FA should charge themselves with bringing the game into disrepute! Had Costa done what Aguero did he would've been all over the front pages today. 

Chelsea look good. It's baffling as to how Hazard and co have all come back to life! Surely it was just a co-incidence that they all lost form at the same time last season - and played their manager out of a job? Was it hell! They downed tools. City's superstars lost a Cup Final to make sure they got rid of Mancini. It's horrible when it happens, but it does and it will again. It happened at Valencia last season as well. 

Arsenal looked better at Watford. Ozil makes a real difference to them. With the two new boys and everybody fit after the Euro's I'm certain things will settle down at The Emirates.

Spurs are stuttering. They're nowhere near the side that started last season. Kane and Eriksson are way off. Funny - I was interested to read Tony Cascarini telling Kane in his Times column today that he's not a No.10. I think I mentioned that a year ago! If he doesn't get himself up top and start being in the right places to score goals again he's going to struggle all season long. You're a centre forward Harry. Play like one. 

I don't know what to make of Everton just yet, but the signs are good. Ronald Koeman will make them competitive again. I like his style. Evertonians will as well. 

Liverpool's season is summed up by their results so far - a stunning win in the best game of the season at Arsenal, a sloppy defeat and a draw snatched from the jaws of what should've been another win. Klopp will know he's got to sort out the inconsistency. Oh - and Daniel Sturridge. How many times have I said - managers/coaches always believe they can get something out of a player that no-one else has? They always end up disappointed. Players don't change. Sturridge is a talent, but high maintenance. I hear he's got a new management company now that he's hoping will create a profile 'like Beckham's'. Daniel, there's only one way to do that - play football regularly and well - the rest will look after itself. I think Klopp may to have to bow to the inevitable any time soon and move him on. 

So we get the chance to take a break and look forward to what Big Sam has in mind for England. When the P Lge returns I'm sure we'll start to see some order take shape and I have to believe that things - the football - will only get better.

Is possession 9/10ths of the law?

on Monday, 22 August 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

Now I may have got this completely wrong - but ever since I first went to watch Coventry aged 4 - I've been under the impression that the purpose of playing football is to win. Right? We all agree on that?

How? Simple. Put the ball in the opponents net more times than they do yours. Yes?

If you can do that with a panache and excitement that gets supporters on the edge of their seats - job done. That's how United always did it under Fergie. It was breathless stuff. Of course, there were times when it didn't all come together, but no one ever left Old Trafford early, just in case. 

Now not every manager is as fortunate to have the tools at their disposal that Fergie did, so not everybody can play like that, but the purpose of the game remains the same - find a way to put the ball in your opponents net. 

Let me quote Pep Guardiola again - his own words from his autobiography 'I hate possession for the sake of it. There is no purpose to it. Barca didn't do tiki-taka'. No. They didn't. They hunted the ball down. The pinched it back early. They'd overload on one side before moving the ball quickly to the other and exposing defensive weaknesses. And they had three geniuses - Messi, Xavi and Iniesta, that made winning matches a whole lot easier. 

So this brings me onto the headline below. 

Burnley beat Liverpool at the weekend with the least possession that any team has had in a P Lge match since records began - a little over 19%! Brilliant.

United will win it....

on Friday, 12 August 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

The problem with pre-season predictions is that they can very easily make you look a mug. Well - Leicester can - spectacularly! 

 I had them down for relegation last season. My only consolation is that I wasn't the only one!

 Nobody, literally nobody, could foresee what happened. I'm not sure even now that Leicester fans can quite understand or believe how their season worked out. How did they win the P Lge?

 There were many reasons, but let's be clear about this, they won it because they deserved to. They earned it. 

 Having said that, the 'big boys' weren't very good were they? I had Arsenal down to win it - and they really should've done. Finishing second, ahead of Spurs, was quite an achievement in the end, but small consolation for Gunners' fans, who know their team missed a wonderful chance last season. 

 United were poor. City disappointed, but the speculation surrounding Guardiola, who was always going to take charge this season, had an impact. Pellegrini, who's success was with Mancini's team, had no chance. Remember the nonsense about him extending his contract as City tried to quell the speculation? I told you then it was a red herring. 

Here we go

on Saturday, 06 August 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

 A week from today (Saturday) I'll have been back at work for 48 hours - embarking on my 4th season at BeIN Sports. I really can't believe it. Time has flown. 

 It's been enormously enjoyable. At my time of life I'm done with ploughing. up and down motorways and all the hassle that goes with getting around Britain. I was reminded of that on my first day back in the country this summer. I drove to Leeds, to host a dinner with Andy. It took me five hours to make a journey that should take two and a half. I came back the same evening, joining the M1 at junction 40. It was shut at 39. One hour later I was back on at junction 38. It was a nightmare and brought back memories of so many of those evenings crashing back to London in driving rain/sleet/snow - arriving back in the small hours absolutely exhausted. Of course the upside was that initially it was fun and I'm not going to pretend that doing what I finished doing in this country didn't have its rewards. It did, but everything changes. 

 Anyway. There we are. That's the gripe out of the way! Oh, apologies that I've been so quiet during the summer. I needed a complete break which always does the trick - I'm now more than ready to go again. 

What now?

on Tuesday, 28 June 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

 

I had decided to give you - and myself - a break from these posts during The Euro's. My thinking was that so much can change so quickly during tournaments that snap judgements probably weren't a good idea. Sorry, I couldn't resist after last night's shambles.

 I'll give you an example - Wayne Rooney. I was one of one arguing before the tournament that he had to go - not just go, but start. And start every game. So I understood Roy Hodgson, who was Rooney's biggest fan, raising an eye brow when my colleagues in the English press were outraged that he was left out of the game against Slovakia!

 Having said that, I was never convinced that Hodgson wanted to start Rooney. I believe he felt it was a risk too far not to. But he took him off in the first game v Russia, as if to make a statement. Why? Rooney was our leader. Up to the point that he went off he was our best player. He was certainly our most experienced player. For me, once he'd left the field, the early signs of our inexperience were laid bare. Russia capitalised.

 You see, that's the problem with youth. There's a lot of energy. A lot of excitable belief, but absolutely NO experience. That's a commodity you can't buy. England were well short in that department. Well short - and I said it from the moment Hodgson was bullied down that path by the English press.

 I'm a big fan of Hodgson's - as most people know. I believe he's an honourable, decent man. I believed he had a backbone. That he was his own man. That he could make big decisions. I was wrong in nearly all of that. Decent and honourable he is, but I couldn't have been more disappointed that he started to play the 'populist' card to avoid criticism.

 Here's a couple of further examples. Hodgson believed the way for England to play at these Championships was with a diamond, so that he could get two strikers up top. He went in like that in our last warm up friendly v Portugal. It didn't necessarily work, the press criticised, so he changed his mind. But he'd already decided on his personnel for France, including Jack Wilshere, who likes that system, so he was stuck.

 Remember the ludicrous sight of our centre forward taking corners against Russia? Hodgson was roundly condemned for that piece of nonsense, but went public and strongly defended the decision. So, we were expecting Kane to take corners against Wales weren't we? (Actually I wasn't, and I said so before the game on beINSports). Wrong, six minutes in, Rooney was taking them. Hodgson had buckled under pressure again. He wanted to both make and keep friends.

It'll end in tears.....

on Tuesday, 24 May 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

It'll end in tears, but what a ride Manchester United fans are in for! In fact, what a time to be a football fan in Manchester now that, arguably, the best two coaches in the world are going head to head again. 

 Arguably? I've got to reserve room at the top for Carlo Ancelotti. He's a class operator. 

 Anyway, not before time, United have got it right. This is what they should've done when Fergie announced he was leaving. Mourinho's job application the night that Real tipped them out of the C Lge was wrongly ignored and they've paid a heavy price. Mind you, how many of us haven't f****d up somewhere along the line?!? 

 David Moyes was the right man - at the wrong time. I advocated change when it was blindingly obvious part way through that first post-Fergie season that it was going wrong. I stand by what I said, but....

 I strongly believe that he was a far better option to back than LVG. His two years have been little short of a disaster - and I don't like using that word. Disasters are what happened in Munich and at Hillsbrough. In that context, the sport of football is irrelevant. 

 LVG ripped the heart out of United. He changed everything that was great about them. Little things, like splitting the dining room arrangements. The senior players were kept apart from everybody else at the club, instantly causing rifts and splits. Fergie, who I have been critical of in the past, never allowed that. He knew the value of the 'family'. 

Safe standing? Really?

on Saturday, 14 May 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

So we come to the end of the most extra-ordinary of seasons. I thought about waiting until Monday before writing - but with so little left to sort out, why wait?

So little? Not if you're a Manchester football fan. There's the engaging battle for 4th to be sorted out this weekend. Think about that - both Manchester clubs getting excited about the race for 4th place. Oh how the mighty have fallen. 

LVG was talking this week about how it's 'unrealistic' of United fans to think that his team might be title challengers! Really? Why? That's surely the sole reason why this fading Dutch genius was brought into the club - to deliver the title? And why not after getting on for a spend of £300m?

 United also announced record profits this last week. Do you know what - I'm beginning to think that we're entering a new era at Old Trafford, where simply qualifying for the C Lge is enough. United are 'new' Arsenal. 

 It's for that reason that I'm pretty convinced now that LVG will survive if United can pip City for 4th. An FA Cup win would be a bonus, but I don't think it would be enough to save him. Delivering C Lge football just might. 

 Can they nick 4th? Sure they can. As any die-hard City fan will tell you, if there's a team capable of cocking this up then it's City.  

 In truth I'm not sure either side deserves C Lge football. I think West Ham and Southampton could justifiably argue their efforts this season should be rewarded with that prize. Both have been entertaining. Both have been adventurous. Both have been a breath of fresh air. 

Get rid United

on Monday, 02 May 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

It was a pretty good weekend. Not because I particularly enjoyed the football - more because I couldn't stop laughing when I was watching The Saturday Club on beIN Sports. They ripped into me for my pre-season prediction of impending doom at Leicester following the appointment of Claudio Ranieri! 

 It's something I've addressed a number of times, so there's not much point in re-visiting it. The only consolation is that I wasn't alone. The great and the good from our business were a unified voice about Ranieri. We were ALL wrong. When you are, the best policy is to hold your hands up and admit it. I admit it - again! 

 What makes being wrong all the more pleasurable is that Leicester haven't just survived - they've flourished under Ranieri. I repeat - for me their title success (at least I was one of the first to be convinced by them!!!) is the greatest football story of all time. 

 Now, I appreciate there will be many good arguments to the contrary. I don't mind that. I said 'for me'. It's just wonderful. I actually thought they'd get over the line at Old Trafford. Wouldn't that have been perfect? To do it in United's back yard!  

 The point might yet be enough. It all depends now on whether Spurs beat Chelsea tonight (Monday) and beat them they MUST, or it is all over. 

Sir Kenny Dalglish' ?

on Wednesday, 27 April 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

 

This isn't an easy one to write, for many reasons. If I'm honest, I've absolutely no idea where the next few hundred words are going to take me. I haven't thought about this piece or researched it very well, it's just going to be a whole lot of incoherent thoughts. So here goes. And stay with me, please. 

 I don't want to give the wrong impressions here. Hillsborough was never my fight, but I've always felt close to those battling for the long overdue result that they got yesterday (Monday). 

 Let me try and explain. I left Liverpool a couple of years before the disaster. The regular readers amongst you know I had four wonderful years in the City and made many good friends. My wife was born in Liverpool and grew up on The Wirral. We were with her parents the weekend after Hillsborough - I can't remember why - work, I think. Maybe it was just a family visit. 

 Obviously the mood, all over Merseyside, was sombre. You couldn't help be touched by it - nor the scenes of people snaking round Anfield, holding flowers which they were going to lay on the pitch, just wanting to be near their club and other like minded, stunned supporters. 

 Look. It's not my club so I had no right, but I was overcome by it all. I put on a suit, bought flowers myself and drove to Anfield. I wanted to do what everybody else was doing, but I felt somewhat of an interloper. I obviously knew people at the club, so when I slipped in a side gate and quietly worked my way onto The Kop no-one gave me a second glance. I put flowers down, drew breath, said a few words and cried. You couldn't help but cry. Everybody did. 

 The scene in front of me was incredible. At this time more than half the pitch was covered in flowers. Thousands were pouring in to pay their respects. 

 I don't know how long I was there but as I was leaving I heard a familiar brusk Scottish voice 'hey, where are you going?' Initially I thought I'd been rumbled but as I turned round I saw Kenny Dalglish. 'What are you doing here?' was the next question. Kenny loved a wind up, but surely not at a time like this! Of course, I didn't have to reply!  

 We stood together for a while marvelling at what was unfolding before us. I think he told me he'd been on The Kop every day since the disaster. He knew where people had left things, teddy bears and the like. He knew the people who'd left them. It had got to him deeply. Remember, he was now player/manager. 

Mediocre - my a**e.

on Monday, 25 April 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

'If I had been given 10 years to work with Everton by being mediocre I wouldn't accept that'. 

 They told me on my journalism course many years ago - never start a piece with a quote. And never start a sentence with 'and'. Too late! 

 I had to start with the quote  because it leapt out at me in Monday morning's papers. I had to read it a couple of times to see if it had been taken out of context in anyway. Nope. It wasn't. 

 The headline in The Mirror read 'I can deliver glory. Moyes only brought TEN YEARS OF MEDIOCRITY'. Did he really? 

 The quote, of course, came from Roberto Martinez after Everton's FA Cup semi-final defeat. Mediocre? I suppose there's an argument that Martinez should know something about the subject, his whole career has been mediocre, both as a player and now a coach.

 Since taking over at from Moyes at Everton, Martinez has run up a transfer deficit of £48m. He's finished 5th - with Moyes' team - and 11th. This season Everton will finish in the bottom half. 

Video evidence? No thanks.

on Monday, 18 April 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

Did Vardy dive? Was Jon Moss correct to penalise Wes Morgan for holding/pushing/impeding and give West Ham a pen? What was the difference between what Winston Reid did and what Vardy had done earlier? Should Leicester have had a pen when Ogbonna was brainlessly all over Huth shortly after? And was Andy Carroll right - was the award against him just to 'even things up'? 

 I've read everything as usual this morning (Monday). Henry Winter calls Moss a 'poor referee'. He argues that Moss had to be '100% certain' Vardy had dived in order to book him and subsequently send him off. He was Henry, or he wouldn't have got his yellow card out again. For me, it was a dive. Let's agree to disagree. Vardy has played on the edge like that all season. Good forwards can make penalties out of situations like that - get across the defender, tangle your legs up with his and go over. Vardy did parts one and two really well, but the swallow dive was embarrassing. It was a correct yellow.  Few have considered his first booking perhaps wasn't. 

 Again, just my opinion, but Reid's was never a pen. Huth's was. Carroll's wasn't. 

 Moss was brave to make the call on Vardy's dive. Very brave, because he could've let it go and saved himself a lot of hassle. I'm certain Michael Oliver would've done. So would Mark Halsey, who I was speaking to during the game. It was after at the award of the first pen that I thought Moss started getting himself into trouble - but he made calls he believed to be correct. Give him credit for that. Big calls as well. 

 He's had almost total backing from Graham Poll. All correct for Poll, but he thought Huth should've had a pen. 

It's over - isn't it?

on Monday, 11 April 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

Other than the most ardent Leicester City fan - does anyone yet believe they're going to win the title? I haven't found anyone that does! Why? 

 Actually, I'm not sure I'd even find a Leicester fan that thinks they can win it if I went looking! 

 What a wonderfully exciting, yet equally frightening time this is for everyone connected with the club. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. 

 Ever since Leicester went top on their own, all they've done is extend their lead. They've kept on winning, passing every test, yet we still don't think they can win it. We're all still waiting for a slip. Why?  

 I kind of get it. It's almost certainly because they haven't been the course before. I'm constantly being told 'they don't know how to win it'. Ok, that's true. But do Spurs? No, of course not. They haven't done it since 1961 for goodness sake! 

 It's a two-horse race now and I believe Leicester are going to win it. Yes, I expect a few twists and turns yet, but I can't see any good reason now why they won't get over the line. 

 I thought the game at Sunderland was terrific. The first half was really enjoyable - how English football used to be played. I hear my mate, Graeme Souness, disparagingly described it as 'like watching a Championship game'. I don't agree Graeme. I loved it. I thought Sunderland had a really good go at Leicester - they threw everything at them, and still our leaders were unmoved. 

<<  1 2 [3

ZOO Comment