Season is deader than a dead thing in a dead place. And now plenty of scope for a cull of some dead woodSun 16 Apr 17 by Martin Penney
Atlas was a well-known character from Greek mythology whose function was to carry (literally in the eyes of the ancients) the weight of the world on his shoulders by physically separating the Earth from the firmament above.
He and Hercules – no introduction needed - did not always get along particularly well. One of the Twelve Labours of Hercules was to muck out the Augean stables in a single day – a feat never attempted in thirty years by the locals as the 3,000 cattle that occupied the stables were sacred, long-established and produced one heck of a lot of, erm, dung.
Can you see the analogy yet?
I hope Stuart Webber is distantly related to either or, preferably, both of them. I feel it would help if there is a bit of the Atlean or Herculean in his gene pool considering the tasks awaiting him.
For not only does the weight of assuaging the thirst of the NCFC-supporting world rest squarely on his shoulders; he also has a lot of dung to shovel out. And ‘right quick’, as we say in these parts.
Friday’s Fulham encounter was of course the flipside of the Reading triumph.
The only bright spots of the match for me were a few laughs from the Barclay. No more than when Chris Martin was red-carded for a naughty little elbow on Mitchell Dijks and the chants of “He’s one of our own” and “One Chrissy Martin” went up.
It brought a smile to the face, and introduced the prospect of 45 minutes against 10 men, aka hope.
Of course, it took Ryan Bennett less than three minutes to extinguish the hope…
Quite what he was doing putting his hands on Tomas Kalas when the ball was going nowhere but out I have no idea. He was caught wrong-side admittedly, but referees give those as often as they don’t and if I know that then a professional footballer should too.
From thereon in we huffed and puffed like a team of geriatric sloths on a relaxing holiday in the South American jungle resort of their choice.
An excellent (it grates, but the truth sometimes does) Fulham side continued to hold the same high line and we could not get behind them. Well-organised, totally committed and head and shoulders above us in every department, even without the imbiber from Beccles on the pitch for the entire second half.
I could moan about Wes’s corners struggling to reach the edge of the six-yard box. Equally I could vent my spleen about Russell Martin playing Floyd Ayite onside for Fulham’s gut-wrenching third by standing stock-still as if Kenny the hypnotist from Little Britain had told him: “Look into my eyes. Not around my eyes“, etc.
I was not as impressed with the referee as Gary says he was in his Saturday article. If a team starts time-wasting after just six minutes – and Fulham did – why not crack down on them early doors? It took Mr Madley until the 67th minute to book Marcus Bettinelli, and the goalkeeper was by no means the only culprit.
And some strange decisions were certainly made, although he got both the red card and the penalty right for sure.
It must be said that Fulham employed every trick in the book to knock us out of our stride, but apart from a four-corner burst after Cameron Jerome’s goal, we didn’t really hit a stride of any particular note. But that counts for nothing in the grand scheme of things.
This season is deader than a dead thing in a dead place, as Edmund Blackadder might have said. And in truth it has been for a long, long time.
Therefore, it’s all eyes to the future. Let’s hope our Atlean-Herculean Titan enjoys a better working relationship with Michael and Delia than the originals did with Zeus and Hera.
The jungle drums say he has carte blanche to do things his way, so let’s hope that’s the way it is. I have no reason to believe otherwise and he’s got off to a great start with his trio of “removals”.
Let’s also hope the Colney stables are rather less occupied by dung-producing beasts in August.
We hear an awful lot about how the FA Cup has been devalued by clubs fielding weakened teams and sometimes making less than the expected amount of effort from Round Three to the quarter-finals.
Despite the furore, this year’s semi-finalists just happen to be Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Spurs.
And what to make of that, I’m not quite sure.