by Steven S

Our three week sabbatical is finally over, much to the relief of my hard drive which had been in critical condition and pending a decision in court, a trip to Switzerland seemed like the only option to put it out of its misery.  But somehow it made it back, the memories of downloads, forum posts and its unique standing in cyber space coaxed its little legs to come to life and suddenly everything is a bunch of roses again.

So, back to business. Although that is hard in the middle of a two week break but we have done our best to scoop up the best bits from the week that was. Starting up in the North East at Newcastle who announced a new sponsor partnership along with a new stadium name all from the much loved The loans company instantly attempted to settle the unease amongst the fans by declaring a stadium name switch back to St James Park. I’m not entirely sure if the whole thing has been ratified completely but the unhappy mood outside of the club wasn’t particularly shared, in fact there wasn’t a high amount of interest at all.

Fifa vice-president was as serious as cancer when he told us Suarez is a diver earlier in the week, following more desperate falls in the box by the Uruguayan. For such a fantastic footballer he seems to care very little about any reputation he has developed amongst fellow professionals and those who love the game although to be fair it hardly affects his top rate performances every week. Too much of the ‘other’ incidents cloud what an absolute gem of a player he has become in the Premiership and whether most of it is of his own making or not, it is hard to see him sticking around a mid table side whilst fighting the world every other week. Stats never tell the whole story but figures from Opta show Suarez has been involved in 95 “box ground duels”, winning 4 “box fouls won” – how many of those he went to ground for, appealed for and won would give a rounder view but you can imagine the grass in the penalty area in those duels became fairly slippery for him.

Surprisingly the FA chose to ignore a stamp from Robert Huth on Suarez, whilst Robin van Persie seemed to hit Newcastle’s Cabaye in the face as he strode past, perhaps harking back to his last encounter with the team at the Emirates for Arsenal last season. Both of these incidents seemed very clear cut, confirmed as not seen by the referee and captured on camera, yet the authorities decided there was nothing to deal with. Wayne Rooney escaped punishment a couple of seasons back after clattering Wigan’s James McCarthy on the half way line, leading with his elbow, so other players would do well to keep those on file if they are picked up for similar incidents.

There was a point towards the end of last season and during the Euro’s when an unlikely return to appreciation from opposing fans appeared on the horizon for Ashley Cole. As he continued to scale new heights in club football, he had kept out of public stupidity for a fair amount of time and was now one of the longest serving current national team players. He passed as almost likeable. He almost made it. Then he tw***ed out the FA on Twitter and everyone had a good old laugh at his expense, just like the good old days. He will have to wait a little longer for those two national caps to become a centurion for his country and hapless Ashley will now live out the remainder of his days as a fan joke. The go-to joke for a guaranteed chuckle. A very successful joke granted, but when the shine has worn off the medals in twenty years time, it is the love from fans that lasts longer and means more and for a man of his football talents, should have a far bigger audience than Stamford Bridge.

Troubled times for Mark Hughes who is currently under huge pressure to turn the teams form around, now sitting bottom of the pile with two points and a minus ten goal difference. The groundwork laid by Warnock last season allowed Hughes some time to bring in a stack of new players who struggled to find an immediate balance, leaving it until the very last day to secure safety. Thousands more have joined again this summer upsetting the team’s performances once again and unless things change very soon, we could see someone like Redknapp popping over to West London. That would cover three parts of the capital and the closest he has come to the South is with Bournemouth so  if Crystal Palace can arrive back to the Premiership, there is still time for Harry to secure a London Grand Slam.

Internationals were played on Friday and Saturday, we all know the scores and we all can’t wait for this awful break to be over with, let’s be honest.  It will be another quiet one this week as more games are played midweek, so I’ll see y’all next weeks. Ta-ra.