Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sitting with my hands in my hair

"Met de handen in het haar zitten," as we say in The Netherlands.
The week started so well: thirty-eight minutes against Villa playing my best football of the season. And then it all fell apart. I had a horror miss from the edge of the penalty area and then in the second half shanked an easy one into the crowd. After that I just couldn't keep it together. Fortunately, the papers focused on my deft touch to Yossi to set up the first goal and the gaffer was still taking plenty of heat about the Americans, so I dodged the bullet back at Melwood.

I had a lot of time sitting on the bench at the weekend to ponder my future. Is it rotation or have I been found out? The gaffer seems to have finally had enough. When the binman came on to replace the plumber at 2-1 down, I got to thinking about what I would do if the dream ended tomorrow. It's fortunate that Andriy is now out for six weeks or I could have been down Breckfield Road Job Centre to find out. I thought the Kop overdid it a little with the standing ovation after the game, but it's great that the Havant players get a taste of the adoration I receive applauding all four stands after each game.

My sister called after the game. Apparently, Jan Molby said on Five Live that every time I touched the ball I looked "like a player who'd never score another goal." I don't need that kind of feedback. I took her off my Facebook friends as punishment.

Maybe Keegan would appreciate my work ethic....

Tot de volgende keer

Monday, January 21, 2008

There is just one big mast on a ship

"er is maar een grote mast op een schip," as we say in The Netherlands.

It's difficult to know what to make of these Americans. I've only met them once, early in the season after the Birmingham game, when the little one asked me for directions. He asked me if I knew where the goal was, which I thought was very strange. I said, "it's right over there and there's one at the other end too." He nodded: "just checking." Clearly, they still have a lot to learn about "soccer".

The big one seems like the one in charge. The gaffer doesn't like us talking about either of them, but he really doesn't like the big one. The new lad, Skrtel, got 15 laps at his first training session for asking Sami what Rafa's problem was with "long kicks"! I think the pressure might be affecting the gaffer's hearing.

Of course, it could all change next week. The little one seems to like the big one even less than he likes the gaffer. As for me, we'll see if I'm in the team tonight. All I can do is work hard, applaud each stand at Anfield harder than ever and hope for a break.

Tot de volgende keer

Friday, January 18, 2008

High Trees Catch a Lot of Wind

"Hoge bomen vangen veel wind," as we say in The Netherlands.

Tuesday night's replay against Luton was such a forgone conclusion that the media had nothing better to talk about than me.

Martin Tyler thinks if anyone needs a goal, I do. I'm sure there are plenty of players at Derby who would disagree. And Alan Green on Five Live can give it a rest; clearly he didn't see me applauding all four stands at Anfield after the game. (Note to self: applaud more vigorously). And he's meant to be a fan!

I've been told that it's been three months since anyone heard my name used in commentary without the words "loses control" immediately following it. Conor McNamara's developed this annoying habit of sighing when I get the ball and Jonathan Pearce tuts - loudly: as if he can talk about job performance!

They warned me back home that being such a prolific figure was bound to attract attention. Gertrude's away helping the children at the moment so I spent the night home alone. It was depressing to discover that even in my Champ Manager team, I've only scored nine goals this season.

Hopefully all this boardroom nonsense can take the heat off me.

Tot de volgende keer

As Boring as Onions

"Zo saai als een bos uien," as we say in The Netherlands.

The trip back from Boro was a long one. General feeling was that we got away with it. I've seen the Youtube clips - I know what Jeff Stelling says - but if you had to spend six hours in Middlesborough, you'd struggle to raise your game. It is the bleakest place i've ever visited.

When I got home some joker from the bank phoned to tell me that I had been a vicitim of identity fraud and that someone had hacked my computer and credit cards (hence why I've been offline for so long). We can't take these things lightly; not after what happened to Stevie's house last month.

So, after some investigation he got back to me yesterday to say that someone had indeed been using my card and had been spending like a top-flight Premier League goalscorer. I tried to explain that I was a top-flight Premier League goalscorer and that is how I liked to spend. Had he not seen me applauding all four stands at Anfield each week, i asked? Seemingly not.

After some embarrassing questions, we grudgingly agreed that his definition of top and goalscorer differed slightly from mine; he re-activated my account and apologised. I really need to get back among the goals.

Tot de volgende keer

Is it cold up there?

"Is het koud boven?" as we ask in The Netherlands.

I don't trust Peter Crouch. He's always got something on the go. I was in Germany at the World Cup (you may not have seen me) to witness that ridiculous dance. This season if he's not moaning to the press about the gaffer, he's getting sent-off for outrageous two-footed lunges and then, after a three match ban, he comes straight back against Luton and scores!

Did you see who set up the goal though? Yes. That's right. Andriy Voronin: missing a one-on-one. Had I been in the right place at the right time, I doubt that would have happened.

I don't complain though. I just keep applauding all four stands at Anfield each week and keeping out of trouble. All this moaning and kicking and scoring on Crouchie's part is actually very good news for me. Really, it is! It keeps the media writing about him leaving in the transfer window and off other matters…

Tot de volgende keer

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Happy New Year

'Gelukkig Nieuwjaar' as we say in The Netherlands.

A difficult week started at City. The gaffer's goatee was bristling more than usual, I can tell you. I had never heard of Richard Dunne until I came to England, but he does seem an impressive player. Still, I've said that about many of the centre-halves I've come up against since moving here: I am constantly surprised by the quality of defending in the Premier League! I got the better of him once, though, and my brave header was only stopped by a world class save. When someone told me the goalkeeper spent most of last year playing in League One, I couldn't believe it!

I was hoping the new year would start better. This season has felt like I've been running to stand still and no amount of applauding all four stands at Anfield each week can cover up for the fact that I'm having a bad time of it.

It was good of the gaffer to rest me against Wigan so that I'd be at my sharpest for the big game against Luton Town. On Sunday at least three stands at Kenilworth Road were cheering me as I left the pitch. They clearly appreciated the honest effort and application I showed out there. I got into the penalty area a couple of times; I didn't have the ball at the time but the gaffer's always pleased if you get into the right areas. He's such a great manager. Harry and I often talk of his loyalty to the top players. It really is admirable.

Tot de volgende keer