Saturday, 12 June 2010

The World Cup has begun, but can we really win it?

So, last night the World Cup begun. Lots of colour, flair, excitement and energy surrounding the beginning of the Rainbow Nation's first ever World Cup is probably going to be the only thing  to stay consistent throughout the whole tournament. But it started off, after so much hype, a low scoring but interesting game between Mexico and South Africa, in quite boring fashion. No big goalscoring game, no big refereeing mistakes, nothing. But then, France v Uruguay was the next game. Surely a game with two teams as good as they are will produce something.

On the contrary, this game was one of the most boring I have seen. Many people on the BBS, a Palace fans' forum board, have said that we only think it is boring because of the hype surrounding the World Cup, and because it is the world's biggest stage, we expect a bit more, but really, it was just dull.

So can England, the team that invented the beautiful game, produce something interesting tonight? As I write this I am watching Argentina v Nigeria, and Argentina are 1-0 up. Despite this lack of goals, it is a very enjoyable game. And no, it isn't because of Messi, it is because, as much as I hate to say it, Maradona's side are playing very good football.

This, according to ITV and BBC commentator's, is what Capello has got England doing. Every game, and listen for it tonight against the USA, the commentator's say at least once: "Capello has got England playing their best football for years." If this was the case, we would have won all of our games comfortably. We didn't and it isn't.

The problem is, every time somebody talks about England to me, I mention how our squad is too old now, and our squad in 2006 was better. They then come back with the usual "we have got Rooney/Lampard/Gerrard" depending on which big 4 team they chose to support despite not living locally to them. But the truth of the matter is this: Capello is a good manager, but doesn't play good football, and doesn't have a good squad.

However, the shocking display from France last night gave me, for the first time in a long time, a glimmer of hope.

We should really win our group, and as I am sure everybody has I have been through my World Cup wall chart and worked out that the odds are that we face France in the quarter-finals. If they play like they did last night, we really should beat them.

That would leave us with Brazil in the semi's, but let's cross that bridge when we come to it!


Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Sky show where their priorities lie as Palace are saved

As if I needed any more proof that Sky couldn't care less, today they showed their true colours.

As everybody knows, CPFC was close to being entered into liquidation today. Yesterday, at 1PM, it emerged that the CPFC 2010 consortium had been set a deadline of 3PM today to agree an anti-embarrassment clause with Lloyds Bank, who owned the ground. The two parties had agreed a fee for Selhurst Park, but Lloyds wanted an over-the-top anti-embarrassment fee. The anti-embarrassment fee is in place to stop CPFC 2010 from selling the ground on to developers and making a profit, thus embarrassing the Bank. However, Lloyd's wanted a ridiculous fee, and so there was a disagreement over said fee. As it was a bank holiday, no negotiations were taking place, so when this news came in it was quite a surprise.

Today, as 3PM approached, there had been whispers coming from London that we may be saved, however nothing concrete. More or less the whole day Sky had been switching between England World Cup squad announcements and Palace updates, so it was expected this would continue. However, at 3PM, Georgie Thompson and Sky seemed to forget that Palace existed, not for the first time I hasten to add, and instead decided to speculate on who will be on the plane to South Africa, leaving thousands of Palace fans in the dark.

However, I can sort of understand this, as more people support England than Palace, but it baffles me how speculation over who will be making it on the plane to South Africa is more important than the existence of a 105 year old football club.
But the blame for this top tier love in does not go to Sky. This year, despite the BBC denying it favoured the Premier League massively over what was then the Coca-Cola Championship, Newcastle proved this not to be the case when they featured in most of the Beeb's live games, and were almost always the main game on the Football League show. 

Since the Premier League was incepted in 1992, the so-called Promised Land has grown farther and farther away from the league below it, and as a result many many teams now find themselves in difficult financial trouble, Palace and Portsmouth being the most famous and worst of these. Sky have inflated the effect that promotion to the Premier League has on a club, and so now a club over spends and when they come back down have nothing to fall back on.

Being a Palace fan I felt the pain that administration and the threat of liquidation can bring, and really hope that something happens that helps close the gap, because they way we are going, sooner or later there will be no npower Championship for teams to be relegated into.