Burnley - Life of Brian
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Burnley 0 - Blackburn Rovers 1

Turf Moor

Sunday 28th March 2010 @ 12 noon

Attendance: 21,546

Life of Brian

Burnley put in yet another abject performance at Turf Moor on Sunday losing 1-0 in the big derby game against Blackburn Rovers. They fell to a controversial penalty after 20 minutes when Jensen was adjudged to have brought down Olsson. It clearly was not a penalty but despite the protests and consultation between referee, Mike Dean and his assistant the decision stood and David Dunn made no mistake from the spot-kick.

Yes a cruel decision but to be honest we deserved to get beat in this game. We were simply not at the races and that is what was so disappointing after all the derby hype from Brian Laws and some of the players. The team should have been up for this and shown some passion and grit but instead they played like something that rhymes with grit!

Seven shots on goal during the whole match with just three on target is simply not good enough and nor is the lacklustre performance in all areas of the park. I was ashamed of that performance and the players should be too. For heaven`s sake this was Blackburn Rovers! Playing like that was nothing short of disgraceful. To let Rovers fans keep the East Lancs bragging rights under those circumstances was a farce and no amount of positive spin from Brian Laws including whinging about the penalty will change my view. A 0-0 draw would have been a useless result anyway and we certainly never looked like winning it.

I seriously don`t know where our team has gone. These are essentially the same set of players that beat Manchester United, Everton, Sunderland and Birmingham at Turf Moor earlier in the season with such style and desire. They look a beaten side before they even kick-off these days and the fans seem to sense as much. Has Coyle taken their hearts and souls and left just their shadows? Are some too busy thinking about rejoining him in the summer or moving on in general? They just don`t seem to have enough spirit, desire and motivation to win under Laws even in such a high-profile derby as this.

Brian Laws clearly has problems motivating these players to perform to the quality required but at the end of the day the players must also share the blame for putting in such a poor performance.

I can take defeats, even against that lot from down the wrong end of the M65 but what I can`t take is that gutless performance. We expect better and when the final whistle went the silence from the Turf Moor faithful told its own story. That story was probably 'The Life of Brian`, in this case the Laws variety. His record I am afraid has been shameful. One win and one draw in thirteen games says it all-not good enough! A defeat to bottom club Pompey, defeats to Wigan and Wolves and now this against Blackburn? I was fearful that the crowd might take it out on Laws and the players but I think the fans were so stunned by that shocking performance they had no emotions left as yet another tragic comedy at Turf Moor came to an end. We are almost gone now and I don`t think any Clarets fan seriously believes we can recover from this and avoid relegation. Yes, of course it`s still mathematically possible but when you look at the team you just don`t have the confidence in them, something is missing, something is not working and Laws does not seem to have the answers.

I spent quite a bit looking at Barry Kilby in the Directors Box yesterday. Let`s face it; the action on the pitch was hardly riveting enough to hold your attention! His face said it all and you could almost read on his forehead 'I just may have got this wrong!` I will leave it up to you to decide what I mean by that but in the meantime I suggest we all start singing 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life` . We are after all being crucified by everybody at the moment!

The Clarets Team Sheet

At least Brian Laws decided to stick with consistency for this match and named his first unchanged starting eleven since joining the club in January. There was just one change to the eighteen with Carlisle returning after injury to replace Bikey on the bench. After the encouraging performance against Wigan a week last Saturday it was right that he showed confidence in them by naming the same starting eleven for the Rovers clash although it is a shame with the benefit of hindsight that they didn`t rise to the occasion!

Jensen, Mears, Duff, Cort, Jordan, Alexander, Elliott, McDonald, Paterson, Nugent, Fletcher

Subs: Weaver, Fox, Carlisle, Cork, Blake, Eagles, Thompson

The Full Match Report

Something is clearly wrong with the atmosphere at Turf Moor these days. Although Clarets fans are still turning up in numbers, the enthusiasm seems to have waned and the singing sounds half-hearted at best. As Clarets fans trickled into the ground, the Rovers fans shepherded into Turf Moor early en masse straight off the convoy of coaches were already in fine voice. In all honesty 2400 Rovers fans seemed to drown out 19,000 Clarets fans for most of the game and their taunts made it a miserable day for anybody wearing Claret & Blue. I just wonder what demoralising effect the Rovers fans singing 'Owen Coyle da der da da` had on the players. If anything it should have stirred them up to fight but it didn`t.

Clarets fans are clearly nervous and apprehensive. Alastair Campbell in the match-day Claret & You programme quoted US President Roosevelt who said 'believe you can and you are half-way there`. The problem is I don`t think the belief is there, certainly amongst the fans and that negative energy is being transferred onto the pitch.

Wirral referee, Mike Dean got the game underway and it soon became evident this was going to be a nervous, scrappy affair. Blackburn looked to have taken an early lead though after Olsson`s shot flew into the back of the net but thankfully the whistle had blown for offside. We were lucky as the offside decision was to say the least debatable but our luck would not last. Rovers took the lead from a penalty after 20 minutes following a blatant piece of cheating by Olsson.

Jensen was adjudged by referee Mike Dean to have tripped the Swede and David Dunn duly converted from the spot.

It was quite clear that Olsson took a dive and there had been no contact. He even admitted so himself after the game and is quoted as saying:

"I thought that I was going to get a yellow card. I saw that he (Jensen) stuck his foot out, but I might have overacted a little. When the referee blew I thought he was going to give me a yellow card, but it's up to the referee in that situation."

There is no point in whinging about it though. We were not playing well at the time and Rovers deserved to be in front. No doubt the statistic that we had not come back from a goal down all season to win a match was now eating away at the back of the players` minds because there was no improvement in performance, passion or desire for the rest of the first half.

The game deteriorated into a scrap in midfield with few attempts on goal at either end. Rovers soaked up the few attempts we had and their defence looked solid. We just couldn`t seem to get our passing game going and resorted to long-ball punts all of which were manna from heaven for the Rovers back-four. Our best chance in the first half came when Alexander and Paterson linked well to set-up Elliott. A clumsy foul by Samba brought Elliott down and he was lucky the trip was just a few inches outside the box. He was nevertheless yellow-carded for the poor challenge. The free kick came to nothing though with Samba making amends and heading away to safety.

Rovers came close to doubling their lead from a free-kick of their own when the ball fell nicely to Salgado lurking in the penalty area. He put his shot just wide though and the Clarets could breathe a sigh of relief.

The Clarets then had their best chance of the game to equalise with two minutes of the half remaining. Alexander from a free kick found Cort who controlled the ball well on his chest before unleashing a shot. His volley though was just wide of target and flew past the far post.

A disappointing half for the Clarets came to an end with Rovers deserving their 1-0 lead at half-time.

Laws made no changes for the start of the second half and at least for a time we now played with more urgency and passion pegging Rovers back in their own half more and more. We just could not break through their strong, powerful defence though and it was clear we needed a Plan B.

Blake came on after 59 minutes to replace Paterson who had been pretty ineffective playing out wide but we still struggled to break down their defence and indeed it was now Rovers who came close to scoring.

Olsson who had been a live wire all afternoon thumped a shot that hit the underside of the bar and the Clarets were lucky that the ball bouncing downwards did not cross the line. The Swede then brought out a save from Jensen after being set free from what looked like an offside position.

By now the Clarets were running out of ideas and goal scoring opportunities were few and far between. With the game slipping away from the Clarets, Laws decided to bring on Eagles with 20 minutes to go but the effect was pretty minimal.

Nothing was working for Laws and just to rub salt in our wounds; it was Rovers substitute, Di Santo who came the closest to scoring with his first touch. He headed just wide though

Our set-pieces were also failing miserably and we couldn`t even seem to put them under pressure from our free kicks.

The Clarets had one final chance with nine minutes to go. Danny Fox got in a low cross that just needed a tap in as it whizzed across the goal. Samba got in a touch though that took the ball away from both Elliott and Fletcher and the danger passed.

A very disappointing game finally came to a close and even the announcement of five minutes of added time did little to motivate the Clarets fans who were now resigned to defeat and probable relegation this season. Quite frankly this performance was not good enough although it was certainly not helped by some awful decisions by the referee and his officials. We deserve better than this but it looks like 2010 is not going to be our year unless somehow we can find at least three wins from our last remaining six games. Alastair Campbell in Claret & You said "Whilst there is belief in the squad, there must be belief among the fans`" Do the players still have belief after that performance? Clarets fans had to leave Turf Moor with the echoing noise of the locked-in Rovers fans from the Cricket Field Stand shouting 'We are having a Party When Burnley go Down`. We couldn`t even make a quick exit thanks to the Police cordons and that just seemed to sum up the day. Premier League? You are having a Laff!

Match Detail

Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Duff, Cort, Jordan (Fox 43 mins), Alexander (Eagles 71 mins), Elliott, McDonald, Paterson (Blake 59 mins), Nugent, Fletcher

Subs not used: Weaver, Carlisle, Cork, Thompson

Booked: Yellow Cards for Alexander, Duff and Fox

Blackburn Rovers: Brown, Samba, Givet, Olsson, Salgado (Chimbonda 84), Jones, Dunn, Pedersen, Nzonzi, Roberts (Di Santo 74), Diouf (Emerton 65),

Subs not used: Bunn, Grella, Kalinic, Hoilett

Goal: Dunn (pen) 20

Booked: Yellow Cards for Samba and Givet

Possession: 49 % Burnley, 51% Blackburn (Source: BBC Sport)

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Star Player

Only one person showed the desire and aggression to win in this game and for the second match running we give our Star Player award to Michael Duff who was head and shoulders above the rest of his team mates. He also picked up the fans texted Man of the Match award.

The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 29 2010

Time: 6:56PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Believe me I toned that down too!
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29/03/2010 19:06:00

Sadly it seems the board have taken the 5th amendment!
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29/03/2010 19:25:00

By 4.45pm on Sunday 9th May I hope that Kilby has the backbone to tell Laws of ye pop, I'm not saying its all his fault but he has to take a lot of the blame. Like you said Duff was the only one who showed any balls in the game and has for Cort he should never put a burnley shirt on again god only knows why Bikey wasn't paired with duff. The season started in a dream I cannot wait for the nightmare to end.
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29/03/2010 19:56:00

If we manage to stay up who will take the credit? could it be the manager, the chairman, the board? if we go down who will take the blame and resign gracefully? Or were we never good enough no matter what? I think with the right choices we could have been safe but then I can never know as my choices could never have been made. Lets accept our fate whatever it is and continue to give our best support to the club, anything else will be nothing but negative.
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29/03/2010 20:09:00

Fair points Cornwall - but we have to be allowed to grieve !
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29/03/2010 20:28:00

It would be very funny if we managed to stay up, God knows who would take the credit. I think Laws has been very slow in putting together a coaching structure at the club to fit the surroundings and the players. He had at least 9 days of the transfer window left. I can't believe he has only just started to stop us conceding over 3 a game, in fact I can't believe at all.....now where is that bandwagon.....and by the way I am really chuffed for Duff that he has had a crack at the Prem because in reality he is not good enough and should have been binned in the summer for a real Prem Defender and how the board and Coyle didn't see that is almost beyond me.....tfic
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29/03/2010 20:28:00

Fans power is a funny thing, begrudgingly who can deny that the Bolton's fans were right to try and get shut of Megson so that the club would eventually poach Coyle off us? Bolton 15th,virtually safe and 8 points clear of the woeful Clarets? Should we just accept things? Not so sure CC
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29/03/2010 20:29:00

i'm curious to who will take the credit or the blame also ?
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29/03/2010 20:33:00

The blame has to be put at Kilby door for bring in a man who could not do it in the championship, nobody blames Laws for taking the job, anybody would take any job when you are unemployed.
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29/03/2010 20:44:00

I agree fully with Phil. The players let the fans down big time. They let themselves down too. Brian Laws has to take some blame I hated it when he said I don't blame the player for diving how could he say that ? Talk Sport slated him for that because cheats like Olsson are spoiling the game I have been brought up to play the right way and would never cheat. But that said what a shower we were sado's headless chickens comes to mind for some players I would not pay them £1500 never mind £15,000. Duff gets 7 out of ten the rest get less than 5. We wanted Burnley heroes we got the opposite. I Been on a downer since the end of the game and still down now like the football club I love, Down the league table does not lie at this stage of the season no matter how many hard luck and we were robbed tales we relate.
Grimsby Claret
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29/03/2010 20:49:00

Totally agree about Brian's comments Grimsby - a point I have made elsewhere. Fair enough, Mike Dean got it wrong as he did for the goal he disallowed too but to say that Olsson was blameless is laughable. I went for a lunchtime sandwich today in Westminster and what do I see walking towards me but a Rovers fan with scarf resplendent and a big smirk on his potato-pie resembling face. Was inconsolable as I went about my afternoon activities I can tell you.
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29/03/2010 20:58:00

Blackburn deserve some credit. They stopped us playing and I'm not sure it's fair to say our players didn't try. Of course they tried. But Blackburn are a better team than us. They've been a Premier League side for all but two seasons of the league's existence. We've been in it eight months and have been dumped by the manager who was responsible for putting us there. In the first half we went for a policy of containment which is why players sometimes appeared to be backing off. When players such as Elliott and Paterson do this it is perceived as a lack of effort but I don't think that's what it is. We just played badly and lacked any fluency. When you look at the game we might so easily have levelled for 1-1. And although the difference between the teams was masked by the scoreline, it was a scandalous piece of cheating that won the match.
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29/03/2010 22:40:00

It's amazing what people say sometimes when under stress. Laws probably regrets saying that, but he was probably referring to the fact that it goes on game in, game out, and seems to be the norm these days. I couldn't believe what I saw either, when I watched the recorded match and still can't get my head around the performance. But I think a lot of it is to do with the pressure of our predicament and the added bonus of a local derby chucked into the mix ,seems to have had a major effect. Still not ready to condemn Laws , what's the point at this moment in time? If Kilby was thinking what tmp suspected then I'm sure he'll decide on action either in May or whenever he sees as the appropriate time. I'm just hoping that having got the derby out of the way, the boys can relax a little and start playing again. We're in a s**t or bust situation, and I hope Laws plays Blake and Eagles in the starting line up, to introduce some creativity back into the team. Let's go for it for ****'s sake and let's see the team that we used to watch, but with the defence closing down attackers as soon as they receive the ball .
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29/03/2010 22:51:00

Again I completely agree with WelshClaret - posted this on previous article re playing Blake and Eagles - "Completely agree with WelshClaret - defensive cover? Don't make me laugh. The reason that our defense is under so much pressure is that we are not holding onto the ball in midfield or attack and not creating any opportunities to score and not occupying their defence. Our main attacking delivery is from Mears who happens to be a defender and is therefore often completely out of position when an attack breaks down. Play Blake and Eagles and let Mears and Fox concentrate on defending. If not playing Blake and Eagles is shoring up our defence then wny do we keep losing? I too would like some 1-0 wins but I think with Eagles and Blake we would have at least a chance of a 2-1 win or a 1-1 draw. What's the point of being defensive and only losing 1-0? We are desperate - play our best most creative players and at least have a go and if we do go down we will go down fighting - not that poor pathetic performance we saw on Sunday." ozjean
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30/03/2010 03:21:00

I don't agree that the players aren't trying - they are mentally fatigued and easily despondent now, just as the fans are. The adrenaline that sustained us at the start of the season has long ago worn off. That's why I suggested playing Duff and a few others that haven't been ground down and want to show what they can do for a brief period in the Prem. I would actually give Gudjonnsen (wrong spelling!) a go in midfield. He's another who is keen to get a chance and he did well when replacing the always injured McCann in the ply-off final. We are desperate - it's time to roll the dice and not meekly fall away. I also don't think it's Laws fault. Coyle knew that the players weren't going to last the season out and that's why he jumped ship. It was Coyle who had the time in the off season to target some new defensive and midfield players but instead brought in more wingersand forwards. Laws tried to do something in these areas in the short time he had in January
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30/03/2010 03:36:00

I meant to add to the above that I think it's Law's fault for not picking a more creative side. Apart from Blake and Eagles what's happened to Cork? He's got talent and has done well and wants to play. Why has he been left out, is he injured?
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30/03/2010 03:40:00

Yes Cork was injured against Stoke and by the time he was fit again, Laws deemed it fitting to instil some continuity after a decent performance at Wigan. Thing is Wigan away demanded a different approach to Blackburn at home in my book. I thought it was obvious that Salgado's lack of pace was a weak link for Blackburn and Eagles against him would have been an interesting duel. "Always injured McCann" - well he wasn't until this season, he was always fit. Who would have thought when he hobbled off against Sunderland that we'd barely see him again. Could turn out to be as relevant a turning point as any for us this season.
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30/03/2010 08:10:00

Sorry but I don't think you can excuse the players for this one. They knew how important this game was for the Clarets fans, what it meant to win. They seemed incapable of raising their game with only Duff appearing to try. Something is missing, yes some of it might be lack of adrenaline & tiredness but that shouldn't be happening in a game of this magnitude! I bet if we had put out the reserves they would have shown more intent and desire to win
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30/03/2010 08:15:00

From what I read above we have a starting midfield of Eagles, Blake, Joey and Cork. You have some people saying why is he changing the team every week....why isn't he sorting out the defence.....why are we not attacking like we did with Coyle who got us one win out of his last 12 games with us...one win out of 12 then he left this ship on a crest of a wave...one win from 12 and in free fall and he knew it and so too did most footballing managers without a job....and then we end up with a choice Doncasters Manager or Leeds or Laws....Leeds have a Prem league set up and were riding high...how the mighty managers fall and O'Driscoll didn't fancy ruining his career. Laws had the Balls to take the job and I applaud him, may not have picked him or wanted him but I applaud him. He inherited players of the quality of Joey, Duff, Kalvenes, Thomson, Eckersley, Easton, Carlisle, Alexander, Jenson, Wade, Bikey which just reeks Prem Survival....I just can't see how he has not taken a squad like this to a European spot...11 players I just listed that I don't think would get on the bench in any other Prem Side this season...come on Laws sort it out we are waiting......tvffimc
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30/03/2010 08:21:00

I think it was right CC to select the same eleven for this one. I just think there has been far too many changes recently week after week (some enforced due to injuries mind) and tactics were getting confusing for the players. In hindsight, it didn't work. Pato looks wasted on the wing and Fletcher still looks off form to me. Pato and Nugent upfront with Fletcher on the bench might have worked better with Eagles on the wing
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30/03/2010 08:27:00

I think the club should have grasped the nettle and gone for a good solid central defender with lots of premier experience, it might have cost money but worth it as our defence has been abysmally lacking at times. With a more secure defence Susan's policy of throwing people forward could have worked better by not giving away so many soft goals. A leaky defence defence does not inspire confidence in players going forward either. Also it would give the opportunity for Blake and Eagles to show off their skills. One significant area we have shown lack of premier nous is in our lack of cynicism, perhaps only Arsenal , apart from us, do not employ the tactic of stopping promising moves by the opposition almost before they start, just look at Vidic, the defence loses the ball, he immediately stops the opposition any way he can, I think he should be given a card before the game starts but he is effective and this is life in the premier.
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30/03/2010 08:37:00

About Xmas time when we began our usual rapid free fall I said that come end of March/April we would climb the league again and end up just safe. I would like to retract that now as the way we are playing I just can't see us getting any more points. Yes there were awful decisions on Sunday by Mr Dean, but we were also bad. Totally agree with TMP get Pato and Nuge up front with Fletcher on the bench. If I had been Mr Laws I would of took a gamble on Sunday with Jay up front, as I am sure he would of shown so real spirit and determination.
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30/03/2010 13:53:00

Ozjean, this is getting a bit embarrassing, but nonetheless I completely agree as well, with your observations on the defensive angle, in that Mears and Fox can then concentrate on the defence instead of racing up to the other end leaving gaps behind. The old adage holds true, ‘attack is the best form of defence’ in that it will keep the opposition busy in their own half. The other point is that if Blake and Eagles are constantly threatening, more than one defender will be trying to cover them leaving more open space for Nugent/ Fletcher/Pato to operate in. And Wade Elliott who has been jaded recently, would also benefit from playing with Blake and Eagles, adding a significant threat to the attack. Where we disagree to a certain extent is on the point of Laws’ fault for not picking a creative side. In all fairness to him he’s been trying to sort out the defence, and although we’ve been loosing there has been an improvement notably in the Stoke, Wolves and Wigan matches , all matches that we could easily have won. Forget the performance against Rovers for a second, and the same is true for that match. They didn’t hammer us, they just seemed more up for it than us, probably because they’re safe and didn’t have the nerves problem. Personally, I hope he goes for the creative attacking option now and see if we can start scoring again, we’ve got nothing to lose. So many different opinions on here , every fan is a football manager ! As couch said on another thread , there’s no way that laws can please everybody ! Unless we win of course.
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30/03/2010 13:59:00

Concerning Mears and Fox concentrating 'on defence instead of racing up to the other end leaving gaps behind'... I am trying to remember which match under Laws it was that folk (VR - was it you?) were complaining about Mears and Fox not getting beyond the halfway line. Portsmouth perhaps? It certainly is a complex puzzle to solve. We cried out for Coyle to change things round more; now we want Laws to change things round less... well some do and some don't. One thing I can't see is how Stuart Holden or Vladimir Weiss would have changed anything if Coyle had been allowed to bring them in. Wilshere might have helped playing in the D. Kilgallon might well have helped too. Anyway, must dash before a crowd gets on here and says 'told you so: we should have spent more money by letting Kilgallon bust the wage structure'.
Couch Potato
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30/03/2010 14:31:00

Exactly CP, we cried out for Coyle to change things round and by Christmas we had won one game in 12 so the Christmas free fall did come early. Alexander and McCann both injured within 15 minutes at Bolton, I was there....all Laws fault...oh I forgot its not Laws fault it is without doubt the board of directors who failed to invest 60 million in players to give us a sporting chance of having a Prem League Squad. Coyle knew that the players Knew that and the backroom staff knew that and so they went to a Prem League Squad and Team.....shame on the Board......shame on the players for pretending to be Prem League Class.....Jenson lets open my legs up and let it trickle in (Spurs)....woops missed it (Wigan) I'll get that Robbie (Rovers)....Mears catch this Beast.....what me playing him on side again.....Jordan read Mears.....midfield....what colour do we play in....I am not sure I can pass to that colour.....Open goal and ............................Fletcher misses...Nugent.....misses....again and again......and Jordans sent off for a pull.....and Caldwells sent off for being in London.....and Bikey enters the arena...right arena wrong position.......and breathe..........................NURSE FFS NURSE have I had my morning pills yet
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31/03/2010 08:21:00

No VR £60 million is the amount (well OK nearer £40m)we would have earned/annum had we stayed up, £10m is the amount we wanted them to invest!...hang on is this deja vu,I am sure I just said that on another thread? :-) By the way are you seriously telling me the games against Arsenal, Villa and Fulham at home pre-Christmas suggested we were in freefall? I would certainly love to see us play like that at Turf Moor these days. Not one game at home under Laws has come anywhere near the energy,drive and motivation they had pre-Xmas. Coyle is and always will be a ratbag for what he did, but I think on balance had he stayed, we could well have stayed up on home form alone
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31/03/2010 08:39:00

I think we can all agree that the team don't seem to have the right motivation and determination SO I have come up with a plan ....................... We kidnap Laws give him an OD of Vins meication, send him to league 2 where he belongs! then we do the team selection, pre match talk and half time talk, tactics etc.......simple. We go on and win all our reamaining games.
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31/03/2010 10:44:00


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