Ian Holloway: Kenwyne's clanger can be turning point
Draw with Stoke could be a huge result come end of season – now let's do the double over Spurs
Sunday 01 May 2011
Typical! First time we've kept a clean sheet at home all season coincides with the first time we haven't scored! I think that is known as Sod's Law.
We defended brilliantly against Stoke. I don't like to pick individuals out for praise but my centre-halves were fantastic – Ian Evatt and Alex Baptiste, take a bow.
Unfortunately we weren't quite as good going forward. Some of our more skilful players didn't quite sparkle enough, but I honestly believe that is down to how good Stoke are at doing what they do. They played their full part in what was a different kind of game to what we are used to.
How Tony Pulis organises his rearguard is fantastic. We needed to be resilient, we needed to be strong, and we were. There was one real heart-in-the-mouth moment when Kenwyne Jones went clean through on goal. Once again we created the chance for him because my midfielder David Vaughan took a throw-in when he wasn't meant to. It should have been Neal Eardley, our right-back, on that side of the pitch.
Neal ran over to get the ball but David threw it to him. He was not expecting it, lost possession, and suddenly Stoke were through.
Thankfully for us, Kenwyne has missed it. I'm sure Tony was chewinghim to bits after the game because they really wanted to win.
Maybe that miss might be the turning point of our season. Maybe next week at Tottenham – when we'll have nothing to lose because everyone in the country will be expecting us to get beat – we'll get a goal that bobbles in, then we'll dig in, get another one on the break and we'll get three points. Why can't that happen?
I'm in good spirits and very confident. In the last two performances we have deserved a lot more than just the two points we've got. We have been excellent and we are looking like we believe we can do this.
This could be a huge point come the end of the season, and we are still out of the bottom three. Bring on Spurs, we beat them at our place and knowing my lads the way I do, I would not be surprised if we did the double over them.
I couldn't stop Messi... legally
Never write anyone off in football, but it looks like it will be Barcelona versus Manchester United in the Champions' League final, and, although I love Spanish football to bits, I'll be cheering United all the way. Good luck stopping Lionel Messi, though. The Barcelona v Real Madrid match might not have been the best in terms of flowing football but Messi's second goal, given the situation and how tense it was, was a peach.
I was sat on my settee thinking back to my playing days and wondering how I'd stop him if I was up against him on the pitch. It had me stumped. Put it this way, whatever I chose wouldn't be legal. I don't even think you can try and do the old centre-half's trick and nail him early because he is so strong. Maybe I'd try to enticehim into a cage and then lock the door. But with that left foot he'd probably still magic his way out.
There are arguments and discussions about who the best players in the world are of all time, and he is definitely writing his name in there.
Maradona had the same sort of gait but it's not just Messi's left side, he also has a right foot. I've never seen anyone change direction so quickly and still be solid and what I like about him is that he tries to stay on his feet.
Can Manchester United stop him? I think so. They are disciplined and organised enough to win the ball back off Barça and they have the pace and power to hurt them. United, let's not forget, also have the greatest managerin world football, which helps.
Whingeing at Wenger isn't on
I can't believe the number of football phone-ins I've heard on the radio debating whether Arsène Wenger should keep his job. I had to pull over at one point and pinch myself to check I was not dreaming. Are they serious? We are talking about someone who is one of the best managers to grace the Premier League.
No one has a God-given right to win anything. Unfortunately for Arsenal, there are certain teams throwing money at it and attracting better players . Arsène also created a monster by going unbeaten throughout the 2003-04 season. They were The Invincibles and yet they haven't won a League title since.
Sometimes in life you do so well that you create a problem for yourself in years to come. It's like a musician who writes a wonderful, brilliant song – it's very hard to match it.
I just find it crazy how someone as good as Arsène can be criticised, but, if you are at Arsenal, you know the fans expect silverware. Familiarity breeds contempt and maybe it is getting a bit like that. But for me Arsèneis a genius and if he ever did leave, he could take his pick of top clubs.
Armfield deserves the best
Tonight I'm attending a dinner for Jimmy Armfield to celebrate the unveiling of a statue in his honour. Jimmy is a fantastic fella who I have got to know quite well over the last couple of years, and it is a privilege to be a friend of a former England captain and someone who played for Blackpool for so long and so successfully. Jimmy stayed at Blackpool his entire career and there won't be many people in years to come who can boast about being a one-club man. He was here from 1954 to 1971, playing 627 games, and that is some achievement.
The statue – which is situated outside the stadium – is fantastic. Jimmy is an ambassador for the game and for people in general, and he deserves all the credit he is going to get.
Don't take her for granted William or I'll have to slap you
Well done to William and Kate. I'm not one for putting bunting up and waving a Union Jack about, but I must admit I do love a good Royal wedding. Unfortunately I didn't get to see it live because us football people were just about the only ones not to get a day off. While they were getting hitched, I was out on the training ground with my players, but I saw plenty of it on the news later.
My claim to fame is that I know William a little from when he came to watch our 2-1 home win over Wolves (when Luke Varney scored that wonder goal) earlier in the season. He was at a friend's stag do. They came to Blackpool and he asked to meet me. We had a good chat and he was a lovely young fella. In fact we got along so well I can't believe I didn't get an invite to the big bash!
He is a credit to his mother and both he and Kate looked fantastic on the day. I think that they are a very fresh young couple and they are the future of our country.
All I would say is: "Be good to each other". That's what I always write on a wedding card because surely, if you marry someone you care about that person more than anyone else. So don't take her for granted, Will, or I'll have to slap you!
I'm not seeing red over Green
I noticed that Alan Green had a pop in a newspaper column, saying he was getting fed up of me and he wouldn't be sorry to see Blackpool go down. Anyone expecting me to bite back is going to be disappointed because I have no problem with that at all.
I have listened to his commentary on the BBC and I like him. He is very good at his job.
One thing that you should never do in life is sit on the fence, and I don't think he does. He says it how it is. I don't think he means to upset anyone but if you are paid to give an opinion on things, then naturally you will offend people from time to time.
I am not going to shoot anyone down for doing that because I think that I'm the same – if I'm asked for an opinion, I'll give it, and if it upsets someone so be it.
As long as those who give it out can take it, then fine. Alan's comments are water off a duck's back. We are both trying to be good at our job. If he doesn't think I am, then fine – that is his choice.
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