Ian Holloway: We make a point – and so does Sian
Massey's decisions spot on as we end losing run but it's a good job she couldn't hear my language
Sunday 13 February 2011
We have been involved in some great games this season but none have been too much better than our draw with Aston Villa. First thing's first, thank God our losing streak is over.
I'm sick of picking up papers and seeing these horrible statistics staring back at me. It's depressing. Now they won't be able to say six defeats on the trot because we've stopped the rot, although no doubt someone somewhere will find some way of twisting it.
We needed to get a result and I'm delighted we did. Villa were frightening at times because in Agbonlahor, Bent, Young and Downing they may well have the four fastest frontmen in the country.
Their goal was superb. One minute we had the ball, the next it is in our net. Even though I was hurting about it, I could still appreciate the brilliant football. Well done to Villa, with talent like that the future looks bright for them. But for us to come back the way we did, and show the character and spirit we did, was heartening and we deserved at least a point. I'm slightly disappointed we didn't get all three, considering we played the last 20 minutes against 10 men, but I'd have taken a point so I'm not going to get greedy.
It made me laugh when Darren Bent was taken off and our fans started singing "what a waste of money". I'd happily waste £24m on him any time. He's a class act and it shows what we are up against.
Sian Massey did a fine job on the line. That whole controversy which she unwittingly found herself at the centre of was nonsense. All that matters is if someone is good at their job and, from what I've seen, she's spot on. This is the second time we've had her as assistant referee – she also ran the line after Christmas at Sunderland – both times she did a great job.
Mind you, it's a good job she was over the far side of the pitch – she might not have liked some of my language. During a game I do tend to come out with some choice words, let's just say it is the kind of stuff I'd never say in front of my mother.
It was good to meet Gérard Houllier face to face as well. That's anotherthing the media blew up – this so-called feud between me and him. It was all a storm in a teacup and it's water so far under the bridge it's probably in the sea now.
Thigh's the limit for Wilshere
When I was 19 I was five stone soaking wet, and I couldn't punch my way out of a paper bag, which is why I look at Jack Wilshere and what he is doing on a pitch and think, "blimey, this boy's a bit special". For starters, the size of his thighs is incredible. You can tell that Arsenal have worked hard to develop him. And where better for him to be? If I had a son who was a brilliant player, I'd be knocking on Arsène Wenger's door and asking if he would coach him because the man is a genius.
I'm so pleased to be able to say Jack is English because he really does look on the verge of world class already.
The best thing about him is his brain – he is a clever footballer and plays with a wisdom beyond his years. I just hope we don't build him up too much and let him get on with playing, in the way Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes were allowed to develop.
If that happens we will have one hell of a player on our hands because against Denmark I thought he was the best player on the pitch.
I enjoyed the game actually, and I haven't been able to say that about an England match for a long while.
We had a hunger and a freshness and it was refreshing to see some lads who looked as if they wanted to be there and wanted to keep their place.
We've just had a tournament where we didn't do very well, so why should we take the same lot next time? Maybe after that display, we won't.
Charlie should skipper Scots
I might have watched the England match in midweek but it wasn't exactly through choice. I wanted to see Scotland's game with Northern Ireland, to see how my captain Charlie Adam did, but I couldn't find it on TV anywhere.
All the Scottish papers were full of praise for Charlie the next morning. I was delighted but not surprised because although I was never an international player, I played with enough of them and, let me tell you, Charlie is as good as anyone I've seen.
The more he plays for Scotland, the more the world will see what he can do. He'll certainly become a regular for Scotland from now on and I have no doubts he will wear the armband and be their skipper one day, probably soon.
Sergei's an arresting sight – let's hope he can get us out of jail
Our new striker from Belarus arrived for training this week and for a minute I thought he'd been arrested. His name is Sergei Kornilenko and I signed him on loan from Zenit St Petersburg on deadline day.
But he doesn't speak a word of our language. The only thing he can say is "coach" and he says it a lot because we can't get him off the training ground. He just wants to run all day, way after the other lads and most of the staff have gone home.
One day Sergei eventually finished training and found our first-team coach. "Police car," he said. My coach is thinking: "Christ, what's the lad done?"
He's about 6ft 4in both ways and built like a bus so we thought he must have leathered someone and got himself in trouble. After a few frantic minutes of him shouting "police car" it suddenly dawned on us that he was saying "please, car". He just wanted a taxi to take him back to his hotel! It must be a nightmare for him because I'm shouting at him to come short, when to get into the box, when to spin, and he's looking at me and thinking: "What is this weird, small bloke on about?"
Thankfully the beautiful thing about football is that it is an international language and when he has the ball at his feet he knows exactly what to do. Sergei looks a seriously good player and in a couple of weeks – when he's fit enough – I think the rest of the Premier League will find that out.
I will miss Upton spark
I can't wait for the Olympics in London. I'm taking my whole family and I'm going to love every minute, even if I haven't got a clue which sport it is I'm watching. But it's a shame that the stadium means we lose another great footballing ground. With West Ham winning the battle to play at the Olympic stadium once the Games are done and dusted, it means Upton Park will be no more.
I remember Wimbledon leaving Plough Lane and it was sad. Goodison Park, where I took my team last weekend, was terrific, a beautiful, traditional ground. It's small and compact, and the atmosphere was something else. I'm not sure you'll get the same at a stadium where there is an athletics track around the outside.
Then again, football supporters pay so much money to watch teams in the Premier League, the least they should have is a dry seat and the amenities that a modern ground guarantees you.
However, I can't help but feel as if we lose a little piece of the game every time one of these magnificent football stadiums falls by the wayside.
Baggies have gone bonkers
If anyone can answer this, please send me a postcard. Two words, West Brom.
How on earth, when the transfer window is closed, is having the same group of players but a different man in charge going to help them? Jose Mourinho might be good enough to come in and improve results with the same players but – with due respect to Roy Hodgson – I don't think anyone else is. It is another nonsensical decision by a chairman.
I didn't know Roberto Di Matteo well, but when I met him he seemed a fantastic fella. And what a great job he did. I don't think people understand what it takes to get a club out of the Championship and into the top flight.
Then when you get in the Premier League, you are up against clubs who have had years of extra money.
West Brom might have gone up and down a few times but they've still had to control their spending compared to the other clubs in the League.
As long as you can compete in the Premier League, which they have been, you are doing a good job.
It wasn't long ago that Robbie guided his team to victory at Arsenal and won manager of the month. The world has well and truly gone mad.
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