Sunday, October 15, 2006

The gap is there

My visit to Lancashire to see now second placed Burnley defeat Hull City 2-0 confirmed for me that there is a clear gap in standard between the Premiership and the Championship. Possession is won back more easily and the ball is often cleared out of defence with a good hoof that goes high into the air.

The journey to the ground was a bit different from usual as it took me through the worst area of urban desolation I have seen in Britain and the worst I have seen anywhere since a visit to Baltimore Md. With the former mills turned into retail outlets, the population of Burnley has slumped from over 100,000 to 50,000. Given the number of other teams nearby, and the fact that the surrounding area us largely rural, it is a credit to the enthusiasm for football that over 11,500 turned out to see this game.

When we got to our seats, we found that they were wooden. And sitting in front of us were two elderly gentlemen with flat caps wearing mufflers against the balmy October air.

Burnley started brightly and were 2-0 up in ten minutes and so the score remained. Burnley took their foot off the gas, but Hull were so bad they were unable to get back into the game. The frustration eventually got to one of the Hull strikers, bearded ex Macclesfield maestro Jon Parkin. When he once again failed to connect with a pass and saw it go out of play he slammed the ball into the stand to laughter and jeers.

Ex Addick Danny Mills was playing for Hull. He earned an early yellow card and his petulance nearly led to him being sent off if it had not been for the leniency of referee Mr A Penn who seemed to take an 'it's a man's game' attitude to tackles from behind. His linos had absolutely no idea of the offside rule, reflected in the slowest and latest raising of flags I have ever seen.

The outstanding Burnley player was undoubtedly speedy winger Steve Jones, but so fast was he that most of his team mates were unable to keep up with him. Burnley keeper Brian Jensen had a party trick of putting the ball on the ground after a save and inviting an opposition striker forward, then lifting it at the last minute with a broad grin, a party trick I felt sure would go wrong eventually.

All in all, it was an enjoyable game. We weren't the only Addicks who had headed north to see a game, as we bumped into a couple at the National Football Museum on Sunday morning who had come up to see Preston beat Sunderland. The museum, by the way, is well worth visiting if you are up that way.


Blogger Kappacino Kid said...

Maybe Dowie should show this to the team, 5 minutes before kickoff tomorrow ... Look where you could be!!! Danny Mills loanee to Hull City, how low can you fall and thanks for the transfer fee that enabled are promotion back to the Prem. when you demanded to leave a relegated Club.

8:31 PM  

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