Mick McCarthy has a reputation that befits his breeding of a Yorkshireman, with an Irish father, brought up in Barnsley. In fact the quote in my post on the match yesterday is typical McCarthy with quite a few asterisks.
Obviously, he and Roy Keane, would probably not hit it off, if they were the only two in a lifeboat from a sinking ship and they needed to row as a team to safety.
But in Mick McCarthy’s past, he played for Lyon in France.
So which language does he use to speak to Guirane N’Daw. As the player probably learned his English in Birmingham, it could be an interesting conversation.
The match at Portman Road looked like it was going to end up as a hard-fought goal-less draw.
It all turns on an incident in the second half, where Wes Morgan, Leicester’s caption got involved in a couple of altercations with Michael Chopra and then Daryl Murphy. He claimed he had been kicked and elbowed, but all the referee did was book him for protesting. he then made a big mistake and Ipswich scored. Here’s Mick McCarthy on the incident from an article in the East Anglian.
Asked about the incidents leading up to the goal, McCarthy said: “I think first and foremost he (Morgan) blocked Chopra by running across the front of him and then there was a tangle of legs. Whether Chops caught him or not I don’t know.
“That upset the apple cart a bit. I think Chops jumped up with his arms a it at a corner kick, but didn’t make any contact (there was also a coming to with Murphy).
“That would be the last of my worries if I was playing against Chops though. I’d be kicking the ***** out of him and be making sure he didn’t put the ball in the net.
“It got a little bit fractious. There were pushes in both boxes, I’m screaming for fouls, he (Nigel Pearson) is screaming for fouls, there are words between us.
“As a centre-half you have to keep your composure – because that’s what people do. As a centre-half I went out with sole intention to upset the two ******* I was up against, or anyone who came anywhere near me.
“I played against Mick Harford and Tony Cunningham. Their intention was smash me across the nose and upset me.
I was close to the incidents and we didn’t notice anything, but then Chopra was being the professional irritant all day, by harrying for everything.
A big factor in the win was McCarthy’s use of substitutes. He took Chopra off after the first incident with Morgan, to avoid further trouble. This substitution got Daryl Murphy on the pitch. I’ve talked to Murphy and he is very much the articulate Irishman, so was he winding up Morgan? At the death, McCarthy put Andy Drury to effectively keep the ball and stop Leicester from equalising.
It was all a bit different to the match at Leicester in November.
With Ipswich beating Leicester City today, it means that the game at Nottingham on Tuesday might have been worth a trip.
But it is impossible, without an overnight stay in a hotel, as the last train home leaves Nottingham at 21:28. As the football ground is fifteen minutes walk away from the station, you would only get a train home, if you leave at half time.
Now for Ipswich fans, this only happens occasionally, but I wonder how many Nottingham Forest fans live in London and will be cursing the lost day on their season ticket.
Yesterday, I took the train to Huddersfield to see the two Towns share a goal-less draw.
I went via Manchester Piccadilly, as I wanted to have a decent lunch in Carluccio’s at the station, where I know the wi-fi is also excellent, as it incidentally was on Virgin’s trains and in their First Class lounge at Euston. The same can’t be said for their food and drink offering on the trains at the weekend.
It was very cold outside and as I passed through Highbury and Islington station to get to Euston, it was actually trying to snow.
It may seem strange to get to Huddersfield via Manchester, but then there are four trains about every hour on that route. They are new trains, but are only three coaches and often are completely full with standing everywhere. It was a classic case of the Treasury deciding how many coaches should have been bought for the Trans Pennine route and then dividing it by three to fit their budget. It’s a pleasant enough half-hour route though through the Pennines as this picture shows.
Although, the cleaner at Piccadilly was a bit slapdash.
I feel right to blame the cleaner, as he actually came into the carriage whilst I was waiting to sit down.
I should point out that these Trans Pennine trains, illustrate some of what is wrong with the layout of Piccadilly station, which was probably designed by a Scouser with a bizarre sense of humour, to get at their rival city. These trains turn up at all sorts of places in the station and are often the second or even the third train on the platform, counting from the concourse. I think it was the third yesterday. It must be a nightmare for staff to get passengers on the right train. But I’ve changed trains at Piccadlly so many times now, that I know the traps the station sets for you. Hopefully things will get better with the Northern Hub works. But this won’t be fully implemented until 2018.
At present. there are two solutions for passengers to avoid the problems; allow plenty of time and have drink or a meal in the station or take another route. For Huddersfield yesterday, I could have gone via Leeds, but that would have meant a walk up the hill in the cold to get a meal, as Leeds station doesn’t have a restaurant only snack bars.
The journey on to Huddersfield was enlivened with one of those bizarre incidents that seem to happen to me. A screw fell out of the bottom of my camera onto the floor. In crawling around the floor looking for it, I was assisted by a retired lady doctor from Hull, who like me had gone to Liverpool University. We must have looked an odd pair. I’ve now got the problem of finding a screw for the camera. Or should that be an independent camera shop?
Huddersfield station is not your ordinary drab station, as the picture shows.
It is a Grade 1 listed building and actually contains two pubs. Pevsner described it as one of the best early railway stations in England. The statue by the way is Harold Wilson. The football ground is a twenty-minute walk downhill from the station and despite Huddersfield Town not being on television very often, the ground is well-known to viewers because of Rugby League.
The John Smith’s Stadium was one of the first modern grounds to be built in recent years. As the picture shows, the view is good and I’d rate it one of the best seats for visiting supporters along with Barnsley, Burnley or Wolverhampton. You would never describe it as pokey or restricted like Charlton or QPR, although the stewards were complaining of the cold. So that must have been bad!
A steward incidentally told me that Ipswich had attracted a thousand fans. This must be quite a lot considering the distance from Suffolk and the weather. But on the other hand Ipswich, Suffolk and the football club must have one of the largest diaspora of any part of the UK.
I feel that the number of loan players that are allowed in the Football League is about right, with up to five loan players about to start and only two from one club. But the problem is that international players don’t count.
I know Ipswich lost 2-0 to Watford and didn’t play too badly, but they were playing a team, that was probably good enough to play in the Premier League now. And it’s not just me who thinks it’s unfair, as here‘s Ian Holloway on the subject.
There was a report in the Standard last night, saying that the clubs will be discussing the matter in the summer and possibly changing the rules. Here’s the guts of the article.
The club are third in the Championship after bringing in 11 players temporarily thanks to their owner Gino Pozzo having stakes in Udinese and Granada.
League clubs can only have five loan players in match-day squads but the limit does not apply to players, who have international caps. That means Watford have been to select players such as Joel Ekstrand, Almen Abdi, Matej Vydra and Daniel Pudil without worrying about the rule.
I also thought that UEFA stopped owners controlling more than one club.
After yesterday’s win by Ipswich Town at home to Blackpool, Mick McCarthy said.
It was a horrible, scrappy, scruffy, ugly, magnificent 1-0 win.
“I’m not bothered how we get them as long as we get the points to keep us in this league.
He was absolutely right. It was an awful game. But then so was the Blackburn game last week and I wouldn’t have given Blackburn a cat in Hell’s chance against Arsenal yesterday.
But at least the goal Michael Chopra scored yesterday, was a very good one.
I was of two minds, whether to go to see Ipswich at home yesterday, as the weather has been so cold and they were playing Middlesborough, which made it look like a defeat. I had even told my son, I wasn’t going.
But the weather was sunny in the morning, so I decided to chance it, especially as there was nothing much else to do outside.
I took the train from Liverpool Street at 13:30 and arrived just in time for the match, after the walk from the station.
But what was wrong. The weather had got cold and Ipswich seemed to be holding their own against a side rated a lot better than they were.
Surely, it couldn’t last, but then Ipswich scored four good goals without reply.
The manager, Mick McCarthy wasn’t even there, as he was at home with flu. So perhaps he should try staying away more often and leave the team in the obviously capable hands of Terry Connor.
Sadly, a lot of the fans stayed away too, but those that did turn up, left with lots of smiles on their faces. Some like me, questioned, whether it was all a dream or the result of too much alcohol.
The players too, played out the last few minutes of the match, as if they had thoroughly enjoyed it.
I think though, when Mick McCarthy returns he has a serious question to answer. How come yesterday, Tommy Smith scored two good goals from superbly taken corners? I can’t remember any goal from a corner this season. Or even a very good dangerous corner. Let’s hope he decides it wasn’t just good luck.
I have given up on the control system of my central heating and now use the damaged Mark 1 brain of a Control Engineer to switch the system on and off to keep the temperature where I want it. I have a nifty meter from Maplin’s, which gives me exact temperature and humidity.
Outside in the cold, I’ve turned to wearing my classic 1960s Liverpool University Engineering scarf. It’s all wool and I suspect, it’s rarely been cleaned, but it doesn’t smell too bad. Strangely, this morning, the BBC are at Hainsworth in Pudsey. They’re doing fairly well considering the recession, by selling cloth all over the world. They still make the all-wool cloth for university scarves like mine. They’ve also just said, that South Africa is the biggest market for blankets in the world.
I’ve also just ordered myself a cashmere football scarf in Ipswich Town’s colours from a company called Savile Rogue. If that doesn’t fix the weather nothing will.
This morning on BBC Radio 5, they are talking about the high cost of watching your team in away matches. Admittedly, they were talking mainly about supporting Premiership teams, but there are various issues. The Football Supporters Federation is probably going to start a campaign about it all.
I didn’t go yesterday to see Ipswich play at Cardiff, as the weather just seemed it might be a bit too much. The cost didn’t deter me, although it would have been about £80 return to the Welsh capital. That is First Class with a Senior Railcard.
If I look at other matches I’ve been to I could make a list. Note that I live in London, so although I’m supporting Ipswich, any prices are from the London station, which of course is free for me to get to.
Barnsley – This is one of my favourite trips, as the ticket is always good value and for some reason you can often get good value on the trains. This year I paid £40.95. The stadium is a short uphill walk from the station and everyone was their usual friendly selves, although the seats aren’t the most comfortable. The view is good though. I’d give the whole experience 8/10. It could be improved by a better train service from Sheffield.
Birmingham – I seem to remember this was an expensive ticket and because I was coming from a dinner in Liverpool, can’t quote a ticket price. But I did do the trip for the Aston Villa cup game for £31. The walk to the ground from the local station is very dangerous, as is the station, but the ground was friendly, even if the seats and the view weren’t the best. I’ll give it 4/10, mainly because of that walk and the dreadful local station.
Bolton – This ticket was good value, I seem to remember, and it was a good trip up by train for £79. Everyone was friendly and the seat and view were excellent. I had got my lunch in Carluccio’s in Piccadilly station. I’ll give it 7/10. The only bad bit was the overcrowded trains from Manchester to and from the Reebok.
Brighton – The ticket was again good value, but I got there by a deliberately roundabout route for virtually nothing. Everything at the stadium was excellent, although I did eat in the city centre. I’d give the experience 9/10 and the weather -5/10. It was not a day for doing anything except swimming.
Charlton – I got to this ground free and the ticket was expensive for a crowded seat and a bad view. I’d just give it 5/10.
Crystal Palace – I bought this ticket at the gate and there was no discount, but as I got there for nothing on my Freedom Pass, I can’t complain. But I can complain about the state of the ground, the seat and the view. I’d give it 5/10 at most.
Hull – This was another good value ticket and I got home from Hull for £42.25. I’d gone up to York to see a friend and have lunch, so as I had an excellent gluten free meal on the train coming down, it was a day when I ate very well. I walked to the excellent stadium and everyone was a clone of those at Brighton. i.e. friendly and helpful. Like Brighton, I’ll give it 9/10.
Leeds – The ticket was one of the more expensive, as Leeds don’t do Seniors and the fare up on East Coast was £78.80. We got a reasonably friendly reception from stewards, a hard seat with a reasonable view and I can’t comment on the food as I ate in Carluccio’s in the City Centre, with my friend and her daughter. I’d rate the experience at 4/10. A bus from the station would help a lot here.
Leicester – This was a disastrous game, but I can’t complain about the ticket, the stadium and the stewarding. The train was expensive and virtually empty at £64.35 and there is no easy way to get to the stadium except a long walk. It’s worth no better than 6/10.
Wolverhampton – I actually forgot the ticket I’d bought for £24, so I bought another at the ground for just £14. The return ticket from Euston was just £30 or so. Everybody was very friendly, including the Police, the seats and the view were excellent and I wrote a post about it. My rating would be 10/10, as I can’t think of anything that could have been better.
I shall be adding to this list with visits for the rest of this season. I shall also probably add a few views of other stadia, I’ve been to since I moved to London.
I can split the clubs into groups.
Clubs to Always Visit
Barnsley, Brighton, Hull, Wolverhampton
Clubs to Possibly Avoid
Birmingham, Charlton, Crystal Palace, Leeds
I think too, if you look at the train prices, you would avoid any train company with East in the name, as they aren’t good value. First Hull trains were the best. It also seems that if you book a few days before Virgin’s Senior Advance First is generally good value at a weekend. But then it should be as it is generally empty.
This notion is put forward today in Caitlin Moran’s piece in The Times.
It also contains the piece of information that Manchester has just one public toilet. That can’t be true can it?
I rarely get caught short, but if I am, I usually go into a betting shop as many have very good toilets All you need to do, if you feel guilty is to watch a race before or after doing the necessary.
Last night though in the Barbican, I went into one of the worst toilets for some time. The door had been spray painted by a vandal and the pan was slightly blocked and didn’t pull too well either. For one of Europe’s largest arts centre it was a disgrace and very inferior to the immaculate ones inside Ipswich Town’s ground at Portman Road. In fact on the whole football clubs do seem to try to get good facilities. I can’t think of a bad one and I’ve used toilets in perhaps thirty grounds in the last few years.