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Roker Ramble: Taxi for Pardew

West Brom - condemned to still be only one league above us next season. Hull City - how to properly deal with protests, Shearer’s lack of English, Lescott’s lack of a pulse, Moyes’ motivational skills, Real Madrid and Mickey Mouse - more in common than you think and how to end a derby in Brazil.

West Bromwich Albion v Southampton - The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round
Haven’t seen my wallet have you?
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

‘Milkshake Duck’ was by far the best new term to make it into the Oxford Dictionary in 2017 and is defined as;

A person or character that appears to be endearing at first but is found to have an unappealing back story.

And if West Brom fans didn’t have a term to describe Alan Pardew’s tenure at their club, they could do far worse than adopt this one.

Rooted to the bottom of the Premier League having won just one of their previous 25 matches (13 since he took over) it’s not looking good for the Pardew/Carver dream team, and increasingly so after the Chinese owner sacked the Chairman and chief executive who appointed them in the first place this week.

West Bromwich Albion v Brighton and Hove Albion - Premier League
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Clearly, either news hasn’t spread to China that Mark Hughes is still out of a job, or they’re worried that if appointed, he’ll bring Saido Berahino back to the club. Either way, Pardew’s cause wasn’t enhanced by a three day bonding trip to Barcelona.

Not only was Pardew’s wallet and mobile phone stolen from a bar, but the team only spent three hours of the trip actually training and ended with four senior players being questioned by the police for allegedly stealing a taxi at 5:30 in the morning.

Doesn’t anyone else think this is fabulous? I mean if it was a group of youngsters you’d think they should’ve known better, but this was Jonny Evans, Jake Livermore, Gareth Barry and Boaz Myhill – guys who’ve been around the block a few times, and I think it’s hilarious.

Pardew doesn’t agree;

It wasn’t what we wanted.

Doesn’t anyone laugh any more (well, not in Sunderland, obviously)?

No one was hurt, nothing was damaged, no minority groups were offended, presumably the taxi driver got his car back – it was a bit of fun, take it on the chin and move on. I mean it was Gareth Barry for goodness sake – the man does yoga, it’s hardly scooter-based acid attacks.

Crystal Palace v Everton - Premier League
He said he didn’t like my downward dog!
Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Hull City – another team to inspire and motivate, and currently suffering from the increasingly common malaise of unwelcome owners. Due to having their match screened nationally on Friday evening, their vice-chairman Ehab Allam is floating ‘a number of options’ to stop protests against his family’s ownership being seen on TV, including;

Not putting tickets on general sale.

Yep, that ought to do it, although I would question his take on how things are at the club;

I think we’re the best run club in the Football League, and arguably one of the top six in English football.

Derby County v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship
Just in case they banned - this is what it would’ve looked like.
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Although how you equate refusing to let people into your ground in case they protest against you with being the best run club in the league is beyond me. However, at least the fans are protesting and it appears to be having an impact.

Back on TV this week was the FA Cup which between Rochdale’s late equaliser and Wigan’s resolute defence took my mind off the sheer size of Man City’s travelling back-room staff, which is starting to resemble a purple-clad cast of Lawrence of Arabia – less the camels of course.

Lewis Hamilton has 1500 people in his F1 team – small fry compared to Pep. Pep talks to one guy – presumably his assistant (I’m pretty sure it’s not his hair stylist), and the rest just stream in - unlike Hull supporters - take their seats, wait for the end of the game and then hug all the players. Nice job if you can get it.

Wigan Athletic v Manchester City - The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round
And we’ve still got seven reserve physio’s we can call in...
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

As usual the punditry served up more questions than answers. First off, can someone please stop Alan Shearer describing every goal scored as ‘one hell of a finish’?

Even if it is a ‘hell of a finish’ he needs a second line – I’m sure there are people at the BBC qualified to supply him with suitable alternatives so he doesn’t have to repeat himself on every rerun. I don’t dislike Shearer for his opinions, but you’d think he’d have enough time to rehearse what he was going to say?

Premier League Experience - Mumbai
It’s the only way I can read text messages...
Photo by Ali Bharmal/Getty Images for Premier League

I mean, apart from live games, do the pundits sit through the highlights on MOTD as they’re being shown, or do they just film the dialogue bits back-to-back? Either way he must know what he’s going to say for each clip, so it must be obvious at least to him, that he’s saying the same thing over and over again?

But at least he understands English, or is smart enough to look at the host when he’s being asked questions. Joleon Lescott looks like he’s suddenly appeared in a room where everyone only speaks Serbo-Croat. Either that or it’s been so long since he played the game, he’s lost all interest in football. How does he get a job as a pundit? Probably the same way he got a job as a player with Sunderland last season - it’s who you know.

West Ham United v Watford - Premier League Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

And he knew David Moyes, who this week will attend the England rugby team training headquarters prior to their game against Scotland this weekend at the invitation of England coach Eddie Jones. Why? Is the obvious question. His knowledge of rugby? Man-management and motivational skills? How to deal with outrageous success? Perhaps he can explain why he’s just added Patrice Evra to an already ageing squad despite the fact that he hasn’t played a game since November, or why West Ham have just been done by the FA for persistent drug avoidance?

Meanwhile in Spain, Real Madrid - despite being somewhat ‘off the pace’ in terms of league position and spending £226 million on players over the summer - are now intending to build theme parks reflecting their ‘history, legends and values’. One is planned for Madrid itself, but also China and Miami and they reckon that 2 million people will visit the Spanish park alone each year. Real claim that their chosen business model is the Disney Corporation which didn’t make a lot of sense to me until I realised that it’s just a natural extension of Kevin Keegan’s ‘Soccer Circus’ which lit up the eighties. The man is a true visionary.

Finally, in Brazil, where a derby clash between local rivals Vitoria and Bahia had to be abandoned after nine players were sent off, including six from one side, meaning there weren’t enough players on the pitch to continue. Vitoria were leading 1-0 when Bahia levelled from a penalty leading the scorer to;

Perform a provocative dance in front of Vitoria supporters.

The resulting fracas got five players sent off. Two more were sent off a couple of minutes later, then two more 13 minutes from time leading the match being abandoned.

Personally I think it was the hokey-cokey. Always closed the night at the church social in Ryhope Miners Welfare - there was just no following it.

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