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Roker Ramble: Oh Great, another international break... and the toon have their tea-towels oot!

It’s all go on Tyneside as Newcastle’s on-off-on-off-on-off-on-off-on-off-on-off-on-off-on-off-on-off-on-off-on Takeover is ‘officially’ back on - but yey, another international break!

Oh Great, another international break...

And so international week is on us, yet again. A mere four weeks after the last one - and a month before the next.

The other day there was a news story doing the rounds that, according to the Office for National Statistics, one-third of Britons have seriously wished death on someone else. Now I don’t know about you, but I could really get on board with that survey if it was directed towards the person, or persons who decided to schedule this batsh*t round of fixtures in consecutive months. Yet again.

Meanwhile, we have the will-it-won’t-it be called off debate in the fortnight leading up to it which could be a long-running plotline in Eastenders. Eventually, our match is postponed, as it always is (with the exception of Wycombe at home... which we drew) and we are left with the mother of all fixture pile-ups in April, and eventually run out of steam in early May.

Now before anyone starts, I’m not being negative, it’s just the only thing I have a blueprint for in League One.

In the meantime, other players will return injured (Xhemajli - thanks, Kosovo), teams around us will pick up points, thus turning the screw and leaving us looking distinctly playoff-y.

Repeat that again in four weeks’ time and we’re left playing the biggest game of catch-up since Matt Hancock appointed someone to go through his hate mail. All so that Tom Flanagan can sit with his thumb up his arse on a bench in Basel.

The solution? Call them all off - league matches, not internationals. Obviously.

Austria v Northern Ireland - UEFA Nations League
Actually he does sometimes get on the pitch.
Photo by Thomas Pichler/SEPA.Media /Getty Images

Finishing a match > Homophobic Abuse

A real jaw-dropper from Merseyside this week left most right-minded thinking people with the distinct impression that football has fallen down that big snake to square one - at least where Liverpool County FA is concerned.

Darren Wildman, the academy coach of Skelmersdale United’s youth team, has been fined for taking his side off the pitch after one of his players was subjected to homophobic abuse.

Makes sense, right?

The local FA released a statement - and when you have to put “in their defence” you know that they probably could have handled it better, saying they are “committed to tackling abuse and discriminatory behaviour and strongly condemns any actions of this nature.”

Head scratcher isn’t it? They punish the very people they are there to protect, yet only because their rules and procedures are clearly not up to standard. And what about actually supporting the player who was abused? It’s like the clock has been wound back 25 years, and then smashed over that poor kid’s head for good measure.

And also, how much do you fine someone who is working - no offence - at a pretty low level of the football pyramid? A set of cones? A small bottle of Tanqueray? £2.79?

I’m not a huge fan of stereotyping people, but the notion that a load of old farts in crap suits who are totally divorced from reality are making these rules might just be an accurate one.

Insane logic from absolute morons. Good job that lot aren’t in charge of the actual FA or we’d have a scandal on our hands. Oh.

RUGBYU-WAL-RSA Photo credit should read GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images

What a load of PIFfle...

Stop the clocks! Luke Edwards’ Twitter feed has lurched into life, splurging out the latest guff on the PIF takeover.

The man who has been ground down by Toon Army’s finest so much he’s now part of the earth’s core has bravely put his head above the parapet.

But wait! There’s George Caulkin! Finally, someone to put something into words none of us can understand.

Ah... oh no... there’s Ben Jacobs, and he’s right about EVERYTHING. Well, more than most sports journalists who have covered this case. He actually explained things quite well on Twitter, I’ll give him that.

So it seems the takeover is happening... and Mike Ashley is going to be consigned to an industrial waste bin outside Sports Direct HQ in Shirebrook.

Oxford United v Newcastle United - FA Cup Fourth Round: Replay
No... the biggest problem was finishing 2nd, deluding you into thinking you were any good.
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Now Big Mike leaving would be a shame for all of us of a red and white persuasion, but this has the distinct feeling of an all-your-eggs-in-one-basket type situation. Wouldn’t it be marvellous if the new regime fell flat? Meaning the only form of “entertainment” at St James’ in the next 15 years was the slaughter of a slightly bewildered sheep before every match?

It’s just a shame that Messi got his big move to PSG in the summer (sorry lads, he just couldn’t wait for you), and Ronaldo went to United.

Still, Mbappe is available for free next summer.

Mind you, it’s funny to hear Newcastle fans saying they’ve arrived at the top table - please don’t peg me as the portent of doom here, but I imagine there are more examples of billionaires who have spent 500 million pounds well, rather than badly? And surely this basket case of a club will fall firmly into the former category.

Ah, the look on the Geordie’s faces when they realise the limit of their ambitions is still 7th place. What do you think Man City are going to do? Bend over?

Plus they still need to stay up first. And sack Bruce. And get rid of Joelinton. And half their team. And... oh I could go on.


Starting XI: It’s time for Doddsball! Is this the team that Mike Dodds will pick v Swansea?


Score Predictions: Can Mike Dodds and Sunderland see off the Swans?


On This Day (24th February 2007): Miller’s late heroics send Sunderland fourth!

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