So here I am, sat in on a Saturday night tucking into Sainsbury’s ‘Taste The Difference’ clementines. Life is pretty good, you may be thinking?, well you’re wrong – and here’s why.
You see, the ‘Taste The Difference’ stuff is not that different to yer standard Sainsbury’s clementine. I still have to use a key (or a wife) to start the peeling off, because I don’t have any fingernails (more on why in the footnote). I still have to spit the fucking pips into a bin like I’m the starting pitcher for the Yankees, or even one of those old-timey bearded guys who sits on a rocking chair in Western films hocking loogies into a spittoon with an audible ‘ping’. Admittedly, they’re a definite step up from the Sainsbury’s ‘Basics’ clementine. I dread to think what horrible, cramped conditions those poor oranges were brought up in.
Where am I going with this? Well the reason I bought the ‘Taste The Difference’ product was… I don’t really know. You spend more, so you expect to get better quality. Even what you can’t actually ‘taste’ the ‘difference’, you pretend to yourself that you can because you desperately want to justify to yourself that those clementines were worth the extra fifty pence or whatever. I actually imagine that extra dough probably goes on marketing and packaging (I would appreciate any comments from Sainsbury’s clarifying this).
OK, but where does this posting relate to Huddersfield Town?
Four months ago we gave Stan Ternent the boot. It had to happen – the stubborn old fool was making all the academy lads cry and blaming everyone but himself for the team of mainly his signings run around the pitch like a pack of drunken fuckwits. In his fifteen games in charge he had won four, drawn five and lost six – amassing seventeen miserable points. Despite Dean Hoyle’s blah-blah’ing about it being for a ‘difference of opinion’ and that he believed Stan ‘would get us promoted’, this low points total was the reason Ternent was sent packing. At this point, as discussed in the previous post, in steps Gerry Murphy. Despite getting knocked out of the FA Cup at home to Port Vale in freakish fashion, Gerry, with the help of Graham Mitchell, wins four out the five games he is in charge to help us back up into the top half of the table (the sole defeat at home to Leyton Orient was, apparently, a massacre but we just couldn’t score). So that’s twelve points from five games. Impressive.
With great fanfare, Huddersfield Town announce a management team that sent shockwaves throughout League One (well, it should have done, but League One doesn’t really work like that – the fans of Hartlepool and Brighton etc. just raised their eyebrows slightly and said ‘oh’). Lee Clark was to come in as manager, with Terry McDermott as his assistant, Derek Fazackerley as first-team coach and Steve Black as performance coach. Clark was previously assistant manager at Norwich and has apparently been coaching since he was nineteen. McDermott was Kevin Keegan’s right-hand man at Newcastle in the early 90’s. Fazackerley was previously a scout at Manchester City under Sven Goran Eriksson and had worked with Kevin Keegan in the England set-up. ‘Blackie’ (he sounds like one of Prince Charles’ friends) used to throw drunken people through windows as a bouncer in Newcastle, but now seems to help glass-legged rugby players stop crying and can supposedly motivate dozy footballers with his friendly beard and jolly, affable nature. This was a real ‘Taste The Difference’ management team. The season starts here! NOTHING CAN POSSIBLY GO WRONG NOW!
(Aside: at this point I was looking for footage of a plane crash on YouTube to have as a link and couldn’t find one where no-one died and the video had the excellent neeeeeeeeeeaaaaaoooooowwwwwww sound as the plane heads down. Don’t look for plane crashes on YouTube by the way – it’s grim…)
Anyway, Clark and his high-priced team brought in several players in the January transfer window. Lionel Ainsworth is a short-arse right winger who has zero tricks. None. He does however run like Usain Bolt with his arse on fire, so getting past the left-back is a simple matter of knocking it past him and getting there first. He looks promising and, along with Cadders, means we’re probably covered for right wingers now. Anthony Pilkington is a winger who can play on either wing or up front. Such versatility means, along with Gary Roberts, we’re probably covered for left-wingers now. So that’s four quality wingers – each capable of beating their man and pinging the ball into the box. Now, given that our previous strikeforce of Keigan Parker (two goals, short, mental) Phil Jevons (two goals, short, lazy, useless), Andy Booth (two goals, permanently injured) and Danny Broadbent (zero goals, fuck knows because I’ve never seen him play) haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory this season, surely a striker or two was on the cards?
After being linked with every striker in every league (sample names: Danny Graham, Chris Porter, Rickie Lambert, Paul Gallagher) Lee announces with great fanfare that we have secured the services of Jonathan Téhoué. Signed, presumably, on the strength of this video, a brief trial where he scored against a team of Blackburn’s ball-boys and his agent saying he’s available on a free. He has yet to play for Town, however, due to the small matter that he is contracted to Konyaspor in Turkey until 2011. Now, I may know fuck-all about the ins and outs of a professional football club, but isn’t it better to make sure something can definitely happen before announcing it with great fanfare? There’s the usual bluster about taking it to FIFA or whoever, but the fact is we cannot play the guy and probably won’t until next season – if we offer him a contract because the contract he supposedly has with us only runs until the end of this one. Farce all the way around, down and back up again. Typical Town, if you like.
The second striker Lee signed is called Lee Novak. He cost close to a hundred thousand pounds. He likes to score goals and has banged plenty in for Gateshead in the Conference North in the first half of the season. Let’s get him in and see how he does, right? Wrong. Apparently, them getting promotion into the Conference is more important than Huddersfield having a player who can actually stick the ball in the back of the fucking net on a regular basis. Back on loan to them for the rest of the season – part of the deal you see. To add insult to injury, we have even now loaned them one of our other strikers (Danny Broadbent) as well. So much for us being a big club – we get pushed around by the likes of Gateshead these days.
The final signing is young Everton striker Lukas Jutkiewicz. So far, he hasn’t impressed. Instead of using his height in the box getting on the end of all those yummy crosses and making himself a nuisance for opposition defenders, Lukas seems to waft around the pitch like a paper bag in the wind. He tries less than Phil Jevons, which I didn’t actually think was possible without pulling the Huddersfield shirt off and donning one of the opposition. He also hasn’t scored a goal in nearly two years of professional football. What. The. Fuck. Did. We. Sign. Him. For?
Mind you, at least we’ve got rid of Keigan Parker – he’s been shipped out to Hartlepool on loan. Watch out both chip and knocking shops in the Hartlepool area – that’s all I can say.
Anyway, back to my initial point. As I mentioned earlier, Huddersfield had forgone Stan Ternent’s ‘standard’ management team because they felt that with a bit more cash, we (the supporters) would be able to ‘taste the difference’ with Lee Clark and his mob. Now, given that Gerry Murphy managed twelve points from five games without Lee’s carefully selected brace of wingers and hat-trick of strikers, guess how many more points this lot have managed in fifteen games (exactly the same amount Ternent had)?
Three. Three measly points. Won five, drawn five, lost five – twenty points in fifteen games. I don’t actually feel I’m tasting the difference here.
Footnote: Here’s why I don’t have any fingernails right now – in the last three games Huddersfield Town have either been winning or drawing, before the opposition have scored in injury time. Nathan Clarke equalised for Stockport deep into injury time last Saturday to celebrate signing his new contract the previous day, Dean Hammond celebrated his granddad inventing the organ by knocking in the slowest free-kick ever in the third minute of injury time to rescue a point for Colchester on Tuesday night and today Millwall stroked home the winner thirty seconds before the end of the match (and, incredibly, ten seconds after we had a corner – their defender picked it up just outside his own box and ran the length of the pitch like Forrest Gump – it was truly breathtaking to watch).