Wednesday, 13 October 2010


Keen not to corroborate Andrew Marr’s observation that bloggers are ‘very angry people’ subject to ‘spewing and ranting’, I kept my counsel last night.  Unfortunately the bile has not yet subsided and I suspect that it might persist until March, at the very least.  That is Northern Ireland’s first opportunity to make good the debacle in the Faroe Islands.

If we go to Serbia and win, then maybe - just maybe - I might begin to calm down.  How do you start to describe last night’s performance?  Is there even any point?

Eleven professional footballers, passing the ball aimlessly in front of the proverbial set of teachers and postmen, without a hint of threat, without any penetration.  And it wasn’t an aberration, however much the Worthington apologists will tell you otherwise.  That is how his teams play football.

Against better sides, who actually attempt to play themselves, we occasionally get away with it.  Last month Slovenia pasted us for seventy minutes, then Corry Evans bundled in an away goal and all was rosy in the garden.  Against Italy we were happy to sit in front of them, they were happy to sit in front of us and the inevitable result was a 0-0 draw.

Against limited opposition there is no forward gear, nothing extra, no ideas, no hope, scarcely any point in even being there.  On a heavy pitch Northern Ireland moved the ball right to left, ponderously, then left to right, slowly, then backwards, before resuming the sideways trajectory again.

When we do this against moderate opposition for twenty minutes, and lose, it allows the manager’s fans to claim that we’ve done quite well.  The colloquialism ’footering about’ epitomises Worthington’s chosen style.

Were there any positives?  Not many.  McGinn showed more purpose and penetration than his teammates in the opening period, but his delivery was poor and he faded badly in the second half.  Given that the Celtic player is returning from a long-term injury his performance was at least excusable.

Lafferty proved a nuisance to the Faroes’ defence and despite a few powder puff efforts his goal was the one high point of a miserable night.  He’s the only current Northern Ireland player who looks likely to score.

Otherwise there was nothing to redeem this abject, disgraceful, pitiful team.  I don't want to think about them, I don't want to talk about them and the fact that their next match is in a month's time makes it far far too soon.

1 comment:

Gary said...

Someone as pissed off as me with regards to that "performance". Makes me feel a bit better, sort of.