FIFTH OFFICIAL

Knee deep in Brown

August 17, 2009
By The Fifth official
(Archive)

Apologies if one doffs one's cap in the general direction of one's own season preview (it's a cracking read by the way) but in it I rounded on Phil Brown and the loose gob of his that spews forth an unstoppable motorway of mumbo jumbo. Even I didn't expect such a pearler to come from his loose lips so early in the season though.

Phil Brown shouts
GettyImagesPhil Brown shouts... about himself?

Yet, in the aftermath of Hull's late defeat at Stamford Bridge, Brown blundered his way in front of a microphone and uttered the following. "We had three or four new players on show who are learning all about Phil Brown and what it is like to play for Hull City." Err, shouldn't that be the other way round Phil Brown? Clearly, Phil Brown thinks it is more important for his new signings to educate themselves about Phil Brown rather than the club they've just joined.

And what exactly is it his players need to learn about Phil Brown, Phil Brown? That we're all laughing AT you? That you're taking Hull City down? I'll tell you the one thing I've learnt about Phil Brown; he really does make this job very easy sometimes.

Less-cott is more

The steely glare Joleon Lescott received from David Moyes at half time after Everton had shipped three goals against Arsenal would have been the sort to ensure the in-demand defender could never give his wife children.

Word has it Lescott even suggested he shouldn't be in the starting line up for Saturday's tea time kick off because being stuck in the Manchester City vortex had left him in a fragile state of mind. I'm sure the loud boos he received from the home crowd upon his first touch helped no end, and strengthened his resolve to push through his jackpot move to Moneyville. If that didn't, the eventual score line probably did as Arsenal ran in six goals and destroyed the Toffees' reputation for stingy defending in 90 minutes.

Lescott would have to possess a mighty big pair of cojones to sidle up to Moyes' office on Monday morning and reiterate his desire to jump ship. Dave has probably demanded 100 cuddly toys from the club shop just so he can rip their heads off.

Hughes' slip-up

So far so good for Mark Hughes and his travelling band of egos (Shay Given and his jovial Irish brand of amiable-ness excluded, of course). When your biggest summer signing fires one into the top corner within 180 seconds of the season's big kick off you can rest assured it's going to be your day.

City certainly didn't have it all their own way at Ewood Park though and, as they will be on many occasions this year, were indebted to Super Shay for some super saves. Gareth Barry even managed to avoid passing straight to an opposition player in his own half before Stephen Ireland showed an incredible amount of patience to calmly slot a second and make the points safe.

The only disappointment for Hughes was the embarrassing sight of him grabbing on to Sam Allardyce's sizeable rump after he went arse over tit in the monsoon conditions upon their post-match handshake. Apparently he could hear Big Sam's voice much clearer down there.

Played one, lost one

Jamie Carragher nurses his injured head
GettyImagesCarragher was heartened by how Liverpool bounced back at the weekend.

How nice to be able to tear a leaf out of our tabloid media's hysterical copybook by proclaiming 'Liverpool in crisis' with the season barely having scraped the afterbirth off its chin. Two defeats from 38 games in 08/09 and now one defeat from one this term. Spurs on the other hand now have more points after one game in 09/10 than they did after eight last time. Champions League ahoy.

Glen Johnson aside, Liverpool didn't turn up and the pillars of Rafa's Premier League ambitions - Stevie and 'Nando - looked like they'd just wandered off a beach in Sardinia 20 minutes before kickoff. That was certainly the case for Martin Skrtel and Jamie Carragher, who were both so eager to clear high balls to safety that they head butted each other for the right to do so.

Of course, Rafa reverted to default '08/09' mode by blaming the referee for his side's defeat. He even managed to denounce the fourth official as being "too young" because Stuart Atwell had the temerity to snitch on Sammy Lee and his potty mouth after Liverpool were denied a second penalty. Perhaps Atwell muttered the words "well done at Bolton Wanderers" to Lee in return as he trudged down the tunnel.

G-Owen nowhere

The only notable element of Manchester United's meek victory over Birmingham was the feeble nature of Michael Owen's finish when presented with a golden opportunity to register his first goal for the club, and add a few more zeros on the end of his monthly wage in the process.

Wayne Rooney had already made the game safe after a tidy one-two with the post before his exquisite piece of chest control sent Owen galloping through on goal, no doubt dreaming of a badge-smooching celebration in front of the Stretford End after slipping the ball past Joe Hart.

But like a horse with a dodgy ticker approaching the last fence in the Grand National, Owen fluffed his lines with the aplomb we came to know and expect at Newcastle. His poker face melted into a picture of desolation. In a desperate bid to stabilise Owen's plunging confidence Fergie insisted: "The more you watch it, the better that save was." He was fooling no-one.

And finally, if you haven't already seen the truly unbelievable crime against football that occurred in the Championship over the weekend, nip onto any popular video sharing website, type 'Crystal Palace' in the search bar and watch the perfectly good goal they had disallowed at Bristol City on Saturday. Then listen to Neil Warnock's incredulous post-match interview and opine, like I did, that it couldn't happen to a nicer bloke.