Monday, March 12, 2012
Diouf: I'm like King Eric
Welcome to The Trawler, your weekly submersion through the teeming waters of life in the Championship, League One and League Two. You might be surprised what you find down there.
Diouf: I'm like Cantona
Doncaster's El Hadji Diouf was at the fore as his team held promotion-chasing West Ham to a 1-1 draw at Upton Park. The ever-controversial striker, who set up Rovers' equaliser, later berated the Hammers for not signing him and put modesty aside to compare himself to a Premier League legend.
"I was supposed to sign but they said I've got a problem with the fans," Diouf, who went on trial with Sam Allaryce's team last October, said. "But I'm a footballer. I can turn the fans around and make them love me. I've done that with the fans at every club I've played in.
"I think like Cantona. When he went to Man United in the beginning the fans didn't like him. But he turned everyone on his side because he was a wonderful player. It's a big mistake for West Ham not signing me because, if you see from the game, I love Sam Allardyce and he'd love to have me in his team.
"He knows that when I decide to play I don't think anyone can stop me."
Reading romp on
Brian McDermott's Reading made it eight straight Championship victories with a 3-1 win against Leicester City at Madejski Stadium.
Mikele Leigertwood's rip-roaring opener got things started for the Royals, who now find themselves third in the table and level on points with second-placed West Ham - who they'll meet in a promotion six-pointer at the end of March.
Lambert and Poyet pick up prizes
Southampton striker Rickie Lambert was named Championship Player of the Year at the Football League awards dinner in London's Brewery restaurant on Sunday night. Lambert has been in prolific form for the Saints this season, with his 21 league goals helping Nigel Adkins' team to the top of the table. "I have a lot of experience and I've kept learning," the 30-year-old said. "I feel I'm at my peak right now."
The League One award went to the even more prolific Jordan Rhodes of Huddersfield - who scored yet again on Saturday to take his season tally to 31 - with Swindon winger Matt Ritchie taking the honours for League Two. Crystal Palace's highly-rated Wilfried Zaha was named Young Player of the Year.
The Outstanding Managerial Award went to Brighton's Gus Poyet, who achieved promotion from League One with the Seagulls last season and now has them inside the play-off places in the Championship. Poyet celebrated the news by leading Albion to a 2-0 home win against South Coast rivals Portsmouth at the weekend.
Di Canio corner
Paolo Di Canio's Swindon increased their lead at the top of League Two with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against local rivals Cheltenham on Saturday. The Italian hailed an "incredible" result, but didn't do much for West Country relations with his comments about the opposition.
"The difference between us and the others is that we have quality throughout our squad," Di Canio said. "It is important for me to have all around the field at least seven or eight players who can play football.
"You look at the other teams, how many have they got? Cheltenham have Marlon Pack but otherwise it is just 'boom, boom, boom' long ball football. "
Notts County produced arguably the most eye-catching result of the weekend, with a 4-2 win away to League One leaders Charlton.
Jonathan Forte's hat-trick was the defining contribution for the Magpies, who have taken 16 points from a possible 18 in their last six matches. For Charlton, it was a second home loss in the space of five days, having gone unbeaten at The Valley all season until the visit of Colchester last week.
Port Vale crisis
League Two Port Vale have gone into administration and been served with a ten-point deduction by the Football League. The club have outstanding loan debts and also owe taxes to the HMRC.
Port Vale's administrators are now desperately seeking a new buyer for the club, with Vale manager Micky Adams given the unenviable task of trying to motivate his players despite the fact they have only been paid a fraction of their wages this season.
"All I want to talk about is football because I'm sick of all the other stuff after this week," Adams said after Saturday's 2-1 loss to Barnet. "All I'll say to you is, and I repeat, that I'm taking legal advice."
This week's 'telling it like is' award is rather ironically given to Crawley manager Steve Evans and his entire staff, whose media silence after their 2-2 draw with Macclesfield spoke volumes for the mood in the camp.
Crawley threw away a 2-0 lead at Moss Rose to make it five League Two games without a win and leave themselves sixth in a table they've led at various points during the season.
It's safe to say the volatile Evans won't have taken the result lightly and you can only imagine the horrors in store for his playing staff when they get back to training this week.
Leeds United picked up their first win of the Neil Warnock era with a 2-0 victory away to Middlesbrough on Sunday. Warnock has focused on defensive frailties since arriving at Elland Road and appears to be making progress - with just one goal conceded in his four games in charge so far.
"We now have a Neil Warnock mentality of being horrible to play against and not conceding goals," goalkeeper Andy Lonergan said. "We are defending as a team. We don't take chances at the back any more."