They’re All “Must Draw” Games Now!

So, after two days’ reflection I’m still not sure – was that a point gained or two points dropped?

Perhaps Rovers have invented a brand new concept – the “must-draw” game.

After all, we’ve just had two “must-win” games at home that, hopefully, turned out to be nothing of the sort. Six more draws might just suffice.

Blackpool and Birmingham were, we all told ourselves, the two fixtures in which we could afford no slip-ups.

But slip up we did and while things would have looked a whole lot rosier with 4 more points on the board and we certainly aren’t out of danger no irrepairable damage has been inflicted.

These things are always an enigma – are we currently on a winless run or an unbeaten sequence? Only the next game decides that.

While there was no suggestion on Saturday that we are going to take anyone apart any game soon nor was there any hint that we will be cannon fodder for any of our six remaining opponents.

On one website forum on Saturday night one fan summed it up thus: “All we have to do is avoid defeat at WHU and Wolves and win one other game.”

It’s probably true, and while it sounds beautiful in its simplicity, we all know it will be harder in practice.

That’s why it would be so much more of a relief to accumulate the necessary points as soon as possible and that would entail the relatively difficult but not impossible feat of beating Everton at Goodison then Bolton at home.

Certainly in Junior Hoilett we have a player capable of impacting on any game. Fingers crossed he stays fit. It is wonderful to watch a player make that step from “full of promise” to actually making repeated decisive contributions to matches. His goal was brilliant, a chance seized with footballing intuitiveness and finished with panache and coolness.

Let’s hope he is only starting his career with us, because if we go down we might be seeing the last of him.

Sadly, my vision of Roque Santa Cruz blossoming into goalscoring glory looked further away than ever on Saturday. There were unpleasant overtones to the reception he received when substituted too, and it will be sad if the memory of his blazing first season is partly erased from the bank as he labours unproductively this time.

MGP was the recipient of some particularly horrid invective from sections of the Riverside, too. He seemed quite stunned and affected by it. I can’t for the life in me imagine what unleashing a volley of foul-mouthed, intensely personal abuse like that lends to the cause. I am as critical and dismissive of players as anyone at times but I would never dream of getting in their faces and spitting out my anger while a game is in progress.

I’ve recently aired a suspicion that Steve Kean isn’t quite as in command as some think, and this was brought home by a simply astounding newspaper piece on Saturday morning which said he holds a regular meeting with senior players asking for their input, including asking them what time their wives would prefer them to report in for training.

If true, this needs no witty or caustic comment from me to emphasise our astonishment.

Toddled along to the cricket friendly, Leyland v Church, yesterday. What a wonderful sunnyl afternoon and it was great to just spend a couple of hours walking round with Furio, nattering to old friends from both clubs without any scoring or administrative duties to carry out. I’ve no idea who won as I left before the end but it was lovely to slink back into the rhythms of an afternoon at cricket. There were a few on, too, but I resisted the lure of the bar, where a Christening Party were taking advantage of the weather to swell the “gate” and sip outdoors.

I left with Church 92 for 1 chasing the Fox Lane side’s 178 for 9, an innings which was boosted by some of the worst fielding and catching I’ve seen for many a year – no usual friendly match excuses about the April weather being cold on the fingers either. Hopefully everyone was getting their bloopers out of the system early doors.

Can’t wait to see my mate Robby at the first Church league game and get his tales from his recent “Copa Libertadores” watching jaunt to Buenos Aires and Montevideo – perhaps he will be able to elaborate on what exactly the deal is with Mauro Formica!

  It was painful watching Rory McIlroy collapse in The Masters, no-one can enjoy seeing someone who has led for three days fall to bits with the prize in sight. Poor lad, hope he isn’t too damaged by it.

No live music this week but I watched a Richard Thompson concert from the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow on Sky Arts on Saturday night. It was very good, though the audience looked as if they had come expecting to watch a lecture or something.

This is a problem when both artiste and audience are ageing – I recently saw Nils Lofgren at Preston and while he was great, there were probably only about three people under 45 in the place. It was lots of old guys watching an old guy play.

Then when he played “Because The Night” a grey-haired old soul stood up and started doing that old guy rocker punching-the-air and shaking his unruly grey hair around thing and that looked even dafter than everyone sat down politely.

At least when you see Springsteen or someone there is a  smattering of youth down the front who don’t look like preposterous shaking their funky groove thangs.

When I was watching Christy Moore – also at a Glasgow show – the other night , everyone looked rat-arsed and un-selfconscious.

Richard must have thought he was playing to an audience of shop dummies!

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