LASESARRE, SPAIN - AUGUST 5: Puma Orbita, the official match ball of LaLiga in detail prior the pre-season friendly match between Athletic Club and Real Sociedad on August 5, 2022 at Lasesarre Stadium in Barakaldo, Spain. Noxthirdxpartyxsales PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxJPN 195228971

Hello hello, another week has passed and I’m back to give you some random observations on what has transpired. It’s Black & White!

Player Power

It’s hard to explain what has happened at West Brom in the last month. Well, actually it isn’t – a manager was appointed who the players never took to and the results were hilarious. Now a more popular man has been placed in charge the results are back. Too little too late? I’m usually at the front of the queue when it comes to sticking the boot into Pardew and make no mistake, he is an idiot who is full of himself and believe he could change Claudio Yacob and co into a passing team, but it must wrankle a bit that so many of the senior players seemingly decided to down tools. Seasoned pro’s like Gareth Barry and Jonny Evans have hardly been in the papers during their careers but both have behaved less than stellar during the season and it annoyed me a little bit that Livermore stood in front of the Match of the Day cameras explaining that they are a tightly knit club and they have to stay up for people like the chef. That’s not an exact quote, but where was that togetherness four months ago? Still, Pardew looks ridiculous and West Brom might yet pull off the great escape. There’s some huge games this midweek, mainly Swansea vs Southampton. 6 pointer!

Full time in the EFL

The regular season has drawn to a close in the EFL and I hate to say it but I predicted Bolton would survive. When they were 2-1 down with 3 minutes to play I was ready to brush that prediction under the carpet but there you go. It was a surprise to see Fulham lose at Birmingham but Cardiff and Neil Warnock won’t care, he’s the master of getting it done against the odds and it’ll be interesting to see what happens over the summer. It’s one thing recruiting “the lads” for a Championship campaign but who does Neil Warnock attract from overseas? Money talks of course but he’s just a tired old barn owl who enjoys 4-4-2 and Coast. It’s a great achievement though it has to be said. As for the playoffs they’re always hard to predict, there’s usually a team with momentum but Fulham have lost a lot of theirs with the Sunday defeat. Never count out Tony Pulis, whilst Brucey has of course won the playoffs before. As long as it’s not Derby. Nothing against them as a club but every time they are on TV they bore me.

How well has Lee Bowyer done at Charlton? Shrewsbury were so good all season and now they find themselves in the playoffs, I fancy Charlton to beat them and Rotherham will go up in the final. A bold prediction. The playoffs kick off this week too, so keep an eye out for them.

Gerrard in at Rangers

Steven Gerrard’s dipping his toe into management at Rangers and it’s a very brave move by all accounts. What would success be? Realistically, they are so far behind Celtic at the moment unless there’s a change in the financial situation it’s going to take some inspiring team talks to prise the title away from Celtic. Establishing second place is presumably the short term goal and not to lose to part timers from Luxembourg in the Europa League qualifiers (if they get there) is probably not a lot to ask. It has however made Scottish football relevant again, as it has been very much the Celtic show in recent years. No doubt Gerrard will want some of the young lads from Liverpool to join him on loan and if the players can’t learn a thing of two from Steven Gerrard, they have no hope. It’ll be watched with interest.

Museum Fun

I went to the National Football museum in Manchester on Friday and having received mixed reviews on Twitter before my visit I wasn’t sure what to expect.

If you are a football fan, you must go. For what is essentially a free attraction, there’s something for everybody. I paid a bit so I could do daft things like hold the Premier League trophy and smash three penalties, but you may as well make the most of these things. If you’re a football nerd like me, it is worth going just for the radio machine – basically you can browse by club and listen back to commentary from either local BBC radio or 5 Live from your clubs most famous moments. You’ll laugh at Alan Green having to move his car during a live broadcast and get goosebumps listening to Beckham sending us to World Cup 2002. You can have fun commentating with Gary Lineker, try to complete some of the skill challenges or playing on the old arcade machines if you’ve paid for the extra credits, or just enjoy browsing the memories. The third floor at the moment is an exhibition of football photography, again so many great moments have been caught on camera down the years and your club is bound to be featured somewhere. Anyway, I don’t work for them, but if you’re in Manchester give it a visit.

That’s it from me for this week, have a pleasant week and I’ll be back soon.