Tap tap tapping on Dungannon’s door…………..

Posted in Irish League Football on August 14, 2011 by tomthehatchetman

The usual Sunday morning routine. Get up, a bit of brekkie, take the dog to the park then head to the local shop to pick up the Local Sunday papers to recap on yesterday’s Carling Premiership action. To my shock and surprise the first story on the local front that I come across is not any match reports but a story regarding my beloved wee Crusaders who appear to have incurred the wrath of fellow Carling Premiership side, Dungannon Swifts.

Our crime? Allegedly we tapped up Sean O’Neill before he signed up for us during the summer.

There is something I find quite ironic about this story.  It’s been hinted at by a couple of individuals on the popular Irish League Supporters website for the past few weeks that something like this was about to hit the press. Why is this Ironic? Well the individuals that hinted at it and the journalist that wrote it all have something in common……… they are supporters of our nearest and dearest rivals Cliftonville FC.  In actual fact Cliftonville have an ongoing dispute and unofficial boycott of Dungannon’s social club themselves due to a previous incident were Dungannon went knocking on the IFA’s door over an alleged misdemeanour by Cliftonville. The bad blood was confirmed as late as 2 weeks ago when 2 prominent members of Cliftonville confirmed their continued anger at Dungannon on the ILS website.

There is no quotes from any Dungannon official contained in the article and publicly at least there has been no comment from Dungannon about this alleged tapping up.

One does have to ask, why now? If tapping up has taken place why is the complaint only being made in the second week of the season in regards a player that made their competitive debut for weeks ago?

I would find it very hard to believe that Crusaders and more specifically Stephen Baxter would intentionally go out of his way to tap up a player. It’s not how we operate as a club and in my opinion it’s definitely not how Stephen Baxter operates as a manager or as a person.

I have very strong views on the transfer system that we have in place in football not just locally but worldwide and the restrictions that places on players but that’s a subject for another blog.

I will watch on with interest as to how this story develops but I hope that for Dungannons sake they have some concrete evidence rather than rumours and hearsay on the internet as it would be a shame to see the previous good relationship between Dungannon and Crusaders destroyed over this.




At least Dick Turpin wore a mask……..

Posted in Irish League Football on August 6, 2011 by tomthehatchetman

Well opening day of the 2011 – 2012 Carling Premier League season didn’t quite go to plan with the Glens snatching a 90th minute winner at Seaview.

Daylight robbery is the expression that comes to mind.

Up until the Glens took the lead it would be a fair and unbiased comment to make that they were comfortably the better side. Crusaders didn’t really get out of the blocks and got what they deserved which was to find themselves 1-0 behind.

Going behind seemed to spark us into life, which is the most frustrating aspect of supporting Crusaders over the past 18 months. We can at times be incredibly slow starters and on numerous occasions we haven’t got out of 1st gear until we find ourselves 1-0 down. Don’t get me wrong more times than not we have managed to turn around the deficit to win or draw matches but there is no excuse for constantly finding yourself behind before you start playing to your full potential.

This is something that the management team need to work on if they want the team to take the next step from title challengers to title winners. We can’t afford to be constantly chasing games.

Back to today’s match. After going behind Stuarty Dallas picked up a knock and was substituted for the impressive and very hungry looking Davy “chesty” Rainey who based on today’s performance has to be the first name on the team sheet for our next match “away at seaview” to Carrick Rangers.

Davy showed all his usual hunger and trickery and galvanised us back into action. It wasn’t however to be chestys day, twice being denied by wonder saves from the serial timewaster, Elliot Morris.

The equalizer eventually came from a towering header by East Belfast’s favourite son, Colin Coates.

After equalising we continued to pile on the pressure but alas with the clock ticking the glens hoofed it up the pitch won a corner in the dying seconds and the rest as they say is history.

I am going to be very interested to see how Stanley Baxter man manages this season, now that he has so many options at his disposal. I wasn’t surprised to see Paul Leeman start todays game against his old club as Mags was recovering from a knock and I am sure Baxter was hoping for a positive reaction from Leeper given what happened to him at the Oval. I felt though that the understanding that Mags and Coates have just wasn’t mirrored in the Coates/Leeman partnership and I will be very surprised if Mags is not restored to the team next Saturday.

The other big talking point is, can Owens and Adamson play with eachother? Personally I felt we tried to be very direct first half and that for me goes complete against the attractive brand of football that we have been playing for the last few years under Stanley’s management. When Rainey came on we got the ball down on the deck and played some very good fast paced attractive football. It’s hard to judge on the basis of one match but I do have concerns that whilst both are excellent players that Owens and Adamson are too similar to play as our front two.

Two other quick things to mention.

I noticed with interest that Jimmy Krankie couldn’t help himself but have another pop at the Seaview surface on the radio after the match despite the fact they had just won on it. I’ll be interested to see if we here any complaints from him come the winter time when he is faced with a fixture pile up due to constant postponed matches on the grass pitches of the Irish league that are simply not good enough to cope with our winter weather conditions.

Finally, I ridiculed a certain Glentoran supporting hack during the week for his assumption on the new Social Club NI podcast that Glentoran are better than Crusaders 1 to 11. I seen nothing today that makes me think any different about the ridicule I dished out as we had 4 players who many consider would be part of our strongest 11 out either injured or suspended. I will however acknowledge though that Glentoran are better than I expected them to be and Carson in particular is worth his wage for his set piece delivery alone. Jimmy Krankie apart from his slabbering about our pitch is someone who I have a quiet admiration for as I think he has the toughest job currently in Irish league football. You can tell though that he lives and breathes Glentoran and the passion that he displays is quite obviously starting to rub off on his players.

Till the next time, KEEP THE FAITH!