The Saddlers' Pent-Up Anger
After thinking for so long that 'it's just another game', isn't it horrible to find out that the opposition don't like you? I mean, really don't like you.
I suppose it'd make sense for us to have a rivalry with tonight's opponents Walsall. Geographically we're not a million miles away from each other and we are similar sized clubs, albeit Walsall have a little less going for them. We've had our run ins in the past, the play-offs in the 90's, the Championship survival seasons in the late 90's early 00's and our relegations a few years ago.
However we Crewe fans clearly missed the bit where our rivalry with the Saddlers made the Milan derby look a tame affair. Mark Jones, a blogger for the Express & Star, thankfully filled us in. They hate us.
He argues that Dario is ungracious in defeat and never sees a problem in his own side (Funnily enough, that seems to describe Mr Jones too). The 12 Fair Play awards must all be a conspiracy too; despite regularly being the fairest team in the league by a huge margin Mark claims we're actually just a bunch of dirty cheats.
That's not our only problem, because we haven't really produced a decent player from the academy. Let's skim past Dean Ashton, Danny Murphy, Rob Hulse & Rob Jones, let's go straight to the flops, says Mark Jones.... Seth Johnson and Gareth Whalley. Somehow two Premiership players, one England international and a pair that have amassed over £11million in transfer fees between them are flops.
Forgetting that Seth Johnson's career was effectively over through injury by the age of 23, this writer has clearly believed the rubbish some Leeds United fans spout. An over inflated transfer fee at a crazy time in football from one of the craziest clubs does not necessarily mean Johnson would not have gone on to have a hugely successful career in the Premier League and for England.
Let's face it, if Walsall ever produced a player of Seth's quality there would be a junction of the M6 named after him.
For Mark Jones, the actual good players don't even qualify as one of Sir Dario's master pieces. David Platt, Neil Lennon and Robbie Savage all came from the likes of Man Utd and Man City as teenagers. Dario can't take the credit for their careers it seems, they only went to the basement of the Football League for a mini-break before their international careers kicked off.... perhaps?
As for Nicky Maynard vs Matty Fryatt. Let's not even go there, I could reel off a page full of stats comparing the two that would leave Walsall's legend begging for mercy.
He finally argues that we've got lucky... geographically. We may be competing with Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City, Everton, Blackburn, Wigan and Stoke for youngsters to join our academy but that is helpful compared to Walsall's location in the middle of nowhere. There are no kids in the town of Birmingham.
So there we have it, a Walsall fan has dished the dirt on us. I'm surprised he couldn't sell it to the News of the World with those revelations.
But I'm still not swayed to disliking Walsall. They do nothing for me, I can only feel sorry for them having such jealous tendencies. Jealousy is all I can put it down to; their biggest claim to fame is a really big advertising board by the M6 and it hurts them to read us sell on yet another player for £2million.
Or is it just a chip on their shoulder? I mean a 9-3 thrashing over two legs in the play-offs is pretty damn humiliating.
Either way, let them be. I've noticed in the past we've regularly made their fans' 'Top 5 Clubs You Hate' lists on their message boards, so they must kid themselves there's really something in this 'rivalry'. If it makes them happy I'm all for it.
We'll just carry on saying our good byes to these second rate players as they leave to collect their England caps whilst we count the pounds. All 2 million plus of them.
Who the fudge is Daniel Fox anyway?
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