Date: 1st March 2011 at 3:09pm
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Non playing player turns down chance of loan. It’s all a bit Ricardo Vaz Te.

Afternoon all. Last night I had two bottles of Stella. But don’t worry, my wife was 250 miles away.

Thank you, I’m here all week.

You can tell it’s a slow news day when the biggest news is that a player who is not playing has decided to ‘fight’ for his place instead of going out on loan for a chance of more playing.

That is the case with Robbie Blake. You remember Robbie Blake. He was the player who scored the free kick against Birmingham that pulled Jussi out of the mire after he bitch slapped Roger Johnson. Since then, he has come on intermittently, but was last seen replacing Martin Petrov in the first Wigan cup game and has only warmed the bench in the replay and Fulham game since, and this was because Sturridge was cup tied.

He is, ostensibly, the fifth choice striker, behind SuperKev, Sturridge, Elmander and Klasnic. This is like the thirteenth man in cricket, the one who makes the orange but has to give it to the twelth man to take it onto the field. The thirteenth man is usually a young squad player, brought in for a bit of experience, or an older player, brought in to tell tales of the glory days when he was smacking sixes over the church spire with one hand, whilst eating a cream tea with the other.

Robbie Blake is a good, honest professional in the twilight of his career. He has played for most of that career in divisions lower than the Premier League and was brought in as a squad player who could come on and make an impact. Which he has. Once. There are now four players ahead of him and, even in his second choice position of midfield, there are a clutch of players ahead of him. He has had the chance to go to Norwich, performing well at the top of the Championship and turned it down. Why, only he will know.

There is no shame in moving downwards, as Andy O’Brien has found, and, if need be, the club can stick a recall clause in the deal if two strikers break down and we need him back. It isn’t doing him or us any favours sitting in the stand, not playing games. If I was St Owen, who has said that he is ‘an integral part of the group’, I would be packing Robbie’s bag for him with an open return.

Or maybe he just doesn’t want to go to Norwich. Simon Charlton went there, and God knows what happened to him. (*)

Now, let’s talk about the Ryan Taylor tackle. Here is a repeat of what Alan Pardew said:

‘He has got no malicious bones in him and he is so genuinely disappointed. He just knew he had to try to make up for his bad touch, and in doing so was over-zealous and got himself sent off.’

Now, here is what Kevin Nolan said:

‘The boy (Elmander) has gone down like he’s been shot which is not nice, because two minutes later he’s up and running around like a madman. That’s what we don’t like about it, but it’s two-footed and we’ve got no complaints. We know what Ryan is like though – he will never hurt, or try to hurt, a fellow professional ever.’

Both these quotes have been lifted directly from the Newcastle United website , so there can be no misunderstanding about what either said. I’ve already said previously what I think about the rubbish that Pardew spouted. He went in two footed. That, there, is malicious. And as there are approximately twenty six bones in each foot, that means that he has at least fifty two malicious bones in his body.

As for Nolan’s comments, I am at once dismayed and surprised. Unless Elmander left something nasty in Kev’s locker the day he left Bolton, or is under investigation for setting fire to Andy Carroll’s car, there is no understanding of the comment. Taylor went in, feet up and off the floor. If Elmander hadn’t jumped, we probably wouldn’t be talking about Robbie Blake not going off on loan, as he would be needed for the rest of the season due to the leg breaking nature of the tackle. He also fell funny, winding himself, which we’ve all done playing football, only to not be feeling the effect ‘two minutes later’. So there is no great surprise there. And, let’s not forget, even though he did jump, Taylor still caught him.

And when are players and managers going to realise that saying that someone will never hurt a fellow player doesn’t wash? Nolan himself has been known to put his foot in, both with us and Newcastle, and has hurt players. I suspect that he never meant to do it, but he has. After all, didn’t he get sent off in his third game for Newcastle for removing Victor Anichebe’s ankle without anesthetic, which kept the Everton player out for the rest of the season.

I am dismayed as, on top of his truncated celebration, Nolan’s words have lost a lot of my respect as a Bolton fan for him. I understand and appreciate that he is a Newcastle player and they pay his wages and, as captain, he is a spokesman for the club. But his words, couched as they are with a confirmation that Taylor deserved his card, try and pin some of the blame for the sending off on our player, when no blame lies at Elmander’s door.

A muted appreciation for what Nolan did for us awaits him the next time he returns to the Reebok. At least from me.

Oh, by the way. In nine seasons in professional football, Ryan Taylor has received forty seven yellows and three reds. I don’t think canonisation is coming his way any time soon. (**)

Told you it was a slow news day. Tomorrow, why Ivan Klasnic eating your babies is a good thing.

(*) Relax, I know exactly what happened to Simon Charlton. This is just a metaphor.

(**) Yes, I know that Ryan Taylor will have to be dead to be canonised.


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