Date: 21st January 2011 at 9:46pm
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Nat’s game, Tamir in a very high place, The Redcar Rock and The Gruesome Twosome

Evening all. Radio 2 say that Friday night is music night. Not in my house. Friday night is go to work night, so if this is actually published Monday morning, this is because the saving of the people of Greater Manchester sometimes takes precedence.


So, the club have given early details of how they intend to honour Nat come Monday. The books of condolence and laying of tributes will still be there and there will be a video tribute to him a short while before kick off. No mention of any former team mates lining up beforehand, which you would hope will happen, and then a minutes silence. The BBC have suggested in their match preview that both SuperKev and John Terry will lay a floral tribute.

Our poll suggested that most would have wanted a minutes applause, so it remains to be seen how we will respond once Chris Foy blows his whistle. Plans are understandably at an early stage and I’m sure the club will bow to fans wishes if we suggest that they change their minds. I’ve already winged my email off.

Now, those that have been long time readers will know that I once stood on the Stretford End and cheered on my local team. Youthful naivety I call it. As such, I don’t normally point people in the direction of ManU websites, but I heartily recommend you read this article at therepublikofmancunia, which mainly talks about the 1958 FA Cup Final. It still suggests that Nat fouled Harry Gregg for the second goal, which we all know is cobblers and that they should just let it go, but besides that, it is probably the best thing that I have read about Nat since he died.

Now, something that has been overshadowed my Nat’s death is the tragedy that befell Tamir Cohen just before Christmas when his father, Avi, was involved in a motorcycle incident on Israel and died some days later. I’m old enough to remember Avi Cohen playing for Liverpool, watching him playing on a Sunday afternoon on Kick-Off. His notoriety was that he was the first Israeli to play in the First Division and when Bob Paisley was told that he was an orthodox jew and couldn’t play on a Saturday, in a moment of Shankly wit he replied ‘That’s ok, I’ve got seven of those in the team already‘. In an interview with the Mail, looking out over Manchester from his apartment in the Beetham Tower (in a photo so high up I got vertigo just looking at it), Tamir recalls the day that he got the call that his father had been in the accident and then remarks on the fraughtness of trying to get home to his family during the bad weather, alleviated by the milk of human kindness when another traveller gave them their seats.

Again, Tamir spoke of how he has been treated by Bolton and especially the manager

Owen Coyle has shown he is an exceptional human being, as well as manager, by being so understanding and telling me to return to Bolton in my own time. I appreciated that and I can already feel the benefit of being back with my team-mates, training and playing again.’

I know when my own father died that my employers were very good with me, giving me two weeks off and telling me to take my time, and in that sense what the club have done is nothing unusual. That Tamir is in a high profile job, with a high profile father, makes it doubly difficult for the club and how to handle him in his time of grief. I’ve mentioned at the time that both the player and the club will have to have a look at the future come the summer, as Tamir hasn’t figured much this season and is vying for a place in a pretty congested position. As for now, if he can’t be with his family, he is in no better place.

‘Wheats’ (FFS) has been talking about his transfer to Bolton and the competition for places. The ‘Redcar Rock’ (which Marc Iles tweeted me was a nickname he has plagarised from a north east paper….disgraceful) understands that his first job is to displace one of Cahill or Knight, which will be no mean feat, and then kick on from there. He mentions Europe and England, which would be nice. We’ll have to start scoring some goals then.

Says the Big Man

Zat and Gary are good players, but it`s always good to have competition. It keeps everyone on their toes. I think it will make everyone try and push on and play that little better.’

Conceding goals has always been a problem this year and if Wheater is competition for the two first choices, then finally looking over their shoulder may mean that the individual mistakes, few and far between as they are, doesn’t cost us as many points as they have done. Of course, some are seeing the Wheater transfer as the green light for someone to come in from Cahill, which is a worry but, and fans of Arsenal should realise this if no one else will, no fool will go into the back end of the season with only two fit central defenders. Unless, of course, they are Mr Vinegar. No one is suggesting that if someone came in with stupid money then we wouldn’t say yes, but at the end of the day St Owen knows what he is doing and wouldn’t bring in Wheater just so that Cahill can go. Yet.

Talking of stupid money, Fat Frank and The Dad of the Year are rated as dodgy for the game on Monday. A good name for a band that. Or a comedy duo a la Jake and The Fatman. They’ve already got one of them.

Until tomorrow.


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