by Striker


ONE of the leading questions in the soccer world this week is just how long will the supporters of the Republic of Ireland put up with the kind of rubbish that was dished up by Trapp’s Chaps away to Kazakhstan last week?


Not too long, I think, if one is to judge from the overall reactions in all of the papers afterwards.



I don’t think, personally speaking, that I have ever seen such an insipid display from an Irish team since Trapp took over, even, I would say, not even in a friendly game when nothing at all is at stake.



While most patient soccer fans will always give a bit of leeway to a manager when he is trying to build a team, I strongly suspect that this so-called patience is fast coming to an end, with the vast majority of the fans not alone expecting improvement, but actually demanding it.



In last week’s match the hand of injustice punished a Kazakhstan team that had played the much better football throughout, and fully deserved their lead, until that freak kind of a finish, with Ireland scoring twice in the last two minutes.



My very own comment, and I’m sure lots of you soccer pundits out there would agree, is that the boys in green have no kind of shape to their team, their tactics are almost stereotyped, with their best plan depending on the long ball down the middle.



That would be mainly alright, if there was someone in the front line who could break the ball down, so that incoming players would have a chance to get a shot on goal.



As I don’t like over-criticising players, I will be as kind as I can, but I have to ask the question, when will Robbie Keane realise that he has gone beyond his sell-by date where international soccer is concerned?



Certainly, he has given sterling service for a long number of years, and won many a game with his scoring skills, but, for every player, no matter how famous, there has to come a time when he has to move aside for another younger improving player.



Will Robbie get the message? I doubt it very much, which leaves Ireland in the invidious position of having only one potent striker playing up front, on his own, you might say, no matter what way you look at it.



Robbie’s renowned work-rate has diminished a lot since his earlier career, and now I think it’s about time he took a back seat.



We also could do with a couple of skilful constructive midfield players, lads who can bring the  ball down, look up, and then place the ball to the best advantage.



This appears to me to be in the bounds of possibility, for there are many young and talented lads out there who could fit the bill, if given the chance.



It is a fact that all teams have to go through what’s known as a transition period, and, let’s face it, this Irish team is at present going through its particular one.


Like so many other teams in the past, in this Irish team, if a player becomes established, it has become almost impossible to shift him off the team, unless of course he had two broken legs, or something similar.


Can we hope for changes in the near future? I would say it was very problematical! Well, that’s enough of the cribbing for this week, which was a disappointing one for the many loyal Irish supporters.



Now, going on another tack, you may remember at the season’s start, when I, and many other soccer pundits, wrote that Rangers would have no trouble in skating through Scottish football’s basement section.



Maybe they will, as the weeks go by, but, at this point in time they are lying in third place, and seem to be finding the section a little bit tougher than they expected.



Time will tell, of course, and, more than likely, when they really find their feet, they will do what is expected of them.



At the moment, football up there seems to be in a kind of a limbo situation, with interest generally being at a very low ebb.



Thank God we’re back to basics for this weekend’s football wager, as our trip into the nether regions last week proved to be abortive.



There was no joy at all in our investment, so it will be good to be back in a more familiar place.



This weekend, my two homes are Arsenal, who can overcome Southampton,

and Man Utd, who look too good for Wigan.

My two aways are West Ham to continue their good form against Norwich, and Man City to do likewise in their game with Stoke.

Good luck with your bets, and enjoy a sporting weekend!




Home: Arsenal, Man Utd. Away: West Ham, Man City.