Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I See Dead People

photo by riptheskullvia PhotoRee

While some of my readers out there see dead people, I see the future.  I see only the football future, though, and often I see it imperfectly.  But when I see it, I write about it.  So, in order to see how I've done as a prognosticator, let's check in on a few of the predictions I made this season to see if I was seeing something close to what actually happened.  farlieonfootie prides itself not on getting things right -- any blathering idiot can do that -- but rather by sticking our necks out and boldly going where no man has dared to tread before.  Often with good reason.

Today we'll examine the part of the scorecard where things went right for us, and later in the week we'll see if we can find anything we wrote that wasn't quite as accurate.  I'm sure I can find something if I look hard enough:

1. Let's start with a big one, going all the way back to the beginning of the season.  I'd say I got this one about Chicharito, written back in September, pretty close to spot on:
"As close friends...know, ever since I first saw him break onto the scene at the World Cup I've been predicting that young Javier Hernandez, United's Little Sweet Pea, would be an immediate sensation in his first year in England."  
I don't know many people other than Paul Scholes who thought the little Mexican would become a United mainstay this season, but I saw something special right from the get go.  We all know Scholes has impeccable football vision, but how about mine?  Grade: A+

2. Or how about this blog entry from late October, also about Chicharito
"Call me crazy, but this kid is going to be our leading scorer this season...and you heard it here first."
Ok, so not perfect, but I almost got that one right: Berbatov beat Chicharito by a single goal (21-20) in all competitions.  So I'll give myself something probably higher than I truly deserve, only because I don't know many people wagering that Chicharito would lead the team in scoring back in October.... Grade: A-

3. You want some pointed farlieonfootie opinion?  How about this statement from immediately after the Manchester United game against Birmingham City on December 29th?
"I used to like watching the Blues, but this year they seem unispired, insipid, and just flat out boring.  In fact, after the drivel that they produced today in the name of offense, I hope the crowds at St. Andrews are enjoying the best football the Championship has to offer next season."
And a bit later, in mid-January, I got even an even stronger feeling about Birmingham, in which I went from hopeful to certain:

"I believe Birmingham will just edge out Wigan in the wrong end of the relegation battle, with Brum going spectacularly down after a better-than-average season last year."
As you'll no doubt surmise, I didn't even need to watch the games this past Sunday, as I already knew exactly how they'd play out.  Mission Accomplished:  Grade: A+

4. I also nailed Spurs' fate, all the way back in September.  Column #2, in fact:
"My sense, though, is that Spurs are going to be stretched thin by playing in 4 competitions this year, and that their resulting form will be up and down all year."
They actually held up a bit better than I thought they would, as the wheels didn't truly come off the Spurs' bus until March or so....  Grade: B+

5. I foresaw Blackpool's return to the Championship way back in February:
"File the Tangerines under... ["done"], as they’re going to be relegated.  We’re going to have to junk that little tab up there [at the top of the webpage] and burn everything that has to do with these poor guys.  It was fun, fellas, but I’m sorry to say it’s over and it’s not even over yet."
Wish I wasn't right on that one, but I was.  Sorry, Blackpool.  Grade: B+

6. But I've saved the two pieces of which I'm most proud for the end.  I wrote this first piece, which may have been my best of the year, back in mid-January, a time this season when all the critics were carping on United as a bunch of "crap invincibles." I saw something special in the squad, and knew how the season was going to play out.
"This team is much better than they are given credit for, and I'll make a wager that they get stronger as the season goes on."

I's say that's exactly what's happened.   And this second piece I wrote five weeks ago, but it still feels as fresh and true as if I wrote it just this morning:
"Some of us have always been true believers, who saw greatness in this current United squad even though it often appeared as if through a glass darkly.  Some of us saw long ago that a squad which spent much of the season decimated by injury and illness (Valencia, Rio, and Fletch, just to name a few of the many) hung in there through some very tough times this season and survived.  And in the process hardened themselves into a force, now glimmering like a piece of burnished metal, built through the single-minded mentality of a coaching genius, and possessing a critical amount of the mental toughness required to accomplish the great things they are capable of doing this season.
And along the way they picked up some momentum.  They caught some breaks.  They healed. The hurt got better, and the sick got well.  They put a few wins together, some tougher than others.  They got lift off.... 
And as Sir Alex himself acknowledged recently, momentum can be hard to control.  Once the rock starts rolling downhill, it can be difficult to stop.  And this United team has momentum.  It may not win out the rest of the season, but I have the sense that it's going to take alot more than a single setback to deny the current United squad from achieving its destiny. This team has momentum, and is going for it all. 
This Manchester United team is destined for greatness, and some of us knew it all along."
 Grade: Suspended Until Next Weekend.

This is farlieonfootie for May 24.

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