IT’S GETTING to be a recurring theme bashing pressmen from this platform.  Sorry boys, some of yoose are dead good and I really dig your stuff. Some of yoose aren’t though. Some of your number are doing their jobs in a half arsed way. Some of your profession are addressing their keyboards with quarter baked, ill researched, preconceived agendas.

Some, Like James Lawton at the independent are evidently just a bit tapped. James, it seems, wanted to be one of the first of the (cough) heavy weights to gently, sagely and with requisite respect, put the big boot into Kenny Dalglish.

In last week’s Indie he eased his way into the task at hand by back-handedly complimenting Dalglish on his erstwhile messianic qualities and Glaswegian working class cunning :

of course while street smartness may serve some purposes, it probably doesn’t include addressing the stirrings of a perhaps seriously challenging problem.

James has been round the block. He’s seen it all before, and Kenny’s not fooling him. He likes Kenny. Of course he does. What’s not to like. Kenny won’t take this the wrong way. He respects Kenny :

We know the gift Kenny Dalglish brought back to Anfield at the start of this year, we know how he reminded a great football club of what it used to be and what it might become once again.

Good stuff James, so what, excuse the language, is your fucking point? The boot was being primed surely enough though, and the following stunning and ‘brave’ conclusion was heavy heartedly being drawn :

Unfortunately, the unsayable is beginning to be said because for all the signings, all the old excitement of a club on the move, the now unavoidable truth is that the records of Kenny Dalglish and Roy Hodgson are not exactly separated by a chasm that might readily explain the joy with which one was received and the contempt that went into the dispatching of the other.

There we had it. The elephant in the room was being squarely confronted. No turning back now for James. He’d equated Liverpool legend Kenneth Matheson Dalglish with the managerial nomark’s nomark of choice, Royston Vasey Hodgson. A bold move from a veteran hack who has been-there done-that, is well respected, and has the balls to sometimes just call it as it is.

Go-ed then James, tell us what you’ve stumbled across that brings us to this point, to this conclusion that none of us want to face, but need to be big enough to look squarely in the eye.

Filing reports was different before Blackberries and iPads

Filing used to be different

Well, James may have been around in the days before PCs and DVDs and the interweb and Blu Ray and all that. He still remembers when there was none of this televised press conference malarkey. James used to take Cloughie out, get him pissed, get the scoop of the season, wake up with a bastard behind the eyes and a brass in the bed next to him, and think ‘I’m living the dream. You can stick ya Woodward and Bernstein up your arse (hic)’.

Nowadays it’s all tactical chalkboards in the Guardian, Sports scientists, managers who think they’ve been to University, and bespectacled backroom technical experts boring the life out of the game with endless statistical analysis.

But no! Wait! James, can beat them all at their own game. You want some stats? James has got stats for you, and they’re ready to be used to demonstrate that Roy Hodgson isn’t that much worse of a manager than Kenny Dalglish. Or perhaps more that Kenny ain’t much better than Roy. Here they are then :

Hodgson averaged 1.25 points over 20 Premier League games, Dalglish is running at 1.80 in 29. In all competitions, Hodgson won 13, drew 9, lost 9 with a winning percentage of 0.42. Dalglish emerges only a little to the good with figures of managed 37, won 19, drew 9, lost 9 and a percentage at 0.51.

Aw, Jesus, James. What have you gone and said. You’re telling us that , firstly, Dalglish’s point getting rate is virtually 50% greater than Roy Hodgson’s, and that in win percentage terms he’s won about 23% more than Hodgson. In fact you tell us that despite a patchy start to this season Kenny has a win percentage that bears up well compared to the greats of the game (Shankly at 52%, Matt Busby at 50%).

… except, you didn’t actually tell us any of those things. You present your killer point, your QED moment with stark bollock naked stats that prove, yes prove, your central thesis that ‘Dalglish ain’t a real improvement on Hodgson’. Unfortunately those betraying sneaky little stats actually demonstrate the exact opposite.

Yes, we know that if there are statistics and damned lies there is also something else that builds over the football months.

No shit fella. Time out now required to laugh at this. James, we are all laughing at You. Somewhere too, let us wish, that Kenny is too. You big dope. Go back to school. It’s never too late. Get on a course. Take an evening class.

As well as basking in James Lawton’s comedy the opportunity feels apt to put some of the general Dalglish-Hodgson comparison whimsy firmly in its place. JL at the Indie is not the only one to have stepped into this nonsensical territory.

Working out win percentage the old way

Working out win percentages the old way

The stats, bless ‘em, are starker still if you don’t dope them, even in a half cock-eyed way, like Lawton did. Firstly, in comparing KD and RH, one has to discard results from an impoverished Europa Cup. 4 of Hodgson’s bounty of 6 wins in this competition came in the embarrassingly mismatched qualifying phase. A phase Kenny didn’t have the benefit of getting free wins on the board from.

Take out this competition and leave the comparable rest and we see Kenny has 18 wins, 7 draws and 8 defeats, a win percentage of about 55%. Roy is left with 7 wins, 5 draws and 9 defeats, and a mighty (shit) win percentage of 33%.  Kenny therefore has won 67% more games than Roy Hodgson. That’s a lot more, James Lawton. There’s your fucking ‘chasm’.These records are as comparable as chalk and any manner of cheese you care to name.

Just before completing this I noted that the ‘Tomkins Times’ has beaten me to the punch with a piece on Lawton under their ‘Media muppet of the monthbanner. Comfort is to be taken that I’m not losing my mind on this. Surely I’d missed something. No one can be that stupid – as James Lawton, I mean.

Part of me would like to think that somehow somewhere, in a bar perhaps, that James L will be perched on a stool, ruddy faced, tired and confused,  fiddling with his phone, googling himself, and will stumble across this and the Tomkins Times piece.

Maybe, he’d order himself a 4th scotch and soda, and a pint to to keep it company, before settling himself to read on. He’d turn to the chap seated next to him to offer  him a drink too, but he’s gone now. He won’t be back. Sure he said he was just popping to the gents. Ah well.

James does read on. His brow furrows , his jowels hang lower, and his flush becomes fuller. None of this is making sense. No sense at all. He’d checked those statistics thoroughly. Well, he’d read about someone checking them and they seemed the right sort.

What are these people talking about for Christ’s sake?! He knocks the scotch back in one and swerves and swoops swiftly onto the pint for the wash down. He belches, dabs that corner crevice of his mouth where  drool and overspillage marry, and returns to the offending internet babble.

He reads on in silence, frozen for moments, but teetering ever more at the edge of that bar stool. He finishes. Swears to himself. James, my old son, you are going to have to cut down. He re-assures himself of this nightly. It seems enough.

He burps once more, and forces the phone back inside his  inside jacket pocket. One more please, and then that, is definitely my lot. What time is it? Really? Ok, I’ll have another half with it. Fuck it, make it a full throttle job. Ha, ha, ha, ha,HA,  HA,ha, ha, ha, ha,ha , ha HA-Ha (cough cough) hahaha, ha ha, Haaaa……(sobs).