Sky Blue Sport News

Monday, July 21, 2014

'Nother Friendly!!!

Yes we are to have another friendly tomorrow night, but unlike last Saturday's friendly against Oxford United Stars, this ones been advertised. We tried to get a statement from the club today, as to why they didn't inform United  fans about the game against Oxford United Stars, but our pleas were met by a deafening silence. Not a good press for the new board management, chairman and vice-chairman, but they put the blame firmly on the playing management team, e.g. Fergie and the three baldies. A man on the fringe of our management team, better known as Red, made the excuse that the team were a victim of circumstances beyond their control, due to opposing teams withdrawing at the last minute.

But we digress, we have a match tomorrow night at Tillysburn Park, Belfast, against the Welders, kick-off 19-30, we think. Welders are managed by  former Sky Blue central defender and free-kick specialists, Gary Smith and include in the their line-up ex-United man Michael McClellan, but we know him as MM. We don't have the foggiest notion if our manager, Spike, is going to treat this game seriously or are we going to go through the motions like we did against Bangor, where we turned up with only 12 fit players and not surprisingly lost. That the Welders so very nearly beat us in the 1st round of the Irish cup, surely Spike would know better than to go there half prepared'

We, the fans, expect nothing but a hard and committed performance from our team, not that insipid thing that those us that made the journey, witnessed at Clandeboye Park on the 10th July. According to the grapevine (three men overheard talking in a pub), Neal Lowry has severed his ties with the club and Jamie Davidson (remember him), has been seriously injured, again. Brian McCaul, that we had high hopes of signing, is considering a job offer to be Gary Twigg's assistant groundsman at Shamrock Park, Portadown.  If only Neal Lowry had gone sooner, we could have been in a positon to sign Brian on amateur forms, oh well, back to reality. The game tomorrow night will test us no doubt, but if we mean to consolidate our place in the league this season ,we need to start showing we mean business, COSB!

Friday, July 04, 2014

Six Days!

Yes its only six days to our first friendly game against Bangor at Clandeboye Park, we're sure everybody of a Sky Blue tradition is as excited as we are as this event approaches. Our manager says he is scouring the country to try and find the right blend of players, but so far as we know, he's only signed one, Matthew Tipton and supposedly our 'budget' is exhausted. Ironically we have another match on Thursday next at the same time as the Bangor fixture, v Desertmartin, but we have been assured that we have no difficulty in fulfilling both fixtures and the strongest team (note we didn't say the best team), will be at Bangor.

As Bangor is practically on the Sky Blue Sport's team doorstep (across Belfast lough), we will be taking in  the game. Sammy Patterson maybe be missing, as he prefers to watch the world cup instead of seeing United in their first friendly of the season, there's no pleasing some people. What are our hopes for the season, or better still what are our management teams hopes for the season? Omar was away in England for his Birthday, we'll not say his age, but suffice to say the swinging sixties is nearly over for him and was not able to attend the AGM, where some shareholder (we are told), congratulated the manager for getting to the Irish cup final and finishing 7th in the league.

Less said about that last comment the better, if we had won the Irish cup and/or finished in the top six in the league, we definitely would echo that congratulations, but we all agree with Omar's comments in his review of the season, that we are indeed marking time. As we didn't have a presence at the AGM, we aren't privy to what our manager said about the forthcoming season, but reading between the lines the shareholders seemed to be happy with progress so far and who are we to argue. Maybe the season ticket sales for this season will be up as the rank file fans flock to the Showgrounds for the coming season, we will be surprised, but you never know with our fickle fans.

We read with interest of how our dear neighbours, the Coleraine scum, have been saved by a group of fans (allegedly 120), investing in the club to the tune of £250,000 to date, that's right a quarter of a million pounds. We are sceptical of this report, mathematics has never been a scum tradition and they went into administration some years ago and two seasons ago they had to go cap in hand to the IFA to ask for a bail-out. Could a similar scheme, if true, work for United we ask? The people of the high country are not so free with their hard earned money and would need convincing, it'll be a hard sell we think, but worth looking into. Well its all go for the Bangor match, COSB, good luck in Desertmartin too, we can hardly wait,lol!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

News Update!

Just four short weeks have passed since the Sky Blues played their part in that debacle of an Irish cup final and our manager hasn't explained his thinking of what went wrong. He's released some players and re-signed some players, but the only player he's brought in, is a striker. In our humble opinion, we don't need a striker, what we do need is a complete midfielder or better still a complete midfield. So many of our midfielders including the much heralded Alan Jenkins, are one-dimensional players. None more so than Alan D, who only has slick passing skills, when he can be bothered to use them.

The stage was set for him in the Irish cup final, coming on to replace Darboy, with Fergie clutching at straws, but alas Alan was in no mood to grab the headlines and he was a virtual passenger, like a lot of our players on that day. Captain Jenks, in our opinion, runs about like a headless chicken, threatening to close opposing players down, but he never quite gets there. If he was to go out with all guns blazing, he might in fact win the ball, instead of being a nearly man. The less said about Gavin Taggart the better, United fans are blaming him for the first goal against Glenavon, it seems he shied away from the free-kick, but Gavin is only a ball-winner, his first move is back and he's a bit hot-headed.

Thommo is another one-dimensional player, he can make forceful runs, but he has little or no pace and he's a liability with his tackles, giving away free-kicks in dangerous positions. Then we come to the versatile Sparky, who's been tried in many positions, but his best position seems to be centre-midfield, alongside a passer like Jenks, because Sparky couldn't pass water. We will reserve judgement on Neal Gawley, whom Fergie seems to favour, but for the life of us, we cannot see why. The only midfielder we have, worthy of the name, is the fiery Tony Kane, he can tackle, pass and is the complete midfielder and he has a play anywhere sort of attitude and is not afraid to 'mix it' if need be.

So our manager should be scouring the country to try to find more players like Tony. Who's not afraid to lay their body on the line for the team, they'll pick up a few cautions no doubt, but it is in the nature of the 'beast' so to speak. Spike has hinted that he is thinking of changing our formation and playing 4,4,2. We at 'Sport think  he has to be on the look-out for a ball playing wing-man and he's missed one already, when Crues back-up to Paul Heately, one Eamon McAllister, joined Ards this week. But maybe Spike has somebody else in mind to supply the crosses for Darboy and Tipper, they're not going to score by their own play, they need somebody to do the hard graft for them. We'll endeavour to keep fans up to speed in the coming 10 weeks of the close season!

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Heroes All!

The current United squad has a chance to write themselves into the history books tomorrow, when they take on Glenavon in the Irish cup final at Windsor Park, Belfast. kick-off 2-30pm. The historic 1989 team were the guests of honour at the Des Allen suite, at the clubs end of season dinner last Saturday night. That they're still heroes in the eyes of Sky Blue fans, bears testament of what the Irish cup means to everybody associated with United. So a win for the current squad would lead to cult status in footballing terms.

The entire Sky Blue Sports team is adamant that they will do it, they saw the writing on the wall early, when Thommo scored our winner against the Welders. Then we were drawn against Linfield at Windsor Park and Thommo again delivered, setting up Darboy and he found our talisman Cush and the rest is history as they say. In a quirk of fate, Thommo may not get selected, as he has been out injured and only returned to play 30 minutes on Easter Tuesday.

But that's the thing about having a good squad of players, when somebody's injured, somebody else steps up to the plate. In our semi-final against QUB, at the Oval, we got an unlikely hero in Alan D, but if Thommo's fit, we at 'Sport think Alan D, will have to settle for a place on the bench. The same fate looks likely to befall Archie, who picked up a groin injury in our semi-final win at the Oval and we think Cookie Munster will get the nod and maybe play his last match in a Sky Blue Jersey.

Our keeper, Shan, 29 years-old, had never played in a semi-final before he signed for us and he will get to play in his first final tomorrow. It's a complete mystery to the 'Sport's team, how his undoubted talent was overlooked for so long, when great keepers are as scarce as hens teeth, we owe a huge debt to former keeper Dermot O'Neill for unearthing Shans talent and pointing us in the right direction, when we were in dire straits, with both our keepers out on long term injuries.

Lets not forget a grudging thanks to big fat DJ who released Jimer and let him join us, he did live to regret that and the diving bird, Oran Kearney, for doing the same with Darboy. These three players, Shan, Jimer and Darboy have contributed to the turnaround in our fortunes and our management team  deserves a lot of credit for sticking their collective necks out at transfer window. Despite all our urgings to the contrary, Fergie has stayed true to his 4,3,3 policy and we expect he'll stick with it tomorrow .

Or he could spring a surprise and deploy Archie playing in front of the back four, but we feel that would be tantamount to handing the advantage to the tramp and his cohorts. No, we expect Spike to sink or swim with his tried and trusted formula, he's a great believer in, 'if its not broke, don't try to fix it'. As if we didn't need  anymore incentives, we have found we have a turncoat in the Glenavon camp, one Nigel Law, who used to coach our under-16 team, but he's the enemy tomorrow.

Our former manager Roy Walker, used to say 'only believe', but we only believed and were let down time and time again. But we have raised this catchphrase again and we believe the cup is ours. We got our name on it when we beat the Welders and we've never looked back since, so come on United, lets shag those Mourneviewers, lets all do the bouncey and put our name on the Irish cup, where we know it belongs. 'She wore, she wore, she wore a Sky Blue ribbon in the merry month of May and when I asked her why she wore that ribbon, she said it's for United and I'm with them all the way, all the , all the way...etc!!!!!!!

Friday, April 25, 2014

No Preview!

With the news that our manager, Glenn Ferguson, is going to play a full reserve team on Saturday against Ards, we've decided it will be useless to try to do a preview, when we don't know more than four players in our reserves. Our advice to Sky Blue supporters is, 'that if you don't need to be there, give the game a miss' and treat it just like a friendly. Alas we have to be there to pick up our replica jerseys and seeing as we are season ticket holders, its our last chance to get in 'free'.

Our manager makes no apologies for playing a reserve team against Ards and he's concentrating on next weeks Irish cup final against Glenavon. If and its a very big 'if', we win the Irish cup next Saturday, no doubt Fergie will be vindicated and praised, as an enlightened manager, we at 'Sport only hope for this scenario. We are not going to mention the other scenario, its not something we have contemplated and we're delighted to see that the 'bookies' have made us the underdogs, as we have nothing to lose and everything to gain and we need to go 'hell for leather' next Saturday COSB

P.S. Sammy Patterson has done an 'Away View' on Warrenpoint's ground, Milltown and we think its worth a read, COSB

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rabbit Warren!

Tomorrow at 14-35 hrs, United's Easter Bunnies taken on Warrenpoint Town at their ground in Warrenpoint and it will be United's first away trip to the Point's home ground, Milltown. On the other occasion that they met the Point in an away fixture, it was at Dungannon's Stagmore Park. United are expected to give a run out to JT,Thommo and Archie, the trio returning from injury and Tony K, is expected to play having missed United's last two matches, as he served a two game suspension. There has been speculation about Captain Jenks not travelling to the game tomorrow, but maybe Spike will want to keep him match fit as we expect United to be much changed for our last league game at home to Ards next Saturday.

We expect Cookie to get a rest tomorrow, following his exertions at Ferney Park, on a rock hard surface, which resembled a concrete road. Fergie's has a big decision to make about the talisman, Cush, who is struggling for form at present, but we fully expect him to be playing, but we need the form gods to work their magic. If Archie and JT, come through tomorrow's match with no ill effects, we expect them to get the nod for May 3 at Windsor Park. Thommo and Tony, we believe are fighting for one midfield place and they may  have to have to go next Saturday as well, its that close between them.

The only three men that are certain of their place we think, are Shan, Jimer and Ally. Even Darboy, who has set the Showgrounds alight since his move from our dear friends down the A 26, is not certain of his place, because Fergie and his backroom staff, the three baldies, could have different tactics on their minds, instead of the tried and trusted 4,3,3, formation that has brought us our limited success. But enough about the Irish cup final, that's for another day, we need three points to tie up seventh place in the league table and where better to get them than the rabbit warren, that is Milltown. So come on Sky Blues, let's shag them pretend Bunnies and show them who is boss!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Duck Shoot!

The Sky Blues travel to Fermanagh on Saturday to take on the Mallards, who are fighting to avoid the dreaded relegation play-off spot. The United team who were decimated with injuries and suspension in last weeks encounter with the Coleraine scum, should welcome back at least two players in Jimer and Darboy. The news on the injuries to Archie and JT, well we don't have any news, but we assume it will take another few days to have them ready for a return to action. But we won't be surprised if one of them, or the two of them, make a return on our bench for Saturday's game.

Steeky, who had an forgettable game against Coleraine, he was crap with a capital C, could be a causality if Jimer plays and Marky moves into central defence, therefore releasing Ruddy to take over at leftback. After his lack-lustre performance against the scum, Alan D, is yet another who will find his place in jeopardy, against the hard tackling Ducks. Much better to play Sparky and Gavin alongside Captain Jenks and keep Alan D fresh for Easter Tuesday at his adopted home town, against the Point. Our forward line should be made up with Ally, Darboy and the irresistible Cush, who has not been firing on all cylinders of late.

Where better for the Cush to show all his doubters what he is made of and he'll have a Ballymena legend in the crowd to cheer him on, as Norman Clarke, 'The Ballymena Boy', will be among the travelling faithful. Cush, our talisman, has scored  15 goals from 38 starts, a definite bonus for someone who used to be  seen as a winger. But under the tutelage of the three baldies and United manager Spike, the Cush has blossomed into a striker supreme and long may that continue to be so. Mark Kelly, who stood in for Darboy last week will have to be content with a space on the bench. So Come on Sky Blues, lets bag (or shag), some Ducks!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Scrubbing Brush!

If you want to remove scum, you need a scrubbing brush and United need to be a scrubbing brush tomorrow when they take on the Coleraine scum at their Ballycastle Road dump. This may be harder to achieve than normal for suspensions and injuries mean we will only have half of the panel of players that started last Saturday's game at the Oval, in our squad for this game. That's not to say they will get playing, our manager Spike has shown us that he's not been afraid to wield the big axe, if he wants to. But with his defence decimated by injuries and suspensions, we at 'Sport think he will not want to make wholesale changes.

He knows how much this game means to the 'rank and file' fan and we think he will make as few changes as is humanely possible. Does he rest keeper Shan and give Macauley Cairns his third appearance in Sky Blue colours in a United/scum derby match? Might the occasion be too much for the lad, or is he champing at the bit to be playing, only Spike can judge that. Its come to our notice that Cookie, if he gets the nod, will play his 100 game in a United jersey. Will Spike make him Captain for the day or have we got our facts wrong? We'll probably get our answers come 3 O'clock tomorrow but don't bank on it.

There's been a lot of speculation this week about who should come in, in the absence, of Tony and Jimer suspended, Darboy left out for that ridiculous agreement between diving bird and Spike and the injuries to JT and Archie. Not knowing anything ourselves we will take a guess at, Sparky, Marky, Cookie, Gavin and Kelly. We have been informed that Thommo is not yet up to full fitness, but we expect the remainder of our selection last Saturday to be on tomorrow. We know there's nothing really to play for but pride, but we are proud supporters and we hate the Coleraine scum, surely that ought to be enough to be getting on with. So come Sky Blues, lets shag them ewes from Windy Hall!

Friday, April 04, 2014

Sky Blues!

There's only one thing on our mind tonight, looking forward to tomorrow's Irish cup semi-final, when our beloved Sky Blues are going into battle against Queens. We have been told time and time again that Queens are  at this stage of the competition on merit, never mind who they beat to get there, getting there is an achievement in itself. We will show them respect tomorrow, but and we emphasis the word 'but', our team won't show any fear. Our manager, Glenn Ferguson and his backroom staff have worked for this achievement from the day and the hour they took up their posts and we fervently believe they will get their just rewards come 16-50hrs tomorrow.

When we qualify for the Irish cup final, that will be enough to be going on with, we will worry about the final when it comes. We will need everybody committed to the cause tomorrow and as far as we know there's only one player who has an injury that will maybe keep him sidelined tomorrow. That player is midfielder Gary Thompson, who limped off at Seaview with a groin strain. If Thommo is unfit, we at 'Sport would like to see Sparky get the vote instead, but Spike may opt for Alan D, who seems to be in favour at the moment. In fact Fergie and his assistants could name the team that played and triumphed 2-1 against Glenavon on the last Saturday of March.

Despite their not doing enough in our last game to get a start tomorrow, we expect MM and Mark Kelly to be on the bench, along with Gavin and either Alan D or Sparky and one other, maybe one of the two Neal's, Gawley or Lowry. We had hoped to get a strong referee, but will have to settle for Carrick man, Ross Dunlop and with Colin Burns as 4th official, we have to hope Dunlop doesn't get injured and biased Burns has to take over, for that could spell curtains for us. We should take a big crowd tomorrow to the Oval, which used to be a happy 'hunting ground' for us, lets make it so again. So come on Sky Blues, let's shag those students and old boys, let's win this game and get to the Irish cup final COSB!!!!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Getting Nearer!

Its just 8 days away from the biggest match that we have been involved since our dramatic win in the County Antrim Shield last season. But this match is even bigger in our estimation, it's a chance to get to an Irish cup final and the chance to get our name back on the blue riband trophy that is the Irish cup. But that's 8 days away and we got an important league game tomorrow against Dungannon Swifts. Our manager, Spike, has promised to rest one or two of his regulars and we're not going to say what we think they will be. There's definitely one change that's going to made and that is, Shan our keeper. He is going to have a rest tomorrow and reserve keeper Macauley Cairns, is going to get a rare start.

As Spike was at pains to point out this week we only have one keeper that's eligible for the Irish cup and that's Shan, so it makes sense to rest him tomorrow with the semi-final in mind. Tomorrow's match will be our last game at the Showgrounds for a month, until we pull the curtain down on another league season at home to Ards on 26 April. We at 'Sport, like the rest of the Sky Blue faithful will be hoping the Ards game will not be the last game of the season as such. We will be hoping that is an appetiser for the Irish cup final on Saturday 3 May. But we digress, what of tomorrows opponents who haven't won a game since we beat them in the Irish cup 3 weeks ago.

Swifts manager, Darren Murphy, will have his team well pumped up for this one and he will be expecting us to have our minds on next weeks game and will have his players primed to take advantage of any slips. It'll be hard for our players, but if you shirk tackles, you end up getting hurt, so we have to be up for the game, otherwise we will get trampled on. To this end we think we need to start Gavin and Sparky in midfield and their no nonsense approach could be the spark that ignites us. Mark Kelly has to tried in the striking role and Neal Lowry must be due some first team action. We mustn't switch off, if we play with the same concentration that we showed in the cup against the Swifts, we will prevail, so come on Sky Blues!