Derek Davis' Football Chatter

WHILE a below par Colchester United's season didn't exactly go up in smoke at Coventry on Monday, their coach almost did.A fire on the team bus meant a wait in the rain on the A14 near Rothwell in the early hours of Tuesday morning after the 2-1 loss.

WHILE a below par Colchester United's season didn't exactly go up in smoke at Coventry on Monday, their coach almost did.

A fire on the team bus meant a wait in the rain on the A14 near Rothwell in the early hours of Tuesday morning after the 2-1 loss.

A replacement coach ferried the weary, but unharmed, players home at around 4am and the incident brought a whole new meaning to the team being on fire as they were last month.

No doubt they will be burning with desire to beat the Saints this weekend and will give former manager George Burley and his side a hot reception.

Sorry, could not resist.

OCCASIONALLY this column gets a right going over from West Ham fans who live in this area. Any sort of praise for the Ipswich Town Academy is met with how the Hammers' youth system beats any other club's set-up.

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Any suggestion that Colchester United are the top team in Essex, is met with hoots of derision by those who won't accept they are just a small suburb in London, but then claim how proud they are of their Cockney heritage. I have nothing against West Ham or Alan Pardew and I'm a firm believer that they consistently produce quality players. Mark Noble is a classic example.

So imagine my surprise when one Hammer, Ted Brown from Witham, offered me this explanation as to why West Ham are doing so badly at the moment.

He calls it the Ipswich Disease.

He reckons they infected United with it during the play-offs and it manifests itself like this.

Do too well in your first season and raise expectations.

Qualify for Europe, thus raising expectations even higher and forcing the manager to buy players who may be world class, or have won big prizes elsewhere.

That in turn causes dressing room unrest and the harmony and team spirit built in getting into the Premiership and a good first season, goes pear-shaped.

Have a board that has lost sight of reality and spend money, or plan to spend money they have not got, thus making off field activities - in West Ham's case a takeover - a distraction.

In truth, second season syndrome affects a great many clubs and Town have not been the last as Norwich found out. And if anyone is to blame it is Nottingham Forest. The parallels of which, I have recounted before - Europe, manager of the year, that sort of thing.

IF ever there were an example that money can't buy success, much less love, then it is Newcastle United.

You can accuse Jose Mourinho of buying the title for Chelsea with Roman Abramovich's billions but he has still guided the big-money side to two Premiership titles.

Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, have all spent decent money to try and emulate them, and you never know, they may halt the Blues from London, but it is likely 'The Special One' will get his hat-trick.

What is fair to say though is that The Magpies won't be swooping for anything much.

They have spent £200million on payers in the last decade and have nothing to show for it.

I got excited when they reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup a couple of years back but it proved to be false hope for all Newcastle supporters.

Sir John Hall, one of their major shareholders and the man who did so much to waken the Geordie giant has laid the blame on the door of a series of big name managers but surely it is the board that has to shoulder responsibility.

Hall is looking to sell up his 40% after years of disappointment but the supports would like to see Freddie Shepherd turned out on his ear as well.

Mistakes were made in appointments at St James' Park but for me the biggest error of judgement was the hasty and nasty sacking of Sir Bobby Robson, who had done so much to get them so high in the Premiership table and so far in many cup competitions.

YOU are never going to believe this but apparently footballers are a cheating bunch of divers who feign injury and con referees.

An outrageous slur some defenders of the game may yell haughtily but a survey by the medical officer at the World Cup showed that more than half the players who went down and wanted treatment, were not injured at all.

What a shocker.

But it is not enough for FIFA to produce this evidence and then not do something about it. They should look at sanctions for players and countries in these tournaments and work downwards with expulsion from their cup competitions and then dock points in leagues.

That will force clubs and FAs to act and stop the rot at domestic level.

SAM Parkin was the player sold to Luton by Ipswich in the summer, not Nicky Forster as some suggested. So well done to Tab Foy of Kesgrave, who sent in the right answer and wins two tickets for Sunday's game against the Hatters.

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