Total recall

Posted by on Jan 1, 2011 in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

So, it looks as though Preston’s decision to dispense with the services of Darren Ferguson, with the club adrift at the foot of the Championship table, could have unforeseen ramifications.

Junior had been able to call on his dad’s charity by securing the loan signings of Joshua King, Ritchie De Laet and Matthew James from parent club Man Utd as reinforcements in the Lilywhites’ battle against relegation – but now that his son’s been given the boot, Fergie has demanded the trio return to Old Trafford.

Coincidence I’m sure he’ll claim, but none of them have any chance of getting anywhere near the Red Devils’ first team so the recall can only be attributed to spite, pure and simple. Just the hoof in the teeth that Preston need. What a lovely chap.

Incidentally, you have to wonder how foolish the Preston board feel now, having made the rash decision to dump Alan Irvine to bring Ferguson in when the team were relatively secure in mid-table. Just another case of absurdly unrealistic expectations – much the same as at Villa, where some fans were delighted at Martin O’Neill’s departure claiming dissatisfaction with “stagnating” in sixth place in the Premier League.

At least Irvine is making a good fist of his second chance at Sheffield Wednesday. OK so he has superior resources at his disposal than the vast majority of sides in League One, but he’s done a sterling job in unifying a club in potential freefall, each week seeming to bring a new tax demand, court appearance or administration threat.

Ben is a long-suffering Newcastle Utd supporter (is there any other kind?) who co-founded and co-wrote Black & White & Read All Over, a blog that, over the course of a decade, chronicled the ups, downs, chaos and calamity of the club he has the misfortune to follow. Since the blog hung up its boots in May 2014 (note: not as a mark of respect for Shola Ameobi leaving St James’ Park), he has contented himself with sporadic, splenetic Twitter outbursts and shamefully rare contributions to The Two Unfortunates. He is currently haunted by visions of Joe Kinnear returning to the club for a third spell and pondering whether he’ll live to see another victory over the Mackems, but at least has a cardboard coathanger with Robert Lee’s head on it for consolation.


  1. Stanley
    January 3, 2011

    Initially, the reaction of the Red Knight seemed childish in the extreme. However (and Lanterne Rouge touches on this in the Pompey thread above), could it just be that De Laet, James and King were being loaned to PNE for peanuts as a personal favour? Since that connection no longer exists, it would make little sense for Man United to continue an arrangement which costs them more than is necessary.

  2. Ben
    January 3, 2011

    Anonymous: I don't doubt Irvine made errors, but equally don't think he deserved the sack. Being expected to keep the side on the fringes of the play-offs with minimal investment when other rival clubs were shelling out a relative fortune was always going to be a tough if not impossible task. It seems the board panicked somewhat and while Ferguson must have looked like a good replacement at the time, the decision to make the change should have been at least deferred. As for the loanees' performances, not being a Preston follower I can't really comment other than to say that while they may be partly responsible for the club's predicament, surely it should be the seasoned senior professionals at Deepdale who should be shouldering rather than shirking responsibility?

    Stanley: I'm sure it was a personal favour – but it still seems like a petulant reaction. Surely Man Utd's interests would be better served by having their young players out on loan and playing at a reasonable level week in week out, even if they are continuing to pay their salary (which must be a pittance compared to young Master Rooney's…)?

  3. Stanley
    January 3, 2011

    Ben: Of course Man United's interests would be best served by sending those players out on loan. (After all, they are a long way from the first XI at this moment.) My point was that there will be other Championship clubs willing to take them on, and pay a bigger chunk of their weekly wage.

  4. Ben
    January 3, 2011

    Ah, I see – yes, fair comment. It seems a bit unfair that they can terminate the loan deals just like that, but outlawing this kind of behaviour would be very difficult – after all, emergency recalls are always going to have to be permitted in cases where parent clubs have genuine injury crises to deal with, or legitimate concerns about a player's treatment at the loan club. I suppose that if Preston signed up to the conditions of the loan, and those conditions haven't been broken, then there's not a lot they can do other than be cheesed off at Fergie.

  5. gerschenkron
    January 4, 2011

    Stanley as a closet Manchester United fan: more evidence for the prosecution here.


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