Premier League Focus: The BFC view (2)

Posted on October 11, 2009

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*Article originally appeared in When the Ball Moves

Do we have one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League? The way that Brian Jensen has managed to turn in inspirational performances for a year now having been mediocre at best for the rest of his career still amazes me. I’ve heard that goalkeepers are known to improve with age, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one go from rubbish to brilliant in the blink of an eye. It could all be a flash in the pan, with the real Beast lurking round the corner ready to reinstate himself any minute. I doubt it though. If Jensen is not under serious consideration for a place in the Denmark squad then something is wrong. Surely the in-form ‘keeper for a top ten Premier League side (for that is what we are at the moment) is more qualified for the job of national team goalie than Kim Christensen, whoever the hell he is. Anyway, I digress. How good is Jensen compared to his contemporaries? There’s no doubting there are some good ‘keepers in this league, players that have been considered good for a lot longer than Jensen has. Shay Given, Brad Friedel, Petr Cech, Jose Reina and Edwin van der Sar are names long established in the pantheon of goalkeepers. Aside from them, however, the rest are less impressive. Ben Foster has looked worse than useless this season, how he can be considered a serious contender for the jersey for both Manchester United and England is beyond me. Manuel Almunia is faintly ridiculous, and certainly there was a long time early in his Arsenal career where he was, everyone agreed, crap. Same with Tim Howard, who was a flop at Old Trafford, and David ‘Calamity’ James. The idea that Craig Gordon could be worth £9 million makes a lot of people laugh. Robert Green has his strengths, but how tiny is he? I’d rather have Beast than a midget any day. We saw just how ‘good’ Joe Hart was at the Turf the other week. I won’t go as far as a mate of mine who, ignorant of Jensen’s history and age, suggested that we must be seriously worried about losing him to a bigger club. The idea that Brian Jensen is a top goalkeeper is probably as surprising for other people as it is for me, so I don’t think we need to worry too much just yet. My main fear is that he will go back to the bad old ways when he tires of his new fame. For the time being though, let’s appreciate him. There are not many I’d swap him for right now.

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An unrealistic amount of my time is spent examining the fortunes of clubs we are trying to beat to safety this season, so I note the takeovers at Birmingham and Portsmouth with dismay. We’ve just got to hope that the new owners don’t pump too much money in, making the playing field less even for the second half of the season. I doubt Alex McLeish would be able to spend the money well anyway, and Paul Hart’s philosophy on signing players appears to be that quantity matters more than quality, so we might be alright. I’m growing to love Phil Brown more and more by the day, and his incompetence might be our closest ally this season. As long as they win or draw a game occasionally to keep him employed, this absolute buffoon has got one of the relegation spots tied up for Hull. This is one of the things I have learnt since we arrived in this league, a lot of the people who have made it to the top don’t actually deserve to be there. Football is not a fair game, for it allows muppets with no talent to rise to the top of the profession. Hopefully we can buck the trend, as an honest, hard-working unit that have fought our way to the top playing football the way it is meant to be played. West Brom tried, and failed, but super Burnley can do it. Maybe we can even finish above West Ham this season, and establish ourselves as the second-best Claret and Blue side in the land.

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Posted in: Sport