As the mindless Arsenal supporters call for the head of the 2nd best manager in The Premier League, leaving them on the brink of losing Arsene Wenger to Real Madrid for one last hurrah, one small headline on Sky Sports News grabbed my attention “Michael Turner voted Hull supporters player of the year”. How are the two things linked? Well should Arsene decide to stay and complete his latest work of art he shold look no further than Turner to complete the picture.

I first saw Turner at Brentford (my team) he was on loan from Charlton after spending time in Italy and looked the part. Quick, strong,  good in the air, read the game and  was English. He takes up the position of defender as if his life depends on it as the Hull fans have obviously recognised. He could be to Arsenal what Vidic is to Man Utd, Terry is to Chelsea and Carragher is to Liverpool. He won’t cost the 20 million Fulham want for Hangerland and Bolton want for Cahill and with Hull almost certain to be relegated at the weekend Phil Orange will not be able to turn down a sensible offer.

Wenger knows he needs an old fashioned centre back but his hands are tied financially by the Arsenal board he should snap up Turner  from the second hand tinker from Hull. A classic English work and fit him in alongside  his continental finery.  A true gallery contains all manner of works and Wenger has a gaping hole on his wall that a Turner would fill very nicely.

Ashley Cole: Boooooooooo!!!

October 13, 2008

 

So poor Ashley was booed by those nasty men who always ruin his game. If I was him I would have picked up my ball and gone home, that would have shown them. Bollocks, how can a man so devoid of any of the most basic human decencies, integrity, honesty, faithfulness the list goes on be upset by a few paying fans booing such a monumental cock up. What if those boos are still ringing in his ears the next time he considers such an ill conceived back pass (it could be 0-0 against Brazil in a world ciup quarter final) and he thinks again and lumps into row Z an we don’t concede a needless goal? Would they be so mindless and unfair then? I don’t think so.

Anyway if there was ever a footballer who deserved booing on any occasion even if he’s playing well (when was the last time that happened by the way?) the that player is Ashley Cole. The way he left Arsenal, The Book (good God The Book!), the Mike Reilly incident “There’s my name, fucking book me, go on fucking book me” the man is sheer class on a stick and for me the biggest blight on this arsehole his treatment of the fragrant, lovely Cheryl Tweedy. What was she thinking?

I suggest ritual booing of Asley Cole becomes prevelant around the country, even at Stamford Bridge where he is far from the most popular player even among the Chelsea die hards. Fuck me, he earns a hundred grand a week, plays for Chelsea and Enlgland and is married to Cheryl. I feel another one coming on BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I bet that hurt eh Ashley.

So West Hams Icelandic owner is now skint, they owe £32 million to Sheffield Utd, have a squad the size of a Rekjavik suburb and a wage bill higher than the annual cod income of Iceland. Ok, I’ve used some artistic licence there but the point is valid. Is this just the tip of the iceberg? Who’s next? Will the credit crunch mark a Premiership avalanche into the abyss of debt, insolvency and closure?

We all pay for the Premiership, through tickets, replica shirts and Sky but what we pay isn’t enough, your favourite Premiership club is almost certainly insolvent. It’s out goings are bigger than it’s incomings. It is almost certainly propped up each month by your freindly, band wagon jumping billionaire. Man City and Chelsea are probably ok as long as thier benefactors don’t get bored or shot (behind you Roman). The rest? Can you really be sure theira fortunes aren’t tied up in one of the hundreds of banks across the world that are collapsing? Trust me West Hams current predicament won’t be the last and when it does go wrong as at Newcastle who will pick up the pieces? They are hardly breaking down Mike Ashleys door are they? Do you think he actually opened one of those spam e-mails “My brother is a king in Nigeria and we need to deposit £400 million pounds in your bank. Please send you bank details to Nigeria Bank acct no 12345567. It is safe and you can trust me. Adebola Mbwenga” I digress but again the point is valid.

The reality is that Premiership football is a money pit, virtually no clubs make money, Chelsea has cost Abramovich half a billion and continues to run at a loss. Mike Ashley has propped up Newcastle, paid of old debt and been abused to the point that he has to sell. There are so many clubs owned by overseas wealth that the playing field has been levelled to the point where financial investment no longer guarantees success. Jack Walker brought Blackburn the title when he was the ONLY one. Now if there are 15 clubs with huge backing one of them will finish 15th which is no reward in the bank balance or the ego.

I suggest you look beyond the back pages and start reading the financial columns and find out where your sugar daddy stashes his cash.  West Ham should have seen the writing on the wall, any link with Kerry Katona, however tenuous, should have been a warning. Mmmm frozen prawns.

Euro 2008 Squads

I don’t know about you but I’m thoroughly enjoying Euro 2008. It’s not just the absence of that impending sense of doom that surrounds following England in major tournaments. You know the painful 1-1 draw in the first group game, the last minute winner against the undrerdogs and the inevitable penalty shoot out defeat. No, it’s not the lack of reports of England “supporters” destroying a small Austrian village in a xenophobic, beer fuelled ramapge. No, not the masses of St George Crosses that appear on cars and houses across the land (you never actually see them on St Georges day). None of these things are making this one of the most enjoyable tournaments in some time, IT’S THE FOOTBALL.

The wonderful Dutch, total football reborn. Is that really Giovanni van Bronckhorst running the full length of the pitch to score? Sneijder, van Nistelrooy and then there’s Arjen Robben, Mourinho ended up not trusting and then selling this magical footballer, he really wasn’t special was he? God help the rest of Europe if Robben ends up on the opposite wing to Ronaldo for Real Madrid!

Talking of Ronaldo there’s Portugal, an entertaining, attacking side who back themselves to score more than the opposition. Deco in the midfield and Pepe at the back (also now with Real Madrid, how much is a season ticket at the Bernabeu?)  Both teams are just a pleasure to watch, fluid attacking football, fantastic on the break and full of genuinely talented footballers.

Add the ruthless Germans, the unpredictable French, the inspired Spanish, the spirit, desire and skill of the Croatians. In fact take out the two host countries and every team has a quality and attitude that puts our overpaid, pampered and by comparison talentless English stars to shame. The Swedes and Rumanians play to their strengths with passion. The Greeks and Turks give a shit and despite an apparent lack of talent managed to qualify and have given a good account of themselves. Switzerland and Austria are out of their depth but I would still give them both a fair chance against England.

Ask yourself how many of our “stars” would warrant a starting place in any of the expected quarter finalists teams? Is Rooney as good as Podolski or Villa? Where is our Torres, Henry, Toni or even Ibrahimovic? Joe Cole our only truly expressive player falls a million miles short of Ronaldo, Robben and Ribery. How about “Super Frank” and “Stevie G”? Their lack of mobility, creativity, flair, basic control and possession leaves them trailing in the wake of Deco, Fabregas, Sneijder, Modric, Ballack, Xavi……shall I go on? OK how about JT? The footballing lump of wood, immobile, no apparent skill on the ball and little pace, he might just replace Senderos in the middle of the Swiss defence but apart from that he is a footballing dinosaur in this company. The only English player who would warrant a place in most of these teams is the impeccable, hugely skillful and grossly underappreciated in his own country, Rio Ferdinand.

So as the group stages come to and end I can’t wait for the quarter finals, exicitng, attacking, skillful football played at a frightening pace. No not the English Premiership but the best of the Premiership without the English. We might have the best league in the world, you could argue we have the best clubs, but the best players? I don’t think so.

Mr Capello must be looking forward to the qualifiers but I for one don’t expect us to beat Croatia once, never mind twice but you know what I could quite get used to watching major tournaments without England it really is much more fun!

Van der Sar saves to win it for Man Utd

I remember watching a 17 year old Nicolas Anelka tear up the Premier League and win the FA Cup as a teenager at Arsenal and thinking this boy is going to be REALLY good. It was almost impossible to recognise the dis-interested figure that ambled on to the pitch last night and took a penalty that we all knew he would miss. How can it go that wrong and will the decision to buy Anelka and then use him instead of Shevchenko be the final nail in Avram Grant’s coffin?

Anelka is the ultimate football mercenary, moving from club to club leaving trail of dissapointed fans, staff and team mates as he moves on to the next fat contract. I would love to see what he has earned in wages and sining on fees in the last ten years. The saddest thing of all is that he looks like he doesn’t care. Whatever your view on Didier Dogba at least he gives a shit, Shevchenko in Russia in The Champions League Final would have known the importance of the game. Anelka could have been turning out for anyone, in any game. “Do I really have to be here” seeped out of every pore from his body language, effort and THAT penalty.

Surely Avram Grant and his staff must have seen Anelkas apathy and left him on the bench, I’m no fan of Chelsea or John Terry or “Super Frank” but in a game where the two best sides in Europe couldn’t be seperated one kick of a ball from a man who epitomises the very worst of modern football was decisive. This was money you should have saved Roman and you would probably be European Champions today, I think they call this irony.

 Vs

Just an observation for anyone who cares. Watch back tonights game and you will observe, as I did, a huge difference in the technique of the two teams. This has nothing to do with the result, it is an endemic issue with English technique, coaching and basic talent.

ALL the English players receive the ball static and square on. Listen to the sound of an English player receiving a pass, it’s the noise you would hear if you kicked a ball against a barn door. Time and momentum are lost as the players adjust their feet, turn and the move on.

ALL the French players receive the ball on the move and already turning. There is no sound as French player and ball move on as silently as a revolving door. (See what I’ve done!). No time or momentum is lost as the ball moves seemlessly to the next phase of play.

Just an observation as I said, our best just don’t have the technique and I’m sure Mr Capello is starting to wonder what he’s done. Shut the door on the way out Fabio!

 

I wrote on several of the wonderful Arsenal blogs on WordPress at the start of this season that a top 4 finish this year would be Arsene Wengers finest acheivement as Arsenal manager. The squad he has assembled is full of young men with potential but has as been proved incapable of maintaining a serious challenge for the title. The fact that Wengers methods and scouting network continue to produce wonderful football cannot be questioned but it is time for Wenger to realise that the Premiership and partucularly the rest of the “Big 4” have moved on.

I think there’s a risk that Wengers refusal to buy established guranteed stars is denying him his rightful place alongside Sir Alex. The financial restraints of previous years have been lifted by the income from the magnificent Emirates Stadium and can no longer be used as an excuse. It is now evident that last summer or in January Wenger should have bought big. Anelka back to Arsenal? Tevez from west Ham? Torres from under Rafa’s nose? Hargreaves to supplement the wonderful Fabregas? The list could go on, it breaks my heart as a football fan that Abramovichs toy box football team “I vant a Ballack NOW” is the one remaining challenger to Uniteds mix of the best of English and foreign talent.

I hope Wenger looks at todays result and goes to the money men at Arsenal with a list of 4 or 5 top, proven players that can lift his team above Avram Grants automotons. Swallow your pride Arsene, we all know how great your are with undiscovered talent now show us you can shop with the best as well.