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All Things Footie | Thursday, July 29 | Jordan

Don't worry readers,

It’s been a while, but I’m not dead.

To be honest, the way the only real story of the summer has dominated every newspaper and every opinion piece in the football world over the last fortnight has bored me to death. I’m just not interested in the fortunes of Arsenal’s captain anymore, either he’ll start next season in the Premiership or he won’t. Who cares anymore?

There have been other stories going on though, including Paul Gascoigne turning out for Radcliffe Borough in a freindly against a Manchester United XI (then signing for Boston United), Patrick Kluivert signing for Newcastle (I’ll come to that in a minute), the Romford Pele, Ray Parlour, signing for Middlesbrough and Chelsea capturing the heir to Pascal Cygan’s French League Player of the Year crown, Didier Drogba. Chelsea have been seriously ripped off there (he says as if it were an isolated incident: £13.2m for a right back dropped by Portugal after the first game of Euro 2004, £10m for a slightly above average Portuguese midfielder…) and Drogba has a hell of a lot to prove. At 26, he’s had one good season at a decent club, and one good season at a poor club, both in a weak league. Sure, he’s scored goals in the Champions League, and the UEFA Cup, but only over one and a half seasons. He looks a good player—athletic, strong and with a decent touch—but not twenty-four million pounds worth, not by a long shot.

The other ‘big striker’ signing of the last fortnight saw Bobby Robson add to his collection of disruptive players by bringing Barcelona’s Patrick Kluivert to Newcastle. I think he’s going a bit soft(er) in the head, old Bobby. Bowyer, Woodgate, Bellamy and Kluivert have all had run-ins with the police—not even George Graham’s drinking, gambling, womanising Arsenal of the early nineties could match Bellamy’s affray, Woodgate and Bowyers bashing of ethnic minorities and Kluivert’s conviction for manslaughter and rape allegations (which for legal reasons I should probably point out he was acquitted of). What is Robson trying to do? How can he be surprised that Kieran Dyer is finiding the straight and narrow difficult to find? It’s a really bizarre situation, particularly when someone as no-nonsense as Alan Shearer is the captain.

Staying in the North East, and shock-horror(!), Middlesbrough have finally made a good signing! (Hell, they’ve brought in about eight players, it had to happen at some point). Ray Parlour is a fine player—probably the most underrated midfielder of his generation—and while some will say he’s suffered under Arsène Wenger’s reign, the truth is entirely to the contrary. Wenger turned Parlour from an average, alcoholic workhorse midfielder into someone who could sit comfortably in a midfield alongside World Cup winners and PFA/football writers’ Players of the Year. His age and lack of natural ability have caught him up slightly in the last couple of seasons, and he no longer has the speed of feet or mind to be able to excel in Arsenal’s ultra-dynamic midfield, but he’s still a tenacious and talented ball winner and would walk into most Premiership sides. He’ll do well for Middlesbrough.

Some more tranfers, in short | Gary Speed is a really good signing for old Walrus face, he won’t let Bolton down and will add some much needed steel and experience to their midfield; I’d love to see him form a partnership with Kevin Nolan. | In Thomas Helveg and (on loan) David Bentley, Norwich have made two of the best signings of the summer without a doubt; they could end up surprising everyone. | Radzinski and Cole will score a lot of goals for Fulham, they’re both a little better than they’re often given credit for. | Chalrton’s capture of Danish winger Dennis Rommedahl is another ‘how did he do that’ moment for Alan Curbishly; Rommedahl is good enough to play for a top four side (I thought he’d make an excellent signing for Liverpool actually) and he’ll do well as part of a very strong Charlton midfield next season. | Everton’s sigining of Tim Cahill could go either way—it’s a big step up for him, but he could prove to be the creative (if slightly selfish) influence in midfield that allows Wayne Rooney to express himself a little more freely.

No matter how much I try to convince myself that it’s a good thing for traditional footballing values that Rooney is happy to stay with Everton despite being probably the most talented young forward on the planet, I just can’t do it. His loyalty to Everton may stop him becoming the best player in the World—because I don’t care what you say, having the talent is not enough: to develop any further he needs to be around World Class players, he needs to be playing top class football, and he needs to know that his teammates will understand his runs and will know what he’s thinking. That’s just not going to happen at Everton.

From Rooney, to England. I don’t know what Sven’s supposed to have done (the whole saga is even more boring than the Vieira one), but if he’s undermined the players confidence in him and brought the FA into disrepute (a hilarious charge seeing as the incompetent know-nothings are perfectly capable of doing that themselves without even trying) then he has to be treated as Glenn Hoddle was. Adios Sven. It’s England’s best chance of winning the next World Cup, and maybe the FA are being more intelligent than I give them credit for by managing to find a way to sack him (and thus avoid having to pay off his £4m a year contract). Who knows?

Who cares?

(21) Comment(s) | Permanent link to this article

# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 10:59 AM
luogo interessante, soddisfare interessante, buon!
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9:53 PM
Luogo molto buon:) Buona fortuna!
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1:27 PM
E evidente che il luogo e stato fatto dalla persona che realmente conosce il mestiere!
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 10:24 PM
luogo interessante, soddisfare interessante, buon!
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 4:51 PM
Lo trovo piuttosto impressionante. Lavoro grande fatto..)
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 7:59 AM
Stupore! ho una sensibilit� molto buona circa il vostro luogo!!!!
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Ich besichtige deinen Aufstellungsort wieder bald fur sicheres!
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Du musst ein Fachmann sein - wirklich guter Aufstellungsort, den du hast!
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