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Not Much Sympathy for the Devil

So far this summer many a transfer has been discussed in the infinitely credible, if not at times slightly schizophrenic, sporting presses of England, Spain and Italy. Our very own Flamini has already departed, albeit without to much media fuss. The transfer saga of Alex Hleb has been continuing for something close to 4 months now, since he had his ever so innocent Gelato with Inter supremo, the man in Italian football so rich he`s team is considered further beyond prosecution than the Prime ministers, Massimo Moratti. To add to the trifecta Togo forward Emmanuel Adebayor has been repeatedly linked to either Barcelona or AC Milan regardless of how many times he denies the speculation (surprisingly enough Cesc hasn`t really been linked to anybody as of late). It would appear at the moment that - if you believe what you read - two Arsenal players are bound to be reunified at one club or another this summer whether it be either beacon of transfer morality, Barca or Milan.

We at Arsenal have over the years learnt to endure the silly season with a pinch of both realism and salt, being fans of what we are regularly told by Manc`s, Scouser`s, Italians and Spaniards alike is a small football club. The salt: that most transfer rumours are exactly that, rumours. The realism: that even captains are not immune to the overtures of foreign giants. This summer though the biggest transfer saga in world football does not belong to Arsenal and any one of Adebayor, Hleb, Van Persie, Cesc or Aaron Ramsey, but to the self proclaimed juggernaut of English (or is that American these days?) football, Manchester United.

I have read on many an Arsenal blog or in internet comment sections, and on this site itself, that Arsenal fans feel a certain sense of solidarity or even empathy with what United are going through. Currently subjected to Cristiano Ronaldo`s mood swings, the presses creative use of quotes and 'sources` and the inevitable Henry-esque will he or wont he ballet routine that follows I can to an extent understand why supporters of the Arsenal feel a slight twinge of sympathy for the devil, after all we have been in this exact same situation every summer since the internet was invented, haven`t we? Personally though Old Red Noses bleating about Madrid tapping up the Portuguese magician has a bit to much a sense of hypocrisy to it for me to feel sorry for the champions.

Granted, over the past few seasons our own youth policy, the envy of world football and now the blue print for sustainability in the Premier League, has been accused of acting unscrupulously and exploiting numerous loop holes in FIFA and UEFA`s sieve like rule book. The ethics of whether the signing of Carlos Vela, a non-European 16 year old whose parents were moved to Spain and shortly after made Spanish nationals due to their Mexican heritage before any legal player agreement was concluded has been questioned. Our poaching of Spanish and Italian talent before their nations laws allow these teenagers to sign legally binding contracts has caused offence to numerous continental commentators, not least Palermo`s president who referred to us, creatively, as 'pirates`. Some may say that this makes us hypocritical in the way we accuse Italian and Spanish clubs of shady transfer dealings because of how they utilize their respective media`s to blatantly tap up players, except here there is one major difference between the two practices, that being that the way in which Arsenal pursue their youth policy is completely legal.

Every player transfer Arsenal has ever made has been done with in the law, if not necessarily the spirit of FIFA and UEFA`s rules on player transfers where as clubs such as Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Inter and Milan repeatedly break football`s governing bodies rules of 'tapping up` and are not even warned let alone sanctioned. To me there is no difference between a clandestine meeting in a hotel room in London and a public meeting for an ice cream in Milan or a very public announcement of interest in the sporting press. All three of these examples break both legally and in spirit the rules of not being able to announce your interest to a player, or their representative, without first discussing it with the player`s current club. In this respect I do feel a slight twinge of empathy towards Old Red Nose and the United fans as rules are undoubtedly being bent and calls for fair play going unheeded.

Where the tiny, dirty, feeling of sympathy I have for the Devil`s all just turns into another case of head scratching transfer deja-vu is when I think to myself, 'hey, didn`t I see something similar to this last summer and maybe the summer before?`. And then I remember the player`s names, and the club involved, I think they may have been Owen Hargreaves and Manchester United and before that Michael Carrick and, again, Manchester United, and that dirty feeling of solidarity that lasted a brief moment turns right back into disgust for the most high-and-mighty, the-rules-don`t-apply-unless-it`s-bad-for-us, club in world football. How can any fan, especially Arsenal fan feel sorry for United and Ferguson and all their hard done by whining when 12 months ago they were using the exact same unsavory tactics Real are using on Ronaldo to lure Hargreaves away from Bayern Munich. The only difference between the two situations was that what ever Madrid pay for Ronaldo it will be worth it, which is more than can be said for the combined 33 million pound spent on Carrick and Hargreaves.

Personally I hope Ronaldo stays in Manchester because, as they say, if you want to be the best you`ve got to beat the best. Also because winning the title against the arrogant Manc`s wouldn`t be the same without seeing Ronaldo crying come the third last game of the season when we take their trophy back to the Grove. But if he does go to Madrid one thing I most definitely wont be feeling along with this seasons regret will be sympathy for Old Red Nose and the most entitled fans in England. Up the Gunner`s!




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The Journalist

Writer: Ozi Gooner Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday June 19 2008

Time: 10:14AM

Your Comments

Light the blue touch paper and stand well back!!!
Rocky7
Whatever wrongs ManU may have done to create the Karma I think there is a bigger issue at stake. Fifa have ducked it which effectively gives any club the ability to negotiate publicly where Fifa rules do not permit them to negotiate privately. Disrepute? Fifa doesn't know the meaning of the word.
Amos.
Whatever wrongs ManU may have done to create the Karma I think there is a bigger issue at stake. Fifa have ducked it which effectively gives any club the ability to negotiate publicly where Fifa rules do not permit them to negotiate privately. Disrepute? Fifa doesn't know the meaning of the word.
Amos.
Light the blue touch paper and stand well back!!!
Rocky7
Great article. Good points well made!
Bradys Chips
Great article. Good points well made!
Bradys Chips
Does anyone else feel that UEFA/FIFA let Italian and Spanish giants off with murder all the time. English clubs seem to be the only ones who get hammered! Heaven forbid I suggest there are certain people high up in the organisation that are biased..... but there are. Just look at Platini's comments recently. The FA need to stand up for this countries sides.
navydave
Does anyone else feel that UEFA/FIFA let Italian and Spanish giants off with murder all the time. English clubs seem to be the only ones who get hammered! Heaven forbid I suggest there are certain people high up in the organisation that are biased..... but there are. Just look at Platini's comments recently. The FA need to stand up for this countries sides.
navydave
Arsenal, Man U and Liverpool should issue a combined protest to UEFA / FIFA. Strength in numbers! I obviously don't include Chelsea in this delegation, as they are as bad as their forign counterparts!
Bradys Chips
Arsenal, Man U and Liverpool should issue a combined protest to UEFA / FIFA. Strength in numbers! I obviously don't include Chelsea in this delegation, as they are as bad as their forign counterparts!
Bradys Chips
For all the evil and unethical things about Chelski under Abromovich they have never once used the press to tap a player up in the same way Utd have done. As much as I agree that there needs to be a rule change I still hope that if ROnaldo's gonna go he does it before they change anything so Old Red Nose has to suffer the indignation of being treated the way he treats every other club in ENgland.
Ozi Gooner
For all the evil and unethical things about Chelski under Abromovich they have never once used the press to tap a player up in the same way Utd have done. As much as I agree that there needs to be a rule change I still hope that if ROnaldo's gonna go he does it before they change anything so Old Red Nose has to suffer the indignation of being treated the way he treats every other club in ENgland.
Ozi Gooner
What? So the way they tapped up **** cole is equally as bad as using the press? Don't think there're any grounds to defend Chelsea's activity in the transfer market at all mate, what about Shevchenko? Let's not forget Ferguson's taunts of 'the lad wants to play for us, but Arsenal won't let him' re Vieira (The Arsenal promptly went on to win the league that season, after Utd splashing out squillions on Veron. And i dunno about in Oz mate, but i've never heard a Manc/Mickey calling Arsenal a small club.
shewore
What? So the way they tapped up **** cole is equally as bad as using the press? Don't think there're any grounds to defend Chelsea's activity in the transfer market at all mate, what about Shevchenko? Let's not forget Ferguson's taunts of 'the lad wants to play for us, but Arsenal won't let him' re Vieira (The Arsenal promptly went on to win the league that season, after Utd splashing out squillions on Veron. And i dunno about in Oz mate, but i've never heard a Manc/Mickey calling Arsenal a small club.
shewore
Good news - I hope this means Milan will eff right off now! http://sport.setanta.com/en/Sport/News/Football/2008/06/19/Serie-A-Milan-on-Adebayor/
Lou the Gunneress
Good news - I hope this means Milan will eff right off now! http://sport.setanta.com/en/Sport/News/Football/2008/06/19/Serie-A-Milan-on-Adebayor/
Lou the Gunneress
Chelsea do a lot wrong but I've never heard of them do something as hypocritical as threaten to sue another club for something they theselves have just done.
Ozi Gooner
Chelsea do a lot wrong but I've never heard of them do something as hypocritical as threaten to sue another club for something they theselves have just done.
Ozi Gooner
Haha yeah Chelsea have been wrong in quite a few instances. But they just live with their own reputation lol
Lou the Gunneress
Haha yeah Chelsea have been wrong in quite a few instances. But they just live with their own reputation lol
Lou the Gunneress
Chelsea are just as bad, if not worse than Utd. Ashley Cole & John Obi Mikel spring instantly to mind when thinking about dodgy transfer dealings.
Rocky7
Chelsea are just as bad, if not worse than Utd. Ashley Cole & John Obi Mikel spring instantly to mind when thinking about dodgy transfer dealings.
Rocky7
Who exactly has threatened to sue who? Utd purely to sue Madrid, no? Chelsea (and more specifically Mourinho) have definitely threatened to Sue Arsene/Arsenal over him answering questions asked about Chelsea Ozi - that's pretty hypocritical in my eyes. Saying they categorically didn't have meetings with Cole when they did, Mourinho saying he was 'too short' for a full back and then signing him - all of these are pretty hypocritical traits.
shewore
Who exactly has threatened to sue who? Utd purely to sue Madrid, no? Chelsea (and more specifically Mourinho) have definitely threatened to Sue Arsene/Arsenal over him answering questions asked about Chelsea Ozi - that's pretty hypocritical in my eyes. Saying they categorically didn't have meetings with Cole when they did, Mourinho saying he was 'too short' for a full back and then signing him - all of these are pretty hypocritical traits.
shewore
Agree, the Carlos Tevez thing last year wasnt too pretty either. On a whole this is just bad for the game, you would think that because all these teams have the same sport in common they would show a common respect. The problem though lies with the intrgrity of the players as they ultimately make the decision to stay or leave. I have said before, if players only want to play for their so called dream teams then football will really never be as great as it can. its funny how players want to go to Milan after we beat them and so many of the other big clubs but the players do not want to make their own history. Football as an organization has very little integrity, its unethical!!
Paulsito
Agree, the Carlos Tevez thing last year wasnt too pretty either. On a whole this is just bad for the game, you would think that because all these teams have the same sport in common they would show a common respect. The problem though lies with the intrgrity of the players as they ultimately make the decision to stay or leave. I have said before, if players only want to play for their so called dream teams then football will really never be as great as it can. its funny how players want to go to Milan after we beat them and so many of the other big clubs but the players do not want to make their own history. Football as an organization has very little integrity, its unethical!!
Paulsito
Its crazy. Josie Mourinho has been testing the waters today regarding Lampard, Drogba and Deco .... yet the spineless *****s at Fifa still do nothing. This game is turning into a circus. No manager should be able to publically talk about the possible transfer of a player. Period. Trying to disguise their tapping up by saying "We could only sign the player if he and his club agree to it, until then it is impossible" is just so transparent, all they are saying, publically to players like Ronaldo is "Hey buddy, we want you, but you've got to instigate this *****" if Fifa are just going to ignore this then they are more stupid than I initially thought.
Rocky7
Its crazy. Josie Mourinho has been testing the waters today regarding Lampard, Drogba and Deco .... yet the spineless *****s at Fifa still do nothing. This game is turning into a circus. No manager should be able to publically talk about the possible transfer of a player. Period. Trying to disguise their tapping up by saying "We could only sign the player if he and his club agree to it, until then it is impossible" is just so transparent, all they are saying, publically to players like Ronaldo is "Hey buddy, we want you, but you've got to instigate this *****" if Fifa are just going to ignore this then they are more stupid than I initially thought.
Rocky7
fair enough she wore, ic onceed defeat on the Chelsea thing, they are****s and possibly the bigger hypocrites and more classless club out of Utd and themsleves. Still though that doesnt change what was the basic point of the article, that Utd deserve absolutley nobodies sympathy for this Ronaldo situation with the way they acted with Carrick, Hargreaves, as someone else pointed out Tevez, and how publically they air their legends dirty laundry as they did with Beckham and Van Nistelrooy.
Ozi Gooner
fair enough she wore, ic onceed defeat on the Chelsea thing, they are****s and possibly the bigger hypocrites and more classless club out of Utd and themsleves. Still though that doesnt change what was the basic point of the article, that Utd deserve absolutley nobodies sympathy for this Ronaldo situation with the way they acted with Carrick, Hargreaves, as someone else pointed out Tevez, and how publically they air their legends dirty laundry as they did with Beckham and Van Nistelrooy.
Ozi Gooner
Agreed Rocky, there's gotta be some sort of legislation put in place.
shewore
Agreed Rocky, there's gotta be some sort of legislation put in place.
shewore
A sign of how much you've hit a raw nerve with this great article is the quick animated response. We are all in agreement that FIFA should do something but are bottlers and that we shouldn't feel the least bit sorry for United if they lose Ronaldo. I know two wrong don't make a right but it would serve them bloody right!!
Bradys Chips
A sign of how much you've hit a raw nerve with this great article is the quick animated response. We are all in agreement that FIFA should do something but are bottlers and that we shouldn't feel the least bit sorry for United if they lose Ronaldo. I know two wrong don't make a right but it would serve them bloody right!!
Bradys Chips
I agree, I have ZERO sympathy for the mancs. And I personally would love to see Cronaldo go to Real only because I'd be spared the endless vomit-inducing worship about him from the English press. Each time I hear one of those idiots say "he is human after all" after he's failed to score I want to hit something, or someone. That said, I do think there's a larger principle here and as usual FIFA/UEFA demonstrate their complete failure to police their own members. Beyond the whole Hargreaves/Carrick analogy, last summer there was the whole Tevez/Joorabchian saga that I found far more disgusting. For me, there's a personal element to my disgust toward MSI and Joorabchian. It was they who got my father's club Corinthians relegated to Brazil's Serie B for the first time -- EVER. I was only grateful that my father was not alive to see it. Of course the club's board were also responsible but what Joorabchian did to one of Brazilian football's oldest institutions is something that can't ever be forgiven or forgotten. Last year when I saw England's top flight deal with this man and his company--first West Ham and later the "great" Manchester United with such a sterling reputation--I and so many other Brazilians watched in total incomprehension and disgust. Some of us naively thought in England this scumbag would have a harder time operating. He is still wanted by Brazilian police. As far as I'm concerned, the fact that MU dealt with this man for Tevez totally ended any claim they have on even the tiniest shred of ethics they may ever have had.
jaelle
I agree, I have ZERO sympathy for the mancs. And I personally would love to see Cronaldo go to Real only because I'd be spared the endless vomit-inducing worship about him from the English press. Each time I hear one of those idiots say "he is human after all" after he's failed to score I want to hit something, or someone. That said, I do think there's a larger principle here and as usual FIFA/UEFA demonstrate their complete failure to police their own members. Beyond the whole Hargreaves/Carrick analogy, last summer there was the whole Tevez/Joorabchian saga that I found far more disgusting. For me, there's a personal element to my disgust toward MSI and Joorabchian. It was they who got my father's club Corinthians relegated to Brazil's Serie B for the first time -- EVER. I was only grateful that my father was not alive to see it. Of course the club's board were also responsible but what Joorabchian did to one of Brazilian football's oldest institutions is something that can't ever be forgiven or forgotten. Last year when I saw England's top flight deal with this man and his company--first West Ham and later the "great" Manchester United with such a sterling reputation--I and so many other Brazilians watched in total incomprehension and disgust. Some of us naively thought in England this scumbag would have a harder time operating. He is still wanted by Brazilian police. As far as I'm concerned, the fact that MU dealt with this man for Tevez totally ended any claim they have on even the tiniest shred of ethics they may ever have had.
jaelle
 

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