Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Tuesday July 29 2008
You may remember back in January I wrote an article regarding the air of downright lunacy that had become apparent in the January transfer window. Well, after a very slow start to the summer bazaar, it seems the heat is getting to the heads of one or two. Kevin Keegan is still at Newcastle and Lassana Diarra has not demanded a transfer, which I think you will agree is pretty strange indeed. But now the silence has broken and the verbal diarrhoea is beginning to flow. Of course Sepp Blatter felt dutibound to get the ball rolling some three weeks ago with his "slavery" remarks. Others have been a little cumbersome in following his lead, but little by little the shite is trickling down the drain. Late last week we were treated to Real Madrid president Roman Calderon`s erstwhile assertion that, "We cannot talk about footballers who aren`t ours." This extraordinary claim does not really require deconstruction, but with the laziest of glances, one can dig out the following from Real defender Pepe,
'It's normal he wants to come. If he comes to Madrid he'll be welcomed by everyone. The directors, players and fans welcome you here - Cristiano won't have a problem. He has said many times that he likes Madrid. He knows the great history of Madrid and the club that it is.'
Not enough? Well, how about this from vice captain Guti? "Real Madrid needs good players and Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player you can bring in right now. We would be delighted to have him. He wouldn't upset the good atmosphere, and anyway people tell me he's a great person and a good team player. Everyone works to earn as much as they can get and if he's one of the best players in the world he should earn more.'
Jesus. Next it`ll be the club captain coming out and….what`s that you say? Raul said what? "Any club would like to have Ronaldo. He's one of the best, one of the most tricky players in the world of football. I think the good atmosphere would continue regardless of who comes in or what they earn. That unity can't be broken." Way for Madrid to demonstrate their class and keep their counsel Mr. Calderon.
Of course, when one is discussing abject stupidity in transfer dealings, how could you leave out the club who willfully paid £16.5m for Darren Bent? Daniel Levy has expressed his outrage at the sale of Robbie Keane to Liverpool, guilting the shame faced Scousers into a donation to charity. Now I know giving Tottenham £20m is a generous gesture indeed, but to openly refer to them as a charity is a bit below the belt is it not? Of course the donation appears to have let the ever industrious Football Association off the hook as the Spuds have dropped their pants and accepted the bribe. Phew, the oafs at Soho Square nearly had some work to do. Incidentally, I wonder if Liverpool`s donation matched the £300,000 fine issued to Chelsea for tapping up Ashley Cole? Hmmmm. Perhaps Mr. Levy had an attack of conscience when he remembered just how it was he acquired the services of Juande Ramos? Or perhaps he chanced to recall the occasion that Martin Jol was the last person in the country to learn of his sacking? Or perhaps an eagle eyed press officer furnished him with the following quote from Damien Commoli following Ramos` appointment, 'Results matter and how you get results matters. One of the reasons Juande is here is because he gets results with style. That's how you get respect. I don't agree about [the board's] bad behaviour and a lack of respect [for the Sevilla board].' Oh.
Martin O`Neill has also spent much of the summer on his soapbox, vehemently decrying Liverpool`s gall in going to the press to conduct their pursuit of Gareth Barry. We know this because he`s been to the press to complain about it 538 times. Transfer negotiations should be kept between involved clubs he`s told assembled hacks more times than Jodie Marsh has slipped a nip. A shame Mr. O`Neill wasn`t so taciturn with transfer negotiations when he revealed that Pat Rice had been in touch to monitor the Barry situation. Oh dear. When talking of talking of downright stupidity in the arena of football, it is difficult to omit the odious Peter Kenyon. He of "Chelsea will break even by 2010" fame articulated the following wisdom,
'Other teams in England should be knocking on our door; teams like Tottenham, Newcastle, Villa, Everton. It's more about them getting their houses in order rather than us coming down to their level.'
Interesting stuff there. Chelsea are of course the absolute epitome of sound running of a football club, as revealed by the following facts. Chelsea currently owe £736,000,000 to creditors. £578,000,000 of which is owed to Roman Abramovich. Chelsea`s losses were around £75,800,000 last year, based on a turnover of £190.5m. So according to current accounts, if Abramovich were to ever demand his investment back, which he is perfectly entitled to do, they would have eighteen months to pay the sum lest they go under. Yes Peter, I am sure the chasing pack will be only too pleased to operate under that sapient business model, I am sure they are grateful for your sage advice. It seems the current heat wave has gotten to the heads of some. But there again, looking at the starring cast of this article, with the exception of O`Neill, most just seem to be right on form.LD.
Date:Tuesday July 29 2008
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