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It's Been A Crazy Week

Verbal diarrhoea seems to be once again the order of the week this week (which is just as well, usually I`d do a classic encounter slot on a Friday, but I don`t think Arsenal have played Hull City in my lifetime). Who better to kick the pattern of a barmy week for football off than football`s answer to George Bush, step forward Mr. Pratini. The ex Juventus (whereabouts in France is Turin Michel?) of course launched a baffling and quite personal attack on the eminently more successful and better looking Arsene Wenger this week. 48 hours after Wenger had launched a broadside against billionaire owners and having been frequently lampooned by most for his frugality in the transfer market and his preference for developing players over waving a big, fat paycheque about, Pratini labelled Wenger a "businessman." Pratini was keen to then anoint himself as football laureate. Of course, Mr. Pratini was not forthcoming with his motives for moving to the cash drenched Serie A in the 1980s. After being lambasted by the LMA and the footballing world in general, Pratini showed the sturdy leadership associated with a man of his office by being forced into a humiliating climb down…….by his Dad! That`s right, the head of UEFA was sent to bed without his broccoli soup and had his x-box360 removed from his bedroom. When your own father tells you to get a bloody grip on football`s governing body, you know you`re in trouble. (Even George Bush Jnr. Has yet to suffer that particular indignity).

Mr. Pratini, having successfully reinserted his dummy, couldn`t submit the apology when some 'Kevin the Teenager` style backbiting. His bizarre justification for the broadside was that he couldn`t stand the practise of young players joining big clubs from other academies! So presumably everybody should just keep turning out for the Cub Scout under XIs until they come of age then? Pratini of course neglected to mention that he twice had trials with Metz at the age of 16 when he was playing for his local side AS Jouef, before joining Nancy`s academy at the age of 17. Maybe his disastrous stint as France coach from 1988 to 1992 explains his disdain for France`s most iconic managerial son? Or maybe he saw Arsene in a locker room once and now he feels a wee bit inadequate in the face of Wenger`s mighty pork sword? Who knows?

And if appalling motives are your bag then Kevin Nolan treated you all to a double whammy. Despite Gary Megson`s Saturday evening assertion that "we never even talk of intimidation", his club captain didn`t so much cross the party line as take a damn great chainsaw to it by confessing he told his team mate JJloyd Samuel to give Theo Walcott "a little kick." Probably not the greatest idea to reveal such tactile team talks when your lumbering oaf of a centre forward has put an opponent in hospital. Of course the ever authoritative Football Association have yet to comment on where exactly Mr. Nolan`s confession that he instructed his team mates to play outside the laws of the game fits within the context of the 'Respect The Refs` initiative. Support was swift from bastion of manhood (dig that moustache) Mr. Lawrenson, who supported Nolan`s claim that English football was in danger of losing the "roughing up of people" aspect by voicing his own rational fear that the game was in danger of being over run by "Jessies." Presumably Mr. Lawrenson smirked to himself on Tuesday evening when Emmanuel 'Mad Dog` Pogatetz put a United youngster in hospital with an even more malicious challenge. Poisebon, you big Jesse son, sort yourself out! Going over the top of the ball and attempting to maim your opponent is a man`s practise you know? Just like kicking a man already on the ground in a macho street brawl. Coincidentally enough, hours after Nolan`s little missive, Arsenal`s team talk sheet was leaked to the press from a Lancashire hotel. Alistair Campbell? Is that you?

Now Tigers (grrrrrrrrrr) boss Phil Brown is in on the act with his act. His time spent as Allardyce`s number two (stop sniggering in the back) has left him with a lubricious appetite for the studs up challenge, declaring, 'Last week Arsenal were unhappy with a tackle from Kevin Davies but there was nothing wrong with it.

'If you allow Arsenal to dictate that tackle goes out of the game, then we are finished.

'We have got that tackle on our side - they have got the technical side of the game on their side.

'If they are allowed to express that technical side without tackling, without physical contact, we might as well not turn up.' Obviously they have difficulty understanding the difference between a hard and fair challenge for the ball and a studs up lunge which takes out someone`s shinbone when the ball is on the ground in not so Big Phil's headquarters. Presumably messrs Brown, Lawrenson and Nolan have trouble deciphering the difference between a fatal stabbing and a flick on the earlobe in December too? Tune in next week as Lawrenson confuses himself with a decent football pundit, Brown mistakes a turd for Lincolnshire sausage and Nolan accidentally cops a feel of Danny Le Roo.

Newcastle have also given us their usual slice of entertainment this week. The appointment of Kevin Keegan back in January appeared to be a result of some kind of temporary amnesia where the club`s top brass mistook the year to be 1996. It seems the crème de la crème at Geordie towers refuse to let go of their kangol bucket hats as the boardroom rages with debate as to who is better; Oasis or Blur. Their flick through the Rothman`s 1996 Football Annual dragged up the names Venables, Hoddle, Bassett, O` Leary and Graham as prospective interims. Forgive me for being a little cynical, but if my club were in the midst of fiduciary crises, Venables and Graham would not be respective paw prints I would want within sneezing distance of the club. After being served the ultimate indignity of being turned down by El Tel (seriously, I`ve been turned down by some real huffers in the nightspots of Croydon in the past, but that`s gotta hurt!), they ditched their copy of the 1996 Rothman`s Annual in favour of 'Where`s Wally?` They`ve found him, apparently it`s Joe Kinnear. With Newcastle`s current predicament marginally keeping Tottenham off the premier perch as the league`s comedy club, Didier Zokora was determined not to be outdone with his latest press junket by declaring, wait for it, "We want to try to play in the Champions League next season. It's possible because there are 33 games still to go.' In fairness, Didier and his band of hapless chums might be looking to the example of last season`s campaign to inform him of this unshakable belief. I hear both Berbatov and Keane are playing Champions League football this season.LD.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday September 26 2008

Time: 2:13PM

Your Comments

Don't hold yoru breath re the FA & Nolan, absolutely nothing will happen, as per normal Only when an English player has his leg snapped in half will the media change their stance, then, just maybe, we will see some stiffer punishments
916995
I can't wait for the game tomorrow, the tackles don't worry me at all I think we can easily overcome that aspect of the game now. It looks we have more steel in the team this time around and we can dish it out if needed. What I am looking forward to is to see the reaction of the "first" team to the youngsters exploits last Tuesday, they have a lot to live up to. On a more serious note I must admit that it worries me that Zakora is saying that he wants to play in the CL next season with the spuds, it looks like I missed the UEFA announcement that they will be allowing teams from the champions ship to enter.
Armory
What have you been smoking Tim? That's some of your finest work to date!! Excellent read ... bloody funny too
Rocky7
Considering Hull have a player out for 3 month plus after a disgraceful tackle, you think they will play that kinda game?? Yes the gooners will be harried, hurried, and bustled like Bolton used to, if the young 'uns can't deal with that, then the result will look after itself. But rough tackling? Its Arsene playing mind games again, its a compliment really.
Exiled Rabid
Effing superb. That is all - Mr Stillman, you have outdone yourself! chuckleiscious.
Gunnerman
To top off the crazy week, JT has the audacity to compere Chelseas youth team to Arsenal's....http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/article1738443.ece.....apart from Platini that has been the silliest thing I hv read this week,...how dare he, the only ex-youth team player lucky enough to make it thus far in Chelsea.
number14
I work with the material I'm given Rocky, Newcastle, Bolton , Bottenham and Pratini leave me with plenty. All we need is Bladder to open his trap again. Exiled rabid, the quote came from the Hull manager. If they want to be hard, fair enough, but please distinguish between hard and studs up lunge that takes out someone's shin.
Little Dutch
Nice read LD...JT's comments shld definitely have been included in this writeup..nice as usual...now to Hull...bring on game number 6
number14
Ehem, our reserve team beat arsenal's reserve team, away, not long ago.
k_chelski
k-chelski i was waiting one of u to remind me of such a silly thing...we are not talking of a reserves match here dude...we are talking of the likes of Randall, Wilshere, Hoyte, being given genuine oportunities...we at Arsenal have me it a policy. wht sort of tams does chelsea put out for and "ordinary" competition like the CC...isnt it a shame for Lampard/Drogba etc to turn up for such games..at least mix it up...risk a loss if u have to..U guys actually have promising players like Sinclair who u hv almost managed to cripple as a player...or shld i remind u about SWP??? same thing goes for a player like Frazier Campbell - i think Manu shld have kept him...IMO he has the potentials to be a quality player. Thnk goodness Walcott is not a Chelsea player...not long ago i remember a spurs fan coming on here to slag of Walcott when he was underperforming - if i remember clearly, this person said Theo was being played only bcos he was English. The thing about playing your youth is that u will have to run a RISK of LOOSING...Chelsea cant bear that...dont tell me about a silly reserves game
number14
*pardon the typos...keyboard is croaked...was typing rather fast bcos i anticipated someone coming with the silly silly reserve team defence
number14
It is more and more envident that Mourinho did more to hurt the English game thatn help it IMO...lets all seat back and watch Man City do the same
number14
Haha nice stuff LD, I'm gonna save this page and keep it now.
GoonerLou
That mey be so k_chelski, but Sutton United once beat Coventry! In all seriousness, Scolari would rather sign a clubless 33 year old midfielder than dare give any of those youngsters a chance in the first team until January.
Little Dutch
I think k_chelski agrees...sentiments apart u know we are right...like i said the "problem" with giving ur youth a chance is that u have to be bold and risk a loss...mark Randall well...he will be a star someday even though Ramsey/Wilshere are more visible..in the same vein ManU shld hv stuck with Frazier Campbel and not bought Berbatoz...they are having a a hard time fitting him in
number14
You all telling me no Arsenal player has ever gone in with all studs showing and raked someone's shin from knee to ankle??? No? Cos the way Arsene's going he'll have all tackling outlawed at the Emirates and then no one can hurt anyone or even breathe on his players.
Exiled Rabid
Wenger almost signed Mineiro as well. Wenger bought Silvestre! Silvestre! And sold Senderos! Hardly one for the future.Scolari would rather sign a 33 year old with experience , and not GAMBLE on a youngster in january.Because sometimes, they aren't ready, and then you have to play the same team over and over, they get tired, you lose points, you lose the title.
k_chelski
I don't recall Arsenal winning the youth cup final last season.Nor reaching second.
k_chelski
Exiled Rabid, no I'm not saying that. I'm not sure where you got the impression I had said that. Like I said, polar extremes mate. Nothing wrong with a hard challenge, but there's nothing macho about going into a 50-50 with your studs raised over the top of the ball. That's quite cowardly actually. Your inability to understand the argument and immediately take it to its polar extreme is a little odd. Nobody's saying outlaw tackling, again I'm not sure where you read that. All I'm saying is that cowardly studs up lunges should be punished and stopped, surely you can't disagree with that? K_chelski, we gave him a trial and decided our young players were better. Senderos is on loan and will be 24 in January, hardly a young cub.
Little Dutch
k_chelski...the envidence in our first teams over the years (with youth players who have made it into the first team and other who had to go elsewhere) speaks for itself. i think i have said all I have say on this matter...its no use comparing Chelsea's youth policy to that of Arsenal...its no use getting into the matter more than we have already
number14
It's not really about trophies at youth level, though they're very nice. The question is, how many of the players in your reserve team will get a first team appearance compared to our team. And if you'd like to compare the average ages of Arsenal and Chelsea's squads, have at it.
Little Dutch
" gave him a trial and decided our young players were better." Yeah, live Silvestre. Anyway, we won't agree so we'll move to a different point. Let's have a look at John Terry's quote." JT: Wenger is helping England." What's wrong about that?
k_chelski
like*
k_chelski
Nothing is wrong with tht..if he had stopped there....it goes on, "....While England International Terry praises the work of Wenger he also has revealed that the Blues also have a crop of English youngsters coming through at Stamford Bridge, with the central defender pointing out that they beat Arsenal recently"...will these youngsters coming through ever get a chance??? thats the question..for that to happen, there has to be a definite youth policy.
number14
its here also - http://www.premiershiplatest.com/news/chelseas-terry-wenger-good-english-footb-5514328.html...of course he had to throw in he reserves match in...who cares for that if it never translates to something better for the kids involved
number14
We did beat you recently. Not a lie. There is a youth policy, just not like yours.Wenger has a job security most managers don't.Scolari's been our manager for three months, cut him some slack.
k_chelski
Fair enough...lets see how Scolari does over time. I just wonder if he has long term plans though...or just how secure his job will be if he doesnt win trophies...agreed, some job security is required and modern day football doesnt really allow that.
number14
Little Dutch, its what PB said, he's saying that if a player cannot tackle then what the point. He's never said that he condones going out to injure players deliberatly, but if in the course of a fair tackle a player gets hurt then so be it. You're the ones making a meal of his comments. "I would never advocate going around kicking anyone but if in his desire to get the ball back, he causes pain to the opposition, then so be it" said Brown. "It's not necessarily roughing them up, it's playing to your strengths. Our strengths are tackling, heading and intercepting but we've shown that we can play as well. As long as that's a fourth string to a bow, then we've got a half decent team. "Of course it's about imposing yourself both individually and collectively."
Exiled Rabid
"If you allow Arsenal to dictate that those tackles go out of the game, we're finished. "We've got that tackle on our side. They've got the technical side of the game on theirs. "If they're allowed to express that technical side of things without physical contact, then we might as well not turn up. "If you're a technical player and I'm a physical player, I've got to impose myself on my opponent, it's as simple as that."
Exiled Rabid
Scolari has been known to make fringe/young players shine.He gave Kaka World Cup experience 6 years ago, look at him now. He gave old Ronaldo a chance. He didn't give Romario a chance.lol.We're not 100% without young players. Mikel is 21, Kalou is also 21. I want to see young players, then I think about how Flamini got his chance, and left the club for money. Football romance is dying.
k_chelski
quit acting like that Chelsea reserve game was youth v. youth, Drogba definitely played in that game
TPowell
Quality writeup. There will always be rash, late, and clumsy tackles in football. It's the risk all players take, and the reason I love The Professor's position on the League and FA Cup squad selection. One, it gives our youth the chance to shine like we all know they can. Two, it protects out first team squad from excessive physical play at the hands of lesser skilled opposition. The better you are, the more oft you'll be hacked, kicked and taken down, it's an unfortunate but true fact of the game.
brewtowngunner
Nobody's saying anything about Chelsea's youth setup Kev, chill. On what you said about your kids beating ours and that our kids didn't win the FA Youth Cup or whatever, as LD said, it's not about trophies at that level. I happened to have a similar exchange over on a Vital Utd article, if you're interested in that: http://manchesterunited.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=125869
GoonerLou
There's an excellent two-part interview on arseblog today with Philippe Auclair from France Football magazine, giving greater insight into the Platini-Wenger feud. Very interesting stuff (scroll down): http://www.oleole.com/blogs/arseblog/posts/some-pre-hull-stuff-arsecast-93 Auclair echoes many French journalists' bewilderment at Platini's irrational attitude toward Wenger because, as he says, Wenger is the most idealistic football manager in Europe, hardly "a businessman" in the sense Platini meant it. He also explains how Platini is really hostile toward the English premier league and for him, Wenger is a symbol of it. I'm a little worried about Hull on Saturday only because I expect our players to be kicked around a lot. I'm sick and tired of all these bad tackles so early in the season. Re Exiled Rabid's totally predictable retort about Arsenal players also putting in bad tackles...I'm so sick and tired of hearing that clueless response. NO ARSENAL SUPPORTER IS SAYING THAT OUR PLAYERS DON'T PUT IN BAD TACKLES!! That's totally irrelevant to our complaint about teams whose PRIMARY (if not the only) tactic against our players is to kick them all over the park, deliberately aiming their trailing legs (like Davies did) at our players' shin or knee. Clichy was very very lucky not to have a broken leg. I'm sick and tired of the pathetic excuse "oh we're just not as good as you so the only way I can beat you is to kick you all over the park." I'm supposed to respect that? PLAY F-----G FOOTBALL!! You don't have to be Maradona to be able to play good football! Mid- or lower-table teams have beaten Arsenal many times PLAYING FOOTBALL, it's not impossible to do. And tackling can be an art in itself -- it can be hard but clean. But if you're a team that deliberately goes out on the pitch to "rough up" our players, recklessly or deliberately put your studs up to injure them (Mark Hughes' strategy against us), then sorry, you deserve NO respect at all.
jaelle
k_chelski, I don't see how Terry can compare your youth policy to ours at all. Yes, you have good youth teams and you're developing good young players, no one's saying otherwise. But what I see is that at Arsenal our young players get much more of a chance to play outside reserve games -- the CC, FA cup, CL (group stages esp.) and sometimes in league games. I haven't seen Chelsea do that very much at all -- at least not as much as at Arsenal. I just see your club constantly buying more established players for your first team -- all of whom also play in the CC, FA cup and CL.
jaelle
GL, we didn't win the youth cup either. lol, came close though.Drogba was coming back from injury,did you see him against manchester?I don't think he was a threat. Jaelle, he wasn't comparing, he said that Arsenal isn't the only one helping with young players.That's it.Geez.
k_chelski
Oh yeah Jaelle, I thought it's a great Arsecast episode, even the "At home with Eboue" bit was funny! lol Seriously though, can someone explain why this idiot is still in charge of the second most important football authorities in the world? I mean his comments were not only entirely off the mark, but he's entirely losing it as a decent human holding such an important position, I mean just how personal can you get? Any important person can hate another important person, but seldom do you see such blatant personal attack with no valid point whatsoever.
GoonerLou
Well Done Tim, a brill article, I lol a few times whislt reading it, Thanks! Newcastle remains more of a laughing stock than even the Spuds, why oh why would you appoint a Manager/Coach/Escapegoat for a whole two months Wow, who wouldn't want to buy this Club?! Nolan will of course get away with what he's said as FA are totally spineless, as for him on MOTD, I can't find the words to describe what I think of that fool.
hackneyval
I have absolutely no doubt that that scumbag Mourinho is behind this: www.youngguns.wordpress.com/2008/09/26/inter-milan-awaiting-agency-out-come-with-wilshere/
jaelle
Jaelle, I read in one of the "broadsheets" (don't remember which) that Jack's still on the scholar pay at like 70 a week or something. But of course when he turns 17, he'll certainly get a pro contract with Arsenal. How laughable Inter even think they'd stand a chance of stealing the boy who's been at Arsenal since he's 9!
GoonerLou
True, Lou, but a kid's head can be turned, his parents can be lured....I don't think it will happen, I'm just a worry wart. And I have to say....Jack has got to the most adorable little fella I've seen on a pitch in a long time, that whole team just brought out the mother in me...my daughter of course fell massively in love with Carlitos (I asked her if she's already gotten over her crush on Cesc).
jaelle
Hey LD, true it's hard to do the classic encounter when it comes to Hull. But the Vital Hull guys have published a nice piece: http://www.hull.vitalfootball.co.uk/sitepage.asp?a=126059 One of them has even posted a link to the B&W video, amazing to watch the 1930 game!
GoonerLou
Yeah Jack's so lovely isn't he! It's also documented that his parents and family keep him level-headed, like a Theo really. Your daughter's got a plethora of choices there! (I like Carlos a lot already too.) And am I the only one amazed, wondering how Arsene managed to find so many decent young men in a group, let alone hugely talented ones?! And can I add Denilson to that adorable list - he's not a cute-looking kid like Carlos or Theo, but I don't know why I like him as a boy. Ramsey too, they both have a bit of character.
GoonerLou
Exiled Rabid, Brown said he saw nothing wrong with Davies' tackle. I think elevating your trailing leg over the top if the ball and hospitalising an opponent is wrong.
Little Dutch
Regarding the Chelsea Reserves beating the Arsenal Reserves...The Arsenal team then had no one older than 21, and Chelsea had some older players, and even Drogba played.
entropy13
To add to the "crazy" list - did you guys see how Rob Styles gave Ronaldo a penalty? Even the famous diver didn't claim it, nor did he celebrate the penalty scored.
GoonerLou
Haha excellent witty read again. But youve just lost at home to Hull City. hahahahahahahahaha
HuddersfieldYiddo
Yeah HY, that makes this week even crazier!
GoonerLou
 

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