Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “If Mike Ashley will sell Newcastle for the right money he will sell it next week. Is he being greedy now? Yes. I spoke to him when the row started and I said ‘Mike, just get your money back and step away. Football’s a very difficult game. If you sack the golden boy Kevin Keegan you are in serious trouble.’ I don’t think he has thought things through or really appreciated just how passionate people are up here. It’s very difficult for someone who is not a Geordie to run Newcastle. He’ll never be able to repair the damage between himself and the fans.” – Wigan chairman, Dave Whelan.
Runner-up: “You look at the top four and you come to Arsenal thinking you can pick up points. You look at the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United and they don’t drop many points because they are more consistent than Liverpool and Arsenal. Saying that, Liverpool have been far more consistent. I believe you play Arsenal home and away and think you can get a result. It’s not necessarily that you can bully them. I don’t think they take their chances as well as Manchester United or Chelsea. Those two are more clinical about putting their chances away. You can get points at Arsenal. And, to be honest, they didn’t really have that many chances against us [on Saturday].” – Steve Sidwell.
Today’s overview: There is a wide variety of topics on show this Monday morning, the papers split between looking back on the weekend’s football and looking forward to this week’s internationals.
Starting with Premier League news, there are good reports from Fred Bridgland and Gary Jacob that “a South African consortium was said to be closing in on a formal takeover offer” for Portsmouth inside the next two weeks. In other top flight news, Shaka Hislop comes to the defense of error-prone Heurelho Gomes, empathising that “all goalkeepers go through spells like this in their careers and I disagree with those who say it is too late to resolve the situation.” While Sam Wallace (who is on a crusade to force Chelsea to blood their youth) is left flummoxed saying if “Michael Mancienne is good enough for England, says Fabio Capello â€“ so what does that say about Chelsea’s judgment?”
With news that an injured Steven Gerrard was forced by Fabio Capello to join up with the England squad, Oliver Kay concludes that “Capelloâ€™s stance represents a shift, or at least an attempted shift, in the perennial power struggles between club and country.” Stoking the club verses country flames, Sam Wallace observed that “Capello now appears unwilling to take Rafael Benitez’s word on Gerrard’s fitness.” While turning focus onto the strikers, Alan Smith urges Fabio Capello to pick Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Stan Collymore blows off a lot of steam in today’s Daily Mirror. First, the pundit argues against Michael Owen’s England omission (“I am stunned Capello cannot find room for Owen in his England squad”). Next he sticks the knife into Les Ferdinand and Tim Sherwood saying “they have both done their coaching badges but I haven’t heard anything from the pair on TV to suggest that they will add anything at White Hart Lane other than dressing-room banter.” And lastly, Stan argues that “although all the talk is about Arsenal’s youngsters in terms of the sexy football they play, it is United’s who may end up picking up the prizes.”
Martin Samuel uses his column in The Times to stick the boot into Chris Morgan over his injury on Iain Hume saying “Morgan appeared to know exactly what he was doing” before detailing his previous of being “sent off 12 times in 11 seasons and was the player who, on December 30, 2006, bravely punched Robin van Persie, of Arsenal, in the ribs on his blind side.”
In the best of the rest, Brian Viner has a natter with 36-year-old AFC Bournemouth captain Darren Anderton (“I’m not a big fan [of Daniel Levy]”) while football was never intended to be a billion-quid business. It was supposed to be a bit of fun, with a bit of education and character-building thrown in.”
In matters European,
… and finally, Tom Dart reporting on how professional scouts are using tools such as the new Football Manager game for the PC to unearth new talent.“I donâ€™t think Tony Warner was called anything other than ‘Denzil’ in his whole time at Fulham and Edwin van der Sar quite rightly got the ‘Rodders’ shout for obvious reasons.”) with