Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “I can’t express… All I can say is thanks to the Tottenham fans the way they reacted [when I collapsed]. There are people out there who prayed for me. I want to thank the chairman, and to all the Spurs fans. I am grateful to them. They are awesome fans. We just want to raise money so everyone has their heart checked. Today I wanted to visit that place one more time for closure.” – Fabrice Muamba.
Runner-up: “My wife told me when I woke up this morning how jolly I looked. I told her: ‘That’s because I can’t wait to get out the house and in to work, love.’ I’d best go home and apologise now… Zaha’s almost mesmeric, a genius with the ball. When he’s facing up to someone, I feel for them. But he’s at a place where he’s loved, he’s treasured. He has his own song – ‘He’s just too good for you’ – and he’s played over 100 games here. These bigwig rival clubs don’t half covet talent and they try and stack ’em and rack ’em. The great thing about Palace is these lads know they’re going to get in the first team with us rather than rot in someone’s reserves, getting frustrated worrying they’re losing time to become famous. Well Wilf’s got a song about him. Some of those Arsenal lads, whoever they are, don’t have songs about them, have they? They ain’t got a billboard with them on like he does. Sometimes you’re at the right place at the right time. We hold all the cards. If anyone comes in, I know what the answer is going to be … Can I be polite? Jog on. But don’t think for one minute it’s just the Wilf Zaha show. Not in a million years.” – Ian Holloway.
Spurs’ Yid Army Comes Under Attack
We’ll sing what we want! Spurs supporters chant ‘Yid Army’ at Europa League clash… with police backing (Mail) Jermain Defoe’s hat-trick gave Tottenham fans even more to sing about after the Metropolitan Police reassured them they will NOT face prosecution for using the word ‘Yid’ in matchday chants. London’s police force agreed with the club and their supporters that the ‘Yid Army’ songs are not anti-Semitic.
David Baddiel – Tottenham fans chanting ‘Yid Army’ sustains anti-Semitism (John Edwards, Mail) David Baddiel has dismissed claims that ethnic origin entitles Tottenham fans to call themselves the ‘Yid Army’ by insisting only ‘three or four per cent’ are Jewish… “The idea that Spurs fans are reclaiming the Y-word and are entitled to because so many of them are Jewish is simply not true,’ he said. ‘There are only 250,000 Jews in Britain as a whole and I’d say about three or four per cent of Tottenham’s crowd is Jewish. That means well over 90 per cent of those chanting “Yid Army” are not actually Jewish and that is just one of several reasons why it cannot be right. If, for instance, there was a team in Brixton called Brixton United, and they had a mainly white support who adopted the N-word as their badge of honour and went round chanting “N***** Army”, they would be closed down tomorrow.”
Y heritage isn’t a problem for Spurs (Shaun Custis, Sun) Never a day goes by when my Spurs supporting mates do not call each other Yid or Yiddo. Some are Jewish, some aren’t, but none of them appreciate Peter Herbert, the chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers, telling them they cannot use that nickname ever again… For years Jews were persecuted. Now they could be prosecuted for using their own language.
Arsenal: Squad Issues
Sorry Piers! Why Morgan and the ‘Wenger out’ brigade are still wrong about the Arsenal boss, four years on (John Cross, Mirror) I still passionately believe that Wenger is the best man for the job. I also believe the club is going in the right direction in its philosophy and long term goals. Let’s see how Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton get on when – and if – they rebuild their stadiums. It’s such a hard job. Gone are the days when football was about the FA Cup final on a sunny day in May and the open top bus parade. When Arsenal won the trophy in 2003, it was seen as a failure. There was even a bit of an inquest as to what went wrong. The following season, the Invincibles cleaned up.
Sagna joins list of disgruntled Gunners as talks stall over pay rise on £60k per week deal (Mail) Bacary Sagna is the latest Arsenal star heading for a long-running contract dispute. Initial discussions over an extension of the France international’s deal are believed to have stalled. His current contract expires at the end of next season, but Arsene Wenger is keen to tie his first-choice right back down.
Takeaway la-Sagna? Inter Milan confident of luring Arsenal defender (Mirror) Italian giants Inter Milan are ready to pounce on Bacary Sagna’s contract stand-off. Inter are convinced they will be able to lure Sagna away from Arsenal next summer as his deal has 18 months left and there are doubts over whether he will stay.
The England Squad v Sweden
Roy Hodgson: ‘I have admired Leon Osman for the last five years’ (Guardian) Roy Hodgson’s determination not to rule out players because of age has led to an unexpected England call-up for Leon Osman, the talented Everton midfielder who now gets his first opportunity at international level at the age of 31.
Underrated Osman finally earns first England call (Simon Hart, Independent) His manager, David Moyes, suggested recently that Osman’s age appeared to be the only impediment to an international call-up but that has now arrived, and he could become England’s oldest debutant since Kevin Davies, then 33, appeared against Montenegro in October 2010 – and in the process reignite the debate on the best uncapped Englishman in the Premier League.
Wilshere needed a break! Wenger slams Hodgson over England recall just three games into fragile star’s comeback (Laura Williamson, Mail) Arsene Wenger believes Roy Hodgson is taking an unnecessary risk with Jack Wilshere by selecting the young Arsenal midfielder for what he considers to be a meaningless international fixture designed only to make money. Wilshere has played in only three games since missing 17 months with a stress fracture injury but has still been included in Hodgson’s England squad to face Sweden next Wednesday.
Wenger Jack lash at Lions call (Sun) Wenger said: “I wouldn’t like to come out on my feelings on that as at the moment, they’re not very positive. I saw it coming. That’s all I can say. Anyway, I have no choice. If they call him up, they call him up.”
Man United set to bid £12m for Celtic’s Wanyama after watching Kenyan beat Barca (Mail) QPR failed with a £10million offer for Wanyama in August while Manchester City, Arsenal and Sunderland have also shown interest. Celtic signed Wanyama from Germinal Beerschot in Belgium for just £900,000 last year and last week manager Neil Lennon said he was worth £25m. However, Premier League clubs are likely to offer around £12m in January with United weighing up their move.
Arsenal look at Burnley goal-machine Austin but face fierce competition from Liverpool, Everton and others (Mail) Arsenal have joined the list of clubs monitoring Charlie Austin at Burnley. The 20-goal striker has been watched by an increasing number of Premier League scouts over the past five games as they assess his ability to make the step up. Newcastle have a long-held interest while Liverpool, Everton, Reading and Aston Villa have also taken a look at Europe’s top scorer.
Chelsea weigh up £8m move for Vitesse hotshot Bony as Wallace and Bazoer moves loom (Mail) Chelsea are considering a move for powerful Vitesse Arnhem striker Wilfried Bony… Meanwhile, Fluminense’s manager Abel Braga has confirmed Brazilian full-back Wallace, 18, is to join Chelsea but paperwork has yet to be completed. And PSV Eindhoven teenager Riechedly Bazoer is due to visit Chelsea and Arsenal this week as he weighs up his future.
Tottenham and Newcastle have joined the race for Blackpool star Tom Ince (Sun) Ince, out of contract in June, is keen on a Premier League return after being released by Liverpool last year. The 20-year-old — rated at £8million — fits the bill for Pardew with his age and potential sell-on value.
Villa join £3m Rob race (Sun) Aston Villa are chasing Maribor’s Robert Beric, 21… Napoli and Sampdoria are also interested.
Man City keeping track of Chelsea wonderkid Conor Hunte (Mirror) Manchester City are set to have Chelsea wonderkid Conor Hunte watched this weekend. The Premier League champions have been tracking the progress of the highly-rated youngster, 16, and are understood to be keen to sign him.
West Ham monitoring Swiss U-21 starlet Izet Harjrovic (Mirror) The Grasshoppers Zurich midfielder is rated at around £3million and has also attracted interest from Lazio and Kaiserslautern.
Ex-Everton Player Is Now A Jailed Drug Dealer
Ex-City and Everton striker Branch jailed for seven years after pleading guilty to drug dealing (Mail) The 34-year-old, whose last club was Northern Premier League side Burscough, was charged with handing over just under 3kg of amphetamine to another man in a car park in Liverpool. The second charge was related to the seizure of 1kg high-purity (82percent) cocaine from his Otterspool home on July 10.