Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “They [City] used the boy as a weapon and used our club as a vehicle to get Bellamy. I have to say Manchester City’s behaviour was absolutely disgusting. If they had not come in a week last Friday and unsettled the boy, he would have signed a contract for us. He was wobbling and wasn’t sure about going to London. We had offered him a contract and he was on the verge of signing that contract. Then Manchester City ring him and it’s a different ball game. They took the p*** out of us, to be honest. They have shown a lack of respect for this football club and the player himself.” – Steve Bruce.
Runner-up: “I wish the transfer window was shut, bolted, locked and the keys thrown away. But there’s still a few days to go and I think there is a lot more panic around the football world, it’s a now-or-never situation in terms of players coming in. I’m counting the days down in the hope that there is not a phone call saying one of my players may have to leave because the price you are getting is far too great to turn down. We will resist selling anyone if we can. It has been very quiet I’m glad to say, but that’s not to say it won’t resurrect itself. We don’t have to sell anybody.” – Sam Allardyce.
Today’s overview: Today’s backpages are a mixed with a range of different stories including the latest sex scandal to rock the Premier League, more spurious transfer rumours, and the story of how a bunch of Belgians are trying to change the drug laws in sport.
Why does everything related to Manchester City seem so bad? The Citizens today wake up to read Daily Mail add “the girl who made the rape allegation is believed to be a first-year university under-graduate. She is said to have gone to the nightclub in Leeds city centre earlier this month with friends for a night out. Police were told the alleged rape happened after midnight. It is understood the teenage victim made no complaint when she left the club in the early hours but police were told of the allegations that afternoon.”“Robinho, the Manchester City footballer, was arrested by police in relation to allegations that an 18-year-old woman was raped in a nightclub… a university student told police she had been attacked in the VIP area of the Space club in Leeds in the early hours of January 14.” The
And the problems for City continue to mount, David Conn opening a can of worms overÂ Kia Joorabchian’s potentially unlawful involvement in agency activity for the club. “While Joorabchian and City would not comment on the role he played while the Kaka signing was being discussed, Joorabchian’s presence at the meeting between City and Milan, when football’s biggest ever deal was being proposed, demonstrates how his star has risen.”
Robbie Keane’s future is again the subject of discussion for Sam Wallace and Ian Herbert who report that Liverpool are “weighing up an offer from Tottenham Hotspur of Aaron Lennon or Jermaine Jenas plus cash in exchange for his disaffected striker Robbie Keane.” And keeping with the Reds, Rob Bagchi observes Rafa Benitez’s regular behaviour in the dug-out noticing “he is one of the growing band of scribblers who, like earnest art students at a gallery, spend more time maniacally making notes than looking at what they are there to see.”
Jason Burt spells out the problems facing Portsmouth and Tony Adams. “Portsmouth have taken two points from 21, have just two wins from 14 Premier League matches and have now lost four home games in a row.”
On the transfer window, Rob Hughes investigates how Wigan are forced to “wheel and deal in the unknown. Any mainstream player born and bred in Europe would be beyond [chairman Dave] Whelan’sÂ purse.” Focusing on Leeds starlet Fabien Delph, Nick Metcafe asks “why would Delph swap a starting place at Elland Road for anything but a mega-bucks move to Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool or Chelsea?” While John Cross claims “Inter MilanÂ are targeting Tottenham midfielder Luka ModricÂ – and want to offload Italian hardman Marco Materazzi at White Hart Lane.”
In other football news Charles Sale reports “BBC Sport are understood to be on the brink of agreeing with the Premier League an extension of another three years to their Match of the Day highlights rights. The tender has taken place in secret while the Premier League were giving the impression of concentrating on their next live rights packages before selling highlights.”
The new drug procedures which have been introduced into football, known as the “whereabouts rule,” form the subject of discussion for Martin Samuel after 65 Belgians have sought to challenge the rule’s legitimacy. “It is a duty of employment, just as it is the duty of athletes to support steps to ensure their sport is clean. It may be a nuisance to Ferguson, his players, and the volleyball players of Belgium, but they should not expect too much sympathy from those holding down proper jobs.”
Finally, in an offbeat article, Rob Smyth tries to understand Paul Scholes’ all-time Manchester United XI which reads “Schmeichel; G Neville, Ferdinand, Brown, Irwin; Beckham, Keane, Robson (capt), Giggs; Van Nistelrooy, Sheringham.”