Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “I spoke to him [Gaydamak] today and he said, ‘We don’t have to sell anybody’. He said, ‘It’s your decision. There won’t be any players leaving unless [you] want to sell’. Maybe you find someone who you want to strengthen and you might have to sell another player. I had to sell Sulley Muntari [to Internazionale], who I didn’t want to lose but I wanted Peter Crouch [from Liverpool] so I had to sacrifice Sulley. I didn’t want to lose Benjani [to Manchester City], I loved Benji but I wanted [Jermain] Defoe, who is younger. That’s how it works and every team is the same. You show me a football club that is not up for sale. Every football club has a price. I don’t know if the owner wants to sell but there’s not a club in the country that has not got a price on it somewhere. I don’t think he’s chasing around trying to sell it… that’s the economic situation. You show me a club that isn’t in a bit of debt, but we have fantastic assets here and they are on the pitch. I turned down Â£15m for [Lassana] Diarra on deadline day. We’re not in any trouble here.” – Harry Redknapp.
Runner-up: “This goal is for all the Milan fans. Every day I feel more at home here. I’m here to give joy to all Milan people and I also know that tomorrow [Monday] is president [Silvio] Berlusconi’s birthday and this goal is also for him.” – Ronaldinho.
Today’s overview: The Monday papers take stock of this weekend’s action across the Premier League.
David Pleat focuses in on Everton’s poor performance in the Merseyside derby, noting “Everton’s passing let them down sorely.”It was no fluke, either”), while
The vultures have begun circling around their latest prey: Juande Ramos. For Oliver Brown, the Spaniard is beginning to live on borrowed time at Spurs (“Martin Jol presided over a better start last season and was sacked.”), and this view is supported by Jason Burt who believes Ramos could be out “if Spurs exit the Uefa Cup this week away to Wisla Krakow and then fail to prosper at home to vibrant Hull City next Sunday.”
Lastly on Spurs, Mick Dennis gives some more details about the rumoured takeover reporting that “although Tottenhamâ€™s media team denied reports that the club could be bought by an unnamed Asian billionaire, based in Singapore, the Daily Express was told that the takeover talks are taking place.”
The standout article (as usual) comes from Martin Samuel, who tries to reformulate the Respect campaign to a far more simple set of principles with his “Stop trying to break peopleâ€™s legs, you freaking morons” campaign.
On Newcastle, Robin Scott-Elliot comments on the new manager by saying “Joe Kinnear. Blimey, they’ve only gone and found an Irish cockney.” Martin Kelner adds a sideways swipe at Newcastle’s mooted new owners, “the Nigerians… Without wishing to be the cloud that passes across the north-east sunshine, I am afraid I have to reveal that I too have been offered huge amounts of money from Nigeria, apparently discovered in the dormant bank account of an immensely rich oil potentate who died in a curiously underreported air crash.”
The net is also closing in on Rob Styles. Leo Spall reports that “Bolton are set to receive an apology from referee Rob Styles for the astonishing penalty mistake he made at Old Trafford,” while James Ducker takes Styles to town for his penalty decision – “The decision boiled down to one thing – incompetence.”
Lastly, Rob Hughes investigtes the violence at the Catalan derby.
It was no fluke, either, as Brown reaped the rewards of sticking with the attacking lineup that won away to Newcastle United a fortnight ago, playing two strikers in front of the magical Geovanni. Daniel Cousin came in for the injured Craig Fagan to score the winning goal on his second appearance for the club after the Brazilian had cancelled out Paul McShaneâ€™s own goal with a stunning strike from 25 yards. Arsenal were out of sorts, lacking sharpness in the final third and solidity at the back, epitomised by conceding yet another goal from a set-piece. But that should not detract from the visiting teamâ€™s achievement.”
Looking back at the Merseyside derby, David Pleat (Guardian) was disappointment with Everton’s performance. “The most important thing for a team playing at home with a holding midfielder against opposition in a flexible 4-4-2 is for their full-backs to join in. Thus, the onus was on Tony Hibbert and Joleon Lescott to get forward. However, if the team are unable to retain possession in central areas, the full-backs will have little or no confidence to venture in support. Everton’s passing let them down sorely. They had no one to give passing opportunities to Arteta and Osman and no one near enough to support Yakubu or Cahill in behind from wide positions. Liverpool played patiently and waited for the inevitable opportunity.”
For the Telegraph’s Oliver Brown, Juande Ramos is beginning to live on borrowed time at Spurs. “The anomaly has become an emergency: with a fourth league defeat in six confirming Tottenhamâ€™s worst start in the top flight for 53 years, the tolerance of their supporters has finally turned. Martin Jol presided over a better start last season and was sacked. The Dutchmanâ€™s successor, Juande Ramos, has, for all his urbanity, started to lose his sense of conviction and after an abject performance at Fratton Park had to acknowledge that the decision about how long he remained was out of his hands.”
Jason Burt (Independent) also begins wondering how much longer Ramos can survive at Tottenham. “Tottenham Hotspur have been making all the right noises â€“ no panic, good players, faith in the head coach, it will all come right â€“ but there is one deafening scream… The here and now matters and it is one league win in 13 under Juande Ramos â€“ or is it Damien Comolli, or Daniel Levy? â€“ which is a record as bad as this performance. History does indeed count for nothing and Ramos may have won the Carling Cup last season but that memory is rapidly fading. As much as the Spurs hierarchy profess to an unwavering faith in the Spaniard they will have to act if this continues. A 50th game in charge for Ramos but what a miserable half-century it proved to be. The day started with, again, talk of takeover and, this time, rumours of a “super-rich” Asian tycoon being interested but it will be regime change of another kind down at the Lane â€“ especially if Spurs exit the Uefa Cup this week away to Wisla Krakow and then fail to prosper at home to vibrant Hull City next Sunday.”
The Daily Express’ Mick Dennis gives some more details about the rumoured takeover of Spurs. “Although Tottenhamâ€™s media team denied reports that the club could be bought by an unnamed Asian billionaire, based in Singapore, the Daily Express was told that the takeover talks are taking place. They are being brokered by super-agent Pini Zahavi, who masterminded Roman Abramovichâ€™s purchase of Chelsea. Chairman Daniel Levy has previously admitted he would listen to offers and values the club at about Â£400million.”
The excellent Martin Samuel tries to reformulate the Respect campaign to a far more basic set of principles in The Times. “Respect is a simple, catchy slogan. Trips off the tongue, stays in the memory. It is a worthy ideal, too, with one small problem. It is not, nor will it ever be, the most important item on the agenda. What football needs now is an alternate, less populist campaign. â€œStop trying to break peopleâ€™s legs, you freaking morons.â€ How about that? The seasons change but footballâ€™s reality does not. It is barely seven months since Eduardo da Silvaâ€™s career was threatened by a tackle from Martin Taylor, of Birmingham City, yet already we have a broken leg for Craig Fagan in the Barclays Premier League and heaven knows how many near-misses. Rodrigo Possebon, of Manchester United, was lucky to escape last week, the next victim may not be so fortunate.”
In a light-hearted article, Robin Scott-Elliot (Independent) looks back at some of the highlights on TV over the weekend. “Joe Kinnear. Blimey, they’ve only gone and found an Irish cockney. “Mike Ashley is Newcastle’s she-devil,” volunteered Mark Lawrenson on Football Focus. “It doesn’t quite add up,” said presenter Manish Bhasin, displaying a startling degree of perception. And what would Alan Shearer have to say about it all on Match of the Day? “He’s got a big job there Joe Kinnear.” Thank you, Alan. For Stelling it was back to the day job on Saturday and the day of a further Newcastle defeat, and as another frantic Soccer Saturday drew to a close, a red card for a Kettering player dashed out on the videprinter … Exodus Geohaghan (Kettering) … two yellow cards. Stelling glanced across at his screen: “Probably got the name from a book,” he said.”
Martin Kelner (Guardian) takes a swipe at Newcastle’s mooted new owners, “the Nigerians.” “Has the world gone mad? I only ask because I have heard the potential saviours of Newcastle United rather disconcertingly referred to as ‘the Nigerians’. Without wishing to be the cloud that passes across the north-east sunshine, I am afraid I have to reveal that I too have been offered huge amounts of money from Nigeria, apparently discovered in the dormant bank account of an immensely rich oil potentate who died in a curiously underreported air crash. All they want is my bank account details and the money is mine. Unfortunately, I have been strongly advised the deal may be bogus.”
The Daily Mail’s Leo Spall reports that Rob Styles is due to send an apology to Bolton for the penalty decision he awarded to Manchester United. “Bolton are set to receive an apology from referee Rob Styles for the astonishing penalty mistake he made at Old Trafford. The official has asked his superiors at his governing body, the PGMOL, to pass on his regret at awarding Manchester United a spot-kick when Cristiano Ronaldo was clearly tackled fairly by Jlloyd Samuel on Saturday. It is the second time in just over a year that Styles has had to apologise for a penalty error after pointing to the spot at Anfield in August last season when Liverpool full back Steve Finnan collided with Chelsea’s Florent Malouda.”
In the Irish Independent, James Ducker takes Rob Styles to town for his penalty decision. “Ten yards away and with a clear sight of the ball, Styles was in an ideal position to make such a judgment at Old Trafford on Saturday when Jlloyd Samuel, the Bolton left-back, slid in to intercept Cristiano Ronaldo. The tackle was perfectly timed and given its force and the speed with which the Manchester United winger was travelling, it would have been almost impossible for the Portuguese to remain on his feet. The fall may have been a touch dramatic, but there was no dive. The reaction – or rather, the lack of one – from Ronaldo, a player prone to histrionic remonstrations, was the giveaway. Neither he nor his United team-mates even considered appealing for a penalty… The decision boiled down to one thing – incompetence. If it had been an isolated incident, Styles could be forgiven.”
Rob Hughes (IHT) investigtes the violence at the Catalan derby. “There will be repercussions for Espanyol because the mayhem, incited by a red flare launched into the crowd, happened in its ground, the MontjuÃ¯c Olympic Stadium. Mercifully, the metal fence separating the fans from the field was removable, so the catastrophe of people being crushed as they fled the ensuing fighting and panic wasÂ averted. Even so, the Spanish authorities will have to respond to this ugly reminder of hooliganism. That, too, is a face of misspent fanaticism. Ultimately, however, the match resumed and talent showed it brighterÂ aspect.”