Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “I can save Harry [Redknapp] the time and money and tell him not to bother even picking up the telephone, because there’s no way Shay Given will be leaving this football club. We want to build up Newcastle United and get good players in, not good players out, and why would he want to go to Spurs? This is a bigger club than Spurs. Shay Given has a lot of presence – all great goalkeepers have it. He reminds me a lot of Pat Jennings, who I played in front of at Spurs.” – Joe Kinnear.
Runner-up: “Frankly I don’t have much time for people who go public and criticise their employers. That doesn’t seem to be a great idea. If the debate is about the inadequacy of coaching then it is perfectly legitimate to say that this is an FA responsibility, so let’s ask some questions of the people in the FA who are responsible for coaching. This season Football League clubs will be putting into youth development something north of Â£13 million of their own money, the FA will be putting in to football development Â£7.8 million pounds and last year it was Â£4.5million. Sir Trevor has been going on about age-related coaching, particularly five to 11-year-olds, but he has been in the job for five years. What has been happening over the last five years? He’s critical of coaching in the Football League but, excuse me, who is responsible for coaching in this country? Somebody has to ask who has been responding to him in the last few years, including his employers.” – Lord Brian Mawhinney.
Today’s overview: The headline grabbing story this Saturday comes from the Mirror, John Cross penning that “Jermain Defoeâ€™s Â£9million move from Spurs to Portsmouth is being probed by City of London police… FA chiefs have also looked at the transfer. Their Quest enquiry is aimed at investigating illegal payments in transfer deals.”
Didier Drogba receives some support in today’s papers, and not only from his loyal manager, Felipe Scolari. Dominic Fifield relays the opinion of the Chelsea boss that “[Drogba] didn’t go out there with coins in his pockets. It wasn’t Didier who started it.” Support is also offered from Harry Redknapp, Rory Smith quoting the Spurs manager as saying “fans should not be throwing coins in the first place. Theyâ€™re cowards… People who throw coins should be banned for life, straightaway.”
Daniel Taylor features the dazzling da Silva brothers, Rafael and Fabio, before the Guardian journalist sat down for a one-on-one with Ryan Babel (“I’m satisfied with my level of performance but the situation is clear – that I’m not going to be one of the regular 11 starters”). In the other Saturday interviews, Oliver Kay met Matt Jansen to talk about how the striker is returning to football at Blackburn, Henry Winter spoke with Edwin van der Sar (“It’s the best job in the world”) and Steve Sidwell tells his story to Neil Moxley. Lastly, Simon Kuper fired questions at Keith Harris over his involvement in selling Premier League clubs.
In other news, Glenn Moore points the finger at managers for the failings in the Respect campaign, Sunderland’s unquestioned love-in of Roy Keane appears to be suspended at present, with Louise Taylor reporting that the Irishman’s “decision to play hardball over contract negotiations and the small matter of four successive defeats has diluted his autonomy.” And in the wider world of football, Jonathan Wilson visitis the Ukraine to observe preparations for the 2012 European Championships. (“The airport and railway station are being redeveloped, roads are being built, and the city is buying 55 new trains, 120 trolley buses and 150 buses. But the big problem is accommodation.”)
Looking ahead to the midweek internationals, Ewan Murray begins to get excited for the Tartan Army’s hosting of Argentina, that offers “a viable opportunity for the cream of Scotland’s football talent to showcase their ability on the world stage.” On Diego Maradona, including the use of borrowed urine and a tube shoved down a player’s trousers.”
On England, Terry Venables urges Fabio Capello to “resist the temptation to experiment too much because itâ€™s important to maintain the momentum gained from Englandâ€™s flying start to their World Cup campaign.” Yet by all accounts that is exactly what the Italian plans to do, with Andrew Dillion claiming “Chelsea rookie Michael Mancienne” will be called up alongside Gabriel Agbonlahor, Ashley Young and Joe Hart.