“I like being alone. It reminds me of my youth. It’s a way of life. I like being with my friends but my life has always been like this.” – Thierry Henry

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “You don’t think we’d get into a contract with that mob, do you? Jesus Christ. I wouldn’t sell them a virus. So that’s a no — there is no agreement between the clubs.” – Sir Alex Ferguson.

Runner-up: “We’ve answered every single question they’ve put to us [with regard to an investigation into alleged corruption in football]. We’ve gone out of our way to supply documents. We’ve opened everything at the club to them. We’ve paid all the auditors’ fees, legal fees and accountants’ fees. Our bills are over £200,000 already on this case. They want all kinds of documents and it all costs money, time and energy to produce. We couldn’t co-operate any more but it’s extremely costly financially and mentally. I cannot tell you how much this has taken out of us. There is not an hour of every day that I don’t think about this and I’m sure Karren is exactly the same. We both have long-term health problems [Sullivan has had quadruple heart bypass surgery while Brady underwent neurosurgery in 2006 after she was diagnosed with a cerebral aneurysm] and I’m sure it’s knocked a lump off our lives. I really do feel like that. We are in the football ­business. We’re not bank robbers.” – Birmingham chairman, David Sullivan.

Today’s overview: The is a mixed bad of features this Friday, ranging from Cafu’s potential move to England, the boardroom breakdown at Arsenal, and the new quota system in the Football League.

Barney Ronay reacts to the incredible news linking Cafu to non-league Garforth Town saying “it’s possible the Unibond will be treated to a highly-motivated former World Cup-winner intent on winning back his place in the national side via a series of rampaging, high-tempo displays on the Garforth right-flank.”

Bill Edgar traces to rivalry between Manchester United and Real Madrid, while reporting from the Club World Cup Martin Samuel wrote “a strange race, the Japanese. They can pull off inventions beyond your wildest imagination — an MP3 toilet or a sauce-dispensing chopstick — but they cannot defend a simple corner or a through-pass from midfield.”

On the boardroom breakdown at Arsenal, Paul Kelso writes “there remain great traditions at Arsenal of course, but the time has come to add ‘ruthlessly disposing of directors’ to the list of guiding principles chalked up in the marbled halls.”

four of the 16 players in match squads to have been registered domestically for a minimum of three seasons before their 21st birthdayon the face of it, the home-grown rule seems to be little more than a cosmetic exercise — all gloss and no substance — that will do little to block the torrent of foreign players entering English football.”

Ian Wright spouts his usual nonsense in his column for The Sun, telling readers why Gianfranco Zola is a nice guy. “Once, while we were playing golf together, I remarked on a cool-looking plastic watch he was wearing. He took it off and insisted I had it, saying he could easily get another one. I said that I was only making a comment because it looked good, not that I wanted it off him — but Gianfranco said he wouldn’t let me leave unless I took the watch. So yes, he is a very nice person but that doesn’t mean you cannot be a good manager.”

On the transfer front, the Telegraph link Tottenham with a swoop for Steve Finnan and the Daily Mail announce “Steve Bruce has agreed a £4.5million deal for Colombian scoring sensation Hugo Rodallega Martinez”

In other news, Barcelona — the new-look, lean and menacing Barcelona — are the team for our clubs to miss when the draw is made today,” Bill Edgar focuses on the might of the Big Four by whipping out his abacus to prove that “the chasing pack are still some way from toppling the “big four”. Arsenal are only a point away from restoring the natural order by displacing Villa in fourth, so we should enjoy any unpredictable results while we can.”

Thierry Henry gives a frank interview to The Sun, including “I play football for 15 years now and it’s difficult for me to understand euphoria. I’m very tranquil. I can’t understand why people think that footballers are different. We’re not. Yes I am a footballer but I have good days, bad ones, with problems like everybody, joys and sadness.” And in a second Friday interview, Darren Ferguson, manager of Peterborough and son of Sir Alex, sat down with Anna Kessel to answer questions. Ferguson: “I just think a lot of people think that you accept the first [big] job that comes along and that just doesn’t sit that well with me.”

Lastly, in a standout article on tactics, Jonathan Wilson tracks the development of the 4-5-1 system which is today’s most commonly used formation.


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