Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “They [Newcastle fans] kept chanting disgusting words, racist words about Islam and unfortunately this is the second time the same fans have done this. It has happened again because the English FA did nothing the first time. I can assure you that nothing is going to happen again. The FA said they will be investigating the issue and make use of the latest technology to stop such racial abuse of players. But I feel that nothing will happen. These chants are not directed at me as a person but they are directed at Islam as a religion.” – Mido.
Runner up: “Manchester City didn’t meet the criteria we wanted. Manchester United? Maybe that would have been another story!” – Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
Today’s overview: Sadly, this Thursday kicks-off with John Troup’s report into claims that “a Football League club is reeling after four youth side players were quizzed by police over claims of a sex attack on a team-mate. The lad â€” at a Coca-Cola League One club which cannot be named for legal reasons â€” was allegedly assaulted with an object in showers when horseplay got out of hand.”
With only one win in their last eleven matches, Blackburn fans have turned on manager Paul Ince, as reported by Daniel Taylor – “Blackburn’s fans chanted ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ and ‘We want Incey out’ as well as singing the name of their former manager Graeme Souness. There were also chants of ‘Tony Parkes’s blue and white army’ and ‘We want our Rovers back.'” James Ducker adds to Ince’s woes by pouring cold water on the 5-3 scoreline, writing “Rovers barely merited a goal, let alone three, and once the dust has settled on a Carling Cup quarter-final tie that was not nearly as exciting as one may think.”
Moving onto Sunderland, George Caulkin looks at Roy Keane’s future at the club – “If Keane agrees to soften his sharper edges, rapprochement is possible, but no Sunderland fan should doubt the severity of the present position. Should Keane request it, he will be given time.” In a supplementary article, George Caulkin analysed how Roy Keane has spent Â£80 million at the Black Cats, claiming Craig Gordon, Michael Chopra, Pascal Chimbonda and Greg Halford have all been failures. The news is no better in the Independent where Michael Walker writes “there is a strong possibility that Keane will walk away.”
With the transfer window edging ever closer, Stuart James highlights that without a major cash splurge from Manchester City “there is a general consensus that next month will see much more wheeling and dealing rather than usual straight-cash deals, with player exchanges expected to rise as clubs seek ways to circumvent a lack of funding.” However, following yesterday’s rebuffed rumours that Iker Casillas was the subject of a Â£128million bid, James Ducker explains that “City are fearful of having their ambitious transfer plans jeopardised by unauthorised third parties trying to broker deals on their behalf.”
The Sun’s Steven Howard rips into Didier Drogba, suggesting the Ivorian is on his way out the club. “Word from the dressing room is that some other senior players, while acknowledging Drogbaâ€™s value to the team, are tired of all the self-centred histrionics… There is something uncharacteristically ‘flaky’ about Chelsea now.”
In other transfer news, Steve Wilson links Tottenham and Newcastle with Sporting Lisbon striker Liedson, the Daily Mail report that Everton may move for David Nugent, while the Telegraph suggest that Chelsea could move for CSKA’s Vagner Love.
In other news, Ian Herbert writes a feature on how Ronaldo is trying to fight “the flab and dodgy knees” to end his career on a high, while Joel Richards investigates the growing number of violent incidents in Argentinean football, pointing out that “while no action is taken to prevent the situation spiralling out of control, examples of aggression, disorder, and a failing judiciary pile up.”