The pre-season tour to the Far East is over and we are entering the transfer season.Â Wenger
told us that clubs will wait until the end of the month to make their moves and Wenger will be one
of those.Â Ivan Gazidis said he spent the week in the Far East to discuss Arsenal's transfer
strategy with the boss.
Barcelona's defeat of Arsenal last night was of little surprise to the football world,
especially with Arsenal being reduced to 10 men with over half an hour to go.
What did shock was the lacklustre performance of Arsenal's key player and captain, Cesc
Fabregas. The stage was set, his first competitive game at the Camp Nou, a stadium where he stood
in the terraces 15 years earlier cheering on his idol, the now Barca manager, Pep Guardiola.
It's difficult to clarify under which exact terms a football club can be classified as
'unfortunate'. Indeed, there's a million miles between outfits such as Morecambe and, say,
Nottingham Forest, yet we still group them together under one, all-encompassing umbrella on this
site. Part of that is to try to foster some sense of community and common interest across this
disparate group of 72, but
Liverpool minority shareholder LeBron James has already attempted to demonstrate his love for
the Merseyside club via self-produced merchandise with his custom-made headphones, and now the
Miami Heat 'baller has gone a step further with the Liverpool Edition of the Nike Lebron 9 Low
Claudio Ranieri came into a club on the road to ruin. They had started the season disastrously
under a manager appointed, when no fans wanted him, and then sacked, when many fans insisted he
ought to be given a proper chance. Since Jose Mourinho even Rafael Benitez had come, tried, and
Queens Park Rangers were heading only one way under the stewardship of Neil Warnock. The team
had not won in several matches and were perilously close to the relegation places. In fact the only
reason the team were not already in the relegation places was because the team had somehow, against
all the odds, and not without immense fortune, managed to achieve victories earlier in the season
despite not playing well, for example when they defeated Chelsea at Loftus Road.
I think there is one question we are all asking at the moment and that's the situation with the
Gary Cahill transfer from Bolton.
We know the fee was agreed last week and the player and his representatives were discussing
personal terms with Chelsea but then we heard from AVB that both sides were "a million miles
apart" when it came to finalising a deal for the young international centre back.
One week in and already the close season is slowly imposing its languorous silence on West Ham
related news. The footballing world becomes an abandoned chateau this time of year with its
inhabitants scattering for a change of scene. The football fan is left to stroll through the
echoing salon, the immense panelled dining room and numberless bedrooms; none sealed or closed but
all kept in a state of suspended life, the beds made, the floors not exactly clean but swept
occasionally, the decorations faded but intact.
There has been yet more off-field drama at Stamford Bridge with the announcement that Chelsea's
director of football Frank Arnesen will leave the club at the end of the season. That makes it two
big name departures from the Chelsea backroom team in a matter of weeks, following the sacking of
assistant manager Ray Wilkins earlier this month.
Chelsea Football Club, historically associated with Stamford Bridge â€“ their stadium even when
the club was only a small size compared to what it is now, are planning, or at least trying, to
move away from their traditional home and develop a new 60,000 seater stadium.
Liverpool produced an improved display to gain a well earned 0-0 draw against Napoli. Reds boss Roy
Hodgson opted to make a whole host of changes for the game, but his fringe players certainly
impressed with notable performances from Jay Spearing and Jonjo Shelvey.
While I don't want to take anything away from the Liverpool display you have to question the
Liverpool side that Hodgson put out.
The news that Wayne Rooney has told Manchester United that he wants to leave seems to have hit
the club like a bolt out of the blue. However, this has been coming for a long time as his
relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson has somewhat soured over the last seven months or so.
Amidst growing rumours over the weekend, United Chief Executive, David Gill, spoke tersely to
the press stating that the very idea of Rooney leaving the club was nothing short of "nonsense.
It was reported yesterday that Spurs injury crisis had deepened and the news could hardly have
been worse ahead of Sunday's match with Manchester United. In addition to the club's existing
concerns, influential winger Gareth Bale was said to have been ruled out for up to three weeks with
a hamstring problem.
FC Nurnberg have revealed that they are resigned to losing Â£7 million-rated midfielder
Ilkay Gundogan in the summer, with Manchester United set to take advantage of the
Bundesliga side's 'economic considerations' after sending several scouts to watch the 20-year-old
It beggars belief really doesn't it. Danny Sturridge has been (when fit) a regular first team
starter under AVB and has scored five goals in nine games. He has received his first call up to the
full England squad that is preparing to play Spain tomorrow and there is a good chance that he is
going to start the game too.
In 2009,Â film-maker Mattias LÃ¶w decided to follow the Swedish referee Martin Hansson on his
journey to the 2010 World Cup. It was supposed to be a film focusing on the extraordinary pressures
facing an ordinary man. It turned out to be so much more. The unassuming Swede found himselfÂ atÂ
the eyeÂ of a media shitstorm of epic proportions.
sorry, seemed to be some gremlins. Apologies if this is the second time this has appeared for
Further to yesterday's waffle, it occurred to me that I was unduly harsh on Julian Barnes. I
think he's tarred by the Amis/McEwan brush, and while they write perfectly good books, they seem to
be writing for and about other people.
Further to yesterday's waffle, here is some more waffle, building on the same thoughts. It
occurred to me that I was unduly harsh on Julian Barnes. I think he's tarred by the Amis/McEwan
brush, and while they write perfectly good books, they seem to be writing for and about other
people.Â A central tenet of fiction writing seems to be that your characters should be drawn in a
way that makes readers take an interest in them, perhaps even want to be them.
Liverpool veteran Jamie Carragher has praised the new management team for the way they have
transformed them into a formidable outfit.
Under Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli Liverpool have brought in some stellar signings to add some
significant quality and depth to their squad, with seven players alone coming in this summer.
Alan Hansen has pin-pointed the up-coming games against Manchester City and Arsenal as a way of
measuring the squad's strength in depth.
City visit Anfield on Monday night, with the Reds travelling to the Emirates six days later to face
Arsene Wenger's men.
The Kop legend believes the two games will give manager Kenny Dalglish a good evaluation of his
current squad's capabilities.
Ireland U21 manager Noel King has confirmed his Ireland Under 21 squad for the friendly
international with Austria in the Showgrounds, Sligo on Tuesday the 9th August. Leeds United full
back Aiden White is a new addition to the squad, while goalkeeper Aaron McCarey links up at this
level for the first time, following his performances at the UEFA Under 19 Finals in Romania last
Newcastle are now almost Â inÂ theÂ same place they were, back whenÂ BobbyÂ RobsonÂ was sacked in
late August of 2004. Graham Carr helped bring in some top players At that timeÂ NewcastleÂ hadÂ
beenÂ positioned 4th, 3rd and 5th in successive seasons, andÂ NewcastleÂ are now back in the Europa
League, after finishing in 5th place lastÂ season.
Home: Not a million miles away from their successful Euro 92 kit, but this is the work of Adidas
rather than Hummel. It's reminiscent of something you might have caught Bayern Munich wearing in
the 1990s. Away: Much more 'football-kit-by-numbers' than the home shirt. Not much to report here.
A draw ain't too shabby really, considering, is it? It gets us to the forty point mark which,
whilst not by any stretch is a watermark of safety, it's something that seemed a million miles away
not all that long ago. It means now with all teams around us having notched 39 games so far this
season we know we're now five points clear of the drop zone in our own right, we're level on points
with Millwall and just four behind Peterborough [.
Wow, what a gameweek! Don't you just love soccer! My comment from last week about this season being
evenly matched jumped out of the window. Both teams from Manchester dominated their opponents, and
showed just how you play football. And how about that Dzeko! Not to mention Young or Rooney.
Hopefully you captained one of the them.
Roy Hodgson finally saw his Liverpool side climb out of the bottom three with a hard-fought win at
Bolton. It certainly wasn't easy for the Hodgson's men as the hosts frustrated Liverpool for long
periods only to be undone by some Fernando Torres magic late on.
Torres' delightful flick in to the path of an on-running Maxi Rodriguez demonstrated that while
he is still lacking in form he can still be a match winner for Hodgson.
My first 3 open letter posts have been full of anger and attack, but this fourth and final one
is quite different. This one's addressed not to those who have done me wrong, but to those, near
and far, who are victims along with me.
My message is as short as it is predictable: thanks. Thanks for the good times, thanks for the
beer, thanks for the hilarious chants, thanks for welcoming me in.