Something For The Weekend (173)
Once Anelka had moved to Chelsea, it was all over.
Short of a readiness to pay the sort of money, that might be needed to prop up an ailing bank, there now seems to be a shortage of top players, and certainly as far as Villa are concerned, it seems to be a case of the afore mentioned honeymoon, as the only whispers we heard in the night, were, 'Can't come - won't come'.
Villa's speculative punt on Wayne Routledge at just over a million squid, seems to have been inspired by the belief that Villa's rather splendid bijou establishment is ideal for reinvigorating an undoubted talent like our Wayne's. Spurs with its collection of Bulgarian big-heads and Billy Bigtimes, seems not to be entirely suited to all temperaments, so lets hope he has found the right environment at Villa. He offers O'Neill an alternative on the right and as his career-stats for assists seem pretty impressive, you can see how Martin might think he can add something to his squad. You never know, he might even see a right-back in their somewhere.
Getting a proper right-back is a bit of an obsession with the Villa fans these days. Despite Mellberg doing a reasonable job the fans are desperate for a bespoke player for that position - for pride's sake as much as anything. But the chances are, that O'Neill will look at it differently, and will see the threat and contribution of big Melly at attacking and defensive set-pieces, and think he can live with his short-comings. But no matter, if he has attracted the attention of Juve, he can't be doing too badly. I think most Villa fans will really appreciate what he has done for the club. At his best he was a superb centre-back and the possessor of one of the finest Villa beards since Mortimer bestrode the midfield. He is the sort of fine figure of a man which must have brought a welcoming smile to the faces of the daughters of early England, when the Vikings hit town. So, personally, as an unprepossessing streak of piss myself, I can't help resenting him a bit - the git. Thirty is an ideal age to be retiring to Italy and la dolce vita.
And then, Defoe went to Portsmouth.
There's no doubt that Defoe is a decent striker but you have to wonder what's wrong with the lad, if he can't seem to get into a Spurs team under two different managers and can't get into an England side, absolutely desperate for strikers. There must be something wrong with his game, which we punters can't see or he has life-style issues. The last thing I read about him, concerned some wonderfully willing wag of his, who was hunting for expensive property on the box, but who subsequently went from chatelaine of all she surveyed, to the spare room at her Mom's house, because Jermain had kicked her into touch and took his gold credit-card back. So to put it mildly, I think he lives a far from settled life-style, which is not good. And, more importantly, I can't see how he would have offered much, to the way Villa play. Even though I admired Baros, it was obvious that he didn't quite bring enough to the team for him to be part of an O'Neill set-up. I see Defoe as a similar sort of luxury player. And, no sour grapes - honest.
Logically, the better your team is, the fewer players there are, who would improve it.
This also means that fewer academy players are going to make the grade. This is probably more damaging when it comes to destroying a club's sense of local identity, than anything else. It is rather touching to hear the Arsenal supporters cheer Theo Walcott, as if, as an Englishman, he is an endangered species, that needs protecting. Such sentiment reveals the importance for the fans of being able to identify with a player. Something not always possible, these days, when a degree in geography is essential, if you want to win the football Quiz Night at your local.
I was certainly sad to see Gary Cahill leave for pastures new but it was with some relief that he didn't choose Birmingham City, as it is bad enough seeing Ridgewell defect, without another one we have considered our own, joining him. Its always sad to see them go but making progress in his career, surely must override all sentiment. He's a Sheffield-born lad and although crossing the Pennines is the source of mild horror to most true Yorkshiremen, he'll not fear the North like Seb Coe or your average FA sinecurist and will be invigorated by the smell of the black-pudding mines, in the land where a man and his whippets can run free. Good luck old son and thanks for THAT goal.
Gone but never forgotten.
A football fan's attitude towards players, is a bit like a self-respecting woman and her shoes - you can never have too many. You need different ones for every occasion. Only the cognoscenti, can tell you what goes well with what. Lack of shoes and lack of players both cause anxiety, especially when you have a big day coming up - a wedding or Europe, say. Not all shoes and not all players, go with every outfit. And, if you have a special outfit you need special players and special shoes. Do you lose your nerve and ruin a fine outfit with the wrong players or shoes, or do you wait for exactly the right ones to come along. Expensive shoes can save a cheap outfit but cheap shoes will ruin an expensive outfit. Anyway, the January sales have come and gone and they've run out of Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choos. So I guess we'll have to wait for the Summer, when we'll actually find out if we are invited to that wedding or not. Its true - just ask the girls.
That's right - talking a load of cobblers, as usual.