Steven S looks back on seven days of controversy, court cases, and Fulham signing a player that’s made the other clubs ‘well jel’.
The North/South theme so dominant in last Sundays clashes carried through the week as Mad Mario and Ropey Redknapp took centre stage for their alleged misdemeanours. Cries of xenophobia, video replays and inadequate referees covered the subplots in the aftermath of the Balotelli incident, another classic to slide into his ever increasing portfolio. City fans must be scratching their heads trying to balance out exactly how they feel about the young man who has contributed to some important games this season but forever seems unsettled. “He can win them the league or he can lose them the league” says Gary Neville and somewhere in Manchester a quiet smile is raised by Savic as his recent atrocities are forgotten…
The Redknapp Files opened the day after defeat to City in what was a fantastic second half of pure Premiership style football, capped off with a clumsy challenge from King ensuring a cruel title set-back for Tottenham. The biggest test the North London side may face is recovering from that late, harsh blow and with some tough fixtures ahead they will need to regroup quickly. Meanwhile in court all the details of HR’s offshore bank account were out for public scrutiny with Harry of course pleading his innocence insisting that everything is above board and legal despite his loyal best friend Rosie being unwittingly thrust into the spotlight. Are the Inland barking up the wrong tree here or will Redders go down because of his accent? As a friend apparently told him ‘Your problem is your name, Harry, and you have got a Cockney accent’. He will be in the dugout for their FA Cup game with Watford which reminds us all that he is definitely not a wheeler dealer but a football manager.
Staying in the East London/Essex border, Bolton have confirmed the signing of Tim Ream (one for The Only Way Is Essex fans) from the New York Red Bulls on a 3 and a half year deal and should Thierry Henry make it back from injury the two former team mates could be facing each other on February 1st. This purports to be the replacement for Cahill yet the question of just why Zak Knight continues as a Premiership footballer remains unanswered.
QPR wrap up the loan deal for Milan’s left back Taye Taiwo a decent enough defender who will give them a little more going forward.
Former Leeds captain Jonny Howson completed his move across the country to Norwich for an undisclosed fee on a 3 ½ year deal. At 23 this has potential to be a very smart piece of business and there is a feeling that it won’t take the lad too long to be consistently up to speed in the Prem. QPR wrap up the loan deal for Milan’s left back Taye Taiwo a decent enough defender who will give them a little more going forward. Nedum Onuoha also arrived from Man City, Hughes wasting no time in shoring up what has become an increasingly leaky defence. No doubt there will be one or two more additions to the squad before Tuesday night as midfielder Samba Diakite of Nancy seems to be next on the radar. Neighbours Chelsea lose central defender Alex who reunites with Ancelotti at PSG, we can only imagine that it was his wages preventing clubs other than QPR looking into signing him.
In a cruel twist of fate this weekend’s FA Cup ties throw up some very spicy meetings indeed. On any normal occasion QPR v Chelsea and Liverpool v Man Utd would be enough in itself but of course this time round there is the double edged knife as Terry and Ferdinand are reunited at Loftus Road and Evra should expect a warm welcome at Anfield. Off the back of reaching the Carling final and holding home advantage, the scousers will start as slight favourites and in Bellamy they have found a decent enough replacement whilst Suarez kicks his heels on the sidelines. Interestingly, Craig seems to have retained that explosive pace so crucial to his game despite years of injuries and turning 33 this coming summer. No doubt Sky will increase their camera positioning for these games in the hope of picking up any other foul language and along with the booing it may well undermine the seriousness of what has occurred turning it into something of a pantomime. If rumours are true that Ferdinand has private security and is receiving threatening mail, then the efforts against this plague in society have to be stepped up significantly.QPR wrap up the loan deal for Milan’s left back Taye Taiwo a decent enough defender who will give them a little more going forward.
In the Tevez corner, Carlos continues to resemble an ex footballer ready to sit back on his empire of cash and call it a day.
One man deserving of high praise so far this season is Clint Dempsey whose form is following a long trend of players excelling toward the end of their contract. He has been a key component of Fulham’s midfield for some time now, the Cottagers front six are still a strong force to hold out against when hemmed into their tight ground but its break up cannot be too far off with age, manager conflicts and in the case of Dempsey, 18 months left and looking toward his last big contract. In the current reserved financial climate his Premiership experience, ability and cost will surely attract the attention of most of the top 6. Martin Jol has a job on his hands to integrate new with the old over the next season or two and form the basis of a new look Fulham that can stay alive in the middle of the Prem.
In the Tevez corner, Carlos continues to resemble an ex footballer ready to sit back on his empire of cash and call it a day. Inter Milan were swiftly followed by PSG in announcing their withdrawal from talks with Kia and co, leaving only Milan to ponder if he is worth the effort. He has completely backed himself into a corner where contract offers will contain specific clauses relating to his recent behaviour to protect the outlandish wages he’ll expect. News filtered through this week that Tevez was not receiving any wage payments from City since the sage began back in November, waiving £9.3 million according to Lil Kia. Considering the amount he has earned so far as a professional, particularly since arriving at West Ham 6 years ago, his retirement was long taken care off. It all feels completely at odds with the type of player he is on the pitch so whilst the comedic value raises every week, he is a player just made for the English game and a big miss for all football fans.
So some big games to come in what resembles a mini league weekend as 60% of the Premiership play each other in the 4th round posing some interesting questions about team selection. The Prem rolls back into town midweek with a full fixture list and sandwiched in between we will see poor little Brian Swanson, left to repeat the silence sweeping across deadline day.