It’s been a quiet, flattish couple of days a far cry from this time last season when everything was building up to Athens? Actually a far cry from most of this season in terms of being in the headlines!
The main bit of news is good. Well done and congratulations to the reserves who won the National Championship through beating Aston Villa 3-0 last night. Progress is not always about the first team and this is proof, if ever it were needed, that we are making good headway in establishing a squad with strength in depth and laying good foundations for the future?
On the first team front it seems that in addition to Mascherano we might lose Lucas for the beginning of the season. Both players have expressed a desire to represent their respective countries at the Olympics in Beijing. The games take place between August 8th and 24th which clashes with the start of the season however, there is also the issue that Lucas and Mascherano will be required to take part in training camps two or three weeks before these dates. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that Lucas and Mas play in roughly the same area giving us a potential problem in midfield.
Quite why they should want to travel half way across the world to take part in a tournament that amounts to nothing more than a side show, designed to tap into new TV audiences is beyond me. Compared to the World Cup, Euro 2008 or, if you are South American, Copa America, Olympic football is a poor relation even when compared to a Premiership game against Stoke City! It’s not as if the footballing crème de la crème will be playing, like Olympic tennis or baseball, the medals would not be won through competing against the best in the world?
Transfer rumours regarding John Arne Riise, Peter Crouch and Jermaine Pennant were deepened by their absence from the post match lap of honour on Sunday. A rather tenuous assumption but why let that get in the way of a newspaper story? Peter Crouch, who after a spat of moaning and groaning at the start of the season over losing his place, has gone on to handle the situation admirably, has broken his silence over a potential move.
“What I must do is speak to the manager. When all is said and done, I don’t think I can have another season like this year where I’ve started nine Premier League games …… I’ll have to speak to the manager and see what his plans are. I need to see him and sort things out. I have to find out what he wants from me for next season and whether or not I can continue with that. In some ways I want to feel wanted. I’ve got a few questions I want to ask him, and I’m sure he has with me, too.”
Another player who must be a favourite to go is dear old Harry Kewell, the only player who has his own chair in the physio room! Fulham and Spurs were rumoured to be interested at one stage however, such is his track record of injuries surely many would be put off? One of the red tops calculates Kewell’s contribution to us at 157k a game once you take into account the transfer fee, wages they also forgot to add plasters, splints, crutches, bandages and nurses etc. This is of course silly, irrelevant nonsense how much has Torres at 20m plus cost us so far? However, 157k a game Eh? Better not mention this to the Star Spangled duo it might give them ideas regarding admission charges to the new stadium speaking of which…..
Revised plans for the stadium were approved for the third time the other day. Most of the changes relate to really, really interesting things like the restaurants, the car park and something called the “skywalk”. However, it’s good that the roof has been modified to enable the pitch to get more exposure to elements. One only has to look at that problems the Millennium stadium has had with it’s surface over the years to see the type of issues it can course.
The car park? According to the Echo a condition of the build is.
“The club must make sure spectators leaving their cars in the stadium’s 970 parking spaces arrive an hour before kick-off and wait an hour after the final whistle to leave.”
Hmm me thinks taking the bus or the train might be a better alternative? Halving the size of the car park is however, a welcome boost to local industry meaning the kids in the streets outside the ground, who on match day offer to “mind your car” for a quid or so, will not be forced to look for alternative revenue streams! I look forward to Hicks going on record and hailing this as a significant PR coup!
The “skywalk” is apparently some kind of public viewing gallery which has now been scrapped. I can’t help thinking that the owners are missing out on a trick here. They could name it after one of our South American players. The “Lucas Skywalker” has a certain galactic, futuristic ring to it!
May the force be with you!