Charlie, down on Downing and keeping the flag flying.

It’s at this time of year that football seems to be a long way off.

Now you have to plough through pages and pages of cheesy high school Americans or robust, tectonic European’s clad in white tennis gear before you find an article about football and that’s not even allowing for the annual summer blight that is formula one grand prix!

Yes it’s Wimbledon and an opportunity for middle England to put down its Daily Mail and make its annual pilgrimage to SW19 to worship at their sporting church. However it seems to be more than sport. Certain stalwart, but ignorant quarters moan that they don’t like the cut of Andy Murray’s gibe compared to that nice squeaky clean cut Tim Henman. Would they say the same thing if Murray was black probably but they would just whisper it?

Ironically Murray is Scottish and parts of that nation are never backward in coming forward and having a pop against the English over things that the vast majority of my fellow countrymen cannot be blamed for or control. Nonetheless two wrongs do not make a right and Wimbledon is one of last sporting bastions where the class divide, and other divides, still exists regardless of how good people like Murray, or in the past McEnroe, are? It’s revolting, get rid!

If there is going to be a fallow period then it might as well be this week. The lack of a post for over a week says it all, not only about my laziness but the fact that it’s a bit humdrum by that I mean it is hard trying to find a variation on the same theme which is player X is a target for Liverpool FC or player X could be on for a move from Anfield!

I could go on about Charlie Adam but would that be offering a unique slant on want everyone has read before? The fact that Aston Villa and others have now shown an interest seems an irrelevance as Charlie and Liverpool seem to be made for each other. Apparently talks are still going on and it will be a relief if he signs, or indeed buggers off somewhere else, if only to stop the incessant reports. Charlie Adam to Liverpool? Bruce Forsyth a knighthood? Who has had to wait longer?

Anyway a week gone and, same usual suspects are linked with us. Adam, Clichy, Wickham, Downing plus a group of “anonymous latin-American meat packing glitterati” (thanks Roger Waters). I can’t believe all these players will be signed let alone even speak to the club. It just seems that if someone wants away the papers look at how good he is and select a club that is on a par with his talents? I’m currently being linked with the local Woman’s Institute.. as a squad player!

Gael Clichy seems intent on joining us even to the point of resisting a move to Roma. However, quite frankly, the whole episode concerning the Arsenal defender fills me with vast amounts of inertia. Most tiresome is Arsene Wenger’s attitude which appears to suggest that Clichy is some farmyard animal to be shipped out at the “owners” will rather than actually respecting the player and all the service he has given his club over the years, thanking him, letting him go where he wants and wishing him good luck.

Elsewhere it’s been suggested that Stuart Downing will sign for around £16m and, in the same breath, Raul Meireles will leave for Italy for cash or a swap – straight or part. I’m sure the club will deny that it’s straight forward issue of one player replacing the other but to this naive outsider it’s hard not to think of it in those terms. So, cards on the table, if you gave me the choice between keeping Meireles and signing Downing or keeping Meireles and still signing Downing I would keep Meireles and not sign Downing!

What does Downing bring to the side that hasn’t already been bought? If I was being a positive about him I’d say a more robust attitude to the play that Meireles occasionally lacks but that is pushing it and we have the likes of Spearing and Lucas to provide that anyway. Downing is 26 years old and hasn’t really made a jaw dropping impact on the game so far. Middlesbrough, Aston Villa two dozen England caps and a goal roughly every ten games hardly the sort of stuff that would have most clubs clamouring with their cheque books? Okay, he had a good season with Aston Villa but at twenty six surely he would have made his mark by now and his signing seems to fly in the face of the “Jordan Henderson” philosophy which is buying for the future?

That said Kenny has a track record in signing so called also ran players and getting them to do a job. When I think of Stuart Downing I think of Ray Houghton. They are two different players and I guess with Andy Carroll in the centre perhaps Downing has been signed to provide crosses? However, like the Clichy story, I’m filled with indifference, all £16m plus of it!

Finally I was watching Glastonbury this weekend more specifically the Morrissey set which was great but made ever greater by spotting a large white flag in the crowd that, in red, sported a Hillsborough flame badge surrounded by the words “Don’t buy the Sun”.

“There Is Light That Never Goes Out”

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