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Review of the week

Chris Charles | 14:02 UK time, Wednesday, 4 February 2009

There's no business like snow business - just ask Harry Redknapp, who quite literally brought in Robbie Keane from the cold on transfer deadline day.

As millions stayed off work because of the 'adverse weather conditions' (London Underground's wording, not mine), you got the feeling Keane would have gladly walked to White Hart Lane from Liverpool, where he was proving as useful as a glass cricket bat to Rafa Benitez.

It completed a bizarre hat-trick for Redknapp, with the Irishman joining Jermain Defoe and Pascal Chimbonda at the Tottenham retirement home for old boys. But it proved to be a nice little earner for the club, reportedly £8m up on the transfer before add-ons, which should just about cover the Defoe deficit to Pompey.

Along the Seven Sisters Road, the Andrey Arshavin deal-or-snow-deal saga (I'll stop there) headed into extra-time before the Russian finally put pen to paper, while the surprise move of the window involved Julien Faubert's switch from West Ham to Real Madrid. "I thought it was a wind-up," said the player. So did we, mate - so did we.
Craig Bellamy's infamous golf club celebration at Liverpool
Manchester City's January shopping list began with Kaka and Santa Cruz and ended with Given and Bellamy. The Welshman did his bit to entice a few superstars to Eastlands by declaring he would happily clean the boots of any "top new players". Form an orderly queue behind John Arne Riise, lads.

Neighbours United were in the happy position of not needing to buy anyone on deadline day, particularly at the back, where they extended their Premier League record with a 12th successive shut-out in the win over Everton.

The last time they conceded a league goal was in the defeat by Arsenal on 8 November, when Liverpool were three points clear at the top, John Sergeant was still in Strictly Come Dancing and my house was worth more than a packet of Polos.

Joe Kinnear suffered a George Bush moment when he mistakenly referred to Charles N'Zogbia as 'insomnia', leading to a very public display of toy-throwing from the Frenchman, who declared he would never play for the manager again. N'Zogbia got his wish with a switch to Wigan - but you can bet Kinnear would not have lost any sleep over his departure.

Magpies owner Mike Ashley ended his self-imposed exile with an appearance at St James Park for the Tyne-Wear derby (presumably on the basis that if Newcastle had won, the fans would forgive him anything). In the event, the Toon Army were only kept at bay thanks to a late howler from Michael Chopra - you can take the man out of Newcastle....

Ashley wisely chose not to down any pints in one or wear the black and white stripes to the game, although one would hope he was not acting on the advice of former chairman Freddy Shepherd, who warned in an interview: "Sitting with the fans with the shirt on wasn't a clever thing to do. You've got to have some dignity."

That's right, the same Freddy Shepherd who branded Alan Shearer 'Mary Poppins', Newcastle women 'dogs' and ridiculed fans paying OTT prices for replica tops, while being secretly taped during a News of the World sting at a brothel.

For the record, Ashley was dressed in a sombre shirt, while all around him fans went topless, seemingly oblivious to the bitter elements. A London-based Geordie friend went back to the Toon recently and almost stopped traffic after putting on a woolly hat to combat the sub-zero temperatures. A few choice words of abuse later and said hat was swiftly mothballed until his train docked safely back in St Pancras.

Goodness knows what those hardy souls would make of David Beckham's behaviour with his new friends in Milan. The England midfielder has been a revelation in Italy and his superstitious team-mates reckon it's all down to a bizarre bottom ritual. When he scored against Bologna, Clarence Seedorf and Andrea Pirlo gave him a friendly pat on the behind. When he netted against Genoa, Kaka did the honours.
Beckham feels the pinch
Beckham has given the players 'formal permission to touch it again because it will mean I've scored another goal'.

He must be relieved he's not on the same side as Jose Bosingwa, if the Chelsea defender's 'friendly pat' on Yossi Benayoun's backside was anything to go by. The Portuguese amazingly escaped censure for the kung-fu attack, while in the same game, Riley (ace of sighs) red-carded Frank Lampard for winning the ball off Xabi Alonso - another marvellous chapter in the highly successful Respect campaign.

The strangest sight at Anfield was of Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who couldn't have sat further away from each other if one of them had stayed in the States.

No doubt the pair were up till all hours after the Liverpool game watching the Super Bowl (in separate hotels, naturally) - which I'm reliably informed was a cracker. Certainly for some of the menfolk in parts of Arizona, where the coverage was very rudely interrupted by footage from a blue movie. There's all sorts of innuendos to be made there but I think I'd better save them until I get that dream job editing the Finnbarr Saunders column on Viz.

Readers of last week's column might remember I was hoping to run into Stuart Pearce at a Buzzcocks concert on Friday. Brilliant gig but sadly no sign of the great man - although given some of the horror sightings of ancient grizzled punks in the audience (myself included), Psycho is keeping himself in remarkable shape for an old fella.

Heart-warming story of the week came in a press release from Plymouth Argyle, which read: 'Argyle are rewarding those members of the Green Army making the long Pilgrimage to watch the Greens at Preston on Tuesday night with free coach travel to their next away fixture. Nineteen brave fans left Home Park for the 300-mile journey north to Deepdale.'

Still, that's 19 more than made it to Loftus Road, where I was a little miffed that our game against Swansea had been called off. While fully appreciating the transport difficulties for away fans, a quick glance at the fixture list revealed Swansea, Cardiff, Millwall and Leeds had all been due in town on Tuesday night - and all four games were swiftly postponed. Coincidence? I'll leave that to the conspiracy theorists.


Capello and the lap-dancer
Noel Gallagher dedicates Don't Look Back In Anger to Kaka


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