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Review of the week

Chris Charles | 09:00 UK time, Friday, 10 July 2009

When Dizzee Rascal penned his recent hit 'Bonkers', he must have had this summer's transfer activity in mind.

I got the text about Michael Owen on July 1 - my birthday (cheers for all the cards and flowers by the way - very touching).

My first thought was that the clocks had gone back three months, but it turned out Sir Alex Ferguson was the only one taking the mickey - quite literally in fact.

Fergie was recently pictured on holiday in the South of France and my guess is that when Lady F went down to the travel agents, she picked up a copy of Owen's infamous brochure by mistake and before you could say mon dieu, the deal was done.
Michael Owen
How everyone laughed when the glossy 30-page dossier drawn up by Owen's people to attract a buyer became public. Well, to borrow a line from the great Bob Monkhouse, they're not laughing now.

Owen by contrast was grinning like the Cheshire cat who'd got the cream, the fact the Jewson lot, as he was pictured for the first time in the new Red Devils rugby league top. And who can blame him? One minute he's heading to Hull (and back), the next he's rubbing shoulders with Nemanja Vidic's shinpads.

Not everyone's happy, though. Things could be a little frosty the next time Mikey's round at Stevie G's for a barbie and one suspects the old 'Michael Owen Scores the Goals' song (to the tune of Michael Row the Boat Ashore) might be tweaked slightly upon his return to Anfield.

On the upside, think how profitable it could be for England's World Cup chances if Owen and Rooney hit it off - and imagine the look on Sir Alex's face if England lift the trophy in South Africa and The Sun headline screams: 'It Was Fergie Wot Won It!'

Meanwhile, United old boy Cristiano Ronaldo was uncharacteristically lapping up the adulation in Madrid, spraying around words like 'love' and 'dream' with the impeccable timing of a trademark free-kick.

But he quickly reverted to type when asked whether £80m was too hefty a price to pay for his services. "I think I'm worth more," came the reply. Attaboy.

In a previous blog I noted that when Ronaldo won the Ballon D'or he was probably more concerned about losing out to Kaka in a newspaper poll to find the world's best-looking player. So as the Portuguese star surveyed the 80,000 fans who'd flocked to the Bernabeu to welcome him, you can bet the fact that his old rival had attracted 30,000 fewer to his inauguration wasn't lost on him. Revenge is a dish best served cold, eh Crissy?

Kaka's former suitors Manchester City kept the Red Tops busy with rumours that they were willing to pay John Terry £300,000 a week - making Eto'os wage demands look like chicken-feed.

I feel for JT. I too have to make the decision about whether to move up to Manchester, although my other half has assured me if I'm offered £300K she'll make me walk there on hot coals. Sadly, the only sweetener on the table for me is half a lager and a packet of pork scratchings.

While football was going crazy, normal service was resumed at Wimbledon, where Roger Federer and the Williams sisters took centre stage. I have to confess to supporting Andy Roddick the minute Roj strolled on to court in that ridiculous white trouser suit of his. The six-time champ is just one white fedora away from being the next Man from Del Monte.
As the epic final set went on (and on) some wag shouted out: "Come on Andy, I need the toilet!" All it needed was for Paul Whitehouse to stand up and inquire "Anyone fancy a pint?" and the afternoon would have been complete.

In the women's final, the Williams sisters met again, prompting one hack to suggest Wimbledon's famous postcode should be changed to WS19. After Serena's comprehensive win, some cynics suggested the girls had decided it was her turn - Sister Pact if you like.

But in terms of personality, the pair are light years ahead of the rest, summed up by the cheeky tight t-shirt Serena wore after her triumph, with the slogan 'Are You Looking At My Titles?'

Meanwhile, the main sporting event of the summer is under way and you can feel the wave of excitement rippling across the country. I'll leave the main stuff to our top bloggers Dirsy, Fordy, Stevo and Robbo, but I have to say KP has taken an unfair amount of stick over that dismissal - even if it was the best comedy sweep since Dick van Dyke.

Staying with comedy and Carlo Ancelotti continued the tradition of Chelsea bosses dropping one-liners into their opening press conferences when he replied to a question about John Terry's future by saying: "I don't know if he will be captain next season....I joke....I like to joke in press conferences." Ooh, he's a one.

As for his predecessors, Mourinho famously introduced himself as "The Special One", Avram Grant declared: "I am not the Special One, I am the Normal One" and Big Phil declared: "I like jokes, but my wife knows me best - get in touch with her."
Joe Cole
Chelsea winger Joe Cole provided the (alleged) story of the week on Popbitch, involving his wedding to Carly Zucker. You might remember her from such shows as I'm A Celebrity, where she was allowed to watch the England-Germany game in which her new hubby wasn't playing - admitting to a fellow contestant: "Slowly through the game I realised he wasn't involved."

Anyway, over to Popbitch: "Joe Cole bought a beautiful bespoke suit for his wedding. Unfortunately for Joe, someone involved in stitching up his suit rather likes West Ham, the club Cole ditched to join Chelsea. So it's possible, if Joe were to look at the lining of the jacket, that there might be a full West Ham insignia chalked on it, complete with a few choice words - several of which were 'Judas'."

And finally, you may recall a fortnight ago, Gavin & Stacey star Mathew Horne twittered/tweeted this joke about Newcastle: "Earlier today I saw a Newcastle season-ticket nailed to a tree. I thought 'I'm having that!' 'cos you can never have enough nails, can you?"

Well, he's been at it again. This week's offering reads: "I always vowed if I won the lottery, I'd buy Newcastle United Football's just getting those bloody three numbers together..." Ouch.

Right, have a good weekend one and all. I'm off for a mini-break in Cromer and I hope, like the proposed name of Wayne Rooney's old racehorse, Norfolk Enchants. Which was exactly the response he got from the Jockey Club when it was suggested that's what he wanted to register it as.


  • 1. At 10:23pm on 09 Jul 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    "Because I'm worth more" is now the advertising slogan of L'Oreal Madrid.

    You've gotta say, that Ronaldo - he has an impact wherever he goes.

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  • 2. At 08:32am on 10 Jul 2009, U14046889 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 3. At 08:35am on 10 Jul 2009, Malt Loaf wrote:

    Quality news on Joe Cole's wedding. Reminds me of the supposedly true tale about Gary Neville's swimming pool which was apparantly built by some Liverpool fans who put a time capsule underneath the pool containing lots of Scouse memorabilia. When Neville found out he went balistic.

    Got to love that continued speculation about England's Brave John Terry going to City. If he wasn't interested he would have said so by now...

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  • 4. At 09:00am on 10 Jul 2009, wolfinnotts wrote:

    WS19?? Is that somewhere near Cannock?

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  • 5. At 09:18am on 10 Jul 2009, TauntonBlueGenie wrote:

    'you can bet the fact that his old rival had attracted 30,000 less' should read ''you can bet the fact that his old rival had attracted 30,000 fewer'

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  • 6. At 09:40am on 10 Jul 2009, InuteroXI wrote:

    Like the Joe Cole suit scenario I heard that a lot of builders on the Stadium of Light in Sunderland were Middlesborough fans and beneath, I believe, the main reception area there was for some reason a bit of cavity which the middlesborough boys filled with Middlesborough flags and paraphenalia before the cavity was filled in...

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  • 7. At 09:42am on 10 Jul 2009, fathomer1 wrote:

    Apparently that line 'they're not laughing now' is correct. At least among Utd fans. It seems sales of Owen shirts, (advance orders - allegedly) are non existent.

    Wonder why that could be?

    Perhaps after all the media spin dies down, not least on here, and the dust settles (we cannot ever say Fergie has made a duff buy - can we?) the realisation, that has already it seems, dawned on Utds fans, will sink in that Fergie has indeed made a bit of a blooper.

    For me, I was just glad Owen didn't sign for our lot.

    Perhaps there is a God then, after all.

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  • 8. At 09:44am on 10 Jul 2009, Toon-Dan wrote:

    Taunton, if this was an English lesson and not a football blog we might actually care.

    Decent read, not much to talk about, I'm worried about English football atm, no clubs can attract players. Man City with there millions still can't bring in worthy players, Man Utd can't bring in anyone.

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  • 9. At 09:47am on 10 Jul 2009, andrewtheboom wrote:

    The Joe Cole suit story is a hoot, wouldn't be a massive surprise to see him leave Chelsea anyway, especially with their pursuit of Ribery.

    That Ancelotti's going to be a riot.

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  • 10. At 09:58am on 10 Jul 2009, ThomThomTiger wrote:

    fathomer1, you will be proved worng. Very wrong. Buit way to talk drivel.

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  • 11. At 10:13am on 10 Jul 2009, Toon-Dan wrote:

    Fathomer, Owens signing is undoubtedly a risk, but for a 2 year deal at £50k a week he's costing them approx £5m. What else can you get for £5m? Bobby Zamora?

    I really dislike Owen, his form and commitment toward the end of his Newcastle stay were awful. He was dropped for Lovenkrands, a player who we signed on a free and went on to score more than Owen in a similar amount of games. The amount of sitters he missed was unbelievable. His skills as a captain were non-existant.

    However, for a (previously) proven goalscorer there is potential in the move for Utd, they just better hope he actually puts more than 10% commitment into his stay.

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  • 12. At 10:14am on 10 Jul 2009, Eddy Cordoza wrote:

    7. fathomer1

    It was said countless times on Phil McNulty's Michael Owen blog but how can Fergie Signing Owen be considered a 'blooper' - it was a FREE transfer with performance-related wages?! I don't know who your 'lot' are but I can't think of a single premiership club who wouldn't benefit from a fully fit Owen for FREE.

    (And yes, I'm capitalising 'FREE' because it seems to have been lost on you).

    As for a few of your other observations... I suspect when Cantona signed from Leeds the 'advance orders' of Cantona shirts were non-existent too. It's just a football fans psyche when it comes to ex-players of rival clubs. I suspect sales might pick up if he racks up 20 goals next season though.

    Finally, as for your chip-on-the-shoulder comment about Fergie being above criticism when it comes to transfers - there are numerous examples proving you wrong i.e Kleberson, Veron, Miller, Vidic, Evra (the latter two in their first season for the club). To suggest Fergie is above criticism is ridiculous - it's just generally his record is excellent.

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  • 13. At 10:14am on 10 Jul 2009, SS11 wrote:

    Ronaldo is just an attention seeker. I believe Kaka will outshine Ronaldo on the pitch.

    I love the media highlighting these stats between Kaka and Ronaldo; hope they indulge in personal battles allowing Messi to win the war.
    Spanish Primera looks gr8 - Messi vs Kaka vs Ronaldo!!!

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  • 14. At 10:16am on 10 Jul 2009, sneakyprice07 wrote:

    I'm with ThomThomTiger ... it is great signing.
    I would go as far as saying it will mean England for the World Cup when Rooney (out of the Ronaldo shadows) and Owen hit it off!!

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  • 15. At 10:18am on 10 Jul 2009, TorroTorres wrote:

    Of course Owen is smiling, £50k a week for a 29year old that played only a handful of games last season because he can't keep fit.

    Fergie doesn't make boo boo's??? Veron, Djemba Djemba, Forlan??

    Just proving what Rafa has just said, players are just plain greedy. With only a handful of exceptions there's no loyalty. Football used to be the working mans game, now it's just a plaything for rich boys.

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  • 16. At 10:34am on 10 Jul 2009, TorroTorres wrote:


    That's like saying Bruno Cheyrou & Djimi Traore were good signings for Liverpool!!!

    of course any Premier League club would benefit from Owen on a free transfer, but you said it yourself "a fully fit Owen", when was the last time Owen was fully fit and played 10 games on the trot???

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  • 17. At 10:45am on 10 Jul 2009, ronmanager wrote:

    I know someone who made Rod Stewart's gazebo and at one point it had 'no Rod, we don't think you're sexy' carved into the joint between roof and sides... The foreman made him remove it before you start looking Rodders.

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  • 18. At 10:50am on 10 Jul 2009, Robokopthe3rd wrote:

    There`s not that much to do in Cromer. Just full of old pensioners. Maybe you`ll find half of the Chelsea squad there then. Maybe Michael feels he should be Owen Liverpool an apology for joining that team in Oldham. I mean he could have at least joined a team in Manchester, that`s actually supported by Mancunians! Having said that, he did a lot for LFC. But good luck to him in his career, it WILL benefit England.

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  • 19. At 11:21am on 10 Jul 2009, Gerrard...nice ball for TORRRESSS! wrote:

    Nice Blog Chris...It's my birthday today! Imagine if Rafa makes a signing, what a gift. I got a Gerrard kit for my birthday!

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  • 20. At 11:24am on 10 Jul 2009, oncearedalways54 wrote:

    You have got to hand it to SAF, the season has'nt started yet and in the 'mind games' stakes he is 1-0 upon Rafa with his signing of Owen! You can tell by the reaction of the Liverpool contributors to this blog they are really 'miffed' - can't wait for the match at Anfield on 24th Oct, with Owen scoring the winning goal for Man U -hopefully at the kop end - absolute heaven!!!

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  • 21. At 11:30am on 10 Jul 2009, Eddy Cordoza wrote:

    16. TorroTorres:
    You have misread my comment. I chose Kleberson, Veron, Miller, Vidic and Evra as examples of Ferguson signings that received criticism in the press (the latter two in their first half-season). I was responding to a mis-guided earlier accusation that Ferguson's signings are above criticism.

    18. Robokopthe3rd
    Lazy football-fan stereotype alert!! United have fans who don't live in Manchester?? No way! I suppose all Liverpool fans live within a two mile radius of Anfield do they?

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  • 22. At 11:45am on 10 Jul 2009, Chris Charles wrote:

    5. TauntonBlueGenie: Oops, yes you're quite correct - it's now been amended to 'fewer'. That's me starting with a 10-point deduction for next season, then.

    Apologies for not answering any more comments at this stage. As stated earlier, we're off to Cromer any minute now and my other half is leaning over my shoulder doing her best Bumble impression..."Start the car!" If there's internet access in the place where we're staying, I'll return to this later - by which point Australia will be 900-3. If not, have a top weekend. Cheers, Chris.

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  • 23. At 11:53am on 10 Jul 2009, dannytrfc wrote:

    The best one has to be the builders at Molineux that put "BLUES" in mosaic in the walkway outside the ground. It wasn't noticed for something like 3 years! Priceless!

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  • 24. At 11:54am on 10 Jul 2009, themightypotato wrote:

    Apparently that line 'they're not laughing now' is correct. At least among Utd fans. It seems sales of Owen shirts, (advance orders - allegedly) are non existent.


    Generally, punters like to also put numbers on the back of their shirts. Or have you backwards people not grasped that yet?

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  • 25. At 11:58am on 10 Jul 2009, Eewires wrote:

    Cannot believe that #15 statement that the Michael Owen transfer proves Benitez' point about players being greedy. Owen could have got more money at Hull, Stoke or overseas. My only doubt is how much football he will get with Utd, but presumably he has had some assurances on that. And it will go down much better with Fabio if he is only playing half the games because of squad rotation and not because of injury.

    Benitez was right in highlighting greedy footballers, although it was a bit of a hissy fit cos he didn't get Barry to sign, still he shouldn't worry, you don't build teams overnight no matter how much money you have. People forget that Chelsea were already in the top 4 before Abramovich handed over the cheque book...

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  • 26. At 12:29pm on 10 Jul 2009, offtouni wrote:

    i loved "norfolk enchance" - i've heard it before but a good old 'review of the week' pun!

    i too can see Kaka doing better than Ronaldo, but that's more a comment on Kaka than Ronaldo - I think both will good. Now they've got Benzema as well, who's up for banning having Real on Pro next season?!

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  • 27. At 12:38pm on 10 Jul 2009, bredtobered-forum troll wrote:

    I went to Cromer once and the headline in the local paper at the time was 'Man Catches Fish'. pretty much sums up the place.

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  • 28. At 12:39pm on 10 Jul 2009, virtuallonetraveller wrote:

    As far as i'm aware Owen did everything but get down on his knees and beg Rafa to take him back the entire time he was at Newcastle.....You Utd fans thinking you are mentally one nil up ???......You have lost Ronaldo , missing all your BIG target names - personally I think Fergie will spend it next summer ! -and Owen is a stop gap , until he does. Yes , Owen will score goals for you lot , no doubt about it in my opinion , but don't for one second think you got one over on us , You've replaced Ronaldo - albeit temporarily - with a guy we wouldn't take if he begged Rafa on the penalty spot at the Kop end ......for now , one nil to us I think ;)

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  • 29. At 12:42pm on 10 Jul 2009, Simon the Kiwi wrote:

    So "Michael Owen scores the goals" needs tweaking? How about "Michael Owen sold his soul"?

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  • 30. At 1:07pm on 10 Jul 2009, simon lobb wrote:

    Owen may become the next Solksjaer but certainly not good enough to start for Manyoo OR England

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  • 31. At 1:34pm on 10 Jul 2009, MangoreUnited wrote:

    When I first heard that we were signing Owen I thought it was a wind-up but the idea is growing on me - provided Fergie does some more buying this summer.

    As for us not being able to sign any of our big targets we are still early doors and while everyone seems to want to follow the gravy train to Spain there are those who still wish to ply their trade in the Premier League - hopefully Kun or Ribery....

    John Terry signing for Man City would make my life so much happier I can barely contain my anticipation!! Chelsea's limited captain who has more guts than skills, pace or intellegence would be a great signing for Citeh and to see Chelsea outmuscled financially again would be a joy. It would be undeniable proof that the modern footballer is a mercenary and that no-one, NO-ONE is beyond chasing the money!!

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  • 32. At 1:37pm on 10 Jul 2009, fivegoldstars wrote:

    Will you please stop showing that picture of Owen in the Man U kit? Everytime I see it, I vomit on my laptop.

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  • 33. At 1:38pm on 10 Jul 2009, Tinhead_Ned wrote:

    All of those tweets about Newcastle are a bit rich coming from a Spurs fan...

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  • 34. At 1:42pm on 10 Jul 2009, pernunz wrote:

    Would love to get a link for the Popbitch story about Joe Cole.

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  • 35. At 1:51pm on 10 Jul 2009, virtuallonetraveller wrote:

    MangoreUnited ....I believe Benzema was Fergies main target this summer , more so given that Ronaldo left , yet he has chose to go play 3rd or 4th striker at Real , and not 1st choice at yours ?? ....Ribery has already stated if he does leave BM , it will only be for may end up with Kun....which would have been how high on your list of targets ??.....go on honest ...hmmm....but Terry to Citeh ???......yeah I'd like that as well lol

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  • 36. At 2:02pm on 10 Jul 2009, mrchorizo wrote:

    To Fathomer1. I will be happy to debate whether Fergie's acquisition of Owen is a blooper or not a couple of months into the new season. Any honest Liverpool fans who I have had the pleasure of chatting with even respect SAF for his achievements. Perhaps you should too, as he's made so few bloopers that it hardly registers compared to his success !

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  • 37. At 2:09pm on 10 Jul 2009, MangoreUnited wrote:

    At 1:51pm on 10 Jul 2009, virtuallonetraveller wrote:

    "....Ribery has already stated if he does leave BM , it will only be for may end up with Kun....which would have been how high on your list of targets ??.....go on honest"

    Ribery will go to whoever pays him more the same as the rest and I wouldn't rule anything out with the way this transfer window is going!! As for Kun he is a fantastic player and Fergie could mould him to fulfill his full potential - He's worth a punt for the stud rights alone...He's got Maradona's daughter up the duff!

    Fergie will have plenty of options to sign but it is going to be a struggle if Madrid come in for every player on the market. I think United will recruit better than the other big English teams though.

    Failing that I am 27, haven't played regularly in years cos of a foot injury and haven't found the back of the net since January, maybe Fergie will sign me up??? lol

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  • 38. At 2:12pm on 10 Jul 2009, sixty8ninety9zero8 wrote:

    7. At 09:42am on 10 Jul 2009, fathomer1 wrote:
    Apparently that line 'they're not laughing now' is correct. At least among Utd fans. It seems sales of Owen shirts, (advance orders - allegedly) are non existent.

    Wonder why that could be?


    Might be due to the fact he along with valencia and obertan have not been allocated a squad number yet...

    Just a thought...

    Wonder if "your lot " might regret it if the goals arrive.

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  • 39. At 2:59pm on 10 Jul 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    Might be due to the fact that you were gonna sign Ribery, Tevez and Benzema... and you got Valencia, Owen and nobody...

    No disrespect to Fergie, clearly the greatest manager ever... but the way united fans follow blindly is ridiculous... You've bought poorly, you've lost greatness... But still it's a good thing.

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  • 40. At 3:14pm on 10 Jul 2009, uncensored_username wrote:

    From the popbitch newsletter
    (very similar to the blog)

    I'm forever stitching hammers

    "Judas" Cole and the five grand wedding suits Joe Cole bought a beautiful bespoke suit forhis wedding. Unfortunately for Joe someone involved in stitching up his suit rather likes West Ham, the club Cole ditched to join Chelsea. He still had a bit of a grudge aboutCole leaving the Hammers.

    So it's possible, if Joe w to look atthe lining the jacket, that there mightbe a full West Ham insignia chalked on it,complete with a few choice words, several of which were "Judas".

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  • 41. At 3:34pm on 10 Jul 2009, nik wrote:

    fergie reckons he'll be able to bring the old Owen back. anybody want to bet against him?

    say what you will but that real madrid team will be exciting to watch. even I am excited about it even though I never watch the spanish league. this is shaping up to be a team made up of the top 11 players in the world, or something very close to it.

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  • 42. At 4:03pm on 10 Jul 2009, flyinghurdler2 wrote:

    When has buying all the best players worked for Real??

    Ronaldo (the original one), Figo, Zidane etc

    I think they will be an expensive FLOP

    Barca will wipe the floor with them because they know how to play as a team

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  • 43. At 4:06pm on 10 Jul 2009, Spaced Invader wrote:

    Orthorim - I agree Real will be fascinating to watch. I'm a United fan, glad to see the back of Ronaldo the man, sad to lose Ronaldo the player. He'll be brilliant for Real - but will they win anything? I would disagree with you that they'll have the top 11 players in the world - that wont happen to they buy at least 3 world class defenders!

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  • 44. At 4:23pm on 10 Jul 2009, CypriotJohn wrote:

    No 20: Dream on dreamer. Owen has lost his pace, desire and ethics of the game. Your lot will be paying for him to pursue his hobby week in week out. I can still see him back then heading off to Real in "search of success", what a chump he turned out to be. Personally I hope he steps off the bench for his first run out and tweaks his little carotid pulse! That would be a joy.

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  • 45. At 4:29pm on 10 Jul 2009, Malt Loaf wrote:

    No 44. Owen has lost his pace, desire and ethics of the game

    Since when do ethics come into it?

    Doctors follow ethical guidelines, not footballers.

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  • 46. At 4:35pm on 10 Jul 2009, socrates wrote:

    45. Mr_Twilight

    CypriotJohn used the word 'ethics' because he is a Liverpool fan (and from previous posts, a very bitter Liverpool fan at that). Therefore in his mind, Owen moving to Manchester United was unethical.

    Personally I enjoyed his use of the word 'desire'. I would suggest moving to Manchester United is a massive new challenge for him, a great chance to win silverware and an opportunity to get back in the England team.

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  • 47. At 4:44pm on 10 Jul 2009, fergaljpc wrote:

    and finally the Ego has landed at Madrid. Should be interesting to see the different fractions in the Galactico dressing room...wonder if anybody asked Raul what he thinks?

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  • 48. At 4:45pm on 10 Jul 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    Ref 46 socrates_says

    My understanding is that Sacrates didn't write anything down, and it was Plato who did the writing. Does that mean that you're Plato?

    Sorry - rain has stopped play, and I'm at a bit of a loose end.

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  • 49. At 4:45pm on 10 Jul 2009, Roberto_Mexicano wrote:

    As a Liverpool fan that picture just looks horrible. Disgusting to look at. It's like seeing your girlfriend cheating on you with the guy you hate most in the world! awful.

    Did he have to smile in the picture? Have some respect Michael please!

    At first I thought it was going to be a case of mixed emotions, wanting Owen to do well and get back into the England team whilst Man Utd struggle. Now i've seen the photo no such problems! I hope he really is finished now & wins jack! lol

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  • 50. At 4:47pm on 10 Jul 2009, socrates wrote:

    44. CypriotJohn:

    On 20 Jun 2009 you wrote: "Owen will end up at some prem club, but which one is prepared to take a gamble? Watch this space for a surprise move by a top club!!"

    Maybe it's the exclamation marks but do I detect a hint of optimism that it might be your beloved Liverpool? Because all of a sudden United buy Owen and all of a sudden, three weeks later:

    "Owen has lost his pace, desire and ethics of the game... what a chump he turned out to be"


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  • 51. At 4:51pm on 10 Jul 2009, CypriotJohn wrote:

    "Very Bitter" Maybe thats the impression I give, but I cannot put into words my hatred for ManU and their whole set up. Vile sums it up, but it goes a lot deeper than that. Ferguson is a prime example of just how vile a manager can be, look at the way he does business, do as I say and not as I do, how he has got away with it over the years I do not know. Ferdinand, well he should have been handed a lifetime ban, and there he was been touted as a future England captain, I could sit here all day quoting facts about this horrible club but its time for tea in the pub. YNWA.

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  • 52. At 4:51pm on 10 Jul 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    Ref 48

    That should be "Socrates". Both times. Sorry about that.

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  • 53. At 4:54pm on 10 Jul 2009, CypriotJohn wrote:

    Socrates...I thought at that time that it was Villa, so wind your neck in. He would have been as poor there as he will be at his new club.

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  • 54. At 4:59pm on 10 Jul 2009, socrates wrote:

    Re 48. Zootmac

    Okay, I admit it, my name wasn't based on the classical Greek philosopher, rather the hairy Brazilian midfielder who liked to chip penalties outrageously down the middle of the goal!

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  • 55. At 5:05pm on 10 Jul 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    I remember him well. But he WAS a qualified doctor, and I'm pretty sure that he also had a degree in philosophy. I have half a recollection that the blind side back heel was his particular speciality.

    Pity. I was going to ask you for some insights into Plato's cave. But I'll have to remain in the dark.

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  • 56. At 5:07pm on 10 Jul 2009, socrates wrote:

    Re 53. CypriotJohn:

    Your words speak for themselves.

    From cautiously optimistic to seething with rage, just because he chose to go to a team you dislike.

    Enjoy the pub - maybe one of the things you can discuss around the table is who could Liverpool sign cheaply, on a FREE transfer perhaps, to bolster their attacking options if Torres ever got injured?

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  • 57. At 5:23pm on 10 Jul 2009, Sam_Red_Galactico wrote:

    "You have got to hand it to SAF, the season has'nt started yet and in the 'mind games' stakes he is 1-0 upon Rafa with his signing of Owen"

    Apparently Owen had his people working all that day to secure a move back to Liverpool and only signed for Utd because he realised that, due to having messed Benitez around twice already, such a move was unforthcoming.

    How that can be construed as '1-0 up' on Rafa is bizarre. All it means is that they picked up Liverpool's cast-offs.

    On double what he was prepared to join Liverpool for.

    If I were a Utd fan, I'd be less concerned with trying to score cheap points against my rivals and more concerned about why, with £80m supposedly burning a hole in my club's pocket, we've bought an average Wigan player and a crock to replace £125m worth of talent and why every single top player my club has been linked with has turned us down flat.

    I notice Liverpool, with nowhere near £80m to spend, bought England's no.1 right back.

    Strange days at Castle Greyskull indeed.

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  • 58. At 5:34pm on 10 Jul 2009, John wrote:

    "I feel for JT. I too have to make the decision about whether to move up to Manchester, "
    If you have to think about it, don't bother; there are plenty of people here who can do the job.

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  • 59. At 5:38pm on 10 Jul 2009, Sam_Red_Galactico wrote:

    "If you have to think about it, don't bother; there are plenty of people here who can do the job."

    I didn't realise you were a crack dealer, Chris!

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  • 60. At 5:56pm on 10 Jul 2009, Dwaine Benzie wrote:

    "I too have to make the decision about whether to move up to Manchester"

    Ahh Chris, you poor. poor thing. As if not being on the BBC gravy train is bad enough, now those nasty executives are making you move 'oop North to grim old Manchester. We do have coffee shops and sushi bars up here too you know, so you and your media chums should just about survive.....

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  • 61. At 6:17pm on 10 Jul 2009, tonywalk wrote:


    England's no. 1 right back is still here at Utd - and fit again and raring to go for the new season.

    For the clueless, that's the one and only Wesley Brown.

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  • 62. At 6:38pm on 10 Jul 2009, tonywalk wrote:

    @ the people worried about moving to Manchester.

    Don't fret. Though you might actually have to start talking to people now instead of ignoring them. You can buy decent proper beer here without having to take out a third mortgage. There's a National Park (Peak District) on your doorstep and more countryside than you can shake a stick at, not 50 miles of concrete urban wasteland.

    There's 8 Premiership teams in Lancashire with Stoke just down the road. The best velodrome in the world. The best football ground in the world at Old Trafford (slightly biased).

    Plus we've also got great arts facilities including probably the best concert hall in the country at the Bridgewater Hall, where the world reknowned Halle Orchestra have their home. We've got some stunning architecture both old and modern and businesses reckon that Manchester is the best place to come to in the UK.

    Come up for a stay and get out and about - you can get some fairly cheap day/week tickets for public transport. Watch out for the Mancunian sense of humour; it can be very dark and edgy and comments can be sharp but friendly. Listen for the tone of voice - you'll know when someone really means what they say.

    Tony - a lifelong Mancunian.

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  • 63. At 7:14pm on 10 Jul 2009, fathomer1 wrote:

    @thomthomtiger et al, sorry for voicing my opinion, I realise that that voicing views that don't sit well with certain clubs supporters is strictly verboten. No names, no packdrill.

    Oh hell, no, sorry I don't apologize.

    Owen has been out of form for years, his pace has gone, he's a crock, and his attitude stinks. He's been accused of dodging games (both for club and country) by people who know the game better than YOU.

    Regardless of whether or not he arrived for free, he is still picking up a wage, and brings ALL that baggage with him.

    I'm sorry if those are concepts difficult to understand, and that may sound a bit patronizing, but when people tell me I'm talking drivel simply because I don't say things that conform to their jaundiced views, well, hey ho.

    Oh, and my club is Arsenal, and no, even for free I wouldn't want him.

    We've enough baggage already.......

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  • 64. At 7:33pm on 10 Jul 2009, Rooster523 wrote:

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  • 65. At 8:56pm on 10 Jul 2009, Bill Mike wrote:

    "One minute he's heading to Hull (and back), the next he's rubbing shoulders with Nemanja Vidic's shinpads." First class stuff Chris! You are slowly becoming my favourite BBC blogger

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  • 66. At 9:18pm on 10 Jul 2009, Malicious_Whistle wrote:

    "I too have to make the decision about whether to move up to Manchester, although my other half has assured me if I'm offered £300K she'll make me walk there on hot coals."

    Which reminds me Chris: if you are going to get lots of sun in Cromer, don't forget your hat! We need you fit as a fiddle for the Owenmania next season.

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  • 67. At 9:37pm on 10 Jul 2009, darren wrote:

    firstly, i love manchester and its inhabitants- it a wonderful city and i feel lucky to have it and liverpool on my doorstep, but i dont like man utd.
    michael owen has only himself and his england ambitions at heart. utd fans adored tevez for his work ethic, and replacing him with owen is gonna inspire some tremendously cuttin and abusive chants. owen has a huge battle on his hands to win over the fans. paul ince had it, but he won grudging respect with his tenacious attitude. owen wont, he will dissapear up his own ego. if he cant shine in a crap newcastle side, how is he going to shine in a team of champions?
    no one will sign for united as fergussons time is running out.
    life is going to be different at utd soon enough.

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  • 68. At 11:05pm on 10 Jul 2009, fathomer1 wrote:

    Liverpool and Manchester, two great cities, and, apart from the weather I would heartily recommend them both. Full of history, great nightlife, cheap housing, and no, not always in 'grotty areas', and with populations that by and large love a laugh.

    What lets both cities down is the behaviour of some of the 'red teams' in both cities fans.

    In two out of three forums I'm on, those two sets of fans ALONE, have caused so much aggravation through their high handed behaviour and sadly through bickering with one another, that the football areas have been shut down. On the other, the football section has been slid off to the 'chat area' after constant complaints over abusive posts when people refused to accept their views.

    Much as I would like (love?) to blame other fans, in particular Spurs of course, and Chelsea's mob, sadly, I can't. By and large those sets of fans behave well enough online as do other teams fans.

    And I'm sad to say, the same behaviour goes on here........

    The answer?

    I'm sorry, but if you can't accept others views without being abusive or attempting to belittle just to justify your point, well, take it elsewhere.

    Oh, and good piece Chris!

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  • 69. At 00:20am on 11 Jul 2009, Sam_Red_Galactico wrote:

    You're on three forums?


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  • 70. At 10:28am on 11 Jul 2009, TorroTorres wrote:

    Wonder what the odds on MO picking up a mysterious injury in the days leading up to Utd's game at Anfield??

    Just like to also pick up on many comments that think MO will enhance his England chances at Utd. Surely a player that harbours ambition to regain a place in the England side would want to be playing regular first team football & not just a bit part substitute. Think about it, Capello is a very astute manager,and whether MO was playing for Utd, Villa, Hull or whoever, he would only pick him,
    A. If he was fit
    B. In form
    c. Playing regularly

    He did nothing at Newcastle to justify any of the above.... FACT

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  • 71. At 10:50am on 11 Jul 2009, R Nair wrote:

    The Spain Drain -

    Even lesser players are moving to Spain.

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  • 72. At 11:01am on 11 Jul 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    Ref 71

    I thought even morer players were moving to Spain.

    Sorry - don't have a rip-off web link to attach.

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  • 73. At 11:23am on 11 Jul 2009, R Nair wrote:

    Ref 72

    Not a rip-off.

    Definition: of less size or importance; "the lesser anteater"; "the lesser of two evils""

    You shouldn't be so quick to presume.

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  • 74. At 11:35am on 11 Jul 2009, chebby16 wrote:

    now that man city have now pulled the plug on the move for cameroon international samuel eto'o i believe manchester united should put in a bid for the star i mean who wouldnt want to play for manchester united and be gauranteed first team football and premiership and champions league contenders come on fergie buy some real stars!!!!

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  • 75. At 1:56pm on 11 Jul 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    ref 73

    To the ant in question, it's difficult to decide whether the lesser or the greater anteater is the lesser of two evils.

    Dr Livingstone.

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  • 76. At 3:30pm on 11 Jul 2009, DixieandPele wrote:

    Don't you have to be a Spaniard to be able to play for Liverpool FC these days ? I don't know why the Red Scousers put up with it. Moyes, on the other hand, is a Scot but there isn't a fellow Scot on the Everton team.

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  • 77. At 5:12pm on 11 Jul 2009, TorroTorres wrote:

    No Scottish players huh? There's a very good reason for that! ;o)

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  • 78. At 5:18pm on 11 Jul 2009, japanesemercedes wrote:

    The "recent" pictures of Sir Alex to which you post a link are from a year ago. Fantastic journalism.

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  • 79. At 6:33pm on 11 Jul 2009, Kelvyn83 wrote:

    I'm not really surprised about the signing of Owen. Infact, it just might turn out to be the most significant buy of the summer (with a lot of injury-free luck). Bar injury, Owen has consistently delivered and playing for a club like Manchester United, surrounded by decent players, his talent can only shine through ... and that talent is undoubted!

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  • 80. At 7:07pm on 11 Jul 2009, redandblackT-Save 606 wrote:

    Sorry to be a party pooper but I doesn't matter if Owen is a roaring or not at Man U England will never win the world cup again.

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  • 81. At 7:31pm on 11 Jul 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    Ref 80

    Hasn't Maldini reserved Number 3 for his son, Christian?

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  • 82. At 09:27am on 12 Jul 2009, GunnerJoseph wrote:

    As someone else pointed out higher up in the comments on here, Owen was FREE so whether he is plagued by injury or becomes a huge hit you haven't lost any money...not to mention the 80 million you still have from selling Ronaldo. I personally think he can be a hit, people slate him but if he stays injury free and gets good service he can still stick the ball in the back of the net, so I don't see why Utd fans are all being negative about the move. If he scores 20 goals all these opinions will be changed and ull suddenly think he's a matter who the player is always best to be open minded about a transfer because you just never know. I've spoken to a few Utd fans who are pessimistic about their chances next season but even without Ronaldo (and buying Valencia who is nowhere near as good) Fergie still has a squad capable of challenging for the title. Yes the Premier League gets tougher year on year and, although Utd fans hate it, Liverpool are closing the gap, but I think there is still room for a lot of positive thoughts at Old Trafford. Yes I agree, you have failed to land your big name targets such as Benzema, and not signing Tevez up straight away was a mistake, but Fergie is a top class manager and things are not as down as they seem. And remember this all teams go through good and bad patches, it is part and parcel of the game and one that must be accepted. If you don't win the Premier League next season, it doesn't mean Fergie needs to get the boot. You have enjoyed a lot of high times and will no doubt have several more but as a fan you need to learn to cope with the bad times as well as they will hit Utd even if it isn't for 20 years or however long.

    I'm an Arsenal fan and hope are good times will come back very soon as don't get me wrong I am getting fed up with the lack of trophies. But at the same time building success over time isn't a bad thing and is likely to be worth the wait. I know through my life time different teams will win things and I can't expect my beloved Gunners to win everything (although it would be nice) and Wenger is doing right at the moment in my book. Yes he makes mistakes just like every other human being but he is still doing a good job. And yes I did just praise Utd, but as much as there are times I can't stand Utd, have also accepted they were worthy title winners and do have good players and an exceptional manager and their success in the Premier League proves that but next year will be their toughest test yet despite being handed a relatively easy opening game (although I think they will still drop points and come out with 7pts from the opening four games).

    Back to my own team and the selection of Gunners who last season wanted Wenger out are crazy - If he went, we would lose shed loads of players. We can't hide the fact we haven't won silverware in far too long and seem to have a mental block on that front, but there isn't a huge amount wrong. Superb manager, great squad who plays great football, we just need to get past this mental block and start turning our top performances into 3 points on a more regular basis. We need to buy a defensive midfielder but other than that the squad is fine, and hopefully next year can be our year, but only if we can be consistent for the full season - Wenger still being there gives us hope that we can turn things around and if Eduardo can stay fit (as he proved in his first game back he hasn't lost his touch) who knows!? Arshavin could shine yet again, we've bolstered our defence, Fabregas has stayed another year etc so feel upbeat about it all really even though we haven't spent loads of money. But as Wenger pointed out he will not do the Real Madrid policy, he wants to build over time like Barcelona are doing and there is no harm in that!

    On a completely unrelated note, and probably the final point of this waffly (sorry!) message just how good is Roy Hodgson, he has done wonders at Fulham and was definitely my manager of the year last season. The performance against Utd was excellent and they deserved more than 0-0 against us and it's all down to him. I am surprised his name never gets mentioned E.G. when Chelsea were looking for a new manager before appointing Ancelotti. In fact, Chelsea could have kept Hiddink really as Hodgson himself has proved you can manage club and country together no problem.

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  • 83. At 09:44am on 12 Jul 2009, glorygloryglorymanu wrote:

    I think most writers have missed the fact that ManU have a farly decent crop of youngsters & younger players coming through
    We also have Tosic waiting in the wings, with Danny Welbeck and Federico Macheda who will only grow in strength-how good will he become?
    Ronaldo's gone-thanks for your goals-if Rooney is now slipped off the leash what damage will he do to opposition defences?
    Nice one SAF-the fact that the scousers are upset can only be a good sign :)
    PS I remember selling Hughes, Ince & Kanchelskis a few years ago-what a disaster that was for the team... ;D

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  • 84. At 10:08am on 12 Jul 2009, bigprawn wrote:

    Matthew Horne cracking jokes? Is he trying comedy now after that debacle that was "Horne & Corden"?

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  • 85. At 10:39am on 12 Jul 2009, hinckleygaz wrote:

    ToonDan, I think Taunton was being a little ironic. Clearly irony has yet to reach Tyneside...
    Great blog though...

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  • 86. At 12:04pm on 12 Jul 2009, dr-jae wrote:

    Don't you have to be a Spaniard to be able to play for Liverpool FC these days ? I don't know why the Red Scousers put up with it. Moyes, on the other hand, is a Scot but there isn't a fellow Scot on the Everton team.

    We put up with it because Spain are the best team in the world - Benitez buys them becasue they are good (and he has the contacts to get them), not because he's Spanish. Scotland, on the other hand, are rubbish.

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  • 87. At 3:06pm on 12 Jul 2009, irishjoe3 wrote:

    Amazing now all utd fans recognise ronaldo for the talent (undoubt) but also the whinging DIVER he WAS while at utd.Im a pool fan and all i will say is he went for nothing more than MONEY madrid with that defence that was taken apart by liverpool last season it would have been 12-0 no joke only for casillias? in goal der terrible and as much as kaka and ron will make them better going forward their defence will always let them down.UTD will win alot more in europe than madrid in the next 6-7 years time guaranteed.

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  • 88. At 6:40pm on 12 Jul 2009, liamc22 wrote:

    This transfer is wasteful and is just going to probably end Owen's career. He's aiming for glory but not what's right for him. He will not win the league and even if he does I doubt he will have put any effect into Manchester United winning the league.

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  • 89. At 7:43pm on 12 Jul 2009, Aah tea wrote:

    Gerrard...nice ball for TORRRESSS!

    Glad it's not my birthday, I'd have to burn it if someone gave me a Gerrard kit.

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  • 90. At 7:48pm on 12 Jul 2009, Aah tea wrote:


    MO will have had no assurances from Sralex except play well/score and you'll play. SAF will never make any other promise to any player.

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  • 91. At 8:10pm on 12 Jul 2009, Aah tea wrote:


    Wes Brown won't compete with Glen Johnson IF GJ plays like he has been lately, including for England.

    I was never much impressed with him, until recently and I've got to say he looked as good as any right back I've seen in recent years (Brazilians excepted). At least Liverpool now have another english player even if it has cleared out all their transfer funds - he can replace Carragher when he retires in the coming months.

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  • 92. At 03:56am on 13 Jul 2009, foxhill12 wrote:

    owen is one of great player

    but he is old

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  • 93. At 04:02am on 13 Jul 2009, foxhill12 wrote:

    Michael Owen is expediency

    only through large capital which is the sale of C.Ronald , .shtml,buy other great young player is the best way to the championship!!

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  • 94. At 09:43am on 15 Jul 2009, 1ronjaw wrote:

    "Man from Del Monte"- thanks for that Robbo, my coffee is now plastered all over my monitor and the inside of my nostrils have 3rd degree burns...

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  • 95. At 10:45am on 15 Jul 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    Ref 94 1ronjaw

    I think you are confusing The Man From RiviereCote with the Man From Rue Loftnous.

    But it was a good line.

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  • 96. At 5:21pm on 23 Jul 2009, lfc5europeancups wrote:

    sir alex is a genius. lets swap the best player in the world for a has been who, if given the chance, would have chosen the fields of anfield road in a second ahead of the self titled theatre of dreams. and we'll supplement him with an ecuadorian winger who scores less goals than ade akinbiyi on a goal drought, a frenchman who wasnt good enough for bordeaux, and a senegalese superstar called diouf. well done sir alex number 19s in the bag...

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