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The waiting game

Robbo Robson | 08:30 UK time, Friday, 25 July 2008

Oh God help us, roll on 16 August and the return of the footy. If I don't get me some footy soon I'm going to be chewing me own arm off.

Instead of which we get a forest of tedious speculation every bleeding day and it's exhausting and contradictory and you just want them all to shut up and the season to start.

Robinho is moving to Chelsea but he's told Madrid he is desperate to stay in Spain - surely if he moved to Anfield he'd be in Spain more or less anyway?

Berbatov won't stay at Spurs but he's now going to Milan if Man U don't stump up the cost, not that Levy wants to sell to the tapper-uppers.

Roy Keane's buying half the Spurs first team - although only Tainio (who sounds to me like a very small man who does a magic act) - has actually put his name to paper.

Andy Johnson's off to Fulham - over David Moyes's dead body, but then £10.5 million for a hard-working, goal-shy striker with a tumbler's reputation is a Darren Bent of a deal. And the arch-tumblers Drog and Ron are sadly nursing their injured leggies and staying put while moving next week if they can ever break free of them star striker manacles long enough to get out of the Premiership.

It's as comprehensible as the blinking stock market.

Of course the speculation gets most feverish when it's the big clubs who are involved.

There may well come a time when the likes of Berbatov, Adebayor, Keane, Barry, Arshavin, Drogba, Ronaldo, etc. are all ordered to turn up in a school yard somewhere between England and Spain. And Fergie, Rafa, Big Phil, Laporta and Guardiola, Calderon and Schuster will all turn up and Fifa boss Sepp Blatter will announce to the coaches - "Right, lads! Start picking up". Fergie'll be hairdrying Calderon when he points at the gelled tumbler, Adebayor'll be sulking in the corner cos he wasn't picked first, Drogba will go down in a melee caused by the late arrival of Ancelotti. Wenger'll be looking through the railings, wondering why his lads keep joining the other players without so much as a 'merci, monsieur', and muttering darkly to himself that if he'd have wanted to be in charge of a feeder club he'd have gone to Crystal merde-ing Palace. And after the dust has settled on the feeding frenzy there will be some who don't get selected... and strangely enough, they're the ones with the biggest smiles in their faces cos here comes Becks with the one-way tickets to La-La Land for the worst of the best.

Gullit signs for Chelsea

But why does it all take so bloody long for A Player to sign for A Club anyway? It never used to be like this. I swear all it took was a phone call and a bulging brown envelope and matey on the fringes of the England set-up would be off to a new club and no more was said about it.

Football transfers were just announced. There were never these stories circulating in every kind of rag about who wants what from where by when. 'Course all that ends up happening is that Gareth Barry, a bloke who had the audacity to claim he wanted to move to a club where he might win summat after 10 years at Villa winning nowt, is getting booed by dimwit fans who don't see the man's motives for what they are. If Barry is forced to stay cos O'Neill and Benitez keep up their staring contest then are they still going to jeer him for being open about his ambitions? Wouldn't you be better off singing the bloke's praises and emotionally blackmailing him into a rethink? And Barry did at least take to the pitch for an hour which is more than AJ did for the Toffees.

His actions are a damn sight more understandable than Harry Kewell's Galatasaray move, which required an earnest open letter to Leeds fans from the Aussie sicknote. I'm sorry but there's more than just a little change of scene in that move, Harry. If it needs a gesture like that then you're probably best not bothering in the first place.

Of course, these waiting hours can also be filled up with the usual abysmal amateur psychology from Fergie, too. Oh what a canny prankster the Glasgow Beetroot is, ha ha. Man U will be playing the Chelsea Pensioners this season, he says. Erm, the average age of the first teams at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge..? 28. I know the journos like this sort of piffle but frankly I'm well bored of it. His empathy for Arsenal's injuries at the same press conference just shows how much neck he's got - I'm sure Arsene loves a little public patronising. When it comes to this sort of twaddle he's Alexander the Grate.

So for God's sake, you Premiership prima donnas, hurry up and make your minds up where you want to be, don't listen to them tapeworms - I mean agents - who are hoping to siphon off that little bit extra for their own new Audi TT leatherette interiors, sign on the dotted lines now or you'll end up being one of them crappy little inset photos on the new squad pictures!

And then you can do what the press in this country can't do. Do Your Talking On The Pitch. We'll soon see who's worth what...

I cannot wait for all the column inches of unverifiable tosh to be replaced by some reports on a match between two football teams with three points at stake.


  • 1. At 09:13am on 25 Jul 2008, Hands_of_Friedel wrote:

    I hate that we can no longer rate these i mean blogs. The best part was giving Robbo his 5 stars and McNulty 1.

    Anyway, very good article! I'm a bit surprised the BBC allowed it, given how much they seem to push their "gossip" column. Pfft a gossip column on a football webpage...

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  • 2. At 09:15am on 25 Jul 2008, WayOutWestLondonWay wrote:

    "I cannot wait for all the column inches of unverifiable tosh to be replaced by some reports on a match between two football teams with three points at stake."

    Amen to that Robbo...

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  • 3. At 09:25am on 25 Jul 2008, Hookers_armpit wrote:

    I agree with what you say Mr Robson. However, you've just gone and written another long article for people to read on the subject you are so bored of!

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  • 4. At 09:33am on 25 Jul 2008, Mr Statto wrote:

    Don't forget that the real football season starts on the 9th August Robbo. Try pretending the Premiership doesn't exist for a couple of weeks and get back to what football is really about - a competitive league where the same teams don't fill the top 4 places every year

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  • 5. At 09:33am on 25 Jul 2008, Pantryboy wrote:

    For once, I agree whole-heartedly with everything Robbo said.

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  • 6. At 09:37am on 25 Jul 2008, United Dreamer wrote:

    "I cannot wait for all the column inches of unverifiable tosh to be replaced by some reports on a match between two football teams with three points at stake."

    Ahem... Robbo

    Us neither.

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  • 7. At 09:45am on 25 Jul 2008, jayred wrote:

    Managers picking players in the playground? I seem to remember posting a similar comment to your last article...come on Robbo, hold yer hands up!
    Couldn't agree more, bring on the new season. I don't mind all the gossip though, grown football-following male journalists behaving like a bunch of old-dearies having their pink rinses done.
    'And now ron has been courted by some rich spaniard'
    'Oooo he never has...'

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  • 8. At 09:46am on 25 Jul 2008, thetopcorner wrote:

    At last, somebody says exactly what i think. Take the spurs friendly last night in which Robbie Keane did not play. Does that mean that he is definitely leaving (in truth probably yes) but then why did the sulky berbs play 90 mins. Did any of the journos notice that king,modric,hutton and bale were not in the squad either and as far as i am aware none of them are negotiating contracts to go elsewhere.
    The unholy alliance of parasites (red tops and agents needs to be controlled)

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  • 9. At 09:57am on 25 Jul 2008, U5071286 wrote:

    Good article with a lot of valid points. I'm disappointed to see you've jumped on this Ferguson labels Chelsea 'old' bandwagon, and the nonsense around this equal average age of 28. Averages are simply distorted by a 38 year old keeper... but average age aside, if you disregard all the rubbish that the journalist spins before the actual quotes of Ferguson come up, you will realise that he was making a valid point.

    He said: "When you see the ages Chelsea have got, apart from Salomon Kalou and John Obi-Mikel, they are an experienced side.

    He continued: "I'm not saying necessarily that they're old because, with the modern-day training methods, you should be playing in your thirties. What I am saying is that I don't see outstanding progress in a team that's in their thirties.

    With these comments in mind and a quick glance at both first team squads you can see he has a point.

    United: Ronaldo, Rooney, Anderson, Nani, Eagles, Simpson, Foster, Campbell - all in United's first team, 4 of which play a major role and all 23 or under. Fletcher and Tevez 24. All with years of great football ahead of them.

    Chelsea: Mikel and Kalou Fergie already mentioned. You have Scott Sinclair who's occasionaly impressed in the championship, Di Santo who signed in Jan, and made his debut last week with goals against Gangzhou. Mancienne who signed his Chelsea professional contract in Jan 2006 and still hasn't made his debut, and has been on loan at QPR since... I'm really struglling here to find where the youth is coming through. I'll even give them Branislav Ivanovic who's 24. He signed for Chelsea in January, €13 million, 3-year contract, given the number 2 shirt and is yet to make his debut. Reason given by chelsea for this? "a lack of match fitness caused by the Russian league season being over when Chelsea signed him". Pah!

    Am I wrong?

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  • 10. At 10:24am on 25 Jul 2008, Pall Jonsson wrote:

    The post season angst, yeah...
    ...feels like it's only June, yet.

    Am I the only one who cringes at the thought of Keane´s toddler gymnastics in front of the Kop. Could be one heck of an akward moment for both for him and the Kopites..., he'd have to be really prolific to get full tolerance for that particular teletubbies move.

    Wish I could worry about the next three points instead.

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  • 11. At 10:26am on 25 Jul 2008, United4theTreble09 wrote:

    I agree with Fergie about Chelsea gettin old even though United's first 11 have the same average age. Chelsae dont have young players like Anderson and Nani on their bench. United have a younger squad overall as Chelsea's bench is made up of older guys. United have many players who are still only in their early 20's and who can be world class stars. Chelsea have no really promising youngsters so the future isnt as rosey for them as it will be for United. No doubt Chelsea will just go out and spend 80 million a season on proven players in their late 20's early 30's who will get them through a few more years instead of buying young talent and giving them the opportunity to make a name for themselves at the club. Chelsea dont seem to be prepared taking a gamble on young players like Anderson and Nani unlike Fergie who knows these guys will be great players. Chelsea want instant results and arent prepared to hang around waiting on young players to develop. Its a shame really. Anybody with a bit of money can go out and buy proven players like Shevchenko, Ballack, Deco etc..Its doesnt take a genius take that approach and its a shame really that their attitude to buying players is like this.

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  • 12. At 10:32am on 25 Jul 2008, englandcomeon wrote:

    I don't know what all the fuss is about, football sold its soul long ago, now it's all about money.

    If you don't like it don't watch it.
    If enough boycotted it, then maybe it would stop being the money machine that it has become, but as long as people keep stuffing money into the jowels of people like Rupert Murdoch and the clubs can charge exorbitant amounts for tickets then it will continue so.

    Moaning about the fact that football has degenerated into pantomime is really not seeing the big picture.

    The comments in this blog aren't far off and relatively amusing, but just wait till the back half of the EPL season takes place in China, Japan and the US.

    then you lot will have reason to moan, but it will be far far far too late by then.......

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  • 13. At 11:01am on 25 Jul 2008, EmeraldChelseaBlue wrote:

    Th age thing has become a debate again.

    It is true the 38 year old goalkeeper distorts this but this in itself is im sure a worry for fergie as he had such trouble replacing a goalkeeper last time out.

    The likes of nani and anderson are young but neither is first team or likely to be this season either, park is usually played beofre nani.

    The defense is young, cech bosingwa carvalho terry cole all have another 3 top seasons with carvalho possibly just two

    The midfield has at least 3 top seasons before ballack and lampard may need replacing

    Up top the strikers are all hitting thirty or over in shevas case but kalou can also play there. If anything the chelsea side is hitting its prime

    But on the article yes im dying for this nonsense to stop and football to begin (liverpool fergie and calderon all being the awful elements this year with regard to barry, berbatov and ronnie

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  • 14. At 11:09am on 25 Jul 2008, Joseshivers wrote:

    Blar blar blar blar blar.

    Chelsea's team is older, so what?

    It was very close last season, I doubt it will be much different. Maybe Arsenal will do a little better, but seems as how they have sold half their first team it's unlikely.

    And then there's Liverpool. Oh no not Liverpool.

    SO Fergie is right in what he has basically said, Chelsea are United's real competition for the league.

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  • 15. At 11:16am on 25 Jul 2008, U5071286 wrote:

    In reply to EmeraldChelseaBlue..

    I agree with your point on the goalkeeper situation, but I think Fergie has learned his lesson the hard way there. Foster looks a hot prospect, and Kusckak has been a sloid substitute.

    I have to correct you on the Nani and Anderson being second choice to Park, and not playing a major part. Nani played 1572 mins of league football and Anderson played 1485 mins compared to Park's 630 mins (I'm aware of his injury problems), and the fact that Anderson and Nani were chosen to start in crucial games against Arsenal and Liverpool speaks volumes of hoe highly Fergie rates them both. (Off topic, another interesting stat is that Nani was United most potent creator last season with the mos assists per minutes played)

    You're spot on about Chelsea's back line, but I can't see another 3 top seasons out of Ballack, and you'll be lucky to hang onto Lamps for 3 seasons with him not signing a new deal.

    There is no doubt that Chelsea are in their prime, and the competition between them and United last season was as intense as it gets, but looking to the long-term future in comparison to United, you can see where Fergie was coming from.

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  • 16. At 11:29am on 25 Jul 2008, villa5blues1 wrote:

    Robbo - usually enjoy your blog but got to pull you up on the Barry comment.

    I would say 99.9% of Villa fans HAD a lot of respect for Barry and probably wouldn't have had a problem with him moving to another club which he percieves will give him more opportunities (for sitting on the bench)and Champions League football.

    What has stuck in the throat of Villa fans is the undoubted manipulation of the whole process by Liverpool and his agent. It has been debated at length as to who originally broke the story (Benitez or MON) but to have Liverpool involving Stevie Me in the process ("I want Barry at Liverpool") is frankly underhand and cheap - not something that would be done when Liverpool were a respected club.

    Furthermore Barry then "sells" his story to NOTW probably encouraged by his (ill advising) agent and under pressure from Liverpool to force Villa's hand. This article was disrepectful to MON who Barry has a lot to thank for his current situation (courted by Top 4 clubs and an England regular). He was drifting under Dreary O'Leary and I dont believe it is any coincidence that his re-ascendance coincides with the start of MON's time in charge at Villa Park.

    This is why Villa fans boo'd him - if the deal had been done in a fair and respectful manner then Barry would have left Villa Park with the best wishes of the Villa faithful after 10 years of great service. It is Liverpool , Gareth Barry and his agent that have bought this upon him.

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  • 17. At 11:41am on 25 Jul 2008, Kíllìnghölmê_Clᥠ(aka Charlie Cheesecake) wrote:


    Why dont you post your articles on 606 anymore?

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  • 18. At 11:45am on 25 Jul 2008, bob of the blues wrote:

    Ever so slightly biased towards liverpool, what a rubbish article this is, slags off everyones players except the hugely overrated liverpool squad and the car crash that is Rafa Benitez's management. Very Poor

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  • 19. At 12:00pm on 25 Jul 2008, DarloRH79 wrote:

    Robbo - Great article as usual! I wish these premier league types would either just ask for a transfer or shut up and get on with playing and picking up their massive wages. On the other had how would their agents survive without a move every two years...

    Although i am glad to see you are a supporter of your local team (and also our feeder club!) REAL football starts on the 9th of August.

    Get yourself down to the Stadio della Darlo and give the premier league prima donnas a miss for a while. We dont thave these problems in league two. You either stay where you are for £2.50 a week or you stop being a professinal footballer - hard choice that one!

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  • 20. At 12:25pm on 25 Jul 2008, Tess Sgs wrote:

    "Oh God help us, roll on 16 August and the return of the footy.".

    MY team kicks off their League season on August 9th, not 16th.

    And Scottish cup football starts this coming weekend........

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  • 21. At 12:28pm on 25 Jul 2008, BestSpam1979 wrote:

    The press report what sells. So unless a tabloid notices that its sales have fallen five days in a row, and that this coincides with 5 'Ronaldo loves Real' stories in a row, they'll keep reporting what they think we want to read.

    To draw an analogy with Entertainment...I'm sick of seeing and hearing about Amy Winehouse, but for the tabloids to still be in business whilst constantly talking about her life suggests I'm (sadly) in the minority :(

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  • 22. At 12:35pm on 25 Jul 2008, 8trizzay wrote:

    This guy is an idiot.
    Every week we hear armchair criticisms separated by overused northern expressions like 'any road'.
    Why does this guy get to write columns?

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  • 23. At 12:39pm on 25 Jul 2008, BestSpam1979 wrote:

    PS whilst Gareth Barry's motives for coming to Liverpool are perfectly valid, giving an interview slating the manager for not caring about you was probably not. Players shouldn't wash their club's dirty linen in public; I don't support Villa but I was stunned when I read the interview. He could have phrased things very differently.

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  • 24. At 12:55pm on 25 Jul 2008, "We Won the Football League Again, ThisTime on Merseyside". 06-07 Champions. wrote:

    Very boring and annoying all the transfer crap. Bring on the new season!!!
    Still, it's more interesting reading about transfers than golf.

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  • 25. At 1:02pm on 25 Jul 2008, jazza0707 wrote:

    You are only real dimwit here arent you Robbo? The Villa fans didnt boo Barry because he wanted CL football, it was because of the way he went about it. Throwing his toys out of the pram, shouting and screaming, slating our manager and telling lies, and then siding with Benitez after the disgusting way he pursued our player and tried to ruin our season.

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  • 26. At 1:02pm on 25 Jul 2008, deegee550 wrote:

    A thoroughly entertaining column as usual Robbo, apart from one error.

    Footy returns on 9's the Premiership Circus which opens on 16 August.

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  • 27. At 1:30pm on 25 Jul 2008, ChelseaSaffer wrote:

    I kinda like all the pre-season rumours and gossip. Its quite exciting knowing what players are coming and going from my club. It makes blogging interesting and certainly adds fun to the lives of those who have nothing better to do than sit around all day and talk about football. The barry saga has been a drag though, he wants to go after 10 years, I think he's paid his dues. Let the lad leave for 12mil as a favour. But he certainly went about it the wrong way, telling the papers about his intentions. The media always sensationalize things to make them seem more juicier and interesting. Anyhow, I feel for the game if this sort of thing continues.

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  • 28. At 1:32pm on 25 Jul 2008, AkUzEd wrote:

    Fair call about Barry, to an extent. If he's that ambitous why hasn't he put in a transfer request? He's said he wants to go but there's no sign of a formal request. If he wants to leave so badly then let him put in a request and forego his leaving payment.

    As Jazza said, most people are booing Barry for what was said in the media. 99% of Villa fans I know were fine with it all when it was being dealt with at the clubs and he was staying quiet, people lost respect for him when he started slating MON.

    People are criticising MON saying he's asking for too much. Surely as the selling club that is his decision to make? No-one held a gun to Barrys head when he signed his new deal. He's an integral part of our team so why let him go cheap? If Carson was £10m rated when we asked surely Barry is worth £18m by that reckoning.

    The only person I see at fault is Benitez. He was asked by MON/Villa to keep it quiet, so he goes to the papers. Had it been left to be sorted out out of the gaze of the media Barry would have probably gone a month ago.

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  • 29. At 1:33pm on 25 Jul 2008, ChelseaSaffer wrote:

    I always love your articles Robbo, it doesn't matter whether you write about figure skating or football, you'll always have a fan here. I know I can depend on you for a laugh. Brilliant article!

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  • 30. At 1:35pm on 25 Jul 2008, George wrote:

    Comment 13

    'The midfield has at least 3 top seasons before ballack and lampard may need replacing'

    Ballack, 3 top seasons, your joking, right? And with lampard off to inter in the next 12 months, its time to start replacing now, and thats not by buying 30+ year old ageing stars like Deco

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  • 31. At 1:38pm on 25 Jul 2008, ChelseaSaffer wrote:

    Carson was ?10m rated when we asked surely Barry is worth ?18m by that reckoning.
    I have to agree, Carson was held to ransom and rafa turns around and asks Villa for a favour! Carson was sold for 3 or 4 mil to West Brom??? Strange??? Rafa needs to see a shrink!

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  • 32. At 1:40pm on 25 Jul 2008, ChelseaSaffer wrote:

    At 1:35pm on 25 Jul 2008, gabrammer wrote:
    Comment 13

    'The midfield has at least 3 top seasons before ballack and lampard may need replacing'

    Ballack, 3 top seasons, your joking, right? And with lampard off to inter in the next 12 months, its time to start replacing now, and thats not by buying 30+ year old ageing stars like Deco

    Well said! I thought i was the only concerned one! Wenger bought a 20 year old and a 17 year old! We need some spark at SB. We need to stop buying proven players and bring in some youthful vigor!

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  • 33. At 1:44pm on 25 Jul 2008, ChelseaSaffer wrote:

    'The midfield has at least 3 top seasons before ballack and lampard may need replacing'

    If SWP went to pompey, how do you rate Bentley taking his place at SB? Rovers could let him go for atleast 15mil!

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  • 34. At 2:03pm on 25 Jul 2008, Principal Skinner wrote:

    I love the way the Beeb have given a column about football to someone who has absolute no clue about it.

    I will cancel my license now.

    laterz one and all.

    Landon Donovan to West Ham

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  • 35. At 2:04pm on 25 Jul 2008, uncannynathaniel wrote:

    clean robbo. smooth, clean and tidy

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  • 36. At 2:19pm on 25 Jul 2008, cyberryan87 wrote:

    good article. Agree in the main. Although i have to say people who moan about the gossip column are becoming particularly annoying. I am unaware of any laws that force people to read it, or for that matter any that force people to buy the red-top rags on a daily basis. Therefore, unless people can inform me of anything of this sort, people should just stop whingeing. I mean I could see thru it if it cost the BBC a wad of license fee to make the column but all they do is have a jook thru the papers, type it out and move on. What is the big whoop?

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  • 37. At 2:40pm on 25 Jul 2008, CroftKid wrote:

    Good article as usual Robbo. I'm totally fed up with the on again off again saga's of the so called super stars of the Prem. Even the managers are a pain in the Arsne Wenger!

    Fergie has to throw in his twopenneth about Chelski just to keep in the news cos Ronnies on his hols.

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  • 38. At 2:41pm on 25 Jul 2008, BetFredsRed wrote:

    Good article.
    I too have got sick of blatant lies and spin which media put on footie stories. But I'm afraid the Beeb has lately been profligate in this as well. Just see the amount of stories put on the website (re-arranged ad nauseum) or reported on Radio 5 as fact based on supposed interviews only ever found via dodgy websites and newspapers (I use the word 'news' ironically) intent on stringing out stories to get their money's worth.

    And I know that football players don't help themselves but how many more times have we got to see a report on how some pet monkey of Real Madrid's tea lady's second cousin removed has definitive information that Ronaldo will be sporting a Real Madrid shirt by blah blah (insert your own date) as reported in that well-renowned, impartial, and highly reliable daily Marca, without our own journalists taking just 5 secs to show the story up for the sham it is.

    And though you rightly draw attention to the tedium of stories like these, as Keano's Magic Hat points out by commenting on the spin over Fergie's comments and not the real comments you fall foul of the very thing you decry too. Shame.

    Oh and by the way, don't you think that once the season starts, the spin and sensationalising will not carry on? I mean, I can't wait for the first meeting between United and Chelsea and the inevitable 'Chelsea and Terry out for revenge' nonsense and hype we'll inevitably get. (I know I used the words inevitable and inevitably in the same sentence but I'm afraid there is something rather inevitable about it, isn't there?)

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  • 39. At 2:52pm on 25 Jul 2008, cageyvilla wrote:

    I am not a dimwit Villa fan. We are not annoyed at him wanting to go as such it is just the way he has gone about it shouting to whatever paper will listen and that fact that it is Liverpool who aren't going to win anything and I think it is quite possible that we will finish above them in the league if not next year certainly the year after. Liverpool just pay the money give us Finnan and it will be all over.

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  • 40. At 2:55pm on 25 Jul 2008, stuExeterCity wrote:

    I have no problem with transfer romours being reported every day, but its when the rumours are turned into a saga or just repeasted every couple of days with no extra factual details.

    I would rather they didn't have the same article about Ronaldo going to Real everyday and give more coverage to transfers that have actually happened further down the league structure, not everyone is obssessed with the premiership!

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  • 41. At 3:39pm on 25 Jul 2008, MorningJean wrote:

    The greatest sporting event on the planet starts in a few weeks. However, the dullards who populate this country can't wait for the "excitement" of the Premiership to begin.

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  • 42. At 4:09pm on 25 Jul 2008, Shire_Gas wrote:

    No. 26 - Agree totally. While the glory boys in Bristol have to wait another week for their coaches and trains to Old Trafford, Emirates, Stamford Bridge etc., those of us who support or local team (well half of us) will be at the Memorial Ground on the 9th August for that usual unbridled anticipation / start of term feeling.

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  • 43. At 4:12pm on 25 Jul 2008, NishiOgiSamurai wrote:

    The last two columns have been rubbish.

    Granted there's no football going on but...I'm a conspiracy theorist...Has the real Robbo dropped dead with a coronary and been replaced with some namby pamby shite-talker?

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  • 44. At 4:33pm on 25 Jul 2008, misoramen wrote:

    nice 1 robbo. good article.
    the media haven't much to talk about so thay talk about nothing much.
    people are bored. get a life! there's more to life than football.
    but I'm looking forward to the start too.

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  • 45. At 4:59pm on 25 Jul 2008, 22yardsofale wrote:

    Good laugh, Robbo! Don't know about this supposed 'namby pamby' sub you have, but he's doing a fine job...
    Barry's gonna be left high and dry - wait and see. MON overplayed his cards and will now have to bury the claymore and motivate Barry's sorry butt.
    Bread and circuses.

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  • 46. At 5:12pm on 25 Jul 2008, Black Francis wrote:

    "I am unaware of any laws that force people to read it, or for that matter any that force people to buy the red-top rags on a daily basis."

    You are not wrong but it is now the case unfortunately where the so called quality papers are just as guilty of printing totally uncoroborated nonsense.
    Take the Telegraph's 'expose' this afternoon that Robbie Keane is almost certainly on his way to Liverpool on the basis that he didn't play for Spurs last night against some Spanish second division side.
    There is little respite, so as Robbo says, roll on the actual footy.

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  • 47. At 5:45pm on 25 Jul 2008, royalarsenaltilidie wrote:

    Isnt this slightly hypocritical, a massive article on all the transfer sagas, with the main emphasis on how ur boared of reading about transfer sagas. I agree with u, but my advice is if u dont like it, dont read it, and for the love of god stop writing about it.

    Yeserday i read a great article by Paul Fletcher focusing on Lincoln city's manager Jackson and some of his transfer stories. It was refreshing and a great read, and i said, and i quote "before i started reading this i thought it'd be a robboesque rant about the summe transfer sagas". Now what do u know, the day after, we get a robboesque rant on the summer transfer sagas.

    Come on Robbo, ur a good wrighter and u make good points. How about wrighting us an article on summin we dont already know. Ur better than this.

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  • 48. At 6:46pm on 25 Jul 2008, *iMike-[MC-FC]* wrote:

    Im sorry but everyone who says: Fergie picked these young potential stars (Ronaldo, Nani, Anderson) are so off the mark it is unbelievable. It is a little-known fact that Carlos Querioz (your FORMER assistent manager) picked out all of these and reccommended them to Fergie. Im not saying Fergie is bad in that department, but i cant see any more Ronaldo's coming through in the next 5 years.

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  • 49. At 7:43pm on 25 Jul 2008, dhimmi wrote:

    "is getting booed by dimwit fans who don't see the man's motives for what they are."

    You're the dimwit for attacking fans who pay the wages of prima donnas like Barry and not realising that if every player who wants to win things goes to the Big 4 then they will be the only clubs left!

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  • 50. At 7:49pm on 25 Jul 2008, saddletramp wrote:

    As to all you non premier team supporters
    waffling on about the season starting on the 9th and not the 16th,it actually starts on friday the 8th when live on setanta you can watch the mighty oxford away to barrow.And thats the blue square PREMIER
    league not some jumped up championship
    league 1/2!!

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  • 51. At 9:51pm on 25 Jul 2008, Paul wrote:

    Yawn Yawn Yawn.

    Football starts on the 16th of August? jeez another 'TOP FOUR' fan working for the Beeb......

    This article is boring, I confess I didn't even read it all the way through.

    Palace a feeder club? what a load of rubbish. One overrated and complete egotistical teen moves to Tottenham and we are a feeder club.

    Fine, all the Football league clubs will shut down their academies and the Premiership will have no one left. How about produce your own talent.

    Plus try and employ a talented writer this column is way past it's best. It stinks

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  • 52. At 11:06pm on 25 Jul 2008, DrVilla wrote:

    Dimwit?? You sir, are insulting the wrong group of people in this sorry afair

    David o'Leary made a similar blunder when he called us "fickle"

    Like him Robbo u clearly havn't seen the bigger picture!

    Mellberg wanted CL footie, made his intentions clear, played his heart out for the last half of the season, left with dignity as a hero-did he get boo'd? According to the points in your article by all rights he should have done but no...if anything his name was chanted so it raised the roof at Villa Park (Blues 5-1!!!!)

    Now for Barry....
    Yes he wanted CL footie...fair enuff..most villa fans I know/read about on forums were gutted at him leaving but accepted this fate, wished him well and were ready to see him back at Villa Park later in the year as a Red with reasonbly good will.

    Unfortunately, what you and a lot of people don't quite seem to grasp is that this good relationship was shattered the moment Barry ran to the press and insulted MON, the chairman and the club in an ill-advised interview to the NOTW. An insulting betrayal to the man who pretty much got Barry to the limit of his potential.

    THAT is why he got boo'd-Dimwitted? No! Insulted and shocked? Absolutely!

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  • 53. At 02:18am on 26 Jul 2008, U12763193 banned alt id wrote:

    not many transfers

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  • 54. At 10:35am on 26 Jul 2008, Knight85-2 wrote:

    51. Paulthepalacelad wrote:

    "Fine, all the Football league clubs will shut down their academies and the Premiership will have no one left. How about produce your own talent.

    Plus try and employ a talented writer this column is way past it's best. It stinks"

    yes because that would really bother teams like Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal etc look at all the great English players they field... Do they have 5 between them? Also if only the premiership clubs have academies then everyone with any talent will to them and the very best will get places while the rest will go home. I'm sure the big clubs will be more than capable of running their own academies without the smaller clubs.

    I fail to see whatever point you were trying to make as it is being distorted by some anger issues that you seem to have.

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  • 55. At 11:31am on 26 Jul 2008, CBF wrote:

    A note on that Worst Signings link... Kroldrup is indisuptably the worst, £5m for one poor performance is absolutely ridiculous. But why was Seba Veron so low down? TWENTY-EIGHT MILLION for an absolute joke! That's about what they paid for Rooney, isn't it?!

    As a City fan... I'd have Georgios Samaras higher up that list too, he's been appalling. Though if you're going to put failed City strikers there, please... Bernardo Corradi?! He looks like he'd have a coronary if he sprinted 20 yards.

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  • 56. At 11:37am on 26 Jul 2008, RSF85 wrote:

    Arsene Wenger peering through the railings of a school yard?

    My my, Mr. Robson, how very controversial.

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  • 57. At 12:51pm on 26 Jul 2008, maldiniforzamilano wrote:

    nice job robbo

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  • 58. At 12:54pm on 26 Jul 2008, mrmrshaw wrote:

    i can't understand why so many people agree or even give a toss what ferguson says about chelsea players being too old. yes players like ballack and deco are still top class. and yes they are not going to be around for as long as parkie jii song and nan bread. but who cares? roman will just buy more world class utd and arsenal on the other hand will invest in young talent with bags of potential. chelsea do things differently and thats that. you might not agree with it. but you are going to have to accept it. chelsea will always be contenders for the prem and the champions league.

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  • 59. At 1:24pm on 26 Jul 2008, corzellian wrote:

    Another entertaining column Robbo and I agree wholeheartedly with the general thread. Why does it take so long to do deals now? Lampard has been negotiating for TWO years! If he'd been a bit sharper maybe he'd have his five year 'pension' contract already.

    But the crux of the problem with Barry's transfer is his disinclination to actually ask for the move he wants to fulfil his ambitions which are fair enough. It seems he doesn't want to forgo his 'loyalty' bonus. What an oxymoron!

    Finally I don't know what your take is on the players who wish to play in the Olympic Games but are not being released by their clubs. We have heard how it is their 'dream' to play and how unfair they should be denied by their employers to have time off to do so.

    Surely the fair solution is for the clubs to give them the time off to play in China but without pay like any other poor worker/slave? has to if he wants a free holiday.

    Of course we might then get to see how great their desire to represent their country really is.

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  • 60. At 1:29pm on 26 Jul 2008, samd25172 wrote:

    What an amusing article! For me, it sums up everything that is ridiculous about modern day football...the constant speculation is indeed tedious and it's nice to hear someone say it for a change. As the article implied; 'Make your minds up and get on with it'

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  • 61. At 3:29pm on 26 Jul 2008, SportsUnited2009 wrote:

    You are right in nearly all the things you've said, although, the way it's been written suggests it has been written by some random person posting a 606 article, not a employee of the bbc.

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  • 62. At 4:28pm on 26 Jul 2008, Red_Nic wrote:

    I think one of the main reasons for transfers being so potracted nowadays is the money situation.

    The majority of top flight clubs have no need to sell any of their players.

    Teams like Aston Villa, Newcastle and Spurs don't need to play in the champions League and often not in the UEFA cup but they still have no need to sell their better players, as there is so much money floating around and they have backers to supply their transfer funds.

    None of them need money so its going to take a big transfer fee to get hold of them, which the majority of managers in their right minds will reject or negotiate, leading to such stalemeates.

    You can't blame Villa for valuing Barry at £18m, he is their captain, arguably their best player and they are fine financially.
    Imagine if Gerrard was being poached, we would be looking for fees well over the world record, when really no one is worth that, never has been and never will be.

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  • 63. At 6:08pm on 26 Jul 2008, U11947716 wrote:

    interesting point(s) Red Nic (N62)

    There is also the aspect of increased media invasion lengthening the time it takes to get a transfer through- they want to fill column space and the agents like the attention on their players so the resulting stories create confusion amongst the buying and selling clubs whereas left in private things would run more smoothly. (For example, the media furore around Barry means both managers now don't want to lose face after whats been reported, so the stalemate continues longer than necessary)

    But then we'd have nothing interesting to read during lunch hour if it were all left in private!

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  • 64. At 7:57pm on 26 Jul 2008, royalarsenaltilidie wrote:

    Ah well, Barry got applauded in the end by the 'dimwitts' today. How any1 can be called a dimwitt for getting upset over one of their star players, whos always been at the club, wanting to leave and then insulting the club itself i duno.

    Oh and btw, for every1 constantly slagging off Arsenal, currently we have, Henri Landsbury, Mark Randall, Kieran Gibbs, Jay Simpson, Jay Thomas and Jack Wilshire, 6 English players who are making a real impact in the reserves. Ud think atleast 2 will make it in the Arsenal first team and in my opinion all will be premiership class players.

    So there u go, Wenger wont go nd spend 18mil on Darren Bent, cuz hes too intelligent, but hes made sure we have an academy that can produce our own English/British talents, and very soon the fruits of that academy (that over the last 5 seasons hes completely revelutionised) will come apparent. Then u'll all have egg on ur faces might i add...

    Not to mention that Wenger himself has said that while the current second string are very impressive, between the ages of 14 and 16 he claims we have the most technically gifted group of youngsters of that age hes ever seen at the club. So that sounds promising.

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  • 65. At 04:55am on 27 Jul 2008, icecreammn wrote:

    Re: Barry - I understand why Villa fans are upset, and why Barry was booed when he took to the pitch. Every fan hopes, even though they know and have seen otherwise, that a trademark player like Barry stays at their club. Players come and go, sometimes as quietly as the door that shuts behind them on the way out. But it's the key ones, the ones that fans feel represent their club, that they really want to stay. And a fan wants the player to want to stay.

    So when Barry took the field for Villa in that friendly, the broken-hearted Villa fans had as much of a right to boo him as a scorned lover has to toss the cheating spouse's stuff out the window. But the result of that friendly has been overshadowed by the reports of boos and shouts. Barry played well, actually he played very well, and when he left the field on 60, there were no more boos or shouts. He had shown his class, understood the fans grievances, and in turn put in a solid performance for them where many other players would have sulked across the pitch for 20 minutes. He received a standing ovation for his effort, a show of respect and understanding from the fans which has not been widely reported.

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  • 66. At 2:21pm on 27 Jul 2008, dodiesmith wrote:

    Robbo, I am so weary of hearing about all these monied players like Barry and Ronaldo suddenly deciding oh, they are stars and must play for another team of their choice and creating havoc....
    even Owen who has been "sheltered" by Newcastle throughout all his misfortunes is now in the gossip mill for a transfer....
    LOYALTY just doesn't cut it anymore and it's sad.
    So when footie DOES start again in August.... I will find myself still loving the beautiful game but feeling that I have been jerked around by the players I have supported so enthusiastically over the years. However, as I am a Liverpool fan, I shall greet Torres with joy - he thanked Rafa and Liverpool for helping him get where he was, he scored the winning goal for his country in the Euro final and he sent Spanish wine to his team-mates. Now that's worth writing a column about, Robbo!

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  • 67. At 6:04pm on 27 Jul 2008, SouthernBoltonian***SACK MEGSON*** wrote:

    Robbo, to be honest I think your just plain wrong.

    For one, although we don't admit it, I recon the vast majority of secretly like all the transfer speculation. Keeps an element of football in the papers and on the Beeb without use all wanting to split our wrists reading cricket articles.

    I have no problem with players moving about, and for those true world class players - the likes of Ronaldo, you can understand a desire to play for a team in the Champions League. Lets not kid ourselves, Barry is talented , but he's a long way of being a world class player - yet another indicator of just how poor our England team has become.

    We must, as fans, managers, pundits or people with an interest in football work together so there is a sense of loyalty. Even in real world business you shaft your ex-employers and you get a bad reference - do it often enough and you get a reputation. I think our new England manager has a real sense of class and how respect is important in football - and how if those team mates around respect you, it'll contribute to the team's performance on the pitch.

    How Barry can be respected by his fellow Villa players after his complete disrepect for MON, I have no idea. If he does stay I wonder how many Villa fans will have "Barry" on the back of their shirts next season - I'be suprised if it surpasses double digits.

    All in all, all us fans want our players to have some loyalty, some respect for their manager and us fans. If we let Barry behave like this - what does that say about us fans. As a Bolton fan I look at Nolan and Davies, two players who display loyalty and respect through and through. Ivan Campo after being treated poorly by our club (unlike Barry who has been treated perfectly by Villa) wrote this letter to us Wanderers:

    That's the behaviour we want and must demand for those we pay amazing salaries for via Sky Sports subs, match tickets and shirt buying. Not the antics of jumped up wanna be that is Barry.

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  • 68. At 9:26pm on 27 Jul 2008, mufcjjj wrote:

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

  • 69. At 9:33pm on 27 Jul 2008, OnThe7nthDay-Rooney wrote:

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

  • 70. At 9:07pm on 28 Jul 2008, Stephen Davies wrote:

    Perhaps a more global footie perspective is needed? As a Canadian based in Toronto, I now have a local MLS team to follow in the EPL "off season". Tonight Toronto FC are in Utah to take on Real Salt Lake.

    Come on you Reds!

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  • 71. At 1:42pm on 29 Jul 2008, ComeOnFergie aka COF wrote:

    fantastic blog robbo, roll on 16th August!

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  • 72. At 08:44am on 30 Jul 2008, footballisfixed wrote:

    The mainstream media is used by the leading football agents both to generate a fake interest in the player (think Frank Lampard or Michael Owen) or to inflate the transfer price and, consequently, the agent's slice of the action.
    In a highly manipulated media, it is an interesting reversal that the transfer sagas that are, in fact, real achieve far less media space (as the last thing an agent requires when a suitable deal is in motion is for external influences to potentially destabilise the revenue stream).
    A far more interesting use of those column inches would be to assess the financial arrangements that underpin the transfer market - just check how many of this summer's transfer fees have been 'undisclosed', for example.
    If you really wish to know what is happening in the corrupt world of football, you should check:

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  • 73. At 08:52am on 30 Jul 2008, Cumbrian through and through wrote:

    Roll on 9th August when the football league starts - a week before the obscenely overpaid money grabbing premier league players begin their annual 'squeeze all the money they can out of the footie fan' tournament.

    Aided and abetted by Robbo who can't see beyond the façade!

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  • 74. At 2:22pm on 31 Jul 2008, bravesophia001 wrote:

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

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