BBC BLOGS - Matt Slater

Archives for April 2010

From Diamond Lights to diamonds in the rough

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Matt Slater | 08:00 UK time, Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Glenn Hoddle was a couple of months short of his 18th birthday when he came on as a substitute for Tottenham in a 2-2 draw against Norwich City in August 1975. It was a low-key debut for a player who was already the talk of the Spurs training ground.

Six months later, the rest of English football would see what the likes of Martin Chivers and Bill Nicholson had spotted almost immediately when the 18-year-old made his first league start against Stoke City, beating England goalkeeper Peter Shilton with a long-range shot that would help Spurs to a 2-1 win.

Like Duncan Edwards before and Wayne Rooney after, Hoddle was old enough because he was good enough. There is, of course, a flipside to the prodigy: the late bloomer, the unpromising teen the scouts missed or the apprentice who was told to try a different trade.

I'll let the pedants decide if Hoddle's interest in unearthing the next Stuart Pearce/Neville Southall/Tony Galvin is ironic or just mildly interesting, but the fact remains that one of English football's most fully-formed talents is now dedicated to helping those deemed not good enough at an age he was already a hero.

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No change in Arsenal stock stalemate

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Matt Slater | 01:16 UK time, Tuesday, 13 April 2010

When news of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith's decision to appoint a leading US investment firm to sell her stake in Arsenal reached BBC Towers on Monday afternoon, it prompted a chin-stroking debate amongst those hunched over the sports news benches: is this a twist or a development?

In the twist corner were those who claimed we were not expecting the news so it must be a bit twisty and that twists always sound more interesting than developments.

Arguing for development, on the other hand, were those who pointed out that these shares were already "for sale" and it is just how that sale is being advertised that has changed (she tried a postcard in the post office window and was now going for an advert in the local paper).

My view, a minority one, was that this is basically a development, with some twist-like attributes, that actually changes nothing. Probably. Let me explain my thinking (so even if I'm wrong, you'll give me some credit for the working-out).

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