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by Tony Attwood
That scoreline is of course shots on target. You might consider goal attempts a better measure. In which case, The Blues 6 Arsenal 18. Either way it was rather jolly – except for two things – the dreadful awful tackle, and what Ferguson has been up to in the background. The F-Word issue has been reported elsewhere but its implications for football have been missed – perhaps because Sir F has said he will stop talking to their journalists if anything amiss is said.
Anyway, to start with the game: if you read Billy’s piece yesterday before the game you will know that it featured Small Heath Alliance, and interestingly a review of the game turned up in the Observer this rather dull Sunday morning was from just such an ensemble. It sayeth thus:
PAUL RIVERS, SmallHeathAlliance.com We came up against a very good Arsenal side and got no help from the ref in the first half, who denied us a stonewall penalty for handball. In all, the first half was fairly even.
Birmingham had lost one of their previous 29 matches at home, yet we played them off the pitch. Seeing how it was going, this team who got “No help from the ref” took seven minutes to reveal their old style. On almost the same blade of grass that Taylor launched his evil attack on Eduardo this club that “got no help from the ref” used the same tactic again. Johnson, having noticed the Shawcross approach to football, previously developed by his ex team mate, overran the ball, lifted his studs and went straight into Fábregas and could well have ended his career. If the Shawcross inheritance is followed, Johnson will now immediately be picked to play for England.
Johnson’s own goal later was a reward for his insanity, but really, we should not have people like this on the pitch. But no wonder Cesc was so happy when he saw who scored.
The Nasri-Fabregas duology (if there is such a word) is a wondrous world to enter and one that I have been awaiting since the days of the Henry/Pires game – two players who just know what’s what, know each other, know how to do it, know where the other will be, know where it all fits together. Each brought out the best in the other, and each without the other was a little diminished. More of the same will do a treat.
Meanwhile, and away from our little outing to the world’s only underground football arena, there was something of a nasty turn in English football – and forgive me for adding it into a match report, but I do feel it is worthy of a comment.
Preston North End, a diminutive team with many a run in with the authorities for playing illegal players in their early days, have just sacked their manager, who is the son of the old geezer what does for Man IOU. Immediately the Old Man of the Trafford has asked for all his loanee players back. At once. No delay. Today. No more playing for PNE.
Sir F Word has recalled the defender Ritchie de Laet and the striker Joshua King and the England Under 20 player Matty James to return to Old Trafford at once. The deals for De Laet and King were not due to expire until after the New Year matches.
Preston have agreed that within the terms of the loan they can do this, but of course it is a matter of spite from Ferguson. And indeed it looks very much like the interference of one club in the affairs of another.
There’s more: Sir F is friends with Preston’s majority shareholder, Trevor Hemmings, through their addiction to horse racing, and it is being said that Hemmings was annoyed about the sacking and told PNE’s board that if it went through this withdrawal would happen. De Laet, King and James are all reported to have told Preston they would rather stay.
Dodgy stuff all round – but here’s another twist. Stoke have immediately followed suit. Tony Pulis is a close mate of the Evil Being, and has seemingly asked “how high” as the F Word has said “jump”. Michael Tonge and Danny Pugh have gone back to Stoke.
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