Southampton top the list but perhaps it's Aston Villa who should get most credit. Their defence is the reason why they are sitting comfortably in mid-table...
Garrulous, uncompromising, always fighting his corner, but not without charm if the mood takes him. Sam Allardyce is the Premier League's classic Proper Football Man...
Rumours that travel in football circles are often based on inside knowledge, but can equally often equate to another example of Chinese whispers going amiss. Therefore the story I've heard that Danny Guthrie turns up for training when he feels like it could be either. But what isn't up for debate is that Guthrie refused to travel to the Stadium of Light for Reading's match with Sunderland on Tuesday night.
What isn't known yet is the facts. But that hasn't stopped people jumping on Guthrie's back. When I read the story online late last night, I was amazed at how many posters mentioned money in the comments section. Clearly, something is troubling Guthrie, and anybody wading in with their opinion using money as their core argument is missing the point.
To claim that he is a disgrace because he earns £30,000, £40,000 or £50,000 a week is completely ridiculous. That argument implies that there is a lower amount of money whereby he would cease to be a disgrace and, conversely, if he earned a higher level of wages, then he'd have travelled with the team regardless of his problems. Absolute rubbish.
If a player has something serious on his mind then, I'm sorry, money isn't going to un-ring that bell. We've all been there. And what harm has he done really? If anything, he has issued a little cry for help - a 'gesture', I think they call it - and now that Reading are aware there is a problem, hopefully they can deal with it and get him back on the pitch again and in the right frame of mind.
That is the main point to remember here. OK, maybe he could have gone about making his problems known in a less public way. But when things get on top of you, it's sometimes hard to see the wood for the trees, isn't it?
Deep down, I think that we all secretly prefer the pantomime villain. Aside from being a crude barometer for right and wrong, we are fully aware that he isn't ever really going to hurt us.
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