The Soul Of British Football
Alain Pardieu's Newchateau are finally removing the thumbs from their bottoms and actually bringing in some players. All from France, it seems. Perhaps Graham Carr has opened a small boulangerie and is conducting business from between the baguettes.
After Mathieu Debuchy arrived earlier this month, Mapou Yanga-Mbwia signed on Tuesday, Nancy say Massadio Haidara is going, Yoann Gouffran announced he is on his way too while Moussa Sissoko is thought to be shortly behind them.
Should all of those deals come to pass, that makes it 11 French players in their first team squad, along with eight other foreign players. There are 11 players from the UK in their squad of 27. Since M. Pardieu arrived at the club in December 2010 they have signed no Englishman. Indeed, the last English player the club signed was Sol Campbell in August 2010. By the time they next play a league game on January 29, it's perfectly possible that they will field an entire team of foreign players.
With all of this in mind, here's what Pardieu said back in 2006, when he was manager of West Ham:
"I saw a headline saying Arsenal are flying the flag for Britain. I kind of wondered where that British involvement actually was when I looked at their team.
"It's important that top clubs don't lose sight of the fact that it's the English Premier League and English players should be involved. Foreign players have been fantastic. We have learned from them and from foreign coaches.
"But, to some extent, we could lose the soul of British football - the English player."
We're slapping ourselves round the face this morning. How on earth could we possibly have forgotten to look at Garth Crooks's team of the week on Tuesday?
Let's right that wrong. He includes Daniel Sturridge, which given his goal and that pretty sexy dummy, is fair enough.
However, this is what he wrote: '...he possesses the potential to create a partnership with Suarez capable of 40 goals a season. Anfield has not seen anything like that since Keegan and John Toshack or Dalglish and Ian Rush and we all know what that led to.'
In 1996/7, Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore scored 40 goals. In 1998/9, Fowler and Michael Owen scored 40 goals. In 2000/1, Owen and Emile Heskey scored 46 goals. In 2001/2 Owen and Heskey scored 42 goals. In 2005/6, Steven Gerrard and Djibril Cisse scored 42 goals. In 2007/8, Gerrard and Fernando Torres scored 54 goals. In 2008/9 season, Gerrard and Torres scored 42 goals.
So yes. Liverpool have happened upon a once in a generation pairing here.
Charles Sale's 'Sports Agenda' column in The Daily Mail is ostensibly a news column, telling us about the grubby workings of sport, and both the business and media that surrounds it. Often, he does this rather well - it was he who reported the news that Colin Murray was leaving Match of the Day Two, for example.
However, he frequently uses the column to settle his own scores. Like the following, from the paper today:
'Mark Chapman, the new presenter of Match of the Day 2 next season, may be a less irritating broadcaster than the deposed Colin Murray.
'However Chapman, when hosting Radio 5 Live Sport, is one of those who shamefully delights in sneering at the 'media' - by which he means newspapers - for stirring up 'non-existent' issues such as the managerial rivalry between Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas-Boas, then debating that subject on air.
'And since when has 5 Live not been part of the media?
'Murray, for all his faults, cannot be that bad. He was effusive in his praise for Sportsmail's headline writers on his radio show Fighting Talk last weekend.'
Let the bile rise.
On The Same Page
"They are too old for us. After 26 years, we've put a stop to spending crazy money in order to build a young side for the next 10 years. We need two or three years to become competitive in Italy and the world again" - Silvio Berlusconi responds to suggestions that AC Milan would sign Didier Drogba, January 3.
"Champions of his calibre are very welcome. (Vice-president Adriano) Galliani will know if the deal is feasible" - Massimiliano Allegri responds to suggestions that AC Milan would sign Didier Drogba, January 23.
'Mohamed Diame is threatening to report West Ham to FIFA over fears the club are trying to renege on his £3.5million release clause. The tough-tackling midfielder, who is interesting a number of Premier League sides, is free to leave Upton Park if a club matches the stipulated fee. But Diame suspects West Ham are ignoring the agreement as they continue with their attempts to keep him at Upton Park' - EXCLUSIVE! in The Daily Mail.
'West Ham's Mohamed Diame has got 90 minutes against Arsenal on Wednesday night to earn himself a winter-window switch to the Gunners. Diame fears Hammers are trying to block a dream move to the Emirates by playing hardball, even though there's £3.5million buyout clause written into his contract...Diame is determined to go this month if a club meets the clause - even if it turns ugly and he has to take legal advice' - EXCLUSIVE! in The Daily Mirror.
Headline from the SHOUTsport website:
'Former Arsenal ace in line for MLS move.'
The ace in question? Mikael Silvestre.
We're going to credit whoever wrote that headline with a sense of humour.
Headline Of The Day
'Jim Hanson and The Muppets' - The Sun do well with this one.
Worst Headline Of The Day
'Woeful Villa Kermit cup suicide' - The Sun spoil it immediately below.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'In perhaps the most desperate display of Chinese ingenuity yet, a 43-year-old man has been kept alive for 13 years by a home-made kidney dialysis machine. Hu Songwen was studying to be a meteorologist in Nanjing when he was diagnosed with renal failure in 1993. For six years, he paid a visit every few days to his local hospital to have his blood cleansed by dialysis. But each visit cost him £50 and the years of treatment exhausted his family's savings. In 1999, he decided to build his own machine using kitchen equipment, medical parts and a textbook. "As long as you have a high school degree, understand the principle of dialysis, follow the operational instructions and keep a close watch during the process, nothing should go wrong," he said to the Southern Weekly newspaper' - The Daily Telegraph.
'A road tunnel in Norway has been closed - by a lorry-load of burning cheese. About 27 tonnes of caramelised brown goat cheese - a delicacy known as Brunost - caught light as it was being driven through the Brattli Tunnel at Tysfjord, northern Norway, last week. The fire raged for five days and smouldering toxic gases were slowing the recovery operation, officials said. The tunnel - which is said to be badly damaged - is likely to remain closed for several weeks, they added. "We can't go in until it's safe," geologist Viggo Aronsen told Norwegian broadcaster NRK' - The BBC Website.
Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters Alex Davies, Michael Cox and Sindre Haugetraa. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.