July 2008 Archives
SLAPSTICK, farce, a distinct lack of laughs and a welcome ending.
Now it has finally been resolved, the Gareth Barry transfer saga should be turned into a feature length ChuckleVision film.
Well, the last time Final Word witnessed such relentless "to me, to you" nonsense involving someone called Barry it was from those cheap rate comedians up north.
Mind you, I doubt we'll see Barry Chuckle for quite a while...
*After missing out on Barry, Benitez turned to Liverpool legends Rush and Aldridge
HOWDY, I'm Mat Kendrick from Mercury 24/7. And in a moment I will be speaking to EPL (England Preeeeemier League) legend Brad Friedel, the former B'Burn backstop who has signed with Brumagen soccer team Aston Villains.
Fortunately, this is not how I introduced myself to Villa's new goalie ahead of our exclusive interview for Sunday's paper.
Sadly, the same cannot be said of the Yank TV station Kron's surreal interview with a bemused Darren Huckerby upon joining the San Jose Earthquakes.
As featured in today's Sunday Mercury, Warwickshire's Chris Martin shows he has a good sense of humour when it comes to his tag as 'the world's worst batsman'.
So here is the hilarious clip from down under:
ONE minute he's up s**t creek without a paddle. The next he's miraculously back from the dead.
Is Gareth Barry football's answer to canoe man John Darwin?
If so, can someone please lock him up where he is for the next six years?
Here's a sneaky peek at Albion's new sponsor-less home and away shirts which are due for release on August 1.
As the Baggies' marketing gurus thrash out a deal for a replacement for last season's sponsors T-Mobile, fans will have to make do with this retro design.
But surely that's not such a bad thing because judging by the design of the home shirt, memories of big Cyrille Regis MBE terrorising defenders for the Albion in the 70s and 80s will come flooding back for those nostalgic folk.
The club are offering fans the chance to have the new sponsor's logo weaved on to the shirts for free once a deal is agreed but I'm not sure too many will take them up on that offer.
ANYBODY who indulged in one pint of Tuborg too many at Ryan's Irish Bar over the weekend will understand why it's taken so long to compose these thoughts.
So here's the my overdue postcard from Odense.
Final Word was lucky enough to be on board the private jet which was chartered straight from Birmingham to Odense to cut out Copenhagen and a two-hour coach journey.
The result was a whistle-stop 36-hour trip from Blighty to Denmark and back again with Villa's dramatic return to European action thrown in for good measure.
Most of the talk among the small press contingent and the 30 or so punters who forked out ÃÂ£600-plus to "fly with the players" was how inactive Villa had been in the transfer market ahead of this tie.
Football managers always talk about having selection headaches, certainly as the new season approaches, but Blues boss Alex McLeish has had a weight lifted off his mind over the club's captaincy.
As soon as news filtered through that Damien Johnson required surgery on his back injury then there was never any doubt that new-boy Lee Carsley was the man to take up the skipper's armband.
But Final Word has understood for a while that Johnson was never going to continue as captain and as soon as Carlsey returned to his roots to put pen-to-paper on a deal with Blues, it was obvious who was going to lead Big Eck's troops in the Championship.
Mercury Sport exclusively revealed on Sunday that Martin O'Neill was pondering a move for unknown French midfielder Nicolas Marin and here's a little taster of what the Lorient man could bring to Villa Park.
But be warned, because as ex-Czech star Karel Poborsky proved 12 years ago, one well-taken lob doesn't make a Premier League player.
RANDY Lerner has resisted the urge to replace steak and kidney pies and pints with nachos and root beer in the Holte End food kiosks.
The chairman/owner has ignored the impulse to abandon the search for a right-back and sign a quarter-back instead.
And the billionaire has avoided making his staff say 'Have a nice day' instead of the more traditional Brummie greeting of 'am yow all roight?'
But if proof were needed of the Americanisation of Aston Villa it came with today's news that Martin O'Neill is close to signing a player called Brad.
I may be risking the wrath of cricket's traditionalists with what I am about to say but I like the idea of city franchises for the proposed English Twenty20 rival to the Indian Premier League.
But hold fire!! Before you accuse me of tearing apart one of this fine land's greatest sports by throwing my weight behind these madcap ideas, the actual details of the tournament don't interest me - I'm just looking forward to the crazy ideas for team names.