July 2009 Archives

Sporting thought of the day

By Andy Walker on Jul 24, 09 11:11 AM

Michael Owen, Bobby Zamora, Marlon Harewood, Andriy Voronin, Frazier Campbell, Marc-Antoine Fortune and now Mark Viduka.

Is there a striker out there that Hull City haven't tried to sign?

Sporting thought of the day

By Andy Walker on Jul 23, 09 12:43 AM

Sometimes it's easy to get bored of football.

What with footballers' ever-expanding wage packets pulling them further away from the common man, the same old teams winning the same old trophies and the saturation of the sport through 24-hour, non-stop coverage.
But when an experienced international manager with UEFA Cup, Coppa Italia and Serie A silverware behind him walks into a League Two club to take charge, you once again realise that anything is possible in this magical game.

Boy, this lad's young!

By Andy Walker on Jul 21, 09 09:09 AM

Wolves based last season's successful promotion charge on a 'young and hungry' foundation while Blues are currently in the market for the fresh legs of a youthful midfielder, but surely this is going too far?

Meet Mauricio Baldivieso who has just made his debut for top-flight Bolivian team Aurora - at the age of 12!

With Lee Carsley and Damien Johnson (team and club skipper for the 2008/09 campaign respectively) unlikely to play a great deal next season and Liam Ridgewell injured for the opening months, it leaves the question - who will captain Blues in the Premier League?

There are several candidates, should Carsley not be selected in the starting line-up.

Stephen Carr and Lee Bowyer are both vastly-experienced campaigners who should easily be able to step into the role.

Or will Alex McLeish hand the armband to new-boy Barry Ferguson? After all Big Eck knows the midfielder's leadership qualities having taken on the job for club and country.

An outside bet is young Scott Dann, who captained Coventry at the age of 21 and recently admitted to me during an interview that he'd love to be handed the armband at his new club.


Ash to Ash

By Mat Kendrick on Jul 18, 09 01:57 AM

WE know there hasn't exactly been a flurry of transfer activity at Villa Park so far this summer.

But surely Martin Laursen's unfortunate retirement hasn't left setpiece specialist Ashley Young with nobody to aim for from his corners...?

At least with regular taker Gareth Barry leaving and James Milner fluffing a couple of spot kicks on England under-21 duty, Ash has put in a pretty impressive audition for the penalty vacancy...

Much of the talk this week has been about Andrew Flintoff's decision to retire from Test cricket at the end of the current Ashes series due to his constant battle against injuries.

However, the sympathy should be equally spread to his fellow injury-stricken 2005 Ashes hero Simon Jones. simonjones.jpg

Flintoff is still looking forward to playing international cricket to a certain degree as, in his own words, he's aiming to become the world's greatest one-day player.

On the other hand, Jones is facing unemployment at the end of this summer having been told that his contract with Worcestershire won't be renewed.

The Welshman was an unsung hero of the 2005 victory and played a role as equally-important as Flintoff in turning over the Aussies on that occasion.

But while Flintoff has faced a very public battle against injuries while still remaining firmly in the international spotlight, Jones' fight to get fit has seen him become something of a forgotten man on the county circuit. The odd glimmer of hope may have flashed by, but Jones will be begrudgingly starting to admit that his days in an England shirt are gone for good.

Forget Freddie's plight for a minute and spare a thought for Jones.

Sporting thought of the day

By Andy Walker on Jul 14, 09 08:42 AM

Sir Alex Ferguson is right to make a stand against the astronomical price-tags that clubs have placed on their players this summer.

Some may say that the Manchester United boss is hypocritical (and I admit that he's hardly blameless - see Juan Sebastian Veron) having bagged £80 million for Cristiano Ronaldo, but there's no doubt that the Portuguese wing wizard was a special player who would have only ever been sold for a record-breaking sum.

It's the average players that are suddenly valued at an out-of-this-world fee that are the big problem in the game.

Fergie, and other Premier League managers, shouldn't be held to ransom and the sooner this over-inflation stops the better. Otherwise the sport of football will become damaged beyond repair.

IT must be a month or so now since David Bentley made comments in a national newspaper about being in talks with Aston Villa, only for nothing to materialise.

And now, Final Word can reveal exclusive footage of the want-away Tottenham star again trying to attract the attention of Villa boss Martin O'Neill while chatting to his agent.

Roger - Mrs Johnson

By Mat Kendrick on Jul 9, 09 03:07 PM


BIRMINGHAM newboy Roger Johnson met up with his Blues team-mates for the first time at their return to training this week.

But it's safe to assume that Roger's missus Melissa wasn't enlisted to help put the players through their paces at Wast Hills.

Shame really given that this WAGS' WORKOUT deserves a sneaky peak...(the exercise bit at least, if not the girly nail varnish bit).

Sporting thought of the day

By Andy Walker on Jul 7, 09 04:59 PM

A few eyebrows would have been raised with the news that one-time Blues and Wolves target Oguchi 'Gooch' Onyewu has joined Italian giants AC Milan on a three-year deal.

After all, at the age of 27 he's hardly developed into a world-beater and he failed to attract the big-boys of the Premier League following his short loan stint at Newcastle.

USA international Onyewu is, at best, a middle of the road Premier League player and would have been an acceptable acquisition for either Blues or Wolves.

So, call me sceptical, but I can help but think that poor old Gooch's move to the San Siro is one big marketing ploy. Because while Real Madrid look to cash in on shirt sales following the mega-bucks purchase of Cristiano Ronaldo, maybe AC Milan want to corner the multi-billion dollar American market?

And the fact that they travel to The Home Depot Center on July 19 to take on David Beckham's LA Galaxy in a friendly, just adds further weight to my theory.

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