Osama bin Laden in Arsenal shirt
When I say Royal Wedding Special what I really mean is an attempt to cash in on the vast amount of global publicity generated by what is surely the event of the year, if not decade. I also have an entirely unfounded suspicion that the announcement of the death of Osama Bin Laden (Arsenal supporter) may have been delayed so it would have maximum impact and not be overshadowed by last Friday’s spectacle.
Anyway my plan is to crowbar in some of the various sports people present at the wedding and who better to start with than serial friends of people in high places – David and Victoria Beckham. You can’t argue that they don’t look good, because even in my uneducated eyes they clearly do but do they really know the happy couple? Well maybe, but you can’t shake the suspicion that it’s a piece of good publicity for everyone involved.
Dave & Vicky
Here’s someone who definately is part of the royal gang these days – Mike Tindall, ex-England rugby player and his other half Zara Phillips. Zara is the daughter of Princess Anne and consequently well up there in the royal rankings.
Mike & Zara
Here’s one for the colonies. I can’t imagine where Will & Kate met Ian Thorpe, Australian Olympic gold medal winning swimmer but who am I to question the lists if invitees drawn up by the future King of England?
We do know however that both Royal brothers are big rugby fans and were both at Stadium Australia in Sydney when England won the rugby world cup there in 2003. We saw pictures from the dressing room post-match featuring the pair and it comes as no surprise that Knight of the Realm Sir Clive Woodward, coach of that unbeatable England squad, received an invitation.
Lastly here’s another rugby player, Welshman Gareth Thomas, all dolled up for the occasion.
Well. we’re approaching the end of another season of English Premier League football. The Premier League title has just about been clinched, the Carling Cup definitely has been and we’ve still to see who wins the Champions League and the FA Cup.
All of which means it’s a pretty good opportunity to spread some unlikely transfer rumours and indulge in a little speculation about who’s going to be playing where next season.
Joe Cole is the big current story and it looks like he’s not part of Kenny Dalgish’s plans for next season (that’s if Dalglish is part of Liverpool’s plans next season). He was brought in by Rafael Benitez who was subsequently shown the door. Cole is now 29 and could easily find a club back in London where he could spend the last few years of his career.
For Arsenal fans there are some worrying rumours surrounding their players – midfielder Samir Nasri still has not signed a new contract and Chelsea, Manchester United, Inter Milan and Manchester City look interested. Gael Clichy is another player attracting attention from other clubs, specifically Liverpool and lastly, Arsene Wenger could be a target for Real Madrid as they prepare for the departure of Jose Morinho back to the Premier League. In fact, one wonders what the odds are of Wenger and Morinho swapping places – that is if Morinho hasn’t got something lined up already – the internet rumour mill will shortly be in full swing.
A slightly odd story, also from Liverpool, regarding Serbian international Milan Jovanovic who apparently hasn’t liked Liverpool since he arrived and, like any insular character, only wants to live where there are a bunch of Serbians to converse with. To be fair to him he was bought by Rafael Benitez and may not be getting a look-in now that Dalglish is manager but there you go. Wants to go to Belgium apparently. More Serbs.
Lastly a quick word for noted half-wit Mario Balotelli who has notched up ten thousand pounds worth of parking fines and had his car impounded 27 times since he has been at Manchester City. Idiot. Anyway it’s a good excuse to show his pathetic attempts to put a training bib on.
Well it finally closed at the end of January and what could have been a damp squib actually turned out to be quite interesting. There were some serious big money moves, the type of transfers that could well be on their way out at the end of this season when new UEFA rules come into effect that limit a clubs spending relative to it’s income.
So what happened? The biggest one is surely the transfer of Fernando Torres to
Chelsea from Liverpool for, depending on who you believe, around £50 million. That’s pounds, not euros or dollars and it’s a British record by some distance. Now let’s think about that new UEFA law again – it’s based on a club’s profit over a period of three years. How will the era of huge transfer fees continue, you say. Right, take Ronaldo as an example – in one season following his £80 million move from Manchester United to Real Madrid the Spanish club sold £100 million worth of replica Ronaldo shirts in Madrid alone. Only a few players in the world can manage to shift those shirt numbers and Torres is one of them. Chelsea also have a global marketing operation second to none so suddenly that transfer fee looks pretty cheap and it also suggests the big spending will continue.
Moving on and the big surprise was probably Andy Carroll’s switch from Newcastle to
Liverpool. Liverpool spent £35 million of their Torres money to bring the old-fashioned English striker to Anfield. It’s a big price but you have to say it’s not a big risk. He’s big lump, but fast, fairly skilful and he knows where the goal is. Partnered with Luis Suarez, Liverpool’s other big signing from Ajax Amsterdam for £20 million, the combination could be a successful one.
It was real last minute stuff this January, Chelsea relying on Liverpool to sell who in turn were relying on Ajax and Newcastle to sell. It was also a record breaking window in terms of money spent – total spending by EPL clubs was £225 million.