Friday, July 27, 2007

Coming in from the cold?

Could Albert Luque, under Sam Allardyce, yet come in from the cold? If so, then good luck to him - two goals in a pre-season friendly, albeit against opposition of the calibre of Celtic, represents but a few short steps away from his recent residence at the North Pole, and he's got Michael Owen, Obafemi Martins, Mark Viduka and a fit-again Shola Ameobi ahead of him in the pecking order. At the moment, that is - in a couple of weeks' time, when the inevitable injuries have kicked in, we'll have a front pairing of Luque and Andy Carroll...

The match itself, which ended 4-1, seems to have been remarkably one-sided, particularly given the fact that the Scottish champions are in theory further on with the preparations than us. Aside from Luque's two first half efforts, there was a goal for Martins and another for James Milner, making his first pre-season appearance having played a big part in England's European U21 Championship campaign.

Meanwhile, Fat Sam has revealed that Kieron Dyer, left out of the squad for Celtic's visit to St James', may end up leaving the club for "family reasons". A surprise, that - I think we all suspected "footballing reasons" and / or "disciplinary reasons" would be cited first... Perhaps, though, being closer to his family in Ipswich may yet involve moving West Ham so he can hang out with his Cristal-swigging mates in the capital.

Allardyce has once again been moaning about the lack of movement in the transfer market, admitting that our inability to offer players European football is costing us and tactfully suggesting that our new chairman might like to get up to speed with the running of a football club as soon as possible: "Trying to get to where you want to get can be a little bit difficult sometimes, and I understand that because you’ve got to find everything out about the new business, but you can get frustrated from that point of view because it moves slower than you’d like. It’s Chris Mort I deal with now in the main, but he hasn’t had that much experience in football terms, so one would hope that now we’ll get even quicker".

One player - a defender! - we've been linked to repeatedly is Norwegian international Brede Hangeland, currently plying his trade in his home country for FC Copenhagen. Apparently, though, we face competition from Martin O'Neill's Villa for his signature - haven't they already got enough Scandinavian centre backs?!

And lastly, imagine my complete lack of surprise to discover that a gentleman by the name of Barton with Newcastle connections had been arrested on suspicion of stealing a limousine and "driving while unfit". After all, we know he's just done his metatarsal in so is both unfit and at a loose end. But no, I did young Master Joseph a grave disservice, for the alleged felon was in fact none other than Warren 'Centre Parting' Barton - aided and abetted by the equally whiter-than-white Robert Lee! What on earth is the world coming to?! Whatever happened to the daft little dressing room pranks they used to play on fellow goody-goodies Alan Shearer, John Beresford and Gary Speed? Just go back to Whoopee Cushions and flies in sugarcubes, lads, and stay out of trouble.


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