Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Suicide ain't painless

As expected, the fine of a fortnight's wages dished out to Jose Enrique set a precedent that Jabba has maintained by hitting ASBO with the same punishment for his own critical tweeting. I'm sure our errant midfielder is feeling suitably chastened and contrite, and is currently sitting quietly in a corner reflecting on what he's done...

The news of the fine - which, naturally, ASBO broke on Twitter - was accompanied with the revelation that he's been forced to train on his own. Well, that's one way of minimising his pernicious influence over the younger and more impressionable members of the squad.

ASBO's lack of self-restraint or refusal to conceal his views is infuriating. There was no need to speak out and now, with less than a fortnight to go until the start of the new season, we're having to face up to the prospect of losing not one but two of last season's most influential midfielders. ASBO surely knew what the consequences of prodding the hornets' nest would be but did so regardless - thereby helping to force Jabba's hand and destabilise the whole club by once again underlining the worrying division between the hierarchy and the dressing room that Enrique, Wayne Routledge and Kevin Nolan have all highlighted. (Alan Pardew, meanwhile, has been left with one foot on each side of an apparently ever-widening chasm...)

All that said, generally speaking I'm in agreement with Paul and ASBO's agent Willie McKay about the decision to effectively boot him out. "Suicide" was McKay's word, the agent also claiming to have been "inundated with interest" (today's Metro naming Arsenal, Man Utd and Spurs as being at the front of the queue). "I've probably got the easiest job of any agent in the transfer window", he boasted, while also refusing to close the door on the possibility of a reconciliation: "If Newcastle change their mind, I'm happy to meet Mike and Derek with Joey because Joey loves it up there". Over the years we've learned never to say never with this football club, but frankly I think there's less chance of that happening than of catching Paul or I in a Mackem shirt.

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