Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Gripes of wrath

According to our esteemed chairman Freddie Shepherd, signing a football player is "not like buying shoes off a shelf". Well, thanks for that Fred.

The fat bastard's comment appeared in this news item in which he defended the club's movements (or lack of them) in the summer transfer window. As ever when backed into a corner, Fat Fred somehow managed both to bury his head in the sand, insisting "We have nothing to reproach ourselves for", and to come out fighting with an attack on the concept of the transfer window itself: "It is absolutely ridiculous and really a restriction of trade, and I would like to see somebody challenging it. How can you stop someone from getting a job? What other business would allow this?". Strange how everyone else seemed to manage OK, eh Fred?

In any case, it seems that us fans weren't the only ones bemused and frustrated by our deadline day activities. Martin O'Neill and Villa were left fuming by our decision to recall James Milner to St James' Park having agreed to let him have talks with the Brummies (and after Milner had agreed personal terms) - and quite understandably so. Milner has looked more promising thus far this season, but he's unlikely to be a happy bunny now.

In other news, Michael Owen (remember him?) is finally ready for his second operation on that troublesome knee injury sustained against Sweden in the World Cup. Once again one of our key players will hopefully have cause to be thankful to the Colorado-based specialist Dr Richard Steadman - perhaps we should just add him to the payroll?

Owen has said: "The plan is to get as fit as I can through the rehab so I don't have to play in too many reserve or practice games and my obvious aim is to get back into the first team as quickly as I can". I don't know about you, but that looks like a recipe for disaster - that's where things went wrong last time, and there's no substitute for match practice.

On a cheerier note, Shay Given was in excellent form for the Republic of Ireland on Saturday, repeatedly denying the German attack before being beaten unluckily by a deflection. Flying left winger Alan O'Brien made another appearance in a full international, but with Damien Duff, Charles N'Zogbia and Albert Luque in front of him for a place in that position for our first team his opportunities on Tyneside look sadly limited. A shame, not least because it would be great to have a third O'Brien score against the Mackems...

Speaking of whom, isn't it marvellous to see how enthusiastic Dwight Yorke was to leave Sydney for Sunderland?


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