Friday, March 21, 2008

Our future's in your hands, Steve

Given the state of our defence, our Premier League survival now rests largely in the goalkeeping gloves of Steve Harper, with the news that Shay Given, who hasn't played since the home thumping by Man Utd, will be sidelined for six weeks by surgery on his groin injury and the subsequent recovery period.

It's a blow, as the Irishman has so often proved inspirational in bailing us out of trouble, but Harper has waited patiently for his chance and Given's injury problems this season have handed him the opportunity to impress. We could certainly have far worse replacements to step into the side.

In other news, Michael Owen, evidently buoyed by his goal and performance at St Andrews on Monday night, has insisted talk of a new contract is at the back of his mind. "The moment you say the club have not offered you a contract, it is the club snubbing you and vice versa, but it’s not like that. The club have not offered me a new contract and I have not knocked on the door and asked for one. There are more pressing things". Very true, Mick - starting with the six-pointer against Fulham tomorrow afternoon. We really ought to be able to put to the sword a side that haven't won away for 31 fixtures, even if that last win came at our expense...

Meanwhile, our former coach John Carver has taken over as head coach from Mo Johnston at MLS side Toronto FC, currently gearing up for their second ever season. Nobby Solano's reportedly turned down an offer to join him, preferring to extend his stay at Upton Park. No doubt that will have disappointed Carver, but probably not as much as the realisation that his new club's star striker is ex-Mackem lump Danny Dichio...

And finally, hats off to Matty Pattison, who's proven that even a move to Norwich couldn't cure him of the stupidity and propensity towards bad behaviour he must have picked up from the likes of Craig Bellamy and Kieron Dyer when on Tyneside. Following enthusiastically boozy celebrations of his side's 2-0 defeat at Sheffield Utd, a result which dropped the Canaries right back into relegation trouble, Pattison - nicknamed 'Party' - woke up drunk, thought he was late for training and jumped into his car wearing only pants and a T-shirt, only to be arrested by police when he arrived at the training ground. Glenn Roeder's probably wondering what he's done for the same old problems to have followed him from Tyneside to East Anglia - but then he did sign him...


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