CAN YOU EAT THREE? OR WAS THAT SHREDDED WHEAT?
When Steven Gerrard sits down for breakfast in the Liverpool canteen next season and finds three Weetabix there rather than a pop tart, he can look no further than new owner, Tom Hicks.
Defending the manner in which he funded his purchase of the club by borrowing £178m from Bank of Scotland, he compared it to his purchse of the breakfast cereal company: “We bought Weetabix and we leveraged it up to make our return. You could say that anyone who was eating Weetabix was paying for our purchase.”
Hicks, with co-owner George Gillett, will pay the annual £21m interest charges out of his own pocket if there are not enough dividends paid to them to cover it. Sounds a bit dodgy to us. Expect free transfer moves for Dean Windass and Andy Goram this summer.
SYLVAINIAN FAMILY MOVES HOMES
Showing the kind of lucidness that he rarely showed in his distracted performances this season, Sylvain Distin walked out on Manchester City today straight in to a reported £40,000 a week deal with Portsmouth.
“It has been an incredibly tough decision but, in the end, I just feel I want a fresh challenge,” he told national hacks as he dragged a huge sack of money marked “signing on fee” behind him.
“I had five very enjoyable years at City and I wish them all the best but, seriously, how bad were Vassell, Corradi and Samaras?” he mostly said.
Meanwhile Ghana and Udinese midfielder Sulley Muntari sounds a little bit too keen to play at ramshackle Fratton Park.
“I’m just waiting for the day to join Portsmouth. I want to play here,” he said through an interpreter who was decked out in a Portsmouth 1950s retro shirt. “The club also have a great manager in Harry Redknapp, who has been following me since last year,” he continued, giving the eerie vision of an east-end spiv sat in a Ford Cortina in a Udine side street.
Continuing his job application he reeled off “class” players like “Pedro Mendes, Sol Campbell, David James and Kanu” as reasons why he wants to move to the south coast just before his interpreter introduced a Powerpoint tribute to Alan Ball.
It’s not often we’d pay any heed to John Toshack who, for those who have forgotten, is the manager of Wales. But for a change he’s said something a bit clever.
“There are Premiership players and there are players who play in the Premiership, and it’s not the same thing,” he said in response to Wigan forward David Cotterill’s (one league goal last season) complaints about not being included in the squad.
Toshack has boosted his squad options with call-ups for Oldham’s Neal Eardley, Cardiff’s Chris Gunter, Wolves Wayne Hennessey, the bass player from the Lostprophets and some sheep. There is still no room for John Hartson. Literally. He just won’t fit on the bus.
+++ TIGHT SHORTS +++
Stuart McCall has been installed as manager of fourth tier side Bradford just six seasons after he competed in the Premiership with them.
Atoine Sibierski, ridiculed by Newcastle fans prior to being one of their best players last season, has stuck two fingers up at the doubters and rejected a new deal at St James’ Park.
With the doors recently widened at Anfield it looks like Rafa Benitez will finally squeeze Harry Kewell out through them.
New Sheffield United anchor Bryan Robson will need to be more convincing than he was in his Jossy’s Giants cameo if he is to persuade Phil Jagielka, Paddy Kenny and Michael Tonge to stay at the club – although the rumoured new Dunkin’ Donuts branch in Sheffield could be the clincher for Kenny.
Steve Sidwell is all set to become the new Scott Parker – he’s joined Chelsea on a free transfer prior to a 2008 transfer to a Premiership also-ran.
+++ TWAT OF THE DAY +++
“”I am worried about AC Milan generally and I am worried about myself. My main focus is to get myself right. But if I can do that, we will see if Gattuso can stop me.” Steven Gerrard wheels out the usual footballing cliché until he once again couldn’t finish an interview without mentioning Gennaro Gattuso. Reminds me of that childhood psychosis where you slag off the girl you fancy just so no one will suspect.