Taking the first ‘E’ out of Aliadiere

There’s an air of desperation in the, um, air, as middling players leave one middling club for another, revealing a middling gap at the initial middling club. One such example is the Human Pie-shaped gap left by Mark Fooduka at Middlingbrough.

But Gareth Southgate is nothing if not an utterly ineffective manager. That’s why he’s bagged the best possible replacement for 19-goal Fooduka – Jermaine Aliadire! Yes, he of 1 league goal in 7 starts during 8 years at Arsenal.

“He fits perfectly with the sort of player we are trying to bring in,” said sheepish chief executive, Keith Lamb. “He has pace and energy and he is young with his best years in front of him,” he continued, totally ignoring the fact that he couldn’t hit a Lamb’s arse with a Fooduka-sized banjo.

Fooduka’s departure has disappointed Lamb. “The fans can be assured that everyone at the club did everything they could to persuade Mark to stay,” said Lamb as he shut down the new specially commissioned Riverside branch of Domino’s Pizza.

“Mark Viduka is part of our glorious past now, and it’s not about what has happened in the past. It’s about what we do in the future.” Glorious past? Would that be achievement of one top half finish in 9 seasons or the 0-4 outclassing by Seville in last seaon’s European Also Rans Cup Final?

It surprised no one to hear Gordon Strachan say this weekend: “I’ve never had a plan in my whole career”. Those who recall him relegating Coventry, leading Southampton down a mid-table dead-end and bringing Adam Virgo, Kenny Miller and Paul Telfer to Celtic always assumed the hyperactive dynamo was living by the seat of his pants.

But he does have one plan – to escape Scottishness and play in a big European league with about 50 other clubs. “It will happen and the sponsors would flock to it. I really think it’s going to happen,” he insisted as European heavyweights like ADO Den Haag, FC Wacker Tirol and Longford Town eagerly filled in their UEFA paperwork.

Meanwhile former Celtic midfielder, crab-like Neil Lennon, turned down a move to fourth tier side Wycombe Wanderers last week while revealing that he had several other offers; including one from a “top” Premiership side. As Jose Mourinho quickly scanned the “L” entries in his rolodex, it has been revealed that he will in fact join “top” third tier side, Nottingham Forest.

Stuart Pearce is fooling nobody as he lobbies for a job where you do sod all most of the year to be turned in to a permanent position. The unemployed managerial failure has impressed Gabriel Agbonlahor and David Bentley so much that they’d rather lie on a beach for two weeks than represent his Under-21 team at the European Championships in Holland this summer.

“There is no doubt, in my eyes it’s definitely a full-time job,” said Pearce to a BBC reporter still chuckling at the Vassell, Samaras and Corradi forward line. “Part of the job spec would be getting to the clubs, meeting the managers and forging tighter links with the players and managers, so the situation which has occurred this time doesn’t reoccur.”

Bentley had predictably hit back. “It seems that I’m being punished for my honesty,” he moaned, looking sternly at the ice cream man who omitted the flake from his 99.

“It would be no good for me to go to the under-21s, come back exhausted seven days later for the Intertoto Cup, have an awful game and the club get knocked out in the first round with millions and European football at stake,” he continued, perhaps overstating his importance to the club but bringing up a good point all the same.

The Beckham bandwagon rolls on with Fleet Street ensuring he features in every printed story and is the answer to every clue in the cryptic crossword. The latest is that Real Madrid have tried to buy Beckham back from LA Galaxy but the Alexi Lalas has stroked his beard aggressive and said “no dice”.

The “So Hilarious I Hope It’s True” story of the day is that Diego Forlan is off to Anfield for £16m.

Flash in the pan David Nugent is so good that he’s told Everton he won’t wait all summer for them to buy him from Preston.

West Ham look set to become the new Leeds with £9m and £12m bids respectively for Premiership comme-ci comme-ca’s, Craig Bellamy and Jermaine Defoe.

The Mediocrity Express is chugging in to Wigan JJB Stadium Station with another band of Premiership nobodies of the Michael Brown, Mario Melchiot and Danny Murphy ilk aboard.

Joey Barton“I have heard it said that footballers are all about flash cars and expensive watches, but for me, it is all about winning medals,” was the rallying cry from Joey Barton who obviously got over-excited at Newcastle’s Intertoto Cup triumph last season.


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