TO HULL AND BACK
As the flood waters rose and then disappeared down the drains again, they left behind a little surprise package in Hull – none other than former Middlesbrough legend, Juninho.
“Juninho was very impressed … and it’s obvious that Hull are gearing up to get into the Premier League,” bleated his agent Jonathan Hassall side-stepping any mention of “drains”, “Celtic” and “career” in the same sentence.
With the little Brazilian having played in the grimy north-east already, Hull chairman Paul Duffen didn’t believe he had to overwhelm him too much with spin. “Paul was saying that it’s the seventh biggest city in England,” the easily-impressed Hassall remarked while at the same time being wowed by a man’s ability to put on a hat.
Juninho – who signed three times for Middlesbrough – joined world class talents like Emerson and Fabrizio Ravanelli at the Riverside. This time he’ll be lining up with Bryan Hughes and Richard Garcia. But at least he’ll be doing it in the seventh biggest city in England.
BOREDOM REIGNS AT CHELZZZZZEA
Alex Ferguson’s transfer policy – which seemingly involves using the search filter on Football Manager to list any players whose transfer value is £20m and over – has dominated the summer back pages, leaving Jose Mourinho with little to do than play gin rummy with his free transfer signings Tal Ben Haim, Claudio Pizarro and Steve Sidwell and look forward to the arrival of (free transfer) Alex.
But now it looks like they will finally spend some money on Lyon winger Florent Malouda. About £14m of it on a player who is probably marginally better than Luis Boa Morte.
“We’ve been in dialogue with Lyon and it would be nice to conclude a deal before going to Los Angeles next week,” the likeable Peter Kenyon waffled, sounding almost as bored as Roman Abramovich clearly is.
Even Jose sounds bored. “Nobody from the board has said ‘Jose, you have to only bring in players on a Bosmans because we have no money to spend’,” he told reporters after a fitful snooze in front of a bank of microphones.
On Sidwell: “He is a player I like. He is a player with the mentality which is very welcome in our dressing room and our philosophy. He is an English player with English mentality completely adapted to the Prem…zzzzzzzzz”
MANCHESTER CITY RENOVATION PLAN
If you thought there was a lackadaisical air at Stamford Bridge then throw a duvet over Eastlands. Sven Goran-My-Son Eriksson took charge of his first Manchester City training session before he even got the managers job. Having seen what was on offer he subsequently asked potential new owner Thaksin Shinawatra to buy him a whole new team.
Having sent Nicky Weaver packing to the Championship and seen the Facetious Four of Corradi, Samaras, Vassell and Dickov in action, the excitable Eriksson must be wondering why he’s set himself up for another fall. It sounds like it’s going to be a disaster.
But fear not!
In a repeat of the classic Graham Taylor/Phil “Yes, boss” Neal partnership, Tord Grip is back! Expect classic quotes like “we’re working on Plan B now – but just how that plan looks, I don’t really know.”
+++ TIGHT SHORTS +++
Xavi Alonso’s brother Mikel is to have a trial with relegation candidates Bolton.
Chris Sutton has suspiciously announced his retirement after suffering blurred vision. It sounds a bit like a player who announces his international retirement five minutes after a manager has left him out of a squad.
Self-professed West Ham legend Nigel Reo-Coker is worth £8.5m to Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill probably in the same way that Stilian Petrov was worth £6.5m.
Chris Coleman is the manager of Real Sociedad. We know it happened days ago but it still seems a bit mental.
Wigan Athletic Donkey Paddock is ready to take in two further mules in the form of West Ham’s Marlon Harewood and Fulham pacifist Michael Brown.
+++ TWAT OF THE DAY +++
“I’ve never played in Spain and never will. This is my last contract.” Self-important, sulking tosser Thierry Henry predicts the future with 0% accuracy last summer.