Friday, October 10, 2008
ESPNsoccernet: October 21, 3:31 PM UK
The week that was
This was the week in which the sinking Newcastle United ship began to right itself and the football world started to snigger at Tottenham Hotspur instead.
Friday 03 October: The great Spurs irony
The end of Juande Ramos' reign as manager of floundering Tottenham Hotspur is nigh, at least according to some newspapers, and the Spaniard is set to be dethroned by the very same cloak and dagger tactic that usurped the crown from predecessor Martin Jol.
In 2007 Ramos was offered the Spurs job whilst Jol was still manager and despite Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy's denial that these reports were true, the undermined Dutchman was indeed eventually replaced by Ramos, who resigned as coach of Sevilla.
Now it seems that history is about to repeat itself, or at least it could've had Spurs not targeted Mark Hughes as the man to bring order to White Hart Lane.
Quite why the Manchester City manager would leave the richest club in the world, who have already vowed to spend about £500million in the January transfer window, for the worst club in the Premier League is not exactly clear; but a five-year deal worth around £20million might help.
Tottenham deny the truth of the reports, of course.
Saturday 04 October: Adriano on the comeback trail
Self-confessed party animal Adriano continued his rehabilitation from the drinking and womanising problems that looked set to stall his promising career with a goal and an assist in his first full 90 minutes for Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan.
Earlier this year the Brazilian striker had been given a leave of absence to return to Brazil after admitting suffering from problems with depression, alcohol and socialising with some undesirable characters. Adriano spent his sojourn in convalescing with Carnival queen Viviane Castro, who was later kicked out of a parade for dancing nude.
That incident, amongst others, saw the troubled, overweight striker fall out of favour under Roberto Mancini, but under Mourinho the 25-year-old is taking steps to reclaim his crown as one of the world's most feared strikers.
He is also back in the Brazil squad.
Sunday 05 October: Poles apart
FIFA could still kick Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland out of their own competition despite a temporary agreement between world football's governing body, the Polish government and their country's football association.
The Poles have avoided immediate FIFA sanctions over the suspension of their FA and will be able to play their World Cup qualifying double header this weekend; but still have some negotiating to do to secure their long term future.
The PZPN football association was suspended by the country's sports ministry seven days ago for allegedly failing to address corruption issues. UEFA and FIFA, who take a firm line that there should be no political interference in national associations, said Poland could be thrown out of international competition unless the government reinstates the FA.
Monday 06 October: Toon time warp
Newcastle United manager Joe Kinnear continued his riveting performance as Tyneside's leading man with the shock news that he was in talks with Gerry Francis about joining the Magpies' backroom staff.
Francis came to prominence as Queens Park Rangers boss in the early 90's - a time when Joe was also at his zenith with Wimbledon - and the former Tottenham Hotspur manager has been out of the game for almost seven years.
But before accusations of being out of touch could be voiced by the recently chastised press Kinnear loosened his two-tone collar, removed his piano-key tie and shifted focus to the return from injury of Toon striker Shola Ameobi.
"I'm going to work one-to-one with him most afternoons and he could be a John Fashanu," Kinnear said with a straight face.
Yes, that's right, John Fashanu: the epitome of the modern game.
Tuesday 07 October: The look of the draw
Next season it will be rebranded as the Europa League but during Tuesday's group stage draw it was still just the poor old UEFA Cup.
The down-trodden competition may have been further belittled since Michelle 'The Tinkerman' Platini decided to revolutionize it, well give it a new name anyway, but as its dying act the poor little fellow offered up a chance to watch Spurs humiliated by Serie A joint leaders Udinese, Russian giants Spartak Moscow and probably by Dinamo Zagreb and Dutch side Nijmegen too.
Manchester City were drawn in a group with Steve McClaren's FC Twente and that gives us all the chance to laugh at the former Englishman's post-match interviews in his now infamous crazshie Dutcsh acshent. Quite frankly, it doesn't get much better than that.
Who cares who the other English teams were drawn against? It's all about the Europa League now. Right Michelle?
Wednesday 08 October: Punish the racists
Probably the most surprising news this week was that England defender Rio Ferdinand took a break from saying 'bruv', 'mercked', filming 'Rio's Wind-Ups', and, to be fair, playing some sublime football at Manchester United, to utter some irrefutable sense.
Speaking after FIFA fined the Croatian FA a paltry £15,000 for their fans' racial abuse of England striker Emile Heskey in Zagreb, Ferdinand said: "They [football authorities] make a lot of comments about what they are going to do but they never back up the words with actions. Croatia were fined a few thousand quid. What good is that going to do?
"That is not going to stop people shouting racist or homophobic abuse. If things like this keep happening you have to take points off them. Then the punters will realise the team is going to be punished.'"
Well said, Rio. If only FIFA/UEFA had the balls to do it.
Thursday 09 October: It's no joke
Bottom of the league, with a worse points tally than Derby County - the worst team to ever play in the Premier League - and now Tottenham Hotspur have finally realised that the world is laughing at them.
Spurs midfielder David Bentley said: "I know people are having a laugh at the fact we are bottom of the league at the moment but it's up to everyone at the club to stop the jokes."
Spot on David. But until the club does sort itself out here are few jokes that dropped into our mailbox during the course of the week:
What's the difference between Spurs and a triangle? A triangle has three points.
And on similar lines: The London Underground are reporting a serious points failure in the Tottenham area.