2008/09 Soccer Thread in Shock £50m Chelsea Switch! (And Other Ludicrousness)

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First off, I apologize for falling so far behind with the 07/08 thread. I promise to treat the 08/09 thread with the respect it deserves, and to pet it and whisper sweet nothings in its ear when it's lonely and sad.

Anyway, the long and the short of it so far is Cristiano Ronaldo is still at ManU (this saga won't end until the end of August, I guarantee you), Ronaldinho is headed to AC Milan, Alexander Hleb went off to Barca (is Arsenal really a "selling club"? And how in the hell can Arsene say that and convince Fabregas et al to stay around? Selling clubs finish 3rd. If they're lucky.), Mr. Lampard may still be headed to Inter but we don't know yet, Samir Nasri goes to Arsenal, Drogba may or may not be staying at Chelsea (much like it has been for the past eight months), Liverpool are being linked with every Spanish striker of note in La Liga, Robinho may head for Chelsea, Dmitar Berbatov has been repeatedly linked with a big-money move to ManU, Robbie Keane is said be very close to leaving for Liverpool, Hull City's plans to avoid relegation apparently involve George Boateng, Crouchinho is off to Portsmouth, Steve Sidwell is heading for Aston Villa, Gareth Barry is still a Aston Villa player (surely not for long), and most inexplicably, new Blackburn boss Paul Ince thinks he can squeeze some extra mileage out of Robbie Fowler's legs.

Oh, and Manchester City signed Jô (look forward to four months of him underachieving) and have been linked with just about every player who featured in Euro 2008.

And i'm spent. To keep you entertained for a bit, here's a bunch of goals from the Russian Premier League season this year. Enjoy.

Nothing to report besides bumping the thread. This might be the most frustrating season for transfers in recent memory. So many rumors so little actual transfers. I think part of the problem is its a bunch of buyers trying to buy from other buyers. Of the majority of the big transfer sagas none of the teams are broke and must make a deal so they can just give the middle finger to the opposing club and own player who has a couple of years left on his deal and wait it for the huge offer they want.

The smaller, less volatile Keano that doesn't manage Sunderland is Liverpool-bound. With other players leaving Tottenham, and Berbatov still rumored to be on his way out, I have no damn idea what Juande Ramos has up his sleeve. He's about to lose his best two strikers, and get nothing in return.

Meanwhile, Brad Friedel is headed for Aston Villa, with Paul Robinson headed to Blackburn. Andrew Johnson will be playing for Fulham next year, but that's about it as far as headline moves (if these latter three could honestly be considered headline moves). That's about all the news there is, unless Manchester United's South African tour actually interests you, in which case, you're an idiot.

EDIT: Oh HELL YES. Anyone interested? It's not just "Pick the Score", its Fantasy Football people.

Prederick wrote:

Oh, and Manchester City signed Jô.

They look like miserable fellow sitting in the corner of the bar with too much money to spend, waiting so badly to get laid with anything which has something remotely similiar to tits.
By December they will wake up with horrible mid-table hangover and try to forget what they were doing last summer.

Prederick wrote:

\With other players leaving Tottenham, and Berbatov still rumored to be on his way out, I have no damn idea what Juande Ramos has up his sleeve. He's about to lose his best two strikers, and get nothing in return.

He doesn't have to worry. It's Tottenham so at the end of the day they will end at the same position no matter what happens. It's magic.

Prederick wrote:

Meanwhile, Brad Friedel is headed for Aston Villa

They wanted Artur Boruc from Celtic but it turned out that asking price was... 15mil pounds. They could get a dozen of Premiership keepers for that kind of money and quite frankly, they realized it.

Prederick wrote:

EDIT: Oh HELL YES. Anyone interested? It's not just "Pick the Score", its Fantasy Football people.

Looks interesting, plus they have pretty entertaining weekly podcast. I might give it a try.

Arsenal really need to make that 1 more signing Wenger was talking about to keep pace. Keane is good not amazing and will add some depth to a team who was really banking on Torres being super man last year. Kills the Barry deal for Liverpool also as Alonso seems to be staying and I don't think they have any funds left after this splash. Which is probably for the better, really didn't see how Barry added anything that the team needed compared to other spots.

As for Man U not sure if they will make an actual signing this year. To seal the Tevez deal they supposedly payed 32m this summer as last years deal was just a year long loan. Makes sense as I was really scratching my head last year when they signed 4 players at large deals even if some of them were back loaded on performance bonuses. Makes more sense now that Hargreaves was around 18m flat, Andersson and Nani are deals that are long term performance loaded (14m Nani, 17m Andersson) and the Tevez deal actually only happened this summer.

UCRC wrote:

They look like miserable fellow sitting in the corner of the bar with too much money to spend, waiting so badly to get laid with anything which has something remotely similiar to tits.
By December they will wake up with horrible mid-table hangover and try to forget what they were doing last summer.

So what'd the equivalent be when Shinawatra gets impatient again and fires Mark Hughes for not finishing in the top 3?

Prederick wrote:
UCRC wrote:

They look like miserable fellow sitting in the corner of the bar with too much money to spend, waiting so badly to get laid with anything which has something remotely similiar to tits.
By December they will wake up with horrible mid-table hangover and try to forget what they were doing last summer.

So what'd the equivalent be when Shinawatra gets impatient again and fires Mark Hughes for not finishing in the top 3?

Well, it was 4am when I wrote this and I was a drunk. All I remember is that I spent rest of that night exploring that ManCity metaphore from different angles.
Thankfully I don't remember much more.

Well, it was 4am when I wrote this and I was a drunk.

That's how all the best posts start.

So, the Guardian Fantasy Football allows for a "Friends League" to be set up where we can all insult one another for selecting Titus Bramble (assuming someone's that silly). I am in.

Prederick wrote:
Well, it was 4am when I wrote this and I was a drunk.

That's how all the best posts start.

Viking rat funeral? ;]

I'm all over Fantasy Football. As soon as I get back from whatevertheplacewhereimdrinkingfortherestofweek is I'll make an account and build my superstar team full of Brazilian strikers.

Spurs continue the clear out with Kaboul choosing Portsmouth, Malbranque off to Sunderland and Gardener off to Hull.

2 steps forward 1 step back? Ramos is clearing out the deadwood he doesn't want but at the same time there goes the teams depth. Chimbonda + Taino + Robinson and obviously the most important Keane to the list. Say what you want about those players I think every footy fan can recognize the depth 2-3 of those guys gave the team and their answer is Bentley for 17-18m to be confirmed tomorrow? ;P Also linked with Arshavin but I hardly see how the rumors started with Barca and Arsenal being out priced for him by Zenit for the fee to be lowered and him end up at Spurs.

Barry deal was on again then officially dead by A.V website. Apparently there was a deadline that passed and A.V now say Barry will be at A.V next year and I believe them as I don't see Liverpool making a 18m bid to un-convince them.

Arsenal sign the Bischoff kid that no one (besides Werder fans) has heard of until he was linked with Arsenal. Hopefully that was not the last signing that Wenger was talking about.

Ben Haim off to Man City for 6m...

jowner wrote:

Spurs continue the clear out with Kaboul choosing Portsmouth, Malbranque off to Sunderland and Gardener off to Hull.

2 steps forward 1 step back? Ramos is clearing out the deadwood he doesn't want but at the same time there goes the teams depth. Chimbonda + Taino + Robinson and obviously the most important Keane to the list. Say what you want about those players I think every footy fan can recognize the depth 2-3 of those guys gave the team and their answer is Bentley for 17-18m to be confirmed tomorrow? (...)

Arsenal sign the Bischoff kid that no one (besides Werder fans) has heard of until he was linked with Arsenal. Hopefully that was not the last signing that Wenger was talking about.

Listen to one of last ESPN podcasts (22th July), they had very interesting discussion about Arsenal and Newcastle budgets and transfer strategies. It's up on iTunes.

Meh... listened to it had some credit until they started going on about Walcott. Did they not watch what he did vs AC and Liverpool last year? To say he hasn't shown that flash of brilliance to show hes that wonderkid makes me wonder if they watch even. One guy also described Hleb as one of Arsenals most influential players.... Sometimes these guys on Podcasts totally turn me off when I realize they have to talk about so many topics that when they touch on one I know well that they are totally off base and it makes me think how much crap is what the rest they say then?

Also anyone who actually thinks Arsenal doesn't have money is nuts. Wenger has a boatload of money but he prefers to run the club the way he does and not let the spending spiral out of control. 60k seat stadium sold out every game at London ticket prices and they turned the old ground into Condos to sell in London which some were sold already and the next block go on sale this year I think. Its 24m in debt over the next 17 years left. Its really not that much a drain considering the Prem TV deal, the CL TV deal and selling out a 60k stadium each game each year. It would be a drain if the club were being run like Man U at the same time but its not. Wages in check and not being taken for a ride in the transfer market. For example after the Bentley deal today Arsenal are actually in the black again this year in the transfer market.

Now one guy is actually brining up the junk about Ronaldo might not win the player of the year because of Euro 2008... sigh.

jowner wrote:

Now one guy is actually brining up the junk about Ronaldo might not win the player of the year because of Euro 2008... sigh.

Uh yeah, he might not, because while he had a spectacular season, the Ballon d'Or crowd is easily swayed in years of major international competitions. I did a little looking and there are quite a few players who won the Ballon d'Or in years they won international competitions. Zinedine Zidane (WC 1998), Matthias Sammer (Euro 96), Marco van Basten (Euro 88). You'll also remember Fabio Cannavaro won it in 2006, to a general consensus of "Seriously?". Well, Iker Casillas was astonishing for Real Madrid (the most shot-at keeper in La Liga, gave up the least goals) and just happened to captain his country to a European Championship (all the while having a great tournament, never giving up a goal in knockout play and saving two penalties against Italy). Again, given that we know the people who vote for it can be swayed by international tournaments, I think it's a fair statement to wonder if CR7's such a dead-on lock anymore. He didn't perform at Euro 2008, which, in some eyes probably hurt him, although anyone bringing out the "big-game bottler" pap needs to be smacked.

Did they not watch what he did vs AC and Liverpool last year? To say he hasn't shown that flash of brilliance to show hes that wonderkid makes me wonder if they watch even. One guy also described Hleb as one of Arsenals most influential players....

We watched a different Arsenal last year then, because I saw Walcott still developing, and having a few amazing games and a otherwise hum-drum season. I saw Hleb form a devastating partnership with Fabregas in a astonishing creative midfield. I don't think there's anything wrong with saying the jury's still out on Walcott (Jermaine Pennant also has played a few good games) while Hleb has done better. Difference is, I think, Hleb is another in a long line of mercurial attacking midfielders who will string together 10 great games and then disappear for 10 more. I mean, you saw the AC Milan games. Fabregas got most of the credit, but in the first, Hleb damn fine.

A few interesting follow-ups. Shevchenko won't be heading back to Milan, I guess because he's enjoyed not playing a Chelsea that much. He must really be great friends with Abramovic, but still, it's astonishing that the man's fallen this far from grace. Mendieta-esque actually, although there was no string of injuries to do it.

Also, what's up with Everton?

As for Ronaldo he scored 42 goals led his club to two titles. The candidates that have been put up against him are Torres and Casillas who both didn't even win player of the tournament for the Euro who was Xavi and should of been Senna. Both were put up by the Spanish media and then parroted by every other media source cause thats how soccer news works. Cut paste rumor mongering with lots of it coming out of Spain. Ronaldo will win the awards and I just hate when media just tows the line of the headlines and doesn't stop and use their own logic to disagree. Also I'm not even sure how bad of a Euro Ronaldo had he scored a great goal and setup 2 others. After the pace he set for himself in the season it was as if anything but a goal a game and a finals appearance was going to be a failure. Surgery after the tournament for a injury he was supposedly carrying for 3 months and his team being not Man U at the Euro's needs to be mentioned also.

As for Walcott I don't expect him to light the world on fire this year but after that run against Liverpool I think its pretty clear the kid has some huge potential. In yesterdays friendly it was the same small flashes again. Guy looks like a pinball and he is dismissing all the too small claims as he just bounces off everyone and keeps going. The quote from the podcast was "hes never done anything to make you say yes hes ready to step up or be that wonderkid" baloney. Also anyone who compares Walcott to Pennant is ignoring the facts Pennant has been charged with DUI and supposedly cant even read. They also made that comparison in the podcast.

the exact Hleb quote was: "most influential players in their last two seasons!" any Arsenal fan who watches every game each season would laugh that one off. Hleb? 10 goals in 3 years, o wait he creates assists instead? a whopping 17 in 3 years to Cesc's 23 in last year alone. Hleb is one of the biggest frauds of a player, looks great dribbling in circles but a guy who played the majority of last season right behind a huge striker he didn't get many goals or assists. The dynamic duo was Flamini and Cesc and I'm still worried to see who's going to do the dirty work for Arsenal this year in midfield. Hleb will be forgotten by September as Nasri in the Stuttgart game already showed as much pace and dribbling and even a will to take shots.

edit: Back to my rant about podcasts I pretty much tuned out WSD entirely unless they are having good guests on. Before the Euro's started they were doing a run down of the teams and they got to Portugal. It was all fine until they mentioned Maniche... Not that he was not in the squad that all 3 people talking had completely forgot he was left out of the squad and they were talking about how he would be in midfield working with Deco and how Maniche always popped up with important goals. Out of all 3 none stopped and corrected themselves and said "Hey wait thats the exact player that was left out and there was some controversy about it" These guys sometimes have some insiders knowledge that is interesting but I find more then often they are just talk radio, quantity over quality.

jowner wrote:

As for Ronaldo he scored 42 goals led his club to two titles. The candidates that have been put up against him are Torres and Casillas who both didn't even win player of the tournament for the Euro who was Xavi and should of been Senna. Both were put up by the Spanish media and then parroted by every other media source cause thats how soccer news works. Cut paste rumor mongering with lots of it coming out of Spain. Ronaldo will win the awards and I just hate when media just tows the line of the headlines and doesn't stop and use their own logic to disagree. Also I'm not even sure how bad of a Euro Ronaldo had he scored a great goal and setup 2 others. After the pace he set for himself in the season it was as if anything but a goal a game and a finals appearance was going to be a failure. Surgery after the tournament for a injury he was supposedly carrying for 3 months and his team being not Man U at the Euro's needs to be mentioned also.

The question was not "Who will win?" it is "Is Cristiano Ronaldo a lock?" It's silly to blame the media for how the Ballon d'Or is given out, since it is given out by France Football magazine, which is part of said media. They may be highly reputable, but they're still the media. And yes, Cristiano Ronaldo absolutely should win the award. But again, the question isn't "should" is was if anyone else had a chance, and I say again, if Fabio Cannavaro could win it on the strength of the World Cup, what's stopping Casillas from taking it? Ronaldo has two titles, but so does Iker, and based on who you talk to, some might consider a La Liga title and Euro 2008 more impressive than the EPL and Champions League. I'm largely playing devils' advocate here, but Torres isn't even close, obviously, only Casillas has a resume that can even be compared to Ronaldo's.

The quote from the podcast was "hes never done anything to make you say yes hes ready to step up or be that wonderkid" baloney. Also anyone who compares Walcott to Pennant is ignoring the facts Pennant has been charged with DUI and supposedly cant even read. They also made that comparison in the podcast.

That is true, but we're not debating whether or not Walcott is a better citizen and more literate than Pennant, we're debating whether or not he's a better player. If reading and the ability to not drive drunk were requirement to play football, probably 1/8 of all players in the EPL would be out of a job.

I think Wenger is doing his usual job of bringing him along, and we'll see even more of him next year, but do I know if he's the "next big thing"? He's no Kun Aguero yet, I don't even rate him above Bojan yet. But that potential does seem to be there, and Wenger is certainly the best manager in the world to bring that out of him. If anything, Wenger's smart enough to understand that far too much pressure was heaped on him to be the "next big thing". But he might be. I don't know. For now, all i've seen is flashes, just flashes of quality. Even as a person who hasn't been following the game closely for a decade yet, I know that flashes of quality do not make a player good. At least not yet. Potential has to be realized.

Hleb? 10 goals in 3 years, o wait he creates assists instead? a whopping 17 in 3 years to Cesc's 23 in last year alone. Hleb is one of the biggest frauds of a player, looks great dribbling in circles but a guy who played the majority of last season right behind a huge striker he didn't get many goals or assists. The dynamic duo was Flamini and Cesc and I'm still worried to see who's going to do the dirty work for Arsenal this year in midfield. Hleb will be forgotten by September as Nasri in the Stuttgart game already showed as much pace and dribbling and even a will to take shots.

If Football is all about stats, then Michael Essien is useless. Thank god it's not, and that's what makes the game beautiful. Was Hleb better than Fabregas? More important than Fabregas? Absolutely not. Did the work of Fabregas and Flamini in central midfield, and the play of Adebayor allow him the freedom to be the best player he could be? Absolutely. Hleb certainly was a player of circumstance, but you still need the talent to make something out of a circumstance when it comes to you. If Nasri adjusts quickly to the Premier league, they may have in him a player who can do everything Hleb did and offer more of a goalscoring threat. But calling Hleb a fraud sounds like sour grapes over the admittedly dickish way he handled his transfer to Barcelona and the immediate aftermath of said transfer (trying to tempt other Arsenal players to join him). World's best? No. Most influential Arsenal player? No. Fraud? Not that either.

The sports media are only partially paid to offer inside access to players and teams, and from what i've gleaned about the way clubs are conducting themselves with the media these days, that inside access is getting harder and harder to come by. So they end up using rumor and gossip, and more often than not, balance the analysis with opinion, some of which people will find infuriating and debate them on. It's the nature of sports talk, it's always about quantity of product rather than quality. In today's media world quality isn't what matters in debate, it's frequently who yells loudest. Sports talk is rather most guilty of this. So I take it with a grain of salt. I hear someone say they don't think Brian McBride was all that good, I heartily disagree. I say Stoke City looks like Derby 2.0, and someone else will heartily disagree.

Not that he was not in the squad that all 3 people talking had completely forgot he was left out of the squad and they were talking about how he would be in midfield working with Deco and how Maniche always popped up with important goals. Out of all 3 none stopped and corrected themselves and said "Hey wait thats the exact player that was left out and there was some controversy about it"

I know, in this world of "Anti-Liverpool bias" that everything is a conspiracy or gross "you should be fired" incompetence, but i'm inclined to think that it may have just been a mistake. I've heard/seen a lot of them. Hell, even ManU's Swedish Supporter's site made a mistake re: the Berbatov transfer saga. But that's me.

[

jowner wrote:

Meh... listened to it had some credit until they started going on about Walcott. Did they not watch what he did vs AC and Liverpool last year? To say he hasn't shown that flash of brilliance to show hes that wonderkid makes me wonder if they watch even. One guy also described Hleb as one of Arsenals most influential players....

Well, I both agree and disagree (that was clever, wasn't it?). I could agree that Walcott had some extraordinary games in second half of season, sometimes being the only driving force behind whole team. But it's hard to tell from that little time he spent on pitch whether he's grown to be a guy they expected him to be. I think that this season will tell.
Hleb... well, I don't know. He had string of really poor games where he didn't seem to get anything going, but sometimes he could be really brilliant. That's why he will fit perfectly in Barca. On bench,

jowner wrote:

Also anyone who actually thinks Arsenal doesn't have money is nuts. Wenger has a boatload of money but he prefers to run the club the way he does and not let the spending spiral out of control.

Which is another way of saying that he's afraid of spending.

Prederick wrote:

You'll also remember Fabio Cannavaro won it in 2006, to a general consensus of "Seriously?".

Ameeeen.

Prederick wrote:

He didn't perform at Euro 2008, which, in some eyes probably hurt him, although anyone bringing out the "big-game bottler" pap needs to be smacked.

I could, but all this talk about him makes me a very sad panda, so maybe not. It's hard to tell how rest of 2008 will look for him while we are still unsure where he will play, but if he will perform like he did last year there won't be any other contenders. Torres maybe. Casillas? I can't see a reason why. He wasn't performing extraordinary at Euros, he just got job done.

Prederick wrote:

But calling Hleb a fraud sounds like sour grapes over the admittedly dickish way he handled his transfer to Barcelona and the immediate aftermath of said transfer (trying to tempt other Arsenal players to join him)

And to make things even more funny at the same time he kept saying that Wenger was like a father for him and he owes him very much.

Stoke city is Derby 2.0! They really need to tweak the rev sharing as the gap from 4 to 5 and 17 to 18 19 20 will keep growing but thats another topic.

I can agree to disagree on the Ronaldo and Walcott points. Actually one thing the DUI and reading is a huge part of Pennants character flaws where Walcott has 0 signs so far of being a total idiot. Sure the Pennants and Bartons have made it as Footballers but they all would of been better players with an ounce more of brains in them.

As for Hleb I cant agree. He was easily the 2nd most frustrating Arsenal player to watch last year with only Eboue trumping him. The comparison to Essien isn't fair as they play in different parts of the park. For example I would never say Makelele is a poor player as by the end of a game he might only have the stats of 90minutes played and a yellow card to his name. The difference for me with Hleb is he played directly behind a striker in Ade who was getting attention and he still couldn't muster more then 2 goals last year let alone any sign that he wanted to shoot. For me if your playing in that position your play will translate into goals/assists/shots which do get recorded as stats and it didn't for Hleb. If there was a stat for mazy runs sure he would be king but those don't always translate into anything. As for Nasri it doesn't even have to be him. Ideally the person I want where Hleb was last year is RVP which will happen if someone is healthy to take over the left side. Between Nasri/RVP/Rosicky/Vela/Eduardo (I don't rate Diaby) Arsenal will not miss Hleb in the slightest and thats what irks me when people of 'knowledge' make it sound like they will. Honestly if a pundit with an axe to grind wants to have a go at Arsenals XI this year mention the wide gaping hole Flamini and Gilberto have left at the holding role. Have a go that the captain last year was a mess and the central defense is the same mix of players who didn't impress last year.

UCRC wrote:

Which is another way of saying that he's afraid of spending.

I think the problem with Wenger is hes just to aware in the transfer market. He looks at a 15-20m signing breaks down the players weaknesses and strengths and realizes that he can get a similar player for 5-10 elsewhere who is more raw and can be molded closer to the exact player he wants. Or even identifies the 17 year old on the absolute cheap who he can not only mold into the exact player he wants but will also be loyal to the club. After this off season of badge kissing pay me more antics by lots of players I think its becoming clear that in the future your best players being from your own academy and actually loving the club they are at will be huge advantage.

As for news the Arshavin to Spurs is really looking real if Spurs actually get a matching bid in. Still doesn't solve their problems in defense though.

CL draw was today Shakle vs Atletico is the tightest draw. Really want to see Aguero in the competition this year.
Arsenal vs FC Twente.. Maybe I would be worried if they weren't managed by McClaren.

edit: Arshavin rumors die off and Spurs supposedly are after Roman now instead. Who cares they both don't play defense. Barca try to spark the Ade rumors again and Arsenal kill the matter by offering Ade a new contract apparently with 2-3 additional years to it.

jowner wrote:

As for Hleb I cant agree. He was easily the 2nd most frustrating Arsenal player to watch last year with only Eboue trumping him.

Senderos. (Needs no further explanation)

As much as I don't like Hleb I think that Rosicky's injury was what made him fail so miserably. He is very potent and creative when playing near side or as a offensive playmaker. With Rosicky gone he had to cover too much pitch and sometimes he had too much to do.

I think the problem with Wenger is hes just to aware in the transfer market.

Yeah, he is. He got his strategy and plan. But when there is a gap in your midfield (and you won't do much in EPL without talented and experienced defensive/supporting midfielder) you have to put money on the table. There are plenty of great DMs in France who can be bought for less than 10m. I'm worried that he will try to experiment with Diaby, Denilson or Song and it could backfire.

Good one on Senderos I guess he isn't high on my most frustrating is hes not a first XI player usually anyways. But yes last year he could make me pull my hair

I am also worried about the central midfield. Supposedly he rates Song as a CB not a midfielder so not sure how much we will see of him there. Diaby? doesn't track back, cant tackle and I doubt he can mark players or has the concentration so no thanks. Denilson is interesting but it would be a large task to put up for the 19 year old. Not sure if he has the defensive qualities either.

Tomorrow is the start of the emirates cup with a game vs Juve. Will be interesting who Wenger starts at the spot. If its Eboue again I cringe for this season. He losses concentration and can be lazy not something you want in a midfielder destroyer.

The Fantasy Football friends league is up and running. I can't believe the season actually starts in less than two weeks. Anywho, to join the league, I need to invite people, so if you're interested, sign up, make your team and PM me your e-mail address and i'll send the invite.

I'm in. I have no experience nor proper knowledge (especially when it came to picking defenders) but I gave it a try. I'm still not sure how reserve players work. Anyways, I've sent you PM.

Could be worse, you could be a Man City season ticket holder, given today's news about our beloved Thai owner.

Oh wait. I am.

And which Fantasy Football game are you guys playing ?

Guardian's. Is ESPN or official (premierleague.com) any better?

davet010 wrote:

Oh wait. I am. :(

Man, I really feel for you.
Oh wait. I don't. Man City is laughable anyway.

And why is that, exactly ? I'm guessing viewing the Prem from hundreds of miles away puts it all into perspective, eh ?

No, let me guess - you're Man U/Arsenal/Chelsea/Liverpool armchair glory hunter - feel free to delete as appropriate.

davet010 wrote:

And why is that, exactly ? I'm guessing viewing the Prem from hundreds of miles away puts it all into perspective, eh ?

Nay, I was just joking, although splashing that twenty millions on Jo still keeps me laughing. Other then that I dig few of City's players (Corulka for teh win!)

davet010 wrote:

No, let me guess - you're Arsenal armchair glory hunter

Fixed that for you, sir

davet010 wrote:

And why is that, exactly ? I'm guessing viewing the Prem from hundreds of miles away puts it all into perspective, eh ?

No, let me guess - you're Man U/Arsenal/Chelsea/Liverpool armchair glory hunter - feel free to delete as appropriate.

Well, i'm a Fulham/Reading supporter, so i'm laughing at the whole fiasco. It's had "disaster" written all over it from day one. If Hughes survives past February when they're in 13th place, i'll be stunned. Like others, i'm sure, I'm taking City fans to task for embracing Shinawatra as they did for nothing other than the money.

And it's Guardian Fantasy Football here. You need to PM me your e-mail address if you'd like to be in the GWJ league though, once GMail stops being retarded, i'll let everyone in.

UCRC wrote:
davet010 wrote:

And why is that, exactly ? I'm guessing viewing the Prem from hundreds of miles away puts it all into perspective, eh ?

Nay, I was just joking, although splashing that twenty millions on Jo still keeps me laughing. Other then that I dig few of City's players (Corulka for teh win!)

davet010 wrote:

No, let me guess - you're Arsenal armchair glory hunter

Fixed that for you, sir ;)

That's OK - of the big 4, I actually quite like Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.

As for City - top 10 this season. It might have escaped most people's notice that they are the current Youth Cup holders, and 7 of the team that finished vs AC Milan were home grown products. Our balance sheet is nothing like as debt laden as any of the big 4 and we've already got a new stadium, so no instant half billion quid cash calls to make (which is why Liverpool's owners are back pedalling, as they can't raise the cash themselves).

Shinawatra, maybe not exactly straight up, but as a Fulham fan you've not got much room to talk with Mr 'Cash for Questions' Al-Fayed and his senile conspiracy theories, and there's no way our owner can fail the 'Fit and Proper Person' test when a thieving money launderer like Abramovich passes. He's paying some sort of massive kickbacks to Putin and being a good boy and staying out of politics, because without that he'd be pacing a cell like that other chap, Khodorkovsky or whatever he's called, or else getting a Polonium-210 topping to his salad.

davet010 wrote:

Shinawatra, maybe not exactly straight up, but as a Fulham fan you've not got much room to talk with Mr 'Cash for Questions' Al-Fayed and his senile conspiracy theories, and there's no way our owner can fail the 'Fit and Proper Person' test when a thieving money launderer like Abramovich passes. He's paying some sort of massive kickbacks to Putin and being a good boy and staying out of politics, because without that he'd be pacing a cell like that other chap, Khodorkovsky or whatever he's called, or else getting a Polonium-210 topping to his salad.

So wait, being a rich asshole (which, if we're going to call people on that, half the damn Premier League's chairmen are out) is the same as...

Wikipedia wrote:

However, his government was frequently challenged with allegations of corruption, authoritarianism, demagogy, treason, conflicts of interest, acting undiplomatically, tax evasion, the use of legal loopholes and hostility towards a free press. He was accused of lèse-majesté, selling domestic assets to international investors and religious desecration. Independent bodies, including Amnesty International, also expressed concern at Thaksin's human rights record. Human Rights Watch described Thaksin as "a human rights abuser of the worst kind", alleging that he participated in media suppression and presided over extrajudicial killings. A series of attacks in 2005 and 2006 by Sondhi Limthongkul and his People's Alliance for Democracy destroyed Thaksin's name and reputation. He was also subject to several purported assassination attempts.

Seriously, i'm not sitting here saying that Abramovic is a wonderful gentlemen, nor Al-Fayed. You'll note neither ended up on Amnesty International's big list of "bad people" (even with Abramovic possibly having participated in gangland warfare during the "Aluminum Wars" in Russia. Mind you, such a statement is nothing but hearsay at this point.) Also, neither are wanted to stand trial in their native country for various possible crimes. This is, essentially, my gripe. The Kool-Aid, stop drinking it. Of the many, many scummy businessmen who have taken over clubs, Shinawatra is arguably one of the worst. And it just struck me as insanely disingenuous to see so many City fans suddenly backing him and trying to play down his abuses of authority once he stepped in, because if he'd bought ManU, the blue half of Manchester never would've let the Red Devils forget all this for one measly second.

More importantly, "well whatever I did isn't bad because you did something just as bad" isn't an argument. Our chairman conspiracy deluded prick (who, may I remind you, hasn't been accused of presiding over extrajudicial killings), that doesn't make Shinawatra any less of a (according to the courts of Thailand right now) criminal. Moreover, even if Al-Fayed did these same things, it doesn't absolve Shinawatra. I'm not comparing and contrasting here, setting ourselves up as the club with the greatest chairman on the planet, wrong is not mitigated by other wrong.

It's sad, because I prefer City to United, I was just incredibly disappointed to see so many turn a blind eye to a man who, even with the average Premier League chairman's number of closet skeletons, stood way, way out.

I think City can finish in the top 10. I don't think they will however, because I think Shinawatra honestly believes that finishing in the Top 4 is a realistic goal this year, and that's utterly ludicrous. And I fear that if they aren't on pace for that by February, out goes Hughes, in comes someone new, and the whole thing starts again.

Prederick wrote:

And it's Guardian Fantasy Football here. You need to PM me your e-mail address if you'd like to be in the GWJ league though, once GMail stops being retarded, i'll let everyone in.

Wait a minute, shouldn't we see each other's line-ups?

Wait until the season starts and they start accruing some stats.

I actually have a crush on Man City but thats more because I just love the thought of them beating United (Arsenal fan who might actually detest United more then love Arsenal).

Anyways I don't think the situation is as bad as its being made out to be. Theres enough sharks swimming around the Prem looking to buy up clubs so the best thing that could happen is the FA to force Shintwat out and for City to end up with some other benevolent rich owner who's not so dirty and or crazy. The only way the situation gets bad is if the finances are worse then being made out to be and players start being sold and Hughes tries to jump ship. If they can keep it together until the FA punt the owner out it might not be so bad. eg If Corluka is sold to Spurs like rumored would be a major step backwards of what the club is doing IMO.

Not like City is Newcastle or something. Thats a bigger joke and circus and they even have the circus master in Keegan to make sure the show goes on.

transfer updates: Kaboul to pompey is done. Even if you don't rate him wheres Spurs depth at D? They surely must have to buy atleast one defensive player before the window closes.

SPL player of the year Cuellar to A.V. Great move IMO. They have added a solid CB and a veteran keeper and Oneil says they are not done yet.

Wednesdays CL qualifiers are closing in but I don't think any of the games are on normal T.V going to have to hunt for feeds over the net.

Edit:

Manchester City boss Mark Hughes is believed to be considering his future as the crisis deepens over Thaksin Shinawatra's status. With the former Prime Minister of Thailand believed to be short on funds it is thought the club are looking to off-load several of its star players, including Vedran Corluka and Stephen Ireland, in order to put their finances on an even keel.

From the main page of soccernet. So yea they will be fine if they some how manage to do the opposite of this

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