Ian Holloway: I would take old timers like Scholes and Henry ahead of Tevez any day
Thierry Henry remains appreciative of his team-mates, humble and just a decent gentleman
Sunday 15 January 2012
If money was no object and I was offered a choice between Carlos Tevez, Thierry Henry or Paul Scholes, the last person I would take is Tevez. I am surprised any English club or manager would even consider signing him.
QPR are possibly the one exception because they are desperate to stay up, they have the cash and Mark Hughes worked with Tevez at Manchester City so he must think he can manage him.
But for me, it is a matter of principle. I genuinely wouldn't go near the bloke. I don't agree with what he has done or the way he handled himself over the last few months. No one is bigger than football but he is walking about as if he is.
The problem with an English club signing him is the message that would give to the rest of their players. Tevez's actions have been so well publicised and any player who does not want to go on as a substitute – if that's the truth – is showing a huge lack of respect for his team-mates, his manager and the entire club.
Now contrast that Mr Big Time attitude to Henry or Scholes and my God, what a difference. How wonderful it is to see the pair of them back in English football and at the clubs where they are already living legends.
Some people have labelled Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger as desperate for bringing them back. That's nonsense. It makes total sense from two absolutely brilliant managers and both players will make a huge impact.
Take Scholes. It doesn't matter how old he is because his game was never about pace. It's about beautiful passing. There is simply no one better at it. When he hits a pass, it stays hit. Any young player should watch him.
There was a shout going round that Fergie would sign Frank Lampard. I could understand that with the injuries they've had, but he is much better off with Scholes because the lad knows the club inside out.
Bringing Scholes back suddenly gives United what they've been missing. I mean, who would you rather have in midfield at the moment, Scholes or Fabio?
It also means Phil Jones can play in defence and start properly learning his trade there. Jones is going to be a sensational player, he already is. But being at the back every week, and being able to watch Scholes in front of him, will bring his game on in leaps and bounds.
Henry has already made a difference with that terrific, trademark goal in the FA Cup against Leeds last week, and what summed him up was that he didn't even want the man-of-the-match award.
Despite the fact that there is a statue of him outside the stadium, he remains appreciative of his team-mates, humble and just a decent gentleman – everything Mr Tevez appears not to be.
That's what it's all about. In the end, Scholes and Henry will go down in history as genuine greats of the game who will forever be revered at two of the finest clubs in the world.
Tevez will never have that. He's a good player, certainly, but unless he sorts his life out, he will never be remembered with any fondness by anyone – and what a damned shame considering the talents he has been blessed with.
Mancini is in good company
Will I ever get through a column without mentioning referees? I can almost hear you saying "change the tune, Holloway" but how is that possible when we continue to get the decisions we are getting?
Vincent Kompany is red-carded in the Manchester derby for one of the best tackles I've seen, then Glen Johnson gets away with a similar challenge in midweek against City and Roberto Mancini – quite understandably – is cheesed off about it.
Mancini's row with Steven Gerrard in the tunnel isn't because he's losing the plot or because he was under pressure after a couple of defeats. He was just reacting because he could see the injustice of it all.
Kompany's was never a red card. It was on a slippery surface and he went for the ball. Nani moved out of the way but only because it was a well-timed tackle. It wasn't a scissor tackle. He played the ball and won it. There is great skill in the timing of that and I don't care what anyone says, for me the officials got it totally wrong.
Nobby Stiles couldn't make a career out of football now. Even Bobby Moore, one of the greatest players to have worn an England shirt, might be struggling. And as for myself, I'd be knackered too.
My game was all about intercepting and getting tackles in. But if I played these days, there's a chance I'd be sent off every week. I'd be one of those lads splashed on the back pages every day and labelled a Bad Boy, when in truth all I'd be doing is making good, solid challenges.
A brilliant tackle is joyous to watch. It is as good as a goal. It is an integral part of the game and we have to be careful because we don't want football to become a non-contact sport.
As much as I like the Spanish way of playing, they need some handles on their shorts because they go down way too easily and tackling is almost illegal. We mustn't get like that in England. Football isn't just about being pretty. It is about winning battles and earning the right to play.
Pardew's brilliant – he has made Coloccini into a superb defender
Alan Pardew take a bow. He is a manager who is rarely in the spotlight, which is a shame because he totally deserves to be.
The man should be awarded a medal for what he has achieved at St James' Park (I refuse to use its horrible new sponsored title).
Pardew arrived in very difficult circumstances and yet he has moulded together a brilliant team in double-quick time.
Cheick Tioté is an extraordinary, exceptional player and Demba Ba has done so well that half the Premier League want him.
To think that Ba failed a medical at Stoke because of a knee problem. My old mate Tony Pulis must be thinking: "Oh my God, what did I do?"
Pardew lost his best striker in Andy Carroll, and in the summer he had to deal with Joey Barton's on-off departure. He handled that potentially difficult situation superbly and has moved on and improved the team.
Look at Fabricio Coloccini. The bloke was a calamity every week last time Newcastle were in the top flight. Now he is superb and his performances all season have been phenomenal.
It is all down to Pardew, who, if he carries on like he is, might have St James' Park named after him one day.
Jewell's a diamond
Paul Jewell has been getting stick for comments he made about a female linesman.
I know Paul well and I feel sorry for him because he is a decent person who would never set out to offend anyone.
He was angry that his team hadn't been awarded a penalty against Birmingham in midweek, and in response to a journalist suggesting that "everyone to a man thought it was a penalty", Jewell jokingly replied: "To every man, but not a woman."
It probably looks bad written down in the cold light of day and people can and will interpret it how they want, but he didn't mean it as an insult.
I have been on a course with Paul where he has stood up and told off a bloke who was being rude to someone else. He has the right values.
A couple of years ago we had a linesman who was deaf. Three of my children are deaf so I am fluent in sign language. When this bloke made a decision I didn't agree with, I actually signed at him "you're fucking wrong". Does that make me a bad person?
Football doesn't belong to any group and it certainly doesn't belong to men. Times are changing and although having females involved is a relatively new thing, it will soon become the norm and before you know it we will have female referees.
As long as they are good enough, that's fine by me. No game in the world has the capacity to unite everyone on the planet like football can, and the more people that can join in the better.
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