Outside the Box: Loan stars head for Norwich on a Roeder well travelled

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The Independent Football

If loans were suddenly called in, no club would suffer more than Norwich City; not financially, but because they would be hard-pushed to field a team. The Canaries currently have no fewer than eight players on loan, even though a maximum of five can be used in any match-day squad of 16. Football League regulations allow eight "standard" loans in one season, of whom four must be aged under 23, plus "emergency" loans of between one and three months. There is, however, a loophole by which players from outside the League do not count, so Norwich additionally have John Kennedy from Celtic and Arturo Lupoli – or Loopholi – from Fiorentina. Their manager, Glenn Roeder – "I love loan players, for those that don't, bad luck" – may have been inspired by last season's loan champions, Stoke City, who gained automatic promotion while using 33 players all told, many of them belonging to other clubs. Ironically, it was Stoke who complained when Sheffield Wednesday broke the rules by naming six loanees for the 1-1 draw against them last March, one of whom scored. As two of the players were unused substitutes, Wednesday escaped with a small fine, just as Leeds had done in a similar incident a year earlier.

Cesc's U-turn is not so Fab

Et tu, Cesc? "I don't even want to think about leaving Arsenal," Fabregas said on 21 August in an interview at a London cancer ward that had hardened hacks drooling over what a nice young man he was. By last weekend, talking to a Spanish radio station, this had become: "Right now I'm fine at Arsenal but I cannot deny that to return and play for Barcelona would be a dream come true." Next week, Theo Walcott says: "It's all about looking after No 1 in this game and I would love to play for Manchester United one day."

Who's next at City as media head for the Tardis?

Thaksin Shinawatra may be gone from Manchester City, having made a tidy profit, but the fallout from his ill-conceived regime continues. The club's head of communications, Paul Tyrell, is the latest departure, after several months of gardening leave. With long-serving vice-chairman John Wardle and chief executive Alistair Mackintosh long gone, survivors from the pre-Thai era are few, and those who opposed the sacking of Sven Goran Eriksson last summer even fewer. Meanwhile, Mark Hughes' desire to make the Carrington training ground a much more private place has resulted in the media being relocated to a new edifice known variously as "The Tardis" or "The Pod", situated far away from any footballers.

Kray-zy days for Kinnear

With Tony Jimenez (vice-president, player recruitment) having left Newcastle United and no sign of a new owner, let alone manager, Joe Kinnear could yet find himself involved in transfer business come the winter window. What sort of player might he go for? The journalist Hunter Davies, who first met Kinnear almost 40 years ago and helped write his autobiography, recalled in the 'New Statesman' how as a rookie manager at Wimbledon Kinnear was asked if he had any players in mind as the tough midfielders required. "Reg and Ronnie Kray, they'd do for me," was the reply. To his surprise, he received a nice letter from Ronnie, who like his twin brother was being detained at Her Majesty's pleasure, offering to play on Saturdays if his release could be secured, and wishing him all the best. Kinnear signed Vinnie Jones instead.

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