Reality bites the dust among the beasts of the beautiful game

By Peter Bills
Sunday 23 October 2011 09:07

In the west of Wales this week, two bulls, said to be “aggressive and irate”, escaped from a trailer and ran amok in a nearby town. Chaos ensued as the beasts lurched at anything and everything in sight. They were eventually shot by marksmen.

A worthy parallel with these beasts thrashing around desperately would be English Premiership soccer this past week. Talk of desperate creatures doing desperate things…..

Newcastle United quietly makes every player on their books available for transfer, apparently without the manager's knowledge. James Milner, one of their most promising youngsters, is snapped up by Aston Villa for £12m.

This news, of course, completely undermines the position of Kevin Keegan, whose position at the club has been made untenable. The only argument now concerns how much compensation Keegan’s lawyers can drag out of Newcastle for what is alleged to have been a constructive dismissal. His football career is over, confirmed by the Newcastle experience.

A few hundred miles away, something almost identical has been going on at West Ham. Players were sold on deadline day without the knowledge of another manager, Alan Curbishley. The fire sale of Anton Ferdinand and George McCartney, both to Sunderland, by the Icelandic owners of the club desperate to bring in some cash to allay growing financial concerns, left Curbishley standing on a trap door. He duly dropped through it 24 hours later.

Meanwhile, members of the Abu Dhabi royal family rush in to buy Manchester City, and immediately sanction a £32.5m transfer fee to bring the Brazilian striker Robinho from Real Madrid. The player had made no attempt to hide his desperation to leave Madrid and sign for Chelsea, his long term suitors. So what happened to the Londoners?

Well, City offered the Brazilian a whopping £160,000 a week wage packet and hey presto, he fell into their arms. Desperate men in desperate times……….

Furthermore, the new front man for the Abu Dhabi connection announces publicly that the club may now turn their attention to recruiting Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester rivals United. The transfer fee? “Real Madrid were estimating his value at £89m but a player like that would cost a lot more” said a man called Dr. Sulaiman Al-Fahim. “I would think £135m but why not? We are going to be the biggest club in the world, bigger than both Real Madrid and Manchester United”.

It’s a good thing the good Doctor is in the profession he is. He should have some pills that will help keep his spirits high when City lose at Wigan and then get hammered at Chelsea.

Reality, if it ever existed, finally went flying out of the window of English football this week. In the very week when the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development announced that Britain will be the only major economy to fall into recession this year, English football either hit the jackpot or went stark, staring crazy.

It isn’t just the fact that decent men like Alan Curbishley and Kevin Keegan got a bullet in the back of their heads. That’s par for the course nowadays in English football.

But the Abu Dhabi deal confirms that the world of English football is truly living in a fool’s paradise. What the hell does a transfer fee of £32.5m and a salary of £160,000 a week for a so-so Brazilian footballer who has scored just 25 goals in 101 league games for Real Madrid, have to do with the real world? Nothing at all, in most peoples minds……

So perhaps those marksmen in Wales ought to cross the border and get busy in the world of English football.

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