Saturday, 21 April 2007

Beware Of The Wrath Of The Man Bereft

A chin with a thin Kirk Douglas cleft
squad by the bleeding left
don't shout he's deaf
head over heels in love with death
beware of the wrath of the man bereft
no marriage plans for action man
Action Man from the Ou est La Maison de Fromage anthology (1978), John Cooper Clarke

Last week's excellent episode of The Sopranos dissolved out to the music of John Cooper Clarke. I have no reason to mention this save to say that it was a perfect symbiotic amalgam of the world's greatest television show and the world's finest punk poet. Sometimes in life things just fit together, like a hoary old footballer and a desperate need for media exposure. In today's Mirror there is an amusing 'exclusive' by Neil McLeman, with a headline that screams: 'No Way To Treat A Legend'. The 'legend' is Teddy Sheringham and the subject is a 1980s popstar-style career that is fading irrevocably to grey. "Sheringham is fast becoming more famous for being the very ex-beau of Big Brother bully Danielle Lloyd rather than one of the original stars of the Premiership Years," observes McLeman. "Love him or loathe as the archetypal modern footballer, it is not a way to end a career." Sheringham agrees. "I have been very frustrated," he complains. "I get paid to play football and that is all that I want to do. This manager doesn't like or respect the way I play football, I presume. I don't know that there is anything else that has happened that could have affected the situation - he hasn't told me."

In other news, Alan Curbishley has decided to clamp down on premature and over-exuberant goal celebrations. As the second lowest scorers in the Premiership this season you might imagine our collective inability to actually hit the back of the net might be the bigger concern, but not so. "When we score, everyone seems to get involved," Curbishley said. "Even the defenders seem to find themselves in the corner of the pitch. Chelsea were waiting to kick off and saying: ‘Let’s get on with it.’ If we score against Everton, I hope it might be a bit different. They say it is a vulnerable time when teams have scored. I’d like to think they have their minds on the next couple of minutes. Let’s eradicate it."

In the same article Curbishley has reiterated there is no 'agenda' behind team selection. Several players, including Yossi Benayoun, have expressed their dissatisfaction about not being included by the manager. The midfield player returned against Chelsea, but Marlon Harewood has not been in the squad for the past four matches and Paul Konchesky for five. "You can’t keep everyone happy," Curbishley said. "If the players who are left out expect to be on the bench, they need to give a thought about the manager’s problems. If people can’t get in the squad of 16, it’s up to them to get themselves back and one way is to be in people’s faces in training. That is the attitude that’s got to happen for those out of the side, and those in the side have got to stay there." Finally, the Irons manager predicts that Dean Ashton will not be leaving in the summer if we are relegated. "I don’t think we’re under undue pressure that others would be," he said.

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