Sunday, 17 February 2008

Bad Head In The Morning

Sunday. Tabloid. Gossip. I can't get out of bed. Not with this head...

The People regurgitate the Paolo Di Canio story that everyone else ran with a month ago. Slow night boys? Di Canio has revealed his dream is to return to West Ham United as manager. The Upton Park legend has 'exclusively' told People Sport (via the medium of a magazine interview he gave weeks ago) that he will quit playing this summer, when he turns 40, after completing his second season with Italian third division club Cisco Roma. The maverick Italian insists he wants to manage in the Premier League once he has completed his coaching badges. He is quoted as saying: "I will take up managing next year. I hope to have the same success as a coach that a did as a player. My dream would be to manage in the Premiership because English football is the best in the world. My dream in particular would be to manage at West Ham, that would be perfect. I spent four seasons there and I would love to go back and win something with them. The fans are fantastic there and the atmosphere at Upton Park was always special. I haven't been back for a few years but I hope to go and watch a match in the Bobby Moore Stand before the end of the season. It would be incredible to go there as a manager. Every weekend I watch all the English games on the TV but I have a special place for them in my heart, for West Ham. I watched the game against Liverpool the other week with four friends, all Italian West Ham fans, and we celebrated when Mark Noble scored the penalty in the 94th minute. When I watch the Premiership I am always proud to see players that were young boys when I was at West Ham, like Joe Cole, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand. I saw them grow up into men. The standard in the Premiership was always good but these old West Ham players, Jermaine Defoe as well, stand out for me as the best English players."

Di Canio was renowned for his fiery temperament as much as his sublime skills during eight years in British football with Celtic, Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United and Charlton Athletic. He is currently banned for four matches after abusing a referee. Di Canio said: "I'm a bit different now, I try to keep a control of my temper - but I sometimes still get a rush of blood. In England I was recognised for my mistakes but also for my good things and that was important for me. I didn't have a permanent label put around me like in Italy."

In the same newspaper... West Ham United have put Wayne Bridge on their wish-list in a £10million double raid for Chelsea's back-up boys. England left-back Bridge is tired of playing second fiddle to Ashley Cole and is ready to quit this summer. According to the article, Hammers boss Alan Curbishley has already expressed an interest in Bridge, 27, who is keen to stay in London. The club has also lined up a move for Stamford Bridge midfielder Steve Sidwell, who has failed to gain regular first-team football at Stamford Bridge since last summer's move from Reading. Bridge has played fewer than half of Chelsea's matches since 2003 and was loaned out to Fulham to prevent him going rusty before the last World Cup.

Old rumour new... Dean Ashton is back on Newcastle United's radar after Kevin Keegan reveals that the 'hitman' is one of three targets he has pinpointed for the summer. Ashton is the new Alan Shearer... tea is the new coffee... gadget bag the new man purse... iorem ipsum the new alpha... progress the new stasis... prequel the new sequel... fat the new climate change... contrived the new original...

Hang your hat on Junior Stanislas' second half strike, which was enough to earn all three points for West Ham United's under 18s against Southampton at the Saints' Stapleford training complex yesterday morning. Tony Carr's youngsters moved to within a point of league leaders Southampton thanks to the midfielder's second half strike, which came 15 minutes from time. The midfielder took advantage of a mix-up between the Saints goalkeeper and one of his defenders to fire home the winning goal from close range. The margin- and Stanislas' personal tally- could have been even greater but for a penalty miss on the hour mark. West Ham United- on 39 points from 22 games and unbeaten in five matches- now trail league leaders Southampton by a single point with just six games of the season to go. However Arsenal- who Carr's side beat 2-0 at London Colney a fortnight ago- remain favourites to take the title, as they trail the Hammers by just three points with four games in hand having thrashed Southampton 5-2 last weekend.

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