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Anorak | A New Blue

A New Blue

by | 2nd, September 2003

‘ANOTHER day, another player.

Claude Makelele has been assured a space in the dressing room

Today’s player du jour is Claude Makelele, who is now in the employ of Chelsea Football Club.

The purchase of the Frenchman has taken the club’s spending under Roman Abramovich to a whopping £111.3m.

The Independent lists the names of the now great and good of the Bridge – all 13 of them.

There is a downside to all this inflow, so the Indy also lists the players who have made way for the new faces – all 11 of them.

Still Chelsea have 309 players on the books, which should lead to a happy if somewhat crowded changing room – and lots of work for Doris Goering, the club’s long-standing fan and official orange cutter.

But Chelsea’s spend yesterday – all £16.7m of it – is out of kilter with the rest of British football, which has acquired a taste for the loan. And not everyone is pleased with this development.

Talking to the Guardian, the Professional Footballers’ Association’s deputy chief executive Mick McGuire spots problems on the horizon.

“All of those players can have a bearing on results,” he says. “What if one of those players misses an open goal in a crucial game for his existing club against his loaning club?

“With millions of pounds at stake in the Premier League, that will lead to all sorts of questions and that’s what we are worried about for our members.”

Surely it’s the fans who have most to fear. Players move on loan because they are, in truth, not wanted by their clubs. It’s not a compliment to be loaned out.

The chance to put a dent in the fortunes of the team that doesn’t want you should keep the game on an even and true keel.

For true football madness we must turn to Spain, as the Times does.

Tonight Barcelona will begin playing in the second game of their domestic league season at five minutes past midnight. Frank Rijkaard, the club’s manager, admits this is “an odd hour”.

To ensure than no-one falls asleep during the game, the club are broadcasting an hour-long show called Football For Insomniacs as well as a free dinner for up to 70,000.

“The important thing is that nobody falls asleep during the game,” says Rijkaard.

Which makes us ask: “Would the same thing work at Liverpool…?”’



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