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Reyes Of Sunshine

by | 28th, January 2004

‘BEFORE moving from Seville to Arsenal in a £20m transfer, Jose Antonio Reyes was chiefly famous for one thing.

‘Keep away from me, Ljungberg!’

The Sun tells those who did not know that, in the course of a goal celebration, Reyes was bitten on the penis by teammate Fancisco Gallardo.

The paper has a picture of that incident and another of the player it duly dubs “Swollen Balls” plying his trade.

It’s pretty evident that the 20-year-old Spaniard will be deeply missed by his old teammates, especially Gallardo.

But the man the Mail calls the “Spanish Rooney” is ready to make his mark in England – although he would prefer it if opponents’ defenders didn’t make too many marks on him.

“Does it hurt?” asks Reyes, the player who provoked 22 yellow cards from opponents in the season up to Christmas. “Damn right it does,” he replies.

“Some kicks hurt like hell and I am not made of rubber. But I don’t complain and neither do the defenders.”

In this way, he is nothing like Aston Villa manager David O’Leary, himself a former defender, and a man who likes little more than a good moan.

But in defeat to Bolton Wanderers in last night’s Carling Cup semi-final second leg (which Villa won 2-0, only to lose on aggregate 5-4) it was left to his assistant, Roy Aitken, to spit feathers and cry foul.

The Independent says that when Villa’s Gavin McCann was dismissed, Aitken went so berserk that Villa substitute Dion Dublin was impelled to race from the bench to calm him down.

It’s a pretty safe bet that it will take more than the likeable Villa player to appease the tensions at Old Trafford, where Sir Alex Ferguson is embroiled in a fight with “rebel” shareholders JP McManus and John Magnier.

In the latest volley in this bitchy fight, the two Irishmen are asking why United are continuing to pay Rio Ferdinand his £70,000 weekly wage while he is suspended.

It’s a pretty fair question. And there can’t be many shareholders wondering why cash that could be going to them or on new talent is being paid to a player who has shamed the club.

But Martin Samuels, writing in the Times, is right when he says that the fate of Ferguson will not be decided by any boardroom row but by how his team fare on the field of play.

“The difference of one point or a single goal could make or break Ferguson this season,” he says.

Which can only mean one thing: more moaning.’



Posted: 28th, January 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink