Anorak News | Singing The Blues

Singing The Blues

by | 2nd, March 2004

‘THERE are two men who have good reason not to roll out a red carpet and welcome young PSV Eindhoven forward Arjen Robben to these shores.

Robben – not a red breast

One is Sir Alex Ferguson, from under whose nose the Sun says Chelsea have signed the £13.5m 20-year-old (despite being given a guided tour of Old Trafford only a couple of months ago).

The other is Joe Cole, whose days at Chelsea now look numbered and who is pleading in the Star to be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge and look for first-team football elsewhere.

The Times reports that Robben will be the 13th player to arrive at Chelsea since Roman Abramovich took over in July with a total outlay of £134m.

But his is the first deal to be conducted by Peter Kenyon, the chief executive who walked out on Manchester United in September and is now involved in gazumping his former club.

Why United need to buy another forward when most of their problems stem from a porous defence is anyone’s guess.

Chelsea, on the other hand, seem to be working on the theory that they are as well served by denying their rivals a player regarded as one of the best youngsters in Europe as they are by strengthening their own team.

At the other end of the age spectrum, the Guardian has news that 35-year-old Jason Leonard has been dropped from England’s rugby union squad to face Ireland at the weekend.

That, one would normally think, would spell the end of the old stalwart’s international career were it not for the fact that 35-year-old Neil Back is recalled, if only to the bench.

The paper says there is no doubting the power and potential of Matt Stevens, the 21-year-old called in to replace the world’s most capped prop, but wonders what Leonard has done to deserve the chop.

“Not since he was dropped to the bench after England’s grand slam defeat in Dublin in October 2001 has Leonard’s form or fitness been remotely questioned,” it says, “and Woodward could not have raised more eyebrows had he chosen a couple of part-timers from Pertemps Bees after their stunning Powergen Cup win over Wasps on Sunday.”

The same could not be said of England’s cricketers, although their West Indies tour got off to a good start owing mainly to an 82-ball century by captain Michael Vaughan.

However, the Mirror has bad news for the England opener – his ton may be written out of the record books because it was scored against 12 fielders.

Vaughan didn’t seem particularly upset, arguing that playing 12 a side allowed his team to get more match practice than they otherwise would.

If only they could be allowed the same leeway in Test matches…’

Posted: 2nd, March 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink