Tag Archives: ledley king

No more donkeys, please

Down the Lane these days, our ’Arry has apparently used up all his goodwill saving Russian donkeys (not named Pavlyuchenko) from parasailing pratfalls, and is lambasting the powers the be for scheduling an England friendly against Hungary too close to the start of the Premiership season for his liking.

With some glaring holes at the back and his club’s inaugural Champions League qualification looming large, the Tottenham boss would rather have his team on the training ground than traipsing around the world for preseason friendlies, or losing players for a few days of international duty. If he wants something else to worry about, Redknapp can wonder whether Spurs will have their plans for a new stadium approved when Haringey Council says yea or nay on Sept. 13.

Tottenham aren’t counting on having Jonathan Woodgate on their 25-man roster when new squad rules take effect this season and, with Ledley King as gimpy as ever, ’Arry is reportedly after Villa’s Curtis Davies, Everton’s Phil Jagielka or Man. Citeh’s Micah Richards to slot into the centre of his back line. As long as they’re not donkeys, ’Arry, you can bring in whoever you like.

City may not be quite ready to let Richards walk, but it seems the new roster rules could force a shocking 30 players out the door at Eastlands, with some paid off by the deep pocketed owners to get the hell out. So much for Welcome to Manchester.

Switching to the Red Mancs, United went south of the border to Mexico but came out a 3-2 loser to CD Chivas in the final game of its North American tour in what must have been a bit of a confusing night for newly-signed Javier Hernandez, who said goodbye to the Goats by scoring a goal for Chivas in the first half, then switching shirts and suiting up for his new team after the break.

Finally, while the departing Diego Maradona makes claims of betrayal against his former employers in Argentina, the AFA has reportedly sets its sights on former Sheffield United midfielder and current Estudiantes manager Alejandro Sabella to take over the pressure-packed post of national team boss.

Ian Harrison

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Yid Army invades New York City

I’ve finally cooled off from my time in the blast furnace better known as New York City, where I spent the past few days and saw Tottenham take on Sporting Lisbon in the back half of the Barclays Challenge at Red Bulls Arena.

Our long weekend in the red hot Big Apple, which also featured a game at Yankee Stadium, plenty of tasty eats and some gentle walking tours between Manhattan bars, was certainly a lot of fun, and a great chance to see my Yid Army without crossing the Atlantic. But thanks to the long travel and blistering heat and humidity, ’Arry still seems a bit hot under the collar, unsure of whether a three-game swing from California to the Empire State and back home was the best way to prepare for his team’s inaugural Champions League campaign.

Spilt milk now, of course, and hopefully a few dollars and pounds earned for a bolstering of the back line before qualifying begins, especially now that Jonathan Woodgate looks less and less likely to be fit anytime soon, while Ledley King also remains a doubt.

Tottenham take the field to face Sporting at Red Bulls Arena.

Tottenham played four right backs against Sporting, with Alan Hutton in his regular role, Vedran Corluka, Kyle Walker and Kyle Naughton rounding out the defense. Redknapp used the US tour to fiddle around up front with his formation up front a bit, and even though Robbie Keane looked good up front against the Portuguese, there’s still no guarantee he’ll be a Yid when the transfer window closes. It was great to see 90 minutes of strong running by Gareth Bale and passing from Tom Huddlestone, interesting to watch Adel Taraabt, who unfortunately didn’t distinguish himself too much, unlike Jonathan Obika, who came on as a substitute and blasted home the tying goal.

That strike, and a late Huddlestone miss from half with the keeper out of his net, meant the matched ended a 2-2 draw. It was certainly entertaining and the Spurs support was surprisingly and pleasantly vocal…our tickets were at the other end of the ground but we moved down and sat behind the rowdies for the second half to join in the singing, which was a blast. We totally drowned out the Sporting fans, even though there’s a big Portuguese community in Newark, across the river from where the Red Bulls play in Harrison, New Jersey. Didn’t see too much of the town that bears my name, but the land around the brand new stadium was pretty desolate. They’re planning to develop the area with shops and restaurants, but for now it’s the same forlorn industrial wasteland so commonly associated with the Garden State.

I haven’t had too many nice things to say about Thierry Henry over the past while, not much of a surprise considering he’s a cheating ex-Gooner, but I am pretty impressed that he travelled to his first Red Bulls game the same way I did – by paying $1.75 for the four-stop, 20-minute PATH train ride from the World Trade Center site in Manhattan. Speaking of which – this was my first trip to NYC since April, 2001 and thus my first look at the hole in the ground in lower Manhattan. It’s hard to imagine the old WTC anymore…I had to watch Tribe Called Quest’s Electric Relaxation video when I got home to remind myself. With the twin towers gone, the Empire State Building is back to being the anchor of what Kurt Vonnegut once called ‘Skyscraper National Park.’

Inside, the stadium offers comfortable, covered seating and solid sightlines of the (thinning) grass pitch, with two levels of private boxes replacing the upper deck on the side of the pitch behind the benches and press seating blended into the stands, as at some European grounds. The concourses are a bit narrow and crowded but offer a wide selection of ethnic foods, like empanadas, Brazilian food, and several European beers. Not surprisingly, a can of Red Bull ($3) is cheaper than a bottle of water ($4).  Overall, a solid soccer experience. We stayed for the first 15 minutes of the Red Bulls’ 2-1 win over Manchester City (one of two losses by Manc clubs to MLS opponents on the day, with United losing by the same score to the KC Wizards), enough time to see a glowing welcome for Henry and NY’s opening goal. The flag-waving supporters clubs behind the goal were in full voice, although they were led in their cheers by a dude with a megaphone.

At the game with my Futbol Guapa.

Finally, here are a couple more soccer stories that caught my eye today (not including Diego’s ouster in Argentina, which Dr. Z will likely chime in on later). First, a new survey says only seven percent of people wouldn’t accept a gay footballer, which could mean fewer offers of reporter sister sex from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Of course, there’s still plenty of love for hot women in the football world, which is why it’s news that some lucky crooks in Brazil got to pluck a cell phone from between curvy Paraguayan Larissa Riquelme’s mountainous mammaries. A grand theft, indeed.

Ian Harrison

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Of WAGs and what not to wear

Elizabeth Minett Don Fabio didn’t want them around his England team at this World Cup after the distractions of 2006, but it seems the infamous WAGs have reared their glamorous, carefully-coiffed heads, and there’s even a Canadian connection to the latest calamitous occurence. Seems goalkeeper Robert Green, he of the ‘Hand of Clod,’ may have been distraught about his recent split with Ontario model Elizabeth Minnett, who he met when the Hammers were in Toronto to play the MLS All-Stars in 2008. She sure is a fine specimen, and you can see why Green might be a bit heartbroken, although she’s not his first vivacious lady friend, just the next one after Emma Sayle.

Landon Donovan

Fortunately for Capello, most WAGs are staying home from South Africa, at least for now. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun with fashion. After explaining how the TV announcers pulled no punches with Green’s costly miscue, Globe & Mail columnist Bruce Dowbiggin takes a shot at the US team for the “sash-and burn” strip it showed off in Saturday’s draw. Guess we can’t all dress in rubber like Katy Perry. But yeah, they all look like the Mayor of Nike Town. And back home, the newspapers don’t understand what a draw means.

No WAG’s involved, and no big surprise, just a shame, that Ledley King’s World Cup seems to have lasted all of 45 minutes, the latest blow to England’s increasingly shaky defence. At least Gareth Barry says he’s fit. The much-maligned vuvuzelas look as though they’ll last substantially longer, which is probably the right call, although ask me again in three weeks time and I may not be so charitable.

On the pitch, Italy’s 1-1 draw with Paraguay and the injury to Gianluigi Buffon were the big stories on Day 4, with Japan’s 1-0 victory over Cameroon a significant setback for the Africans. The Dutch weren’t troubled much in an early 2-0 victory over Denmark, getting some help along the way, and have been warned by their coach not to be too complacent.

Ian Harrison

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Hey, cool it lads!

So, England trots out against the mighty and shining Platinum Stars and comes away with a relatively lacklustre 3-0 victory just five days before their World Cup starts against the Stars and Bars crew in which we see both the good side and bad side of Wayne Rooney, who US defender Jay DeMerit already thinks he can goad into trouble on Saturday. What, with Watford is better than Man. Utd. taunts? Maybe they can just have a pleasant chat about American tycoon Malcolm Glazer’s balance sheets.

There’s still no clear answer on Fabio Capello’s plans for goal, with David James rested today and Joe Hart starting behind what looks like the first choice back four in Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry and Ashley Cole.

The old midfield problem children Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard shared the middle of park without much success after the first two minutes, when Gerrard set up Jermain Defoe, paired with Tottenham partner Peter Crouch in the dreary first 45. Joe Cole played all 90 on the left, the only man to play the full match, proving he’s ready for a start on Saturday.

On the other side, it seems Don Fabio and El Tel think Shaun Wright-Phillips provides better defensive abilities than Aaron Lennon, who came on as one of the 10 halftime substitutes.

The 10 switcheroos, the gents Capello spent his halftime chatting with on the pitch, included Robert Green in goal, Stephen Carragher, Michael Dawson, Matthew Upson and Stephen Warnock at the back, Lennon, Michael Carrick and James Milner in the middle and Emile Heskey and Rooney up front, with Rooney setting up Cole and firing home the third with a cannoned volley after Milner pulled it back to him. Rooney is sure to start Saturday, and Heskey, it seems, may be alongside to begin. Still no idea how Gareth Barry fits into this team, if it all, against the American. I’m guessing he’ll be on the subs bench.

Rooney’s solitary performance in creative flair depth in attack might be less of a concern if Don Fabio had thought about giving Mr. Scholes a ring a bit sooner, thus allowing him more time to decide that yes, he did want to take the squad position of someone who had helped the team throughout qualifying. And since when does the Oldham Evening Chronicle get a Paul Scholes exclusive? Can’t believe I let my subscription lapse.

Ian Harrison

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Uh Oh…

Two massive injury stories have come out in the last hour: Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast has broken his elbow in a friendly with Japan, while England’s Rio Ferdinand sustained a knee injury in training this morning.

Drogba’s absence puts a serious dent in The Elephants’ chances, although Chelsea teammate Salomon Kalou is ready to step into the brink, as is former Portsmouth player Aruna Dindane.

Ferdinand’s injury may provide an opportunity for Jamie Carragher to move from right back to centre, and Capello still has Ledley King or Matthew Upson available. Tottenham Hotspur’s Michael Dawson has been recalled, after being cut from the England squad on Tuesday.

The pair join a growing list of players considered important to their countries’ drive for the Jules Rimet, including Ghana’s Michael Essien and Germany’s Michael Ballack. The fact that Essien, Ballack and Drogba are all teammates has given rise to talk of a Chelsea curse.  But it’s more likely to do with the Londoners’ long season, that included a down-to-the-wire Premier League title run, an FA Cup final, as well as a quarter-final exit in the Champions League. 

Brent Lanthier

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