..all the drinks were dead/And all the glasses dirty (Philip Larkin Unpublished 1965)
It’s happened, so it’s finally safe to say it now: Owen Hargreaves has joined Manchester United for approximately £16 million. No one is saying that his injuries of last season have lost him a yard of pace – whatever that actually means.
Two Queens Park players who disappeared during a team orienteering exercise in the Highlands under then-manager Ian Holloway in 2004 have become Sven Goran Eriksson’s first signings for Manchester City.
Marlon Harewood is reported to be a target of Martin O’Neill at Aston Villa, who is also considering that thing called a swoop – for Shaun (shouldn’t that be Sean, really?) Wright-Phillips. I really can’t think of anything at all to say about this.
Derby County are reported to see David Nugent as the ideal foil for Robert Earnshaw.
Shinto comes to Britain as Tottenham Hotspur buy Kensal Green cemetery, the last of London’s great burial places that actually has room for more. Japanese fans will be able to purchase plots for themselves and their ancestors from the club, and it is reported that some 1500 exhumations are already underway in Honshu alone. It has been a clause in the contract of all players who have joined under Martin Jol that the club own their burial rites, and negotiations with the families of many former players with regard to putative moves to Kensal are said to be advanced. Guji Yukitaka Yamamoto, author of “Kami no Michi” has been on Spurs’ payroll since 2005 and will be in sole charge of Kensal from the start of the new season.
Lawrie Sanchez, who has done well so far to keep Fulham out of the news, is supposed to be interested in Leeds striker David Healy once a deal is done regarding the Yorkshire club’s current administration status. It will be genuinely interesting to see how Healy does in the modern Premiership given the quality of his international performances in front of an otherwise mediocre Northern Ireland line-up; one might argue that he deserves a more highly-powered club than the Cottagers, whose stadium is a listed building.
Spurs are also in negotiation with the Netherlands Football Association and UEFA in regard to their desire to move all Tottenham teams, from the reserves on down, to the Dutch leagues. Martin Jol is concerned at the low level of fare available to his young, developing players, and sees Holland as the best answer to the lack of skill and thought of the British youth and reserve leagues. It was rumoured last year that Arsene Wenger had a similar aim in mind regarding French football, but opposition from clubs in the south of France led to him dropping the idea.