2009-2010 Premiership

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26 October 2006

Lessons In Responsibility From Hall and Shepherd

Former Newcastle United Chairman Sir John Hall has blasted some of the clubs former manager's, saying they wasted £200 million on rubbish players.

He is quoted ranting on that "our fans must look in amazement at some of the vast sums of money paid out for players who aren't good enough for this club."

And, in one way, he is right. The fans must be amazed at the sums paid out for crap players by managers like Ruud Gullit, Sir Bobby Robson and Graeme Souness. For sure, they bought some real jokers : Jean Alain Boumsong, Marcelino and Hugo Viana to name but three.

But, Sir John - wasn't it you and your mate Freddie Shepherd that, as Chairmen of the club, signed off on these deals. If you thought they were crap, you shouldn't have agreed to buy them, should you?

Sir John also states that: "Since the Halls and the Shepherds took over the club we have spent more than £200million on players, as well as making St James' Park into one of the best stadiums in Europe, so none of our managers can say that we have not backed them."

If by "backing them" you mean criticising them 10 years after they left for buying poor players or sacking them after they'd got your side back into Europe - as Robson did - then, sure, you've backed them. Then sacked them.

Take some responsibility, Sir John. You were the Chairman...you chose these managers. If they weren't capable of doing the job, signing the right players and so on, then it is YOUR FAULT. As Chairman of a football club, the buck stops with you.

Be a man...hold your hands up and say 'sorry, I messed up'.

23 October 2006

A Footballers Job Is To...Play Football

Pint sized and sulky Spurs striker Jermain Defoe bit Javier Mascherano on the arm during Spurs' match against this season's relegation fodder West Ham.

It made him look a little pathetic, childish and weak, for sure, but it did give Spurs head coach Martin Jol a chuckle and a good one liner about it being just "a little love bite".

Nevertheless, when tired, old, second-rate politicos like Sports Minister Richard Caborn get in on the act moaning on about "role models", "responsibility" and (god help us all) "setting a good example", it really starts to annoy me.

Let's get something straight. Footballers are hired for their ability to play, um, football. Not for their intellectual credentials. Not because they 'scrub up nice' when meeting your mum and not because they are polite and well-mannered young men. If you want that sort of person, then it's accountants you want, not footballers.

If you can play football to the highest standard, then you get to play for the best teams. But to claim that footballers are role models and should set high standards of behaviour for children to follow is, frankly, laughable.

Sure, kids want to be like their favourite players when kicking the ball around the playground. Hell, they may even want to grow up to play for England, but it is the job of parents, teachers and peers to be role models to their kids.

The job of footballers is to play football. That's it.

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