Jugs, sex workers and why names are important in football

Today is the second-last day of the transfer window for English and Scottish football – it was supposed to end at midnight tonight but Alex Ferguson threatened to finger Scudamore in a Bulgarian prostitute scandal, hence the one-day extension and more time for Manchester United to snap up that moody Bulgarian (the striker, not the pros).

Speaking of Eastern Europeans, Spurs now have Pavlyuchenko signed up to do his best Arshavin impression. Apart from being 10m cheaper he also seems to be a much happier, smilier chap, which would be a welcome change from the broodingly named Dimitar Berbatov, who has been criticised by Ramos, Poyet and Woodgate (the Gallas of White Hart Lane) for his mood swings.

Have you noticed how names make a big difference on people?

It’s even more obvious in players. For example, players with names starting with ‘Ronald’ are audaciously talented, worldwide icons, speak Portuguese and fancy prostitutes. It makes me wonder how good Rooney would have been if he had some Brazilian blood in him, and if CR will go the way of his namesakes, make his name in Spain before migrating to Italy and ending up without a club.

If you look at it that way, Ferguson may just have saved the boy’s life.

It’s not just last names though, otherwise you’d see Ashley Cole and Joe Cole loved in equal measures by their former clubs. As things stand, the only good thing about Ashley Cole off the pitch is his missus, while Joe Cole has the reputation of being a decent chap (I suppose as long as you don’t get caught with your favourite headgear on it’s all good, right?). On the pitch though, both players are beasts and deserve their spots in the England lineup although, at the risk of upsetting anyone who’s English, Joe Cole is not the answer to England’s left flank problem.

Neither is Joey Barton the answer to Newcastle’s problems. He’s never been good at handling pressure situations (when your default response to someone pissing you off is poking a lit cigar in their face, you’re not good at all) and he’s going to have a lot more pressure on him now. The little adventure at the Emirates was proof enough and on that evidence he’s going to get stick from opposition players who’d be looking to bait him into getting sent off.

Keegan would do well to look at Newcastle’s performance at Old Trafford and what they served up at the Emirates, and show his players where they went wrong. Wenger may be sticking to his guns on the transfer issue but after both Arsenal and United were held to draws by sides that ‘mixed it up’ with the opposition, Newcastle were tactically inept and deservedly lost. It’s not just about lack of signings; as Moyes keeps complaining, the players they have should be fighting more day in and day out.

What we said last year:

Alan Worrall predicted that Celtic would get to the knockout stages of the Champions League while Rangers would fall to the UEFA Cup. Wonder what he thinks of Celtic this season (I’m thinking UEFA Cup…).

Great articles:

Football is amoral – easily one of Brand’s better attempts.
If style won you silverware – Oliver Fowler tells us who’s the best-dressed team.
Players who went back to play at a former club – interesting list by spaotp.com.

Today’s predictions:

Chelsea to beat Tottenham
Sunderland to beat Man City
Villa to beat Liverpool

Matches to watch – Villa v Liverpool, and Fiorentina v Juventus. Oh, and there’s this derby in Scotland, might be interesting….

Summer 2008 Transfer Lists
Who makes your football kits?