Then Saturday Comes… the half decent football blog



Tottenham Lolspurs

Darren Bent will be feeling like that kid going to a school reunion dreading seeing his old bullies.  Although Jermain and Robbie were small, they were always more popular than Little Darren and he always felt worthless around them.  And now they’re back.

Tottenham Hotspur’s increasingly dozey boss ‘arry Redknapp celebrated the transfer window by staging a ‘Class of 2007 Reunion’.  Presumably he hopes some of Martin Jol’s actual management will still be in these players’ bones, and the reunion will see them flying up the table back into the 5th spot that was deemed sackable for the affable Tony Soprano lookalike.

Sadly for ‘arry, and therefore happily for any football fan with a sense of decency, no reunion works like that.  People try to replicate a nostalgic past that never really happened, and it just becomes weird and awkward.

In the year since Defoe and Keane left, old playground victim Darren Bent has started to finally come out his shell.  This season he has a respectable 9 goals from 22 games (despite people telling him he’d never get on with that strange Russian exchange student).

A change in headmaster saw some early excitement (… chips are back in the canteen!!!), but now something terrible has happened.  The old bullies are back in town.

Mr Ramos’ strict rules saw pranksters Robbie and Jermain leave the club, but now they are back and it’s going to get just as bad as it used to be for Little Darren, who is right back to sitting on a wall with all the girls while all the boys play football.

He’s a British version of Skee-Low.

However, it won’t get be the same as it was back then for Darren and his Spurs teammates… it will get worse.  ‘Arry Redknapp has fallen into the old trap of buying players who are too bad for the teams just above them.  Cudicini, Chimbonda nor Keane arrive in any semblance of form, and it will be very hard for them to rejuvenate this sorry Spurs team.

Admittedly Palacios is a good player, but anyone can see that they need a player who will sit and sweep up behind the spineless Tottenham midfield.  Down the road, Roy Hodgson has just brought in Olivier Dacourt at Fulham.  That would have been a perfect, common sense player that would do a  job in a midfield devoid of professionalism since Michael Carrick left.

Spurs have got so scummy that I actually want Manchester United to beat them in the Carling Cup Final.  I am embarrassed to call them my former colleagues, and no amount of courting from Mr. Redknapp will bring me back to the club.

Sorry, ‘arry, there’s no fee for me to pull a Robbie Keane.  My life has moved on.


Che Given


After all that negativity I need to bring some positive thetans into my vessel, as my scientologist friends would say.  Obviously, I could talk about Leicester ’16 games unbeaten/13 points clear/4-1 win away from home’ City, but that would be too easy.

Instead, I will take a moment to laud Shay Given for his 11 years of fantastic service to Newcastle United.  Now every wideboy in the country is saying ‘yeah, about time he went somewhere decent’, but to be fair to the often deluded Magpies fans, they were a top-4 club for many years in the Premiership.

It’s not like Given has been a diamond in the rough, as many pundits seem to be insinuating.  He has played in FA Cup Finals, the Champions League and numerous UEFA Cup campaigns.

Of course, unlike so many other players would do, he has stuck with the club after they dropped down the table and appointed increasingly awful managers.

Robson –> Souness –> Roeder –> Allardyce –> Keegan –> Kinnear (!)

What makes that list all the more amazing is that every time the managers’ contract has been terminated: the change has been actively desired by Newcastle.

Before this section rambles any further, this reflects so well on Given as he has always been a consummate professional, despite the obvious mentalists in charge of his club.  Given is one of the few players who is respected accross the board by every football fan.

He has never been the ‘top dog’ at Newcastle (Shearer, Owen), but he fits into the kind of ‘second hero worship’ that Gary Neville, Frank Lampard and Jamie Carragher enjoy.  However, unlike these three, Given is not hated by other teams as much as he is loved by his fans.

So what is it that made the Irish stopper different?  Well, this is quite the conundrum, as he seems to lack the normal criteria for those few football figures who transcend into widespread popularity.

He doesn’t strike me as a warm, friendly fella like a Bobby Robson.  He’s not a crazy prankster (Jimmy Bullard).  He isn’t even a likeably shy person (Paul Scholes).

Really, all Shay Given has is that he is a normal person.  Not in the ‘boy next door’ cliche, but rather he is just not a moron.  Having shared a dressing room with Alan Shearer, Craig Bellamy, Tino Asprilla, David Ginola, Albert Luque, Lauren Robert, Stephen Taylor etc for over a decade, Given has started to look like a comparative saint.

Now that he is at a club with a (suspected) rapist, I guess he’ll become seen like an immortal superhero.  The world will become undone by the pressure of unwavering love for Shay Given, a normal man amongst a sea of morons and scumbags.

Start dusting off the sword, ma’am, Shay will be getting knighted in the summer.

Kasper Schmeichel The Ghost

Kasper The Ghost Schmeichel


Shay’s move to Eastlands had an unexpected consequence: of exposing the British Broadcasting Corporation for the fraudulent conglomerate it is.

The BBC pride themselves on providing a full interactive service for all of Britain’s lovely citizens.  However, on transfer deadline day one of those taxpayers was let down: Kasper Schmeichel.

After Shay Given signed, it became obvious to the Man City keeper that he wouldn’t even get a game in training, with Joe Hart now manning the ‘subs’ goal in practise games.

Admirably Kasper decided to engineer a transfer away from the club.  Less heroically, he sought the move by calling the BBC sports desk and asking them to forward any information regarding goalkeepers leaving their club, so he could pester them about the job vacancy.

I know Kasper is used to getting his job through other people (see Schmeichel, Peter), but it seems a bit low to do such things.

Anyway, regardless of his motives, the policy was not the best way to get the move.  As the transfer window shut at 5pm (or 12pm midnight if you’re Arsenal), old Kasper was still at Man City.

Anyone seeking to register their disapproval for the BBC’s failures to help Kasper out of his malaise here;


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