Khamis, 14 Julai 2011

F365's Forgotten BPL XI

Standard question: Is he the fella that was accused of rape?
F365 answer: No, you're thinking of Graham Stack. Taylor is the third-choice goalkeeper at Manchester City who has made a grand total of one senior appearance (v Scunthorpe in the FA Cup) since joining on a free transfer from Aston Villa. He has been on the books of three top-flight clubs - he started at Arsenal - but has made just 19 appearances in the Premier League. He's 30. It's not gone to plan.

Standard question
: Didn't he join PSV?
F365 answer: Ah no, you're thinking of Jan Kromkamp - one of Rafa Benitez' other right-back disasters. Swiss defender Degen is still at Liverpool and 'training on his own away from the main group' according to a recent report. Benitez described him as "an offensive player with great energy and a winning mentality" and then proceeded to find bugger all use for him. Roy Hodgson came to the same conclusion and sent him off on loan to Stuttgart. Early indications suggest Kenny Dalglish may utilise his talents as a cone in training.

Standard question:
Didn't he leave in the summer?
F365 answer: Unfortunately not, no - he has another year on his contract. There was a time when Aston Villa were paying big wages to any half-decent Premier League footballer and Habib Beye and his reported £40,000-a-week wages are a hangover from that curious time. His name lends itself brilliantly to various tunes (Oh Habib Beye!) but Villa fans haven't had the chance to break out said tunes since October. Only Big Eck''s penchant for relegation may save him now.

Standard question
: Is he still alive?
F365 answer: Yes, still alive and mostly being the sixth or seventh-choice centre-half at Sunderland, who he joined in January 2010 when Steve Bruce had a brief panic about not having enough defenders. He apparently turned down promotion-bound Newcastle to join Sunderland. While on the bench for Doncaster on loan last season, he may well have reflected that perhaps he took a wrong turn somewhere.

Standard question:
Didn't he go back to France?
F365 answer: Nope - you're thinking of, well, just about every other young French kid. Traore has had loan spells at Portsmouth and Juventus (where he was mostly kept on the bench) but he's always come back to Arsenal. These quotes from Arsene Wenger - "The plan for left back is that we have Kieran Gibbs, Armand Traore and Thomas Vermaelen can play there too" - suggest that Traore could be part of his plans this season. Hmmm. To date, Traore's biggest impact in England came with his misguided belief that it was fine to take knuckle-dusters into White Hart Lane. It wasn't.

Standard question:
Didn't he get really fat?
F365 answer: Yes, he did. Really, really fat. Once hailed as a future England midfielder, problems with fatness/fitness mean that Johnson has not played in the Premier League since September 2009. When he played for a grand total of two minutes. 'Yet another product of the prolific Platt Lane kindergarten,' reads his biography on the Manchester City official website. The accompanying picture suggests he may have eaten the other kids.

Standard question:
Did he retire?
F365 answer: Not officially - but one substitute appearance in the FA Cup last season suggests that he might as well have hung up his terribly clean boots. Bought by Stoke along with a whole raft of 'best of Championship' buys (see also Michael Tonge) in 2008, Soares played in seven Premier League games before Tony Pulis realised he was way off the pace. Turned up at Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday on loan, looked fat and was relegated twice. So he's barely 25 and he's been relegated three times. Like a chubby Nigel Quashie. That's not a compliment.

Standard question:
Now surely he has retired?
F365 answer: Practically but not quite. He has not played Premier League football since August 2009 due to severe knee-knack, though the official website says Davis 'is looking to put his knee injuries behind him and make a return to playing duties at the start of the 2011/12 season'. He's been sidelined so long that he probably still thinks Gary Megson is the manager. What a pleasant surprise awaits him.

Standard question:
Didn't he bugger off back to Spain?
F365 answer: He did - but Racing Santander sent him back at the end of the season and Spurs still have the VIP section enthusiast on their books. "If he could pass a nightclub as well as he can pass a ball he would be alright," said Harry Redknapp last summer when he vaguely considered giving the Mexican a chance after he looked pretty damned handy in the World Cup. Perhaps he will say the same after he looked pretty damned handy at Copa America. Perhaps Spurs should wear green...

Standard question:
Is that the Thong Song fella?
F365 answer: He may well have been wearing a thong in some very, very homoerotic photographs freely available on the internet featuring the man who Newcastle fans have seen score one goal in three years. He cost over £5m. He gets paid a reported £50,000 a week. He has two years remaining on his contract. Well done Dennis Wise on delivering that particular humdinger of a transfer - his finest hour since the incident with that taxi driver's door.

Standard question
: Didn't he go to prison?
F365 answer: Erm, no - though he did get cautioned for buying Class A drugs (for his girlfriend, natch). He's still somehow hanging on to a Premier League contract despite scoring a grand total of one goal in 21 games last season for the Baggies, Leicester City and MKE Ankarag├╝c├╝. That's the kind of goal-to-game ratio that even Cameron Jerome would dismiss as 'poor'.


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