All in the Game



Franca's transfer turns into a not so tall tale

“Franca falls short of expectations at Hannover,” read the Reuters headline during the week, all of which seemed a bit premature considering the Brazilian had only just arrived at the Bundesliga club.

The problem, though, is that the midfielder is a whole nine centimetres shorter than coach Mirko Slomka had been advised, something Slomka spotted at the player’s unveiling.

“He noticed the discrepancy when he, 1.87m tall, stood next to the man he’d been told was 1.90m and found that he could see the top of the Franca’s head,” as Reuters put it.

“What can I say? I was totally surprised, the one criterion had been to pay attention to the body size,” said Slomka, who appeared to be hinting that he’d never actually seen the player before the club signed him.

Hannover 96 sporting director Jorg Schmadtke was blamed for the slip-up, having declared when the transfer was sealed: “Franca, at 1.90m and 88kgs, has a physical presence he brings with great passion into his game.”

While he might not be as effective, say, in the air as Slomka would have hoped, if Franca lives up to his real second name, there should be no shortage of passion: Wellington Wildy Muniz dos Santos.

Cantona's Rolls Royce is a charity case

Rolls Royce of the Week: The 1984 convertible that raised €130,000 for a homeless charity at an auction in Paris, despite/because of being covered in graffiti. Naturally, it belonged to Eric Cantona, who had asked a chap by the name of JonOne to give it a little re-spray. "It's the ultimate symbol of wealth, and now it's been associated with a symbol of poverty, by a true street artist," explained Dieu. The sound you hear is the wailing of Rolls-Royce-o-philes.

Quotes of the Week I

“Paul Pogba is like a Dalí painting. Works of art are rare and are worth a lot because people appreciate them. Paul is one of them.”

– When he’s not busy – very busy – looking after Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mario Balotelli’s affairs, agent Mino Raiola is painting a pretty picture of Pogba’s potential.

“The Germans do well economically and we respect that. They are the only ones that make money in Europe. That’s why we’ve chosen a German.”

– Arsene Wenger explaining why he chose Per Mertesacker to collect fines from Arsenal players. Wise move.

“[Andrea] Agnelli did not behave well during the [Lega Serie A] board meeting. I have to say he acted like a bitter spinster suffering from withdrawal symptoms.”

– Catania president Antonino Pulvirenti on his Juventus counterpart after a meeting that sounded rather heated.

“Need to brush up on my French because this is getting ridiculous lol.”

– Monsieur Sammy Ameobi’s tweet on the Gallic invasion at Newcastle.

Quotes of the week II

“Hazard’s only crime is he hasn’t kicked him hard enough.”

– Joey Barton on ball-boy-gate.

“If I was a club president, I’d never employ him. A great boss like Lippi or Mourinho knows how to get their demands across . . .

“ Benitez wanted to put them all in writing, 10 or 12 rules – like the Highway Code, or being at school.”

– Marco Materazzi reminiscing fondly about his time under Rafa Benitez at Inter Milan.

“He’s lying. Marco Materazzi’s lying. He’s lying. Just lying. Everything he said is a lie. Everything that he talked about me . . . is a lie . . . He’s a liar. ”

– Benitez somewhat disputing the veracity of Materazzi’s remarks.

“How would I define myself? I’d avoid the word ‘traitor’ for a start. If you want, feel free to write I was naive, dumb or even an idiot.”

– Former Napoli goalkeeper Matteo Gianello being a little kind on himself after getting embroiled in a match-fixing scandal.

Number of the week


The number of goals Lionel Messi and Critisano Ronaldo scored in La Liga yesterday. Messi scored four in Barcelona’s 5-1 win at home to Osasuna, while Ronaldo hit a hat-trick in Real’s 4-0 win against Getafe.

Quote of the week

In the last year, 46 of the 92 managers have lost their jobs – that’s over half”

David Pleat. (Quote only included after calculator consulted).

Will you like this

Comeon Facebookers, help this fella out.

Bradford-born Melbourne resident David Bowers still needs another 560,000 likes, as of yesterday, if he’s going to make it to see his beloved Bradford City play Swansea in the League Cup final on February 24th. Mind you, if he’d put a quid on them winning the cup before the competition got under way, he’d have the trip paid for. Well, if they win. Their odds? 2,000 to 1.

Divil of the week

Reading’s French winger, Jimmy Kebe.

Tweet No 1:

“On my way to Newcastle, having medical then sign a 4 years contract. Thank you all for your support you’ve been outstanding!!!!”

Tweet No 2:

“Oups i thought if you’re french and play football u just pop in to Newcastle and sign a contract. Not a chance of leaving #LoveReading.”

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