Planet Football


Miller the cause of it all: The opening line of a report on caught our eye last week: "Manchester United midfielder Liam Miller is being blamed for yesterday's takeover by American billionaire Malcolm Glazer." Now, Liam Miller is known to be a quiet, unassuming young fella who, on the whole, avoids getting involved in multi-zillion-pound takeovers of clubs that only antagonise supporters. So, intrigued, we read on.

"JP McManus and John Magnier were encouraged (to sell to Malcolm Glazer) by pal and Celtic shareholder Dermot Desmond who is also fuming with Fergie for taking Liam Miller on a free from the Scots. A source said: "He has never forgiven Ferguson for that.'" Hang your head in shame, Liam Miller.

Quotes of the week

"I would die for the man, both on and off the pitch."

- John Terry, willing to give his life twice to prove his love for Jose Mourinho.

"Real Madrid was not created to finish second."

- Real president Florentino Perez, refusing to give up on winning the league this season. That's the league Barcelona won on Saturday. So Real will finish second.

"Mancini is a child who is scared of his own shadow and has always needed others to help him out. As a player he was phenomenal, but as a man he is a zero."

- Inter Milan goalkeeper Alberto Fontana pays tribute to his coach, Roberto Mancini. Fontana, incidentally, is out of contract this summer. Chances of being offered a new one? Exactly.

"I stood there all day with a plastic angel in my pocket. I believe in fate - I'm as silly as a bunch of lights."

- Southampton manager Harry Redknapp. Don't ask us.

Chelsea boys go to town We've been enjoying recent reports from posh Surrey stockbroker town Cobham, where the locals are none too pleased about the arrival of seven new residents: Chelsea footballers. "People are worried the town is getting more brash," local historian David Taylor told "They have noted the increasing number of flash sports cars."

Justin Watts (77), meanwhile, complained to the Times that the local Running Mare pub was now filled with "Prada and Gucci", since the club opened its academy nearby, and that "it's full of footballers' wives - lots of girls dressed like Posh Spice with sunglasses and hooped earrings".

Worst of all, some of the players are buying properties once owned by respected pillars of the community - Scott Parker, for example, has bought a £2.9-million, seven-bedroom home on the same estate as John Terry, complete with "a huge conservatory, fitness room, pool and sauna".

And who did he buy it from? Bobby Davro, the, eh, comedian. Mind you, considering Parker started just one league game this season, the house, like himself, could very well be back on the market during the summer. Just for a laugh he should sell it to Coronation Street's Les Battersby.

Holloway's slapstick

The World According to QPR manager Ian Holloway: "The whole world has gone mad. Did Tony Blair win the election? Yes. So why should he resign? I know we're not talking football . . . we are, aren't we? But Jesus Christ, it's well done to Tony Blair, innit? What he should not have probably said was about the weapons of mass destruction. What he should have said was this tyrant should have been hoiked out of his country years ago. We got it wrong, he looks bigger than the United States so . . ."

Wait, he's not finished yet: "I tell you another crazy, crazy, crazy rule. We want women to come to football, don't we? I think they're bloody pretty - a damn sight prettier than any bloke I've seen. You talk to women about footballers and what do they like - they like legs and our shorts are getting longer. We should go back to the days when half your arse was hanging out. Why can't you let players lift up their shirts? Who is it disrespecting? What's wrong with letting a load of young ladies see a good-looking lad take his shirt off? They'd have to watch other teams, though - because my team is as ugly as hell."

And finally: "Whoever that was (claimed he was selling defender Danny Shittu), I'd like to pull his pants down and slap him on the arse, like I used to do to my kids. Apparently I'm not even allowed to do that any more, otherwise I'll have the health and safety on to me giving it the old 'hello'. It didn't do me no bloody harm."

More quotes of the week

"Personally, I had a bad week and it all came out on the pitch."

- Chilean goalkeeper Ignacio Gonzalez after punching a referee and knocking him to the ground in a club match - for which he received a 22-match ban. A bad week all right.

"I feel valued by the fans, but not by the club. If they sell me, then no, I won't feel valued. If the club buys me I am going to feel valued. If it does not buy me, then no."

- Malaga striker Fernando Baiano, feeling a bit undervalued this weather.

"What goes around comes around. There is no better feeling than where we are, knowing that we are safe for another season. We are really enjoying what the other guys are suffering."

- Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric wishing neighbours Southampton all the best ahead of relegation D-Day.

"Sir Alex Ferguson is the most successful manager Manchester United have ever had. It is ridiculous for people to suggest he leaves. Who do they want to replace him? Ron Atkinson, Tommy Docherty?"

- Gary Neville. Janie, Gary, don't tempt Malcolm.

Malcolm of the Uniteds

An extract from Malcolm Glazer's "letter" to Manchester United fans last week (as composed by a Liverpool fan):

Dear soccer fans,

As you all know, I've been looking to buy the Uniteds of Manchester for a little while now . . . I've heard that some of you may not be too happy . . . (so) I'm writing this personal letter to let you know that I'm a genuine fan of you Blue Devils. I began rooting for the Uniteds back in 1992 when our little Malcolm jr was practising those soccer home runs out in the yard. I loved the way you turned defence into offence, and the way Bobby Shearer used to top half it into the goal bag. Oh man, that play was hot. My son tells me you even out-zoned your City rivals Southampton in the fourth quarter of the FA World series.

I see a profitable future at the United, especially when I add Alexei Lalas and Cobi Jones to the starting 15 . . . I can't wait to come over to the Manchester Isles, as I love the country, especially the beaches and the hot chicks. I hope you can all see my vision of this future, with new shirt sponsors (Dunkin' Donuts) and new team name (The Manchester Gloom) I'm sure things are looking bright.

Take care dudes, Malcolm.

PS Go on, the Pool . . .