We will probably have to wait until the updated version of Paul Scholes’ autobiography gets serialized in a newspaper to uncover the moment Sir Alex decided to coax the midfielder out of retirement. Perhaps he spotted him drilling his long range passes around the Carrington training ground like it was 1997 all over again and with one look at that crippling list of injuries thought to himself, “Ah, that boy is a bit special. Even at 37.”
Tag Archives: Premier League
“I’ve paid real attention to the history of the club and the great players to have played for it.”
Prior to securing his season-long loan to Newcastle United, Hatem Ben Arfa revealed that he took a good look at the tale of the Toon before deciding to move to the North East.
It’s understandable that the 24-year old, who has yet to find a home for his unquestionable talent and often fiery personality, has given this move some thought. Ben Arfa surely need only look back fifteen years to the summer of 1995 when a long-haired left winger from France arrived on Tyneside where he would swiftly acquire a Geordie God-like status.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good you are. It doesn’t matter how gifted you can be with the ball at your feet, when there is someone in your position doing your job so effectively and there’s room for just one of you, someone inevitably has to lose out.
Goalkeeping can be a lonely business; for most of that ninety minutes while your fellow teammate’s muscles strain to cover every blade of grass, pressing the opposition and fighting for possession, you stand focused, hands in your clammy gloves waiting for that moment to shine. It takes someone of great character to stay poised when your contribution can sometimes be so small.
It can however be an even desolate existence when you and your gloves don’t even make it off the bench. When you get the call you really have to seize the moment, none more relevant to the Hackney-born goalkeeper who has for much of his professional career had to wait to show his worth whether it be pulling on the colours of his club or the red, black and white of his country.
It must be a daunting prospect stepping out at training a fresh-faced newcomer, eager to impress, confident in your ability, until you look out at your prospective new team mates and see a 35-year old Paul Scholes effortlessly spraying passes just as he did 10 years ago, and a 36-year old Ryan Giggs showing no signs his qualities will be diminishing any time soon.
Stepping up to the reality of playing for one of the most successful football clubs in the modern era is one thing to get used to, witnessing the evergreen faces of Giggs, Scholes and Neville surely makes the task all the more difficult.
When the news that Jermaine Pennant would be joining Stoke City until January flashed onto one of the many tabs I had open in my browser, the reaction was one of disappointment. Yet another Englishman abroad has failed to prove his worth outside of the Premier League. It has been a rocky period for both player and club, but perhaps his failure to flourish under a Spanish manager at Liverpool was a sign of things to come. Turning up late for training sessions and stuggling to impose himself on games for a full ninety minutes perhaps didn’t help matters either.
His failings in Spain will be good news for Stoke City manager Tony Pulis who now has one of the most talented crossers of a football on one flank and the club’s player of the year Matthew Etherington on the other supplying the kind of ammo that record signing Kenwyne Jones will surely thrive on.
When you’ve tasted defeat in the most disheartening of circumstances or sit once again lamenting a season that never reached your high expectations, you will always search for someone to blame.
Maybe it’s the manager that got his tactics wrong on so many occasions you’ve given up counting, the players that weren’t fit to wear the shirt, or even the players you wish the men up stairs had opened up the chequebook to sign.