Keegan has offered me more money. I am definitely leaving Spurs. It's all about
the money, I don't care about the [Carling Cup] final." - Pascal
Chimbonda, January 2008.
field the weakest team I feasibly can at Old Trafford (in the FA Cup fourth
round). That's how it has to be." - Harry Redknapp, January 2009.
Perhaps it is this shared ambivalence towards Cup football
that persuaded 'Arry to continue what he started with Jermain Defoe and bring Chimbonda back to Spurs after just six months and 16
appearances for Sunderland, where he fell out
of favour with Roy Keane for his persistent lateness.
As every good manager knows, the key to avoiding relegation
is having plenty of right-backs. Tottenham can now choose from Chimbonda,
Vedran Corluka, Alan Hutton (once fit) and Chris Gunter to shield the ball out
for goal-kicks, while Didier Zokora and even David Bentley have also been
shunted back there this season.
Just a few weeks after trying to sneak one Tottenham hate
figure - Hossam Ghaly - on to the pitch before the boos saw the Egyptian put
his track suit back on, Redknapp has brought another back to the club.
Not only has he welcomed back the man who threw his shirt to
the ground when substituted during last season's Carling Cup final (the one
which he didn't care about), but Redknapp has also purchased something of a
When Raymond Domenech named Chimbonda as a surprise pick in
his 2006 World Cup, the inclusion was met with much bemusement by the French
And the defender was immortalised by Les Guignoles, the French
version of Spitting Image. They even gave him his own song, sung by latex
versions of Zinedine Zidane, Fabien Barthez, Michel Platini and Aime Jacquet
After the club's embarrassing climb-down over the sale of
Dimitar Berbatov to Manchester United, clubs have found another way to take the
Londoners for a ride. Simply buy one of their players and then wait to have
them sell them back - like an ISA, only more secure.
Perhaps Chimbonda's avarice shouldn't be looked upon too
harshly, especially with reports that he has in fact taken a pay-cut to return
Plucked from obscurity when Wigan bought him from Le Havre
(the team that ED used to manage in one of those mail order fantasy leagues,
sending optimistic transfer requests for Papin and Lentini along with £1.50
sellotaped to a piece of card) in his mid-20s, he obviously realised he had a
second chance to put away some real money for the 40 or so years after he
retires from playing, and he doesn't exactly seem like management material.
Chimbonda could soon be rejoined at Spurs by Robbie Keane, if reports whipped from Redknapp's comments yesterday are to be believed.
ED has always regarded Keane as a supreme talent, but also
someone who often struggles to harness it within the confines of a football
game, and perhaps isn't equipped to do the job demanded of him by Rafa Benitez.
Playing every week with a freer role at Tottenham, rather than being
inexplicably left on the bench at Anfield, suits Keane better, and Redknapp has
been cheekily testing the water about yet another Tottenham buy-back.
Redknapp told a press conference: "I wouldn't sit
here and say I wouldn't like to have Robbie Keane at my club because I would be
a liar if I did. But he belongs to Liverpool,
so it is not an option, unfortunately. As a player and a person, I have a lot
of time for Robbie Keane. I think he's fantastic."
Tony Pulis, whose Stoke side face Spurs tonight, couldn't
have put it better when he said: "Harry has always done things his way and he knows what
buttons to press in his pursuit of players."
From the press reaction, you'd think Keane was already
jetting in to have a medical, with one paper claiming that Spurs have made
"a firm offer". Which, of course, they haven't. Yet.
- - -
FOREIGN VIEW: "An unbelievable offside... A grotesque
mistake" - That's how Globoesport described the action as Brazil's
Paulista and Carioca championships kicked off at the weekend in spectacular
Friburguense had a goal against Flamengo at the Maracana
disallowed by a linesman despite three defenders being between striker Victor
Hugo when the Les Miserables-penning striker received the ball.
The day before Botafogo scored the opening goal against
Boavista despite the keeper being beaten via a hole in the side netting. The
referee initially awarded the goal, only to scratch it 10 minutes later,
allegedly after catching sight of a replay.
So, next time you look at your matchday programme and see
your team have got Mark Clattenburg, be grateful.
COMING UP: We've got four Premier League matches coming up on an evening they're all calling Super Tuesday - Follow LIVE comments of Spurs v Stoke, Portsmouth v Aston Villa, West Brom v Manchester United and Sunderland v Fulham from 19:30 UK time.
Andy Murray may have been eliminated but the action at the Australian Open
continues unabated. So dust off that cork hat and stick a tinny in the stubby
cooler as the resurgent Jelena Dokic takes on Dinara Safina before Roger
Federer faces off with An Argentinian Werewolf in Melbourne - Juan Martin del