When Michael Owen missed a hatful of sitters in last night's friendly against Valencia,
with Fabio Capello in the Old Trafford crowd, he was deemed to have blown his
chances of an England
Owen displayed all the shooting accuracy of a group of A-Team
baddies as he repeatedly failed to locate his target from close range.
As an avowed Owen-hater, ED naturally loved it, but has one
bad friendly really put paid to his international future? Only if Capello does
not have a television.
Even if the back page of The Sun is right, and Owen has a
stinker every time Capello is present, surely that is not the only chance the
Italian has to see the Manchester United man?
Don Fabio has the same access to Match of the Day everyone
else enjoys (if that is the right word now Alan Shearer's
future on the settee appears secure) and, who knows, maybe his £6
million salary can even stretch to a satellite TV subscription?
Perhaps Capello believes Owen is physically incapable of
playing well when he is within 200 yards of the England boss; that some kind of
karmic force field turns the striker from Bobby Charlton into Bobby Zamora.
As ED hopes the England boss will actually be
watching his team's World Cup games
from the dug-out, rather than a sports bar half a mile down the road, maybe he
is right to leave Owen out.
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Of all the many services to mankind Twitter has performed
during its brief life - galvanising political protests in Iran; detailing the
every move of Lance Armstrong - the micro-blogging site is enjoying possibly its
Readers scoffed, swore, and vowed never to visit ED again
when it examined the phenomenon of Tweeting footballers back in June, but it actually
showed Nostradamus-like prescience.
For Twitter is now threatening to smash the tyranny of the
football PR machine.
Over the last 10 years, footballers have been bound and
gagged (metaphorically, and probably in some cases literally) to stop them
saying or doing anything stupid; anything that could damage their
Most clubs have a media machine restrictive enough to make Pravda
look like a bastion of free speech.
Any interesting quotes from players are instantly retracted
or denied, while requests for any information beyond bland, useless press
releases are met with a wall of silence.
Which is where Twitter comes in.
Darren Bent set a shining precedent last week when he told
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to "stop f***ing around" over his transfer
to Sunderland. As he departed White
Hart Lane, Bent was ordered to leave his last two
weeks' wages at the door.
Less bitter, but arguably more informative, has been American
soccer ace Jozy Altidore, who is set to join Hull from Villarreal.
You wouldn't know
it from Hull's website, of course, which is just a mish-mash of ticket
information, advertising features and previews of friendlies against
But Altidore has been spilling the beans on a near-hourly
basis via Twitter.
In a flurry of Tweets, Altidore told his 11,250 followers of
his flight to England ('delayed cuz
of the rain'), of a press conference
arranged for 2.30pm today, and of his bemusement at the UK's archaic
employment laws ('First match is against chelsea subject to a work
ED urges more players to break their clubs' stranglehold over their every thought and
Players like Ryan Giggs, who has used his new-found freedom to
voice his belief that 'Malaga is hot!' or Steven Gerrard, who took time out from his
trial for affray (he was acquitted) to intone solemnly: 'I
view twitter as my gateway to the fans'.
¡Viva la revolucion!
- - -
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Managing Newcastle came close to killing me - but I'd love to do it again." Joe Kinnear on
reportedly being offered the top job at St James'
Park. ED would suggest Kinnear managing Newcastle
came close to killing 50,000 Geordies, too.
FOREIGN VIEW: Japan's home friendly against Togo
in October may be moved from Oita
after players blasted the pitch as dangerous.
Japan defender Tulio recently complained after a J-League match "it was
like playing in a sand pit" and that he had feared getting injured.
He and other players called for Japan's October 14 Kirin Cup game with the West African
side to be switched to a new venue.