Is Harry Redknapp on a one-man mission to field the worst team in the history of cups?
Last month the Tottenham boss promised to field
his "weakest possible" side against Manchester United in the FA Cup
and treated Old Trafford to the delights of Ben Alnwick, Chris Gunter (pictured)
and Gareth 'Still winless in the
Premier League' Bale.
In Donetsk last night,
Redknapp plumbed even murkier depths as Spurs lost 2-0 to Shakhtar, with
Fraizer Campbell, Giovani dos Santos,
Dean Parrett and the incomparable Heurelho Gomes coming in to the mix.
So presumably Harry will pick a full-strength side at White Hart Lane to
overturn the deficit? Not a bit of it.
"I gave one 17-year-old (Parrett) his debut and might have four
17-year-olds next week," said Redknapp.
"When we play the second leg it will only be half as strong as this
Which, given that last night's
team was considerably weaker than the weakest possible XI that played in the FA
Cup, is going to be very weak indeed.
If this cup trend continues, United could find themselves
playing a local U12 side in the Carling Cup final on March 1.
- - -
When is it not a good idea to be a combination of Thierry
Henry and Eric Cantona? When you are Danny Welbeck, apparently.
The Manchester United striker scored a belting goal against Derby last weekend,
opening up his body and finding the far corner in Henry-esque fashion.
He then showed off a Cantona-inspired 'non-celebration', staring at the crowd with a vaguely haughty look
on his face (to be honest, Early Doors just thought he looked unexcited).
Alex Ferguson did not take kindly to it, and has torn a
strip off the 18-year-old by dropping him to the reserves.
An insider told The Sun: "Alex was very angry about the
way Welbeck celebrated his goal at Derby.
He felt there was a touch of arrogance about it. Danny is just a kid and Alex
does not like the thought of him getting too big for his boots."
With the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Rio Ferdinand rubbing
Armani-clad shoulders with him in the Old Trafford dressing room, ED is at a
loss to fathom where Welbeck might have developed this arrogant streak.
- - -
It is a quiet day in football, because all the craziness
seems to have seeped elsewhere. Anyone who reckons football has a monopoly on
greed, idiocy and mismanagement needs to think again. Just look at the week
cricket has had.
You had the abandonment of a Test match after an over and a
half, followed by a swift rearrangement at a football ground, where bowlers
looked to exploit the uneven bounce by pitching the ball on the halfway line.
Then you had the mind-shreddingly idiotic captaincy of
Andrew Strauss, refusing to enforce the follow-on with a lead of close to 300,
then using a nightwatchman and batting for at least an hour too long, and
finally getting his just deserts as England ran agonisingly short of time as
the Windies held on for a draw.
To make matters worse, England risked their best player's (sit down, KP) fragile health by making Fred
Flintoff bowl crunch-time overs with a torn hip muscle. Imagine if, when
Michael Owen did his cruciate in the 2006 World Cup, Sven had told him to stay
on 'just in case' and then started him against Portugal? That's how ridiculous it was to keep bowling Flintoff.
And in the meantime, you had the fraud charges and
subsequent manhunt for wild-eyed, WAG bouncing megalomaniac Allen Stanford. Who
knew there could be a downside to ripping up 150 years of tradition in order to
make a quick buck? How could football possibly compete with that level of incompetence
Over on planet snooker, Ronnie O'Sullivan
has just claimed that if he could live the life of any other human being, it
would be Ethiopian women's
10,000-metre runner Tirunesh Dibaba, adding: "I watched her races in
Beijing on TV at the local snooker club last summer. Her 10k run was
- - -
QUOTE OF THE DAY: What do El
Hadji Diouf, Pascal
O'Donovan, Ross Wallace
Miller have in common? Sunderland boss
Ricky Sbragia is glad he got rid of them in January. "From my point of
view the numbers now are workable. We've
not got players drifting around, complaining. There were too many whispers
going on behind my back."
GRANDFATHER OF THE DAY: No, it's not some 25-year-old from East
Sussex. It's Diego
Maradona, whose daughter Giannina gave birth to a son fathered by Atletico
striker Sergio Aguero. To complicate matters further, the kid is called Lionel
star Messi. Let's just say the gene
pool is on little Lionel's side.
FOREIGN VIEW: Uruguayan side Nacional had to buy shirts
from a sports shop before their 3-0 Copa Livertadores away win over their
Paraguayan namesakes, after their kit went missing. Representatives from the
club turned up at the shop, bought 16 red shirts, then had the players' names and numbers stamped on the back.
FIGURE OF THE DAY: £12m - The rough amount Hull City
will pay Jimmy Bullard over the course of his four-and-a-half year contract. He
was ruled out for the rest of the season yesterday. ED loves Bullard, but if he
is unable to make a proper recovery and Hull
get relegated, it could go down as one of the worst contracts of all time. With
that money, Hull
could instead have paid off 0.000545 per cent of Britain's £2,200,000,000,000 national debt.
COMING UP: Full weekend previews, fantasy column, Paul
Parker on why it's time for Aston
Villa to come to the title race party and much, much more.