Paul Parker

  • Why P-U-B spells trouble

    The cases of Robinho and Steven Gerrard demonstrate the pitfalls of going out for modern footballers.

    Whether they did anything wrong or not - and both men strenuously deny the claims made against them - it has become difficult for players to visit a pub or a club without some sort of trouble developing.

    There is so much attention devoted to footballers by the media and the public that they simply cannot go out like they did in my time.

    When I was a player, we used to go out to bars and nightclubs and it was very rarely a problem.

    People might come up to you and say hello but then they would

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  • Can Vidic handle Torres?

    MATCH OF THE WEEKEND: Manchester United v Liverpool

    There is one game that stands head and shoulders above the rest this weekend, and you can argue that it's the biggest club fixture in world football.  Certainly, the clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid is the only one that can rival it in terms of international interest.

    However, whereas the Clasico draws viewers in to watch the spectacle, United-Liverpool is a grudge game that is not necessarily about good football, just the intense rivalry between two of the most successful and best-supported clubs in the game.

    It's true that Liverpool

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  • Rooney a clear choice for PFA award

    It comes as no surprise to see Wayne Rooney win the PFA Player of the Year award. He was far and away the leading contender, and it would have been farcical if he had not won it.

    It was the most obvious choice for a long time and I'm sure he will add the Football Writers' award.

    Carlos Tevez, Cesc Fabregas and Didier Drogba have all been very influential at times this season, but none of them have played to the same high level as consistently as Rooney. As soon as the nominations came out, it was a foregone conclusion.

    This season he has shown sides of his game that he was not able to

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  • Nice guy Zola running out of buddies

    UNDER PRESSURE: Gianfranco Zola

    He was under pressure last week but seven days later it's getting ridiculous for Zola. West Ham put in a poor, poor performance to lose against Wolves - and I've heard all about it from my mates in Essex, who are all disgruntled.

    They're all diehard West Ham fans so wouldn't contemplate throwing in their season tickets, but it's getting to that sort of stage.

    The result this week was a disaster against the sort of team they need to beat if they're going to stay in the league, and to deliver that type of performance in front of their home crowd was doubly

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  • Tevez can make derby difference

    THE WEEKEND: Manchester derby

    For the
    first time for a long time, this game isn't just about Manchester United - it's
    still important for United as they try to claw their way back into the title
    race, but City too have something to gain from victory, other than mere
    bragging rights.

    City are
    pressing for a fourth-place finish and victory against United will see them
    take a huge step towards making all that summer investment worthwhile. They're
    going to be massively up for it.

    But while
    the game should be about City's resurgence as a real contender and a rival to
    United, inevitably all

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  • Bore draw indicative of Liverpool demise

    performance against Manchester City did not come as a surprise - Rafa Benitez
    just isn't an adventurous manager.

    The only
    time he encouraged his side to play daringly was at the back end of last season
    - when he was rewarded with a second-place finish.

    Since then
    Liverpool have failed to step forward. Benitez has pointed to the injuries his
    squad have sustained this campaign, but the only one that has really had an
    impact is that of Fernando Torres.

    They have
    become quite negative under Benitez, to the point where avoiding defeat has
    become more important than winning.


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  • Beckham can lift United

    He may have
    started the weekend's game on the bench for Milan, but I'm hoping David Beckham
    gets the nod to start against his former club Manchester United at Old

    Not for any
    sentimental reasons - although it will be nice to see him get the terrific
    reception he deserves, and is expected to get, should he feature - but rather
    because his presence on the pitch can be of benefit to United.

    Beckham is
    clearly not the player he was and his influence on a game is now largely
    limited to set pieces.

    As long as
    the game is stopped, or at least played at a slow pace, Beckham can still hurt

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  • Pitch no excuse for Spurs

    manager Harry Redknapp said he was not going to use the pitch as an excuse for
    losing the FA Cup semi-final to Portsmouth, but as soon as he labelled it a
    "disgrace" and "farcical", he was doing just that.

    The fact is
    that both teams have to play on the same surface over 90 minutes - or 120, as
    was the case on Sunday. They swap ends, they cover the same blades of grass as
    each other and, in a non-literal sense at least, it is a very much a level
    playing field.

    Harry can remember how pitches were 20 years ago and especially when he was a
    player. Back then, if a pitch was dodgy,

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  • Villa must now make amends

    Match of the weekend: Chelsea v Aston Villa - FA Cup semi-final

    Villa are trying to make the leap to the next level in their development, and Martin O'Neill will be desperate to land a trophy in his fourth season at the club.

    They have motivation enough, but if they needed any more there is the recent memory of the 7-1 drubbing Chelsea gave them at Stamford Bridge.

    They need to repay the faith shown in them from the manager and the fans, and as a top-four finish looks highly unlikely they can give everything and really have a go.

    The issue for Chelsea is whether Carlo Ancelotti dares to

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  • Another upset in offing for Leeds

    UPSET OF THE WEEKEND: Tottenham v Leeds

    Leeds have been to Old Trafford and beaten Manchester United and they will go to White Hart Lane without fear of top flight opposition - and in the knowledge that they are capable of causing another upset.

    On paper, this is a match Spurs should win - Leeds are, after all, two divisions below them - but Harry Redknapp's side have shown this season they are prone to losing home games they are expected to win. Look no further than the games against Wolves, Stoke and Hull.

    Leeds have nothing to lose in their trip to North London. They head into the game on

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