Offside News: There’s More To Football Than Money, Apparently

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Welcome to Offside News, a nice bi-weekly blast of CaughtOffside action. It’ll be coming every Friday, taking a look at the previous week’s biggest Premiership stories, and Monday, waxing nostalgic about the weekend’s action and post-match whinging.

Julius Rosenwald, a US merchant and philanthropist, once said, “Do not be
fooled into thinking that because a man is rich, he is necessarily smart.
There is ample proof to the contrary”. While Rosenwald will have never heard
of the likes of David Beckham (he died in 1932), this little quote helps us
run nicely into our first story…

…Lucas Neill has come out fighting after claims that his decision to snub
Liverpool for West Ham was based on money.

“People have questioned why I signed for West Ham and not Liverpool but I
don’t understand that”, good-day-ed a clearly pumped up Neill.

“At no stage did the issue of money enter into the footballing decision I
was making” he said, before the press conference had to be stopped
momentarily while the gathered crowd rolled around the floor laughing.

“Yes, I want to be secure, like everyone, but more importantly I want to
know that I am going to be content, happy and playing football every week”,
he fumed, as Offside News pondered whether in Australian, ‘secure’ and
‘stinking rich’ are the same thing. “Some of the figures that have been
mentioned are just ridiculous and the whole thing was blown way out of

“If people want to insult my decision to play for West Ham, then they are
insulting some of the greatest players the game has produced, including the
three men who led England to the World Cup in 1966”, he concluded,
presumably unaware that he’s not signing for the West Ham of the 60’s,
before grabbing his boxing gloves and challenging anyone in the room to last
twelve rounds against him.

Offside News considered taking him on, but realised that if he hit us with
his wallet, we’d never get up.

Kewell, who managed to turn down the lure of West Ham when he signed for the
Reds in 2003, has been dogged by injuries in recent years, though has
mastered the knack of returning to fitness whenever a big game, a World Cup
or a major cup final looms.

“I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t had a look at the Barcelona games”
announced Kewell, to the surprise of absolutely nobody.

“To be honest, I’d be happy to play against anyone right now, because it’s
been so long since I wore the red shirt”, said the star, who made a famous
comeback from injury to feature in the 2005 Champions League final in

Having been forced to withdraw through injury from that game, as well as
last seasons F.A. Cup final, with his side behind on both occasions, Kewell
has been labelled a bottler by the some, but is confident he can put his
‘injury’ worries behind him.

“I know I can still be successful here. All I have to do is get myself fully
fit again and get games under my belt. But the Barca games are going to be
massive and I would like to play a part”, he said, again, before hobbling
out of the press conference, just as the questions became a little tricky,
deserting his teams mates in the process, in typical Kewell style.

“It is a great club and it is always good to know that your work is being
seen and that people appreciate it”, said the buck toothed Brazilian, while
throwing flirtatious glances across Europe in the direction of a certain
Russian Billionaire.

“But the only thing I am thinking about is Barca and I want to do everything
I can to continue to help the team”, he said, trailing off at the end of a
sentence which frankly, means absolutely nothing.

“Now I am only focusing on Barca because I am very Chelsea here. I have not
considered playing for any other Chelsea and I want to Chelsea the season
like the last Chelsea of seasons, playing Chelsea and Chelsea Chelsea.”,
added a player whose mind was clearly elsewhere.

While Offside News tries not to indulge in rumours (who are we kidding!)
this is one transfer we’d love to see. Another over paid, on-the-way-down
international to team up alongside Michael Ballack and Andrei Shevchenko.
Oh, joy.

Despite having played some part in every Premier league and Champions League
game for Arsenal this year, Fabregas, who was instrumental in his sides two
goal comeback against Spurs in the Carling Cup first leg, has told Wenger he
doesn’t feel the need to be rested.

“The boss has not said anything to me about taking a break”, explained
Fabregas, who requested that the press conference take place in the gym so
he could run off some of his excess energy.

“In the Carling Cup, a lot of players have been rested. For me, I like
playing this kind of game. The manager just told me he was planning to play
me and asked if I was happy about it. I said, ‘of course’”, the energetic
Spaniard added, as he began cracking open tins of spinach, putting his pipe
in his mouth and whistling the Popeye theme tune

“That is why I play football – to enjoy. I always want to play – even more
against Tottenham. It is a great feeling”, before forgetting to add, “I’m
strong to the finish cos I eats me spinach, I’m Francesc the midfield man”,
and running off into the distance to save Olive Oyl from Bluto.

To see a player declaring that he doesn’t want to be rested is refreshing
(pun intended), but it’ll take a hell of a lot of running, and spinach, for
Fabregas to save Arsenal’s faint title bid from baddies like Chelsea and
Manchester United.

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