Friday, July 31, 2009

Rio Ferdinand is satisfied with Tour Workout

Rio Ferdinand reflected on a tiring but beneficial tour after the Reds' two-week trip to Asia and Germany ended with defeat in the Audi Cup final.

United lost on penalties to Bayern Munich after a goalless draw in the Allianz Arena, but enjoyed the physical benefits of the most competitive pre-season game so far.

"We're disappointed not to win the game, but the most important thing was for us to get a good run-out," said Ferdinand

"The games in Asia were fairly straightforward, but it was still good to get our feet on the ball and get used to being a team again.

"The standard improved against Boca Juniors and again against Bayern, which made for a good trip physically."

Rio admitted the Reds were now looking forward to the couple of days off promised by Sir Alex Ferguson, before the squad step up training at Carrington on Monday.

"It’s been a long two weeks but we've enjoyed being around each other, training and working hard. Now we’re pleased to get home to see our families," he added.

Source: Red View.

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Enter The Dragon

Theo, Duncan, Peter, Deborah, James

So Dragons’ Den is back for another run (series seven for the pedants). The only concession to the credit crunch is a ludicrous new opening title sequence in which the five Dragons stand menacingly in an apocalyptic wasteland in front of a derelict warehouse, as if they are about to re-make Death Wish with a vigilante in a suit.

Although still better than most of the brainless rubbish on television, it does feel like the show might have run its course. The basic premise is well-known: entrepreneurs pitching for investment from the notional fire-breathers, five venture capitalists willing to invest their own money in exchange for equity. Investors backing innovative British ideas with their own hard-earned cash - sounds good, doesn’t it? Of course, the show could alternatively be presented as a bunch of egotistical, tax-avoiding self-publicists being paid BBC licence money to boost their careers, but that would never fly.

The worst thing about the Den is the predictability of it all. Every show follows the same structure as all the others with a series of failed pitches culminating in the last item always securing an investment. Want to know whether a budding entrepreneur will get his funding? Just look at your watch. This series has thrown a curve ball into the traditional script by occasionally letting the first pitch also get some money, but essentially the programme’s editing is unchanged with its obsession on building up to a “big finish”.

"Come here, my precious"

Actually, I tell a lie. The worst thing about the show is its increasing Americanization a.k.a. dumbing-down with a totally unnecessary commentary from wonky-eyed host Evan Davis, taking a break from starring as Gollum in Lord of the Rings.

Dragon: "I'll offer you £50,000 for 25% of your business".

Evan Davis voice-over: "The team has been offered £50,000 for 25% of the business"

Yes, I know that, probably because I’m watching the show. The Dragon just said it, I heard it and my brain somehow managed to register this complex point.

Then, we have an increasingly tired series of cringe-making puns, as if the show would like to be Blind Date for businessmen. In the first show of the new series, Evan Davis dismissed some of the more idiotic ideas with some real gems: praising the Polish vodka pitch for having "plenty of spirit"; sympathising with the creator of a horsebox gadget who "had too much riding on her product"; and, for a hangman's noose-style cat collar, quipped, unforgivably: "it fell to Peter Jones to give the catastrophic news." Maybe the Dragons could make better use of their cash by buying some better gags.

"Shaddup your face"

Evan Davis’ contract must also stipulate that every show he has to utter his line that “under the rules of Dragons’ Den, they have to leave with all the money they came for”, as if the rules of this glorified game-show are as intricate as chess. The presenter’s role is completely redundant, so Evan should do us all a favour and take his “face for radio” back to, er, radio.

As for the Dragons, the gang is unchanged this season:

  • Peter Jones – a man truly in love with himself, despite being a dead ringer for Big Foot. Often caught on camera glancing at his fellow Dragons in a smug, superior manner. You get the impression that he considers himself the trendiest Dragon, as he is the youngest on the panel. As if his absurd coloured socks were not enough to dispel that impression, then surely his investment in the joke “indie” band Hamfatter knocked the final nail into the coffin. It’s hard to imagine that the increasingly chubby Jones used to be a keen tennis player. Very keen on making sure that the entrepreneurs are appropriately suited and booted, I wonder how he would react if Steve Jobs were to enter the Den: “I don’t care about the Mac, iPod or iPhone, I cannot invest in a man wearing a black turtleneck and jeans”.
  • Theo Paphitis – continually makes tiresome references to “Mrs. P” and “my children’s inheritance” like a Greek-Cypriot version of the godfather. For some bizarre reason, he seems to believe that he is the funniest man on the planet with a taste for really awful puns: “I don’t like your invention of biscuits for cheese. In fact, if I invested in that, I would be *crackers*” Boom, and indeed, boom. On the other hand, he did demonstrate an excellent sense of humour when he was chairman of Millwall FC by campaigning against football hooliganism and then appointing Dennis Wise, the taxi drivers’ friend, as his manager. In the first episode of the current series, he lambasted the inventor of environmentally friendly patio heaters, “I find you arrogant, rude and insulting”, though he may also have been looking into a mirror at the time.
  • Deborah Meaden – known for her deep pockets, she rarely makes an investment. When she does splash the cash, it is so often in partnership with Theo that they should really be considered as one Dragon. It is hard to move away from the idea that she is the “token woman” on the panel, as she is clearly far less wealthy than the others. That’s fine, but she could spare us the long-winded explanations, as we know she’s not going to invest. Memorably impersonated by Harry Enfield in Harry and Paul’s parody of the show, though since then she has evidently spent some of her money on a make-over, as the cat-fish with lank blond hair was not a good look for her (or indeed anyone).
  • Duncan Bannatyne – Glasgow hard man, who prides himself on being the most brutal, dismissive Dragon. Occasionally, we see his softer side, usually when the person making the pitch ticks the following boxes: female, young, easy on the eye. He is sporting a strange new haircut this series, where the side parting makes it look like he’s been hit on the head with an axe, though it could just be the worst wig that money can buy. He is by far the wealthiest of the Dragons, which may be the source of his regular conflicts with Peter Jones, which is one of his most endearing qualities.
  • James Caan – bears an uncanny resemblance to a Bond villain, especially when he strokes his trimmed beard with eyes ablaze with excitement. When he replaced the popular Richard Farleigh, some suggested that this was because the producers wanted a Dragon from an ethnic minority, which would be ironic, given that he changed his name from Nazim Khan. Has been investing this series like it’s going out of fashion. Either he really can see potential better than the rest of us or he must be suffering from a terminal illness.

Some other Dragons have fallen by the wayside over the years. Most memorably, Rachel Elnaugh was dropped after her company, Red Letter Days, went into administration. The BBC rightly believed that a failed business person would lack credibility on a business programme, though that did not stop Elnaugh attempting to cash in on her failure by writing a book about "the entire business life cycle and the kind of lessons you learn along the way - through bitter experience”.

"Deborah Meaden - you've been tangoed"

The luxuriously coiffured Richard Farleigh was more unfairly booted out, despite making more investments than the other Dragons and standing out by always trying to offer constructive advice to contestants, even when not interested in investing. Maybe his departure was due to clashes with other Dragons (step forward, Jones), who were jealous of his magnificent 80s barnet. From the early days, we have also lost Doug Richard, who was considered too American (probably because he is American), and Simon Woodroffe, who was just too boring.

The fact is that the Dragons take themselves far too seriously now, even their tedious light-hearted “rivalry”. It’s clearly one big ego trip for them now. We even have spin-offs with a series of ditchwater dull profiles of each Dragon with heavy emphasis on their house(s), yachts, cars, etc. Yes, we know you’re rich, but there’s no need for the BBC to flaunt your wealth any further.

It’s obvious that the Dragons absolutely love their new-found celebrity. That can be the only explanation why the incredibly self-satisfied Peter Jones can be seen making a complete fool of himself in adverts for British Telecom and You would have thought that he would have learned his lesson after his experience presenting Tycoon, when the show was moved from the prime time slot after just two episodes due to poor ratings. Dragons’ Den has become so much more about the Dragons and their burgeoning light entertainment and philanthropy careers rather than the original concept of entrepreneurs and eccentrics.

"Power dressing"

In some ways, the show seems to exist only to illustrate the shallowness and fragility of the British economy. Instead of genuine invention and creativity, we are increasingly subject to some song and dance routine that could just as easily feature on the latest Cowell money-making exercise. Even the excellent Reggae Reggae Sauce would probably have not got any funding without Levi Roots serenading the Dragons. This series we have already seen pitches for a musical about Dusty Springfield and “live action hardcore horror entertainment” called The Sickness, which basically seemed to be a bunch of students and dancers shambling around in bloody rags. More successful were the young women from the UK’s largest, ahem, “experience company” which had the male dragons falling over their wads of cash to invest.

By the way, why do the Dragons need to have piles of cash sitting on the table in front of them? I know what money looks like. Maybe it’s their own subtle comment on the safety of the banking system. Or maybe the show is just incredibly vulgar. How can all that money be flashed around and yet leave it feeling so cheap?

"Just wait until you see my new haircut"

Of course, the Dragons are not the only guilty ones. By now, you would have expected the contestants (sorry, entrepreneurs) to have mastered the game. There are only so many questions that the Dragons can ask. I could helpfully split this into three categories: financials, patent and tell-me-about-you. That’s it, really. OK, the financials could be split into revenue, profits, cost, debt, but it’s not as complicated as you would imagine when watching these rabbits caught in the headlights.

The other point about this “reality” show is that many of the deals are often not completed after the programme is shot. Both parties then enter into a period of due diligence, where deals can fall through. Whether this is because the entrepreneurs have not told the truth or because the Dragons pull out over minor technicalities is open to conjecture.

Either way, Dragons’ Den has gone stale. Any drama and mystique it once possessed has long since been edited away in the BBC’s quest to shove every programme into the light entertainment box. It’s way past its sell-by date and for that reason, I’m out.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Owen Hargreaves could comeback in two months

Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves may have to be put his comeback from injury on hold.

The 28-year-old has had operations on both knees in the past year in a bid to cure tendinitis and there were hopes he would be back at the end of September.

But Hargreaves, whose last game was in September 2008, is out of the Audi Cup in Munich, which raises new concerns.

"We had hoped he would be joining us but he is still in rehabilitation," said United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

"He has had major operations on both knees and we are not rushing that."

Hargreaves is currently in the United States being treated by renowned knee surgeon Dr Richard Steadman.

The England international will be desperate to reignite his United career, having only started 25 times for his club since a £17m move from Bayern Munich in July 2007.

It has been a frustrating spell at Old Trafford for the Canadian-born midfielder, who last played for United in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea on 21 September 2008.

Hargreaves had surgery on his right knee last November and on his left knee in January, with the procedures carried out under the guidance of Steadman.

The leading surgeon has previously operated on former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer, new United signing Michael Owen and ex-Red Devils forward Ruud van Nistelrooy, who is now at Real Madrid.

Hargreaves' rehabilitation has had to be a long and delicate process, with BBC Sport revealing in June that he could be forced to quit top-level football in the next two years if the chronic knee problem were to persist.

His condition, patellar tendinitis, can be described as inflammation of the tendon that attaches the quadriceps (thigh muscle) to the tibia (shin bone).

Hargreaves may not have joined the United squad in Germany but centre-half Nemanja Vidic and summer signing Antonio Valencia have travelled to Munich.

Vidic appears to have recovered from an ankle injury he picked up playing for Serbia in June, while winger Valencia - seen as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has joined Real Madrid - needed to go back to Ecuador to gain a UK visa following his move from Wigan.

Ferguson also revealed that winger Gabriel Obertan would miss the first three months of the season with an injury that was already known about when he signed from Bordeaux.

Source: BBC Sports.

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Sir Alex thinks Valencia will shine this season

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes new signing Antonio Valencia will have a big influence on his side next season.

The Ecuador winger, 23, who signed from Wigan for about £16m this summer, scored on his debut in United's 2-1 win against Boca Juniors in a friendly.

"I think he'll figure in many games," said the United manager.

"He is a good athlete, has good power and running ability, as we saw with the way he created a good goal."

Source: BBC Sports.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sir Alex Ferguson says Real Madrid is unlikely to threaten in Europe

Big guns: AC Milan coach Leonardo, Luis van Gaal of Bayern Munich,

and Alfio Basile of Boca Juniors pose with Sir Alex Ferguson in Germany

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has joined forces with two of European football's superpowers to cast doubt on Real Madrid's prospects of securing success in return for their huge summer spending.

Ferguson, in Munich preparing for United's Audi Cup opener against Boca Juniors in the Allianz Arena on Wednesday, will hand £18 million summer-signing Antonio Valencia his club debut against the Argentines.

Valencia has been United's most expensive summer recruit following the £80 million sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Madrid last month. The Spanish club have also invested a further £92 million in Kaka and Karim Benzema.

With Real president Florentino Perez signalling a newgalacticos era at the Bernabeu, however, Ferguson, supported by Bayern Munich manager Louis van Gaal and AC Milan coach Leonardo, claims that Madrid will require more than star names to conquer Europe.

"There is a great example of a team not buying success," said Ferguson.

Sunderland spent so much money in the Fifties that they became known as the Bank of England club, but they didn't win anything and, in the end, they got themselves relegated.

"I'm not saying Real Madrid will get relegated, but they will have plenty of problems with balance. I do not know how coach Manuel Pellegrini plans to pick his side because it has no balance.

"I told Ronaldo before he flew out that he will end up playing centre-half because I don't think they have one!"

Milan, who will play Bayern following the United-Boca clash, sold Kaka to Real for £55 million, but newly-appointed coach Leonardo believes Madrid's policy is flawed.

"It will not be easy for Real and they have not succeeded in the past. They had their experiment with the galacticos, yet at the end of it all, they did not win anything.

"You can buy up good talent and create possibilities, but it is not easy to construct a squad and manage players like Kaka, Ronaldo and Benzema.

"You need more than just money to build a team. You need more than talent, you need spirit and we will have to see if Madrid have this spirit."

Bayern coach Van Gaal said: "My philosophy and belief is that you have to make a team. You just cannot go out and buy one.

"Sometimes you can – Alex Ferguson has done it for 20 years and I believe that I have managed to do it sometimes – but I know it is very, very hard." Having spent the last 10 days at United's Carrington training base while his new team-mates have played a four-game tour of Asia, Valencia will begin his career at the club in the right-sided position vacated by Ronaldo.

The positivity surrounding Valencia's debut has been overshadowed by the failure of Owen Hargreaves to link up with United in Munich.

Hargreaves, 28, had been due to begin light training with the squad in Germany after undergoing double knee surgery during the winter.

But the England midfielder's return to first-team action could be delayed until late autumn with Ferguson admitting that Hargreaves has remained in the US to continue rehabilitation.

Ferguson said: "Owen hasn't joined us in Munich because he is still in the United States.

"We hoped that he would be here with us, but he had two major operations and there is no point rushing him.

"He is still young and he has plenty of time on his side, so he won't be rushed."


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True Blue

"Tears of a Clown"

Another day, another leading footballer treating the fans like idiots. This time, it’s the turn of Mr. Chelsea, England’s Brave John Terry, who, after weeks of silence, has finally spoken to reject a move to Manchester City and commit his future to Chelsea.

I know there has been comment that I should have made a statement earlier. However, throughout this period there have been numerous discussions between myself, the owner and the Chelsea board and we all agreed that the timing of any statement would suit everyone involved in those talks, not any outside influences or agendas.

Would suit everyone involved? Surely the club’s captain has not forgotten the fans, who might just have wanted Terry to politely decline City’s advances a little earlier. After all, it’s not as if Terry lacked opportunities with Chelsea holding press conferences for the release of (yet another) new kit, the announcement of (yet another) new manager and before (yet another) pre-season tour to the US.

Assuming that Terry was not struck mute over the summer, it’s not as if he is usually shy about voicing his opinions. Granted, he normally waits until Chelsea get a new manager, when he will blather on about how brilliant they will be and the positive impact they will have on “JT United”; only matched by his comments when the same manager is unceremoniously sacked, when he will innocently insist that they had his full support.

I have lost count of the times that Terry has loudly proclaimed his love for the club:

I am Chelsea through and through ... I want to stay for life, I love the club, love the players, love the manager, Roman … I really can’t see myself leaving …  I’m so passionate about Chelsea … I am and always will be Chelsea … I want to end my career at the club that I love … I am totally committed to Chelsea.

On and on it goes - and yet apparently he only wants to stay for life if he gets assurances that players like Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole stay too.

"Chelsea fans can sit on it and spin"

No, the reality is that this was another grandstanding opportunity for Terry to enhance his reputation as one of English football’s supreme loyalists, while at the same time increasing his leverage for another hike in his already massive contract. Apparently, Terry can now look forward to increasing his weekly salary from £125,000 to £150,000. Obviously, Terry did not look to re-negotiate his contract, which had another three years to run. No sirree, Bob! It’s just a pleasing side effect of his friendship with Roman, or, as Terry himself put it, without any trace of irony:

That's the kind of relationship you can't buy. You can't put a price on things like that.

When he told his adoring public that he had received assurances from Abramovich that the club's ambition "remains as high as ever", he somehow managed to leave out the bit where they will throw another £25,000 a week at him.

In the latest attempt to destroy the English language, Chelsea’s new offer was described as a “loyalty” payment, which is a strange way to describe the result of another calculating mercenary holding his club to ransom before fobbing off its fans with a transparent load of rubbish. Funny how quickly loyalty evaporates when obscene amounts of money are plonked on the table. Even Noel Gallagher could see through this twaddle:

I don’t like John Terry and I never have. He’s got funny eyes and he’s a cry baby. He’s also a Cockney and he’d absolutely be coming just for the money.

Remember Terry’s demands the last time he re-negotiated his contract in 2007, when he asked for a 10 year contract including a clause to guarantee that he would be the club’s best paid player for the duration of the deal plus an option to become Chelsea’s manager when he retired from playing.

This response may seem excessively cynical, but we have been here before. In fact, it was about this time last summer that JT’s great mate, Frank Lampard, put us through a similar song and dance when Inter flashed the cash. Once again, the result was a declaration of undying loyalty to the club – and a new contract.

"JT takes one for the team"

At the very least, Terry has hardly been an agent of stabilization in the first days of Carlo Ancelotti’s reign, more an agent for himself. You also have to ask yourself why City maintained their pursuit of Terry for so long. Although they are pretty delusional, they are not complete idiots, so it is fair to assume that they have been given some encouragement along the line.

Of course, Terry has proved to be an expert manipulator in the past. His former team-mate, Claude Makelele, claimed in his autobiography that a transfer request from the skipper led to Jose Mourinho’s departure in September 2007:

When John Terry let his discontent be known to Kenyon and asked him for an immediate transfer, Abramovich reacted immediately. The departure of Terry was totally unimaginable, from the point of view of the supporters, the players or the club owners. Mourinho was asked to pack his bags.

Similarly, when Fabio Capello was considering who would be his England captain, Terry managed to rubbish his main competition, Rio Ferdinand, without even mentioning him:

If they don’t want an England captain fighting for England in every way possible, fighting to win the ball and come out of the tackle, fighting for the cause, then that’s down to them to make that decision.

"Taking the fans for a ride"

Despite his reputation as Captain Courageous, a lionheart that would spill blood for his country, he has not been above the odd tactical injury, like the time he missed two World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Belarus with a back injury, only to make a surprise return to the Chelsea team just three days later.

Although not a complete shock, some were still surprised when the straitlaced Capello eventually appointed Terry as his England captain, given some of the character defects displayed in the past. The late Oliver Reed may have been a bit of a lad, but you wouldn’t want him leading out your nation’s football team and Terry has much in common with the old hell-raiser with his reputation for drinking, gambling and womanizing.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Terry was among a group of Chelsea players accused of drunkenly mocking American tourists at Heathrow, stripping naked, laughing and vomiting. The following year, he was arrested for a fracas in a London night club, where a doorman was injured, though he was later cleared of charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, possessing a bottle as an offensive weapon and affray. In 2004, he was reputedly one of three Chelsea stars said to have risked £40,000 a week betting on the horses and the dogs. Terry’s love life has been no less colourful, as he himself has confessed to cheating on his wife several times.

"The Crying Game, part one"

You may wish to excuse these acts as being down to the impetuosity of youth, but only last season Terry once again had a late night brush with the law following boorish behaviour at a nightclub (along with the appalling Ashley Cole). Chelsea manager, Guus Hiddink, admitted he was astonished to find himself forced to confront the issue of discipline with two such experienced players. Maybe he wouldn’t have been surprised at Terry acting the Big Time Charlie, if he had seen the photos of JT parking his Bentley in a disabled bay with no thought of potentially depriving a needy individual of access to local amenities.

On the pitch, we have become accustomed to the sight of Terry leading a charge of furious team-mates towards any referee who dares to make a call against them. Most recently, Terry vigorously defended Didier Drogba’s deranged histrionics after the Champions League semi-final defeat against Barcelona, arguing that his team-mate was well within his rights to race onto the pitch, launch a finger-jabbing rant and hurl expletives directly into a television camera. He then irresponsibly claimed that the referee should “face the consequences”, so was presumably delighted that the ref had to be hustled away from the ground under guard, moved from his hotel to another location and then smuggled back home to Oslo, where he received death threats.

Maybe all of this aggression is to cover up the realisation that John Terry is no longer a great player. His pace and skills have clearly declined as a result of age and injuries. Even during the halcyon days of the Special One, he benefited from tremendous protection in front of him through Claude Makelele, plus he had Petr Cech in awesome form behind him. He has not even been the best defender at his club with Ricardo Carvalho demonstrating more skill, pace and positional ability. Nor is he the best defender for his country, as Rio Ferdinand is much more composed and mature.

We can forgive him his penalty slip that cost Chelsea the Champions League, especially as I have never seen a funnier sight on a football field, but surely even Terry realised he was talking nonsense when he insisted that he had proved he was a big-game player after scoring against the USA in a meaningless friendly days later. His decline was shown up when he was sent-off against, ironically, Manchester City, when he hauled down Jo, rather than expose his lack of pace.

"The Crying Game, part two"

At least he’s an inspirational captain, right? Well, I would ask what effect it has on a team to see their captain in bits after losing any important match. We have all seen Terry crying his eyes out after losing the Champions League final to Manchester United, the Champions League semi-final to Liverpool and after being kocked out of the World Cup quarter-final by Portugal. Apart from the tears, there is another common denominator here: JT leading his side to defeat. Maybe his familiarity with losing is why he described Chelsea’s season as “successful”, when they only won the FA Cup, despite all their riches.

At least this story has a happy ending with Mr. Chelsea pledging his future to the club he loves. Let the badge-kissing begin.

Monday, July 27, 2009

One Greedy Bastard

"True Blue ?"

“… there’s only one greedy bastard”.

Unfortunately, this chant rings no truer in modern football than Spurs fans singing, “We’re by far the greatest team the world has ever seen”. However, the recent transfer of Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City, where he will reportedly be paid £170,000 a week (double what he was “earning” at Arsenal) surely takes the cake.

Last summer, Arsenal rewarded Adebayor for scoring 30 goals by doubling his salary. This season, Adebayor scored only 16 goals, but City have decided to reward him for being 50% as prolific by once again doubling his wages. In effect, he is being twice as well compensated for being half as good.

Initially, Greedy-bayor claimed that the move was not about money, but somewhat ruined his argument when he proceeded to clarify his motives:

I know a lot of people will be saying, ‘He went for the money’. But I would like to hear any man, if he is honest, say he would refuse it, if he was earning £10 and someone offered him £30.

Fair enough, it’s quite obvious to everyone that the man is motivated only by money, even though at the beginning of the year he launched his own war on wealth:

Money is killing the spirit of the game. I don’t want to mention a name here, but good players are made to be in a great team. Money is killing football because some people are making the decision because of money.

This heart-felt lament was a comment on Robinho’s transfer from Real Madrid to, er, Manchester City.

"City Slicker"

We shouldn’t be too surprised at Adebayor’s eagerness to embrace the oil money being flushed through the streets of Manchester. After all, this is the man who told us how he had to prepare for his retirement at the age of 24. This was a clear reference to his focus on money, though Arsenal fans could be forgiven for thinking he meant it literally, given his lackadaisical “efforts” last year.

The fans’ reaction to the sale of Adebayor is telling. No £25 million striker has ever been sent on his way with such a wave of indifference. The main concern among the club’s supporters was not that the deal might be completed, but that it might collapse. The prevailing feeling among the fans is “good riddance”. Hardly surprising, given that Adebayor blasted them for not giving him enough support, somehow comparing himself to Cesc. Well, the reason that the fans never turned on Cesc is because he never acted like Adebayor.

We understood perfectly how he had behaved: spending all last summer trying to move away from Arsenal, then engineering a massive pay rise and showing a frightening lack of self-awareness by kissing the badge after scoring a penalty in a meaningless pre-season friendly. To encourage his departure, Arsenal fans even produced a tongue-in-cheek “Michael Owen” brochure to attract buyers, describing him as “better than Marlon Harewood and Mido put together”.

"Kiss me where the sun don't shine"

Arsene Wenger also has a superb record in knowing when to cash in on his playing assets (Overmars, Petit, Vieira, etc). The reality is that Adebayor went to City, because he had no other options. No Champions League side wanted him – or would match what Wenger was paying him. No offers from Barcelona or big-spending Real Madrid. Even Milan with all the money from the Kaka deal and their obvious need for a new striker kept their cheque book firmly closed. So, it had to be the rich man’s plaything. Even then, Adebayor hardly endeared himself to his new fans by desperately touting himself to Manchester United and Chelsea at the last minute.

Adebayor has plenty of form with his numerous previous flirtations with Barcelona and Milan. Who could forget the day last summer when he gave one interview stating that he wanted to stay at Arsenal, only to change his stance moments later on another channel, when he welcomed interest from other clubs:

Barcelona have made a good financial offer and there is also the chance to play alongside great players. Yes, I am still under contract to Arsenal but it's up to the directors to satisfy my demands or I'll leave.

This was followed by an article in El Mundo, when he gushed about how he’d love to play with Thierry Henry again, featuring a photo of him holding a copy of the newspaper grinning like a wanking Japanese.

His overtures to Milan have been no less subtle. On the day of a crucial Champions League tie, he decided to rally the troops by dropping heavy hints of a transfer to Milan, bizarrely comparing the club to the bootylicious Beyonce, thus making Arsenal out to be the Susan Boyle of football. Adebayor also explained that he often speaks with Milan vice-president, Adriano Galliani, on the phone, because “he is very good at French, as his wife is from Morocco”. Alles klar. This is the man who had previously made the ludicrous claim that he’d had his phone off all summer, so had no idea about any transfer shenanigans.

"Greed is Good"

The chances are that Arsenal will actually be a stronger unit without Adebayor. The return of Eduardo from his long injury will be like signing a new player, while Adebayor’s exit may allow Arshavin to play in his preferred role behind the main striker. The emerging talents of Nicklas Bendtner and Carlos Vela should also be given opportunities to establish themselves at the Emirates. The £25 million injection into the transfer fund could be used to buy the defensive midfielder and central defender that the team so palpably needs.

Either way, it became clear towards the end of the season that Adebayor had been dropped from the last few games in order to protect the “asset”. Even though a diplomatic injury was the explanation, it is more likely that Wenger had decided to call time on Adebayor’s Arsenal career, because of his heavy first touch, unprofessional attitude and inconsistent performances. Even though Adebayor could still score the occasional spectacular goal, like the scissors kick against Villareal, those moments were few and far between.

In his first season, he ran the channels, chased loose balls and made things happen. Although he was a clumsy player, often missing easy chances, there was never a question about his application. However, this season he has strolled around, hard work apparently beneath him, with an on-pitch demeanour that makes Dimitar Berbatov look like Usain Bolt on speed. Speaking about Adebayor’s possible sale, Ray Parlour said:

He was too lazy at times last season and just didn’t do it. His body language wasn’t great. His attitude amazed me at times last season when he just didn’t put it in.

The Romford Pele hit the nail on the head. The best way for Adebayor to win the fans back after last summer’s nonsense was to work hard and score goals. Instead, his lazy performances have seen supporters grow weary of him.

But is Adebayor actually any good? Yes, he did score 30 goals in 2007-8, but that was a vibrant Arsenal side that made about 150 chances for him. The midfield trio of Fabregas, Flamini and Hleb combined beautifully to put everything on a plate. And 6 of his goals came against Derby County, statistically the worst team in Premier League history. Ade-barndoor is a big, clumsy battering ram of a forward, who plays in a brainless style. His lack of footballing intelligence is most clearly seen by being continually caught offside, but is also evidenced by his inability to anticipate a cross, short pass or a rebound. He is frequently on his heels, not his toes, at the crucial moment of an attacking move, so the ball often gets away from him. When he actually reaches it, he will more likely than not scuff his shot. He is six foot four, but cannot really head the ball. In all, he is just a poor man’s Didier Drogba.

"Caricature of a Player"

This has not prevented delusions of grandeur. He compared himself to Thierry Henry, who scored goals year after year for Arsenal and is one of the greatest players the Premiership has ever seen. Adebayor was a bit-part player for Monaco before Wenger rescued him, but he can at best only be described as a one-season wonder for Arsenal. Adebayor, of course, sees things differently, boasting that Arsenal have helped him “become one of the great players in world football”. Really? Would anyone swap him for Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka or Fernando Torres? Thought not.

He is also the classic flat-track bully, a big game bottler. When Wenger needed him most against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United, Adebayor simply disappeared. His displays in the Champions League semi-finals against United were offensively bad. Not only did he gift John O’Shea (!) the opening goal of the tie by casually vacating a space when defending a corner, but quite unforgivably he implied in a post-match interview that he could not be expected to do much when playing against Vidic and Ferdinand. Words fail me.

It comes down to a question of character. Adebayor has a powerful physique and should be a real handful for opposition defences, but he doesn’t have the right attitude to compete, like a Wayne Rooney or even a Carlos Tevez. His arrogance and ego will not be missed by the dressing room, especially Nicklas Bendtner, whom he butted during a Carling Cup semi-final in a rare moment of physical exertion.

"Smells like Team Spirit"

Apparently one of the reasons behind Adebayor’s decision to join the City revolution was Arsenal’s failure to win any silverware since the FA Cup victory in 2005. Leaving aside the obvious rejoinder that the club’s recent lack of trophies is just possibly down to the players, including the mis-firing striker, have I somehow missed all those trophies won by Manchester City? Do me a favour. The sheer unwillingness to accept any responsibility highlights his lack of character.

One area where Adebayor’s work rate cannot be questioned is his big mouth. He seemed to have appointed himself as some sort of imbecilic spokesman for the club. In an interview with the appalling Garth Crooks on BBC’s Football Focus, he claimed that the club had gone backwards and blamed the fans’ lack of support for his drop in form. Earlier in he season, he had defended William Gallas’s outburst that split the dressing room: “If he had said nothing, where would we be today?”, conveniently over-looking the subsequent defeats to Manchester City, Burnley and Porto. Fortunately, he talks so fast that it’s hard to understand much of what he’s saying.

His swelling ego can also be found off the pitch. He decorated his car by embroidering his name and squad number into each of the seats, which is a crime against good taste. Even more offensive was his behaviour when visiting sick children at a local hospital along with other Arsenal players, when he had his iPod earphones in for all the pictures.

Despite winning African Footballer of the Year in 2008, Adebayor has enjoyed a fractious relationship with the Togo football federation. He has refused to play in international matches on several occasions: first, when he was made substitute; then, in a wholly unsurprising row over bonus payments; and, most strangely, because the president did not travel to matches. Little wonder that the coach described Adebayor as a “cry baby, who thinks he’s a superstar”.

Emmanuel Adebayor represents the archetypal modern footballer. Flash, brash and driven by cash, he is an out of control egomaniac who only flatters to deceive. City are welcome to the useless waster.