Kevin Keegan’s disingenuous reasoning

Martin Hardy has a new book, Tunnel of Love, about the goings-on at Newcastle United over the past 20 years or so.

Today’s edition of The Sunday Times featured a number of extracts, all eye-opening to varying degrees about the treatment of Bobby Robson, the Dyer-Bowyer fight and Craig Bellamy’s all-round difficulty. And there was a little snippet which naturally caught our eye – Alan Shearer taking the number 9 off Les Ferdinan when he signed in 1996.

shearerferdinand.jpg

Alan Shearer’s £15m record move from Blackburn Rovers to Newcastle in 1996 was agreed at the home of England teammate David Platt’s parents.

“I’m not going to say this and that,” said Shearer by way of introduction. “The only thing I want to know is, can I have the number 9 shirt? That all I want to know, the rest I’ll leave to Tony [agent Tony Stephens].”

Kevin Keegan stood up. “You’ve got it,” he said.

Manager Keegan then had to tell Les Ferdinand he would not be wearing the shirt. “It’s not about the shirt for you, Les, it’s not that important.

“It’s a number and it was part of the deal to get Alan here. You’ll be a great partnership. It [the shirt] is not that significant.”

Ferdinand looked at Keegan and pointed at the gold pendant that hung from his chain. “How come you still wear the number 7 then, boss?” he asked.

Incidentally, David Ginola later reckoned that the re-assignment of the shirt had affected team morale.

Advertisements

1-11 in the Premier League redux, Part 3

You know the drill by this stage, we’re examining how the Premier League teams would look if they picked the players numbered 1-11. Next up, the middle four alphabetically:

Liverpool

2014-15

  1. Brad Jones
  2. Glen Johnson
  3. José Enrique
  4. Kolo Touré
  5. Dejan Lovren
  6. Steven Gerrard
  7. Rickie Lambert
  8. Philippe Coutinho
  9. Oussama Assaidi

No numbers 5 or 7, but the way the rest of the players are allows us to put those numbers in historically appropriate locations for Liverpool (4-4-2 might have been better but Brendan Rodgers does tend to prefere 4-2-3-1 and the number 7 often played just off 9 in the great ‘Pool teams).

Switch 2 with 4 and 8 with 11 and it’s like Kenny Dalglish assigned the numbers.

Manchester City

2014-15

  1. Joe Hart
  2. Micah Richards
  3. Bacary Sagna
  4. Vincent Kompany
  5. Pablo Zabaleta
  6. Fernando
  7. James Milner
  8. Samir Nasri
  9. Alvaro Negredo
  10. Edin Dzeko
  11. Aleksandar Kolarov

We could have gone 4-4-2, with Sagna at right-back, Zabaleta left-back and Kolarov on the wing, but Kolarov is more of a defender, though two right-backs in a back three distorts the balance slightly.

Manchester United

2014-15

  1. David de Gea
  2. Rafael
  3. Luke Shaw
  4. Phil Jones
  5. Marcos Rojo
  6. Jonny Evans
  7. Angel di Maria
  8. Juan Mata
  9. Radamel Falcao
  10. Wayne Rooney
  11. Adnan Januzaj

Pretty perfect numbering for this formation (apart from 5 and 6 the wrong way round), though if United were to ever line up like this it could be 6-5. You’d need a couple of good defenders and mid-2000s Michael Essien instead of Jones.

Could have gone with three at the back but then there’d be no midfield at all. W-M, perhaps?

Newcastle United

2014-15

  1. Tim Krul
  2. Fabricio Coloccini
  3. Davide Santon
  4. Ryan Taylor
  5. Mike Williamson
  6. Moussa Sissoko
  7. Vurnon Anita
  8. Papiss Demba Cissé
  9. Siem de Jong
  10. Yoan Gouffran

The lack of a 5 is a help in terms of making a playable formation, and while it’s not the ideal place to put it, Ruel Fox did wear that number while playing as a winger for the Toon. Coloccini likes 2 as he’s Argentinean and luckily the others fall into that system.