THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Thursday 1 “I think I have arrived here at the perfect time,” says Andriy Shevchenko on joining Chelsea for £30 million. Arsenal are to be questioned over a loan payment made to their Belgian nursery club Beveren, which may have breached FIFA regulations. Ronnie Moore steps down as Oldham manager, to be replaced by John Sheridan.

Friday 2 “There is no bigger challenge in the game at the moment than Derby County,” says new manager Billy Davies on joining them from Preston. Chelsea admit to an interest in Roberto Carlos – though you sense this is Roman’s idea rather than José’s. Joleon Lescott is to join Everton from Wolves.

Saturday 3 England beat Jamaica 6-0 at Old Trafford. Peter Crouch scores a hat-trick, chips a penalty over the bar and does his robot dance. “Peter is becoming a cult figure and deservedly so,” says Frank Lampard. “He can miss penalties, but not taking them that way,” says Sven, not quite striking the right note. Scarborough are relegated from the Conference for various financial misdemeanours. Altrincham, who had previously lost an appeal against having 18 points deducted, stay up instead.

Monday 5 Ipswich’s new manager is former captain Jim Magilton. “We see this as a bold and progressive move, representing both continuity and change,” says chairman David Sheepshanks. Grimsby coach Graham Rodger is promoted to replace the departed Russell Slade, while John Gorman, recently released by Wycombe, takes over at Northampton.

Tuesday 6 Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov believes their 1-1 draw at Celtic in October was fixed, according to former chairman George Foulkes, who calls the idea “fantastic and unbelievable”.

Wednesday 7 Wayne Rooney’s latest scan apparently indicates that he is “injury free”, but Man Utd advise the England medical staff to be “very careful” with him. Djibril Cissé breaks his leg in France’s match with China. Gareth Southgate is the new Middlesbrough boss, though he lacks the required UEFA coaching badges. “They can’t do it – it’s as simple as that,” says John Barnwell of the League Managers’ Association. Yeovil appoint Russell Slade as manager.

Thursday 8 Sepp Blatter calls for all European leagues to be reduced to 18 teams from 2007-08, to clear more time for internationals. Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson makes a swatting gesture: “FIFA cannot force it on us. There’s only one group of people who decide the make-up of the league and that’s the 20 clubs.” The BBC wins the rights to show Premiership highlights until at least 2010. Nigel Martyn retires due to a knee injury.

Friday 9 Lee Bowyer leaves Newcastle for West Ham. “He wants to play in the claret and blue because this is where he is from and he can see where this club is going,” says Alan Pardew. After much faffing about, Joleon Lescott and his intricately sculpted beard finally join Everton.

Saturday 10 “My feet felt like they were on fire,” says John Terry as England’s subdued second half against Paraguay is almost exclusively blamed on the heat. “It was surprising England kept giving the ball back to us. They have got to get better,” agrees Roque Santa Cruz. Sweden’s Freddie Ljungberg and Olof Mellberg (yes, them again) have to be separated by team-mates after the 0-0 draw with Trinidad and Tobago. “We played much too many long balls from Mellberg up to our attackers,” Ljungberg sniffs. Togo coach Otto Pfister resigns after a row over bonus payments to players. “I won’t be messed with any more,” he says.

Sunday 11 Togo’s FA want Winfried Shafer as coach, who says he’ll do it but only if certain conditions are met, including paying the players. “If that’s OK they can phone me.” Man Utd have a £10m bid for Spurs’ Michael Carrick turned down. “I can’t do without him,” explains Martin Jol. Tony Adams is being lined up to become Harry Redknapp’s new number two. “Tony has a lot to offer,” Harry says. Yes, but what? The Sun prints its mandatory “England players have sex ban lifted” story. “It is essential to be loved and to make love,” adds Nancy Dell’Olio, apropos of very little.

Monday 12 Roy Keane retires due to a chronic hip injury. “I would like to send the manager, staff, the players and the supporters of Celtic best wishes for the future,” he says, stopping short of adding “love from Roy xx”. Otto Pfister is back. “I received a fax from the [Togolese FA] president and I will sit on the bench as coach of the team,” he reveals. World Cup games will no longer be shown on big screens in London and Liverpool after rioting during the England match, people having been bored to the point of insanity. Notts County appoint Steve Thompson manager.

Tuesday 13 Owen Hargreaves responds to being booed: “Sometimes I’ve a bit of a smirk on my face because I’m confident that I can prove those people wrong.” David Beckham, meanwhile, is vexed by German tabloid Bild making fun of his family: “It is one sad person thinking what they can do to put me off my next game.” Eidur Gudjohnsen is to join Barcelona. Tony Pulis leaves Plymouth to rejoin Stoke; Hull’s Peter Taylor takes over at Palace. Simon Jordan knows what he’s getting: “He is a fabulous coach and as a manager suffers very little indiscipline.”

Wednesday 14
Sven is almost animated in denying that he has argued with FA chief Brian Barwick over whether Rooney is ready to play: “As far as I am concerned, he is match fit.” Ronaldo is taken to a clinic complaining of dizziness after a listless performance against Croatia. There are 300 arrests after Germany play Poland. Bob Murray resigns as Sunderland chairman while takeover talks continue with Niall Quinn’s consortium. Colchester refuse to accept Phil Parkinson’s resignation. Leroy Rosenior replaces Martin Allen at Brentford.

Thursday 15
Michael Owen, ineffective against Trinidad, isn’t worried about being dropped – “If I’m sat on the bench, I’m sat on the bench”– while Sven hails Wayne Rooney’s return: “All the squad are glad to see him on the pitch instead of talking about him.” Everton may get a new stadium as part of a Tesco development in Kirkby, several miles outside Liverpool. Danny Wilson is appointed by Hartlepool; Lincoln promote their first-team coach John Schofield.

Saturday 17 Before the Ivory Coast match, some Dutch fans are required to take off orange lederhosen provided by a rival of the World Cup’s official beer sponsor, Anheuser-Busch, owner of Budweiser. “This is just beyond belief,” says Premier League chief executive Dave Richards, echoing the nation’s reaction to the news that he is to be knighted. Carlisle manager Paul Simpson is to join Preston. Andy van der Meyde denies that he could be leaving Everton. “I love it here. Why would I want to go back to Italy?”

Sunday 18 Malcolm Glazer appoints three more members of his family to the board at Old Trafford. Kevin, Edward and daughter Darcie join Joel, Ave and Bryan. “The move reflects common practice,” says a United spokesman, possibly one of the in-laws. Real Madrid presidential candidate Juan Miguel Villar Mir claims to have spoken to Arsène Wenger about the club’s managerial vacancy. “We have opened negotiations with two managers, Wenger and Capello,” he says, before going to offer voters the moon on a stick and Ronaldinho’s head on a silver platter.

Monday 19
FIFA officials have to persuade Togo players not to boycott the Switzerland game over their long-running payment dispute. Newcastle inform the stock exchange that majority shareholder Sir John Hall has been approached to sell his stake by an American-backed consortium. Celtic sign Jiri Jarosik from Chelsea. “It is a fantastic time to be joining Celtic, with so much to look forward to in the Champions League,” he says, already checking his weeknight TV schedules.

Tuesday 20
“As soon as it happened I knew I was in trouble,” says Michael Owen on the knee injury that will keep him out for at least five months; “I nearly vomited when I saw it,” says Newcastle chairman Freddie Shepherd. Lazio midfielder Ousmane Dabo will join Man City.

Thursday 22
England deny reports of a training-ground bundle between Steven Gerrard and David Beckham over the latter’s fondness for aerial punts. Martin Allen is to be the new manager of MK Dons. The Italian FA will charge Juventus, AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio, along with 25 referees and club officials, over the Moggiopoli scandal.

Friday 23 Sepp Blatter refuses to say whether Graham Poll will be sent home, possibly in leg irons, for his disastrous performance in Croatia v Australia: “We should not forget that in his previous matches he achieved fantastic things.” More than 100 England fans are detained after confrontations in Stuttgart’s main square. The Football League win a compensation claim against the solicitors who advised them on the ITV Digital contract and are awarded damages of £4 (four pounds) – they’d asked for £150m. Arsenal are cleared by an FA investigation into claims that they made an illegal payment to Beveren. Colchester take out a High Court injunction to stop Phil Parkinson joining Hull

Saturday 24 Jared Borgetti blames Mexico’s defeat on a conspiracy. “For FIFA and the World Cup it is more important to see countries like Argentina in comparison to Mexico,” he says. Another 200 England fans are rounded up after more bottle and chair throwing in Stuttgart, but those with tickets for the Ecuador game will see it.

Sunday 25 “We are playing better and better and better,” says Sven, who isn’t really bothering to try any more, after an excruciating last-16 victory. “It was a complicated match, very difficult and very ordered,” says Ecuador coach Luis Suarez, leafing through his dictionary of euphemisms. Luis Figo will face England, despite a televised butt on Mark van Bommel. “Jesus said turn the other cheek but Figo is not Jesus,” explains Luiz Felipe Scolari, who denies he has “a psychological edge” over Eriksson. “But I have won both times we’ve played.” “In my mind I’m already a Tottenham player,” says St Etienne’s Ivorian midfielder Didier Zokora. The News of the World apologises to Ashley Cole over insinuations in its coverage of the “Gay As You Go” Premiership footballers’ orgy story. Cole and Masterstepz, a DJ, both receive damages.
 
Monday 26 Wigan sign Fitz Hall from Crystal Palace for £3 million. “He’s strong, athletic and aggressive,” says Paul Jewell, impressed by his play-offs dust-up with Aidy Boothroyd. “This leaves me with a big challenge,” says West Brom’s John Hartson.

Wednesday 28 Good news for any Pompey player in need of counselling as Tony Adams arrives as assistant manager; they also sign Glen Johnson on loan from Chelsea. QPR promote Gary Waddock and release Ian Holloway from tending his lawn so he can take charge at Plymouth. Man Utd are “astonished” by claims that Cristiano Ronaldo will join Real Madrid if Juan Miguel Villar Mir is elected club president. Seven men are cleared of an alleged gunpoint assault on QPR director Gianni Paladini in the club’s boardroom.

Thursday 29 Card confusion man Graham Poll is one of 14 referees not retained. He will now retire from international matches and blames his mistake on fatigue: “Any supporters, if they watch that last ten minutes, would say it doesn’t look like Graham Poll refereeing.” France coach Raymond Domenech claims that some Spanish fans racially abused his players when they arrived at the stadium.

Friday 30 Rupert Lowe resigns as Southampton chairman after ten “interesting” years there. A group led by property tycoon Michael Wilde will replace the current board. Paul Lambert, recently manager of Livingston, takes over at Wycombe..

From WSC 234 August 2006. What was happening this month

More...