THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Wednesday 1 Chelsea, Ashley Cole and Jose Mourinho are found guilty of meeting in a hotel for immoral purposes and face fines totalling £600,000, with Chelsea also receiving a suspended three-point deduction; all will appeal. “The public don’t expect players to move just at the drop of a wallet,” warns David Dein. Darren Bent joins Charlton for £3 million.

Friday 3 Rushden’s supporters’ trust take over the club, though ex-chairman Max Griggs will continue to put money in for the next two years. Northwich are relegated from the Conference because their former owners, who went bankrupt last year, didn’t transfer league membership to the company that succeeded them; Forest Green stay up instead. There are parties by the Tyne as Patrick Kluivert agrees terms with Valencia.

Saturday 4 Spurs suspend their director of football, Frank Arnesen, alleging that he has been approached illegally by Chelsea, who want him to become their chief scout and do the dishes at their training ground. Ashley Cole denies Peter Kenyon’s claim, made at the tapping-up inquiry, that he complained of a “French clique” at Highbury. None the less, he now expects to leave Arsenal and blames David Dein for not agreeing to his contract demands: “He treated me like a kid.” In World Cup qualifiers, the Republic of Ireland take an early two-goal lead against Israel but end up drawing 2‑2, while Scotland beat Moldova 2‑0. Northern Ireland lose 4‑1 in a friendly at home to Germany who play with ten men for 75 minutes after Robert Huth’s dismissal.

Sunday 5 England’s women get an injury-time winner to beat Finland 3‑2 in their opening European Championship match. Spurs miss out on a UEFA Cup place via the Fair Play Draw, but have at least been offered £2m by Chelsea as compensation for Frank Arnesen. Man Utd are to pay Fulham the same amount to make Edwin van der Sar their seventh goalkeeper in the six years since Peter Schmeichel left. Malcolm Glazer calls police after fearing that there was a sniper in a helicopter above his mansion – but it turns out to be a neighbour giving someone a lift.

Tuesday 7
George Burley resigns as Derby manager, saying that his position was “untenable” after rows with the club’s board (and, it is said, certain players). Malcolm Glazer’s three sons, Huey, Dewie and Louie, join the Man Utd board. Millwall will appeal against fines of £32,000 for crowd misbehaviour, including alleged racial abuse, during their Carling Cup tie with Liverpool last October.

Wednesday 8 Harry Kewell is to sue Gary Lineker for a “hurtful and humiliating attack” in a Sunday Telegraph column relating to his transfer from Leeds to Liverpool in 2003. Meanwhile, the latter are believed to have offered Southampton £5m for the commodity of the moment, Peter Crouch. Lee Bowyer is set to be prosecuted for that punch-up with Kieron Dyer – but his solicitor will seek a judicial review: “He’s entitled to say, ‘Why me? Why aren’t you prosecuting other footballers who’ve done much worse than me?’ ” In World Cup matches, Scotland draw 0‑0 in Belarus (“We are back to being difficult to beat,” says captain Barry Ferguson) while the Republic of Ireland beat the Faroes 2‑0. England’s women lose 2‑1 to Denmark and the Under-20s go out in the semi-finals of the Toulon tournament on penalties to the hosts, France.

Thursday 9 Spurs want Chelsea to give them Scott Parker plus at least £5m in cash as compensation for the loss of Frank Arnesen; they also reject West Brom’s offer of £4.5m for Freddie Kanouté. 

Friday 10 Liverpool are admitted to the Champions League, but will have to start in the first qualifying round. Malcolm Glazer intends to raise Old Trafford season-ticket prices by 54 per cent over five seasons; United chief executive David Gill sells his shares to Glazer and is expected to stay on the board. The Football League announce a £110m three-year deal with Sky and ITV,
a 40 per cent increase on the previous contract.
Mikael Forssell and his wobbly knee join Birmingham for £3m.

Saturday 11 England’s women are knocked out at the group stage of the European Championship after a 1‑0 defeat to Sweden. Newcastle are hoping to gazump Chelsea’s expected bid for Shaun Wright-Phillips by offering Craig Bellamy plus cash to Man City. Vladimir Smicer joins Bordeaux. Southampton will cement a reputation for self-defeating wackiness by appointing Sir Clive Woodward as director of football on his return from the British and Irish Lions tour.

Monday 13 Manchester United trumpet “record season-ticket sales”, though they have several thousand more tickets available this season. “Players from the Premier League need to be more realistic,” says Leeds assistant manager Sam Ellis, shouting into the abyss, as Lee Clark fails to agree terms on a move from Fulham. Liam O’Brien leaves Newcastle for Portsmouth; Jon Stead goes from Blackburn to Sunderland. George Best, reportedly beaten up by his girlfriend last week, is to be questioned about an alleged indecent assault on a 12-year-old girl. “These allegations do not help him with trying to stay off the drink,” says his agent.

Tuesday 14 Malcolm Glazer increases his total stake in Manchester United to 97.3 per cent, 0.3 per cent short of what he needs to begin the compulsory purchase of the remaining shares – the offer period for which will be extended by a fortnight. Steve Finnan is arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving over an incident in January; Robin van Persie is detained in Holland on suspicion of rape. The new club formed by Manchester United fans are set to enter the North West Counties League under the name “Football Club United of Manchester” and will groundshare at Droylsden. “I felt they really wanted me,” says Laurent Robert on opting for Portsmouth in preference to Bolton. Sunderland sign Ipswich goalkeeper Kelvin Davies. The Conference vote to expand to 24 clubs at the end of next season.

Wednesday 15 Scott Parker joins Newcastle for £6.5m. Graeme Souness is not surprised to have lured him: “If you have got anything about you, you want to play in the atmosphere that we have here.” Thinking along similar lines, Alan Pardew believes new signing Roy Carroll will be at home with West Ham – “because of his association with Manchester United he will not be fazed by the size of this club”. Celtic captain Jackie McNamara sparks consternation at Parkhead by joining Wolves only hours after assuring new boss Gordon Strachan that he was going to stay. Holders Germany reach the women’s European Championship final for a fourth successive time with a 4‑1 win over Finland.
 
Thursday 16 Lee Bowyer, known to a be a sensitive soul, has supposedly been put off joining Birmingham by an online petition opposed to his move. Little David Sullivan is beside himself: “It looks like we are now going to lose out on a terrific player due to a small minority of fans.” Or else Lee is holding out for a return to London... The SPL decide against relegating Livingston over the controversy surrounding Hassan Kachloul’s ‘amateur’ status, but the club are fined. Relegated Dundee may still appeal. El-Hadji Diouf makes a permanent move to Bolton from Liverpool. Graeme Souness receives a two-match touchline ban and a sixth fine in three years for criticising referee Barry Knight after Newcastle’s defeat at Everton in May. Norway’s women beat Sweden 3‑2 in extra-time in the second Euro 2005 semi. The jury in the Lineker-Kewell libel trial are discharged after failing to reach a verdict, but FIFA are to investigate the role of Kewell’s manager Bernie Mandic, who is not a licensed agent, unlike his brother Nick.

Friday 17 The FA bring an unprecedented nine charges against agent Paul Stretford relating to how he acquired the right to represent Wayne Rooney in 2002. If found guilty Stretford faces a lifetime ban from football. Wayne is “shocked”. Andy “Andrew” Johnson asks for a transfer, but gets predictably short shrift from Palace chairman Simon Jordan, who may report the player’s agent to the FA. With Laurent Robert’s move to Portsmouth revealed to be a one-year loan, his former employers have specified that he can’t play against them next season (Newcastle still perhaps traumatised by Lomana LuaLua’s last minute equaliser against them in February 2004).

Saturday 18
Man Utd supporters groups lobby UEFA officials at a conference in Manchester, but there is no likelihood of Malcolm Glazer’s takeover being blocked. “We can voice an opinion but we do not have any right to intervene,” says chief executive Lars-Christer Olsson. Real Madrid may be deterred from bidding for Steven Gerrard by Liverpool’s asking price of £32m. Germany’s women retain their European title, beating Norway 3‑1 .

Monday 20 Barcelona’s Samuel Eto’o claims that he turned down Chelsea’s offer of £80,000 a week because his wife didn’t want to live in London. Having shrugged off their dalliance with Patrick Kluivert, Newcastle are pursuing Luis Figo, who is available on a free from Real Madrid but will ask for £90,000 a week plus the freehold on the Metro Centre. UEFA confirm that Liverpool will be seeded in the first qualifying round of the Champions League, and will be one of the top eight seeds if they reach the group stage. Clyde shelve plans to sign Paul Gascoigne as player-coach because he needs a hip operation. Various new polls of Birmingham fans, including one organised by the local Evening Mail, claim overwhelming support for the club’s attempt to sign Lee Bowyer.

Tuesday 21 Cambridge United are in danger of being closed down over £500,000 owed to HM Customs, who have been unable to reach a deal with club officials. Work hard, play hard: Didier Drogba claims that an unnamed Chelsea team-mate trashed his hotel room the night before the Champions League semi-final at Liverpool after losing a “staggering” amount of money in a card game. Jose will supervise Ker-Plunk! sessions next season. Drogba and co get a new team-mate, Asier Del Horno (a left-back, Ashley) joining from Athletic Bilbao for £8m. Former FA secretary Faria Alam tells an employment tribunal that she was the subject of “embarrassing and unwelcome attention” from her boss, David Davies, who was then the FA’s director of football affairs (yes, really). “There are players earning a little too much here,” says Steve Claridge on being appointed Millwall manager. Germany go into the last four of the Confederations Cup as group winners after a 2‑2 draw with Argentina.

Wednesday 22 FC United of Manchester appoint former Rotherham and Macclesfield striker Karl Marginson as their first manager; several hundred potential players will take part in a trial on Sunday. AC Milan claim to have rebuffed Chelsea’s annual bid for Andrei Shevchenko; the two clubs have also failed to reach an agreement on the transfer of Georgia defender Kakha Kaladze. However, Milan have thanked Hernán Crespo for his “financial sacrifice” in agreeing to stay another year. Man Utd are to sign PSV’s Korean midfielder Park Ji‑Sung, who insists that he is not “part of some marketing strategy for Asia”. Igor Biscan leaves Liverpool for Besiktas. Brazil and Mexico will play Germany and Argentina respectively in the Confederations Cup semis.

Thursday 23 Spurs give Chelsea until Friday to resolve their compensation claim after Frank Arnesen is photographed on Roman Abramovich’s yacht (“a social occasion” according to a Chelsea spokesman, suppressing a chortle). Wigan will start the season with a home fixture against the champions – “We won’t be going out with autograph books,” warns Paul Jewell; Arsenal are at home to Newcastle, Man Utd at Everton. Southampton’s first match at the second level in 27 years is at home to Wolves, managed by old favourite Glenn Hoddle; Forest’s League One life begins with the visit of Huddersfield; Celtic start at Motherwell, where they lost the SPL title in the final minutes of last season.

Friday 24 Spurs withdraw their threat of reporting Chelsea to the Premier League after accepting a “significant” cash settlement for Frank Arnesen’s move. Liverpool will play Welsh champions Total Network Solutions in their first Champions League qualifier. “Logistically it could be worse,” says Rick Parry with monstrous understatement, though it could be off to Lithuania next. There is also an Ireland derby with Glentoran playing Shelbourne. Newcastle are set to pay £60,000 a week to land the “Maradona of the Bosphorus”, Emre Belozoglu of Inter. Possibly lured by the Intertoto Cup, Craig Bellamy insists that he wants to stay with Newcastle: “All I can do is act in a professional and respectful manner and see what happens after that.” Phil Brown is confirmed as the new manager of Derby.

Saturday 25 Total Network Solutions get the hype machine chugging into action by asking Ian Rush to play for them against Liverpool. Everton’s offer of £6m for Andy Johnson is given predictably short shrift by Simon Jordan: “What does Bill Kenwright think he can buy for that? Andy Johnson’s trainers?” Brazil reach the Confederations Cup final with a 3‑2 win over Germany and their youth team beat the same opponents to reach the last four of the World Under-20 Championship; Morocco are also through after defeating Italy.

Sunday 26 Frank Lampard’s agent claims that Real Madrid want to buy him for £20m plus two players, one of whom is last-puppy-in-the-shop Michael Owen. Chris Kirkland will join West Brom on loan after rejecting Celtic because, according to his agent: “Scotland is a little too ‘out of sight, out of mind’.” Argentina’s senior side beat Mexico in the second semi-final of the Confederations Cup, while their Under-20s knock Spain out of the world event; Nigeria’s youth reach the last four by knocking out hosts Holland 10‑9 on penalties.

Monday 27 Luton cancel a pre-season friendly with MK Dons in response to supporters’ protests; club
chairman Bill Tomlins denies rumours that the two clubs are considering a groundshare. Watford’s Iceland striker Heidar Helguson joins Fulham. In the absence of the hospitalised Doug Ellis, the Aston Villa board will discuss a £45m takeover offer from a consortium led by ex-footballer Ray Ranson, who had a bid rejected last year.

Tuesday 28 Malcolm Glazer acquires a 98 per cent stake in Manchester United, which will give him compulsory purchase rights for the remaining shares; United supporters groups are to ask the Office of Fair Trading to investigate the takeover on the basis that it is against the interests of football in general. TNS will stage their Champions League tie with Liverpool at Wrexham because their preferred venue, the Millennium Stadium, is already booked for an REM concert. Cambridge United are saved from liquidation after Sports Minister Richard Caborn brokers an arrangement with their main creditors, the Inland Revenue. Tony Pulis is sacked as Stoke manager – “despite all the good work he has done, he has failed to implement the strategy of exploiting foreign markets,” explains chairman Gunnar Por Gislason. Dennis Wise and Dave Bassett join the growing cast of characters at Southampton, who look set for a lively season. Laurent Robert, due to leave Newcastle for Portsmouth on Friday, will be fined two weeks’ wages for describing Graeme Souness as “just a child”.

Wednesday 29 The three Glazer brothers escape Old Trafford with the aid of a police baton charge after a large crowd gathers to protest against their first visit. FA chief executive Brian Barwick says referees will be encouraged to caution players who verbally abuse them, a measure backed by PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor: “We are happy for there to be a no-go area around referees.” Former Torquay goalkeeper Olli Gotskalksson has been banned after refusing to take a drugs test in January – he has since disappeared; the FA have also suspended an unnamed player for testing positive for cocaine. “I’m happy to have come to a club that was once bigger than Chelsea and that will be bigger than them again” says Mateja Kezman on joining Atletico Madrid. “Southampton never really felt right for me,” says Villa’s new signing, Kevin Phillips. Dutchman Johan Boskamp is the new manager of Stoke City. Brazil beat Argentina 4-1 in the Confederations Cup final.

Thursday 30 With the Glazereenies returning to Old Trafford for a pre-breakfast shopping trip (Roy Carroll keyrings were on special sale), Sir Bobby Charlton wants the world to know that he’s content: “I went in to meet them with a very open mind and I was pleased to hear they won’t be making any changes.” Newcastle fine Laurent Robert two weeks’ wages, £90,000, for the second time in three days after he claims that Jermaine Jenas will leave this summer. Slavia Prague have complained to UEFA over their seeding demotion to accommodate Liverpool in the final qualifying round of the Champions League.

From WSC 222 August 2005. What was happening this month

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