There have been some positive noises from Lauren, and from von Nistlebaum, about putting the past behind us and playing a game to thrill the watching millions on Saturday. I’d much rather the game was played in the same spirit as the two matches against Chelski, but I’m not holding my breath. I hope that Rob Styles – a disciplinarian, they say – gets a decent grip on proceedings and doesn’t let the usual suspects get away with murder. I read somewhere that the FA has a policy that a referee can only officiate one FA cup final, and that’s why Styles has got his turn. The thing is, he’s never refereed an Arsenal Man U game. That said, it could be better that he hasn’t. We’ll see, but this article doesn’t exactly fill me with glee.
Franny Old Game
I once knew a bloke – Spuds fan as it happens – who started his working life as a manager of an off licence, then slowly but surely relegated himself down the off licence rung (he didn’t want the responsibility) until he had the job he considered least stressful, that of being one of the delivery blokes. His career started at the top, sort of, then went backwards, which is not quite the way it’s supposed to happen, at least it’s not if you believe in careers.
My point here, tenuous though it might be, is that it reminds me of Francis Jeffers. He hit the ground running at his hometown club, before securing a huge £8m transfer to Arsenal. What he didn’t probably realise is that the day he walked through the doors of Highbury and into the Marble Halls could well have been the summit of his career.
He had all the stats to back him up, but what he didn’t seem to have was A) luck and B) the sufficient dedication to succeed with us. Off he went to Charlton for a knock-down £3m or so – still only about 24-years-old – where everyone who had seen him play in his pomp (aged 17) once again promised he’d come good and prove himself to be a bargain.
Not so – according to the Standard, Charlton are now trying to offload him for something like £1m. In four years, his value has dropped by seven eighths. There’s a cautionary tale in there somewhere.