Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Piss off, Newcastle!
Those annoying rumours about Ashton becoming part of Roeder's claret and blue army (at least when they're away.. check out their new away shirt) just won't go away. The price is still £10 million but Pardew said, "He's settled in well and has just bought a house. I can guarantee he will be going nowhere."
Apparently Pardew's looking at John Pantsil, a 25-year-old Ghanaian right-back. He plays for Hapoel Tel Aviv and the touted price is £750,000. He played in the World Cup apparently but I can't remember him. Sounds like he's either a bit of a wind-up merchant or a bit naive going off the following exerpt from TEAMtalk: "Pantsil, a committed Christian, caused controversy in Germany when he produced an Israeli flag during a goal celebration against the Czech Republic - a gesture that provoked protests from certain parts of the Arab world like Palestine and Egypt. The Ghanaian FA was forced to apologise, with Pantsil claiming he only wanted to show his appreciation to Israeli fans who had supported him in his career." Pantsil has joined West Ham on their tour of Sweden.
Speaking of which, technical director Niall Clark is insisting that the three friendlies against Swedish clubs are just training-ground run-arounds. As we all know Pardew places a lot of emphasis on physical fitness and this paid off last season with the team getting more points coming from behind than anyone else in the Premiership. The Swedish tour is intended to get the team in peak condition for the coming season. "This isn't a holiday," said Clark. "The lads will all be working very hard, and the matches certainly won't be spectacles of entertainment or flowing football - they are arranged purely to monitor and gauge the players' fitness levels. We will be picking the team and making substitutions based on how many minutes each individual player needs according to their current physical condition. As the week goes on, we will study the amount of football each have played, and adapt their programmes to ensure they continue to progress in the correct way. It's really not until the last couple of pre-season friendlies that we begin to seriously study performance and tactical issues. The players are out in Sweden solely to continue their fitness programme, and the trip will play a very important part in their development ahead of the new season."