MOST young boys who dream of becoming a footballer want to be a star striker, and it is easy to see why – they grab all the headlines and quite often most of the money: Struggling Premier League side Aston Villa splashed out £18million (the deal could eventually rise to £24million) for Sunderland forward Darren Bent last week.
Bent is not the most gifted of players technically but has an impressive scoring record at the highest level. The size of the fee surprised a lot of people in football but Bent scored after 18 minutes of his debut against Manchester City on Saturday. It was the only goal of the game against title-chasing City and gave Villa a bit of breathing space at the bottom end of the table. If the Midlands club do manage to stay up and Bent’s goals play a part, then supporters will consider it £24million well spent.
Saturday was a good day for strikers in the Premier League with Dimitar Berbatov grabbing a hat-trick for Manchester United in their 5-0 mauling of Birmingham and Robin van Persie netting all three in Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over Wigan.
There was even a return to scoring ways for Liverpool’s Fernando Torres as he struck twice in their 3-0 triumph at Wolves.
Tottenham had to rely on an injury time equaliser from Aaron Lennon to draw 1-1 at Newcastle and give manager Harry Redknapp a boost after a traumatic week.
Last Thursday Redknapp was in Madrid to see the city’s two teams, Real and Atletico play each other and has revealed he was mugged. Redknapp, who was with his assistant manager Kevin Bond, told the BBC that two men fell to their knees in front of him and tugged at his trouser legs to distract him while four others took money and items from his pockets.
“I’m walking round the outside of the stadium, it’s a fantastic atmosphere, there’s all little stalls there selling sweets. I just probably looked stupid or something. I got some sweets, me and Kevin, and it was so packed. The next thing there’s two guys on their knees in front of me and I felt someone pull my overcoat. I thought ‘what are you doing?’. The next thing he’s got my keys on the floor. I thought ‘is he a blind man or someone having trouble walking properly?’ What are they doing, these two blokes? I’m going ‘let go of my trousers’, pushing them away. While I’m doing that they’re rifling my pockets, there were about six of them. And then they went. They took everything. All my money, credit cards, everything really.”
Another manager not happy with his lot is West Ham’s Avram Grant who has labelled the sending off of Frederic Piquionne at Everton “a joke” after he was given a second booking for his goal celebration in the Hammers’ 2-2 draw at Everton. “Next time I will tell my players to go to a funeral when they score,” Grant told BBC Sport.
Piquionne’s goal put West Ham 2-1 ahead but Everton equalised after his dismissal reduce the London side to 10 men. “The red card was a joke,” said Grant. “He scored a goal and went to celebrate with the supporters. He has not done anything wrong – he went to celebrate with the people who deserve to more than anybody.”