Sunday, July 23, 2006

Fine Tooning

I'm a big fan of Damien Duff, even if his proneness to injury and José Mourinho's shackling of his wide ability has rendered him over the past two years only half the man he really is. He has now left the Evil Empire of Stamford Bridge, to move, not to Tottenham, where he might have formed an intriguing Hibernian troika with Robbie Keane and Andy Reid, but to Newcastle, for 10 million pound sterling (how come there's no pound sign on my Mac, either by keyboard or short-cut? I can do yen, dollar and euro though), almost half of what Chelsea paid Blackburn for him this time three years ago.

With all due respect to Newcastle, they should be considered, as a friend and correspondent commented elsewhere on this blog yesterday, perennial losers. And, from the purely selfish point of view of an Ireland football fan, I wonder, just as a snooty parent might fear for their son's academic performance while surrounded by corner boys and nyucks (a word you never hear again once you leave school), if it is good for us if the man is playing for England's best-supported underachievers. It is true that Steven Carr and Shay Given have both been there a while but, in Given's case at least, he does have the benefit of getting a lot of practice. But there may be a glimmer of hope: Duff chose the Toon because, as well as being guaranteed first-team football (they'd play him in two positions at once were it humanly possible) he has been told that he can play wide on the left, his favourite position. Let's see...