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Who ate all the pies

Dip in to scour the latest Deadline Day titbits...

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No, he hasn’t made a shock switch to Celtic. Ronaldinho is in Scotland with Barcelona ahead of their friendly matches against Dundee United and Hearts. The boys from Barca were training at St Andrews. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Welcome once again to Friendly Watch. It’s like the pre-season version of Springwatch, but with less Bill Oddie and more goals. This is possibly – unless anyone can think of another example – the first all-Premiership clash of the season. Portsmouth defeated Fulham 1-0 in the Barclays Asia Trophy with this goal from Benjani (although you are more likely to be struck by the eerily anti-Prem walking pace of the game).

I know that Liverpool fans don’t have the monopoly on this song (Celtic fans sing it regularly, as do fans of Ajax and several other European clubs) but it’s still weird to see Man Yoo fans belting out the song associated with their arch rivals. Are they on a wind-up, or did United fans ever adopt this song as their own? Answers on a postcard please (or just leave a comment!).

_40846604_falmer_203.jpgBrighton, home of pebbled beaches, dirty weekends, men in makeup and now a new football stadium…hopefully. As a Brighton resident, we’ve been waiting for this news for years but it seems the Seagulls can finally come home to roost.

There’s obviously no way you’ll agree with every selection, but I’d still be interested to hear your thoughts on this XI, comprised of players who I think are playing at a level above them…
paredes-robinson.jpgPaul Robinson (Spurs) If Spurs aspire to be a top-four, title-challenging club, they simply must find a better keeper than Robinson. His positioning is frequently awful and he often seems lead-footed. Yes, he makes the odd good save, but so does every keeper in his division.
Should be playing for… Any lower-table Prem team. Derby or Fulham, say.

A little while back Pies was pondering whether Italian bad boy Marco Materazzi makes it too easy for people to libel him by repeatedly putting himself in compromising positions. On a completely unrelated subject, here is the Matrix bending down to kiss Luis Figo’s leg!

kluivert.jpgAjax, AC Milan, Barcelona…er, Sheffield Wednesday. Former Dutch superstar, Patrick Kluivert has played for some of Europe’s greatest clubs but his fall from grace seems to have almost reached rock bottom.

e_olisadebe.jpgI always, without fail, used to sign Olisadebe for my Master League team. In his PES prime (he was very good in PES2 and PES3, as I recall), the Polish striker (via Nigeria) was terrifyingly quick, skillful, cheap to buy and deadly in front of goal. He was my own cult hero and I used to decimate opposing defences with him. Ah, happy days.

Sven Goran Eriksson is set to bring another new striker to Manchester City. I know that many Pies fans would love us to be able to reveal that the Swede’s dream partnership is Rolando Bianchi and Emile Heskey, but alas Sven’s love affair with clumsy Emile seems to be over. No, this does actually seem to be a pretty shrewd purchase, which leads us to believe Sven had little or nothing to do with it!

With clubs including Liverpool, Portsmouth and Fulham heading to China to take part in pre-season friendlies, Pies looks at players who have moved in the opposite direction to ply their trade in England and Scotland. It is pretty easy to pick out those who had the ability to make their mark in England and those who had the ability to shift a few replica shirts.
Sun%20TA.JPG1 Sun Jihai
Arguably the most successful Chinese player to date. He initially played for Crystal Palace in 1998. When he returned to England with Manchester City from Dalian Shide in 2002 he cost £2 million. He became the first Chinese Premier League goalscorer when he netted against Everton in October that year. Still with City, he is of course the subject of the stroke of terrace genius: “Singing aye aye yippy Sun Jihai, aye aye Sun Jihai, singing aye aye yippy, his dad owns a chippy, aye aye yippy Sun Jihai.”

FCUnited.JPGFC United – the Manchester United breakaway club founded after the Glazer takeover – have unveiled their kit for the new season. This retro number does resemble the current Wales strip ever so slightly but with a collar over the v-neck. The shirt was designed by a fan as part of a competition organised by the club and doesn’t feature a sponsor, which probably reminds FCUM fans why they are supporting the club in the first place.

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Well, instead of playing knock down ginger we’ve put together a list of the top ten ginger footballers who have ignored the taunts and become role models for red heads everywhere:

Fans of Pro Evo, you may appreciate this Kahn own goal, found on YouTube… or you may not. I always find it amusing when a keeper does something maverick (unless it’s my keeper) like this. That Kahn, he’s a loose cannon…

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If there are any Pies readers out there with Facebook profiles (I imagine there are quite a few), then I urge you to join our appreciation society. Just type ‘Who Ate All the Pies’ into the search bar on your Facebook page to locate us. It’s free to anyone to join and gives you a warm glow of satisfaction when you do.

CRon%20Old%20Skool.JPGC-Ron seems to be on a one man mission to bring the old back-to-front baseball cap into fashion. We are not sure whether the Man Yoo man thinks it’s going to be the latest trend, or if he simply wanted as much of his face on show as possible. This time last year Pies hated this man. He won us over with his scintillating displays on the pitch last season, but nonetheless pictures like this confirm that he is a big tart!

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As the Sun might say, what a pair of egg-headed Swedes! Interesting that Ljungberg was snapped with the chairman at his unveiling, rather than the manager – is this a signing that Alan Curbishley didn’t sanction or want, perhaps? (Ie. one of those Abramovich/Shevchenko things).

Wayne Rooney scored the pick of Man Yoo’s goals as they saw of Chinese outfit FC Shenzhen in a friendly. Wazza scored a Messi-esque chipped lob. Ryan Giggs, Nani, John ‘I don’t belong in the list’ O’Shea, Cristiano Ronaldo and Chris Eagles were also on target in a 6-0 win.

73200940.jpgThe business end of the Premiership has been dominated in recent years by the Big Four, namely Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. Few teams have even come close to challenging that dominance, but Chelski boss Jose Mourinho believes that Spurs are now strong enough to challenge that group this coming season, and thus create a ‘Big Five’.

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This ones going out to all Arsenal fans. Look at Thierry prance gaily with his new best friend. Look, he’s happy! How quickly he’s forgotten the little North London club that he used to call home.

74266993.jpgKonami has announced it has secured the services of Michael Owen, who will now appear on the packaging of Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (I am, although as an Xbox owner I was very, very disappointed with the latest Pro Evo; hopefully the new one will be a lot better).

73626146.jpgWell I didn’t see this one coming… I thought Freddie was supposed to go to Fiorentina, but the Hammers have reportedly secured his services and will announce him as a West Ham player at a press conference later today.

Check out some of the best photos from the final, courtesy of Getty Images:
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More after the click…

The Cezchs took the lead after an hour, with a nice turn-and-shot by Martin Fenin, but fair play to defending champs Argentina, who blasted back with two decisive goals, including one from the insanely gifted Sergio Aguero (he also won the Golden Shoe as the tournament’s leading scorer, and the Golden Ball as its most valuable player) and the winner from striker Mauro Zarate in the 86th minute. Argentina has now won this title on six occasions.

No, it is not the latest online feature the Football Manager series: this is real life. Fifty thousand football fans will soon be bidding for a lower league English team. The scheme has been dreamt up by Fulham fan Will Brooks. His site – www.myfootballclub.co.uk – encourages fans to donate £35 in exchange for a stake in first-team affairs at the new club. More than 47,000 people have already pledged their money, and Brooks is just waiting for that figure to hit 50,000 before beginning takeover talks with any club.

Ian%20Holloway%20pre.JPGPre-season is under way, which means Ian Holloway is conducting interviews once again. Hooray! Ollie has welcomed himself back into the limelight by claiming his sights are set on promotion to the Premier League. The Plymouth boss said: “Everything I am doing, everything my staff are doing, everything we are trying to do as a board and as a company is geared towards the Premier League. Last year, we had a good cup run, didn’t flirt with any sort of disaster, we were in the top half of the table most of the year, and finished 11th.