May 06, 2007

United's title in doubt?

Man United just can’t win when it comes to goalkeepers. Ever since Peter Schmeichel retired, they’ve struggled to find a replacement. They’ve gone through some stinking keepers who’ve made utter howlers, but now they might have gone and made one themselves.

Several newspapers this morning claim that a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ existed between United and Everton, stating that if United sold Tim Howard to Everton, they wouldn’t play him against them this season.

The deal went through, and so apparently did the little agreement. Everton played their substitute goalkeeper and lost 4-2.

But the Premier League are now investigating, because such an agreement would break transfer rules, and could see either club fined, or even deducted points. United’s title hopes could be – possibly – broken by a cock-up.

Russell Brand wrote in the Guardian yesterday how the threat of legal action against West Ham was ludicrous. Relegation through the courts isn’t in the interest of any football club or supporter. The same is true of Championship winners too.

If I’m honest, it wouldn’t surprise me much if this story was correct. But did it make a big difference? Not really. Was anyone really hurt by it? Not really. Would it harm the game if the title was decided by some archaic rule? For sure.

Fine them, highlight it, make it clear that if it happens again there’ll be hell to pay. But don’t ruin the season because of some silly slip-up between two otherwise sensible clubs.

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Surely if Howard was on loan then he couldn’t play anyway, so Everton knew that they’d have to have some sort of similar arrangement if they wanted him permanently. Thus when Everton did sign him permanently, with this ‘understanding’, they knew they were the ones who had accepted a slightly rule bending signing, rather like West Ham did with their Argentines. If this is to be compared to the West Ham case I’d have thought Everton were more at fault and more deserving of point deductions, not that anyone derserves point deduction in this case.

    06 May 2007, 14:53


    The Premier League is satisfied that neither club broke the rules.

    06 May 2007, 18:38

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