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Sun, Chelsea And Sand

Footballers' holidays are no longer the orgies of excess that they used to be. More's the pity says Tony Cascarino.

Tony Cascarino, 30 Jun 2005

I’d love to have made it over to Dublin last weekend for U2, but I was commenting on the Confederations Cup for Channel 5 in the UK. I know Larry Mullen from him coming to Ireland home games and being in the studio with us when we did ‘Put ‘Em Under Pressure’ for Italia ’90.

I went for a drink with him on a couple of occasions and he was a really down to earth bloke. U2 were regulars on the Ireland dressing-room ghettoblaster – I can’t name names but one of the lads used to sing ‘No one knows what they’re on about…’ along to one of their songs!

I’m tone deaf, but Andy Townshend’s a bit of a whiz on guitar. He even took lessons at one stage, so if The Edge ever needs a holiday stand-in, he’s your man!

Talking of holidays, it struck me watching Argentina v Mexico that poor old Gabriel Heinze has been going non-stop since last summer what with the Copa America, the Olympics, the World Cup qualifiers, the Premiership and now the Confederations Cup, which has been anything but a friendly tournament. Most players would be in intensive care after that, but he looks as fresh as daisy!

Looking at his Argentina performances, Alex Ferguson has to play him at centre-half next season. I really think he’s got it in him to fulfill the Roy Keane roll, which Roy himself is finding it harder and harder to do.

I used to love this time of year because it meant heading off to a beach somewhere and eating and drinking all the things you weren’t allowed to during the season. I remember reporting back for pre-season a stone-and-a-bit overweight, which put me in the same pudding category as Neil Ruddock and Terry Hurlock. Teddy Sheringham would come back weighing less than when he went away, which annoyed everybody no end!

Nowadays players are given holiday diet sheets and told that if they put on more than 2lbs they’re for the high jump. The other thing that’s changed is the amount of time they get off – the average summer break in my day was seven weeks, whereas now you’re lucky if it’s a month.

It used to be that from the end of May to start of August you wouldn’t read anything about football in the papers, but Chelsea’s wheeler-dealering has changed all that.

If the figures being bandied around are correct, I’m amazed Juventus didn’t accept the £30 million they were offered for David Trezegeut. He’s a better finisher than Drogba, and his flicks and ability to get on the end of things suits Chelsea’s direct sort of play, but he’s not an Adriano or even a Crespo. Given the season he had at AC Milan, there has to be some reason besides his footballing prowess that Mourinho doesn’t want Crespo back at Stamford Bridge.

As for the furor over Chelsea’s tapping up of Frank Arnasen, I’d have more sympathy for the fine ‘em and dock ‘em points brigade if every other club wasn’t at it as well. I’ve even seen it suggested that Chelsea be banned from the transfer market until Christmas, which is nonsense given that all Aston Villa were fined last summer for illegally approaching James Beattie was ten grand. Scrutinise any Premiership club the way they’ve been and you’ll find dirt.

While Scott Parker’s a good signing, Graeme Souness is mad to even contemplate bringing Luis Figo to Newcastle for the wages he’s demanding. If ever there was a player who’ll be world class one week and totally disinterested the next, it’s Figo. You’d have thought signing Patrick Kluivert would have taught Freddy Shepherd a lesson, but apparently not.

Another dreadful piece of business is Celtic only offering Jackie McNamara a one-year contract and him, quite rightly, telling them where to stick it. Apparently they upped it to two-years in the end, but by then the damage was done and he was off to Wolves on a free, which is the best day’s work Glenn Hoddle has done in a while!

Jackie McNamara was Celtic’s Player of the Season for a good reason, and come the SPL shake-up next year they’re going to regret mucking him around.

Anyway I’m off on holiday for a month, so I’ll catch you at the start of August with my Premiership preview.

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