Date: 16th July 2005 at 5:05am
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Oh yes. I’m not even sure if I want to know what Premiership managers have been slipping into their collective summer brew, as it’s quite quite bizarre. In the space of precisely 17 minutes (I timed it) your captain goes from partaking in a quiet, relaxed (How ominous was THAT!) and speculation-free break to slipping almost unnoticed out of the back door for Italy for a knock-down price. Really astonishing stuff. Real Madrid never even got a look-in.

And THEN – here’s where all boundaries of reality break down – you have Graeme Souness on Sky Sports News saying how Jermaine Jenas is both a better and more valuable player than Vieira (!!!), you have Stevie G at Anfield scoring a hat-trick, looking really really bored after doing so and having that ITV tosser proclaiming from the rooftops “WHY DID HE EVER WANT TO LEAVE!?!?!” It was against TN-Sheep Shagging-S! Dear god. Further to this, Chelsea come out in the papers saying “Well they did it first!!” And finally, Sol is the new captain – fair enough – but then again this is a player who quite rightly never got on the park for the Cup Final!

I will miss Patrick so much and along with everyone else on this site I wish him every single success in everything he ever does. He leaves us not as a modern legend, but as a legend full stop – he even went out on a perfect couple of round figures – 100 yellow cards, 10 red cards.

So that’s that. He was surely the best central midfielder of the modern age of football in England – his battles with Keane were amazing (although I thought it was never really so much about those two directly, but the way they supported their partner and played off against the opposition pair…it was captivating nonetheless and will probably not be matched in terms of intensity again) and his last kick for the club is surely the most telling final touch of the ball anyone has ever taken. I’m glad he went out on top, because he surely has done. I’m glad there were none of the shenanigans of the past, and I’m glad I got to witness both his partnerships with both Petit and Gilberto. I’ll also never forget when he came on as a sub against Celtic during pre-season in 2003, and when it finally hit me then just how awesome the man was. He was half-fit, got half an hour and had no-one to play off either side to him. He still ripped them apart. I’ll never forget his performance against chelsea in the FA Cup replay earlier that year. He never reached that standard again – and it’s not as if any other player has dreamed of ever coming close to that level of defensive shielding football.

He has been undersold here, there is no doubt about that. But then again he had an awful first half of the season if we are honest, by his standards utterly unacceptable and whilst he did more than enough to salvage things later on, maybe his market value had already dropped.

Bye bye Pat. You did us proud mate.

What else is going on … well getting into London for the Barnet game on Saturday is looking a wee bit ominous but it’ll take far more than what has gone on to keep me away. It’s time we turned the new page, started looking forward to Chelsea, Newcastle, and Chelsea again, Hleb, whoever Paddy’s replacement is and that starts pretty much now. Oh and I’m also swapping the relative megagig status of T In The Park for the, in a lot of ways more preferable, half empty club with the really rather cracking unsigned local band Stonesthrow tonight. Let’s see if Wenger feels if this shoddy analogy can apply to a new player too. Let’s look on the brightside – I really cannot wait.


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