The Reuters global sports blog
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
If eyebrows were raised when Aston Villa decided to spend up to 24 million pounds on striker Darren Bent then former manager Martin O’Neill’s forehead must have been pinned to his living room ceiling when the news broke on Tuesday.
The absurdity of the switch lies not in the inflated figure or Bent’s abilities on the pitch and in front of goal, but in the timing of Villa chairman Randy Lerner choosing to dig deep into his pockets.
O’Neill walked out of the Midlands club just days before the start of the season after being told transfer funds were scarce and the £18 million to be raised from the sale of James Milner to Manchester City would not be reinvested in the squad.
Just six months later, however, Villa have splashed a mammoth fee on a player who has been permanently on the fringes of the England squad while a further six million was spent last week in French midfielder Jean Makoun.
New Zealand All Blacks coach Graham Henry played the part of the befuddled old fogey bemused by modern life and confused by new technology with a certain wry amusement towards the end of his team’s European tour late last year.
Neemia Tialata and Cory Janes revealed on Twitter they had been left out of the team to play England 24 hours before Henry formally announced the side.