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from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Aston Villa’s Bent buy will flummox O’Neill

SOCCER-ENGLAND/

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.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Twitter might not be harmless fun for players

The days when the details of transfer negotiations were closely guarded secrets could be coming to an end with the advent of the 'Twitter transfer'.

On Wednesday, U.S. national team striker Jozy Altidore all but announced a move to English Premier League Hull City on the micro-blogging site, keeping his fans updated while Hull remained silent.

Abandon Northern towns for the prosperous South?

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mersey.jpgEven the report’s authors say the idea may sound barmy.

But the Policy Exchange, a right-wing thinktank, says it was serious when it called on the government to stop spending money trying to regenerate struggling northern cities and use the cash instead to help their residents relocate to the southeast.

Its report says it is unrealistic to expect cities like Liverpool, Hull and Sunderland to ever regenerate properly. 

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