Date: 20th May 2010 at 1:23pm
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If there was one story that gladdened the heart as Portsmouth took a header towards the Championship, it was the amount of money their players gave up to help the club. David James had to reduce the amount of hair care products he uses when he decided that he didn’t want the bonus that would have kicked in after a certain amount of appearances. Danielle Lloyd had to tone down the amount of partying she does when Jamie O’Hara, still being paid by Spurs, lent his colleagues money when Portsmouth couldn’t pay the wages. Hell, even Sol Campbell decided that he wouldn’t take them to court, for now, for unpaid bonuses and this is the guy who went to Notts County for footballing reasons.

Aruna Dindane who, if he changed his surname by two letters would bring back visions of a great French striker who gets a bit tetchy when someone calls his sister a tart, also negotitated a deal that meant that his parent club Lens, from whom he was on loan to Portsmouth, waived a £4million fee that they were due. This meant he could play in the FA Cup Final without worrying that he would add to Portsmouth’s ever burgeoning debt, even though £4million would be like a tear drop in the ocean.

So when other English clubs came a calling for his services, he seemed genuinely enthusiastic, telling Sky Sports News on April 30th ‘I want to stay in England because it is a fantastic league. My first thought is playing here.’

It turns out that maybe, just maybe, his first thought wasn’t playing in ‘a fantastic league’. With Bolton and Wolves battling it out for his signature, and Bolton looking well on the way to gaining it, his agent, ‘Honest’ Willie McKay received a call from a club in Qatar, well known resting place of former Bolton favourites Jay Jay Okocha and Fernando Hierro.

McKay, a man who had been quite high up the list of people the Quest investigation talked to (although the investigation eventually found there to be no irregularities in his dealings), a man who was arrested along with Harry Redknapp and Peter Storrie by the City of London Police in their ongoing investigation into corruption in football, and a man who was given a suspended ban by an independent regulatory commission after being found guilty of breaching FA rules as well as being Joey Barton’s agent (probably the most heinous ‘crime’), confirmed that the offer was somewhere in the region of £3million.

So, a choice between enhancing your reputation whilst staying in the Premier League, playing under one of the brightest young managers in the country alongside such highly respected players as Kevin Davies or lolling around in the sun with nothing to do except participate in a kick around once a week against players who have come to Qatar to see out their careers and make a quick buck, whilst sending Wee Willie’s 10% back to Blighty. Players of around 33, like Okocha was, or 36, like Hierro. Dindane is 29.

So we appear to have dodged a bullet on that one. Dindane has a good goal to game ratio, even playing on the south coast, having scored just under a quarter of Portsmouth’s goals. But we have just offloaded one striker who was sticking around for the money in Ricardo Vaz Tê. I really can’t see the point in bringing another one in to replace him.

And speaking of Bambi, the former BEN have conducted an interview with the former bright young thing in which the ’eminently likeable’ 23 year old says that he is not bitter that he has been let go. Without a hint of bitterness he says that

I need a fresh start. I need to go somewhere where I`m appreciated and given a chance.

There`s been nothing positive in the last three years, just negative


No bitterness there then. He is also under the illusion that it was a mutual decision that he be let go. However, we have been given secret tapes from the meeting that happened just after the season end:

(KNOCK ON DOOR)

OC: Yes

RVT: You wanted to see me boss?

OC: Ahhhh….who are ye?

RVT: Ricardo.

OC: Ricardo……?

RVT: Vaz Te. Ricardo Vaz Te.

OC: Ahhh. And what is it ye de around here?

RVT: I’m a striker. You tried to lend me to Hamilton Accies during the winter.

OC: Oh, that Ricardo Vaz Te. Now listen, the mon. I’m afraid we can’t offer ye terms for next year. The treatment room table has got an imprint of yer arse on it and if ye stay we’ll have to get another one, ye ken? And we need to save all our money to afford Aruna Dindane’s wages.

RVT: But this has been my home for seven years. What am I expected to do?

OC: Well, you could always do what other failed Bolton strikers have done in the past.

RVT: And what is that?

OC: Move around the leagues, playing for such luminaries as Southend, Oldham and Walsall until it gets to the point that not even Tranmere want you, all the time putting on seven stone but still recalling the day you won your two England caps.

RVT: Two?

OC: Your first and your last.

RVT: But I am Portuguese.

OC: Whatever.

RVT: Is there not something I can do? I am only 23.

OC: 23 eh? Do ye know how to make tea? As the only Scotsman who doesn’t drink alcohol I drunk an offal lot of the stuff.

RVT: I am not a tea boy.

OC: Those are ma terms, take them or leave them?

RVT: I will leave them. But can I say that as I turned down this job that it was a mutual agreement that I left.

OC: Sorry, what was yer name again.

(DOOR CLOSES. AS IT DOES RVT TRIPS OVER HIS LACES).

I’m going to miss Ricardo and that feeling of anticipation when he came off the bench that this game, surely this game, would be the one that he came good in. Now, those days are no more.

And finally, Gary Cahill and Stuart Holden have visited a youth bar in Farnworth, but what they get up to in their own time is up to them and we shouldn’t judge. Boom boom.

Thank you, I’m here all week. Twice Saturday’s.


 

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