Ahhh! The Beckhams have had a baby girl (or as you say in Essex ‘ge-uw’). The name? Well that’s always a source of great interest as celebrities seem unable to call a child anything resembling a name.
I was convinced the answer would have something to do with his nibs’s football/modelling career so I had my money on Bernabeu, with a couple of side-bets on Police and Row-Z (where that scuffed penalty kick ended up in 2004).
Sorry pet but this is your Mum and Dad.
But it turns out they’ve named her after an obscure Australian lager: Harper Seven. Although Becks was pretty keen on Guildford Four. He discounted Birmingham Six as he couldn't imagine them scoring that many.
Obviously the ‘seven’ bit is cos she’s sixth in the family and after they got past four they lost count. As for Harper, I guess Posh reckoned it had royal connotations (as in Harpers & Queen’s) or they have a fondness for loyal bench-warming Geordie goalies who’ve finally secured a first team place.
Still it’s the silly season at the mo. Football carries on in a kind of Heat-magazine style gossip form. The chippiest kid on the block at the mo is Little Luka Modric. Having never listened to Elvis Costello he really wants to go to Chelsea. He’s such a tiny wee thing, it’s hard not to feel like he’s being bullied out of the sort of wage packet that Even Fred Goodwin might come out of hiding for.
You can’t help thinking of Suzanne Vega’s plaintive little tune: ‘My name is Luka, I live on the second floor, I play for Tottenham, Yes I guess you’ve seen me before, If you hear something late at night, some kind of trouble, some kind of fight... chances are it’ll be Daniel Levy coming round with the thumbscrews and the baseball bat.’
Modric says he had a gentleman’s agreement to discuss matters if a bigger club came in for him. Note the carefree use of the term ‘bigger club’. What he means is ‘richer’. A club’s size is directly correlated to its wealth. There are no other factors: forget tradition, loyalty, relationship with the fans.
"What?.... 80 grand a week, Mr. Levy? Call yourself a gentleman!"
Nevertheless I think Modric has been naive – and given he’s only twelve years old you hardly blame him for that. Perhaps he should ask Martin Jol about gentlemen’s agreements with THFC. Fact is, Modric can’t be sold now without Levy and Spurs looking like spotty teenagers trying to keep hold of their half a cider at a night-club for big boys.
You might say that Levy’s taking his cue from Wenger’s successful retention of Cesc Fabregas this time last year. And a lot of good that did them. When he wasn’t crocked Cesc was as unremarkable as an English penalty shoot-out defeat, as if half of him was already tika-taka-land – a point he proved with that impish backheel at the Nou Camp.
Of course Arsenal is the hub of football speculation at the mo. The fans are beginning to lose faith in the Wenger Plan – a kind of tika-taka lite – the same as Barca but without the burden of all them heavy trophies.
Clichy has jetted off from the Emirates to the Etihad. Bendtner has finally been given to leave to piss off somewhere – anywhere, probably. Apparently Niclas would have sent his resignation himself but he just missed the post. He could’ve e-mailed it but he couldn’t find the net either.
And England’s very own Manuel Almunia is destined to leave too. ‘Almunia’ always sound like a little-known department of rural Spain to me: a place where people constantly wander aimlessly out of their homes only to wonder why they left the door wide open.
Gervinho has arrived. Now there’s more to being a top footy player than adding ‘inho’ to your name like you’re some kind of honorary Brazilian (hmm... that sounds like something that comes with being made a freewoman of Romford).
Despite that, and a headband that’s so tight it resembles the sort of thing shepherds clamp on to lambs’ tails, the lad’s a class act.
But Fabregas will return to his beloved Barca, which leaves a question mark over Samir Nasri, the player of the first half of last season (unsurprisingly as that is Arsenal’s favourite bit of the season – the bit with no pressure).
Samir’s in demand. In fact if your club haven’t put a bid in for him then you support a club with no ambition. (NB – in the current climate of club football, ‘ambition’ is another word for ‘money’: c.f ‘bigger’).
But according to The Sun – which could mean it’s (a) untrue or (b) confidential or (c) just summat some copper told them - Wenger’s keeping him. And Fabregas. Such is Arsene’s self-belief, he is unable to comprehend either of them leaving even if that means another season of winning nowt.
"Shh, don't tell Arsene I had my fingers crossed when I promised to stay!"
Given half a chance I reckon Wenger would be checking the back of Clichy’s head to see where the Man City spies inserted the brain-altering microchip. But before Gooners everywhere start jumping with joy at the news, a little reminder for you: these blokes were there last year, and the year before...
And there’s no sign of Wenger bagging a decent centre-back yet. He’ll be in for Samba but he’ll come out with some no-mark Colombian called Passo Doble. And where’s the midfielder who likes a tackle? (That’s a tackle – not the Wilshere-trademarked studs-up lunge).
Chances are that 2011-12 will be the identikit Arsenal experience. A bright start, a lot of cooing, a centre-back injury, a quarter-final Champs League defeat, a Cup semi-final, and a drastic loss of form come February. The football equivalent a lover that brings you to the point of climax and then stops to ask you whether you think they’re any good at it.
Meanwhile I’m still trying to get over the Women’s World Cup defeat. Hopefully in 20 years time little Harper Seven Beckham will be taking the deciding penalty. And doing it better than her Dad.