The Week That Was

The Week That Was is back after a short hiatus caused by the slave like devotion we had to making sure our Fans’ Guide to South Africa was ready in time for last Friday’s World Cup draw. On to media matters and you wait ages for a manager to headbutt a player and then two come along at once.

Like a lads fortnight in Benidorm what goes on in the dressing room stays in the dressing room, so we don’t know the full facts, but it seems that a semi-naked Tony Pulis (minus baseball cap we hope) tried to stick the nut on James Beattie. This followed the Potters’ 2-0 defeat at Arsenal and is further evidence that Stoke take the physical game to extremes.

Apparently the incident stemmed from an argument around the club’s Christmas party. Our guess is that Beattie wanted his own mince pie and eggnog rations. The Potters are a tightly run ship though and this proved to be beyond their budget, hence tension, strife and physical violence.

The Mirror’s Oliver Holt was in full Scrooge mode and argued that Christmas parties should be banned since they cause nothing but bother. He has a point of course, and made it with a pretty extensive list of things going wrong, but is that not half the point of Christmas parties? You make a fool of yourself in front of the workmates – it’s an age old tradition that shouldn’t be messed with in our book.

Meanwhile, the presumption that QPR were becoming more gentrified, genteel and middle-class was well and truly shot to pieces as allegations appeared that manager Jim Magilton had tried to headbutt midfielder Akos Buzsaky after the club slipped up at home to Watford.

Magilton admitted they’d had a “difference of opinion” while PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor pointed out that “in normal life you'd apologise and move on.” If you say so Gordon. Our boss better watch himself next time he criticises our work – boomph, take that! But then we’ll apologise and move on.

Moving away from that and on to another set of nuts as Jens Lehmann was back in the news. Jens, erm, relieved himself of more than just goalkeeping duties as he dashed behind an advertising hoarding mid-game, he just couldn’t hold it in any longer. Well, the weather is getting colder and he’s not getting any younger.

Jens wasn’t the only old Arsenal pro suprising us as Tony Adams revealed he is to be guest editor on BBC Radio Four’s ultra-serious Today programme. The show, which focuses on the day’s political debates, is fronted by John Humphrys who normally starts his day by eating a politician or two for breakfast.

Tony’s move from Tuesday Club binge drinker to philosophical binge thinker deserves a round. Of applause. What next? Paul Merson discussing the Israel-Palestine crisis on Question Time? We can but hope.

From pantomime villains and reformed alcoholics to Theo ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ Walcott who’s announced a four-book deal with publishing giant Random House. Theo’s tales will focus on the travails of young ‘TJ’ (Walcott’s nickname, funnily enough) and his journey from youth to pro-football.

We applaud anything that encourages literacy but couldn’t the ghost writer, sorry, Theo have come up with something a little bit more exotic? This is making Eminem’s portrayal in 8 Mile of an aspiring rapper, with a white-trash, caravan-dwelling mother, look positively adventurous.

A quick word of congratulations to the Gurkha Justice Campaign who last night took JUSTICE/Liberty's Human Rights Award for which the FSF and Stoke City were also nominated, as we wrote yesterday. Next time we'll have to remember to get the formidable Joanna Lumley on our side too!

Anyway, there’s been a million and one other things happened in the past fortnight that we’d love to write about but we can’t go on forever so we’ll finish with news on two big, bustling, all-round popular centre-forwards. Good and bad news, though.

First up Dean Ashton and today’s news that he’s had to retire after a long running ankle-injury battle. A fully fit Dean Ashton would have given the England squad a different complexion and the Hammers would be a few places higher, that’s for sure. Good luck with whatever you get up to in the future, Dean.

We’ll finish off on a positive note though and John Hartson looks to be winning his fight against cancer, fantastic. John has also set up his own charitable foundation – read more on his Facebook page.

Enjoy the weekend!

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