Matt Jansen. Michael Owen. Miles apart.

imageAs part as my ‘Miles Apart’ series, I am comparing footballers of similar ages, and how they’re careers can start so similar, yet take decisions (sometimes beyond their control) in entirely different directions.

This blog is comparing ex-Blackburn and Crystal Palace striker Matt Jansen, 35, once widely tipped to become England’s next great striker. With current Stoke City striker and ex-Liverpool and Real Madrid striker, Michael Owen, 33.

My first memories of Michael Owen are; watching Liverpool v Derby County on Sky, and seeing Owen personally destroy the Derby defence, beating them a resounding 4-0 in the process.
I also , as any England fan should, remember Owen’s World Cup goal against the Argentinian team (the one with Simeone and Batistuta).

In all honesty, I only remember Matt Jansen because of a computer game I had. UEFA Manager 2000 (the Football Manager of it’s day. Matt Jansen was the (Divison1/Championship’s) best striker, for Blackburn. He was rated a good 80. Only Dele Adebola and Andy Johnson were rated similar. Ironically, all three would go on to play for Crystal Palace in their careers.

Matt Jansen’s career had taken off, he was scoring profusely for Carlisle United, and was soon snapped up for £1m by then Premier League side Crystal Palace (turning down a move to Manchester United in the process).
After doing similar at Palace, he then moved to Blackburn for £4.1m, (once more turning Manchester United down), where he quickly became a club legend. His goal scoring record harking back to Blackburn’s SAS days, with Sutton and Shearer.

If you have read my Gazza blog, you will recall

for someone to take that away from him. Waking up one morning and realising his skills, pace and control was leaving him. Making him and older footballer, compared to the Beckham’s, Owen’s and Fowler’s that were starting to make big names for themselves. Gazza couldn’t understand that this was it

This was also a similar case for Matt Jansen, a man who turned down Sir Alex Ferguson more than once, and looked set to place himself in the England side for a long time.

In the summer of 2002 Jansen had a motorcycle accident in Rome, resulting in a short coma, and loss in all footballing attributes, meaning that his glittering early career would be difficult to rekindle.

As you probably know, Matt Jansen never rekindled his career, and has since journeyed around a number of clubs, attempting to bring back his glory days. He is currently with old Blackburn team-mate Garry Flitcroft at Northern Premier League side Chorley, where he has scored 11goals in 23games, whilst also coaching.

Yet, this is not just the end of Matt Jansen’s fall from success. He has had time with psychologists to cure his depression and illness. No one should mock this. I would agree, as would any football-loving lad, that for a successful football career to be taken away at such a young age, would destroy the strongest of minds.

Perhaps one day we will see Jansen back in the big time, maybe managing Blackburn?

I personally believe he is owed another chance. I here you say ‘but he’s a footballer he’ll have tonnes of money’. I say to you; footballers have a very short career, Jansen had an even shorter one. Yes he was Blackburn’s star striker, but that was before the £80,000 a week wages.

Jansen deserves a chance. I look forward to the day he returns.

Mancini on his way out?

Every transfer window since Manchester City have had major money, it is hijacked by their expressive spending. I was expecting more of the same, but as it was quiet throughout, and with Balotelli leaving, I personally expected a late ‘Robinho-esque’ move.

But no.

Roberto-Mancini-manchester-city

Manchester City didn’t make a move. Despite being seven points behind local rivals Manchester United.

Does this show that Roberto Mancini has faith in his squad’s ability?

Or does it show that Mancini is being told to curb the spending?

If so, perhaps Roberto may be allowed to worry for his own future come the summer.

Champions League – Failed to pass group-stage.
League – Currently seven points clear of regaining their title.

Tra; Scarf-Man.

I bloody love deadline day.

Transfer Deadline Day.

Hollowaynew2_1813750b

For some clubs’ fans it will be a day of celebration at signing a player that could turn your season around, or give you a stable push towards success.

For others it is another day of disappointment; signing nobody, selling nobody.

Ian Holloway is constantly critical of it, calling it a “farce” and such like.

But what I want to know, is do you the fans of these clubs actually support the decision to have windows in football, and not have transfers all year long. Or would you prefer a free open season, allowing teams to buy players whenever possible.

Personally, deadline day is a day where my twitter feed goes mad, and I love it. Or, at least I have more recently since Crystal Palace have had some money and aspirations. Unlike a couple of years ago, when Deadline day was just a constant worry that another key player would leave, making the seemingly never-ending relegation scrap even harder.

I bloody love deadline day. Click the link below to vote.
 

Transfer Windows, Yes or No?

Mario Balotelli? Long live Paul Scholes.

I am sitting here looking at twitter and BBC Sport looking to see if Crystal Palace spend some of the Zaha money, in order to secure the battle for promotion to the Premier League.

Upon looking at twitter, I see Mario Balotelli has left the Premier League champions to join AC Milan.

Balotelli has proven to English football fans, that he is a newspaper editor’s dream, just like Jose Mourinho was/is. However, Balotelli crossed the borders to become a bad example to the schoolchildren, that idolise footballers and repeat their behaviour on the school pitch or the local park. Jose Mourinho didn’t/did.

From setting fireworks off in his bathroom, to throwing darts at a youth team player. He even drove into a women’s prison in Italy in order to “have a look around”.

This example of a footballer is a far-cry from the likes of Paul Scholes. A man long-ignored by the British media. A man whom 99% of the English public would not be able to recognise his wife. And a man who has been called the “greatest midfielder ever” by Barcelona legend Xavi.

This is the type of footballer that schoolchildren should look up to, should replicate and should aspire to be. Not arrogant, overpaid and immature men. That, if it wasn’t for football, and the furore that comes hand in hand with the role, would possibly be in prison, or on a route towards it.

In my opinion, Mario Balotelli leaving the Premier league is the best thing that can happen for the 4-16 year olds of this country. Long live Paul Scholes.