Alan Swann’s weekly sport column: There is nothing worse than top-class sportsmen carrying on well past their sell-by date.
There is a skill to bowing out at the right time.
Andrew Strauss managed it recently, but then cricketers are brighter than most. They’re certainly brighter than most footballers.
I still shudder at the memory of watching Ian Rush play for Wrexham against Posh.
The Liverpool legend, so quick and so brilliant in his heyday, had regressed so much Mick Bodley marked him out of the game.
And now Michael Owen appears hell-bent on ensuring he is remembered for claiming squatting rights in a series of treatment rooms rather than for his genius on the pitch.
The man who scored one of the great World Cup goals against Argentina when still a teenager has resorted to hawking himself about using glossy brochures and a busy Twitter stream.
It’s sad to witness how deluded Owen has become.
Liverpool are desperate, but I suspect they’d have taken Emile Heskey before Owen and if that doesn’t make you call it a day, the prospect of becoming a support striker to Peter Crouch at the ugliest club in the country certainly should.
Owen’s desperation was the lowlight of transfer deadline day, a 24-hour spell of complete and utter lunacy which appears to exist to give Sky Sports News the chance, for once, to avoid using the same stories17 times a day.
Sky’s coverage of deadline days is beyond parody .
I’m convinced that this year main presenter Jim White had his teeth whitened just for the occasion.
The glare as he introduced roving reporters stood outside a variety of training grounds where absolutely nothing was going on was Simon Cowell-like in its brilliance.
I felt for said reporters whose only company appeared to be a cameraman straining to get blurred shots of Clint Dempsey and others from 100 yards away and a few local nutters trying to get a first glimpse of superstar signings like the nonentity from Crewe signed to speed Aston Villa up the Premier League table.
It’s madness and one of the many awful features of modern-day football.
I just don’t get why there is a mad rush to sign players at the last minute when clubs have had all summer to realise they are a few Dembeles short of a decent squad.
I suppose agents can make enough in August to take the rest of the year off, unencumbered by any guilt at the thousands of pounds lost to football for ever thanks to clubs who lack the determination to cut them out of deals.
It’s pretty obvious to me that footballers would be forced to dump these shysters if every club in the country vowed not to use them.
It’s not as though club officials benefit from bungs or back-handers so the only people to lose out would be players forced to live on £90,000 a week rather than £100,000 and agents who would be forced to do something less offensive for a living.
As most have become used to earning fortunes for doing nothing of any use, a place on the Match of the Day sofa surely beckons.
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