Ben Herd: 'No thanks, Arsene'
Ben Herd blows hot and cold this week as he tells us why he won't be moving to Norway, why he wants to be adored and why, even if they offered him £100k a week, he would still snub Arsenal...
'What credit crunch?' seems to be the question on everyone's lips after Manchester City tabled a recession-busting £100m for arguably one of the best players in the world.
January is an important month in terms of players moving from one club to another. Another fact that doesn't seem to make much headlines is that players with only six months remaining on their contracts can legitimately talk to other clubs about proposed moves to them in the summer on a Bosman.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't me dropping hints about leaving Shrewsbury Town, far from it. I've loved every minute of living in and playing for the Town, and my girlfriend and I are settled here. However, I am asked every now and again about possible places, countries or teams that I would like to play for. To be honest, as a footballer, moving around is the name of the game and I would definitely like to experience playing abroad - but it would have to be somewhere with a moderate climate. I wouldn't go to Norway!
There is one team that I would definitely not play for, not for any amount of money in the world - Arsenal. Not even £100k a week! Not that it's ever going to happen, but, for me, I would like to talk to my family for the rest of my life! Not only that, my argument has always been that if Arsenal want you, a team of equal calibre would also be interested.
As I've mentioned above - and I would've had to be sitting on the moon for the past week not to talk about the whole Kaka issue - there must come a point in a footballer's career where money is not an issue. Someone like Kaka has probably all the riches that he's ever dreamt of, and deservedly so. So when someone like Man City try and lure you from a giant of a team, with real top pedigree history, money doesn't come into it.
Given the chance, I would be like Kaka. He's adored by the Milan fans and in age where players' loyalties are regularly questioned, he has nailed his colours to the AC Milan mast.
On the flip side, I suppose you cannot blame Milan for accepting the astronomical figures being bandied about. After all, these are hard times where, unfortunately, everything and everybody has a price. The real beneficiary of all of this is Kaka. When he comes to negotiating his contract, he's safe in the knowledge that he's a £100m asset who's shown great loyalty!
Speaking of countries I wouldn't play in because they are too cold, it would be really difficult to play somewhere like Australia. I occassionally watch a bit of tennis, mainly jumping on the Wimbledon bandwagon each June but watching Andy Murray in action the other day, I noticed that the court side temperature was 37 degrees.
This took me back to my early pro days, the summer of 2003 when I happened to be playing on the hottest day since records began - it touched 38.5 degrees. Picture the scene, a pre-season friendly against Boreham Wood and they just happened to be having a refurb of their changing rooms. So in their place, they had temporary portacabins which had probably been in direct sunlight all day.
A few of the female fans might've got an eyeful that day because we couldn't bare the sweat box of the portacabin, so instead got changed in full view outside. On a serious note, dehydration can severely affect your performance, you can lose 10 percent of your body weight just through perspiration. Therefore, it is vital that you keep on top of it.
As I've only been writing this column this season, I didn't read Betting.betfair's Jamie 'The Pacman' Pacheco's article last season about why he hates the FA Cup. I have to agree with some of his points but for me I still think it's the best club cup in the world.
No better illustrated this weekend as that team I would never play take on last season's finalists, Cardiff City. Unfortunately, I can't see the Bluebirds doing as well this season. For this week's bet I'm going to go for Draw Half-Time/Arsenal Full/Time at [5.2], with Emmanuel Adebayor as first goalscorer at about [5.5] when the market develops.