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The Verdict: Chelsea 'tapping-up' row

Former Chelsea chairman Ken Bates has reported his old club to the FA, FIFA and the Football League for allegedly tapping-up three of his Leeds United players - two of which made the switch to Stamford Bridge.

Poor old Bates, who reportedly made £14million pounds out of the sale of his financially troubled Blues to Roman Abramovich, insists he has no agenda other than the truth and honour of football.

It has nothing to do with the fact that he is fuming at what he perceives as the eradication of the 22 years of history during his time at the helm of Chelsea.

To be fair to Bates he does point out that Chelsea have a history of transfer wrangles and something must be done to stop them bulldozing the market with unlimited cash. The Blues lured Jon Obi Mikel from the clutches of Manchester United and currently have a suspended three point deduction looming for their role in the tapping-up of Arsenal's Ashley Cole.

Bates is calling on the authorities to impose that three point penalty and to consider Chelsea's expulsion from Europe or an embargo on future player transfers - insisting monetary penalties have no effect on Chelsea's billionaire owner.

• Your Verdict

While I think Mr Bates' actions are agenda driven Chelsea's dealings in the transfer market appear to be far from squeaky clean and something must be done.

Bates is correct that a fine will not dissuade Chelsea from tapping-up more players and as such other avenues should be explored in terms of punishment.

If the rules have been broken a penalty should be administered - irrespective of if the crime has been committed against a bitter former employee or not.
Mike Hilario

After being adored by Chelsea Bates has turned his back on us and stabbed us in the back. I use to love him, but now I hate him and appreciate Roman so much more. Bates is a backstabber and should not be treated with unconditional love by the Chelsea family.
Matthew Harbert

Mr Bates, you are correct and I believe you should follow this through to a final conclusion. The FA are most insistent that clubs run programs to advance youngsters therefore they must not allow this behaviour to continue.

God forgive that I should ever suggest that Leeds United and Manchester united had anything in common but I think the latter have just gone through a similar situation with young African player Jon Obi Mikel.
Al Richards

Reading about ol'Batsey with Leeds, I think the best way to get at Chelski is for all British Clubs to think 'they have lots of money, lets all find ways to milk them of it'. Milk them dry until the Russian tires of being fleeced for every reason thinkable, he quits and Chelski become Chelsea again and they drop down to the Conference.

Look, think about it, it is plausible. Then kick the hell out of them while they are down. The world would be a better place for it.
PJW


The Carrick conundrum

Alex Ferguson's first summer signing Michael Carrick has been given the number 16 shirt at Manchester United, confirming the epic search for 'the new Roy Keane' is over. Or is it?

The 25-year-old England international is a talented player but a tigerish tackler he is not. Carrick's game is all about the art of passing, the destruction of the opposition is not part of his substantial repertoire and United are reportedly still looking for a ball winner - with Villarreal's Marcos Senna the current favourite.

At £18.6m - making Carrick the fifth most expensive player in Manchester United's history - the former Tottenham Hotspur player will certainly have a big role to play at Old Trafford but has Sir Alex got the right man to improve the Red Devils' midfield?

As Mark Longden of the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association said: 'I have not spoken to anybody who, with £18.6m, would have spent it on Carrick. I can't understand what's going on'.

An undoubted talent, but is Carrick the answer for United?

• Your verdict

At 18 million quid, Carrick is way overpriced. If Ferguson is such a huge fan, why not snatch him two years ago at £2.7 million? What happened to Mascherano? Even Joey Barton is a better player than Carrick.

I don't understand Fergie sometimes, Glazer is not exactly an Abramovic so I wonder how much is left in Fergie's war chest... I really hope that Fergie and Carrick can prove me wrong - very, very wrong.
A Concerned Man Utd fan

Failing to sign Ballack and settling for Michael Carrick will not solve the central midfield problem and you can quote me on that 3 months down the road. [It will be here in black and white - ed] If I was Ferguson I would rather take a gamble with existing players or sign someone who is less proven at may be a quarter of the price.
Chuan, Singapore

There was a time when it was amusing that Manchester United had a fan base round the world. It meant that the club had substantial earnings from people all over the globe that kept ticket prices down for match day travellers. Then the Internet was invented. Over and over we see people from Singapore and Outer Bloody Mongolia telling SIR ALEX FERGUSON How to run the club.

I was angry when Sir Alex got rid of Stam, a few months on he failed a drugs test. Nicky Butt, great servant but he has done nothing since leaving. Becks? Had a year or two in him but Sir Alex was making way for the future.

Yes he has gotten some buys wrong in the last few years but he is still the manager of our team so get behind him and support the club or else bugger off and support Chelski.

BTW owning the latest kit does not give you the right to call Manchester United 'us'.
Craig Knox


A Ruud exit

Ruud van Nistelrooy completed his 'dream move' to Real Madrid and blamed the break down of his relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson for his departure from Manchester United.

However, far from appearing bitter - at least publicly - during his unveiling in Madrid Van Nistelrooy highlighted the fact that Fergie waited for him to recover from a serious knee injury and offered the Dutchman the chance to play at the highest level before the 'good relationship came to an end'.

It is rumoured that it was a training ground bust up with Ronaldo - who is a reputed to be something of a teacher's pet - that eventually meant the end for Van Nistelrooy, although a serious dip in form also preceded his departure. The ousted 30-year-old follows in the footsteps of Jaap Stam, David Beckham and Roy Keane - who all felt the wrath of Fergie.

• Your Verdict

Is it not time that Man U also said goodbye to Sir Alex Ferguson, who - because of personality conflicts - has chased away many outstanding players, such as Jaap Stam, Roy Keane, David Beckham, and the latest casualty Ruud van Nistelrooy?

Sir Alex has been a great manager in the past but the past few years he seems to be slipping a lot and so has the magnificent club Manchester United. Why is Soccernet not more critical about the way Sir Alex is handling matters?
Joe Cseszko

I am very pleased that Ruud has gone and his moving on opens up new opportunities. Sir Alex has always been aware that there is a time to move players on and I don't think any of his sales has gone on to bigger and better things.

As far as Ruud is concerned when he arrived, for some time he was just fantastic as his record shows but I believe the beginning of the end for Ruud was when he started taking penalties and he started falling over instead of competing like he used to do. I believe Henry (wash my mouth out) does not take penalties if he is the one fouled and I think if this was a rule then we would have less people falling over to try and win a penalty.

How many of Ruud's goals in the post Beckham era have been penalties? What is the percentage before and after this time.
TPCM Bunbury W.A

I have gone on record many times as saying Fergie has lost it. I think Man United should begin planning an exit strategy for him, along with the Technical Director/Director of Football. The longer he stays the more difficult and longer it will be to get back up once he leaves.

Ruud is the best operator in the penalty box - he scored 20+ goals last season despite being left out of most games. This issue of having personal feuds is beginning to cost the club. All things being equal, Ruud should be a hit in Madrid.

As for Man U, I cannot see where goals will come from next season to be honest - Saha isn't world-class and Scholes is near retirement while Rooney is too unpredictable - looses his head too easily. Rossi doesn't even deserve to be mentioned.

In the last fours years or so, we've seen a decline in our fortunes - I put this purely on the shoulders of our bad dealings in the transfer market and Fergie's inability to prevent personal matters getting in the way of business. The guy has been a brilliant manager but it's time to begin to think of life without him.
Bernard Yamba-Yamba

Ruud is already past his prime as a good striker. Real Madrid is a good club but no one can say that it's the best club as Ruud insisted! He is blind to other better clubs in England and the rest of Europe! I feel sorry for him.

Ruud was not able to face reality that he had to compete for a place in United first 11. Gone are the days when he was the automatic choice in the team.

Now with Saha, Rooney, hopefully Ronaldo and the repositioning of Alan Smith,as a striker, Ruud could not accept a real challenge to stay relevant and prove his worth to stay in the first 11. He had to accept that every MU player is a quality player in their own right and he was not the only shinning star. Well, he was perhaps a fading star.

Running to Real Madrid is and will be a football dream for him as he may be warming the bench more than he did at MU. So good luck to him as his departure can be a blessing for Man United.
George Goh, Singapore

Being a Yank my opinion needs to be taken as such. But, Ruud leaving United is a mistake. He hasn't shown any evidence of falling off his game. Fergie pulls him when he is leading the league in goals. It seems Fergie will impulsively release someone or accuse a player of trouble whenever he desires. there is a history of that. Yes, Fergie has been a magician over the years but this past year he seems a bit senile.

As far as Carrick, once again Fergie becomes impulsive. £18.6m is a bit much for a short of consistent midfielder. Especially since he gave away Ruud for £12m.

I hope Fergie doesn't sink the ship because of these changes.
Bruce Clarkson

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