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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Hiddink: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has rekindled his love affair with the club

Roman Abramovich has rediscovered his love for Chelsea and now often attends training sessions, according to Guus Hiddink.

'We have known each other long enough, but now due to my work in Chelsea we have naturally developed even closer ties,' said the Dutchman.

'Roman lives with the interests of the club and spends a lot of time here, often coming to training sessions.'

Guus Hiddink and Roman Abramovich

Guus Hiddink says Roman Abramovich has rediscovered his love for Chelsea

There had been speculations that the financial crisis and new interests meant that Abramovich was not so interested in Chelsea.

But Hiddink insisted to Russian journalists who were shown around the Chelsea training facilities at Cobham that he will leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.

He also made clear that he is already advising Abramovich on his successor at Chelsea.

'I often talk to Roman Abramovich. Among other things he is interested in my opinion about the future of Chelsea,' he said.


Hiddink has enjoyed a fine start as manager of Chelsea

'But I think I should not discuss this subject in public now. First of all, we need to achieve the aims of the team for this season.

Hiddink stressed: 'I don't want to leave the Russian team in someone else's hands now. That's why I have a firm agreement with Chelsea that I only work with them until the end of May.

'In autumn, Russia is going to play too many important matches. It's impossible to combine the two jobs under such circumstances.

'To leave my work undone is against my principles. The Russian team is going to be my priority.'

It can be done! Sportsmail proves every Premier League club can field an English XI

A decade on from the last all-homegrown XI in the top flight, England still expects

It's 10 years to the day since the last all-English Premier League XI started a match when Coventry thrashed Aston Villa 4-1 at Villa Park - and with the influx foreign players looking likely to continue it could be some time until that feat is matched again.

Sportsmail Online has taken a look at what the potential line-ups would be if all 20 Premier League clubs we forced to field an English only team this weekend.

Indicative of the dearth of English players in the Premier League at present, some sides include many reserves and even youth players as we struggled to fill the team sheet and if you notice two right-sided full backs or the odd attacking midfielder up front, that'll be because we've had to shuffle the pack a little to get a team together.

The clubs with the strongest sides include Manchester United, West Ham, Everton, Tottenham and Aston Villa who boast many internationals and former internationals among their ranks and the notable strugglers would include Arsenal, Liverpool, Wigan and Sunderland with Blackburn fielding six reserves!

Judging by some of the potential line-ups we're sure fans of the Premier League will be grateful for the foreign invasion!

Here's the teams


Ben Foster

Gary Neville Wes Brown Rio Ferdinand Richard Eckersley

Owen Hargreaves Michael Carrick Paul Scholes Lee Martin

Wayne Rooney Fraizer Campbell

rio ferdinand

Big man at the back: United and England defender Rio Ferdinand


Sam Walker

Jack Cork John Terry Michael Mancienne Ashley Cole

Joe Cole Frank Lampard Jimmy Smith Lee Sawyer

Scott Sinclair Shaun Cummings


David Martin

Jamie Carragher Jack Hobbs Stephen Darby Robbie Threlfall

Steven Gerrard Adam Hamill Jay Spearing Paul Anderson

Craig Linfield Nathan Eccleston


Stuart Taylor

Luke Young Curtis Davies Zat Knight Nicky Shorey

Steve Sidwell Nigel Reo-Coker Gareth Barry James Milner

Ashley Young Gabriel Agbonlahor

Gabriel Agbonlahor
ashley young

Great expectations: Striker Gabriel Agbonlahor (left) and winger Ashley Young are tipped for a bright future with Aston Villa and England


Manuel Almunia

Gavin Hoyte Kerrea Gilbert Paul Rogers Kieran Gibbs

Jack Wilshere Henri Lansbury Mark Randall James Dunne

Jay Simpson Theo Walcott


Chris Kirkland

Peter Moore Emmerson Boyce Titus Bramble Luke Ashworth

Lewis Montrose Ben Watson Lee Cattermole Michael Brown

Daniel Barrie Matty Hampson


Steve Simonsen

Andy Griffin Danny Higginbotham Leon Cort Ryan Shawcross

Danny Pugh Micahel Tonge Rory Delap Matthew Etherington

James Beattie Dave Kitson


Carlo Nash

Tony Hibbert Jack Rodwell Joleon Lescott Leighton Baines

Phil Neville Leon Osman Phil Jagielka Dan Gosling

James Vaughan Lucas Jutkiewicz


Playing for the jersey: Joleon Lescott has had a good season for Everton


Paul Robinson

Stephen Warnock Jonathan Bateson Dean Winnard Alex Marrow

David Dunn Rostyn Griffiths Andrew Haworth Marcus Marshall

Matt Derbyshire Jason Roberts


Ross Turnbull

Justin Hoyte David Wheater Chris Riggott Andrew Taylor

Stewart Downing Gary O'Neil Nathan Porritt Adam Johnson

Jeremie Aliadiere Jonathan Franks


Rob Green

James Tomkins Jordan Spence Mathew Upson Calum Davenport

Kieron Dyer Mark Noble Scott Parker Lee Bowyer

Dean Ashton Carlton Cole

rob green

In with the big boys: Rob Green (2nd right) and Carlton Cole (far right) with England


Joe Hart

Michael Ball Nedum Onuoha Micah Richards Wayne Bridge

Shaun Wright-Phillips Michael Johnson Kelvin Etuhu Ched Evans

Daniel Sturridge Darius Vassell


David Stockdale

Paul Konchesky Chris Smalling Elliot Omazusi Adam Watts

Julian Gray Danny Murphy Giles Barnes Wayne Brown

Bobby Zamora Andy Johnson


Martin Hunter

Phil Bardsley Anton Ferdinand Nyron Nosworthy Peter Hartley

Kieran Richardson Dean Whitehead Grant Leadbitter Nathan Luscombe

David Dowson Michael Chopra


Carlo Cudicini

Michael Dawson Ledley King Jonathan Woodgate Jamie O'Hara

Aaron Lennon Jermaine Jenas Tom Huddlestone David Bentley

Jermain Defoe Darren Bent


A wing and a player: Wide boy Aaron Lennon (left) and midfielder Jermaine Jenas


Steve Harper

Ryan Taylor Steven Taylor David Edgar Ben Tozer

Joey Barton Nicky Butt Kevin Nolan Danny Guthrie

Alan Smith Michael Owen


David James

Mark Wilson Glen Johnson Sol Campbell Martin Crainie

Jerome Thomas Sean Davis Hayden Mullins Glen Little

Peter Crouch David Nugent


Tom Brocklehurst

Nicky Hunt Robert Sissons Gary Cahill Jlloyd Samuel

Matt Taylor Fabrice Muamba Mark Davies Chris Basham

Kevin Davies James Sinclair


Matt Duke

Ian Ashbee Tony Gardner Michael Turner Andy Dawson

Nick Barmby Bryan Hughes Dean Marney Jimmy Bullard

Caleb Folan Craig Fagan


Scott Carson

Paul Robinson Neil Clement Leon Barnett Jared Hodgkiss

Jonathan Greening Joss Labadie David Worrall Dwayne Samuels

Ishmael Miller Luke Moore

New logo? AirAsia chief Fernandes poses in Manchester United shirt

Tony Fernandes, self-confessed West Ham fan and ebullient chief executive of AirAsia, has posted a picture of himself wearing a Manchester United shirt on his blog.

The enterpreneur is set to decide on whether to replace floundering American insurance company AIG as Manchester United's main sponsor.

With AIG's current four-year £56.5million deal expiring in May next year, one of the most prestigious sponsorship deals in world sport is up for grabs.

But Fernandes will have to pay an estimated £20m a year to see the logo of his low-cost airline adorning the torsos of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Competition is, unsurprisingly, fierce with several businesses sent out a sample shirt to see how their logo would look.

Fernandes, pictured below, also posted rhetoric on his blog, remarking: 'Here is the million-dollar question or, rather, the multimillion-dollar question. Do I commit to the shirt sponsorship of Manchester United?'

If the shirt fits: Fernandes poses in the mocked-up United shirt

If the shirt fits: Fernandes poses in the mocked-up United shirt

Born in Malaysia, entrepeneur Fernandes has carved an image for himself as Asia's answer to Richard Branson.

With the launch of AirAsia came the slogan 'Now everyone can fly', and with the company already a partner of United and in the midst of a three-year deal to sponsor referees, he is no stranger to the Barclays Premier League.

And with Asian markets devouring all things football, should Fernandes desire to sponsor United, surely the £20m a-year outlay will really take off.

THE LIST: Sportsmail's top ten of football's biggest traitors

Every team in the land has that one player (or more...) who saw the higher wages and bigger stadiums and decided they could live with forever being booed each time they touched the ball at their former club.

Sportsmail have given it some thought, drudged up some odious footballing memories from bygone seasons, remembered times they wished they hadn't and come up with the top 50 traitors of all time.

Do you agree with our top 50? Make sure you have your say.


10. Ashley Cole

A dejected Ashley Cole of Arsenal, walks past the Champions League trophy

For joining Chelsea from Arsenal after 'nearly swerving off the road' at the Gunners' 'piss-take' offer of £55,000-a-week. 'I was so incensed. I was trembling with anger. I couldn't believe what I'd heard.' Neither could we Ashley, neither could we.

9. Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United

For claiming 'once a blue, always a blue' before joining Manchester United after just 67 Premier League appearances for Everton.

8. Alan Smith

Leeds United's Alan Smith

For joining Manchester United from Leeds just weeks after the Yorkshire club were relegated (the first time). Ouch.

7. Paul Ince

For being photographed in a Manchester United shirt while still a West Ham player. Still receives plenty of stick at Upton Park for that slight misjudgement.

For being photographed in a Manchester United shirt while still a West Ham player. Still receives plenty of stick at Upton Park for that slight misjudgement.

6. Nick Barmby

Liverpool's Nicky Barmby

For being the first Everton player to cross Stanley Park since 1959 after four seasons at Goodison Park.

5. Jermain Defoe

Jermain Defoe, West Ham

For turning his back on Charlton to sign for West Ham. For handing in a transfer request within 24 hours of West Ham's relegation in 2003. For moving to Tottenham. Oops.

4. Harry Redknapp

Two Portsmouth fans wear t-shirts relating to Southampton manager Harry Redknapp

For joining Southampton from Portsmouth. For returning to Fratton Park after taking Southampton down to the Championship. For jumping ship again at Portsmouth to join Tottenham - which in turn upset West Ham fans. Nice work Harry.

3. Mo Johnston

Glasgow Rangers manager Graeme Souness (right) with new signing, striker Maurice Johnston

For choosing Rangers rather than return to Celtic after a brief spell in France just days after giving a press conference declaring his love for his former club.

2. Luis Figo

Barcelona fans burn a poster of former Barcelona player Luis Figo

For joining the hated Real Madrid from Barcelona in a world record £37m deal. Pesetero.

1. Sol Campbell

Sol Campbell of Spurs

For running down his contract at Tottenham and signing for bitter rivals Arsenal on a free transfer. He could have gone anywhere in the world and he'd still have been revered at White Hart Lane. But he went there and will never be forgiven for it.

There are certain qualities every football fan always loves about their favourite player.
For some it's how they dig deep for the team and the gutsy character they show on the pitch. For others it's their one-in-a-million goal celebration or passion for winning every time they put on the club shirt.

But all fans agree the best thing a footballer at their team can have - loyalty.