April 2007 Starting XI

A current debate rages about the justice of allowing a team, such as Chelsea, to buy success. Seemingly, Chelsea have been fortunate that they were purchased and bankrolled by a cutthroat Russian oligarch that raped his motherland and pillaged her natural resources for personal gain.

I am of the opinion that there’s nothing wrong with a billionaire taking control of a club and buying players for silly money. This is because:

1. The funds are being injected into football as a whole
2. The club is likely to become despised and loathed if they simply buy up the best available mercenary players
3. The combination of so many all-stars is likely to yield at least some magical football, despite what Chelsea has done

The gulf in class between the top tier of players and the next tier isn’t so great that passion, pride and determination are unable to overcome the difference in quality.

What would I do if I were a billionaire? Buy a football club, of course. Leyton Orient, to be exact. The London club are very much overshadowed by illustrious neighbors such as Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, West Ham and even Charlton Athletic.

The team is currently struggling in League One, two steps below the Premier League, but that would change with this team that I’d buy:


Friedel: Excellent keeper has been doing the job in the Premier League for years. Seems to raise his game against top competition, as Manchester United can attest.

Sagnol: An experience marauding right back, Sagnol will know when to hold his position and when to go forward.

Vidic: Every team needs an uncompromising center back. Vidic will be the defensive spine of the team.

Agger: Young and comfortable on the ball, Agger’s class and speed will compliment Vidic’s steel nicely in the center of defence.

Baines: A strong runner and a young lad, Baines also pops up with the occassional wunderstrike.

Hunt: Nicky Hunt has impressed for Reading in the Premier League, and his engine earns him a spot as my holding midfielder, breaking up attacks and distributing the ball.

Kaka: A wonderful player that oozes class, Kaka can pass and shoot, and has the work ethic to track back and do a bit of defending.

Giggs: Having lost his devastating pace, Giggs has reinvented himself as a creative midfielder and has the experience to dictate the game from the center of the park.

Messi: With huge potential and an already-enviable set of skills, Messi will torment opposing defenders all day with his pace and control.

Ronaldinho: A bit off-color recently, but still with as much talent as anyone in the world. It’s only a matter of time until he starts winning games by himself again.

Berbatov: A cool finisher to lead the line, I’ve actually picked Berbatov for his team play rather than his goals. He is the complete forward, able to hold up the ball, bring the rest of the team into the game, and finish adroitly.

A talented, hard-working, level-headed bunch. We won’t be screaming at referees or wasting time. There are goals to score and fans to entertain.

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