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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
Thanks for all your help and ideas on this feature, guys. You may recognise a few phrases here and there. This, I believe was the first article published in a national broadsheet (Eire) that was co-written by the Southend Messageboard.

Scott Parker (Chelsea – Newcastle, £6.5 million, June)

It's been a terrible year to be a Geordie. Comedy defending from Bramble and Boumsong was eclipsed only by Dyer and Bowyer fighting like tarts in a nightclub. Still, it wasn't all bad news. The emergence of Scott Parker as the rock upon which semi-decent teams are built finally gave the Toon Army something to be glad about. Parker, with his 1950s heart-throb side-parting, assumed near deity status at St James’ Park in a recent clash with Arsenal. Finding himself on the wrong end of a weighty forearm smash by Jens Lehmann, he wiped the blood from his mouth, played on for another five minutes and was then promptly pole-axed by another ferocious challenge. Carried off upon the shoulders of the coaching staff like some fallen gladiator, he groggily saluted the Newcastle fans before appearing to pass out. No wonder they like him.

Pascal Chimbonda (Bastia – Wigan, Free, July)

Plucked from French outfit Bastia on a free transfer, this nippy full-back has been a delight to watch. His abject refusal to play a simple ball when the option to run past three men is available to him has put the fear of God into the hearts of opposing managers who struggle to keep a lid on him. Maybe not the most accomplished defender in the league, but look at him run! He's got magic feet! In a season where the vitality and excitement of the English Premier$hite came under close scrutiny, Chimbonda simply dropped a shoulder and made his own entertainment.

Jose “Pepe” Reina (Villarreal – Liverpool, £6 million, July)

Journalists are always eager to point out the difficulties Manchester United have had filling the enormous gap left by  Peter Schmeichel, but in truth there have been just as many problems replacing Grobbelaar up the M62. David James, Brad Friedel, Sander Westerveld and Jerzy Dudek have all tried and failed where Pepe Reina looks to have succeeded. He may not be the tallest goalkeeper to stand in front of the Spion Kop, but he might just be the most assured. The ghost of Bruce was finally laid to rest against Deportivo Saprissa when Reina completed his 11th clean sheet in a row, breaking Grobbelaar’s 17-year-old record.

Darren Bent (Ipswich – Charlton, £3 million, June)

Never before has one player been transferred into so many Fantasy Football teams in such a short period of time. Nobody, not even Alan Curbishley, could have expected Darren Bent to settle so quickly into the Premier League. The impish former Ipswich frontman took just 11 minutes to open his account for Charlton with a sublime lob and he was banging on Sven Goran Eriksson's door soon afterwards. Blessed with pace to match his impetuous confidence, he put the doubters to rest by scoring 12 goals before the end of 2005.

Danny Gabbidon (Cardiff City – West Ham United, Undisclosed, July)

Given that the Hammers went down in 2003 via a hilarious rearguard action from Christian Dailly and Gary Breen, it must please fans to see Danny Gabbidon looking so composed at the back this season. The young Welshman was drafted in from Cardiff in the summer and is one of the main reasons that West Ham have dug themselves in at the top half of the table. Strong in tackle and deft in pass, Gabbidon harks back to an era when a certain sandy-haired Hammer finished all of his games with clean shorts.