Loan system open to abuse

THERE is no doubt that the loan system has been the saviour of many cash-strapped clubs. Indeed Ipswich would not have made the play-offs without their use of the market.

By Derek Davis

THERE is no doubt that the loan system has been the saviour of many cash-strapped clubs. Indeed Ipswich would not have made the play-offs without their use of the market.

But there is a danger that some clubs are making a mockery of the whole thing.

Take Calum Davenport for example.

That is exactly what West Ham and half a dozen other clubs according to his agent, want to do - just days after he was bought by Spurs.

Apparently Tottenham don't feel the 21-year-old is quite ready for the Premiership just yet, even though they paid £1.1m initially, climbing to £3m if he ever makes enough appearances for them.

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The Sky Blues are understandably furious that he could well be off to one of their Championship rivals.

That said, Peter Reid is close to pulling off yet another canny signing by securing Norwich City's Malky Mackay.

Along with Craig Fleming, the Scotland international was an integral part of Norwich City's promotion last year, but the writing was always on the wall that many of those who took them up would be discarded.

Not that he has moved yet. Although the two Cities have agreed terms, Mackay has yet to agree to anything and will not do so until after Scotland play Slovenia tonight.

Davenport is also away on international duty with England Under-21s but returns today for a chat with his agent John Colqohoun.

Although he insists there are another six clubs keen on the central defender, and yes, Ipswich are rumoured to be one of them, it appears the Hammers were always in the box seat.

Fancy clubs doing deals behind each other's backs. Does that sort of thing really go on between chairmen and chief executives in football? How naughty.

TALKING of loans, Andy Hessenthaler is miffed that news of his interest in taking Portsmouth's England Under-21 captain Gary O'Neil on loan got out.

Gillingham player/manager Hessenthaler admitted he was homing in on the player last week but was frustrated the news came out before he had a chance to close the deal, fearing it may have alerted other interested parties.

The situation has become complicated by Pompey's reluctance to allow the player to go out on loan while they have so many injuries.

One loan that turned out well for all concerned was Rowan Vine. He has now joined Luton Town on a permanent basis after Harry Redknapp agreed the striker, who was at Colchester United last season, was not in his plans.

TALKING of making a mockery of the system. It turns out Pierre van Hooijdonk is going to get a decent wedge from his old employers Nottingham Forest.

You will remember that this is the player who went on strike in 1998 because he didn't want to play for them after claiming the club's management had broken a promise to strengthen the squad.

Van Hooijdonk was awarded £383,000 last December but also claimed that he was still owed a loyalty bonus and £650,000 plus interest from his £3.5million transfer fee to Vitesse Arnhem.

Now it has been agreed to pay a percentage of what he has claimed he is owed in outstanding wages in an out-of-court settlement, rather than the lawyers getting even richer.

DAVID Beckham. Should he play for England tonight or be dropped?

A rib injury could end the debate anyway but I doubt the dissention will go away.

Terry Butcher laid in with both feet when he demanded the England captain is left out due to his indifferent form recently.

Peter Taylor stood up for the man he actually made England captain in his one full game in charge.

It is true Becks has not been at his best but even a below-par Beckham can influence a game. His set pieces and other bits of play made goals in Euro 2004 and he is a massive presence on the pitch, inspiring his team-mates and worrying opponents.

Of course there is also a strong argument for Shaun Wright-Phillips to be given a start on the right. He is direct and can score goals, frightening the opposition with his pace.

But he is not the leader and the creative talent that an in-form Beckham is.

Let us hope the Real Madrid star gets a chance to prove it again tonight.

WIGAN boss Paul Jewell has rubbished claims that he is in line to take over from Graeme Souness at Blackburn and that Alan Mahon is about to go out on loan to Leeds United.

Mahon is constantly being linked with a return to Ipswich and the reason he is spotted in East Anglia so often is that he has been dealing in property in the area.

The word is there is also a love interest but I'll keep that under my hat for the moment.

As for the managerial vacancy at Blackburn, Jewell gets snappy at it being mentioned, insisting he is thinking only of their game against Wolves on Saturday.

CARDIFF have yet to turn their interest in Swindon striker Sam Parkin into a formal approach, according to the player's agent.

The sale of Robert Earnshaw to West Brom has left Lennie Lawrence searching for a replacement, with Parkin and Hartlepool's Adam Boyd understood to be top of the list.

HUDDERSFIELD midfielder Tony Carss will be out for up to three weeks following surgery on his injured knee.

The 28-year-old had cartilage trimmed from his left knee this week after sustaining a knock in the recent win over Peterborough.

SOUTHEND goalkeeper Bart Griemink has been ruled out for up to six weeks with a knee injury.

Griemink sustained the injury making a save from Rushden's Alex Hay when the Shrimpers beat the Diamonds at the weekend.

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