The Joe Royle column

IF I had a choice to bring back any one player who has left Portman Road in recent years it would be Kieron Dyer. It was fantastic that he got on on Wednesday night, one because he is an ex-Ipswich player, and two because I feel he should always play for England.

IF I had a choice to bring back any one player who has left Portman Road in recent years it would be Kieron Dyer. It was fantastic that he got on on Wednesday night, one because he is an ex-Ipswich player, and two because I feel he should always play for England.

He showed that in the half-hour he was on and that goal ruled out for offside should have counted.

We don't have too many players in this country who can go past players with the ball and when you have someone as quick and skilful as Kieron we should play him.

I had a comfortable seat on Wednesday and it was brilliant to renew old acquaintances as I put my media hat on for the night when Sky asked me to summarise on the England game.


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I'm a long-time friend of Richard Keys from his days at Radio City in Liverpool. I was on the train with him when he went to London for an interview as a researcher with Sky and look how he has done.

Possibly due to his Scottish bias Andy Gray was not there but Alan Shearer did a very good job, he knows what he is talking about, is concise and professional, and I'm sure when his playing days end he has a new career in waiting.

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I'm such a good friend of Andy Gray that I once broke his collar-bone. I landed on him when he was marking me at a corner when I played for Manchester City. But we have not really caught up since we had a night out in Korea during last year's World Cup so it was good to see him.

I spent time with John Motson and Martin Tyler earlier in the week, great commentators that I have worked with and the whole media circus came to Portman Road and it was brilliant.

We had the honour of seeing David Beckham in his first game in England since joining Real Madrid and he did very well.

My guests for the evening, dare I say it, had a strong Norwich connection. John Deehan and Mick McGuire I know from playing there and there was Mike Milligan and Rob Newman and they enjoyed themselves.

I have to say I did too. The whole big-time atmosphere all around the game reminded me of the Premier League and it made me realise just how much I miss being in the big time.

AS usual there is an early season purge and while Sol Campbell may think he has been hard done by to be charged with violent conduct, we have all seen the video evidence and what happened.

What has to happen though now is the FA have to stick to the letter of the law every time something is spotted on television.

What clubs have despaired about is the inconsistency. What is deemed a bad foul in one game is not seen to be in another, so we will see if something can be done to end the inconsistency.

I'm sure Sol will get his knuckles rapped over the kick at Djemba-Djemba but equally if they decide to make an example of him and they are going to stamp down on retaliation then they have to be vigilant and ensure they crack down on everybody throughout the season.

It is shame when the talk is of these incidents. Arsenal play terrific football. They are exciting to watch, they are free-scoring and have great individuals, but, and there is a big but, they have had their disciplinary problems and they have had 51 red cards under Arsene Wenger and they can't all be wrong.

It could be said because Manchester United are on television more than anyone else they are more likely to be caught with things but they are certainly winning the PR war with Arsenal.

We talked about the wily fox that is Fergie already and I'm sure he has chalked up one tick already.

I'm sure Arsene has said things to his players but when you have players who make contact then it is going to be difficult.

We have a similar situation with Georges Santos who was booked last week more for the crowd's reaction to the non-foul than anything else.

We brought him in to be a ball winner and we don't want him to change his game but we have spoken to him about being careful, to recognise the situation and step back a bit.

IT is inevitable with all the hype that surrounds our game that all Premier League crowds and viewers are waiting to see more of the Manchester United teenager Ronaldo after just half an hour of watching his step over, or as Ron Atkinson calls them lollypops, and his ability to go past people and cross balls.

He has gone to the Theatre of Dreams where they do love an individual and for all the great players they have, they have been waiting for someone since Cantona and there is no doubt he set the place alight when he was there.

It is early days and we shall wait and see but it is all a bit much to burden the kid with at this stage, though I have to admit when I saw him I was smiling.

But you can't offer comparisons with George Best yet, that may come three or four years down the line but George for me was the best I have ever seen.

When you talk world class, you start with Best, Pele, Maradonna, then others much further down. World class is an over used expression these days. I was fortunate to play against George and he was awesome.

It will be difficult for Fergie, and Ronaldo, because it is a fine line between letting the press and public at him or just trying to ease people in.

That is what we have tried to do with Dean Bowditch but he has done a couple of interviews now and he is getting used to it.

But we know if we want to take the media money in football then we have to bend to their requests a little.

FOR all of Roman Abramovich's billions, football has given him the buzz that nothing else can. He has felt it already when they won last Saturday and it is the sort of feeling that can't be bought, well not for less than £100m anyway.

The task facing Ranieri is handling the players who are not involved.

We don't talk much about Ipswich in this column but just to say I appreciate we have not had the start we wanted but it is certainly not the disaster one or two people are trying to create. All I will say is – don't worry there is a long way to go and we will get there.

As told to Derek Davis

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