We’re drowning in footballers this week. Not literally, of course, that would be weird, but as you’ll have garnered from our feature on page 16, Dubai has been inundated with these young, rich and oft-reckless specimens taking a post-season/ pre-Euro 2012 break. The Insider gives a special shout out to Anton Ferdinand who was scared off his sun-lounger by a group of QPR fans chanting his name. Well, not quite, the defender reportedly ‘fell about laughing’ before being cornered by James Norris, the head of the UAE QPR Supporters Club. How James knew where to find Anton, we don’t know…
Most of us would agree that a day by the pool in Dubai is a better way to spend your time than hanging out in the English city of Wigan, unless, of course, you’re Rio Ferdinand. The Man Utd veteran defender is proving himself the sportsmen’s sportsman after he was snapped celebrating with Wigan Warriors players in the changing room after their 8-50 Rugby Super League victory over Leeds Rhinos.
While the Ferdinand brothers are winning hearts and minds off the pitch, Roy Hodgson’s men are doing a decent job of winning English confidence on it. While their 1-0 victory over Belgium was scrappy at best, there’s a gritty, well-organised resilience to the side that bodes well for the Euros – especially in light of the poor pre-tournament form of the Italians, French and Portuguese. Still, the smart money is on the Dutch after they thumped Northern Ireland 6-0. If the Netherlands go all the way, expect Man City to sign the entire team once the tournament is over. Or, failing this, just Robin van Persie.
Speaking of the locally owned super-rich club (even though recent reports suggest that 114 percent of the club’s revenue is spent on players’ wages), it seems that UAE residents won’t ever be allowed to forget that Manchester City won the Premier League – the trophy was paraded around Abu Dhabi Marina Mall just last week. And since Abu Dhabi seems to have a stake in English sporting success, expect the Rugby Premiership trophy, won by Etihad-sponsored Harlequins, to be doing the rounds soon.