2009-2010 Premiership

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19 August 2006

Chelsea's Money And Other Tedious Issues

I've been enjoying the debate over at The Small Print over whether Chelsea are ruining football but I find the argument that Chelsea have bought their success irrelevant and pointless.

Carping on about Abrahmovic's money is nothing more than jealousy on the part of other clubs and their fans. So, Abrahmovic is richer than Croesus and enjoys spending his money on his football club. So what ?

Over the history of football, there have been many other multi-millionaire benefactors who have plowed their occasionally-hard-earned cash into football clubs. Jack Walker at Blackburn Rovers did it; Dave Whelan at Wigan is doing it now as is that crazy hippy guy up at Gretna.

In fact, I'm not a football historian, but I'm willing to wager that the only reason we have professional football at all is because some rich guys spent a lot of money on the local works teams.

So, what's the difference with Abrahmovic ? Nothing. He has a lot of money. He spends it on football. He buys good players and a few mediocre ones as well.

Lots of teams buy good players and a few mediocre ones. The argument that 'because of their money Chelsea can buy anyone they like' doesn't stand up to close scrutiny. They seem to get turned down an awful lot and, like any other club, they too have players who want to leave, want more first team action, want to live in Milan and so on.

The reality is that Chelsea are really not that different from other top English clubs. They have won the Premiership the last two seasons because their team is better than anyone else's.

You can't actually buy a team - no matter how much money you have. You can only buy players.

17 August 2006

Sportsmanship Banned This Season

Interesting read on the BBC Sports pages suggesting that The Premier League are going to ask players not to kick the ball out of play if they see that a player from the opposing team is injured.

The 'thinking' (and I use that word with caution) behind this is that it has become a trend to kick the ball out for non-existent injuries, thereby giving one side an unfair advantage.

For example, a couple of Arsenal players faked injury to stop a Spurs attack in a Premiership match last season but Jol - rightly, in my view - told them to keep playing and not kick the ball out. The result: Wenger and Jol having a toe-to-toe row.

The Premier League want this to stop, saying that "If there is a serious injury then the referee can, of course, take immediate action in the interests of player safety, but if it's a run-of-the-mill knock then play should go on...".

My view is that this is typical of the poorly thought through, reactionary rubbish that the Premier League is famous for.

So, there's been a couple of controversial incidents related to this and yeah, sometimes teams use it to their advantage. But so what?

The reason that players DO kick the ball out if they see a player down injured is that they are all in it together at one level. They know that almost any injury can be career threatening and hope that if they kick the ball out for someone else; then someone else might do it for them.

If you strip away the professional bonds between footballers on different sides - as this Premier League brainstorm is attempting to do - then you will make the game worse, not better. It's that simple.

England: 4 Greece: 0 - Nothing To See Here

Despite the inevitable hype, chants of 'Are You Watching Eriksson' and trumpet blowing from certain sections of the media (those that use print and the colour red as backgrounds to their titles), England beating Greece 4: 0 is not the second coming. Nor is it the beginning of a major new era for English football.

So can we stop all the hype and nonsense now, please?

They weren't, as The Sun suggests, 'Mac's Marvels' ; it wasn't the beginning of a new era."... in a manner he [Steve McClaren] could only have dreamed about..." as The Mirror said.

It was a fairly good showing against a fairly poor team. That's it.

The really interesting thing about it was it looked a more organised team performance with left footers playing on the left and wide players playing wide with a genuine holding midfielder, um, holding.

Funnily enough, there was a regular football column in The News of The World during The World Cup that suggested this exact formation with this exact combination of players. The author: Terry Venables. Now, there IS a coincidence.

16 August 2006

Who Is First For The Sack

Well, the Premiership football season hasn't even started, not a single ball has been kicked and I'm already going to speculate on who will get the sack.

And there's two or three standout contenders this season to receive that not-so-wanted permanent vacation.

Glenn Roeder : Newcastle United Chairman Freddy Shepherd could be charitably described as demanding (unreasonable is probably more accurate though).

However, Newcastle don't seem to have brought in much in the way of players in the pre-season, Damien Duff excepted. The lack of a strong defence and no replacements for Shearer or Owen may mean Newcastle struggle.

The Geordies will underperform this season and I expect Roeder to be sacked at the end rather than the beginning of it, though.

Paul Jewell: Wigan out did themselves last season, but Jewell is showing himself to be a bit of an old-style, "defy-me-and-leave-or-never-play-again" type of manager. Not productive in modern football.

He could be the one.

Sir Alex Ferguson: A poor season last season and the season before. It's becoming habit forming at Old Trafford. Plus - because of the huge amount of debt Man Utd are in - the Glaziers will need a big season this year to bring in the revenue.

Trouble is, I don't think they'll get it. And, as businessmen, if their employees are not performing, they will be replaced.

Sod all this stuff about Ferguson's success rate over 15 years, he's had his chance. A poor start for United and it could be goodbye, Sir Alex.

What Is The Point of An Owen Hargreaves -Part Two

In my world cup blog, I asked this all important question before the tournament took place.

As it turned out, Mr Hargreaves was possibly the best of a mediocre bunch and did his reputation no harm at all.

However, it seems beyond all reason that
Manchester United should place a bid for the guy. And it staggers me to learn that Bayern want to keep him.

General manager of Bayern Munich, Uli Hoeness, had this to say : "Owen Hargreaves will be staying with us for the remainder of the four years on his contract."

As I said, Hargreaves was one of the few England players to come out of the World Cup with much credit. But repeat after me: Owen Hargreaves is not the new Roy Keane....Owen Hargreaves is not the new Roy Keane....Owen Hargreaves is not.....

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