Man U vs Aalborg (3 - 0 ) . Dimitar Berbatov got off the mark with two goals..
September 2008 Archives
Man U vs Aalborg (3 - 0 ) . Dimitar Berbatov got off the mark with two goals..
Juande Ramos is feeling the heat because the hapless Spurs are losing every match. It really blows when you have someone like Damien Comolli make the ultimate decisions on player transfers which bomb and yet escape the wrath of Daniel Levy because the buck can be passed onto the manager. Quick, someone give me this job.
If the traditional role of the manager as the final arbiter on determining the final shape of the squad is being undermined by proactive directors of football operations who wield the big stick on transfer decisions under the guise of the more complex business machinations of the soccer world, they too then should face the consequences of failure. Even more so. Roman Pavlyuchenko. Darren Bent. Luka Modric. Vedran Corluka. Heurelho Gomes. Benoit Assou Ekotto. Michael Dawson.
If Spurs lose to Hull then Comolli's job should be on the line too. Fair is fair.
Players from opposing teams who exceed this height and weight need not enter the Emirates because Arsenal has a size problem. This message approved by Arsene Wenger and Kolo Toure.
P.S. We are also working on away games too.
My thesis is that the lack of inches on the Arsenal defense bemoaned by Wenger and Toure is a convenient excuse for the generally brain dead defending that sunk us so badly against Hull. In short we are freaked. Seriously, I hope this nonsense is not being internalized by the club players because it does not bode well.
Defending the near post is lesson 101. Making sure you collapse the space near a striker is lesson 101. Cutting of passing lanes is lesson 101. This has every thing to do with sound defensive instincts, little to do with size.
Anyways, Wenger's size theory will be put to test tomorrow when Porto arrive. In their arsenal, they have Givanildo Vieira de Souza, a 5' 11" striker who looks like an action figure hero and goes by the name Hulk. Seriously. He must have had his way with the more diminutive J-League defenders in his stint with Tokyo Verdy with his 44 goals in 55 appearances.
If Arsenal's size theory is indeed true, the ball will be lofted time and time again in the direction of the Hulk. To counteract, Toure will catapult onto Gallas shoulders and dispense of the Hulk with a Petronas charm. After the 20th time neutralizing the threat, Toure's legs will seize up from a lactic acid overdose and dawdling up to the next Porto player given the ball fails to stop him from banging it home. Or Gallas, spent from carrying Toure, awol from the near post, looks on impotently as a header or a tap in runs up the score. Wenger will then immediately hold a press conference and bemoan the lack of inches on his defense. The 2008 season will draw to a close as undersized Arsenal lose to Mark Viduka, Amr Zaki, Peter Crouch, and Daniel Cousin.
A frenzied Wenger signs on Yao Ming and induces Dennis Rodman out of retirement. Håvard Nordtveit, all of 6'2" and on loan to Salamanca, is handcuffed and brought back for the next season. The combined size for the starting back four reaches 26' and Arsenal wins the Premiership.
You have to laugh. I seriously hope that Wenger is not injecting HGH into Toure. Rather he is stressing the importance of smart defending. Enough of this nonsense.
Not good news for Spurs who are scraping the bottom of the barrel. The last thing they need is an blundering referee who snatches victory from them.
Styles has an uncanny ability of becoming the headline whether through incompetence or attention seeking behaviour. His latest cock up had pundits and Bolton fans screaming for his dismissal. The FA in all fairness should permanently demote him to officiate youth academy matches considering the clangers he has made in the past.
Our favourite Bundesliga team almost pulled another rabbit by losing narrowly to powerhouse Werder Bremen in an exciting and fast paced match with lots of goals. And the hottest Bundesliga striker, Vedad Ibisevic scored his 7th goal. His Bosnian team mate Sejad Sahilovic kept pace with three.
Bremen seemingly sealed the deal leading 4-1 in just half an hour of play before Hoffenheim stormed back with goals from Sehad Salihovic, Vedad Ibisevic, and defender Marvin Compper to level the match at 4-4. Mesut Ozil scored the heartbreaking fifth goal 9 minutes before close of play.
The Wall St financial bailout collapsed today and amongst the banks that could be hit hardest is Royal Bank of Scotland who would have been amongst the largest beneficiaries. The bailout would have allowed RBS to offload billions of dollars of toxic assets and loans. This year itself RBS wrote down $10 billion in losses from worthless subprime securities. Its ill timed and expensive buyout of ABN Amro with other partners led to a loss of $21.7 million. Today's 777 point drop on the Dow pushed RBS stock prices to $2.75, an 80% drop from its peak.
Given its dire straits, the basic question is whether RBS has the funds to refinance the loan in 2009 for the stadium. Tom Hicks and George Gillet are offloading the repayment of the first $600 million loan on to the club, which costs it a staggering $50 million in interest alone every year. LFC supporters are asking the bank to stop financing the owners.
The two owners have very little collateral which I would hazard a guess have been further eroded by Wall St's huge losses. The club's finances lie on shaky grounds and it could default on its loan repayments. The financial bailout even if it comes through, carries with it considerable oversight provisions which could mean that it may not be in RBS hands to give out another loan even if it so desires.
What does this mean for Liverpool? Finding an owner who is independently wealthy to buy out the club as soon as possible, assume the debt and repay the loan, have enough funds to finance the stadium and player transfers, and earn the confidence of the fans who are tired of ownership that sees their club as a cash register.
Update: RBS share prices further plummeted after Fortis their partner in the controversial and ill timed ABN AMRO takeover was nationalized.
Amr Zaki is proving to be the "thinking out of the box" player that Wenger prefers. With a nice affordable price tag.
He is on loan to Wigan and it is because of his performance that pundits suspect that Wigan are better than they look. Steve Bruce is all praise for the EPL's top scorer. Bruce took it on himself to follow Zaki's career traveling to the this year's ACN and then onto Cairo. Some good old fashioned scouting seems to be paying off.
I saw the Wigan vs Man City match and Zaki was nigh impossible to bring down, seemingly having inexhaustible supplies of energy with some nice foot skills to match, and an appetite for goals. His club Zamalek is open to a permanent move to Wigan for an additional fee of £4 million. I suspect if he continues performing like this that it will lead to a feeding frenzy in the transfer market next summer.
In physicality he resembles Drogba minus the diving. In spirit, he is being compared to Alan Shearer. And he might be the one who turns around the poorly attended Wigan games. At the JJB, the 10000 or so fans were having the time of their lives chanting "Zaki! Zaki! Zaki!" as he mowed through the City defense leaving Richard Dunne gesticulating in frustration.
Zaki seems to have understood that Wigan's season will not be easy. He has a point to prove.
"I've already scored a few goals and it has gone well for me, but I was disappointed we lost the first two games because I felt we deserved to win them both. We just have to keep going."
"When I'm on the pitch the only thing I think about is winning"
Its difficult swallowing losses to Fulham and now Hull. Especially after that wonderful mid week dismantling of Sheffield Utd at the hands of the youngsters.
Admittedly the goals that sunk the Gunners were top notch. Almunia, even if he had morphed into a giant octopus with flailing tentacles, would have had a tough time keeping Geovanni and Daniel Cousin from the back of the net. Hull were energetic and unafraid. But the more basic question was that these players were allowed to get so open.
What we saw was a team that did not finish chances. They were a step slower and pass happy in the box despite innumerable chances. It is an old failing. But what was more disturbing is that the team as a whole did not appear to get it. These are matches they need to win with the present stretch being against easier teams before the season tightens up against tougher opposition. The onus falls on Gallas to clearly state that imperative. He has to lead as a player and captain. On both fronts he has found wanting. Not protecting the near post, allowing Cousin his opportunity which he gratefully took. Adebayor and RVP were anonymous through the match, only waking up in the last minutes of the match.
Wenger has promised changes in the squad against Porto.
I think some shock therapy is in order as also a policy of performance based selection. Gallas and Toure are a few inches short in size and in confidence. It is clear that the central pairing is not working. Arsenal looks very vulnerable in protecting against set pieces. Against Fulham, Gallas was once again the culprit conceding the ball to Hangeland for his game winner. Gallas can sit this one out with Djourou filling in his spot.
Up front we need someone quicker than Adebayor and RVP. Vela should get a start. Samir Nasri will be back and should replace Eboue. Aaron Ramsey should partner Cesc in place of Denilson having proven his distribution skills.
But this bemoaning the lack of height in central defense is too simplistic and convenient. If that were indeed the case, then Senderos would be on the first XI of every top team.
What we have in Arsenal is a reactive defense which lacks height. Yes, height can compensate for such lapses but every seasoned defender will tell you it is inattention and a lack of focus that cause these dangerous situations to occur in the first place. Also as a unit, pairing is of utmost importance. Between Per Mertesacker and Christoph Metzelder, we had 13' of central defense for Germany which looked out of depth in the semifinals against Turkey and then the finals against Spain in Euro 2008. That is why John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho are the best in the business. They know what it takes to distribute the threat on set pieces and force the attack to go around them.
I remember matches last season when Arsenal would go a goal up and then concede the match because Toure and Gallas would commit bone headed fouls or leave a player open. In particular, the match against Chelsea sticks out when Gallas handled the ball and Toure failed to cover Drogba. Even Clichy was part of this folly. It was not a lack of inches that failed to keep Hangeland, Geovanni, and Cousin out. It was poor defensive instincts that let us down.
Yes, I am saying it like it actually is. We need a smarter defense. One that can snuff out threats before they hurt us. Gallas and Toure have fallen short collectively.
Update: Wenger seems to have cooled to the idea of punitive changes against the Porto match.
AC Milan v/s Inter Milan.Mourinho's unbeaten run as Inter Milan manager came to an end when Kaka beat the offside trap on the right to pick up a long pass from Ronaldinho. He jogged it down to the right of the penalty area and then scooped it perfectly back to Ronaldinho to head home from 10 metres out.It was Ronaldinho's first Serie A goal among other things...
Ronaldo's goal came first.He showed his famous instability and lack of balance in the penalty area by falling over after a fair tackle from Jlloyd Samuel.A dubious penalty call from Styles followed.The second as far as I know is the first goal that Rooney has scored this season since he tied the knot - so he's probably out celebrating the ocassion with the missus right now...!
Stoke City has become a uniquely threatening prospect because of Rory Delap's long throw-ins.Scolari on Rory - "I think he puts the ball better with his hands than his foot, it's fantastic.I have never seen anything like this in my life; 10 metres outside midfield, this boy puts the ball inside the area. Maybe it's not beautiful football but it's effective."
And he's banking on the newly returned Drogba to provide Chelsea with a missile shield.The video shows Rory doing what he does best..
The bizarre saga of Newcastle continues. Its too bad that the FA is not launching its own bailout plan.
In a game of musical chairs, Terry Venables ducked out of the coaching job before Newcastle turned to Dennis O'Leary booted out of Villa unceremoniously two years ago. In the end it was Joe Kinnear last seen at Nottingham Forest in 2004 came out of nowhere.
The appointment provided a much needed moment of mirth for suffering Toon fans.
Its as one of the comments pointed out a lipstick on a pig moment.
And Kinnear admits he will be an unpopular choice on Tyneside: “The fans will be disappointed, I understand that, but I can’t do anything about. I will just be doing my very best because I am desperate to get back into the game.”
An inspired substitution from Mourinho allowed Inter Milan to stay top of the Serie A table with a 1-0 victory over Lecce at the San Siro .Substitute Julio Cruz - brought in right at the end of the game scored this goal.And Mourinho got the goat of the assembled media persons by bunking the press conference afterwards.
Rio Ferdinand despite all the bulging muscles and the really scary face could learn a thing or two from the technique of the chap in the video.The defender is Jiří Kladrubský of Sparta Praha and the fellow almost getting his head kicked off is Tomas Jun - forward for FK Teplice.
Following the 6-1 win at Gijon (video) Barca stick to their winning ways- beating Real Betis 3 -2
Michel Platini's hate for Wenger is visceral. Here is some unrestrained character assassination for you.
On Wenger's commitment to developing youthful talent:
“Me, I only want to talk about football, he (Wenger) only cares about business. We must shut up with Wenger and everything. He is an extremely selfish person.”
On Wenger's insistence that goal line technology be used:
“I would not mind if the technology is introduced, just as long as Arsène Wenger is not around to see it. (Smiles)”
Another dig at Wenger's supposed business instincts overshadowing the game:
“The fact that Cluj beat Roma is very interesting don’t you think?, this is the beauty of football, where the small beats the big, something Wenger does not like.”
Platini has been a long time critic of Wenger's philosophy. But his thinking reveals a vacuum.
"I do not like the system of Arsene Wenger. In France, Italy and Spain it is easy to buy with money the best players at 14, 15 or 16. I don't like that."
"If the best clubs buy the best 15 or 16 players that is finished for all the clubs in Europe," said the UEFA chief. "If my son is playing at Millwall and at 16 Manchester come in for this player then when will Millwall have a good team?"
It is strange given that Arsenal regularly loses its players to bigger poachers, the UEFA president should try and blame Wenger for soccer's vagaries. Given that simplistic logic, Milwall should just refuse and it would miraculously win the Premiership next season. Wenger's philosophy is not new, many have tried their hand at it but it requires patience and a belief in one's abilities to spot and develop that talent.
It is not a one way ticket either, competition for first team squad spots gives talented players from the Arsenal youth system opportunities in other teams. One of them was Jay Simpson loaned out to Millwall where he helped the club last season with his fine performance earning him the PFA League One player award. A couple of seasons ago, a trio of Arsenal reserves Nicklas Bendtner, Fabrice Muamba, and Sebastian Larsson helped Birmingham achieve promotion. So Wenger's philosophy actually creates a secondary market of player transfers which help clubs in need of inexpensive improvement of their squad.
I would have taken Platini more seriously if he had anything substantive to say about how Real Madrid and Chelsea are responsible for skyrocketing transfer prices. Or Newcastle's micromanaging ownership interfering with the duties of a manager. Or racism against Emile Heskey by Croatian fans. Or the regular outbreaks of violence in the Serie. And yes, serious reforms in the sport which include minimizing the plethora of ugly fouls, dubious goals and offsides by introducing video technology and replay. Running your mouth is cheap and we have seen nearly a decade of that under Sepp Blatter.
Vedad Ibisevic is on fire.
FC Hoffenheim's striker has scored 6 goals and assisted in two more in his club's blazing start in this years season. Hoffenheim lie in second place behind Schalke.
Its a fairy tale start for a perennial second division team that was promoted for the first time in club history to the Bundesliga. And its success is making waves. Tiny Hoffenhiem with a population of 3,272 does not even play in its own stadium which is 30 miles in Mannheim. The club will get its own stadium in January 2009.
Ibisevic originally from war torn Bosnia and Herzegovina came to the US with his family in 2001 via Switzerland. Already an accomplished youth player playing for the Bosnian U-16 team, he joined Roosevelt High and played for Busch select team, before earning
a scholarship to St. Louis University. It was not an easy transition with Ibisevic struggling with the language. For him soccer provided an escape from the trauma of war and an unfamiliar country. But despite these hardships, his talent on the field was unmistakable.
"After just 10 minutes in his first practice with Busch, I realized how good this kid was," Ibisevic's Busch soccer coach Mike Turner said. "He has got to be one of the top college prospects in the Midwest. He is an excellent attacking forward and the best natural scorer in the area. There is no doubt that he will have a terrific career at St. Louis University."
St Louis has always been a fount of talent for US soccer with the quintet of local players celebrated in the movie, The Game of their Lives, the story of the memorable win over England in the 1950 World Cup. St Louis University was part of that tradition, the strongest NSCAA program with 10 national titles. The players were overwhelmingly white and Catholic. Soccer saw a decline in the 1980s and 1990s as these folks took off in an urban white flight to the west. Vedad Ibisevic, on the vanguard of mostly Bosnians and Hispanics immigrants have re-energized the scene to some extent.
Ibisevic's SLU career was stellar and he shattered fellow Billiken Brian McBride's rookie record scoring 18 goals and assisting in 4 others in 22 games. He was named the NCAA Freshman of the Year, as well as a first team All-American. He also became Conference USA's Freshman of the year and was selected to the first team.
In the 2003 C-USA tournament, he set a record with four goals and nine total points against UAB in the semifinals. He was profiled in Soccer America as one of the 25 hottest recruiting prospects and while still in college he joined St Louis Strikers in 2003 before moving onto the Chicago Fire Reserves, both teams being part of the Player Development League, the amateur league of the USL.
A player of such talent did not go unnoticed in Europe and during the off season while training with the U21 Bosnia squad he was spotted by Paris Saint-Germain F.C.'s Bosnian manager Vahid Halilhodžic, who quickly signed him to play for the renowned French team for the coming season. This was the launch for Ibisevic's European career seems to have accelerated forward in dizzying fashion with FC Hoffenheim.
What a lovely word. Germanic in origin, universal in application. The warm fuzzies one gets when reveling in the comeuppance of others. Usually the 'others' are the ones who gave you grief in the not too distant past. An emotional state that Germany find themselves against England since their 1966 World Cup loss.
Chris Hughton takes over Newcastle Utd as caretaker manager after being unceremoniously booted out with Martin Jol from Spurs, in a coaching purge that ushered in Juande Ramos and Gus Poyet. For all their off season splash Spurs are still looking for a win. Meanwhile Newcastle had a bright start to their season with an inspired display against Man Utd before the Mike Ashley- Dennis Wise tag team overreached.
Rudderless with big holes at the back, they have eked out a win and are a spot above dead last Spurs. Hughton needs to tighten up the defense and instill confidence in his players. I still see Newcastle as a decent team which should pull its way to mid table.
Newcastle meet Spurs tonight in a Carling Cup encounter which should prove interesting.
Martin Jol has guided Hamburger SV to its brightest start in 9 years. They lie fourth in the Bundesliga.
It just does not get easier at White Hart Lane. After splashing the cash (£16.5 million) on Modric in the hopes that he would fast track Spurs to a CL spot, it appears that Ramos and Damien Comolli are are losing faith and are targeting Andrei Arshavin for the January transfer.
How quickly Sir Alex forgets. On Possebon's injury.
'You don't want to see things like that and I hope I never see anything like it again,' said the United boss.
Its nice for Sir Alex to come up with some nice trite explanation but these sort of injuries have happened many times before and will happen again, so to say that he hopes he never has to see it again is pretty glib. He has seen it before.
Sir Alex had to say this when Eduardo had his ankle broken in gruesome fashion following a tackle by Martin Taylor in February 2008.
"The English game will change now after the tackle against Eduardo. It has to change because of that."
"In Europe, you get far more protection for the player with the ball. In our game there seems to be an attack every three seconds, so there is always a risk of more tackles at pace and more risk of injury" – Ferguson added.
The average age of the Arsenal team was 19.Wenger is calling it his "complete team"
No its not an inflatable model of Sepp Blatter but a green haired leopard called " Zakumi".The organisers correctly figured that Blatter was inflated enough already and hence went for the leopard.
Zakumi - the ZA stands for South Africa while kumi means ten in assorted African languages.
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke explained the choice.
"Zakumi represents the people, geography and spirit of South Africa, personifying in essence the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We are certain we will have a lot of fun with him in the lead-up to and during the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup."
Andries Odendaal from Cape Town came up with the design -the animal's green hair is designed to will provide 'camouflage' on a football pitch.
Former South African star Lucas Radebe says "he wants to create a good mood for the fans and raise the excitement for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the first on African soil.He is a proud South African and wants to ensure that the world will come together in South Africa."
.....which was the fine they picked up for the 7 yellow cards they got in the game against Chelsea.It is however not going to put any significant dent in their collective fortunes.The squabbling continued after game and the United's team bus was attacked and one of its windows got cracked.That was by some disgruntled Chelsea fan and not by any of the players.
With seven goals in eight days Arsenal go to the top of the Premier League table.Report..
Alessandro Del Piero marked Juventus' return to the Champions League with this brilliant swerving free kick against Zenit St Petersburg.
Juventus hadn't appeared in Europe for two years following the Italian match-fixing scandal and coach Claudio Ranieri awarded the pre-scandal players by including all of them in his lineup, led by Del Piero.
Goal.com has an online poll going to vote between that goal and this one from Steven Gerrard against Marseille...
Gerrard was leading when reports last came in.So there's something to do over the weekend.
Not as far fetched as it seems. The AIG shirts that they wear, the most overt symbol of the club, are now owned by the US government to the tune of 80%. Paradoxically, in the most capitalistic sports market, the Man U players are now the poster boys of the socialization of risk.
Everton manager David Moyes called Delap "The human sling" after his team went down twice to the Stoke midfielder's long throw-ins.They won that game 3 -2 eventually.
Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill looked bewildered last month as he tried to explain how you defend against a missile like throw that led to Stoke's last-minute winner. So far Rory's deadly weapon has contributed to three of Stoke's seven Premier League goals and he admits that it is all people are talking about.
He said that his Mum and dad always said he "was throwing stones through windows from the age of two or three" Stoke can be seen scoring two goals in the video below off the famous throw ins.
And if you want to read about the science behind Rory's long range bombshells check this out..
However its Dave Challinor - known as exocet - who holds the world record for the longest throw in - 46 metres.
And Risto Kallaste of Estonia must hold some kind of record for this acrobatic flip throw in....
The two stories are not connected.Inter Milan defeated Catania 2 -1 on saturday.Mourinho being Mourinho said at at the end that they could have won the game 5 -1.That didn't go down so well.Catania chief executive Pietro Lo Monaco replied that Mourinho had insulted all of Catania and should have "his teeth smashed in."
Disciplinary things are being followed up by the parties concerned.
The hug story comes at the end of the Inter Milan- Panathinaikos CL game.It ended on a happier note without any threats to anyone - and hugs instead.Ibramovich ended up getting the praise of both coaches at the end of the game.
"I think we played against the best striker in the world right now. He is fantastic at holding the ball up and giving his fellow players time." - Henk Ten Cate
"Zlatan is fantastic and that is why I hugged him at the end of the game.Zlatan doesn't need to score in order to be a key player." - Mourinho
William Gallas maintained his impressive scoring record in Europe by rescuing Arsenal with a late equaliser. Wenger was unhappy at the treatment meted out to Theo Walcott by Andriy Nesmachniy and by the amount of extra time given at the end of the game.(It wasn't enough)
but is holding off from the celebrations for a bit.He says Liverpool stopped playing for the second 45 minutes....
...according to Scolari - even though the final score against Bordeaux read 4 - 0
Ramos was the pick of the Premiership managers last season.
But this season at Spurs is not going swimmingly well. Spurs lost to Aston Villa, 1-2 and now lie at the bottom of the table. Their worst start in 34 years. The good news is that the Premiership season is just a month old. However, the loss of Berbatov and Keane have sapped Spurs attack of its potency and Ramos must hope that Roman Pavlyuchenko's learning curve is a short one. So far they have managed to score just four goals.
Their defense has not been much better.
Ashley Young, continually sliced and diced his way through ex- Man City defender Vedran Corluka. New goalie, Heurelho Gomes had a forgettable match. Luka Modric limped off at half time, singularly ineffective.
In a sign that the media might be wearying of the Gustave Poyet appearances, some are questioning Ramos inability to learn the English language and introverted style. Of course, all this fades if Spurs start winning again and Ramos phlegmatic personality will be celebrated and his success in England as proof that soccer enjoys a universal language or some such nonsensical abstraction.
It seems that Freddy Shepherd is feeling his way back to Newcastle. And he says that Ashley should reinstall Kevin Keegan.
Shepherd really brings a lot of baggage and I don't think this is a good move. He held the fans and the players in contempt while at Newcastle. And he never once took responsibility for getting it wrong.
Some memorable Freddy highlights:
“Newcastle fans are mugs for paying £30.00 for shirts that cost us £5.00 to make.”
“Alan Shearer, he’s boring isn’t he? We call him Mary Poppins.” - Freddy Shepherd and partner in crime Douglas Hall insult Newcastle’s then new £15m man
“Geordie women are dogs” - Freddy Shepherd and partner in crime Douglas Hall on why they prefer the company of the opposite sex in a Marbella brothel to their ‘own’ womenfolk back home.
But here is the killer:
“But there is no one to blame for us not getting other players in before the transfer deadline. It’s the window to blame. It is absolutely ridiculous and really a restriction of trade and I would like to see somebody challenging it.” - Freddy blames this summer’s transfer window debacle on the transfer window.
FIFA again punishes a national team by intruding into a local federation affair.
The general assembly of the Ethiopian football federation voted to get rid of their president Dr Asheber Woldegiorgise in January and replace him with Ahmed Yasin because of the dismal record of the national squad. FIFA and CAF did not recognize the change because the EFF had failed to notify them about this meeting. A plan was drawn up to reinstate Asheber. EFF rightly rejected FIFA's intrusion.
"Fifa officials have taken a hasty decision before properly assessing the facts and documents submitted by us," the EFF said in a statement.
"Their decision was biased and one-sided."
The matter was not resolved to FIFA's liking and they suspended Ethiopia in July. Now, Ethiopia forfeits its four qualifying matches. Rwanda and Morocco are favourites to go through to the third stage.
Its getting to be a pattern. Can you say double standards?
The national squad's performances isn't impressing the FIFA head.
Sepp Blatter, president of world soccer governing body Fifa, says he is "really disappointed" at the abysmal showing of Bafana Bafana, and plans some straight talking with local soccer bosses on the issue.
An implicit condemnation of Joel Santana's managerial career.
In Brazil we trust. The SAFA is coming of looking like a bunch of chumps who vetted Santana as rigorously as John McCain did Sarah Palin. Not. His certification was provided by Alberto Parreira, the previous manager and fellow Brazilian, who strung along SAFA and made some big money in the process. It's called a con job and SAFA bought it whole.
Santana's record; he managed 27 clubs in 27 years. He won state titles and never managed a national side. Which does not make him a bad coach, just an untested one. So unknown was he, when appointed as manager, the CEO of SAFA, Raymond Hack mistakenly introduced him as Carlos Santana. An amusing slip. But maybe a few incendiary riffs from the legendary guitarist would have provided the perfect wake up call for an attack which seems to have lapsed into eternal somnolence under his less charismatic namesake.
How bad is it? When Jomo Sono and Clive Barker, two of SA's outstanding managers say that they have lost confidence in Santana's abilities, it is time to pull the plug. Of course, as is the case, the people most in denial are the ones who fell for Parreira's bait, Raymond Hack and outgoing SAFA president Molefi Oliphant.
The acid test should have been SA's ability to qualify for the ACN. This was important for a squad with few competitive options. The ACN would have given a chance to meet some quality opposition in nations like Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and Cote D'Ivoire. But Santana's squad never made it, falling to Nigeria. He should have been sacked right away.
It is befuddling that a nation spending billions of rands on World Cup infrastructure should shortchange its national squad so. Yes, a longstanding criticism of this team is its ineptness in scoring goals but SAFA should have tried going in for someone who could communicate effectively with a proven record of success as a tactician. Someone willing to take chances and help the moribund attack produce.
You only have to look home to find Clive Barker, the manager who led them to the 1996 ACN title or Jomo Sono who managed the incredible feat of leading them to the final of the 1998 ACN after SAFA fired Philip Troussier on the cusp of the tournament. Homegrown managers in African nations like Samson Siasa and and Hassan Shehata, have led Nigeria and Egypt to recent success.
For the naysayers who dispute that national talent would not be enough to take them to the next level, SAFA could have courted the likes of Marcelo Lippi or Juergen Klinsmann, till recently available. Both are excellent motivators and both believe that attack is the best form of defence. If these two were unavailable, Zico should have been tapped, if blind faith meant going Brazilian.
Santana's saving grace is that there are now a bunch of friendlies which will further reduce expectations on him. He only real test is the Confederation Cup which SA barely qualified for and provides some quality international competition with Spain, Italy, and Brazil's participation. At this point Otto Pfister, the original rolling stone looks like a better bet. He managed Cameroun into the ACN final against Egypt this year.
Sad news of Rick Wright's passing away. Here is a much loved song.
"How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year, running over the same old ground. What have we found? The same old fears, wish you were here."
There will be a backlash against rich owners ( with questionable assets) with no previous connection looking to taking over clubs purely for financial gain and leaving their supporters with no voice.
Efforts like ShareLiverpoolFC, the co-operative venture now have a better chance of succeeding when heavy hitters like Andy Burnham and John Barnes throw their weight behind a worthy cause.
AIG is in a financial mess and is asking the Feds to pony up a $40 billion loan to stave off credit agencies downgrading its stock which will bring it a step closer to bankruptcy or to the preferred takeover. With the Feds deciding against bailing out Lehman Brothers and leaving the company to file for bankruptcy, there is no sure bet that AIG's lifeline will be met. AIG lost 64% of its stock value today as it failed to give a plan to save its rating.
Man Utd's shirt sponsorship is worth $25 million a year. Its the richest sponsorship of its kind in the world. Chump change for a financial behemoth but these are exceedingly troubled times. Even well to do firms like Goldman Sachs have cut down on incidentals like free sodas and water for their employees. They have to buy their own. There is no guarantee that AIG will honour their sponsorship as they look to restructure and save on expenses that do not tangibly increase their assets.
An attempt at black humour >>
If he buys it will be under the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to improve the fans health in the toxic environs of St James Park. An environmental impact statement on how Mike Ashley and Dennis Wise are affecting the physical and mental well being of the locals is being prepared. Bill and Melinda will use that to talk down the price.
Highlights of a B&M takeover:
1) Access to mental health practitioners to combat MADS (Mike Ashley Depressive Syndrome), a crippling and infectious disease previously thought to be caused by bad credit.
2) An infusion of free beer and prawn sandwiches to improve nutritional standards and girth.
3) Kevin Keegan back and Dennis Wise out to end the conflict in war torn Newcastle. Some fans now support Sunderland.
4) Unlimited cash for high priced transfers to improve the GDP of the area (rich players live in ritzy houses, blow up cash in night clubs, and smoke some expensive s**t)
5) Bionic knees for Michael Owen to free up medical emergency personnel to handle real emergencies.
6) Joey Barton neighbourhood crime watches to prevent attacks on shins and other anatomical parts that have plagued the area. See above highlight.
With Thaksin Shinawatra having acceded Man City for a minority stake, Mike Ashley keen to sell Newcastle of to the highest bidder in exchange for his life, the next in line should be the two cowboys (requisite stereotype needed) in charge of Liverpool. The stadium construction has been put on hold indefinitely and Rafa's transfer choices are continually questioned.
Even the conservative Times has seen enough.
By Bill Edgar .. in the Times
1 Scrap the away goals rule and penalty shoot-outs in two-legged games.
2 Use goal difference before head-to-head records.
3 Introduce “celebration time” and remove punishments.
4 Book players for ANY dissent.
5 Scrap the rule that forces injured players to leave the pitch after receiving treatment before re-entering the field.
6 If a player falls to the ground and stays down apparently injured for, say, three seconds, the referee should stop the game immediately.
7 Players must retreat ten yards at a free kick within five seconds.
8 Dismiss goalkeepers for encroachment at a penalty.
9 Suspensions for an accumulation of non-bookable fouls conceded.
10 Scrap offside.
He forgot number 11 - Get rid of Sepp Blatter.
But Football is going to be a better game already.That's what Sir Alex Fer is hoping for as Ronaldo heads back into action 2 weeks ahead of schedule...
It has been a frustrating Barca season so far. They ground out another draw against Racing Santander in a match that proved to be disastrous for Aliaksandr Hleb who had to stretchered off with an ankle injury. The Belarus midfielder is likely out for three weeks. Looks like another ex-Arsenal player whose off to a rocky start. Thierry Henry did not even get to play a minute.
All of Carlo Ancelotti's high powered summer acquisitions were on display. Flamini, Ronaldinho, and Sheva started for Milan but they ran out of gas as a lively Genoa team ran their legs off. Genoa won through Sciulli and Milito's PK in stoppage time. This is Milan's second loss and Ancelotti must be second guessing his high priced transfer choices. Kaka made some runs but he looked like Riise with his finishing. Maldini and Zambrotta were awful.
Mathieu Flamini was replaced by Pato in the second half who had his team's best chance. It has not been the dream debut for the ex- Arsenal midfielder.
Mike Ashley makes a statement:
He added: "One person alone can't manage a football club and scout the world looking for world class players and stars of the future.
"It needs a structure and it needs people who are dedicated to that task. It needs all members of the management team to share that vision for it to work.
"Dennis and his team have done a first-class job in scouting for talent to secure the future of the club."
What bets that the last part of the statement is the one that Keegan objects to most strenuously. The first two parts may be meant as a reminder to Keegan that in his second time around, the world of soccer is a far more complex place from the days the manager called all the shots. True enough. However, to pat yourself and Wise with such a definitive statement without the input of the person with the straightest line to the squad sets up an extremely high bar for a successful Keegan return.
Keegan is not coming back.
Kevin Keen took on the caretaker role today with Zola looking on at his new club. Their attack was pretty decent but their defending was pathetic with Chris Brunt making Upson look silly in his match winner 7 minutes from the end. The Baggies first strike came when an unmarked James Morrison with all the time and space in the world blasted home Valero's cross.
Robert Green has been having a substandard season and his careless spilling of a cross and his subsequent tackle of Barrett led to the Baggies going up through Bednar's PK conversion.
Two areas of concern for Zola:
His club's haphazard and slow to react defence. He has been trying to get Steve Clarke from Chelsea to join him in addressing that issue. But his former club is stalling for more money for his services than West Ham can afford. Clarke has resigned and West Ham is planning to go to court to secure his services.
Physical fitness. In Zola's estimation, the Hammers ran out of gas against the faster and younger Baggies in the second half which led to a few crucial lapses.
The LA Galaxy is running out of time. They lost to the KC Wizards, 0-2 in Arrowhead stadium as thousands came to see David Beckham. This was a team that they had beaten comfortably in the past. It is too early in Bruce Arena's managerial career with the Galaxy to judge whether this will put them back on track but it is safe to say a slow start is not the turnaround that Tim Leiwecke, the CEO of AEG was looking for.
There is not much in the Western conference that separates teams competing for the wild card playoff spot, so this loss really hurts.
A lot of Arena's reputation was tarnished in the 2006 World Cup debacle as well as the imploding 2007 Red Bull season. Some of these concerns linger on in his association with the Galaxy.
In the match that shall be known as the filthy rich clubs with the GDP of a small country derby, Chelsea schooled Man City. But there were some moments of beauty like Robinho's free kick and some great interlinking play that was evocative of a Brazilian heritage which might lead Mark Hughes to don a tie and a thong and make a beeline for the carnaval. Their finishing was a let down though.
So I would be careful in reading too much into the Chelsea win. Round 2 will be very interesting as a number of newly minted players in City's squad would have had more time getting on the same page. I can even imagine some skittish Man fans wondering what is in store for them in their derby. A triumvirate of Brazilian players on the open field against Wes Brown and Van Der Saar. Should be quite a delectable spectacle.
Arsenal made the return up north to face a team that has posed so many problems in the past. But this was an Arsenal team that had an ascendant Theo Walcott brimming with confidence and newly found decision making skills. You could see it in the way he asserted himself in the match.
Blackburn was at the receiving end with Walcott laying down a crisp pass to the flying Dutchman who had the honour of notching up Arsenal's first strike. Denilson gets into the act as he floats a cross towards Adebayor and the Togolese striker guides the ball with his head. Then it was Walcott launching himself in a display of blistering speed and guile leaving the Rovers defenders flat footed, having a go himself, an effort parried out by Friedel. Eboue is brought down and Adebayor converts the PK for his second goal. A hat trick is complete as Aaron Ramsey isolates Adebayor who side steps Friedel and taps the ball into goal.
We always damn Arsenal with faint praise when transfer season ends with "but it could be much worse" yet Wenger takes such untrammeled delight in contrasting our club with the rest. On a day when a complement of overpaid superstars played each other in the Chelsea vs Man City encounter, it was refreshing to see someone like Jack Wilshere make his debut at 16 year and 256 days. 'I bring them out slowly, these English players,' smiled Wenger. 'He's another one who will soon play for you.' Yes, the heart and soul of English soccer does lie in Arsenal from its ownership down to the young talent unfolding under Wenger's tutelage. England has been the beneficiary. Who can deny that at the present moment?
New England Revolution have been on the wrong side of a 4-0 score four times this season.They finally figured out how to reverse the equation and beat Chivas USA by the same score yesterday.
A 3 - 0 win against Trindad and Tobago.Bradley is having a better time now than Dunga - whose head is back on the block after Brazil only managed a goal less draw against a 10 man Bolivian team.
I read Shaka Hislop's article on the emerging club vs country debate that the US faces. At this point the US is cruising to World Cup qualification. They have had some less than flattering performance but lets face it, other than a total meltdown, the US should guarantee themselves a spot.
Hislop points out that it is a good time for Bob Bradley to give a chance to some of the more deserving candidates like Chad Marshall or Edson Buddle. I agree but that does not make it a club vs country debate.
There are two points. The US will qualify for the World Cup from now to eternity as they face competition in one of the weakest conferences. With four spots, they can choose which position to come in at.
When you have the luxury to rotate your squad every other game, it does not inconvenience your club to lose a player every now and then. It does make a difference when you have to put your best starting XI to secure qualification. Look at England, Italy, and France sweating bullets in the Euro zone qualifiers. Now that is a real hardline club vs country debate. One only has to look at the verbal spats that have taken place in the past between Sir Alex and the FA or Jose Mourinho and the German soccer federation. Or what took place between the Nigerian FA and L'OM with Taye Taiwo in the Beijing Olympics.
The other point which is much more fundamental to the debate, if there is one, is that the MLS does not raise stakes as high as the European leagues. This has much to do with the unitary structure of MLS ownership, revenue sharing, and caps on transfer fees which establishes financial parity between clubs. There is no relegation system, consequently there are no penalties involved for a club's poor performance other than missing the playoffs or conversely, a stellar season that guarantees playing with the big boys and the financial payoff that comes with it.
Of course, Bob Bradley might not want to tinker with the squad too much from a practical standpoint. There is just a finite number of opportunities that you get to coalesce your final starting XI to do World Cup duty which might mean some MLS clubs missing key players regularly but still given that there are lower stakes involved, I don't see a basis for a club vs country debate.
Ah! Big Phil is not above playing mind games. And he does come off as a hypocrite.
Just before the big game pitting the world's richest clubs against each other, he reveals that Man City offered him the managerial job. But he turned it down because "at that time I was with Portugal and I said I needed time to think."
Talk about rubbing salt on a wound.
Obviously that reason was not good enough to turn Chelsea down which he was negotiating with while Portugal prepared for the Euro. They must have come to him with a briefcase full of cash and a glossy brochure of South Kensington mansions. When Chelsea tactlessly leaked Scolari's signing up in the midst of Portugal's campaign it did not faze him one bit. Rather than an obvious distraction he stated that Portugal would have lost anyway. Nice.
Given his squad will be missing a number of key players for the match his dismissal of Robinho appears to be too glib.
Reality check time with Wenger.
"There's still a lot to come. From 19 to 23, you become a real man - at 19 you're still a boy."
Ouch. Does this man never let up?
Football (the real deal) aka soccer is what the US does not get. And US politics is what the world does not get. Eight years of misery and John McCain still gets a stinking chance in hell becoming the president even as he has aided and abetted the Bush regime to the utmost. Even as is his presidency will result in saving only those who don't remember how many homes they possess. Hello, Ohio!
Can a ball and the cult of personality ever be intertwined? According to Werner Heisenberg, football aka soccer will never be popular in the US till Barack Obama is elected. Niels Bohr take a hike! Russell Brand tries his darndest but every time you have to explain yourself to something so instinctual, you've lost the race.
Arsenal meets Blackburn this weekend, another team that believes in Josip Simunic style of tackling. Here is hoping that Walcott gets the start after his barnstorming performance against Croatia which should have boosted his confidence to stratospheric levels.
Wenger should take note of what Capello said:
“I decided to put Theo into the first team because I saw the game against Andorra at the weekend and also how he was in training – and at this moment he is fantastic psychologically and physically."
The best thing about those goals was their decisiveness. No hesitation in pulling the trigger. I think Walcott has come of age and this will be a huge season for him. Wenger should not hesitate starting him. Who is betting 15+ goals?? This young man also has his head on his shoulders and comes off as measured and introspective.
Nicklas Bendtner also had a big game scoring a goal against Portugal as the Danes beat Nani and company. Which is all good because we need Arsenal's attack to score when it gets those chances. Samir Nasri looks questionable with a knee injury further depleting Arsenal's midfield.
The comparisons between Beckham and Walcott are quite amusing although when it comes to the women in their lives, its hands down Melanie Slade. She is studying to be a physiotherapist and will be a nice addition to the Arsenal team in that department. Here is looking to a lot of injury stoppages.
The first of two goals he was to score against Geogia.
That was the best thing that's happened in Italian football of late.Here's probably the worst thing that can also happen on a soccer field if you don't look where you are going.
Gattuso's freak injury.He backpedaled his way into a hole between two dugouts during a training game.He injured his head,broke bones in his wrist and dislocated all the fingers of his left hand.
Daniel Jensen's stoppage-time winner gave Denmark a 3-2 victory over Portugal in a World Cup Group One qualifier on Wednesday which saw four goals being scored in the last seven minutes. Nani opened the scoring after 42 minutes.Denmark levelled through Nicklas Bendtner's header in the 83rd minute.Portugal re-took the lead three minutes later with a Deco penalty.
Denmark equalised again in the 89th minute with through Christian Poulsen.And Daniel Jensen finished things off ..
England beat Croatia as Slaven Bilic's team hit the dirt with Walcott peppering them with some fine marksmanship. Walcott walked off with three goals and a porn star in hand. But this is better news for Arsenal as it needs Walcott to pull the trigger more often.
Capello's men forgot to hit the self destruct button as they entered the Maksimir Stadion. The Three Lions stood proud and blunted Luka Modric and the busy Ivica Olic. The turning point was the ugly Robert Kovac foul on Joe Cole which led to a spigot of blood as Cole collapsed on the field. I was reminded of anatomy class. Kovac got his deserved marching orders. The English squad took the Croatians to task after that. David James held firm as there were no Paul Robinson like bloopers.
Read on >>
A hat-trick. His first goals for England. The first hat-trick of his career. It was a precious occasion. One that will go down in history. And that is some impact to make at 19.England warded of the Croatian threat with a convincing 4 -1 win.Rooney showed his class at last.Beckham didn't get a look in.Capello justified.More here..
Well on its way >>
I have no idea why the French federation continues to repose its confidence in a manager that his team has stopped responding to.
Raymond Domenech might be relieved that Maximilian Robespierre and the Jacobins are not around. But it is hard to to avoid bad puns. The embattled France manager finds his neck on the line and against a good Serbian side, he is minus Samir Nasri.
Domenech also probably suffers from a finely tuned sense of persecution that the media is out to get him. After all the team's shoddy showing at the Euro 2008 and the defeat against Austria did not really happen. This really takes living in a bubble to the extreme.
SA's preparation for the World Cup has already been subject to intense scrutiny but their team continues to lower the bar on already low expectations. They lost to Nigeria, 0-1 and were eliminated from ACN contention. Yesterday, they lost to Guinea in a friendly, 0-1.
Joel Santana resignation/ firing countdown begins.
Spurs manager Juande Ramos must have been watching this game closely.
The Russia vs Wales game just got over without any injury to Roman Pavlyuchenko which makes Juande Ramos a very happy man. Guus Hiddink had ignored Spurs pleas not to include Pavlyuchenko because of a suspected ankle injury.
According to Sergei Rebrov, it might be off the field conditions that Pavlyuchenko needs to fear.
It is a telling sign that Joe Cole, England's best player has to fight for a starting spot in the squad. What perversity is this? I know Capello is a bit of a martinet and Cole might have ignored his instructions but his goals provided the victory against Andorra. So let it go.
Capello might conveya silent rage at England's ineffectual display against Andorra which is infinitely better than the mottled look of bemusement of a Steve McLaren or the emotional register of a doormat that Sven Goran wore during their managerial career. But what good is it if you do not recognize which players give you your best chance in a match as important as this one. Joe Cole and Theo Walcott should start. There is art and craft in their game that should make Croatia ponder.
Croatia on the other hand has weathered the Eduardo injury well. Ivica Olic and Mladen Petric carry the brunt of the attack as Luka Modric skulks just behind. Slaven Bilic has the utmost confidence in his team. They had a decent outing in Euro 2008 before they were done in by giant killers Turkey in a Euro 2008 quarterfinal match that could provide a few answers for England.
Croatia had a number of chances but failed to capitalize on them. Turkey kept pegging away with undersized and quick Senturk and Turan slipping past the taller Corluka and Simunic to create chances. A lapse in concentration led to Semih's equalizer. I like Cole's craft and Walcott's speed to soften up the Croatian defense. Some clever crosses should see Rooney in scoring position. This would require a certain amount of discipline on Rooney's part holding a high line on attack. Modric's playmaking ability can be disrupted by a well orchestrated offside trap and a tendency to keep the ball to himself. Squeeze his real estate while he dallies with the ball.
A draw would be a great result in the Maksimir which has been a tough venue for visiting teams. It would boost the English squad which at this point lacks self confidence and is on the run from their fans.
Here is an article that explains why Slaven Bilic is too canny to be West Ham's manager. He is apparently after bigger fish.
Chelsea's greatest player is now West Ham's manager.
What does he bring to the table that Alan Curbishley could not? And what should he focus on?
Zola was the heart and soul of a Chelsea squad that saw success before the Abramovich era completely skewed the Premiership. Those days the playing field was more even. They were good enough to win the FA Cup and enter the CL. With his Chelsea experience in the pre- Abramovich days, he probably knows better what it takes for a smaller club like West Ham to move forward.
As a player he was known for his spectacular goals and his full throttle play. Part of his personality is a Keegan-esque ability to inspire which I think will ultimately overcome some of the reservations that Hammer fans might feel given their extensive rivalry with Chelsea. As an assistant to Pierluigi Casiraghi, he guided a successful Italian U-21 side. Which should prove to be a fillip for the youth talent that West Ham has at its disposal in Freddie Sears and Kyel Reid. The club has not been kind to its younger players and West Ham has a decidedly older look. This should be reversed under Zola.
West Ham's quandary is a less than agile defensive line and inconsistent performances. So far this season they polished of Blackburn after a woeful display against Man City where they looked at sixes and sevens. Zola needs to sort out the deadwood in defense and keep the attack from overworking itself, leaving enough in the tank for the long season. Ashton, Cole, and Bellamy have been on target but Ashton's fitness is fragile and Bellamy is usually a foul away from suspension.
I counsel patience. Zola will prove to be a good long term manager with a view to developing first team opportunities for the youth squad. Björgólfur Guðmundsson should give Zola a free hand with player transfers. Overall these are exciting times for Hammer fans.
Here is another Zola, Emile Zola advising Gianfranco: “The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.”
...from doing somersaults and backflips after scoring.Fabian Espindola of Real Salt Lake thought he had scored a goal did a backflip to celebrate.The flip proved to be a flop because when he landed he sprained his ankle and the ref went and added insult to injury by disallowing the goal.He [Fabian - not the ref] is now out of action for a month.And the moral of the story is that Fergie will be able to tell Nani - "See,I told you" The flopped flip is visible about 45 seconds into the video....
Now it is he won't.
If he was to takeover, the fairy tale ending would have been Keegan coming back to Newcastle, Dennis Wise being fired, and a check for 100m pounds to be used by Keegan as he desired on player transfers.
Does this scenario even look remotely plausible? Kevin Keegan agreeing to becoming a club's manager on the condition that he have no control in player transfers?
Which self respecting manager would agree to that especially one who gave Newcastle some of their best years? Now the club insists that the final authority on that matter lay with Dennis Wise, the director of football. The war of words has escalated and Keegan maybe contemplating retiring altogether from soccer. Long time Keegan associate, Terry McDermott also walked out of the club.
Fans are rightly enraged. I hope they hit Mike Ashley hard where it hurts him, in the pocket. Boycott his merchandise and his sporting goods. Of course, the best chance is that Newcastle be bought out by Anil Ambani's Reliance Communications which would mean that fans would see the last of him. Gustave Poyet is in pole position to becoming the new manager. Keegan's exit means Newcastle has seen four managers in as many years.
"Alas, after a certain age every man is responsible for his face." - Albert Camus.
Fabien Barthez and French writer,Nobel Prize winner and philosopher Albert Camus( who incidentally was also a goalkeeper for his university team till he contracted tuberculosis in 1930 - which put an end to his football activities) are the inspiration for a unique French Football academy that aims to instil the values of citizenship in 11-16-year-olds from around the world and from all walks of life.
Mutual respect, discipline, understanding and a sense of team spirit are as important in football, say organisers, as in the communities where they live.
"All that I know most surely about morality and obligations, I owe to football" - Albert Camus.
The academy is based in south-west France, at a school high in the Pyrenees, in the pretty spa town of Luchon.Mr Julia -one of the academy's top coaches says.....
"Every time a child saves a ball it's similar to every difficult situation they will face in life. Every time they jump to catch a ball, or go into a tackle, they need courage and commitment, and it's similar in life".
Mr Julia knows the importance of instilling the values of fair play and discipline within sport, to young people who may have lost their way in life. He has worked in some of the most deprived areas of French cities, known as the banlieue, or suburbs, where disaffected youths became embroiled in crime and other anti-social behaviour.
Young people fought running battles with police and set property and cars alight, during rioting around Paris and a number of other French cities in 2005.
More luck to the new academy and for the good work they plan to do...
Luck to Domenech and the French team too.Fabien Barthez was spotted at a behind-closed-doors training session with Les Bleus at Clairefontaine on Monday, two days prior to the World Cup qualifier against Serbia in Paris.The combination of football and philosophy looks pretty good from here...
Less than two months ago, Mark Hughes was the manager of Blackburn, a team with players more at ease playing soccer's version of the Highland games or rugby. Effete is not the word here. These players played like they wanted to tear another orifice in their opponent and stick a Union Jack in them. Striding on the sidelines, craggy jawed and thin lipped, Hughes looked like he derived vicarious pleasure from such possibilities.
For five years, Hughes embodied the heart and soul of English soccer. Blackburn were faceless, hardworking grunts; hard hitting and physical and at a fraction of their transfer budget, a thorn to the high flying clubs with their Klieg light players. He prided in his core group of English players only allowing the occasional luxury of an exotic name like Roque Santa Cruz.
Now he manages the richest club in the world, a magnet for high priced overseas transfers. With money sticking out of their ears, the club signed Robinho for £34.2m and tried a brazen last minute heist of Dimitar Berbatov while he was en route to Old Trafford. The club is a veritable UN with names like Jo, Kompany, Bojinov, Etuhu, and Garrido. More are set to come. In all this exotica, Dietmar Hamann sounds perfectly English.
So it would be excusable for Hughes to feel a more than occasional sense of disorientation and discomfort. Why is he even here? He was always a champion of English talent, a vocal presence hacking away at the injustices done on a small and financially outmaneuvered club. It was not long ago, Hughes was using Arsenal's foreignness to complain of its practice of the dark arts. Now his club is underwritten by a financial behemoth whose primary mover either in dead seriousness or with a wicked sense of humour casually tosses off £135 million bids for Cristiano Ronaldo.
The financial differences between the clubs are of course the primary point of comparison but even stylistically the club, in the one area that Hughes controls, bears no resemblance to the Blackburn teams perfected under him. The playmakers Elano, Petrov, and Robinho are elusive and cagey in midfield, skillful on and off the ball. Even Richard Dunne and Micah Richards with their undoubtedly rugged looks could never be confused with David Dunn or Christopher Samba. Hughes trademark work on his defenses will have to undergo a change in emphasis in managing and developing some of Britain's best attacking talent in Daniel Sturridge and Ched Evans. He has also promised to carry on the fine work of Man City's youth academy. But with the amount of unlimited money at his disposal and long suffering fans sensing a dramatic turnaround in their fortunes can Hughes influence the selection of his players even if he wanted to. Could he in an atavistic fit turn down Kaka without incurring the wrath of the fans and the management?
The Premiership's co-ordinates have shifted to 53° 28′ 59.3″ N, 2° 12′ 1.08″ W. Can Mark Hughes be part of these co-ordinates?
When you talk about Arsenal's future, it is usually in measured, nuanced terms much like its soccer. Unlike Man City's buyout which has vaulted it to the position of the richest club in the world, the lockdown agreement makes an Arsenal takeover unlikely at least till October 2009. But the Man City takeover has opened up cracks in the iron clad constitution of the Arsenal board.
There has been some not so subtle changes in the thinking of the top brass recently with PHW suggesting that a huge bid from an investor would be hard to turn away by the shareholders. It might crimp the board's favoured method of doing business but the reality is that their hand might be forced by the shareholders.
"The directors don't want to sell but we are a public company. It depends on the price."
This really opens up chances for an Alisher Usmanov takeover.
Recent developments also include the resignation of David Dein from Red and White Holdings in order to bolster Usmanov's chances for an Arsenal takeover. His cloak and dagger tactics had alienated the board. With him gone, Usmanov's bespectacled chubby faced presence might be easier to accept. There is also the confirmed report that ADUG, the investment group that now controls Man City had also targeted Arsenal for a takeover and approached Usmanov to buy out his shares. But the oligarch was only willing to sell a proportion of his shares at a premium and the deal eventually foundered.
Not everyone loves Raymond.He managed to keep his job despite a disastrous Euro 2008.France got clobbered 3-1 in Group 7 by lowly Austria -placed 101st in the Fifa rankings. Rumours: The French federation have given Domenech a target of at least five points from the first three qualifiers.The next target Domenech has lined up in his sights is Serbia.And he's hoping his shooters will be on target.
Robinho turned up for training with Brazil in a helicopter on Wednesday....
Later he scored one out of the three goals that Brazil would eventually beat Chile in their world cup qualifier by....
Luis Fabiano scored the other two....
Ronaldinho missed a penalty....
Dunga got a bit of space in which to breathe freely.....
Pele said that Robinho needs some serious counselling... .This was before Robinho started arriving for training in a helicopter...
At last.Not a very elevating or inspiring title - but a title nonetheless.They have won the title "Biggest waste of Space" in a poll carried out by a storage products firm called BiGDUG.Other lesser winners include the mayor of London Boris Johnson and prime minister Gordon Brown.
The complete list...
Top 10 Wastes of Space
1 The England team
2 Pete Doherty
3 Gordon Brown
4 Toilet roll covers
5 Kerry Katona
6 Eurovision Song Contest
7 Jodie Marsh
8 Boris Johnson
9 Paris Hilton
10 McDonald's salads
Glenn Whelan scored his first ever goal for Ireland thanks mainly to some dumb goalkeeping from Georgia goalkeeper Loria.Ireland defeated Georgia 2-1
The comparision is not the old one between mad dogs and english men but a new one between mad (as in angry) bulls and english football."In the west of Wales this week, two bulls, said to be “aggressive and irate”, escaped from a trailer and ran amok in a nearby town. Chaos ensued as the beasts lurched at anything and everything in sight. They were eventually shot by marksmen.
A worthy parallel with these beasts thrashing around desperately would be English Premiership soccer this past week. Talk of desperate creatures doing desperate things?".... Read more...
And if all that wasn't mad enough here's a story about a chap who is betting that Barack Obama will replace Alan Curbishley as the manager of West Ham...!
All good things come to an end.A final exhibition game between Bayern Munich and a team made up of German players.A lap of honor around the stadium to the tune of "Time to Say Goodbye" as 69,000 fans cheered him on.And the curtain fell....
|Andrea Bocelli/Sarah Brightman - Time To Say Goodbye|
|Found at bee mp3 search engine|
It's a revolutionary football training system called the Matrix and its designed to train the next generation of football players.If it works English football will never be the same again.Can you imagine what Keanu Reeves would have done with a football if had those Matrix skills for real.
Welcome to the Matrix.
After the recent run of disasters and defeats the majority of fans who voted in a poll conducted by Brazilian website Terra.com.br,expect Brazil to lose to Chile in a 2010 World Cup qualifier on the weekend.From the 9,118 votes, 50.26% voted for a Chile victory, 9.32% for a draw, and only 40.41% voted in favour of Brazil .Dead End for Dunga
For the first time in almost 70 years Spain’s two leading clubs both lost their opening games of the season.Way way back (many centuries ago) in the 1939/1940 campaign Real Madrid lost 3-1 to Sevilla and Barcelona lost 1-0 to Espanyol. Since then, neither side have lost simultaneously in the first match of the season.
Barcelona after spending £75m on new signings lost to a team that is practically penniless in comparision.Numancia made the best of their new promotion into the big league.
Real Madrid lost 2 -1 to Deportivo.Winning goal below....