Monday, 17 October 2011

Abolishing relegation.... One step too far?

Most people think that football has already changed for the worse. Some people think that its irrevesible. But the latest news is that some foreign owners want to abolish relegation.

I had to read it twice to believe it. First was the famous 39th game, where teams jet off midweek to some super country like America, and play a game against each other infront of an audience of random football fans, for no other reason than an extra 0 on the bank account.

The people in charge of the clubs are not real fans, and they don't have the faintest clue about football. Thats when it became a business. Would you employ someone to take over a biscuit company because they once ate a hobnob? Or someone else because they was passionate about the company, and wanted to carry on what had been left behind.

10 of the 20 clubs in the Premier League are owned by foreigners. Not that I have anything against foreign people with a lot of money, but they are ruining the game, and threatening to bury the coffin they have already nailed a few hundred gold plated nails into.

For a motion to be passed, there needs to be 14 of the 20 owners of clubs defending it. As a football fan, you have to ask, who would vote for that? Then you think back, and realise these are businessmen. Scraping relegation. A terrible idea to the football fan, but to the owners, guarenteed money, and a threat taken away from them.

£80m is the reported figure for promoted clubs. The euphoria, the passion, of that playoff final. That last day of the Premier League, scrapping away for a point to stay up. That famous phrase, its not the winning, its the taking part that counts. Pass a couple more motions, and there won't be a competition to win.

So, what else would this legislation mean for clubs? Of course the Man Citys and the Chelseas shouldn't worry. But say a team like Blackburn, whose foreign owners may well vote for the system, then end up relegated on the crucial d-day when it takes place. A team that won the Premier League in its early days, now having zero chance of winning it again? On top of the owners voting for it to happen.

To say that the idea defies logic and is stupid would be an understatement. In the same week, we have had Liverpool's owners suggest that the top teams deserve more TV rights than the bottom bunch, trying to make that ladder to the top even harder to climb.

Falling attendances, increased wages, players rebelling against managers. Fans are already desperately unattached from their clubs, now you've got people trying to distance clubs from leagues.

Give it 20 years and we'll all be paying £3000 to see Manchester United in their yearly football encounter against Manchester City in the 300,000 Google Stadium in London.

Football's fine though, isn't it guys?

Thursday, 6 October 2011

England in 2012. Can they go the extra mile?

Short Answer? Probably not.

Will it be our best team for a while? Definately.

So, why can't they win Euro 2012 you ask? Two reasons. Spain and Germany. Both have accomplished teams, and in Spain, the current world beaters. Beating a team that realistically were a League below them in class, and who are probably still a class above the current England team.

When comparing the 3 teams, I like to use the jigsaw puzzle concept. England, have been putting the puzzle together for years, but, by the time they've found the pieces they are looking for, the dog has chewed a couple off the corner, and so on, in one big annoying circle, where the puzzle, will probably never actually ever be completed.

So they should take Mr.Germany's view on things, and do what they did in 2010. Scrap the old puzzle, and bring in a completely new one. Box and all. That worked. They picked through the gaps in Englands "puzzled" defence, before destroying the helpless Argies, who luckily for most of us, won't be playing in Euro 2012, most probably due to the fact that Carlos Tevez won't want to drive the team coach. Ok, I lied, they're not European.

That brings us onto Spain. The world-beaters. El Championes. The dogs bollocks. Few would bet against them retaining their World Cup, let alone this smaller competition. Their puzzle was completed in style. They sorted out all the side bits and corners first, grouped all their puzzle bits, and sat there looking smug whilst gluing each tiny bit into a nice golden frame, even when some crazy Dutch geezers were kicking them in the face near the end.

So, back to England....

In Joe Hart, we have the making of a settled England No.1 since the Victorian times, and in Terry and Cole, have bags full of experience, on the pitch, and off it. Gary Cahill, despite being at the under-performing Bolton, would be my choice of CB to partner Terry, leaving Johnson and probably Smalling to scrap over the RB spot like a pair of rabid dogs.

Wingers. Where do we start here? Not long ago we were pinning our hopes on Shaun Wright-Phillips, and a schoolkid from Arsenal who looked like he had won a competition to be in the squad.

Now, it seems some special breeding program was developed, and we have Ashley Young, Stuart Downing, Adam Johnson, James Milner, and Theo Walcott fighting for the jerseys, with a few very competent back-ups.

The centre of midfield is what worrys me. It seems Parker and Barry will be ones to battle it out come next year. Don't get me wrong, I think they are both great players, but at 30 years of age each, I think the likes of Xavi/Iniesta, Muller/Kroos and others will be way too much, and where Englands opponents will look to exploit.

Strikers. The goal scorers. The only question is, who will play alongside Wayne Rooney? Andy Carroll, who the Guardian printed "shows shades of Alan Shearer" after a defeat of the world-beaters Plymouth Argyle. Darren Bent? Who has scored goals wherever he has gone, and doesn't even drink alcohol, which will at least increase the blood levels in the teams alcohol system by a smidge.

However, it could easily be one of the new boys. Agbonlahor? Welbeck? Or even Peter Crouch after a revitalised season at the Premier Leagues top rugby team Stoke City.

What ever happens, I do believe under Fabio Capello, we have the ability to beat the Netherlands, the Portugals, but without a significant improvement as a team as well as individuals, I forsee a semi final heartache against either of the two teams mentioned.

But then again, who would bet against a heartbreaking 7-6 penalty defeat at the hands of some Eastern European minnows in the quarter finals?

That is exactly why we all love football.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Manchester United are trying to prove you can't buy the title...... But what can these billionaires buy??


Manchester United.

You either support them, or you hate them. But is all that about to change?

Now we have the unlimited money pots of Chelsea and Manchester City clawing away at the feet of United, are people slowly beginning to change their views on them?

After United had picked up 8 titles in just 12 years, along to London popped a certain Russian man, with a cheeky smile, a promise, and a lot, nearing infinite money. That promise was to bring that coveted silver trophy back to London, with the help of Jose Mourinho, and an open cheque book.

Fast forward to August 2011. Chelsea won consecutive Premier Leagues, before surrendering it back to Manchester United for 4 of the next 4 seasons. The other two of the so-called Top 4 are having more troubles than Steve McLaren and Steve Kean combined.

But of course now we have a new player, Manchester City. A couple of exquisite signings, a flamboyant Italian in charge, and a fancy celebration stolen from a trip to Eastern Europe. They have the makings of a title charge this season, in what most people believe will be a 3 way battle for the league.

All the while, United have been there plugging away, with their modest bank account, a commited set of players, and Wrigleys No.1 fan at the helm.

Few would put their house on which team will lift the trophy in May, but will people be sticking their nose up if United come out top again?

Of course all teams will have their problems this season, already we've had United's £20m De Gea throw a couple of Robert Greens, Chelsea's £50m "striker" hitting more spectators than goals, and City's £45m Argentinian throw a few toys out the pram wanting to leave, before apparently refusing to fulfill his duties as a footballer.

So.. For £115m, we can get a goalkeeper, and two strikers that can't or won't do their job. Proving you can have all the money in the world, but its not going to guarentee you win anything.

My personal view is that Mr. Fernando will have a much better season, and start to repay that huge transfer fee, whilst Mr.De Gea will have an average season, whilst dropping a few clangers, and that Mr.Tevez will eventually leave the country, and his team painfully short of expensive strikers.

The Man United haters may have a chuckle if their neighbours or London rivals pip them at the post, but I certainly wouldn't bet against the United fans having the last laugh.