Back at the turn of the year, SkyBet rated Derby County head coach and former England boss, Steve McClaren, at 16/1 to take over at Newcastle United this summer. When Alan Pardew decamped to Crystal Palace to be the South London club’s second coming of Tony Pulis, it left a gap at St James Park that John Carver, for all his earnest endevours, never looked likely to fill in the long term. Other betting sites had MacClaren as far out as 22/1 to become the Magpies’ boss. If you took those odds you may well be sitting in the pound seats now, as currently, some bookies make the former Wembley umbrella salesman as short as 4/6. Continue reading →
Blogs, on most subjects, tend to be full of the writer espousing his theories on the issues of the day, and I guess that’s particularly true with football articles, where everyone has an opinion. So, this time, I thought I’d take a different track and ask a few questions instead, whilst at the same time requesting a few changes of headgear!
Firstly, here’s a question with a complicated, or perhaps more accurately, a diverse set of answers. ‘What’s more important to a football club, money or glory, profits or pots, brass or silverware?’ If you’re reading this – and I hope you are, otherwise I’m simply talking to myself – you’re probably a fan of a particular club and will have opted for the latter of the options in each of the three queries offered. Now however, just for a lark, take off your fan’s hat, and instead don the headgear of a club owner, or a CEO having to answer to an owner. To further illustrate the picture, let’s imagine the owner in question isn’t a Sheikh Mansoor or Roman Abramovich who bought clubs merely to indulge rather expensive hobbies. So, with your new hat on, let’s consider the question again. I know what you’re thinking. Winning trophies creates more wealth, therefore you can have both. Ah, you see, this is why I framed the question as I did. For clarity however, I’m going to rephrase it slightly. As an owner or a CEO having to report to an owner, would you rather have made £3million profit and won the Carling Cup, or £8million, and finished with an empty trophy cabinet? Come on, now. We all know the answer if we’re being honest don’t we?
Nobody likes losing and, as with banging your head against a brick wall, the best thing you can say about it, is that it’s nice when it stops. Like some love-lorn teenage boy returning yet again from the bright lights of the coolest disco in town without having landed a dance with the best-looking girls, Arsene Wenger now appears to be lowering his sights from the Champions League, to the Europa League, the school disco of European club football. Perhaps Arsenal could be belle of the ball there. Some may call it a realistic assessment, Arsenal fans may well have a different description for it. Continue reading →
It may seem like a relatively new phenomenon, but it’s not really, perhaps entering the norm when once it was deemed to be solely the modus operandi of adherents to the more muscular and robust approach to football, eschewed and sneered at by self-appointed sophisticates. No, not the professiona Continue reading →
In a city with at least two football teams, there always seem to be one that’s dominant, and one that has a constant struggle to get out from under the shadow of it’s neighbour. On Merseyside, Liverpool have for long periods held dominance over Everton, whilst the Toffees have had only brief episodes when they could call themselves the top dogs. The usual way was Reds on top. Continue reading →
Having Birmingham City as cross-city rivals, with all the ownership trials and tribulations they have endured over the years since jailed money-launderer Carson Yeung took over the club, it would be a task of Herculean proportions for Aston Villa to paint themselves as the crisis club of the country’s second city. The former European champions and almost the epitome of that hackneyed old phrase ‘a sleeping giant’ of a club appear however, resolutely keen to have a bash at it. Continue reading →
Around nine years ago or so, I was on holiday in Sitges, just outside Barcelona. As is my wont at such times, I was sitting outside a bar with a cold beer whilst the wife had gone off shopping. Relaxing in the Catalan sunshine, I was reading – well reading may be too strong a word, but my fractured Spanish just allows me to understand every third word or so, so I can grasp the essence of the story – a copy of ‘Sport’, a local newspaper that covers football, and predominantly FC Barcelona. Continue reading →
News of the television rights cash bonanza for Premier League clubs has caused tidal waves of outrage and floods of advice in fairly equal measures. £5.136billion is a lot of money in anyone’s language, and deflating that down to approximately £12million per game rather puts the price of the football’s top-notch match ticket prices somewhat into the shade – but more of that later. Continue reading →
If last Saturday’s FA Cup clash between Tony Pulis’s West Bromwich Albion and Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United represented a ‘set to’ between two of the more traditional managers in the British game, the 4-0 result was a pretty clear victory for the Welshman. Allardyce, ironically born in Dudley, a few miles deeper into the Black Country from the Hawthorns, was left well beaten, and with the rancour of fans that had travelled from the East End to West Bromwich bemoaning his team’s display. For Allardyce, it must have been a frustrating experience. His club sit in a comfortable and probably over-performing eighth place in the league, having even flirted with the prospect of a European dalliance for the next season. Shorn of talismanic striker Andy Carroll however, a defeat to Pulis’s newly-invigorated Baggies is no disgrace. Two things were clear from the game. Firstly, fans have short memories, and secondly, Tony Pulis certainly knows how to organise a team. Continue reading →
Some time ago, during in a bored ten minutes or so, I chanced upon an article buried away deep in one of the ne’er viewed, dark recesses of the BBC News website where such stories abide, ever seeking to avoid the scrutinising light of day. Apparently, someone had completed a study – well I guess someone has to, otherwise what would fill those previously mentioned recesses – about the influence of supposedly ‘lucky’ items of clothing in shaping the outcome of various sporting events. In short, could wearing a particular pair of pants, socks or even having tomato ketchup on your cornflakes for breakfast make the team you favour more likely to prevail. You may not be surprised to hear that the result of the study was that donning any particular garment or partaking in ritualistic behaviour of any kind, empirically has no influence whatsoever. “Well”, thought I, “now there’s a surprise!” Continue reading →