Category Archives: Premier League

Where now for Tom Cleverley?

Cleverley: Down and out at Aston Villa, or seeing things clearly?

Cleverley: Down and out at Aston Villa, or seeing things clearly?

The curtain-raiser for the new season was halfway through and Manchester City had eased into a comfortable 2-0 lead, with every prospect of denying their cross-city rivals from Old Trafford any chance of a sniff of comeback. During the break however, Sir Alex Ferguson, perhaps considering there was little to lose, decided to throw a young Tom Cleverley into the fray for the second period. When the referee brought the game to an end, United had turned the tables and won 3-2, with the young midfielder, fresh from a season-long loan period at Wigan Athletic the star turn.

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And then, suddenly, nothing happened!

The Togolese striker may have been pointing the way to West Ham, but Daniel levy had other ideas.

The Togolese striker may have been pointing the way to West Ham, but Daniel levy had other ideas.

Probably much to the annoyance of SkySports Jim White, and despite many claims that there were “lots of things happening” transfer deadline was more dead duck than dead exciting. For Tottenham’s Togolese striker, Emmanuel Adebayor however, it must have been more frustrating than for even the hyped-up, yellow-tied, Mr White. Continue reading →

Bringing young players through? It’s about time, not emotion.

There’s been time for a period of reflection after Greg Dyke’s introspective narrative on the trials and tribulations of the English game, and what needs to change in order to get the national team back in the higher rankings of the world game from our currently lowly status of seventeenth, tucked in behind Chile and the USA.

I’ve heard and read many ideas of how to change the scenario to give young English players a better chance of playing first team football and developing the potential that they have. Some, such as Everton manager Roberto Martinez have declared that there isn’t so much wrong with the ability of players at the early stages of their careers, but unlike in Spain, there isn’t the chance for them to play in many competitive matches, to case-harden their techniques with real game time experience. Continue reading →

Is football the ‘Working Man’s Ballet?’

Football and the working man’s ballet.

Cards on the table, face up, I have to confess that it’s not a phrase that I’ve ever really liked. It’s pungent with the odour of inverted snobbery and, conversely, almost an up to down social engineering at the same time. Relating cultural pursuits to social standing can be both akin to teetering on the abyss of self-indulgence, and a patronising pat on the head. I know that we all want to have something that is ‘ours.’ If we’re a little inelegant with our pace however, it takes but a small step to tip over into a group closure of the worst kind. “Take up the ladder, I’m really happy down here.”  You see, I don’t think it’s a case of the proletariat – and I’m one of them – to borrow Marx’s hackneyed phrase, claiming the game as their own. That’s not how it works. Continue reading →

The day that Mr Quinn taught All Blue Daze never to take the Mick!

This evening, I’ll be off to the Bescot Stadium to watch Walsall play Gillingham in a game uniquely-timed due to a bit of fixture congestion. I haven’t been to see my local team play for a while, but meeting up with a fellow-blogger who is writing a piece about the Saddlers, for a few beers and to chew over the football world and then take in the game was too good an opportunity to miss.

Quinn in his talkSPORT studio, probably about to receive another silent apology from yours Truly.

Quinn in the talkSPORT studio, probably about to receive another silent apology from Yours Truly.

The slight downside is that going to watch Walsall, always reminds me of one of the probably all too many occasions that I made myself look like a prize chump, way back in 1989. It was the first day of the season, and an overtly ‘cocky’ mid-twenties All Blue Daze writer chose this particular Saturday afternoon to display his all-encompassing knowledge of football. A dollop of egg on face was the requisite order of the day, and by the time referees across the country were blowing for full time, it had been duly delivered. Continue reading →

After seeing off Gerrard, the pressure is really on for Brendan Rodgers.

With Steven Gerrard leaving Anfield in the summer, Rodgers will be under pressure to prove he was right to let the talismanic captain leave Liverpool

With Steven Gerrard off to the MLS in the summer, Rodgers will be under pressure to prove he was right to let the talismanic captain leave Liverpool

In the modern game, the term ‘player power’ has come to be used to describe a process wherein a player’s wish to leave a club can be made real, even if his employers may not want to lose him. Any reference to a contract of course is purely incidental. Once a player’s head is turned, by the lure of loads more lucre or the tantalising glitter of silverware, club’s faced with the alternatives of keeping a dissatisfied player or cashing in, usually take the latter as the least bad option.

There is another element to this however, where player power manifests itself in a battle of wills between the manager and a particular player nominally under his charge. Some have painted such a picture with regard to the relationship between Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and talismanic skipper Steven Gerrard. Continue reading →

Marko Marin – Chelsea’s forgotten man continues his loan tour of Western Europe.

Marin holding up the Anderlecht shirt that he hopes to be wearing as he seeks to resurrect his career in Belgium.

Marin holding up the Anderlecht shirt that he hopes to be wearing as he seeks to resurrect his career in Belgium.

Once described as a ‘hot shot’ forward, and a player that both Manchester United and Arsenal were likely to battle over in a £15million bidding war, Serbian-born Germany international Marko Marin, eventually decided to  join Chelsea instead. To say it was a move that hasn’t quite worked out well would, however, be an understatement. As the winger joins his third club on loan from Stamford Bridge, his appearances for the Blues remain stuck at a paltry half-dozen, without much prospect of that changing any time soon. A loan move to Anderlecht has now been announced. Continue reading →

Dark days in Lombardy as Milan clubs decline together.

The San Siro, home to both AC Milan and Internazionale. Like the stadium however, the fortunes of both clubs are starting to look a little the worse for wear.

The  imposing San Siro, home to both AC Milan and Internazionale. As with the stadium however, the fortunes of both clubs are starting to look a little the worse for wear.

Not only has the city of Milan been dominated by a succession of empires, with the Romans, Spanish and French all having claimed dominion over the capital of Lombardy, powerful families have also held sway there. The Viscontis were deemed ‘lords of Milan’ from the late thirteenth century through to the middle fifteenth, and the Sforza family later took up this control around the Renaissance period. Nothing is for ever though. Empires crumble and families wither, and a similar fate appears to have befallen the city’s two football clubs. Once dominant in Serie A with an imperial strut to their performances, both AC Milan and Internazionale appear to be in decline, and the Berlusconi and Moratti families whose respective ownership of the Milanese clubs has identified them over recent years, appear to be following a following a similar pattern. Continue reading →

Much Adu about…Freddie.

Adu with the man he was tipped to emulate.

Adu with the man he was tipped to emulate.

As long as ten years ago, the World Cup in 2014 was ordained as the time Freddie Adu would prove himself to be a truly global star. Way back in 2004, the Ghanian-born American signed a professional contract with MLS club DC United at just 14 years of age. Adu had been playing against opponents twice, or even three times his age for years, drawing flattering comparisons with Brazilian legend, Pele. In the land of hype and the home of celebrity, the youngster was primed to be America’s first superstar soccer player – and 2014, when he would be 24 – was to be his coming out party. Well, that was the theory anyway. Although the USA team certainly enhanced its reputation during the Brazil tournament, Adu was not there; the ghost at his own party.

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Diamonds may be for ever, but Jewell only lasts a week at The Hawthorns.

Pulis and Jewell in tandem at The Hawthorns. Blink and you'd have missed it though!

Pulis and Jewell in tandem at The Hawthorns. Blink and you’d have missed it though!

When West Bromwich Albion dispensed with the services of Alan Irvine, just before the turn of the year, they wasted precious little time in appointing Tony Pulis as their new manager. The former Stoke City and Crystal Palace boss was bound to be in demand about this time of the season as chairmen of struggling sides sought salvation with the man who transformed Palace’s fortunes last season. If, after two successive victories under Pulis however, Baggies fans thought that all would be sweetness and light under the new regime, the rapid exit of Paul Jewell from Pulis’s entourage will have quickly disavowed them of such a belief.

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