Why Sunderland FC Would Fall into Relegation if Darren Bent Gets Hurt

A Sunderland supporter asked me a couple days ago where I believed his club would be right now in the Premiere League table had they not spent £10 million last summer on Darren Bent. I replied “bottom three” after summing up the striker’s 15 total goals since he moved from Spurs. My Mackem questioner replied, “Sorry mate, you are wrong. If Bent hadn’t been in the side we would be rock bottom, heading for certain relegation.”

It appeared to be a rather unpleasant appraisal when you consider the the Black Cats’ good start to a football campaign that’s gone terribly wrong since the one-nil victory on 21st November against Arsenal. And I presumed that the Sunderland supporter had forgotten that hapless old Pompey are struggling at the bottom a full 10 points behind Steve Bruce’s out-of-form side.

But when I began to do the math I did at least understand where he’s coming from. Remove the impressive goal haul by Darren from the equation and the Black Cats’ position would truly be alarming. And according to my amateur calculations, Darren has made a crucial contribution in eight tightly-contested matches that have earned Sunderland 11 vital points.

Bent has, without any help, won three games for the side this season with strikes against Arsenal, Liverpool and Bolton that contributed six extra points whilst the goals against Blackburn, Everton, Pompey away and home and Manchester United earned five draws and an extra five points.

Posted in General | Comments Off

English Football’s Changing Face

As Fraser stated earlier, we have great article by Mihir Bose in the newest issue of magazine on British football’s financial crisis.

I would usually say that non-footie fans ought to look away this instant, but the story’s so reminiscent of the whole financial crisis that it is worth the time of any coffeehouser. What you will discover is a tale of large egos, large clubs and even larger debts – debts totalling billions of pounds.

The majority of this debt has been amassed thanks to football club chairmen and owners partaking in financial brinkmanship. Even though capital has been flowing into English football from worldwide TV contracts and the like, they have been spending it to fund wage structures and buy footballers that they simply cannot afford.

This has left a lot of sides close to financial ruin. But it has limited chances for young, British football players as well. But hey, why should we wait for national talent to mature when a couple million pounds will buy a perfectly finished player from the European mainland?

This fact has been evident to football supporters for many years now. And The Spectator’s put some figures on it. Their investigation shows that 44% of the football players who really played in the English Premiere League’s opening season (1992-1993) were Brit’s under the age of 25. Now, that figure has fallen to 17%.

This doesn’t mean, however, that the inflow of foreign footballers has been a terrible thing in itself.

Posted in Football | Comments Off

Albert Riera Launches Harsh Attack on Rafa Benitez

Liverpool football player Albert Riera has stated that he’s contemplating leaving Merseyside team because of shortage of first team footie.

In Radio Marca interview, the Spaniard disclosed that he might have to look somewhere else for first team footie as Rafa continues to omit him from Liverpool FC’s starting line-ups.

Albert also voiced increasing concern that this current lack of action might impact his World Cup aspirations. A frustrated Riera said, “I would like to spend my whole career here, but we players live to play. My aim is to go to the World Cup and for this I have to be playing.”

And the 27-year-old footballer alluded to the prospect of landing move to Russia sometime in the near future so that he can get regular playing time ahead of this summer’s World Cup.

Moreover the Spaniard discussed how frustrated he was about the manager’s impersonal approach; he says he never chats with the footballers to sort out difficulties in the side, which Albert feels shows terrible lack of respect towards all the players.

He also thinks Rafa holds some kind of ‘personal’ grudge against him.

Albert’s comments come in the aftermath of Fernando Torres alluding to the fact that he might have to depart the side if four or five top-class footballers aren’t added to the team this summer to battle on all fronts next football season.

Tonight, Liverpool clash with Lille at Anfield in the 2nd leg of their final 16 UEFA Europa League tie.

Posted in Football | Comments Off

Football’s Flashy Young Stars Get the Boot From Sir Alex Ferguson

These are very turbulent moments for English football’s Premier League, which in the past few weeks has dealt with a day-to-day trial by tabloid concerning the misdeeds of its peacock millionaires. Ashley Cole’s tumultuous marriage to Cheryl of X Factor fame and the adulterous affair of England captain John Terry have made for shocking headlines; let alone the extremely inefficient financial management that’s left the bottom side, Portsmouth FC, facing a winding-up order.

However, with the wealthiest domestic competition in the world searching to no avail for its moral compass, aid might finally be coming. Sir Alex has become the first manager in top-flight to be opposed to players wearing brightly coloured footie boots. Under new regulations Manchester United’s junior footballers have been banned from sporting anything other than black whilst on club business. Defender John O’Shea said, “The restrictions are on the youth team.”

Sir Alex’s boot criticism might seem a bit draconian or perhaps no more than aesthetic, but the coloured boot is still an impressive symbol of football’s prosperous boom period of the past 20 years, reflecting the Premier League’s ascension to mainstream prominence.

Custom-built white boots originally appeared back in the mid-1990s as manufacturers with contracts with star footballers tried to attract as much attention as they could to their wares. Manchester United’s youth teamers will certainly be used to the spectrum of colours from sky blue to violet and tangerine, which is the personal favourite of  Cristiano Ronaldo.

Posted in Football | Comments Off

Inter Uncover Chelsea FC’s Problems

Last night, after Chelsea fell out of Champions League, Joe Strange from football.co.uk took a more in depth look at issues threatening to derail both their long-term future, and season.

Last summer, when Carlo Ancelotti was brought to Stamford Bridge, it was widely believed that Carlo’s impressive credentials in Champions League had helped convince owner Roman Abramovich that he was answer to the club’s problems.

Two European Cups as a manager and another two as an AC Milan football player made Ancelotti a seemingly perfect prospect to manage a side driven by a fixation with winning the most prestigious club tournament in European football.

Add these properties to domestic success within Serie A and the power to man-manage and deal with big-name footballers, and Chelsea-Ancelotti connection looked like one forged by the Gods themselves.

Fast-forward nine months and Chelsea discover themselves dismissed from the Champions League at the final 16 stage, their quickest exit since around 2006.

For a man hired to bring that ever-elusive European high honour to west London, last evening’s premiere departure at Inter Milan’s hands was truly a toxic pill to swallow.

Chelsea Football Club have key footballers hurt, including Jose Bosingwa, Ashley Cole and Michael Essien, but for a side funded by Abromovich’s billions, Carlo should have been able to produce a team with a true strength in depth.

Posted in Football | Comments Off

Why Rooney is the Most Valuable Player in English Football

It is shaping up as the definitive north-south footie debate – what footballer deserves to be chosen as the Premiere League’s Player of the Year this season, Didier Drogba or Wayne Rooney?

One day after Mr Rooney single-handedly demolished Associazione Calcio Milan in the Champions League final 16, FanHouse backs the Manchester United forward and the footballer’s claims to the title.

On the grandest stage of all, Rooney delivered his greatest performance of the football season on Tuesday at the San Siro.

And, whatever the standards for giving out such awards, anybody who has seen the England forward play football for any amount of time over the present campaign will agree: there is certainly no more deserving player to be chosen as the Premier League’s Player of the Year for the 2009-10 football season.

The fact that Wayne’s most brilliant performance this season came whilst he shared the footie pitch with David Beckham, another United “legend,” was all the more meaningful.

Two of the greatest talents, and greatest personalities, to ever play football in Great Britain; the differences among the footballers are as immense as the fortunes they’ve amassed over their individual playing careers.

The 34-year-old Beckham was, in effect, removed from Old Trafford seven years ago by Sir Alex Ferguson, his lifestyle and celebrity wife proving a disturbance, not just for Manchester United and their boss but also for David himself.

The ex-captain of England simply didn’t share his then bosses’ commitment, and some might say obsession, with football.

Posted in Football | Comments Off

Football Seven a Side Added to 2010 BT Paralympic World Cup

Top North West footballers were on hand today to help the 2010 BT Paralympic World Cup welcome Football 7-a-side. Shay Given, the goalkeeper for Manchester City and Burnley FC footballers Michael Duff and Wade Elliot took part in a sport presentation at the Manchester Arndale Centre with British 7-a-side team members to demonstrate the sport.

In a year that will see the entire football world battle for ultimate accolades at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the annual BT Paralympic World Cup recognises the sporting skill of top disability participants in the Football 7-a-side contest, which is actually an offshoot of the sport for footballers suffering from cerebral palsy. It invites squads from the Republic of Ireland, USA, Netherlands and Great Britain to compete.

Shay Given said, “The BT Paralympic World Cup has become a well known event in Manchester and it’s fantastic to see Football 7-a-side introduced as a new sport…”

This sport is certainly going to add an amazing new dimension to the Paralympic World Cup in a town noted for its footballing pedigree and its backing for disabled football leagues. The tournament will take place from 25th to 31st May in the city.

The competing nations have been chosen to align themselves with a brand new team challenge that sees the British take on squads from the Americas, Europe and the Rest of the Globe, playing across four different sports to win the Paralympic World Cup trophy.

Posted in Football | Comments Off

Praise at long last for football man Roy Hodgson

After 34 years as a manager and coach in eight different nations Roy Hodgson, football’s gentlemen, is at last the toast of English football after orchestrating one of the most unbelievable comebacks in European football history on Thursday night.

His Fulham club’s win over the Italian greats Juventus could very well be one of the most remarkable upsets in the history of football – yet it fits in precisely with Roy’s career, which has witnessed the amiable 62-year-old consistently turn around the fates of unfashionable sides and turn them into a powerhouse.

Roy’s squad were defeated 3-1 in Italy in the very first leg of their Europa League cup tie, and then dropped off after three minutes of their return leg played in London. They did manage to recover to win four-one on the evening and five-four on aggregate to send the tourney front runners out of the tournament.

The boss of Fulham has now been established as favourite to assume Fabio Capello’s position if he decides to leave the England job, and is now being exalted highly by the press.

But in spite of the sensational incidents at Craven Cottage, Roy only granted himself a quick smile before he started reminding everyone that there was another match to play on Sunday.

Mr Hodgson isn’t like a lot of other modern-day managers; he’s never seen raving and ranting in the dugout, he doesn’t fly off the handle with interviewers and he seldom questions the decisions of the referee.

Posted in Football | Comments Off

Meet the New Zealander who Says he can Rescue Pompey

The New Zealand businessman who has begun a bid for debt-riddled English Premier League side Portsmouth decided to talk last night, informing the Sunday Star-Times that his interest was completely real and he was prepared to change British football’s boom-bust culture.

Christchurch-born Victor Cattermole, who resides in Hong Kong and is currently Chief Executive of Endeavour Plan, a purportedly controversial company, stated that he had at one time attempted to take over the Honda Formula One team.

In spite of Portsmouth’s reported £85 million debts, Victor said he saw an amazingly strong business opportunity within the troubled side.

Mr Cattermole has requested 30 days so that he can perform due diligence on the club’s accounts, stating it was an early stage of development and he wouldn’t be forced into a move.

Portsmouth Football Club is the Premier League cellar dweller and trying to fight off a British tax department winding-up order over a supposed £7 million bill. It has numerous times been unable to pay its footballers wages, has already gone through 4 different owners this football season and has seen Avram Grant, it’s manager, create more news for the tabloids after he was caught departing a brothel.

Victor said, “If the club goes into liquidation, it doesn’t necessarily mean we walk away.”

He then added that he was attempting to find specialist advice about whether or not Portsmouth FC could avoid a portion of its tax debt.

Cattermole stated that he decided to leave New Zealand because he was tired of “tall-poppy syndrome”.

Posted in Football | Comments Off

Jose Mourinho Provides England with an Example of What We are Missing

On Monday night, from the very instant Jose Mourinho proceeded to make his way back into Stamford Bridge up to the moment he departed on Tuesday evening – reputation enhanced, victorious and vindicated – the Inter Milan manager repeatedly exhibited what English footie, not just Chelsea FC, has been sorely missing.

Most journalists in England are shamelessly infatuated with Jose and you cannot really blame them. Given a steady diet of ‘one game at a time’ referee ranting merchants, they are quickly served up an individual who rarely provides a bad quote, captivates an audience and oozes charisma.

And of the numerous words written about Mourinho’s triumphant return to his ex-side, the vast majority are mostly meaningless when judged against the incredibly succinct opinion of Jose himself.

The reign at Chelsea of the Special One came to an end after his relationship with Roman Abramovich, the club’s owner, fell apart and Jose effortlessly combined praise for his previous boss with a stark hint that he had been terribly wrong to sack him.

Mourinho said, “Roman is a very intelligent person and because of that he’s not the same person that he was when he arrived in football.”

And that is the great irony of Jose’s release – Roman felt the style and flair his manager brought to his job when it came to dealing with the media was distinctly absent when it came down to the footie his sides produced.

Posted in Football | Comments Off