Sunday, 24 August 2008

Time to Drop Beckham Once and For All

I notice that ex-England manager Bobby Robson has told Fabio Capello that he should make a decisive decision to leave out David Beckham from his starting line-up ahead of their upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign.

I couldn't agree more, and, have thought as much for some time, years in fact.

I have never been a Beckham fan. O.K. he is a very good player, I have never doubted that, but never the world class 'star' the press and his marketing team have made him out to be.

My main concern is that his individual style of play hasn't helped England through the years.

Now people (maybe you are one of them) will say; "Look at the great crosses and free kicks that have brought England goals.."

True, but success in a long tournament is more than some goals here and there whether they are spectacular or not.

The fact is he has never had pace and never had the ability to go past a defender to the opposition's goal line where he could deliver a consistent stream of devastating crosses where it really matters.

His lack of pace means he has always played his football wide right but around the centre line, so that most of his crosses are delivered at 45 degrees to the penalty area - a snip for top quality defenders. He has always been poor at getting wide into the last third.

So that when he plays for England, their shape is like an open envelope, with the body covering their half, and with the 'point of the flap' at the opponents penalty box. No width where it matters most!

The outcome of this is that defense has never been a problem, but scoring goals against quality opposition has.

This has been England's greatest problem, lack of width right up to the opposition goal line where you can really hurt them.

Compare that with the very best, most successful teams during this period. They all have real penetrative width with pace right to the 'byline'.

I agree with Bobby Robson, Capello should show who's the boss and do the best for the England TEAM not for an overrated player just because the media love him.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Rangers' Season Ended Before It's Even Begun

Rangers early exit -- at the hands of Kaunas in Lithuania in mid-week -- from both European competitions is a devastating blow to their finances.

A team of Rangers stature has to rely on the millions of pounds generated from one or other of the European competitions. And you can bet an assumption on this income had been built into their business plan for this year.

What this means is that they will be under huge pressure to sell at least one of their star players this season to help make up the shortfall.

The obvious candidate is Spanish central defender, Carlos Cuellar, Scotland's Player of the Year last season. Both Newcastle United and Tottenham have shown an interest in him in the past, and Ranger's lamentable failure last week will have put them in a much stronger bargaining position now, should they wish to pursue their interest in the player.

If Rangers don't win the SPL this season, manager Walter Smith won't get much sympathy from the fans should Rangers get rid of him.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Valencia are in Financial Trouble - They Need to Sell Stars

The Spanish media are reporting what we all know, and that is that the once proud Valencia are considering selling at least 2 of their star players; David Villa and David Silva, who both shone during Euro 2008.

It is rumoured that Real Madrid and Barcelona are keen on Villa, whilst Athletico Madrid want Silva.

The club's financial position is dire to say the least. They have lost money in the league; they finished a ridiculous 10th last season, and so have failed to make the Champions League next season which is a must for a top tier team's finances nowadays. (Mind you because of there good win in the Spanish Cup, they are in the UEFA Cup next season).

But they also had to pay a huge amount when they sacked their previous coach Ronald Koeman. And they are in the process of building and paying for a new stadium. Basically, without the income from the sale of key players they can't balance the books.

And what a difference from when they were under the hugely successful Rafa Benitez. What would have happened if they had managed to keep him?

Well, we'll never know. We are where we are; and in Valencia's case that's nowhere, until they sort out their finances.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Sepp Blatter Puts His Foot In It Again!

Once again the buffoon Sepp Blatter has overstepped his authority by referring to Manchester Utd's position with Cristiano Ronaldo as tantamount to "modern day slavery".

Now, a fit young man, earning millions a year for training 2-3 hours a day and playing a game he loves, can hardly be compared with the 100s of thousands, or even millions, of people who use their life savings to be whisked thousands of miles across continents by people traffickers -- modern day slavers -- for a better life. Many then end up in debt to the traffickers and outside the protection of the law. THAT IS MODERN DAY SLAVERY!

How dare Blatter! Shame on him! He should apologize at once. But he won't.

Putting aside your views on whether you think Cristiano Ronaldo is being somewhat ungrateful to Manchester Utd given that he's under contract, or, is being perfectly reasonable in wanting to try his luck as David Beckham did at Real Madrid; or that Manchester Utd is being unreasonable in wanting him to see out his contract; it's a business decision that will be reached between the club, the player and Real Madrid.

As President of FIFA Sepp Blatter has no right making comments that could influence such a business decision. But it isn't any surprise. This megalomaniac wants to control everything about the game and shape it in his own image.

No doubt it won't be long before I'm blogging about another Sepp Blatter bloomer.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Euro 2008 | Spain Pull It Off!

Spain have at last shaken off the mantle of perennial under-achievers by beating Germany 1-0 in the Final of Euro 2008, and winning their first major trophy for 44 years.

And it was well deserved. They completely outplayed a poor German side devoid of any real ideas on how to beat this superb Spanish side.

Once again, as they had shown throughout Euro 2008, they are the complete football team. Their one-touch passing and running off the ball completely mesmerized Germany who were run ragged at the back. In truth it really should have been 3 or even 4 - nil to Spain. As it was, Torres' strike midway through the first half turned out to be enough.

Apart from a couple of games where Holland shone, Spain have been the best and most consistent team in Euro 2008, and thoroughly deserve to be carrying the trophy back to Madrid.

Now the expectations will be very high for the World Cup. But that's another day. Well done Spain for entertaining us all and showing us how the game can be played.

And yes, we did use part of my son's winnings to celebrate late into the night!