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Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Winter World Cup could be the end of Football as we know it!

Since it was announced that FIFA are considering a winter World Cup when Qatar hosts the most prestigious tournament in football I have thought long and hard about the consequences and how this could be done.

My thoughts have lead me to the rather serious question could the winter world cup kill football as we know it?  A strange question you may think but how would it be possible to ensure the leagues run a full schedule when the Premier League struggles to fit in a much requested winter break already? With a 25 man team Premier league clubs will struggle to field a team if there are no gaps in between the domestic season or indeed if they adopted the African Cup of Nations format and allowed their international players to go whilst the premier league games are played by reserve squads.

This is going to be a hotly debated decision but there is a way a winter world cup will not affect the football season programme and that is the creation of the Super League.
This idea was much talked about amongst the biggest clubs in European football at great length for a number of years although this topic has been less discussed in recent times.

I feel that this option will resurface and will have to be considered as it seemed it was only a matter of time before this league was created, the debates on whether such leagues would be good for the fans is open for another debate.

As I write this Sepp Blatter has confirmed that they are looking at changing the football rules and as well as looking at the 3 point 1 point system they are also going to look at reducing the number of teams in each domestic league which would tie in with this idea.

I for one am against this new league formation of the idea came to fruition as I don’t feel it will be fair on the fans and imagine the prices of each game would be too high and could kill of the game.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Boy Man Brand Sir! The Rise of David Beckham

2nd April 1995 a date marked in Manchester United and football fans around the world's memories, for this is the date one David Beckham made his Premier League debut for Manchester United in a nil nil affair against Leeds United. This day was the start of a public love affair with David Beckham which as with all relationships has certainly endured its difficult moments.

Roll on 15years and David Beckham has won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year life time achievement award aged just 35 a remarkable achievement by any ones standard.

Why has he made such a success and become the idol of kids and fans world wide? Well I believe a lot of it has to do with his manner off the pitch which seems to be a million miles from the modern day prima-donna attitude, more of the old school types held in high regards with the likes of Stanley Matthews, Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton. He captivates his audience with his mannerisms and genuine down to earth persona and on the field he showed the desire and commitment that every fan wants from their players.

But lets not forget some of the bad times after the World Cup in 1998 Beckham became public enemy number 1 following his red card for a kick out on Argentinian Midfielder Diego Simeone, to recover from such a massive public fall out showed strength and compassion of the highest order, then there was the supposed affair with Rebecca Loos which knocked him down but yet again like a pedigree boxing champion Beckham picked himself up from the canvas and became the global commercial phenomenon he is today.

Famed for his amazing ability to pick the perfect pass from any range and his unique technique at taking set pieces, as well as his imperious good looks Beckham has become a marketers dream, David Beckham truly is a family Man, a football player and a brand. Where ever Becham goes whether it is the Far East, Italy, USA or Spain people flock to see him as if he is the mercurial son of a footballing god.

Off the field Beckham has devoted so much time to charities such as UNICEF and also opened up football academies across the world to ensure children can have the chance that every young player should have and that is to play football on pristine pitches with class coaches.

His ability to inspire those around him has lead to new roles with in football, a mentoring role was created for him to support the England team at the much ill-fated World Cup 2010 and he is seen as the most important link between FIFA and the FA a relationship which is rocky at best, being a key component of England's World Cup bid, which although not a success it was clear for all to see that he is looked upon keenly by FIFA delegates.

So what next for David Beckham? Well the possibilities are endless he still harbours England aspirations now he has recovered from his Achilles injury, but I see Beckham as a future England Manager and further down the line as the head of the English FA, and a knighthood will not be far away for this man. One thing is for certain this man will continue to inspire for many years to come

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The Bratty Bunch

2010 has been graced with some great football, skill, poise and unbelievable tekkers. However it has been the start of what could potentially be the greatest form of player power in the Premier League to date, Step forward the bratty bunch namely Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney so far.

What has happened so far this season to see these players think they are bigger than the club? Wayne Rooney in acrimonious style came out in the worlds media digressed that he was unhappy at the club and he felt that they could not match his ambition and in the process belittling his team mates, his reward a new contact and prize of being the Premier Leagues best paid player? And to think he disgraced his manager the club and most importantly the fans who shell out the money to keep the club going. It seems that the players are acting like the screaming brat that gets what he wants from the parents just to shut up for 5 minutes.

And then there is Tevez who again launched a tirade against his club, claiming he was not happy and that his future lies outside the club. At this point Mancini tried to stand firm and pointed out that Tevez would rot in the reserves and be stripped of the captaincy. Roll on a couple of days and Tevez retracts his request and keeps his captaincy for the game against Everton.

The game against Everton showed the pressure that this outburst by their inspirational leader, the team lacked cohesion and were shell shocked especially in the first half of the game. Devoid of ideas could it be a telling tale of what could be expected the rest of the season especially with a team of so many big players who each think they are better than the other?

A few years ago the club would have quashed these childish antics, and the player either put in their place or sold off no matter how good the player.

Could it be that the big name players have looked around at the current quality of players in the Premier League, which at present lacks a large number of house hold names that will keep the Premiership commercial enterprise the success it is today, for years to come and thought the club needs me the Premier League needs me so I will shout and get what I want?

Again this could be the reason why the clubs don’t seem to be so ruthless in dealing with the star players, a drop in Premier League Revenue would have a significant implication on the clubs and their commercial interests.

I just hope that this form of player power does not grow to become a pressing concern and that the clubs keep ensure they stay bigger than the player.

Friday, 17 December 2010

The Trials and Tribulations of Avram Grant

Avram Grant a man who looks like he could turn milk sour by looking at it with his straight-faced approach. This seems to have a major effect on his relationship with his clubs fans and allows more pressure on him then necessary.

With West Ham at the bottom of the premier league this season questions are being asked about his managerial ability, highlighting that he has never been at a club as manager for more than one season, and his last club Portsmouth were relegated.

However lets look at the scenarios that Avram has faced when going into management. His first stint in charge of a club in the Premier League was at Chelsea replacing arguably their best manger in the clubs history Jose Mourinho. He managed to pick up the shell shocked players and guided them to second in the premier league taking it to the last game of the season and missing out by one point and also guided them to the champions league final (the only Chelsea manager to do this) where a slip cost him the glory of being the first Chelsea manager to taste European glory.

The second was the ill-fated reign at Portsmouth FC where he faced domestic transfer bans, point’s deductions, unpaid wages and the threat of being wound up and the club being put out of business hanging over him for the whole season.

Whilst his team were relegated (but then I challenge Ferguson, Mourinho or Wenger to say they could have saved them from relegation) he got the players to play and work as hard as possible for the club and guided them to the FA Cup final losing out to Chelsea who had just been crowned premier league champions and were on the verge of completing their first league and cup double in the clubs history so a win was always going to be a very hard task. The fans will always appreciate Grant for that season and allowing them one more memorable day out at Wembley. The signs of that season was that Avram Grant was not the boring mono toned uninspired manager.

And so he went to West Ham another club that was marred with financial problems, a club with new owners who had by their standards a very poor season and only just survived relegation. So far there have not been too many complaints about the style of football West Ham have played this season with an unbelievable 4-1 win over Manchester United meaning West Ham make the semi final of the league Cup for the first time in a decade.

This season has been the strangest of seasons and if West Ham can get a little bit of luck they could easily end up finishing mid table.

With the sacking of Sam Allardyce giving West Ham owners food for thought as a potential ready-made replacement waiting in the wings, will Avram survive to see out the season?  I am not sure but I do believe that club requires managerial stability and I believe Avram can be the man to guide them to silverware and premier league safety. The question is can people see the potential and get past the perception of Avram being the most boring manager or will the cries for the long ball specialist Allardyce become too loud for the owners to bear?

Harsh-avin?

Over the course of this season I have heard many arsenal fans becoming disillusioned with the commitment of Andrei Arshavin.  Fans are questioning his body language and his lack of fight for the cause especially when helping in defence.

Arsene Wenger has publicly backed his player citing his statistics in assisting and scoring goals so far this season. Arsene believes he is happy with this as Arshavin plays a game based on risk, which can produce dividends.

As I look at Arshavin this season I see a completely different player to the dynamic skilful player who burst on to the premier league scene this season. Gone are the mazy runs and efforts on goal from range and replaced are shots from inside the area and short intricate passes. Could it be that the Arshavin who bought something different to the Arsenal cause has become to Arsenalised?

His recent presentation, which was filled with emotion and passion that secured Russia the World Cup in 2018, has not been on show enough this season. The reaction he gives when he loses the ball is not one of a good old-fashioned football player who does everything he can to win the ball back. It is one of despair a shrug of the shoulders whilst he stands still for a couple of seconds whilst the opposition build up a counter attack and ruthlessly expose the left sided flank of the Arsenal rear guard.

However there is Arsene’s counter argument that his statistics show he is a match winner and integral to Arsenals attacking course and this is a compelling argument that cannot be ignored.  Arshavin has scored 6 goals in all competitions so far this season exactly half of the total goals scored last season, and has assisted on 11 occasions this season in all competitions 4 more assists than the whole of last season.

The stats certainly weigh in Arshavin’ favour indications are he is ruthlessly exploiting opposition defenders in a far more understated way, which to the fans of free flowing football may go unnoticed, so is the criticism of Arshavin harsh?

It will remain an open debate between statistician and fan for the rest of the season. English fans love a determined aggressive style of play and will be hoping that Arshavin delivers the passion of his Country's world cup bid for the rest of the season.   Whilst I am sure Mr Wenger and the fans that love to see a risk being taken will praise his efforts of prizing open opportunities that arise from that risky pass that no one else would see.