Author: Ian

A Kewelling Off Period

It’s unlikely that Leeds United will be playing Galatasaray in the next couple of years or so. An element of racour still exists between the two clubs following serious crowd disturbances surrounding their Champions League matches played in 2000 which resulted in the death of two Leeds supporters in Istanbul. The subsequent police investigation and failure to prosecute those suspected of having committed the murders has left an arguably justified feeling of injustice in that particular corner of West Yorkshire, but the reaction to Harry Kewell’s decision to join the Turkish club has demonstrated that there can be such a thing as an over-reaction to such a set of circumstances. Kewell’s departure from Leeds to Liverpool was shrouded in controversy, with rumours abounding that Kewell’s agent, Bernie Mandic, ended up pocketing a sizeable amount of the transfer fee. It would be pushing the bounds of credibility to suggest that Kewell’s spell at Anfield was an unqualified success – he’s probably best remembered amongst Liverpool supporters for his early substitution in the 2005 European Cup Final. At this stage in his career, a move away from the Premier League might prove to be the right thing for him, but Leeds supporters have hardly been sympathetic to his choice of clubs. Whilst the choice of club has been unfortunate, it’s difficult to see what Leeds United’s supporters stand to gain from...

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Slaves To Fortune

Is there any sound more grating than that of the petulant millionaire? One of the curiosities of the situation concerning Cristiano Ronaldo’s on-off move to Real Madrid is the lack of media training that he appears to have received. In an era in which players seemed to have been groomed from puberty, Ronaldo’s candour has been most refreshing. He has made more comments of any interest to the casual observer than David Beckham has managed over the last twelve or thirteen years or so. Unfortunately, most of the things that he has said have revealed him to be a petulant, over-grown schoolboy and, more-over, something of a liar. It’s difficult to say what motivated him to say that it would be fulfilling some sort of childhood dream to sign for Real Madrid other than stupidity, because everyone knows that to be a lie. The best guess that one can put forward would be to presume that Ronaldo’s statement was meant to make friends in influence people, but whether the world-weary supporters on Real Madrid will be impressed by vacuous nonsense is a highly nuanced question. Was it his “dream” to play for Real Madrid when he signed a five year contract to play for Manchester United last year? We’ll probably never know the exact truth. One can forgive Ronaldo his little outbursts on account that he is, in the overall scheme...

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Just In Case You Thought That They Actually Cared…

“All animals are created equal”, wrote George Orwell, “but some animals are more equal than others”. The images of “Animal Farm” are easily invoked when considering the running of football in England, and none are quite as apt as the pigs in their ceremonial blazers with self-awarded medals if one is trying to imagine what was going on at today’s meeting of the Football League, which culminated in Luton Town being docked a further twenty points on top of the ten that they had already lost earlier this year for falling into administration again. The League’s chairman, Brian Mawhinney, has claimed that the decision was critical, in order to, “to protect the integrity of their competitions”. He also stated that “This often means making difficult decisions which require balancing the interests of fans, the club’s creditors and the other teams in the League”. One club in particular may well come to benefit from this decision, but we’ll come back to that later. This is a sanction that will almost certainly cost Luton their place in the League at the end of next season. In truth, Luton Town were bent over a barrel by the Football League. The alternative was expulsion from the Football League, which, with everything ready to go for the start of the new season, would have meant the club folding altogether. The Football League is insisting...

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Why They Should Never Be Allowed To Meet

There were cautious grounds for optimism when G14 broke up last year. The threat of a break-away European Super League had been put to bed. Everybody within UEFA was around the same table and hopefully pulling in the same direction under the watchful eye of Michel Platini, who had sent a warning shot across the bows of the biggest clubs by awarding the right to hold Euro 2012 to Poland and Ukraine. The plan to try and host a major tournament was a brave one in Eastern Europe and appears likely to back-fire, with Ukraine facing a crisis over developing the infrastructure required to hold such a tournament, and serious questions are being asked now over whether they can be ready in time. Various other European countries are now on standby, awaiting a second round of bidding for the rights to hold the competition. Meanwhile, Euro 2008 was a great success, with outstanding television audiences across Europe watching a tournament that most have rated as one of the best in recent times. The cracks, however, are starting to show in Platini’s utopian vision of European football being run on a more egalitarian basis. Flushed by the success of the tournament, UEFA have all but rubber-stamped an ill-thought out plan to expand the competition to twenty-four clubs from the current sixteen, and now  public grumblings are coming from the ECA...

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What Not To Wear – The Premier League 08/09 (Part Two)

Last night, we had a look at what ten of next season’s Premier League teams will be wearing next season. Now, it’s time to have a look at the other ten – well, nine of them at least, because West Ham United have taken the somewhat peculiar decision to leave their supporters hanging for as long as possible before releasing details of what their new kit will be. We know that it will be made by Umbro, and it’s probably fair to say that it will be claret and blue, but other than that, nothing. Still, they have already released details of what their new change strip will look like, so that will have to do us for now. Anyway, here’s the other ten Premier League clubs, starting with a club that some of you might be surprised to learn will be wearing the same as they wore last season. Manchester United: The reigning champions will be turning out next season in the same kit that they wore last season, which means a pretty plain red shirt, with those inexplicable two white stripes down the back of them. Visitors to the Manchester United Megastore shouldn’t panic over not having anything new to buy, though. United will be wearing a brand new white and blue change shirt. What a relief. Middlesbrough: Over the last few years or so, Middlesbrough have...

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