Category: Latest

We Need To Talk About Financial Fair Play… Again

Was it just a matter of striking coincidence or was there something more in the timing of a story in the Daily Mail which stated confidently that “Rivals” are “ganging up to ban City” with a challenge over the blue half of Manchester’s attempts to comply with regulations meant to limit the extent to which sheikhs, oligarchs and other ne’er do wells have started to pour money into some football clubs? After all, as these words are being written, the expensively assembled teams of Manchester City and Chelsea are preparing to take to the pitch at The City of Manchester Stadium for yet another testosterone-soaked Premier League “showdown.” The eyes of the world will be watching this evening – aren’t they always nowadays? – but the eyes of some will be focusing on annual accounts of Manchester City and how these tie in with UEFA’s much-vaunted (but seldom so far tested) Financial Fair Play Regulations. On Saturday evening, Jose Mourinho added his voice to a powerful – if not necessarily particularly numerous – choir of voices within the game of the opinion that UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules aren’t treated with the respect that they deserve. We have to remember, of course, that this is Jose Mourinho we’re talking about here, and that there is probably no level of eyeball-rolling irony that the Chelsea manager wouldn’t apply in the...

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The Madness Of Leeds United Takes Several New Twists

Well, at least the supporters of Leeds United can take a crumb of comfort from the fact that, after twenty-four hours that has been their club become the laughing stock of the entire Football League, they have a team and a support of which they can till be proud. At Elland Road this afternoon, a crowd of more than 31,000 people saw Leeds put Huddersfield Town to the swird by five goals to one, a first league win since the middle of December and one which keeps the team on the fringes of the pack chasing for a place...

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Referee! You Got It Wrong… Again!

A couple of recent refereeing decisions have attracted Mark Murphy’s attention and, spotting an opportunity to have a gratuitous dig or two at Sam Allardyce and others, he thought he’d attract your attention too. The Dick Emery Show was a staple diet of my early 1970s TV viewing and amongst the Emery characters which proves that the past truly is a foreign country was an improbably-named skinhead called Gaylord, whose catchphrase was “Daaad, I fink I got it wrong again.” Gaylord’s voice has been my personal soundtrack to two particularly “alternative” pieces of recent refereeing. This week’s Stamford Bridge shenanigans involving referee Neil Swarbrick, West Ham goalkeeper Adrian and Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o. And, as I’m sure you feared, one involving my team Kingstonian. And, yes, we were the ‘victims.’ Chelsea supremo Jose Mourinho’s post-match comments about West Ham’s “19th-century” football attracted bigger headlines (although a blanket defence like West Ham’s seems sooo 21st-century – even if manager Sam Allardyce evokes more pre-historic times). But the instant reaction on BBC Radio 5 Live offered a rare moment in broadcasting history – Robbie Savage making the most sense. To briefly recap, Adrian saved a stoppage-time Eden Hazard shot and lay on the floor, ball held tight to his chest, as Chelsea’s Demba Ba chased a potential rebound. In the BBC studio, pundits and presenters agreed that Adrian wouldn’t be “getting...

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Leeds United: The “Manager-Eater” Takes Pole Position… Or Does He?

So the ongoing saga of the take-over of Leeds United has taken another few twists and turns this week, and now nobody on the outside of the matter seems to have the first clue what, exactly, is going on at Elland Road. It had been widely expected that a purchase of the club by the Sport Capital group, fronted by the millionaire Andy Flowers and the current club’s managing director David Haigh would be done and dusted by now. Since the end of November, it had seemed as if their takeover of the club was all but a done...

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“Downgrading MANU To Hold”: On Football And The Stock Markets

I had assumed that the strange whirring noise I heard the other day was one of the mini-tornadoes that has added to Southern England’s recent weather woes. Now I wonder if it was Manchester United legend Sir Matt Busby spinning in his grave so violently as to trigger storms across what cynics might consider United’s main catchment area. There was a scene in the 2011 BBC TV film United, about Jimmy Murphy’s post-Munich spell as Old Trafford boss, where Busby made a speech to Football League secretary Alan Hardaker which poetically summarised the two men’s outlook on football, Busby waxing lyrical about “grass and boots and… beauty” while bemoaning Hardaker as a man of “tables, graphs and points.” So what would Busby (at least as portrayed in United) have made of this news-in-brief item which Guardian journalist David Conn tweeted this week? Deutsche Bank downgrades Manchester United (MANU) to Hold: Deutsche Bank downgraded Manchester United (NYSE:MANU) from Buy to Hold with a price target of $16.00 (from $21.00). Analyst Doug Mitchelson expects greater player costs. “We now believe we were too conservative in our player cost outlook and have lowered our ests. We still see compelling growth over the next several years as MANU continues to unlock brand value, though valuation appropriately reflects this in our view,” said Mitchelson. “Positive catalysts remain, however we balance these against team performance...

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