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December 23, 2015

A bit of football

Filed under: Football,Uncategorized — admin @ 10:18 am

It’s been a bit of an interesting week for football. First, Mourinho was sacked (again) by Chelsea (again). He’s currently waiting to be installed as Louis van Gaal’s replacement at United.

Guardiola has told Bayern he’s leaving but his destination remains unclear. I can’t believe a man of his meticulousness hasn’t already got his next role lined up, possibly at City or United. My guess is those clubs are waiting – City are waiting for Pelligrini to slip up or for the season to end (whichever comes soonest) and United seem to be waiting for van Gaal to lose another match. It’ll be interesting to see who ends up managing the two Manchester clubs – it could be two of the most successful and interesting managers in the sport.

(I don’t think Guardiola would touch the Chelsea job with a bargepole. Their short-termism approach to management doesn’t fit well with his desire to build legacies and empires.)

May 19, 2014

Van Gaal Appointed

Filed under: Football — admin @ 4:45 pm

Confirming the worst-kept secret in football:

Louis van Gaal has been appointed manager of Manchester United on a three-year deal and vowed to “make history” at the club. The Holland coach will officially start work at Old Trafford in July after his commitments at the World Cup are over.

Interesting that it’s a three-year deal, especially when you consider his predecessor was handed a six-year deal and United have always valued long-term stability. Either Giggs will step up in 2018 or Guardiola will be itching to get back into football after another year-long sabbatical…

April 22, 2014

Moyes Sacked

Filed under: Football — admin @ 9:44 am

It had to happen — David Moyes has been sacked as United manager:

The list of unwanted records broken during Moyes’ time at the helm is as embarrassing as it is long. United will end the season with their lowest points total in Premier League history, they have not qualified for the Champions League for the first time in almost two decades and their home record this season is the worst since 1978.

The same team that won the title by 11 points last season look on-track to finish 7th this term. This is hard to fathom — why have things failed so miserably? A worse-than-expected post-Ferguson hangover? Did the players not perform? Was the manager out of his depth?

A bit of all three, in my view. But Moyes’ biggest mistake was to immediately clear out the well established — and successful — United backroom staff and replace it with his Everton entourage. Any manager wants to stamp their mark on a new club but Moyes should have taken his time figuring out the best possible backroom staff. By firing Mike Phelan, Rene Meulensteen et al, he immediately discounted them from the running.

[Update 25/4]

Reading this article from the Guardian, it sounds as if Moyes didn’t actually fire Meulensteen, but that he left of his own accord when it became clear Moyes was changing things around. It’s interesting that it’s come out now, but it still doesn’t change my view that Moyes was rather rash in bringing in his own staff so quickly without taking the time to observe & work out the best mix of personnel.

Ferguson will help choose Moyes’ successor (he didn’t get it right first time, did he?)
Scholes joines Giggs’ backroom staff (this whole Giggs thing interests me, particularly the idea of someone more experienced coming in for a few years to give Giggs a few years experience before taking the reigns permanently. If nothing else, it signals some kind of strategy about the beyond-immediate future.)

June 3, 2013

Welcome back, José

Filed under: Football — admin @ 3:28 pm

The Special One is back:

His arrival has been welcomed by the majority of Chelsea supporters and he will now begin preparations for their summer tour of Asia which begins on 17 July. The former defender Ron Harris believes Mourinho’s return, with a few shrewd signings in the transfer window, could see the club become a “major force” once again.

This is great for the Premier League.

May 8, 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson Retires

Filed under: Football — admin @ 9:50 am

After 26 years, he’s stepping down:

“The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about. It is the right time,” Ferguson said.

His statement makes reference to the strength & quality of the squad, the training facilities and the stadium:

“It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so.”

I can’t remember a time when so many top-line managers moved about. Pep Guardiola moved from Barca to Bayern (replacing Jupp Heynckes), Mourinho is seemingly on his way out at Madrid, David Moyes is yet to sign a new contract at Everton — all are potential replacements for Ferguson.

My money would be on either Mourinho or Klopp.

If pushed, I’d plump for Klopp as I think Mourinho is too emotionally attached to Chelsea, and he’s can’t have failed to notice the slings & arrows that come the manager’s way when taking the reigns at a rival club. Whilst I think the majority of United fans would welcome Mourinho (I certainly would), the Chelsea fans wouldn’t be able to forgive him.

Having said all that, my record of sporting predictions is terrible.

January 8, 2013

The return of Pep

Filed under: Football — admin @ 1:37 pm

From the Guardian:

Pep Guardiola says that he will return to coaching next season but insists that he has not yet decided where. The former Barcelona coach has become the most sought-after manager in Europe, attracting interest from Chelsea and Manchester City among a number of other clubs, but is currently on a sabbatical in New York. Speaking at the Fifa Ballon d’Or awards in Zurich he confirmed for the first time that he will go back into management.

Given the managerial roundabout that is Chelsea, one wonders why anyone would want the job there. And as for City, if it’s money we’re talking about, why are PSG not mentioned too?

I think Pep’s smarter than this. My money is on Mourinho returning to Chelsea in the summer and, longer term, Guardiola being installed as Sir Alex Ferguson’s replacement at United.

May 30, 2012

Brendan Rodgers to Anfield

Filed under: Football — admin @ 5:28 pm

From the BBC: Brendan Rodgers agrees deal to become new Liverpool manager:

The 39-year-old will sign a three-year contract at Anfield and his appointment is likely to be officially confirmed within 24 hours.

I give him just one of those three seasons.

May 17, 2012

‘Kin(g) Kenny

Filed under: Football — admin @ 12:20 pm

Just over a month after Liverpool sacked Damien Comolli, Kenny Dalglish has been shown the door after 16 months in charge at Anfield.

Liverpool finished the season in 8th place — their lowest league finish since 1994 — with the same number of points as Fulham and only five more than West Brom (bonus points for spotting the delicious ironies there). Not since 1980 have they scored fewer points in the league.

And it’s not as if they were pipped to the post for a Champions League spot either (their stated goal, pre-season, was to finish in the top four & qualify for the Champions League). Tottenham placed 4th in the table and scored 17 more points than Liverpool. Newcastle (5th) scored 13 more and Chelsea (6th) scored 12 more. Everton — fierce local rivals — scored 4 more and finished the season one place ahead of Liverpool.

Under Dalglish, Liverpool fell short of their fourth place target by 17 points.

May 2, 2012

Roy Hodgson appointed England manager

Filed under: Football — admin @ 1:48 pm

I was expecting it to be ‘Arry, but the FA have gone for Roy.

When I heard the news, I was a bit disappointed — Roy’s unhappy stint at Liverpool forefront in my mind. But, I’ll admit, I knew little else of the man and, over the past few days, have changed my mind.

He’s won titles — lots of them. He’s managed internationally. He speaks five different languages (which speaks to the intelligence of the man). His Wikipedia page will tell you more, particularly his career statistics.

I wish him well. I think the timing of his appointment means that expectations are low. He’s stated that he’d be disappointed not to get out of the group stage at the Euros but I think I’d be happy seeing England playing well, as a unit, without all the normal distractions & backbiting one associates with the England national side.

Solid foundations. Pick the best team, not the best individual players. Pick players that want to play. Drop anyone who doesn’t, no matter how big their name. Don’t pick players who have a habit of alienating managers. Create a sense of camaraderie. Trust in youth. Ignore the press. Be confident. Stop shit like this and this.

Do that and you’ll create a team the nation can get behind and be proud of.

April 12, 2012

Damien Comolli leaves Liverpool ‘by mutual consent’

Filed under: Football — admin @ 1:48 pm

The reason, according to the Guardian, was due to the poor performance of some of Liverpool’s recent signings:

Liverpool’s director of football Damien Comolli has left the club “by mutual consent” after the club’s owner, Fenway Sports Group, decided the high-profile expensive signings – such as Andy Carroll – have not delivered value for money.

How culpable Comolli was for these signings isn’t clear:

Comolli was also involved in bringing Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, José Enrique, Sebastián Coates and Craig Bellamy to the club, although the manager Kenny Dalglish had the final say on their arrivals.

What is clear is that Comolli has been made a fall guy for Dalglish. If the manager had the final say on who to sign, and those signings ‘have not delivered value for money’, surely the manager is culpable too?

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