Posts Tagged ‘Man U

03
Sep
08

DIC A DUG

For the last week almost, I’ve been writing an article on Platini’s proposal to get rid of debt in football. The article was mostly done on Sunday as I lazed around my living room basking in the labor day weekend. Then, as you all know, the transfer window shut, nothing happened with Arsenal, there was huge fan fallout, and I felt compelled to write the piece I did yesterday about how we all need to put our egos to bed and let Arsene get on with the managing of the team for us.

But something else happened on Monday, a proverbial left footed rocket across the bow of the good ship EPL — the ripples of which are still being felt.  Sometime over this weekend, Manchester City changed hands and as soon as it did, their new owners, the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG), signalled their intent in the transfer market.  Brushing aside former world powerhouses Chelsea, they swooped in and signed Robinho for £32.5m.  When that happened, I said to my friend “I bet they just made him the highest paid player in the EPL.”  And yesterday, it turned out to be true.  According to the Mail, ADUG is going to pay Robinho an astonishing £160,000 per week.  Frank Lampard is probably binging on pie over the knowledge that his playboy billionaire can no longer make him the most ludicrously paid sports star in England.

The thing that’s really shocking, though, is that ADUG tabled seemingly dozens of bids all at once for some of the biggest names in football.  Ruud van Nistelrooy, not nearly in his prime any more, is one name that came up but other names include Huntelaar, Eto’o, and Berbatov.  Supposedly, they bid for them all in one day!  How much truth there is to all this, we don’t know at this point but we do have Al-Fahim (ADUG’s head) in his own words saying that he thinks £135m January bid for Christiano Ronaldo is not out of the question.

Ronaldo has said he wants to play for the biggest club in the world, so we will see in January if he is serious.  Real Madrid were estimating his value at $160 million (roughly £90m) but for a player like that, to actually get him, will cost a lot more; I would think $240 million (£135m). But why not? We are going to be the biggest club in the world, bigger than both Real Madrid and Manchester United.

He’s not stopping there, either.  Next year he wants to pair Ronaldo (not the fat one) with Ronaldinho, Torres, Fabregas, and Lionel Messi.  Why Kaka isn’t mentioned yet, I haven’t a clue; maybe Football Manager 2008 is missing Kaka?

Obviously, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw these quotes because they relay both a naivete and an arrogance that will not serve him well.  Saying that you’re going to tempt Manchester United’s resolve in January with a bid for Christiano Ronaldo is, well, just plain ignorant.  Next summer?  Yes, Ronaldo will be on the table and yes it will cost something like £100m to get him.  But I can’t imagine what Ronaldo’s value to Man U will be in January.  It’s the home stretch, they’ll be playing for Champions League trophies and they will need their best player to help them to win.  He’s not transfering out in January.  Sir Alex Ferguson will take a pen to Ronaldo’s skull and physically kill him before he lets him go in January.

Similarly, his proclamation that Manchester City is going to be bigger than Man U and Real Madrid is naive. Chelsea have proved that to some extent.  Chelsea, remember, claimed they were going to be the biggest club in the world by 2014.  Two years in to their plan and they aren’t even the biggest club in England.  So, it looks to me that for all intents and purposes Manchester City’s new owner is a blowhard who doesn’t really understand football, football fans, transfer rules, or really how anything works in the EPL.  Again, that’s a huge sigh of relief.

Still, while I’m relieved that he’s a moron, I’m very nervous because I do think that his money will have a massively disrupting influence.  Since there will always be mercenary footballers out there (Robinho) Man City will always be able to disrupt deals.  Like they just did.  Man City just pulled a Chelsea on Chelsea and to me that was the biggest shot across the bow.  The club who, up until Monday, was able to lure players away with outrageous salary promises, who were able to buy players for double the transfer fee that rival teams like Arsenal had offered, was nipped by the new guys on the block, at their own game.  

In a sense, my Platini article foresaw this.  Basically, in the article I argue that Platini’s right that debt is bad and that debt will be the undoing of many of these teams but that his plan to basically cut them off from what is keeping them afloat would only accelerate the inevitable: some rich guy will pay off the team’s debts and the team will keep going.  Face facts, Manchester United is too big to be relegated or go into bankruptcy.  No, they have too much operating income to have that happen.  Sure, they are swamped with debt right now, but if someone came in and bought the team and thus cleared the books, all that income that’s going toward debt suddenly is profit.  Liverpool is in the same boat, which is why we’re hearing rumors again that Dubai International Capital (DIC) is in to buy Liverpool off their two dottering old clowns.

No, I wrote, just let it happen on its own, there’s no need to go messing with the rules, just let Man U and Liverpool collapse on their own.  Hell, this year Liverpool was a Kuyt hair away from getting kicked out of the Champions League and without that £30m payout, they would have been (technically) insolvent.  As soon as that happens, some smarter rich Arab (who’s been waiting for the right moment) will step in and buy the team.

At least that’s how I saw it all going down.  I just didn’t expect it to be Manchester City, on Monday. 

So, what’s the answer Mr. Laissez Faire?  Well, I’m not really sure.  Here in America we have a love/hate relationship with salary caps.  On the one hand, they have done a pretty good job keeping the NFL a fun, fair league to watch.  But on the other hand, they are simply a mechanism to keep wages artificially low, which is unfair to the players.  If the owners want to bankrupt their team overpaying people and the fans aren’t complaining (Chelsea) why should government get involved?  It’s competition after all.  There isn’t a “goals scored cap” on the season, so why a salary cap?  On the other hand, salary caps work…  That’s three hands.  Hmmm… maybe the third hand is the invisible hand of the market!

In the end, I don’t know the answer: I don’t feel comfortable just leaving it up to the Michel Platini’s of the world but I certainly don’t want to leave it up to the Al-Fahim’s of the world either. There has to be some way to obtain a balance in the Premier League because the 800lb goriila in the room has finally woken up and I’m afraid something will need to be done to calm him down.

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11
Apr
08

Amazing Theo, how sweet the sound…

Theo Walcott blazing past some helpless defenders

Looks like Theo Walcott is set to be England’s newest wunderkind/press target.

After Saturday’s amazing run the press went on an amazing run of their own and printed a spate of gushing news stories which culminated in some juicy quotes from England manager Fabio Capello.

I was delighted with the impact that Theo Walcott made on the game – the run he made for Arsenal’s second goal was incredible. To go past so many players with such speed and balance is one thing, but to have the composure and awareness to pick a pass at the crucial moment showed great skill and maturity. There can be no disputing Walcott’s ability.

I agree. He will be great on Arsenal’s right wing next year and maybe in 2 years play up front. What? I know. I hate Eboue too but I just don’t see the manager making a change on Sunday. Here’s why:

  1. Eboue and Toure are a horrible attacking team on the right wing, but they are a great defensive squad. Who better to play on the right side in order to shut down Man U’s singularity of greatness?
  2. For all of Theo’s great offensive capabilities, he doesn’t defend very well. I know, a striker doesn’t do much defending but a wing player does.
  3. Eboue has shut down Ronaldo before, multiple times. Remember last year? That image of Ronaldo screaming at Eboue while he tried to act tough will be forever burned into my brain. Eboue gets under Ronaldo’s skin, harasses him, pisses him off, and has the pace and defensive acumen to keep up with Ronaldo. I hate the fucker but he has been very effective against Ronaldo.
  4. Wenger. Wenger isn’t the kind of guy who will change game plans and right now, the plan is to use Theo as an impact player. Steady, pig headed, whatever you call it, that’s our manager.

So, as amazing a run as that was on Saturday, and I honestly put it up there with the 1989 Anfield title capturing run, I think we should all expect to see Eboue on the wing on Sunday.

And I hope he gives them hell. What’s the worst that could happen? He gets a red card? That would be a blessing.

Speaking of red cards… there is ONE source stating that the FA is looking to increase bans to 6 matches, allow post match sanctions for players who escaped a red card, and clear players who have been wrongly carded. This is all well and fine and logical and smart and sensible if it’s true.

IF.

For those of you who are recent converts or who just want to bask in the glory that is Arsene Wenger’s record against Man U, here’s a great article that matches the two head to head in several different categories. I’m not exactly certain what “Top Trumps” are but I think it’s some kind of card game?  Like “Magic the Gathering” for sports nerds?

Finally, in team news, you no doubt know by now that Flamini will be out for 3 weeks due to the intentional raking of his Achilles by Gerrard.  The Rock of Gilberto will take his place.  I have to say that Gilberto is a great guy.  To lose both his starting spot and the captain’s armband in the same season and to be the professional he has been is pretty darned cool.

Oh yeah, Cesc and Ade are shortlisted for Ronaldo’s PFA award.

Until tomorrow.

08
Jan
08

It’s really heating up

I blame global warming for the lack of Arsenal news. All I have today is some rumors about Diarra, a transfer, a Sun article on Almunia for England keeper, some funky accounting, and some concise, insightful and thoughtful comments by a Spurs player on Wednesday’s Carling Cup clash.

To the rumor mill! The Telegraph is reporting that Newcuntsle has contacted Arsenal over Diarra. They are also persisting with the Pompey and Tottenham claim, irregardless (yeah I used irregardless, AND?) of the fact that Wenger has explicitly denied any contact. Anyway, rumor has it that Wenger held Diarra out of the FA cup in order to have his name legally changed to Sam Bendte (the ‘n’ and the ‘e’ makes it Welsh I think) so that Arsenal can sell him for £16.5m. It’s a shrewd move, I think. Let’s see if Fat Sam bites. I mean on the offer because I am certain that that joker mouthed gum popper is a biter in real life.

Also, some kid I never heard of, who played for the Arsenal Underborns is going on loan to some second division Dutch squad: I think they are called the You Go Girl Eagles. I’m so excited — I just can’t hide it.

Martin Keown is tackling the topic of whether Almunia should play for England. I think this is a great move. Not Almunia for England, I could give two fucks what England do with their “keeper crisis.” If he gets in the squad, then, erm, great. No, I mean slagging off Paul Robinson the night before a crucial cup tie with his North London rivals. Brilliant! Guaranteed to get at least one, maybe two gaffes. Brilliant!

Before we get to that Carling Cup match and the concise, insightful and thoughtful comments by a Spurs player we first have to report that Manchester United is now claiming to be the richest club in England. Huzzah! Time to buy more talent! The article then goes on to say

The move is a departure from the traditional sponsorship programmes pursued by clubs with American owner Malcolm Glazer keen to exploit the club’s global fan base after research found the club have a staggering 333 million supporters across the globe.

Given that 80% of those supporters have, on average, 70% less intellect than other supporters they shouldn’t be too hard to exploit.

Ok, the moment you have been waiting for… Ledley King… sometimes Spurs center back… has said:

We will have to defend a lot better than we did last year if we are to go through

YES! Leaking goals like a sieve with big holes punched in it is detrimental to your chances of winning! Brilliant!

OK, well, that’s it. I have to scoot off to work. Until tomorrow!

Update: Robin van Persie is available for the Carling Cup clash. He’ll probably feature off the bench if Arsenal are behind. I can’t see him displacing Eduardo and Bendtner who are in form now.

05
Jan
08

Nothing’s going on, unless you like Ipswich

There is precious little going on this morning., so I’m watching the Pompey v. Ipswich match. I have to admit that I kinda liked watching Ipswich Town back in the 90’s so I’m up for this match. Come on you Horses (or whatever you call yourselves).

Later this morning Man U are taking on Villa and I have a feeling Villa are going to dump them out of the cup. Since I refuse to pay $10 to see Ronaldo be an utter cunt I’ll probably just read the match report. Especially if something cool happens like if “CR7’s” ego reaches critical mass and forms a singularity sucking the entire Man U squad and all their boring fans into an alternate universe where “CR7” and “Wazza” aren’t cunts. I’ll look for that in this afternoon’s papers.

But this is an Arsenal blog. How about some Arsenal news???

Well, there isn’t any. Lehmann is still deciding and Dortmund is still optimistic about signing him. It looks like he’ll be starting for Arsenal tomorrow. The boss is saying he’s not letting anyone out of the squad: he’s keeping them all in a little jar on his desk. Hopefully he’ll poke holes in the lid so that they can breathe.

I guess that kills off any Diarra speculation. Which is exactly what it was. Wenger had to come out to the press and state categorically “I had nobody from Spurs on the phone and I didn’t reject any bids from Spurs.” Lies??? About transfers??? In the Media??? I’m shocked. SHOCKED.

Speaking of transfer rumors and shoddy reporting: most places are trying to make it look like Fabregas is being obscure about his commitment to Arsenal. Just last week, there was an article that Cesc was going nowhere. So let’s stick with that.

Cesc is going nowhere. I think you all know that, just look at him jumping for joy in yesterday’s photoshoot (nee practice) with David Beckam.

That’s it, I’m off to watch Ipswich lose to Pompey because while I was writing this, Ipswich had a player sent off by the criminally insane Mark Halsey.

Until tomorrow!

P.S. a couple of us are meeting up at Doyle’s in Tacoma for the 6am kickoff. This match is on Fox so I will totally understand if you stay at home. But, if you feel like a breakfast sandwich and some company, come on down, there will be plenty of room!

03
Jan
08

No real news

Good day to you dear readers! You’ll notice that I have a new link in my blogroll — every time I say “blogroll” it reminds me of “bog roll” which as some of you may know is what Brits call toilet paper. One day I’ll get around to changing that from “blogroll” to something else. Anyway, welcome to our new friends from EPL Talk. He seems like a nice enough guy and his blog has a lot of good stuff on the transfer market.

And on that note: the first bit of transfer news is in and Matt Connolly is off to QPR. He will be dearly missed. Actually, he’ll probably be off to a great career like so many other young men who have come through the Arsenal youth system.  Or maybe he’ll just be a tremendous dick like David Bentley.

Barcelona are blowing hot air about Hleb, or maybe Alonso,but certainly Cesc, but they have their eye on Hleb. Yes, Hleb. At the end of the season they will definitely have their eye on him.

So far, that’s it. If something huge happens you can sleep soundly knowing that I will be on it…

I guess I could talk a minute about “Prawn sandwich gate II.” I guess Sir Whiskey Face got mad at the Old Trafford fans for not being behind their team enough during their 1-0 win. Uhhh. OK. So, naturally, the fans are hitting back and comparing Old Trafford to a police state. Now, I find the fan’s reaction particularly offensive. I mean I LIVE in a police state; illegal wire taps, torture, indefinite internment, spying on our citizens. If anyone has a right to over react and accuse their authorities of fostering a police state it’s America — God Bless it. Old Trafford is more like a weekend at one of those all-inclusive places in Mexico. You know, the places where Americans go so they can simultaneously escape America yet not be confronted with anything un-American like poverty, dirt, or Mexicans. So enjoy your prawn sandwich and quit yer bitchin. You get what you pay for and Glazer paid a lot to have a sunny vacation spot in Manchester and he doesn’t want it ruined by hooligans.

OK, to be serious for a minute. I’ve only been to two EPL matches: one at Highbury and one at Emirates and yes, the crowd noise is different in the new stadium. And yes, it does say plainly on the ticket that people who are caught standing will be ejected. Even given these police state limitations on my right to obstruct the view of some 10 year old, both crowds managed to make quite a bit of noise. Far more than I’ve heard at most American sporting venues. Hell, if you want a funereal atmosphere, go watch the Seattle Supersonics play the New York Knicks. I think that game might legally require one of those “may cause drowsiness/do not operate heavy machinery” warning labels. I’m fairly certain that what’s going on here is pining for the olde days of terraces. But you can’t have both a team that buys every expensive player in the world and a working class team, pal. Sorry.

It could be worse.  You could be forced to attend a Chicago Fire match in which the incessant beating of kettle drums and spine chilling drone of those stupid horns is what amounts to “crowd noise.”  I can’t even stand to listen to those matches on television because the boom boom boom and bruuuuuuuu bruuuuuuu bruuuuuu is grating on my very last nerve.  I guess what I’m saying is, Man U fans should enjoy your prawn sandwiches, inflated ticket prices, and solemn atmosphere.  You made a bargain with the devil and now it’s time to pay the price.

Which is yet another reason the Arsenal is so special.

Ok, that’s about it for today.  I’ll let you know just as soon as Lehmann is moved on to Dortmund or whatever gulag archipelago he is to be confined to for the rest of his natural life.  The nut.




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