Saturday, September 30, 2006

Tottenham's Slow Start

Spurs Woes Reading Harry Hotspur got me thinking about Tottenham again. Despite another summer of spending good money to bring in new players, Tottenham lie a point about the relegation zone in the English Premeiship. They have earned only 4 points from 6 games. This shows that they have plenty of time, 32 games, to work their way back up the table. But still such a start doesn't bode well. More worrysome is that Martin Jol has come out and said it will take another 2 years before they can consitantly compete with the big 3. Previous to this summer, if I remember correctly (and correct me if I'm wrong), Tottenham had spent £68m on new players in 2 years. Granted they got a bit of that back through selling players. Nevertheless, the vast majority of that was money out the door. Mad Money, Big Summer Transfers This summer they did sell Michael Carrick to Manchester United £14m. But most of these deals are set up so most of that money doesn't come in up front. It serves to offset some of their expenditures from this summer. But it doesn't help cover all the bills coming due from all the shopping they did the last 2 summers. This last summer they bought the following players :

  • Didier Zokora - £8.2m
  • Mido - Guardian claims the deal was for £3.4m
  • Steed Malbranque - Guardian claims £2.5m; the other key point these days are wages and those were rumored to be £35,000 a week.
  • Pascal Chimbonda - The rumor for Chimboda, Mido, and Malbranque was that total they were £11m. It's likely that Spurs spent £5m to bring him in which isn't far off from what Wigan was reported to be holding out for.
  • Dimitar Berbatov £10.9m
Tottenham Hotspur spent another £30m this summer to bring in 5 quality players. Some of that was offset by Carrick's sale and money needed to be spent to replace Carrick. Nevertheless, it doesn't explain how £68m could be spent in 2 years and still have the need to spend that much to bring 4 players. Afterall, only 11 start and they more or less brought in 1/2 a new starting lineup. And it, at least in my eyes, leaves one confused as to why Jol needs to more years to compete with the big boys. Does he seriously mean that spending £100m in 3 years isn't enough? What are your thoughts? Does Jol mean the squad simply needs some time to jel? Is he just trying to ease some pressure on the squad and really doesn't believe they need 2 more years?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Youth Development in America

College to Pros The MLS is rolling out a new youth development plan. College to Pros takes a look at it today and raises some good questions about key details.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Wheat, The Chaff

A Lot Of Chaff A season tends to separate the wheat from the chaff. In the case of the MLS there isn't a lot of wheat. With 3 games left, both conferences still have 3-4 teams duking it out for a playoff spot. Just last week FC Dallas finally clinched a playoff berth. Sometimes I wonder how much parity harms the league. Sure, a playoff race gets people's attention. The same could be said of a lot of things. Wars get people's attention but we don't see them as being a good thing, do we? One has to wonder if at times the MLS has a bit too much parity. Afterall just a couple weeks ago it looked like the LA Galaxy still had a chance to playoffs (mathematically they still do). One has to wonder if this is all good attention. Afterall fans of teams like Houston are surely annoyed that despite the amount of talent on their team (Dwayne De Rosario, Brian Ching, Alejando Moreno, Pat Onstand, Wade Barrett, et al.) that they couldn't had a spot wrapped up by now. And despite the horrific season the Columbus Crew have had, they still could pull off making the playoffs or at least not finish as the worst team in the league. Is parity really something Major League Soccer (MLS) should be pushing for? Does it help the league more than it hurts it? ,

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dirty Dealings

Tapping Up Ashley Cole Ashley Cole's agent Jonathan Barnett has been fined £100,000 and had his licence suspended for his part in arranging a meeting between Chelsea officals and then Arsenal player Ashley Cole. Is this a sign that the English FA is going to be cracking down on tapping up players? Or are they acting on this simply because the case was so prominent in the news?

Pulling The Trigger

Premiership and Championship A week ago I mentioned Leeds United pulling the trigger and firing their coach Kevin Blackwell. Why carry a coach over the summer, have him make player changes and then with 5 - 8 games gone, can him? Did that few of games really make that big of a difference in the chairman and the board's confidence in the manager? If so, why not get rid of him in the summer when a new manager will be able to bring in the players they need and have a proper pre-season to get the team playing in his style and understanding his tactics? Kamara, Leeds and WBA A couple pundits in England have mused over this issue. Chris Kamara looked at the firing of Blackwell when it happened. And this last week he looked at the situation of other managers, including questioning why West Brom didn't part with Robson this summer instead of a few games into the season. Gray on Citeh A few day ago Andy Gray looked at the same issue. He focuses more on the premeirship with the situation Stuart Pearce is in at Manchester City (more commonly known simply as Citeh). He does a good job of pointing out how the fans can often pressure the board into making this managerial changes. It's interesting to see how so many pundits question pulling the trigger so quickly when the clubs seem to think it's the way to go. Are the pundits wrong?