Saturday, December 30, 2006

Yanks in England

Ives has a nice summary on the Yanks that played in the prem today.

Soccer Soap Opera

I have to confess that I love the rumors that go around when it comes to transfers. It's great to speculate. I realize it's the equivalent of yapping about how so-n-so and so-n-so would make a great couple. It makes me puke when I overhear a couple chicas at the bar chatting about stuff like that ("Oh Brian and Lisa would be such a cute couple..."). But when it's in a different form, I love it. Will John Dahl Tommason leave Stuttgart to return to Italy? Will Dempsey get his work permit and end up with Fulham? Will David Beckham leave Real Madrid? It's fun and one of the spots I use for following all the crazy rumors is Sky.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Charlton, Crouch

Well Charlton's struggling in the transfer market just like on the pitch. They landed Chinese international Zheng Zhi. But they lost out to Celtic on signing Scott Pressley. It's going to be tough for the Addicks to dig themselves out of the hole they've dug. They don't have the kind of cash that Newcastle has to spend £12million on Peter Crouch (at least the rumor is that Roeder's ready to put in that size of a bid).

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Pointy Ball, Coaching Changes

Seeing this column has me thinking about coaching again. Sure, it's for the Minnesota Vikings and it's football, not soccer. But it's interesting to see how an organization gets a new owner, Zigi Wilf, and makes a big deal about building the foundation for a successful team. Yet even when setting the on-field performance aside, the coach doesn't seem to be up to snuff. I can understand it when it's a new owner still wet behind the ears. But let's look at England. At what point does some like Newcastle's Shepard or Charlton's board of directors get fired? Why is it that it doesn't seem to happen? If the coach is responsible for the team's record why shouldn't the head suits be responsible for the coaches record?

Patrick Reusse: Childress' stubborn ways and a 6-9 record make him a failure

The secrecy and aloofness of the Vikings coach has alienated him from Vikings fans who have put up with other coaching idiocyncrasies in the past. What they can't forgive is the team's record on the field.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Chelsea = 2 Man Team?

Manchester United Blog, over at A Kick In The Grass, asks this interesting question. Is Jose willing to sacrifice his 2 front teeth for Christmas to get John Terry back?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Ergo, David Beckham To LA

Beckham to LA That's right. Between the Los Angeles yet to set their 2007 season ticket prices and that Frank Yallop would never mislead his friend Craig Forrest, Beckham is coming to LA. At least that those seem to be the main reasons for Andrea Canales to conclude, "". That's right, David Beckham will be leaving Real Madrid this January for Los Angeles. I don't dispute that Yallop and Forrest are friends. And I don't dispute it's unusual for LA to not have set their 2007 season ticket prices yet. After all, the 2007 player combine is a few days away. And before we know it MLS teams will be holding pre-season training. Nevertheless there are too many unanswered questions. MLS' Thin Wallet How would the MLS be able to pay Beckham? In June 2003 Beckham signed a £24.5 million 4-year deal with Real Madrid. Yes, that's coming to end. But £6 million a year is a lot of money. A pound is fetching $1.96 right now. Even assuming Mr. Posh is going to be taking a pay cut as he comes to the end of his career, how big of cut is that? A 3 year deal worth $12 million? A 2 year deal worth $7.5 million? Keep in mind the average player salary is about $75,000 per year. Keep in mind the MLS's salary cap is $1.9 million. Keep in mind the MLS lost $250 million in it's first 5 years. Keep in mind the total league revenues for the 12 teams in the MLS in 2005 was thought to be less than $150 million. Even with Phil Anschutz's fat wallet, it's hard to imagine them spending a few MLS team rosters worth of salary on just one player. It's hard to picture such a large share of the Galaxy's annual revenue into a contract for just one player. London Calling David Beckham was Leytonstone, London, England. His parents were huge Tottenham Hotspur fans. He even attended the Spurs school of excellence before joining Manchester United as youth. As Beckham's career closes down, one has to wonder if he wouldn't enjoy making his parent's proud and joining Spurs. And there is no doubt that Spurs can meet any transfer demands of Real Madrid (Beckham is in the last year of his contract) and, more importantly, Beckham's wage demands. Even if he doesn't go that route, there are plenty of other English clubs with bigger bank accounts than the entire MLS salivating at the prospect of bringing him back to England. So why would he move to Los Angeles? The Coup There are other reasons why to question the move. Why wouldn't Beckham sign a contract extension with Real Madrid? Why should we believe that Posh is really all that interested in moving to Los Angeles? Why would he choose the MLS if he spurs a move back to England? Why not another club in Spain? Or maybe Japan? Los Angeles and AEG very well may be on the verge of signing David Beckham. But with all the options the 32 year-old midfielder has to choose from, it's hard to believe it's a done deal. Such a signing for the MLS would be a coup. Coup's are messy things and more often than not they don't work out. I hope it does but I won't be holding my breath.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Strikers That Don't Pan Out : Obafemi Martins

Back at the beginning of the season I made some comments on strikers that don't pan out. I mainly looked at the German Miroslav Klose and wondered why teams weren't making a move for him. But I tossed in the header "Will Martins Work For Newcastle?". So far, he has(n't). Obafemi Martins cost Newcastle United £10m PLUS wages. And as poorly as they've played as a team so far this year, he has 7 goals from 14 league starts. So that's why I want to say he has. But the best team he's scored on so far has been Tottenham (currently 7th). He scored one against West Ham (18th), one against Reading (9th), and had a brace each against Blackburn (17th) and Watford (20th) for the other 4. He failed to score against Pompey, Arsenal, ManU, Chelsea (league and Carling Cup) and others. Some of this does reflect that Newcastle is having a poor run of form. You see the same problems for other big strikers for other teams. Bobby Zamora's only scored 5 for West Ham and at that back in August (then again, the Hammers got him in a player swap, not £10 million transfer fee). Then again even Benny McCarthy, who cost Blackburn £2.5m, has 6 including one against Liverpool. And Blackburn's Nonda just nabbed a brace at Arsenal. So at some point the question becomes is Martins (or any striker for that matter) not performing because of his team, or his team not getting results because Martins isn't performing? In this case, I think it's a bit of both.

'Twas The Night Before Boxing Day

A big AMEN to Jarrett over at Triangle Soccer Fanatics on his comment that you can a tell a die-hard soccer fan in that they just try to get through Christmas Day for boxing day. I've been contracting for a few years and the last 2 Christmases I've been in-between contracts over the holidays. It's wonderful to be down at the pub at 8am drinking a pint with breakfast while you see others going to work. It's even better to have a day full of games. It's good to see some people telling it like it is. Since I'm working this year, I'll have to see if I can send some bad mojo Pompey's way via the internet. I hope West Ham spanks them tomorrow with a nice cherry on top being Sol "I'd sell my grandma for the right price" Campbell getting a red card in the 12th minute. Saggy Cheeks group at Fratton Park are out of their league right now and it's time for the results to start reflecting it.

Merry Christmas, Charlton

West Ham, eager to muck up the managers plans by buying expensive Argentines that aren't in the managers plans, were impatient with the performance of Pardew this year. They axed him and soon hired ex-Charlton manager Alan Curbishbley. To be blunt, I don't get it. Pardew was a good manager with a team that was struggling to deal with a sophomore slump compounded by the suits throwing the wrong players at them (Tevez and Mascherano). Curbishley still faces those same problems with the winter window unlikely to save him from the poorly dubbed "Tevezcherano". Will he change the clubs fortunes? Probably but they couldn't get much worse than they were. Short of giving Watford competition, Cursh's reign this year was bound to look good. And by no means does that mean I don't think highly of him. He may be a better manager than Pardew. However in the grand scheme of things for West Ham, it was another case of change for the sake of change instead of doing so when things truly needed to be changed and there was truly an opportunity to improve the club. Speaking of Pardew and Charlton, the soap opera takes an interesting twist. As you probably already know, Pardew's been named the new manager and will make his first appearance at The Valley on Wednesday against Fulham. It's good to see Charlton stumble into this one. I thought Dowie should have stuck around longer both because he needed more time to turn the team around and that they did not have a competent replacement lined up. Les Reed? PAHLEEEZEEE!!! Pardew's got a tough job ahead of him. But the way Blackburn's been playing (What happened, Sparky? We were talking about you taking over at Old Trafford just 8 months ago???), Sheffield Utd's lack of overall quality, the mess Gibson's turned Boro into, and Pearce's inability to get a decent Citeh squad to perform mean that Pardew has a good chance of turning things around enough to get the Addicks out of this mess. If Pardew is to save Charlton from relegation, he'll need some fresh blood. Addick's Prem Diary is reporting that Charlton is on the verge of landing Alan Smith on Loan. That would be a good first step in shaking things up there. The question is why is SAF letting Smith out on loan? Did that nasty injury really impact his game that much?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Tis The Season

The winter transfer window is about to open and players are on the move. So I figured having looked a few of them back here, it was time to look at a few others. The excellent blog Soccer Mad In America takes a look at several players moves including Boca Junoirs forward Rodrigo Palacio (looks like Barcelona's bid was rejected), Claudio Lopez, Fernando Gago (Real Madrid signs it's Redondo look-a-like), Bruno Marioni (looks like he won't be heading to Houston), Juan Roman Riquelme saying he's staying put at Villareal and a few others. Arsenal Review doesn't confirm past rumors specifically linking Lehman with a move to Sevilla. They just acknowledge that he could be gone this summer. Most every blog on this side of the pond has reported on the deals that sent Nate Jaqua's rights to Los Angeles for a partial allocation..... which then a few days later found it's way to DC in exchange for Alecko Eskandarian. And now many are wondering what this means for DC. Surely it's a sign they're about to make their big DP signing and it'll be a striker (Palermo? really?). A Kick In The Grass is reporting that ManUtd are about to sign Hargreaves from Bayern Munich during the winter window. Also, young fullback Phil Bardsley has gone on loan to Sunderland. Toronto FC's coach Mo Johnston has been in Scotland and has his eye on Steven Pressley, Alan Thompson and Stephen Pearson. This bit of news caught and shared over at Toronto FC Blog. Various blogs are speculating on Tevezcherano and who they may be joining; that is, if they can under current FIFA regulations. Who? Well, in the quest to sound as insider as possible they've come to simply use the faux name of "Tevezcherano" whenever referring to West Ham's Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano. Personally, I'm not a fan of the term. I know we want our blogs to be brief but there shoudl be limits. Tevezcherano seems like the kind fo name a couple 14 years old would come up as nickname to bestow upon themselves and think it was cool. Sorry, it's not. And speaking of transfers, Caught Offsides has a fun look at some past transfers that should be investigated. I'm glad to see that the infamous Ali Dia made the list. God knows what Souness was smoking, or at least getting added to his wallet, when he signed that guy from literally nowhere.