October, 2019 Archive
3 sackings in 4 years: In image & spirit this is Woodward’s Man Utdby Chris Beattie10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveCOMMENT: It’s happened again. Another one’s gone. A third sacking in four years. A fourth manager – soon to be a fifth – to be hired in that time. And Manchester United – again – return to the drawing board.A new man is now to arrive. A new pattern of play to be introduced. A new staff. New players. More change. More upheaval. Five years of uncertainty. Of instability. Though with one constant. The one man responsible for all this. The one who has overseen this managed decline of the world’s biggest club.Jose Mourinho is gone. But the man who hired him is still in power. As he was for the appointment of David Moyes. The hiring and demoting of Ryan Giggs. The arrival of Louis van Gaal. And of course, the signing of Mourinho. And yet, it’ll still be Ed Woodward who chooses the next manager. Just as it is he who has found Mourinho’s interim replacement. Kieran McKenna and Michael Carrick will be in charge of training this week, but United’s vice-chairman exec already has his former manager’s replacement lined up. The temporary appointment expected to be someone with no past connections with the club – that is apart from those cozy chats with Woodward.Yes. Yes. We can hear you. Mourinho has found himself in the same position as Van Gaal did three years ago. The Dutchman, to this day, claiming Mourinho and Woodward connived behind his back as he led United to a first FA Cup triumph in 12 years. But two wrongs don’t make a right. So again, another manager arrives. With his ideas. His approach. Let’s say, an experienced Guus Hiddink type. To muddle through to the end of the season. Well, that’d be the right thing to do. To put the club on autopilot ahead of the new man arriving. The fulltime manager. Woodward’s real choice. To go in there with a blank slate and start again.But there’s a Champions League tie with PSG to navigate. An FA Cup run to tackle. And a top four push to salvage. The caretaker will have to impose his ideas. His system on the players. Break down what Mourinho had them doing and build them up again. Only for, come June, to have all that work scrapped – again – by the fulltime manager.But that’s okay. No, really. Woodward knows what he’s doing. Clearly he does. Just look at his track record…That track record has three managers now on the dust heap. And there’s something to be said about those three managers and the relationship they had with Woodward. We may not get it directly from Mourinho, a gag clause in his payout will put paid to that hope. But his two predecessors have given us plenty. Bitter. Resentful. Not of the club. Nor the man who replaced them. But of the one who hired, then fired, them. Just over the weekend, Moyes, clearly the most personable of the trio, admitted his treatment still “rankled”.“It still rankles now because I felt I was suited for it. I didn’t think it was in Manchester United’s DNA to change a manager so quickly,” said the Scot. And then there’s Van Gaal, who really was sounding the warning to Mourinho and United in general about the club’s prime decision maker.”He never discussed anything with me – and you can talk about anything with me,” Van Gaal has said previously. “With all my experience, I know the unwritten laws of football. A club has to prepare for the future.“I can understand that and they should have approached me. Ed could talk to me but he did not.”Sound familiar? Well, if you’ve been paying attention it will. Mourinho never went as far as LVG. But his confidants let us know – including this column – that what he found with Woodward was just the same as the old Dutch master described. So who truly sets the tone at this club? The manager? The scowling. Bad tempered gaffer? Or does that image reflect what the man in the dugout has had to contend with since 2013? Good man-management at a club should never be restricted to those in charge of the football operation. It also goes for the higher ups. How they conduct business. How they build and foster relationships. It all filters throughout an organisation. Yes, the spirit of a dressing room leans heavily on the direction of the manager. Just as the manager’s morale has a reliance on his relationship from those upstairs.The attitude and resentment displayed by all three of United’s fulltime managers since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement speaks volumes. Ed Woodward is failing this club. Just as he has failed his three managerial appointments. Changing the face in the dugout will never be enough to get this club fulfilling it’s potential again.The managed decline will continue until improvements are made above the head of Manchester United’s next manager. TagsTransfersOpinionAbout the authorChris BeattieShare the loveHave your say
Real Madrid president Florentino encouraged as PSG face Neymar, Mbappe saleby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid president Florentino Perez is encouraged by PSG’s Financial Fair Play problems.AS says PSG face the need to raise €90m from player sales this year to comply with UEFA’s law.PSG were found to be €170m short of meeting their FFP obligations, but with €80m due from their Champions League participation, it now leaves a gap of €90m needing to be covered.As such, a player sale is likely so to make up the shortfall and Florentino is ready to do business for either PSG attacker of Neymar or Kylian Mbappe.Should PSG fail to meet UEFA’s deadline, they face being banned from European competition. TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
TagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Sampdoria lodge offer for Southampton striker Gabbiadiniby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSampdoria have lodged an offer to sign Southampton striker Manolo Gabbiadini on loan, with an obligation to buy at the end of the season.According to Sky Italia, the fee will be £10.75m.The Italian has scored 12 goals in 60 appearances for Saints since joining from Napoli in 2017.Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed at the weekend that Gabbiadini was free to choose where he would like to go, with Real Betis and AC Milan also interested in his services.”Sure [they have had bids], we have to decide and he has to decide where he wants to go,” said Hassenhuttl.”There are a few teams interested in Manolo, we will have a look and if there’s a result, we’ll tell you.”
Keane: Man Utd can finish above Spurs, Arsenalby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United legend Roy Keane says Arsenal may miss out on a Premier League top-four finish for the fourth season in a row.The Gunners picked up a dramatic 3-2 victory over Aston Villa on the weekend but Unai Emery’s side was once more uninspiring.But Keane told Sky Sports: “A couple of weeks ago I’d have said I wasn’t sure about the top four for United but having looked at Tottenham and Arsenal over the last few weeks, I think United should be expecting to finish fourth.”It’s there for the taking.“It’s there for a lot of teams and United, with the players that they have, should be capable of doing it.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Thai family suing Leicester for helicopter clashby Ansser Sadiqa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveA family from Thailand is suing the owners of Leicester City Football Club.The relatives of a Thai beauty queen, who was killed in the helicopter crash that also claimed the club’s owner as a fatality, is suing.Nusara Suknamai, 32, was one of the victims of the tragic crash that happened just outside the King Power Stadium in Leicester last October.The suit is against the estate of the club’s owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who perished in the crash.Lawyers for the victim’s family say that her relatives have not been given any compensation by the King Power Group or anyone associated with Leicester.It is reported that offers were made, per The Sun, but they were deemed far too low given the circumstances.A trial is set for November. About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say
Wijnaldum tempers Liverpool pressure: We’re not champions yet!by Ansser Sadiq16 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum has tempered expectations around the club this season.The Dutch midfielder does not want fans to get carried away with talk of winning the Premier League.While it is only October, the Reds have an eight point lead and have not dropped a single point in their domestic campaign. But Wijnaldum knows that things can change very quickly.The Dutch midfielder told Sky Sports: “We don’t want to think we are already champions. That would be a really wrong thing to do.”I’m sure the manager will keep us with our feet on the ground and say that we just have to think about ourselves, and try to play good and try to give 100 per cent every week.”We just have to do what we did before and look at ourselves and not look too much to other teams because we don’t have influence on other teams – we can’t control the performance of other teams.”We just have to make sure we are ready for the games that are to come and to make sure we are ready and try to have good results because we know that it can change quickly.”Then at the end of the season we will see where we stand.” About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea invite Linfield teenager Charlie Allen for trialsby Paul Vegas9 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea have invited Northern Ireland teenager Charlie Allen for trials.The Daily Express says the 15-year-old has already broken into the first team at Northern Irish champions Linfield, and is now being chased by a bevy of Premier League clubs, having had trials at Tottenham and Manchester City.Chelsea, currently under a transfer ban, are exploring the possibility of taking Allen on trial. Norwich and Glaswegian giants Rangers are also, though, on the teenager’s trail.Attacking midfielder Allen made his senior debut during the latter stages of last season, playing the final eight minutes of a 1-1 draw at Coleraine to become the club’s youngest debutant, as Linfield closed on the Danske Bank Premiership title.
Ohio State Quarterback Braxton Miller ShoulderLast week, it was reported that Ohio State senior quarterback Braxton Miller had been “fully cleared” for football activities with no limitations. Miller, who missed all of last season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, has been making very good process with his rehabilitation this offseason. He’s added some muscle and his body looks great. His arm looks pretty good, too. Here’s some footage of the two-time Big Ten MVP throwing the ball a bit this afternoon. It’s not much, but that has got to be something Ohio State fans will love to see.
Jurgen Klopp believes Fabinho’s “defensive brain” allows him to slot into Liverpool’s rearguard with no problem.Injuries have left the Premier League leaders short at the back in recent weeks and Fabinho has been called upon to fill in at the centre of defence.The Brazilian midfielder lined up alongside Virgil van Dijk as Liverpool claimed a 1-0 win at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday and put on an assured performance as Klopp’s side kept a clean sheet. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? And the German says having a player of Fabinho’s versatility makes it easier to cope with injury crises.”Fabinho is a brilliant player,” said Klopp. “To have a good footballer in that position when you have the ball is great.”It was not one attack after another, we had the ball most of the time.”But Brighton tried to bring the long balls around Glenn Murray, like with Joe Gomez in the home game – but he did well in these situations as well.”He has a defensive brain and can play in a lot of positions.”What’d you think of this man’s performance today, America? Show us in a gif!The LFC Giphy page for inspiration https://t.co/gYkBQnO3iG pic.twitter.com/98qvv9LDnr— LFC USA (@LFCUSA) January 12, 2019Mohamed Salah’s penalty sealed the victory, restoring the Reds’ seven-point margin at the summit. The onus is now on Manchester City to use their game in hand to cut the deficit back to four, a mark achieved thanks to their 2-1 victory over Liverpool at the start of January.Pep Guardiola’s men are back in action on Monday, when they will host Wolves. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
When the United States and France line up at Parc des Princes on Friday night in the World Cup quarter-finals, they will be evenly matched in almost every department.Strong at the back, dangerous out wide and with experience and winning mentality running throughout the two sides, the two evenly-matched opponents are difficult to separate.But there will be one glaring difference between the two when they take to the field. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? While there are 12 women of color in Corinne Diacre’s squad, there are just five in Jill Ellis’s team – Crystal Dunn, Christen Press, Jessica McDonald, Mallory Pugh and Adriana Franch.That is despite only 60.4 per cent of the U.S. being white, according to the United States Census Bureau, compared to an estimated 85% of France’s population, per thinktank Institut Montaigne.It’s an issue that Amir Lowery and Simon Landau have been raising and tackling for several years.Lowery, a former MLS footballer for Colorado Rapids and Kansas City among others, began coaching after his retirement in Washington D.C. and realised the group at his first club “wasn’t representative at all of the city”.“It was almost 30 middle-class white kids. The inner-city kids, who are majority black or Latino, couldn’t afford it or weren’t getting those opportunities. They just weren’t in the picture,” he explains.“I went out and started to look for kids to kind of shift the balance and in that process I met Simon, who was working with a local organisation here on a volunteer level called DC Scores.”The pair are now in their fourth year of running Open Goal Project, an organization that aims to help ethnic minorities access and pay for these opportunities.“Along the way, we’ve been peeling back the layers and discovering how much there is that affects the kids pursuing a youth soccer career and then connecting the dots up to the top level,” Lowery explains.“It’s becoming obvious why it’s impossible for these kids to access high-level soccer and why the national team looks like it looks still and we’re almost in 2020.”There is a complex web of issues, as Lowery explains. The cost of pay-to-play soccer in the US prices out lower-class families, many of those of an ethnic minority.The accessibility of opportunities is not good enough, asking more money and travel from aspiring young footballers. Such opportunities to progress in the sport aren’t offered in lower-income communities.Lowery believes U.S. Soccer, the governing body of the sport in the country, is the “main culprit” and has accused those within the organization of chasing profit over inclusivity.Asked what it can do to address these issues, he says: “They have to want to do something. I think we have to cross that line before the conversation starts on what they can actually do.“I think U.S. Soccer has been the main culprit in letting the system evolve into what it is today.“Everyone is in it for what seems the profit motive rather than to develop good soccer players.”When contacted for comment, U.S. Soccer rejected Lowery’s criticism but did not provide any examples of how the organization is actively tackling issues that young ethnic minorites face with the existing system prior to publication.Although U.S. Soccer is known to run a scholarship program for its Girls’ Development Academy and encourages clubs to subsidize costs for youth players from low-income families, Landau added: “It’s bigger than any one club. It’s the way the system has evolved, it’s the way the business of soccer in this country has evolved.”A visit to Landau’s DC Scores a few years ago from some Manchester United coaches emphasized their point. As they watched on as those part of the program trained, they were taken aback by the talent and, in stark contrast, the lack of opportunity they had been given.“They were stunned,” Landau explains. “They were working with the kids in the city and they were stunned that none of these kids were playing organized youth soccer.“Their point was in England or in other places, they would be sent to find kids like this, and nobody is coming to find these kids.“The lack of community outreach and gap-bridging that is done, just based on the way the system has evolved, is another issue too.”While in countries like England coaches spend a lot of time around the non-professional game looking for new talent, the attitude in the US is to focus on those already in the system.”The ultimate belief behind everything is that U.S. Soccer is missing out on the best players, or some of the best players, by neglecting kids in urban areas, by neglecting minorities,” Lowery says.“To just totally throw a blanket over everyone who can’t afford it and push them out of the equation, I think there’s a solid argument that we’re missing a lot of talent.”U.S Soccer argued that “this is not a blame you put on one organization” and can rightly point to the U.S. men’s national team, whose Gold Cup 2019 roster is incredibly diverse – over half the team are ethnic minorites.Dunn, one of the USWNT’s four players on their Women’s World Cup 2019 roster with an ethnic minority background, commented on diversity in June.”I am seeing so much more diversity and I think that’s really all I hope for, year-in, year-out,” the 26-year-old said.“It’s always progressing in the right direction and especially being a woman of color I always root so much for the black girls that are doing well and I’m always rooting for diversity in this sport continuing to grow.“I’ve been seeing it so I’m quite happy with it.”Lowery, however, argues otherwise: “I was playing club soccer here in the 1990s and my club team was more diverse here in D.C. than the team I was coaching.“All the teams I played for were more diverse than the team I was coaching and the teams within the club. I haven’t seen [an increase in diversity]. I’ve actually seen the reverse.”There’s not one Latina on the [USWNT]. In the entire population of the United States, which has many Latina, it makes absolutely no sense that there’s no one on that roster.“That’s just not more representative.”Lowery and Landau know full well what sort of talent professional soccer teams are missing out on by neglecting lower-income communities.Ariana (16) and Precious (15) are two girls to be aided by Open Goal Project, playing for the McLean, a team ranked second in the U.S. in their age group last year when the pair were there.Both players were picked up by Lowery when playing recreational soccer and worked into the system by his contacts, while being funded by Open Goal Project’s programme.Despite no previous involvement, and Precious playing a year up from her age group, they shone for the team and became two of their star players – something that may not have been possible without Open Goal Project.Their success only further highlights Lowery’s stance that it’s “critical” for soccer in the United States to be more accessible to ethnic minorities.”If not, I think we’ll suffer over the next 10 or 20 years,” he says. “We’re essentially cutting out half of the population and not giving them access.”We’re taking the best players from one half of the population. If you open it up to everybody, imagine.”France, like the U.S., is a country rich with immigrants from diverse backgrounds. Unlike the U.S., that diversity shines through in their women’s team thanks to support from the likes of French coaching legend Aime Jacquet.Jacquet helped to push the France football federation to open Clairefontaine – the most renowned youth academy in the country – to girls. The result is a women’s national team truly representative of the diverse nation.”Diversity is really a positive in a country or even a team,” Paris Saint-Germain and Les Bleues forward Kadidiatou Diani told the New York Times. “Maybe it’s the reason why France won the [men’s] World Cup [in 2018], this multiculturalism. It represents France.”Former U.S national team coach Bob Bradley, who’s worked in France, agrees. “France has football history, France has diversity and multiculturalism,” he said. “And all that amounts to is talent. It has interesting, exciting talent.”So do the reigning world champions, a formidable team with extraordinary players, but it’s impossible to argue it represents the United States where 4 in 10 people aren’t white.To learn more about what Amir and Simon do, and how you can help fund their programme, visit https://www.opengoalproject.org/