Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Of Cup Competitions and Strachan's 'Wit'

Teams have for a while now devalued domestic cup competitions in their quest for League and European glory. Of late the Uefa cup has also lost its sheen with managers such as Martin O’Neill fielding a weakened side so as to keep his team fit and fresh in their bid for Champions League qualification. O’Neill would rightly argue that his Aston Villa squad lacks adequate depth to compete in multiple competitions forcing him therefore to emphasise on Champions League qualification which would bring massive amounts of revenue to the club. But by earnestly competing in a tournament such as the Uefa cup, a team can obtain a great amount of European experience which could prove crucial in the long run as can be seen from the likes of Sevilla and Porto. Undoubtedly management these days involves a lot of prioritisation, but on the evidence of recent league results, it seems like O’Neill may well have missed a trick in failing to take the Uefa cup seriously enough.


Gordon Strachan’s latest exhibit of ‘wit’ has seen him branded sexist by the media and Matt Dickinson of the Times has lambasted Strachan for his poor handling of the press. Query from Michelle Evans (Reporter, Real Radio): “Today’s loss obviously means there’s no treble for Celtic. How disappointing is that?” Response from Strachan: “I cannot tell you because you will never understand it unless you are me. I’m sorry about that, but that’s the way it goes. If you try and tell me about childbirth, you couldn’t explain it to me, could you?”

Strachan has always been prone to quirky and at times hilarious remarks and this according to him should be taken as nothing more than a mere tongue-in-cheek observation. Real Radio though are having none of that and are demanding an apology from Strachan. Irrespective of what one’s views on the comment are, we can be rest assured that Strachan’s response (if at all one is forthcoming) whether apologetic or not is certain to ruffle a few feathers. 

[For some of Strachan’s quotes: http://forums.contractoruk.com/light-relief/2225-classic-gordon-strachan-quotes.html ]

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Quick Notes

1. Return of Valeron: It is wonderful to see Juan Carlos Valeron, a classical playmaker of exemplary stature once again at the forefront of Deportivo La Coruna. Valeron who has had a torrid time with his knee for a few years now had made a brief return to the first team last season, but this season has seen him revert slowly towards his scheming best.

2. Beckham to Milan: The Italian Serie A was not so long ago the most celebrated league to play your football in. Off late though the Serie A has only been able to attract players who are well past their sell-by date. That said Beckham’s proposed permanent move to AC Milan is certain to further his international career and may well see him play a vital part in the 2010 World Cup.

3. Influence of Nike and Adidas: Staying with Beckham, it comes as no coincidence that the last three clubs he has played for are all associated with Adidas, the brand that Beckham endorses. Nike and Adidas influence football transfers more than one would imagine and it is rumoured that Nike will do all that they can to ensure that if Cristiano Ronaldo does move from Manchester United, it would certainly not be to Real Madrid who are backed by Adidas.

4. Wide Open Relegation Battle in England: West Bromwich Albion look doomed, but 8th place Manchester City are only 9 points ahead of 19th place Middlesbrough meaning that this season offers the most fascinating relegation battle in ages. I pick Portsmouth and Hull City to go down to the Championship along with West Brom.

5. Referral System: The objective of the referral system is to cut out obvious errors made by the on-field umpires. By detailing more than is required on their part, umpires such as Daryl Harper have made a mockery of a system which could well prove to be a turning point in cricket officiating. At the end of the day technology can only be as good as its users are and as long as its users are the likes of Harper and Bowden we can be rest assured of its failure.