'Madrid is the perfect machine,' apparently. Which must make Liverpool a little scared. But do Madrid only look good because they're playing dross? Here's hoping...
A Mailbox of comparisons. Van Gaal is similar to Pardew, Wenger to Moyes, Van Persie to a spent force, and Pelle to a bloody gent. There's also plenty from last night...
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Maybe Pochettino Will Be The One
The problem for Spurs is that when it comes to choosing a manager Daniel Levy goes from hard business man to rheumy eyed romantic. All rational thought (that drives the day to day operations of the football club) appears to go out of the window. Consider the evidence:
- Glen Hoddle replaces George Graham- appointment of a THFC great, the ultimate heart ruling head appointment.
- Jacques Santini replaces Hoddle (eventually)- French National Manager, what could be more romantic.
- Martin Jol replaces Santini- only alternative given Santini's shock resignation.
- Juande Ramos replaces Jol- free scoring Europa League winning manager replaces pragmatic Jol.
- Harry Redknapp replaces Ramos- Panic! The ultimate quick fix.
- AVB replaces Redknapp- Young suave Continental manager replaces old knackered British Manager.
- Pochettino replaces AVB (Sherwood was only ever a holding role)- ???
The only successful appointments made by Levy have been the emergency appointment- Jol and Redknapp. Every time he has given himself the chance to think about what to do the heart has ruled the head and the more romantic option has been chosen. Each of these choices has failed- usually with indecent haste.
How does Pochettino fit into this theory. If premier league experience is all important then Rafa Benitiz is the only choice. If it is international stature and a championship winning club manager that is required then surely Frank De Boer offers all that is required.
However if you think from a romantic perspective how about a young, handsome Argentine chap who has done a fine job at a smaller club in the premier league. Maybe this time he will be the one......
Nick (Would MP get the job if he was English?) THFC
A Spurs Point Of View
Following on from Jon, Southampton, a few thoughts on the (potential) Pochettino appointment from a Spurs point of view:
1. Yes it's not a great step up in terms of man for man quality but in terms of spending power, prestige and trophy winning potential you have to say Spurs are the more attractive proposition. If he wants to eventually get a job with one of the European heavyweights then he needs to be working on a bigger platform than Saints can offer.
2. The "cerebral philosophy" that Jon describes is something that Spurs could use. You got the feeling that the players never 100% bought into AVB's philosophy and even if they did, they were not set up in the right way to play it out. This season Pochettino has demonstrated that he knows what players he needs to play out his vision and has the tactical and motivational ability to ensure they see it through.
3. His signings haven't been 100% successful at Saints but his brief at Spurs would be to get the best out of some underachieving players. If he can inspire the kind of improvement in the likes of Lamela, Townsend, Chadli and Soldado that he has in Lallana, Rodriguez and Lambert then Spurs should be able to put up more of a top 4 challenge than they mustered this season.
4. Albert off of Cape Town mentioned this morning how he only achieved a 32% win ratio at Espanyol. Ignoring the fact that this was his first ever managerial job, and that he took over a team that was in the relegation zone, he appears to be (thanks Wikipedia) Espanyol's longest serving manager in many a year. He obviously did something right and was able to convince his bosses that he was capable of building something for the future.
5. In terms of the managerial market available to Spurs at the moment it's rather slim pickings really. With Van Gaal out of the running, Frank de Boer has been the only other strong contender for the position and whilst he has been successful at Ajax, he's never, much like AVB at Porto, been in a situation where he's had to manage anything other than the best team in the league. He'd be no less of a gamble than Neil Lennon, who is a 50-1 outsider.
6. Speaking of odds, after De Boer, the shortest odds belong to Michael Laudrup, Carlo Ancelotti, Rafa Benitez, David Moyes and Jurgen Klinsmann, all of whom (other than Ancelotti who is surely unattainable) would range from risky to dreadful for a lot of reasons. If the Pochettino deal falls through I'd actually be genuinely worried about who we end up with.
7. I thought Juande Ramos was a good appointment at the time, so fully expect to be proved wrong on all of the above.
Redknapp: Born Winner?
Brian states with some conviction: «Say what you want about the man, but Henry James Redknapp is a born winner.»
So I am going to say what I want about him. Harry Redknapp has won a total of 2 cups, The Intertoto Cup with West Ham and the FA Cup with Pompey.
He has also gotten Southampton and QPR relegated...
Born winner? Nah, decent average manager with a ca. 40% win rate. Yes.
Christian (I wanna dance with Koscielny) AFC, Oslo, Norway
...Brian (How fantastic was Angel Di Maria) LFC, really? 'Born winner' Henry James Redknapp always achieves his goals? Maybe you should look into the distant past of April 20113 and ask QPR fans how well he did at achieving his goals then. Despite spending 20+ million in the January after taking over.
Maybe it's all those cup wins and league titles that make him a born winner - you know, like the managerial legends Brian Little, Alec McLeish and Greame Souness? Even Martin O'Neill has achieved far more on far less over a shorter period.
And while I'm on my high horse, would you care to name a manager that couldn't get a squad of that calibre promoted after spending over £10 million in additions and with a mere £78million wage bill (bigger than minnows like Atletico or BVB - as we've been told numerous times)? We could probably start with Nigel Pearson and Sean Dyche who faced the same opposition teams this year and did much better with a fraction of the resource. Or even Chris Hughton who had a much harder task at a Newcastle in disarray and galvanised them to 102 points and 90 goals in his promotion season rather than scraping up via the playoffs. Are they also born winners?
That said, QPR will probably stay up comfortably next season - I don't for a second claim Redknapp's not a competent, wheeler-dealer, 'proper football man' manager; simply that he's not a 'born winner' - but unfortunately he's only ever thinking short-term. So in exchange for survival they should expect Joe Cole, Rio, Fat Frank and any other big-name, big-club, t'riffic cast off stunting their young players' development.
As Kyle Reese famously said: "You still don't get it, do you? ...that's what he does. That's ALL he does!"
Born winner, my a*se.
Why Long Ball Is Used
In reply to Morjaria's mail, the logic is - nerves. During the last minutes in a game when you're defending and the opposition is just hoofing the ball towards you they're looking for a mistake.
Let's be honest during dying minutes in a match, it's much more likely to happen that the defender misjudges the bounce or just falls over because of the pressure. Yes you're right it's desperation but I think the probability of it working are higher at the closing stages of a match.
I guess that's why sometimes a calm temperament will outshine talent in a game or a tournament.
Ruben, MUFC (Vietnam)
On The Olympic Stadium
Now that the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has finally opened a few
more people might be aware of something that's been winding me up for
With a sinking heart I have watched from my front room as the
redevelopment of the Olympic stadium gained pace. What was once a
thing of beauty has been shorn of its crown leaving a dull concrete
bowl you wouldn't give a second glance so that West Ham can move in.
I'm sure there were cost considerations but really it should have been
written in to any purchase contract that they had to maintain the
original aspect of such a landmark stadium.
Whilst not an actual eyesore it is now incredibly dull, and it's
certainly not the crown jewel of the Olympics West Ham fans might have
thought they were getting. I'd be interested to hear what the fan's
thoughts on the stadium are - it's still a bloody big, brand new
stadium after all so maybe it doesn't matter?
Chris, Homerton, AFC
Best Team Bias
For years now it seems that the powers that be at any given top club sit around doing nothing all day - doing no research at all despite these days there being a wealth of info out there - and then someone - a player or coach - suddenly pops up and makes an impact for 5 minutes on MOTD, and the bosses think 'hang on - he looks quite good - we'll have him'. I cant for the life of me believe that that is how it works but despite the enormity of football business, it looks like that is exactly how it works.
Bolasie - been a bit handy/quick for Palace for a few weeks/months - all these sides suddenly come out with interest in buying him. Were they not aware of him before he had a few good games on MOTD?
Zaha - same thing. Andros Townsend? No one wanted him before - plays well for England - everyones interested suddenly. Wilfirid Bony? Everyone was writing him off - basically because they hadn't heard of him - now he's done quite well - everyone wants him. Lallana/Rodrigez? Hopefully these 2 will be genuine stars - but it seems that the top clubs only notice once everyone else has done the ground work. Then they cherry pick them. I know that's how its always been but you'd think the top clubs scouting systems would be a little more sophisticated.
Tim Sherwood - he may or may not be a good coach - but surely if he is - being given the Spurs job for 5 mins shouldnt be what pricks up owners' ears. If he is good enough how come no-one was offering him a job before? He'll almost definitely now walk into a job at a fairly high ranking team - but how come whoever that club may end up being didn't offer him the job a while back? Because they weren't aware of him obviously - which seems really lax and odd in todays climate where everything is so serious and professional and nothing seems to go unwritten or spoken about in the media.
And here's a good one - Real Madrid coach Paul Clement. I was watching the Champions League Final on Sat and I probably wasn't the only one who just knew that there was going to be loads of news about interest in him by Sunday morning. Are the clubs not aware of him already? Have they really just tuned in and saw a British coach working for Real Madrid and thought 'hang on - we need a new coach - this ones British as well - cor lets get in there and have 'im while know ones looking'. Except obviously if Real Madrids No. 2 is British you would have thought that everyone would know of him and it wouldn't just take him appearing in the CLF for them to notice. No? Surely not.
A similar thing used to happen with the England squad - particularly during the Sven and Capello years. Someones playing out of their skin for a few seasons for lets say - Villa for arguments sake. He gets a transfer to Utd/Chelsea etc - suddenly he gets picked for England. Its as if the manager at the time is simply letting the clubs do the work for him - if he's good enough for Utd/Chelsea etc then he must be good enough for England - I'll pick him - if it doesn't work - no risk has been taken as he is supposed to be good if he's playing at a top club. So short sighted.
Anyway - the list of examples is pretty endless. Maybe someone could come up with some other players/coaches who simply got their chance through owners/managers doing very little more than watching the telly like the rest of us.
Congratulations to Carlo Ancelotti for equalling Bob Paisley's long-standing record of being the only manager to have won the European Cup/Champions League three times (with Liverpool in 77, 78 and 81).
Though funnily enough, I was shocked to discover that Ancelotti has won surprisingly few league titles. It's strange to think that in his eight year tenure at AC Milan (who seemed somewhat dominant in Europe at that time, winning two European Cups and getting to three finals) that they only won one Serie A title in that whole period (winning more European Cups than actual league titles, that is like so Nottingham Forest...)
But anyway, I must admit that part of me is a bit sad as I did always rather like the fact (with all the doom and gloom around English managers) that it was an Englishman that stood alone as the greatest manager in European Cup history. Though it was inevitable that either Ancelotti, Guardiola or Mourinho would get there sooner or later. Speaking of whom, I bet Jose is pretty annoyed right now that a) someone beat him to it and b) with Real.
A Happy Customer
I had to Google Olivia Wilde thanks to Mediawatch.
I've always just known her as Thirteen from House. It's good to be able to put a name to the number.