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The Sadness Of Wasted Talent
Hearing about Michael Johnson's release from City made me genuinely sad to see such a talented player's career fizzle out in such an inglorious way. Johnson seemed to have everything, particularly that 'something' special that players like Gerrard have. It's that's difficult to pin down what exactly it is - but its manifested in goals like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VujQvQk21Wo. You hope that he gets the help he needs and can make another go of being a professional footballer at some level
Even more galling is that I remember reading that Johnson was a Leeds fan so always harboured hope that when City's billions first arrived we might have been a brilliant place to rejuvinate his career once the injuries started to set in.
Are there any other player's of Johnson's ability who's careers have also seemingly burned out before they got going?
On Suarez's Admission
I've read articles and heard opinion on Suarez'z recent interview but I am not really sure I see what the fuss is about. Does anyone remember the dive Suarez is referring to? It was the most blatant dive of the season so far. He wasn't even moving, He felt very slight contact on his foot and about 10 second later he did a comical swan dive. From a standing position. And he was rightly booked for it.
Now, while I do not agree with the actions, he was punished and it was very obvious that it was a dive. I would have a massive problem with it if he said, in an interview that it was not a dive (a la Bale for example). HE is admitting to someone everyone has seen, there has been a furore about and he was punished for (it went towards the 5 yellows he received which resulted in a one game ban). So why is it a problem when he says he dived on that occasion? Everyone knows he did. If he said he hadn't in the interview then everyone would be up in arms about how he also blatantly lies about it. Maybe someone can explain how admitting what everyone knows and can see plain as day is as bad as all that? Is it maybe true that the name Suarez sells papers?
Lets be honest, Brendan Rodgers is not angry at Suarez because he dived but because he's admitted to it. In football the culture is that pretty much any form of cheating is ok once you can get away with it I seem a few minutes of the footballers football show last night and the guests were of the opinion that if you're touched you go down, simple as, otherwise the ref might not realise the vicious physical assault you've just endured.
I changed channel I am no longer going to let myself get annoyed by diving, whether for or against my team. They're all at it, they all secretly think its the right to do, so f*ck them, let them at it. Pretty soon football will start to resemble WWE wrestling
I sent a letter in last week saying Suarez would be no big miss to the league and that his talent was replaceable (not necessarily by LFC). But I guess F365 had hopped on the Suarez is great for the league so we'll forgive him his sins bandwagon.
Well once again the boy has proved that he's more trouble than his worth. He is single handedly destroying the reputation of the club. In a week where a company as big as Tesco is approaching the public with bowls begging for forgiveness for having a bit of a different meat in a meat product, the effects Suarez behavior over the last 2 seasons could have on the club should not be underestimated. It is a business after all and reputation is at the core of business success.
LFC fans claim he gives his all for the club but that makes no sense considering he feels he is bigger than the club. He doesn't care how his statements make the club as a whole look. To be honest I'm not so surprised the club and fans continue to put up with him. Football is an industry with no principle and perhaps it's a reflection of wider society.
We are willing to put up with evil as long as it benefits us.
You'll be proud of me here, MC, because I've achieved the seemingly impossible in that I've somehow managed to agree with two of your Thursday correspondents, both holding totally opposing viewpoints.
On the one hand, Paul-Manchester, says '...Hernandez should be wired up and blasted with electric shock therapy every time he strays offside...' whereas Sanj, MUFC argues that it is totally reasonable for a '... striker who plays on the shoulder of the last defender and is a constant threat to break the offside traps...' to be offside sometimes
As I see it, when Hernandez gets it right, it gives him a massive advantage over slow turning central defenders and I believe it is well worth him persevering with this manoeuvre because he has scored many goals this way. I've seen him gain a good ten yards to be completely in the clear of the opposition and so put himself in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. And in a one-on-one, there's very few I would prefer playing for United.
But Paul is being fair-minded as well in that Hernandez is becoming annoying with the amount of times he's been flagged off-side this season. He's become a bit careless of late. For anybody who's kept a recording of the United / West Ham game, there's at least one instance where Hernandez was not running forward on the shoulder of a defender looking to burst past him as a pass was delivered, rather he was lazily just stood there a good two yards behind the West Ham defensive line as the United attack mounted quickly. And a pretty decent situation went begging because he was offside. He was just so offside! Last season, he didn't get caught in those situations too much but this season he's become a bit sloppy.
I still love him to bits - I'm always disappointed when he's not on the team sheet but how disappointed can any United supporter be when the alternatives are Rooney and Van Persie- but, like I've said, he's becoming careless. Not quite at the Inzaghi stage but annoying, nonetheless. He's much better than his showing this season (and I'm only talking about this offside thingy, not his general play or his goal scoring). Great player and I'm so pleased we've got him. And I really hope we hang onto him, despite recent reports suggesting he might be on the move.
I hope Paul and Sanj can see that they are both right here.
I read with interest Paul Little's article on Trabzonspor's hydroelectric power plant. As Paul says, a project such as this benefits not only the football club but also the environment and the region's economy. It would be a great shame if UEFA saw fit to disqualify it on grounds of 'it's not close enough to the stadium' or similar spurious reasoning, discouraging any similar future projects.
Much has been made of FFP and how it will prevent rich owners from simply pumping money into clubs via hyper-inflated sponsorship deals and the like, but this should not be the concern. These days clubs are so desperate for success that they will snatch up any financial advantage with both hands, and mortgage their futures against it. The issue with Manchester City's wage bill being at something like 130% of turnover is not the excess in itself, but the fact that the means to cover it could be snatched away at any moment by a flyaway owner, leaving the club in serious danger of collapsing. If that surplus is legally guaranteed, however, then this concern disappears.
The 'football related' provision is like me winning the lottery and my boss telling me I can still only spend my monthly salary. FFP should concentrate solely on ensuring that each club spends only what it owns; the origin of that income (leaving aside morality for a separate argument), whether from a hydroelectric power plant in another part of the world, or from a set of oil tycoons deciding that $500m is a very reasonable price to pay to have their name on the side of their friend's football stadium for a year, should be irrelevant.
As long as the money belongs to the club and cannot be recalled or foreclosed on the whim of a faceless owner, then UEFA has no business interfering.
Jon Gibson LFC
Has Sneijder gone all Cherno Samba?
If Sneijder's wage demands are to be believed, who exactly does he think is going to pay that? Are Galatasaray prepared to pay over £200k a week for him, the figure reported by the mirror and repeated in Mediawatch suggests £240k a week. Quotes I have read suggest that they are not indeed prepared to pay that.
Perhaps he just expects to go and play in the middle east or China. It has occurred to me that he has won the Champions League, La Liga and Serie A, perhaps he would be happy to wind down his career. If a player had no intention to move into management or similar after his playing career then he may see his final few years as an exercise in setting up the biggest retirement fund he can.
It does remind me of an instance playing either Championship Manager 01/02 or maybe 4, when I decided to select the 'on holiday' mode, just to see what happens, and Pat Rice took control. When I turned it off, I could see that the transfer I had started for Morientes had been completed. When he joined I realised good old Pat Rice had offered him £250k a week! When in those days, The biggest stars were probably on about £60k! I had to sell him. (Morientes, not Rice).
DF(Hoping the fact it is Friday will get my champ manager referenced email in!)
You're Fooling No-one
As a fellow Saints fan, I'd just like to say how wrong Martin Ansell is, Luke Shaw was rubbish last night. He is obviously nowhere near the quality required for a top 6 team, probably better to let him stay with us at the lower end of the league and try to bumble along as best he can. It's doing all the other teams a favour really as they are more likely to beat us with him playing. Trust me.
Ditto for Clyne.
The Fountain Of Youth
Martin 'buzzing like a broken vibrator' Ansell's mail yesterday was spot on its praise for Southampton's impressive record of producing young players. I agree that Luke Shaw is likely to be an England regular in years to come, though whether it be as a Southampton player remains to be seen. Southampton's willingness to blood young players is to be applauded, and one only has to look at the fate of Michael Johnson (once a must have purchase for me in FM) to see how the big clubs are neglecting homegrown talent.
I wish to offer a couple of other clubs as being amongst the best in terms of youth development however. We all know the old West Ham academy that produced the likes of Lampard, Cole, Ferdinand, Johnson, but within the same period (and up until recently) Ipswich were themselves the creators of many a fine footballer. Richard Wright (yes, laugh at me), Kieron Dyer, Darren Bent and in recent years Connor Wickham (who I feel is more a victim of circumstance than lack of talent at Sunderland). And more recently, Palace. Bostock aside - who, as a 15 yr old, I read a report in The Sun, naming him as a future England captain - we have produced Moses, Clyne (who is lighting up Martin's own team) and Wilf Zaha. Zaha is the most widely written about young Englishman in the country this window. Yet many Palace fans esteem young Jon Williams as a better player; he will certainly be a future great. Add to this a host of young players in our youth setup playing international level football for their age - Ryan Inniss has captained England at U16 level and looks to be a great centre back - as well as a willingness within the club to blood youngsters and the future is rosy.
I shall stop the Palace love-in before Nick Miller calls me annoying again. However, the big point with these academies are that they belong to second tier clubs (sorry, Southampton, but you are). The future of the England team will be built from these clubs. The days of Manchester United producing a handful of English players in the same generation are long gone. It is to the academies of the lower leagues that we must look.
Nick (Will accept offers over £20m), CPFC
The story of the eight year old applying for the manager's job at Doncaster was one of my favourite of recent weeks. For those not familiar, this boy applied for the vacant job at Doncaster, promising Premier League football in 3 years! What a hero! Sadly, he was overlooked in favour of my own teams saviour some ten years ago, Brian Flynn. However (and if this doesn't warm your cockles, nothing will), the Chairman invited him in for an interview, and despite missing out on the job, him and his dad are guests of honour for Doncaster's game on Saturday, to include meeting the players and a stadium tour! Brilliant.
A few years ago, my brother-in-law was rather unhappy with the way Roberto Martinez was setting us up with Jason Scotland up front on his own, and Andy Robinson and Kevin McLoed providing the support from the wings. He thought Scotland needed more help (he didn't, by the way). So what did he do? He wrote a letter to Martinez, asking him why he persisted with playing this way. I'm sure he's not the first fan to do so, but he must be one of few who received a response inviting him in for a meeting with the Martinez to talk about it over a coffee!
I love stories like these, and since all we ever do is talk about money, diving and the cost of tickets these days, this got me thinking...any other mail-boxers had any similar experiences with their clubs' players or staff going above and beyond?
Dawson, SCFC in Chicago
Ryan Giggs is yet to score this season in PL with more than half the season gone.
Screw you Messi, the only man who has scored in every season in PL history is called Ryan Giggs.
Thats a hell of a record spanning more than 20 years.