Saturday, December 1, 2007

Arsenal Go Marching On; Thank God for Bungs

Another typical day in the Premiership. Chelsea win at home, Derby lose and Manchester United don't play when practically everybody else does. Arsenal come back from a goal down, not so typical, and forge a 2-1 victory away at Villa Park. They showed a lot of resistance against a wave of second half pressure, reminiscent of the days of Adams, Bould, Dixon and Winterburn. What price another unbeaten season in the league?
So Harry Redknapp thinks his arrest has ruined his chances of being the next England manager? Nice bloke that he is and fantastic club manager, this is not a person that England needs to head up a dispirited national team. Bungs and allegations apart, Redknapp is an old school type who has done wonders with underperforming clubs but where is the pedigree for leading the Three Lions? Same with Allardyce. A great manager in the small sea of Bolton, he is in big trouble at the ocean that is Newcastle. Another big defeat today at Blackburn. He doesn't have the record either for the England job. It didn't stop the suits at the FA appointing McClueless but Barwick and Gentleman Trev must be aiming higher. Notice how many England players have come out this week supporting the candidacy of Mourinho? A few calls have gone from the The Special One's people to the cellphones of some of the big England players, methinks, to help generate media discussion. Self-fulfilling phrophecy? You betcha. The Portuguese maestro may be playing his own denial games but it seems a lot more likely now than it did a few weeks ago that he could be the man to step in.

Beckham Down Under
Another meaningless tournament was announced this week. The Pan-Pacific Cup will be played in Hawaii next February with teams from Japan and Australia as well as MLS champion Houston Dynamo and, of course, LA Galaxy. The promoters can bang on all they want about how Hawaii has a "history of hosting top international sporting events.” ??? Couple of skins golf tournaments with ageing players, the ProBowl? Give me a break. Beckham can talk about top quality opposition before the MLS season. Houston, maybe, but this is a little too far. The truth is, and this isn't exactly going to endear as yet to be turned on US sports fans who are highly skeptical about soccer, it is simply another money spinner for the Galaxy. There is no problem selling out grounds to 80,000 fans in Sydney but the Galaxy is in danger of being seen simply as a glorified shopping mall unless it can get the MLS results next year. It's a very good move getting Cobi Jones on the coaching side but will Gullit's sexy football still be quite as alluring on a freezing day next April at DSG Park? My good friends at Class VI have been talking up the likelihood Beckham and Co. will be first up at the Rapids' award-winning complex next season. I wish the Galaxy and Beckham well, apart from against the Rapids of course. I really want them to have good results next season so that the MLS looks good to the rest of the world. The jaunt to Hawaii will then be seen as what it is, a pre-season warm-up in a nice sunny place good for Posh's tan. If the Galaxy fail to deliver on the MLS pitch, it will be more fodder to the skeptics.

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