The Lead

The Footy Blog was a little quiet (i.e. totally dead) yesterday because Ontario celebrated “Family Day,” a made-up vacation that puts the onus on guilty parents to take their kids out to the park or something. For others without kids or a spouse, it offered an extra day for reflection, time to sit around and think.

There seems to be a lot of thinking going on right now in the Premier League, by owners and managers alike. Sir Alex Ferguson has issued his bi-annual retirement date, which we’re now meant to believe will be in 2015. There are rumours that despite Andre Villas-Boas’ insistence Chelsea’s Champions League fixture against Napoli tonight won’t “define his career” with the club, Rafa Benitez quietly waits in the wings.

Meanwhile Arsenal supporters’ confidence in Arsene Wenger is all but dried up, with the Supporters Trust quizzing the board over money-hoarding. The American owner Stan Kroenke has reportedly flown in to publicly back his man. If the Premier League was an HBO/AMC style serial drama (and it may as well be, really), the writers would be laying on the suspense and uncertainty pretty thick at this stage. Even the future of a successful manager like Harry Redknapp at Tottenham remains unknown.

Most incredibly though is that if this Mexican stand-off ends with a pile of managers on the floor and Blackburn manage to somehow stave off relegation, Steve Kean could be the man to walk into the sunset. Some middling success in the next few seasons could even mean he’ll outlast Sir Alex himself. Food for thought…

Canada

Two Montreal Impact defenders chopped ahead of their inaugural MLS season.

Former Impact goalkeeper in the Amazing Race.

DeRo gets his contract extension, headlines.

England

EBJT won’t feature in the Chelsea v. Napoli match tonight.

West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan says Scott Parker “stopped tackling” to prevent injury ahead of his move to Spurs.

Robin Van Persie ready to sit down with Arsenal.

Andy Carroll at Liverpool: nothing to see here.

Wolves in talks with Reading manager Brian McDermott to replace the sacked Mick McCarthy.

West Ham confirm they made some silly, silly January bids.

The FA’s new initiative against homophobia in football.

Newcastle will have to dig deep to keep Demba Ba.

Jonathan Wilson picks Arsenal apart. So does Michael Cox.

Racism

Yup, it’s come to this.

Chelsea team bus surrounded by racist Napoli supporters.

Black leaders in the UK condemn Liverpool over Suarez.

Manchester City provide video evidence to UEFA over monkey chants at Porto.

Italy

Inter’s Wesley Sneijder turned down an approach by Zenit.

Paolo Bandini on how Inter crushed the hopes of a certain nine-year-old.

Allegri bets on Pato ahead of Milan’s title clash with Juventus.

Cavani bullish ahead of Napoli’s CL match against Chelsea.

Spain

La Liga weekend round-up.

Malaga could make the Champions League, says Sid Lowe.

Mourinho firmly back in control at Real Madrid.

Bits and bobs

The Internet’s killed football fantasists.

Two fans hurt after keeper hits ball in crowd in frustration.

Introducing Africa’s next generation of footballers.

And that, give or take, is the story so far…

Comments (16)

  1. Still trying to figure out if it’s wrong of me to laugh about the fact we need a “Racism” section here..

    I’m laughing anyways.

  2. “Now, in an open letter to the club and manager Kenny Dalglish, whose insistence that Suarez take a penalty in front of the Kop against Brighton on Sunday seemed a gesture of solidarity, the group have told Liverpool to accept publicly the findings of the FA-appointed independent regulatory commission once and for all.”

    So let’s see if I have this straight: after several months of public and private denial that Luis Suarez said 90% of the the things for which the FA found him guilty (presumably based on an honest belief that Suarez did not say these things, and without hard evidence, including any eyewitness evidence other than Evra’s accusation), Liverpool should now publicly, unreservedly proclaim that everything happened exactly as the FA’s report said it did (which, in addition to permanently tarnishing Suarez’s reputation, would in effect make liars out of Kenny Dalglish, Damian Comolli and Dirk Kuyt)?

    They must be avid readers of Orwell then….

    • Dalglish said after the Man U game he “didn’t hear Suarez had rejected Evra’s hand”. He’s already a liar in my books.

      • Fair enough Dan, that’s what the court of public opinion is for. It’s the people who won’t rest until Dalglish admits he lied that get under my skin. It won’t happen, and even if it did people would just say it’s insincere because he’s being pressured to do so.

        But the english football community needs to decide whether they really want to “draw a line” under this whole issue (which I assume means moving on and, for example, drawing attention to the fact that there are other racism issues to deal with, such as the captain of their national team for uttering racist language that was actually caught on camera), or if they just want to keep bringing the situation up over and over again.

        • Yeah I agree with you there. Beating a dead horse and all that, it’s totally unnecessary. Get on with your lives.

        • Unfortunately, the people bringing it up over and over again seem to be tied to Liverpool. It was Dalglish who reiterated that the suspension was undeserved after Suarez returned. It was Suarez who insinuated that he might not shake his victim’s hand, then blew it back open by following through.

          Instead of shutting up and letting it flow away with the tide, he insisted on keeping it front and centre.

          SB

  3. ummmm…. they either are liars or exceedingly stupid

  4. The racism story about the Napoli fans is depressing. Especially since they completely behaved themselves during the group stages when for example Bayern were there. At least I didn’t hear any complaints then and now they go and destroy that. Someone under another blog suggested that fans deliberatly target English teams/players, knowing they’ll hit a mark. I wonder if there is any truth to that?

    • Ever think they’re just doing it to get under the skin of a certain KKK member in Chelsea’s backline?

      Admit it, most players on Chelsea right now are confused as hell as to why a bunch of racists just acted racially insensitive to a team captained by a racist. Maybe during the game the Napoli fans will start chanting for the team to sign said racist CB?

  5. “For others without kids or a wife spouse, it offered an extra day for reflection, time to sit around and think.”

    Fixed that for you.

  6. What does “EB” in “EBJT” stand for?

  7. I read something on Twitter that Wenger would have £55 million to spend in the summer. Sadly, it won’t be enough for Wenger’s “major changes” that he talked about at the end of last week.

  8. David Seaman reference?

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