It’s the international break, so there is precious little to tell you about the football that you didn’t already know last Friday. But there is a lot of news…
The Boring Story
Something something Frank Lampard. Something something England. Something something retirement. And all the op-eds on the greatness of the player to boot. That’s the official story. Now the important stuff…
The Stuff That Will Be Talked About Today
Real Madrid seems a little irked by new Arsenal signing Mesut Ozil’s remarks about his former club. Ozil said earlier: “‘I thought: “What [Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger] is telling me is what I have missed at Real: transparency, trust, respect. He told me exactly how he sees me [as a player], how he wants to use me, what he expects from me and what he hopes I will contribute.”‘” In response, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez was quoted by ABC.es as saying Ozil was “not a good professional,” he was “obsessed with women” and as such didn’t sleep enough. Not a good week for Perez in any case, particularly with former legend Zinedine Zidane telling the world that Madrid’s transfer fee for Gareth Bale is “incomprehensible.” The Daily Mail uses shirt sales to sort these things out, which is probably for the best…
Same old international football, same old violence. Except increasingly it seems that England fans’ reputation from over a decade ago precedes them. This time the Independent is reporting that thirty hooded Ukraine supporters attacked England fans in a coffee shop in Kiev. No word on specific injuries but more details will emerge throughout the day…
Aston Villa’s Gabby Agbonlahor injured New Direction band member Louis Tomlinson at Stan Petrov’s charity match (which, it should be said, was otherwise a complete and total success). The 21 year old musician hobbled around a bit, came off the pitch, and vomited in David Beckham fashion. If pathetic anti-pop star schadenfreude is your thing, by all means enjoy yourself. Also, here is some great New Direction fan overreaction:
Poor, poor Louis Tomlinson. http://t.co/ciksVDCpi3
— Rob Kelly (@RobKelly2) September 9, 2013
Tottenham Hotspur defender Kyle Walker has had to apologize for doing whippets in some bar where footballers inevitably find themselves on their free time (incidentally, the English tabloid newspapers all referred to nitrous oxide as “hippy crack,” which I’d never heard before, but I’m not a druggie I swear). Walker, or as is far more likely Walker’s PR person, said: “‘I have now been made aware of the health risks associated with the practice and accept that my actions were of poor judgement.’” No action will be taken by the FA, which means maybe common sense still rules the day sometimes.
The Professional Footballers Association Chair Clarke Carlisle took it pretty personally when Rio and Anton Ferdinand declined to wear a Kick Racism Out of Football shirt. We know this because it was in an excerpt from his recently published autobiography which the Mail has kindly reprinted in full. I have no idea what this means, but if one is taking a refusal to take part in an anti-racism campaign as a personal insult, it might indicate some mixed up priorities.
Giovanni Trapattoni’s reign as Ireland manager is nearing an end. Trap’s comments on his legacy at Ireland are…well, the word wouldn’t be ‘inspiring.’
Things that Won’t Be Talked About But Should Be
FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s exclusive interview with Inside World Football, mostly discussing Qatar and the prospect of a winter World Cup. It’s kind of a doozy of hypocrisy, historical revisionism and spin, but is also vintage Blatter. This quote hits you like smelling salts:
… but Mr Blatter, your ExCo knew full well, already on December 10, 2010, that a summer World Cup would be impossible to be hosted in Qatar’s scorching summer…
JSB:… that may well be so, and it may well be that we made a mistake at the time. On the other hand, you must also consider political and geo-political realities. The World Cup is FIFA’s biggest if not only global event. Who are we, the Europeans, to demand that this event has to cater to the needs of 800 million Europeans above all, when there are over 7 billion people who populate this planet and of who 6.2 billion are not European, but who must at all times succumb to our diktat?
I think it is high time that Europe starts to understand that we do not rule the world anymore, and that some former European imperial powers can no longer impress their will on to others in far away places, and we must accept that football has moved away from being a European and South American sport: it has become the World Sport that billions of fans are excitedly following every week, everywhere in the world.
Sepp Blatter: cultural relativist. Incredible. One wonders if he’ll trot out the ‘European imperial powers’ speech when it comes to Russian discrimination against homosexuals ahead of 2018.
The Story of Josh McEachran. Though to be fair it’s not really about the former Chelsea Young Player of the Year, but more about talent hoarding among the rich and powerful in the Premier League, a major problem for talent development not only of young English players, but talented footballers in general. These are increasingly part of the All Pay, No Play generation touched on in a recent Financial Times piece.
And along those lines…imagine being signed by a Premier League club on a free transfer, only to find out that you won’t actually be able to play in the Premier League. Surprise! You’re new Crystal Palace defender Florian Marange.
Is Everton FC silencing fan dissent? A very interesting and alarming piece from the New Statesman on how the club took on a season ticket holder for voicing his views on free schools in the UK.
Duncan Fletcher over at Waking the Red has a great article on reasons over the lack of grace from some quarters of the Toronto FC fan base over news of the resignation of MLSE COO and former Toronto FC president Tom Anselmi:
Then a couple of things got me more motivated to do something and so now here I am writing a full article on him. First up was Cathal Kelly’s reaction on twitter, practically lionising Anselmi as a great guy and apparently completely unable to understand why anyone would take any glee from this beheading, going as far as suggesting the ‘animus’ and ‘hysteria’ on display might dissaude prospective GM’s from coming to Toronto, and that supporters deserve the team they’ve had to put up with.
Then I read this article in the Star, about Anselmi’s retirement, and it included this quote from former MLSE boss Richard Peddie, talking about appointing Anselmi to his role at the helm of TFC:-
“I thought it would be a nice little job for him to learn some stuff by,”
And that right there, the condescencion and lack of importance given to that decision, perfectly sums up what was wrong with MLSE’s approach to TFC, how the club has been run. Forget All For One, THAT should be the official club motto.
Will Manchester United’s £1 billion Nike deal be a game-changer for the club? Callum Hamilton with some excellent insight into how the Glazers and United supporters may be of one mind on the transfer strategy of club chief executive Ed Woodward.