Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “Well, you get what you deserve as a team, don’t you? We are where we are because we deserve to be there. And it is the same with Liverpool. We went out of the competition ourselves after the group stage a few years back . They haven’t performed well enough in the Champions League this season to get the results, as simple as that.” – Gary Neville.
Runner-up: “Benitez has shown he is the right man to take Liverpool forward. Now is the time for everybody here to stick together. We must be united to finish as high as possible in the Premier League. I am convinced that we will end up in the top four.” – Fernando Torres.
Today’s overview: Evertom’s failure to get their new stadium plans up and running is the most discussed story on a quiet Friday on the backpages. Avram Grant’s new Pompey role and theÂ World Cup 2018 bidÂ are also discussed.Â
Tony Cascarino casts his eye over Avram Grant’s apointment at Fratton Park. “It sounds odd, but taking charge of the bottom team is a perfect scenario for Avram Grant. He does not come with a great CV or big reputation but he will not have dressing-room dissent or big personalities to deal with at Portsmouth. The players will give him respect and try their best because they are worried about relegation and will want him to turn the club around. They are in no position to give him problems â€” Grant may not have achieved much in the game, but neither have his players.” The Sun report thatÂ Grant will be given funds to fight the drop.
Oliver Kay reveals in The Times that “Evertonâ€™s future could depend on neighbours Liverpool warming to the idea of a single stadium for the two Merseyside giants.” “It does not seem right that so much discussion of the sport these days centres on balance sheets, stadiums, sponsorship deals, investment searches, but these, increasingly, are the parameters in which the game takes place â€” a regrettable development in a city whose football heyday, in the mid-1980s, came when Merseyside was impoverished, but Everton and Liverpool somehow dominated the English game.”
David Conn suggests Everton are running out of options. “Everton’s spokesman Ian Ross described the Kirkby decision yesterday as ‘bitterly frustrating’, saying that the directors’ only motive in pursuing the new stadium had been to ‘improve the club’s financial position, attract investment and provide more money for the manager’. For Everton, around Â£40m in debt, money to compete with the big clubs is becoming harder to find, and yesterday morning Moyes and Kenwright woke up to the knowledge that Kirkby, as a solution, is over.”
Ian Herbert also frets over the future of Everton. “All is not lost. An important part of Everton’s pitch to prospective investors is their presence as founder members of the Football League; a Rolls-Royce club who fill the stadium they have. But all told, the timing of Sunday’s game has dark ironic significance given the events of the past 48 hours â€“ and the fact that it was a rent rise proposed in 1892 by John Houlding, who became Liverpool’s first director, which forced the first players of Everton to leave Anfield and form their own club in the first place.”
Steven Howard takes the oportunity to bash Arsenal ahead of the clash with Chelsea on Sunday. “Just a dozen league games completed and Arsenal already face a match that could well define their season. Defeat by Chelsea at the Emirates on Sunday and the Gunners will trail the leaders by 11 points. For the sixth consecutive campaign, that should be it as far as the title is concerned. And we are not even into December. Their qualification for the Champions League knockout stage – from probably the easiest group of the lot, remember – cannot mask the fact it’s the same old Arsenal. A joy to watch, of course. But still flaky, inconsistent, a huge liability away from home and an unsolved problem in goal. And Arsene Wenger knows it.” Ahead of the London derby on Sunday, Steve Curry sat down with four ex-players to discuss old time.
David Bond urges English football to grow up to get the 2018 World Cup bid back on track. “By 2018 it will be 52 years since England last hosted the tournament. Over the next 12 months in the countdown to the Fifa vote, fans across the country will begin to focus on the very real possibility of seeing the world’s finest, the players of Brazil, Argentina and Spain, on their doorstep. But unless the men running the bid cast aside their petty differences and pull together the country is likely to face an even longer wait.”
The lead article in the Daily Mail sees Matt Lawton reveal: “John Terry has scored a massive PR own goal by attempting to cash in on his status as England captain ahead of the World Cup. Masterminded by a small marketing company in Enfield, Terry has been presented as someone desperate to maximise his earning potential with a series of embarrassing, if mostly correct, boasts. Terry, who already commands a salary in the region of Â£170,000 a week at Chelsea, could even incur the wrath of FIFA for being associated with the use of their World Cup logo in the email that was circulated yesterday around the sports business community.Leading international brands are normally charged millions by football’s world governing body to endorse their products with the FIFA World Cup logo.” Also on England, the Daily Mail reveal that a friendly match with Argentina is being lined up for March.
The main story in The Sun this morning is reported by Neil Custis: “Nemanja Vidic has been told to forget about a new contract until 2011. And that could spark a summer move to Barcelona.” United have signed a player according to The Sun, Cardiff’s 17-year-old defender Adam Matthews.