Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “I’ve got no time for people kicking anybody or being violent on the football pitch and he [Adebayor] was wrong to run the length of the field, but it’s very difficult when you’re getting abuse throughout the game like he was. It’s not celebrating a goal that cause riots, it’s idiots who want to start riots. Adebayor went over the top but, at the same time, he was getting a lot of abuse from the fans for the whole afternoon. What did he do really? Run back and go like that, saying he scored. I’m not saying it’s right but if you can’t go near the away fans when you score because you’ll cause a riot. If I had been standing there and we had been giving him grief all game and he did that, I would probably say, ‘Fair play.’ Why do people need to shout abuse and cause riots? Why can’t they just watch a game of football? I don’t understand it. There’s no need for it and there must be something wrong with you if you want to do that.” – Harry Redknapp.
Runner-up: “He [Cristiano Ronaldo] is not worth Â£25million more than Kaka. You can see that Manchester Unitedâ€™s directors have been cleverer than AC Milanâ€™s in their dealings with Real Madrid.” – Fabio Capello.
Today’s overview: With no major incidents to mention emerging from Wednesday night’s action in the Champions League, post match analysis worth chewing over is slightly thin on the ground this morning. That said, one bone of contention appears to be an assessment of Debrecen’s performance at Anfield.
For Andy Hunter, “the Hungarian champions may not be natural successors to the tradition of the Mighty Magyars.. [but they] deserved more respect than to be written off as mere cannon fodder.” The scribe could have been directly responding to Oliver Kay’s comments in The Times where he wrote “these are early days for Michel Platiniâ€™s revolutionary plan to admit more champions to the competition that has not always lived up to its name, but Debrecen, the only national champions in group E, are there to make the numbers.”
On Liverpool, Henry Winter considered the Reds’ narrow victory by highlighting whats missing at Anfield. “Liverpool had a problem in the final third. Whisper it around BenÃtez but the problem goes back to Xabi Alonsoâ€™s departure… BenÃtez has asked Steven Gerrard to drop back alongside the inexperienced Lucas in deep midfield, so distancing Liverpoolâ€™s captain from Fernando Torres. One of the great double acts has been put on hold. Separating Torres and Gerrard is like ordering Fred Astaire to wait on tables while Ginger Rogers carries on dancing.”
Staying on Merseyside, having sown up an Â£80m sponsorship earlier in the week Liverpool’s owner are today being reported as shuffling around for a new minority shareholder to inject more funds into Anfield. Why the sudden rush for all this new cash?
According to Andy Hunter, “Tom Hicks has instructed Merrill Lynch to entice a minority shareholder to Anfield with an asking price of Â£100m for a 25% stake… Despite a controversial and often fraught tenure, Hicks and Gillett remain intent on bringing the stadium proposals to fruition and recently extended their refinancing package on the club to July 2010.”
While Hunter’s understanding is plausible, Tony Barrett uncovers some financial holes in Liverpool’s recent sponsorship deal. “The Times understands that a significant element of the deal is performance-related with bonuses to be paid out to the club should they win either the Barclays Premier League or the Champions League.”
Thursday night’s Europa League will make history as UEFA employ goal-line referees for the first time in a major competition.
As may be expected many remain wary of the new initiative and Jamie Jackson surveys the question-marks. “How much more definitive will two more pair of eyes be, even from their vantage position, patrolling the goal-line from the opposite side to the current assistant referees?… With the rapid change in available technology would Uefa ever consider using it?” Graham Poll does a good job at separating the forest from the trees making it clear that these new officials have no decision-making power of their own, while “key decisions will be delayed while play continues as the officials try to come up with the right decision. How easily a referee will be convinced he is wrong by a junior colleague remains to be seen.”Â
Chelsea announced yesterday that Peter Kenyon will be stepping down from his chief executive role at the Bridge.
Filling in the details Matt Hughes discusses how Kenyon was always primed to fail at Chelsea. “Kenyonâ€™s biggest problem, however, was that he took on an impossible job: that of turning Chelsea into the most successful club in the world and making them self-sufficient despite annual losses of Â£130 million. The 54-year-old was essentially made into Abramovichâ€™s fall guy â€” nice work if you can get it for Â£1.8 million-a-year, but not a job to bring lasting success.”the outgoing chief executive is planning to stay in football, but will not work for another Premier League club because he will remain as a non-executive director at Stamford Bridge after leaving his post on October 31… Frank Arnesen, who was promoted to the role of sporting director this summer, will take greater responsibility for the footballing side of the business.” In a supplementary article,
Jason Burt toasts the winner from Kenyon’s departure out of the Bridge. “Although Chelsea vehemently deny any rift, his departure represents a victory for Frank Arnesen, the newly appointed sporting director… Kenyon has battled for influence with Arnesen ever since the latterâ€™s arrival from Tottenham Hotspur four years ago and each has blamed the other for the failure to sign certain players.” Sam Wallace also sings from the same hymn-sheet. “Kenyon has fought a long battle against the influence of Arnesen at Stamford Bridge but yesterday’s announcement confirmed that the former Denmark international is the man closest to Abramovich.”
Glenn Moore investigates why Peter Kenyon is so unloved by football fans. “While Kenyon had a key role in negotiating lucrative shirt deals such as Vodafone’s with United, and Samsung’s with Chelsea, he found it much harder to communicate with the bread-and-butter fan. His desire to ‘monetise’ the ‘customer base’ grated with supporters who despite regular price rises increasingly felt the fan in the stadium meant less to their chief executive than the one in Beijing, Moscow or Los Angeles, following the team over the Internet.”
Looking to have his own horn tooted, Charles Sale muscles in on the Kenyon story to pompously comment the equivalent of ‘I told you so.’ “Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon finally threw in the towel on Wednesday, having been effectively a lame duck since February, when he played no part in the sacking of manager Luiz Felipe Scolari… Sportsmail was the first to report two days after Scolariâ€™s departure that the isolated Kenyon â€” who had been executioner-in-chief of the three previous Chelsea bosses â€” would be a casualty himself sooner or later.”
Completing the Kenyon commentary, Ian McGarry announced in The Sun that “Kenyon left Chelsea yesterday with a Â£2million kiss-off – and plans to return to football,” before Martin Lipton threw a spanner in the works farting “Kenyon’s reign as Chelsea chief executive came to an end last night – with arch rival Frank Arnesen fearing he could be next out. While Kenyonâ€™s exit was proof that Arnesen was the victor of the power-struggle for prominence in Roman Abramovichâ€™s inner circle, the Danish sporting director is still in the firing line over the Gael Kakuta affair.”
Sir Alex Ferguson has expressed his desire for Paul Scholes to continue at Old Trafford past the end of this season. Frank Praverman assesses why Scholesly is still so important to the Red Devils, flagging up some of the midfielder’s recent stats. “Against Birmingham, he made 100 passes, 97 of them successful. Against Wigan, he made 41 passes, 40 of them successful. On Saturday against Tottenham, in a game played at a breathtaking pace, he made 49 passes, 47 of them successful, before unluckily being sent off in the second half. In the Premier League those figures are astonishing.”
The transfer news continues, starting with Andy Hunter’s report into how Everton are closing in on Lucas Neill. “Everton hope the defender’s ongoing search for a club will persuade him to accept a deal of about Â£40,000 a week.” The Toffees’ recruitment drive continues as Ashley Gray details how “Everton are handing a trial to a Chilean teen sensation compared to Cristiano Ronaldo. Nicolas Millan is eyeing a move to Europe when he turns 18 in November and Everton have given him a chance to impress following previous interest from Inter Milan and Chelsea.”
In an article with almost wafer thin credibility, the Daily Mail spout “Aston Villa are trailing Feyenoordâ€™s Â£5million-rated Holland Under-21 midfielder Jonathan De Guzman,” while equally untrustworthy David Anderson links Valencia’s David Silva with Manchester United.