Friday, October 26th, 2012
Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “There are five trophies. The first is the Premier League, the second is Champions League, the third is to qualify for the Champions League, the fourth is the FA Cup and the fifth is the League Cup. I say that because if you want to attract the best players, they do not ask: ‘Did you win the League Cup?’ They ask: ‘Do you play in the Champions League?’ My job is to deliver a team with the resources we have and I have never complained about that. I want a club to pay players from its own resources, there is no shame in that. But if everybody is devastated when we finish third in the league, I promise you I will not be here if you finish 15th one day.” – Arsene Wenger.
Runner-up: ”Valencia are negotiating, and I am involved in person. The offer is on his table. The player is out of contract in June and will not renew there for several reasons at Chelsea and he wants to come to Spain. He asked to leave. It’s real. This has been going on for 15 days and two meetings have already took place. I think he will accept.” - Spanish agent Francois Gallardo.
Arsenal’s Angry AGM
Goodwill has dried up at Arsenal, just like the trophies (Owen Gibson, Guardian) The promise of jam tomorrow is no longer enough for Arsenal fans paying the highest ticket prices in the country and stung by the loss of a string of marquee names. Yet even before the promised land of FFP is reached, the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust estimates the club has around £70m sitting in the bank that has not been spent. They fear Kroenke has broken his contract with Arsenal fans. His invisibility has extended to a failure to meet them as promised in his offer document and concerns about the future of the Fanshare scheme once held up as a model for fan engagement. Moreover, they fear that as long as the upward curve of income continues, Kroenke will measure success in financial terms, content to sit back and allow his asset to appreciate in value.
Gunners AGM fury (Sun) Furious Arsenal fans booed and jeered the club’s three most senior board members at an X-rated AGM yesterday. American billionaire and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, chairman Peter Hill-Wood and chief executive Ivan Gazidis were all subjected to blistering attacks as they were accused of ‘ruining our club’… Kroenke had failed to give assurances he would not take money out of the club as a dividend, while Gazidis warned fans they may have to wait two MORE years with no silverware.
Wenger: Champions League qualification is as good as a trophy (Sun) Arsenal made a staggering £65million profit from flogging stars during the 2011-12 season — 10 TIMES more than the previous campaign. And the Gunners also have more than £150M sitting in their bank account and fans are fuming over the club’s failure to use that money to help win trophies.
Stan Kroenke defends Arsenal ambition following heated AGM (Amy Lawrence, Guardian) [Korenke] clarified his ambitions via the club’s website. “I am ambitious for the Club and we all share the same goal,” he said. “The reason I am involved in sport is to win. It’s what it’s all about. Everything else is a footnote. I can assure you no one is more ambitious than me. Arsenal is a tremendous club with a track record of consistent performance at the top level. That is very rare but we have managed it. I know that will continue as we move forwards. We have an exciting future and our goal is to win trophies.”
After 16 months out, can Jack Wilshere return to spark misfiring Gunners into life? (Independent) The potential impact Wilshere could make if he feels fit enough and is given enough time should not be underestimated. With his dancing feet and his Gascoigne-burst, the midfielder can set the angles and tempo of attack in a period when Santi Cazorla has been swamped and the team blunted. As good as Aaron Ramsey’s touch and vision are, Wilshere is so much more assertive. Not many English players combine bravery with technical skill, but Wilshere is perhaps the most obvious to do so since Wayne Rooney.
Man City: Major Problems
Mancini crunch (Sun) Roberto Mancini and his Manchester City players held an emergency inquest into their Champions League disaster yesterday… He could now face a backlash with several players unhappy at getting blamed when they felt the manager’s tactics were at fault. Mancini’s relationship with some of his squad is strained yet while City are winning it does not cause too many problems.
Mancini faces City mutiny (Star) It has emerged a significant number of stars have lost faith in Mancini. It has led to a split in the camp that is piling even more pressure on the Italian and threatening to derail the Premier League champions’ season. A club source said: ‘The mood in the camp was downbeat on the way back from the Netherlands and bordering on hostile at the training ground. Put simply, the manager has lost one half of the dressing room.’
Revolting! Meddling Mancini is losing the Manchester City dressing room (Mirror) Several senior City players have become disillusioned with the Italians approach, culminating in their humiliating 3-1 Champions League defeat at Ajax… Confusion reigned among the players as Mancini switched their formation at least three times in Amsterdam. From 4-2-3-1 to 4-4-2, they ended up playing 3-5-2 – with left-back Gael Clichy inexplicably at right-back. The arrival of Italian defensive coach Angelo Gregucci, Mancini’s former assistant at Fiorentina, has not had the desired effect, as City have conceded 20 in 12 games this season, and kept just one clean sheet. Mancini is having to act as an interpreter for Gregucci, who cannot speak English.
Eur doomed, Mancini (Steven Howard, Sun) The problem with Mancini is he doesn’t appear to be learning and, at 48 next month, he should be. If it goes on like this, he shouldn’t be surprised if the owners pull the plug…. All this tinkering has left Joleon Lescott and Vincent Kompany, two of their best players last season, looking shot to bits. Worse, though, was Micah Richards saying City don’t ‘work much’ on a back three — and they don’t like it anyway.
City chiefs hail Txi (Sun) Man City could hand Barcelona management legend Txiki Begiristain a role as sporting director at the Etihad.
Plenty more fish in the sea: Why Man City’s Champions League failure isn’t the end of their season (Robbie Savage, Mirror) It took clubs like Chelsea, who also spent lots of money, years to adapt and finally win the Champions’ League and it could take City time too… The real carrot for City this year is staying on top of the pile in England. Maintaining their No1 status domestically. A likely Champions’ League exit is a blow, but not as much as critics might think.
Is the EPL on the slide?
Warning: the Premier League’s star is beginning to wane (Paul Hayward, Telegraph) Deep down, though, the English game knew that all booms are finite. No mass entertainment form can control public appetites forever. The missionaries said there was only one show in town. This sporting summer killed that delusion. But the lurch in interest away from the round-ball obsession has been hastened by the long-term errors of the business itself. One was to sell its soul to overseas speculators with no real interest in the clubs they were ‘buying’. Thursday’s Arsenal annual meeting exemplified those dangers. Champions League defeats for Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal further threatened English power. Alongside that we see an institutionalised inability to deal with the problems that arouse the most audience disgust: mainly diving, as practised by Arsenal’s Gervinho on Wednesday night, and many others.
Serbia Sack Two Players
But what about the racism? Serbia ban players for fighting England… with no mention of shocking abuse (Mail) The Serbian Football Association have suspended Under 21 players Ognjen Mudrinski and Nikola Ninkovic for a year for their involvement in a brawl with England last week, but failed to acknowledge any of their players took part in racial abuse… UEFA President Michel Platini said on Tuesday that Serbia could face tough sanctions if television footage proved home fans made monkey chants at Rose.
Serbia ban players and coaches after brawl with England (Guardian) Uefa’s control and disciplinary panel will meet on 22 November to decide on sanctions against both sides. After the match, the FA general secretary, Alex Horne, said it would be forced to “question the viability” of sending teams to Serbia in future.
Alan Shearer is set for a return to management with Ipswich (Sun) Town have also spoken to Alan Curbishley.
Ipswich weigh up Toon hero Shearer as they widen search to replace sacked Jewell (Mail) The shortlist also includes Mick McCarthy, Steve Cotterill, Owen Coyle and club legend Terry Butcher.
Anzhi Makhachkala plan to stun the Premier League by making a mega bid for Wayne Rooney (Sun) Anzhi want to link Rooney, 27, with Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o — currently their top earner on £350,000 a week. But any offer to Roo would eclipse that.
Abramovich to halt race for goal-machine Falcao (Star) Chelsea are set to miss out on goal machine Falcao. Owner Roman Abramovich is only willing to pay up to £40m for Atletico Madrid’s superstar striker.
Sam Allardyce has told Rio Ferdinand the door is open for him to make a West Ham return (Sun) Ferdinand, 33, is into the final year of his Manchester United contract with his boss Alex Ferguson keen to sort a new deal.
Manchester City and United on alert after Wanyama snubs new Celtic deal (Mail) Manchester giants United and City are poised to run the rule over Victor Wanyama during Celtic’s Champions League home clash with Barcelona. Sportsmail understands the Premier League titans will travel to Glasgow after agents for the £10million-rated Kenyan international snubbed an improved, extended contract offer from the Parkhead club.
An all-star charity single to raise cash for Hillsborough families will take on The X Factor for Christmas No1 (Sun) Stars such as Robbie Williams, The Clash’s Mick Jones, Paloma Faith and Mel C are recording a cover of The Hollies’ 1969 hit He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother. Proceeds from the single released on December 17 will go towards the families’ legal costs in their fight for justice.