Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “Soon in England you will have no English players, no English managers, just foreign speculators. You have to ask yourself what that means for football at a national level. England is the traditional home of football, but do you think that England will ever win the World Cup again? When you look at the statistics right now – when hardly any English players are in the final stages of the Champions League – it is a good question, and the answer is probably no. At least it will not happen under the present structures.” – Michel Platini.
Runner-up: “Tottenham offered crazy money and if weâ€™re honest it was too good for Portsmouth to turn down. It works out for everybody because it gives me a last chance to manage at a big club before I retire… Itâ€™s a great opportunity for me. I loved my time at Portsmouth. The fans were great and we had fantastic success. Iâ€™ve never been happier than I was there but Â£5m is good compensation. For me itâ€™s a chance to manage a big, big club before I retire. Spurs have got a decent squad on paper but itâ€™s not a well balanced squad. There are skilful players but maybe itâ€™s got a soft centre. Maybe the team need more strength and aggression. You donâ€™t pick up just two points if youâ€™re that good.” – Harry Redknapp.
Today’s overview: The Sundays are reeling this morning with the news that Tottenham have fired Juande Ramos and captured Harry Redknapp as their new manager.
Martin Palmer reveals his “source’s” explanation as to why Juande Ramos’ position was now considered untenable, while Amy Lawerence pinpoints the Spaniard’s body-language in the past few weeks as adding to his downfall – “Arms folded. Lips pursed. Could he have been any more passive? Will he have greeted his dismissal with a noncommital shrug?”
While Andy Dunn fingers Daniel Levy (the “laughing assassin”) for Spurs’ woeful situation, Joe Lovejoy apportions blame amongst the Spurs hierarchy – “There will be sympathy for Ramos because of the way that Comolli, who exclusively was in charge of transfer dealings, saddled the manager with some bad buys, and Levy deserves his share of blame for delaying the inevitable transfer of Berbatov to Manchester United until the final minutes of the transfer window by holding out for an extra Â£2m.” Sandy Macaskill and Rod Gilmour trace how Tottenham have seen seven managers in 10 years.
On Redknapp,Now Iâ€™ve been given an opportunity that Iâ€™ve waited for all my life… I want to put them back where they belong, up there with Arsenal.”
For the third week running, the Sunday Telegraph reveal more match-fixing allegations, claiming Asian match-fixers were at work at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Declan Hill reports on meeting a senior Asian match fixer – “‘What was the biggest match you have ever fixed?’ I asked. ‘I donâ€™t know,’ he replied, ‘The Olympics? The World Cup? Which is bigger?'”
In other football news, Steve Millar reports how Joey Barton “was pelted with plastic bottles and coins yesterday as the Wear-Tyne derby exploded after the midfielder kissed his shirt badge after warming up in front of the Sunderland crowd.” Reacting to the credit crunch, David James thinks its time football thought about its customers, arguing “perhaps we could go one season without a new kit. Or next year’s season tickets could be held at this season’s prices.” While Ian Bell applauds David Beckham’s quest to reach 108 England caps.
The News of the World have a collection of headline grabbing articles as Paul McNamara lifts the lid on a suspected love-affair by Carlos Tevez, and David Harrison tells readers that Jose Mourinho “is the man Manchester United want to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson – and he will get the job with Fergieâ€™s blessing.”
With all the brouhaha surrounding William Gallas’ fag,Smoking and football were once synonymous; that old working-class culture of booze, fags and football.”
Andrew Hussey had a headline grabbing interview with Michel Platini in which the Premier League-phobe UEFA President lays out his concerns for the English game. Paul Wilson wonders whether the Premier League is bigger than the Champions League, noting “when Juventus, Platini’s old team, played Real Madrid last week, just 25,813 turned up to watch in a stadium that only holds 27,500. There were almost as many at Norwich v Wolves in the Championship.”