“Newcastle United are in such a mess at the moment that they would probably accept a Nigerian businessman as manager and Terry Venables as owner”

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “I can confirm I met Newcastle representatives today. Those talks will continue in the morning when, hopefully, I can give them a final decision.” – Terry Venables.

Runner-up: “Firstly, I have to say that I went for the tackle because I thought I could win the ball – I now accept, however that I misjudged the challenge, immediately after the incident I did not think it was a red card offence because I did win the ball. But now I that I have had the chance to see the tackle on television, I know the ref was right to send me off. I am going to speak to Rodrigo by telephone and I will apologise for hurting him. I hope that he will make a quick recovery and that he will not be out for long.” – Emanuel Pogatetz.

Today’s overview: There is no doubt what the main story is this morning – Terry Venables’ imminent return to English football as caretaker manager of Newcastle.

By virtue of Venables being a Sun Columnist, Steve Bremner claims an exclusive on the story: “Terry Venables will decide this morning whether to become Newcastle’s caretaker manager. We can reveal Tel was offered the job yesterday by Toon officials desperate to halt the club’s slide towards oblivion.” John Edwards claims in the Daily Mail that Glenn Hoddle has already turned the job down.

Henry Winter (Daily Telegraph) sums up the situation at St James’ Park: “Newcastle United are in such a mess at the moment that they would probably accept a Nigerian businessman as manager and Terry Venables as owner.” And George Caulkin (The Times) reflects on the poor turnout at St James’ Park last night: “Whether the cause was borne of financial hardship, the presence of the live television cameras or the slow torture of underachievement and betrayal, a message was delivered to Mike Ashley, the owner.”

Away from the troubled Toon, Brighton’s win over Manchester City is celebrated. Nick Szczepanik in The Times writes, “You can pour in as many millions of pounds as you like, but you cannot change the culture of a club overnight.”

Reflecting on Tuesday night’s action in the Carling Cup, Tony Cascarino in The Times analyses the Pogatetz-Possebon tackle and argues “we can’t judge tackles on whether or not people end up in hospital.” Arsenal’s youngsters are lauded, Neil Ashton features Arsenal’s second youngest every goalscorer Jack Wilshere and Sachin Nakrani (Guardian) picks out five of the best prospects from the latest batch of young Gunners. In The Times, Matt Hughes bucks the trend by looking deeper into Arsene Wenger’s recent comments on Mancheester City, controversially claiming  that Arsenal are a “poor man’s Manchester City.”

The Carloz Tevez affair continues to take up a lot of inches on the backpages. David Hytner in the Guardian reports that the fall guy in the Tevez affair is going to be West Ham chief executive Scott Duxbury. And Gabriele Marcotti (The Times) points out that all Premier League clubs were put at a disadvantage by Carlos Tevez’s move to Upton Park.

Other articles of interest include a piece by James Montague in the Guardian who features Arkadi Gaydamak (father of Alexandre) in connection with his alleged ownership of Portsmouth. And Paul Kelso in the Daily Telegraph reports that “Wembley National Stadium Ltd are close to securing a refinancing deal that will save as much as £3.5 million a year in interest payments and significantly ease the financial burden on the organisation.”

John Edwards reveals in the Daily Mail: “Terry Venables is today waiting to see if he will be formally asked to take over as the emergency manager of Newcastle United after Glenn Hoddle rejected the post. The club plumbed new depths last night as a paltry St James’ Park crowd of 20,577 – their lowest for 16 years – saw them lose 2-1 to Tottenham in the Carling Cup third round. Former England manager Venables has had contact with members of the Newcastle board but has not been made an official offer to take temporary charge. Last night the odds on him taking the job were slashed from 33-1 to 2-1, although
bookmakers are threatening not to pay out unless it is a permanent appointment.”

Michael Walker (Independent) also has writes of Venables’ possible return to football at Newcastle. “Terry Venables has not been offered the manager’s job at Newcastle United, but there has been preliminary contact with the 65-year-old former England coach as Newcastle’s owner, Mike Ashley, seeks to bring a measure of stability to a club of which he has lost control. It is not known what terms and conditions could be offered to attract Venables to St James’ Park, or indeed any other potential candidate, and the uncertainty about the club’s future makes any decision fraught with hazards. The position was not made any more appealing by last night’s exit from the League Cup, a 2-1 defeat against Tottenham taking place in front of St James’ Park’s lowest crowd since 1992. It was Newcastle’s fourth consecutive defeat.”

Steve Bremner in The Sun, also claims an exclusive on the Venables story. “Terry Venables will decide this morning whether to become Newcastle’s caretaker manager. We can reveal Tel was offered the job yesterday by Toon officials desperate to halt the club’s slide towards oblivion. Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Venables said: ‘I can confirm I met Newcastle representatives today. Those talks will continue in the morning when, hopefully, I can give them a final decision.'”

Reporting on the Newcastle-Spurs match, Henry Winter (Daily Telegraph) argues that “Newcastle United are in such a mess at the moment that they would probably accept a Nigerian businessman as manager and Terry Venables as owner. This defeat highlighted the lack of leadership on the pitch, reflecting the dearth of guidance off it. Once again, Mike Ashley and his directors were noticeable by their absence. Their negotiations with a Nigerian consortium, any consortium, cannot be concluded soon enough, nor their search to bring a leader such as Venables into the dugout, as the club and team are drifting badly.”

George Caulkin (The Times) reflects on the poor turnout at St James’ Park last night. “XXL support for size-zero rewards has been the norm on Tyneside, but these are abnormal times. There were no protests outside the stadium last night — and not a single member of the hierarchy to aim them at — and no banners were hoisted in the Leazes End. And yet a statement, of sorts, was made. Whether the cause was borne of financial hardship, the presence of the live television cameras or the slow torture of underachievement and betrayal, a message was delivered to Mike Ashley, the owner… Newcastle are a club with no manager, an absentee owner and a directors’ box that, shamefully, stands empty. They are defined by their supporters, whose loyalty is no longer one-way or open-ended.”

Gordon Tynan, has this assessment on Manchester City in his match report in The Independent: “On Tuesday Manchester City became the richest club in the world; last night they lost on penalties to Brighton of League One, an impoverished club who just want a ground to call their own. For all their new found riches, Brazilian superstars and 6-0 home wins, same-old-City have not yet gone away it seems.”

A similar theme is taken up by Nick Szczepanik in The Times. “You can pour in as many millions of pounds as you like, but you cannot change the culture of a club overnight. Manchester City may be the richest club in the world after the takeover by Sheikh Mansour, but they remain one of the most accident-prone outfits in the game and went out of the Carling Cup last night to a club 52 league places below them.”

Reacting to the Emanuel Pogatetz tackle on Rodrigo Possebon, Tony Cascarino in The Times argues “we can’t judge tackles on whether or not people end up in hospital.” “I believe we need to have a committee to judge tackles and how serious they are regardless of whether someone gets injured. And of course they should look at these challenges coolly, away from all the hype and media outcry. We must try to judge on the level of intent or recklessness and the risk of injury. It may sound callous, but whether they break legs or not is irrelevant.”

Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail features Arsenal’s second youngest every goalscorer, Jack Wilshere. “Nothing fazes Wilshere, not after making his first-team debut as a substitute in Arsenal’s 4-0 victory over Blackburn on September 13 and then scoring in his first start against Sheffield United. ‘People tell me he is a bit like Liam Brady,’ added Wenger. ‘He has good balance and a change of direction, but the ages of 16 to 19 are very important for his development. The way he played against Sheffield United it looks like he has skipped a few classes.’ He has, but now Wilshere is at Finishing School.”

Sachin Nakrani (Guardian) picks out five of the best prospects from the latest batch of young Gunners. Carlos Vela: “It is hard to believe, considering he signed for Arsenal in January 2007, but Vela was making his first start for Arsenal on Tuesday night. Having arrived from Celta Vigo, the Mexican was sent back to Spain, only returning this summer when Arsène Wenger decided he was finally ready to make an impact. That belief gained weight following the destruction of Sheffield United when the 19-year-old scored a sublime hat-trick and having also appeared in recent matches against Newcastle and Dynamo Kiev there is now a gathering belief that he, more than any of the new Arsenal crop, is ready to push for a place in the first-team. Wenger is certainly in no doubt of the contribution he could make. ‘Carlos has everything in his locker,’ said the Frenchman.”

In The Times, Matt Hughes claims Arsenal are a “poor man’s Manchester City.” “While the money from Abu Dhabi enables City to shop at Harrods, where they can indulge in such lavish purchases as Robinho, Arsenal must content themselves with trawling the world’s mini marts, where there are much bigger bargains to be had. Wenger’s record in the area of player development – and willingness to give youth a chance – makes this policy justifiable, though there is also a cost, most notably to clubs who lose players they were planning to build their futures around for relatively little. Other than their latest home-grown hero Jack Wilshere the three outstanding players – Carlos Vela, Fran Merida and Aaron Ramsey – from Arsenal’s magnificent Carling Cup win over Sheffield United were all taken from clubs where they had had little or no opportunity to contribute to the first-team, often for minimal or none-existent compensation. Cardiff City were relatively happy to secure £5million for Ramsey – even if they would have preferred to sell him to Manchester United for a higher sum – but judging by the way he passed the ball on his first appearance at the Emirates Stadium that is looking like a steal.”

David Hytner in the Guardian reports that the fall guy in the Tevez affair is going to be West Ham chief executive Scott Duxbury. “West Ham United’s chief executive Scott Duxbury could lose his job in the fallout from the latest revelations in the Carlos Tevez affair. But the east London club are expected to be spared any further Premier League investigation or charges and make a relative escape in the form of a payment of millions of pounds of additional damages, this time to Sheffield United. The full findings of the independent arbitration panel, chaired by Lord Griffiths and set up following United’s civil action against West Ham, have not yet been made public. Indeed the Premier League is still to view the three-man body’s judgment and does not expect to do so until the end of the week.” (In a seperate article, Hytner details how “West Ham were finally nailed.”)

Jeremy Wilson in the Daily Telegraph also has “a definitive guide to the Carlos Tevez affair.” “When West Ham signed Carlos Tevez two years ago they never would have believed the transfer coup could leave them facing a potential £30m pay-out to Sheffield United. How did the situation get to this point, where do West Ham go from here and how much difference did Tevez really make?”

Gabriele Marcotti (The Times) points out that all Premier League clubs were put at a disadvantage by Carlos Tevez’s move to Upton Park. “Without going into the merit of whether or not Sheffield United are entitled compensation for the whole Tevez/Mascherano/third-party ownership affair, isn’t it a bit twisted that it all boils down to money? If West Ham gained some kind of advantage by fielding two ineligibile player, then surely the ‘victims’ weren’t just Sheffield United but every other Premier League side that had to face Tevez and/or Mascherano.”

Lawrence Donegan (Guardian) also weighs in on the Carlos Tevez affair. “It has been a busy week in the world of sporting arbitration, with McLaren losing its appeal in Paris against Lewis Hamilton’s 25-second penalty for overtaking Kimi Raikkonen at the Belgian grand prix and Sheffield United being vindicated by a ruling from an independent panel that West Ham must pay the Yorkshire club compensation over the Tevez Affair. Those who like to mix professional sport with amateur jurisprudence will be disappointed to note Hamilton has accepted the verdict against him, but no doubt delighted that West Ham are fighting back. The next stop for the London club is, apparently, Lausanne, home of the Court of Arbitration for Sport to appeal against the Tevez ruling, although not before the wise heads at the CAS take care of other business, of which there appears to be plenty.”

Andrew Dillon reports in The Sun: “West Ham have hired legal whizz Maurice Watkins to lead their fight against a £30million payout in the Carlos Tevez affair. The ex-Manchester United director and top solicitor Watkins has signed up after the Hammers sacked their lawyers in the fallout from Monday’s bombshell ruling.”

James Montague in the Guardian features Arkadi Gaydamak in connection with his alleged ownership of Portsmouth. “It emerged that all might not be as it seems at Fratton Park after the Israeli tabloid Yedioth Ahronoth published a list of the assets held by Alexandre’s father, the effervescent Israeli-Russian billionaire Arkadi Gaydamak. Portsmouth were listed as one of his, and not his son’s, concerns. The club and, of course, the family themselves have vehemently denied the allegations, and the Premier League seems satisfied with their explanation. Yet nothing is ever simple when it comes to the Gaydamaks. That sounds a little melodramatic, so let me explain. This is merely the latest in a long line of controversies to surround Arkadi Gaydamak. To start with there is the widely reported French arrest warrant still outstanding for alleged gun running in Angola and tax evasion. But this is only the beginning of the story, one that could end with Gaydamak Snr being elected to one of the most sensitive political posts in the Middle East.

Paul Kelso in the Daily Telegraph reports that “Wembley National Stadium Ltd are close to securing a refinancing deal that will save as much as £3.5 million a year in interest payments and significantly ease the financial burden on the organisation. In an agreement that bucks the recent tightening of credit markets, executives at WNSL and the Football Association have negotiated a deal that will see the term of the outstanding £346 million debt extended from seven years to 15 at a reduced interest rate, thought to be below seven per cent. The Daily Telegraph understands that the deal, negotiated with a consortium of banks led by WestLB and Barclays, two of the original backers of the stadium project, could be completed on Friday, ensuring that WNSL are spared repaying a significant lump sum that, under the terms of their previous agreement, is due on Sept 30.”


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