TSG has a few columns coming up this week: a follow-up on our nickname piece, an update on the Honduras TV situation, a retrospective on the June 6th USA-Honduras qualifier game and more….but I have so many random comments for today that I’d love for our fans to weigh in on.
- Does anyone else think the recent transfer ban actions are a means of slowing down spending in soccer overseas? Just today FIFA president Sepp Blatter said that further scrutiny would occur on 15 recent transfer actions. Far be it from TSG or me to question whether there are transfer irregularities, but the news is somewhat “coincidental” when Real Madrid comes out today and says they are $327M in debt.
- Did anyone else actually enjoy the trash talking, both in the run-up and denouement, of the Manchester Derby? From the antagonizing billboards, to Sir Alex Ferguson’s diatribe against Manchester City just this past Friday, to Mark Hughes’s dressing down of Gary Neville over his injury time goal celebration on Sunday, this has the makings of an even better rivalry. Would you ever hear Yanks skipper Joe Girardi launch into putdown of the Red Sox heading into a series like Ferguson did? No way.
Need more? How about a study here about “the 12th man” on the field for United in stoppage time.
And then Carlos Tevez says Manchester United miss Cristiano Ronaldo. I’ve got news for Tevez though. Ferguson’s teams always start slow with or without Ronaldo. This year, beyond a loss to Burnely, they’re off to a flying start by their measures.
For my part, I thought the trash talk was entertaining and I s0mewhat agree with Hughes over Neville. Neville was once a great player because of his can do attitude and ridiculous work rate, but his skills and fitness have diminished and he needs to act accordingly.
- Where have you gone Michael Carrick? Conspicuously absent on Sunday until the 90th minute, the England international has been relegated to lower table duty by Ferguson since his penalty miss helped along a Burnley win last month. That’s some serious doghouse time. Manchester United really need to drop the Owen Hargreaves waiting period–has a player so injured ever been counted on to come back so highly?
- I can’t help but look at Everton and suggest that what that team needs is a Stu Holden-type flying down the right wing. They’ve got Cahill and Rodwell coming on in the middle. They’ve got a decent striker grouping of Jo (who should really see more pitch time), Saha (finally coming on), Fellaini (soon to be recovered from a nasty virus) and Yakubu (back after an injury spell). Steven Pienaar has not shown me he’s multi dimensional enough to warrant a full 90 minutes and would be better served in the Shaun Wright Phillips and Aaron Lennon roles of yesteryear, coming on when the flanks are tired. Might we make it four Americans on the Bluenosers.
- Some pundits have questioned that Hull City skipper Phil Brown’s job is at stake. With a 3-year contract in place in just August of this year, a lack of talent until recently and his fight to keep the team in the Premiership with that talent, I don’t think you’re going to see Brown go anywhere just yet–so Jozy’s development this year should be safe. You don’t get the greenlight to pursue and complete as many transfers as he has without getting sufficient latitude. Plus, a team like Hull is not going to want to drop money on Brown’s dismissal when they still need to pay for more talent.
- Speaking of Everton and Hull City, the two face off in the Carling Cup on Wednesday. Nice to see more Americans going head to head. Hull City is tanking while Everton are on the ups. Look for Brown to quiet detractors if he pulls off the win at home.