Archive for April, 2010

Jozy Altidore: A Place To Call Home

A few weeks are all that separate Hull City from a move southward to the Championship circuit. Mired in an awful slump that claimed points they should have had–an unbearable beatdown at home by relegation cohort Burnley perhaps the most foul–the Tigers are a mess as are their finances.

TSG bids adieu--sniffle--to the beloved City tiger.

The quandary over where Jozy Altidore plays next season while less messy is not simple either.

From learning to earn a spot, playing at the highest level league in the world and improving his “hold-up ability,” it’s hardly a debate that Altidore gained valuable experience at Hull City and is a better player for it.

Remember, he could have been relegated to Villarreal B team appearances this year.

Here’s what’s known:

• Altidore went to Hull City this year on the lease-with-an-option-to-buy plan. The buy component approximately $6.5M GBP. As the pound has weakened during the dollar this year, at the time that was approximately $10M+ USD and is now closer to $9.75M USD.

• Before Saturday’s Sunderland game, Hull City’s chairman Adam Pearson issued a statement saying two things in reference to his team’s finances:

1) The club is $35M in debt with $25M owed to banks. The other $10M is owed players and agents which makes it difficult to deal with the premium of those lots. Hull also has been the beneficiary of so-called “parachute” payments–in they’ve received further payments from the football association in advance.

2) The club’s “wages” bill is $40M and Pearson is aiming to get that close to $15M in the Championship with relegation a near certainty.

• Villarreal and Jozy’s situation…here’s what I know about the loaner and I welcome further insights from experts:

1) Villarreal purchased the US striker from Red Bull for $10M US.

2) Villarreal look somewhat set up top with the starting duo of American-born Guisseppi Rossi (8 goals on the campaign) and Brazilian national and up-and-comer Nilmar (10 goals) backed by 30-year-old Joseba Llorente, who has produced 7 goals in 25 appearances and is also signed to Villarreal thru 2012. Llorente is the holding striker among the three.

Young Argentine Marco Ruben rounds out the front four.

If you remember from Jozy’s brief time at Villarreal his appearances were usually in relief of Llorente who is still a contributor as a back-up.

3) Because of JZA’s Haitian ancestry and due to the Kolpak ruling, Altidore does not count as a non-EU player–La Liga allows three per team. (Altidore has a work permit in the UK through 2010.)

4) Villarreal has only transferred out players to another La Liga squad or the Premiership over the past 2.5 years. The Castellón-based club has not sent a player to any other league.

Okay, so we’ve got the boring facts out of the way. What is TSG’s take?

Will JZA regret his last appearance in the Hull City kit?

First, let’s not expect Altidore to head back to Hull City. (Odds? 1000 to 1)

Hull is going to need and want a striker that can produce for a quick return to the Premiership–Jozy’s not that guy–he still needs work.

Even if they did want Altidore, Hull City can’t afford him on their target budget given the transfer fee.

Finally here, say Hull wanted to buy Altidore and then loan him out for year with the hope they’d return to top level soccer and bring back the American, it’s a risky gambit….for Hull. The club would need to foot that bill and then do the hard work of loaning out Jozy and negotiating on the fee from a position of weakness–all teams would know they couldn’t possibly afford Big Jeezy for the full year.

Continue reading

Jozy Makes Statement On Red Card Affair

Altidore Hutton handbags

Update: Jozy issues an apology via Twitter.

I’m so sorry about yesterday. Made a stupid, immature and costly mistake. I apologize to hull city and the fans who I let down. I let my emotions get the best of me and lost my composure. Believe it or not this year playing for hull was to date the best trip I’ve ever been on.

——

Altidore sent off in the 1st half in Hull’s must-win 1-0 loss against Sunderland.

Our thoughts at TSG: Reserved. Didn’t watch the game so I don’t know the lead-up to the incident shown below.

Here’s what I do know. You’ve got to keep your cool, but from time-to-time blow-ups happen (see Drogba, Didier). Excusable by Altidore, no. We’ll invoke our TSG motto on this one: “You can’t look at observations in isolation, you need to evaluate the whole body of work.”

To read further into it, or make a statement on Jozy’s entire body of work at Hull is probably too severe. A few weeks ago we issued this column, largely in admiration of the last year for Altidore. There have been blemishes and this incident is another that calls into question Jozy’s maturity. At 20-years-old, he is what he is and he’s going to need to improve his maturity in lockstep with his ability to become a better player.

Classy move by City fans towards the end as they rained down ‘This is the best trip I’ve ever been on” which Phil Brown sung when Hull staved off elimination last year.

A little bit on how the Hull fans saw the incident.

How Sunderland fans saw it.

The Weekend…

Update:

• Jozy chucked at the KC (along with Allan Hutton of Sunderland) Hutton through the ball; Altidore a tirade.

• A goal for Jonathan Spector! An OG that is….West Ham message boards are going to go Christmas tree over that.

Apologies folks. Duty called today and TSG had to travel to NYC–you know investors and such.

Did I make the right decision? Yup!

I’ve got two op-ed pieces for you next week now…just not finished yet.

Games I will be trying to catch this weekend:

• Arsenal – Manchester City

• Tottenham – Manchester United

• Everton – Fulham

• Columbus – Real Salt Lake

More to follow by Sunday….

United, They Stand: 3-1 Over Spurs

Just some quick comments on this game which I watched in its entirety:

One of the best players on the pitch today and you barely noticed it.

• The loss in this one goes to Harry Rednapp and the Spurs fitness trainer. Hotspur played rather evenly through say about 65 mins, after that both Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Wilson Palacios tired immensely. The impact we’ll discuss…

Harry for his part failed to recognize his side was tiring, brough in Aaron Lennon, but failed to get him the ball. Didn’t realize that Bale was gassed leading to Nani’s second and decisive goal. Bringing on Crouch was an excellent move, but…

• With Modric tiring, Tom “Heavyweight” Huddlestone was moved further up the pitch. Crouch must have laid off about 5 potential goals to the big man (not his fault, not his skillset) who needed to take one touch then a shot. That’s a role that Modric would have been much better in…where was Modric? Still jogging up the pitch. Blame to Harry on that one…you bring in Crouch, but fail to complement his service layoff.

• Gareth Bale is looking like a star now on the west side for Tottenham. Continuously challenging both middies and wingbacks alike.  Good move by Ferguson to move Fletcher back there and take off a very confused Rafael who was guilty of leaving the post on Ledley King’s single score for Hotspur.

However, Gale was gassed to and Manchester United kept finding space behind him. Better move by Rednapp, not sure, but he needed to do something.

• Best goalie in the Premiership not going to South Africa? Edwin Van Der Saar–his impact on the game should not be denied. Continuously moved his defenders around and was–something I’d like to more out of Howard (remember, I am a fan)–calm in his leadership.

A few other things that Van Der Saar did that oozed class. Moving the ball around when Man United had an advantage or were getting beat on a site. Beat, he went the other way. Advantage, kept distributing. Finally, on balls played back to Van Der Saar the elder keeper–who wears a fanny pack on his days off–rushed out to meet them giving him multiple options and time to make the right pass. Impressive day from the Dutchman that should not go unnoticed.

• Nani, expressing himself in Rooney’s absence. Did Sir Alex’s threat to send him somewhere in the middle of nowhere during the Januury transfer window awaken the Portugese winger? Looks so.

• Finally, John O’Shea was brought in and given the chore of quieting Aaron Lennon. O’Shea got beat and issued fouls on the not-100% Lennon in one-to-one combat. Did Bob Bradley take note today that Carlos Bocanegra is  an O’Shea clone, but also a drop slower. Hope so.

MLS: Rowdy Friends & Thursday Night

All my rowdy friends are here on Thursday night.

HP: Mighty big TSG spotlight on you tonight, fella...

I’m really starting to like these primetime MLS games on Thursday nights.

How about you?

I’m also as excited as when I grew up with the Monday docket of MacGyver at 8pm and Monday Night Football at 9pm on the East Coast and had IBM’s You Make the Call as the first commercial in the 1st quarter.

Tonight, Sounders again okay primetime, this time against FC Dallas. A few questions on this:

• What’s wrong with this juxtaposition: Seattle has trouble scoring and Fredy Montero is rumored to be headed to CSKA Moscow. Closing the book on that one…wait…you know half these rumors are just agents out there trying to drum up demand. I can see this one as Fredy’s agent saying, “Okay who’s really far away that no else will be able to get a hold of?”

• Good test here for Heath Pearce. Can he shut down Freddie Ljundberg, but also get ahead in the attack?

I feel I might have, let’s say, put-off a few of you with opining on my love of the current style of play from the Los Angeles Galaxy. I’m not ready to choose a team; not sure if I ever will. I do know that this season MLS because of the TV production, improved quality of play and the forthcoming World Cup has been more watchable for me than ever before.

I’m going to need something to get me into MLS and I’ll have a column on what it is shortly.

The Beautiful Dunk

Kind of cool to see this coming out of a high school dunk competition in the midwest. I would have imagined Steve Nash doing this first but either way, great pass and great finish!

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