Category Archives: What's he up to?

Managers; Burnley, Bolton and the Old Lady

A subject close to my heart is that of managers. Every aspect of a manager fascinates me; what makes them take a job, what makes them leave a job, what makes a Chairman sack a manager, what makes a Chairman hire a manager and obviously all of the training, tactical and player relationship issues.

The points I want to make tonight involve the employment of managers. Owen Coyle has recently crossed over to Bolton. I have to say that this could be a huge mistake as the realistic failure far outweighs the realistic success. Bolton may have fantastic facilities (training ground, academy, ground etc) but there is not a lot of money available for transfers, compared to those Coyle expects to be challenging. Bolton are very likely to be 10th at a maximum because other teams have just got a lot better.

However, it is very possible that they will go down. So far there have been no clean sheets and a lack of goals. Any team in the relegation zone is a bad run from being a drift and Coyle has an unquestionably tough job. His stock would have risen more at Burnley by staying up that it will at Bolton by being 10th.

On Burnley, congratulations to Barry Kilby, Burnley Chairman. He has looked at the situation and will look to appoint experienced Championship managers. The thinking is great; either Burnley stay up and they’ll have a manager that is unlikely to jump ship immediately or Burnley go down and there is an experienced man to get them back up at the first attempt.

Finally, and touching on a subject which really gets my goat; massive clubs appointing young managers. Ciro Ferrara is on the cusp of losing his job at Juventus because they are third and on a bad run of form. The honeymoon period for him is over and he is struggling to turn it around. Why? Because he is inexperienced – it’s not his fault. Managers need to learn the ropes at a team that doesn’t have grandiose expectations and then move into a large club. Pep Guardiola has been the exception to the rule but then he has / had Messi, Henry, Eto’o, Inista, Xaxi to call on…I’d be able to win most of the games.


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Roy Carroll and why he is just as bad

Now that the furore surrounding Thierry Henry’s handball against Ireland has calmed down I thought that my thoughts could be finally be heard.

Firstly, I don’t blame Henry. Whether he meant it or not it doesn’t matter. The only moment when Henry would have had the clarity of thought to admit to what he had done, intentionally or not, was after Gallas had peeled off in celebration.

Can we blame Henry for not admitting it? No, of course not. If Ireland had gone on to win (they weren’t winning at the time) then Henry would be hated by his country and teammates alike. The French public forgave Zidane, they wouldn’t forgive Henry.

Henry can regret not speaking up at the time but he had approximately 5 seconds to make the decision. Furthermore, if he does own up it is not a guarantee that the correct decision would be made (see Robbie Fowler penalty versus Arsenal).

Thierry Henry has been called a cheater by a lot of people. I would extend this list to almost every footballer, professional or not. We have all gained a free kick or throw in which we know should have gone the other way. I would immediately throw Roy Carroll into this bracket ( Note the poll on the right of the screen.

Let’s categorise Slaven Bilic in that list (

It could go on.

For this whole shambles I blame FIFA and the referees. How the linesman missed the handball I’ll never know. They should be banned from going to the World Cup as punishment for a calamitous error.

FIFA should have long introduced video technology for the fourth official. The rule in using it should be as follows: “If the fourth official recognises an incident which is conclusive beyond all doubt which the referee and his team have not seen then it is his duty to inform them of the incident in question.”

This denies the fourth official the license to rule on penalty decisions, all of which have an element of doubt, off-sides, unless obviously wrong, or general fouls. However, the Henry incident, the Bilic incident, the Carroll incident, the Rivaldo incident and the Zidane incident would be irradiated without any controversy.

I do not subscribe to the view that it will delay the game due to the melee which always ensues after an ‘incident’; there will always be sufficient time for the odd replay. Also, the argument that the beauty of football is that the same game can be played anywhere and introducing video at the highest level would distort that does not sit well either. Cricket and Rugby have not been harmed by the introduction at the highest level only. Also, the games which have extensive enough video coverage tend to be the ones that matter the most, including play-off games for all leagues and any Cup final.

Now is the time to use the technology at our disposal to remove things which referees can’t see or fail to see.

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Newcastle’s transfer policy

The revelation that Newcastle signed a player based on a YouTube clip is not as outstanding as people are making out.


I remember hearing that the late Sir Bobby Robson signed Carl Cort for Newcastle by mistake. If I recall he had been after Jason Euell but a case of mistaken identity caused Cort to sign. Also, I have the long held belief that Walter Smith signed Ibrahima Bakayoko ( for Everton because he was by far the best player on Championship Manager 2.


This behaviour from Newcastle isn’t new. What is disturbing is that the reason behind the move was that Dennis Wise wanted to keep two agents happy. A question of priorities arise; do you want to keep agents or managers happy? Let’s hope that Newcastle get the next Messi from these agents otherwise all would be in vein.

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Well done FIFA

I don’t like FIFA for a number of reasons, most of which will become evident throughout the season.


I don’t like Sepp Blater for a number of reasons, including but not exclusive to the fact that he is the head of FIFA.


However, I must stand up and applaud them for the stance they have taken against Chelsea and FC Sion (it’s not just Chelsea being victimised). If Chelsea are found guilty of tapping up a sixteen year old and inducing him to break his contract is simply awful. They would be using their influence to make an impressionable young man do something he is now going to regret for the rest of his life.


Michel Plantini has been on the war path about ‘big’ clubs signing young players, some as young as twelve. I agree with him to a certain extent but I do recognise that those skilled people who are developing in their education (both football and traditional) need the best teaching. If Arsenal, for example, can give a promising player better facilities, support and coaching than Crystal Palace, for example, isn’t the child allowed to study with Arsenal if he and his parents choose?


I agree far more strongly with Plantini in that young players should not be allowed to move to a different country until they are at least eighteen. Although Fabregas moved to Arsenal when he was sixteen (or maybe younger) he is success story. How many players come over and fail?


FIFA have done the right thing in banning Chelsea from registering any new players for two transfer windows. If their action deters ‘big’ clubs from trying to sign gifted young players on the cheap then that can only be good for smaller football clubs. Ironically if Chelsea had have negotiated with Lens then I’m sure an agreement could have been made for the player to learn at Chelsea and play for a period with Lens as part of his education, helping both clubs.

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Will Chelsea survive ‘Kakuta’?

To turn a popular advertising slogan around – “was he worth it?”


That will be the question Roman Abramovich is asking Bruce Buck, Frank Arnesen and Peter Kenyon. I’m sure this is not news to most readers but Chelsea have been banned from registering any new players in either of the following two transfer windows, i.e. 1st Jan – 31st Jan and 1st July – 31st August 2010.


It is arguable as to whether they need any new players. Chelsea have started the season incredibly well and are many peoples favourite for the title this year. Furthermore, this is the team that were the only ones capable of stopping Barcelona last season and are serious contenders for the Champions League.


The problems for Chelsea will arise when players who are not getting regular first team football (Alex, Kalou, Joe Cole (?), Deco, Ferreria) want to leave in order to find that regular starting spot. It has become almost customary to let a player leave if he wants and examples have been seen in the most recent transfer window (Ronaldo, Michael Turner, Alonso). Chelsea no longer have that luxury as they can not replace the want away player.


Only time will tell how the squad will be affected by the lack of incoming players. I suggest that if they can continue their good form and stay injury free then everything should be fine. If, however, Ancelotti starts ‘doing a Scolari’ then it could be very difficult to motivate those who desperately want to win more trophies before their careers end. If they see Chelsea as standing still then will they stay? Doubt it.

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