The grass is not always greener on the other side …..

The grass is not always greener on the other side …..

If there is one thing I know, then it is when someone is blowing smoke to create the perception that everything is OK , more to the point, blowing it up my ass ! Clearly , that has been the point concerning the antics of the Philadelphia 76ers and the ownership group led by venture capitalist Joshua Harris , who also just happens to be the owner of the NHL’s , New Jersey Devils . As many of you might now be aware, the Sixers’ equaled a league record , in reeling off twenty-six consecutive losses , which just happens to be franchise and league record. An ignominious feat for a once proud franchise , that produced such great players as Wilt Chamberlain , Julius Erving , Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson .

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Inasmuch , as with each season , the common thought is that all of the NBA’s teams are in with an equal chance of making the postseason , in reality, with only eight berths up grabs within each conference, the chance of being amongst those contenders is not assured as some might think. The level of competition also , in particular within the Eastern Conference , where the Philadelphia 76ers are domiciled, , has been a boon to the game of basketball , that is in a dire state of disrepair.

Coming into the season, the Sixers had a threadbare team with very little experience on the roster , beyond that of Thaddeus Young , James Anderson , Byron Mullens and Jason Richardson . Then throw in the fact that head coach Brett Brown is a rookie coach , along with a very inexperienced roster of coaching assistants and you simply have a natural recipe for a ready-made disaster.

Joshua Harris , who made his considerable wealth as venture capitalist , founding the firm , Apollo Global Management , where risks are taken , with start-up companies or the way he seeks to buyout under-performing companies and then either seeks to turn them around , break or split them up , selling off discarded pieces , or where possible , seeking to use such deals to enable a tax write-off and an inevitable gain for the company. If, this is Harris’ intent, with regard to the Sixers’ franchise without making the die-hard fans aware of his intent. Then, he is certainly going about the right way in alienating those loyal fans , as well as, creating an atmosphere and discontent amongst the fan base and thereby bringing about a great deal of unrest . .

It is certainly hard to envisage, how anyone can take any positives out of a season, where a team with a 16-57 record within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference , can be seen as a competitive franchise. There has been absolutely no leadership from the seasoned veterans on the roster and even with the somewhat refreshing play of Michael Carter-Williams and to a lesser extent Nerlens Noel , there are no signs that the Sixers will be viewed as competitive force. Rookie head coach, Brett Brown , was thrown in at the deep end along with an equally inexperienced coaching staff , that was meant to assist with regard to this season. I may well be mistaken, but there also seems to be a great deal of stupidity amongst some fans, who see the travails of the 76ers as a way to aid them in the future , especially as far as attaining a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Granted , with the NCAA Tournament still ongoing , but with a number of players now declaring their eligibility , the varying consensus would appear to be that beyond Jabari Parker , Andrew Wiggins , Shabazz Napier , Doug McDermott and should he declare his eligibility , Scottie Wilbekin of the Florida Gators , whom, if he leads the program to their third national title in the last ten years , he is likely to be the most sought after player in this draft.

Sixers’ GM Stan Hinkie has not seen fit to give any type of explanation, as to his decisions as it relates to the player personnel moves , since he assumed his position , but given his relative inexperience , I cannot see how anyone can believe, that because he is prepared to gamble on a sense and premise, that the team is likely to get blue-chip player from this lottery , it well set the franchise on the right path. Someone should remind him, the coaching staff over this past season, has shown little , if any type of coaching ingenuity and for that, a great deal of the blame has to be placed upon the general manager’s naïve and conceited shoulders.

Coming off a moral boosting twenty-five points win over the equally abysmal Detroit Pistons at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , on Saturday night, the Sixers’ next scheduled contest will be on Monday night , when they are the guests of the Atlanta Hawks at the Philips Arena in Atlanta , Georgia,. With a mere nine games left on their schedule, we should be able to tell a great deal about the mindset of the Philadelphia 76ers and not this idiocy of them being deemed a team, much less a credible NBA franchise. Nothing, about the way that they have conducted themselves would indicate that, and the lack of candor from the front office , is a clear indication of the continued disdain shown for the fans over the course of the season. Doubt my words, then look for any for an indication by or from either Joshua Harris or Stan Hinkie, as to their motives and then ask yourself why it is , that they have remained silent, while subjecting the fans to a monstrosity of a totally and noncommittal season from the playing staff and organization as a whole ?

I have always found it fascinating to listen to the idiocy of some , who try to give an explanation about their local teams , when they in actuality, have no damn idea, what they are said to be talking about . Case in point, here in the local Tampa Bay area sports’ market , the MLB franchise is a profitable one , but in large part that would not be the case , unless they were not propped up by the aid given, by way of the MLB tax revenue sharing scheme , but yet for some reason, the clueless fans and the local print and television media tend to spin the myth, that through the ingenuity shown by the franchise’s front office , that has been the case for a considerable period of time. Tends to be the way, when those seeking to proffer up the knowledge would rather not spend the time to use any due diligence in coming up with the correct information concerning the Tampa Bay Rays’ financial means and stability.

This season for the Rays will be , make or break, because one more season of missed opportunities and in all likelihood , GM Andrew Friedman will have to gut the roster once again , as a face-saving exercise. It becomes the same old story , season in and season out , concerning the Rays and there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel at all , and that also pertains to the ongoing saga of the franchise’s stadium issue. This may well be the last year in which Bud Selig remains the MLB Commissioner and the idiotic article written by USA Today’s …. Christine Brennan , praising the league’s highest-ranking executive , paints a picture of someone, who at every turn, has been able to handle any problem , that the league has faced with a great deal of intellect and ingenuity . Now, I was not expecting a hatchet job to be done on the commissioner , but at the same time , the article on Selig, was simply not objective enough , nor did it seek to show his flaws or the numerous miscues, that he has made during his tenure . Unfortunately, this is now the price one has to pay, if you take the print media seriously , as they still believe themselves to be paragons of virtue , while seeking out the truth. To my mind , that is simply a crock of bull#hit , with this article by Brennan having as much merit to it , as a piece of plagiarism written by the infamous Jayson Blair !

The Glazer family, it can be said, in owning two professional sports’ franchises, may well have had one of their worst years on record , One of the franchises owned , the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , simply stunk up the joint within the NFL and once again their less than intelligent fans , were making excuses as to the woes of the team , when it was simply clear for all to see that head coach Greg Schiano lacked even less discipline than his entire playing roster. So much so , that at varying points during the Buccaneers’ season , you had to wonder which of the two entities were said to be the more incompetent. Was it the players on the field of play or Schiano and his entire coaching staff ?

A 4-12 season, has a way of bringing an organization back down to earth and giving you a clear indication of who and what they are and that was clearly the case with the Buccaneers . The franchise entered the off-season , dismissing Greg Schiano and not extending the contract of GM Mark Dominik . Replacing the former head coach is a face well-known to Buccaneers’ fans with Lovie Smith now succeeding his predecessor and Jason Licht brought in to head the front office as the new general manager. Smith and Licht, have been quick to start their era with some bold moves with regard to players they thought to be superfluous to the team’s needs, as they seek to get under salary cap and in preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft . Where the Buccaneers now go from here, will come down to the decisions made by the new head coach and that of the general manager, with Glazer family finally being aware and in tow with what is actually going on around them, not that they were over the course of the entire NFL season .

Joel Glazer , alongside siblings Avram , Edward and Bryan Glazer , have been entrusted by patriarch Malcolm Glazer to exercise due diligence in the running of English Premiership League (EPL) soccer team Manchester United and to ensure that the continued success of the soccer club is ongoing . With the stepping down of soccer’s most successful manager in Alex Ferguson , who as manager of the soccer club won just about every domestic trophy possible in English domestic soccer, as well as most prized trophy in club soccer, the UEFA Champions League Trophy . Ferguson’s successor, David Moyes , was thought to be the person best suited to succeed the most successful manager in English soccer history.

One of the issues that was never addressed and should have been by the board of directors of Manchester United, was to have allowed Ferguson some latitude , but not be totally reliant upon his counsel as to who his successor should have been . Unfortunately, with success comes power and Alex Ferguson was able to wield a great deal of it , even after having stepped down as the manager . At the same time , fearful of the fact, that fans still remained entirely unhappy in the way the family was able to purchase the club for almost $2 billion, without having to use any of their own money, but instead , using the club as collateral , they leveraged team and its assets, therein increasing its debt, while being given access to some $300 million in liquid assets (cash) , which was never used at the time, to bolster the team’s roster. Such were the vagaries of the takeover in which the existing shareholders walked away entirely happy cash-rich and several major financial institutions were now left to ponder , the next move of the Glazer family, as the owners of soccer’s most famous club in the world . They held the debt, but the club had now become Joel and Avram Glazer’s own personal bauble to do with as they pleased , within certain parameters off-course .

Nine years after the team’s purchase by the Glazer family in 2005 , and here we are , now in 2014 and all of the success attained in between then and now , will be for nothing, in terms of a domestic league title . The team fell by the wayside in the FA Cup , fell apart in the League Cup (Carling) and they are languishing , completely out of contention for the Premiership title , which guarantees qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League and the lucrative cash windfall that comes out of that particular European club competition .

The only saving grace for David Moyes at present, just happens to be the fact that he has led the team to the quarter-finals of this season’s UEFA Champions League competition where the team has been drawn against Bayern Munich of Germany, and where the first-leg of the two game aggregate contest, will be on the 1st April , 2014 being played at Old Trafford in Manchester, England , Anything short of a victory and the ire of the fans will continue, as there are already calls for Moyes’ dismissal, after his failure in each of the domestic competitions in England. With those mountings calls of discontent from the game’s most passionate fans , have come for the call for the Glazer family to actually sell the team , rather than their continued incompetence at various levels within the organization, from the boardroom on down. From the very beginning , it was very clear, that when the team was bought, Malcolm Glazer was truly out of his depth and the alleged acumen that his sons are said to have, in running a commercial concern , was not evident when it came to running this particular soccer team.

All of the familial incompetency had already been on show, as it related their continued idiocy, when it came to the Buccaneers and it was simply transferred across the Atlantic , where it was continued., , concerning how they sought to change the inner workings of Manchester United which was already successful, even profitable , and valuable concern . Leveraging the club and placing it with so much debt and then having to twice renegotiate with the financiers , again shows that Joel Glazer’s business acumen is not as astute as was first being claimed by a multitude of individuals within the Bay area and within the NFL fraternity. United has managed to lessen its debt obligation , but it may well be in for something of a scramble , if it is not able to fully meet the criteria set by UEFA for the 2015 season, wherein, teams qualifying their sanctioned competitions cannot carry debt totaling more thirty per-cent of their book value. Get the feeling the Glazers are not as smart, as some claim them to be?

In recent weeks there have rumors, highlighting even more discontent concerning malaise within the Manchester United organization , with evidence that former player David Beckham and several of his teammates from the 1992 side will lead a consortium backed by a wealthy Arab family providing the financing for the takeover of United , with Beckham , Ryan Giggs , Gary and Phil Neville fronting the consortium, with each of the players holding a stake in the team.

David Beckham , however, in partnership with business partner and manager, Simon Fuller and billionaire Mauricio Claure are busy in trying to get an MLS franchise off the ground in Miami in time for the 2017 season , but first, an agreement must be hammered out with regard to the building of a 40,000 seat venue in the downtown Miami area, with negotiations set to begin with the city of Miami. The blight that has already hit the city economically and they have yet to learn anything from their stupidity, in acquiescing to the whims of Bud Selig and Miami Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria in building the Miami Marlins’ Ballpark that has yet to be filled to capacity for a ball-game ever since its opening during the 2012 MLB season . Beckham and his partners, may well fare a great deal better, than Loria , given the demographics within the greater Miami area and the passion for soccer. On the flip side of the coin, baseball struggles to attract fans within the state of Florida, amongst the two professional Major League franchises and barely have decent attendances for their home games during the regular season. Spring Training is one thing, but during the regular season, one would expect a great deal more out of the fans of the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays, rather than the continued excuses.

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Picture gallery .

Are you of the belief, that the actions of Philadelphia 76ers’ owner Joshua Harris can be justified even when there is no actual guarantee of future success based on his apparent intent ? Also given the lack of success by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 2003 , where do you believe that the blame lies for their failure, subsequent to that Superbowl triumph ? Out of their depth or not, should the Glazers now look for a buyer of their soccer team , where in all likelihood they would be able to sell Manchester United and make a tidy profit after sundry expenses ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always, for your continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow details below.
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(1) PHILADELPHIA – MAY 14 : Managing Owner Josh Harris ,left, of the Philadelphia 76ers introduces Sam Hinkie as President of Basketball Operations and General Manager during a press conference on May 14, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Copyright 2013 NBAE — Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images …

(2) An emotional Allen Iverson addresses the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , on the night that his number three jersey was retired by the franchise . Iverson began his career with the franchise having been drafted out of Georgetown University by the 76ers as the number one overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft . AP Photo / Denny Rogers …..

(3) Sixers’ teammates Nerlens Noel, left , seen here with Michael Carter-Williams , are seen as two of the main pieces that GM Sam Hinkie would like to build a team around . Both players have been moderately successful on what has been a thoroughly disappointing season , for the franchise which sees them languishing at the bottom of their division , as well having the ignominy of equaling a league record for mediocrity having lost twenty-six consecutive games during their regular season schedule. For rookie head coach , Brett Brown and his staff , it truly has been a difficult year, with very little progress being made on-court. USA Today/ Eric Hartline …..

(4) Avram, Bryan and Joel Glazer, pictured at Old Trafford in 2008, say they are not interested in selling Manchester United. However, if the rumors are to be believed the family are prepared to relinquish their ties to Manchester United if the right offer is made , that figure is thought to be in excess of $ 3.75 billion . Photograph: Mike Egerton/Empics Sport/PA …

(5) Newly installed Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach Lovie Smith ,left is seen here with GM Jason Licht after the two were introduced to the convened press , with both replacing dismissed former employees Greg Schiano, Smith’s predecessor and Mark Dominik , who prior had been the Buccaneers’ former general manager. After a 4-12 season , Smith will seek to resurrect the fortunes of the NFC South based franchise , which has not made the postseason since 2007. During the off-season both the head coach and general manager have already began to make moves with the discarding of Darrelle Revis who has since been signed by the New England Patriots . It has but one of several moves engineered to make the team more cap friendly as they also prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft . AP Photo / Mike Patterson ….

(6) Former managerial adversaries , but now both on the same side. Seen here are Sir Alex Ferguson , left, himself the most successful manager in British soccer history , having won major trophies with SPL team Aberdeen before becoming the manager of Manchester United and leading the club to the most successful era in their history , winning in excess of thirty major trophies . Ferguson stepped down from his position , but not before his own personal recommendation to the Board of Directors that his successor should be David Moyes , pictured here . An indifferent season for Manchester United sees them languishing currently in seventh place in the English Premiership League (EPL) some seventeen points behind league leaders Liverpool FC (71 pts) with only six games remaining to their regular season schedule . The lone trophy that the team is now contention for , remains the UEFA Champions League , where they meet Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga in the first leg of a two-leg quarter-final , where the winner advances to the semi-finals of the most important European club competition . Getty Images Europe/ Arthur James ….

(7) Bolivian billionaire , Marcelo Claure and founder & CEO of Brightstar is seen here with soccer star David Beckham at a Miami Heat game at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida ., The two have partnered up entertainment mogul Simon Fuller , creator of American Idol and CEO of XIX Entertainment the holding company for Fuller’s business properties . The trio bid an astonishingly low asking price of $50 million for the MLS Miami franchise which is due to become operational during the 2017 season . Don Garber , MLS Chairman , who was pressed on the issue as to why the rights’ fee for the franchise, was so considerably low , when the New York franchisee was asked to pay in excess of $125 million , stated that as part of Beckham’s original contract, when he joined the MLS as a player with the Los (LA) Angeles Galaxy , wherein, a codicil was added to his contract giving him the right to operate a franchise with a predetermined fee . The consortium is now in discussion with the city of Miami with regard to the building of a 40,000 seat venue in the downtown Miami area but there also signs that the consortium would be open to site close to the Port of Miami close to the current home of Miami Heat , NBA franchise . Miami Herald / Jose Garcia ………

(8) Former teammates and close friends , David Beckham is seen here with Ryan Giggs. The duo tasted unprecedented success as players with Manchester United having won every domestic trophy together as players and then triumphed also when club won the UEFA Champions League Trophy for the first time since it was one for the first time under the late Sir Matt Busby as the Champions League precursor (European Cup) in 1968. The two are rumored to be part of a consortium made of up several members of the 1992 Manchester United team that are said to be interested in purchasing the soccer club , in which they would be backed by wealthy Arab family , whose name has yet to be disclosed . Weary of his name being attached this deal , David Beckham has neither confirmed or denied that such a proposal , as having been discussed . Yet , unconfirmed sources , have stated that Giggs and his friend, have repeatedly discussed the situation in the past several months , with now a number of teammates coming on-board , to be part of such a deal . At the same time, a number of major English newspapers are now headlining many of their back page,s with the assertion that beleaguered manager David Moyes is likely to be fired at the end of the season campaign, based on his failure during the domestic season , notwithstanding the fact of his guiding United to the quarter-final stages of the UEFA Champions League. Speculation has continued to rise that, Ryan Giggs would be the suitable successor to Moyes , having played his entire twenty-year career with the team, where he is well-respected by current teammates and beloved by the fans at Old Trafford , home ground of the Premiership’s most widely respected team. Guardian UK / Ian Ogletree ………..

(9) Simon Fuller , left, is seen here with close friend , business partner David Beckham and his wife Victoria ‘Posh Spice’ Beckham , singer and fashion designer . Fuller also happens to be the manager of both celebrities , advising them on a wide variety of issues , as it relates to their respective images and ongoing careers. Getty Images / Alicia Markham …

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Manchester United Premiership position , in seventh place with 54 points having played thirty-two of their scheduled thirty-eight games .

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What’s New In The English Premiership ?

While the whole world seems to be aghast and ablaze with the ongoing and neverending Tiger Woods’ saga. The Premiership of the English soccer league continues unabated. The fact that Tigers’ English legal representatives have sought an injunction to stop certain pictures and stories being printed or broadcast by the media in the UK has become so asinine. That as of now it’ll be only a matter of time anyway, before the ensuing communiques find themselves on over internet. But this piece isn’t about lambasting Tiger Woods, to begin with. Any wounds that have come to the fore have been self inflicted by the golfer,himself.

Samir  Nasri (left) of Arsenal   battles   Lucas  (right)   of  Liverpool   for the  loose ball   during  a  Premiership  game  .   Arsenal   would  go on  to  defeat   Liverpool   2-1  in  the Premiership game  played this past  weekend at  Anfield  , Liverpool   ,  Merseyside.    picture  appears  courtesy  of premierleague.com/   Will  Russell   ....................

Samir Nasri (left) of Arsenal battles Lucas (right) of Liverpool for the loose ball during a Premiership game played at Anfield , Liverpool , Merseyside. Arsenal would go on to defeat Liverpool 2-1 in the Premiership game played this past weekend. picture appears courtesy of premierleague.com/ Will Russell ……..

The Premiership remains on the face of it a tight ‘three horse race’ between Arsenal , Chelsea and Manchester United. Chelsea now sits atop of the league with 37 points, with Man Utd , three points adrift and with Arsenal a further three points adrift of second placed Manchester United. A tighter race the fans and pundits at this moment in time could not have wished for. And while each of the triumvirate has domestic honors’ ambitions. Their thoughts also spring to their European ascension and the gifts that a Champions League trophy win also brings for their respective clubs.

Denilson  of  Arsenal  comeptes  with  Yossi Benayoun  of   Liverpool   .
Denilson of Arsenal competes with Yossi Benayoun of Liverpool . picture appears courtesy of premierleague.com / Will Russell .............

With each of the top three teams having their minor slip ups as of late in terms of results within the Premiership. It gives credence to the fact that a well thought out plan for the arduous domestic season has to be put in place. And the top priority is to have a fully fit roster of players that are playing at their very best. Consistency has always and will always remain the key to winning a domestic title. Making one’s own luck does play a part but nowhere as much as maintaining that level of consistency of play throughout the Premiership schedule. That if anything has been the thing that has befallen a number of teams who in the end fail in their quest to lift the Premiership trophy. It also has to do with the mindset of the team , from the coaches on down to the players themselves. And if they’re not all on the same page. Then more often than not they tend to be doomed for failure. Therein, lies behind the successful quests of Chelsea , Manchester United and Arsenal in recent years. The three teams between them have essentially shared the honors of winning this specific domestic trophy every year for the last decade plus ,with the exception of the 1994-95 season,when Blackburn Rovers were crowned champions. Since then, it has been about the three giants of the domestic soccer in England. And their eager battle for supremacy within the Premiership.

Steven Warnock (15) of  Aston  Villa  tackles  Antonio  Valencia (21) of   Manchester   United .  In   the  background  is  Valencia's  teammate   Wayne   Rooney.     Villa   would go on  to defeat    United   1-0.     picture   appears  courtesy  of   premierleague.com/  Ashley    Morgan ..................
Steven Warnock (15) of Aston Villa tackles Antonio Valencia (21) of Manchester United . In the background is Valencia's teammate Wayne Rooney. Villa would go on to defeat United 1-0. picture appears courtesy of premierleague.com/ Ashley Morgan ..................

As I alluded to earlier , the Premiership has in essence become a three horse race. And it remains highly unlikely that the winner of the Premiership would come from outside of either Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United. There would have to be a monumental slip up of enormous proportions were the likes of Aston Villa , Tottenham or Manchester City to prevail in that advent. And it’s unlikely that we’re liable to see that happen despite the inconsistencies of the three top placed teams within the division.

Of the three teams at present who are in the apparent driving seat. It would appear that Chelsea has been playing the best overall. Their last 6 games seem to bear this out as they’ve garnered 13 out of a possible 18 points , having won four of six with one loss and a draw to show from that tally. Arsenal for their part has suffered two losses over that spell ,garnering 12 points. And Manchester United has also borne the brunt of two losses over that spell , while winning four of their last six games. All things being equal , each of the triumvirate has had their ups and their downs over that spell.

Courtesy of Premier League.com and BBC

Humble Giggs stunned by award

Ryan Giggs was so surprised to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, he had no speech prepared.

This was typical of one of football’s most humble and unassuming characters. The 36-year-old looked genuinely taken aback, as if he didn’t even consider the prospect of beating the favourite, Formula One champion Jenson Button.

“This is a big shock,” admitted the Manchester United winger in front of 11,000 people at the Sheffield Arena. “I’d like to thank the BBC for putting on a brilliant night and to thank everyone who voted for me.
“Honestly, this feels unbelievable. I’ve been lucky enough to win a lot of things in my career, playing with great players, playing for the greatest manager that’s ever lived, and playing for the greatest club.

“I grew up watching the Sports Personality programme and to join the greats who have won it is unbelievable. A huge thank you again to everyone.”
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Click on the above link to read this article in its entirety
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Ryan  Giggs of  Manchester  United   holds  aloft his  trophy  signalling his winning  of  the  BBC Sports  Personality  of  The  Year  Award  for  2009.   The  award  is   voted on  by the   fans  and   panel  presided   over   by   sports   journalists of  the  BBC.   picture  appears  courtesy  of   bbc.co.uk/  Angus  Howard ................
Ryan Giggs of Manchester United holds aloft his trophy signalling his winning of the BBC Sports Personality of The Year Award for 2009. The award is voted on by the fans and panel presided over by sports journalists of the BBC. picture appears courtesy of bbc.co.uk/ Angus Howard ................

The shape and form as to how things will run its course over the remaining domestic schedule will have a great deal to do with the mindset of the teams, that of their respective coaches and the approach that they each take. With the weight of experience being on the side of Manchester United’s manager, Sir Alex Ferguson and his determination. It’ll become a battle of wits between he and Arsenal’s, Arsene Wenger and Chelsea’s ,Carlo Ancelotti. Of the triumvirate , Ancelotti is the only one not to have lifted the Premiership trophy as a winning manager. But don’t be fooled into thinking that he doesn’t possess the ‘know how’ as to what it takes to win. As Ancelotti has indeed won domestic as well European honors, not only as a coach but also as a player. One of but a handful coaches to have done so over the course of their professional careers.

Yakubu  Ayegbeni  of  Everton  is   congratulated   by  teammates  after leveling  the  score at  2-2  against  Chelsea
Yakubu Ayegbeni of Everton is congratulated by teammates after levelling the score at 2-2 against Chelsea. The game between ' The Toffees' and 'The Blues' would end in a 3-3 tie with the points being shared between the two teams. picture appears courtesy of premierleague.com/ Angus Howard ........................

And while many of us may well already have an idea as to where we’d all ultimately like to see the Premiership trophy going. With the season about to reach its midway point and with a great deal still to be played for. It’d would indeed take an extremely capricious individual to predict the likely outcome of such a wager. It’s going to be a battle tooth and nail between all three teams, as to where the Premiership will finally land. The one thing we do however know for certain , is that it will be a long and hard fought drawn out battle between three illustrious coaches and three very talented teams.

Carlo  Ancelotti    , manager  of  Chelsea  FC  of   the English   Premiership  League
Carlo Ancelotti , manager of Chelsea FC of the English Premiership League. picture appears courtesy of dailytelegraphuk.co/ Miles Robertson .................

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Arsene Wenger , coach of Arsenal FC of the English Premiership League seen here on the sidelines of a league game at Emirates Stadium , Highbury , North London. picture appears courtesy of telegraphuk.co/ Niall Sturridge ........................

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Sir Alex Ferguson , coach of Manchester United seen here discussing his managerial career. Ferguson is the most decorated manager in British domestic soccer over his thirty plus years of involvement is British soccer , not only in England but also Scotland as well.

As of now where do you ultimately see the Premiership going ? And which team beyond the ‘main three’ do you see as having the best chance of quite possibly denying Arsenal , Chelsea or Manchester United the chance of winning the Premiership trophy ? I’ll look forward to reading and responding to your individual comments. And as always, thank you for your continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Barclays Premiership Results over the weekend

Saturday 12th December 2009

Stoke City 2-2 Wigan Athletic

Birmingham City 1-0 West Ham Utd

Bolton Wanderers 3-3 Manchester City

Burnley 1-1 Fulham

Chelsea 3-3 Everton

Hull City 0-0 Blackburn Rovers

Sunderland 1-1 Portsmouth

Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Manchester United 0-1 Aston Villa

Sunday 13th December 2009

Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal

Tuesday 15th December 2009
Sunderland v Aston Villa 19:45 Stadium of Light View Match Preview >
Birmingham City v Blackburn Rovers 20:00 St. Andrews Ground View Match Preview >
Bolton Wanderers v West Ham United 20:00 Reebok Stadium View Match Preview >
Manchester United v Wolverhampton Wanderers 20:00 Old Trafford View Match Preview >

Barclays Premiership Table ……….

Pos Name P W D L F A W D L F A GD PTS
1

Chelsea
16 7 1 0 23 4 5 0 3 17 9 +27 37
2

Man Utd
16 6 1 1 16 8 5 0 3 18 6 +20 34
3

Arsenal
15 6 0 1 22 7 4 1 3 18 12 +21 31
4

Aston Villa
16 5 2 1 16 6 3 3 2 10 8 +12 29
5

Tottenham
16 5 0 3 21 8 3 3 2 14 14 +13 27
6

Manchester City
15 4 3 0 16 10 2 5 1 13 11 +8 26

Click here to review the Premiership (EPL) table in its entirety……

English Premiership League (EPL) champions over the last decade.

Year Champions
(number of titles) Runners-up Third place Leading goalscorer Goal

1998–99 Manchester United[7] (12) Arsenal Chelsea Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Leeds United)
Michael Owen (Liverpool)
Dwight Yorke (Manchester United) 18
1999–2000 Manchester United (13) Arsenal Leeds United Kevin Phillips (Sunderland) 30
2000–01 Manchester United (14) Arsenal Liverpool Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Chelsea) 23
2001–02 Arsenal (12) Liverpool Manchester United Thierry Henry (Arsenal) 24
2002–03 Manchester United (15) Arsenal Newcastle United Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United) 25
2003–04 Arsenal[1] (13) Chelsea Manchester United Thierry Henry (Arsenal) 30
2004–05 Chelsea[4] (2) Arsenal Manchester United Thierry Henry (Arsenal) 25
2005–06 Chelsea (3) Manchester United Liverpool Thierry Henry (Arsenal) 27
2006–07 Manchester United (16) Chelsea Liverpool Didier Drogba (Chelsea) 20
2007–08 Manchester United (17) Chelsea Arsenal Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) 31
2008–09 Manchester United [4] (18*) Liverpool Chelsea Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea) 19

Trust Me I’m A Doctor …………It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free !

Trust Me I’m A Doctor …………It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free !

Exuberance or just sheer stupidity on the part of the London Stock Exchange and that of the UK Takeover Panel. It could well be that they’ve not been made fully aware, as to the financial maneuvers of many of the prospective bidders for English Premiership League clubs ? And over the last five years there has been a swath of purchases made by prominent US businessman. Many of them viewed their purchases as a safe investment or just as a way of hiding taxable assets away from the prying eyes of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Disgraced financier Bernie Madoff is seen here arriving at US Federal District Court in Manhattan. Madoff pled guilty and was duly sentenced to 150 years in prison for his Ponzi scheme which is said to have defrauded his clients to the tune of $50 billion ($50,000,000,000).

One hundred and fifty years seems too small a price to pay, considering the financial havoc reaped upon families and financial institutions across the globe. But then again, how is that the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) could be so unaware as to the extent of this massive financial fraud ? Especially when on numerous occasions it had been brought to their attention that something was indeed wrong with many of Madoff’s financial dealings in the markets. But it’s as I’ve always alluded to, when you have no one with any common sense or a comprehensive understanding of the financial market and its vagaries. Then the abuses and fraudulent acts will continue to be commissioned unabated !

Christopher Cox who at the time of the Madoff saga, as well as the Enron escapade , was the Chairman of the SEC.Cox seen here, addressing members of the Senate Banking Committee up on Capitol Hill,Washington D.C. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Martin Pressman ……..

And it certainly hasn’t elicited the public’s trust when you continually hear the excuse behind the SEC’s mishandling of this all came down to the fact that they were under undue pressure just to look at small transactions to see if anything was awry. But what also is even more preposterous is the excuse that they were under staffed. We can spend billions sending rockets into space but we can’t hire several financial accountants and corporate tax attorneys to the benefit ot this one particular government agency to safeguard the public’s financial health and interests ? If that isn’t asinine, then pardon me for saying this,but the SEC is deserving of the ridicule and the attention that it received .

And while I’m for the free movement of capital and the creation of jobs in order to strengthen an economy. What I’m dead set against are the creation of tax shelters and financial maneuverings that take place in order to circumvent the sovereign laws of the land. Time and time again I here many out there complaining about the government raising their taxes. But I hear, not one complaint when the likes of Bernie Madoff, Allen Stanford, Bernie Ebbers or Andrew Fastow and Kenneth Lay. All have essentially wreaked just as much havoc, if not more on the lives of millions of people. All that bellyaching, as if the government are the only fu_king bunch of crooks out there ? When essentially,you’ve got major corporate boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies littered with ne’r do wells and fraudsters up and down the country doing more harm than any apparent good. And it would now appear that many of them are moving out of the boardrooms and unto the playing fields of nation and beyond.

The NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA , NASCAR, MLS and indeed the English Premiership League (EPL) in Britain, have fairly rigorous financial criteria that has to be met before a prospective buyer can purchase a team. Thereafter, once they’ve met that criteria and the board of governors is in agreement with the prospective sale of the team. Then the purchaser essentially becomes the new owner of a sports franchise. And it now becomes in some respects, nothing more than a petty bauble that they’ll show off to their like minded wealthy colleagues and social acquaintances.

In the United Kingdom (UK) , many of the soccer clubs in the Premiership are actually publicly listed companies. And the directors of those clubs have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to safeguard and act in their best interests. Something that’s not always been done by several of the owners in recent memory. And in order for a team that’s publicly listed to be taken over. The prospective bidder for those shares of the team, has to be in compliance with the act of the Takeover Panel. Wherein,upon purchasing 30% of the shares of a club they have to make the panel and the LSE fully aware, as to their intentions.

I bring this particular topic to the foreground , in light of the fact that a number of teams across a widening array of sports now seem to have found themselves in a severe financial crisis. Much of it brought about by themselves and in some cases, it has merely come down to the fact that the world is in an economic downturn. Which will affect how one spends their discretionary disposable income. It has began to hit home for a number of team in all sectors of the sports world. The NBA and many of it franchises face a severe financial crisis. Albeit, that the league’s commissioner, David Stern would have you believe otherwise. And that the health of the game has never been better in terms of its brand and marketing. That may well be all well and good. But the bottom line for many of the franchises of the NBA isn’t as healthy as they once were. Declining revenues by away smaller attendances for game and less money being spent on concessions and memorabilia at their games. And you have something of a ‘perfect storm’ within your midst.

If you thought that the NBA was only the sport where this was happening, then think again. In the case of NASCAR, supposedly the most fan and media friendly sport in North America. Attendance is down across the board by over 8% and the viewership on a year to year basis, has declined in excess of 23 % over the last four years alone. The NBA has had to delve into the capital markets to the tune of $250 million in the last fiscal year in order to ensure the financial well being of several of their franchises. And the extent of the situation is becoming even more acute by the minute.

Uber-agent Scott Boras  , seated left and  perhaps  his most  high profiled   major league client ,  Alex Rodriguez.  Over  the  course  of  his  career  Boras  negotiated  contracts  said  to  be  worth  in  excess  of  $ 4.8 billion .  And  he was at the  center  of the  most  acquisitions made by  the  Yankees in that  of Mark Teixiera  and  A J Burnett ,  two  more of his  clients.   Of the  ten highest  paid  players  in the  game ,  six of those are   clients  of  Scott Boras.     picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Hugh MacIntosh  ..............................................

Uber-agent Scott Boras, seated left and perhaps his most high profiled major league client, Alex Rodriguez. Over the course of his career Boras negotiated contracts said to be worth in excess of $ 4.8 billion. And he was at the center of the most recent acquisitions made by the New York Yankees ,in that of Mark Teixiera and A. J. Burnett, two more of his clients. Of the ten highest paid players in the game , six of those are clients of Scott Boras. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Hugh MacIntosh ………

Bud Selig and Major League Baseball suffer from the misbelief that because the New York Yankees lifted this year’s World Series crown, then the game of baseball happens to be in a healthy state ? What Selig still fails to get , is that the teams in the mid to smaller markets have to scrimp and save every last red cent, merely to make ends meet. Much less survive the ordeal of having to play a 162 game regular season schedule. Hey Bud, So Zach Greinke wins the AL Cy Young Award ? What’s the bet, two years from now he’s gone from the Kansas City Royals ? If not sooner ? Simply put, because of your intransigence and that vulture, Scott Boras. The game of baseball is in a quagmire and in the true sense of the word until you and your hierarchy sits down with the players and resolve the issue concerning the escalating salaries. Then there’ll continue to be distrust amongst the two vested parties. Never mind the fact that the fans of the game can’t trust you or anyone within the MLBPA, to begin with. You keep on blowing smoke up some people’s ass and clearly you and Scott Boras are out of touch with the harsh economic realities of the present. But just you keep on going as you are and you’ll be in for a very rude awakening !

In the UK, where the pre-eminent sport played , is that of soccer. The clubs now are slowly waking up to stark a reality and that essentially applies clubs within the Premiership (EPL). Giants such as Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have suddenly began to realize that you can no longer buy way your way to success. Especially when your revenues are declining because of economic and inflationary fears. Teams are now having to be frugal with regard to their budgets.

Tom Hicks (right) and  to his  business partner George Gillett Jr , owners  of the  Premiership  soccer club  Liverpool FC. The  co-owners  are  now  said  to be  feeling  the  brunt  of the  anger  from  Liverpool's  fans  as they're  said  to  be  considering  selling  the  team's best  player , Fernando Torres.  Much  to  the  chagrin  of the  team's   coach, Rafael  Benitez.  The coach  has let it  be  known  that  should  the  team  sell  Torres.  Then  he  too  will   quit  the  club  immediately.   Much  of this problem  has  been  created  by  the  financial  maneuvering  of the  owners  as   they've  laden  the  club  with  an  excessive  amount  of   debt.     picture  appears  courtesy  of  dailymail.co.uk/ Andrew Fogarty  ..................
Tom Hicks (right) and to his business partner George Gillett Jr , owners of the Premiership soccer club Liverpool FC. The co-owners are now said to be feeling the brunt of the anger from Liverpool's fans as they're said to be considering selling the team's best player , Fernando Torres. Much to the chagrin of the team's coach, Rafael Benitez. The coach has let it be known that should the team sell Torres. Then he too will quit the club immediately. Much of this problem has been created by the financial maneuvering of the owners as they've laden the club with an excessive amount of debt. picture appears courtesy of dailymail.co.uk/ Andrew Fogarty ..................

As I’d alluded to earlier a number of teams have seen their fortunes change for the better. While many others have not been as fortunate in that endeavor. Teams such as Arsenal, Chelsea , Manchester United and Liverpool to name but a few,have had a change in ownership over the past five years. They’ve either been bought outright , or used as an investment vehicle for their new owners. However, the financial maneuvers that led to a great many of those deal are now coming into question. And nowhere now is this more apparent now,than with what is transpiring in the hallways and boardrooms of both Liverpool and Manchester United.And the case of Liverpool it is now creating an impasse between the team’s coach, Rafael Benitez and the ownership group of Texas businessmen, George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

Fernando Torres  and   Liverpool  coach  Rafael  Benitez (right)  seen  here  at   Anfield  ,  home   of Liverpool FC  .  picture  appears courtesy   dailymail.co.uk/  Ian  Hodgson  ..............
Fernando Torres and Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez (right) seen here at Anfield , home of Liverpool FC . picture appears courtesy dailymail.co.uk/ Ian Hodgson ..............

The relationship between coach and owner has become strained as there have been rumblings that the owners who are desperately in need of cash to meet financial obligations to their financiers (bankers) – are seeking to sell one team’s best players in,Fernando Torres. And this has come much to the dismay of Benitez as well as the loyal fans of the team. But what is also becoming more apparent is the financial stability and viability of the club. It has been laden with a great deal of debt and even though Gillett and Hicks bought the club for in excess $900 million. Much of that money was raised through leveraging the assets of the team with a minimal cash infusion by Gillett and Hicks. Payments on that debt has to be made on time and invariably the owners haven’t been forthcoming as to the balance sheet of the club and its present status.

There are no sobering thought processes here, as to the financial mismanagement of a sports franchise. But invariably,whenever there’s said to be a problem. The fans are always the last to know and the first to find out, how much it may well invariably end up costing them.And it is no different,with the situation facing the Manchester United and that of its owners the Glazer family, headed by their patriarch, Malcolm Glazer. The family also owns the NFL franchise, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Though the legacy of success with the soccer club hasn’t abated. For the NFL franchise , success has been few and far between. At present they may well be the worse ran and possibly the worst team in the NFL. Their futility alone this year, has many reminiscing about the early years of the franchise when they were woefully inept. And mere mention of the Buccaneers’ name more often than not was greeted with laughter.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris and General Manager Mark Dominik discuss the Buccaneers first round selection in the draft room at One Buccaneer Place on Saturday, April 25, 2009, in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Matt May/Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris and General Manager Mark Dominik discuss the Buccaneers first round selection in the draft room at One Buccaneer Place on Saturday, April 25, 2009, in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Matt May/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers had seen a great deal of upheaval in the offseason, with the firing of former coach, Jon Gruden and General Manager, Bruce Allen. Installed to replace them were first year coach, Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik, as the new general manager. And the inexperience has shown with the duo Dominik and Morris, by way of the blunders made with the team’s roster , lack of experience,both on and off the field . And the mere fact that there’s no team leadership forthcoming from anyone on the team. And that includes such seasoned veterans as Ronde Barber and Kellen Winslow.

Patriarch  Malcolm  Glaze (center)  and   two of his  sons Joel  (right) and  Brian  , far  left  , seen here  attending   a  Premiership  league  game   at Old  Trafford ,   Manchester  United's  home   venue .   picture appears  courtesy  of    dailytelegraph.uk.co/ Anthony  Hodgins  .................
Patriarch, Malcolm Glaze (center) and two of his sons Joel (right) and Brian , far left , seen here attending a Premiership league game at Old Trafford , Manchester United's home venue . picture appears courtesy of dailytelegraph.uk.co/ Anthony Hodgins .................

When the family first bought the Premiership club , it was felt it would be of benefit to both organizations. The universal appeal of United , who are seen as the soccer world’s answer to the New York Yankees. As the success of both franchises is unrivaled and unparalleled . However , what has gone down within the inner workings of both franchise borders on either stupidity, or the mere fact that this is all being done with some sort of greater objective in mind. Manchester United having been bought for $1.5 billion dollars, though much of it was in the form of a leveraged buyout (LBO). It is still saddled with a debt of over $1.15 billion dollars, bearing in mind that there’s accruing interest and the slow amortization of the debt. The family has seen fit to act with a great deal of secrecy that when questioned on their financial situation. The answers have been either fleeting or mono-syllabic.

Things may very well change as UEFA,the governing body of soccer throughout Europe seeks to enact a strong set of rules governing the operational and financial viability of a team. But this will only pertain to teams participating or who in the future seek to participate in any of its club competitions. This may well change the face of soccer not only domestically in the UK but also across the continent of Europe.

As contrived as it might appear to be , I do feel that a number of franchise owners merely treat their teams as a bauble to be paraded as a way of showing off their wealth and ostentatiousness. Never mind the fact that if the franchises are part of a community, then its citizens ought not to feel shutout when they tend to show some interest in the team beyond the field of play. It’s as if some of these sports franchise owners are no different from many of the corporate wheelers and dealers that’ve brought the country to its knees. Almost as if it is crawling on all fours, begging like a homeless vagrant for a morsel of food.

Trust me I’m a doctor and the owners are merely all about the money and the chicks are just free !

Dire Straits’ ‘Money For Nothing’ also featuring Sting. Lyrics by Mark Knopfler.

Picks And Pans In The Premiership ……… Not Yet Anyway But It’s Beginning To Heat Up …………….

Well the Premiership (EPL) is slowly building up to a slow boil and the contenders though not yet quite separating themselves from the pack. They are now it can be said starting to jockey themselves into position.

John  Carew  of  Aston Villa (left) and  Nigel  de Jong  of  Manchester  City  (right)  contest  a  loose  ball  during the  Premiership  league  game  played  between their   two  teams.  The  match   would   result  in  a  1-1  tie   between the  two Premiership  teams.          picture  appears  courtesy  of   premierleague.com/ soccer/archives ................
John Carew of Aston Villa (left) and Nigel de Jong of Manchester City (right) contest a loose ball during the Premiership league game played between their two teams. The match would result in a 1-1 tie between the two Premiership teams. picture appears courtesy of premierleague.com/ soccer/archives ................

Atop of the table with eight games played , now stands Chelsea (21 pts), followed by Man Utd (19 pts),Tottenham (16 pts), Man City (16 pts), Arsenal (15 pts) and Liverpool also with 15 points. And with a mere 6 points separating the top six teams -there’s the belief that the Premiership could come down to which team indeed wants it the most . Though no team has been outstanding in their play. We have however, seen glimpses of brilliance from some and downright mediocrity from others. But that’s to be expected as no one team has been able to stamp their dominance and authority within the league this season , as of yet.

Michael  Essien  of  Chelsea  takes  flight over  Liverpool's  Javier Mascherano   while   his   teammate   Albert  Riera   looks  on.    Premiership   division  leading   Chelsea  would   end  up    defeating  the  Merseysiders    2-0  in their   Premiership  match  up.      picture  appears  courtesy  of  premierleague.com/soccer/archives     ..............    copyrighted material  ..........@   all  rights   reserved
Michael Essien of Chelsea takes flight over Liverpool's Javier Mascherano while his teammate Albert Riera looks on. Premiership division leading Chelsea would end up defeating the Merseysiders 2-0 in their Premiership match up. picture appears courtesy of premierleague.com/soccer/archives .............. copyrighted material ..........@ all rights reserved

Manchester United seems to have found its footing even in the advent of the loss of the creative presence of Cristiano Ronaldo. Who was sold to the Spanish soccer giants Real Madrid for an exorbitant amount of money ($140 million). It’s hoped that some of that money will be used to pay down some of that unyielding debt that still remains on their books. To date , it still stands in excess of $ 1.1 billion with the accruing interest.. For the board’s hierarchy and the ownership of the team through the Glazer family – that worrisome obstacle will soon have to be addressed. Especially if their Champions League aspirations are to be maintained. In light of UEFA’s stance on the uncontrolled debt buildup of many teams across Europe and the unsustainable position that many are said to be now finding themselves in.

Fernando  Torres (left) of  Liverpool  is   challenged  by  Chelsea's  Branislav  Ivanovic   during  the  game.           picture  appears  courtesy  of  premierleague.com/soccer/archives/ .................
Fernando Torres (left) of Liverpool is challenged by Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic during the game. picture appears courtesy of premierleague.com/soccer/archives/ .................

Courtesy of The Times online

Platini calls in former Prime Minister of Belgium to stop clubs flushing cash

By Kevin Eason Sports New Correspondent

Michel Platini has called in “the plumber” to fix the drain of cash from spendthrift clubs distorting competition in Europe. The Uefa president will force clubs to live within their means or face being thrown out of the Champions League and Europa League competitions.

The man appointed to sift through club accounts is a former Prime Minister of Belgium, whose reputation for solving seemingly impossible problems led to his nickname. Jean-Luc Dehaene, 69, will be chairman of the new Club Financial Control Panel, and he will need the biggest tool kit he can find when he swings into action in 2012, since an estimated half of Europe’s clubs are making a loss.

Dehaene, though, is seen as more than a safe pair of hands. As Prime Minister, between 1992 and 1999, he won admiration by reconciling the warring factions in the Belgian Parliament. He has since moved on to senior posts within the European Union and taken over the chairmanship of Dexia, a bank. He remains a lifelong supporter of FC Bruges.

Platini has long had the “big four” clubs in England — Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal — in his sights, but the Premier League pre-empted the Uefa announcement earlier this week with its own plans to tighten the financial rules, preventing outside interference.

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Andrey  Arshavin (left)  of   Arsenal shoots  and  scores .  This would  be   the  third  of  six  goals  scored  by   the   Gunners  on  their   way to   a  6-2  rout  of   Blackburn  Rovers .       picture  appears  courtesy of   premierleague.com/soccer/archives ..............
Andrey Arshavin (left) of Arsenal shoots and scores . This would be the third of six goals scored by the Gunners on their way to a 6-2 rout of Blackburn Rovers . picture appears courtesy of premierleague.com/soccer/archives ..............

It is understandable why the game’s governing body on the European stage believes that there is real cause for concern. But it would also appear that the Premiership clubs are their primary targets of this stance. But UEFA President Michel Platini should also consider many of the clubs on the continent and their indebtedness. In particular the likes of Real Madrid , Inter Milan , A C Milan and Juventus . Who between them are at present carrying in excess of $ 2.7 billion worth of financial debt on their books. If this measure is to be done , so that it’s meant to be fair and equitable for all teams. Then whatever audit that does take place should be done with a great deal more transparency than UEFA is at present prepared to apply.
There will be a great deal of culpability if that’s not the case at it now stands. On appearance alone it appears that UEFA is showing favoritism towards those teams on the main European continent , rather than acting with impartiality. And therein making the English teams alone their primary line of focus.

Dimitar  Berbatov (l)  of  Manchester  Utd  holds  off  Lee  Cattermole  of  Sunderland   .   The  two    teams   would  contest  a  highly   physical   game  resulting   in a  2-2  tie  as  an  end  result.         picture  appears  courtesy  of   premierleague.com/soccer/archives  ...........................
Dimitar Berbatov (l) of Manchester Utd holds off Lee Cattermole of Sunderland . The two teams would contest a highly physical game resulting in a 2-2 tie as an end result. picture appears courtesy of premierleague.com/soccer/archives ...........................

As I’d alluded to earlier within this piece , some team have performed well . Whilst other seemingly have fallen flat and just haven’t been playing up to par. The form guide shows that perennial contenders Chelsea and Manchester United have been playing with a great deal of dexterity . Whilst some of their counterparts have had their slip-ups. But as they say in a race “……….it’s so much how you start but how you finish that in the end is the determining factor”. So for the likes of Liverpool , Arsenal, Everton . While they can prove to be costly , at this juncture of the season it’s all about maintaining one’s consistency and form over the course of the regular season.

Andy  Reid (left) of  Sunderland  in  control  of  the  ball   as  Man Utd's  Nani (right)  tries  to  intervene    and  take  over.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  premierleague.com/soccer/archives/  ........................
Andy Reid (left) of Sunderland in control of the ball as Man Utd's Nani (right) tries to intervene and take over. picture appears courtesy of premierleague.com/soccer/archives/ ........................

Courtesy of Sports Business Daily

UEFA Creates Group To Discuss Restricting Club Debt Levels

UEFA has “set up a working group which will meet in Geneva on Monday to discuss how to extend its licensing system and restrict the levels of debt that clubs are permitted to operate with,” according to Matt Scott of the Manchester GUARDIAN. UEFA General Secretary David Taylor yesterday at the Leaders in Football conference in London said that “debts fixed against assets, for stadium building, are considered more acceptable than those run up in the acquisition of players or for takeovers.” Taylor confirmed that the new rules “would affect clubs” including English Premier League (EPL) clubs Chelsea, Liverpool FC and Manchester United “unless they significantly reduced their debts.” Taylor: “It won’t happen this year, it won’t happen next year but, yes, that could happen in years to come. Some of us believe it shouldn’t be an absolutely free market and we are in favour of controlled regulation. An increasing number of people in football believe we have to do more” (Manchester GUARDIAN, 10/9).

Taylor: “There is concern, particularly in an era of financial crisis. … The debt does have a requirement to be properly serviced. Clubs must not expose themselves to such an extent that the whole future of the club is jeopardised unless some white knight comes over the horizon with millions and millions of pounds.” In London, Glenn Moore notes there is “clearly a desire among the game’s regulators to rein in the Premier League clubs, who have begun to dominate the Champions League and are increasingly being taken over by foreign owners, some with independent wealth, some using the banks to finance their control.” Taylor: “Our conclusion in UEFA is we cannot leave things as they are.” Moore notes Taylor’s comments followed Tuesday’s warning by FA Chair Lord David Triesman that the EPL’s “cumulative [US$5.2B] debt-mountain represented a ‘tangible danger.'” Moore writes Chelsea, its “balance sheet propped up by [Owner] Roman Abramovich’s loans,” is “obviously in UEFA’s firing line” (London INDEPENDENT, 10/9). However, Chelsea Head of Media Steve Atkins: “Chelsea’s financial position cannot be compared with that at other clubs. Our unique ownership structure means that the only debt as such is internal in the form of interest-free loans from the owner. This stands us apart from other clubs that have substantial external debt with significant annual interest payments” (LONDON TIMES, 10/9).

CLUB OWNER/MAIN SHAREHOLDER DEBT (US)
Manchester United Glazer family $1.2B
Chelsea Roman Abramovich $1.0B
Liverpool FC Tom Hicks, George Gillet $606.9M+
Arsenal Danny Fiszman, Alisher Usmanov $551.6M
Fulham Mohamed al-Fayed $312.6M
Manchester City Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed al Nahyan $295.0M
Wigan Dave Whelan $93.7M
Middlesborough Steve Gibson $86.8M
Bolton Eddie Davies $64.2M+
Aston Villa Randy Lerner $64.2M
Sunderland Drumaville Consortium $60.7M
Portsmouth Alexandre Gaydamak $53.8M
Everton Bill Kenright, Robert Earl $45.8M
West Ham United Björgólfur Guðmundsson $43.4M
Blackburn The Walker Trust $34.7M
Tottenham Hotspur ENIC $29.5M
Stoke City Peter Coates $8.7M
West Bromwich Jeremy Peace $5.2M
Newcastle United Mike Ashley Negligible
Hull City Paul Duffen Negligible

BANKS COME CALLING: In London, Paul Kelso reports Triesman’s “criticism of the indebtedness of English football appears to have spooked bankers with at least three Premier League clubs receiving cautionary calls from lenders.” Sources indicated that “several clubs were contacted by banks apparently disturbed by [Triesman’s] suggestion that levels of debt are unsustainable.” The comments “have caused considerable irritation among Premier League clubs.” By highlighting the US$5.2B debt figure “without pointing out that the League’s revenue is more than [US$3.5B],” the clubs “believe Triesman has created a false impression of crisis.” They argue that with two years “yet to run on a [US$4.7B] television deal, the clubs enjoy a level of financial certainty” (London TELEGRAPH, 10/9).

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Robert  Huth (4)  of   Stoke City  scores the  opening   goal  of  the  game   against   Everton  in  the  Premiership  game.    The   end   result   would  be   a  1-1   draw   between the  two   Premiership   teams.           picture   appears   courtesy  of  premierleague.com/soccer/archives /   ...............................
Robert Huth (4) of Stoke City scores the opening goal of the game against Everton in the Premiership game. The end result would be a 1-1 draw between the two Premiership teams. picture appears courtesy of premierleague.com/soccer/archives / ...............................

Of this I’m very much certain at this juncture and that is , I can only contend with what I am now seeing from the teams. As to whether or not the rigors of the season will indeed take a toll on them ? Well that goes without saying as it’s entirely impossible to feel that none of these teams won’t face a number of obstacles along the way. That’s what makes the Premiership so appealing and exciting all at the same time . What else could any real soccer fan ask for ?

Barclays Premiership League Standings ………. Click here to view .

Premiership stats ; Top goalscorers :

Player Club Goals
Fernando Torres Liverpool 8
Darren Bent Sunderland 7
Didier Drogba Chelsea 6
Wayne Rooney Man Utd 6
Jermain Defoe Tottenham 5
Kenwyne Jones Sunderland 5

cont’d ………………..