You cannot blame the manager and players alone , when the owners have a responsibility themselves …

You cannot blame the manager and players alone , when the owners have a responsibility themselves …

As the Premiership season within English soccer winds down , there has been a sense of disappointment among several teams thought to be viable contenders for the Premiership (EPL) title at the start of season. For teams, viewed as the mainstays of the league, Arsenal , Manchester United , Manchester City , Chelsea , Liverpool , Newcastle, Everton and West Ham United , this was thought to be where , each in some way could be seen as a viable contender , if not for the title , but at least for a qualifying berth for UEFA Champions’ League status .

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For team owners , Stanley Kroenke of Arsenal and the Glazer family, owners jointly, of Manchester United and the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers , theirs might, well be a season, that each would rather forget. Granted, Manchester United, managed by David Moyes , have somehow managed to make their way to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League , Europe’s biggest club competition and seen as a major financial windfall for the participants throughout the length of the competition, but even more so in the latter

With Manchester United , having now bowed out of the Champions League competition, losing 4-2 on aggregate to Bayern Munich of the German Bundesliga. The ramifications, from that total defeat and with fortunes of the club, now looking more threatening than ever before , concerning their aspirations for the Premiership title . Rumblings of major a upheavals, could be taking place within the Manchester United organization , with their being calls for the manager David Moyes’ firing as well as the Glazer family’s ouster as the club’s owners. These cries for this all , comes down to the disappointing season achieved by Manchester United in the Premiership, where they now lie in seventh position , some seventeen points behind divisional leaders Liverpool FC , whose tally of seventy-four points with five games to play , puts the Northern based English team in the driver’s seat, as they seek to win their nineteenth divisional title in the club’s famed history .

Moyes succeeded the most successful manager in English soccer history, in Alex Ferguson , while being handed the keys to Ferrari , in terms of a team seeking to make a successful defense of their title of last season . What the incumbent manager has seemingly managed to do, has been take this squad of players and have them play like a bunch of amateurs , with all the skill-set that would make even the most vocal of fans cry out, with a great deal of rage . With resources at Moyes’ disposal , along with the coaching staff assembled, it seems inconceivable that the manager has repeatedly managed to stumble so badly. At the same time, Joel , Bryan and Avram Glazer , have seemingly looked on, and watch this manifestation of incompetency play out over the course of the season, within the Premiership , as well as the team’s failings in other major domestic club competitions , such as the FA Cup and Carling Cup . If that was not enough for the United fans having to digest , they are now seeing the resurgence of their crosstown rivals Manchester City , whose astute manager, Manuel Pellegrini and the influx of the cash rich laden ,family of billionaires , by …. Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and H E Khaldoon Al Mubarak , has seen the club return to the upper echelons of the game, with the side being the 2011-12 EPL champions .

Manchester United , for their own part , have continued to show inconsistency, all season long , with David Moyes apportioning blame elsewhere , rather than being man enough to admit that he has made numerous mistakes, concerning the player personnel for several games during the season . What might well grieve the fans more so, concerning the malaise of the famed United soccer club , has been the indifference shown by the Glazers and their complete lack of understanding, concerning what has unfolded within their midst. That should not really come as any great surprise, considering the same incompetence shown by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this past season, where former head coach Greg Schiano and . his staff simply, had no damn idea what the hell they were doing and the clueless fans watching , could only point to the fact that they did not . end up with the worst record in the league .

The fact that the Buccaneers were close to the bottom of the NFL in almost every team category that mattered by way of defense and offense , was merely another pointer ,about how bereft of talent, the organization was said to have been, on the field , as well as among the coaching staff and within the front office , headed by general manager Mark Dominik who was again, answerable to the aforementioned members of the Glazer family , as the team’s owners. That type of incompetency cannot be taught , it has to be ingrained and those who claim the family to be astute and business minded , should be begin to completely review that entire premise altogether, as nothing could be further from the truth.

While their soccer team remains , highly profitable, it should be noted, that Manchester United, still carries a great deal debt , burdened by it being used as collateral, in the Glazers’ purchase , by their holding company Red Devils Holdings . In a strange turn of events, US investment firm Baron Capital Inc has bought 20% of the outstanding shares of the soccer team on the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) , representing a mere 2% capitalization of the club, for a reputed $90 million , valuing the club at an astonishing $ 4.5 billion pre-liability write-downs .

To his credit, about the only worthwhile thing done this season by David Moyes , by way of a positive standpoint , was his persuading striker, Wayne Rooney to commit to the club long-term, after the player had been linked to several clubs, with his contract due to expire. Had Rooney been allowed to leave , then quite possibly the manager’s fate might well have been sealed , as the player had become a fan favorite , while a living legend in terms of his productivity with the club , as being the third leading scorer in Manchester United’s history , behind only Dennis Law and only to Bobby Charlton , now a distinguished member of the United Board of Directors . Rooney , in signing one of the most lucrative contracts in the club’s history, will now put to rest , his joining Chelsea , Arsenal , Real Madrid or AC Milan of Serie’ A.

With six games left in their season and now out of the running, for the Premiership title, even the hopes of a Champions League qualifying berth, now seems beyond Manchester United’s reach , with them having to finish no less than fourth in the Premiership. Once the schedule has reached its climax , there are likely several moves made within the organization , likely to bring about the end of the careers of several players on the current playing squad . Whether or not , David Moyes also becomes casualty of the likely overhaul remains to be seen , but it has become abundantly clear that something has to be done. Unfortunately, putting your trust in the Glazer family, to even do something remotely credible, might be beyond, and even their own realization. I can only pray, that the rumors now ongoing, are true and that former United player David Beckham and a several his former teammates are indeed serious in purchasing a controlling interest in his former team , with the financial backing, coming from a prominently wealthy , Kuwaiti family, who are said to be longtime admirers of Beckham and staunch supporters this world-famous soccer club.

Manchester United’s next scheduled game, will be on the 20th April , when they are the guests of Everton at Goodison Park , in Merseyside. That contest, will undoubtedly tell us a great deal about the players’ mindset and that of the coaching staff as the season meanders towards its inevitability.

Billionaire , Stanley Kroenke , with an estimated $4.5 billion fortune , also happens to be the son-in-law to the late, Sam Walton , founder of the world’s largest retail and grocery store chain , Walmart . Kroenke’s wife, is none other than , Ann Walton-Kroenke , who also happens to be on the Forbes’ 400 Richest Americans’ List , as well as being one of the richest women in the world, with a multi-billion dollar fortune . Her husband, also presides over one of the largest sports’ conglomerates and concessions’ company in North America. Kroenke’s ownership of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment , encompasses the ownership of the Denver Nuggets of the NBA , the St Louis Rams of the NFL , the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL , sporting goods’ chain , Dick’s Sporting Goods , the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League and Arsenal FC of the EPL.

Now while I have no real objection to an American, owning an English soccer team , what I cannot condone, is said to be the utter stupidity that has been shown by owners, such as Stanley Kroenke and the Glazer family, the latter, whose now close to ruination of Manchester United , have the fans in complete apoplexy. While supporters , may well point to the fact, that since family assumed control of Manchester United in 2005, the club has seen marked success. While that may well be true , it still cannot hide the fact , that Joel and Bryan Glazer , have used less than due diligence , in their operating the club , from a business standpoint. Profits have slowly been eroded , because of the club’s debt obligations and that is something that cannot be overlooked , as they now seek to place themselves within the constraints of the soon to be ,UEFA edicts concerning a team’s debt to asset ratio , which seeks to pare down teams’ debts , while also creating something of a level playing field , among the teams within the various European domestic leagues , seeking to compete in UEFA sanctioned club competitions. While clubs were given waivers this season for the Champions League , that will not be the case in 2015, when UEFA President Michel Platini expects all teams to comply with those edicts or risk being banned from all UEFA sanctioned club tournaments .

Stanley Kroenke’s presence, in the world of sports , was once described, as to his being the most powerful and influential in North American sports . That article, in Sports Illustrated , was either written by a ranked amateur , or by someone who at the time was under a deadline , simply did not want to plagiarise a piece and simply offer it up as an original piece of content . To allude to Kroenke, as being the most powerful or most influential person or owner in North American sports , would certainly being doing an injustice to the likes of the late George Steinbrenner , who was alive at the time of this article hitting the news’ stands and to the likes Robert Kraft, Dan Rooney , David Stern , Dick Ebersol , Sean McManus , Roger Goodell , Bud Selig , and Tim Finchem , Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods . Am I supposed to take this level of journalism seriously, when this type of diatribe and stupidity is on display with alarming regularity , especially when it is said to come from a respected magazine ?

Long an admirer of Arsenal FC , as a youngster , then as a teenager , I have witnessed some of the greatest moments of this famed club’s history over the past thirty years. While Arsene Wenger , has been the manager , leading the club to other trophies and triumphs , this current spell , with Stanley Kroenke as the team’s owner, might well become the driest spell of the manager’s tremendous coaching career . However, coming off a 3-0 loss to Everton , where the team performed poorly in the defeat at Goodison Park , in Merseyside. One cannot help but wonder what Wenger now has to do, to have his players, play at a higher level. Calls for the roster to be bolstered with some bold acquisitions being made, were met with an almost damning silence from the board , led by Stanley Kroenke and his subordinates . Finally, having relented , Wenger was offered a mere pittance , to go out and acquire players , with the result being Mesut Ozil , a gifted midfield player , but simply not enough to aid the team in its ambitions for the season .

Stanley Kroenke’s only wish, in owning a Premiership soccer team , has been the purchase as a bauble , to show to friends within his social circle and by way of watching the club’s value appreciate for more than that of an NFL franchise . Furthermore, with revenues far exceeding that of the NFL, with a global audience far exceeding that of North America’s grandest pastime and in terms of game attendance, albeit, that more games are played (thirty-eight) in the Premiership , than in (sixteen regular season) the NFL over the course of their respective schedules .

Arsenal, also known as ‘The Gunners’ , are due to face West Ham at their palatial home venue , Emirates Stadium in , North London, on the 15th April in what will be a highly anticipated contest , between these two London teams. Clearly, a victory for the home team, would be to their advantage and end of season hopes of gaining qualification for the Champions League. How things pan out , will greatly be dependent also , on the form shown over the rest of their schedule .

As if to further emphasize, how out of touch Stanley Kroenke remains when it comes two more of the jewels in his sports’ crown . Consider the seasons, of the Denver Nuggets and St Louis Rams and where they currently are, in terms of their status. The Nuggets might as well be afterthought, within the Western Conference, as the regular season schedule zeroes in, on its finality. Coached by Brian Shaw , who has a very experienced coaching staff to help him , this team has simply failed miserably, on so many levels , as the players have somehow failed to buy into Shaw’s coaching philosophies . The front office , with GM Tim Connelly leading the way, made a few subtle moves during the season , but nothing that would simply give you the impression that those acquisitions would place the franchise in a position to mount a serious challenge for divisional supremacy , much less a postseason berth for the upcoming postseason.

This past season, the St Louis Rams at times played hard , but within the NFC West , two dominant forces prevailed and the Rams were never in with a chance of bringing down either San Francisco 49ers or Seattle Seahawks . Both teams, proved to be, among the very best, that not only the NFC had to offer , but also the entire NFL. Yet, the Rams’ 7-9 record within the division that led to a last place finish and being the only team not to notch sort=OVERALL_WINS&sort=desc&colSel=0> double-digit wins , tells how tough the NFC West has now become and perhaps the toughest division within the NFL , based on final record and the play from the quartet of teams.

Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher , has proven to be a competent successor to Steve Spagnuolo in so many ways , that the team’s future now rests in assured hands , with the head coach and his coaching staff . The issue now becomes, will Stanley Kroenke , Chip Rosenbloom , Kevin Demoff and GM Les Snead allow Fisher a free rein , to get the job done , by way making the team more competitive in terms of acquiring players and through the draft or will they seek to impede him at each and every turn , thereby making the franchise irrelevant ?

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This idiocy at times, that the coach has to shoulder the blame when a team fails, is in actuality, absolute bull#hit ! A great deal of the time, the front office of an organization is equally to blame , when they seek , not to make the resources available to the coaching staff , in order , to make that franchise competitive. Yet, you would be hard pressed to actually make some fans believe that to be the case , because their heads more often than not , has been lodged up their own ass, that they cannot tell the difference between night and day. Chime in with your thoughts, on the points raised and thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea and coach David Moyes faces the media during a Manchester United Press Conference ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Real Sociedad and Manchester United at Estadio Anoeta on November 4, 2013 in San Sebastian, Spain. Getty Images North America / Mike Hewitt ….

(2) From left to right , Bryan Glazer , Joel Glazer and Avram Glazer , board members and the owners of Premiership soccer team Manchester United and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL . The trio are seen here, in the stands of a Premiership game at United’s home venue , Old Trafford Stadium , in Manchester , England ,. A disappointing season in 2013 will see the team miss the lucrative UEFA Champions League club competition next season, for the first time in a several years . If the current rumors are to be believed, the family are likely to rebuff an alleged $4 billion bid for the soccer team from a yet to be unidentified source . Getty Images Europe / Chris Rogers …..

(3) Alex Ferguson , second from the left is seen here members of the Glazer family as they discuss a team issue . Ferguson who served as manager of the team for two decades was succeeded by David Moyes , at whose insistence, his successor was hired , much to the annoyance of fans, who felt that Moyes was not a suitable candidate to fill the vacancy , having little success in his earlier stops in his managerial career. Courtesy of Daily Mail UK /Alex Ogden …

(4) Josh Kroenke is seen here alongside his father Stan Kroenke, are seen here in attendance of an NBA game at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado , home to the Denver Nuggets , the franchise owned by Kroenke through his company Kroenke Sports & Entertainment a multi-billion dollar conglomerate based in Colorado,. AP Photo/ Collin Matthews ……

(5) Ann Walton-Kroenke, a direct descendant of Walton family and one of the heirs to the multi-billion dollar fortune . Ann is married to Stan Kroenke , self-made billionaire businessman . Getty Images North America/ Christina Matthews ….

(6) Jeff Fisher head coach of the St Louis Rams , whose final eighteen months as the coach of the Tennessee Titans were said to be the most tumultuous of his considerable coaching career , in having to deal with the adversarial nature of Vince Young and then owner , Charles K ‘Bud’ Adams . Fisher has been able to turn around the fortunes of the Rams , having succeeded Steve Spagnuolo , in what might be now the ‘toughest’ division in the entire NFL . AP Photo / Tom Walsh …..

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tophatal ………..

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English Premier League (EPL)

English Premier League (EPL) news and clubs

English Premier League (EPL) league table

EPL schedule (year-long)

EPL schedule 12th April

EPL results (year-long)

EPL match form guide

Stanley Kroenke profile and bio of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment

Malcolm Glazer profile and that of his family

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I guess, neither Rihanna nor Shakira have a problem with their sexuality ?

Bill Clinton , eat your heart out . LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

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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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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(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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No Good Can From It All …. When You Get Congress To Intervene In Sports With Regard To Labor Unrest …………..

No Good Can From It All …. When You Get Congress To Intervene In Sports With Regard To Labor Unrest …………..

Am I completely mistaken but isn’t the US Congress meant to intervene in labor disputes that are of national security or when it comes sensitive areas within the US economy ? Then why oh why is that we’re now seeing both sides of the NFL hierarchy under its Commissioner Roger Goodell, as well as the NFLPA (Union) convening with Congress up on Capitol Hill, in order to get them to mediate or at least in part be an arbitrator in their ongoing unrest with regard to the present ‘collective bargaining agreement ? Having Congress intervene in this is akin to witnessing the idiocy of the legislation passed with regard to the ‘stimulus bil’l. Which has so far cost the taxpayers $787 billion at last count. Never mind the fact that both GM and Chrysler had a piece of the ‘proverbial pie’. And the public in general has yet to see anything tangible from this all.

DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFLPA is itching for a confrontation with his counterpart, Roger Goodell. And with the owners having opted out of the present collective bargaining agreement. It will now create a chasm whereby the 2010-11 season will become one , that is an uncapped season. Now what this does around the NFL, may well give the suggestion that both sides do indeed know exactly what they’re doing. But it is becoming increasingly clear that this has nothing to do with the agreement itself but more to do with who maintains the balance of power within the NFL. It is more to do with who controls the purse strings as to the $ 8.7 billion a year industry that the NFL is said to to represent globally in terms of the NFL’s business interests. A tidy sum to say the very least and with the greed of both sides said to be unabated . I’m guessing that this could very well lead to one of those confrontations up there on Capitol Hill that will have more to do with posturing by not only the NFL hierarchy and the unions. But also from the legislators who are empaneled on the House Judiciary Committee and who are hearing from both sides on the issue. With the meetings likely to be carried by C-Span , it should make for some very interesting viewing.

NFL  Commissioner   Roger  Goodell.  The  commissioner  this  week   went  to  Capitol Hill  to  address  members  of  the  House  Judiciary  Committee  who  were  empaneled  to  look  into  the  increasing  unrest  between  the  NFL  and   the  NFLPA  (union).  The  two  sides   are   looking  to  stave  off   an  envisaged  lockout.  Moreover ,  the  2010-11  season  will  be  an   uncapped  one  because  the  NFL  and   their  owners  opted  out   of  the  'collective  bargaining  agreement'   that  was  in  place.      photo appears  courtesy  of   ap/ Marc  Gilbert  ...................
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The commissioner this week went to Capitol Hill to address members of the House Judiciary Committee who were empaneled to look into the increasing unrest between the NFL and the NFLPA (union). The two sides are looking to stave off an envisaged lockout. Moreover , the 2010-11 season will be an uncapped one because the NFL and their owners opted out of the 'collective bargaining agreement' that was in place. photo appears courtesy of ap/ Marc Gilbert ...................

Courtesy of The New York Times

Mara cites lack of progress in talks

By Judy Battista , The New York Times

The Giants co-owner John Mara said Tuesday he was resigned to an uncapped season in 2010 and thought the union and owners might be moving further apart in talks toward a new labor agreement.

Mara was one of the owners who took part in the 11th negotiating session with union leaders in Washington on Tuesday. He is the first owner to speak extensively since negotiations began.

An uncapped year would have no salary limits or floors for teams and would begin in March. It would also start the clock ticking toward a lockout starting in March 2011.

Mara said he still had hope that a lockout could be averted.

“I don’t think we’re making any progress,” Mara said in a telephone interview. “We made a proposal in early November. I don’t think we’ve received a meaningful counterproposal. The point that we try to make to them is that the costs and risks are much greater than they ever have been. Especially in this economy. I don’t think there has been enough of a recognition on their part of that concept.”

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To read Judy Battista’s article in its entirety just click on
the link provided
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NFL Players Association Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith, right and Baltimore Ravens Domonique Foxworth, left, walk into a meeting  with House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. photo  appears  courtesy  of ap/ Alex Brandon   ........
NFL Players Association Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith, right and Baltimore Ravens Domonique Foxworth, left, walk into a meeting with House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. photo appears courtesy of ap/ Alex Brandon ........

There’s no doubt in my mind that the NFL as well as the union are looking to usurp each others’ powers as much as they can. It’s not as if either side has the fan’s best interests at heart to begin with. Goodell for his part wants to prove to the fans and public in general that he’s a strong and very determined commissioner. His sometime autocratic rule has chafed the rationale of Smith and it has to be said that DeMaurice Smith does have some reason to feel aggrieved with many of Goodell’s findings and edicts , as of late. How this all will play out also, may well have to do with who wields the ‘biggest stick’ at the end of the day. Both sides no doubt have their lobbyists up there on Capitol Hill, who are hard at work trying to lay out the case for their client. As to why ‘both’ the NFL and NFLPA should see fit to have lobbyists working on their behalf in Washington , merely suggests that this has more to do with being seen to have the power to get legislation passed that is of benefit to each of the respective parties in question. And for the NFL this amounts to their anti-trust exemption status.

Is it me but are the members of the House Judiciary Committee such a dull and boring group of individuals ? Perhaps none more so than the committee chairman himself, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich) .This guy makes Pat Robertson seem like a lively, well versed intellectual and then some !. But then again, that’s not saying much about Robertson , given his ‘vile remarks’ aimed towards the Haitian people in the aftermath of the recent earthquake there. Hopefully there’s a f_cking hot place in hell waiting for his racially bigoted a_s !

All of the posturing in the world won’t help change anything if neither side is willing to acquiesce to the others’ wishes . As to what Congress, in this case can do to ramp down the rhetoric between the two sides and force an agreement that is equitable for both parties remains to be seen. I’d certainly like to think that there are far more important domestic issues that need to be addressed , rather than seeing the House Judiciary Committee meet with two sides who are more self absorbed about their own PR images than they are about getting things done. And at the same I’d certainly like to think that DeMaurice Smith can be proactive in addressing the issue as to the conduct of his members. Especially in the case of their off the field behavior. For the NFL and in particular the owners , theirs now is a thankless task as they seemingly don’t viewed as being greedy . But yet with this lone move in the rescinding of an agreement that they’ve failed to honor. How must it look to the fans and general public to begin with ? Surely the owners and the Goodell’s office had to have foreseen that there would be an economic downturn of sorts ? Never mind how acute it has now become. It’s all about planning and getting your ducks all lined up in a row. Instead they’ve feasted on the largess of the fans and the public over the years while growing extremely wealthy from all of their business dealings and maneuvers. The average value of an NFL franchise has increased exponentially over the last decade. In fact it has increased in excess of 25 % over that period. Pardon me for saying this but if they’re now claiming poverty then there’s something indeed wrong with the business template under which the NFL now works .

In November of last year, I wrote an article entitled ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor …………It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free’ ! The piece in question, went on to suggest how I felt that many of the US owners who had made the foray into owning an English soccer club within the Premiership (EPL), were in fact no better than that of disgraced financiers Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford. In each case it has led to the demise of their respective financial empires and the loss of untold billions of dollars for their prospective clients. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison, while Stanford awaits trial through the US Federal Court System.

Malcolm Glazer far right seen here with sons Joel (left) and Bryan. The family's sporting business interests includes the ownership of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the English Premiership League's Manchester United. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mike Nugent .......
Malcolm Glazer far right seen here with sons Joel (left) and Bryan. The family's sporting business interests includes the ownership of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the English Premiership League's Manchester United. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mike Nugent .......

It has been well chronicled that the Glazer family having bought Premiership side Manchester United had hoped to carry on the same undoubted success the team has come to be known for over the past quarter of a century. Their unparalleled success with manager, Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm has made the team ‘the most glamorous and most valuable sports franchise in the world’ .

Initially the purchase was met with a great deal of skepticism and the fact that the family used very little money of their own in the purchase, should’ve been enough of an indication that they were being capricious and overwhelmingly disingenuous as to their overall intentions concerning the team. They leveraged the team buy borrowing against its assets in order to facilitate the purchase . The price at the time was in excess of $1.255 billion including fees. Four years on into the ownership by the family , ticket prices have risen in excess of 45% and the team is laden with a debt in excess of $1.11 billion . As to what that would suggest as to the business acumen of the family , is that they’re nowhere competent enough to be running a sports franchise. With Malcolm Glazer, as the patriarch now handing over the reins of running the club to his sons, Byran , Joel and Avram Glazer. It was felt their custodianship of the club would be in safe hands. At this juncture that doesn’t appear to be the case at all.

United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson seen here in a CNN interview discussing his famed managerial career. Ferguson is the most successful soccer coach in Premiership history. Prior to his ascending to the position as manager on Manchester United , he also assembled a successful resume’ as coach of Scottish Premier League team Aberdeen FC.

Courtesy of The Guardian UK

Manchester United’s sales pitch is far from a premium bond

The Glazer family’s attempt to raise money to pay off massive debts paints a bleak picture of Manchester United’s future

By David Conn , The Guardian

When navigating the thunderously depressing proposal by the Glazer family to load Manchester United with £500m of debt for the third time since their takeover in May 2005, it helps to imagine where United might be had the Glazers never turned up in the first place, to buy the glory, glory club with all their borrowed millions.

Before engaging with Sir Alex Ferguson’s remarkable contention that United’s finances, laden with borrowings over £700m and £67m interest payable last year, are “of no concern at all”, recall what the United board itself said at the time. When Malcolm Glazer and his six children – who, we now know, have borrowed £10m from United – launched their takeover bid, the board, which included the current chief executive David Gill, expressed vehement opposition to it.

Echoing the concerns of the well-informed United fans’ campaign, the board warned that the Glazers’ business plan was “aggressive”, and that the proposed structure for the club “still contains more leverage [debt] than the board would consider prudent and that as a consequence there is likely to be significant financial strain on the business.”

Despite that, the Glazers bought the club for £810m, a fortune pocketed greedily by enough shareholders in what was then Manchester United plc. The Glazers paid £270m themselves, borrowing the other £540m from banks and hedge funds. In the four years up to the latest accounts to 30 June 2009, United became liable to pay more than £325m in interest alone, yet the interest they have not paid, plus fees, has increased the debt the Glazers loaded on to United to £700m.

United, and Ferguson, now argue it is all fine, the club are not constrained by that debt mountain and the board was therefore wrong in its warning back then. Ferguson said last week that the windfall from the £81m sale of Cristiano Ronaldo is there for him to spend, but he does not want to because the market is overpriced. That assertion has been rather undone by the prospectus, which sets out the plan to transfer £70m cash from United to one of the Glazers’ holding companies, partly to pay off the hedge funds which charge swingeing 14.25% interest.

Now imagine how United might look without the Glazer debt. True, as a plc – the Stock Market listing which football executives now agree was a failed experiment, despite defending it zealously at the time – United paid dividends to shareholders. Yet even allowing for the increase in turnover, from £171m to the most recent £278m, the 2004 dividend was £7m, nothing like the mountain of interest, £42m to banks, £25m to hedge funds, with which the Glazers have burdened United.

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In order to read David Conn’s article in its entirety
just click on the link provided
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With the team now ‘hemorrhaging red ink’ all over its balance sheet , it has to be said that the Glazers have been completely inept in their running of the team. On the field they still continue to have success but there mere thought that they’re now being brought to brink of bankruptcy is enough to send shivers down the spine of entire Premiership (EPL). Never mind the fact that the family’s other sporting interest, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is now undergoing a change in its persona as well as in terms of its executive and coaching structure. First time GM, Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris have been thrust into the deep end . With the firing of their predecessors Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden. The team underwent a less than stellar season in the NFL, posting a 3-13 record in the NFC South. And with the front office being reluctant to spend money in attracting talent to the team . It is understandable why the franchise is now in such a dire predicament. They aren’t in the slightest bit interested in being a serious contender within the NFL and both Morris and Dominik are merely paying lip service with their inane comments to begin with. They’re fully aware as to the financial dilemma and maelstrom that the organization is now in. The Glazers will do whatever they can to ‘pay the piper’ in order to try and stave off financial bankruptcy. They have been far too secretive as to their financial dealings and their present situation.

Raheem  Morris (second from the right)  is  seen here  alongside    Edward  and  Brian Glazer (center)  with   Joel  Glazer   far   right.    Left   is  Buccaneers'  GM,  Mark  Dominik .    photo  appears  courtesy  of   Getty  Images /  Paul  Mason  .....................
Raheem Morris (second from the right) is seen here alongside Edward and Brian Glazer (center) with Joel Glazer far right. Left is Buccaneers' GM, Mark Dominik . photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Paul Mason .....................

The latest ploy by the Glazers initiated by Malcolm’s sons, is have a bond issue, in order to pay off some of the mounting debt and accruing interest that’s owed to their creditors. But herein lies the rub, the family is asking that United players participate in the exercise in order to show good faith, to try to elicit fans, as well as members of the public and public institutions into entering the endeavor. If they can’t be trusted to keep the club in a healthy financial state then why should it be incumbent on the players to participate in this maneuver ? If anything Bryan, Joel and Avram are looking to save their own asses as they to try not to embarrass the family any further with the sheer ineptitude shown by them when it comes to their financial dealings and business acumen, as it not only relates to the soccer club but also to their NFL franchise.

It is hoped that the NFL hierarchy as well its board of governors are keeping a watchful eye on the Glazer family and their dealing with both sport’s franchises within their custodianship . If one should fail then there’s no reason to believe why the other can’t be placed in a similar predicament.

In order to read ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor ……It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free’ ….click here.

The  always  delectable   Vida   Guerra  .  More  than  willing  to  aspire to  meeting  a  man's   many   needs  and  then  some  !
The always delectable Vida Guerra . More than willing to aspire to meeting a man's many needs and then some !

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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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.

UEFA Champions League ………. Next Round of Matches …….

Well, with the UEFA Champions League is now in full swing , a great deal is expected of the teams. Many of whom have played themselves into contention for qualification, for the next phase of the competition. And if anything for the likes of the major powerhouses of the game, they can ill afford to slip up at this stage of the competition. Only to then bow out, in the most inauspicious and embarrassing of ways.

The initial group phases are already underway and there have been a
number of surprises already. Needless to say, a number teams and their star players’ reputations are on the line. And perhaps , no team is under more pressure to do well in the competition, than the heavily spending Spanish giants of Real Madrid. Laden with unyielding talent, that reads like a who’s who of international soccer stardom. It has to be said that if ‘The Galacticos’ as they’re more commonly known- failure in this competition and there will be turmoil within the Real Madrid organization, from top to bottom. Perhaps, no other soccer team in the world is as fervently and passionately supported than Real Madrid ? But there are those who’ll most definitely state that the supporters of the English Premiership’s (EPL) Manchester United could lay claim to that particular accolade. And one would be hard pressed to deny their claim because of their worldwide fan-base.

The next scheduled phase of games are due to be played on Tuesday, 24th and Wednesday,25th November, respectively. And close scrutiny will be paid to a number of teams and their matches that’ll be played.

Next round of scheduled phased matches. Click here to view alongside other details………..

Now if like me you’re a passionate follower of the game. Then you’re no doubt enthralled by what’s said to be the most prestigious soccer competition in the world , with the exception of the World Cup, itself. Whereas, the Champions League is a club competition open to the champions of the various domestic soccer leagues in Europe that are affiliated to UEFA,the governing body of the sport in Europe. But also another qualifying criteria is that of the runners up in that domestic league,as well as the existing champion being allowed to defend their title. But if anything, the real allure of this competition is the financial benefits to any team that is able to remain in the competition until its latter stages.There are countless millions of dollars on the line,by way of the revenues generated for those teams.And for many of those teams it’s the very lifeblood that could represent success for them at the end of the day.

Barcelona central defender  Eric  Abidal  .    picture appears courtesy  of  getty  images @ all rights  reserved
Barcelona central defender Eric Abidal . picture appears courtesy of getty images @ all rights reserved

Courtesy of UEFA.com

Abidal blow for Barcelona

FC Barcelona will be without defender Eric Abidal for the crucial UEFA Champions League Group F home encounter with FC Internazionale Milano next Tuesday after the 30-year-old suffered a thigh injury on international duty with France.

Important games
After completing 90 minutes of his country’s 1-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying play-off win in the Republic of Ireland on Saturday, Abidal complained of discomfort in his left leg with subsequent tests revealing the player had damaged thigh tendons. The news will come as a blow to Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola who is preparing his side for games against Athletic Club Bilbao at the weekend, Internazionale on Tuesday, and Real Madrid CF five days later. Barça are third in Group F, a point adrift of leaders Inter and behind second-placed FC Rubin Kazan on head-to-head record, meaning their title defence would end if they lost to the Italian champions and the Russian team beat FC Dynamo Kyiv in Kazan.
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If like me you’re a passionate follower of the game. Then, you’ll no doubt be keeping a close and watchful eye on the team or teams that you may be supporting. My own loyalties are divided equally between Manchester United and that of Chelsea FC. Both clubs , whom I’ve supported from childhood,until today. Having been born and raised in the East End of London , I spent part of my youth living in the city of Manchester. And though there were two teams within the city,your choices essentially were, United or their crosstown neighbor, Manchester City.The choice was easy for me,as Manchester United held the far greater legacy and their history has been littered with success throughout almost their entire existence. But not only that,the passion of the fans was unrivaled. And that if anything,lured me to support the team even more fervently. And it was very much the same way with Chelsea. Well, the fact that they were the only London team that I really loved. Essentially, my mind was made up ! ‘The Red Devils’ of Manchester Utd an ‘The Blues’ of Chelsea.

Manchester United  roster  along with their  coach  Sir  Alex Ferguson
Manchester United roster along with their coach Sir Alex Ferguson. picture appears courtesy of afp/reuters / William Talbot .................

As the competition unfolds, many of us will have our favorites , as to whom we’d like to see in the latter stages of the competition. Much of the time it’s felt that the major powerhouses are likely to prevail. But as so often been the case , it’s easy to make a case for those teams . Only to see them fall by the wayside because of poor form or the underestimating of an opponent. Especially one, that’s viewed as ripe for the taking. And we’re liable to see any one of a number of the more prominent teams fall into such a trap. And that tends to ultimately cost a coach, his position at that club. All seemingly, the blame has to be apportioned somewhere when the players on the field tend to fail. It’s no different in any form of competitive team sport. Especially when the tangible prize at the end of the rainbow simply isn’t just the trophy itself. But the vast financial rewards for the team and its players.

Sergie Aguero scores  a superb  goal against Chelsea  for Atletico  Madrid  in  the  group phase  game in the  Champions League competition.   picture  appears  courtesy of getty images/ Arturo Benitez  .....................
Sergie Aguero scores a superb goal against Chelsea for Atletico Madrid in the group phase game in the Champions League competition. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Arturo Benitez ................

From one avowed soccer fan to those of you out there who’ve taken a keen interest in the Champions League. I trust you’ll enjoy the entertainment being provided by the teams ? And hopefully your team will fare well along the way.

Here are a montage of pictures from the competition thus far. Enjoy.

Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Real Madrid and Milan at San Siro on November 3, 2009 in Milan, Italy. picture appears courtesy getty images-italia   /    David  R  Anchuelo  ................
Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Real Madrid and Milan at San Siro on November 3, 2009 in Milan, Italy. picture appears courtesy getty images-italia / David R Anchuelo ................

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 Ronaldinho of AC Milan scores a penalty during the UEFA Champions League group C match between AC Milan and Real Madrid at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on November 3, 2009 in Milan, Italy.  picture appears  courtesy of getty images/ Massimo  Cebrelli   ....................
Ronaldinho of AC Milan scores a penalty during the UEFA Champions League group C match between AC Milan and Real Madrid at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on November 3, 2009 in Milan, Italy. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Massimo Cebrelli ....................

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Bayern  Munich  players  look distraught  after a 2-0 defeat  at  home against Bordeaux   on  3rd  November 2009 .   picture appears courtesy  of  getty images/   Alexandr  Meissinger ............
Bayern Munich players look distraught after a 2-0 defeat at home against Bordeaux on 3rd November 2009 . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Alexandr Meissinger..............

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Matchday 5 – 24 November 2009
Group Home Away
E Debreceni VSC 20:45 Liverpool FC More »
E ACF Fiorentina 20:45 Olympique Lyonnais More »
F FC Rubin Kazan 18:30 FC Dynamo Kyiv More »
F FC Barcelona 20:45 FC Internazionale Milano More »
G Rangers FC 20:45 VfB Stuttgart More »
G FC Unirea Urziceni 20:45 Sevilla FC More »
H AZ Alkmaar 20:45 Olympiacos FC More »
H Arsenal FC 20:45 R. Standard de Liège More »

Matchday 5 – 25 November 2009
Group Home Away
A FC Girondins de Bordeaux 20:45 Juventus More »
A FC Bayern München 20:45 Maccabi Haifa FC More »
B PFC CSKA Moskva 18:30 VfL Wolfsburg More »
B Manchester United FC 20:45 Beşiktaş JK More »
C Real Madrid CF 20:45 FC Zürich More »
C AC Milan 20:45 Olympique de Marseille More »
D FC Porto 20:45 Chelsea FC More »
D APOEL FC 20:45 Club Atlético de Madrid More »

Standings »
Group B Pld W D L GF GA Pts
Man. United 4 3 1 0 7 4 10
Wolfsburg 4 2 1 1 7 3 7
CSKA Moskva 4 1 1 2 6 8 4
Beşiktaş 4 0 1 3 1 6 1

NB: Click here to review the present UEFA Champions League divisional standings ……….