Clint Dempsey retires: A look at the career of an American legend

Clint Dempsey retires: A look at the career of an American legend

The footballing world heard the news today that after fifteen years, over two hundred goals and six trophies, Clint Dempsey has announced his retirement aged 35.

Now, when I think of Dempsey, what comes to mind is his time at Fulham in the Premier League, and of course, with Seattle Sounders in Major League Soccer. I think of his international career, in which he scored fifty-seven goals over the course of fifteen years. I think of his iconic No. 2 jersey he wore with both Tottenham Hotspur and Seattle. And of course, I can’t forget the time he stole an official’s notebook and tore it up on the field.

But of course, there’s more to Deuce’s career than that. I figure now’s a good time to take a look back on it, so we’re going to do just that.

Dempsey’s early life wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. Born in a small city in eastern Texas, he grew up living in a trailer park and kicking a football around with the other kids there. He only really got his break by a stroke of luck, being noticed by a scout whilst juggling on the sidelines of his brother’s game. Eventually, he was forced to quit because of financial constraints but team-mates offered to pay some of his fees. His sister passed away when he was just twelve years old, but this gave him a new motivation to keep succeeding.

After success playing for a top-level Dallas youth side, he moved across the country to South Carolina and Furman University to study health and exercise science. And yes, of course he joined the football team, the Paladins, scoring seventeen goals in three years there and leading them to the Round of 16 in the NCAA tournament for just the second time in their history.

Dempsey was selected in the first round of the 2004 MLS SuperDraft by the New England Revolution. Now at the age of 20, Dempsey had to make an impression for the Revolution if he really wanted to push on – and that he did, starting all matches but one and picking up MLS Rookie of the Year 2004. The year after, he pushed on further, reaching double digits for the first time and taking the Revs to the MLS Cup Final. And in 2006, despite injury problems, he still managed to score eight goals in twenty-one matches and went to the World Cup in Germany, being the only US player to score a goal.

Of course, foreign sides started to take interest, as they do, and Fulham swooped in to sign him for $4 million USD. This might not sound like a lot, but it was 2006 and this was the most an MLS player had ever been sold for. And with that, Dempsey was a Cottager.

I would be lying if I told you he adjusted right away. In that first half season, he struggled. Dempsey netted only one goal in twelve matches, not exactly great for a forward. However, this was the goal that secured a 1-0 win over Liverpool, which kept Fulham in the top-flight. It was the season afterwards he really started to push on, with one goal becoming six, then eight, then nine, then thirteen. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s worth remembering that there’s only so many goals you can score when you play for Fulham.

In this time, he scored some pretty important goals. For example, in 2010, he scored the winner against Juventus (yep, this actually happened) with a well-taken chip, which has been called one of the most important goals, if not the most important goal in Fulham’s history. He took this side to the Europa League final, where they lost to Atletico Madrid. And also in 2010, for the second World Cup in a row, he managed a goal, against England in a 1-1 draw.

It’s now 2012. Dempsey’s just had the season of his life. He’s scored twenty-three goals – seventeen in the league – and he’s become the first American to reach fifty goals in the Premier League. The FWA Footballer of the Year award rolls around and he manages to come fourth, behind Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes. Of course, playing this well, there’s only so long he could stay at Fulham and in August 2012, he crossed London to Tottenham Hotspur.

Dempsey stayed at Spurs for only a year, scoring seven goals in twenty-nine league matches. His form outside of the league was better, with five in fourteen, but he wasn’t reaching the heights he had at Fulham, or that other strikers at the club had. That season, he was outscored by both Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe, and instead of being in a starring role like he’d been in at Craven Cottage, he was one of the supporting cast. It’s no surprise that just a year later, he went back to the United States, and barring a two-month loan back to Fulham, that’s where he spent the rest of his career.

The first half season at Seattle Sounders wasn’t a great one, as Dempsey scored once in nine league games. However, he flourished in 2014, scoring fifteen times in twenty-six matches, his best season ever in MLS. He also managed ten assists and took the Sounders to a Supporters’ Shield win.  And of course, he scored at the World Cup, after just half a minute against Ghana.

From here, Dempsey’s career began to wind down. Fifteen goals became ten, then eight. In 2017, he had a better season, scoring twelve in the league and winning the Comeback Player of the Year, but with poorer fitness leading to speculation about his retirement, it was clear his career was coming to an end. After just one goal this season, Clint Dempsey retired.

The influence he had on the sport in America cannot be understated. Players like himself and Landon Donovan helped to elevate football in the United States to higher than it had been before. Dempsey brought America to the Premier League, sure, but he also brought the Premier League to America. He gave Americans someone to root for, and I think that will be his real legacy: bringing American football and European football closer together.

Why having loans with an option to buy is a terrible idea

Why having loans with an option to buy is a terrible idea
Gonzalo Higuain’s loan to Milan includes an option to buy him permanently

One of my favored teams, AC Milan, has been very busy when it comes to loans with an option to buy lately.


Gonzalo Higuain and Tiemoue Bakayoko are on loan from Juventus and Chelsea respectively, and both have an option to buy at the end of their loan. Meanwhile, going the other way, Andre Silva has joined Spanish side Sevilla on loan, with an option to buy for 30 million euros. And, in his first game there, Silva scored a hat-trick.

 

While of course Silva needs to keep this form up throughout the entire season, if he does, there’s no way Sevilla aren’t going to activate the clause in his contract which allows them to sign Silva on a permanent basis.

 

And all of a sudden, Milan have lost a striker that could have well been good enough to play for them.

 

But if Silva doesn’t keep that form up and flops, then he will markedly drop in value and there is no chance of Milan being able to cash in or recoup what they paid for Silva.

 

And I think all of this shows just why loans with an option to buy are never a good idea.


No matter what, it’s a lose-lose situation for the club loaning the player out: Either they lose a player that might have been able to find top form after all, or his struggles will continue and they potentially lose out on money that they might have been able to gain if they had just sold him.

 

To be fair, clubs might pay for the option to loan out a player; for instance, in Gonzalo Higuain’s case, I believe Milan are paying Juventus a fee of forty million euros for just the right to loan him.

 

But the situation is still the same,  If Higuain fails to live up to expectations at Milan, then Higuain will be sent right back to Juventus, where with acquisitions Cristiano Ronaldo and the rising form of Paulo Dybala means to Higuain is, in effect, surplus to requirements.


In the end, I am truly confused as to why clubs allow an option to buy clause when loaning a player out. It just doesn’t make economic, or football sense.

The Nations League: A look at Europe’s newest international competition

The Nations League: A look at Europe’s newest international competition

The date is the 6th of September, 2018. It’s a cold, winter evening at the Astana Arena in Kazakhstan. Bauyrzhan Islamkhan and Jaba Kankava, captains of their respective national sides, meet in the middle of the pitch with the referee and his assistants. After the coin toss has been performed, the captains and officials have shaken hands and the players are ready, Kazakhstan v Georgia kicks off – and so does the UEFA Nations League.

The Nations League is a new competition adopted by UEFA in order to put meaningful matches into the international window slots. Gone are the days of pointless, half-hearted friendlies in the middle of October – there’s now this competition, involving all fifty-five of UEFA’s national teams in four divisions and with a competition spanning eight months. Here’s how it all works.

The teams have been divided into four divisions, with League A having the best sides in Europe, including all four World Cup semi-finalists, plus Portugal, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and Iceland. At the other end of the scale, Group D has the weakest sides, like the aforementioned Kazakhstan and Georgia, as well as Gibraltar, Luxembourg, Macedonia, those sorts. Every league has then been divided into four groups, and every team plays every other team in the group home and away – yes, you get a fancy map for that too.

So, now that that’s all sorted, how’s it actually work?

Well, as I mentioned before, every team plays every other team in their group home and away, as per usual. The teams who finish top of their groups in Leagues B, C and D are promoted for the next season (2020-21) whilst those who finish bottom in A, B and C go down (there’s a technicality in Group C, but that’s not super important). These group games are played from September to November.

For Leagues B, C and D, that’s it for now. There’s promotion and relegation, like I’ve mentioned, and that’s it. The group winners of League A play semi-finals, and then a third-place match and a final. The winners of the final get a trophy and presumably an open-top parade just like any other tournament win. This will be at the start of June 2019.

Now 2019-20 won’t have a Nations League, because of European Championships qualifying being on. However, there’s a slight change to the way qualifying works. As always, the fifty-five nations of Europe are drawn into ten groups, and the top two teams from each group after qualifying will make it to the 2020 Euros. But there are still four spots left. This is where it gets weird, so hold tight.

Let’s imagine that these teams qualify for the Euros: Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, Poland, Spain, Croatia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Scotland, Hungary, Greece and Norway. Long list, I know, but bear with me.

What now happens is the top teams from each group that have not yet qualified for the final tournament go into a playoff. In League D, since no teams have qualified in this scenario, it’s simply the group winners. In Leagues B and C, it’s simply whoever comes top of each group, excluding teams who have already qualified.

There is one slight problem – in League B, one group (Slovakia, Ukraine, Czech Republic) has all teams already qualified. In that case, a team from a different group will get that spot.

Finally, in League A, the top team from each group that has not yet qualified will get the playoff spot. In Group 1, that’s the Netherlands, and in Group 2, it’s Iceland. In Group 4, England takes the spot. In Group 3, since all three teams are qualified and there are no other teams left in League A to give it to, then it will pass down to League B for their best team without a spot to take it.

OK, so finally we have the playoffs sorted. What now?

Well, each league has its own playoff. There are semi-finals and a final, and the winners of the playoffs will be going to Euro 2020. This guarantees a Euros spot to every league, meaning that a team from League D will be going to the European Championships. Only one of these teams (Latvia) has ever been to the Euros before, in 2004, meaning that it will almost certainly be this League D qualifier’s first time at the event.

And there you have it. It’s a complicated system, sure, but it should all become more clear in the coming months as the inaugural Nations League kicks off. It may be a success, it may turn to disaster, but we can’t wait for it to get underway. Nations League, bring it on.

 

An Open Letter to West Ham

An Open Letter to West Ham

Dear West Ham

 

As a West Ham fan, I am the most confused person alive right now. I didn’t think that it was possible to have a worse start than last year, but with three losses in as many games, we obviously have.

And it was looking so good. We had spent money in the transfer window for once, and we broke our transfer record twice with Issa Diop and Felipe Anderson. We got in a Premier League winning manager in Manuel Pellegrini and we had a good preseason. We were looking set for the new season.

And then we collapsed. Away to Liverpool was not going to be an easy start but the way that we collapsed under the slightest bit of pressure was a sight to behold. Next, Bournemouth. The cherries thoroughly outplayed us. The 2-1 scoreline was flattering, to say the least. And then yesterday, Arsenal. How badly can we get outplayed? They tore us a new one, outplaying us all over the pitch.

This is worrying. I know that with a new manager and a lot of new players things will take time to work out but it’s been three league games now plus preseason and if things don’t start improving soon, something has to change. Whether that be the manager or just the tactics I don’t know, but something will change. Something has to change.

 

Yours,

Zac

Image Credits:

https://tbrfootball.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/GettyImages-998635028-1000×600.jpg

Premier League: Our round 3 predictions

Premier League: Our round 3 predictions

So, the official FootyFans tipping competition kicked off a week ago, and it was Blake who came out on top, getting 7 out of a possible 20 points. Just behind him was Zac with five, and unfortunately, I came last this round with 4.

Plenty of time to change that though. On with the tipping!

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Manchester City

 

Dan 

This is a decent Wolves squad that played well against Leicester, Man City may be complacent after thrashing Huddersfield, and there’s no way I’m going to be able to win this competition without being slightly risky. 2-1 Wolves

Blake

I’ve been a little disappointed with Wolverhampton Wanderers so far, and I expect they’ll struggle again here against a superior Manchester City side. 2-1 Manchester City

Zac

Manchester City will just be too good for Wolves today, coming off two convincing victories against good teams. 3-1 Manchester City 

Southampton vs Leicester City

Dan

Uninspiring, if decent, starts by both teams will see a match of mediocrity, but Southampton may just, just be able to come out on top. 1-0 Southampton

Blake

This will be dull. Southampton have one goal this season so far and I don’t think they’ll add to that, but their defence is strong and they should hold the Foxes out. 0-0 draw

Zac

Leicester have started strong this season but I think that they will be pushed all the way by an underrated Southampton team. 1-0 Leicester 

Arsenal vs West Ham United 

Dan 

Both teams should really be doing better, but Arsenal has had the hard start while West Ham has no excuse for losing to Bournemouth. Arsenal will pile on the misery for Pellegrini and the Hammers.  2-1 Arsenal

Blake

Neither side have impressed in the first two matches of the season and I don’t think they will here either, with questionable defences leading to four goals overall. 2-2 draw

Zac

These two clubs have not won yet this season, and with both new managers feeling under pressure to get a win they will cancel each other out. 2-2 draw

Bournemouth vs Everton 

Image result for bournemouth fc

Dan 

Bournemouth has started the season in fine form, defying the odds to beat West Ham away. Everton is doing well, but an away trip to a team that is so high on confidence may end up in the Toffees’ first loss of the campaign. 2-1 Bournemouth

Blake

Bournemouth have been pretty great in their first two matches, conceding just once, but Everton just have too much quality for them in their first real test of the season. 3-2 Everton

Zac

Everton have been looking good recently and I think that they will beat Bournemouth in this game, although the game will be more even than the scoreline suggests. 2-0 Everton 

Huddersfield Town vs Cardiff City

Dan

After a thrashing last week, Huddersfield will be low on confidence, but the good news for them is that they will be playing Neil Warnock’s Cardiff. Expect a bore draw. 0-0 draw

Blake

Dull, dull encounter between the worst two teams in the Premier League by me. Cardiff City’s wait for a first Premier League goal, or win, will continue. 0-0 draw

Zac

With both teams starting out poorly, I don’t think that either team will be very impressive in this match but the Terriers will win out in this potential relegation six-pointer. 1-0 Huddersfield 

Liverpool vs Brighton & Hove Albion

Dan 

Brighton defied the odds to beat United last week, but the Red Devils are just a shambles at the moment. Klopp’s Liverpool, on the other hand, is an entirely different proposition, and one that is too much for Brighton. 4-2 Liverpool

Blake

As much as it pains me to say it, Liverpool are looking brilliant so far this season. Brighton have won one, lost one and despite beating United, I think they’ll suffer here. 4-0 Liverpool

Zac

Although the Seagulls upset Man U last time out, I think that Liverpool will just be too good for them. 3-0 Liverpool

Watford vs Crystal Palace

Image result for Watford

Dan

Palace played exceptionally well against Liverpool, but they’re up against a Watford side that has two wins from two. Given that both teams will think that they can win this, neither will. 1-1 draw

Blake

Watford have won two from two and only conceded once. Whilst Palace haven’t started badly either, they’ll be outclassed at Vicarage Road. 3-1 Watford

Zac

I have not been impressed with either team this season, and although they will both score I think that they will cancel each other out. 1-1 draw

Fulham vs Burnley

Dan

Fulham have lost both of their fixtures so far, but they’re a quality side that is up against a demotivated and exhausted Burnley team that may not make it into Europe. Fulham should secure their first win of the campaign. 2-0 Fulham

Blake

The Clarets will be run-down after their midweek loss to Olympiacos, and as poor as Fulham have been, they’ll want this win more. I see them picking up their first points of the season. 2-0 Fulham

Zac

Burnley will be tired and unmotivated by their loss to Olympiakos in the Europa League mid-week, and with this Fulham looking better and better every week I think that they will punish them. 2-0 Fulham 

Newcastle United vs Chelsea

Dan

Sarri-ball is upon Chelsea, and it’s working mighty fine with a 100% record so far. They’ll sweep aside a Newcastle that couldn’t beat Cardiff. 3-1 Chelsea

Blake

Two wins from two, six goals scored, Chelsea are settling well under new boss Maurizio Sarri. Newcastle meanwhile have scored one and conceded two, and will struggle. 2-0 Chelsea

Zac

This is a very good Chelsea side and if they keep playing Maurizio Sarri’s attractive style of football then they will go far this season. 3-0 Chelsea

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur

Image result for Manchester United

Dan

Manchester United are a complete mess at the moment, but Tottenham are away from home and traditionally struggle against the top 6. United might just get a draw out of this. 1-1 draw.

Blake 

Tottenham have started well on six points, whilst United just lost to Brighton, but a defensive Red Devils side should get themselves a point at Old Trafford. 1-1 draw

Zac 

In this week’s headline match, Spurs will be too good for a Manchester United side that got found out last week at Brighton. 2-1 Spurs

Picture credit:

Will Wolverhampton Wanderers Survive in the Premier League?

https://www.pinterest.nz/pin/572238696385702108/

https://www.premierleague.com/clubs/33/Watford/overview

https://www.si.com/soccer/2018/08/23/manchester-united-steps-fix-problems-jose-mourinho-paul-pogba

 

 

 

 

 

What could have been: A Palermo XI

What could have been: A Palermo XI

If you haven’t heard of the Italian team Palermo, I don’t blame you. They’re a fairly poor Italian club based in Palermo, Sicily, and flit in between the Serie A and the Serie B. However, things could have been so different for the Sicilians had they just managed to keep ahold of their former stars: After seeing a tweet from Twitter user BenTenke, this is a starting XI of Palermo players that left the Sicily based club.

 

Goalkeeper: Salvatore Sirigu

Image result for salvatore sirigu

Sirigu came through Palermo’s youth team and after being loaned out twice, took the starting position for Palermo in the 2009 season, making 69 appearances before leaving for French champions PSG. Currently, he plays for Torino and is battling it out with Gianluigi Donnaruma to become Italy’s undisputed man between the sticks.

 

Center Back: Simon Kjaer

Image result for Simon Kjaer

Kjaer spent two seasons at the club between 2008 and 2010, making 62 appearances and scoring five goals. Quickly outgrew the club and was named Danish young footballer of the year in 2009 and left in 2010 for Wolfsburg and now plays for Sevilla as well as captaining Denmark.

 

Center Back: Kamil Glik

Image result for kamil glik

The pole spent just a single season at Palermo between 2010 and 2011 but never made it into the first team. Was sent on loan to Bari when the winter window opened and joined Torino in the summer. Spent five years there before transferring to Monaco in 2016.

Center Back: Andrea Barzagli

Image result for Andrea Barzagli

Still going strong at 37, the world cup winner was at Palermo between 2004 and 2008. Made over a hundred appearances for the Sicilians, before transferring to Wolfsburg in 2008. Now a key part of the Juventus defense which has won eight consecutive Serie A titles.

 

Wing Back: Matteo Darmian

20150616 - Portugal - Italie - Genève - Matteo Darmian 1.jpg

Was there for just a season before in 2010 and 2011 before moving to Torino, then in the Serie B, initially on loan, before joining permanently. Was signed by LVG’s United in 2015 and has struggled to nail a spot in the starting 11 and has been linked with a switch back to Italy.

 

Wing Back: Josip Ilicic

Image result for Josip Ilicic

The Slovene was at Palermo between 2010 and 2013, scoring an impressive 20 goals in his 98 appearances. Transferred to Fiorentina in 2013, and now plays for Atlanta.

 

Center Mid: Javier Pastore

Image result for Javier Pastore

The Argentine joined Palermo for a reported 4.7 million euros in 2009 (seems to be a common year when these players joined) and stayed for two seasons before joining Sirigu at PSG. Returned to Italy in 2018 for 24.7 euros as an AS Roma player.

 

Center Mid: Franco Vazquez

Image result for Franco Vazquez

Vazquez spent four years at Palermo, although one of them was spent out on loan, making 105 appearances and scoring 22 goals. Transferred in 2016 to Sevilla.

 

Attacking Midfielder: Paulo Dybala

Image result for Paulo Dybala

Arguably the biggest name on the list, Dybala was with the Sicilians between 2012 and 2015, making 89 appearances and scoring 21 goals. He’s only gotten better since his transfer to Juventus, scoring 52 goals in 24 appearances. Amazingly, he’s only 24.

 

Striker: Edison Cavani

Image result for Edinson Cavani

The Uruguayan striker will never be able to replace Luis Suarez as his countries current best striker, but he’s still a wonderful player. He also spent 3 years at Palermo, scoring 34 goals, before a transfer to Napoli, before finally ending up in Paris to play for PSG, where he remains today.

 

Striker: Andrea Belotti

Image result for Andrea Belotti

The Italian forward spent two years during his youth at Palermo, making 62 appearances for a return of 16 goals. That has since earned him a transfer to Torino though, where he made a name for himself by scoring 26 goals two seasons ago. He failed to back that up last season, hitting the net just 10 times.

 

In the end, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Palermo. They’ve got their hands on such talent, but just haven’t been able to keep it. If player loyalty still existed in football, we might just be seeing Palermo competing with the big boys of the Serie A, Inter, Napoli, and Juventus, challenging for the title and for Europe.

Here’s the final team:

Picture credit:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matteo_Darmian#/media/File:20150616_-_Portugal_-_Italie_-_Gen%C3%A8ve_-_Matteo_Darmian_1.jpg

https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/752829/Transfer-New-Fenerbahce-Chelsea-Simon-Kjaer-deal

http://www.zimbio.com/Salvatore+Sirigu/pictures/pro/2017

Report: Lazio close in on Monaco’s Kamil Glik amidst Torino rumours

https://www.worldfootball.net/player_summary/andrea-barzagli/

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/football/405996/Leeds-United-7-5m-Fiorentina-Josip-Ilicic

http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11820/11417181/javier-pastore-arrives-for-roma-medical-ahead-of-move-from-psg

Sevilla’s Vázquez: “I feel Argentine” after Bauza opens door for international U-turn

http://www.skysports.com/paulo-dybala

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4987982/PSG-star-Edinson-Cavani-wants-join-Manchester-City.html

 

 

Zac’s Top Transfers 2018/19

Zac’s Top Transfers 2018/19

Well with most of the transfers this window already over I thought that I might as well rank my top five. Now let’s get into it. Short and snappy, I like it!

5. Jorginho to Chelsea
Maurizio Sarri is the new boss at Chelsea, which means that they will be playing Sarriball and Jorginho is a crucial part of that system. As a regista, Jorginho plays as the base for all the attacks, with great passing range and skill. The signing of Jorginho gives Chelsea one of the top three midfielders in the Premier League, which is not something to be sniffed at.

4. Stefan de Vrij to Internazionale
Stefan de Vrij was brilliant last year for Lazio, helping them reach a very respectable 5th in the league. He was a rock at the back for Lazio easily their best player along with Ciro Immobile. He will be a great signing for Inter, who will be a force to reckoned with this season.

Wi

3. William Carvalho to Real Betis
I have no idea how Real Betis managed to sign William Carvalho. Absolutely none. He is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world and Betis is a mid-table team in Spain. They have pulled off a coup and expect them to better last season’s 6th.

2. Leon Goretzka to Bayern Munich
Getting your main domestic rival’s best player on a free transfer is good business in anyone’s books. Leon Goretzka is an amazing talent that was by far Schalke’s best player last year so of course Bayern brought him. But to get him on a free? That’s better than even Bayern could have expected.

1. Alisson Becker to Liverpool
Liverpool have been begging for a goalkeeper for years. With first Simon Mignolet and then Loris Karius they haven’t had one for years. But Alisson was easily the best goalkeeper in Serie A last season and I don’t see why he can’t carry over that form to the Premier League. They did pay a lot for him but trust me, it will be worth it.

Image Credits:

http://www.squawka.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/GettyImages-669394346.jpg

http://www4.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Stefan+de+Vrij+Netherlands+v+Ecuador+International+ynboz17k-Ogl.jpg

http://www3.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/USA+v+Portugal+Group+G+2014+FIFA+World+Cup+0mVuk4DWK77x.jpg

http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/67/590x/secondary/Leon-Goretzka-871354.jpg

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/eVjqFjbGR_V19iIFFbRx2Qz9eoo=/0x0:3980×2653/1200×800/filters:focal(1185×508:1821×1144)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/58188405/893996430.jpg.0.jpg

Spanish football is coming to the United States

Spanish football is coming to the United States

Last week, La Liga announced that they are moving at least one match every season to the United States for the next decade and a half. They’ve made a deal with a U.S. media company, Relevant.

Now this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. The game is more globalised than ever before with players from all over the world playing in Europe’s top five leagues. The idea of playing matches overseas isn’t new either with the idea of a “Game 39” in the Premier League played abroad first proposed way back in 2008. Americans will look at this and they’ll love it. Finally, top-level, important matches will be played in their country.

But needless to say, it’s not getting the same response everywhere else.

In Spain, players from all twenty La Liga sides met with Asociación de Futbolistas Españoles (Spanish Footballers’ Association) head David Aganzo in Madrid in protest of the change. Sergio Ramos and Nacho of Real Madrid attended, alongside Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto of Barcelona and Atletico’s Koke.

And incredibly, if the plan is implemented, players might strike in protest of it.

Look, I see the appeal of having Barcelona or Real Madrid playing at Soldier Field or the StubHub Center. I see why this looks like a good plan from the outside. But they’ve not consulted the players whatsoever, and they’ve not consulted the fans.

It’s the fans’ game. Football is nothing without them. They’re the lifeblood of football the world around, and that’s no different in Spain. How do you think the Blaugranes feel having a home game shifted to New York or Miami just to please people who don’t even give their own sides that much attention?

Some changes that we’ve seen in the last five or ten years have been positive. Some have been negative. That’s expected. But this – this is an absolute shambles of an idea. If the US want to see good teams playing, why can’t they develop them themselves? At the moment, all they are are a leach on world football, sucking away once-talented players and ruining them.

I cannot support any plan that tears a team away from their fans. Hell, I get annoyed when my local side, the Wellington Phoenix, play a “home” game across the country in Auckland. This is taking the most important parts of Spanish football and tearing them apart. And for that reason, I am so, so very disappointed in La Liga.

Image credit: https://i.eurosport.com/2018/08/16/2399164-49882059-640-360.jpg

Zidane to United – My thoughts

Zidane to United – My thoughts
Zinedine Zidane reportedly wants to become manager of Manchester United

The past few days have been full of more speculation over Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho’s future.

Constant clashes with the board, his constant blasting of players, the way he’s treated Anthony Martial, his dull playing style, and his constant complaining is beginning to push Manchester United fans like me closer and closer to the edge.

And now reports are streaming in that the man who guided Real Madrid to three consecutive champions league titles, Zinedine Zidane, is eyeing up the Old Trafford hot-seat.

So here’s what I think.

I really like Zidane. Three Champions League titles in a row are nothing to sniff at. It’s darn spectacular.

However, as much as I am struggling to believe in Mourinho, he deserves a chance.

So, in what case scenario should we get rid of Mourinho and bring Zidane in?

  • If Mourinho does a third season Mourinho like he did at Chelsea, unsurprisingly, get rid of him and bring Zidane in.
  • Should United fail to qualify for the Champions League and fail to win a trophy, get rid of Mourinho.
  • Should United win any sort of trophy and qualify for the Champions League, keep Mourinho.
  • If United fail to qualify for the Champions League but win a trophy, or qualify for the Champions League but fail to win a trophy, that’s when the board has to have the hard talk and figure out which way they want to see Manchester United go.

I don’t have a problem should Mourinho fail to win a trophy this term. Believe it or not, I’m not that addicted to trophies. However, his boring playing style and the fact he’s generally an asshole makes me think that United should look elsewhere, with trophies being Mourinho’s safety net.

For United, this is one of the most important seasons that we’ll see for a while. What happens in the season will set a benchmark, for what the board expects, the style of football we’ll play, and whether we’ll follow Chelsea in sacking a manager every two years. This season is bigger than big.

Premier League: Our Round 2 Predictions

Premier League: Our Round 2 Predictions

Welcome to Footy Fans’ official tipping competition for the Premier League. This competition will take place between myself, and my two co-owners, Blake and Zac. The rules are very simple. 1 point for predicting the right result, and another point for predicting the correct score.

Because this blog didn’t exist when round 1 was happening, we can’t tell you the scores from last week, for obvious reasons.

On with the tipping!

Cardiff City vs Newcastle United 

Image result for cardiff cityI

Dan 

Two teams that will be in the relegation battle are playing in Wales tonight. I think Rafa’s Newcastle should have the quality to see off the bluebirds, but just barely. 1-0 Newcastle

Blake

The Toon didn’t impress me against Tottenham, and despite my belief that Newcastle is a far superior side, I think Cardiff will hold them to a draw. 0-0 draw

Zac

Newcastle will be too strong for a very weak Cardiff side that probably should still be in the championship. 2-0 Newcastle

Tottenham Hotspur vs Fulham 

Dan 

Despite most of their stars still exhausted from the world cup, Tottenham is good enough to beat Fulham – but it’ll be close. 3-2 Spurs 

Blake 

Spurs did well in their opening fixture, and while I don’t think Fulham’s loss against Crystal Palace is representative of them as a team I expect them to lose. 2-1 Spurs

Zac

Spurs just simply have the better players than Fulham, whose squad is still getting used to each other. 2-0 Spurs

West Ham United vs Bournemouth 

Image result for West Ham

Dan

Playing Liverpool was never going to be easy, but a 4-0 defeat isn’t acceptable. Manuel Pellegrini can, will, and should force a turnaround against Bournemouth, but it’ll be a tough game. 2-1 West Ham. 

Blake 

The Hammers have home advantage and should take a point despite contrasting fortunes last week. 1-1 draw

Zac

These two teams will mostly cancel each other out but West Ham will sneak one at the end. 1-0 West Ham 

Leicester City vs Wolverhampton Wanderers 

Leicester deserved a draw against United last week, and that good performance should be followed up with another decent one against a Wolves side that still needs time to gel, and this time, they’ll get a win out of it. 1-0 Leicester

Blake 

Leicester City didn’t play too badly against United and Wolves are still adapting to this level of football but they’re explosive, they are. Lots of goals. 2-2 draw

Zac

These two teams will cancel each other out in what could be one of the games that decide the mid-table come to the end of the season. 1-1 draw

Everton vs Southampton

Dan 

One of the easier games to tip this round, I have no doubt in me that Everton will see off any challenge posed by Southampton. 3-0 Everton. 

Blake

Richarlison’s fit. End of. 3-1 Everton

Zac

Everton will be too good for Southampton in this one, with the Blues controlling the game and Southampton getting one goal on the counter. 2-1 Everton

Chelsea vs Arsenal 

Dan 

Chelsea was good against Huddersfield, but it was Huddersfield. Arsenal struggled against Manchester City, but it was Manchester City. These two sides are going to cancel each other out. 1-1 draw.

Blake

The Blues looked good against Huddersfield and I expect Arsenal will take some time to adapt to Emery. 2-0 Chelsea.

Zac 

In the big game of the match day, Chelsea and Arsenal are at about the same skill level and are both under new managers, so I don’t think that either team will get a result out of this one. 1-1 draw. 

Manchester City vs Huddersfield Town 

Image result for Manchester City

Dan

Manchester City vs Huddersfield Town. The Manchester City that got 100 points last season. The Huddersfield Town that scored twenty-eight goals last season. You do the maths. 5-0 City 

Blake

After the win against Arsenal, City has shown us all they’ve still got it and even though De Bruyne won’t play, I expect they’ll win big against a poor Huddersfield side. 4-0 City

Zac

Manchester City do what they do don’t they? The Citizens will be too strong for the Terriers, who will get a 3-0 pounding. 3-0 City 

Burnley vs Watford 

Dan 

Sean Dyche’s Burnley will be able to see off Watford in what will most likely be a dour game. Burnley 1-0 Watford. 

Blake 

Burnley’s priorities are Istanbul Basaksehir and Olympiacos and they’ll be half-hearted in a loss to a decent-looking Watford. 2-0 Watford.

Zac

Burnley have played midweek and I don’t think that Watford will have the quality to break them down. If you have to miss one this week, this is it. 0-0 draw. 

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Manchester United

Dan

Much like last week, Jose Mourinho will do a Jose Mourinho and secure an undeserved victory. 2-1 United

Blake 

The Red Devils weren’t amazing against Leicester City, but they’ll improve away against a Brighton side that played poorly against Watford. 3-1 United

Zac 

Man U will have too much quality for a Brighton team who got thoroughly outplayed last week at Watford. 2-0 United

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool 

Image result for crystal palace

Dan 

Roy Hodgon’s Palace side is a possible stumbling block for Liverpool. They’re traditionally Liverpool’s bogey team, the Reds have a reputation of slipping against small sides, and Palace has kept Zaha. Maybe, just maybe, the Eagles can snatch victory. 1-0 Palace

Blake

Yes, I know this looks like a joke, but both sides have defensive frailties and Liverpool are away from home, where they seem considerably weaker. 3-3 draw.

Zac

Liverpool will attack straight out of the blocks and it will be a similar game to last week at Anfield. 3-1 Liverpool 

picture credit:

http://www.goal.com/en/news/cardiff-city-2018-19-season-fixtures-transfers-squad-numbers/1x4ughnthwrim1t2bzm3a28apr

https://bracethehammer.sbnation.com/2018/8/12/17680702/ft-liverpool-4-0-west-ham-united-new-season-same-old-opening-match-thumping-for-hammers

https://www.news.com.au/sport/football/premier-league-wrap-liverpool-destroy-west-ham-manchester-city-hand-emery-rough-debut/news-story/f5a0cc3c1f742d55a0be24d57f4e852c

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/45067373