Footballrumours’s Blog

Beckham will not return to LA Galaxy
February 16, 2009, 1:36 pm
Filed under: European Football | Tags: , , ,

That statement is not exactly true at the moment – it’s just my opinion, but I’ll be very surprised if that is not the outcome of the current negotiations between the AC Milan, the US club and Beckham himself.

Obviously he wants to carry on playing in Italy, they want him to stay and for someone with so much wealth, he’s not going to be made to do something he doesn’t want to do.  Given the fact that he would be free to leave LA Galaxy in November anyway, I’m pretty certain they are resigned to the fact he’s leaving them but are just trying to eek out the best financial outcome. Beckham’s advisers and AC Milan’s money men all know that, so expect this one to be a money-related affair and to go right to the wire which may be 9th March.

AC Milan have already offered £5 million, but LA say Beckham is worth £10 million. Fairly big numbers, but small beer in Beckham’s world and maybe AC Milan will ask Beckham to cough up some cash himself to buy himself out of his contract (in much the same way as F1 driver Jenson Button did to get away from Williams to join Honda in 2005).

Of course Beckham is also taking a renewed liking in playing for England who have nine international games lined up between now and October. As much as AC Milan want Beckham, they won’t want to shoulder the whole cost of bringing him back to Europe, especially if the English national team are going to see significant benefit from the move. Cash may be brought in from elsewhere to oil the wheels here.


Referees Need Technical Help
February 8, 2009, 8:22 pm
Filed under: Barclays Premiership | Tags: , , , ,

It now seems long overdue that serious consideration is given to providing technical assistance to referees.

This weekend saw several refereeing decisions fundamentally affect the outcome of big games, so should the abilities of one man, and whether he gets a clear view of any incident, swing the outcome of a Premiership game in such a significant way?

Football now stands almost alone in professional sport in forsaking the help of available technology to ensure a fair result is achieved. Tennis for example now has the help of Hawkeye technology to judge the correctness of every line call. Rugby Union uses a fourth official and video replays to ensure decisions on try scores are correct. Formula One, a sport that has technology at its very heart, has track-side referees who can use video replays to assess fair or foul maneuvers and impose drive-through or retrospective penalties even after a race is over.

Match changing refereeing decisions were once again under examination this weekend after incidents at the Spurs vs Arsenal game and and at the Sunderland vs Stoke game where referee Rob Styles made what must have been the biggest mistake of the day when he failed to spot Stoke player Pugh using his hands to stop the ball crossing the goal line. Sunderland players and fans alike could not believe that the action of Pugh went unpunished. On  TV Pugh certainly had a guilty look on his face but unlike some other sports where honesty and honour are upheld, no professional footballer is encouraged to own up to a foul when the stakes are so high. Another thing that should change perhaps.

So with such high stakes and so much money now involved in the game it must be time to reconsider the use of assistance technology to make sure important refereeing decisions are made correctly. It would certainly reduce pressure on referees and remove the weekly complaints from managers that now seem par for the course.

Will he stay or will he go?
February 4, 2009, 3:10 pm
Filed under: European Football | Tags: , , , ,

Big discussions are taking place between lawyers representing David Beckham and LA Galaxy, the US Soccer team that loaned Beckham to AC Milan. Beckham came to Italy in January and was due to return to LA Galaxy on 9th March, however the Italian club have registered Beckham up until June sparking rumours that he would be staying longer.

It is thought that LA Galaxy want him back, but if Beckham himself wants to remain in Italy I would expect LA Galaxy to take the next best option and secure a nice financial deal out of the issue. AC Milan clearly want Beckham on their books either temporarily or permanently.

Having the chance to play alongside superstars such as Kaka, Ronaldinho and Seedorf must be more attractive to Beckham at this stage of his career than returning to US football where real player talent is thin on the ground.

Is that why Robinho left Tenerife?
January 28, 2009, 10:34 am
Filed under: Barclays Premiership | Tags: , , , , , ,

When the Brazilian footballing superstar Robinho left Manchester City’s training camp in Tenerife during January without team permission, he said at the time that he had gone back to Brazil because of a “family matter”. His spokesman at the time also failed to shed any clarity on the situation, saying just that it was unfortunate that a negative light had been cast on Robinho’s actions.

Well what a surprise when Robinho was arrested by Manchester police this week on allegation of “sexual assault”. The date of the alleged actions are placed just 8 days before Robinho’s unannounced departure back to Brazil. Seems a bit of a coincidence if you ask me.

What is it about professional footballers that seem to make them a magnet for criminal controversy? Stephen Gerrard is still facing charges of actual bodily assault and affray after an incident in a Southport nightclub at the end of December. Gerrard is due to appear in court again in March. And we all know about other footballers who have felt the long arm of the law on their shoulder. Back in 2004 West Brom player Lee Hughes was jailed for six years for causing death by dangerous driving when a 56 year old man was killed after his car was hit by Hughes’ Mercedes.Plymouth goalkeeper Luke McCormick was jailed for 7 years 4 months for killing two young boys in a vehicle collision and Joey Barton was jailed for six months last may after being involved in an attack outside a McDonalds in Liverpool. Welsh captain Craig Bellamy has twice been involved in events that attracted the attention of the police in 2002 and 2006.

Back to the current Robinho affair. I can’t honestly see him playing next season with Manchester City. I’d suggest that he’ll either end up at Chelsea, where he originally wanted to play before the City deal was concluded or he’ll leave the UK for either Italy or back to Spain.

Redknapp courts Hipocrisy
January 26, 2009, 10:33 am
Filed under: FA Cup | Tags: , ,

After watching the FA Cup between Manchester United and Spurs on Saturday I was left with one thought – how Harry Redknapp had changed his spots. After commenting mid-week that he was placing the game down his priority list and would be fielding a below strength team ( and receiving plenty of criticism for those remarks) he turned up with a strong team and went all guns blazing for the win. Had it not been for an unfortunate two minute spell in the first half, Redknapp could well have got that win. In his comments after the game he even admitted that he thought his team was effectively always in contention right up to the end and could easily have earned a reply – but Harry didn’t want that replay did he? Alex Ferguson played no such shenanigans and fielded a very strong looking team – O’Shea, Vidic, Carrick, Scholes, Ronaldo, Berbatov and Tevez is a formidable line-up.

Manchester United have their own injury worries though with Rooney, Evra, Anderson, Evans, Rafael and now Welbeck and Fabio all injured. But such is their strength in depth that even this high number of casualties should not hamper them.

All these remarks about busy seasons and priorities have at least forced the FA to reconsider their rules for the FA Cup and I expect some radical changes to be brought in by next season. With both Liverpool and Everton now facing an unwanted replay, the FA must consider how to ensure ties in the latter stages of the competition ( when more premiership teams are likely to be involved) can be settled in just one game. Maybe even the semi-finals and final too – I’ve always found an FA Cup Final replay to be a bit of an anti-climax compared to the real deal.  Before long I certainly expect earlier FA Cup rounds to be using a short period of extra time, followed by penalties if required.

All this will limit the revenue-earning opportunities that some lower league clubs thrive on when presented with the chance of a replay (some would say that these clubs may even play for a replay at times ) but let’s be honest, the FA Cup is not about those one or two non-league clubs earning a lucky financial break. It’s about exciting competition with the big-name clubs providing thrilling and committed performances. If over-booked schedules and the worry of injuries and replays serve to prevent that, then the format needs to be resolved quickly.

The Darker side of Player Loans
January 23, 2009, 9:50 am
Filed under: Barclays Premiership, FA Cup | Tags: , , ,

The issue of player loans is not one that makes many headlines but recently there appears to have been more interest in the activity. West Brom manager Tony Mowbray has one person speaking openly and frequently about loan players, especially as his club appears to be in a precarious League position with huge squad injury worries to contend with.

The typical player’s ( and most likely public ) view of player loans is articulated by Gavin Strachan in his BBC blog and is seen as a means to give players without regular first team spots the chance to play competitive games with another club in the meantime.But is there more to this than meets the eye.

In one article Tony Mowbray mentions the willingness of higher ranked clubs to offer loan players to teams lower down their Leagues as a potential means of taking points away from their main competitors. By loaning a decent player to a club who subsequently achieves a draw against key opposition, the top teams can steal vital points away from their rivals.

That started to raise my suspicions of possible darker implications and I think the area needs closer scrutiny and monitoring by the FA Cup and League bodies. Perhaps an investigative journalist with an interest in the matter could undertake some thorough research into the area.

Consider Team A loaning a key player to Team J lower down the league. Team J then scrambles a draw against Team C, a key rival of Team A. Team J are glad of the extra point and Team A steal a two point march on Team B. Not the real objective of player loans but an expected consequence none the less. But what happens when Teams A and J play each other? Are there some conflicts of interest at play now.? No-one would expect Team J to put up much of a fight in normal circumstances anyway, but would the team managers concerned see further opportunities for co-operation?  Perhaps manager A would be allowed to field an under-strength squad, saving his top players, safe in the knowledge that Team J is not going to make his life too difficult. Makes you wonder doesn’t it. What we need is someone with time on their hands to go back over the results of previous seasons and drag together some statistics. It may make interesting reading.

Redknapp plays FA Cup Mind Games
January 22, 2009, 2:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Does anybody really believe Harry Redknapp’s comments about writing-off his club’s FA Cup ambitions in preference for a focus on their League position? Granted, Spurs sit on equal bottom of the Premier League with four other clubs, but the season is only at the halfway stage and a club like Spurs have a lot of history to call on if the chips really are down nearer the end of the season. I reckon his comments are a tease to Manchester United, possibly goading them into leaving out a few of their top players for this weekend’s FA Cup game at Old Trafford.

Manchester United have their own full schedule and priorities to worry about, with a Carling Cup final to look forward to and a position at the top of the Premiership to defend.

Having tasted FA Cup victory with Portsmouth last year, surely Redknapp knows how a good run in the competition can inspire a team. Can he really afford to write that potential boost of success off at this stage of the season? His team selection for the weekend game will reveal whether he really is trying to pull the wool over Sir Alex Ferguson’s eyes.