The first post for a while, after the catastrophe that was Euro 2016 and what can only really be described as the Allardyce Experiment.
However, things are relatively back to normal: three wins in four World Cup qualifiers so far, all of which have also resulted in clean sheets. But as I’ve written so many times before, the qualifiers aren’t the problem…
New content (finally), including an affectionate tribute to Sepp Blatter and a post about how success in the qualifiers is no guarantee of success of finals.
Although I am not entirely sure that last one is a new topic…
Ridiculous. The game has been rearranged for tomorrow afternoon at 4:00pm GMT.
Roy Hodgson was confirmed as the new England manager on Tuesday afternoon. More to follow as soon as possible.
Manchester City will play Aris Salonica of Greece, first leg in Salonica the day after Valentine’s Day – I know a bit about Greek football and I can’t imagine there’ll be that many goals in either leg – Aris know how to park the bus away from home in particular.
A couple of days later Liverpool travel to Prague (left) to play Sparta. The Czech league has a massive winter break that starts in November and doesn’t end until after the Liverpool game, so at least the hosts will be well rested 😉
It’s only a month since the last post and it’s incredible how quickly things have changed: I thought Rafa Benitez would be out of a job, but Kenny Dalglish going back to Liverpool actually made me laugh!
Less than a year after his move from Middlesbrough – and with six weeks until the transfer window re-opens – it looks as if Roberto Mancini’s selection process may have had an unexpected affect on one of England’s promising youngsters. Guest blogger Thomas Rooney investigates.
Great things are expected of Adam Johnson. After impressing in his appearances so far for England, he has been touted as a big player for the national side in the future, with many pinning England’s hopes of Euro 2012 success firmly on his shoulders along with those of another few young stars currently lighting up the Premier League, such as Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere. However, the player realises that in order to fulfil his destiny on the biggest stage in international football, he needs to perform consistently for his club.The problem is that his club happens to be Manchester City, which sees world-class players warming the bench on a weekly basis. Although some of these individuals appear content to continue picking up their wages whilst sitting on the sidelines each week, it would seem that Johnson is different.
“Every footballer has to think about [moving on] when the time comes. It is still early but I definitely would consider it,” he said.
Johnson’s comments are likely to be received differently in different sectors, with some fans believing that the youngster reckons he’s too big for the club. With the playerstill developing and learning all the time, the chance to train with and observe some of the best players in world football under the guidance of one of Europe’s top coaches is an opportunity that no 23-year-old, no matter how talented, should pass up. The football predictions suggest City could qualify for the Champions League next season, which would offer Johnson another chance to develop, but there’s no guarantee he’d make the squad.
Some fans clearly think the player believes his own hype and should stick with the club as they seek to help develop him over the next couple of years. Any move could be crucial for his future and that of the England national team.
On the other hand, some fans have praised the player for not being content to pick up a hefty wage packet while doing nothing on the pitch, and others have urged him to take the plunge and make the move from Eastlands as they fear for his ability to improve under the management of such a defensive boss. If Johnson really is England’s brightest hope for the future, he needs to play regular first team football soon and the transfer rumours have linked him with a move.
Whatever Johnson and City decide to do, there are likely to be many fans of other clubs in England with one eye on the player.
Next game: 25th March in Cardiff against Wales.
Vaya con Dios, Diego Maradona: despite getting further than England but scoring fewer goals against Germany than England did, El Diego is now looking for another job. Presumably Ronald Reagan, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, George Bush and FIFA mafiosi were to blame, not shoddy defending or inability/unwillingness by his strikers to track back.
The current coaches of Cuba and Venezuela are Raul Gonzalez Triana and Cesar Farias respectively. Just sayin’ 😉
Not nearly as harsh as what happened to the North Korean team though…and Fab goes marching on.
According to the BBC, two players from the Togolese football squad in Angola for the African Nations Cup have been injured following an attack on their team bus this afternoon. We’ll keep an eye on the situation.
UPDATE: ESPN Soccernet is reporting three players and the bus driver were injured and quotes Nantes striker Thomas Dossevi as saying that the team no longer wants to take part in the tournament.
UPDATE: Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the driver – who was Angolan – was killed and that two players and two medics were injured. Both Emmanuel Adebayor of Manchester City and Mustafa Salifou of Aston Villa are reported to be uninjured.
Togo were scheduled to begin their Group B games on Monday with a game against Ghana in Cabinda, Angola.
UPDATE: Various news services are reporting that Togo FA Vice President Gabriel Ameyi has announced that defender Serge Akakpo (of Romania’s FC Vaslui) was injured, but there seems to be some confusion over the identity of another wounded player, named as ‘Obilali Kossi’ – this might be either Obilali Kodjovi of GSI Pontivy in France or Kossi Agassa, who aslo plays in France for Istres in Ligue 2. Both players are goalkeepers.
Ameyi also commented that the team apparently did not tell the CAF that they were travelling by bus and that they ‘should have flown’ to Angola. Presumably the Togolese FA should have had some kind of say in that too?
Cabinda is an Angolan enclave surrounded by both the Democratic Republic of Congo (which older readers may remember as Zaire, the Belgian Congo or Congo Kinshasa) and the Republic of Congo (formerly known as Congo Brazzaville and the French Congo) and despite being an oil rich area has a history of political violence even though the Angolan Civil War ended in 2002.