Who Will Succeed Alex Ferguson At United?

When the news first broke about Alex Ferguson’s retirement, my thoughts immediately went to Mourinho. Who else would be bold enough to take that job after decades of consistent success with one man? Who else wouldn’t be fazed by the massive expectations that came with a club like Manchester United?

But after dismissing David Moyes due to his lack of experience in Europe, I’m not so sure now.

Manchester United will be after a a long term replacement and Moyes represents that. Also, it seems like Ferguson has been grooming Moyes for a while now, and possibly told him to just stick it out with Everton for a few more years and when he comes to retire he’ll get the job. Moyes’ contract runs out in the summer as well so it’s a perfect way to stick with Scottish management.

My biggest question mark was over top level experience, but I suppose if you’re after a long term replacement then Manchester United will have the patience to give him a few years to settle in.

After just checking the bookies David Moyes is the clear favourite at 1/10! Mourinho is in second place at 5/1, Jurgen Klopp 20/1 and then Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at 25/1.

Would Manchester United fans like David Moyes at Old Trafford? I can’t decide whether he is a fantastic manager or overrated.

Who do you think will be the next Manchester United manager?


Ferguson is a Legend / Mourinho to United?

Since last night, the Twittersphere went into over drive with rumours that Alex Ferguson was going to retire at the end of the season, and this morning it was confirmed.

The news broke out from a players versus coaches golf game yesterday afternoon. Apparently, the news was meant to be revealed on Sunday when United would be officially crowned champions, but once the rumours started Ferguson had to respond.

I for one am a little surprised, partly because he seems to flirt with the idea of retirement every summer and not before the season ends. Also, I thought he’d try to lift the Champions League one more time.

Manchester United have been hugely successful over the last 27 years and for me, he is the main reason why. This season, like others before it, experts and fans alike have said the United team that has won the league wasn’t the best. Whether that is true or not is open to debate, but the fact is Ferguson gets the absolute maximum from what he has. When you consider the squads at Manchester United and Manchester City, and the contrasting amounts spent on it, it is almost criminal that Manchester City didn’t win the league. So for United to win the league so comfortably, it a huge testament to Alex Ferguson’s ability as a coach and manager.

Of course, he has spent big money on players but nothing in the region that other big clubs like Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona and PSG have spent in a single transfer window. He has combined youth, experience and most importantly – and something I have been especially jealous of – is a winning mentality. You can say what you like about Gary Neville (when he was playing, not now), Rio Ferdinand, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Roy Keane et al, but however much they were f*cking annoying people, they were winners. Winning is all that mattered and they did it at any cost. They’ve had squads in the past that weren’t the best technically, but they still had that desire to win trophies. When Arsene Wenger talks about mental strength, Manchester United have that in abundance.

Last summer when Robin van Persie joined United some newspapers speculated that his purchase was a leaving present for Alex Ferguson, a last ditch attempt to wrestle back the Premier League title from their noisy neighbours. And so it proved, they were right.

Before you accuse me of a Manchester United and Alex Ferguson love in, I will remind you something Arsene Wenger said of Ferguson a few years ago. He basically said that they respected each other because what they achieved in the game, but when it came to playing against each other it was a fight. Because I support Arsenal it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the things Ferguson has done for United – it is undeniable that he has been the driving force in their massive success over the last 20 years. I don’t think the Premier League will be the same without him and it’s hard to say what kind of affect his departure will have on that club.

And that brings us to his replacement.

It’s hard to imagine who could possibly replace their greatest ever manager. It would just be like us trying to imagine who could possibly replace Arsene Wenger when he decides to retire or leave the club. The bookmakers have made David Moyes the odds on favourite but for me I cannot see that happening. He has done well for Everton, but even Everton fans I speak to say his tactics are limited and can be overly negative.

If he does get appointed (and I would be surprised) then Manchester United must feel that everything is in place for continued success. Something many people haven’t mentioned is his lack of experience in European competition. Some people have the knowhow when it comes to European football but others haven’t. Roberto Mancini for example has no idea how to do well in Europe, as he’s shown with Manchester City and previously at Inter Milan.

So we come to other candidates. Of course, Jose Mourinho will be mentioned as he has pretty much cut all ties with Real Madrid. And the question is would he return to a football club? He likes to try new experiences (that much is clear) and filling the boots of his friend Alex Ferguson would be massively tempting for him. It would also be a massive coup and signal of intent if United poached him and if I was a Chelsea fan, I’d be a little worried.

Other names mentioned are Jurgen Klopp, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Jupp Heynckes, Gary Neville, Manuel Pellegrini, Mike Phelan, Laurent Blanc and Michael Laudrup. In that list are a few really top top managers with a wealth of European experience, hence the reason why I feel Moyes would be a strange choice. And who would want to turn down the chance of managing on the biggest football clubs in the world? United won’t struggle to find a world class appointment, that’s for sure.


José Mourinho: The Return of The Special One? Er… No Thanks!

With Real Madrid crashing out of the Champions League to the hands of Dortmund last week, it’s clear that the “Special One” intends to return to the Premier League next season, most likely with Chelsea.

And with that, the British media are going crazy. People are beside themselves with excitement, unable to wait for God himself to return to our league and grace us all with his mere presence.

But I would argue, he isn’t really The Special One, and we’re better off if he stayed away from the Premier League.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane and break down the Special One’s reign as Chelsea manager shall we?

His Purchases In The Transfer Market

With a bottomless pit of money, obviously you will use it and Mourinho was no exception. Arsenal fans will tell you about Arsene’s ability to buy young talent and mould them into world class players. We have Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Nicolas Anelka, Gael Clichy, Cesc Fabregas, Bobby Pires, Kolo Toure, Manu Eboue – the list is endless. Don’t get me wrong, Wenger has had his fair share of donkeys in his time. Remember Francis Jeffers? Remember Richard Wright?

Well whatever Arsene’s poor buys have added up to, they surely don’t even come close to the value of Mourinho’s crap purchases.

We have Mateja Kezman (£5.4m), Tiago (£10m), Paulo Ferreira (£13.3m), Michael Ballack (Free), Andriy Shevchenko (£30m) and Asier del Horno (£8m) to name but a few over the years.

Great stuff.

And some of Mourinho’s best players, Lampard, Terry and Joe Cole were already there, and if you think back you will remember that Petr Cech and Arjen Robben were actually Claudio Ranieri signings.

Tapping Up Ashley Cole

Then there is Mourinho’s disregard for even the simplest rules. Because he had a so-called ‘left-back crisis’ he saw fit to meet Cashley Cole behind Arsenal’s back, despite the fact he was under contract to Arsenal Football Club. Yes, Cole is hardly blameless either but for a ‘top manager’ to even do this is completely ridiculous. Would SAF or AW do this?

This would be a damaging matter that would start from late January until late September of 2005, covering most of the season where Arsenal would finish second to Chelsea in the Premier League. Arguably one of Arsenal’s best talents and Arsenal fans would leave for Chelsea just one season later after Arsene Wenger allowed him to leave, and after playing him in one of the biggest games in World Football – the Champions League Final.

Mourinho himself was fined £200,000 for his part in the saga, which was reduced to £75,000 on appeal. Not a bad price for poaching one of the best left backs in English football.

The Anders Frisk Affair

During the 2004/2005 Champions League campaign and during a game against Barcelona and the Camp Nou, Jose Mourinho publicly accused referee Anders Frisk of ‘inviting Frank Rijkaard to his dressing room at half time’ which is against UEFA regulations.

Anders Frisk would receive death threats after Mourinho’s public tongue-lashing and after severe criticism from Chelsea fans, Chelsea players and Chelsea management. Only weeks later, Frisk would cut short his 18 year career as a referee because of death threats towards him and his family.

Mourinho on the other hand would receive a two match touchline ban.

And Volker Roth, the UEFA referee’s chief would later call Jose Mourinho “an enemy of football.”

Quite an accolade, Jose.

A year later again in the Champions League, Barcelona fans would greet Mourinho with abuse and spitting when he arrived in Catalan, and he would experience even more on the way to the team hotel.

Other Feuds & Controversies

One incident Arsenal fans will remember are Mourinho’s comments where he called Arsene Wenger a ‘voyeur’ who was obsessed with Chelsea. Jose would also reveal having a 120 dossier which was full on comments Arsene has made about Chelsea. Mourinho would realise how stupid he was making those comments and would later apologise to Arsene in the form of a greeting card.

In December 2006, Mourinho was in the headlines again – this time labelling Everton’s Andy Johnson a ‘cheat and untrustworthy’. This would prompt Everton to threaten with legal action, and force Mourinho to apologise yet again for his outlandish statements.

He then of course called Double Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo ‘ill-educated, disrespectful and immature‘, for which Mourinho apologised yet again…

And there was the goal Luis Garcia scored in the Champions League against Chelsea, where had another public tantrum about the goal being allowed in the first place. A top motion expert argued said it was actually over the line, and Rafa Benitez pointed out that Baros should of had a penalty for the initial incident anyway if the goal hadn’t of stood. Something which obviously slipped the mind of Jose Mourinho.

The ‘Special One’s’ Love For Chelsea

Before even joining Chelsea, Jose Mourinho would publicly declare how he would much rather join Liverpool, citing several reservations about joining Chelsea.

And if Jose loves Chelsea so much, surely he would just get on with his job?

Instead he managed to get involved in all kinds of backroom politics, seemingly looking for an excuse for an arguement. Well it looks like he got what he wanted, which was a £20 million plus pay off from the club he ‘loves’ so much.


The problem is the word ‘great’ is banded around far too much, especially with the excessive media coverage we get in this modern age. 24 hour sports news channels, endless football websites – these need to fill time and space and what better way to go well over the top about Jose Mourinho.

We have every man and his dogs opinion on how ‘amazing’ Jose was, and it’s amazing people forget someones faults and failings when they are gone.

Yes, he was probably Chelsea’s ‘greatest ever’ manager but that’s not exactly hard with their “history” is it?

But the media love him because he always has a story. They say Arsene is the king of spin but Mourinho sets his own agenda and the press love it. It’s easy having Mourinho around to create the stories and set the tone, with more and more demand for fresh, new stories.

So Jose Mourinho back in the Premier League? Thanks, but no thanks.


Goal-line Technology? My Solution Is Better!

Goal-line Technology has now been confirmed to be introduced to the Premier League from next season, with British-based firm Hawk Eye has been comissioned to install the systems into stadiums around the country.

The system will use 7 cameras per goal around the stadium where it is installed, and Hawk Eye is confident that there has never been a goal-line incident where none of the cameras would have seen whether the ball has crossed the line or not. So this would be the final word on whether a team has or hasn’t scored.

Fifa President Sepp Blatter, stated that Frank Lampard’s “ghost goal” in the 2012 World Cup was decisive in making the decision to approve goal-line technology systems to use in football.

Strangely though, only last month Uefa President Michel Platini stated:

“I prefer to put more money into youth football and infrastructure than spend it on technology when there’s a goal in a blue moon that hasn’t been seen by a referee.

“It would cost around 54 million euros (£46m) over five years for this technology, so it’s quite expensive for the sort of mistake which happens once every 40 years.

“In the Champions League, I’m very happy with the results (of a five-man team). Practically no mistakes have been made and the referees see practically everything that happens on the pitch.”

Which clearly shows Platini is a complete idiot.

Firstly, these incidents are quite rare, but hardly once in a blue moon. Secondly, claiming that the five-man refereeing team “practically makes no mistakes” is ludicrous. It is commonly accepted that the two extra assistant referees behind the goal line are completly useless and only serve as decoration. The two goals in the recent Borussia Dortmund versus Malaga game show that they serve no purpose whatsoever. They’re a joke and completely pointless.

So goal-line technology would bring some justice to decisions where a goal has been unjustly given or not given, which can have a massive bearing in a football match.

But while this is a welcome step forward, is it the right move?

One of the problems I have with football, is that there are incorrect decisions which make a massive difference. Of course, every football club has been a victim of poor and sometimes disgraceful decisions and by the same token they would have also benefited from some as well.

But football is the most popular sport in the world, and they should be pioneers in terms of advances in technology and ideas when it comes to sport. Rugby, Cricket and Tennis are miles ahead of us, and have less money invested in the sport.

One of the arguments against using technology was that it underminded the influence of the referee. But that is flawed because it can clearly be used to help get decisions right. Another argument is that in grass roots football, you wouldn’t have technology so you would have to rely on the decision of the referee anyway.

So why use goal-line technology? Why not do something much easier.

My idea (which I’m sure others have had) would be to use a panel of 3 “assistant referees” (or whatever you want to call them) looking at a TV monitor on the sidelines. Each football team would have “3 appeals” during the match – it could be to dispute a goal given due to offside, a tackle in the box where a penalty has been awarded, a player diving to gain a freekick or penalty, a nasty tackle or an off the ball incident.

Once a team lodges one of their appeals (they only have 3 to use in the 90 minutes) then it would go to the 3 assistant referees. They would then vote on which way the decision should go (after only taking 15/20 seconds to make that decision) and then the majority rules. No ifs or buts, a secondary decision has been made and is final. It doesn’t matter if the incident isn’t clear cut, the opinion is final. It is not 100% but it wouldn’t be far off, and would elimate a lot of clearly dodgy decisions that are made by referees.

And this would hardly disrupt a football match, as each side only has 3 appeals and it would clean up the game.

The players would only appeal unless they really thought a decision was wrong as they would be using up one of their appeals. It would cut out cheating and all of the negative parts of the game, and promote fair play. You would have players like Suarez and Ronaldo thinking twice about diving to get an unfair advantage.

Which player would want to look stupid to the world by “appealing” against a blatantly obvious decision, or wasting one of the three they have?

And it would also mean that it wouldn’t affect grass roots football, as the decisions are still ultimately made by people, not machines. In lower leagues you would still have officials making the decisions. All they are doing is using television pictures (if they are available) to help aid their judgement on key incidents.

Apart from the injustices you see on the football pitch, it would also help to address the stupid situation where footballers can commit atrocious and career-threatening tackles, and get away with it because of this ridiculous retrospective ruling. It would take the power away from the FA Panel and allow referees to issue appropriate punishments at the time. For example, in the recent Wigan v Newcastle match, where Callum McManaman almost took off Massaido Haidara’s leg, he would have got a red card and been sent off which would have been the correct decision.

People talk about this crap about having “nothing to talk about in the pub” and losing banter when watching a match but that is not something I’m bothered about. We currently live in a world where there’s so much media around football it’s suffocating. So not having certain things to talk about would be welcomed by me. I know the football media would be upset about that because they would struggle to have rubbish to talk about, but that’s not a bad thing.

Football is entertaining enough when two teams try and win a football match and there’s always more important things to analyse, such as tactics and performances of the players. And you still get mental players like Joey Baron and Mario Balotelli if you need your fix of “controversy”.

I would rather have a game where the sports was a fair as it could be, and there was less controversy. Maybe teams like Manchester United, who as we know get a lot of decisions, wouldn’t necessarily agree, but for me it would be for the good of the game.


Is Match Fixing A Threat To English Football?

According to Europol, there have been 680 football matches that have been fixed around the world as part of a massive betting syndicate and apparently one of those was a Champions League tie played in England.

Reportedly, there are around 425 match officials, club officials, players and criminals are “suspected” of being involved.

We already know about high profile match-fixing in countries like Italy and Turkey, where players, officials and club staff have been punished with prison time. But this is the first time England has been implicated with match-fixing since the Betting Scandal of 1964 (according to the ever-reliable Wikipedia).

According to Europol, the Champions League tie which was played in England took place in the last 3 or 4 years.

And that’s all that has been revealed as “investigations are ongoing”.

So they haven’t strictly said that an English team was involved, as it could have been a European referee or the opposing team that was involved. But until all of the details of the investigation are revealed then it is all conjecture and hearsay.

But I will leave you with this clip, which is food for thought…