Things haven’t gone according to plan in the red half of Manchester the last couple seasons.
Sir Alex Ferguson sealed his legendary career two seasons ago with one last title before sailing off into the sunset that is the Old Trafford’s directors box. From there, the intensity of his gaze seemed to blind and break his hand-picked successor of David Moyes. Despite performing admirably with limited resources at Everton for a decade, Moyes was only able to guide more or less the same side Ferguson had guided to a title just the year before to an unthinkable seventh place finish.
Perhaps that’s a sign that Ferguson was the glue that held things together in that final season. He managed to eke out what might have been just enough to paper over the sizable cracks in the foundation, like an aging Rio Ferdinand and fading Nemanja Vidić, a weak midfield and a complete lack of depth.
Since then though, fans of the Red Devils and much of the punditry has been quick to point a thousand fingers at Moyes and the Glazers for ruining the house that Ferguson built. They provided explanations such as “Moyes wasn’t up for the stress of the job” or the “Glazers aren’t investing in the proper type of talent”.
While the first could very well be true, the second one seems a little far fetched. Looking at 2014 alone, the Glazers have approved the purchases of Juan Mata (£37.5m), Ander Herrera (£28.8m), Luke Shaw (£27m), Marcos Rojo (£16m) and now Di Maria (£63.9m). And that’s not including the £28m they authorized being spent last season on Marouane Fellaini.
So with at least one of those two common complaints now debunked, there could be another theory for explaining United’s demise that nobody seems willing to consider.
Transfers were on our minds as we recorded the third episode of the season of the WSOTP Podcast. Big names on the move, both domestically and abroad, dominated our conversation this week. And Jeremy and D.J. not only pontificate on the merits of quite a few those big ones, but also on who should and shouldn’t be making some last minute moves before the European window slams shut next week. That being in addition to the usual thoughts on the weekend action in England and America. Too, they once again nominated their Winners and Wankers from the past week and answered some questions from some of our faithful listeners. So grab a drink and saddle up for another edition of your favorite podcast.
As a Spurs fan, the last few years have been difficult.
The raised expectations over the last two to three seasons as we’ve watched Spurs try and fail to qualify again for the Champions League has been frustrating. We all got a taste of the good stuff in the 2010/11 quarterfinal run, and ever since then we — the supporters and the club — seem to have settled for nothing less. Two seasons ago, we nearly made it back but missed out thanks to Chelsea pulling off the impossible. The near miss saw Gareth Bale depart for Spain and Champions League glory last season, as we struggled to swallow the initial failure of the whole “selling Elvis to buy The Beatles” experiment.
And while there were some enjoyable moments in those almost-achievements, I have to admit the ride along wasn’t an entirely enjoyable one. It was stressful. Every match seemed do-or-die. Every dropped point seemed to sting a little more than it should.
I know I wasn’t the only one who was feeling it; even the crowd at White Hart Lane seemed to be experiencing the same nervousness. A ground that used to be known for its boisterous support suffered from an anxious hush, finger biting and fans turning on one another when things didn’t play out like any of us would have liked.
When Liverpool’s mercurial striker and leading man Luis Suárez departed for greener Catalunyan pastures this summer, it left a massive hole on the club’s squad.
Not only would they need to fill the void of the league leading goal tally that Suárez provided, but for those of us who aren’t fans of the Mereysiders, we all needed a new player to mock Liverpool supporters about. And who better to give them grief about than Mario Balotelli?
If the rumors are to be believed, Super Mario will be leaving Italy and returning to England to be the new leading man in Liverpool’s attack. I for one love this idea, because the Italian front man is a non-stop bag of laughs. Not that I want to see Liverpool sign a player of his class, but I’ll at least be guaranteed a few moments of brilliance and ridiculousness for my troubles.
And below, I narrowed down my top five reasons for why I’m looking forward to Balotelli’s return.
louis van gaal’s first match in charge of manchester united may have had him wondering, “what did i get myself into?”
The first weekend of the Premier League now in the books, Episode 2 of the season sees the guys offer their thoughts on the results and some of the surprises that worked their way in. We also take some time to pick our favorite and least favorite kits for the season — though we didn’t have time to read the entirety of listener Mel B’s epic rundown of her thoughts on the top 6 sides’ kits. Also on tap: the bounty of goals provided by the weekend MLS action, a few listeners questions answered sprinkled within, this week’s Winners and Wankers and Jeremy and D.J. fessing up to their Fantasy failures.
come watch the premier league with WSOTP in cincinnati.
Have you fully recovered from the World Cup yet? With the weekend marking the return of the Premier League, you better be.
Though I’ve not really had much of a break this summer thanks to the World Cup and MLS and working the TV broadcasts for the Cincinnati Saints, I’m surprisingly still amped up for the return of the world’s most popular club competition. No burnout for this guy. Yet anyway. If you need to get a preview of the season still, be sure to check out the Season 2 opening episode of the WSOTP Podcast — we’ll be sure to help get you in the mood.
As is normally the case, WSOTP will once again be helping to host an opening day watch party at Cincinnati’s Rhinehaus. Be sure to come and join us on Saturday morning, when we’ll be joined by the Lyric: Food that Rocks food truck for some delicious brunch to pair with your beer and footie.
And before I forget, here are ten of my favorite links from the last week.
WE’RE BAAAAAACK! That’s right soccer audio lovers: the Wrong Side of the Pond Podcast is back. And we’ve made our return from our summer break just in time to offer you D.J. and Jeremy’s takes on the upcoming 2014/2015 Premier League season, including: top four predictions, relegation candidates, award winners and story lines to watch out for. We also delve into the recent headlines from MLS, as well as reveal some of our findings from the “American Soccer Fandom” survey many of you filled out for us over the summer.
Season 2 on the WSOTP Pod will also offer — thanks to input from listeners — some overall changes from the first, too. We’ve introduced a new weekly segment entitled “Wankers & Winners” where the guys will offer up their nominations for those deserving of such titles from the previous week’s football news. Too, we’ll be reaching out for some outside opinion on a more frequent basis, with guests ranging from professional players to professional pundits. And though we didn’t hold to this on the first episode this season, we’ve also answered calls to keep things a little more brief this time around: most podcasts will not exceed an hour in length. Of course, we’re still more than happy to field questions from listener base as well. So hit us up at contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com and you might just hear us dish on air.
Anyway, without further delay, enjoy the first episode of season 2.
Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!
can a “poor” international career really dull the luster of one of england’s greatest ever players?
There are all sorts of types of greatness in football. Some players are handed the title of great due to sustained excellence in performance. There are also players who are considered great for being long-timer servants of their club. And still others can be given such status for a memorable moment of greatness and glory.
But in exceedingly rare cases, such as with Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, one player easily checks all three of those boxes.
The Englishman’s glittering sixteen year career with the Reds places him near the top of the club’s list of greatest ever players. Gerrard’s bagged 111 goals in 475 appearances for his hometown club to this point — or just under a goal every four matches — an impressive tally for a midfielder. Have a look at his CV and you’ll find a list of individual and team accolades to which few other footballers can lay claim. And of course many will fondly recall Gerrard almost singlehandedly hauling Liverpool back into the 2005 Champions League Final.
But making mention of his now recently ended international career, one that didn’t exactly see him set the world on fire, and suddenly Gerrard’s greatness is cast into doubt.
After a successful debut season with nearly 60 participants — and after receiving quite a few inquiries to see if it would be making an encore this year — it’s been decided that the WSOTP Premieraliga Fantasy Premier League will indeed return for a second season!
And just as with last season’s edition, the winner of the 2014/2015 league will win a free shirt from the WSOTP Shop of their own choosing.
Pick your team before the season kicks off on Saturday, August 16th.
You’ve got a few weeks yet to join, but better to do so sooner rather than later. If you’re anything like me, it will skip your mind and the deadline will pass before you’ve had a chance to throw your name into the hat. I picked my team today for that very reason… not that it will matter, since I tend to suck at these things anyway. And I won’t be awarding a shirt to myself. Anyway, I’ll also try to provide sporadic updates on the table throughout the season, so that way you know whether you’re paying the league adequate focus or not.
FYI: upon the season’s conclusion, the winner will need to provide their shirt selection, shirt size and an address shipping address. I promise I won’t stalk you after receiving it.
after taking a week off for vacation, i’m diving back into the blog with the latest stop on the WSOTP stadium guide tour: DC’s RFK stadium.
Ah vacation… you were much needed. After a month of World Cup to digest, my brain and Twitter feed certainly needed the rest. So after spending a week with my family on an isolated lake in South Carolina, I’m now back and ready to dip my foot into the pools of world football once again.
But instead of just easing back into things, I’m kicking things off with a bang. Tonight I’ll be making my next WSOTP MLS Stadium Guide stop by the above pictured RFK stadium in our nation’s capital to watch the Eastern Conference leading DC United take on a surprise Chivas USA side that’s punching well above expectations. You can expect a full detailed write-up to visiting the league’s oldest — and possibly most historic — stadium later this week.
In the mean time, here are a collection of some of my favorite links from the last few weeks to tide you over.