round up #7

there are only about a million things i want to write about, though madrid’s first loss of the season and tottenham’s slump in form have me less enthusiastic about detailing their misfortunes. however, my life has been super busy the last few weeks and there hasn’t been as much time to write as i would prefer. so you know what that means… it’s time for another round up!
young wenger
a young wenger was a virtual unknown when he took charge at highbury 15 years ago

wenger: i was a crazy signing –
arsenal manager arsene wenger celebrated his thirteenth anniversary in charge at the club this past week, and almost every major footballing syndicate had some story to tell about him. i figured it couldn’t hurt to tip my hat to the frenchman either. in a day in age where managers’ positions seem to be more of a revolving door (cough… chelsea… cough… real madrid), wenger’s staying power is nothing less than amazing. that’s especially true when you consider that he was more or less anonymous to the soccer world before he was hired by the gunners. the club he managed prior to arsenal? japanese j-league side nagoya grampus eight… go stump your buddies at the pub with that little tidbit.

and while hated north london rivals tottenham hotspur are my favorite team in england, there’s really no way you can hate arsene’s arsenal. under his direction, the club have gone from being a traditionally boring, defensive team to being the flag bearer for modern, free-flowing, total football. his philosophy of buying young, promising players on the cheap and nurturing them into world class talent is also fast becoming the model for developing squads the world over. and you have to admire the guy for sticking to his guns all of these years over how he wants to run his team. truly, he is a giant in the world of coaching and is one of the best.

and after hearing him declare this week that he developed his keen sense for the game and coaching philosophy by growing up in his parent’s pub, well… it makes me want to buy a bar and raise my kids there. crap, that would never work in this country.

beautiful game: born in england … raised elsewhere –
after england qualified for next summer’s world cup, much was made about them making a return to the major international stage after missing out euro 2008. it’s no secret that heads of the football world prefer to have the inventor’s of the game taking part in it’s biggest party. and while the article’s author, celebrated soccer journalist patrick barclay, doesn’t refute that the game was born in england, he calls for us all to stop calling england the birthplace of the game. long story short, barclay argues that the game didn’t truly come in to it’s current form until other countries were able to evolve the game piece by piece. the scots developed passing, the germans/hungarians developed tactics, and the brazilians turned it into an art form.

his point is certainly interesting, and i see the point he’s trying to make. but let’s look at it this way: when a man father’s a child, and the mother raises that child with another man, it’s still the biological father’s child. and if it weren’t for the brits spreading the game to those other countries, barclay’s argument wouldn’t exist in the first place.

portsmouth’s second takeover is confirmed –
it’s been fair to say that pompey have suffered a tumultuous start to their season on and off the pitch. it took them eight league games to register their first win, a hard fought win over wolves, that also saw them score their first goal this term. and while it may have seemed rough on the pitch for the south coast club, it’s been even more rough off of it. reports surfaced that the club were days away from going bust, and that they didn’t even have enough money to pay their players. not even the supposed billions of owner sulaiman al-fahim, who took over the club just 42 days ago, were enough to bail the club out. not to mention that he was unlikely to provide funds necessary to strengthen the club come january.

but an eleventh hour savior has arrived, in the form of saudi investors al-faraj. the musical chairs of ownership of the club seems to have finally stabalized, after two owners in less than two months decided they couldn’t handle the club’s debt problems. in my opinion, the club has been living beyond it’s means the last few years. high wages and poor transfer dealings (buying high and selling at cut rates), coupled with a small stadium in a small market, meant the club were hemorrhaging money. and while i’m glad the club has found a solution, you have to think that this trend is getting worrisome. how many more billionaires out there are going to be willing to bailout all of these over spending clubs?

gareth bale is finally a winner for tottenham –
for those of you who don’t follow the game that closely, or are new to following the premiership, you might not even know who gareth bale is. spurs boss martin jol signed the welsh left back before the 2007 campaign from southampton, as he was one of the rising brittish stars in the game at the age of 17. i couldn’t have been more stoked about it at the time, as i had followed him closely after discovering him in EA sports’ fifa 2006 (yes, dorky reason, i know). he rewarded my enthusiasm by scoring twice for spurs in his first three competitive matches, including an incredible free kick in the north london derby.

unfortunately, neither were wins (a tie and a loss) and he soon sat out the rest of the season due to a dirty tackle from fabrice muamba. the big-eared youngster was used sparingly during juande ramos’ short term in charge at white hart lane, and niggling injuries have limited him during redknapp’s time.

to that point, his 24 league appearances without a win were a premier league record. that all came to end in tottenham’s 5-1 win at burnley on 9/26, when bale made a short cameo appearance. it’s hardly the kid’s fault though. blame should fall more on juande than anyone else for the streak. bale has so much promise, and i think if he can gain more of redknapp’s confidence, i think he could be pushing assou-ekotto for playing time at left back.

alex ferguson gives jonny evans marriage counseling –
it seems that when sir alex isn’t berating referees (despite them typically giving his side “added” advantages), the scotsman moonlights as a relationship counselor. while sitting with up-and-coming centerback jonny evans during sunday’s prematch press conference, sir alex argued that wayne rooney has settled down on the pitch after getting married. ferguson then turned to evans, whose girlfriend was sitting in the audience, and suggested he should do the same (see the video below).

this of course led to the crazy english paparazzi hounding her until she responded to the suggestion, to which she replied that it wouldn’t be any time soon. talk about awkward; i’m sure that after the game she was nagging him, asking why he didn’t say in front of the press that he would want to marry her. that was every guy’s most dreaded question in front of their girlfriend. even more of a reason to think sir alex is a bit of a prick.

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