David Moyes Named Sir Alex Ferguson’s Successor at Manchester United

David MoyesIn a massive 24 hours of announcements from the Premier League, it has now been confirmed, as widely expected, that Moyes will take charge at Old Trafford next season. The Everton boss will succeed Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United manager at the end of the season, following Wednesday’s announcement that Ferguson will call a day on his very successful managerial career.

Moyes who has been at the helm at Goodison Park for the last 11 years, has agreed to a 6 year contract and will officially start work on the July 23, 2013.

Talking about the decision, Ferguson, who leaves the managers role after 26 years as Manchester  United coach, said:

“We unanimously agreed on David Moyes.”

“David is a man of great integrity with a strong work ethic. I’ve admired his work for a long time and approached him as far back as 1998 to discuss the position of assistant manager here.

“There is no question he has all the qualities we expect of a manager at this club.”

David Moyes went on to say:

“I am delighted that Sir Alex saw fit to recommend me for the job. I have great respect for everything he has done and for the football club.”

Sir Alex Ferguson“I know how hard it will be to follow the best manager ever, but the opportunity to manage Manchester United isn’t something that comes around very often and I’m really looking forward to taking up the post next season.

“I have had a terrific job at Everton, with a tremendous chairman and board of directors, and a great set of players. Between now and the end of the season, I will do everything in my power to make sure we finish as high as possible in the table.”

“Everton’s fantastic fans have played a big part in making my years at Goodison so enjoyable and I thank them wholeheartedly for the support they have given me and the players. Everton will be close to me for the rest of my life.”

Everton issued the following statement on Thursday’s news:

“The chairman, on behalf of the club, would like to place on record his thanks to David for the massive contribution he has made to Everton since his arrival in March 2002. He has been an outstanding manager.”

Moyes had a decent playing career, starting for Celtic, Cambridge, Bristol City, Shrewsbury, Dunfermline Athletic, Hamilton Academical, and Preston North End, and it was with Preston where he started his managerial career in 1998 after starting his coaching qualifications whilst still playing from 22 years of age. In 2002 he took over from fellow Scotsman Walter Smith at Everton.

David MoyesRumors had linked Moyes as successor for many years, most notably after he was approached by Ferguson to become his new assistant manager in 1998, which Moyes of course turned down. But so many people have been linked with the role for the day it became vacant, such as Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Carlos Queiroz, and former players from Mark Hughes, Steve Bruce, David Beckham  and Paul Ince. Ryan Giggs was also linked to the role when Ferguson retired, but despite years of speculation, it took less than 24 hours for the successor to be announced.

Moyes comes with a good reputation, and may not be the most exiting name to go into the role, but there is no doubt of the fantastic job he has done at Everton on a small budget and small squads. Despite his lack of a trophy in his time at Goodison, Everton have had the most consistent of finishes outside of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in his time there.

A chance of Champions League football was cut short in 2005 after they were knocked out in the qualification stages against Villarreal with a 4-2 aggregate defeat, and the closest he came to a trophy at Everton was a FA cup final defeat to Chelsea, losing 2-1 despite Louis Saha opening the scoring for Everton in a record breaking 25 seconds.

The Most Moyes spent on a player was in 2008, when Everton paid  £15 Million for Marouane Fellaini from standard Liege, after the previous transfer record for an incoming player which was £8.6 Million for Crystal Palace’s Andrew Johnson.

David Moyes and Sir Alex FergusonSome people have asked whether Moyes can bring through good, young English talent the way Manchester United have done over the years, and there have even been suggestions he has failed to do that in his reign at Everton. I would suggest Wayne Rooney, who Moyes gave his debut too at 16 years of age before his Move to Manchester, John Ruddy, now of Norwich, Leon Osman, a trusty performer, as well as Tony Hibbert and the promising Ross Barkley, have all done well and progressed under the leadership of the Scotsman .

The task ahead for David Moyes is a challenging one, and the pressure will be immense with every ones eye from the football world on him however he inherits a Premiership winning team full of vast talent and experience. The new dawn at Old Trafford will be one that shall be of everyone’s interest come the first competitive match Moyes will take charge of in next August’s Community Shield verses either Wigan or local rivals ivals Manchester City

Written by @ChalkOnYaBoots

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What Everton Should Learn From Devastating Blackburn Rovers Freefall

Blackburn RoversAs we edge towards the end of one of the closest Championship seasons in years, we have up to seven teams locked in a relegation battle. If anybody ever needed retelling of the instability and unpredictability of modern English football, this season’s Championship has proved a swift reminder. However, it is at Ewood Park where we have seen the serious repercussions taking a ruthless, unnecessary turn can have on a club.

Blackburn Rovers have been dragged into the thick of the relegation scrap, and were sitting 20th in the table just two points above the relegation zone at one stage. They are also on their fourth manager of the season after another distressing year for the Rover’s faithful, which has attracted fresh criticism and embarrassment for the club’s Indian owners. Steve Kean’s reign, which coincided with the beginning of the club’s troubles, was bought to its inevitable end when the Scot resigned in September, despite guiding them to third in the table.

His successor, club legend Hanning Berg, was dismissed after just 57 days in the hot-seat while Michael Appleton lasted just ten days longer then the Norwegian after he was sacked in March.

And so, the Rovers, Champions of England in the 1994-95 season and seemingly an established Premier League side just over two years ago under Sam Allardyce, could now face a potentially nail-biting battle to avoid relegation to the third tier of English football. The former Newcastle and Bolton manager bought some much needed stability to Ewood Park following his arrival in December 2008. The Lancashire side had endured a difficult start to the season under Paul Ince, who was axed after just 17 league games at the helm.

Blackburn RoversHowever, Allardyce steered them to a respectable final finish of 15th in the table, and an equally decent finish of 10th in his first and only full season in charge. Unfortunately, this was not deemed suitable by the club’s controversial Venky owners. They bizarrely opted to replace Allardyce with his assistant Steve Kean as manager in December 2010, under a month after they completed the takeover of the club.

This sent the club on a downward spiral, as Kean struggled to adapt to life in the top job, which eventually lead to the club’s relegation to the Championship last year. Many have rightly highlighted the Venkies and the topic of foreign ownership as the main issue surrounding Blackburn’s decline. However, their fall has also emphasized the dangers of clubs taking their place in the football pyramid for granted. The dangers of being blinded by over-ambition and the paranoia of making rapid progress as a club have all contributed to Blackburn’s freefall.

It is mindsets such as these which have also contributed to the continuing problem of managerial changes which at times has made English football a laughing stock. On the final day of the 2008/09 season, Tranmere missed out on a spot in the League 1 playoffs on goal difference to Scunthorpe, thanks to a late equalizer by The Iron in the winner takes all match.This led to then manager Ronnie Moore’s dismissal, with the club stating they wished to move in a “new direction.”

Moore was replaced by John Barnes at Prenton Park, who lasted just three months at the club before himself being sacked after leading them to 22nd in the table. It took the return of Moore last March to finally lead the Birkenhead club away from the relegation zone. It is outcomes such as these that clubs facing managerial dilemmas need to be aware of.

EvertonDebate suddenly raged about the future of David Moyes at Everton following their humbling FA Cup exit at the hand of Wigan. Some sections of fans began to question whether the Scot had taken the club as far as he could, and even more outrageously, began to ridicule his contribution since his arrival in 2002. Those fans seem to be forgetting the solidity that Moyes has bought to Goodison Park.

Prior to his arrival, Everton struggled to gain any momentum in the Premier League and were regularly languishing towards the bottom of the table. Apart from a lackluster season in 2003/04, Everton have mainly secured solid finishes in the top half of the table under his guidance.

It was details such as this that were wrongly ignored when Allardyce and Moore were removed from their positions. The Everton faithful should remember the price Blackburn and Tranmere paid for their delusion as we head into a potentially pivotal summer.

Written by @AndrewCrawley2

Tottenham 3-1 Manchester City: Bale Inspires Late Comeback to Hand United the Title

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Manchester CityIt was a warm, spring, April afternoon at White Hart Lane; both teams went into the game knowing only a win will do. But both needed wins for very different reasons.

Tottenham knew they had to keep up with Chelsea and Arsenal in the race for the Champions League places. Meanwhile, Manchester City had to stop Manchester United from claiming their 20th Premier League title (for another week at least).

The Spurs mood would have been lifted with the news that Gareth Bale was fit to return to the starting line up. City were without the injured David Silva, and started with Sergio Aguero on the bench.

Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Mancini fielded the following starting players:

Tottenham Starting XI

Lloris | Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto | Sigurdsson, Dembele, Parker, Bale | Dempsey, Adebayor

Manchester City Starting XI

Hart | Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy |  Toure, Barry | Milner, Tevez, Nasri | Dzeko.

Tottenham, believe it or not, actually started the first half brightest; and were creating chances. None of them were too much trouble for Joe Hart though. Gareth Bale had a shot from around 25-yards, but was comfortably saved by Hart.

Then, on the 5th minute, after some good work on the right from Tevez, he played a brilliant ball inside to Milner. Milner then found Samir Nasri unmarked in the area and he slotted home to put City ahead, getting his 2nd league goal of the season.

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Manchester CityFrom then on, there was more-or-less an onslaught of City attacks throughout the half. Spurs struggled to get near the ball and City players were finding space in the pockets and down the wings. Samir Nasri had another chance to probably kill off any chance for Spurs after he was played in by Tevez; he wasn’t able to add to his tally though, as the onrushing Hugo Lloris just did enough to put the Frenchman off as he poked the ball wide.

Edin Dzeko also had a chance for City; he was clean through on goal, but shot went straight at Hugo Lloris, who kept himself big and made Dzeko’s target smaller. Spurs didn’t really have many notable chances in that half, and you could say it was a real missed opportunity for City, who were in complete control of the game.

The main thing to point out in that first half was that Gareth Bale was unable to get in the game. He was very ineffective, probably due to him only having 2 days of training and only just returning from injury.

The second half kicked off and City were playing in a similar vein top the first. They were in complete control. But then came 3 substitutions by AVB, and that turned the game completely on its head. Tom Huddlestone, Lewis Holtby, and Jermain Defoe all came on  to replace Gylfi Sigurdsson, Scott Parker, and Emmanuel Adebayor, who not for the first time in a Spurs shirt was very ineffective and failed to make an impact on the game.

Tottenham were seeing much more of the ball; and were creating more chances. They looked at totally different outfit to what was playing in the first half. City were then struggling to cope with the movement of Defoe, and Gareth Bale was coming into the game more and more.

Then came the Spurs equalizer on the 75th minute. It wouldn’t really be a Tottenham goal if Gareth Bale wasn’t involved. He was given the ball by Kyle Walker on the right on the 18-yard area, in acres of space. He played a wonderful ball across the 6-yard line and found Clint Dempsey at the far post to slot home.

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Manchester CityTottenham were then in the ascendancy and turning rampant. Just 4 minutes later, a great pass from Lewis Holtby found Jermain Defoe on the left, who cut inside onto his right foot and found the far corner of Joe Hart’s goal to give the home side the lead. 3 minutes later, and all 3 points were secured by none other than Gareth Bale. After being played in by Huddlestone, he took the ball quickly in his stride and chipped the ball over an onrushing Joe Hart into an empty net.

After a resounding victory over the current Champions, Spurs will have an abundance of confidence going into the final 5 games of the season. They will be confident of a top 4 finish and Champions League football next season; but City will know that it’s just a matter of time until United get the title back.

But City will be most likely to finish 2nd in the league and also have an FA Cup final against Wigan next month, so not really a bad season domestically for City.

Final Score: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Manchester City

Nasri 5′ | Dempsey 75′, Defoe 79′, Bale 82′

Written by Lauren Jenks (@lauren_jenks96)

Michael Owen Set to Retire at the End of the Season

Michael OwenMichael Owen will retire at the end of the 2012/13 Premier League season. The Stoke City and ex-England striker will hang up his boots after a career of success, and unfortunately, injuries. The onetime Ballon D’Or winner has enjoyed success at some top clubs and internationally with England.

In a statement, Owen said:

“It is with an immense amount of pride I announce my intention to retire. I have been very fortunate in that my career has taken me on a journey I could only have dreamed of .”

Owen made his debut for Liverpool at the young age of 17. The rest of the statement reads as follows:

“None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support I have received from managers, coaches, fellow players, backroom staff, the supporters and my own personal sponsors. I would like to thank each and every one for the huge role they have played in helping me reach the top of my profession.”

“Most of all, though, I would like to thank my family. To my beautiful wife Louise, for her continued love and support through the many ups and downs in my career and for affording me the most precious gift of all, our children.”

“To my mum, who has always taken the brunt of my frustrations yet continues to keep our family so tight-knit, a trait that has formed the foundations of my own success. Her dedication to me and my brothers and sisters is immeasurable.”

“Last but not least, my dad. We did it my old mate! From those freezing local parks to terrorizing the best defenders in the world on the biggest stages of all. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Michael OwenWith his impressive start to his career at Liverpool, calls from the fans led to his inclusion in England’s World Cup squad in 1998 in France when he was just 18, and went on to announce himself to the football world, and especially with his fantastic solo run and finish against Argentina in a game England went on to lose on penalties.

Owen was a hero for the Liverpool faithful and there was much devastation for the Reds fans when he moved to Real Madrid in 2004 for a fee of £8 Million.
With 14 goals in 40 games he had a split in support with Madrid fans, but at a big surprise at the time Newcastle United brought him back to the Premier League with the biggest transfer fee of his career in a reported £16 million switch in August of 2005.

Despite a decent start to his time in Newcastle, injuries would become as frequent as goals with metatarsal and anterior cruciate ligament injuries and frequent hamstring problems.

The time at Newcastle for Owen came to an end after Newcastle suffered shock relegation at the end of the 2008/09 season with defeat to Aston Villa at Villa Park on the last day of the season.

With Owen’s high wages and Newcastle facing life in England’s second tier, Owen made a move to Manchester United on a free transfer in time for the start of the 2009/10 season.

At Old Trafford, Owen’s biggest moment came when scoring the winner in the Manchester Derby in stoppage time, a game United won 4-3; the match has even been rated the best game in Premier League history. The majority of the time Owen was bench bound and only was used sporadically, as injury was the curse facing the striker on an all too familiar basis.

In September 2012 Owen agreed a free transfer to Stoke City after several English clubs reportedly showed an interest in Owen, as well as reported interest from MLS clubs.

Michael OwenStoke fans were hopeful as well as the admirers and followers of Owen’s career that this move could reignite him, however the all too familiar injuries have restricted Owen to only 7 appearances to date and 1 goal to his name. The retirement, announcement in March, came as no shock, but sadness and many good memories of Owen’s career, especially at international level, has not been uncommon.

The memories of young Owen running and finishing against Argentina as well as The fantastic hat-trick in Munich in 2001 at the 1-5 thrashing of the Germans will live in many English born people’s memories, along with sadness that so many injuries have brought Owens career to a premature end.

One thing that has always impressed me about Owen is that despite his introduction to the main stage from an early age is that his level-headed attitude and the lack of controversial headlines that follow so many younger stars these days. You never hear Michael Owen had been involved in a fight a row or disturbance, just headlines about what should be talked about in what a player does on the football field.

Michael Owen Stats:

  • Liverpool (1996-2004): 297 games, 158 goals
  • Real Madrid (2004-2005): 40 games, 14 goals
  • Newcastle United (2005-2009): 79 games, 30 goals
  • Manchester United (2009-2012): 52 games, 17 goals
  • Stoke City (2012-2013): 7 games, 1 goal
  • England (1998-2008): 89 caps, 40 goals

Written by @ChalkOnYaBoots

6 Players That Should Make the Premier League Move

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre Emerick AubameyangThe Zlatan Ibrahimovic alternative, Aubameyang has been one of the main instigators in Saint Etienne’s challenge for Champions League football. A hero for both his club and national team Gabon, with 18 goals this season, he should be high on clubs’ lists to buy. Clubs that are reported to be interested in include Arsenal and Newcastle. He could be the difference in how the Premier League shapes next season.

Hector Herrera

An industrious midfielder, the defensive minded player would be ideal for any Premier League side. Set to be the backbone of a very successful Mexico side, his performances in the Toulon Tournament and the Olympics earned him many plaudits last year. Currently playing for Pachuca in the Mexican top flight, perhaps it is time for him to widen his horizons.

Omar Abdulrahman

Inventive and sharp on the field, Omar has the potential to become the face of UAE football. Currently playing for Al Ain, his performances in the AFC Champions League make him seem an ideal for Premier League football. After playing in England during the Olympics, he has already tasted what football in England could be like.

Wilfred Bony

Clinical for Vitesse, the Ivorian striker has been high on West Ham’s wanted list. With the ability to replace Drogba at the forefront of the Ivorian national team, a move to England would improve his chances of becoming a national hero. With 44 goals during his time at Vitesse, there is little wonder why he is so highly regarded.

Ryan Mendes

A integral part of the Cape Verdean side that defied the odds at the African Cup of Nations, the versatile forward has shown his potential to adapt to any type of football. Currently in the backdrop of the Lille squad, a brave Premier League side could pick the forward for a bargain price.

Valentin Stocker

A fast and dynamic Swiss winger, Stocker is yet another star to come from Basel. He announced himself to the English with an excellent display against Tottenham. With pace and agility being his main attributes, he is the ideal player to move to the Premier League.

Written by @Footy_Views

An Analysis of Southampton’s Improvement Under Manager Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio PochettinoIt’s very clear that Southampton have come some way since the post-Adkins era at St. Mary’s. You could say it is down to one man alone: new manager Mauricio Pochettino. Coming from Spain, it enabled him to bring a new style and a new set of tactics to the the team. This immediately had an impact on their results and some of the chances they were creating came from great passing moves.

Their results began to swiftly pick up and they are now in a position where they are a lot more comfortable than teams below them in the league. They have since won 4 games; yes it may not seem like a lot, but the 12 points they have gained from those 4 wins has helped them massively in their bid to avoid relegation.

The Saints currently sit in a rather respectable 11th place; 6 points clear of the bottom 3. Saints fans may not have taken Nigel Adkins’ departure very lightly; but they will no doubt be happy with the progress their side has made under Pochettino and they now look as if they are going to remain a Premier League club after this season.

Their performances since Pochettino’s arrival have certainly taken them to a new level and they seem like a team that is capable of beating anyone in the league. They are playing with a new found confidence and freedom which has allowed the likes of Ramirez, Lambert, and Lallana to express themselves a lot more and be more creative with the ball.

SouthamptonPochettino gets his players to press opponents high up the pitch, knowing that a mistake could occur by a defender. They have also improved a lot on their possession game. They are able to keep possession of the ball for a good few minutes and make it lead into creating a decent goal scoring opportunity.

Another thing which has improved is the work rate of the players. The midfielders are now putting in a brilliant shift to help out the defenders for a full 90 minutes. Something which has worked a treat. It’s not only in the midfield where this happens; it’s everywhere on the pitch.

Southampton players would be willing to cover every blade of grass on the pitch if it meant they would pick up points. The belief and confidence that this Southampton side has is very evident and has helped them along the way this season.

Knowing that 3 of the sides they have beaten this term are Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea will no doubt keep that confidence very high at St. Mary’s and will give the fans much hope of them staying up this season. They will certainly hold off the celebrations until they are mathematically safe, but most Saints’ fans will probably be looking forward to next season and to what could be a very interesting summer transfer window.

Pochettino will no doubt know he will need to add to his squad to ensure they have strengthened for next season, and the way they are progressing, if they continue to do so, they may be looking at a top half finish next season. There certainly are exciting times ahead for the Saints, and their future looks very positive in the Pochettino era.

Written by Lauren Jenks (@lauren_jenks96)

The Highs and Lows of Arsenal’s Season So Far

There is no denying that Arsenal are not at the level they used to be. The Golden Age of Henry, Bergkamp, Dixon, Wright, and Adams are behind us, and the new generation of Arsenal players are with us. Despite the addition of these new, young talents to the club, this new team hasn’t performed as well as fans were expecting.

Premier League

ArsenalArsenal are currently 5th in the Premier league with a game in hand against 4th placed Tottenham. They are currently 4 points behind the Spurs, yet their current run of form means that it will very challenging just to reach 4th place before the season’s end.

Arsenal currently has the best defensive record away from home in the league, yet at home, their defense is ranked in the bottom 8 of the league. You can now see why Arsenal’s defense gets such a torrid time.

Champions League

Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions league by Bayern Munich in the last 16. Admittedly, they were knocked before the second leg had even started after a poor performance in the first leg, losing 3-1 at home. However a valiant display in the second leg is surely one of the highlights of the season for Arsenal fans.

Domestic Cups

Arsenal were famously knocked out of the League Cup by League 2 minnows Bradford City. Bradford did eventually go on to reach the final, but lost 5-0 to Swansea. However, the worst thing about their performance was that Arsene Wenger fielded a very strong side. The likes of Cazorla, Podolski, Wilshere, and Vermaelen all started that game.

Arsenal also lost in the FA Cup to Blackburn. A quarter-final match, which Arsenal were expected to ease through, didn’t go to plan; yet another game that Arsenal should have won.

What Needs to Change?

Cesc Fabregas and Robin van PersieArsenal lack star power, having lost the likes of van Persie, Fabregas, and Song in recent years. A star needs to be brought in, someone who can change a game with a touch of class.

Arsenal also need a pacy center back to keep up with counter attacks. With Mertesacker, there is no pace, and often players can run in behind the defense.

Who Should be Signed?

Mario Götze has been outstanding for Borussia Dortmund and has showed his class and flair all season. His dribbling and creativity is exactly what Arsenal are missing.

Another option for Arsene Wenger is Edison Cavani, who like Götze, has been attracting attention by big clubs across Europe. Cavini is currently the top scorer in the Italian Serie A with 22 goals. His best traits are his impressive work rate and outstanding heading and finishing.

Plenty of rumors have been linking both these players to the club, and both Cavini and Götze have what Arsenal is missing. They would create and score lots of goals as well as having the star power they lacking at the moment.

Best and Worst Players

For me Santi Cazorla has been Arsenal’s best player this season by far. He has scored 12 goals in the Premier League as well as creating 7 assists. He commands games with his skill on the ball and his vision. Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, and Lukas Podolski came close but couldn’t quite beat Cazorla. Jack Wilshere could have beaten Cazorla if he hadn’t been injured for much of season.

Andrei Arshavin has been very poor for Arsenal this season. He looks bored when he is playing and lacks a desire to create anything remotely decent. When he joined Arsenal in 2009, he was brilliant. He showed pace, skill, and a lethal shot, but now he just looks lazy. Gervinho ran Arshavin close, but his recent performance against Reading showed he still has what is needed to perform well.

Young Talent

Jack WilshereArsenal’s academy is still one of the best in England, and new talent is constantly arriving. The likes of Wilshere and Gibbs came through the ranks at Arsenal, and many new players have the potential to do the same. Recently watching a U21 game, the one player that stood out was captain Ignasi Miquel. He towers over the other players at 6 feet 4 inches, yet is so agile and good with the ball at his feet.

Another name for you to remember is 20 year old Thomas Eisfiled. The young German is said to be the new Götze because of his excellent play-making abilities.

Summary

This season has been disappointing for Arsenal fans and well below Arsenal’s usual standards. At times, the football has been great to watch, but the results have not been good enough. Players must be brought in to change the team for the better. On the plus side, there are plenty of new stars in the academy ready to come up and create a new generation of Arsenal players.

Written by Eleanor Martin (@EleanorMartin58)

Against Modern Football: A Movement to Improve the Beautiful Game

Against Modern Football is a movement that has been around in Europe for about 10 years and only in these past couple of years has started to creep into Britain; hopefully for the better good. The whole idea of the Against Modern Football movement is based on several parts of the current ‘new’ and ‘modern’ game:

  • Prices of Football Matches
  • Leveraging of Debt
  • Drop in Atmosphere

The Rise of Ticket Prices

Against Modern FootballTicket prices have rose over 1000% in the past two decades, which is truly ridiculous. The idea of a fan supporting a team back in the 1950s-1960s was watching your team every week, but the constant rise of prices hinders this. We are living in a economy who have gone through a double-dip recession, 1000s of business closures throughout Europe and millions have lost jobs.

Especially for a young football fan 18-22 who would not be on a high wage bracket in their working establishment, the prices they would be paying are completely unfair. In 1989, the cheapest price for a ticket to watch Manchester United cost £3.50, which, with inflation, should cost £6.20 in today’s money. In fact, the least fans can expect to pay today is £28. The picture is worse at Anfield where tickets were £4 and now the minimum is £45; a rise of 1025%.

In a Daily Mail article it quotes the following:

‘They are beyond the reach of many younger people who used to have access to football and now, if they are interested, they are watching the game in the pub.”

“Football, by tradition, was always accessible to almost everybody, and in the current economic climate, with jobs and standards of living under threat, there is a great danger an increasing section of the community will be priced out.”

Debt

Debt in football is a constant problem and it is also linked to the problem of clubs spending money they don’t have. Financial Fair Play is slowly being introduced, but clubs are said to possibly find their way past it, but we shall see.

The idea of Financial Fair Play is that clubs cannot spend more than their turnover over a net year. Last season, 8 of the 20 Premier League clubs made a profit, while Manchester City, whose lavish funding by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan has just won them the league title, reported the greatest financial loss in the history of football: £197m.

Manchester City were also the only Premier League club whose wage bill (£174m) exceeded their turnover (£153m). Manchester United have by a clear margin the largest debt, which at this current point (April 2013) stands at an est. £300m. United also have the largest turnover in the Premier League and have had so over the past 15-20 years.

Drop in Atmosphere in English Football

Borussia Dortmund AtmospherePersonally, this is the most frustrated and disappointing area currently in English football. England clubs atmosphere has remarkably dropped over these past 10 years, and the points I made at the start all lead to this.

Currently, a fantastic example in Europe of great atmosphere is Germany and German football. Why has Germany got such a great atmosphere? 3 things: fan ownership, safe standing, and cheap tickets. There is no doubt if more clubs in Europe adopted this style we’d notice an increase in atmosphere.

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, the two current best teams in Germany, offer season ticket prices between £60-£100! An Arsenal season ticket costs between £800 - £1000; the same Arsenal football club who have went 8 years without a trophy.

There are different forms of safe standing, the first of which are modern terraces. Morecambe FC’s Globe Arena have standing for over 4,000 spectators. Bolt-on, Fold-away, and Rail seats are the type of seats used in the Bundesliga. All German Bundesliga grounds permit standing and many have very large standing areas.

Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park provides standing accommodation for 27,000 fans. The problem of safe standing being introduced in England is that of health and safety, which seems to be the cause of a load of issues.

Written by @UtdMancunian

The Weekly Football World Report: Issue #2

Ricky van WolfswinkelPremier League Norwich City have agreed a deal for Sporting Lisbon striker Ricky Van Wolfswinkel. The Dutch international will join the canaries in July for a fee reported to be in the region of £8.5 Million on a 4 year deal.

Clarence Seedorf was sent off in bizarre circumstances this weekend. The Former Dutch international, who now plays for Botafogo in Brazil, was being substituted and heading towards the bench when the referee ordered him to leave the field on the other side of the pitch to save time. As Seedorf protested he received a yellow card and decide to make a quicker jog off the pitch, but the referee proceeded to chase towards him, and issued a second yellow.

Phil Brown has been appointed new manager of Southend. Brown is famous for his on-field half time team talk whilst in charge of Hull during their time in the Premier League, talomg over from Paul Sturrock, who left the League 2 club on Sunday.

Nigel Adkins has been appointed manager of Reading. Adkins, 48, replaces Brian Mcdermott in the Reading hot seat. Adkins was sacked by Southampton in January but has now agreed a contract at Reading until 2016.

Matej Vydra has been named Championship player of the year. The on-loan striker from parent club Udinese has scored 20 goals to date for Watford. Matt Ritchie, who started the season at Swindon town and now is with Bournemouth, won the League 1 player of the year, and Tom Pope of Port Vale, who has 25 goals to date, takes the League 2 award.

Referee Mark Halsey, who failed to send off Wigan’s Callum Mcmanaman for his horrific challenge on Newcastle’s Massadio Haidara, will not referee a Premier League game this weekend unless he is called upon, as he is only the fourth official at the Emirates for Arsenal vs Reading. Halsey will referee Fridays League 1 game between Coventry and Doncaster.

Newcastle United have announced a financial loss for the year up until June 2012. Profits have gone from £32.6 million to £1.4 million. The previous figure of £32.6 million did take in to account the big transfer fee received of £35 Million from Liverpool for the services of Andy Carroll.

Stephen FletcherSunderland’s struggle near the foot of the Premier League table has taken a significant blow. Top scorer Stephen Fletcher, who has 11 Premier League goals to date, has been ruled out for the rest of the season with ankle ligament damage, as well as midfielder and captain Lee Cattermole, who needs surgery on a knee problem that has kept him out since February .

Notts County have appointed Chris Kiwomya as their new manager on a 3 year contract. Kiwomya had been on temporary charge since Keith Curle departed.

Arsenal ladies are through to the Semi Final of the Champions League, having beaten Italian side ASD Torres 4-1 on aggregate. Having led 3-1 from the first leg, a 0-1 victory was enough to see them progress.

Swindon Town have agreed loan deals for spurs trio Nathan Byrne, Dean Parrett, and Massimo Luongo. Byrne who is 20, has yet to play for the first team, whilst Parrett, 21, has made four first team appearances and is a midfielder, and Luongo, also a midfielder, made his debut in the League Cup last season.

Written by @Chalkonyaboots

The Monetary Challenge Facing the English Football League

Manchester City Win Premier LeagueAs big investment continues into the English Premier League with a reported £5.5bn TV deal soon to be agreed, the queries into Football League funding continue to grow. With countless examples of financial difficulties in the football league for clubs big and small, the question “where does this end” surely has to be addressed.

After seeing first hand the fantastic financial benefits of being a “small” in the championship, the incentive to reach that level is alive and well, but the reality of retaining that status is somewhat worrying due to the extra investment needed in a playing squad to survive.

Without more funds being evenly distributed down the leagues, especially League One and Two, there is a real danger of the league imploding; the gulf in funding from League One to the Championship is alarming. We’re not talking hundreds of thousands of pounds; the difference in up front cash is in its millions!

The payments in the Championship for clubs that don’t receive parachute payments currently stands at £2.3m a season, League One sides £325,000 and League Two sides £250,000. This is a large gulf in itself, without taking into account clubs receiving premier league parachute payments. If the Football League is to prosper and have a competitive future for all clubs, then radical changes must surely have to take place, and action must been taken very soon.

The real danger lies in smaller clubs having to live beyond their means to remain, or become more competitive in the Championship, as most football fans wouldn’t accept watching there club become a yo-yo team team gaining promotion only to be relegated the following season without any investments in the club.

So it would appear that the solution is simple: give lower leagues more cash! But in the real world without a proper structure and conditions added to higher payments, then money would just be wasted and find its way out of the game as fast as it entered.

Swindon Town Win League 2Youth facilities and infrastructure is for me the only way to bridge this gulf in the future, providing facilities at all clubs for young talent to flourish along with clearly defined rules and contracts for young players, so they are not just poached by top clubs at very young ages. Thus, protecting lower leagues investments while also either creating future stars for there clubs or sale-able assets providing further funds for club progression.

Implementing a new scheme like this would not only benefit the Football League clubs and their young players, but would also have huge benefits towards the national standard of young players. With the ever increasing prize money in the English Premier League, clubs are looking for the instant hit, already able player rather than giving an outstanding young talent a chance, thus leaving lot of talented youngsters languishing in un-competitive reserve leagues gaining no real valuable experience.

This is where lower league facility investment would pay dividends, young players would still be using state of the art equipment and facilities but it would be at a club and environment where first team opportuntiies would very plentiful.

So what does the future hold for clubs outside the Premier League? Without further financial support and planning for the future, I’m afraid we will see more clubs going out of business and losing there stadiums and identities.

But with the right foundations and rigid simple plan, there can only be a bright future with real rewards for hard working, genuine clubs.

Written by @JonyB83