I currently spend my time between Cleveland, Ohio, and my home in Florida. At present I have gone back to Florida to spend some time down there and enjoy my birthday. While I’m away I decided to run some old articles that I wrote that you might have seen elsewhere on the internet. This one was for “TotalFootballMag.Com” where I was a columnist, on my thoughts on UEFA and their plans for European football in the long term.
On a side note, congratulations to Manchester United as they defeated Sunderland and got one step closer to winning the title! Continue reading
I felt England did well the other night against San Marino – sometimes those kind of games are ones where you simply can’t win because you’re expected to score a hatful, but the boys did well and scored some pretty good goals. They say there’s no easy games at international level but I was looking at the World Cup Qualifiers – Cape Verde Islands, and Equatorial Guinea?
I don’t mean any disrespect but those nations are unlikely to get anywhere near a World Cup and when you look at the qualifiers where Australia once won 31-0 – THIRTY ONE to nil – you have to say there are some games that are easy at International level. Thankfully, Australia was subsequently rezoned in order for them to face a tougher route of qualification. Tonight England play Montenegro and that won’t be an easy game, that’s for sure, as our last trip there shows only too well.
I have to be honest though and say if anything, I’ve been even more impressed with the quality of the under 21‘s. Continue reading
There has been a lot in the news this week about a couple of clubs in the Championship and I firmly believe that the problems that are at Vicarage Road and Ewood Park have been caused by foreign ownership. Laurence Bassini has been banned from football involvement for three years after alleged misconduct with accusations of financial misdemeanours flying about before he sold Watford to the Pozzo family.
Since then, thanks in no small part to a very odd partnership with Udinese which has allowed them to loan EIGHT players, this modest club in the South of England are now in third place with a real chance of promotion to the Premier League. The loan system is skewed so that those are not recognised as loans, and the only player they have who is recognised as a loan is the highly rated prospect Nathaniel Chalobah from Chelsea.
What a blatant and ridiculous manipulation of the rules, how can it be fair competition for this family to have interest in other clubs in Europe and manipulate the competition in such a way? Continue reading
Earlier in the week I talked about my involvement with “One on One Soccer” and briefly mentioned that I am associated with Cleveland United Soccer Club. Today I wanted to share a little more with you about what I’m currently doing in Ohio.
Back when I played for Manchester United we played a pre-season match at Red Star Belgrade. If memory serves me correctly, it was the first visit by a United team there since the tragedy of the Munich disaster. We lost the game – it was a pretty surreal experience, with the stadium almost empty as we finished our warm up. When we came back out to play the game, thousands of soldiers lined the stands!
Since moving to North America – after I retired – I’ve been involved more and more with the training and development of younger players. During my time at Chester City FC in the North West of England at the turn of the century I was Director of Youth Football, overseeing huge changes there. United fans will maybe know that I set up “United FC” in Texas some years back; that has since closed as I moved back to Florida.
However, I retained my passion for the development of youngsters in the North American game and as such I remain heavily involved around the country. I am presently a technical advisor at Cleveland United Soccer Club who are a top girls and boys club in Cleveland, Ohio, owned by former Red Star player Joe Raduka and his son Mark, and I am also partner in “One on One Soccer” and I wanted to share a little bit more of what I do with One on One with you today, about what we do and what the program offers.
I watched both Millwall and Manchester United have to settle for replays in the FA Cup quarter finals over the weekend – as I said on Twitter, I wish Millwall all the very best in their replay tonight against Blackburn.
United, meanwhile, might be happy that they got a replay with the way the second half went on Sunday – it’s a cliche in football that you can “score too early” but I think that’s what happened with United – they couldn’t get that third goal and as we saw in the League Cup, Chelsea are capable of recovering from two goals down. It’s going to be a tough ask for my former clubs but I’m sure with a bit of luck they can get through to the semi finals.
On Monday I wrote about referees and the help they need in order to make their performance as good as it could possibly be. By strange coincidence, I witnessed one of the worst refereeing decisions I’ve ever seen on Tuesday night when Real Madrid came to Old Trafford and Nani was sent off.
The biggest talking point about today’s game is the return of Cristiano Ronaldo – I love the way he plays, I’m a massive fan of his but I’m just not a fan of his demeanour. I’ve never been against any player that shows skill in the way that he does but the antics that used to go with it never endeared him to me; he has improved and that has gone some way to making him the all round player he is.
I wrote earlier in the week about Rafael Benitez and how I felt I didn’t think he was doing such a great job at Stamford Bridge.
Writing that made me want to share something I wrote about the situation there a couple of months ago – Benitez has been in the news this week and you have to wonder if Abramovich is about to get trigger happy again. After yet another manager, Roberto Di Matteo, got his marching orders under the Russian Dictator Abramovich — and this is happening in my home city of London and at one of the top Football League clubs: Chelsea — I thought I would look into the goings-on in the Premier League. Continue reading