Friday, 29 July 2011

Sports News Round-Up

This week has seen the return of the Old Firm League...sorry I mean the Scottish League. You'll forgive me for not focusing too much on this, aside from Celtic taking their already insurmountable two-point league at the top. I'll switch my analysis elsewhere, lest any nearby sarcasm detector overloads.

Man City have completed the signing of Sergio Aguero, completing what must be the most Argen-tiny (Aguero being 5 ft 7 and Tevez being 5 ft 8) strikeforce in the Premier League. This may seem like an obvious point, but the two will surely seldom play together. Aguero was quite clearly seen as a replacement for the seemingly Corinthians-bound Tevez, and Mancini will have a temporary headache on his hands. While Tevez will surely leave the club in January (and possibly still in August), his presence on the bench will not be good for team spirit. One cannot help but wonder what he will be whispering in his fellow countryman's ear.

The English contingent is underway in the Europa League, with Fulham and Stoke both putting themselves in good positions to reach the final qualifying round. Jonathan Walters headed home to give Stoke a 1-0 advantage to take to their away leg against Hadjuk Split. Fulham were held to a 0-0 draw against RNK Split, but with a home leg to come will be confident of progressing. Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson were given a chance to re-ignite some sort of partnership by Martin Jol, which has seldom been allowed to happen, due to a combination of injuries to both.

While QPR manager Neil Warnock has never been long out of the headlines, his bosses are now making some headlines of their own, with talk of a fresh takeover bid. Bernie Ecclestone has already revealed he would be willing to sell his 69% stake in the club, and the club released a statement on their website referring to 'preliminary discussions.' Whatever the outcome, Warnock seems to be continuing his squad-building plans. Having already secured Kieron Dyer and Jay Bothroyd, QPR are now also in talks with DJ Campbell, who proved his top-flight pedigree last year with 13 goals for relegated Blackpool.

Any American readers will already be well aware of Bob Bradley's sacking as USA coach. While his results have always been good, it would appear his bosses simply wanted a fresh face after 4 and a half years. A 4-2 defeat to Mexico in the Gold Cup Final was his final bow, but he also reached the last 16 of last year's World Cup, and led his side to a runners up finish in the 2009 Confederations Cup. Aston Villa were sniffing around his services earlier this year, and he will surely not be out of work for too long.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Sports News Round-Up

Unlike previous entries I've plagued the interwebs with, I'm casting my net a bit further. Less rambling and more to the point is my aim, so I'll try and discuss a couple of interesting stories as they happen. Couple of times a week hopefully.


First of all, Leicester City. Sven-Goran Eriksson continues to set himself up for a mighty fall with his pursuit of Owen Hagreaves. (who incidently could do without any mighty falls on his glass knees). While I admire his commitment to getting the best possible players into the Championship, if the Foxes are not in the top 3 come November he will come under immense pressure, rightly or wrongly, having already spent around £10m. It naturally takes time to knit a squad together, no matter how superior they may seem to their competition. However, does Thai chairman
Vichai Raksriaksorn have the patience to match his obvious wealth? Having said all this however, I would be very surprised if Leicester do not at least go up through the play-offs. I'd like to see Sven in the Premier League again, purely because of his willingness to take on Football Manager-esque challenges. I myself got sacked from my dream job as Newcastle coach, before taking the plunge at League Two Bury!

One club who made their clear superiority in the Championship count last season was QPR, who also have a similarly impressive amount of wealth. You need money to burn when taking on the likes of the injury-prone Kieron Dyer after all, who is second only to Hargeaves in the competition of glassiest limbs. To be fair to the club, it is only a one-year deal, but imagine the medical bills Mr Dyer will run up. A great player when fit, I hope he resurrects some sort of career as he is an infinitely better on-the-field option than the discarded Wayne Routledge when fit. Another astute investment is Jay Bothroyd on a free transfer. A lethal marksman in the Championship last season, he will be hungry to prove his England cap was not a fluke. Which it probably was in all honesty, as good a player as he is..

Another player who is probably pointlessly dreaming of an England call-up is Joey Barton. While the player is undoubtedly talented enough, another stark reminder of his tainted reputation has arrived, as he is barred entry to Newcastle's pre-season tour of America. The US Embassy refused him a visa for the trip, and that cannot help his prospects of an England call-up any time soon. While the decision was based on misdemeanours from 3 years ago, it is nonetheless further ammunition to the anti-Barton camp at the FA.

In other Newcastle news, the Toon board are in negotiations with a lowly French club over the transfer of an unheard of starlet. Probably.

On the Wesley Sneijder front, Inter deny that any bid has been made by Man United for the £35m-rated playmaker. Expect him to be in Manchester by the start of the season. These transfer sagas hardly ever end with no movement.


Rory Mclroy is entering new territory as we approach the Open. There is no nervous hope. No fear of collapse. This time there is expectation. And undoubtedly a sea of criticism when he inevitably doesn't win this time, even though he has already achieved what two thirty-something Englishmen (Westwood and Donald) have fallen short of so many times. They may have been trading places at Number 1 for some time now, but with Mclroy on a Woods-esque (had to be said) rise, the race for the top slot is about to be blown wide open again.