Some Sunday Funk for you today, tracklisting as follows:
- Shining Star
- On Your Face
- Saturday Nite
- Be Ever Wonderful
- That’s The Way Of The World
- Brazilian Rhyme
- Got To Get You Into My Life
- Serpentine Fire
Grab it here.
Some Sunday Funk for you today, tracklisting as follows:
Grab it here.
Todays first post was going to be a preview of the England v Andorra match but to be honest, if England win then its a case of “So what?”. If they win by 5 goals, its a case of “So what?”. Anymore than that and I might start to get impressed. Any less and I think that quite rightly, boots will be flying in the direction of the players or manager, sorry Head Coach, depending on whose fault I perceive it to be. Because lets face it, this is a pointless match in the great scheme of things other than the accumulation of two points. And I do not mean that disrespectfully to Andorra either but believe me, this is an easy international match. McClaren knows it. The players know it and so do we supporters.
With the increased globalisation of football, every nation seems to have its own national team and that is a good thing, do not get me wrong. Where it is becoming poor value is in nations such as San Marino being beaten game in, game out. They derive little or no benefit in playing the top ranked nations, other than to see how much work they have to do to catch up with the rest of Europe in this case. This may seem at first a harsh assessment of the current state of affairs but it is not. Consider the results of the bottom ranked over the past four years and you have to seriously question whether they benefit in any way, shape or form by playing matches against the top ranked nations (and by that I mean those in the top 40 according to FIFA’s idiosyncratic system). Between the bottom ten ranked European nations, they have won around 8% of their games since 2002’s World Cup. This is about 17 games in total. Of the rest, approximately 15 – 20% were draws, leaving them to have lost around 75% of their games in that time period. Can we seriously believe that these results improve their performances? No. Surely it would be better to raise their collective standards to a minimum level?
To this end, a pre-qualifying tournament between the bottom thirty two ranked nations split into eight groups of four would develop their levels. Given the World Cup qualification ended before Christmas 2005, they could have started this tournament in February and played through the World Cup itself. It is not difficult to schedule games in the latter stages on Rest Days to have a less detrimental effect on attendances. Of these, twelve qualifiers would progress to the main Euro 2008 qualification tournament involving 32 teams, in eight groups of four with the top two in each group making the sixteen finalists. International Managers would benefit through this less punishing schedule as players would be together for a one game at a time, the qualification process could take place in one season avoiding the necessity of weeks such as this one with two games in five days. Clubs benefit as the international players would play less football and return to their employers a full week before the next league or cup fixture.
For supporters, this would provide a better quality of opposition, giving a better idea of how good their nation actually is. And because by their very nature ranking systems are fluid, there is a fair probability that the pre-qualifying tournaments will involve some different teams at the top end of the scale avoiding staleness creeping into the process.
For the National Associations, there is more time to play friendlies against high quality opposition to continually improve their financial rewards. The other plus for them, FIFA and UEFA is that clubs can no longer complain about the onerous requirements of the international calendar. Indeed it could be argued by cutting their number of matches they are placing the clubs in a position whereby they have to follow suit and reduce the number of games, effectively forcing them into reducing the size of the top divisions through occupying the moral high ground.
This won’t happen as the Federations and Associations will not look at anything for the good of the game, just for the good of their bank balances.
Tracklisting as follows:
Grab it here.
Well, at 01.30am BST, it was confirmed that the longest running drama since The Mousetrap is apparently over following the transfer of Ashley Cole to Chelsea for a reported £5m plus William Gallas, everyone seemingly reliant on the first edition of The Sun for their information. Everyone except Sky Sports News that is whose informant was an eight year old boy who was told by Cole at the England hotel that he had signed for Chelsea at about 9pm yesterday. Nothing was on the Arsenal Site but the Chelsea Site had a link with the headline “Cole to Chelsea, Gallas to Arsenal”. The page that was linked to however contained no text at all, presumably because everyone has become bored shitless by the whole story and there was nothing new to say.
On the playing front, it is a good deal although in the short term, it still leaves a problem at left back but this is compensated by more than strengthening the centre of defence. Having got excessively fed up with playing full back for Chelsea, one wonders whether this was discussed as a temporary measure with Arsene? The only area of concern I would have is the size of the financial remuneration. I do not wish to detract from Gallas but if the fee Arsenal were chasing was £20m plus for Cole, this deal if reported correctly puts Gallas’ value at £15m plus, a huge variance from the Arsenal Boards’ earlier negotiating position. From that perspective, Chelsea will be happiest as it seems in this game of Chicken, the Arsenal Board blinked first. Cole will no doubt be delighted with the move improving his bank balance from signing on fees, increased wages and his book can now sell in the Chelsea shop with all criticism of David Dein intact.
So what does this mean for the squad? Cole is a big loss defensively but Gallas is a more than ample replacement. The centre of defence has been strengthened with Senderos at least six weeks away from first team action, the Frenchman brings some much needed experience to that area of the pitch. As far as Senderos / Djourou are concerned, I suspect neither should be concerned or itching to jump ship. Gallas eases the pressure on both of them. Firstly, they can only learn from a man who has represented his country at the highest level. Be it through training or watching on the pitch, it should enable both of the youngsters to grow at a more measured pace than previously existed. Secondly, they will still get around fifteen to twenty games a season which for both is adequate at the moment, assuming a reasonable progress in cup competitions, particularly Europe. With Group Phases, a run to the Quarter Finals is ten games which with Carling and FA Cup progress should easily put the total number of matches into the fifties. And lastly, let us not forget, Senderos has a history of injury problems which are not typical to football. In some respects, he reminds me of Steven Gerrard a few years ago where physical growth seemed to be the issue. I know that the current one is from a challenge in the World Cup but over the past three years, he has probably missed 40% of the games he could have played in (or so it seems anyway).
Elsewhere, the second longest running drama of the summer is also finally over following Jose Antonio Reyes swap deal with Real, Julio Baptista joining Arsenal. He is the archetypal Wenger signing – a player deemed to be full of promise who failed at a big club following a previously failed courtship from Arsenal. It seems that Arsene may need to improve his chatting up technique to pull first time round.
The signing of Baptista is no great surprise. Arsene tried and failed last summer but this time round has got his man, subject to a Work Permit being issued. This confirms the point I made a while back in that Baptista had not taken up his Spanish Citizenship which supposedly was why he joined Madrid, or at least stayed in Spain for last season. One possible reason for not processing the paperwork could have been a realisation that he would not have a long career at the Santiago Bernabeu, something that was apparent from the early days. Whilst he has become an Attacking Midfielder / Forward, Baptista started his career as a Defensive Midfielder, something that would not have been lost on Wenger giving him emergency cover until Diaby is ready and fit again to challenge for a first team place. “The Beast Of Seville” has perhaps a better defensive awareness than some of his more forward thinking counterparts in the world game. In terms of the starting line up, it is a little unclear where he will be utilised. Certainly his record of 40 goals in 62 appearances for Sevilla indicates he knows where the back of the net is so it would seem his primary starting place will be as a replacement for Adebayour, confirming that Wenger has doubts about the Togan’s ability to adjust to Premiership football. That being the case, the first choice midfield would seem to me to be Gilberto as the Defensive Midfielder, Hleb on the right, Rosicky on the left, with Fabregas and Baptista playing more advanced roles. Alternatively, Rosicky could move to a more central position with Hleb on the left and Fabregas on the right. Either way, it seems that in the short term, i.e. for this season, van Persie will probably not be seeing many starting minutes as Reyes replacement, something that he must have considered himself favourite for before the start of the current season.
But the best deal of the day was conning £2m out of Villarreal for Pascal Cygan. I know he was an easy target but lets face it, he was more of a numpty than Francis Jeffers. And the Board managed to get money for him!!! So lose a point for the Cole deal, win it back for the Cygan move. A small aside. Apparently, it was not the money that held up the Ashley Cole / William Gallas deal. No, according to Skytext, the only reason the Cole / Gallas deal went ahead was that Cygan going to Spain “paved the way for the Gallas deal”. So there you have it – Pascal Cygan held the whole deal up. Pity he was not that effective on the pitch when faced with the opposing forward line.
One final transfer that seems to have snuck through under the radar is the apparent signing of Denilson, a Brazilian U-19 International, presumably subject to a work permit. I don’t know about you but it seems that Arsenal may be overusing the “Exceptional Talent” clause needed to get anyone under the age of 21 the suitable paperwork.
Deadline day itself started with a bang and West Ham’s signing of Tevez and Mascherano although this took most of the day to confirm. It has certainly occupied a lot of Bloggers minds and words, ranging from the Abramovich is behind this to panic-striken ranting that this is the start of a takeover of the ‘Appy ‘Ammers, who will have a Sugar Daddy, although not quite in the league of Abramovich and be able to dominate the league. Personally, I would disagree with the first point of view given that the deals for both players are permanent as opposed to Loans. With this in mind, I think it unlikely that Chelsea were involved at all. The problem with this deal is the lack of disclosure of the fee for the South Americans and commentary on that must be based on the figures that Arsenal et al were being quoted. If the press reports are correct, West Ham should have paid in the region of £35m for the two. That is not money that the club had last season so where has it come from? An FA Cup run does not generate that sort of cash nor will they be looking at that from a prolonged spell in the UEFA Cup this season. Therefore, it is logical to assume that they have had outside assistance to enable the cash to be found. Despite the prolonged payment plan that tends to be in place for most transfers, West Ham would struggle to meet any demands for a fee involving those sums of cash now or at any point in the future. So who has funded it? Discounting Abramovich, and that would give cause for concern if he had anything to do with the funding, there seems only one way West Ham could afford to pay up and that is by using monies guaranteed by Media Sports Investments perhaps in return for a stake in the club. Let us not forget that MSI did try to takeover West Ham last season. Maybe this is the foot in the door that they needed? Perhaps Newsnight could investigate this one, except base their report on pertinent facts rather than ignorant conjecture.
Final part of this concert, including artwork.
Grab it here.