Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Premiership, silly season is upon us.

It would be unfair to call the last week or so in the Premiership as reaching new lows as we have seen this kind of ludicrous decision making by impatient, ill advised and misguided football chairmen before. The sackings of Chris Hughton and Sam Allardyce are both idiotic in every regard but they should hardly be seen as surprising.

The issue of Hughton's sacking was covered in my previous blog and whilst the appointment of Alan Pardew can hardly be seen as forward thinking, at least in this instance Newcastle had a replacement lined up. The phrase 'big club' is a much over used one and one that in the case of Blackburn Rovers could not be imagined. They are a small provincial club who cause little or no offence to anyone and in that regard it is good to see them existing in the lofty heights of the Premiership. Sam Allardyce has a record that is unquestionable through his time at Bolton of leading that exact stature of club to finishes in the Premiership that are above and beyond what it can realistically expect. So what is the first action of the new expert owners from Venky's? - sack him. But they have not just sacked him, they have sacked him and placed the team in the hands of his assistants for the next couple of months as they appear to have no clue with whom to replace him.

The owners are talking of top four finishes in the future, Allardyce did not match their vision for the club. Their lack of football understanding is wholly underlined by this and their supposed reliance on a sports agency called Kentaro to give them advice on transfer policy. It is utterly absurd and their best chance of a top four finish in the league might well come in the Championship next year rather than the Premiership. Blackburn Rovers would have punched consistently above their weight with Allardyce in charge. Instead they could go in to freefall. Football club owners are a strange breed indeed with little regard for their own investment it appears.

Carlos Tevez has also done himself no favours this week by declaring that being Manchester City's highest paid player, captain and talisman is no longer enough and that he is homesick and wants out. He has slapped in a written transfer request also citing an irrepreble breakdown in relations with senior executives at the club (shouldn't the players deal with the manager only in general terms?).

Now everyone would have sympathy for his position in that his estranged partner and their two children are residing in Buenos Aries whilst he is at the other side of the world, that cannot be fun for anybody and in that respect you must feel for him. However, does anyone think that the transfer request that he has put in will result in his returning home to Argentina? I think most people would see Madrid or South West London as a more likely destination and no one is quite sure how that would cure the family issues he is facing.

Now Tevez may be genuine but the presence of his controversial agent and one time owner, one Mr Joorabchian makes us all sceptical in the extreme. The chances of his agent engineering a move back to Argentina on a fraction of the wages and with no hope of a large transfer fee mean that possible outcome must almost certainly be discounted. Tevez may also if he is true to his word walk out on City, but that would leave him and Joorabchian open to a huge lawsuit from Manchester City which would cripple them entirely.

The fact that Tevez so continuously and vehemently states that 'it is not about money' means it most probably is. Agents make their wage by having their players transferred often and for lots of money. Tevez can hardly argue that he has not settled in Manchester, he was there for two years previously playing for the Old Trafford mob so he knew what he was in for. He claims City have broken promises, but what are they exactly? He is the highest paid player they have - and just about in the entire world - and they have consistently spent vast sums to try and ensure the success that they desire so much. What on earth are the promises that they have broken?

It is clear that in the modern era there is no loyalty on anyone's part. Players have long since been corrupted by a combination of agents and greed. Clubs show no loyalty to any staff - Chelsea and Ray Wilkins springs to mind - and managers are in many cases just as bad and happy to jump ship if the money is right. In that respect, football is no different to any other business. The big difference however is millions of people globally every week and for their entire lives, do stay loyal to their club and watch faithfully either in person or on television, they pin their colours to the mast and live or die by the results their team achieves. They are also the people who directly fund all of the above by either buying tickets and merchandise or paying for TV subscriptions. Football must not detach itself any further from the reality of this or it will go into a steep decline from it's current place at the pinnacle of global sport. The monster is out of control.