1. The Guardian talks about a possible ‘breakaway league’ of Europe’s top football clubs, citing ‘confidential sources’.
Personally, I don’t put much faith in these stories – sources can say just about anything. It’s a clever story because the breakaway league is a possibility, although not real enough to be a ‘threat’. I’ll be talking about this later in a more detailed piece but suffice to say, there’s more smoke than fire here.
2. Tottenham beat Reading 1-0 thanks to a controversial penalty and Steve Coppell was clearly unhappy about it. He’s not a total whinger though, and that shows in the way his team plays and how he talks to the press.
What are the odds on Reading taking a nose-dive next season a la West Ham and Wigan?
3. Richard Scudamore (Premier League chief executive), talking to BBC, says that he’d be open to collaborating with FIFA to help reduce the burden of international fixtures on clubs by ‘rescheduling’ international and domestic commitments.
His basic plan / suggestion is to allow for three blocks of international games – before the start of the season (early august), at the end (june) and a 1-month period in the middle of the season.
Interesting idea, I’d suggest you read it before forming an opinion on it.
4. Wigan have terminated Kristofer Haestad’s loan agreement. It’s a pity, I thought he’d make a good Prem player.
5. CNN SI.com has a 4-page exclusive on Marco Materazzi. It’s good to see something ‘positive’ written about him.
6. Barcelona seem to have given into Ronaldinho’s demands, because the latest news coming out of the club is that ‘Ronaldinho can stay as long as he wants’ (which is star treatment but also diminishes the importance given to other players). Ronaldinho has a contract with Barcelona till 2010, and it will be interesting to see what ‘agreements’ have been made between the two sides.
7. Newcastle’s defeat to Manchester City leaves them on 37 points and only 7 points clear from Charlton, in 18th spot. With 7 games to go in the season, it will be a tricky time for all the clubs, and Pearce is right when he says that any 3 of the bottom 10 could be relegated.
Newcastle? It’s a sad, sad story for them, but before you forget, Manchester City were in the same spot a couple of weeks ago. Newcastle’s next four Premiership fixtures:
Sheffield United (away), Arsenal (home), Portsmouth (away) and Chelsea (home)
Where do you think they’ll be after those games?
8. Louis Saha and Darren Fletcher are back in training for Manchester United and they should have them fit and playing in a week’s time. Saha’s return may be a substitute appearance on the weekend before a starting berth against Roma at Old Trafford next week.
9. Liverpool want a big stadium. That’s not the big news though – the big news is that the new Liverpool owners are making all the right noises – they’ve obviously learned from the experiences of the Glazers and Roman Abramovich and are doing quite well with the press.
10. Roma players are being quoted in the press as taking shots at English football, Alex Ferguson and Cristiano Ronaldo. All I’ll say is that it’s childish and pointless to goad either Ferguson or Ronaldo.
11. Michael Owen is nearing a Premiership return. God help him this time, and hopefully Newcastle’s current situation does not mean that he’s rushed back.
12. Mourinho is strangely bothered over kickoff times, stopping short of calling it a controversy.
Classic Mourinho – he knows that the media will lap it up and then people reading this news will start dreaming up conspiracies. Yes Jose, we’ve bought the refs and we keep changing them just to mess with your head.
It’s a nothing whine – I’m putting it here as an example of how Mourinho deals with the press.
Oh wait – wasn’t he supposed to NOT talk to the press after he got pissed off at them for ‘misinterpreting’ his position on Real Madrid?