Early kick off
Does it not seem bizarre that Celtic will play one of their biggest games of the year tonight, way in advance of the start of the season proper? Over 55,000 fans will flock to Parkhead this evening to see if Tony Mowbray’s side can overcome Dynamo Moscow in what could the first of four matches to qualify for the 32 team group stage of the Champions League.
Incredibly, this two-legged affair is sandwiched in between friendlies with the likes of Sunderland and Manchester City. How can it be that Europe’s so-called top sides, with a potential windfall of between £8 – 10 million per club riding on qualification,' have to turn out so ridiculously early in the season in monumentally important matches? If you ever needed persuading that the Champions League is too big and unwieldy, then surely this will do it for you?
Talk about getting your retaliation in early. The Mind Games Master was at it again recently when he spoke about Real Madrid and their collection of superstars. Sir Alex said: “There’s a very good example of a team in the 1950s, Sunderland, who spent so much money it was known as the Bank of England club. They didn’t win anything and in the end they got themselves relegated.
“I’m not saying Real Madrid will get relegated, but it’s difficult and they will have plenty of problems with balance. I wouldn’t want to be Manuel Pellegrini [the coach] picking his first team with all those individuals. I told Ronaldo he will end up playing centre half because they don’t have one.”
He may be getting on in years, but he’s still got it – in spades!
Ref does a runner
If you thought the behavior of Didier Drogba and his Chelsea team mates towards referee Tom Henning Ovrebo was bad after the CL semi against Barca, then get on line and check out the shenanigans of Chinese team Tianjin.
Hugely upset after 3 of their players were shown red cards in a game versus Beijing, the remaining players on the Tianjin side chased the ref off the field, pushing him over in the process. Security guards got involved in the melee while in the stands; rival fans threw water bottles at each other.
One can only imagine the official Chinese news agency response: ‘Referee breaks national 100m record with help from players while rival fans keep each other cool in glorious, non American conditions’..or something like that.
Spanish defender Jose Enrique has apologized to Newcastle United’s fans after the Championship side were thumped 6 – 1 by Leyton Orient in a pre-season friendly.
Enrique said: “I’m sorry for them. We were all very bad. I’ve never played when everybody made so many mistakes.” Ah, the season is young Jose – you’ll get used to it.