Champions League play off
Can you name the four English sides who have taken the Champions League places in the Premier League since 2006? Shouldn’t be too difficult as it’s been the same four every season – Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. But that may be about to change. Not only are the likes of Aston Villa, Manchester City and Spurs getting in to the mix but plans have been put forward for a play-off match to determine the fourth spot between the teams finishing in positions 4, 5, 6 and 7.
Whilst this will keep the season alive for longer, provided they can fit in the fixtures, it does seem to remove the reward for a successful season long campaign. However, the team that wins any mini knockout tournament will have at least have proved themselves in that type of environment and could therefore put up a fair showing in the UCL. Personally though, I would argue that a club that has consistently been better than their rivals over 38 games fully deserves its place at the top table.
Gypsy Gent Sven
Former England boss Sven Goran Eriksson has described himself as a football gypsy and has also revealed that he’s been approached about another coaching job in England after his stint as Director of Football came to an end at Notts County. I’d love to know who feels that the Swede could do a job for them. Admittedly, his early career was fantastically successful but from taking the England job, I suggest that he’s been on a downward curve.
That said, I’ve always considered Eriksson as a bit of a money grabber but it was good to see him waive an agreed multi million pound pay off to assist with the recent County take over. New County chairman Ray Trew described him as an ‘absolute gentleman’ and there are far too few of those in the game at the moment.
All credit to Jamie O’Hara. He went on loan to Portsmouth, played his heart out and could have returned to Spurs proud with achievements. But rather than sit on the Tottenham bench, which would have been a very much easier life, he decided to return to the South Coast club, despite all their problems, so he could play regular first team football.
He was outstanding in the FA Cup win against Southampton which will at least lift the gloom at Fratton Park for a while. Good on him.
Any lower league or semi-pro club looking to bolster their back line might want to take a look at England’s rugby team.
On Sunday in Rome, England’s sole tactic seemed to be to boot the ball down the pitch in a rather aimless fashion and give possession away to the opposition. Perfect credentials for a no-nonsense defender I would have thought!