FA Cup not a European gateway
Jeff Powell of the Daily Mail wrote an impassioned plea recently arguing that the winners of the FA Cup should be awarded with a place in the Champions League. What tosh! Winning a place in European football’s premier club competition should be the reward for an entire season of (relative) success, not just because a club has managed to win 6 matches over the course of a few months. Indeed, taking the 2008 competition as an example, the route to the final for the winners Portsmouth was as follows: Ipswich, Plymouth, Preston NE, Manchester United, West Brom. Are those 5 wins plus victory over Cardiff City in the final really worth qualification to the CL? Not in my opinion.
Last years winners Chelsea finished 3rd in the league so the question didn’t arise but if it had, then I’d suggest that wins over Southend, Ipswich, Watford, Coventry and Arsenal doesn’t merit a place alongside the likes of Barcelona, AC Milan or Bayern Munich.
Keeping the Wolves from the door
Manchester United’s defeat to Leeds United on Sunday was their 3rd at Old Trafford in all competitions in little over a month. I wonder if the Wolves manager Mick McCarthy may now be regretting his decision to play a largely second string side there in the Premier League a few weeks ago. Sure, with their rested players, Wolves won their next match but what a wasted opportunity.
With United not playing all that well at the time and with key defenders missing, its a situation that surely won’t come around again for a very long time. A win at Old Trafford would have lived longer in the memory than will following home win over Burnley.
Adding insult to injury time
Still on United’s defeat by Leeds it was good of Sir Alex Ferguson to admit that the visitors deserved the win but pretty graceless to suggest that the 5 and a half minutes of injury time played by referee Chris Foy was “an insult to the game and the players out there.” Ferguson already has a suspended 2 match ban hanging over him and his comments won’t sit that well with the FA and nor should they. More importantly for United fans, when your manager is calling for a few more minutes of added time to try and scramble a home draw with a team from League One then you should know that things are far from right.
Gary Megson wasn’t a particularly popular choice when he took over as manager of Bolton Wanderers. Not having the fans on board from day one meant the former West Brom boss was always going to find it tough going. But in terms of hard work, there are few that can match the endeavour of Megson.
You may not like his style but he’s a man who rolls his sleeves up and gets on with the job the best way he knows how. So after 2 years in charge it must have been pretty galling to have been given the sack. More so when the Bolton chairman Phil Gartside informed Megson of the board’s decision over the phone rather than face to face. Sorry, but whatever the circumstances, that’s just not good enough.