Oh Kay Andy KayAverage

It’s often said that the Premier League is the strongest league in the world. And the European exploits of Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal would seem to reinforce that view. But when you delve a little deeper, things aren’t quite so rosy. If you, like me, watched the Saturday TV game between Blackburn Rovers and Spurs you’ll know what I mean. The skills on show were distinctly poor with misplaced passes, loose control and very little creativity. The crowd noise level was mediocre, the refereeing completely inconsistent and it was made all the worse by Sky TV’s Andy Gray, whose use of meaningless words knows no bounds. This time it was ‘up top’ as in “Samba is going to play up top”. No he’s not Andy. Samba is going to play up front. Up top is training ground slang and doesn’t belong in a TV commentary. A distinctly average couple of hours all round.

Sven’s coming back

You have to admire the front of sports agent Atholle Still. His top client, Sven Goran Eriksson has just been given the push by Mexico and Still is telling all and sundry that the Swede views a return to the Premier League as his preferred option. I’m sure he does. A multi million pound contract to start with then millions more in compo when he gets the push. Bearing in mind that Eriksson has overseen a run of results which has left Mexico behind both Costa Rica and Honduras in their qualifying group and in danger of not making the World Cup finals for the first time in 16 years, you could be forgiven for wondering what PL club would want him.

Trading places

Uefa president Michel Platini doesn’t come up with too many good ideas but his view that the trading of players under the age of 18 has to stop is bang on. There is no evidence that Manchester United did anything wrong when they persuaded Federico Macheda to join them from Lazio, but the annoyance of the Italian club is completely understandable. What’s the point, they argue, of finding, developing and nurturing young talent if they can be whisked away with little or no compensation by foreign clubs? Much better to insist, as Platini has suggested, that the first contract that any young player signs is with the club who have aided his football education. It only needs to be for a couple of years, after which, if the kid is good enough, he’ll be able to command a decent fee from any interested parties, so providing the selling club fair reward for their efforts.

He’s gone where?

Just imagine for a moment that you run a successful business. After letting your staff have a short break, you get back to the office only to discover that your top salesman has been given leave to work short-term for a rival company. And all without your knowledge. Chances are, in the world of business, this would never happen. But at QPR it just has with leading scorer Dexter Blackstock farmed out on loan to Nottingham Forest without the consent of manager Paulo Sousa. As a Rangers fan, I was mildly excited by the Briatore take over. But after a succession of laughable decisions and incidents, of which this is the latest, the quicker the club is back in the hands of ‘football people’ the better.

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  1. says: Kyle

    Definitely agreed on the youth player policy – it needed a high-profile example like this to bring proper attention to the issue.

    And as for the ‘depth’ of the Premier League, it’s tighter than ever at the bottom of the league this year, is this because there’d loads of good teams and any squad is capable of winning a match, or is it because all the teams there are as bad as each other?

    It’s an interesting debate that’s for sure!

  2. says: James

    Andy Gray is just trying to liven it up unlike like most commentators who are just boring.Anyway plenty of other commentators use the phrase up top so why shouldnt he?

  3. says: Roman

    Wow, your really bagging on Andy Gray for using “training ground slang?” Really? And a kid would be dumb not to go to Man U at any stage of their development. Last time I checked, Man U have a pretty good youth development system. Lazio should just work better at keeping who they want. But honestly, your bagging him for saying “top” and not “front?” K…

  4. says: kevin

    Don’t really see the point of calling out andy on this one but hey,then again im not the one who wrote this article.
    Erikson is luckiie to get a managerial job at Mc’donalds, after his display at mexico..
    Macheda is a class player. Too bad for lazio letting him go. For the rule I say why shouldn’t a player be given the oppurtunity to sign with the team of his dreams.. Age shouldn’t matter. Allow his skills do the talking..

  5. says: jm8

    i hear the concerns about the youth policy but if that was the case years back fabregas would not have broken through @ 16 coz barcelona would not have pushed him forward so soon and look what it has done 2 his development. Also the only reason messi broke through @ 17 was barca’s fear of him goin to another club due to his performance in u20’s world cup 2005. If there wasnt interest from other clubs which could have snapped him up at that age he would have been in the reserves until probz 19. But comming through early has served dividens

  6. says: Hugh

    What are agents for? They make those decisions for the younger players so there is no problem with it. if you want to get rid of tranferring young players then you have make sure young players dont have agents.

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