What game were they watching?
The British football press has its fair share of critics but having spent a few days in Spain this week, I can report that we don’t know how lucky we are. According to the Spanish sporting papers, of which there are many, football was the winner when Barcelona made it through to the final of the Champions League at Chelsea’s expense. Apart from one newspaper which always leans towards Real Madrid, it’s been a Barca fest over the past few days. Mind you, there’s been no mention of the 4 penalty appeals that Chelsea had turned down, nor has much been made that Barcelona managed a risible total of 1 shot on target in 94 minutes. No, apparently, Barca’s passing and possession were the reason they progressed. Not the fact that they did virtually b****r all with it!
The fans may want him to stay, so to some of the players but it looks as if Carlos Tevez’s time as a Manchester United player is coming to an end. His agent has confirmed that the club haven’t offered him a contract beyond his current deal which expires later this month. Being prepared to release the Argentine graphically shows the depth United have in their squad but equally, it proves that Sir Alex Ferguson has a cast iron grip on the comings and goings at Old Trafford. Never one to be swayed by sentiment, If SAF is happy to let Tevez walk out the door, then be assured it’s because he has a plan to make the club stronger without him.
Uefa saying nothing.
After turning down the appeals of Darren Fletcher, Eric Abidal and Dani Alves, who have all been banned from the Champions League final, Uefa issued this statement: “All three players are suspended for one Uefa club competition match and will serve their suspensions when Barcelona meet Manchester United in the Uefa Champions League final in Rome.” You’ll notice that they don’t defend their decision or offer any reason’s behind it. Should we be shocked by this? Of course not. Particularly as in the cases of Fletcher and Abidal, Uefa are hiding behind the letter of law. Surely, as the guardian’s of the sport in Europe, the governing body should be setting a common sense example as opposed to offering us an approach that looks like it’s been borrowed from a 1960’s KGB hand book.
When the awards are handed out for manager of the season, it won’t be too surprising if the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson or Guus Hiddink take the honours, but I’d suggest looking a division down to the Championship. Burnley had a fabulous run in the FA Cup, were within minutes of reaching the Carling Cup final having beaten Arsenal and Chelsea and now they’ve made it through to the play-off final at Wembley after a masterful win over Reading. Step forward Owen Coyle. Surely one of ‘the’ management performances of the season.