Monday, August 31, 2009

Davey Out At Barnsley After Fan Protest

Barnsley manager Simon Davey has left the club by mutual consent - thereby becoming the first managerial casualty of the English Championship season. A string of poor and abject performances by the Tykes has seen the pressure mount on Davey - and there were angry scenes as fans protested outside Oakwell stadium following the club's defeat to fellow Championship strugglers Reading on Saturday. Davey has managed to keep the South Yorkshire team in the Championship for consecutive seasons on a very limited budget and has built a multinational team that claimed the scalps of Liverpool at Anfield then Chelsea at Oakwell to reach the FA cup semi final. But a string of poor performances has seen the Reds grab only a solitary point against local rivals Sheffield Wednesday so far in this season's league campaign - scoring only once at home in the process. It was all too much for many supporters who left the ground early and continued aggressive and vocal demonstrations outside the ground following the game.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Carson Yeung Makes His Move To Close In On Birmingham Takeover

Carson Yeung finally showed his hand last night by making an official offer for Premier League new boys Birmingham City. There had been increasing speculation that the Hong Kong businessman (who already has significant financial interest in the West Midlands club after previously securing a 29.9% stake in the club around 2 years ago) was preparing such a bid and now Yeung has made his offer official. Yeung has tabled a £1-a-share offer to City's shareholders - valuing the club at around £85.5 million. If the take over bid is successful Yeung will seek to market the club in China and the far east in an attempt to grow its fanbase and create a well known international brand. By reaching global audiences the club could potentially secure their financial future in the long term. Yeung at this stage has suggested that he would like to keep current manager Alex McLeish at the helm, but with more money surely to become available for players there will be no doubt increased pressure on the Scot to spend wisely in order to keep the Blues in the Premier League, should Mr. Yeung's takeover be finalised.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

England's Subs Bench Fuel Amsterdam Fightback

England's substitutes gave head coach Fabio Capello a selection headache last night after inspiring a rousing fightback in Amsterdam. The Dutch found themselves 2 goals to the good at half time and seemingly cruising after dominating long periods of possession whilst England were often wasteful, giving the ball away cheaply on two many occasions. Indeed, England's sloppiness resulted in not only one but 2 first half goals for the home side. First, Rio Ferdinand's woeful attempted backpass allowed Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt the chance to steal in, before rounding keeper Rob Green and firing home - a truly poor error from one of England's senior players. If the first goal was disappointing for England then what was to follow would only serve to further frustrate the travelling supporters. Gareth Barry played a blind pass back towards his own defence allowing former Chelsea star Arjen Robben the chance to run at goal. England keeper Green did well to rush out and block Robben's effort, but was powerless to see Rafael Van Der Vaart convert the follow up.
England needed a wake up call at half time, and Capello sent on Jermaine Defoe at the break to push for goals. The Tottenham striker's impact was almost immediate. Frank Lampard helped on a long ball from the England back line, and Defoe showed great pace and an excellent first touch to race clear of the Dutch defence before expertly finishing in off the post. England looked more confident, and fellow substitute James Milner provided a good cross on 67 minutes for Defoe - who headed just over at the near post. However, the duo would later combine for England's second goal. Milner did well down the left hand channel, before providing a slide rule cross for Defoe to bundle in from close range on 77 minutes. The substitutes had injected new life into an England team that had looked short of confidence in the first half, with Carlton Cole also looking threatening with his excellent display of strength, pace and close control. The West Ham striker also went close himself - firing just wide after showing great skill to turn the Dutch defender inside then out. A much improved second half performance from England's bench must surely now give Fabio Capello food for thought about his best 11 for England's next World Cup qualifiers and beyond.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

England Boss Snubs Owen Again But Insists Door Is Still Open

England boss Fabio Capello has once again emitted striker Michael Owen from his latest England squad set to play against Holland in Amsterdam on Wednesday. Manchester United's new signing has regularly failed to inspire Capello under his tenure as England boss following a turbulent period in his career which has been dogged by long term injury and Newcastle's disastrous relegation from the Premier League last season. Owen's record for England remains prolific - the diminutive striker bagging 40 goals in just 89 matches for his country - but he has struggled with form and fitness in recent months and has had to face up to going from being the first name on the England team sheet to battling for a place in the squad. In spite of this latest emission however, Capello still insists the door is open for Owen, and suggests that the strikers arrival at Old Trafford provides the perfect platform for the player to prove he is once again ready for international football. Capello suggested that United will offer Owen the chance of Champions League football in order to prove he is once again ready to bang in the goals at the highest level. Owen was not the only big name striker missing out of the latest England squad however, with bean pole target man Peter Crouch also missing out in favour of Rooney, Heskey, Defoe and Carlton Cole.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Local Businessman Barry Moat Emerges As Front Runner For Newcastle United Takeover

Newcastle United have revealed that they harbour fresh hopes of finding a buyer to take over the club after local businessman Barry Moat expressed an interest in the North East outfit. The Fallen giants have recently had to face up to an uncertain future following their relegation from the English Premier League, owner Mike Ashley's ongoing indecision on selling the club and the seeming managerial merry-go-round that has dogged the club over the last 12 months. While doubts remain over the future of local hero Alan shearer's brief reign as manager of the Magpies, owner Ashley has recently made it clear that he is now desperate to offload the club following their relegation to the championship thus bringing an end to his turbulent period at the helm. Ashley was hoping to have a deal in place before the start of the new championship season which starts on Saturday, but it seems unlikely that in spite of renewed interest from Moat - who has previously invested his cash in the clubs youth system and academy facility - an imminent deal remains highly unlikely. It is understood that Ashley wants £100 million for the Magpies and is looking for a quick sale to recoup just a fraction of the overall funds he has already invested in buying the club and maintaining its Premier League transfer budget.