That the penalty should not have been awarded added to the Scots sense of injustice. Yes, Dutch referee, Kevin Blom was wrong to award the penalty, but the real culprit was Jan Rezek. It was Rezek who dived to con Blom. He is a cheat. His blatant dive deserves a rebuke from UEFA/FIFA, and warrants some sort of suspension. Under the current laws of the game none will be forthcoming. The world governing body needs to introduce retroactive punishment for any player like Rezak, who quite clearly, was found to have benefited by cheating.
Gary Cook had it all. He was Chief Executive of Manchester City ‘08, the world’s richest club. He got to spend other people’s money, when signing the world’s best players, as he helped build City’s global brand. He was able to run a club with the stated goal of becoming the best in the world. Cook was the epitome of a Premier League executive in an era when money talked, especially lots of it. Cook was arrogant, was hated by most City fans and despised by the real football fans who knew of him. He resigned in shame this week, for allegedly sending an email mocking the cancer stricken mother of City’s Nedum Onuoha. Good riddance!
For once I feel sorry for Arsene Wenger. He took over Arsenal Football Club in the aftermath of the George Graham era. He changed the philosophy of the club from “lucky” and “boring” to one that all but those in London N17 admire. He overhauled the club’s youth development and scouting network. He oversaw the move from antiquated Highbury to the brand new Emirates. Wenger laid what he thought were the foundations that would allow Arsenal to dominate football for many years. They didn’t and won’t. He did not foresee Roman Abramovich and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan taking over failing clubs, wiping out their debts and making Chelsea ’03 and Man City ’08 respectively, the two richest clubs in the world. They changed the EPL overnight and despite Arsenal being a well run club they find themselves as also-rans behind the two lottery winners. UEFA and FIFA financial fair play rules cannot be implemented soon enough.
Two weeks ago MLS had crowds of 36,000 (Seattle), 20,000 (Vancouver), 21,000 (Toronto), 20,000 (Kansas) and 15,000 (Chicago) watch games in those cities. This past weekend four teams had attendances over 20,000. In fact, Seattle’s home crowd of 36,000 was more than the combined attendances of five games in the Scottish Premier League. The attendances compare favorably and in many cases are higher, than all but the top teams in England, Italy and Spain. Once again, it is a demonstration that soccer has a legitimate fan base in North America.
Asamoah Gyan left Sunderland to go on loan to play for Al Ain in the UAE. Fans on the radio and forums in the UK are livid with the player for daring to leave the EPL for more money to play in the Middle East. Apparently it is okay to move from North London to Manchester or West London to double and triple one’s wages, but not to move from Wearside to Dubai. Hypocrites!
And while the English media are at it, why are they not more critical of Steve Bruce? He is a poor manager, with a poor record of loyalty, a poor record for success relative to the money he has spent and questions need to be asked why players like Darren Bent and Gyan wanted out of the Stadium of Light. Of course, the fact he is English and the fact he is a former captain of Man United has nothing to do with the kid gloves treatment he receives from the English media.