Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I hate the off-season

The Premiership is over, the FA Cup is over, the Champions League is over (and wow, that was a shitty week of cup finals, from my perspective), and now all we've got is an endless round of speculation about Michael Owen.

But there are a few things that've managed to penetrate my recent haze of withdrawal and lolfootballers:

Steve McClaren has pulled his head out of his ass, and David Beckham is back in the England squad for their upcoming games against Brazil and Estonia. Actually, I think that McClaren's made the right decision for the wrong reasons. I felt when Becks was initially dropped that his form was still good enough for him to deserve a spot in the squad at least, but he'd been made into a symbol of everything that had gone wrong with the team under Sven. The thing about having Beckham in the team is that the manager has to be strong enough to manage him -- or not him exactly, but all the media hype and public pressure that comes along with it. You have to be able to decide whether he should be on the pitch based purely on what he brings to the team. (Really, you have to do this for any of the players in the squad, but Beckham more than others.) And Steve McClaren is really not that manager. So he may think that bringing Becks back is either recognition of his recent good form for Real Madrid, or -- somewhat less likely -- an admission that he's a big enough man to reconsider his mistakes. But what it really seems like is him giving in to what he thinks people want, and we might as well just manage the team via a series of public opinion polls. (Although, if we did that, at least maybe they'd stick Lampard on the bench where he belongs.)

Toronto FC picked up their first points on the road, drawing 2-2 with the Columbus Crew over the weekend. Before that, they pulled off a scoreless draw with Benfica in their midweek exhibition game, despite resting some key players -- which is probably not what MLSE had in mind when they decided to charge twice as much for tickets to this one. The club's also traded Alecko Eskandarian to Real Salt Lake in exchange for striker Jeff Cunningham. I was a bit surprised that they got rid of Eskandarian, especially since he was kind of a fan favourite, but if you've got the chance to pick up last year's Golden Boot winner, you have to take it. The best part of the story, though, is that the news apparently broke on Eskandarian's Facebook page. Welcome to 2007, y'all.

After all the problems with tickets and whatnot at the Champions League final last week in Athens, did you know that next year's final is going to be held at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow? Yeah. Because when you're holding a major international event, and you want to minimize the chances of bureaucratic fuckups, corruption and police brutality, the best location is definitely a former Soviet state.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Becks brings a media circus with him which, without a shadow of a doubt, has an adverse effect on the teams mentality. It's not Dave's fault, the papers can't get enough of him as he's a great salesman!

Dave was built up to be knocked down by the british rags. People have commended him as a great captain with passion for the shirt but i would point out that this guy played on as captain of england in the last world cup, knowing himself to be unfit and unable to give his best for the team. That's not commendable. Of course. Becks was thinking of his legacy, " 100 caps ", his lil personal milestone which could be held up to the world as a symbol of Daves greatness!

Dave was and still is a top player but he was dropped because of his poor form. Any othe4r player, it would be no big deal but it's becks so mcLaren should admit he made a mistake? If anything, Dave has been brought back to shield mcLaren from the abuse directed at him by the rags and maybe, just maybe to bannish the idea that England need Becks. Dave is effectively retiring in the summer so this, imo, is a backward step.

Great blog FG! Ez