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West Ham United – The bubbles are bursting!

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They stayed in the Premier League when it was most important to, they had the new stadium on the horizon and they even had Payet….Then it all started to go horribly wrong for those once happy hammers.
November saw a decision made to replace an initially popular Bilic with an immediately unpopular David Moyes. His post-Everton work leaves a lot to be desired and with an initial 6 month deal on the table, it was make or break for both the Scot and the board of the London Stadium.
The mere fact that they are refusing to back their manager beyond the summer and their recent sacking of Tony Henry (Head of Recruitment) due to comments made about African players, sums the current running of the club perfectly.
Did we also mention that the Manager has three Assistants? Alan Irive, Billy McKinlay and Stuart Pearce.

Let’s just have a look over some of their financial dealings…

A measly £2.5m in rent for a brand new 60,000 seater stadium – however there are add on’s if they win the Champions League, FA Cup or finish in the top 5 of the division. So to sum up, a grand total of £2.5m will be paid per year! Unless they suffer relegation then it will be halved to £1.25m. Seriously, flats in the same city are sold for more!!!
The Hammers do not have to pay for a range of things including policing, stewarding, goalposts, corner flags, cleaners and turnstile operators. Heating and lighting costs will also be covered by the stadium managers.
Moving onto transfers since the demolition on the good old Boleyn ground or Upton Park if you prefer and you’ll see a good level of frugality:-
A net spend of just £11m?! An unacceptable figure I think most PL fans would agree, especially when you take into account the non-existent layout for the purpose built Olympic venue they now call home.
As the new terrace chant goes “so f**k off Gold & Sully, where’s our f*****g money, it’s all lies, lies, lies”
The start of 2018 has seen a them struggle past League One Shrewsbury in the FA Cup before being dumped out by similar opposition in the form of Wigan.
League-wise 2 wins, 3 draws and most recently a defeat at fellow strugglers Brighton isn’t the worst form – however there is this feeling from the outside looking in that they are in for one hell of a tough time in the coming weeks.
Their current Prem position of 12th may appear respectable but they (like most others) are hovering just above the dotted line.
March is the absolute make or break month with 6 pointer after 6 pointer. 3 homes and just the solitary away with 90min battles against the likes of Swansea and Southampton will ultimately decide their 2017/18 fate.
The recent arrival of an aging Patrice Evra will hardly send the fans into hysteria. If the disgraced former Marseille man and Man City recruit Pablo Zabaleta start a game together, the combined age of the full backs will be 69! The likes of Salah, Sanchez and Sane will destroy them down the lines.
Can they avoid the drop? Will Moyes still be in place for the new season? Will they get the fans back on side?
So many questions and the 3 owners need to look at changing their entire philosophy or Baroness Brady may just be hearing some words to which she is all too familiar with – in the shape of “you’re fired!”

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Liverpool vs Roma – A throwback 1984

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As a Tuesday night unfolded in both Manchester and Rome the watching masses had a feeling that the two triumphant sides on the night were destined to be drawn against each other in the Semi Finals of the Champions League.

Klopp’s Kop had seen off City, following up an impressive 1st leg lead with another victory at The Etihad despite a lot of early home pressure. Over in Italy a modern-day miracle was happening, Roma were overturning a 4-1 deficit and were 3 up against a Messi led Barcelona. They held on and the raucous celebrations began right through until Friday’s draw.

Out came Bayern vs Real and left us with the tie we all just knew was going to happen, all things pointed to it as soon as both final whistles went.
Coutinho knocked out, Dzeko and Kolarov through, A Mo Salah return and of course a replay of the 1984 European Cup Final.

The side have met on 3 previous occasion but none more important than the final of this renamed and revamped competition back in 1984.


On that night Liverpool would go on to secure their 4th title before waiting nearly two decades to once again add to that list with that famous night in Istanbul, also against Italian opposition.
The game was decided on penalties after a 1-1 stalemate through 90min and Extra time. A goal from Phil Neal gave Liverpool the lead before an equalizer from Pruzzo just before half time.
After Nicol’s miss early in the shootout it was subsequent failures from Conti and Graziani that handed the Merseyside club the trophy.


Now if you rewind to the Semi-Finals of that season you’ll see an anticipated battle of Britain on the cards.

Roma were up against then Scottish Champions Dundee United and with the showpiece in their own backyard felt it was their right to line up at the Stadio Olimpico as one of the finalists.

The first leg ended 2-0 at Tannadice Park, meaning that Roma had to win by three clear goals to progress to the final. Roma did indeed score three goals to win the tie 3–0 and progress to the final, by virtue of a 3–2 aggregate victory.
In 1986, it emerged that Roma attempted to bribe referee Michel Vautrot with £50,000 before the match

 

The Italian club were suspended from European football for a season, and their chairman, Dino Viola, was banned from official UEFA activities for four years. The referee maintained that he never received the £50,000 – some claimed that the middleman did a runner with the money – but in 2011, Riccardo Viola, the chairman’s son, shed new light on the mystery. He told of a dinner on the eve of the match, when Vautrot was alleged to have informed them, in coded language, that the deal had been done.

Sadly this potentially historic final never materialised and we’ll never know if history for all of the clubs involved could have been changed forever.

There is still a link that holds this whole thing together in the shape of Andy Robertson, A former Dundee United defender that will line up against the once money paying Romans.
There is no doubt that Liverpool will head into the tie as favourites and perhaps it would be some level of comfort for British or maybe just Scottish football if the Italians suffered just like their Scottish counterparts at the same stage of the competition all those years ago.

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Managers – Are the casualties being looked after?

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The latest high profile manager to go was Alan Pardew at West Brom. He leaves the baggies a country mile from safety having guided them to just one solitary victory under his charge.


Rumours are that Pardew is departing with a £500k golden handshake for his “efforts” and this is not the 1st time that he, like many others, will have received a huge pay out for a performance deemed underwhelming by a board of directors. This of course, is at the highest level and with a guaranteed opportunity at another job in a few months’ time. But what about lower down the chain?

Last week we saw the devastating news announced about former Crawley Town Manager Dermot Drummy’s death back in November 17. An inquest has concluded that the former Chelsea youth coach had taken his own life.


Drummy, 56 had been seeking counselling for his “low mood” after parting company with the League Two side just a few months prior. Now let’s be honest being dismissed at this level is totally different to the riches of the PL or the top end of the Championship for that matter.
Guys like Drummy have been hard working coaches, craving a shot at being a number one and just because it doesn’t work out doesn’t make them poor managers. They are dealing with a totally different set of circumstances that a lot with similar job specs will never understand.
Take a look at this extract from a local journalist following the sacking:-

“The appointment of Drummy, whose background was as a vastly experienced development coach, was an interesting one, not least in terms of the style of football he had pledged to instil.
“The early signs were promising, with the club reaching fifth place by mid-October and fans clearly appreciative of the brand of football on offer.”

A glowing reference for a man just weeks into a role and this story got us thinking, what becomes of some of the under the radar sackings lower down the divisions and what becomes of some of the managers. Just how are they looked after? As this clearly shows that Drummy slipped through the net.
A staggering 45 mangers in the professional leagues in England have lost their jobs this season. A near 50% sack rate and we’re yet to reach the business end where key promotions, relegations and ultimately fates are decided.


The LMA is supposed to play a key role in looking after its members, now they do have a “Mental Health” awareness section… Let’s just inform you that it is situated in the 4th category and the 7th subject down on their list. They do however provide a managerial performance table right there on the homepage. A proper own goal from where we’re sitting!

Some other cases include that of Martin Ling and Neil Lennon both of whom have admitted to having their own personal battles, It also looks like we’ll never know just what triggered Gary Speed’s decision on that terrible day.

With all the money in the game we love, every available penny should go towards protecting the people that actually make the game what it is.
They should be rewarded for their services and utilised accordingly even if that is providing local level coaching to grass roots and their salaries are covered by governing bodies.
We don’t want to be reading more stories like the tragic one of Dermot Drummy.
RIP

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Englishman trying to make amends for fans behaviour in Amsterdam.

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An Englishman living in Amsterdam has gone to great lengths — or depths — to right the wrongs o.

 Lance Roberts jumped into action after seeing the videos of an England fan throwing a bike into one of Amsterdam’s canal.

Amsterdam police chiefs described the England fans behaviour as “appalling” ahead of the friendly match last Friday.

Roberts, who has lived in Amsterdam since 1991, later took his boat on the canal and fished out the sunken bicycle.

Roberts’ good deed was spotted by locals and was later gave an interview with Amsterdam broadcaster AT5.

“It was mainly shame, I felt ashamed and I wanted to do something positive,” said Roberts, 48, talking about what sparked him into action. “It was one of these small acts of diplomacy, I wanted to put the bike back.”

“It’s been a positive reaction from people in Amsterdam,” the father-of-two told Euronews. “I think everyone needed a good news story after that.

“The English people who are living here can feel like they can hold their heads up a little bit higher.

“There’s at least some evidence of another side of the English nature.”

The self-employed carpenter said he was also moved to act because his two-year-old’s creche is near where the incident happened.

“I went down to pull the bike out because my kid goes to a creche there and we’d walked past them the night before on the way home,” he continued. “The bike had a kid’s seat on it and I saw that and thought: ‘that could be someone I know or one of the other parents’. In Amsterdam, that’s a family’s transport.”

The troubles saw 100 England fans being arrested over the two days.

“The behaviour of a large number of England supporters was appalling,” said deputy chief constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) head for football policing. “Any attempts to downplay it are wide of the mark.

“The sad fact is that the drunken mob’s behaviour reinforces the negative stereotype of England supporters, and will impact on the treatment all fans can expect when they follow the team abroad.”

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