To Asia, Taking La Liga Beyond Real Madrid and Barcelona

July 29, 2010


Philips Wouwerman, Battle scene, ca. 1655-60
“In July last year, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez made a major push to get at least one La Liga game a week played earlier in the day to attract Asian audiences and support: ‘The change is vital if the Spanish league is to compete with the English,’ he said. ‘The revenue figures for our clubs this year will be around the €1.55bn mark, in England the figure is closer to €2.4bn. It is not just the TV deals themselves but the potential repercussions that being shown prime time in Japan can have on marketing revenues.’ A year on, and it looks like this change to La Liga kick-off times will actually happen, following an offseason that has revealed just how parlous Spanish finances are, Barcelona’s debt and Mallorca’s financial troubles only the most obvious examples.” (Pitch Invasion)


Maradona outmanoeuvred in Argentine battle of wills

July 29, 2010

“He was never likely to go quietly. ‘I have been lied to and betrayed,’ said Diego Maradona in response to losing his job as Argentina coach. He should have seen it coming. In October 2008, on the eve of his appointment, I made the following comment on this website…” (BBC – Tim Vickery)


The rehabilitation of Roy Hodgson’s reputation

July 29, 2010

“Roy Hodgson will manage Liverpool for the first time tonight as a popular Premier League manager. But it wasn’t always like this. In WSC 130 (December 1997) Matt Nation remembered a fraught few months at Bristol City in 1982.” (WSC)


Premier League Transfer Talk

July 29, 2010


Stiliyan Petrov
“Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson wants Aston Villa midfield general Stiliyan Petrov as the shock replacement for transfer-seeking Javier Mascherano. (Mirror) Chelsea want to wrap up the £17m signing of ­Benfica star Ramires in time for their pre-season tour of Germany. (Star) With Sol Campbell heading to Newcastle, Arsenal are ready to turn to Per Mertesacker to solve their defensive crisis. Arsene Wenger will offer Werder Bremen £10m for the German international centre-back. (Mirror)…” (Telegraph)


World Cup 2010: Tests ahead as focus turns to Brazil

July 29, 2010

“Since the start of the tournament, delegations from the South American country’s federal and local governments, plus several other different institutions, have been in South Africa trying to learn lessons about staging the world’s biggest sporting event. That’s because, in four years, it will be Brazil’s turn to play host.” (BBC)


The Premier League 2010/11 Previews 3 – Birmingham City: Second Season Blues?

July 29, 2010

“Between the battle at the top of the table and the chaos at the bottom of it, the achievement of Birmingham City in finishing in ninth place in the Premier League last season feels as if it was rather overlooked. It was their first season back after promotion the year before and, significantly, it was their highest league position since 1959. Those that continue to look back at the 1970s as being somehow the halcyon days of the club (which, one rather suspects, may at least in part have entered into local folklore because of the club’s dominance of their cross-city rivals Aston Villa) would do well to look at last season’s final Premier League.” (twohundredpercent)


There’s no escaping sports

July 29, 2010

“Since I withdrew, game-worn, from full-time sportswriting in 2007, the question I’ve gotten most is: ‘Do you miss sports?’ I wonder if these same people ask retired weathermen if they miss weather, or ex-food critics if they miss food, or recovering nudists if they miss nudity. Because missing sports is not an option. I couldn’t miss them if I tried. And I have tried. But sports, it turns out, are always there. Even when I think they’re not, they’re present — silent and odorless and invisible but emphatically present, like radon gas.” (SI)