A Contentious Source of Income Is Set to Dry Up

January 4, 2015

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“Soccer’s hot stove league — the winter transfer window — fired up again Thursday, beginning a monthlong frenzy in which some of Europe’s best-known teams will buy and sell the rights to some of the world’s best players. But as teams around the world prepare for the semiannual flurry — there is a longer summer window — everyone involved does so with a new era looming: Third-party ownership, which for years drove the market by allowing outside investors to buy pieces of a player’s future to profit from his eventual sale, will soon be banned. At its core, third-party ownership, or T.P.O., is simple: An investor gives money to a club in exchange for a share of a player’s future transfer fees. Many clubs, particularly in South America and Eastern Europe, build their rosters around T.P.O., either as a hedge against a young player’s development prospects or to raise capital for more immediate needs.” NY Times

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The Best of 2014

January 4, 2015

“Every year since 2011, A Football Report has published an annual Best of Football Writing list. What was once a way for us to simply appreciate the preceding 12 months has grown into a full-fledged community activity, with every corner of the world submitting their favourite articles, photographs, films, and football-inspired designs. This is the world’s game, as celebrated, expressed, and understood by the world. We hope you enjoy The Best of Football Writing list for 2014.” A Football Report


Transfer window is a merry go-round that no one can get off

January 4, 2015

“‘People should change their ideas,’ Louis van Gaal warned after Manchester United had kept their sixth clean sheet of the season in drawing at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. United have conceded only five goals in their last nine games and have the fourth best defensive record in the division. ‘It’s not about new players, it’s about organisation.’ No subject has so nettled Van Gaal since his arrival at United as the suggestion that the club’s summer transfer policy left him short of defensive cover and, given how often United have been saved by the excellence of David De Gea this season, it’s hard to believe he really is as satisfied by his defence as he has made out, but the general point was a sound one.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson, Guardian – Transfer window: Premier League club-by-club guide


Manchester City – Roll With It

January 4, 2015

“Manchester City’s 2013/14 season was described, with some justification, as “another memorable year” by its chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, as City won their second Premier League title in three years. They also added the Capital One Cup, which meant that the club has now won every major domestic competition at least once in the last four seasons. The strategy off the pitch is also delivering, as City’s revenue surged through the £300 million barrier, rising 28% from £271 million to £347 million, while it further reduced losses for the third consecutive year. All three revenue streams contributed to this strong performance with broadcast revenue up 51%, match day revenue up by 20% and commercial revenue up by 16%.” The Swiss Ramble


Tony Pulis Q&A: The Anti-Gravity Man

January 4, 2015

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“When Eight by Eight’s Jack Williams sat down to chat with Tony Pulis midway through Crystal Palace’s summer tour of the United States, everything looked rosy. Just a few months earlier, the former Stoke boss had steered a troubled club away from the jaws of relegation; the upcoming campaign was now being greeted with a distinct sense of optimism among Eagles fans. But just a few weeks later, in a move that no one saw coming (let alone us), Pulis walked out on what many at the time would have considered one of the most secure jobs in football. It was lucky for us, then, that the topic of discussion that day was less about Palace and more about an art form that Pulis himself has undeniably become a master of during 22 years of management: Houdini-esque escapes. In a record that still stands today, the Welsh-born boss has never been relegated, despite the small scale, low-budget sides he has overseen.” 8by8


How Marcelo Bielsa found method in his madness at Marseille

January 4, 2015

“He’s came. He’s saw. He’s in prime to position to conquer. The idiosyncratic Argentine Marcelo Bielsa has guided his Marseille side to the top of the tree midway through the Ligue 1 season. And boy has he done it in style. After picking up a solitary point from their opening two league fixtures, fortunes have changed dramatically in the south of France. Marcelo Bielsa has introduced a brand of scintillating attacking football, yet simultaneously maintained a resolute defensive style, catching the eyes of millions around the globe. As it stands, Marseille sit second only to Lyon in goals scored (38) – averaging two goals per-match – and top the table in attempts (308). But how exactly has Bielsa’s methods made the dismal seventh place finish of last season a mere memory?” backpagefootball


With the F.A. Cup, the Dream Endures, Though Reality Intrudes

January 4, 2015

“They say that the magic of the F.A. Cup is dead and buried beneath the hundreds of millions of dollars that separate the behemoths from the baby clubs in modern English soccer. But nobody told the Blyth Spartans that part-time players cannot have their hour in the limelight of the world’s oldest knockout competition. And nobody told Luís Figo, a winner of all manner of trophies when he played on the wing for Barcelona and Real Madrid, that folklore has lost its appeal. Figo was hooked on the action Saturday, when a local bartender, Robbie Dale, scored twice to put Blyth two goals up at halftime against Birmingham City, a team 120 places above Blyth in the league structures of England.” NY Times