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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

OT: The Soccer Thread: January 2013

Because the first sporting event of 2013 that I watched was a soccer match.

fra paolo Posted: January 01, 2013 at 02:38 PM | 1784 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer

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   1. What's the realistic upside, RMc? Posted: January 01, 2013 at 07:16 PM (#4336371)
the first sporting event of 2013 that I watched was a soccer match.

You poor, sick b@stard.
   2. Swedish Chef Posted: January 01, 2013 at 07:35 PM (#4336396)
Let's put this here:
I've decamped from the arctic regions to Alicante for a little while to avoid being eaten by polar bears. Alicante's local heroes Hercules are last in the second division and won't have a home game while I'm here anyway, but their rivals from just up the road, Elche, has one this weekend. They're dominating the second division in some style, 8 points up on the second place team. Seems like a good bandwagon to jump on.
   3. Swedish Chef Posted: January 01, 2013 at 07:39 PM (#4336401)
You poor, sick b@stard.

You seem to be commenting in the wrong place, Youtube is that way ---->
   4. NattyBoh Posted: January 01, 2013 at 08:01 PM (#4336426)
I remember all the palm trees there. Must be a great place to be in the winter. Going to see the castle?
   5. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: January 01, 2013 at 08:09 PM (#4336437)
You seem to be commenting in the wrong place, Youtube is that way ---->

When I read this, the arrow happened to be pointing at the politics thread in the sidebar. Heh.
   6. Swedish Chef Posted: January 01, 2013 at 08:25 PM (#4336461)
I remember all the palm trees there. Must be a great place to be in the winter. Going to see the castle?

The castle is dominating the view from my hotel room, I have to go up there, should be a great view if nothing else.
   7. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 01, 2013 at 08:33 PM (#4336471)
Whoa! Someone else posted the soccer thread! Tremendous.
   8. NattyBoh Posted: January 01, 2013 at 08:33 PM (#4336472)
It was a great view. Spent a big part of my honeymoon in Altea. Went to Alicante a couple of times to sight see and for the restaurants.
   9. Mattbert Posted: January 01, 2013 at 08:44 PM (#4336490)
Once again, the person writing the Tottenham match report for ESPN.com appears to have been watching some other game.
Despite a generally decent performance in which they had Spurs on the rack before Michael Dawson's equaliser and for extended periods after it, [Reading] ultimately lacked the quality to get a result.

Possession: Spurs 68% / Reading 32%
Shots: Spurs 34 / Reading 7
Shots on Target: Spurs 11 / Reading 2
Source: whoscored.com

Yes there's more to the story of the game than a handful of stats, but seriously...what the hell game was this correspondent watching? Reading scored off a set piece (courtesy of a Pogrebnyak dive*, incidentally) following the first of perhaps two serious attacking moves they managed in the entire first half. It wasn't against the run of play, as neither team was able to string much of anything together in those first few minutes, but it certainly wasn't part of any sustained pressure from Reading either.

Spurs were pretty much immediately camped in Reading's half after that, scored the equalizer, and remained camped there for about an hour, somehow scoring just once more. Reading then had at most five minutes where they generated some golden chances to equalize themselves, ably assisted by some bumbling defensive work by Spurs. After that, Tottenham settled down again, Dempsey's deflected shot looped in, and that was that. If Reading had Spurs "on the rack...for extended periods", then I must have blacked out in ecstasy for 20 minutes or so after Adebayor scored.

* Howard Webb gets a lot of stick, especially from Spurs fans, some of it deserved and some of it not. That decision to award Reading a free kick for Pogrebnyak going over Naughton's outstretched leg after the defender had cleanly poked the ball away was the first of many, shall we say, puzzling decisions on the day. I think Webb works hard and is generally quite decent as a referee, but he was laughably bad today.
   10. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 07:39 AM (#4336687)
Yeah, Reading only had the upper hand for about a 5 minute stretch in the second half. I'm starting to think ESPN doesn't even watch the games. Aaron Lennon was sensational for Spurs yesterday. Lucky for him Hodgson was checking the game out. In the other games I watched...Berbatov was fantastic again. Interestingly enough he seems to have taken on the role of manager on the pitch--he spends a lot of time barking at his teammates about where they should be positioned, when they should be passing, etc. That signing could not have worked out better for Fulham. Man U were exceptional, damn them to hell. Wigan weren't poor, but they just couldn't match Man U's quality. And finally, Arsenal were really outplayed by Southampton yesterday and the Saints were very unlucky not to get the win. I think the Gervinho experience at Arsenal is just about over and I'm not surprised Arsenal are in talks to sign Adriano. Aaron Ramsey, when he came on, and Djourou were pretty terrible for Arsenal, too. The bad news for Spurs is they put a stinker like that in just as the window opens and now they'll feel pressure to strengthen.
   11. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 07:41 AM (#4336688)
Anyone have a scouting report on Lewis Holtby? He's the flavor of the day for Spurs rumors. He's going to be available on a free this summer and he has ties to Steffen Freiund from the German youth set up.
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 02, 2013 at 08:08 AM (#4336697)
Holtby sounds like a passing midfielder for a theoretical 4-3-3, from the accounts I've read. No idea if he's actually good enough at that to start for Spurs, but he's the right kind of acquisition for them.

I don't really know where Arsenal need to improve, exactly. (The report I read is that Arsenal were looking to sign Adrian Lopez, not Adriano.) Is a striker really what they need? Giroud seems perfectly cromulent, Podolski can play, and Walcott's been quite solid most of the time up top. Obviously if Lopez, whom I know nothing about, is a world-class talent, then he'd be a good add because those kinds of players are always good to have, but if he's just about another solid striker, that doesn't seem like the answer. I watch Arsenal play and it seems like they're a really good side that's consistently really good in pretty much all the attacking and midfield positions. They could really use some better defenders, and some depth so that they never have to play Gervinho again. Striker seems like the place they need depth the least.

I guess, from Wenger's deployment of Giroud, he may disagree with me about the man's cromulence. If people at Arsenal think Giroud is part of the problem, then they indeed need depth up top. That seems like a terribly quick turnaround on a £13M purchase of a player who was hardly an unknown quantity, but hey, if he sucks then he sucks. (I don't think he sucks.)
   13. Swedish Chef Posted: January 02, 2013 at 08:19 AM (#4336704)
I don't really know where Arsenal need to improve, exactly

They should try to get van Persie, he looks like a perfect fit for them.
   14. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 08:19 AM (#4336705)
I guess, from Wenger's deployment of Giroud, he may disagree with me about the man's cromulence. If people at Arsenal think Giroud is part of the problem, then they indeed need depth up top. That seems like a terribly quick turnaround on a £13M purchase of a player who was hardly an unknown quantity, but hey, if he sucks then he sucks. (I don't think he sucks.)

I think Giroud is just ok. I really think Steven Fletcher would score as many goals leading the line for Arsenal as Giroud and I get the feeling Arsenal signed him because he had a release clause so his cost was a known quantity and arguably below market value. I think you're right about Adrian Lopez. I got my Adrian-based names confused.
   15. ursus arctos Posted: January 02, 2013 at 08:37 AM (#4336714)
Holtby is small, but reasonably talented (as one would expect of a German trained midfielder).

He hasn't been able to stick with Schalke, which would lead me to conclude that he would be at best a squad option for Tottenham. I'd also be a bit concerned about his ability to deal with the physicality of the English game.

Transfer,art has him valued at about 10 million euro, which strikes me as high (though he does have clear sell on value).

He supports Everton, should that mean anything.
   16. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 09:09 AM (#4336736)
Holtby is small, but reasonably talented (as one would expect of a German trained midfielder).

He hasn't been able to stick with Schalke, which would lead me to conclude that he would be at best a squad option for Tottenham. I'd also be a bit concerned about his ability to deal with the physicality of the English game.


Doesn't sound like anything to get worked up about, then.
   17. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 09:23 AM (#4336748)
The bad news: Demba Ba is headed to Chelsea. The good news: That means Falcao isn't. I actually don't think this is a disaster for Newcastle as they can make Cisse the focus again and use the cash to bring in a defensive player. That, along with Debuchy, and I think they'll be fine. If Man City are going to dump Lescott, Newcastle makes all kinds of sense, no?
   18. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 09:43 AM (#4336759)
Some other transfer news:

Derek Boateng heading to Fulham
Newcastle are looking at Peter Odemwingie to replace Ba
Borussia Dortmund are interested in bringing back Nuri Sahin, which would be hilarious but kind of great, too
Pato is heading back to Brazil to play for Corinthians
Sadly, no David Bentley news, yet. I will keep you informed.
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 02, 2013 at 09:46 AM (#4336760)
What's the deal with Chelsea solving their problems with creativity and clever dealings? They filled the defensive midfield hole internally by converting David Luiz, and now they're getting a high quality striker at a (relative) budget price. Is that Benitez?
   20. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 09:58 AM (#4336766)
What's the deal with Chelsea solving their problems with creativity and clever dealings? They filled the defensive midfield hole internally by converting David Luiz, and now they're getting a high quality striker at a (relative) budget price. Is that Benitez?

Maybe FFP is a thing? We shall see. Wigan is now in the black so at least they're taking it seriously.
   21. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 10:15 AM (#4336780)
Sturridge to Liverpool is official.
   22. DA Baracus Posted: January 02, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4336782)
and now they're getting a high quality striker at a (relative) budget price.


With knee problems.
   23. ursus arctos Posted: January 02, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4336785)
And ridiculous personal terms (including multiple agents with their hands out).

I'm increasingly of the view that one needs to look at the all-in cost of new signings, rather than focusing on transfer fees alone.
   24. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 10:30 AM (#4336790)
I'm increasingly of the view that one needs to look at the all-in cost of new signings, rather than focusing on transfer fees alone.

I completely agree but the reporting on wages/fees in soccer is terrible compared to American sports. The agent fees in soccer seems absolutely crazy to me, as well, but everyone seems content with the system so, what the hell.
   25. JuanGone..except1game Posted: January 02, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4336796)
What's the deal with Chelsea solving their problems with creativity and clever dealings? They filled the defensive midfield hole internally by converting David Luiz, and now they're getting a high quality striker at a (relative) budget price. Is that Benitez?

Maybe FFP is a thing? We shall see. Wigan is now in the black so at least they're taking it seriously.


I do think that its FFP. You saw this with a very high, but unsuccessful bid for BatterSea Power Station (which would have increased revenue eventually) and the ever increased desperation to turn Torres into a productive striker. I do think that its likely that there will be spurge for a top-shelf striker in the summer, but that will also likely be on the heels of removing Lampard, Cole and possibly even Torres from their wage bill.

Liverpool, I hope you enjoy your new derpy, delusional forward!!!
   26. ursus arctos Posted: January 02, 2013 at 10:41 AM (#4336798)
All very true.

One can only hope that FFP will have a beneficial effect on this over time, but it will be a slow process at best.
   27. puck Posted: January 02, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4336814)
I don't really know where Arsenal need to improve, exactly. (The report I read is that Arsenal were looking to sign Adrian Lopez, not Adriano.) Is a striker really what they need?

Not sure what you're counting as a striker but I think Adrian also plays out as one of the wide forwards in a 4-3-3. If he can take playing time away from Ramsey and Gervinho in those roles, I think that would be a big help.

Edit: although...that leads one to wonder why he's out of favor this season.
   28. Mattbert Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4336825)
I'm increasingly of the view that one needs to look at the all-in cost of new signings, rather than focusing on transfer fees alone.

This is the thing about purportedly serious football reporting that continues to most drive me bonkers. The oversimplified accounting that this club sold this and that player for £X and £Y so they must now have £X+Y to invest in the squad (or else they're cheapskates!), blah blah blah, with little to no acknowledgement of all the other parts of the transactions. You see this all the time, even by otherwise intelligent reporters and bloggers who should know better.

It's true that information on the all-in cost seems to be sketchy or secretive, but I don't know enough to guess whether that's down to different accounting rules in Europe versus the US (I know some clubs operate as PLCs and are, I think, therefore obliged to disclose some information about transfers above a certain threshold value), a lack of motivated inquiry on the part of the press, a lack of interest on the part of the public, or what have you.

Alright, rant over.
   29. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4336826)
Jonathan Wilson writes QPR's obituary.

They're doomed. Fernandes would be silly to spend any more money on them this season, but then, his conception of ashtray money is a little different than mine...
   30. Swedish Chef Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:18 AM (#4336837)
It's easy to find out the official figures for how much money goes to agents*:

Spending on agent fees in 2011-12

*) Moneys delivered to 'Arry in a thick brown envelope not included.
   31. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:26 AM (#4336846)
Boy, I love Ba when he was a Hammer, I was sorry to see him go. I'm so rarely on the ball with these things, I feel like I have to point it out when it happens.

QPR appears to be an absolute ########### these days. That's one down, two to go!
   32. Mattbert Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:27 AM (#4336850)
I suppose you could divide the total by the number of transfers a club made during the period in question, but I doubt the distribution is so even. The data would need to be specific to each player transaction to be really useful.
   33. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4336858)
Boy, I love Ba when he was a Hammer, I was sorry to see him go. I'm so rarely on the ball with these things, I feel like I have to point it out when it happens.

What are your thoughts on reuniting with Joe Cole?
   34. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:35 AM (#4336861)
I suppose you could divide the total by the number of transfers a club made during the period in question, but I doubt the distribution is so even. The data would need to be specific to each player transaction to be really useful.

I find it so bizarre that clubs pay agents anything at all. Just imagine Boras finishing up a contract for a client and then asking Brian Cashman, "OK, now let's talk about my fee..."
   35. Mattbert Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:35 AM (#4336862)
What are your thoughts on reuniting with Joe Cole?

'Arry says 'ands off!
   36. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:36 AM (#4336863)
Along with QPR, I don't see how Reading can stay up. They are the worst in the league by component stats - shots on target, etc. They've improved a little by parking the bus every week since Arsenal shellacked them, but they've done so at the expense of any attacking capacity. Also their players are bad.

The third relegation spot, though, I have no idea.
   37. Swedish Chef Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:38 AM (#4336868)
I suppose you could divide the total by the number of transfers a club made during the period in question, but I doubt the distribution is so even. The data would need to be specific to each player transaction to be really useful.

I think it says something as a percentage of transfer fees. But agents are not only paid for completed signings. Clubs pay agents to get rid of players too, and for extensions, or for finder's fees. Or as middle-men. Some are kept on retainers, Raiola got €3M from Barca annually until he called Guardiola mentally ill in the press.

Maybe the thing to do is to subtract the average spent on that transfer volume and see the rest as an indication how deep into the agent game the club is.

One thing the list says definitely is that being a top agent is a nice racket.
   38. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4336871)
The third relegation spot, though, I have no idea.

As a neutral, I hope there are 5 teams involved for that last spot on the last day. I'm hoping for something close to the madness we had on the last day last May. I can't even wager a guess as to the third relegated club. My gut is that it will be Southampton as Villa will bring in reinforcements and I'm tired of Wigan making me look foolish so I refuse to pick them anymore.
   39. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:46 AM (#4336875)
My gut is that it will be Southampton as Villa will bring in reinforcements and I'm tired of Wigan making me look foolish so I refuse to pick them anymore.

My gut's in the same place. Also, I really like Paul Lambert and don't want to see him get relegated.
   40. Mattbert Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4336877)
The third relegation spot, though, I have no idea.

I'm seriously worried for Aston Villa. They can't score and they can't defend. Either one of those problems usually spells a season of struggling in the bottom half of the table. The combination of both is almost always the kiss of death. When it comes to the relegation dogfight, I think Villa's going to be relying on Wigan and Soton being slightly worse than them as much as anything else.
   41. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4336886)
I'm seriously worried for Aston Villa. They can't score and they can't defend. Either one of those problems usually spells a season of struggling in the bottom half of the table. The combination of both is almost always the kiss of death. When it comes to the relegation dogfight, I think Villa's going to be relying on Wigan and Soton being slightly worse than them as much as anything else.

As currently constructed, yeah, they're not looking good which is why I can't even commit to Southampton as the team I think is going down. I have confidence that Lambert will figure things out and that Lerner will let him spend just enough cash to improve the team.
   42. Swedish Chef Posted: January 02, 2013 at 11:54 AM (#4336888)
I find it so bizarre that clubs pay agents anything at all. Just imagine Boras finishing up a contract for a client and then asking Brian Cashman, "OK, now let's talk about my fee..."

Well, the players seldom pay the agents anything directly for their services, and the agents have to feed their families in some way. As for conflicts of interest, that can't happen as the only interest the agents have is enrichening themselves.
   43. Mattbert Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4336905)
Holtby is small, but reasonably talented (as one would expect of a German trained midfielder).

He hasn't been able to stick with Schalke, which would lead me to conclude that he would be at best a squad option for Tottenham. I'd also be a bit concerned about his ability to deal with the physicality of the English game.


So what you're saying is he's the next Luka Modric, right?

I think I've seen Holtby play at most twice, so I don't have too much of a read on him. He didn't really grab my eye for good or bad. At first blush, I'd say he'd be a good pickup as a squad player. Spurs have an open spot on the 25-man with the departure of Cudicini, and a technically sound midfielder who's more dynamic and flexible than Tom Huddlestone or Jake Livermore would be a very reasonable way to fill that spot. Spurs could use a player like that if Villas-Boas doesn't have full confidence in Tom Carroll for league games yet (which it appears he doesn't).
   44. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:28 PM (#4336933)
Spurs could use a player like that if Villas-Boas doesn't have full confidence in Tom Carroll for league games yet (which it appears he doesn't).

A loan deal of Carroll to Villa makes a lot of sense. I think he could really help them settle games down and he needs the first team action. And speaking of Spurs players and loans, it looks like Adam Smith might be moving to the PL from Millwall. He appears to be on the Kyle Walker career trajectory which is good for me as I'll be able to break out all kinds of economics puns when he makes it to the first team. Oh yeah, and supposedly Reading is the favorite for a Thudd loan.
   45. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:40 PM (#4336947)
What are your thoughts on reuniting with Joe Cole?
Assuming the 'Ammers beat out 'Arry, I'm not that taken with the move. It seems to me what the team really needs is a striker, even if you assume that Carroll will at some point be fit enough for real matchplay.

Speaking of 'Arry, did you see he decided today would be an excellent time to proclaim that "you'd have to be a real dope to mess it up" at Chelsea? Stay classy, 'Arry.
   46. frannyzoo Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4336951)
I'm seriously worried for Aston Villa. They can't score and they can't defend.

Agreed. On the scoring end, I know it's extremely unlikely but it'd be interesting/great if Drogba could somehow come in. Villa need experience along with skill, and Drogba is all of that (and a gigantic salary, even for Lerner...but still...).

On defense, the dearth of quality defenders, regardless of salary/agent demands, has just about everyone stuck with what they've got. Even the MUFCs of the world. Juve, for instance, could really use a injury replacement for Chiellini, but who would they get?
   47. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:45 PM (#4336954)
It wouldn't be a window without...

A Spurs link to Leandro Damiao. Tim Vickery on the longest transfer saga of all time at the end of the clip. He seems to think the player wants the move, Spurs want him, Inter wants to sell him but 3rd party owners are complicating things. Hopefully with Chelsea and Liverpool already bringing in strikers and Arsenal linked with Adrian Lopez, Damiao's 3rd party owners will give up the pipe dream of a massive pay day and settle for a really good one.

Speaking of 'Arry, did you see he decided today would be an excellent time to proclaim that "you'd have to be a real dope to mess it up" at Chelsea? Stay classy, 'Arry.

I did. That was classic 'Arry--take a swipe at Benitez and AVB and set up an excuse for losing the game all in one pithy soundbite. That is triffic stuff!
   48. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4336987)
   49. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4336990)
Agreed. On the scoring end, I know it's extremely unlikely but it'd be interesting/great if Drogba could somehow come in. Villa need experience along with skill, and Drogba is all of that (and a gigantic salary, even for Lerner...but still...).
The one outfield player with any real class on Villa is Benteke, who is a true #9. Their midfield and defense are pretty much the definition of replacement level in the EPL. If they're going to buy - and they really should buy - it should be basically anyone but a traditional #9.
   50. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4336993)
The one outfield player with any real class on Villa is Benteke, who is a true #9. Their midfield and defense are pretty much the definition of replacement level in the EPL. If they're going to buy - and they really should buy - it should be basically anyone but a traditional #9.

Agbonlahor is a solid player and should be back from injury soon. That will help. Ireland is the real enigma for them and Lambert has had as little success as anyone else getting any consistency from him. On his day I think he's their best player, though, which is probably indicative of how deep their problems are.
   51. Mattbert Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4336999)
Another interesting statto site joins the fray: Squawka

I only just started looking at it, but I like it immediately for showing the location of each player's passes on the pitch and displaying them as a vector. I've really missed that visualization since The Guardian stopped doing their chalkboards.
   52. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4337014)
The entire Aston Villa team is an enigma. They keep putting the youngest team in the league out there on the field, while still paying all those better-known players who many will be surprised to learn are still on the team. They've played 21 league games. Agbonlahor has started 9, Bent has started 6, Ireland has started 9.

Remember Richard Dunne? He's still around. So is Shay Given. Remember when they had hot young talents Fabian Delph and Marc Albrighton? They don't play anymore because of other, seemingly less good young talents. Remember when they signed Charles N'Zogbia? He doesn't play. Alan Hutton started most of their games last year, he was sent out on loan so they could bring in Matthew Lowton from Sheffield United. Nathan Delfounso continues to go on loan after loan. Houllier paid 6 million for a 28-year-old Jean Makoun, then sent him out on loan to Greece, now he's on loan in France. What is this organization doing? Are all these players injured? Are they going to sell 10 people this month? If not, why not?
   53. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4337029)
Agbonlahor has looked useless for a couple years now. He is kind of fast but he doesn't seem to have the skill level to play wing (which is where they've played him the last two seasons or so) and he was never that good of a goal scorer, which is moot because he's not beating out Benteke. They have N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Bent (dubious), Vlaar, Dunne and Petrov out which limits their options. Plus Lerner stopped giving out blank checks to the manager after O'Neill wasted all that money.

Arsenal could probably use another central defender. They could also try and unload a bunch of dead weight - Chamakh, Squillaci and Arshavin. Santos, Djourou, Gervinho and Ramsey are useful players but I don't think they are good enough for Arsenal.

That Twitter exchange was gold.

I could totally see United buying another striker. Although I still think they should get a good central midfielder and another defender. I'm guessing any potential Baines move wouldn't happen until after the season.
   54. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4337030)
If not, why not?

Because they don't have 10 players anyone else wants?

Naw, I kid. They do seem a bit dysfunctional, though. Who is in charge at Villa?
   55. jmurph Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4337057)
Arsenal could probably use another central defender. They could also try and unload a bunch of dead weight - Chamakh, Squillaci and Arshavin. Santos, Djourou, Gervinho and Ramsey are useful players but I don't think they are good enough for Arsenal.


I think Arsenal could technically use an upgrade almost everywhere. They've assembled the premier league equivalent of every fantasy baseball team I've ever put together: a bunch of decent to very good players, that, in a vacuum, are perfectly fine pieces of a larger puzzle. Unfortunately none of them are great, so they're not winning anything anytime soon. Theo and Giroud aren't the problem, sure, but they're also not exactly world-beaters. Ditto Vermaelen.
   56. frannyzoo Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4337060)
Every time I see Albrighton come in, I'm reminded "why isn't he starting?" I'm not as taken by Benteke as some, and wonder what, if anything, Agbonlahor will bring with his return. And I'd forgotten all about Darren Bent. Maybe Fulham will bring him back to our attention.

Strange club, no doubt.

And could Wolves do the double drop? They are quite, quite awful these days.
   57. Mattbert Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:13 PM (#4337064)
The makeup of the Villa squad is a reflection of the heavy turnover in the manager's chair that they've had since O'Neill bailed. And say what you will about O'Neill but at least he had a relatively coherent plan and bought players accordingly. They didn't always work out and were often paid too much relative to Villa's revenue, but you could understand the thought process.

The summer window is when most clubs are able to do serious triage and remake their squads. Villa have had three different managers in charge during the two full summer transfer windows since O'Neill was last at the helm. If you want to count Kevin MacDonald's short stint as caretaker, it's four managers in two windows plus the last little bit of a third. In any case, the squad is a mess because the managers who followed O'Neill shared neither his vision for how to construct a team nor much in common with each other's visions for same, and nobody's been in charge long enough to establish a new identity and reshape the squad to fit it. Lambert has certainly been ruthless in his initial efforts at doing just that, but if realizing his vision continues to come at the expense of short-term safety then he'd better hope Randy Lerner is willing to sweat it out with him or Villa will be looking at starting over for the fourth time in three years.
   58. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:24 PM (#4337074)
The makeup of the Villa squad is a reflection of the heavy turnover in the manager's chair that they've had since O'Neill bailed.

I get that, but at the end of the day someone has to be in charge. Spurs went so a similar churn with Jol to Ramos to Redknapp without the same kind of chaos as Villa because, ultimately, Levy was in charge and wasn't going to let a manager do bad business. For example... So...who's in charge there? I know they have that General guy who pops up with tough talk now and then, but does Lerner have a "football" man in charge of the operation the way Ellis Short had Niall Quinn?
   59. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:30 PM (#4337078)
I think Arsenal could technically use an upgrade almost everywhere.


I don't disagree but pretty much any upgrade would cost around 30M pounds, which we all know Wegner will never spend. I think the owners are content with third or fourth and hope that FFP will slow down Man City and Chelsea and bring a more even/rational playing field. Obviously fans aren't going to like that. Until that happens, players will keep leaving Arsenal and the books will continue to be balanced. I still do like watching them play.

As for Villa, Lerner is the type of owner who seems to hire people and let them do their jobs. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to hire the right people and that's for both the Browns and Villa. I think Lambert is probably a good choice, but nowadays managers don't have very long especially if you get relegated.
   60. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:32 PM (#4337080)
Alan "8-year contract" Pardew still isn't going to play Cisse as a #9, electing instead to go with Ameobi up top and Cisse on the wing.
   61. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:37 PM (#4337084)
That's ridiculous. I assume its Shola, you know what it doesn't even matter. Cisse is so much better than any Ameobi and should be played up front.
   62. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4337086)
That's ridiculous. I assume its Shola, you know what it doesn't even matter. Cisse is so much better than any Ameobi and should be played up front.

Yeah, Shola Ameobi. Cisse is a really great #9 so I am puzzled.
   63. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:41 PM (#4337088)
Alan Pardew says he's "pleased" that Demba Ba has gone because "it ends the uncertainty" ... but admits he prepared for the Everton game with Ba in the side. That's why Cisse starts on the right, with Ameobi in the centre ...

From The Guardian's MBM. Does. Not. Compute.
   64. Mattbert Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4337091)
Spurs went so a similar churn with Jol to Ramos to Redknapp without the same kind of chaos as Villa because, ultimately, Levy was in charge and wasn't going to let a manager do bad business.

Tottenham's league performance (and the associated managerial churn before briefly settling on Jol) in the first few seasons after Levy took over was pretty ropey too. Not quite as poor as Villa's been the last couple years, but poor nonetheless. I hope for Villa's sake that Lambert can keep them up and eventually stabilize the club over the next couple years.

So...who's in charge there? I know they have that General guy who pops up with tough talk now and then, but does Lerner have a "football" man in charge of the operation the way Ellis Short had Niall Quinn?

Not to my knowledge, no. They have a DoF type guy (Gary Karsa), in name at least, but he's a Lambert guy who's been with him for ages. Lerner himself is the chairman, correct? I don't think there's much of a buffer level on the Villa org chart between the owner and the manager. The closest thing they had to a Daniel Levy figure was Doug Ellis.
   65. Mattbert Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:00 PM (#4337099)
Alan Pardew says he's "pleased" that Demba Ba has gone because "it ends the uncertainty" ... but admits he prepared for the Everton game with Ba in the side. That's why Cisse starts on the right, with Ameobi in the centre ...
That is peculiar. I guess he thinks the downgrade from Cisse to Ameobi up top is less severe than the downgrade from [the sweet fuhqall he's got on the bench for midfielders] to Cisse on the right. But Newcastle are at home. Why not just play 4-4-2 with Cisse and Ameobi up front, Obertan and Marveaux on the wings, Tiote and Anita in the middle and have a go at Everton?
   66. ursus arctos Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4337103)
Cisse scores in the second minute.
   67. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4337104)
Raheem Sterling with a cool chip!
   68. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4337106)
Cisse scores in the second minute.

Of course he does! Was he really out on the wing to start?
   69. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4337110)
I understand why FSC is showing the QPR-Chelsea game, but it would be nice to watch a potential close game versus an a$$ whooping.
   70. Mattbert Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4337117)
Wow, that Squawka site does all their stats and visualizations live.

For example: Chelsea vs QPR - click on the Full Stats button and you can pull up heat maps, passes, the whole lot...as it's all coming in.

As an aside, I guess Benitez believed 'Arry's 'ype because he's gone with a bit of a house money lineup tonight. Hazard, Mata, Ramires, and Cole all on the bench. Bertrand, Moses, and Marin start. Cech must still be banged up because Turnbull is between the sticks again.
   71. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4337118)
Liverpool are running riot. Suarez makes it 2-0.
   72. Mattbert Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:12 PM (#4337119)
Cisse scores in the second minute.

Alan Pardew, Super Genius.
   73. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4337124)
As an aside, I guess Benitez believed 'Arry's 'ype because he's gone with a bit of a house money lineup tonight. Hazard, Mata, Ramires, and Cole all on the bench. Bertrand, Moses, and Marin start. Cech must still be banged up because Turnbull is between the sticks again.
'Arry's 'ype is killing my fantasy team! I need 'Azard out there!

(OT: The Soccer Thread: 'Ome of the Dropped Aitch)
   74. Mattbert Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4337127)
Sunderland are in no way cut out for playing such a high line. Atypical for an O'Neill team too; he usually likes to defend deep and in numbers.
   75. Gaelan Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4337134)
'Arry's 'ype is killing my fantasy team! I need 'Azard out there!


I captained Mata instead of Van Persie. That was a mistake.
   76. frannyzoo Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:40 PM (#4337158)
Funny...I wasn't thinking of taking a nap this afternoon, but that Chelsea/QPR first half changed my mind.
   77. Mattbert Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:46 PM (#4337168)
Funny...I wasn't thinking of taking a nap this afternoon, but that Chelsea/QPR first half changed my mind.

Hey, Frank said he wanted a potential close game. Blame him.
   78. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4337169)
Yup - was half watching Liverpool in the first half. Was expecting QPR to be down 2 goals by now.
   79. Grunthos Posted: January 02, 2013 at 04:19 PM (#4337204)
Remember Richard Dunne? He's still around. So is Shay Given. Remember when they had hot young talents Fabian Delph and Marc Albrighton? They don't play anymore because of other, seemingly less good young talents. Remember when they signed Charles N'Zogbia? He doesn't play. Alan Hutton started most of their games last year, he was sent out on loan so they could bring in Matthew Lowton from Sheffield United. Nathan Delfounso continues to go on loan after loan. Houllier paid 6 million for a 28-year-old Jean Makoun, then sent him out on loan to Greece, now he's on loan in France. What is this organization doing? Are all these players injured? Are they going to sell 10 people this month? If not, why not?

- Richard Dunne has been injured all season.
- Shay Given isn't as good a goalie as Brad Guzan, who has been the team's best player so far this year by a country mile.
- Fabian Delph and Marc Albrighton do play, and haven't generally impressed. Albrighton is a defensive liability and doesn't provide good service consistently enough, Delph simply isn't as good as hoped for.
- N'Zogbia is injured currently, and has utterly failed to live up to his talents when played.
- Hutton sucked. Lowton is still climbing the learning curve and making mistakes along the way, but is already a better fullback than Hutton ever could be.
- Delfouneso isn't a Premier League player.
- Makoun would have been useful, but there were problems with his work permit and/or contract, and so he was loaned out this season instead.
- Darren Bent, when healthy, is still useless at Villa because he remains what he always has been, a pure poacher, and the team's midfield has absolutely no ability to provide service to him. He needs to go somewhere else where they can feed him good balls in the box, and he'll be scoring in buckets again. Villa just don't have the luxury.

I think Lambert will do fine in the long run, but the tragi-comical series of problems that have followed O'Neill's petulant and catastrophically-timed departure have put the club in a very bad spot, and Lambert might not get that time. Anyone who watched the Swansea game on Tuesday can grasp the state of the squad: a good goalie, a decent strike partnership with Benteke and Weimann, and precious little else. Villa desperately need Vlaar back from his minor injury, and to get a decent defensive midfielder or two this month to settle things down in the center of the park.

I'm not as taken by Benteke as some

Watch more closely. He's still learning some of the important mental parts of the game (staying onside, where's the best passing option, picking spots for confrontations, etc.), but his physical gifts are superb and he has the right nose for the net. If he doesn't end up matching Didier Drogba, he'll be a reasonable facsimile.
   80. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 02, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4337211)
QPR goes up. Ferguson could be managing from a rocking chair in his wine cellar and have United in the championship race.
   81. Mattbert Posted: January 02, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4337232)
'Triffic.
   82. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 02, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4337236)
   83. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 02, 2013 at 05:09 PM (#4337272)
Remember Richard Dunne? He's still around. So is Shay Given. Remember when they had hot young talents Fabian Delph and Marc Albrighton? They don't play anymore because of other, seemingly less good young talents. Remember when they signed Charles N'Zogbia? He doesn't play. Alan Hutton started most of their games last year, he was sent out on loan so they could bring in Matthew Lowton from Sheffield United. Nathan Delfounso continues to go on loan after loan. Houllier paid 6 million for a 28-year-old Jean Makoun, then sent him out on loan to Greece, now he's on loan in France. What is this organization doing? Are all these players injured? Are they going to sell 10 people this month? If not, why not?

A number of these players aren't nearly as good as you remember them (Delph, Albrighton [aside: I've been really disappointed with how he turned out. I always thought that he could be a good version of Seamus Coleman or something similar to Matt Jarvis, but he's had major issues with covering opposing fullbacks and defence in general. Pretty much all he's good for are crosses into the box], Hutton, Delfounso, Given to some extent, though his not being in the squad is a function of Guzan's incredible form) and the remainder are either injured or have been injured for long periods of time (Dunne, N'Zogbia, Bent) or are Jean Makoun (he's had major work permit issues). Lambert, in my opinion, has done a very good job with very few resources in terms of players, and a few of Villa's youngsters have really impressed (Benteke, Ashley Westwood, Andreas Weimann), and I really hope they stay up, just so that we can see the fruit of Lambert's labours.

EDIT: Or...I could just read the thread. #79 has what I was saying in more depth/better writing, so beverages to him and I'm not sure I add much to the discussion, hah.
   84. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 02, 2013 at 05:10 PM (#4337273)
Obviously this is with the benefit of hindsight, but I swear I thought of posting this when the team sheets were announced. That was a weird set of rotations by Benitez. He had his first-choice striker, his first-choice defensive midfielder, three of his four best defenders, and he subbed out nearly his entire first-choice midfield. I still would expect more from Lampard, Moses, and Oscar than they showed (I don't know Marin, but he was really quite terrible, and I assume he isn't that), but Benitez certainly set himself up for criticism.

Reflecting the game tactically, I think 'Arry played it very well, and Benitez played it poorly. Benitez started two true wingers in Marin and Moses, but he was facing a 4-5-1 in which the fullbacks barely came forward at all and the wide midfielders carried significant defensive responsibilities too. The Chelsea wingers don't have a lot of creativity in their games and were mostly neutralized, and QPR still had three men in midfield to defend Oscar and Lampard through the middle. Luiz got free a bunch because QPR sat so deep, but he didn't do too much with the space.

The choice to make Taarabt a lone striker worked out way better than I'd have expected. He worked very hard, looked to create more than to score, working more throughballs to his midfielders than launching 40-yd shots, and he used his significant rear avoirdupois to hold the ball up and give the defense a rest. That seems like a classic players-love-'Arry kind of success.
   85. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 02, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4337309)
So many, many things to be said about Chelsea-QPR...I was going to watch some It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on Netflix tonight, but I think I'll watch the replay to get my fix of absurdist comedy. I declare that the most hilarious result of the year. Well played Rangers! I don't know the particulars of the game yet, but if Harry and Taarabt team up to save QPR the irony will probably kill me. Maybe Harry can also buy Gio Dos Santos this month? Anyway, I did not expect Spurs to still be in third at the end of the day, but I'll take it.
   86. Mefisto Posted: January 02, 2013 at 05:41 PM (#4337313)
Just to add to 79 and 83, with which I agree, I also think lots of people don't realize just how big a disaster McLeish was.
   87. Swedish Chef Posted: January 02, 2013 at 05:57 PM (#4337330)
The way to defeat the "Disallowed Key Characters" error is apparently to delete the last slash in the URL. Of course, the ones who need that help can't see this.
   88. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 02, 2013 at 06:10 PM (#4337343)
79 and 83 sound about right. But my point was, all those players are still there! Paul Lambert wants them to go away, but they are still there. The team simultaneously has its future and its past on the books, and no present. Someone this is the case, two and a half years into the post-O'Neill era, after losing James Milner and Marlon Harewood and Nigel Reo-Coker and John Carew and Luke Young and Brad Friedel and James Collins and Emile Heskey and Carlos Cuellar and Stewart Downing and Ashley Young. How do they still have so many players they have no use for?
   89. Grunthos Posted: January 02, 2013 at 07:20 PM (#4337364)
In short, just about everyone acquired under the Houiller and McLeish regimes has been mishandled (at best) or found wanting.

Stephen Ireland: His acquisition in part exchange for Milner was right at the breaking point for O'Neill. Has continued to play as he did in his last couple of years at Citeh: very good on occasion, invisible most of the time.
Shay Given: Not a stupid guy to buy, but obviously previous managers were not appreciating Guzan's abilities properly.
Alan Hutton: Takes away way more than he gives.
Darren Bent: Needs a good team behind him to thrive.
Charles N'Zogbia: McLeish had no idea how to use him or get the best out of him. Hasn't been able to overcome the resulting funk under Lambert.
Jean II Makoun: Was acuired to play Houiller's kind of game, did not suit McLeish at all, is now unable to play in England.
Michael Bradley: Clearly, not giving him much of a chance and then getting rid of him ASAP was poor business... Chievo and now Roma are obviously very happy about it.

Add in Dunne getting old, Agbonlahor's niggling injuries cutting into his only asset (speed), and the failure of any of Villa's academy products to step up beyond "decent filler" and make it to "solid EPL starter", and there you have it: a team with future and past but no present.

Most of the burdensome past is now embodied in five players (Dunne, Given, Ireland, N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor), and if all were healthy and acting as supporting cast to a good spine, they would be OK. But you listed all the departures. There is no spine left. This is what Chelski and Citeh have wrought. Watching the Manchester derby last month, I was boggled by the number of players contained within those two teams that were A) purchased from other PL clubs, B) who didn't particularly want to sell, but C) couldn't hold onto the player because of the draw of massive wages and guaranteed CL play. Rooney, RvP, Young, Ferdinand, Nasri, Clichy, Milner, Barry, Kolo Toure... you could almost field a full squad from that game just using former Arsenal and Villa players.

Randy Lerner has, as was noted above, a history of hiring mediocre management and giving them free rein. He's not blameless here. But the team has been whipsawed this way and that by different managerial styles and a treacherous market. Lerner has been trying to avoid pulling a Leeds/Portsmouth in the wake of O'Neill's overspending without tightening the taps so much that the team pulls a QPR instead. It ain't esay.
   90. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 03, 2013 at 07:42 AM (#4337762)
Transfer news!

Pretty quiet, actually, but JOE COLE is heading home to WEST HAM! I actually enjoy watching him play when he's in good form so I like this deal.
A lot of reputable news outlets now reporting Spurs are about to sign Lewis Holtby to a pre-contract. Grain of salt, etc.
Arsene Wenger has finally decided to get rid of Squillaci and Djourou if he can find takers.
   91. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 03, 2013 at 08:55 AM (#4337798)
Kind of a fascinating West Ham video from back in the day.

It's some kind of shareholders or supporters meeting with Harry Redknapp defending the quality of a young Frank Lampard with a very young Lampard sitting there looking very uncomfortable. Why they would have subjected such a young kid to that is beyond me but...Harry was right.
   92. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 03, 2013 at 09:07 AM (#4337803)
He'll never play for Man City again!

Until no other club meets their valuation and Mancini takes it all back.
   93. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 03, 2013 at 09:14 AM (#4337809)
A gift for Spurs fans.

No, it's not David Villa, but it's still pretty great.
   94. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 03, 2013 at 09:49 AM (#4337824)
He'll never play for Man City again!
Between Balotelli, and Tevez and everything else, City are like the Bronx Zoo Yankees.

#89--specfically the bit about how "what Chelski and Citeh have wrought"--got me thinking. How many EPL teams are run, more or less, as a patronage? Off the top my head, there's City and Chelsea (of course), West Ham (where the Davids might yet make their money back on a sale, but not before), with Fulham, QPR and Norwich as the maybes.

Then there's clubs which, I think, are clearly run with money-in/money-out in mind: United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Villa. There's also bunch of clubs where I don't know how to classify them: Spurs, Everton, Newcastle. And this is leaving out the majority of teams--Reading, West Brom, Stoke, etc. etc.--where I could not tell you anything about ownership for love nor money. I don't really know that I have a point here, but I do wonder if we're getting to the point where all the top division clubs will someday be done as either hobbies or--like United--bank accounts.

   95. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 03, 2013 at 09:58 AM (#4337827)
Off the top my head, there's City and Chelsea (of course), West Ham (where the Davids might yet make their money back on a sale, but not before), with Fulham, QPR and Norwich as the maybes.

Then there's clubs which, I think, are clearly run with money-in/money-out in mind: United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Villa.
I think this is the wrong way to look at it. One of the main ways in which owning a sports team is good for a common ultra-rich person is the constant appreciation of the asset. If you cut "make their money back on a sale" out of the equation, you could easily consider the Yankees to be a "patronage" when in fact they're a massively successful business because of the appreciation of team prices.

I don't know enough about the finances of clubs to classify them, but my initial hypothesis would be that only the obvious - Chelsea and City - are run in ways that fall significantly outside the bounds of normal-ish business practices.
   96. zack Posted: January 03, 2013 at 10:14 AM (#4337831)
If I recall the swiss ramble correctly, Peter Coates gave Stoke a big "loan" (with no expectation of return) to get Stoke stabilized in the Premier League and debt free, but otherwise they pay for themselves now.
   97. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 03, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4337844)
Reading is owned by a Russian Oligarch but he seems to be a "responsible" one. I think Fulham is close to self-sufficient, but they were a huge patronage team just a couple years ago. Newcastle was Ashley's plaything when he first bought it then he realized that he didn't know what he was doing, hired Pardew who bought a bunch of French league players, got them decent again and then promptly gave him a 20-year contract (ok only 8.5 years).

The problem with European soccer is that while generally teams do appreciate in value, one bad season and relegation can ruin it. If the team comes back up without significant investment then you're ok, but if you're stuck in the Championship or even worse get relegated again your team is going to be worth a lot less then what you paid for.

Finally you have the LBO guys. Liverpool was obviously an utter abject failure but ManU would have to be considered a great success. Of course United prints so much money that almost any idiot could have figured it out - but it takes someone smart enough to initially identify the right team.
   98. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 03, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4337847)
I think this is the wrong way to look at it. One of the main ways in which owning a sports team is good for a common ultra-rich person is the constant appreciation of the asset. If you cut "make their money back on a sale" out of the equation, you could easily consider the Yankees to be a "patronage" when in fact they're a massively successful business because of the appreciation of team prices.
I think this is true, but I'm not sure EPL clubs carry the same value appreciation that American teams do, because they aren't the same cash cow. Remembering this from our "Matt Jarvis is worth XX% Reading discussion!" that RFC was valued at (give or take) £25 milion. Now obviously West Ham safely in the EPL in the Olympic Stadium would be worth more than Reading freshly up in the Madejski, but given the numbers the Davids have thrown around as having lost* I don't know that they will be cashing out big.

*If you take them at their word, it was somewhere in the range of £15-17 million at the start of last season EDIT: last year, sorry

Of course, I do think you're right that Chelsea and City are exceptions to a scale that no one else is, but I'm not sure other clubs aren't in the ballpark.
   99. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 03, 2013 at 10:30 AM (#4337851)
The problem with European soccer is that while generally teams do appreciate in value, one bad season and relegation can ruin it. If the team comes back up without significant investment then you're ok, but if you're stuck in the Championship or even worse get relegated again your team is going to be worth a lot less then what you paid for.
This is a good point. You're going to have a reasonably large set of clubs with legitimate risk of relegation, which ruins both revenue streams and franchise value. On the other hand, this probably means that safe clubs should appreciate in value even more because they're relatively rare.
   100. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 03, 2013 at 10:31 AM (#4337856)
I believe Spurs are run close to even with small losses or gains from year to year. There's always a lot of speculation about what the endgame for the ownership is but they seem to be making a lot of infrastructure and long term investments in the club--stadium, training ground, academy, etc. I doubt anyone really has a handle of what ENIC are up to but I'm happy with they way they run the club. I don't expect them to throw cash at it like drunken sailors but they invest everything the club makes back into it and the debt is relatively small and related to infrastructure investments rather than for chasing rainbows which gets clubs into trouble.
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