Monday, 11 August 2008

Scolari shows even the big boys walk a tightrope to success

In their hurry-scurry to ship in one of the world's best-known coaches from his high-profile assignment with Portugal, Chelsea forgot to tell Big Phil Scolari that Frank Lampard may not be a part of his squad!

And if you were Peter Kenyon, under pressure from The Big Man to tempt the Brazilian to Stamford Bridge, why would you tell him of the near two-year impasse between the club and Lampard's advisors? Hence, Scolari's comments in his first news conference that the freescoring midfielder would be part of his team and his vice-captain.

Chelsea is after all about the desires of its owner, irrespective of the skills and experience of the coaches and executives below him.

Ditto Manchester United - except for one major difference, the power lies in the manager's office - not at board level. The Glazer's have geared United SO MASSIVELY that the team's on-field success disguises the delicate state of the business itself.

Have Arsenal got much in the locker if Arsene Wenger moved on? well, their board's always been supportive of him and they've shown vision and guile to build the new stadium - but there's no succession plan at all. I mean they can't even be sure of who'll be on their board by the end of this season.

And Liverpool, they've got no money and their new stadium plans are beset with spiralling construction costs and they've not even started building it yet. It's looking unsure at Anfield.

And that's the so-called big four.

All which points to one thing: never has there been a better opportunity for one of the Pretender Clubs behind the big four to challenge for silverware and Champions League qualification.

In these times of the Credit Crunch, increased raw material costs and job losses among the fans, there's a window of opportunity for those clubs with a tighter wage bill, a low-profile supportive board and a continuity of team management, to compete on the pitch in games - and off the pitch in transfers and youth policy.

Step forward Spurs, Everton, Villa and Pompey to not just close the gap to the big 4 but one of them to make the big-time this season!

More competition in the Premier League? - that's got to be a change for good.