Thursday, 11 February 2010

Wenger's plan has a design fault - Fabregas.

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"That Arsene Wenger? he's a genius, mate! He doesn't resort to splashing the cash. He patiently cultivates his international teenagers into twentysomething worldbeaters!".
And his plan certainly stacks up. Arsenal are the big four's only financially viable club who are otherwise saddled with unmanageable debt or funded as a billionaire plaything. Arsenal's £250million overdraft is Good Debt. It's attached to the building cost of The Emirates, which incidentally generates the biggest matchday revenue in the world.
Yes, Wenger and his board visualise a few seasons as also-rans behind Chelsea, Manchester United and the European giants but soon, they'll inherit the world!
But there's one major, major, (major) design fault to the Professor's Grand Plan.
The man Wenger wants to build his team around is a Catalan who dreams one day of returning home to his one and only. Of course, I talk of Cesc Fabregas and Barcelona.
How can Wenger plan around a player who WILL leave the Gunners in six months, two years or some other undefined time?
Speaking in the aftermath of Arsenal’s hard-fought 1-nil win over Liverpool, the Alsatian coach responded to media questions on the transfer speculation with his usual wit:
“Nothing plus nothing, is nothing,” he stated after he was informed of the denial issued by the Barcelona hierarchy.

Wenger holds the 23-year-old star in the highest esteem: "Cesc's vision is comparable to Michel Platini's. It's a compliment but Cesc has it all in front of him, but he has a vision.

"He will still develop. I remember Platini was more of a striker and Cesc is more of a midfielder. He is adding that element to his game, but Platini had more of a striker's mentality. He could stay quiet for a game, then think, 'I will score a goal'. Cesc is a guy who likes to be at the heart of things."

But Fabregas, who's issued a fresh denial about leaving Arsenal, has said in the past he'd like to play for Barcelona some day. It would be a way of Camp Nou nullifying the error of losing their youngster as a teenager to Wenger and Arsenal. It's rumoured Arsenal capitalised on the power vacuum at FCB during the last presidential elections.

You can never say that a single player is bigger than the team, but as Wenger's experienced before, losing big players plots the team's progress backwards. How ironic would it be if Fabregas returned to Barcelona as part of an electoral promise - by Joan Laporta!

At Arsenal where the ethic is: if the first-team is successful, then the rest of the club's success stems from there, Wenger needs to adopt a Plan B - and go into the transfer market.

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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Terry's tears, tantrums and takeaways

In response to our previous article, Soccermongery's been handed some interesting background on John Terry: his near switch to Manchester City, antics with England and his remarkable rise to the top of the Stamford Bridge order.

From reliable sources who've asked not be named, we learn:

Football's hard man was in tears as Fabio Capello axed him as England skipper inside three minutes of the twelve-minute showdown.

Capello's big punishment is in keeping with his stringent England regime. So strict, Terry's ordered Chinese takeaways from outside the confines of the team's posh hotel!

On England duty at The Grove, Terry complained the Italian was feeding them with meal after meal of "rabbit food", so he phoned for Chinese for fourteen of the squad. The huge load was shuttled through a backdoor away from management view!

As far as his private life goes, the Vanessa Perroncel incident is the tip of the iceberg. Terry's well-known for back of the car trysts - but it's also claimed he had sex in a night club toilet with a girl on crutches.

Terry's persistent philandering has much to do with unhappiness in his marriage to Toni, described as "like a character from EastEnders" and "fifty times worse than Posh Spice"!

But behaviour in the bedroom seems akin to his reactions to the boardroom.

As Terry strung out transfer negotiations with Manchester City, Chelsea forced him to get rid of his agent of fifteen years in exchange for succumbing to his demands. Roman Abramovich matched the staggering offer from oil rich Eastlands. Aaron Lincoln brokered the deal under orders from Terry but was then unceremoniously dumped.

The transfer was negotiated during the close-season and the catalyst was the departure of Jose Mourinho from Stamford Bridge.

Terry loved Mourinho and hated Abramovich for sacking him. When The Special One left after an inauspicious Champions League draw against little Rosenborg, the Portugeezer told Terry his demise was down to a clash of egos. The quiet Russian billionaire couldn't live with Mourinho's raffish, high-profile demeanour. Roman wanted to be the Bridge Boss - and showed it.

Chelsea's captain was in pieces and wanted to leave. Scolari's dressing room was a mess, so Terry ordered Lincoln to find him a move away. Alarmed by how upset Terry was, Lincoln pleaded with Terry to think about it for a week, and if he still felt the same to let him know. Would he really want to give up the fans, the London scene and the legendary status he'd already earned at the club? A Chelsea man through and through, Lincoln didn't want to be the man who sold Terry - unless his client really wanted out.

City got wind and the new owners heard rumours of how unsettled he'd been. A salary of £250k a week with a £50m transfer tag was set in motion. Terry shook hands with the Sheikhs but Abramovich countered with a deal to match City's offer - on condition that he waved goodbye to his agent.

Terry had been on a week's holiday in the US and phoned Lincoln to let him know his services were no longer required. Lincoln was gutted. He'd been made to look like stupid with both the City owners and Chelsea.

Lincoln was more than just Terry's commercial man. He was also the ex-England captain's eyes and ears keeping him on the straight and narrow and out of the media glare - even handling Terry's family's misdemeanours. His relationship with Terry even survived Lincoln being blacklisted as an agent by the FA.

The loss of such a close confidante has led directly to Terry's downfall. Instead of Lincoln's guiding hand, Terry's now managed by two close friends who've failed to protect him from the pressures of being a top footballer.

Wayne Bridge's switch to City had nothing to do with his relationship breakdown with Vanessa Perroncel or Terry. He left Chelsea for footballing reasons knowing he was playing second fiddle to Ashley Cole. Bridge actually feels sorry Terry got involved with his ex-girlfriend. The relationship between Perroncel and the England left-back was beyond reconciliation long before the Terry dalliance became public.

Bridge was also represented by Lincoln in the past.

When Terry was 15, Alex Ferguson rejected him and Tottenham didn't fancy him either. Even as a Chelsea youngster, he was deemed to be "too small" but Lincoln fought for him.

Terry's Chelsea opportunity came unexpectedly over a fight between two teammates. We're told Dennis Wise decked Michael Duberry over the sacking of Ruud Gullit. When Wise assumed temporary control of the team, young Terry was suddenly thrust into the first team under Wise's orders. Duberry joined Leeds in weeks.

Terry's rise up the Chelsea tree was nearly ended when then Huddersfield boss Steve Bruce had a mere £750k offer ACCEPTED by Chelsea. Terry turned down the move.

Soccermongery has no angle but as a fan of truth. Terry's lucky in life and it seems his luck's far from run out.

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Friday, 5 February 2010

The Curious Case of John Terry

Not surprisingly, big reaction to this on my talkSPORT show the day this broke. Here's a take on the whole sorry affair.
Fabio Capello's proved once again that he's not one to shirk the big decisions. John Terry will go to the World Cup, but as a player - not as England's captain following "frank talks" with the national coach lasting just twelve minutes.
It appears opinion is divided into three classic camps. Camp one believes you can't have an adulterer in a such a famed, "role model" position. Camp two believes the decision should be made purely on footballing grounds and camp three couldn't give a monkeys.
In fact, there is another large camp which is clearly inhabited by the majority of journalists and a substantial number of males. This, for ease of reference, can be called the camp of The Flipping Envious.

This week, the television news repeatedly screened footage of Terry's mistress meeting Max Clifford. The boring and obvious context was that they were planning how to milk as much cash out of the situation as possible. This was based on the premise that the mistress could finally reveal - for the correct price, obviously - the "true side" of the story.

Oh do me a favour! What most men were thinking was a) how did Clifford successfully avoid looking at her breasts or dribbling down his shirt and b) what an incredibly lucky man John Terry was.

Not only does Terry earn £170,000 a week - a fact the media hammers into you repeatedly - but he is able to shag beauties like Vanessa Perroncel on the side. Oh what a horrible person he is, say men to their disapproving wives and girlfriends, while inside they think, can you imagine romping with that French lingerie bird twice a week over four months? Fantastic!
Meanwhile, John Terry, according to various anonymous sources (who probably don't exist) sincerely regrets his actions and any damage caused. Does he, indeed? Terry is probably sorry that he broke the proverbial eleventh commandment and got caught but other than that I doubt he's ashamed in the least.

He has solidified his image as a geezer and a cad that no woman can resist. Yes, he may lose the England captaincy, possibly even a sponsorship deal or two but Terry knows that provided he plays well on the football pitch all will be fine in Terry-world. Another scandal will come along soon enough and the the public memory is notoriously short.
People have completely forgotten that David Beckham, the darling of English football, was also once linked to numerous extra-marital activities. That didn't stop him posing in Armani boxers or damage his England career. Indeed, moving aside from football, the most admired man of the twentieth century (says Time Magazine) was Albert Einstein, a selfish philanderer.

According to the BBC, Terry had to endure a "torrid reception" from the Hull supporters when Chelsea played there on Monday. However, the gist of their catcalls was that men should keep their wives away from John Terry. What a compliment to his sexual prowess!

But perhaps the greatest clue as to what John Terry thinks lies in a photograph pubished three days ago by The Times. He was caught in training, laughing nonchalantly with not a care in the world. And he hasn't really. With his pay packet, he knows his wife won't divorce him, he remains a guaranteed weekly lottery winner and many guys admire him (openly or secretly) and are envious.

You see, John Terry also knows a secret. It's a man's world. But he's not the biggest animal in the jungle.

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Thursday, 4 February 2010

SOCCERMONGERY EXCLUSIVE! Avram Grant's shoe collection!

We've a first picture of Avram Grant's shoe collection! These brothel creepers are de rigeur on the south coast, according to Soccermongery's Fashion Correspondent!

There's little doubt Portsmouth have improved since Avram Grant replaced Paul Hart as manager, but the truth is they're too far adrift for anyone to save them from relegation - let alone Grant.
Pompey slipped to yet another Premier League defeat, 1-nil at Fulham despite playing the better football. But they failed to take their chances and even though Jonathan Greening's Fulham winner had a hint of offside, if ye dunnae score, ye dunnae win!
Avram's Portsmouth put in a good shift. They've a good work ethic, but lack that essential quality to turn their chances into regular points.

Despite languishing at the bottom of the table, Portsmouth still attract headlines beyond the pitch. Hong Kong businessman Balram Chainrai's become the club's fourth owner of the season and the Pompey boss himself was outed as the Premier League boss caught in a brothel.
There's a case for Grant to be sacked for this indiscretion alone, quite aside from Portsmouth's perilous position.
Grant managed a Chelsea team which featured John Terry, Wayne Bridge, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba, so it's fair to deduce that with leadership comes responsibility: how can Grant control his players when he's upto the same sort of tricks?

I mean, could you imagine the same sort of scandal at Arsenal and Manchester United as seen at Chelsea? Fergie and Wenger just wouldn't have it.

But Grant's Fratton Park reign is doubly-compromised by allegations of his private life - and the lateness of his appointment into a season in which Pompey have been plunged into utter chaos. Grant's task is hopeless - but despite everything, Portsmouth are better off with him than without him.

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Monday, 1 February 2010

All hail Stoke City!

Fashionable or not, Soccermongery salutes success and dedicates its latest entry to ...Stoke City!
The Potters' win at Spurs in October was as much about professionalism as it was luck. A classic smash and grab which Soccermongery saw as a breakthrough result. Since then, they delivered a workmanlike but emphatic win over Arsene's Young Guns in the FA Cup. With Manchester United and Liverpool out of the tournament, can Stoke dare to dream?
And in a mood of triumphalism, Stoke's marketing machine are confident enough to produce Cola Sweets (left) for their adoring public!
Stoke don't have to rely so much on Fortress Britannia to earn their points. They can push on and aim for a top-half finish.
It was so vital Stoke survived their first season in the Premier League. Their cornerstone last campaign was a solid home record (crunching tackles and Rory Delap's long throws). But the January Transfer Window heralded a Statement of Intent with the £3.5m arrival of James Beattie, whose goals not only rubber stamped their top-flight membership for another year - but also transformed the way they played.
And with Shawcross tipped for England plus decent players like Huth, Whelan, Lawrence, Fuller and Sorenson, the Staffordshire club can put their neither-here-nor-there city on the map (too northern to be midland, too midland to be northern!).
But it's not just about what they do on the field. Manager Tony Pulis has created a Boot Room of football elders to assist him in the Project: there's no doubt the arrivals of Peter Reid and Gerry Francis, with their years of managerial experience have added dimension to his decisions. It's a bold step for Pulis, as both Reid and Francis could easily be managers-in-waiting if things went Pete Tong.
Yet Pulis deserves to succeed. He's expedient, dedicated to improvement and not afraid to make the big decisions to take Stoke City to the next level. I tip them for a top ten finish.
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