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Football / The JW Interview with the BBC-audio recording
« on: October 10, 2009, 05:27:56 AM »

I've uploaded a podcast from BBC's five live regarding England's lobbying for the 2018 WC.

It also includes an interview with JW-I still shudder when I hear him speak on an international platform.

Some interesting JW quotes in the interview;

"I would be laughing all the way to the bank"

"doh feel that you have any divine right to host the WC "

"England is assuming they have invented the game, though China thinks otherwise".

"What is important to me is perception"

"something is missing, find it"

"my 3 CONCACAF votes are for no one else but USA if they are there"

Lord Triesman's response on what JW has said; is guarded and very diplomatic.

Publicly they need to wine and dine him to woo him over, privately i'm of the opinion that they cannot stand him.

Football / Sulley Muntari Flick into the Net
« on: December 01, 2008, 03:12:58 PM »
remind me of goals men does score in small goal.

<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win"></a>

Football / Govt must do its part for Warriors
« on: August 27, 2008, 03:09:43 AM »
Without even looking at the content, from the time they repeatedly get the Minister's name wrong, the article lose all credibility before it start  ???

Govt must do its part for Warriors
27th Aug, 2008
(Guardian Editorial)

Given the importance of success in sports to the psyche of a nation, it is necessary for us to call, once again, for Minister Hart and Jack Warner to end the partisan politics and the verbal and written aggression.

In the midst of all the excitement and euphoria surrounding T&T’s two Olympic silver medals at the Beijing Games, the country’s footballers began their World Cup semi-final campaign in convincing style with a 3-1 whipping of Cuba.

When one considers that the game was played away from home, there is all the more reason for fans to be optimistic of the Soca Warriors’ chances of reaching South Africa in 2010.

They still have 15 matches to go before they arrive at that destination. These include five in this round—two against both the US and Guatemala and the return game against Cuba—while another ten await, providing the team is among the top two in its group at the end of this semi-final round.

The Warriors will then be involved in a home and away series involving six teams from which there are three guaranteed spots in South Africa, while the fourth-placed team will meet the fifth-placed team from South America in a play-off for the chance to put a fourth regional team in the finals.

Given all the negativity that has surrounded the campaign so far, it must be to the credit of all the team members that they were able to rise to the challenge and overcome Cuba in such an emphatic manner in the opening game.

Controversy and negativity appear to be the order of the day as Government and the Football Federation lock horns over the use of the Hasely Crawford Stadium for the home matches while the State’s reluctance to inject financial assistance for the team’s preparation remains a mystery.

These distractions, however, have not deterred the players. In true professional style, the negativity appears to have led the players to bond and they seem more determined than ever to show their detractors that they are going to South Africa in spite of all the obstacles.

They still have in their corner, Jack Warner, the Fifa vice president and local football’s benefactor. While there is no doubt that Warner has earned a great deal of money from his association with local and regional football, it is also true that he continues to dig deep into his pocket to maintain the integrity of the game here.

It may be that Warner’s political affiliation to the opposition United National Congress-Alliance has blinded Government as to its responsibility to the sport.

On the other hand, it may be that Warner has allowed his desire to score political points against the minister to get the better of him in some of his public statements, including one Warner issued last week in which he stated that Minister Hunt “deserves a gold medal for political indecency.”

Given the importance of success in sports to the psyche of a nation, it is necessary for us to call, once again, for Minister Hart and Warner to end the partisan politics and the verbal and written aggression for the good of T&T’s footballers, athletes, swimmers, cricketers and other sportsmen, sportswomen and especially sportschildren.

While it is clear that Minister Hart and Jack Warner need to end their feud in the interest of football, the two men need to go further. They must sit down with their technocrats and advisers and come up with the modalities by which the Government will fund the Road to South Africa.

As Warner hinted in the aforementioned statement, this funding must be sufficient to cover all the expenses of the effort. The minister must ensure, however, that there is full transparency on the issue of financial accountability—including the money that is disbursed by television and radio stations throughout the hemisphere for broadcast rights to the 2010 World Cup.

What about Track & Field / Are we the First ?
« on: August 17, 2008, 04:51:55 AM »

Someone made a comment that we are the first EVER country to win  all 3 gold, silver and bronze medals at the 100m Olympic finals.

Now I doubt whether that is true on an international scale, but i'm pretty sure it's true on a Caribbean/West Indian scale.

Anyone can verify that ?

I read this in the Independent 2 months ago when bolt broke the record, but I thought I would post it, as it poses some interesting questions as to man's speed limit.

I think the most realistic assertion in the article is that the WR would start being counted in thousandths of seconds.

The Big Question: As the 100m world record falls again, how much faster can humans run?
By Mike Rowbottom, Athletics Correspondent
Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Why are we asking this now?

Because Usain Bolt, a 21-year-old Jamaican, smashed the world 100-metres record in a race in New York at the weekend, clocking 9.72 seconds, two hundredths of a second faster than the previous best, set by his compatriot Asafa Powell in September last year. It was the 17th time the record had been legally broken since an American called Don Lippincott ran 10.6 seconds in 1912, and the eighth new 100 metres record set since 1991. The 10-second barrier was broken in 1968, the 9.90 barrier in 1991, and the 9.80 barrier in 1999. Now the 9.70 barrier is in sight.

Who is Usain Bolt?

He is a quietly spoken, 6ft 5in student at Jamaica's University of Technology who has long been expected to reach the top in athletics, having run the outstanding 200 metres time of 19.93 sec as a 17-year-old. He won the silver medal in the 200 metres in last year's world championships but then surprised everyone a month ago when he produced the second-fastest 100 metres of all time – 9.76 sec – in what was only his third serious race at the distance.

Bolt's coach, Glen Mills, wanted him to run 400 metres rather than 100-metre races this year in preparation for the Olympic 200-metre event in Beijing, but Bolt hates the longer distance, and when Mills said he could run 100 metres if he beat the Jamaican 200-metre record, his athlete duly obliged.

Does Bolt's height give him an edge?

It's not that simple in sprinting. "The smaller you are, the more force you can generate to body mass," says Peter Weyand, an assistant professor in the department of kinesiology at Rice University, in Houston, Texas. Weyand, who watched Bolt's world-record race, believes all the runners were moving their legs at about the same speed, and touching the ground for less than one-tenth of a second with each stride. But Bolt was able to deliver more force to the ground relative to his body weight.

Tyson Gay, the world 100-metres champion whom Bolt beat into second place, backed this up anecdotally, lamenting that Bolt's stride pattern was not quicker, but bigger. "He was covering a lot more ground than I was," he said.

Could Bolt run even faster in the future?

Certainly. Although his size tells against him in the start – it's too big a frame to get out of the blocks smoothly – he can certainly improve upon it with practice, and will be even better if he sprints right to the end of his races rather than slowing down to see how well he has done on the clock, as he did when he ran 9.76 sec, or slowing down and raising both arms in the air as he did in celebrating his victory on Saturday night. The wet conditions in New York were also far from ideal.

So what is the fastest a human can run?

Broadly speaking, the average man can manage about 15mph for short periods, while the best sprinters are running, albeit briefly, at about 26-27mph. Not very efficient compared with a cheetah, which can reach speeds of three times that. Dogs and ostriches can also put us to shame.

The title of "fastest man in the world" is traditionally held by the 100-metre world record holder, but one scientific form of reckoning bestows that title on the former 200-metre runner Michael Johnson, whose performance in setting the world record of 19.32 sec at the 1996 Olympics produced an average speed of 23.15mph (compared with Bolt's 23.02mph on Saturday). In terms of peak speed, Canada's Donovan Bailey is credited with the record, hitting 27.07mph in winning the 100m title at the 1996 Olympics in a then world record of 9.84 sec.

So will the record go again soon?

The days when 100-metre runners used to knock a tenth of a second off the world record – as Jesse Owens did in running 10.2 sec in 1936 – are long gone. The record has been creeping down in hundredths of second since Jim Hines became the first man to break 10 seconds in 1968, winning the Olympic title in 9.95 sec. Bolt looks the obvious candidate to take it down further, but he will have strong competition from both Gay and Powell.

Athletics statisticians claimed in the wake of Bolt's run that even though it was faster than Powell's, the latter's was intrinsically superior, by one-hundredth of a second, once the different wind speeds had been factored in. Powell ran in virtually dead-still conditions, while Bolt had a 1.7 metres-per-second following wind. There might be a further challenge from the 2004 Olympic champion, Justin Gatlin, if the American can get his doping ban halved by the Court of Arbitration for Sport this week.

What part might doping play in man going even faster?

Ben Johnson was infamously stripped of his 1988 Olympic 100-metre title – and world record of 9.79 sec with it – for taking banned steroids. It took another 11 years for another man to equal that time – Maurice Greene, who retired last year after winning world and Olympic titles, but recently had to deny accusations that he had been supplied with and paid for drugs.

With all the bad publicity over Gatlin, Greene and Britain's Dwain Chambers, who served a two-year doping ban, the world of athletics is desperate for genuine sprint performances.

Meanwhile, Bolt responded to the obvious question that followed his world record by saying that he had never taken any performance-enhancing drugs, and had already been tested five times this year.

What legal aids might help sprinters?

Improvements in track surfaces and running shoes have certainly helped athletes go faster in the last 20 years, as have advances in training methods and nutrition. Nevertheless, it is generally agreed that 30mph is the likely limit for humans as things stand. "We're very close to the edge," says Weyand. What might yet push human beings beyond that edge, however, is gene therapy. As recent experiments with mice have vividly demonstrated, this rapidly growing technology can produce profound improvements in strength, speed and endurance. It's scary stuff.

Is the fastest really the best?

Had Jesse Owens been able to take advantage of the advances in physiology, nutrition, training, footwear and track surfaces, you fancy he would have been a contender in today's sprinting scene. And while Maurice Greene, self-styled Greatest Of All Time, according to his tattoo, may have run faster than Carl Lewis ever did, many observers would say the latter's consistency and elegance gave him a claim to be regarded as the best ever.

Can athletes keep going faster in the 100 metres?


*Usain Bolt could shave some hundredths of a second off his time by running through the line and not raising his arms

*If the race starts being measured in thousandths of a second, even slight improvements will count as a new record

*A course of gene therapy could give athletes a new edge, boosting human capabilities yet further


*We're already reaching our top speed. Scientists believe man cannot run faster than 30mph, with the best at about 27mph

*We have certain physiological handicaps that will always hinder us. We'll never resemble a cheetah, which can reach 70mph

*There must be some point at which the record will never be broken – we'll surely never see the 100 metres run in five seconds

Football / Falkirk v Rangers-Setanta 1
« on: August 09, 2008, 06:01:41 AM »
First game of the new SPL season.

Latas starting...0-0 still; he make some decent forward passes

penalty for falkirk....

lol. Higdon miss the penalty....poor penalty, but good save

1-0 Rangers...tap in from ball across the box

Latas off in the 75th.....he needed that break..some of those corners he was taking started to go wayward

Falrkirk stadium is real jones; u seeing the car park on tv and men having to run their own balls into the car

A terrible dislocation. It was feared to be a double break when it happened.

Agbonlahor and Young standing around in horror.

The man was screaming in absolute pain as could be imagined.

Football / Jack snapped-add ur own caption
« on: July 26, 2008, 08:16:30 AM »

Real Caption: Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner sits to have his photograph taken for a passport at the opening of the new Immigration Office at Gaston Court in Chaguanas

Feel free to add ur own..

Football / Govt must come clean on stadia
« on: July 20, 2008, 06:29:04 AM »
Govt must come clean on stadia
by Peter O'Connor
(Sunday Newsday)

WITH THE CONCACAF Women’s U-17 qualifiers now being played at Dwight Yorke Stadium in Tobago; and the Marvin Lee Stadium at Macoya, we still see no break in the dispute with the Government over the use of stadiums in Trinidad for international football.

So today we need to look at the value of hosting sports events versus the announced intention of the Government to make sports venues financially self sufficient.

I am not sure that sports facilities—other than maybe in major first world cities— can actually “pay for themselves”, meaning amortisation, maintenance, running costs, and event costs.

If such facilities were able to pay for themselves, then businessmen would build them. Actually, what happens in the first world, which we are so desperate to follow, is that countries, states or cities build sports facilities for two reasons. At the neighbourhood level they build facilities so that citizens can play sports, live healthier lifestyles, and train children in the discipline and self-worth which sport can provide.

On the wider level, they build facilities which will attract major sports events into their country or city, well aware that this investment will enhance the tourism and economic potential of their city or country.

And it works! Sports tourism is the fastest growing sector of world tourism, and most of the world understands and exploits this. We, in Trinidad, as I have said before, do not. They, in Tobago, do.

So while our Government tries to justify that the stadium charges for football should be high enough to fund the running costs of the facilities, we have no international football at any of the four main stadiums in Trinidad.

This has already affected international matches, including a World Cup Qualifier. It is also affecting the CONCACAF Women’s tournament now being played, and has sent the upcoming Caribbean Youth Championships—Boys and Girls U-16 and U-15 respectively, to schools grounds around the country.

Our World Cup Home Qualifiers are also in jeopardy while this situation festers, although it might be argued that playing Home matches in New York or Miami might bring more vociferous support than we get at Hasely Crawford. However, I, and I am sure most of us, would much rather play at home.

So, please, let us all lean on our Government to come up with a rational decision on the use of stadia for our international football, and by so doing, bring TT to the world, and the world to TT. Let the country earn the money on the tourism potential of hosting football.

It is informative to note the help which Jamaica continues to get from their government. While they have had two changes in political administration, and two in football administration, Football remains, like Reggae, a Jamaica thing.

Here in Trinidad, we cannot understand that. Also, Rene Simoes and his Technical staff are paid US$100,000.00 a month by the Jamaican government.

Jamaica wants to put Reggae in South Africa. Only TTFF wants to send Soca there! And, still in Jamaica, their Federation has just announced increases in the cost of admission to “The Office” for their home matches.

Prices were increased by more than 50 percent—bleachers, and more than 70 percent in the covered stands. There was no attack by the Jamaica government on the JFF for this.

Trinidad and Tobago also needs to know from our Government if they can host the World Women’s U-17 Tournament here in 2010. Why must this matter take weeks, and several meetings to get the agreement? Surely this is a win-win situation for TT?

We already have the stadia, we certainly have the experience, and several new hotels have been built since we successfully hosted the Boys’ version in 2001. It is refreshing to note editorials in the media in support of our hosting this event. What I find strange in the Government’s reluctance to support TT Football, is that they have so much to gain when TT succeeds in any sport. Can it really be that they do not want this glory just because it involves dealing with an Opposition Parliamentarian?

There is one more area of peacemaking which needs to be clarified. Government announced, relative to the dispute on bonus payments due to the Soca Warriors, that they had “given” over $88 million to the Federation.

This sum needs to be itemised, and so far Government has ignored TTFF requests to do so. It is most unfair to lead the players into thinking that some $44 million (50 percent) is due to them, if these monies were actually used to send a Government cultural contingent to Germany, and for Government bonuses to the team.

SA prostitution plans condemned
BBC News

For the men who like to gamble with their lives....  :-\

Plans to legalise prostitution for the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa have been criticised by religious groups and opposition parties.

The local authority in Durban wants legalised adult entertainment venues during the tournament.

But African Nazareth Democratic Movement (ANDM) president Thokozani Hlatshwayo said the proposal was "against the word of God".

Opposition parties fear that, if introduced, it could become permanent.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance and the youth wing of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) have condemned the suggestion.

"Plans to legalise Durban's red-light districts before the 2010 World Cup should be condemned in the strongest possible manner," said Pat Lebenya-Ntanzi of the IFP youth brigade.

She said the South African government was sending out mixed messages to young people.

"On the one hand it preaches strong family values and moral regeneration, but on the other hand they want to legalise prostitution on Durban's streets. It doesn't make sense," she said.

An additional concern is Aids - some five million people in South Africa are HIV-positive - making it one of the world's worst-hit countries.


Durban's municipality said Germany had many adult entertainment centres during the World Cup in 2006, which were very popular with visitors.

It said while prostitution was illegal in South Africa, it could not ignore the fact that the sex industry thrives during major events like the World Cup.

To address this, entertainment centres such as strip clubs and escort agencies would be located in special areas where they would be safe and easily accessible.

Municipality Deputy Mayor Logie Naidoo said a final decision had not yet been taken.

"The national government will give us a lead in this matter, whether it relates to the 2010 Soccer World Cup or any other time for that matter," he said.

Safe environments

City officials admit that there are already young girls and women working as prostitutes on the streets of Durban.

They say plans are already in place to help them operate in safe environments.

In January, MP George Lekgetho called for prostitution to be legalised during the tournament.

"It is one of the things that would make it a success," he said.

He told parliament that it would help cut incidences of rape.

The BBC's Mpho Lakaje in Johannesburg says his suggestion was met with derision by other MPs. But a group representing sex workers welcomed it.

"We would support any legalisation of sex work, particularly during the 2010 World Cup," Nicola Fick from the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Task Force (Sweat) told the BBC.

The idea of legalising sex workers was first proposed last year by police commissioner Jackie Selebi, who has since been suspended over corruption charges.

Football / Bring Women’s World Cup to T&T.
« on: July 16, 2008, 05:00:58 AM »
Bring Women’s World Cup to T&T.
T&T Guardian Reports.

Fifa says that T&T stands to gain some US$10 million from staging the event while the numerous benefits which can be generated—particularly among the young girls in the country—cannot be measured in money.

The continued feud between the Football Federation (TTFF) and the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs must be a source of concern for all of T&T.

It would seem from all that has transpired between Minister Gary Hunt and TTFF special adviser Jack Warner that there is a clash of personalities which has resulted in a great deal of hostility between the pair and done no good for football in T&T.

Minister Hunt continues to view Mr Warner, who is an opposition Member of Parliament, as the enemy, although the Fifa heavyweight continues to extend the olive branch to the youthful and inexperienced minister.

Mr Warner has gone to lengths to ensure that Mr Hunt is well received at matches contested under the Fifa banner and one would have thought that the minister would see this as an opportunity to at least meet the football boss somewhere in the middle.

Unfortunately, this has not been the case.

It is absurd and cannot be to Mr Hunt’s credit that, for whatever reason, the country’s national football team, which just a few months ago provided so much joy to the nation, can today be booted out of the very stadiums from which it lifted the spirit of the people.

Worse yet is that there is talk of T&T having to play its World Cup qualifiers away from home—something which still seems possible given the absence of a firm commitment and policy from Minister Hunt on the local facilities.

In another bold bid to sell T&T to the world, Mr Warner wants to bring the 2010 Fifa Under-17 Women’s World Cup to T&T. Communication to the Ministry of Sport has failed to attract a letter of consent to this day.

On the one hand, Mr Warner noted in May that it will cost the country just around US$4 million to host the tournament, since the country had the basic infrastructure in place for such an event. All that was needed was a letter of consent from the Government. To date none has come.

On the other hand, many questions were raised about the expenditure of state funds and whether T&T received value for money following the Under-17 Boys World Cup hosted by this country in 2001.

Some may see the failure of the ministry to deal with the staging of the Women’s World Cup in T&T as another example of its lack of foresight.

But there will be others who see Minister Hunt’s reluctance to jump into bed with Fifa as being a sign of political maturity and financial prudence.

The reality is that the deadline for Government’s consent has long passed and it was only Mr Warner’s clout on the Fifa executive that earned T&T an extension.

Fifa says that T&T stands to gain some US$10 million from staging the event while the numerous benefits which can be generated—particularly among the young girls in the country—cannot be measured in money.

If the benefits were so clear-cut, it should be fairly easy for Fifa to produce an independently-conducted cost benefit analysis of the last ten World Cup tournaments held around the world.

There is little doubt that football has a tremendous ability to rally national pride. Arguments have been advanced as to the decline in negativity when a nation’s attention is focused on sport.

How well we remember Jamaica in 1998, when the Reggae Boyz made it to the World Cup in France. There was an absence of crime for nearly a week. It was no different in T&T when we made it to Germany in 2006.

This country has a golden opportunity to unite under the banner of sport once more and we invite Minister Hunt to give further consideration to hosting the tournament, especially if he can win guarantees of account- ability and transparency.


report it to FABA(Forum Anti-Bullying Association)

AWATT has taken a back seat and moving with modern times where many posters have been prevented from expressing their opinions and are bullied into believing they don't deserve one, FABA has been formed to offer redress, solace and in serious cases, retribution.

Just include a link to the thread where you have been bullied and let FABA do the rest.

Football / JW to solve Africa's Problems ??
« on: July 05, 2008, 03:52:47 AM »
Jack deserves more respect-Letter to the Editor

Saturday, July 5 2008 (Newsday)

THE EDITOR: I was in for a pleasant surprise recently while listening to a BBC radio programme on the civil unrest in Africa. According to the analysis, the countries in turmoil say, Zimbabwe, Somalia and Kenya seem unable to resolve their internecine disputes. The reason being, their self-inflicted tribal wounds are too deep to heal.

Now, the closest rival to this insanity I can think of is India during the mid-19th century when every Monday morning the rajahs and the nawabs were ready to chop off each other heads over two farm animals – the sacred and the unclean.

What saved their devout necks was Britain who had been quietly erecting military outposts along the Malabar Coast to protect their silver reserves for the day’s haggling of silk, spice, tea and opium.

And as no one dared attack these coastal trading states, Pondicherry saw the wisdom in offering their finest ivory to the British.

Next to follow was Mysore with their cumin; then Jaipur with their basmati, until Union Jacks and garrisons were all over the place with Clive placating the insurgents, Hastings negotiating the accords and Lord Canning conducting the road show as viceroy of India. That, in a nutshell was how the blood baths and the jihads came to an end – which then raised the question about Africa.

“Why not invite a cadre of respected blacks from outside to help broker some sort of détente? They are the only ones detached enough to be trusted,” commented one panelist.

“Well, can you give us some formidable names from the Diaspora,” the BBC moderator asked, “who can command a ceasefire?”

Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice were among the first high-powered negotiators short-listed but the five names that ended up at the top of the heap were – civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, social activist Harry Belafonte, poet/playwright Maya Angelou, and Jack Warner, FIFA vice-president.

Immediately the thought, “A prophet is never honoured in his own country,” flashed through my mind.

For while Jack is being revered by the international community, back home, we Trinis have one mission – to drag him through the mud and down into the sewer with us. Poor Jack. I could just hear him muttering, “Almighty F-f-father, all I’m asking is – please try and keep your Son far away from these p-p-people!”


I think the demise of both himself and his former girlfriend marion jones from world's fastest couple to prison is an ad for cheaters don't prosper.
Montgomery's convictions for cheque fraud conspiracy and heroin distribution also give an insight into his character and shows why it's no surprise that he would have cheated to succeed in athletics.

Former Olympic gold medal winner Tim Montgomery has pleaded guilty to federal heroin distribution charges.

Montgomery, who won gold in the 4x100 metres relay in Sydney in 2000, appeared briefly before US District Judge Jerome B Friedman, who asked the former 100 metre world record holder if he understood the guilty plea.

Montgomery, who was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of over 100 grams of heroin, politely responded with answers of "Yes, sir" and "No, sir" to Friedman.

Already serving a four-year prison sentence for his role in a cheque-fraud conspiracy, Montgomery faces a minimum of five years in prison when he receives his sentence on the heroin charges, scheduled for October 10.

Montgomery could also be fined up to US dollars 2million and faces at least four years of supervised release.

Montgomery retired from track and field in December 2005 in the wake of receiving a two-year doping ban, not for failing a drugs test but on the basis of an admission he gave about his use of steroids in 2001 in testimony to the 2003 BALCO investigation.

His ban from the sport also brought with it an order to return his Olympic medals, the gold he won in Sydney and a silver in the same event at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Montgomery's world record-breaking 100 metre run of 9.78 seconds, set in Paris in 2002, was also erased from the history books.

Football / Topics/Individuals we've talked to death already...
« on: June 30, 2008, 03:50:12 PM »
I'm aware that there's always new people coming onto the board that might be willing to raise topics we talk to death already.

For their benefit , it might be useful to highlight a number of these topics.

The really helpful forumites might even show links to these threads...

My nominee for talked to death topic;

Dwarika not living up to his full potential

Football / Asprilla accused of shooting spree in Colombia
« on: June 28, 2008, 10:10:31 AM »
Colombian footballer accused of machine-gun shooting spree

As a player in the world's top football leagues, Faustino Asprilla was unpredictable; there were overhead kicks, outlandish goal celebrations and incredible turns. Off the pitch, it was a similar pattern; there were car accidents, dalliances with porn stars and stormy encounters with managers.

And it seems the star Colombian who graced two World Cups and became a hero to fans in England, Italy, Brazil and Argentina, is leading a similarly unconventional life in retirement.

For Asprilla – or Two-goal Tino as he was known during a spell with Newcastle United in the 1990s – has been charged with going on a shooting spree with a machine gun near his farm in south-west Colombia. The 38-year-old is under house arrest on charges related to illegal possession of weapons and criminal damage, his lawyer, Carlos Sanchez, said. He is accused of spraying a security checkpoint with gunfire in April. The post was hit by 28 bullets but nobody was hurt. He denies the charge.

Security guards say Asprilla reacted violently when they refused to allow his friends, three women and a bodyguard, past a checkpoint. Asprilla was reported to have said: "Seven people who were with me have not yet testified, and so I think it's a bit bit premature for me to be convicted.

"In fact, it reminds me of a movie I saw called Minority Report, in which people end up in jail even before you've committed the crime or even been tried."

Asprilla, born in the impoverished city of Tulua in 1969, has been guilty of firearms offences before. In 1995, he fired eight shots in the air outside a disco in his homeland. That earned him a suspended sentence. But the furore afterwards led to him having 24-hour protection by armed guards.

It was partly with his own personal safety in mind that he left to play for Italian team Parma, before a fall-out with manager Nevio Scala took him to England.

After struggling for a work permit because of his firearms conviction, he won the hearts of fans on Tyneside with memorable goals and was voted the sixth-best player in the world in 1996. The same year he was thrown off the Colombia World Cup squad for criticising his coach's tactics.

He quit international football in 2000 and played for minor clubs in Italy, Brazil, and Mexico, and won widespread publicity for his appearance in a reality TV series and a nude photo-shoot for a Brazilian magazine.

He almost did a deal to play for League 2 team Darlington as a favour to that club's chairman George Reynolds, a millionaire later jailed for tax evasion. Asprilla was paraded on the club's pitch in front of a packed crowd. But the day he was to sign the contract he fled, and has not been back to the UK since.

It seems as though the board needs an intervention right now....

people are saying things they otherwise would not have said were they not really passionate about TnT football and equally agitated at the state to which it has reached.

It's called the JW Effect.

Let's all take a moment to reflect on TnT football prior to the politics and the onslaught of the JW effect.......Woo Saah

Football / Platini attacks 'cheats' United and Chelsea
« on: June 07, 2008, 10:15:29 AM »
Platini attacks 'cheats' United and Chelsea (The Independent UK)
By Ian Herbert,
Saturday, 7 June 2008,

Michel Platini, the Uefa president and most powerful man in European football, has launched an extraordinary attack on British football, accusing heavily indebted Chelsea and Manchester United of being "cheats" who win tournaments on the back of their debt.

Speaking on the eve of the Euro 2008 tournament, Platini said that England's absence from it is in no way detrimental to the competition and a product of the direction the Premier League has taken

That league more than any other domestic division, he said, has succumbed to a win-at-all-costs mentality in which success is imperative "not to win titles, but to pay back debts". This, Platini told L'Equipe, must now be dealt with.

He singled out Chelsea and United – collective debt £1.5bn – for criticism. "It is a never-ending search for money, leading to the proposal of a 39th fixture abroad," Platini said. "Look at Chelsea and Manchester United's debt. Fifa and Uefa have to do something to combat that, because today the ones who cheat are going on to win. Is Champions League success built around who has the most money? I think so. It is run on credit now and it annoys me. We have to find ways to help other clubs sort out their problems. Defeat must no longer mean financial disaster. We have to find the means, together with the European Club Association, to help clubs sort out their financial problems."

Platini was asked if England would be missed. "What does England's absence mean to me? Nothing," he said. "They had only to qualify on the pitch. I do not wish to say that we miss England. That would mean, moreover, that the Croats are worthless. If England are not capable of finishing in the first two teams from a group of six, that is their problem.

"Their clubs have done well in the Champions League, but club football has nothing to do with the international game."

Platini's attack infuriated those present at a meeting of the 20 Premier League club chairmen and chief executives in Leicestershire, according to reports. They delivered a "no comment" response but Peter Kenyon, the Chelsea chief executive, and David Gill, his counterpart at United, are said to be furious.

The clubs' foreign owners may feel the same. Platini said of them: "I am very concerned by clubs being bought by foreigners. I don't see why Americans come to invest in these clubs, if not to turn them into products. It's a never-ending gold rush."

* The Football Association chairman, Lord Triesman, wants to turn the FA Cup into a breeding ground for English talent. To allay concerns that the flow of English youngsters is drying up due to an influx of foreign players, Triesman is ready to begin drawing up plans to increase the number of Britons involved in the FA's flagship tournament.

Football / Money talks, Arsene Wenger frets
« on: May 12, 2008, 05:59:58 AM »
Money talks, Arsene Wenger Frets
By Martin Samuel

These days just about every club is looking to work the Arsène Wenger way. Spot them young, buy them cheap, pay them in washers, win the league. What could possibly go wrong? Well, now they know.

Given at least five years and a brilliant technical staff, unearthing and nurturing fine talent, Wenger’s methods might work at another club, up to a point. The point at which the players start doing the numbers and, like those at Arsenal, realise the going rate for a Champions League footballer. Mathieu Flamini is the first, but he will not be the last. Alexander Hleb intends to buy out his contract for a move to Inter Milan despite Arsenal’s objections and, if he goes, what price Cesc Fàbregas and Emmanuel Adebayor, unless Wenger can quickly placate them with replacements that demonstrate that there will be no loss of potential next season.

Take Adebayor. The striker insists that he is happy at Arsenal and talks as if he sees his future there, but for how long? At a leading club, certainly one who qualify for Europe’s top competition each season as Arsenal do, the reward for a striker scoring 30 goals is roughly treble Adebayor’s £35,000 a week. It may be argued that his form in this campaign has been a one-off, but suppose he does it again next year. Will he still be happy earning roughly a third of what Fernando Torres is paid by Liverpool?

We do not buy superstars, we make them, Wenger says, but his way is about to be tested like never before, as is the cosy logic that Champions League football can be attained without breaking the bank.

What Wenger has pulled off these past ten years is little short of miraculous and by making it look so effortless, he has given the impression that every club can do it.

Well, every club cannot and Wenger may not be able to for much longer, either. Before each season there are gloomy predictions that this will be one in which Arsenal fall out of the top four and year after year Wenger confounds those who doubt him, but like the forecasts that Wimbledon would not be able to maintain top-flight status while selling every good player they had to break even, eventually the prophesiers were proved right.

Timing was always Wenger’s forte. He knew when to ditch a player and he knew a good deal. He did not want to lose Nicolas Anelka, but the money paid by Real Madrid was astronomical. Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira were dispatched at precisely their moments of decline. The portent of this crisis was Ashley Cole’s transfer to Chelsea. Everything that is happening to Arsenal now was predicted by that event and its significance was overlooked because Wenger struck a hard bargain for William Gallas, while Cole took so long to settle at Stamford Bridge and was adequately replaced by Gaël Clichy.

Cole left over money and was reviled, but the same driving force was at work in Flamini’s transfer to AC Milan and is present in Hleb’s longing for Inter, just as it will one day feature for Fàbregas and Adebayor. There is a tariff for a world-class footballer and Arsenal will not pay it. Hleb may be making a huge mistake and his uniquely ambitious style of play may never be indulged so lovingly by a manager again, but he is not moving to be in a better working environment. He wants to earn more and equates inflated wages with a greater chance of success. Looking at this season’s Champions League finalists, who could argue?

Is it still possible to succeed the Wenger way? Yes, in a limited fashion. Wenger has taken it farther than anyone could imagine because he began with the basis of George Graham’s defence, and the way he built from there was little short of genius. A manager with less wit would never have been able to forge a Champions League team out of that philosophy and even Wenger is finding it increasingly problematic.

“How you going to keep them down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree?’ the song asks. If a Frenchman no longer has the answer to that, who does?

Billionaire Sir Allen Stanford believes Twenty20 cricket can replace football as the biggest game in world sport.

The Texan told BBC Sport he was ready to invest in an English version of the Indian Premier League and predicted it could be worth as much as £500m.

"Twenty20 has the potential to be the most popular team sport in the whole world in maybe less than 10 years.

"But it's going to take a highly organised, highly efficient management team to run this show," he said.

Stanford, who runs his own Twenty20 tournament in the Caribbean and last year announced plans to invest almost £50m in West Indies cricket, is in London this week for talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board.

He has proposed a £10m winner-takes-all match between an England side and his own West Indies All-Stars XI in spring 2009.

But he is also ready to help the ECB further by investing in an English version of the IPL, which is currently taking place in India.

"I look at a lot of businesses to invest in, not just cricket, and I'm hugely impressed by their [ECB] organisational capacity.

"No disrespect to the Indians or the IPL, [but] they did this too fast, too quick. The ECB has taken a more logical approach, has a better structure, and if they get it, and drive and lead it, I think it can take the whole world.

"If they don't, it'll be successful, but not go to that other plateau," said Stanford.

English cricket pioneered the shortest form of the game by introducing the Twenty20 Cup competition in 2003.

It quickly caught on in other parts of the cricketing world and led to the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 tournament in South Africa last year, which was won by India.

The announcement of an unsanctioned Indian Cricket league (ICL) prompted the Board of Control for Cricket in India to set up its own tournament, the IPL, which features franchise teams headed by top players from all over the world on highly lucrative contracts.

And the attendance of Bollywood stars and involvement of American cheerleaders has added showbiz razzmatazz to the mix.

Stanford said some "real money" was needed to successfully launch an English Premier League and upgrade the domestic structure to a "different level".

He added: "The English clearly have to make a decision to take control and run with this....and I'm happy to be a supporter because I think the ECB is the right vehicle to be driving this."

Football / Emerging Scotland
« on: March 27, 2008, 04:20:08 AM »
Emerging Scotland

27 Mar 2008

By Gareth Vincent
South Wales Evening Post

Roberto Martinez has hailed Jason's Scotland emergence from the shadow of a legend as the striker closes in on a 30-goal season.

Martinez reckons the Trinidad & Tobago international was given something close to an impossible task when Lee Trundle ended a glorious four-year stint in Wales last summer.

And the Swansea manager believes Scotland now deserves to be a fans' favourite himself after taking over from a great.

Scotland has not produced the tricks of Trundle in his first season as a Swan, and he has not charmed the supporters in the same way his Scouse predecessor did.

But his goal record is fabulous, with a spectacular double against Bristol Rovers on Monday making it 28 in 40 starts and seven substitute appearances.

"Let's be realistic about this, rightly or wrongly people have seen Jason as filling the boots of a legend," Martinez said.

"It's exactly the same as it will be for the new manager when Sir Alex Ferguson leaves Manchester United.

"People have seen Jason as the man to fill Lee Trundle's boots and that's near enough an impossible job. Nobody could do that. It's like trying to find a replacement for Alan Curtis - you don't get these things in football.

"We need to understand that Jason didn't come here to replace anyone. He came here to enjoy his football and to help Swansea City move up a level.

"There's still a lot more to come from him, but he has played a huge part so far and the fans need to see that Jason is another fantastic Swansea player, not someone who is trying to fill Lee's boots."

With seven fixtures to go, Scotland's goal tally is already five more than Trundle's season's best for Swansea.

And his match-saving contribution against Rovers was straight out of the Trundle book of spectacular left-foot strikes.

One difference is that Scotland is predominantly right-footed.

"I think everyone is starting to see the quality Jason has got and to realise how important he is to us now," Martinez added.

"He is a special player, the kind you don't get in League One, and if we keep giving him the service, he will keep scoring goals.

"He hasn't scored many better than the equaliser against Bristol Rovers, but I can guarantee you that's a normal thing for him on the training ground.

"If he gets a bit more confident, we will see more and more like that."

Apparently Scotland regularly bemuses his team-mates with his clever touches during the week.

But, as agent Mike Berry told the Evening Post last week, Swansea's supporters are yet to see the 29-year-old at his best.

Why? Because, Berry suggested, they have not given Scotland the right welcome.

"I think our fans have appreciated Jason but haven't been as vocal as they have been towards other players," Martinez went on.

"His agent knows that when Jason feels loved and feels wanted, he will perform even better. He has a bag of tricks he will try if he feels the warmth of the fans.

"But Jason has worked really hard since the day he arrived here and you just have to look at his goal record to see how well he has done.

"I think it's just a matter of time before he gets the recognition he deserves."

Even if he doesn't net again before May, Scotland must go down as one of the buys the season given that he cost just £25,000.

"We had to go through hell with the work permit and with St Johnstone to get him here," Martinez said.

"But players like Jason don't come around too often.

"He said he wanted 30 goals at the start of the season, and I believe his best is still to come."

Football / Kenwyne Profiled on Setanta Sports
« on: February 01, 2008, 01:19:25 PM »
Setanta just had a good 15 minute piece on our own Kenwyne on the Friday Football Show.

He came across well in the interview, no arrogance or anything in light of the numerous comparisons to other strikers and reported interest in other clubs, also appeared to be very likeable and somewhat reticent.

The Roy Keane interview showed Roy reemphasising that Kenwyne had the potential to become one of the best strikers in the premiership. He also said he doesn't give compliments without merit.

The reporter then asked him about interest from liverpool in Kenwyne for 12mil. Even before the reporter was finished talking, Roy shook his head vigorously, no no no, and said they would have to at least double that!

They also interviewed various reporters in the North East and one said that Kenwyne would perhaps prove to be Roy Keane's best ever signing.


Scouting for African talent

At the end of the 19th Century, European countries, in what became known as the scramble for Africa, sought to carve up the continent between them.

In 2008 the scramble is to secure the continent's finest footballing talent.

The regard in which African players are now held by Premier League clubs is plain for all to see.

When Mali hosted the Africa Cup of Nations in 2002, England's top flight was stripped of just eight players.

Fast forward to the 2008 edition in Ghana and that figure has risen to a staggering 35.

And, despite many a manager's criticism of the tournament's mid-season scheduling, it appears likely that the trend will only continue to grow.

BBC Sport understands that all bar five Premier League clubs have sent scouts to the Nations Cup, not only to spot potential recruits for the here and now but, more importantly, for the future.

Arsenal: Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue, Alexandre Song
Birmingham: Richard Kingson, Mehdi Nafti, Radhi Jaidi
Blackburn: Aaron Mokoena
Bolton: El-Hadji Diouf, Abdoulaye Meite
Chelsea: John Obi Mikel, Didier Drogba and Saloman Kalou, Michael Essien
Everton: Joseph Yobo, Ayegbeni Yakubu, Steven Pienaar
Fulham: Diomansy Kamara
Liverpool: Momo Sissoko
Manchester United: Manucho
Middlesbrough: Mohamed Shawky
Newcastle: Obafemi Martins, Geremi, Abdoulaye Faye, Habib Beye
Portsmouth: Papa Bouba Diop, Nwankwo Kanu, John Utaka, Sulley Muntari
Reading: Andre Bikey, Emerse Fae, Ibrahima Sonko
Sunderland: Dickson Etuhu
Tottenham: Didier Zokora
West Ham: John Paintsil, Henri Camara

"We already know the players and I don't think any clubs of our calibre go there to sign a player - they should know who they want a long time before," said Chelsea's chief scout and head of youth development Frank Arnesen. "We are monitoring for the future."

Chelsea's four players competing at the Nations Cup - Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Salomon Kalou and Jon Mikel Obi - were purchased from other European clubs at a total cost of more than £50m.

Part of Arnesen's job is to ensure the club secure the best possible talent at the best possible price.

If a club can identify and buy talent before African players make their name in the major European leagues, there are huge savings to be made.

But even if they have made a name for themselves, BBC Sport found a widespread belief in the Premier League that African players offer excellent value for money.

"Look at Habib Beye, who we signed from Marseille for £2m," said Newcastle first-team coach Steve Round.

"For a full international of his pedigree and the amount of games he has played in Europe and the Champions League, to get an English player of the same pedigree could cost you in the region of £8m-10m."

Just as important as the financial advantages are the physical and technical perks.

"One of the most significant changes to the Premier League over the past five years is how much the high intensity output has improved - it has gone up about 2.5km in the last five years which is a colossal amount," added Round.

"That is partly due to better training methods and better athletes being produced but also because of the influx of a lot of these African players who, physically, are very good."

Tord Grip, a member of the Manchester City coaching staff under Sven-Goran Eriksson, added: "They seem to be well-suited to the style of play in the Premier League.

"African players are strong, athletic and good technically. You also find that they are very motivated, because they have come from a difficult and poor background."

Arnesen insists individuals from any background can make it to the top, but the Dane concedes the amount of football played by Africans as they grow up is key to their development, a point echoed by Damien Comolli.

"When you go to any country in Africa, people, especially kids, play football from eight in the morning until late at night," said Tottenham's sporting director.

"When you have millions of kids playing street football all day long, players will come through, exactly like in Brazil."

Scouting is a time-consuming and expensive business and BBC Sport has learned that one major Premier League club's scouting wage bill runs close to £1m.

If monitoring players in Europe is a difficult logistical exercise it is even harder in Africa, given the sheer size of the continent - Nigeria's population alone is more than 130 million.

Arsenal, who have former player Gilles Grimandi scouting for them in Ghana, have had an advantage over many of their Premier League rivals because of manager Arsene Wenger's close relationship with compatriot Jean-Marc Guillou.

As well as giving Wenger his break in management - the two worked together at Cannes - Guillou helped set up an academy in the Ivory Coast, run in co-operation with the local team ASEC of Abidjan.

Graduates of that Academy include Arsenal's Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue, Chelsea's Kalou, and half the Ivory Coast 2006 World Cup squad.

"They are now well-coached because some of them are coming through various coaching systems or development centres that are producing quality players now," said Wigan assistant manager Eric Black.

"The indiscipline that was there maybe 10 years ago is disappearing. They're being coached by European coaches who are in Africa, or when they are at clubs in Europe."

With players from just four Premier League clubs - Derby, Aston Villa and Manchester City and Wigan - not present in Ghana and the country awash with their scouts, England needs little convincing of Africa's worth.

Football / Clarke: Keane kills Cats confidence
« on: January 11, 2008, 08:17:37 AM »,16368,1765_3030308,00.html

With the Black Cats firmly entrenched in the battle to beat the drop from the Premier League, the Irishman's powers of motivation will need to be at their sharpest between now and the season's conclusion.

The former Manchester United skipper's calm-headed demeanour on the touchline is in stark contrast to his snarling presence as a player, but Clarke has claimed his polished persona is very much a facade.

Clarke, facing a battle to return to the game after suffering a heart attack whilst on loan at Leicester, claims his manager is refusing to speak to the players as Sunderland's form continues to falter.

And the defender doubts whether the Irishman will be able to deal with standards that drop below his exacting own.

In comments reported in the Daily Telegraph that initially appeared in the Sunday Independent, Clarke said: "I spoke to him a couple of times at the club and he rang me when it (Clarke's heart attack) happened which was nice of him, but we're not very pally so there's no real reason to speak to one another.

"I probably speak to him more than the players who train there every day even now. He's going around booting chairs and throwing things. He's never going to give you confidence, he doesn't talk to lads.

"If the lads at Man United couldn't reach the standards he wanted, and they're some of the best players in the world, then it's going to be a lot harder for the lads at Sunderland to reach them

Keane's response on Sky Sports at a team press conference was that, Clarke only played under him 2 or 3 times and that
'that will be dealt with in me.'

Football / EPL- The Foreigner Debate-The Legal Perspective
« on: November 27, 2007, 04:06:13 PM »
Croatian Coach Slaven Bilic has supported the assertions of Steven Gerrard, Michel Platini, Sepp Blatter and the UK's Sports Minister Richard Caborn by saying that the only way to save the English National Team is to cut down on foreigners in the EPL.

<a href=""
target="_blank">The Slaven Bilic blue print to save English Football? Cut down on foreigners[/url]

David Pannick Queens Counsel puts forward the the EU Law basis for why it would be illegal and or at  least likely to be challenged in the European Court, should UEFA, FIFA or The FA attempt to implement such a limitation.

Sports minister will lose his war against foreigners

Foreign stars will continue to shine in the premier league – it's simply the rules of the game

David Pannick QC

One of the shortlisted entries for the Times’ competition to select a motto for Britain was “mathematically, we can still qualify”. Even before the England football team’s defeat by Croatia at Wembley last week ruled England out of Euro 2008, Gerry Sutcliffe, the Sports Minister, called for an inquiry into whether English football might do better if fewer foreign players were employed by Barclays Premier League Clubs. Steven Gerrard, the England captain, agreed. Defeat by Croatia is likely to promote more such suggestions. But an inquiry would be over well before the end of the first half. Any attempt to restrict the number of foreign footballers in this country would lead to Mr Sutcliffe watching a European final in the Court of Justice in Luxembourg, where we would face an inevitable and humiliating defeat by the European Commission linking up with European Union law.

As that great outside left George Orwell observed, serious sport is “war minus the shooting”. The Sports Minister’s proposal for a battle against foreign players lacks the accurate shots required from any skilful striker. Imposing quotas on the number of foreign players in club teams, or squads, would promote mediocrity. Arsène Wenger, manager of Arsenal FC, has rightly emphasised that spectators want to see the best players, and in any event you do not enhance the quality of English footballers by removing from them the incentive of needing to improve their performance in order to win a place in their club side. Artificial barriers conflict with the essence of sport, which is competition designed to identify the best. In any event, quotas would plainly be unlawful under European law.

In 1974 the European Court of Justice stated in Walrave and Koch v International Cyclists Union that sport is subject to European Community law “in so far as it constitutes an economic activity”. Therefore, sport must respect the right to free movement of workers and comply with the community law prohibition on nationality discrimination in the provision of goods and services. In 1976, in Dona v Mantero, the European Court explained that these principles apply to the rules of sporting organisations, as well as to national law.

In the Bosman case in 1995, the European Court declared unlawful the regulations of Uefa (the governing body of European football) that required football clubs playing in European tournaments to limit the number of players from other EU states selected for the team. The court explained that it was irrelevant that these regulations did not prevent the employment of players but only limited the extent to which clubs may field them in matches: “In so far as participation in such matches is the essential purpose of a professional player’s activity, a rule which restricts that participation obviously also restricts the chances of employment of the player concerned.” In the court’s view, there was no justification for the nationality discrimination.

The court repeated what it had previously stated: there is obviously an exception where players are selected for “matches between national teams from different countries”. Excluding foreign players from selection for the national team is plainly permitted as essential to the nature of the competition. But club tournaments are different. Nationality discrimination is prohibited in that context.

In The German Handball Federation v Kolpak in 2003 the European Court took these principles a stage farther, applying them not merely to nationals of other EU states, but also to citizens of those many other countries with which the EU has association agreements. Where a citizen of such a country is lawfully employed in an EU member state, a sports body may not discriminate against the employee on the ground of his nationality. So Mr Kolpak, a Slovak national lawfully employed by a German handball team, could not be subjected to rules that limited the number of foreigners playing for each club in matches in the domestic league. Finally, in the Meca-Medina case in 2006, the European Court decided that the rules of a sporting body – there the doping rules of the International Swimming Federation – must comply with EU competition law.

Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa (the world governing body for football), has led an unsuccessful campaign for sport to be granted an exemption from EU law. And Uefa, even when 5-0 down, battles until the final whistle blows. It has introduced a rule recently that reserves places in club squads in European competition matches for “locally trained” players. That is unlikely to survive scrutiny by the European Commission and the European Court because of indirect nationality discrimination.

The Sports Minister should concentrate on finding ways to promote sport in schools and try to avoid scoring own goals.

The author is a practising barrister at Blackstone Chambers a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and a season-ticket holder at Arsenal FC

Football / Football, Migration and the Blame Game.....
« on: November 19, 2007, 07:27:36 PM »
It took an economist as opposed to any football pundit to point out that this creeping xenophobia through the EPL-and the UK on a whole to be honest- (esp the Tory's proposals)  is very much misplaced and that English National players have no further than themselves to look for the lack of success in the English team.

Stephen King: Football, migration and the blame game
 Published: 19 November 2007

Having discovered that upwards of 5,000 of the illegal variety appear to be working in the security services, it's perhaps no great surprise that politicians and others are increasingly focusing on immigration. "British jobs for British workers" is the latest mantra from Gordon Brown.

Britain wouldn't be the nation it is without having benefited through the centuries from a steady influx of immigrants. Over the last 100 years, though, as the door has slowly closed on foreigners, the debate about immigration has shifted. The economic arguments mostly in its favour have been put to one side (a shame, perhaps, given Britain's relative economic decline over the last 100 years). Immigration has become primarily a political issue.

This doesn't stop others from commenting on the benefits or otherwise of foreign workers. Here's one observation. "Something has got to happen otherwise there will be more and more foreigners and they will take over."

OK, so I took that remark out of context. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool hero and England midfielder, was talking about the woes of the England football team. He went on to say: "There is a big danger that we stop producing quality young kids because of the amount of foreigners in the game. If foreigners do take over completely, it will affect the national team even worse than maybe it is now." Steve Coppell, erstwhile England midfielder and now manager of Reading FC (one of the poorer Premier League teams) warned: "We're the English Premier League, yet the majority of the teams at the top of the Premier League have few English players. We must protect our identity by having a limited number of non-English players."

For the economic debate on immigration, the English Premier League is a bit of a laboratory. The rational economist might argue that if the England football team continuously underperforms, England should give up on football altogether and concentrate on other national sports where the nation can, in fact, excel. Life, though, isn't like that. The real issue is whether current arrangements in the Premier League – supposedly the richest league in the world – are consistent with the production of a top-performing national team which might, once in a while, win something.

The English football team has had its ups and downs over the years. One of my earliest memories of English football failure was my father's return from Wembley on that fateful October night in 1973 when England were knock-ed out of the World Cup qualifiers by Poland. The manager that evening was Sir Alf Ramsey although, by that stage, only Martin Peters was left from England's earlier world-conquering team.

In the dark days of the 1970s, though, you could hardly blame our sporting failure on a lack of opportunities for English players in the old First Division. They had every opportunity they could possibly wish for. They simply weren't good enough to compete on the world stage (as they went on to prove through their failure to qualify for the 1978 World Cup).

Given these earlier disappointments, is it plausible to argue that the foreign influx into the English game has really undermined the performance of the national team? The most obvious problem with the argument is that, so far, it simply doesn't fit the facts. The first chart shows the numbers of English, other UK and foreign players in the starting line-ups of the Premier League teams on the first weekend of the season. In the early-1990s, English players dominated. Now, they're outnumbered by foreign players.

Internationally, however, English football reached its nadir in the mid-1990s, when English players still dominated the domestic league. In February and March 1996, FIFA ranked the England team 27th in the world. More recently, the England team has been mostly in the top ten (although, in October, the latest available month, England's position had admittedly dropped to 11th). Over the long haul, therefore, the foreign invasion has actually led to something of an English footballing renaissance.

What about other national teams? Italy, the current World Champions, provide a different perspective. All of the players in the Azzurri's 2006 winning squad came from their domestic league and their domestic league is, in turn, dominated by Italian players. During the 2006-07 season, Italian players contributed 70 per cent of all appearances in Serie A, whereas the equivalent figure for English players in the Premier League was only 43 per cent (although while Spain's league is dominated by home grown talent, their national team isn't exactly a beacon of success).

The German Bundesliga's domestic quotient was also 43 per cent last year and yet the German team isn't doing too badly, in sixth place in the FIFA rankings, only two places below Italy. And, in any case, who'd want to emulate Serie A's earlier reputation for endemic corruption?

The biggest difficulty, though, with the "too many foreigners" argument is the sheer introspection of the approach. FIFA ranks Argentina and Brazil first and second in the world, but how many of their players are benefiting from regular performances in the Brazilian and Argentine domestic leagues? Of Bra-zil's current squad, only one player earns his wages in Brazil. For Argentina, only five play in the domestic league. The rest all play in Europe – and, interestingly, not many choose to play in the Premier League. Brazil and Argentina are not alone. Of the 22 players in France's World Cup-winning squad in 1998, 12 chose to play in non-French leagues (for the record, four played in the Premier League but seven played in Italy).

This observation raises an obvious question. Why do so few Englishmen play abroad? If the success of so many other national teams seems to rest on a cosmopolitan approach to the game, why do English players not choose to spread their wings a little? Why are the Gerrards, Terrys, Rooneys and others not prepared to experience life in other leagues? Why are they so unwilling to take a few risks, to test their talents to the full? After all, if they did so, their own games would improve and there would, perhaps, be more domestic opportunities for up-and-coming English players in the Premier League.

Of the possible answers, I'll offer two. The first is simply a question of ability. Despite all the hype, English players just aren't good enough.[/u]

The second is a question of money. English players won't go abroad because they're paid way too much money at home. As money has poured into the Premier League, so the top clubs have become monopsonies, with monopolistic player-buying power (which raises a whole bunch of other questions about the distorting effects on competition of the influx of super-rich owners).

The monetary incentive for English players to move abroad is reduced and, as a result, their development into world class international players is possibly stifled. Playing in only the one league may make a player very rich, but there's no guarantee that he'll end up with the flexibility and creativity that may be required for success at international level. The demand for quotas to limit the number of foreign players in the Premier League is nonsense. It's really no more than an infant industry argument – protecting your domestic business in the light of tough foreign competition – in an industry which can hardly be described as being in its infancy.

The Premier League may currently be one of the better leagues in the world, but that's only because foreign players have been allowed in. As with any quota system, reducing their presence might provide more opportunities for English players, but only at the expense of a lower quality of football. It's difficult to see how that, alone, would lead to any improvement in the national team's footballing fortunes.

Stephen King is managing director of economics at HSBC


Football / In TnT football, what ever happened to......
« on: November 06, 2007, 02:23:49 PM »
The regiment band playing during the game ??

I'm sure people remember that band conductor pelting away his cap and baton when TnT score against Costa Rica; I think it was in the 1990 WC qualification campaign  ;D

Feel free to add your nostalgic memories of things associated with a trini football match that have seemed to disappeared for one reason or another.

Football / Gullit set to join Beckham in new world
« on: November 05, 2007, 04:08:12 AM »
Gullit set to join Beckham in new world

Ruud Gullit is top of the shortlist to be David Beckham's new manager at Los Angeles Galaxy as the ambitious American club attempt to appoint a high-profile coach to complement the status of their most famous player. The former European footballer of the year is expected in California later this week.

Gullit, 45, has not been in management since his one season in charge at Feyenoord in 2004-05 and his last job in England with Newcastle ended in controversy and the sack in 1999. However, having signed Beckham, LA Galaxy are determined to employ a top coach who is regarded as big enough to manage the most famous player in the world – and bring to LA what Gullit once described as his "sexy football" philosophy.

The LA Galaxy franchise is being advised in the recruitment process by Beckham's management company, 19 Entertainment, although there is no suggestion that the player himself will have any say in the selection. Beckham's personal manager, Terry Byrne, and entertainment mogul Simon Fuller, the founder of 19 Entertainment, have formed a strong bond with AEG, the owners of LA Galaxy, who have sought their advice on finding a famous name to succeed former coach Frank Yallop.

Gullit is the preferred choice and knows Byrne who worked for Chelsea, where the Dutchman played and managed from 1995 to 1998. AEG is hoping to set up a deal for Gullit similar to the one in place for Beckham, under which a basic salary is augmented by a share of sponsorship deals dependent on the success of LA Galaxy in the new season, which starts in April.

LA Galaxy and AEG are confident of landing Gullit having first approached Jürgen Klinsmann, who lives in California and has become one of the hottest properties in world football on the basis of his World Cup campaign with Germany last year. Klinsmann was not interested in the job. The Manchester United assistant, Carlos Queiroz, and former United States national team manager Bruce Arena, have also been considered as alternatives if the deal for Gullit falls through.

The club's efforts to persuade Gullit to join have intensified after they officially announced they had parted company with Yallop on Sunday. He is returning to his former club the San Jose Earthquakes, who are "returning" to the MLS next season after what will be three years out of the league. Yallop's dismissal was regarded as inevitable after a disappointing season for LA Galaxy despite all the anticipation generated by Beckham's arrival.

Yallop, a former Ipswich Town player who has carved out a good reputation as a coach in America, was never likely to hold on to his job once his side failed to qualify for one of the eight end-of-season play-off places in America's Major League Soccer. With Beckham's injuries restricting him to five appearances for LA Galaxy, their MLS season has ended on a flat note. The club who were due to play a friendly in Vancouver last night.

Whether Gullit can turn around their fortunes is another matter. The MLS imposes a $2m (£1m) salary cap on its clubs but allows them to sign up to two "designated" players whose salary is outside the franchise budget, which allowed LA Galaxy to sign Beckham. The MLS pays the first £200,000 of their salary and the club makes up the rest. There is nothing in MLS rules that states a limit on the salaries paid to coaches.

LA Galaxy have enjoyed a remarkable rise in profile since Beckham arrived in July and Gullit's appointment would be in keeping with their pursuit of European football's biggest names. Whether his management record stands up to scrutiny is another matter, although his playing career was even more successful than Beckham's. As well as being voted European Footballer of the Year in 1987 he won two European Cups at Milan and the 1988 European Champ_ionship with the Netherlands.

Yet his management career has never quite matched up. His most successful spell was at Chelsea, where he won the FA Cup as player-manager in 1997 and was second in the Premier League in February 1998 when he was abruptly sacked by the Ken Bates regime.

After he had steered Chelsea to the quarter-finals of the European Cup-Winners' Cup that season Gullit's star burnt bright. In August 1998 he was appointed manager of Newcastle United in place of Kenny Dalglish. The club finished 13th in 1999, and reached the FA Cup final but Gullit fell out with both the club captain, Alan Shearer, and Rob Lee.

Gullit's reign ended five games into the new season after he dropped Shearer and should he choose to join LA Galaxy, he would have to show the kind of tolerance to one big name player in particular that he could not manage at Newcastle.

Beckham: Yallop resigns as coach of Galaxy

Beckham really runs things. Shouldn't the owner or the chairman or someone on the board be making this announcement ?

CARSON, Calif. (AP) -Galaxy star David Beckham said Frank Yallop resigned as head coach of the Los Angeles MLS team Sunday night after its charity game for Southern California's wildfire victims.

"Obviously, we're disappointed,'' Beckham said to reporters gathered outside the team's locker room. "We felt that he was the right man. We felt that he's a good manager and a strong character with the team.

"But, we've all said, he's not walking away. He's looking after himself and he's looking after his family. It's what we would all do. We're sad to see him leave and we wish him all the luck and all the best.''

Galaxy spokesman Patrick Donnelly didn't comment when asked about Yallop.

Yallop, hired by the Galaxy to replace Steve Sampson in June 2006, was 18-21-12 in two years with the Galaxy.

McClaren slammed for Beckham trip

"What can Beckham show the England manager in that sort of game?"- Agreed

Steve McClaren's trip to Los Angeles to watch David Beckham in a charity game was a "farcical" waste of time, Terry Butcher has told BBC Radio 5 Live.

The England coach had travelled over to check on the fitness of the 32-year-old who scored twice in LA Galaxy's win over a team featuring celebrities.12-4

"For the England manager to be watching that is farcical," said the former England captain.

"What can Beckham show the England manager in that sort of game?"

Beckham joined LA Galaxy from Real Madrid in the summer and said that he has enjoyed his experience.

"I am loving it," he said, with the Major League Soccer season now over.

"It's been great so far, very positive and smooth apart from the season."

The former Manchester United player missed the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia because of a knee injury but will be hoping to be in the squad to face Croatia on 21 November.

Russia must not win in Israel four days earlier in order for England to keep alive their hopes of reaching next year's finals.

Beckham was recalled to the England squad by McClaren in June after being ignored since England lost in the World Cup quarter-final against Portugal in July 2006.

He played in the Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia and friendlies against Brazil and Germany but has not featured since in McClaren's plans because of his knee problems.

The former England captain has played 97 times for his country since his debut in 1996.

Meanwhile, Frank Yallop has resigned as coach Los Angeles Galaxy.

The former Ipswich Town player is reported to be returning to San Jose to coach the Earthquakes.

"Obviously, we're disappointed," said Beckham, after turning out in the charity match against a Hollywood XI led by actor Anthony LaPaglia in aid of the victims of the California fires.

"We felt that he was the right man. We felt that he's a good manager and a strong character with the team.

"He's not walking away. He's looking after himself and he's looking after his family.

"It's what we would all do. We're sad to see him leave and we wish him all the luck and all the best."

Football / A Great Britain football team for 2012 Olympics ?
« on: October 30, 2007, 06:31:32 AM »
There have been previous threads with the question of the practicality of a WI football team, imagine the difficulty  of a selecting GB football team.

Scotland have already said they will NOT support it, but the other federations are considering it, as it would be according to London 2012 be a ridiculous situation if the host nation and the home of football did not field a team.

The various federations however fear FIFA would turn around and say ok, why need all these separate countries competing, when we can just have one GB'll be interesting to see what happens.

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