My personal preferences to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups were England and Australia; England for its history, contributions to the game and football atmosphere, and Australia for its proximity to my residence of New Zealand. Developments this week, whether its BBC Panorama reports or the “McKinsey Report”, have changed my mind. Though… Continue reading The Situation (with the FIFA World Cup)
There weren’t many surprises during this week’s internationals, as most teams are just kicking off their preparations for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa later this year. But we’ve managed to learn a few things that we should keep an eye on.
Hidden amongst the reasons of Ronaldo’s move from Manchester United to Real Madrid is an important element which should have a significant impact on transfers to the Premier League, namely the UK’s coming 50% tax rate on earners of more than £150,000. That, combined with a weaker pound, is making destinations such as Spain more attractive to top footballers looking for a big payday.
Now that the unthinkable (but extremely predictable) transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid ise set to go through at the end of June, much is being made of Manchester United’s losses. With Carlos Tévez set to leave as well, it seems United will be lacking two of their major attacking players next season. That, coupled with the Champions League final loss to Barcelona, appears to herald an era of decline for possibly the world’s biggest club. But it may not be true.
Roberto Martinez is set to be confirmed as the new manager of Wigan Athletic. The appointment is a very sensible one, as Martinez guided Swansea from League One mediocrity to the cusp of the Championship playoff with essentially the same squad — a key skill heading into a club managing to survive in the Premier League despite limited means. The appointment is also a just reward for one of the young up-and-coming managers making their way in the lower divisions in England, but it does highlight a curious trend: the disappearance of the English football manager.
A brief round-up of the weekend’s World Cup qualifiers as the journey on the road to South Africa continues. This weekend saw several teams clinch a spot in the finals. In Asia, Australia, Japan and South Korea are all set for a return engagement in the World Cup; while Netherlands become the first Europeans to clinch a place (with England close behind); and the South American picture gets a bit clearer with wins from Brazil and Argentina.
Of all the positions on the field, there is one more than the others that any manager would like to fill and forget about: goalkeeper. One team suffering greatly from indecision at this key position is England. David James has gotten by far the most time in goal but has never been able to generate any confidence either with teammates or any of the last 3 coaching staffs.