I’m going to bring back the Sweeper for the next week, our occasionally lamented daily roundup of what’s worth reading on the internets about what I’m contractually obliged to call The Beautiful Game. Let me know over the course of the week if this is something you’d like to see continue going forward.
- Manchester United chief executive said he was “baffled” by Real Madrid’s strategy this summer. “Their turnover is not materially different to ours so I am not quite sure how they can make the profits to justify the salaries. It’s none of my business I suppose but I don’t think they can.” Well, David, it’s just the same kind of madness in terms of living on borrowed time that United are doing with their debt-laden ownership model. Madrid are just gambling the same sums of money on the playing field instead. It’s all madness.
- On SoccerLens, Kristian Downer is drinking the kool-aid with an ecstatic account of Sven’s first game in charge of Notts County. I understand the frustration of lower league football that leads to the belief these takeovers are fairytales come true, but the reality is so rarely the case, it’s still hard to see why the fans didn’t exercise more prudence before selling-out. It’s still not clear who is really footing the bill.
- Lord John Terry commits himself to Chelsea (seems odd that Mr Chelsea would need to actually do that, doesn’t it?)? The media continue to bite on Terry’s play for a pay-rise, with Matt Hughes in the Times swallowing the whole nonsense hook, line and sinker by blathering that “Terry’s value to Chelsea is far more than symbolic, his role considerably greater than that of a figurehead, as he is at the coalface fighting for his club on a daily basis, admittedly for handsome rewards.” Yes, none of this was all about tripling those handsome rewards, was it?
- The failure of City chief executive Garry Cook to sign Terry finally has James Ducker in the same newspaper asking if he may be facing some question marks, before concluding that City’s transfer business this summer had already been a ‘rousing success’ despite their failure to (so far) to fix their main need for some defensive sturdiness. Still, those Tevez posters were pretty funny, I thought, and they did manage to annoy Sir Alex.
- Liverpool refinanced their debt today, but the more interesting news was the revamp of Liverpool supporters’ buyout proposal.
- The World Football Challenge concluded in the United States yesterday. In many ways it was a roaring success — crowds were huge, media coverage was extensive (it’s hard to complain about more soccer on television in HD), and EPL Talk suggests that it all means “America is the new Asia” for Premier League clubs. The problem is, will this actually do anything to help domestic soccer grow? I’m still skeptical about the value of all these friendlies going on while MLS is in the middle of the season.
- The always excellent Tim Vickery takes a look at the remarkable age ranges of players in Bolivia, from12 to 45. Perhaps more interestingly, he also comments that this is a consequence of European clubs snapping up South American talent at an ever younger age — leaving South American leagues looking a “a bit like a doughnut” in terms of age-range, leading to “built-in instability” even for the clubs who successfully profit from selling-off their young stars.
- Meanwhile, in Peru, 500 players have resigned from national team registration to protest the poor state of the game there, putting their already-dead World Cup qualification campaign under threat.
- WPS rolled-on, and I was sad to see the Chicago Red Stars eliminated from playoff contention. Hey, at least it felt as if the regular season mattered. Is MLS listening? I have good reason to think so, more later this morning.
- Mexico’s 5-0 demolition of the United States in the Gold Cup final did nothing to convince me this shouldn’t be a tournament held every four years that would encourage every team to bring their A squad every time. It doesn’t feel like a continental championship when it’s Mexico’s B+ team against the U.S.’s B- team in the final (despite the sold-out Giants Stadium), and the headline news of the US’s defeat will do a little damage to their reputation after an otherwise amazing summer. It all felt like a farcical end to a pretty enjoyable tournament.
- David Beckham clashed with another fan. Wake me up when he karate chops someone.
Enjoy the return of the Sweeper? All comments and criticism welcome.