Sol Campbell to Notts County? Seriously? We all know the club is in the money after their takeover by a mysterious middle eastern consortium and following the appointment of Sven Goran Eriksson, but this “reported” move makes me wonder what’s going in League Two.
The problem is, there is supposed to be a salary cap in League Two which restricts clubs spending no more than 60 per cent of their turnover on wages. Given the small turnover Notts County must have had last season with an average attendance of 4,445 in the league last year, it seems the rules would have to be stretched beyond breaking point when it’s reported that “the club is willing to offer Campbell Premier League level wages, understood to be in the region of £90,000-a-week.”
Discussing this on Twitter this morning, Gary Andrews pointed out the rule has rarely been enforced in League Two. I pointed out that’s true enough, but still, there’s a point where it’s just taking the piss to bend the rules so blatantly.
- An absolute must-read Premier League season preview from the brilliant Sport is a TV Show. This is not your garden variety preview, but a Damned United voiced rant of utter genius: “I am Phil Brown. I am Hull City. Phil Brown is Hull City. Hull City are the Tigers. Phil Brown is the Tigers. Phil Brown is Phil Brown. Phil Brown is Phil Brown is the Tigers. Hear me roar. Hear Phil Brown fucking roar.”
- Elsewhere in the sphere of wildly imaginative football blogging, the Run of Play has the latest on Pro Vercelli’s dynasty with excerpts from the international nonfiction bestseller, “Pro: How a Small-Town Team Defied the Odds and Conquered the World of Soccer”.
- In case you missed it, the Guardian’s season preview has plenty to skin your teeth into, from what ESPN’s arrival in Britain means to guides to the Premier League and down to League Two. Yep, there’s nothing like seeing my hometown team Brighton & Hold Albion pegged for the glory of “mid-table obscurity” in League One if only they can maintain their “form” from the end of last season. Oh, joy.
- Despite all his success with Zenit, Dick Advocaat has left the club following their humilating defeat to Tom Tomsk (I need that club’s shirt). It’ll be interesting to see where this outstanding manager winds up next.
- Australia’s A-League kicked-off this weekend. Crowds were disappointing, with the fifth straight average attendance decline on opening day, despite the appearance of Robbie Fowler. A spokesman for the Australian Football Association said that “It was a very encouraging start to the season.” Oh, OK then.
- The influx of Ecuadorian players to European football is analysed by the ever-excellent Tim Vickery, noting that two decades ago the country were footballing “minnows in their own continent.”
- Wendy Parker has a good piece on the ongoing debate in the U.S. over who controls youth development, with the battle between the established youth clubs and the encroaching academies of MLS teams, backed by the USSF. Below the surface, the outcome of this may determine the U.S.’s chances of winning a World Cup in the next two decades.
- I’ve only lived in the U.S. for a little under a decade, but outside of a World Cup itself, I don’t remember having seeing so much hype about an event as for the U.S.-Mexico World Cup qualifier this Wednesday. Imagine if the match wasn’t on a weekday on an obscure channel; it’ll be fascinating to see what the ratings are anyway. There’s plenty on it to read (I liked Grant Wahl’s piece on memorable moments in the rivalry), including a piece at the NYT on the infamous altitude challenge of the Azteca, with continued debate over whether the U.S. team’s late arrival was the correct decision scientifically or not.
- EA Sports announced today that Mexican national team star Cuauhtemoc Blanco will grace the cover of FIFA 2010, and released a video featuring Blanco destroying the U.S. team and scoring on Tim Howard. The Offside Rules points out this might be a smidgen insensive of EA to USMNT fans: “Either they’ve made a choice as to who they’re siding with on Wednesday or they possess a significant lack of knowledge/sensitivity when it comes to soccer culture; how do you think the English market would react to a similar promo that featured Michael Ballack finishing off England just before they met in a crucial Euro qualifier?” Point taken, even though there’s a good number more fans of Blanco in the U.S. than there are of Ballack in England.
- At the New York Times’ Goal blog, Jack Bell asks what Red Bull New York can do to resurrect their season, which is a bit like asking what the Titanic could do to start sailing again.
- Sunday’s post on Seattle and Portland’s contrasting cultures generated the most page views in Pitch Invasion history, along with an intense debate in the comments. Who knew the two fanbases would go at it like that? (As a sidenote, overall traffic is up 70% over the past two months — thanks so much for visiting. I also fixed a small glitch in the comments system that I’ve realised may have inadvertently blocked a few genuine comments as spams, so if you’ve ever had a problem before, apologies and be confident your next comment will go through.)
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