Phil Brown, manager of Hull City, lets loose on the delay Jozy Altidore is going through, still waiting for his move to the club. Apparently, he didn’t think the U.S.’s qualifier against Mexico was that important, and U.S. Soccer should be grateful he allowed Jozy to travel to Mexico: “I didn’t want to fall out with anyone in the US set-up so he flew out to Mexico, sat on the bench on the Wednesday and gets 14 minutes.” Excuse me? Don’t Fifa regulations mean Brown had absolutely no say on whether Altidore travelled or not? And how about a little respect for a game as important to Jozy and his country as, say, England travelling to Germany for a World Cup qualifier?
Still, Brown’s frustration is understandable given the sudden intervention of swine flu into proceedings. Brown discusses the quarantine for American players scheduled to travel abroad after it was revealed Landon Donovan had swine flu. “Then all of a sudden one of the American team has a problem with swine flu and there’s quarantine procedures,” Brown said. “He’s not quarantined anymore, we’ve gone past that, but we’re waiting on the biometric test in order for him to get international clearance.”
Amusingly, Brown concludes his rant by becoming one of the first managers to openly promote one of his players tweeting: “”I’ve not seen his ‘Twittering’ but I believe he should be doing it everyday to make sure people know how frustrated he is.”
- The Football League released its annual publication on the fees paid by agents across the league. It’s an important principle for transparency that this document exists at all, and it’s interesting to note spending fell from £11.1m in 2007/08 to £8.8m to agents during the last twelve months. The vast bulk of this was spent by Championship clubs. The percentage of transfers in which clubs have paid an agent at all has also declined from 13.2% in 2004/5 to 6.1% in 2008/9. We’ll dig a little deeper into the numbers later today.
- Burnley’s win over Manchester United last night is of course talk of the town; Lawrence Donegan of the Guardian takes a swipe at the Glazers, with a speculative article suggesting it’s the leveraged buyout that restricted United’s spending of the 80m recouped from the sale of Ronaldo at the heart of the issue. There is something to this, but Donegan adds little of an substance to an argument that will be forgotten by most of the press after the next big United win.
- The Independent has a good piece on a new film, Kill the Referee, based on miked-up referees at last year’s European Championship. Geoffrey Macnab concludes that “The irony about the film is that its success in portraying referees in a complex and very human light is unlikely to make a difference in the way they’re perceived.”
- It’s not entirely clear why, but Tom Dickinson decided to eat a pie at every English League ground, and has written a book called 92 Pies as a result (DW Stadium, Wigan: “Thick and generous Pooles pies, a true chunk of Wigan in pastry form.”)
- The New York Red Bulls have shocked no-one by announcing they’ll be releasing Head Coach Juan Carlos Osorio and Sporting Director Jeff Agoos at the end of what may still be the worst ever season by an MLS team. The blame, though, surely really lies higher up: Red Bull’s poor management of the team on the field surely has to be questioned at the level of Managing Director Erik Stover: he may be succeeding in the construction of Red Bull’s new stadium, critical to the club’s future, but having a non-soccer mind in charge remains a real problem.
- U.S. Soccer will today trim their list of prospective World Cup host cities to 27, which will be further pared down to the 18 cities to be part of their official 2018/2022 World Cup bid by the end of the year.
- Sky Blue FC have shocked just about everyone in WPS by making the Championship final in the league’s inaugural year, after a rollercoaster season. More on this later today.
The Sweeper appears daily. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.