Coe slams England´s failed World Cup bid

Sebastian Coe has slammed England’s failed bid to host World Cup 2018 and criticised the warring factions within the English game.

Coe, who successfully engineered London’s hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games, revealed Sepp Blatter thought English football was “run by idiots”.

Much of the blame for England’s failed bid was attached to the heavy criticism and allegations of corruption towards FIFA from the British media, but Coe has rebutted that.

“I am less willing to lay the blame at the media’s door,” said Coe in his autobiography, being serialised in The Times.

“Ultimately the fault, I believe, lies with the awful dysfunctionality of the English game, its personalities and politics.”

Though the former middle-distance runner believes Blatter always wanted to take the World Cup to Russia, he insisted accusations of the governing body’s president being anti-English are wide of the mark.

“He’s Swiss and like a lot of Swiss, he’s rather fond of England. He likes the political stability, he likes the pomp and tradition,” Coe said.

“What he always has a problem with is the English game. And from his perspective, it’s not hard to understand.

“As president of the international federation he sees the unwillingness of English clubs to release players for international duty. He sees the purchasing power of the English game – big name clubs buying up players from all over the world.

“And he sees a national federation that, at the time of the bid, had no chairman and no chief executive.

“Blatter once said to me ‘Your game is run by idiots, it’s not run by bright people’ … I was obviously disappointed, very disappointed.”

Wed 31 October, 2012
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Adkins takes blame for Leeds cup defeat

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins ‘expected’ his side to beat Leeds United in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup.

Instead, strikes from Michael Tonge, El-Hadji Diouf and Luciano Becchio earned the Yorkshiremen a 3-0 win on Tuesday, and condemning the Saints to their eighth defeat of the season.

Adkins made 11 changes following Sunday’s loss to Tottenham, however the move did not pay off as they produced a lacklustre effort against Neil Warnock’s side, who deservedly moved into the quarter-finals.

“It was a poor result for us,” Adkins told the club’s official website.

“The mindset before the game was to be very positive. Tadanari Lee, Emmanuel Mayuka and Steve De Ridder are blessed with an outstanding amount of pace so the objective was to get on the front foot by utilising that and getting in behind.

“It was a very attacking formation on paper, but on the pitch you have got to go and produce it.

“You’re playing for Southampton Football Club, so every game matters. We’ve got supporters who have travelled, and we’ve put a team out that I expected to win this game.

“I expect the players to go and perform, so there’s obviously going to be consequences of the result and performance for many people.

“We’ve come out to win a game of football – on paper and in theory that was possible, but we haven’t produced.”

Adkins insisted that he must take ‘full responsibility’ for the loss after the vast changes to personnel, and is wary of lasting damage to morale as the club look to climb out of the Premier League’s relegation zone.

“I have to take full responsibility for the team that goes out and all it’s done,” he said.

“I’ve made changes because we played 48 hours ago, and you can talk about the recovery process all day long – the last thing you want to do is lose players for long periods of time.

“We’ve got to make sure that we address anything that is going wrong in any way we can for the sake of this football club, because that’s what it’s about.”

Wed 31 October, 2012
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Leigertwood laments school-yard performance

Mikele Leigertwood has compared Reading’s 7-5 Capital One Cup defeat to Arsenal to a game of football at school.

Reading threw away a four-goal lead as Arsenal came from behind to record a stunning victory in extra-time and progress to the quarter-finals.

Leigertwood spoke of his disbelief at the game’s events, admitting his disappointment at being unable to see out the game in the second half.

“I’ve not been involved in a game like that since I was a schoolboy,” Leigertwood told the BBC.

“It was disappointing to say the least.”

Jason Roberts had given the home side an early lead, before an own goal from Laurent Koscielny, a strike from Leigertwood himself and a header from Noel Hunt had given the Premier League strugglers a 4-0 lead before half-time.

A 95th-minute Theo Walcott strike saw Arsenal take the game to extra time, where the balance of the tie again changed three more times before the England international confirmed the win with another injury-time strike.

“To score five goals and not win a game is very hard to take,” Leigertwood said.

“We’ve got no-one to blame but ourselves. We’ve all got to take a look at ourselves individually.

“We have to analyse it and put it right. It’s going to be a test to bounce back but there is no reason why we can’t go and get a positive result against QPR at the weekend.”

Wed 31 October, 2012
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Blackburn Rovers need to get their house in order

Blackburn are currently looking for a replacement for Steve Kean

Blackburn Rovers have fallen a long way in the last couple of years.

Just a few short seasons ago Blackburn was a well-run solid Premier League outfit. Now Rovers find themselves in the Championship without a manager.

Strange

I found the sacking of Steve Kean a very strange one. I was bemused by his appointment in the first place and like a lot of people couldn’t understand it.

Then the Blackburn board stuck with the Scot when he was completely out of his depth in the top flight.

Rovers were relegated because Steve Kean didn’t have the experience or managerial ability to keep the club in the top flight. The Rovers board left the decision to sack the Scot until the start of this season, very strange timing.

In my humble opinion Kean shouldn’t have been appointed in the first place and then shouldn’t have been left in charge of the club for so long.

The Blackburn Rovers fans mounted many protests last season to tell the owners what they thought about the situation. Usually if fans hold protests there is something majorly wrong at a football club.

The Rovers fans may have taken their protests slightly too far last season, but they could see that Steve Kean and owners Venkys was not the right people to be running the club.

Owners

Blackburn’s Indian owners Venkys have turned the club into an absolute laughing stock. They arrived at the club with grand ideas and ambitions, but it has all gone terribly wrong in the last year and a half.

Venkys knew absolutely nothing about football when they arrived. They just saw Rovers as a vehicle to promote their poultry business and make money. Unfortunately in football knowledge is power.

To own a football club knowledge of the game is vital, unless you have billions of pounds to throw around. Venkys obviously didn’t realise the vast amounts of money needed to make a club successful in the Premier League.

Former-Rovers owner and legend Jack Walker will be turning in his grave at what has happened to his football club. Big Jack pumped his own money into the club and turned Rovers into a top flight force.

Not only that but he also gave the club enough money to fund a Premier League title winning side in 1995. When the Venkys arrived there was hope that the new owners would be able to help Rovers move forward again.

Instead the club have gone backwards in the past few years under the Venkys. Rovers have tried to put things right by appointing a global advisor in Shebby Singh. I’m not sure what Singh will be doing in this role, but he has already behaved in a questionable manner.

Search

Rovers are now searching for a new manager. Just hope that somebody with actually football knowledge is involved in the decision making process. A number of managers have been linked with the vacant Rovers hot seat.

The likes of Alex McLeish, Billy McKinley and Mick McCarthy are all being linked with the job. Former-Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has ruled himself out of the job, as has former-Manchester striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is currently boss of Norwegian club Molde.

The current frontrunner for the job is former-Rovers centre-back Henning Berg. Berg was part of the Blackburn side that won the Premier League title in 1995. He is highly-regarded within the club, but doesn’t have any experience of managing in England.

Shame

Unfortunately I can’t see Blackburn’s fortunes turning around until the Venkys leave the club. They have no knowledge of football and no matter who becomes the Rovers boss the club won’t move forward while Venkys still control the club.

It’s a shame that a once great club has fallen so far. Blackburn is a really good family club and has been spoilt by clueless foreign owners. If ever there was an advertisement of the fit and proper person system of ownership of a football club going wrong then Blackburn are it.

Can Blackburn get promoted this season?

Wed 31 October, 2012
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McCulloch commits to Rangers

Rangers captain Lee McCulloch has signed a two-year contract extension, tying him to the club until 2015.

The 34-year-old predominantly played in midfield before Rangers were demoted to the fourth tier of Scottish football, but has been prolific since – bagging 14 goals in just 16 appearances in his new striking role.

Rangers’ relegation and the player exodus that followed saw McCulloch handed the captain’s armband, and his experience has aided the many youngsters manager Ally McCoist has been forced to field.

McCoist had revealed last month the club were preparing a new contract offer for McCulloch, who was signed by Walter Smith five years ago.

The versatile Scot left Wigan Athletic in 2007 for a fee in excess of 2 million pounds and has lined up in defence, midfield and attack for the Ibrox club.

Rangers take on Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the quarter-finals of the Scottish League Cup on Wednesday.

Wed 31 October, 2012
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Barry supports Mancini experiments

Gareth Barry has backed manager Roberto Mancini’s decision to tinker with Manchester City’s tactics despite recent failures.

The Italian has been widely criticised for his unsuccessful attempts at changing from last season’s regular back four to using three centre-backs and two wing-backs.

Micah Richards claimed his team-mates had not practiced the system enough in the aftermath of their costly 3-1 defeat to Ajax in the Champions League, but Barry – who missed City’s pre-season preparations through injury – has supported his manager’s desire for greater versatility.

“I missed the whole pre-season with my operation,” Barry told the Manchester Evening News.

“The lads said they worked on three at the back, as the manager wanted it as a Plan B.

“The players didn’t seem to be overly-confident playing it.

“If the manager wants to go with it you have to do your best and respect it.”

Barry highlighted the tactical nous which saw Edin Dzeko leave the bench to net City’s last-gasp winner against West Brom on October 20, saying Mancini’s positive actions have been overlooked.

“At the other end of the scale he made an attacking decision at West Brom and Edin Dzeko came on and scored two goals,” Barry said.

“Those things don’t get spoken about.

“You expect these things (criticism of Mancini’s tactics) to come out when things go badly but we just have to stick together and go forward. We started that on Saturday with a clean sheet and three points,” he said, referring to City’s 1-0 win at home to Swansea.

Wed 31 October, 2012
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Ancelotti refutes Ibra claims

Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti has denied his side rely too much on their top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Swede has been in fine form for the French club since his summer move from AC Milan, scoring 10 goals in just nine league games, but the Italian believes the all of his players have shown their importance.

“I don’t think we are dependent on Zlatan,” the former Chelsea boss told reporters.

“We brought him here because he has a strong personality, and a lot of qualities.

“He scores a lot of goals. Every time he scores, it’s good for him and for the team.

“I think the team also works hard for him in order to put him in the best position to score. It’s as simple as that.”

Wednesday’s Coupe de La Ligue clash will be the second time PSG have faced Marseille this season after a 2-2 draw in Ligue 1, and Ancelotti is expecting another close contest.

“Marseille are a very good team,” he said.

“They are physically strong, have a lot of character, and a strong mentality.

“They’re a team that will want to beat us because we are becoming fierce rivals.”

PSG are three points clear at the top of Ligue 1.

Wed 31 October, 2012
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Lopez rejects Fiorentina link

Lyon striker Lisandro Lopez has denied reports he has spoken to Fiorentina about a possible move to Serie A.

The Argentine, who has been linked with a switch to Florence in recent weeks, has now denied he has ever received any contact from the club.

“Never, never, never, have I had contact with anyone from Fiorentina,” he told reporters at a press conference.

“And I don’t think OL (Lyon), or any intermediary or agent has either. I said that we could continue like this while I had two-and-a-half years left on my contract.

“There is no problem with staying (at Lyon). Now, I still have a year and a half left, it’s the same thing. I’ve never wanted to leave.”

Lyon are fourth in Ligue 1, four points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

Wed 31 October, 2012
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Noble excited by West Ham youngsters

West Ham United midfielder Mark Noble has praised the talents of the latest youngsters to graduate through the club’s academy.

Noble, 25, was a product of the same youth system that has seen such talents as Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Michael Carrick moulded by the club.

Noble has gone on to make nearly 250 appearances for West Ham since making his debut as a 17-year-old and believes youngsters like George Moncur, Matthias Fanimo, Dylan Tombides and Leo Chambers can become important to the first team.

“I think Jordan, Moncs, Hally, Matthias, young Leo – who has travelled with us to the last two Premier League games and been on the bench – and the others are doing well,” Noble told the club’s official website.

“If they keep on grafting, don’t let it go to their heads when they travel with the first team and put it in when they play for the Development Squad, then they will keep enjoying it and keep moving forward.

“We have got a good crop of young players and they will soon be pushing the seniors for their places.

“The Premier League is obviously a tough league to come into – I learnt that as a 17-year-ol, that it’s a tough ask and you’ve got to be mentally capable to do that – but hopefully they can keep pushing us.”

Wed 31 October, 2012
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Jol ponders Tavares debut

Fulham manager Martin Jol hopes to hand new signing Mickael Tavares his debut in the coming months.

The Senegalese midfielder left Hamburg in the summer at the end of his contract having struggled to break into the first team in a three-year spell.

Tavares, who was signed by Jol while in charge of the Bundesliga side, joined Fulham on a free transfer after the close of the transfer window as cover for the then injured Mahamadou Diarra.

Jol now hopes to reward the 29-year-old with game time.

“Tavares was a back-up player for me for Diarra and Chris Baird,” Jol told the Fulham Chronicle.

“There was not the situation where I could bring in Tavares as well but hopefully he could be involved in the next couple of months.”

Tavares could yet find his opportunities limited though, with Fulham playing four of the top six in the next month.

He may have to wait until the busy Christmas period to make his first appearance for the Cottagers.

Wed 31 October, 2012
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