Getting to Know You
Steve McClaren has been vocal recently saying that the process of improving the club is a long-term one. He has to get to know his players, they have to get to know him, and so on. Everyone is learning about each other at the moment. Well, I watched the match on Monday night against West Ham and I assume he learned quite a lot about his 11 that night. Like that our midfield was completely anonymous, that we didn’t have the capability to play a forward pass in the entire team, and that our striker looked more alone than lone. Add that to the fact that we haven’t scored a goal in the league since the opening day and I’d say McClaren has learned enough about some of them, and that hopefully he’s learned something about himself too. We do need changes in personnel because some of the performances haven’t been good enough. But McClaren also needs to take a look at the footballing philosophy that has guided his selections. A wish to help defensive solidity means we picked 2 players on Monday night to sit in front of the back four who haven’t been effective there while more talented attack-minded players sit on the bench. I think we need to get our best players on the pitch, and we need to get more of them in areas where they can provide support for the attack. So much for my thoughts. Hopefully Monday was enough of a kick up the behind to convince people they need to do better anyway, and maybe that will be enough.
14 Supporters Trusts from different clubs acting together have been successful in their Freedom of Information request to obtain details of the tenancy agreement for West Ham to use the Olympic stadium from next season. The group which manages the stadium had previously refused to release the details but now an Information Commissioner has ruled that they have to do so. The suspicion which has motivated the FoI request is that West Ham gain an unfair financial advantage over other clubs through the deal. If the taxpayer is covering West Ham’s costs that’s both obviously unfair and against the rules of football’s governing bodies. This needs clearing up, a whitewash from a favourable government covering its own tracks won’t do.
FIFA meets the Feds
Two stories emerged from FIFA late this week which will put the corruption there right back on the front pages. The first was that Switzerland have agreed the extradition to the US of Uruguayan former FIFA vice-president Eugenio Figueredo, accused of accepting bribes of millions of dollars. The second story was that Jerome Valcke, FIFA secretary-general, has been placed on leave and relieved of his duties following allegations that he was involved in selling World Cup tickets at above their face value. Valcke is already implicated in allegations that South Africa bribed another FIFA vice-president Jack Warner in return for his support and vote for their 2010 World Cup bid.
The FBI are gunning for FIFA and it looks like they are going to get them, or at the very least Figueredo, in a US court. It feels like things are building to a conclusion. Let’s hope the whole sorry bunch of them are brought crashing down.
Fit and Proper Owners
Blackpool FC’s president is suing the club’s owners, the Oystons, claiming they have improperly transferred millions from the club to companies they own. Last season club chairman Karl Oyston sued his own club’s fans for libel. They struggled to even build a squad in time for the start of last season and were duly relegated to League 1. Now they’re 2nd bottom of that league and showing every sign of being in freefall. If you’ll excuse the cliche, there’s always someone worse off. It doesn’t help that the FA is too weak to keep owners in check. It’s not just FIFA that needs rejigging, but many national FAs too.