Good morning sports fans! How are we all feeling today? Christmassy? Like you’re about to burst? Or just settling into that perma-hangover feeling?
Ahhh me too… If I were breathalysed for the tube every morning I’d have had my season ticket revoked and a £400 fine to deal with.
Anyway, onto the news. Gibbs could be back for Boxing Day. All Colin Lewin wanted for Christmas was a fit full back and it looks like his dream has a chance. He was first choice earlier in the season and he had a few smart games so hopefully he can stake a claim over the next few months and heaven knows, maybe stay fit for more than 3 games!
There’s a good article about Stan and his under-achieving St Louis Rams (Written by Bryan Burwell, I love American names, say that in an American accent at your desk now, go on, it’s great fun). The fans are demanding Stan fire their jerk manager, Stan is saying niente. He’s cleared it with Billy Beane who says the current manager, Steve Spagnuolo (I can’t pronounce that name, boooo), is his hero.
The jist of his thought process is that new managers make mistakes but given time can rectify them. A nice way of thinking I guess. If you invest in someone you believe in and you sack them, you’re actually denegrating your judgement.
Trouble is, how long do you give these days? How long is acceptable when managers are on such monster contracts? In a world where one bad season can undo 5 years good work, how long can you afford to let a manager flounder?
Look at Arsenal. It took a while but in the end, we paid for a lack of football ambition when our two best players said they’d had enough. Our form was that of a club in relegation over 26 games. The club held strong when many wouldn’t, has it paid off? Well, the ship has been steadied no doubt. Will it last? I don’t know… ask Billy Beane. What I do know is Arsene has a great chance in January to make some inspired signings and kick us onto the path of global domination.
We’re sniffing around the Argentine Lucas Biglia. He plays for Anderlecht and he’s reported as creative midfielder though it looks like he plays as a ball winning centre midfielder from the extensive research I’ve undertaken. He’d cost £9million and no one had heard of him before. He’s exactly the sort of player Wenger would snap up.
I say this every year, but we should be sniffing around the second strings of the elite. There are always bargains to be had for good young players cast aside and older experienced players who haven’t worked out. Big teams collect top talent they don’t need. Taiwo, the ex-Marseille full back is struggling in Italy. Barcelona players like Maxwell and Adriano out of the starting line up, Madrid have players like Sahin, Albiol and Altintop not getting games (they might be injured, but you get my point). I still like Mahamadou Diarra, I think he’s available on a free transfer at the moment. There must be RvDV deals floating around this January…
Still, at least Wenger isn’t ruling anything out and my new best friend Ivan Gazidis did hint at signings. I do like it that Wenger always refers to the economy, a constant reminder about his degree. You know, like irritating friends who drop travel stories into conversations if you’re eating something oriental, like a prawn cracker. Bore off… no one cares how many pink dolphins you saved in Peru on your 2 week package holiday.
Anyway, my point about the economy is that sure, it’s not in great shape but preaching to people who are actually living the consequences is a bit patronising. When you have £40mill in personal savings you’ll not be affected. When your company has bullet proof TV revenue streams, you’ll generally be ok as a club. We should be using these testing times to hoover up the best talent on the cheap. What’s the point in being the richest and not using your cash wealth to make poor clubs feel inferior and fearful? You know, poor clubs like Spurs who have been delisted in the hope of raising £400million for a new stadium. Good luck with that Levy, good luck!
Anyway, let me know who you’d like us to sign in January and I’ll knock together a Giles Grimantube report later in the week!
P.S. The Americans have a good way of selling tickets back to the system here.