Opinion: Benitez will walk alone on this one

Rafael Benítez was appointed on the 30th June 2021 as the Everton manager. He is taking over for Carlo Ancelotti who returned recently to Real Madrid for his second stint as manager there. Benitez isn’t a random bloke or a fella walking into Stanley Park as a manager.

No, his a former legendary manager of Liverpool. The arch-rival at Anfield. The one who had the miracle in Istanbul and secured Liverpool the Champions League. That’s who Benitez is. Yes, he has shown he is capable of making a winning team, but that is long time ago now.

Still, his tenure at Liverpool lingers on. What he said and how he acted. He has long since then worked for Dalian Professionals in China ahead of this appointment. So, it is not like his coming from a winning streak or a place of prestige.

No, Benitez is living of his name. The owners has picked him because of his past glories. Just like they did with Ancelotti. There was a lot of promise, but not the execution for it. Benitez needs to hit the ground running and prove his skills. He cannot live on borrowed time here.

Rafa needs to show results and quickly. That with a mismatch of players, a squad that has been expensively bought over the years, but not with a long term plan. Where several of other managers have picked their choices and possibilities, but not delivered.

There are promise in the team and on a good day. Everton can beat anyone on a good day and when the key players are in form. However, that isn’t everyday and that was visible the last two seasons. Even with Ancelotti spending like a drunk sailor and continuing to haemorrhaging players, which some he didn’t even use like King.

That’s why at this current time. Everton isn’t based to go anywhere. Benitez is questioned just for his past history and words. As he now joins the ranks of a small club and that will linger on until he gets a slice of silver-wear.

Benitez have made this one hard on himself. He knows what he did and that cannot be forgotten. He has now gone from the red to the blue side of the city. From Bill Shankly to Duncan Ferguson. That is just the reality of this.

This will not be an easy walk and here he might have to walk alone actually. It is a unforgiving route his taking. As it is not like it is just water under the bridge. No, this man is walking in the steps of Michael Owen and others who went from one team to a rival. The same he has done now and that will be questioned, as long as his in-charge.

Benitez cannot just fumble the club and play along. He got to deliver and with a mediocre squad and with uncertain transfer kitty. In combination with distrust from the fans and the general supporters of the sport. Since he has gone from one side to the other.

That’s why I don’t want to be in Benitez shoes right now. The walk alone and without the people behind you. That got to be tough. Even for a seasoned and well travelled man like Rafa. He got to feel it too.

The only thing that will redeem him here is actual results and progress. He needs to do like Martinez did in his first season to have hope to keep this going. That’s what he needs and that’s the only way out.

If not there will be quickly singing in the stands: “Rafa sacked in the morning” Peace.

Opinion: Ancelotti will not be missed in Everton

Well, it is about that time. Carlo Ancelotti is a well known manager. A manager who has won titles across the continent. His name is synonymous with winning titles and creating history in the clubs he has managed. Alas, that never became the case with Everton.

Not that the stint he had in Everton was long enough or had the ability in the transfer-windows to achieve that. Still, there was a lot of unfinished business and uncertainty ahead of him. He did the great signings of James Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucouré. Calvert-Lewin got a breath of fresh air and was firing in the box. Still, that wasn’t enough to cut it.

Ancelotti in his final season at Everton started like a winning team. They seemed for so long destined to be hunting for a European Cup next year. Alas, that dwindled down and became another botched season in the mid-table.

For such a renowned manager that must be defeatism. If not… he wouldn’t care, because the players, the squad and the club should feel lucky to even have him there. It was a rare occasion. As there haven’t been a manager of this character or with his CV at the club, which I can remember. Not, that the managers of Everton haven’t been good, but they have built their name there. If not used it as a stepping stone to greater later.

What is striking is that Ancelotti couldn’t do things better than the previous managers. He could get a higher position with the team than Ronald Koeman or Sam Allerdyce. While he still got some of his targeted players. This has clearly been done together with Director of Football, Marcel Brands.

The next manager has to work with him and the targets of the club. Everton has failed and you can wonder what sort of style they want to play. What’s the objective and where they want to go. Since, they gotten a lot of flack, but they a dipping in the middle and getting nowhere. While Leicester is evolving and West Ham is surpassing them.

Everton has the ability and should have the capacity of growing bigger. Become part of the top six. They have used the transfer kitty and spent funds, but not bringing in the results. Everton has used money on Yannick Bolasie and Theo Walcott, but not gotten anything really for it. That’s why they are out on loan.

Ancelotti have a possibility to build a project. He could live large on his name and his achievements of the past. That’s why he wasn’t getting any sort of scrutiny for lacking results in this season. After the promising start.

He now left for Real Madrid. Returning back after both victories elsewhere and a mediocre time in Everton. Ancelotti will not remembered for long in Everton. He came with a name and delivered very little than hope. The promise of a project and a long-term plan is now scrapped. Where someone else has to pick-up where he left off.

With a squad and a team of mixed fortunes. Former players of big-teams and players with a lot of promise. Still, Everton needs a new manager who wants to build and use the potential here. It is clearly there. Everton haven’t been able to crack the top six since 2013/14. That’s starting to be a long time ago. Ancelotti should have he character and the capabilities to build a club for this. However, that never happened here and his project wasn’t fulfilled. This is why he will not be missed. People will see it as a sideline story and a fault-line. Where someone with stature like Ancelotti promised greatness, but delivered mediocre results. Would think he wanted that narrative changed? No, his more interested in his career, than building a team like Everton. That’s why he took the open spot and could return back to Real Madrid.

The next one should aim for that and try to stabilize there. However, that will not be easy. When there so many contenders and clubs fighting to get there. Everyone aims for that and is willing to put all their bets there.

What Everton needs to do is get a structured manager to work in tandem with the Director of Football. Have a clear football philosophy and work a long-term plan ahead. Not only pick the second tier and the ones falling out of grace in the bigger clubs. Everton needs also to focus on talent like Calvert-Lewin and others who can show the greatness of the club from within. That is what all fans wants to see.

However, with the expectancy of quick results and big pay-offs instantly. That is nearly impossible. Nevertheless, the club should seek a long-term manager and not just a quick-fix. Than they will get into another Marco Silva. Who had a decent season and falling off a cliff the next one before getting sacked. The club cannot afford to do that… and Everton should try to get back to the stability and certainty of David Moyes. Though, that era is long gone. Peace.

Opinion: The Super League undressed one vital ingredient hidden in plain sight

The Dirty Dozen or the 12 clubs who was breaking away from the Football governing bodies and creating their own league on Sunday the 18th April 2021. Have shown the world their true character and reason for ownership in the sport in the first place. The clubs have been taken over by sports owners, businesses and financial backers who is in for a quick buck. This isn’t owners who cares about football, its traditions or the legacy of these clubs. No, they are a MEAN to an END.

The clubs in question are useful tools for a cash-grab and a huge profit margin in sports where there isn’t to much investments for supporters and consumers world-wide to buy the product. If that is TV-Licensing deals, sponsorships or merchandise sale. It is all ways to sell the products and get the money flowing. Get the business from going from red to black in a heartbeat.

The 12 clubs and additions would have a financial wet-dream and be in a beneficial agreement. Where they would earn big money before even playing and just participating in the Super League. These teams would earn fortunes and they would just change the rules of the game. The pyramid of national leagues or even UEFA club coefficient wouldn’t matter. These twelve teams would get an advantage and be partners in their own system.

They wouldn’t have to care about the rules of FIFA, neither the tournaments of UEFA or the national association. The teams would be separate from the national leagues and cups. The 12 in question would live on their own island and on their own terms. Not playing in solidarity with others than themselves and gaining the perks of that.

That is why the Super League was so baffling. Yes, the UEFA and FIFA isn’t perfect. They are corrupt and have well known cronyism. The UEFA governing body is a greedy machine and the same is FIFA. So, the 12 clubs are just a mirror of their efforts, but in their own way. The 12 teams have been living in this greed and been building its prestige within these systems. That’s why breaking away would be a betrayal of the system they have grown big in.

Neither of the parties I have mentioned has clean hands. In the end its the supporters and fans who pays the price. The clubs are only being wealthy and rich, because of fans and supporters are willing to spend their dimes on them. They are buying tickets, subscription to Pay-Per-View and other things in connection with them. Not like the clubs can live or work without fans. They are the one reason for their existence in the first place.

The Super League was built on a shaky ground and would be a damned from the start. There would be so many left behind and leagues shattered because of the betrayal of these 12 teams. The owners of the teams might seek to find a way out. As their wet-dreams went south. The fans and the football bodies didn’t accept this. However, the teams still needs a reminder and they we’re close to making it happen. They had finalized the deal and went out with sort of collective statements. They we’re proud founding clubs of the Super League. These teams needs to be reminded and get a punishment. The Football Associations and others needs to react swiftly. It cannot just be water under the Stamford Bridge. It got to be something, drop of points and transfer embargoes. They need to feel.

The 12 teams are maybe not able to configure the league. As teams are ditching out the deals tonight. Sports directors and CEOs are resigning. We are seeing rumours of trading teams or trying to sell. All of that because they couldn’t bath in glory and swim in coins like Scrooge McDuck. However, the clubs was willing and was close to ditch everyone else. That got to have consequences. This cannot just conspire to happen over night, release it out of the bag and scare whole of Football Europe without any sanctions or punitive actions. The clubs who was willing to betray their national leagues and associations needs to be addressed. These has to be answered and they have to wonder why they wanted to leave the fold for their own game.

The owners underestimated the values, the reach and the general support for Football in Europe. These owners aren’t close in the alleys and streets around the stadiums on the day-to-day basis. They are only looking over the stock portfolio and the bottom-line on their investment. If it is yielding good money and great returns. Now, they are seeing the heart of the matter and possible the outreach of clubs. They didn’t just buy a Football Club, but also a local stakeholder and a part of a community. That cannot just be traded or sold as a loaf of bread. No, it got to be respected and honour the commitment of the fans it has.

The Dirty Dozens owners forgot this part. They forgot why they exist. Now, these clubs better face consequences and answer for the Super League. The resignations and possible sales of clubs isn’t saving it. That is just damage control after a failed enterprise. They we’re supposed to get a quick fix of money and run their own game. Now, they have lost without even playing a game. The PR is ghastly and the reputations is in tatters. The trust in the owners and the boards is at a all time low. These folks are willing to trade it all for a JP Morgan security of steady cash-flow.

The Super League shows how the Americans lives in their own world of Money-Ball. Where clubs are vehicle for printing money and securing favourable deals in Entertainment/Sports. That is all it is to them. They don’t value traditions, competitions or the rules of the game. No, it is money and that is what it all boils down too. They don’t care about Bushby, Shankly or Shearer. No, they only care about Pound Fucking Sterling and Euros. Peace.

Opinion: Supporters have to learn from AFC Wimbledon [Super League, don’t join’em, but beat’em]

I always remember back to Wimbledon and their rough playing style (the Crazy Gang). Wimbledon as a team was filled with sometimes misfits and out of character players. However, they did entertain and showed courage on the pitch. That is why the Wimbledon team was respected and deserved credit for what it did.

However, at some point the team fell apart. It also got relegated and got new owners. That really relocated the team and its facilities. This cause furore and fury among the loyal supporters. Wimbledon deserved much better. The owners went ahead and relocated it. Nevertheless, the supporters started from scratch and built up a new team.

MK Dons – The Owners Club:

MK Dons, formed in 2004 from the ashes of Wimbledon FC, began playing their football at the National Hockey Stadium under the guidance of Stuart Murdoch, but poor results would lead to his dismissal in November of the same year and the appointment of Danny Wilson in his place. The experienced Wilson was in charge during the Dons’ most turbulent spell as a Club, escaping relegation from League One on the final day of the season thanks to Gareth Edds’ 84th minute winner against Tranmere Rovers.” (MK Dons – History).

AFC Wimbledon – The Supporter Club:

It was preserving that glorious past that drove followers of the club to start again in the summer of 2002 after a specially appointed three-man FA commission shocked football fans everywhere by allowing the old Wimbledon FC to relocate to a Buckinghamshire new town. Determined not to let a proud 104-year history die, Dons supporters organised themselves and within just six weeks AFC Wimbledon – a club the commission had declared would be “not in the wider interests of football” – was born” (AFC Wimbledon – About Us).

This here is a cautionary tale, as well as one that has to inspire, as AFC Wimbledon is the game ahead and what the supporters needs to do. Yes, the owners can have the stadiums, the licenced names and jerseys. They can have the logos and even the grounds where the proud history of the clubs was made. However, the owners doesn’t own the supporters or the fans. They are the reason why the clubs are profitable and big business. These are the ones spending and making football viable as an investment.

Therefore, now that the Super League becomes a thing. The fans of the Big Six in the United Kingdom better learn from AFC Wimbledon. If they want to take care of the rich history and what matters. They better start their own clubs and forget the old ones. They are like the MK Dons. The clubs of the owners like Glazers, Levy and Henry. These people are in it for business and profits. Those fellows isn’t in it for the love of the game, but to earn quick bucks. That is why they are invested and interested in a Super League where they control and secure the bag.

That is why the supporters, fans and everyone who loves the sport. Have to start a fresh. They got to do like the Wimbledon fans had too. They had to stand strong and united, be courageous and not take the bollocks from the owners. They have to start new clubs in their stead. The supporter unions and organizations have to organize together in a manner where the they all can participate and create new clubs. Clubs which will represent the supporters and be “theirs”. Not be money-making machines for rich investors or hedge-funds.

Supporters have to stay grounded and think for the long run. Because this Super League is only envisioned as a cash-grab for a selected group of owners who has no care in the world in the spirit or the ideals of the competitions. They want a huge profit quickly and earn fortunes on the hard work and dedications of supporters for decades before they arrived to the clubs. These individuals want to take the heritage and the history of these clubs to get a few more shillings. That is what they do and leave behind a lot of national leagues, cups and European competitions without their presence. All been done for a creation of a money-ball situation. That’s it. The rich historic clubs traded on the alter of crony capitalism. That is tragic and therefore, the supporters have to challenge this. Just like the great supporters of Wimbledon who lost their home, their club, but they started their own with AFC Wimbledon, because the owners traded it away with the MK Dons.

Now, the big clubs are trading away their histories and their collective place for a shot at this Super League. In their stead the supporters have to create new teams in Milan, London, Manchester and elsewhere. To show the owners that they got nothing without the supporters and in the end… the souring profits will stop when they don’t have the ratings, the licences, the merchandise and gift selling. They only have empty stadiums and TV-deals, which the supports might boycott. That will be the tragic end. That is if the supporters are willing to risk their clubs, which have already been traded and taken for granted by a few greedy owners. Peace.

Opinion: The European Super League [it’s all about the money(!)] and forgetting the fans

It is now officially that there been made a deal or an agreement to form an European Super League. This has been made with the American Bank JP Morgan and other owners of European Clubs. This being the owners of the 15 big Football Clubs.

The clubs who is involved is Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Athletico Madrid, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus. These together will form the core of the league. That is 12 clubs with additional 6 teams to become 18 teams league.

This is a formation made with the financial backers and owners of the clubs. These are oligarchs and wealthy hedge-fund owners who is trying to make their own cash cow, which they control and not involving either UEFA or FIFA. These clubs will run the tournament and be the chiefs in their own house. These is all founded by the financial backers and the ones owning the clubs. It is their own drive to make a more profitable enterprise.

The Super League at this point is slated to start in the 2023-24 season. This means the club will be preparing for the shift and the machinery behind the launch of the League until then. The managers and the clubs will be making preparations for it. While they might focus less on the National Leagues or the European Cups (Euro League and Champions League). They maybe not even care about the FIFA Club World Cup. Therefore, this is creating their whole own additional thing without considering the implications of the current tournaments the clubs already participate and is members off.

The modern day football have been driven by money. The salaries and the revenue have reached epic sums. The clubs, the merchandise and licensing is profitable enterprise for the European elites. The clubs has fans worldwide and the stars has posters everywhere. That is why these clubs who signs up to this Super League could profit and make vast fortunes to cover the eventual debt or prices of operation. However, they are also not respecting the football’s governing bodies or the traditional tournaments, which have made the sport and the clubs big in the first place.

This clubs didn’t grow on a island. They grew as a part of a football body and part of the evolution of football. These clubs have been part of the changes with UEFA and their National Leagues. If they feel to big for these bodies now. Then they are disrespecting the national associations and their roles in supporting their growth. The clubs are grand and great, because the Football Associations and supporters made them huge.

If they would pick the Super League and do this deal. Take the bait and the funds. They would have fight for relevancy and be a secondary league or tournament to the ones already existing. These are sort of making their “upper echelon” Champions League and formalizing it. The elite making their own league and ignoring the other champions of Europe. They are not caring for the second tier from the other states who also can get their cut and sometime meet the giants at their field. That is the beauty of this game.

Now this will block the greatness of the possibility of seeing the Messi’s and Ronaldo’s against the national heroes of Eastern Europe or Central Europe who could only dream about challenging such big stars on the pitch. They are now relegated by default and by the cynic approach of outside owners who see the money, but not the heart of the game.

If I we’re a Liverpool support. I would turn to Everton. Similar with the other clubs. If they decide to do this. Yes, UEFA and the National Association have to take their turns. They got to show force and enforce strict rules. So, that the ones that betrays the leagues get punished. However, this only proves what the American Money-Ball people thinks. They can juice up the clubs and make them invisible to the rest. Instead of investing and securing a better football product for all supporters.

This is corporate greed, which has grown strong into the Football Community. This is the market driven and profit thinking. Instead of loving the game. This is the owners taking it all in their hands, using their leverage and trying to forge their own rules. Instead of using all governing bodies of Football. Yes, FIFA and UNICEF have become cash-cows and big business too. Still, they are capable of exporting and making the sport more interesting for the supporter. Yes, they have made greedy agreements and shady transactions, which the manner they have traded the World Cup on the International Stage.

However, the National Leagues and European Cups have been successful and grown massive interests. That’s because of the competitive nature and international interests on these competitions. This is why the world is following Champions League, Euro League and the other National Leagues like Premier League, Serie A, La Liga and others. Which has all created interests and fans all across the globe.

If the big-teams ditches this and creates their own by corporate interests, instead of their fans. They are losing their key ingredient to why they became big-clubs in the first place. If the fans and supporters ditches the Super League and forget these clubs. Then they are losers and have huge bills to pay for empty stadiums. It maybe not happening at first. However, when they are not participating in ordinary leagues or competitions. What will drive them to make them better or challenge for titles? When they are in their secluded little league… of giants… who just plays along themselves.

That will end hurt themselves. It might work for a few seasons if the backers are lucky, but the prospects and the greatness will fade. As these will not have growth potential or glory in their respective fields anymore. They will be lonely in their own tournament and maybe not allowed to return to respective leagues and such.

In previous times, when clubs have demoted or breached rules. They have lost points, been relegated and even pre-fixed to struggle in the up-coming season. If these clubs abandon their respective leagues and wants to return “home”. Then the associations should use measures to stifle and make them pay for their disloyalty. Also, in a way where the club pay a hefty price and also on the pitch. Since the owners didn’t value the additional support or the traditional leagues.

The Super League is the Money-Ball experiment in Europe. American investors and corporations thinking they can juice up a cash-cow and call it a day. Where they can use strong brands and huge platforms to make a “World Series” and hope for a “Super Bowl”. While forgetting about the UEFA cups and the importance of national leagues. This is why this is a destructive move and as a supporter of football. A tragic move. A move made only for the pockets and not for the heart of the game. Peace.

Cameroon: Communique De Presse (01.12.2018)

Cameroon: CAF President Ahmad Ahmad lettre du President Paul Biya (30.11.2018)

RSA: EFF Welcomes the Rejection of Morocco to host the FIFA Soccer Wold Cup (12.06.2018)

FIFA SG Samoura sends out early warning to the Football Associations on the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup!

FIFA under the new Secretary General Fatma Samoura are trying a new approach considering the start of the process, when getting the host nation for the FIFA Football World Cup 2026 after the biggest frauds and kickbacks of late concerning South Africa, Qatar and Russia. Now, the organization after the case against itself in United States and the fall of Sepp Blatter. Surely the new FIFA President Gianni Infantino wants a change too! They are trying to swiftly change the organization, that is why Samoura has sent a letter to all Member Associations, to follow the 5th Principal in the Bid Rules of Conduct. Where it says:

“(i) conducting their own activities in relation to the Bidding Procedure in accordance with basic ethical principles such as integrity, responsibility, trustworthiness and fairness; (ii) rejecting any attempt to be influenced in relation to their function and obligations in relation to the Bidding Procedure; (iii) rejecting any gifts offered by any Candidate Host Associations, any of their bid consultants and/or nominees, unless such gift: a) only has symbolic or trivial value; b) excludes any influence for the execution or omission of an act that is related to their official activities or falls within their discretion; c) is not contrary to their duties; d) does not create any undue pecuniary or other advantage; and e) does not create a conflict of interest;” (2026 FWC Bidding Regulation).

In the letter from the Secretary General Samoura, it states very clearly to all:

“Notwithstanding the clarifications below, in order to ensure a fair and transparent bidding process, all football officials shall always conduct all of their own activities in relation to the bidding process in accordance with basic ethical principles such as integrity, responsibility, trustworthiness and fairness. Therefore, irrespective of the clarifications below, it must be understood that the Ethics Committee, as an independent judicial body, may, on its own initiative and at its full and independent discretion, decide to investigate whether any activities in connection with the bidding process are of an unethical nature by, for instance, creating an undue influence on the bidding process in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics and further specific rules contained in the Bid Rules of Conduct pursuant to article 5 of the Bidding Regulations” (Fatma Samoura – ‘Further guidance on the Bid Rules of Conduct for the process to select the host(s) of the 2026 FIFA World Cup™’ 19.02.2018).

The FIFA Secretariat and Central Governing body is sending out a warning as the process is starting. Since they don’t want to have knowledge of or knowingly have people acting in bad faith or trying to corrupt fellow members. Even if that is the history of FIFA and the leadership of Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter. They have done it with fineness and used time to fix the associations in their way, so they could find ways of using sport to get wealthy. That is well-known. Surely, Samoura want to change that paradigm and therefore write this letter to secure the process.

And you know that FIFA is afraid of getting corruption scandals, when Samoura has to type this:

“Accordingly, if a confederation, a regional association, a grouping of member associations or any individual member association is approached by a bidder offering a presentation of its bid, it is in principle fine to accept such an offer as long as the principles of fairness and transparency are respected. Therefore, in such an event, please notify FIFA in writing about any such offer from a bidder, but please also accept the offer of a presentation by the competitive bidder, offering both bidders the same format and attendance” ((Fatma Samoura – ‘Further guidance on the Bid Rules of Conduct for the process to select the host(s) of the 2026 FIFA World Cup™’ 19.02.2018).

So now if let’s say the United Kingdom wants to have the bid in Europe and the want to present it to France and Germany, than they have to notify FIFA and also allow the same delegation to travel to another bidder. Not make it exclusive, to make sure the process isn’t paid off as in the past. This will make the bidding process more hectic, but hopefully more transparent. Since it has been filled with PR Stunts and sudden pay-offs in the past, but not shown in public what is happening behind the scenes.

We can hope that FIFA is trying to change and not using words flamboyantly, to trigger the press and associations, that the process will be transparent and fair. However, their history is known of paying of minor or poor organizations to get the needed votes, also to make sure the confederates of several regions are getting a slice. To make sure the bidding nation get the swinging votes. We have to see if this can be altered, if the corrupt machinery can be stopped. That would be interesting, even if you take the head, the body is still the same. We just have to wait and see, if some skeletons comes out of the closet or not. Peace.

RDC: “Communique Officiel de la Presidence de la Republique” (14.01.2017)

rdc-14-01-2017