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My Congratulation Message to Leicester City Football Club after the club became the marvellous Premier League champions of the 2015/2016 today!

Leicester City Fans

This will be written with emotions and not be accurate as the historic victory of Leicester City Football Club and their title of the Premier League for the season of 2015/2016. Today is two rounds before the end of season and with Chelsea – Tottenham 2-2 on Stamford Bridge. That gave Leicester City a 7 Point over Tottenham Hotspur on the Second Place in the Premier League.

This has been a season of amazement and wonder. Chelsea breaking down in the start of the season, Aston Villa going into shambles and Sunderland and Newcastle continue to fight yet another season to avoid relegation. So the season have had wonders and been different. With West Ham winning on away at bigger clubs. Liverpool have been either great or terrible; Southampton been under the radar, Everton not there yet again. Bournemouth and Watford securing the place in the league early after promotion last season!

Ranieri Goal Quote

But there been one crazy ride in Leicester City and their ways of winning the title. They started with a weird season where they we’re down in the dumps and had a great escape from relegation. They had a fantastic last part where they won and won. It set the stage for this season even with the sacking of Nigel Pearson. Nobody expected much of Claudio Ranieri as he had just been sacked himself from being the Greece National Head Coach after humiliation of losing 1-0 to Faroe Islands in Europe Championship Qualification match in Athens in 2014. Nobody expected after this that he might resurrect something big in Leicester when he arrived as Manager there.

The goals were set and the standard. He didn’t blink Claudio Ranieri had a plan and it wasn’t to reinvent or buy a new squad. First was set to come as quick as possible to the 40 Points so the level of safety and knowledge of knowing that the Premier League status for another season would be secured. In January he celebrated the 40 Points and the secured place in the league. With that he set a new focus on getting 80 points. Something that was set in the January after a extraordinary first months of the league.

Rainieri Quote

Jamie Vardy scored goals in 11 games in row. That is world-record and a Premier League Record. That was already achieved in November 2015. Many months before the title was in the talking. Riyad Mahrez who came from Le Havre and have been sparkling on the midfield has been voted as the Premier League Player of the Year. Nobody expected this two to sparkle and become vital parts of the Season and change the way we saw the results.

As the last few seasons and after Guardiola won titles and Champions League with Barcelona it’s positive with possession and the direct passing style to keep the ball in the team. Leicester City has been playing a counter-attacking running in the empty space between the midfield and defenders of the opposition. And they have one of that with sometimes as little of 20 % of possession. Where the long-balls and the counter-attacking when the teams have been unstructured because of the team have been in attack and therefore stretched. Not enough players on the right side of the Leicester City high-pulse running midfielders and the strikers like Vardy. The same of with the passes and the technic of Kante and Mahrez, not too talk about the speed of Albrighton.

Leicester Wes Morgan

The same with the soundness of the captain in Wes Morgan in the defense as he set the standard of calm even when they been under and had to turn the result in their favour. With him Huth, Fuchs and Simpson have also showed their strength in defense. As Fuchs, Huth and Morgan have stand strong even when the opposing team have pounded and been around the 16 meter box and knocked the ball away with pace and mastery. As they could have been red-carded and created more penalties with bad tackles or loose the line for offside. The Keeper in Kasper Schmeichel has been good the box and even taken brave steps when the defensive line has cracked.

Leicester Merch

All of the players together with the leadership of Ranieri have created this; he built on the foundation that Nigel Pearson left behind. Together with the rest of the staff that have recruited and created the group of players that makes the team we knows as Champions today. The staff together with their scout’s looks for players that can actually fits the already established group of players.

So the achievement have been totally mind blowing as the big teams who has spent fortunes on players and salaries are beaten by a club who builds a team and not on already famous players, even outcasts from Manchester United in Drinkwater. Together with Albrighton from Aston Villa, Danny Simpson from Newcastle and the list goes on to their former clubs and their sudden victories approach. Only Huth have won with Chelsea, but not as a fixed part of the 11 players that season, but more as a substitute.

The whole management and the club have achieved something that people like me only achieved on Football Manager or the older versions of Championship Manager. This is like we are managing to come to Champions League with Northampton on the CM 2000/01. It feels like this today. And the Leicester City and all the ones who made it happen can be proud. All the players and the fans can celebrate. I have looked and wondered. It’s been a streak and amazement of the results created by the club. 2015/2016 has made history.

Mourinho Ranieri Quote

The management, the owners and the players can all be celebrating and congratulation on your first and hopefully not your last Premier League Championship title. Leicester City has waited 132 years, and now has the title and the silverware in their club cabinet. It is well deserved. Also good to know that Jose Mourinho (Chelsea), Louis Van Gaal (Manchester United) or other serial-winners who uses all kind of tactics and ploys to win while being managers of wealthy clubs didn’t hitch the title away from Leicester this year.  

So congrats to all the Foxes, sorry you are Champions and also staying up! We are proud of you and all the football-fans world-wide are happy for you. Even the Tottenham Hotspurs Fans will celebrate with you, but with some shed tears as they we’re so close. Still, the story is all on you and you have made a story that will be remembered. The Team that have been made and kept in the calm hands of Claudio Ranieri proves that the little underdog can overcome the giants who spend £100m pounds in transfers. Something that Leicester City hasn’t done. So again congratulation and you deserve all the praise and glory as the championship is yours; something nobody, none can take away from you.

It took many years to find the remains of King Richard the Third in Leicester City and it have been reburied in a new grave. As much as the finding of the fallen royalty in Leicester was a surprise, the evident victory and winning Premier League! Congratulation and know that you have made the underdogs, the men and woman who enjoy football for its joy and fun. They enjoys victory as it wasn’t he funding and high transfers, but the initial view of building a team is the wonder that you have done. Peace.

PS – Another fun fact – Football related: 

Fun Fact Aston Villa Nottingham

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Leadership and Premier League: The examples of Sunderland and Liverpool

liverpool-sunderland-premier-league-soccer-clubs

Leaders, managers or coaches deals with issues every day and follows the goals of the clubs that employ them. The different structures depend on the owners and how they perceive the handling of the club. Structures are either set for more power for the owner or more of a coach that has little authority in a club. That goes from Transfers Committee that together with owner picks their targets and aims to build the clubs. Secondly you have the managers who decide the targets on his own.

There is also the difference that shows how much the actual manager will do. Not only picking the tactics and fresh players on match day. They have issues with the contracts and the basic running and progression of the club in general. Because the Manager has a genuine role as the person who is known figure for the club as a president is the leader of a country. Though the powers have a reach for a Manager, but has more pivotal role in a club then a coach or trainer. Like Carver was in Newcastle in the end of the season last year he had less of a reach, then say Mourinho in Chelsea who has put his stamp on the team. I know Carver was a temporary fix before hiring the new manager who has gotten certain freedoms though for many it doesn’t look like it has done the trick for the Northern Club.

I will not talk about Newcastle today, though their spirals of negatives are running high. It’s been like that ever since they sold Cabaye to PSG. The owner Ashley hasn’t run the club well for other things then earning money for the coffers of him the owner and not building a powerful squad. Therefore they are in the role of Aston Villa and are yet another year of fighting relegation and will be amazing if they ever in this campaign get-a-back-to-back VICTORY! We all know that. But I will talk about the club who has showed loosen and digging deeper and deeper on the bottom of the Premier League, that is Sunderland and the ‘Stadium of Lights’.

dick-advocaat-sunderland-2015

Sunderland and the sad tale of Dick Advocaat:

Yesterday the experienced and well-founded manager Dick Advocaat resigned his position in Sunderland after short stint at the club, like so many other of his peers. He was the third savoir in three seasons for the club. First it was Paolo Di Canio who took over and was sacked in second campaign. Then came Gus Poyet in and did an amazing save of the club with big scalps, before continuing another campaign which all the power and flow of the team was in shambles and then they hired Dick Advocaat. Advocaat saved them by a thread last campaign and took on another campaign with promise of getting fresh players to strengthen the squad, because it was needed. There been over time picked cheap options and certain quick fixes instead of building a strong team at ‘Stadium of Lights’.

Ellis Short the owner can defend himself with saying that he hasn’t earned a penny from the club because of the wage paradigm that is in the club. The way the big signing this season was in some way Borini who was one of the first players brought into Liverpool by Brendan Rogders and never fitted the bill. Had one good campaign in Sunderland even if has a loose shot and misses on golden opportunities often. Kaboul went from Tottenham who was to unstable in the defense for them and the same with Coates also from Liverpool. Because the older Brown and O’Shea has not the standard and speed for the league anymore, even if they back in the day was futures under Ferguson in Manchester United. They have gotten this season on loan the striker Lens who showed a magnificent goal that made 2-0 and got Advocaat in tears of joy. This shows for me maybe the best moment of the 8th Round for the simple reason to show how great of a heart as a leader Advocaat has!

Even if Sunderland has Lens, Defoe the misfiring Borini and Fletcher can’t cut it in the long-run. The management from Short and transfers prove that there hasn’t been getting the quality and fitting players to a certain style of play. It has been more patching up and quick-fixes the same as leadership. Under Di Canio the club signed 14 players before he got sacked. Under Poyet he got certain players that had been under his leadership as Buckley and others, but did the significant signing in Jermaine Defoe. Even this stars return from Toronto didn’t spark his team and save his position. Therefore Advocaat had to save them as he did. The signings and ways of progression after Poyet and Di Canio haven’t led to anywhere good. Recent matches has been looking as sad at it has done. The loyalty and continuity doesn’t exist right now. Only thing that is static in the teams play is Lee Cattermole who gets a card both now and then.

The resigning proves the dire situation in the club of Sunderland. And the manager that comes to Sunderland will be in rat-hole even if it’s a club with massive potential. It has 40-50.000 on the stadium on match day. Have high potential pay and possibility to pay for players wages to reach for bigger players. But the leadership and the structure is insufficient. The reigns of such amount of managers at the same time as quick decline after grace periods tells of systematic decline in the team-building and also in man-management. The strength that has been defense has lost it. Because it’s been a while since the attack and mid-field has been exciting, even when Jack Colback was running like crazy for the team, and Rodwell haven’t taken over his presence in the squad. That is very visible!

The way that the managers has gone in and out: First saviors and then sacked in the start or into the next campaign. It doesn’t give the club any stability and quality. The club starts to lack vision and tactical plan to prove what they want. That is also visible in the squad that is fragmented by the buys of different managers who went on the faith of the former ones and their plans. Together with the direct patch-ups and quick-fixes that has become the norm. The manager that comes in has a mountain to climb and has to rebuild the trust with the fans that cover the ‘Stadium of Lights’. Not only with steady results, but get the players to play with their hearts out of their Jersey. Give their blood and sweet and tears into any match. As a neutral it’s been a sad sight to see the steady decline and weakness of Sunderland. Do they want to play in the Championship or still be a proud club in the North who has a place in the Premier League? There is time that Ellis Short tries to build continuity on the leadership side of the club and the strategy they have. Not quick fixes in the end that will hurt the club and the players who try to follow every new idea the new manager has. Something that will be hard to implement and make sufficient to sustain a honorable place in the league.

brendan-rodgers-_-liverpool

Brendan Rodgers slowly falling apart at Merseyside:

Now let me go on another manager who didn’t resign, but got sacked. I have mentioned him in a by-the-way earlier today. Brendan Rodgers the man who has made himself a giant name over the past years. A prospect for managerial roles and future trophy hunter; Brendan Rodgers made a name by getting Swansea up from Championship and then playing high intensity football while delivering results there. From there without any big caps or trophies got hired after FSG sacked club-legend Kenny Daglish.

He started and has been in the way of looking after Character and progress in his teams. For those who has followed him. It’s been his mantra. Looking for the characters and building up players from prospects to finish products or stars to be specific. During the spell of Rodgers they has sold and lost their biggest stars like Gerrard, Sterling and Suarez. The last one to go now is Sturridge and then you would soon see flies come from the pockets.

There was the year that Rodgers leading them to the second position in the league. The campaign that always will be remembered because of the dynamic play and fascinating attacking played of the trio of Sturridge, Sterling and Suarez. They were magnificent even if they got dozen goals the other way as well. Some of us even called it Playstation football by the way it going back and forth with the intensity and flair. Something that Rodgers always wished to see in his players to have a certain quality, character and flair. If you find a after-match interview under the Rodgers in Liverpool where he isn’t using those words and describing the match outcome usually boils down to that.

Brendan Rodgers has now had three campaigns. First was what people call mediocre, but showed some progress. Second season was a magnificent run and was close. Because of that he couldn’t continue to build. Fenway Sports Group (FSG) let the gold go away after that and the trades done after weren’t of the same quality. When the spiral went lower and lowers, so low that after the third campaign in charge on Merseyside, FSG changed leadership and under-coaches under Rodgers! That was in general to disfranchise his power at the club. Brendan Rodgers must have felt that already before his fourth campaign for the club. With departing his own coaches and being alone from the original crew that he with from Swansea.

FSG has also put into the system a Transfer Committee so the Manager is not sole-responsible for the trades done by the club. Even though the manager will be responsible for the results delivered by the squad all season. Even with a seat on the committee he has still not the powers that the ones who can pick and choose over set budget. There will always be a Sports Director or Owner who might shut down wishes for certain players, and even likes of Roman Abramovich who just wanted Shevchenko and then Chelsea bought him, even when they didn’t even need his services.

FSG has then in recent choices partly crossed the powers of Rodgers with the Transfer Committee and also with clipping out his colleagues and his team apart hiring new coaches under him. So then still giving him the “second” chance of success with the club by buying Benteke, Ings, Milner and so on during the summer.

Rodgers wasn’t taken early out of his job and had time to do what he needed. But after the first taste the FSG choices made his tenure worse by the minute. The selling of the starts and losing of pivotal players also hurt him. The choices of buying certain kind of players like Aspas and Balotelli didn’t help his impression, though he wanted to prove that he could turn any player into stars again or bring it out of them.

So after the “second” chance after the success would be hard. Sterling left for Manchester City. The former Southampton players should kick off this season in Liverpool. They are Clyne, Lovren and Lallana. But none of them has played as they did in Southampton. Emre Can hasn’t been up to speed. Courthino has been a spark, but alone in it. Firmino who was bought this summer has talent and skills, but hasn’t bloomed yet. Henderson has taken over for Gerrard, but hasn’t had the same flair or capacity. Ibe has showed progress, but is not a finished “product” yet. What happen to Kolo Toure? What happen to the presence of Skrtel in the defense? Even if he is local boy who deserves credit for catching up with quality of the league, why haven’t we seen Joe Flanagan this campaign?

With all of that and others we can see that there are many issues with the Liverpool squad and the reactions to the team. The progress stopped and the shopping of additions this summer didn’t change the results or drive for the team. Rodgers are right! There need rebuilding in Liverpool. With or without him, and certainly with the decision of sacking him it’s with somebody else.

And for me personally the man, who comes in Liverpool, will have a hard task. The locals and fans expect the team to be a top four team and be in the Champions League (CL). Even though it’s been while since last time the club was there. You have to go back to 2008/09 campaign. So that was a three year hiatus between being a part of the European Competition. The Euro League is the sad stepchild that is a misfit for most teams if they’re not Sevilla or Napoli. Tottenham has struggled with juggling Euro League matches and Premier League in the weekends. The same has been seen by Liverpool. And I am sure whichever team who comes from Premier League to the Euro League will struggle as it seems in league.

The leadership that FSG has proven with Brendan Rodgers isn’t a strong token and longevity in the club. It’s easy to give a new long-time contract after some piece of success. That they did because they wanted to show faith. Just like Newcastle did with Alan Pardew back in the day.  Carver was put into temp when Pardew went to Crystal Palace. The same even Aston Villa did with Paul Lambert after back-to-back victories in start of last campaign. That led to hiring of Tim Sherwood to save the club in the Premier League. That is different from the leadership that puts trust into their managers like Bournemouth with Eddie Howe, Burnley with Sean Dyche, and Hull City with Steve Bruce and so on. There are leaderships that prove loyalty and longevity can bring certainty to teams and squads. Not that all leaders should stay for-ever that is not my point.

My point with Todays topic is clear: the way Sunderland and Liverpool has dealt with the managers has not been well. It has been charades and weak. Liverpool done short-cuts and sold their giants; While expecting dead-wood to turn gold before starting to dig after it, and the cost of it all gets the head of Rodgers instead of those who has done their homework. Suarez, Sterling and Gerrard don’t pop-up like Daisies. It is strange seeing that FSG had the same faith that Lallana and Milner be the same as Suarez and Sterling. And also changing the backroom staff and giving strong signals that it wasn’t that well with Rodgers leadership.

We can all understand Advocaat’s situation in Sunderland. He must have been torn especially seeing the trials of doom returning and not much joy insight. Also with the issues of how weak the strategy of the club has been its easy to see why he decided now to leave. The next man will be in tussle like all three former managers we’re with men coming in that was there in stints for others or because the club needed a fix. Not for a strategic long plan and vision of one leader and his tactical ways. So that the next man has to use what is there and prove his capabilities in the club. Sunderland and Liverpool got massive work in front of them. Sunderland got to fight for their place in the league and build stability in the leadership structure. Not only patch it up and quick fixes. Get a man to actually build a team and also build something with the fans that keeps the club alive. Liverpool has a squad and a backroom staff, that has been built by Rodgers who is now gone. The talent and faith in these players will be left to the next manager. Even the transfer committee has decided on certain players, it’s been three season with Rodgers and that leaves certainly some of his vision and characters there. And the staff that FSG has now put in place, since Rodgers lost his team before this campaign. Peace.

Fulham’s Brede Hangeland terminated from contract by E-Mail- and I am appalled!

Brede Hangeland was reported earlier today that his future at Fulham was over today. The defender is now 32 years old and the club ended on the 19th place in the Premier League. The player has been in the club in 6, 5 years (Sandberg, 2014). Who got signed from FC Copenhagen and also being an important part of the team – Fulham. At Fulham, he was the captain for a long time.

This is ordinary in this day and age. That when a team goes down a division they get rid of certain older players and try to get younger ones they can build a good squad. So that in the end, they can go up and not buy too much players when their getting back into the Premier League. So that Brede Hangeland lost his contract and got terminated isn’t like shooting stars. But the way they did it, isn’t the proper way.

The report from his adviser Jon Mørland is this: “Today I got the news that Fulham has decided to terminate my contract with the club immediately effect. I got their decision by e-mail, without any meeting with the club or discussion about my contract or my future in the club” (Sandberg, 2014).

If this news is true, then as football fan, I am appalled and disgusted. Even though the Club announce it like usual business. I am still wondering and thinking that they are not true. Here is how they describe it:

“Fulham Football Club has announced that it has released Brede Hangeland. The 32-year-old joined the Whites in January 2008 as Roy Hodgson’s first signing and made an instant impact, helping the Club achieve Premier League survival in the season which became known as ‘The Great Escape’. Hangeland went on to make 272 appearances for Fulham, including turning out 16 times on our memorable run to the 2010 UEFA Europa League Final. The Club would like to thank Brede for his six-and-a-half years of committed service and wishes him the very best in all of his future endeavours” (FulhamFC, 2014).

That sounds alright right? But for a club who has had three managers in the recent season and went down with the worst shopping of players. This just shows how crazy the decision was made, especially when this comes from the same club 4 hours later the club.

They put this on twitter:

@FulhamFC

The Club would like to clarify that all personal protocol was followed and that Brede Hangeland was notified in the right way”(@FulhamFC.Twitter, 2014).

So when they come with this report 4 hours after the first one and also the loyal player who lost his post send messages through his adviser… Then you know that there fishes to fry.

Craven Cottage Newsrooms writes it correctly:  “This one’s a real shame. Hangeland wasn’t like most footballers and it’s no surprise to me that he’s off.  He liked Fulham and all it stood for, until such a point as he didn’t like Fulham and all it stood for, and now he’s gone” (Wormbridge, 2014).

Let me just address this correctly if he was sacked through e-mail! Then the whole system of the business of Fulham FC isn’t cracking or working anymore. Their action isn’t sparkling of security and also the right approach to deal with their employees. Let me be clear, if this is true. Fulham FC has broken codes and also the respect of their employees. Hangeland has deserved better, anyone in alleys of Craven Cottage deserve better, even the one cutting the grass on the field shouldn’t gotten sacked by e-mail. Peace.

Links:

Sandberg, Fredrik Økstad og Bergquist, Mathias – Fulham forsvarer epost-sparkingen av Hangeland (03.06.2014): http://www.dagbladet.no/2014/06/03/sport/brede_hangeland/fulham/33655236/

@FulhamFC on Twitter, 03.06.2014.

FulhamFC – Hangeland Departs (03.06.2014): http://www.fulhamfc.com/news/2014/june/03/hangeland-departs?utm_source=Social&utm_medium=AllSocial&utm_campaign=MB

Wormbridge, Claude – The End of Brede Hangeland (03.06.2014):http://cravencottagenewsround.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/the-end-of-brede-hangeland/

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