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Archive for the tag “James Milner”

Leadership and Premier League: The examples of Sunderland and Liverpool

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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’.

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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.

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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.

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Proven that loyalty is dying in modern football – the example of Fabian Delph

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Its silly season just some weeks before the Premier League starts up again. All the teams try to add on with players to sustain their place or get into a better position than last year. Teams that have gotten from the Championship for example Watford have used a tiny fortune on new players. Another team that are trying to be champion is Manchester United who has bought half of central Europe players and part of the Mediterranean countries big players to get into the league of Chelsea and Arsenal again. But this story is about neither. This story will be about loyalty.

Aston Villa is the old aristocrat in the Premier League. The Birmingham club is a royalty in some ways. Not that it’s Reading who has the nickname. But still the history of the club and range of level it has given the league it deserves credit. Times are changing big money has arrived and been here awhile. So that English players are getting rare in the British league of Premier League. Whatever Greg Dyke or Richard Scudamore is saying is because the FA getting loads of money with the TV deals. That is giving the clubs more money but isn’t helping the movement of players that really representing their clubs in the long run. You can’t buy loyalty. Especially when you can go from being a kid in the sticks and in a few years’ time to having a £30k a week and if you switch to the big ones you can get £100k a week.

This story is not about Raheem Sterling. He went as a kid from QPR and built a reputation in Liverpool. Wanted to win things and went to for the highest price ever for a British player £44m to Manchester City. This story that I am telling and describing is about Fabian Delph. Fabian Delph was first as a youth in Bradford City and Leeds. Later he was on a pro contract for Leeds for three years from 2006 – 2009. Delph was in 2009 Young Player of the Year. He went for about £8m to Aston Villa.

So now that we’re in 2015. There is more money in the League. We have title chasers who needs English players in the team line-up. This team is the same as the one who got Sterling. A team that has lost most of their English players in recent years the only player who has stayed through the years in the central team is goalie Joe Hart. Micah Richards went for free from Manchester City to Aston Villa. James Milner who the current manager Pellegrini and former manager Manchini who liked his services still him left on Bosman to Liverpool. They sold Boyata to Celtic as well before this season. The savior was the loan in from New York new club and former Chelsea player Frank Lampard. But now he really went over to the club. So in this sense the whole world has known about that the rich club Manchester City and it’s struggle to keep and getting good British players.

It’s in this context that Fabian Delph comes in. He was the captain in a team that barley saved them last year in the Premier League. Before Tim Sherwood came in there been two and a half years of Paul Lamberts reign. Three years of barley making it and having 2 months without goals last season before Tim Sherwood got hired as manager for the club. Also that the glamour of O’Neill era is totally gone and the owner tried to sell the club for ages. Therefore the budgets and standard of the squad has gone down. There haven’t been much invested in new players for a long time.

So this year’s silly season has been important for Aston Villa. Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph have been rumored away to Liverpool and Manchester City. They are the stars on the team together with Agbonlahor and Vlaar. Even been talk about Vlaar leaving the club.

Seven days ago Fabian Delph said that he would be loyal to the club. As he was proud of being captain of the team at that time the club they starting working on a new contract offer to Fabian Delph so that he would be appreciated at that level. They wanted upgrade the old contract of £30k a week to £80k a week. So that he would stay and feel rightfully earning in the league he has been playing in since 2009.

A Short Timeline: 

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On the 11th July 2015 he promised loyalty to Aston Villa after months of rumors and also closely going to medical in Manchester. This was after he was taken off the official internet page of the club and also in the ads for the new shirt. 

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Then later this week on the 16th July he switched his mind and went on with the deal to Manchester City. Had a medical and is rumored to sign a £100k a week for the Manchester club. Also he is part of filling up the quota of British players in the club. Leaving behind Aston Villa where he was captain.

So now two days after leaving for the second time the Birmingham club in the same summer. We can see why many fans are displeased with Fabian Delph. For a few days ago he promised himself again to Aston Villa. He signed a new contract for the club already in January. He has been a player who captured interest of big clubs for a while. In his contract he had a buy-out clause that Manchester City £8m. This was been met easily and is a cheap transfer for a British player for the club. When the prices of this players are souring look at Luke Shaw, Raheem Sterling and so on.

Therefore with this surprise move that he initially went from Aston Villa to Manchester City is a downer. It kills me a bit by bit because as a football fan we wish to have positive players who have loyalty to their clubs. It’s harder and harder to get by the day. I am not a Liverpool fan, still I wish there was more players like Stephen Gerrard. Fewer players are staying most of the careers in one team instead they are changing for a fortune anywhere else. In the same team its one player that is a standout I have already mention him as a star on the team: Gabriel Agbonlahor is loyal team player with quality. He is one of the few pivotal players you have in the Premier League. And he is a humble and a good guy.

So it’s sadden that the youth talent that came from 2009 came from Leeds went from Aston Villa on 16.07.2015 to Manchester City. So the speeches and quotes of loyalty in the start of the week was utter rubbish. City and Citizens should be happy for this coup. Delph is an amazing player. Always enjoyed watching him playing for Villa so it’s sad to see him leaving a team where he has a major impact and just be pawn on the chess set on the tactical field in Manchester. Like Bony was a phenomenon in Swansea after coming from Twente as a magnificent goal-scorer. He was a machine and a wonder to watch in Swansea. After my reckoning he scored two goals and two whole matches and 8 times substitute for the team.

If Delph will get the same treatment is not something I can proclaim. But that he want has as much impact as in Villa is a simple truth. Because Manchester City have more midfielders and players of quality then Villa, which we all know and also Delph already should know. So that he has changed from being a man and player speaking about loyalty. That loyalty only lasted less than a week. When he again went to City and got the new high paying contract.

I respect even more players like Stephen Gerrard and Agbonlahor, when I see how the summer sales are going. I am sad also by the way Iker Casillas went from Real Madrid to Porto. After winning everything worth having in the club he had been in all career. Stephen Gerrard had the same and even if he left for Los Angeles Galaxy with respect. Casillas went with sadness and not as hero. The same was with Xavi recently from Barcelona to the Middle East somewhere. So seeing players like this staying loyal and only leaving at the last straw of their career. That is because they want to be the main player in a club. And with their legacy they deserve something else then playing second fiddle. Though I hope they will come back to the club as representative and being part of backroom staff in the years to come. I don’t believe that will happen to Iker Casillias.

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Delph has to stay somewhere and being loyal to it to get remember there. He has already made a mark in the jersey of Aston Villa. If he had stayed he could be respect and an honorable player in this times when fees and salaries are increasing to fairytale level. Therefore Agbonlahor could be an example for Delph. It’s understandable that certain players using clubs like Aston Villa as a stepping stone to a bigger club. Even if the club it’s like a royalty in the league. Still hasn’t had a top position since Martin O’Neill. Therefore players like Delph could have been a foundation for a bigger team and building a stabile club that could be far away from the three year relegation battle. Tim Sherwood can bring a lot of passion into a team. Still he needs quality and players that are loyal to his vision and club. As every club need. Delph in time he would be seen as a cornerstone in the midfield of the club and remembered as a loyal club player. A player who was there for the team while it was struggling for three seasons to battle relegation and trying to establish itself as a secure club in the league. Instead he went for the quick money in Manchester City. In a club that has won the league twice in last 4 years. They have gotten all the money of the world. But is the epitome of what is wrong in modern football. Though I am not a great fan of Manchester United, I still wish City to win over them, just because of the arrogance of the red devils. Still, the money of City doesn’t by the heritage and history as Villa has. That Delph could continue to be a part of. Especially since he spoke of loyalty recently, then switched and went anyway. Raheem Sterling did everything in his way to get out of Anfield and Liverpool. Delph was different and was silent as silly season went on. The rumors we’re steady. We all knew that City needed British players in this transfer window. They got two now and has Joe Hart. So they got quality homegrown players now.

Nevertheless Fabian Delph has proven that money is more important than leaving a legacy. As so many other players of his time as written before I wish there was more players like Stephen Gerrard and Gabriel Agbonlahor. They are heroes in my football heart even if I am not a supporter of their teams. Because these players are humble and hardworking staying to strive for their teams over time, on the other hand are Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph.

A week went by and the truth came to surface what was important for Fabian Delph. So let’s see how his impact will be in the new squad and I hope that Villa get a new replacement that will stay and build on the new vision that Tim Sherwood has. And yes, I can’t wait for a new season and campaign of 2015/2016 in the Premier League. Rest of silly will be interesting, but I hope that no player plays it out as Delph did. The way he promised loyalty and then in like a windfall going back to Manchester City for a new medical. He has surely signed a new contract and gotten the number and new shirt for his new team. As he left Birmingham and went for the money, if I can advise him on one thing not that I believe he will read a single word I wrote. Fabian Delph shouldn’t speak again about loyalty and love for a club before you actually prove it in action. Peace.

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