On With The Show
So, we’ve given the World Cup a decent burial and soccerlife goes on. The European Championship qualifiers are well under way and all domestic leagues are being fought out with renewed vigour. Can Arsenal repeat as Premier Champions? Who will win the European Cup? (Champions League) Will Denis Bergkamp change his hairstyle? Will Ruud Gullit develop a Geordie accent soon? All these and many more questions will be argued and reviewed thoroughly throughout the coming months and into 1999. Assuming no early Y2K problems, I will continue to bring you the best in off the cuff soccer comment style.
How about Manchester United. I stopped bidding at 700 million sterling to let the bigger fish fight it out. All I need to know is the product on the field will stay the same. I of course use the term ‘stay the same’ loosely in this modern world of constant change. If you buy their new kit now, it should just be delivered in time to order their next new strip. But I digress. Did you know that in addition to Old Trafford sell-outs, Man U have enough fans worldwide to fill the Maracana stadium for every home game. Little wonder the talks continue on Super Leagues then. They’ve just won 3-0 at Southampton on a day when 6 out of eight Premier games played resulted in away wins. I’d like to have that one on the pools. The Dell has never been an easy visit for Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils so the Premier League as a whole looks great again this year. Dwight Yorke has done ever so well for his new side so far while having to look up the table to see his old Aston Villa colleagues stay unbeaten and atop the mountain.
It’s difficult to predict England on the international front these days. Glenn Hoddle seems to spend more of his time dutifully explaining his remarks, trying to sell his book, and dealing with the press generally rather than coaching and winning soccer games. His energy is being swallowed up giving interviews and justifying his widespread use of creatine injections during the World Cup to the utter detriment of his country. In short, he is forgetting to get the business done on the field. After making substantial progress initially with the team, certain personalities ( e.g Gascoigne, Beckham, Ince) have proceeded to grab the headlines for all the wrong reasons and Mr. Hoddle’s ability to diplomatically handle these unpredictable and yet somehow inevitable situations has fallen far short of the elegance with which he graced the field as a player. The result of all this is that England are not feared by anyone at the moment and hence they are eminently beatable as proven by Sweden in their recent Euro clash. While I acknowledge that you cannot just give international caps to anybody, the good news for Glenn is that a huge talent pool is available to him – he just has to allow the last few months to basically be lapsed from consciousness at this point, and find the proven winners of the future. English players do not need injections to play soccer. Give me a call Glenn.
Congrats to my Ireland team on a magic victory over the now highly fancied Croatia. What a night that was in Dublin. Away the lads and on with the games. Sadly, the upcoming clash with Yugoslavia has been cancelled/postponed by EUFA for security reasons. Keep it all in perspective readers. A lot more games are taking place shortly and we’ll examine the groups in more detail as events unfold.