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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for Forbes.com and Soccerly.com and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


TANGENTS

Raves and Rants – Stars of Yesterday and Tomorrow and Money, Money, Money

Written by on November 23, 2011 | 15 Comments »
Posted in General

Some of the best of the soccer web with an atrocious piece thrown in now and again.

Elcentrocampista.com picked up on an article written earlier this year by Alan Pattullo and Gavin Jamieson in the Scotsman on a little known player called George Pattullo. Pattullo was arguably Barcelona’s first star player.

A few years back I remember doing something similar to World Soccer’s list of most promising youngsters.

The piece I did was based on four years though rather than just one. This piece from in bed with maradona takes a Spanish list of their top 100 under-23 players from last year and revisits where they are and how they did over the last year.

Is former Glasgow bookie Willie McKay Doncaster Rovers life raft or anchor? An article from David Conn.

Another in a series of profiles of great Dutch players from jouracule. This time it is Arie Haan. Also included is video of Haan’s magnificent long-range effort at World Cup ’78 that flew past Dino Zoff.

An article by Jimmy Vulmer on the Rangers media website about Danish players who have made an impact at the club.

If you are going to do this type of article then how could Kai Johansen who scored the only goal in the 1966 Scottish Cup replay that beat Celtic be overlooked? Johansen was one of a number of Scandinavian players who moved to Scotland in the mid-sixties and made a tremendous impact.  

Johansen originally signed for Morton before moving to Rangers. Dundee United, Aberdeen, Kilmarnock, Hibs, Dunfermline, St. Mirren and Hearts all participated into what was referred to then as the Scandinavian or Viking Invasion.

Liam Kelly goes back 23 years and remembers Ireland’s debut at a major international tournament.

Ian Herbert tells about the picture that hangs in the office of Sir Alex Ferguson and what it represents to him. And it not of Victoria Beckham.

A quarter of a century since he left but Ferguson’s shadow continues to haunt his successors at Aberdeen says Andy Muirhead.

John Beech has been reading the autobiography of former FIFA President Sir Stanley Rous. 

The andersredblog runs over Manchester United’s first quarter results.

The Daily Mail catches up with their version of “statistics and Moneyball is changing the game” article.

Soccer by Numbers grabs a look at some goal scoring statistics from last season and puts forward an interesting view of how Wigan managed to survive.

Les Rosbifs has a minute-by-minute account of “Mr. Beckham goes to the MLS Cup Final.” His conclusion – close to mine.

Cross a job with the Financial Times off your bucket list Martin Samuel. He gets much more wrong than he gets right in this article.

Primarily the rules are not Platini’s rules, they are the rules vetted by, and voted, on by the domestic associations.

His “Platini made us spend the money” argument misses the point that it is not a one-off fix but a year-by-year assessment.

There is the concept of amortization involved in respect to transfer fees and salary contracts committed today also have to be funded by earned revenues in the future.

Jonathan Wilson writes about the on-field troubles of John Obi Mikel. In part of the article Wilson refers to Mikel being asked to take on the role of the defensive midfield screen at such a young age – a position more normally occupied by more experienced players.

I think a very good case could be made that playing a young player in that position robs him of the experience he needs to ultimately succeed over the longer term. The role he was required to play, first under Mourinho and then his successors, was so restrictive that there was no opportunity for growth.

A young full back can pop up in attack, a centre back can get forward from time to time, a striker can drop deep or a midfielder can offer defensive cover – all require players to solve different problems.

Instead Mikel was asked to sit in front of the back four and although he was termed a midfield player he had a more defensive role than anyone else in the Chelsea line up bar the goalkeeper.

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15 responses to “Raves and Rants – Stars of Yesterday and Tomorrow and Money, Money, Money”

  1. Soccerlogical says:

    re: Man City

    This team was never gonna beat the likes of a Barca, Real or even Munich for the CL trophy. They may lose out on CL knockout stage money but winning the EPL and Europa League would be the logical and more realistic progression for a side on a serious ascent in world football.

    * LEV – CHE & ARS – DORT should be TASTY!!!!

  2. J Rob says:

    SL – Bobby isn’t buying it but my opinion is that cautious Mancini is convinced that a billion doesn’t give you the resources to win the EPL and simultaneously compete in the Champion’s League as well.

    Against Napoli yesterday was that your best starting 11 and was that the formation of team managed by an Italian manager who knew he couldn’t afford to lose? And I know that people like to say that domestic form doesn’t matter – but really? Napoli have lost five times this season and City not once in the process scoring 42 goals (the same number as Madrid in La Liga).

    City’s defending yesterday for the goals was shocking. For the 2nd Toure inexplicably wondered forward from the edge of the box as Napoli attacked on its right edge allowing Cavani an unchecked run into the box for his goal. Odd to say the least especially from a player with oodles of top-level experience.

  3. J Rob says:

    Bobby:

    Article on SAF was very interesting. I wonder if a good performance from 8 out of your 11 players will be sufficient going forward for any team? The flying geese analogy is tremendous.

    I remember Arie Hann’s goal against Italy in 1978 very well. He hit it so hard the cameraman could barely keep up. If I recall correctly he scored another beauty from distance against Germany in the same World Cup.

  4. Soccerlogical says:

    J ROB – All I know is that MC was nowhere near a top 4 club (i.e. EPL and CL experience and “success”) like Chelsea was at the time of Abramovich’s takeover.

    So regardless of money spent, there is no realistic chance ANY nouveau riche club can win a major double in the second season of a new project. Especially when a very strong and hungry Madrid, Barca and Munich stand in the way.

    Scarfini will hang himself with his muffler should he blow this very good chance of EPL title success by chasing a CL trophy so early in the MC project. Any other titles are just a cherry on top… at least for the fans.

    *As for his best 11. That side was pretty strong on paper and indicated he was going for a win.. at least in my eyes. Aguero played over the weekend and had a slight injury over the int’l break and there is no reason to assume Super Mario, Dzeko or Zabaleta and an attacking Kolarov are second fiddle.

  5. J Rob – West Germany goal – that is my recollection as well

  6. J Rob says:

    SL – yes agreed – on paper every possible Man City permutation looks good.

    Think we agree that Mancini is at heart very cautious. At least he doesn’t start every game with three holding midfielders these days.

    I think Balotelli has really matured in the last 12 months. Unlucky not to equalise yesterday. His goal at Old Trafford to open the scoring for Man City in what was a very tight game in the first-half was impeccable from a technical point of view. His overall play has come on heaps too.

  7. Russell Berrisford says:

    I once heard Jonathan Wilson say that at age 17 or 18 it was a toss up between Messi and Mikel as to who would be the most exciting player in the future.

    Safe to say that Messi won that particular contest, but I wonder if Mikel is ruined for life by playing in his current position or if some coach could look like a genius by playing him in a forward and freer role?

  8. Roberto Manita says:

    I would like to know the name of the alien and the planet from which he came from that possessed the body of Alex Song today.

    I have never seen Song play so well and have twinkle toes like Nasri until this day. Song was an absolute beast at the Grove v Dortmund. Well done Alex. Keep it up.

    Arsenal v APOEL in the UCL Final in Bavaria come late May. You heard it here first. Or second.

  9. Alberta Gooner says:

    Where have all the Chicken Littles and the other songbirds of woe gone? South for the winter? They sure as hell aren’t around north London these days. Strange how winning has turned them as extinct as dodos.

  10. Soccerlogical says:

    AG – Last I checked, Arsenal still have quite a bit of work to do to even get to 3rd place (with TOT having a game in hand). Any way you look at it, Wenger denied fans a real shot at the EPL title with some questionable transfers resulting in an awful start to the season.

    Some fans may be content with another season of “promise” but some fans may be frustrated by what could have been if Arsenal were better equipped for the start of the season.

  11. Alberta Gooner says:

    Which proves you still don’t have a clue, SL. You have no idea who the club targeted over the summer and who they tried to bring in. Your problem, SL, is you spend far too much time moaning when the results were going poorly. Now that they are going well, you can’t even enjoy this run of results after all the rubbish you spewed earlier this season.

    You’ve not supported Arsenal long enough to see the club has seen far tougher times than these. Feel free to take potshots at the Wenger and the club but don’t pretend to be anything other than a gloryhunter. Time for you to learn the words to Blue Moon.

  12. John Bladen says:

    AG:

    Harsh, but I can’t disagree. Many “modern” fans (not just modern AFC fans) can’t see the forest for the trees, frankly. They revolt en masse, front offices are turned upside down, transfers in, transfers out and nobody has anything like a long term plan. Yahtzee football, as I like to call it. No club owner who lets the fans make club decisions is worth his salt (or my ticket/merchandise money).

    Despite what some halfwit armchair managers think, it isn’t as simple as spending boatloads of cash on players who have peaked (or, increasingly, are over the peak…) and then stitching their names on jerseys. This “tactic” (ahem) fails far, far more often than it succeeds.

    Football is about building clubs – even at the elite level. That’s why Barcelona is still the best. Yes, they spend money. But they do it wisely and with an eye to who fits the club – unlike most of their main competitors…

  13. John Bladen says:

    Roberto:

    I hope you are right… should mean tickets available for us (ok, maybe not)… and of course SL will have to boycott the event as he cannot stomach the present ‘failure’ that inhabits the Emirates…

  14. Soccerlogical says:

    AG – Strong words coming from someone who rates Djourou as a defender and defended him on quite a few posts! I await your positive comments at season’s end when we hopefully qualify for a CL (or EL) spot and our defense (led by Song) gets ripped apart by an experienced CL side.

    I know what this team is capable of offensively and I’m not gonna do cartwheels as we fight for a CL spot when we clearly could have been top of the league at this point with one or two better signings (earlier in the window) which would have cost roughly 10-15M more in total… not the hundreds of millions which you keep mentioning in your failed attempt to sensationalize like a FOX News host. LOL

    Unless you actually believe that we can truly compete this season for the EPL or CL title, I would just watch the games and enjoy Song’s twinkle toes while you can.

    If you can’t or won’t accept the fact that our horrific defenders are lost without Vermaelen and cost us a proper run at the EPL title due to the awful start to the season then I suggest watching a simpler sport…. perhaps Tether ball?

    *How about you “man up” and claim this team which has been reared by Wenger and playing together for quite a few years now, has as good a shot at winning the EPL title as the likes of Man City?

    Otherwise, keep drinking the Wenger juice and parroting Arsene’s old adage of “Young, need to mature, potential, blah blah blah..”

  15. Alberta Gooner says:

    @John Bladen,

    “Despite what some halfwit armchair managers think, it isn’t as simple as spending boatloads of cash on players who have peaked (or, increasingly, are over the peak…) and then stitching their names on jerseys. This “tactic” (ahem) fails far, far more often than it succeeds.”

    Exactly! Which has been shown time and again. Instant transfer spending is often seen as a panacea by the likes of SL and other modern “fans”. I personally blame Championship Manager for enabling the belief that teams are only a couple siginings away from glory. Moratti spend hundreds of millions in a fruitless pursuit of glory in Italy. Or how much has Franco FC given the omelet maker and his predecessors to win one Copa del Rey? Even Barca weren’t immune from the “instant fix” of transfer spending at points over the past 20 years.

    @SL

    No small irony that Vermaelen’s own goal cost us today but, unlike you, I’m not going to kill a player for a mistake. See, unlike you, I actually watched Dixon, Winterburn, Adams, Bould and Keown play together and can rightly dismiss some of the rose-coloured rubbish about how stout Arsenal’s British back fours used to be.

    You lacked the brass to bet me when Arsenal was down and out. I’m not surprised you continued to be a little mealy-mouthed songbird of woe even today.

    Arsenal played well and deserved to win but they clearly looked tired. Wenger might have persisted a little too much with the likes of Ramsey and Arshavin but I’ll save the second-guessing of the manager to the club’s Chicken Little set! Cluck away, SL!

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