Monday, August 22, 2005

*Double Take*

I read this in the news following the Arsenal v. Chelsea game and I had to re-read it again to make sure I was seeing right..

Micheal Essien, Didier Drogba and Sean Wright-Phillips.. the three Chelsea substitutes during the second half of that game have a combined value of 70 million pounds.

That is more than the worth of the entire Arsenal squad, a team that's supposed to be competing with Chelsea for the title.

Roman, you've well and truly gone and fucked the world of football up.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Why I hate Real Madrid...

Yes,, they may be the Galacticos, they retain the services of a blessed genius named Zizou, they have the grand history of a footballing marvel, they have all the players I love - but alas, I cannot love a team like Real Madrid for one specific reason... They are Real Madrid...

Most of my friends are Madrid fans - I don't blame their glory hunting ambitions - when a team can say boast Zidane, Raul, Roberto Carlos, Robinho, Ivan, Fatsoronaldo, El Becko, and Saint Ilker on their roster: why wouldn't you support them? I'll tell you why.. because I cannot support a team that has established itself by sucking the life out of other teams, by shifting the blame onto other people, by having debts magically written from their balances - is this a football team or a financial enterprise hell bent on merchandise and profit - using their famous supporters to their advantage? Just when you think the storm has subsided and you might be able to support this team - they turn around and shit on the footballing world once again - proving their contempt for the beautiful game..

Allow me to explain my anger... It all began with the cold war... Spain is a country divided by many ethnicities: the Castilians, Catalans, Galicians, Basques, Andalusians, the islanders (canary, malaga, mallorca), the list does continue.. Some of these ethinicities have their own languages, their own way of life - but all were controlled by the Castilians from Madrid.. just look at a road map of Spain, all roads lead to Madrid... Again, before you label me a Spain or Madrid Basher - Most of my friends from Spain are Madridistas and I love them dearly, but I hate (and they know this) their football club, Real Madrid... Anyways, Real Madrid means Royal Madrid and has been a symbol of Castilian football... fair enough, not a problem, but when the different people of Spain were not allowed to speak their own language and had to adopt Castilian Spanish as their mother tongue - things felt a little wrong - when the only place you can speak Catalan without the fear of being shot by the Guardia Civil, is the Estadio Nou Camp, things felt a little wrong... Generalissimo Francisco Franco and his rightist controlled Spain and was a huge Real Madrid fan.. After all, Madrid embodied everything 'Spanish' - in his eyes, they should be the true representation of Spain..

Stealing Players
Alfredo Di Stefano, a rising Argentine football star, was plying his trade with Colombian team Millonarios when he was first spotted by Barcelona scouts.. I've just researched this information on the web, and have found so many conflicting stories, but after conferring with Charly Garcia (a lifelong Madrid fan, my story is pretty close to the truth)... So Barcelona buys Di Stefano's contract and brings him to play in La Liga and score goals for the Azulgrana... Midway through the first season, Real decide that it's just not fair, so they contact Di Stefano's old club in Argentina (River Plate) and get them to prepare documentation that Madrid actually bought him from them... I find this story hard to believe because Millonarios were a footballing powerhouse at the time, they were one of the strongest teams in South America, how would they have snagged a River Plate star without agreeing a deal? But this is where Real's string pulling comes into play and they manage to bring this dispute to the Spanish courts, where Franco decides that both Barcelona and Madrid own Di Stefano's contract and that they should share him. Barcelona refuse and offer to sell him to Juventus... Madrid refuse, Leave FC Barcelona to cut their losses and give up Di Stefano... what happens next? Madrid begin their Historical Stamp in European football with Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskás
as the golden boys winning 5 European Championships in a row.. the blonde arrow has since become the Honorary Chairman of Madrid (even though he was originally brought to Spain through Barcelona and taken from them unfairly)...

Raúl González Blanco: the prince of Real Madrid - the club captain.. their Hero, their Golden Boy... A little boy snapped up in the middle of the night from their fierce city rivals: Athletico Madrid.. Your golden boy...

Madrid haven't really produced any fantastic homegrown players.. All their players came from someplace else.. not like the other Spanish teams that produced fine young talent: Barsa: Xavi, Puyol, Guardiola, iniesta, valdes - Sevilla: Reyes, Ramos - Athletic de Bilbao: Exteberria, Del Horno - Athletico Madrid: Torres - I'm running out of names..

Current Regime bullcrap
Florentino Perez was elected in 2000 as president and is now serving his second term... Uncle Flo, has meddled in transfer affairs - trying to be a Moggi of Juve, but with the Panache of an obnoxious loudspeaker. He boasts greatness before proving anything... He coined Galacticos - and that's true, his players were real fantasticos... But his meddling turned it into more of a money making scheme.. Galacticos were a brand and Real Madrid had the rights... refusing to buy players before they sign over their merchandising rights? I understand running a club is a business, but you cannot forget about the game... the more Perez flaunted his talents the more they fizzled... Then he comes up with the Policy of Pavons and Zidanes... are you serious? ok Uncle Flo has purchased some amazing players - no doubt about that, but where have they brought forth Pavons? Pavon has yet to establish himself and I fear they've already buried the youngster's talent with all this pressure.. Claude Makalele leaves because Flo refuses to pay him the right salary he deserves, since then, Madrid have no silverware in their trophy cabinet - even though they had all those Galacticos.. Their Coach Del Bosque was a regular coach, who brought them fortunes, how do they treat him? kick his ass out to the curb, just like they did to their talismanic captain Hierro - the man who kept everything together.. they fucking cut the guy after all those years of service... you don't do that man - after that, they suffer from gaps in defense because Hierro isn't there to develop young stars like Pavon, he's not there to organize the back line - to command the game...

One can only think that Perez took a team of Professional Giants and invited a bullshit superstar ego problem.. (Remember the days of Suker & Mijatovic, Zamorano?) This is how Perez likes to treat players and his staff.. look at the Sporting Director at the club - it used to be former Madrid Argentine Hero: Jorge Valdano - for a while he was the man, he was king bringing Figo and Zidane into the club.. now? a forgotten memory replaced by Emilio Butrageneo, who will share the same fate as long as Perez is in Charge...

When they needed a player to bolster their defense, Perez brought in an offensive minded player.. Real Madrid has always let in goals, they just always tried to score more than their opponent. But listen to the coach and the rest of the world - you need to create a football team, it's not all about brand imaging... They had the chance to sign Patrick Vieira from Arsenal, but then decided not to, because they wouldn't give him a Galacticos Salary - but the whole time, Perez kept on talking telling everyone how Patrick was the best player in his position... yer full of shit flo..

Samuel Eto'o was owned by Madrid, he was an incredible prospect, everyone knew it.. he was more than instrumental in keeping Real Mallorca alive and kicking in La Liga. All he wanted to do was play for Madrid... you know what they did? they sold half his contract to Mallorca and then completely sold him to Barcelona.. Know what happens next? Eto'o goals help Barcelona win La Liga in the 04/05 season..

Another example of Madrid's ‘unbelievable fortune’ in Spain: after the successive record transfers of Figo and Zidane, Madrid find themselves a record 165 million pounds sterling in debt. What do they do? they sell their 50 year old training complex "Ciudad deportiva" for an overvalued amount of approximately 347 million pounds sterling.. how do you ask this happened? well They say that Perez got the city councilors to reclassify the land to development property - and with that Madrid's debts were wiped.. Perez made his millions as a contractor and builds Madrid's next training compound for a nice tidy profit.. you make the call... corruption??? this stinks like Bernard Tapie and his meddling that robbed Marseille of their Champions League Trophy in the 90s..

This is just some of the bullshit I don't like... Luxe is the new coach, and I'm hoping they can go back to the days of deserved champions.. I'm still thinking of that goal Zidane scored in the Champions League... but apart from that, something is rotten in the state of Real Madrid… sorry for my rambling - it's just how i feel..

ohh yeah: Frank's Army will do it back to back, just you wait and see..

Monday, August 08, 2005

Arsenal named the Premiership's fastest-growing brand

This post includes my three favorite subjects, football, arsenal, and branding!

Found this link on another football blog and thought Id share it with you guys....

Arsenal named the Premiership's fastest-growing brand

by Julia Pearlman Brand Republic 8 Aug 2005

Arsenal named the Premiership's fastest-growing brand

Arsenal: fastest-growing brand in the Premiership

LONDON – Arsenal might have crashed to defeat against arch-rivals Chelsea yesterday, but the club can take some comfort as it is named the fastest-growing football brand in the Premiership.

The figure is likely to surprise some, with Manchester United being viewed as a bigger brand. However, many of its supporters are international.

With sales of overall branded merchandise soaring by 82%, sales of branded products through Arsenal is set to increase by 20%, according to Granada Ventures.

Granada Ventures, which owns 10% of the club, has predicted another big year for the Arsenal brand in 2005/2006 as the club prepares to move to its new home, Emirates Stadium in Ashburton Grove for the 2006/2007 season.

Arsenal, which lost yesterday's Community Shield match 2-1 to Chelsea at the Millennium Stadium, has an estimated global fanbase of 27m people and is one of the biggest clubs in the world after Man Utd and Real Madrid.

Research by Ipsos has shown that the club's fanbase is young and affluent, with 53% in the ABC1 demographic category and half in the 16-34 age bracket.

Last season saw a huge increase in revenue for the club with video and DVD sales growing by 196%, official annual sales increased by 80% and calendar sales increasing by 300% in 2004.

The naming rights of the club's new stadium is expected to represent the biggest club football sponsorship deal to date.

Charlie Donaldson, head of licensing at Granada Ventures, said: "Arsenal is a massive brand, probably one of the biggest in worldwide sport. Research by Ipsos RSL in February 2005 shows that Arsenal has the fastest growing support in the Premiership.

"The fanbase has increased from 3% of the population in 2002 to 4% in 2005."

Research revealed that 20% of all live matches broadcast in the UK feature Arsenal and 89% of people who support a Premiership football team say Arsenal is one of the three most successful clubs ever.

Thierry Henry came out top as the favourite Premiership player among fans who support a Premiership club.

As well as owning a stake in Arsenal, Granada also owns a stake in premiership club Liverpool. As part of ITV, Granada is currently considering whether to sell its football holdings as it concentrates on its core business.

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So, any thoughts on why that is? I personally think its the beautiful football that has been played by the team for the past three years more than anything.

Henry, rest of team, new badge, new look of the team, the youth, new stadium, and everything else are all factors....but without a doubt, I think the main reason for the Arsenal brand becoming what it is has to be Arsene Wenger, who's behind the real magic and style of football on the pitch!

Any thoughts??

Sunday, August 07, 2005

True Tinkering

Did anyone see (whatever that tournament in Holland was called) the recent arsenal v. ajax game? I only really caught the second half, but was astounded by the fact that (new team captain) Henry only made two or three runs into the box with the ball in 45 minutes of play. He spent most of his time playing from deep, making passes and looking for openings to play the rest of the midfield forward (with a happy freddie ready to oblige).

Is this another twist from Arsene? He took him him from a winger, turned him into a striker and now he's going to turn him into a creative playmaker? I personally doubt that Arsenal will be able to do without Theirry's speed and incisive attack for very long, but it is an interesting option to consider, now that Paddy is no longer with them.

Mourinho did it with Gudjohnson and now you've got Smith playing the middle of the park for United.

The idea, of course, is not to teach them how to defend or play in a new position, but rather to take advantage of a turnover by quickly moving the back upfront before the other team has switched back to defensive mode and hopefully administering a killah shot. It is the same old long ball theory that most goals are scored from three touches or less but instead of punting it forward, to keep the ball on the ground and play it into the path of one (or more) of your attackers.

Total Feedback anyone?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Summer Transfer Activity (or lack thereof...)

I can't remember a more lacklustre summer in terms of signings in England. In Mid-summer, the general consensus was that we would get a flurry of activity towards the end. I think it is safe to say that this has not happened, or at least not yet. Even the signings that have been made so far fail to set the pulse racing. Big name signings would always whet the appetite for the new season.

Why has it all been so humdrum this year?