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Archive for the ‘Newcastle United’ Category

Club vs. Country saga

Posted by Daniel Stone on October 13, 2007

owen.jpg This week Club football is on hold for the European Championship 2008 qualifiers. Michael Owen, Newcastle United and England striker has reignited the whole club vs. country saga once again. This can be quite a tedious topic but I will be indulging into my opinion whether it is more important to play for your club rather then your country. 

Sam Allardyce the Newcastle manager had said that it would be the Club’s decision whether Michael Owen would be fit to play both international games this weekend and next week. Owen then responded to these claims by stating he would only listen to his surgeon as she knows whether he is ready or not, and she says he is ready 

Back in July this year Jaime Carragher retired from international football due to him being over looked for his preferred position (Centre back) by being asked to play left back, right back or even left on the bench. Paul Scholes also retired from international football at a young age, 29 as he stated he wanted to concentrate playing club football. The reason behind these players retiring from international football ‘early’ is because they believe their football career can be prolonged. Why else are these players choosing club over country? 

As George Graham put it to Ian Wright back in the 90’s, “Remember where your bread is buttered”. Money has become a major factor in football and especially in Club football. With all the publicity involved and the amount of football on TV nowadays clubs have gained more power over the years to a stage where they can influence if a player is called up or not. I also believe that with the influx of quality foreign players over the years, the Premiership has become more competitive which means that there is a lot of prestige at stake on winning the Premiership or the Champions League.  

On the other hand, in the past it was always a boys dream to represent his country and score a goal at the World Cup. Maybe this dream is still alive but with International players, International football seems to be second tier. I believe this is due to all the international friendlies nowadays. Instead of breeding newcomers to the international stage and preparing the teams for the ‘important’ qualifiers they seem to be a nuisance for the Club teams. One thing for sure is that the World Cup only comes once every four years so this makes it the most prestigious tournament and trophy in football. I know what I would put first.

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Posted in International Football, Newcastle United, Premiership | 12 Comments »

Season with Potential – West Ham into Europe

Posted by Daniel Stone on August 8, 2007

uefacup.jpg This is part 2 to this series of Premiership predictions. Click here for Part 1. 

6th Position – West Ham 

After a disastrous season last year I think West Ham have a point to prove, and that being they deserve their status in the Premiership. They have rung major changes to the squad and to be honest I think they have made some major coups, most notably Freddie Ljungberg, Scott Parker and Craig Bellamy (if he can just concentrate on his football). I don’t think Kieron Dyer will be a good signing for them though as they may have too many hot heads in the squad, and it would also mean him being reunited with Lee Bowyer (we all know what happened last time!). Alan Curbishly has had money to spend, the pressure is on.

Key man: Scott Parker  

7th position – Portsmouth 

Another team who have added to an already good squad. Defensively they look very solid and they seem to have spent big on fire power this season bringing in David Nugent and John Utaka. Lomana Lua Lua has also had a great pre-season so he is another one to watch out for. I can see Portsmouth improving on last season but just missing out on Europe.

Key man: Sol Campbell 

8th Position – Blackburn 

Roque Santa Cruz will be a brilliant signing for Blackburn and there is lots of potential to establish a great partnership with Bennie McCarthy. As well as signing Santa Cruz the next best business Blackburn have done this summer is keeping McCarthy. I think stability is a key factor for Blackburn and I can see them having a similar season to last year. Still don’t have enough to cement a European place though.

Key man: Bennie McCarthy 

9th Position – Newcastle United 

Sam Allerdice had a reputation at Bolton for playing ugly football but grinding out results. It took Sam many years to get to the level he achieved with Bolton having fought many dog fights not so long ago. I think he will need time with Newcastle. They will play ugly football but will be more consistent in comparison to previous years. I am not sure this is what Newcastle fans will be looking for though as they normally ask for more than just results. However, they have been let down immensely over the years so they might just be satisfied with a top ten finish. If Allerdice is given time (a couple of years) Newcastle will be able to compete for Europe, not sure if time is on his side though!

Key man: Michael Owen (if he can stay fit) 

10th Position – Bolton 

Bolton will not change much under Sammy Lee considering he spent so much time under Allerdice’s tenure. They have signed quite a few low key players and have lost the influential figure of Ben Haim at the back. Considering other teams have improved I think Bolton will fall a few places from last season. Don’t expect Bolton to change their style of play either. Ironic that in the first game of the season the Bolton fans will see Sam Allerdice back, in the opposition dug out. You just wouldn’t be able to write that script up!Key man: Nicolas Anelka

Posted in Blackburn, Bolton, Newcastle United, Portsmouth, Premiership, West Ham | 2 Comments »