Manchester United fan Joe Bookbinder makes the case for a quick return to management for Michael Laudrup…
Before I start, I should state that I believe David Moyes should be given more time before proper judgement can be passed. As a United fan I have far from enjoyed the majority of this season, and have largely tried to avoid thinking about the worrying situation.
Despite a considerable list of things that have gone wrong this season, despite the wry smiles, I firmly believe Moyes knows how to turn it around. After all, if he’s good enough for Sir Alex and Sir Bobby, that’s more than enough for me.
Barring an unbelievable end to the season, 4th looks to be a bridge too far as does the impossibility of United winning the Champions League. Dumped out of the domestic competitions by bottom half sides, United’s season is effectively over in mid-February. In terms of Moyes’ future I’d like to see Woodward and the Glazers properly back their man. Moyes is a much better operator in the transfer market than is currently being portrayed – Fellaini could still come good (think of all the United players that had slow starts to life at Old Trafford) and in Mata he signed one of the most gifted players in the league. His record at Everton was impressive – Cahill, Arteta, Baines, Jagielka, Coleman to name a few. Just don’t mention Darron Gibson, in any context. Continue reading →
After a year of underachievement,James Dutton wonders where Michael Laudrup’s Swansea are heading…
A year is a long time in football, so the adage goes. It’s a year ago today that Swansea held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw at the Liberty Stadium, Eden Hazard kicked a ball-boy and Michael Laudrup led the Welsh club into their first major final.
It was the high-point of Laudrup’s 18 months thus far on the South Welsh coast, culminating in the 5-0 spanking of League 2 Bradford. They won only twice more in the Premier League that season, and have tasted victory only five times in the league this season. Some have called it a sideways step, but the figures paint a picture of regression.
The Swans currently sit 15th in the table, equidistant from both the relegation places and mid-table, but the gap is a mere three points. The season so far has been a tale of slow decline, where they have nestled between 9th and 13th for the majority of it, but now, winless since the beginning of December, they have been sucked into the middle of a relegation battle that is eating up the bottom half of the table.
In the timeframe since their last victory, a 2-1 win at Fulham, media attention has focused on various “crises” at West Ham United and Manchester United. Swansea’s own plight has slipped under the radar, their FA Cup win at Old Trafford brought plenty of plaudits and obscured the reality. Continue reading →
As the third series of Game of Thrones draws to a close, James Dutton and David Wild imagine the parallels between the worlds of Westeros and the Premier League…
As the Premier League continues to enthral millions across the world, so HBO’s serialisation of George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ has captivated a loyal, steadfast and ever-growing audience. Here, The False Nine draws analogies between the two worlds; from the intimidating Britannia Stadium to the formidable Iron Islands, no stone is left unturned. Who will win in the Premier League Game of Thrones?
Finally the Premier League has put us out of our misery and decided to end the season. There’s been little excitement and little to remember, James Dutton wonders what the hell happened, and whether anyone can be happy about this…
The 2012-13 Premier League season has undoubtedly been a damp squib.
The exceptional events of a year ago seem to have hoarded all the drama and intrigue the Premier League can provide.
For the first time since 2006 there was nothing meaningful to decide at either end of the table – save another “epic” battle between Tottenham and Arsenal for fourth, with the wretched Reading and QPR the worst of a particularly sorry bunch of bottom-half sides this year.
It’s been a season defined by regression; the first time since 1996 there has been no English team in the quarter finals of the Champions League, an artificially dramatic “Fight for Fourth” and a title race that was, for all intents and purposes, sewn up before Christmas.
Misery reigns from top to bottom.
Are there any teams in the Premier League that can argue to have had a good season, be content with what they have achieved, or how far they have progressed, since August? Continue reading →
David Wild puts the Neutrality Index to the test as he compares Everton and Swansea City…
If you’re an avid supporter of my work you’ll remember that last week I wrote a piece on the Neutrality Index, a combination of the factors which I believe a team’s neutral support is based on. Further to that article I now plan to take those factors and examine the case for two of the neutral heavyweights of the Premier League. In doing this I hope to try and figure out who has the best case to be ‘the people’s choice’.
All season ticket prices quoted are for the cheapest season ticket. I’m also choosing to include some famous fans of each club, both as perhaps an indicator of the kind of person who follows that team and also because it’s a nice interesting little factoid of the kind that pub quiz enthusiasts like myself thrive on in their pointless hours. Enjoy. Continue reading →
Greg Johnson asks whether foreign managers have fallen foul of the English football psyche…
As he held the League Cup aloft in victory, shares in Michael Laudrup rattled up the ranks of the managerial stock exchange. His worth had already soared far beyond and above the valuations placed upon him in the summer, and come the close of business in May, it looks likely that Laudrup will have all but confirmed his place as one of the most attractive managerial investments around.
Swansea’s first major trophy in their 100 year history; Europa League entry for next season; exquisite football; the likelihood of an entirely respectable final position in the Premier League; and named as the man fans most want to takeover the reins at Real Madrid – it’s an impressive end-of-season growth report to reflect on for the Dane who co-founded a free-market think tank in his homeland in 2004. Continue reading →
In the wake of Swansea’s glorious League Cup triumph, The False Nine editor James Dutton explores the state of the Welsh game…
As the dust settles on Swansea’s emphatic Capital One Cup victory over the unlikely opposition of Bradford City, Blue Square Conference leaders Wrexham are due to travel to Wembley next month for the FA Trophy Final. Cardiff City sit eight points clear at the summit of the Championship with a game in hand, whilst Newport County sit just two points behind their North Walian countrymen, also with a game in hand.
Swansea’s meteoric rise from the basement of the Football League pyramid in 2004 to the heady heights of the Premier League, and now League Cup winners just nine years later, is an astounding tale. Next year the Swans will be playing European football; a chance for Welsh football to showcase its burgeoning ascension on the continent. Continue reading →