Saturday, August 15, 2009

2009 - 2010 Season

It has began!!!

Shirt Sponsorship

Carlsberg considering ending its partnership with Liverpool does not make sense to me. Liverpool has one of the strongest club brands in the world. I have always thought the investment from sponsorship with regards to shirts was a wise investment. There are so many impressions that you have people see that it is such a strong reinforcement of a brand. I would suggest that sponsors pull back on money spent elsewhere and focus more and more on shirts sponsors. Think about it, for love of their club, people are walking around with the club shirt and your logo, reinforcing the brand throughout the week and year. I just don’t see why more companies don’t invest in this.


My comments were spurred on by the following article below I finished reading…


Carlsberg to end sponsorship deal with Liverpool
Carlsberg to end sponsorship deal with Liverpool After more than a decade of support, Carlsberg may be ready to abandon its sponsorship deal with English Liverpool. Forbes reports that the official Liverpool sponsor is currently weighing the available options, which would leave the club without an official sponsor by the end of 2010. Carlsberg Chief Executive Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen commented that the company was unable to look into other options due to the exclusivity agreement in place with Liverpool. Following a 17-year relationship with Liverpool, dating back to 1992, it appears unlikely that Carlsberg will pursue a contract extension at the end of their current term which expires in 2010. The Daily Mail reports that Standard Chartered is next in line for the honors, after losing their Manchester United bid to Aon. Liverpool has upped their shirt sponsorship asking price to GBP 15 million , with the likes of Manchester United sealing a GBP 20 million-per-year deal with Aon and Chelsea having inked a GBP 13 million deal with Samsung.

Disparity of Balance

I see that the EPL is becoming more and more of have and have not’s. The season just stared today and I can write out with some level of certainty where teams will place in the table. Maybe not the exact order, but more by grouping. I think with certain teams spending more and more it puts the league in a disparity of balance. I like parity on some level and like to see the underdog rise up. They may not win it all but there is a certain excitement in seeing that happen. Before the season started today, most would say they can name the top three which would include Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea. The issue with this type of spending of these top teams is the debt. I don’t think they can maintain this type of spending and what has done has inflated salaries, forced team who want to stay up in the EPL to pay money they should not be paying as well and start to put them in the same dire straits as the top teams.


My comments were spurred on by the following article below I finished reading…


English soccer chief against spending limits
The head of English soccer opposes restrictions for clubs on player spending, contending the Premier League is improved by clubs like Manchester City spending heavily to strengthen their teams. European soccer’s governing body is trying to implement rules that would force teams to make transfer fees and players’ salaries proportionate to their income as a condition for entry to the Champions League. Football Association chief executive Ian Watmore has dismissed those plans as unfeasible and unenforceable. Signaling a clear split from UEFA’s vision of financial fair play, Watmore approves of Manchester City’s spending strategy, funded by its Abu Dhabi owners. In fact, he wants to see more of it. “Anything that makes the competition stronger and more deep, I think has got to be welcomed,” Watmore, who took over at the FA two months ago, said Sunday. “We don’t want to see the Premier League becoming a top four procession every year. “If in the process of the new money coming into Manchester City—and some interesting, I think different strategies that people like Aston Villa are adopting—we can get to seven or eight clubs that realistically have a chance of breaking into the top four, it can only strengthen the Premier League, which is to our mutual advantage.” Watmore doesn’t want restrictive measures put in place in England. “This is a global market and I’d rather have the strongest league here on these shores, which is what I think we have today, then I would see it move to somewhere else,” he said. “So, if people are going to bring their money into the game, then let’s have it here in this league and make the Premier League even stronger than it is today.” UEFA president Michel Platini and FA chairman David Triesman have both expressed concerns about unchecked spending and mounting levels of debt consuming soccer clubs in the midst of a global economic crisis.“Am I am worried about it? I don’t think so at this time,” Watmore said. “And the reason for that is because it’s individual clubs that have to look after their own finances and the leagues then administer the financial regime.”Premier League defending champion Manchester United has debts of more than $1 billion, while Chelsea’s obligations to owner Roman Abramovich from his interest-free loans are in excess of $560 million.Manchester City has spent about $167 million in the offseason, signing forwards Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez in a bid to challenge for a first English league title since 1968.Crosstown rival Manchester United, which has won the last three Premier League titles, has spent barely $33 million—a quarter of what Real Madrid paid for star player Cristiano Ronaldo. Watmore argues this is merely “market forces at play.”“As long as they operate within the rules of their leagues,” he said, “then I think for now we should manage it through and see where we get to as the economy unwinds.”

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cost of the big salaries and transfers fees

One of the big issues I have with the top teams spending in the EPL is that it leaves the other teams in the leagues at a major disadvantage with regards to their second tier players. What does this mean? I have said for years that I watch the EPL because it has the best of the best when it come to talent. I still believe that, but I wonder at what cost to balance of the rest of the teams. With the salaries and transfers fees at an all time high in the EPL, I have seen the smaller clubs buy one or two high priced (for them) players to stay competitive, but the clubs will have to make concession on other players because budgetary reasons. They only have so much to spend and if you spend it on one or two players, what is left? So instead of getting a player who could fit the bill of a club, that player may go somewhere else in the world and get paid well, and the EPL will start to have to settle for players at the end of their career (Newcastle) or the unproven talent of youth. What I start to see is players on the rest of the team outside of the top 10 playing at a level that should not be the case in such a “Premier” league. I want to see the best of the best and this may be changing.

My comments were spurred on by the following article below I finished reading…

BBC Sports

English club finances worry Uefa BBC Sports Taylor said there is "disquiet" at Uefa over Manchester City and Real Madrid Football's European governing body says it is concerned about the financial state of English Premier League clubs. Uefa general secretary David Taylor warned that some clubs face a crisis if they keep living beyond their means. "There are stories concerning some English clubs that are of significant concern," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "There are a number of English clubs where the value of the club itself has fallen significantly and they are effectively on the market." In 5 Live's special report on debt in English football, Taylor added: "We hope that the clubs themselves will not suffer in any significant way from this but who knows? "We've seen what has happened in recent years with a number of very high-profile clubs, Leeds United for example. They fell into serious financial difficulties by over-extending themselves." Leeds reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2001 but after failing to qualify for the competition the following season the loss of television revenue took its toll on the club. Their top players were sold to try to offset the loss of income, but after narrowly avoiding relegation in 2003 they eventually slipped out of the Premier League a year later. Should there be wage caps, a limit on transfer fees or new rules restricting debt? The club's Elland Road ground was sold, as was the training ground, and despite reaching the Championship play-off final in 2006 the club went into administration the following season as they were relegated to the third tier of English football. Asked whether a Premier League club could 'do a Leeds' again in the near future, Taylor replied: "In this current economic environment, I would never say never to anything like that." He added: "Clearly we do not see that as imminent but the concern is that we have to establish a stronger financial basis on which clubs can compete." Liverpool's American owners recently renegotiated the club's debt with the Royal Bank of Scotland, believed to be £290m, and have extended it for another year. They owe £350m to RBS and Wachovia and discussions between the two banks and the owners have been prolonged, with fears the banks may call in the loans, while Kop Holdings, the parent company of the Anfield club, lost £42.6m in the year to August 2008. There were fears too when Malcolm Glazer completed a takeover of Manchester United in 2005. The American tycoon borrowed £265m - secured against Manchester United's assets - and had a further £275m in other loans at the time of the takeover. It is raising the ante in terms of the player costs, in terms of the general market place, which is not a thing that gives us a great deal of comfort in these difficult times David Taylor on the money spent by Manchester City and Real Madrid, as well as debt-ridden clubs, Taylor also conceded there was "disquiet" in Uefa over the transfer dealings of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Manchester City this summer. La Liga club Real paid a world record fee of £80m to sign Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United and also signed Brazilian playmaker Kaka from AC Milan for a fee of £56m. Real have also signed full-back Alvaro Arbeloa from Liverpool, defender Raul Albiol from Valencia and forward Karim Benzema from Lyon - bringing their total spending to in excess of £200m. City, meanwhile, backed by their oil-rich owners from Abu Dhabi, have signed former Manchester United forward Carlos Tevez, midfielder Gareth Barry, striker Roque Santa Cruz, and former Arsenal pair Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure. "I would say in this financial climate, it is surprising, a little bit destabilising of the market," Taylor said of the dealings of the two clubs. "It is certainly raising the ante in terms of the player costs, in terms of the general market place, which is not a thing that gives us a great deal of comfort in these difficult times. There is certainly disquiet in the corridors of power here."

Club or Country

With the pressure being greater and greater for clubs who spend big, I can see them wanting their investment in players to not divert there focus and energy on other things outside the playing for the club who is paying them week in and out.

My comments were spurred on by the following article below I finished reading…

Hughes wants Tevez to miss Argentina friendly
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes wants Carlos Tevez to sit out Argentina's friendly against Russia next week. Tevez is due to start training following a heel injury and will miss the warm-up game against Rangers at Ibrox on Wednesday. Argentina's doctor has been to Carrington to check on Tevez's progress with coach Diego Maradona set to name his squad for the game in Moscow. Hughes is hoping Tevez will be fit for the opening Premier League game at Blackburn and told the club's website: "We don't think Carlos should play for his international team. We would prefer him to stay back next week. "The Argentina doctor came over and he'll be speaking to Maradona on Tuesday. He'll probably want to check and see how Carlos is now. Ideally, I'd prefer that he wasn't selected. He's not trained all pre-season. "He had an injury from his last international then banged the same area when he slipped in the shower. He'll be fine for the start of the season, but he's still not able to put his full weight on it.'' England midfielder Gareth Barry trained on Tuesday for the first time in almost a week after a foot injury and is expected to get a run-out against Rangers.


I believe that certain players are worthy high dollar salaries. Partially because they produce wins, another reason is that fans want to watch them play and the clubs can generate tickets sales (home and away) every time they step foot on the field, but another big reason for me is how many shirts they can sell. To me, the more shirts you sell, the more you can pay the club back for the high dollar salary they are paying you as a player and it create for a great business proposition for both sides. =============================================================
My comments were spurred on by the following article below I finished reading…
=============================================================The Electric New Paper
Torres the best seller - THE more goals he scores, the more his shirts fly off the shelves. Fernando Torres' No. 9 shirt has overtaken Steven Gerrard's as the most popular selling shirt among Liverpool fans. According to Anfield commercial director Ian Ayre, the Spaniard has become absolutely vital to the club's commercial success. 'All the players are important but it's evident certain ones are crucial,' he said. 'Fernando is a global icon and a great footballer. They go hand in hand. 'From a commercial standpoint, he's a huge attraction.' Indeed, it was clear when Liverpool were in Singapore two weekends ago, Torres was the man every Liverpool fan wanted to see. Although, in fairness, if Gerrard was in Asia instead of having to attend a court trial for alleged affray, the Reds captain would have augmented his standing among Asian fans. However, the commercial figures suggested Gerrard is still lagging behind Torres in terms of popularity. Ayre revealed that Torres' shirt now outsell Gerrard's and that the Spaniard's No. 9 is the club's biggest seller. 'Torres' jersey is the highest-selling shirt here. I'm not sure when he actually overtook Steven Gerrard, and there's not a huge difference, but he is our biggest seller,' he explained. 'Being a global brand, we have a big opportunity to push on - but we know it's not all about shirts.' The striker has proved a huge success on Merseyside since signing from Atletico Madrid in 2007. In his first season with the club, he netted an astonishing 24 league goals and followed this up with another 14 last time out, despite missing large chunks of the season through injury. If Torres continues his good form this season, one can be sure many more of his No.9 shirts will be flying off the shelves on Merseyside.


I love watching the soccer game on the field but there is one part that I don’t prefer to partake in and that is the mind games players and coaches inflict on the referees. I have always said that even the best referee will make a mistakes, but if you leave the game down to one or two plays it is your fault and not the referees. I also believe that if a referee will make mistake being humans and all, and it can cost a team a tie or loss, but they are most like going to make that point or three up at some point during the year. It all balances itself out.

What does concern me is the abuse that referees take during a game. It is the worst by certain clubs, Manchester United for example. I have seen Alex Ferguson attack the officials pre-during-post games and yet his club is one of the worst at getting calls going their way. He uses the “Alex Rule” as I like to call it, to force his will on the game and ultimately impact the balance of possible of power in a game by his lack of restrain. I believe he is deserving of all of his success and is rightfully one of the greatest Manager of any sport, but I have seen to many MU games last year when they got a call that was very obvious would have not been called the other way. I say this even being a fan of MU.

Unless the FA is will to take a firm stand with managers, players, or owners of clubs this abuse will continue to happen and will lead to part of the game that I just don’t enjoy watching.
Lets play soccer, not the officials!


My comments were spurred on by the following article below I finished reading…


Managers will be banned from making comments about a referee before the match under rule changes announced by the Football Association.

Any manager who makes derogatory remarks about a match official before a game will face disciplinary action.

The FA will also toughen up on the harassment of match officials by players.

In relation to comments about referees, the FA said in a statement: "Clubs are being advised that any media comments by managers, players or any other club officials relating to appointed match officials prior to a fixture will no longer be allowed - such pre-match comments will be deemed improper and dealt with accordingly.

"Post-match comments in relation to match officials and incidents are still permitted provided they are not personal in their nature, imply bias or attack the integrity of the officials in charge of the match, or in any other respect bring the game into disrepute.''

Last season, Everton boss David Moyes questioned Mike Riley's appointment as referee for the FA Cup semi-final with Manchester United, saying it had been suggested to him that the official was a United supporter.

After the game, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said Moyes' remarks may have influenced Riley in a crucial decision when Danny Welbeck appeared to have been fouled in the area by Phil Jagielka. No spot-kick was awarded, and Everton went on to win a penalty shoot-out.

Riley has since been appointed as the new Premier League referees' chief.

Under other rule changes, clubs can now be charged if three or more players surround the referee in a "confrontational manner''. Previously the charge required officials to report "harassment or intimidation'' by three or more players.

Meanwhile, managers and coaches who are reported for misconduct in the technical area will now be subject to a fast-track disciplinary system taking three or four weeks - much quicker than previously when such cases could drag on for months.

Big Spenders

When the big clubs go spending big there is an excitement in my daily online soccer readings. The truth is it is short term excitement. This is never good for soccer when the big teams are spending at such an extreme. It creates a great disparity between the haves and have nots. I like seeing the big four play because of the quality and skill of the match, but I also enjoy seeing the underdog rise up. The big spending I believe makes this less and less like.


My comments were spurred on by the following article below I finished reading…


LONDON (AP)—European soccer’s governing body is concerned Real Madrid and Manchester City have distorted the transfer market by paying big fees for new players. Real Madrid has spent $271 million to obtain Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema. Backed by wealthy Abu Dhabi owners, Manchester City paid about $170 million to acquire Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz, Gareth Barry, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure.“I would say in this financial climate, it is surprising—a little bit destabilizing of the market,” David Taylor, general secretary of the Union of European Football Associations, said Tuesday in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. “It is certainly raising the ante in terms of the player costs, in terms of the general market place, which is not a thing that gives us a great deal of comfort in these difficult times.”UEFA president Michel Platini has called paying for transfers by taking on debt “financial doping.”With Leeds still struggling in the third tier of English football five years after being relegated from the Premier League with huge debts, Taylor highlighted the danger of spending huge sums.“We’ve seen what has happened in recent years with a number of very high-profile clubs—Leeds United for example,” he said. “They fell into serious financial difficulties by overextending themselves.”Newcastle faces challenges both on and off the field after being relegated in May. Just days ahead of its League Championship opener, it has no manager and has been unable to trade players because owner Mike Ashley is trying without success to sell the club.Ashley bought Newcastle for $270 million two years ago and paid another $222 million to reduce its debt. But relegation cut the club’s value and has left him trying to sell it for $169 million.“There are stories concerning some English clubs that are of significant concern,” Taylor said. “There are a number of English clubs where the value of the club itself has fallen significantly.”

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Attendence Averages

Average 07/08 – Division - Average 08/09 - Division

Manchester Utd. 75690 Premier 75305 Premier
Arsenal 60070 Premier 60040 Premier
Newcastle Utd. 51325 Premier 48750 Premier
Liverpool 43535 Premier 43610 Premier
Manchester City 42125 Premier 42900 Premier
Chelsea 41395 Premier 41590 Premier
Sunderland 43345 Premier 40170 Premier
Aston Villa 39870 Premier 39810 Premier
Tottenham Hotspur 35965 Premier 35930 Premier
Everton 36955 Premier 35710 Premier
West Ham Utd. 34600 Premier 34210 Premier
Derby County 30870 Premier 29205 Championship
Middlesbrough 26710 Premier 28430 Premier
Stoke City 16825 Championship 27020 Premier
Sheffield United 25630 Championship 26025 Championship
West Bromwich Albion 22310 Championship 25830 Premier
Hull City 18025 Championship 24815 Premier
Norwich City 24530 Championship 24545 Championship
Fulham 23770 Premier 24340 Premier
Wolverhampton Wanderers 23500 Championship 24155 Championship
Leeds United 26545 League 1 23810 League 1
Blackburn Rovers 23945 Premier 23480 Premier
Bolton Wanderers 20905 Premier 22485 Premier
Nottingham Forest 19955 League 1 22300 Championship
Sheffield Wednesday 21420 Championship 21540 Championship
Ipswich Town 21930 Championship 20860 Championship
Charlton Athletic 23160 Championship 20895 Championship
Leicester City 23506 Championship 20250 League 1
Reading 23585 Premier 19935 Championship
Portsmouth 19915 Premier 19830 Premier

Arsenal's Shareholders

The split among Arsenal's main shareholders has widened after Alisher Usmanov cast doubt on the club's ability to provide enough money for the team to challenge for honours. It was no surprise when the Arsenal board rejected the Uzbek-born Russian billionaire's plan to provide fresh funds for transfers as well as reducing the club's debt by issuing new shares. Arsenal's shortage of money is in part a legacy of building the Emirates Stadium which cost about £440m. They borrowed £260m with the rest coming from sponsors and other contracts that were structured with most of the money being received early in the deals, leaving little coming in now. In addition, the club's redevelopment of Highbury into flats has run into problems with the downturn in the property market and they must re-negotiate a £133m loan by April.

The share proposal was turned down because it would generate a one-off sum that might only allow them to sign a couple of players in an inflated transfer market. The club also believes that it can cope with its debt repayments. Moreover, the plan would require existing shareholders to take up their full allocation of new shares or face their stake being diluted when the process is completed. In the case of Stan Kroenke, the largest shareholder, it would have required the American to spend £20 million had they issued £70 million of shares. Usmanov has few options. He could call an extraordinary general meeting to challenge the board, but that would not get him very far. His long-term strategy may be to angle for support from the fans. There is a risk that Arsenal could end up the perpetual No.4 among the big four teams.

EPL Parachute Payments

Reading chairman Sir John Madejski is determined to see the club remain on an even keel. 'Last season we went for broke and over-spent on the budget and we are also now in the last season of our parachute payments (of £11m) from the Premiership.' The club has seen a 50 per cent drop in earnings from hospitality. Watford have had to be paid close to £1m in compensation for new manager Brendan Rogers. Sir John has talked about selling the club in the past, but says it is not for sale at the moment 'as we are still a Championship club.'

Man City Strikers

Manchester City have added to their collection of strikers by signing Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor on a five-year deal for a fee of about £25m. The 25-year-old joins fellow new signings Roque Santa Cruz and Carlos Tevez at Eastlands. And with Robinho, Craig Bellamy, Valeri Bojinov and Benjani also on their books, City have an embarrassment of riches up front.

Even if they have injuries, they will be so deep. I have not seen this type of depth before and that includes the big four.

Now if they can only play together and get those egos and temperaments in line they could be a top team.


ESPN also won the rights to air Premier League matches in Ireland, and combined with Sky to secure the rights to 30 Scottish Premier League games a season.

ESPN is selling subscriptions through Sky for $15 to $20, depending on the deal.

Sky Sports, controlled by News Corp., retains the bulk of Premier League rights in Britain through 2012-13, including 92 games in the coming season and 115 a season over the next three. Sky's latest three-year deal is reportedly worth more than $1.6 billion.

ESPN, which had made previous Premier League bids, did not disclose how much it paid for the rights it obtained, though British news reports estimated the fee at $147 million for the first season and $260 million for the following three.

More than $8.2 billion has been poured into the topflight game by TV companies since the formation of the Premier League in 1992, income that has helped attract some of the world's highest-profile stars to England.

The Premier League, which collectively sells the TV rights and shares the revenue among the 20 clubs, was impressed with ESPN's track record.

"They have a formidable worldwide reputation and experience in sports,'' Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said.

Bicycle Anyone

This is why we watch the game.