Rantlines: Sol Campbell Fights Abuse, Crouch's Alleged Racism, Al Bangura and the Dreaded Work Permit, Liverpool Broke...Say it isn't So, and More!

23 December 2007

Just a quick update on my old man before I get started. It looked like he was going to be released from hospital today, however a negative reaction to antibiotics he is taking intravenously along with the fact he's having a big issue with using the bathroom has kept him there, and it's looking more and more likely he will be in hospital for Christmas.

Oh well enough of my depression, let's get on with why I'm staying up until heaven knows when to write this out.

Is it safe to say we can officially call Sol Campbell this week's world biggest hypocrite? On Wednesday, Campbell went on BBC Radio 4 and declared that not only has the violence gotten out of hand, Campbell made the most moronic comment made in recent memory when he declared that the fan abuse violates the players human rights. Sol Campbell's complaints of the fans going too far saying that the fan abuse goes too far, Harry Redknapp (whose words right now ring more hallow than wood consumed by termites) had something else to cry about by backing up his defender saying the abuse Campbell got from White Hart Lane was vile and unacceptable. There seems to be only one footballer on the face of this planet who gets this (and it could be the fact he plays for the side who's fans gave Campbell the stick), as Robbie Keane came back and gave Campbell the virtual knockout when he simply said it's nothing more than a bit of banter.
I could have so much fun with this one. Sol, can I ask you a simple question (just one because it would shut you up on the spot). That question is this (and please note this is going to be one long run on question so bear with it), do you feel that the referees take more abuse from players running right at them when they don't get a decision correct? Do you feels referees get more abuse when players immediately run to them trying to influence the decision trying to be made and then getting more vile when players do not get their way?
The more I think about it I have more questions to throw at Sol. Sol do you not realize that your lucky you don't get more stick when after telling Arsene Wenger to let you out of your Arsenal contract (after having a mental meltdown to end all mental breakdowns during a game) so you could go abroad...only to sign for Portsmouth?
It is fairly obvious that Sol doesn't have the toughest mental makeup in the history of society and it is almost pathetic to think that Sol cannot take any verbal taunting from home fans when he's playing on the road. Now if Sol cannot take any taunting (I could understand 100 percent if Sol was coming out about racial abuse) he needs to simply retire and find another profession to get into that is entirely away from football. I honestly cannot figure out what is more funnier to all of this, that Campbell did this on BBC Radio 4 (instead of on BBC Radio 5 Live where he would have gotten grilled over his comments) or that Sol Campbell of all people said this.

So what do you do if you have been sent off for a ridiculous two footed challenge that gets you sent off? Do you admit fault? Do you apologize for your manager's stupid comment remarks and then apologize to the player? Or do you just blame foreign players branding them cheats? The comments were branded as such that there was a small investigation into if what Crouch said was racist. The quotes in question...well here they are and you can judge them for yourself. "Would someone like Carra [Jamie Carragher] have gone down like that? I think it's safe to say that he wouldn't.
"Foreign players have brought a lot to our game but that's something you don't want to see. I didn't catch him but he's gone down like he's been shot."
While Crouch escaped having to face a probe over this matter, I have to say that Crouch looks like the worlds tallest dunce over this. Crouch, I'm not sure your aware of this, but the team you play for is full of foreign players. I'm sure they opened their newspapers on Thursday and Friday and just shook their heads in disgust at the nature in which these comments were made. Look Crouch, the two footed challenge you threw up was not only ugly to watch, but dangerous as hell. The fact your feet didn't land on Mikel was comical at the time but the way you ended up falling on Mikel was the reason 'he acted like he was shot' as you say.
Really in essence the story here was the fact we saw three red cards for the same type of foul in two days. Frank Lampard can cry all he wants about how referees are killing the art of tackling, but the rules are plain and simple for players to read (that would imply they understand basic English and have sound reading comprehension). If you are judged to go in two footed with the intent to seriously injure a player, you are going to be sent off and you will receive a three match ban, possibly more if you appeal. At least Sir Alex Ferguson gets this. Players have to wake up and realize that horrible challenges are going to at the best see only a yellow card. Crouch can say it's all foreign players, but the reality is if that challenge would have been on him, he would have rolled around the pitch acting like he would never play again.

Maybe I am the only who feels like this, but does the Home Office in England saying that Watford can apply to get Al Bangura a work permit seem an extremely hollow gesture? The crutch of this development is that the Home Office has agreed to an independent panel made up of those from within the home office and the footballing world (as Bangura cannot apply for a work permit as he's never played for Sierra Leone nor do Sierra Leone rank high enough in the FIFA Rankings for Bangura to apply) to determine if Bangura should be given one so that he may stay in the country and play football.
The 19 year old just became a dad to women he is engaged to, and that's the least of his worries. I don't know what some morons in government think, but Bangura is damn right to be scared to go back to Sierra Leone. What gets me even more is to me the Home Office seems to using this token move as a way to go 'see we tried but our hands are tied'. Well I'm sorry, but it's a farce when you grant this kid stay, and then revoke it. I'm sorry, but it shines an extremely negative light on your country when you show yourselves to be hypocrites. This young kid has worked his rear end off to get where he is at professionally and to rip it away from him because you think he's lying about a very serious harsh reality in African Nations is quite frankly a slap in the face to anyone who understand world politics. I was reading my home town paper the other day, the Florida Times Union, and in their little two cents column hit it right on the money and I wish I would have kept the paper. Basically what the writer said was if the UK is stupid enough to deport him, that the United States should welcome this kid with open arms along with his soon to be wife and kid so that he can continue his dream of playing professional football. It really irks me when politics go bad and this one has left a very bitter taste in my mouth.

I think most supporters thought Liverpool were in crisis mode, but really until the events of the last few days the extent of which was truly not known. However now that we do know, it honestly doesn't look good at all. On the heels of having to announce that plans to get money to fund the building of Stanley Park have been postponed until 2009, now questions are being asked about Hicks and Gillett's staying power after a deadline was missed to refinance 220 million pounds borrowed by the Liverpool owners. Now the Royal Bank of Scotland will not allow the club to go under, but something tells me they will be making some serious financial demands on Liverpool that will certainly not help. Another thing this does is bring Dubai International Capital back into the equation as they could pretty much swoop in and purchase the club at a bargain basement price should Hicks and Gillett not get this debt restructured.
I won't lie. When Manchester United structured their purchase of Manchester United in the manner they did, it honestly didn't look good. However the Glazers seem to be doing just fine. When Hicks and Gillett before the Champions League final admitted they used the same blueprint to purchase Liverpool that Manchester United did, I was honestly worried as hell. I don't know what the books look like, but something tells me that Liverpool each match day severely lack capital gained from tickets that Manchester United can generate though the turnstiles. The situation doesn't help either that credit is getting extremely hard to get thanks to a credit crunch globally due to the foreclosure rate on homes that were purchased on sub-prime loans.
What this does show is how dangerous trying to finance a club on debt truly is and what happens when the money isn't there that you thought would be. You would have thought that lessons from Leeds United not so glorious collapse would have been learned, but it seems that the Liverpool owners never heard about it. What makes this story even more ironic is that Queens Park Rangers have become the richest club in the world after Lakshmi Mittal has bought into the club co-owned by Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore.

The Quickest of Quick Rants:
So Manchester United are going to try and make a play for Henrik Larsson for a few months again. I guess if it worked once, it'll work again and with the propensity for Rooney to break a metatarsal you may as well get him.
In staying with the Manchester United theme real quick, is anyone surprised that Rio Ferdinand is taking the blame for the party that saw Jonny Evans be bailed on a rape case?
So the man who was manager opposite McClaren on the day England crashed out of Euro 2008 is a candidate to be the manager at Fulham. If I was him, I would take it just to rub it in those over priced players faces.
So it looks like Eidur Gudjohnsen could be coming back to the Premier League after he was pretty much Chelseaed at Barcelona. It's sad really as this player can be someone special if given the chance.

Before I go, I would like to point you in the direction of the Match Reports page. Nightly after match days, I go find all the match reports from the UK papers and put them all there for one stop searching. I hope you enjoy the page.

I'll be back over this busy Christmas period with more rants, and hopefully some match reviews. The latter will be based on if my dad is home from hospital. Until I write again, may the debate begin!

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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