A weeks worth of Rantlines: Malouda fights nutrition, Champions League Reforms, Everton's Proposed Move, and Other Quick Rants.

06 December 2007

Well it's been a week since I've done one of these, so the best way to say it there is plenty that has gotten under my skin that I feel you will enjoy hearing about. Again, all comments are welcomed and greatly encouraged. If I don't hear back from you, I assume you just agree with everything I've written...something I know simply isn't possible.

I want to start with Chelsea's Florent Malouda. All I know to say is in the span of twenty-four hours, he pulled a Petr Cech and Didier Drogba without the threat of wanting to leave the club. Actually the more I think about it, the more I think what he said was actually worse than what those two did. As I'm sure you have already heard about, Malouda decided to simply rip into Chelsea and the English game regarding food, training, and schedule. Well Malouda let me open up on you by saying this, did you do any (and I stress the word any to the utmost) research before coming to Chelsea? You mean to tell you couldn't give a ring to the many French players playing in the Barclay's Premier League to see what they had to say about training and how to properly deal with the schedule? You mean to tell me that it's wrong to actually do a little bit of work in training to keep your skills fresh? You mean to tell me that you never took your time while you were playing in France to see the some Premier League action over the busy season to see how demanding it could be? Or did the money signs in your eyes make you forget...until you realized you were fixing to be a part of it.
Now notice I haven't even hit the nutrition portion of what he said because that hit the biggest nerve with me. Now I am sure that these clubs all have nutritionists on staff that carefully craft their diets while they are on club grounds. However to say that Chelsea football club doesn't is simply put an insult. Florent you are a grown adult, to tell me you cannot control your own urges is simply astounding. While we're at it, with the salary your getting paid weekly, if your not happy with how Chelsea is dealing with your nutrition, wouldn't you be able to afford a nutritionist of your own? The fact you have backtracked, and now saying you're happy at the club is simply a slap in the face to anyone who has a brain, as well as to those you currently play aside. Just hope that one of them doesn't get the itch to make life a little more physical on you during training.

Taking a look at the Champions League reforms, I honestly can say I am not happy with how they have turned out at all. Yes I can see where Michel Platini is wanting to go with the competition in trying to get more of the under dog clubs into the competition, but the reality to me is he's only made the competition only more top heavy. That is simply never good for the game. How on earth can Platini justify the fact that the top three in England now get in? Over the past three seasons, the point difference from first to third has been eighteen, nine and a whopping twenty one points. I know we'll never see it back to the way it was and it truly be a 'Champions' League, but anyone finishing no lower than second should not be guaranteed a spot in the competition. I do like the fact that five teams from the lower UEFA top divisions will get into the competition, but that number still has room for improvement. If it were up to me, only first and second from the top eight leagues in Europe would get automatic qualification. Of the other sixteen spots available, I would put all the clubs that didn't win the league into one pool for eight spots and then the champions of the other UEFA leagues into another pool for another eight spots. Granted yes this would take the luster off seeing all of the big clubs, but to me in this day in age would be the closest thing to a true champions league.

You almost have to feel for Bill Kenwright. He really is stuck in a danged if you do, danged if you don't situation. You can either go with the vote and negotiate with Tesco regarding a new stadium, or you redevelop the ground your in now. Part of me (a huge part of me) doesn't believe the 150 million that is being floated out there to build a new 50,000 seat stadium and that it will be higher, but a part of me doesn't believe the 250 million that is being floated to remodel Goodison Park. I'm sure it's been done sooner than this example, but if I am not mistaken, Chelsea remodeled Stamford Bridge and continued playing there. Coming closer to home, I know Oklahoma State is adding onto it's college football stadium and they are still playing there. What gets me is why can't there be a middle ground here. Make Tesco the sponsor on your shirt, and have them help you rebuild Goodison Park section by section. Keep your history where you've played most of your football, and keep the club in Liverpool proper. It would be a shame if they moved outside of the city limits, and in essence kill the Everton/Liverpool derby.

The long England Cricket Tail of quick rants.
I don't blame Ronaldinho for wanting to know if he'll be staying at Barcelona or moving on. However I would tell your brother to shut up about using vague rules to get you out of the club, even if he is your agent. Honestly if I'm Chelsea, why have yet another attacking midfielder. Don't you have enough worries with Lampard and Ballack possibly coming back into the same starting eleven?
I saw this on a couple of forums and upon looking a little closer for stories, this is frightening. Coventry City have already filed Pre-Administration paper work and Cardiff City may as well be in Administration. With Coventry City, I wonder if many of their money problems is the fact they built Ricoh Arena and haven't seen the cash flow they expected. Don't you realize you spend what you can, not what projected numbers will be. Haven't you learned anything from the Leeds United tale? Speaking of Leeds United, why on earth did Cardiff City let Peter Risdale anywhere near their club. And they have the money to build a new stadium? Oh wait that's right they had to make a deal with a Rugby Union club to secure building the stadium.
So Interpol has given UEFA matches they have investigated to be fixed. Instead of coming out and saying that Liverpool's 8-0 was rigged, why not just spare us all and tell us which matches are. Because that makes too much sense that will never happen.
If you have three other officials, should you as a referee be able to consult with them before making a decision? I've noticed this when I watch Rugby where officials will actually stop the match to go consult with a linesman when a key decision needs to be made. FIFA simply make the rule clear. State unequivocally in the rule book that the referee can consult at anytime he wants with his assistants. Maybe, just maybe, Robbie Keane wouldn't have seen a red card. Now that is of course if you believe the Professional Match Game Officials spokesman, which I do not.
If your a player who just signed a new contract, and then have the miss of the decade, why would you say you should be playing for a great club? Memo to Nicolas Anelka, be thankful Bolton has given you a good contract and that your manager didn't slag you to end all be all after that miss of misses against Liverpool.
An interesting column from Jim White about how under fire gaffers love to see the BSkyB cameras show up. Yes granted Rafa Benetiz gets a key win against Porto and then Sam Allardyce sees Newcastle play better than they have in a long time. However if they screened Middlesbrough, it may be to Southgate's sacking.
So Rafa Benetiz is telling his players to worry about rest instead of watching Ricky Hatton's prize title fight with Floyd Meyweather. Hey players if your so intent on watching the match, you don't read the papers, you order the PPV and then set up a DVR to record it. It's not that difficult. Or better yet Rafa, set up a private screening for the players before training. If your wondering what I think the result of the fight will be...look for a bonus preview in my weekend in preview column to come up tonight.
Am I the only one who feels that this sudden revelation that Didier Drogba had a knee scan and shows he needs surgery just a massive ploy to keep him from joining up with the Ivory Coast for the African Cup of Nations? Yes it is entirely possible he may need to clean up some damage in his knees, but I would almost be willing to make a small wager to the charity of your choice that Drogba would be back on the team sheet the first game after the Ivory Coast play their first game.
I give the Premier League all the credit in the world for giving permission so Manchester United can wear a special one off kit to remember those who perished fifty years ago in the tragic Munich disaster. I also have to give Manchester United credit for saying they will not sell the kit they will be using.
Tim Howard is half right when he says Everton relies on Tim Cahill too much for crucial goals, but wouldn't you also have to say that you rely too much on Mikel Arteta to work the ball from the midfield down the wing? Watching Everton this season the plan is just so simple to nullify them, shut down Mikel Arteta because no one else seems to be able to get service to the forwards.
At least UEFA is willing to keep an open mind about safe standing sections that are all the rage in Germany. Let's hope they do give the green light for them. Anything to bring a little more atmosphere back into the ground is only a plus.
And finally, it must be nice for Avram Grant to have the teacher come to him instead of having to fly to Israel to go through school to get his badges. It's amazing what having lots of dosh around will do.

I will be back tonight with a look at the weekend's fixtures. Until then, 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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