Noon Ticker: Benitez And Mancini Futures In Doubt, Allardyce Wants 39 Games, More

Football - Liverpool Press Conference
Liverpool And Manchester City Refuse To Assure Managers Of Job Security

Both Rafael Benitez and Roberto Mancini have long been on the proverbial hot seat with Champion’s League qualifications seemingly the only way to save their jobs. Benitez has recently struck out at the British media for the constant stream of “rumors” about his possible departure to Liverpool and long list of possible replacements for the Spanish skipper. Liverpool has not offered any public backing for the embattled manager and many think he will leave or be fired should Liverpool finish outside of a Champion’s League spot.

“I don’t like the (Juventus) rumors, I would like to see news in the press about trophies or goals or fantastic performances by players, but you cannot control everything,” said Benitez, according to ESPN. “I have spent a year listening to names like Martin O’Neill, Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klinsmann and Frank Rijkaard (being linked with his job), but I’ve just kept doing my job.” Liverpool faces Athletico Madrid in a Europa League Semi-final in which they must overturn a 1-0 deficit and don’t have the benefit of an away goal.

Roberto Mancini is taking a decidedly more optimistic approach in his outlook. Like Benitez, it is widely expected that Mancini will need to lead Manchester City to Champion’s League qualification if he is to mantain his job. Mancini replaced Mark Hughes midway through the season but public clashes with some of his marquee players and a recent string of bad results has reawakened the rumors about his future.

“When you work with a team in pre-season it is easier to do your job. I imagine I will still be Manchester City manager. I hope so. I have a contract. I don’t decide but I think I will be,” said Mancini. City trail Tottenham by a point with three games to play and face a tough schedule with Aston Villa, Tottenham and West Ham United still on the dockett.

Blackburn Boss Alardyce Wants 39th Game.

The debate over the addition of a 39th Premier League game to be played in international venues raged last year with the Premier League being in staunch opposition of the measure. Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce has reawakened the debate by calling the 39th game “an absolute must.” Allardyce cited purely fiscal reasons for playing league games internationally, with the United States being of the main targets. ”The 39th game is an absolute must. We have to make it work, get over the bureaucracy and look after our product. Every top country in Europe wants what we’ve got. Italy, Spain and Germany are jealous of us and the UEFA president Michel Platini cannot hide his jealousy. It’s so important we stay ahead of everyone else and the 39th game will keep us there. Let’s get it back on the agenda,” said Alardyce.

The NFL began playing regular season games at Wembley stadium a few years ago. It has been a fiscal success and risen the awareness of the American league worldwide. “We should all ask ourselves a few questions about what’s important. Do we like working in the Premier League? The answer is yes. It’s the top league in the world with the best entertainment. Would we like to keep the product safe? Yes. Do we like the money it brings in? Yes. Would we like to protect that? Yes.”

Pulis Furious Over “Mole” In Stoke City Dressing Room

The highly publicized dressing-room confrontation between Stoke City Captain Abdoulaye Faye and Glenn Whealan after City were embarrassed 7-0 by Chelsea has caused confidentiality concerns for Stoke City skipper Tony Pulis. According to reports coming out of the British media Pulis is having difficulty maintaining control over his locker room with Tuncay Sanil and Dave Kitson swearing at their manager after they were substituted.

“We have no concrete evidence who it is but we are desperately disappointed because the dressing room is a good dressing room,” Pulis said. Stoke City have successfully secured Premier League status for next season but Pulis desperately wants to find the leak. “Everything that happens in the dressing room should stay in the dressing room and unfortunately it hasn’t. Ever since I started professional football at 15 there was always that togetherness and solidarity in the dressing room – it is a sanctuary.”

Premier League Clarifies “Weakened Side” Rules

The Premier League has finally issued a clarification to when clubs are allowed to field “weaker sides” in order to rest players for upcoming fixtures. The issue arose earlier this season when the Wolverhampton Wanderers trotted out what amounted to a team of reserves against Manchester United. Wolves were given a fine for fielding a side that had no chance of competing.

West Ham United filed a complaint against Fulham earlier this month when the Cottagers rested key players against Hull City ahead of their quarter-final Europa League clash with Wolfsburg. At that point the Hammers were very much in a relegation battle with Hull City and an easy victory for the Tigers could have meant relegation for West Ham. The Premier League has informed West Ham’s co-owner David Sullivan that no discipline will be imposed on Fulham because “clubs are permitted to rest players if they have had a number of games in quick succession.”

“Even if our complaint was not upheld, we are extremely pleased the rule has been clarified and we know now the position,” Sullivan told ESPN Soccernet. “We all now know that if players have had a number of quick games its now accepted that they can be rested.”


7 thoughts on “Noon Ticker: Benitez And Mancini Futures In Doubt, Allardyce Wants 39 Games, More”

  1. I would love for a 39th game to be played in the States. It is one thing to see an exhibition, but to see a full team of starters and it mean something is totally different.

    1. Agreed. As enticing as it might be, I am not going to make the trek even over to Raleigh for the sake of an exhibition. For a "real" match I would cross the state to Charlotte.

      1. I got lucky last year when Chelsea played AC Milan in Baltimore which is like a 6hr drive from Connecticut. Both teams played the first team for the majority of the game which was a very exciting game.

  2. How can a 39th game be added to the fixture list and any sense of fairness be maintained? With battles for the title, champions league spots, europa league qualification and relegation all being decided by slender margins, the whole integrity of the league will potentially be ruined. No surprise to find a manager who seems to specialize in finishing in the middle of the table endorsing this!

  3. Instead of all clubs playing a 39th game and throwing off the balance of the league, why not

    1. Designate one American site and schedule a fixture there for April, teams TBD.

    2. Select which fixture will be played in America after the European survivors and FA Cup semifinalists are determined. Eliminate the European survivors and FA Cup semifinalists (and whoever they're playing on the designated date) as possibilities - having to travel to America with everything they have going on would be unfair.

    3. Guarantee the club giving up the home fixture revenue equal to what their gate revenue would have been had they sold out the fixture. I think the American fixture will actually generate more revenue, because of the novelty, but in case it doesn't, guarantee the revenue.

    The only drawback I see would be the short (one month) notice to American fans of which teams actually would be playing the fixture. But (1) if the fixture counts, I think Americans in the area of the game would flock to it regardless of the actual teams involved, and (2) you'd have an opportunity to put a much better fixture in America than the NFL puts in the "America Bowl" in Wembley.

    For example, if this had been done this year, you could have had, among other possibilities, the Manchester derby (April 17), United-Spurs (April 24), or Arsenal-Man City (April 24).

    1. Spurs would be ineligible as an FA Cup seminfinalist. Brain lock on my part. But the two City fixtures (United and Arsenal) could have been moved).


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