In this week’s Reader Mailbag column, we have several excellent questions from you, the readers.
But first, a rant.
I spend a large portion of my life paying attention to sports — probably an unhealthy portion if you ask some of the women in my life. So needless to say I read a lot of sports articles. But one thing that I always find funny is when people write about star players moving teams. Mainly I find the headlines for these articles are always worth a laugh or two. It’s always the same headline, “Chelsea interested in Cristiano Ronaldo?” Is that really a question? Is this really considered news? To me this practice is just lazy journalism. If you can name me one team in the entire world that would not be interested in Cristiano Ronaldo, then you sir have won the Internet. If you want to write about CR9 to Chelsea then let me know when they table a bid. Until then I could care less about your speculation. There should be a list of players who can never be included in articles like this. Andy Carroll would be someone who would not be included in this list.
Now onto the Mailbag:
Q: JMurray asks …
Gaffer, any chance you get back to Wales and see your Swans play in the BPL this year? What is your most memorable match you attended? And do you think England should go with youth for the Euros 2012 and take the hit but prep for the World Cup?
A: The Gaffer: I was hoping to go this season, but outside of EPL Talk, I’ve been busy working with my wife to get her food truck ready for launch this summer, so a lot of my time, energy and savings have gone into that. Thankfully, Swansea has played brilliantly this season, so I have another chance to go see them play in the top flight. I’m definitely going to see them at some point next season — probably in late 2012 or early 2013.
The most memorable match I attended? That’s a great question. The one that I’ll never forget is Swansea’s first ever game in the top flight of English football when I stood on the terraces and watched Swansea demolish Leeds United 5-1 on the opening day of the season.
In regards to your question about England, they’ve got a good chance to go far in Euro 2012 if they play their cards right and play the level of football that we know they’re used to. With Harry Redknapp in charge, I think they can play with the confidence, self-belief and heart that will be necessary. But I would like them to add youth into the squad to give them some speed and firepower that will strike fear into opponents. Footballers such as Danny Welbeck, Micah Richards, Tom Cleverley, James Milner and Aaron Lennon (if fit).
Q: Pete asks …
What makes you get up in the morning to watch a game on the other side of the world? I have watched and played all my life but I don’t think even I could be bothered to get up at stupid o’clock in the morning to watch? Do you really like the game that much? and how much does wanting to be different from the norm play in your decision to follow football (soccer)?
A: Morgan Green: Luckily I live on the east coast of the United States, so the early games are anywhere from 7-9 am ET. I’m not sure if you would consider that “Stupid O’Clock” but I am aware there are people who do. If I lived on the west coast where the games were starting between 4-6 am, there would definitely be an issue, but this would be easily remedied by a DVR.
I can honestly say if the game was good enough (i.e. Champions League Final, last day of the EPL Season, title impact games, etc.) I would most certainly make no bones about waking up at any hour of the night/morning to watch it. I am considered a crazy person when it comes to sports; I’ve pulled all nighters to watch the World Basketball Championships before (2006 Greece vs. USA, one of the greatest victories in Greek Basketball History) but I do temper what I would watch at an ungodly hour. To answer your question I do love the game that much, but I feel that way about almost any sport. It’s not that I love soccer more than I do American football, baseball or basketball because I follow those sports as closely as I do soccer. It’s just my passion, I can’t really explain it, but I’m very passionate about sports and I’m lucky enough to do the things I do in the world of sports. Whether it’s producing the nightly sports segment at my local TV station or writing for EPL Talk. It absolutely has nothing to do with wanting to be different or be considered more “cultured” because I follow soccer. It’s just one of the many passions that I have and I wear that passion on my sleeve.
Q: Bart Ewing asks …
Why are there so few great English managers? Historically the Scottish lineage/roots has produced more great coaches etc. The number of enticing candidates for the English national team league was shocking, there was Redknapp and … a few retreads. Is it too much of an old boys network where young coaches never get the opportunity? I just am baffled by this.
A: Morgan Green: The lack of great English managers in the game is really a worrying trend. But a lot of this comes down to the fact that there aren’t many English managers in the Premier League. If English managers can’t have success in their own domestic league then why would you want one running your national team? The reason Harry Redknapp is tops is because he is currently the most successful English manager in the EPL and there is no one who is even close to challenging him for that title. The only other English managers in the league are Alan Pardew, Roy Hodgson and Terry Connor. Pardew is closest to Redknapp in the league which is why his name is thrown in the ring now but he’s certainly not at the level that Harry is at. Hodgson would be an interesting choice seeing as he has managed national sides before, but after his unimpressive spell at Liverpool I can’t see the FA giving him a chance at such a high profile job. It comes down to the fact that most English managers are getting jobs in the lower leagues and not getting a chance to manage some of the top sides in England. You can only take managing a yoyo club for so long before your growth as a manager becomes stunted.
With the competitiveness of the EPL no team wants to take a chance on letting a manager develop at the highest level since the ramifications of them taking longer than expected to develop can cost a club massive amounts of money. Without this development more English managers are going to suffer by only coaching in the lower leagues, playing the same styles, and dealing with the same type of players. The English managerial scene is a complete mess and needs to be overhauled from the ground up. Until then the only hope for an English manager to lead England is going to be Harry, or Stuart Pearce, but we all Stuart Pearce should never be the answer to any question much less a managerial one.
A: The Gaffer: It’s a great question. When you look back at the recent history of English football, there aren’t that many good English managers that you can pick out. Brian Clough and Alf Ramsey are two names, but beyond that, who is there? Why Scots make better managers than Englishmen, I have no idea. But I’d be interested in reading the opinions of the readers to see if you have a theory!
Q: Lyle asks …
If Great Britain fielded a football team under UEFA would England be the world powerhouse it has always dreamed itself of being? Or… why in the world are Wales, Scotland, and Ireland putting up so much of a fuss (or are they even doing this?) over the Great Britain Olympic team? Do you think Great Britain’s Olympic team be disbanded and forced to compete as the four associations in future Olympics for all Olympic sports, i.e. no more Great Britain?
A: Morgan Green: To answer your first question, Team GB would certainly be interesting if they were to form and compete in the Euro and World Cup. But I feel like it would be mostly the current England National team with Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey mixed in. They would be an improved side, but still would be far from a world powerhouse.
A: The Gaffer: Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are worried about Team GB because it could undermine their right to be independent and have their own nation represented at major soccer tournaments. With Team GB playing at the Olympics, the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish FA’s are concerned that this may set a precedent where all of a sudden UEFA and FIFA start discussing whether Team GB should play at European Championship and World Cups, instead of the individual nations trying to qualify.
Q: Ben asks …
Is there a possibility that the SPL could merge with the EPL, I mean that would be awesome to see Celtic and Rangers in the EPL.
A: Morgan Green: Not so long ago I read an article about the possibility of Celtic joining the English Leagues as a Championship or League One side. But the Chief Richard Scudamore quickly ruled this out by stating that it goes against the rules since clubs in the Premier League can only compete in England or Wales. He also stated that this is something that would never change as long as he was in charge. Personally I don’t think it will ever happen because it wouldn’t make sense for either the EPL or the SPL. Sure the Old Firm would benefit from the massive amounts of money they would gain from playing in the EPL but there is no guarantee that both would be able to stay in the Premier League on a consistent basis. Factor in that Rangers are in administration and in serious jeopardy of going the route of Gretna, there might not even be an Old Firm Derby in the SPL for quite a while. The other clubs in the SPL would most likely be relegated to the lower leagues of England with little to no hope of getting to the Premier League. They would essentially be clogging the lower leagues even further and pushing out more English teams and that’s something that wouldn’t please many teams or fans.
Even if it was just the Old Firm that moved to England it probably wouldn’t benefit either side in the long run. Besides the Old Firm moving would also cripple the SPL almost beyond repair. Their biggest (and only) attraction leaving them would drop the leagues prestige down so far that it would probably never recover. Though it would be fun to see Scottish teams compete in the EPL the closest we’ll get to that is doing it in FIFA 12 Career Mode.
Thanks for all the questions, everybody. Keep them coming in either through the comments section below or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy your weekend and watch plenty of football.