|photo by Like_the_Grand_Canyon||via PhotoRee|
Columnist Ed, with Another of His Half-Baked Thoughts:
1. Manchester City. Congratulations to the Citizens for wrestling the title away from a United club that’s had it in a hammer lock for almost the entire 20 year history of the Premier League. While I admire dynasties, I usually prefer turnover among the top. This years BPL, with Chelsea in 6th and Liverpool in 7th, provided some of that. But the poor performances of these teams is probably an aberration, and City isn’t so much an underdog but rather an team that is probably beginning a dynasty of their own. All of that said, I’m happy for the fans of City – people who have suffered for 44 years without a title, and have also had to live in the same city as a team that wins every year. I’m not sure why or how anyone would ever stick by a team like that, but I imagine the wait has made their victory ever more sweet.
2. The Future of the BPL. With City added to the top, is there now a Big 5 or even 6? Unfortunately, I don’t think so. I think City will be the first and ultimate trump card in the buying market, with Chelsea and United not far behind. Thereafter comes another tier – Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs. And then comes everyone else. So I suspect it’s more of a Big 3, and then a Little 3, and then the rest. Relegation is the strength of the EPL, but the system that allows for relegation also allows for this disparity as revenue sharing is probably not possible in this environment. I like the “socialist” model of revenue sharing in the NFL; I also like relegation. I suppose like most things in life, there is no perfect answer only a choice of solutions.
3. England and the Euro’s. I like most of the picks of Roy Hodgson, and understand his decision to leave Ferdinand out and take Terry. The only changes I would make to his team are substituting Aaron Lennon for Downing, and I would taken Sturridge over Defoe because he’s more versatile. I also think Carroll is the right pick over Crouch, but that's a close call, as Crouch is tough for teams that don’t see him regularly and good at the end of games. The issue for the team is the age of players like Gerrard and Lampard, and the lack of speed in the center of the pitch. If Parker can’t go, I think they should beg Scholes to give it a run. Maybe he can only play in the tough games, but hey, he’s still among the best at that position – a credit to him and a demerit to the English training grounds.
4. Joey Barton. Okay, Joey is a thug and a bad boy, but what happened at City wasn’t really his fault. First of all, he got punched in the face by Carlos Tevez. Second of all, Aguero’s flop was pathetic – stand up for yourself, young man!! Finally, there is no dirtier player on the pitch than City’s own DeJong, a player who has broken many legs in his day with reckless tackles. An elbow to the face or a knee to the back is one thing; a potential career ending injury is another. So back off Joey on this one.
5. King Kenny. The termination of Dalglish was understandable, if not for his coaching then for his player personnel decisions and his handling of the Luis Suarez matter. Liverpool was an afterthought this year, and as I’ve written before the Carling Cup and the FA Cup are really no more than second tier consolation prizes for the top teams – the real action is the league title and the Champions League. Dalglish was and is a warrior for Liverpool, but probably not someone who even thinks of himself as the long term solution. Who will Liverpool pick? I think they should make a move for Paul Lambert, Manager of the Year Alan Pardew, or even Brendan Rodgers. I heard they were interested in Wigan’s Roberto Martinez – a move which makes absolutely no sense to me in light of Wigan’s constant fight against relegation, and the success of the above-mentioned persons who all finished ahead of Wigan despite even smaller budgets or, in the case of Newcastle, having sold off all of their players. The Red Sox team of John Henry, et al., are known for adopting moneyball and getting their franchise a World Series Championship for the first time in 86 years. I expect more from them, and I expect we will get it.
6. Giggs. Well, the Manchester United man took home the prize for the best player in the BPL’s 20 year history. I want to like Ryan Giggs, but every time I try I think about his abominable off the field behavior. Still, it’s amazing that Giggs has competed in all 20 years of this history, and for this reason alone he may be deserving of the award. Giggs definitely contributed to United’s success, but I fear that he showed the first signs of age at the end of this season. He started to look a bit slow and tired – somewhat (but not entirely) like Gary Neville did in the year he called it quits. I wouldn’t be surprised if Giggs came back next year because this is his life, but for the first time I’m just not sure he has what it takes.This is farlieonfootie for May 18.