Between the Lines

"Of all unimportant subjects, football is the most important" – Pope John Paul II

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Between the Lines Recommends

Posted by hakanrylander on January 9, 2010

More Than Mind Games tries to explain the strange lack of good English managers.

As always an interesting, and this time depressing, read from David Conn.

Internet per Totti at Dirty Tackle.

Off The Post searches in vain for a word for postponement in Estonian.

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Larry White’s unexpected lookalike

Posted by hakanrylander on December 3, 2009

José Morais, assistant coach at Inter Milan, is dining at the “Il Gatto Nero” restaurant overlooking Lake Como. The restaurant owner, Fausto, brings a photo album to the table and shows snap-shots of famous guests.

“-Klinsmann, Matthaus, Rummenigge, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Britney Spears, Alanis Morisette, George Clooney, Avril Lavigne…

José points to a picture of Mourinho.

-Ah, Mister!

Fausto nods, turns the page and points to another picture.


José bends forward. He doesn’t recognize the old French central defender. Then Fausto corrects himself.

-No, no, no. I was wrong. That’s Cliff Richard.”

(From Swedish football magazine Offside.)

Cliff Richard?

Laurent Blanc?


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Between the Lines Recommends

Posted by hakanrylander on November 20, 2009

Today I discovered A More Splendid Life which appears to be one of the most splendid footie blogs around. In this article Richard Whittall makes some very interesting points about the bleak future of football journalism and football bloggers.

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Quote of the Day

Posted by hakanrylander on November 17, 2009

“In a speech in Abu Dhabi last week, Garry Cook, the chief executive of Manchester City, told assembled guests that “people were wrong in saying that City are just a club from Manchester”. It was now, he said, “a club of the world”.

“The Peter Kenyon “Paint The World Blue” award for marketing bull***t has its 2009 winner.

Matt Dickinson, Chief Sports Correspondent of The Times.

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Mourinho sends in job application to Old Trafford

Posted by hakanrylander on November 14, 2009

Inter manager Jose Mourinho has applied for the possibly soon vacant post as manager of Manchester United. Again he chose not to send his application through the post but through the media.

“I want to build something. I want to work with a different perspective”, said Mourinho.

“I love Inter and would love to build for the future here. In fact, I am doing it now, because I am not a selfish coach and I’m thinking about the future in terms of youth development and the age structure of my first team — but Italy is not the country for this. England is the country. And my football is English football.”

“At Porto my objective was to win to earn the right to go abroad. At Chelsea my ambition was to create a bit of history. But I always knew Chelsea lacked the normal English culture of stability.”

So he wants to return to England to manage a top club with a culture of stability. As Arsene Wenger is likely to stay at Arsenal for many years this leaves only two realistic candidates; Liverpool and United. Both of which might, for different reasons, look for a new manager within a year or two.

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Four months at City make Tevez consider retirement

Posted by hakanrylander on November 14, 2009

It took Carlos Tevez little more than four months at Manchester City to become completely fed up with football.

“It’s complicated, there’s my family, the desire to return to Boca Juniors, but I think about it. It crosses my mind to hang up my boots if we win the World Cup, although I have a contract [with Manchester City] until 2014,” he said.

“I’m a bit tired of so much football, so much football. I want to enjoy my family a bit. I’m very keen to stop and get a bit of calm. I’ve already won a lot. Living for football has saturated me.”

Compare this to the Tevez we remember from Old Trafford (or indeed West Ham) where he became a crowd favourite thanks to his energy, passion, work-rate and commitment. To be fair, the quotes don’t make it 100% clear whether he’s just talking about international football. But the main reason why he left United (apart from the money) was that he wanted to play more football!

Even apart from Tevez there seem to be plenty of opportunities for Mark Hughes to practice his man-management skills at the moment. Robinho appears to be angling for a move to Barcelona. It was a long time ago since Micah Richards played anywhere near his huge potential. And most people thought that regular first team football would improve Wayne Bridge but he seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

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Top Ten Dream Signings in the Premier League

Posted by hakanrylander on November 12, 2009

With the January transfer window approaching I’ve put together a list of the players presently in the PL that I would most like to see at United. Don’t look upon it as a shopping list. The emphasis is probably on dreams rather than realism. But maybe three or four could conceivably be realistic targets. The list takes into consideration the new United policy of not signing players aged 26 or above for large transfer fees. I have no idea how strict this policy will turn out to be, but from a financial point of view it makes a lot of sense.

  1. Fernando Torres, Liverpool. (25) Best striker in the world. Has an amazing ability to make the difficult art of scoring look very easy.
  2. Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal.  (22) As close to Barcelona-passing as it gets in the PL. Would be nice to have him around when Scholes retires.
  3. Luca Modric, Spurs. (24) Superb ball-control and incisive passing. Able to play on either wing or through the middle.
  4. Theo Walcott, Arsenal. (20) Has enough pace to beat any defender in the world.
  5. Jack Rodwell, Everton. (18) The most promising teenager in the PL. Equally comfortable in central defence or as a holding midfielder. An England star for many years to come.
  6. James Milner, Aston Villa. (23) Hard-working midfield winger who is also the best crosser of a ball in the PL.
  7. Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal. (23) Central defender who can play a bit. Has taken to the PL like a duck to water.
  8. Abou Diaby, Arsenal. (23) Classy box-to-box midfielder but strangely not a regular starter for Arsenal.
  9. Micah Richards, Manchester City. (21) Has lost his way somewhat for City and England. Needs Fergie to re-ignite his tremendous potential. The next Patrick Vieira.
  10. Stephen Ireland, Manchester City (23) A pity if City’s recruitment drive will put him in the shadows.

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Between the Lines Recommends

Posted by hakanrylander on November 12, 2009

Who Ate  All the Pies picks it’s Premier League Flops Team of the Season, including five(!) United players.

The Evening News lists our six major transfer targets (and overrates our chances of signing them).

Red Rants puts Nani’s latest brilliant career move into a bit of perspective.

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Ferguson has cried wolf too often

Posted by hakanrylander on November 10, 2009

I’m sick and tired of Alex Ferguson blaming the referee as soon as we drop points. Over the last few weeks he’s told us that Alan Wiley is not fit enough (Old Trafford Oct 3), claimed that Martin Atkinson was in a ridiculous position to award a crucial free-kick (Stamford Bridge Nov 8) and questioned whether Andre Marriner has the necessary experience for the PL (Anfield Oct 25).

Ferguson has a hot temper and it sometimes gets the better of him. But I also think that he’s clever enough to know when to unleash a tirade and when not to. My conclusion is that these outbursts are deliberate attempts to bully referees into giving United preferential treatment. I don’t like it.

Regardless of what you think about Ferguson’s strategy the obvious question is if it’s working or not. The answer depends on whether the average referee is (perhaps unconciously) thinking “maybe Fergie has a point” or “I’d better prove that I’m not easily manipulated”. Either way I think Ferguson risks diluting any possible effect by complaining about the ref after just about every game when we’ve lost points. He has quite simply cried wolf too often.

It would take a full-scale scientific study to ascertain whether United are in fact harshly treated by referees over a season or longer. Personally I’m leaning towards the view that if there is a bias it’s probably in favour of United, mainly because of the crowd pressure at Old Trafford.

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Between the Lines Recommends

Posted by hakanrylander on November 9, 2009

Arsenal Column is very impressed by Alan Dzagoev’s use of space. Maybe we should bring him in along with Akinfeev who’s been scouted by ManUtd24.

RoM shows that Rooney apparently is so pleased with the 4-2-3-1 that he reckons it made it look like United had twelve men on the pitch.

This clip is rather average for the most part, but the last ten seconds are pure genius.


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