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Friday, 25 January 2008

At big clubs, it’s absolutely paramount that the board show their class.


Fergie wades into Liverpool row

Sir Alex Ferguson has entered the debate about Rafael Benítez's increasingly precarious position at Liverpool by accusing the club's owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks of lacking "class".

The Manchester United manager said for the first time that he believes Liverpool are out of the title race and he questioned whether they would ever be regarded as serious challengers while there were so many political problems behind the scenes at Anfield. - Daniel Taylor, Guardian

"At big clubs, it’s absolutely paramount that the board show their class. Arsène Wenger has had great support at Arsenal and I’ve had great support, too, ever since I came here. So there’s a certain type of unity there." Sir Alex Ferguson on the importance of board room backing for a manager.

"I have to agree with what Sir Alex Ferguson says in this article, if a club wants to stay in the elite of their country, the board of directors have to show their class and maturity in order to keep the club in the top.

Players, coach, manager, director, fans have to show their unity in order to maintain the club at his best... but let's not forget that it is the board of directors duties to manage all these in the best interest of the club.


I remember the time, some years ago, when the big Real Madrid was winning nearly every game with Zidane, Ronaldo, Raul and Roberto Carlos... the board of directors decided not to level up Makelele salary to the other stars... as a result: he left the club. From that date, Real Madrid started to sink and never totaly recovered. The same club hired Fabio Capello as coach and sacked him, even when he brought back Real Madrid and became Champion.

Yes, I agree with Fergie... a touch of class is needed to be a big club board of director member." - Philippe De Ridder

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Why do we love or hate charismatic coaches?

You love him or you hate him but...

"Johan Boskamp, 59, took over FC Dender, a first division Belgian Club , in just 6 weeks he saved them from relagation.

Boskamp is another true champion. He was the first foreign football player to receive the "golden boot" trophee (best player of the year) in his playing days - 1975. He has been my mentor for years in my young playing days at RWDM, taking me to his home and giving me the right values in the football world. Boskamp for all the "Boskamp boys", as people called us, was an inspiring figure who always tried to help and protect young players.

He believes in top football education where the first team and the youth are close related and interact. As a coach, he brought several times RSC Anderlecht to the supreme title in Belgium. Boskamp is a figure that you like at once or.. dislike at once. In my personal case, I love him. I have a lot of respect for his work and who he is... a simple man who loves football from all his heart... but most of all... still a friend" - Philippe De Ridder

Here is an article made by the Stoke City football redactor when Boskamp took over as Manager of the club:

Charisma.

Boskamp’s arrival at the club has certainly livened things up! I remember watching the live news conference on Sky when Pulis was appointed and found it a very downbeat affair, and really from that moment I struggled to warm to him. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that made me reluctant to trust him fully or accept him, but I guess there was something about his character or charisma that give me a gut feeling that all was not well.

However I put my initial unease to one side and supported him for the greater good of the club. I even had his picture on my wall! I was largely satisfied with his efforts until his final season, but could never whole-heartedly warm to Pulis or trust him, and by the end of his reign I was openly irritated by him and was glad when he was sacked.

By contrast there is something about Boskamp that I can’t help warming to. He exudes a charismatic, humorous manner that I can’t help but like, and his aims, proposed methodology, and ambitions for the club make me desperate for him to succeed.

The ability to talk straight about matters, use humour, and bring a fresh and different approach to the club has certainly been for me a more positive change, and made me excited about going to Stoke again. This was in total contrast to Pulis who had removed what little enthusiasm I had left by the end of his tenure, to the point I was wallowing in complete apathy.

Boskamp promised a more entertaining and attacking style, and the opening few games seemed to bear this out, containing such drama, excitement, and even had broadsheet newspapers enthusing about our play for once. What a refreshing change from the negativity that hung over Pulis and the Britannia Stadium like a dark cloud. I was sick of Pulis’ post-match interviews, patronising us with talk of a working-class area wanting hard work, and Stoke City struggling to compete with other sides. I want hard work and commitment yes, but I want to see good footballing principles, and entertainment. Boskamp has a vision of how this can be achieved. It is whether or not he gets the time and the necessary support to bring success and entertainment to Stoke City in equal measures.

I accept that much of such feeling is entirely subjective, and down to personality preferences. I accept that more cautious fans might prefer a Pulis style of management, preaching safety first. But all I can say is that of the two styles and approaches, I warm more easily to a jovial “character”, who on the one hand can make jokes about his love of chips, while on the other believes in trying to play football that will entertain the fans. He makes me want to listen, as opposed to switch off. He makes me want to go to watch Stoke City again.

He has reignited the passion that Pulis had extinguished. There’s hardly a dull moment at the club now for sure!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Being aware of the challenges we have to face tomorrow...

"Being aware of the challenges you have to face tomorrow after a fantastic win in the biggest Kolkatta derby is another sign of a true champion." - Philippe De Ridder

“Beating East Bengal five times in a row is a big achievement. I’m quite happy with the way we played today but we must be aware of the challenges we have to face tomorrow."

“There’s no time to relax now and we should keep the winning momentum going against Air India (in their Round XIII match). We are now one step ahead after beating East Bengal, but if we lose in Mumbai, it will be two steps backward,” Bhaichung told a news conference after the 2-0 win over East Bengal.
"Bhaichung Bhutia, Indian National team captain, Mohun Bagan captain, top scorer... and the most proffessional football player in India." -Philippe De Ridder

Monday, 21 January 2008

What makes a great coach... great?

Wenger surprised and pleased by Keegan return
- By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger is happy to have Kevin Keegan back in football.
The former England midfielder returned to the manager’s seat at Newcastle earlier this week in a fanfare of glory on Tyneside. Like the rest of the football world, his Arsenal counterpart was shocked and delighted by the development.


“I was surprised and pleased,” he said. “I am pleased because he has a positive attitude in the game, he loves football and his teams try to play."


"Again, Wenger shows how great he is as a manager/coach. Good people are always pleased to compeet against each other in a positive and respectfull way. The mark of the greats." - Philippe De Ridder

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Thierry Henry. A true champion priority.

Does the way Arsenal play have anything in common with Barça? Do you think you will adapt quickly?

"For me, the priority now is to learn Castellano or Catalan because being able to communicate is very important, not just in the dressing room but day-to-day too. I want to know the culture, the Catalan people and the city. People say that Arsenal play good football and, as I have said before, I did not have to think to hard about this. I am just delighted to have come here and to be part of this great team."

Normally you like to play out wide. Do you have any preference where you play?

"I will play where the coach puts me because he will always do what is best for the team. When you play for a club like FC Barcelona, nobody can specify whether they want to play here or there. You have to think about the team. It is not about how one player plays in a certain place. In the last World Cup the coach asked me to play up front on my own and that is not something that I like to do, but I understood that it was for the benefit of the team and I did that. What is really important is the situation and to ensure tat what you do on the field benefits the team."

Would you give £12.24 m for an unknown 18-years-old player?

Cristiano Ronaldo has just about exhausted all superlatives, except to say that having developed and matured from a young and inexperienced winger when he joined from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, he's now among the best and most dynamic attacking forces in the world.



Signed as a largely unknown 18-year-old for £12.24m, the story goes that Sir Alex was persuaded to sign him by his players on the plane home from a pre-season friendly against Sporting that summer. In truth, the boss had long been aware of his ability. The urgency to sign him stemmed from interest from other top European clubs.



This was a target Sir Alex simply couldn’t let slip through the net. Ronaldo wasted little time in showing off his sublime skills with a stunning 30-minute debut against Bolton at Old Trafford in August 2003. After 39 appearances and eight goals – including the opener in the FA Cup final win over Millwall – he was named the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year for 2003/04. His second season never quite lived up to his first. But some late season form saw him end the 2004/05 campaign with nine goals in 50 appearances. In 2005/06 Ronny again reserved his best form for the latter half of the season, a clear sign that, despite his undoubted talent, this was a player still honing his talent.



Then came the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany, a truly defining moment. In the quarter finals against England, Cristiano was blamed for Wayne Rooney’s sending off, the scapegoat for England’s exit. Some wondered if he would even return to Manchester. But Sir Alex’s calming words assured him. After all, it’d happened before with Eric Cantona in 1995 and David Beckham in 1998. The best players respond to adversity, and he did just that.



United’s title success was undoubtedly a team effort, but one player was central to almost every major plotline. It began with the barnstorming 5-1 win over Fulham – Ronaldo and Rooney running the show and very publicly rubbishing claims the two were at odds. Dazzling wing-play was backed with regular assists and crucial goals, including seven in five games over Christmas and then a last-gasp winner against Fulham in February.

His form brought renewed interest from Spain, but United’s No.7 signed a new five-year deal until 2012 insisting, “I’m happy here.” In 2006/07 he claimed 14 individual awards and, most crucially, his first Premiership medal. The soundtrack to Cristiano’s campaign may have begun with a chorus of boos, but it ended with cacophonous applause.


Cristiano Ronaldo by Cristiano Ronaldo book

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Vous êtes comment vous jouez... You are how you play.

Wenger - My special way of judging players
- By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger has one virtually fool-proof way of testing the character of any potential new signing — he just watches them play.

The Arsenal manager is well-known for considering a player’s personality off the pitch as well as their quality on it before he decides to make a bid. And, according to the Frenchman, all the background research in the world cannot make up for a good, long look at a player in action. Wenger believes the way you play your football is the way you live your life.

That is why he has never signed a player from viewing videos alone. “You try to get as many guarantees as you can but when you see a player you can know his character,” remarked the 58-year-old. “There is no better study than to watch somebody play. When he goes on the football pitch he becomes who he really is. “In normal life you can hide. On the football pitch you show who you really are. That is why you should watch a player well so you can see behind his character because he delivers that with his performance.”


But, speaking at the launch of Arsenal TV, the Frenchman added that modern transfers do not give a manager the luxury of scrutiny. “It is sometimes a question of time,” said Wenger. “We need to make quick decisions because we are competing with the other clubs. Some you have to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ without the time to get all the guarantees. “You can go home at midnight and if you don’t make a decision by 5am then the guy has gone somewhere else. He’ll have two planes booked. One goes to, say, Paris St-Germain and one comes to London.”