The UK left the EU at the end of 2020 and with the end of freedom of movement came a new regime for football transfers with players coming from an EU country now requiring a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) to be able to play in the UK. The January transfer window was generally quiet with not much money being spent (impact of Covid has perhaps some responsibility for that) but the only comments I can find regarding the new system from a prominent manager came from Sam Allardyce. The West Brom head coach made comments early in the window that the new system was making it harder for him. On January 4th, he told reporters…
‘I have found three players already who were capable of coming here and they’re not allowed. It’s a shame. Due to the new regulations in terms of the permit they were unable to come to this country, whereas (previously) they would have done. I have to look at that and think ‘can he qualify?’read more
I have not done anything on football for a long time now. For my plans in 2018, I said I would commit to continuing to produce Match Thoughts posts when I caught up with the monthly review posts. This has not materialised due to a mix of personal circumstances and balancing other priorities. Instead, for the remainder of the season, I will turn to a series of questions to answer in the closing weeks of the season. This starts with the battle for survival in the Premier League.
As the Premier League returns this weekend following the final international break before this summers World Cup, most teams only have seven or eight games left and the bottom of the table could not be tighter. Whilst one team are well adrift in 20th, the other two teams in the bottom three are only a matter of nine points away from 10th. That means anyone of West Brom, Stoke City, Southampton, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield Town, Swansea City, Newcastle United, Brighton & Hove Albion, Watford and Bournemouth are all in the relegation picture. But, who do I think it will be?
Position: 20th, 20 Points Played 31, 3 Wins, 11 Draws, 17 Defeats, 29 Goals Scored, 49 Goals Against, -25 Goal Difference Manager: Alan Pardew Top Scorer: Solomon Rondon 6 Remaining fixtures: Burnley (home), Swansea (home), Manchester United (away), Liverpool (away), Newcastle United (away), Tottenham Hotspur (home), Crystal Palace (away).read more
With the transfer window firmly closed, football got underway in earnest with players settled at their new or current clubs; knowing where they’ll be playing their football until January. The first international break of the season with teams resuming their world cup qualification campaigns and the Champions League group stages started up again. PSG may not yet know the repercussions of their summer spending in relation to financial fair play but on the pitch, they have been in scorching form.
11 Football Developments: September
PSG started their Champions League campaign with a 5-0 thrashing of Celtic at Celtic Park in their first group game before humbling Bayern Munich 3-0 I Paris resulting in the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti. Celtic responded by defeating RSC Anderlecht 3-0 in Belgium.
2. That opening round of fixtures also saw Barcelona defeat Juventus 3-0 in a repeat of last seasons semi-final
3. Manchester United marked their return to Europe’s top competition with a 3-0 win over FC Basel at Old Trafford and a 4-1 victory over CSKA Moscow in Russia to sit top of Group A. Liverpool meanwhile could only muster a 2-2 draw at home against Sevilla in their group opener and 1-1 away to Spartak Moscow.
4. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City started in a style by defeating Feyenoord 4-0 in Holland before defeating Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 at the Etihad in their first two games while Antonio Conte’s Chelsea defeated minnows Qarabag FK 6-0 at Stamford Bridge and edging past Atletico Madrid 2-1 in Spain to top their group.Tottenham Hotspur eventually got their first win of the season at their temporary home of Wembley as they overcame Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League Group stage and then defeated APOEL Nicosia to start their European season with a 100% record and face Real Madrid next.
5.Tottenham Hotspur eventually got their first win of the season at their temporary home of Wembley as they overcame Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League Group stage and then defeated APOEL Nicosia to start their European season with a 100% record and face Real Madrid next.
6. Domestically, they have not yet won at Wembley after a goalless draw with Swansea City as it is their away form that has kept them in the top four. They sit third, just above Chelsea in 4th. The two Manchester clubs are separated by goal difference at the top as Manchester United lost their 100% start away to Stoke City and Manchester City scored 17 goals without reply in September (5-0 vs Liverpool, 6-0 vs Watford, 5-0 vs Crystal Palace and 1-0 away to Chelsea) to lead on goal difference.
7. Arsenal acclimatised to life away from the Champions League by beating FC Koln 3-1 in their first Europa League at the Emirates in a game that needed delaying due to crowd issues before defeating BATE Borisov 4-2 in Belarus. In group E, Ronald Koeman’s Everton struggled, losing their group opener 3-0 to Atalanta in Italy before being pegged back to a 2-2 draw at home by Apollon Limassol.
8. In the World Cup Qualifiers, Gareth Southgate’s England (I still can’t believe I’m saying that) struggled to see off minnows Malta 2-0 after a 0-0 draw with Slovakia
9. Frank De Boer became the Premier League’s first managerial casualty of the season after being relieved of duties by Crystal Palace only four games into the season. In terms of matches, his four-game spell is the shortest reign in Premier League history but is the third shortest in terms of days at 77 days. Former England manager Roy Hodgson was appointed as his successor with Palace bottom of the table.
10. In the Football League, there were five managerial casualties. The first was Harry Redknapp who was relieved of duties at Birmingham City following six straight defeats. Gary Caldwell was also sacked the same day by league Two Chesterfield after three wins in 29 games, a slump that had seen them relegated from League One and Michael Brown was also sacked by Port Vale the with the club sitting bottom of League Two. Nine days later Adrian Pennock left Gillingham by mutual consent following a 3-0 defeat to Rochdale as well as John Sheridan who left Oldham Athletic following his fifth spell at the club as either player or manager.
11. The Premier League voted to close the summer transfer window before the start of the season starting from the 2018/19 season. Top-flight clubs will be unable to buy players after 5 pm on Thursday 9th August 2017 while other European leagues will see their transfer window remain open until the end of August. 14 clubs voted in favour while both Manchester clubs, Watford, Swansea City and Crystal Palace opposed.
NUFC Related News
• Tim Krul’s 10-year association with Newcastle United came to an end as his loan deal to Brighton & Hove Albion was made permanent. Having been signed by Glenn Roeder in 2006 from Ado Den Haag, Krul had a mixed spell on Tyneside. After making his debut in the 1-0 win at Parma in the UEFA Cup at the age of 16, it was not until 2010 when he got a consistent shot in the first team and became number 1 for the 2011/12 season. He had some highs and lows setting the record for most saves in a single Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur but injuries were never too far away and having missed the majority of the 2015/16 season never found a way into Rafa Benitez’s plans.read more
After a tediously long International break, the Premier League returned to our screens this weekend. There were plenty of talking points as Harry Kane got off the mark in front of goal with it no longer being August, Manchester City demolished Liverpool 5-0 (with help of a sending off for Saido Mane). Manchester United lost their 100% record at Stoke while one of the super Sunday games resulted in the leagues first managerial casualty of the season in Frank De Boer. The second of those Super Sunday games saw Newcastle United travel to the Liberty Stadium to face Swansea City with both teams coming into it on the back of their first wins of the season.
Swansea City came into the game buoyed by the deadline day arrival of Portuguese international midfielder Renato Sanches on loan from Bayern Munich and the return of Wilfreid Bony from Manchester City. Manager Paul Clement named the midfielder in the starting line up on the right-hand side of a midfield triangle alongside Sam Clucas and Tom Carroll while Leroy Fer was playing just behind the two strikers. Tammy Abraham started alongside Jordan Ayew meaning Bony would start his second stint at Swansea on the bench. In goal was Lukasz Fabianski and the back four consisted of Kyle Naughton, Federico Fernandez, Alfie Mawson and Martin Olsson.read more
The football season is back! The transfer window has now firmly closed after a crazy two months which saw the world record transfer fee more than smashed by PSG who paid Barcelona £198 million for Neymar which eventually set off a crazy chain reaction which went all the way to deadline day. Meanwhile, no one has been able to win Jeff Stelling’s £1 million.
Here is a selection of what happened in August…read more
Two games into the 2017/18 season and things could not have started anymore on the negative side for Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United. Two defeats left the manager in need of a major boost going into the final week of football in August. In a week where Jamie Carragher was critical of Newcastle, dismissing the side as a Championship one, Newcastle hosted Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup (League Cup) followed by the visit of fellow early strugglers West Ham in the league. This was a big week for Newcastle.
It may now be 2017 but we had to get through December first. What’s not to like about December hey? Sure, the nights are colder and longer but there’s the joys of counting down to a New Year as well as the giving and receiving of gifts from friends and family under the guise of the big fat man with the long white beard. The day itself was saddened as the world lost George Michael and then days later with one of the most recognisable faces from one of my favourite film franchises in Carrie Fisher. May they Rest In Peace. However, life goes on and so does Football which brings me to…
10 Developments in Football: December 2016
The Champions League Group Stages came to a close in December with Leicester City, Manchester City and Arsenal progressing to the knockout stages while Tottenham Hotspur fell into the Europa League after finishing 3rd in their group, a position secured by a 3-1 win over CSKA Moscow.
Arsenal’s reward for eventually topping a Champions League group was the daunting tie of Bayern Munich (not much luck there) after PSG were held to a 2-2 draw by Ludogorets (their reward was a tie against Barcelona). Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City were drawn against AS Monaco while Leicester City paired with Sevilla.
Southampton fell out of the Europa League on away goals in the Group Stage as a 1-1 draw at home against Hapoel Beer Sheva FC saw the visitors progress in 2nd.
Manchester United progressed with a 2-0 win over FC Zorya Luhansk and will face St Etienne in the Round of 32; Tottenham face KRC Genk.
December also marks the awarding of the Ballon d’Or to the best player of the year and for 2016 it went to Cristiano Ronaldo who won the award for the fourth time.
That wasn’t all Ronaldo won in December as he helped himself to a hat-trick as Real Madrid needed extra time in Yokohama to defeat Kashima Antlers 4-2 to secure their second FIFA Club World Cup.
Chelsea finished 2016 top of the Premier League after their 4-2 win over Stoke City at Stamford Bridge extending their winning run to an equalling record of successive wins in a single Premier League season; 13.
Five managers lost their jobs in December with the oddest perhaps being the dismissal of Gary Rowett by Birmingham City to replace him with Gianfranco Zola. In the Premier League, Swansea City became the first club to look for their third manager after partaking company with Bob Bradley having only been in charge for 85 days. Elsewhere, the man who blames anyone but himself and that cringeworthy dance at Wembley, Alan Pardew was sacked by Crystal Palace.
The increasing financial clout of the Chinese Super League surprised again after Brazilian midfielder Oscar left Chelsea for the league and was swiftly followed by Carlos Tevez.
Football was also given some space in the Queens New Years Honours list which was released on New Year’s Eve: Wales and Northern Ireland managers Chris Coleman and Michael O’Neill were both recognised.
Newcastle United News: December
Cath be gone: Apologies for the awkward subheading but Newcastle United had one departure in January in the form of Ian Cathro. The well-established catch was the only survivor of Steve McLaren’s First team coaching set up under Rafa Benitez but the lure of a management role was too much for the Spaniard to turn down. He departed to manage SPL side Hearts to replace Robbie Nielson who departed for MK Dons. The 30-year-old’s first game in charge of the Tynecastle club was a game with Rangers. He left with Rafa Benitez’s best wishes stating, ‘When a coach has the opportunity and the desire to progress his career in management, it is always very important to allow them the freedom to move on and develop themselves.’.read more