Football Diary

by Patrick O'Connor


LIKE many people I thoroughly enjoyed watching Spain again demonstrate the art of possession football in their European Championship win over Scotland.

But Neil Warnock, the outspoken manager of Premier League side QPR, isn't a fan of what he describes as 'tippy-tappy football.'

In an interview in the Daily Mail newspaper, Warnock blasted some of the football served up on the international stage.

Indeed he wants a change of direction after Fabio Capello quits the England job next year. He wants the country to be managed by a coach who can get his team to “move quickly through the gears.”

Warnock said:At the moment we see tippy-tappy football with passes across the back four because players are afraid to make a mistake.

“I'm a fan at heart and I like to be in a stadium where there are 'oohs' and 'aahs', keepers making saves, headers, chances and corners. That's excitement, sending people away happy and believing they have just seen something that gets the blood pumping.”

Comments by Ian Ayre, managing director of Liverpool, that leading Premier League clubs should be able to negotiate their own overseas TV rights, have angered Lancashire neighbours Wigan Athletic. .

Ayre thinks English sides will be left behind by European rivals if they continue to be tied to a collective agreement, which expires in 2013.

He told the Guardian newspaper: “Is it right that the international rights are shared equally between all the clubs? What we are doing is disadvantaging ourselves against top European clubs.”

Ayre believes that Liverpool - along with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal - deserve to receive an increased share. In Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid are able to negotiate individual contracts.

Ayre said: "What is absolutely certain is that, with the greatest of respect to our colleagues in the Premier League, if you're a Bolton fan in Bolton, then you subscribe to Sky because you want to watch Bolton. Everyone gets that.

"Likewise, if you're a Liverpool fan from Liverpool, you subscribe.

"But if you're in Kuala Lumpur there isn't anyone subscribing to Astro, or ESPN, to watch Bolton, or if they are it's a very small number. Whereas the large majority are subscribing because they want to watch Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal.

"So is it right that the international rights are shared equally between all the clubs?

"At some point we definitely feel there has to be some rebalance on that, because what we are actually doing is disadvantaging ourselves against other big European clubs."

But Dave Whelan, chairman of Wigan, describes Ayre's suggestion as “scandalous” saying it would “kill half the Premier League.”

Liverpool have American owners and Whelan said: “It is the 'American Dream', this. They are thinking 'How can we get more money?'

"But you won't get more money by killing the heart and soul of the Premier League and of football in England.

“The worst thing for English football is for teams like Liverpool - the top four let's say - who want to get rid of virtually half the Premier League.

“We will finish up like the Spanish league with just two teams in it, no competition, no anything, no heart and soul in the league.

“What we have is the finest league in the whole world and what Liverpool are calling for would absolutely wreck it. The likes of Wigan, Bolton, Blackburn, Wolves, Sunderland and Newcastle couldn't compete."

The Sun newspaper is never slow to use a pun and they report that the Aston Villa defender James Collins is ready to 'steak' a claim for first team spot – by putting meat in his boot to recover from injury.

Villa coach Peter Grant explained: “We were panicking a bit with James because his foot was quite bad.

“It was like an elephant's foot and, believe it or not, he was training with a steak in his boot!

“We thought we'd try it because it has been used in Germany recently.

“He didn't play with it, because we were worried it might get a bit hot and start cooking!”