Harry Redknapp, Amdy Faye Arrested!

Well there goes any shot at taking over Steve McClaren’s vacancy. Or maybe not, everybody’s innocent until proven guilty right??

Redknapp – firmly entrenched at Portsmouth when his transfer kitty sky-rocketed exponentially due to Russian businessman Alexander Gaydamak’s takeover – has been confirmed by his club to be one of the five arrested on…

“…on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting as part of an ongoing investigation into football corruption.”

Another of those arrested was Portsmouth executive Peter Storrie while the second most surprising of those taken in was former Newcastle, Portsmouth, and current Rangers midfielder Amdy Faye. All that was officially released at first was the ages of those arrested – 69, 60 (Redknapp, although he’s 61), 55, 48, and 30 (Faye).

It all started with Lord Stevens who was brought in by the English FA last year to look into odd transfers and going-ons in English football. Stevens did just that and pissed some people off – throwing accusations and caution out the window. Is it like baseball’s steroids where everybody knows it’s happening but people would rather sit in denial? Early on, clubs like Newcastle, Portsmouth, and Rangers were searched, while it was alleged that Pascal Chimbonda of Tottenham was brought in for questioning, and results were presented, 8 arrests made, but nothing as high-profile as this.

Is this the start of things to come?

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Columbus Crew 2007 Review: Mid-Summer Mirage

Columbus Crew
Record (W-L-T): 9-11-10; 39 GF; 44 GA
Source Material: Schedule/match reports; roster

Overview
Streaks are part of the game. They happen for a lot of reasons – a missing player, bad vibes begetting more bad vibes, etc. And it’s worth suggesting upfront that “bad vibes” seem to have a special attachment to the Columbus Crew, a team that with 2007 missed its third consecutive Major League Soccer (MLS) post-season. Still, for a couple mid-summer months, the Columbus had good reason to believe they would break this jinx.

That brings the discussion back to streaks: Columbus experienced something closer “spells” in 2007. For two happy months – June and July, as it happened – the Crew rose to within one point of DC United for the Eastern Conference lead. Had the players looked down from that mid-summer peak – a little Midwestern Eden, if you will – they would have sighted two blighted valleys extending on either side, where bitter losses followed throw-away draws. Consider this: after picking up a gutsy, “hell-of-a” draw against the New England Revolution on June 16, the Crew went 4-1-1 – that could be 5-1-1 if you count the win over Toronto FC after the All-Star Break. Before this happy period, however, they cooked up a stinking 1-4-6. After, they passed a messy and painful 1-6-3, before wrapping up the season with two useless wins (over good teams…go figure).

Call it a what-the-hell kind of mystery – and, here, memory plays a role. It seemed like a lot of talk during the late summer slump rested on the view that all hope centered on a healthy Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Apparently, such stories grew larger than reality because a review of the record shows Schelotto missed only the month of September. While that certainly didn’t help, it’s worth pointing out that the Argentine played every game in the Crew’s crappy August. Continue reading

UCL Game 5’s: Rangers hang on – Beasley severely injured

Group E

Barcelona 2, Lyon 2

Barca clinched even without the services of Thierry Henry.  Could have won if it wasn’t for Brazilian veteran Juninho Pernambucano who snuck in a brace. His performance was overshadowed by the antics of Barca coach Frank Rijkaard (soon to be punished) and the penalty conversion of Leo Messi which put Barca in the lead 2-1. Juninho, however, should have had three and had that happened, the spotlight would have been all his.

VfB Stuttgart 3, Rangers 2

Beasley started and caused a bit of trouble but had to be stretchered off in the 50th minute. This came only 15 minutes after Lee McCulloch had to leave the game as well due to injury. Still the Rangers fought back to a 2-2 deadlock only to see their salvo go to waste after a Ciprian Marica 85th minute strike. There is no definite diagnosis on Beasley’s injury after his collision with the Stuttgart keeper Rafael Schafer, but manager Walter Smith has called it ‘serious’ and that doesn’t bode well. Without Beasley, it was fellow CONCACAF man Pavel Pardo who stole the show – scoring a goal and assisting on another.

Group F

AS Roma 4, Dynamo Kiev 1

It was the Mirko Vucinic show in the Ukraine as his double added with Panucci and Giuly strikes broke wide open an otherwise somewhat even game. Vucinic made his mark about 40 minutes in after captain Francesco Totti had to leave the game with injury. Kiev’s loss highlighted a pretty dismal day for Eastern European teams.

Manchester United 2, Sporting Lisbon 1

Maximum points. That’s about all you can ask from a Wayne Rooney-less team. It certainly wasn’t easy though as the Devils had to rely on Cristiano Ronaldo’s heroics again. The Portuguese midfielder scored on a free kick 25-yards out in injury time against his own former club. Not bad for the dramatics.

Group G

Inter Milan 3, Fenerbahce 0

Three late goals from Julio Cruz, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Luis Jimenez sufficiently dispatched the Turkish champions. A quick start for the Turks has been all but wiped away as PSV sits only a point adrift and CSKA Moscow (Fenerbahce’s next opponent) are due for a win.

PSV Eindhoven 1, CSKA Moscow 0

A Jefferson Farfan strike in the 39th minute allowed PSV to continue fighting for a spot in the knockout rounds. They were helped by Fenerbahce’s dismantling at the hands of Inter Milan but the only problem is…..PSV has Inter Milan last. CSKA Moscow is close to ending a pretty miserable UCL run and this result was the perfect example as the Russians outshot PSV 15-4.

Group H

FC Sevilla 3, Arsenal 1

Both are through but FC Sevilla gained the momentum. That happens when you shut down a potent Gunner squad that hadn’t lost since April 2007. You could even say that Sevilla dominated – out-shooting and out-possessing Arsene Wenger’s boys. All that didn’t matter much though as Arsenal was already through to the knockout rounds.

Slavia Prague 1, Steaua Bucharest 1 

An Eastern European battle with a spot in the UEFA Cup knockout rounds on the line. Prague came in with the upper-hand and left with it intact. It took until the 78th minute to ensure that spot though.  Young Marek Suchy and center midfielder Michel Svec drove the game and provided some decency in an otherwise ugly game for the Czechs.

Sevilla Peña in America—Associación Sevillista Puerta de America

asociacionsevillistapuertadeamerica.jpg

My good friend Rafa over at American Section/Brigada Americana has just informed me that our Sevilla Peña in the United States has been approved!!! This is the ONLY Sevilla Peña in the United States.

We are known as the Associación Sevillista Puerta de America and now after cleaning up a few things with regards to Not-for-profit status and the like, we will be in business.

In case you don’t know what a peña is, they are established outside of the city where your football club is located, and are official ‘fan clubs’ basically. We are officially registered with Sevilla FC and will be getting news on dues and how to sign up in the coming months. Dues will be around $25 a year and will cover all sorts of things, once we figure out what they are!

I will be making the website soon and Rafa and I will be getting the ball rolling on this. If anyone is interested, and I’m sure you ARE, drop me a message in the comments, or email me at rjknapp19 –at– gmail –dot– com. And I can give you more information and sign you up for the message list.