O’Neill’s Late Departure – Makes Bradley A Very Plausible Option

Martin O’Neill’s shock resignation a week before the season has left Villa in the lurch. Finding a replacement that meets the new found expectations of Villa fans is not going to be easy.

Puff pieces are already being written portraying Martin O’Neill as the protagonist and Randy Lerner as the evil American owner that wouldn’t show the proper commitment by investing in the club. This is crap. Lerner has dumped a ton of money into what was a struggling Premier League club and given O’Neill, who is a great manager, the resources to compete. But there are limits. Rumors abound about O’Neill complaining about lack of transfer funds and conflict with the ownership over selling Gareth Barry and a willingness to sell James Milner to Manchester City for 20+ million and Ashley Young for there abouts. Frankly, if that is the reason why O’Neil resigned he was living on another planet and any Villa fan upset at American owner Randy Lerner should be slapped.

NOT every owner is as rich as a Middle Eastern oil barren or a Russian oligarch. Books sometimes have to be balanced. We are also not talking about a Manchester United here that expects to be not just on top in England but in world football. The idea that O’Neil should be patted on the head for not wanting to sell James Milner for 20 plus million is ridiculous. Think about it. For 25 million Villa could bank 10 million and probably sign Mezut Ozil for 15 mil.

Villa fans with visions of grandeur are dreaming of a high profile manager like Guus Hiddink (who has a job) fail to recognize that a degree of austerity is about to fall upon them. The economy is down, presumably so is Lerner’s willingness to excessively splash the cash. If O’Neill was willing to walk out because a lack of cash a high profile figure is not going to be recruited. But furthermore, even if it were possible to attract a glitz manager, the season starts in a week. All those high profile managers are gone or have been locked up. Martin Jol the former Spurs manager, has been locked up by Ajax after Fulham made a go at him. While Villa is a step up to a degree, I doubt this is persuasive enough so late in the day.
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DC United Fires Onalfo – About Time

Curt Onalfo seems like a nice guy and it isn’t largely his fault for United’s disastrous season. But still he deserves a good chunk of blame. Yes United have been hit with injuries. Yes in many ways this was always a rebuilding year for them. Yes they got unlucky with some late goals and blunders. But this team should not be this bad. If being the worst team in the league isn’t enough to get you canned I am not sure what is.

Steve Goff described a source that said this is a “panicky” decision. Perhaps. But United should be panicking. Something had to be done and firing a manager that had really done nothing to inspire confidence that he could get this team playing well made this pretty clearly warranted.
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MLS Can’t Stop At 20 Teams – It Must Become A National League

WV Hooligan is adamant that MLS take a break from expansion at 20 teams. This makes sense since at 20 teams the league will have reached the size of other big time leagues, it will give it time to consolidate and will give time to allow for the quality of the league to improve. All these points are true. But frankly MLS has to get bigger than 20 teams, because even at 20 teams it will still not be a national league.

MLS lacks national reach and it is not just because three of its teams are/will be in Canada, but also because the league specifically targeted smaller niche markets like Columbus and Salt Lake City in order to have less competition from other sports. Both these franchises have largely paid off and the coming conquest of the Pacific Northwest with Portland and Vancouver – similarly small or midsize markets – were probably wise expansion moves, especially considering the down economy.

But lets get real for a second. The key to growing a leagues revenue is the growth of television viewership and therefore TV rights. Hence, leagues need to go where the people are, since they need to expand its viewership base. Many millions of America will never live close enough to an MLS team to regularly go to the games. To connect with these folks the league needs to not just put out an engaging product, but it needs to give these people a team to route for. All other major pro sports have 30+ teams (NBA, NHL, MLB all have 30, the NFL has 32). MLS doesn’t need to get close to that number soon, but it does need to have a presence throughout the country.
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