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Archive for September 1st, 2012

He deserved to be replaced by Robin van Persie – but don’t make the mistake of writing off Wayne Rooney

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Rooney's decade in Premier League began with stunning debut against Arsenal as 16-year-old

Rooney's decade in Premier League began with stunning debut against Arsenal at the age of 16

BY JOHN GUBBA

It is a cruel blow for his publishers that Wayne Rooney’s new book is coming out while he is sidelined by injury and Manchester United’s summer signing Robin van Persie. But do not make the mistake of writing off Wazza.

In all honesty being dropped to the bench against Fulham last weekend was probably the wake-up call Rooney needed after some mediocre appearances both for England and Manchester United of late.

Complacency has always been a recipe for disaster in football and Sir Alex Ferguson is the master at keeping his players hungry and motivated in his relentless quest for honours.

Few managers have the confidence to leave out a star like Rooney. But that is exactly what was required because United’s talisman for the past decade has not been hitting the heights we all know he can.

What no one could have predicted was the freak injury inflicted by the collision with Hugo Rodallega that left Rooney with a horrendous gash needing surgery to stitch his leg back together. Assuming no lasting damage is done, however, I expect the battle to regain fitness and re-claim his place in the side could be just the challenge Rooney needs to get back to his best.

Questions have been asked about whether or not Rooney can fit into the same team as RVP and new playmaker Shinji Kagawa. But I have no doubts on that front and predict this trio will be terrorising the Premier League long before the end of the season.

Panic buying on transfer market is no recipe for success – Swansea’s fantasy football is more rewarding route to top

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Michael Laudrup has continued the purist footballing philosophy of Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers

Michael Laudrup - continuing purist football philosophy of Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers

 

BY JOHN GUBBA

Swansea City Football Club have proved that dreams still come true – but it’s not simply the fact they climbed from the bottom of the Football League to the top of the Premier League in less than a decade that is so impressive.

On the day after another spending frenzy on the transfer market came to an end, it is worth reflecting on the remarkable way the Swans have achieved their goal playing fantasy football and without the riches of a billionaire owner.

During a decade that has seen Premier League clubs spend more than £4.4 billion pounds since the transfer window was introduced 10 years ago,  Swansea’s success on a shoestring is nothing short of miraculous.

In January 2002 a group of local businessmen saved Swansea City from the hands of controversial owner Tony Petty and possible extinction. It was a turbulent season that saw the Welsh club hit rock bottom in the Football League’s lowest tier for the first time in their history. They only avoided relegation to the Vauxhall Conference on the last day of the season.

A decade later the Swans are gracing the Premier League with a brand of football that is a joy to watch. New manager Michael Laudrup is carrying on the purist footballing philosophy introduced by Roberto Martinez and continued by Brendan Rogers before he was poached by Liverpool in the summer.

When the Swans became the first Welsh club to reach the Premier with their Play-Off Final win over Reading in May 2011 many people expected their stay in the top flight to be short-lived. But judging by the way they have started their second EPL season don’t bet against the Swans’ fantasy continuing.

The transfer window shut last night with a total spending spree of £450 million pounds by Premier League clubs during the summer. But once again Swansea are aiming big without spending lavishly. They have smashed their own transfer record by splashing £5.5 million a piece on Ki Sung-Yueng and Pablo Hernandez. But an overall spend of £16.1M stills leaves them in profit after recouping £21.55M largely due to selling Joe Allen to Liverpool (£15M) and Scott Sinclair (£6.2M) to Manchester City.

To every fan out there who dreams of watching their team succeed playing the beautiful game the way it should be played, Swansea City are a shining example of how nothing is impossible in football.     

Big spender - Roman Abramovich has ploughed around £1 billion into Chelsea since 2003
Big spender – Roman Abramovich has ploughed £1 billion into Chelsea since 2003. Chelsea insist they want to break even and comply with UEFA’s rule that clubs can lose only €45m (£35.6m) in total from 2011 to 2013. But they were the EPL’s big spenders this summer signing Eden Hazard (£32m), Oscar (£25m), Marko Marin (£7m), Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.5m), Victor Moses (£9m).

Millions spent since January  2003 

1. Chelsea 673
2. Man City 572
3. Liverpool 414
4. Man United 352
5. Tottenham 350
6. Arsenal 214
7. Aston Villa 201
8. Sunderland 187
9. Newcastle 174
10. Everton 129
11. West Ham 123
12. Wigan 110
13. Fulham 107
14. Portsmouth 100
15. Birmingham 92
16. Blackburn 87
17. Stoke 84
18. Bolton 76
19. Middsbrough 71
20. West Brom 64

Source: Deloitte’s Sports Business Group