Reuters Soccer Blog

Kaka deal highlights Serie A decline

June 10, 2009

The departure of Kaka from AC Milan to Real Madrid marks the end of the Italian era in European football. Not only can Italian clubs not attract the best players in the world to play in Serie A but now, when they unearth a talent like Kaka, they can’t stop them from leaving.

Playoffs are the answer to spice up boring leagues

June 4, 2009

Forget about the 39th game. What about English Premier League playoffs to spice up the world’s most popular league and stop it becoming a boring four-horse race?
 
After watching the recent playoffs in the English lower leagues and witnessing the excitement surrounding the recent two-legged title decider in Belgium where I ply my trade, I reckon playoffs are the way forward for the top leagues, if not now, then possibly in the future.
 
Everybody loves the cup tie atmosphere, a nail-biting finale and a do or die decider.
 
But with the growth of the Premier League and top divisions in other countries, such as Spain and Italy, along with the popularity of the UEFA Champions League, the exhilaration of soccer seems to be dwindling.
 
Soccer’s governing bodies have admitted there is a real threat that the beautiful game is becoming boring.
 
My solution for the Premier League would be to have a four-team playoff for the title similar to that used in the Netherlands which proved successful.
 
This would prevent boredom should Manchester United run away with the title with a few games still to go. At the same time finishing fourth would have an added incentive for those teams battling to break into that coveted Champions League spot.
 
Breaking into the top four is hard enough for the likes of Everton or Aston Villa, but what about getting there and having a real chance of winning the title?
 
The ecstasy and heartbreak of Newcastle, Middlesborough, Sunderland and Hull on the final day shows a playoff at the bottom similar to those in the lower divisions is also more exciting than watching a club limp out of the top division weeks before the end of the season.

Boro’s Southgate gets another chance. Does he deserve it?

May 29, 2009

Most people agree that sacking a manager after a few weeks or a handful of matches is ridiculous, but sometimes chairmen go to the other extreme and exhibit reserves of patience that would be beyond most fans.

Welcome back to the big time, Burnley

May 25, 2009

It’s been a while since Burnley last enjoyed top flight success but fans of the Lancashire club can dream once more after winning promotion to the Premier League on Monday, beating Sheffield United 1-0 at Wembley.

Should Shearer stay or go?

May 25, 2009

Alan Shearer has a big decision on his hands after his eight-game stint in charge of Newcastle United ended in relegation from the Premier League on Sunday.

Wenger makes his point with customary elegance

May 22, 2009

“Highly intelligent” and “Arsene Wenger” sit neatly together in countless newspaper columns outlining the exploits, achievements and travails of the cerebral Arsenal manager.

Things we should all love and hate about football

May 21, 2009

Soccer magazine FourFourTwo has published a superb article this month: 49 Things We Hate About Football — Even Though Its Still The Best Thing on the Planet.

Newcastle poised for tense finale to relegation soap opera

May 20, 2009

England’s most popular soap operas thrive on a weekly recipe of misery, doom and gloom that is gobbled up by television viewers seeking some relief from their own trials and tribulations.

Manchester United seal Premier League title – your views

May 16, 2009

Manchester United have captured their 18th English league title after securing the point they needed in a 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal.