“Icons-Not what they used to be-Where have you gone”
Here it’s football. There it’s futbol, and it means everything to them, every minutes, every day.
You are Aston Villa, or Norwich City, Newscastle or Swansea, and you are fighting for your life in the English Premeire League. When you look at the ‘Tables’, league standings to us here in America, you seen all those teams at the bottom. At the brink of relegation, meaning the worst teams face removal at the end of the season, to a lower division, a Triple A of sorts.
Look at the standings again, and see who is no longer atop the tables.
Mention soccer to someone from there, and the names instantly come to mind. Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool. Dynasties if you will, or dynasties that used to be something special.
Not now. All has changed, some believe because of the entrance of American ownership. John Henry (Red Sox), Malcom Glazer (Tampa Bay), George Gillette (Montreal Canadiens), Tom Hicks (Texas Rangers) came, but success did not follow. American know-how arrived, but it did not translate into winning.
Payrolls went up, debt service rocketed, mistakes were made. And now suddenly, Man U, the Chelsea Lions, and Liverpool FC are no longer destination points.
Louis vanGaal, the equivalent of Bill Belicheck, is not having success at United. As the decline of the franchise has taken place, the only holdover from the great years, is John Rooney. In the last month, Man U went thru a stretch of 1-win in 9-matches. Think about that.
vanGaal went crazy at a press conference, feuding with London reporters, and there are a few tabloid papers there, over columns they wrote day-by-day about his imminent firing. He called it untruths, and then at a press conference, demanded the columnists stand up and apologize to him, his family and team for lies. When no one stood up, he stood up, said “FU-end of press conference” and left. Even Belicheck hasn’t done that.
Chelsea, owned by Russian oil czars, has spent and spent, and wasted and wasted the seasons away. At one point in early January, they were on point out of relegation. Even harder to believe. Jose Mourhino, their version of our Rex Ryan and his mouth, finally got tossed overboard in a coaching purge. Little has improved.
Mourhino, a world class coach, got canned, and next day, said he was applying for the Manchester United job, when it opened. Just a little like Rex Ryan, with something to say about everything-everyone.
Liverpool seems dead and gone. Stars departed, and very little has been accomplished. Henry, the Red Sox owner’s touch of gold, has not yet occurred. Star Luis Suarez bolted never to return.
The days of David Beckham and the Spice Girls seem like a long time ago. England prides itself on founding the game, but even in World Cup play, they lag behind what South America and even Team USA have become.
I love all the things the Fox Soccer Channel has brought us from across the pond, games all hours of the day, and the fun to watch “Men in Blazers” pregame shows.
But it looks as if the era is over. Manchester City is still good, but all else seems to have fallen by the wayside. American money can’t buy the tradition back of those franchises. Name coaches have not restored greatness. And players are looking other places to get paydays.
Soccer’s iconic franchises just aren’t what they used to be. They’ve fallen and English fans are looking to hand out red cards to those who committed the fouls. American ownership seems to standing right there, about to be carded.