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Collymore’s column: EPL must head off Man City threat, Mourinho loves a pound note and more

Written by on June 6, 2024

In his exclusive column for CaughtOffside, former Aston Villa attacker Stan Collymore discusses some of football’s biggest talking points, including why Man City’s owners must be taken on, why Jose Mourinho loves a pound note more than himself, why Jack Grealish must be picked for England and much more. 

Man City owners must be taken on for the good of the game

Let’s detach Man City as an old historic football club, with supporters that support a team they would all support, whether they’re in the National League or wherever, from the ownership, who have acted disgracefully to work within rules that they’ve been wildly successful under.

They’ve won trophies including four out of the last five Premier Leagues, so by NO measure whatsoever, have the ownership of Manchester City Football Club, in their attempt to make Manchester City successful, had their job hampered by the rules and regulations.

That’s the first thing.

Other clubs such as Aston Villa, Liverpool and Newcastle all agree to operate within the rules, despite, in the Magpies case, they could spend as much as City or arguably more.

You don’t then turn around and go, ‘we’re going to blow the doors off the whole place, and we’re going to sue you.’ The inference from Man City was that they would have to spend less on the academy and less on youth teams and less on youth development but that’s what every other club has to do.

I think that we’re at the time and the place where the red button, the nuclear button may well need to be pressed. And I would say this if it related to any club, such as Aston Villa, Liverpool, Nottingham Forest, Manchester United, Bournemouth…

If any club is trying to change the material structure of the Premier League to be able to make it a space race ‘free for all,’ then they should be expelled from the league and not come back until they accept the rules as they are.

It’s called a meritocracy and what we all hope and pray for is that when our teams line up on match day one, that we’ve just got a chance of doing something. And this would take away any single remote, lingering hope of any club being able to do what Leicester City did, any club being able to win an FA Cup, any club being able to win a League Cup.

We would have a situation with 40/50 man squads of the best players in the world, whereby one squad plays in the FA Cup, one squad plays in the League Cup, one squad plays in the Premier League, one plays in the Champions League, and you would get quadruples every year.

The reason why these records are breaking is not because these teams are better. It’s because the teams are deeper and better.

And so from my perspective, it’s really simple, the ownership of Manchester City Football Club has to be taken on.

If this was the club I support, Aston Villa, doing what Man City had done over the last 10/12 years, and were now arguing that they will sue the Premier League, I would genuinely, and it’s important to say this, advocate for my own football club to be temporarily kicked out the league until they saw sense.

That’s how serious the situation is.

Grealish brings something different for England and needs to make the cut

Man City star Grealish has to make Euro 2024 squad.

After cutting James Maddison from the England squad this week, Gareth Southgate has a few more decisions to make with the next few days.

There’s rumours that Liverpool duo Jarell Quansah and Curtis Jones will be next to be given the bad news.

In terms of Jack Grealish, he doesn’t now have the bells and the whistles to drive past people in the box, but what he does have is he keeps the ball very well in that left position.

He’s not as incisive but as we saw with Trent’s goal, he picked his head up and dinked the ball over.

Everybody was getting very excited about Eberechi Eze against Bosnia and Herzegovina, but I didn’t think had a good game. I think he ran into roadblocks time after time. Yes, he got the ball, showed pace, dropped his shoulder and did a couple of step overs, but then he lost the ball and we were counter attacked. Against better teams that’s going to hurt.

Therefore, I’ll probably say that those who won’t make the final cut are Maddison, Quansah, Jones, Eze, James Trafford, Adam Wharton and Luke Shaw. That would be my seven.

If player welfare is important, scrap the ‘breaking new markets’ nonsense

Darwin Nunez scored a hat trick on Wednesday and we’re only less than two weeks after the Premier League finished.

Other than for international tournaments, which tend to start mid June – as we’ve seen with the Euros and their equivalent – I think that we need to have a serious look at post-season friendlies and almost ban teams from going because for the amount of money they get (£2m-£5m a pop) I don’t think it’s financially worthwhile.

When people say ‘Oh, we’re breaking new markets,’ no you’re not. You’re just going for a little greedy couple of million pounds payout, which which will go into the coffers.

I think that any games in the domestic leagues, the Champions League and all European football should be done by the end of May. That can be done. The FA Cup could be in the middle or towards the end of May, and then, like what used to happen with teams winning the European Cup, they’d literally get on a flight and go the next Wednesday or the next Saturday.

There should be a moratorium for end of season friendlies and pre-season friendlies. The calendar should stop at a certain point and proper breaks put in.

When there is no mandated European Championship or World Cup tournament, or if you are not included in those squads for those tournaments, you get four to six weeks off. No exceptions, no tours, no nothing.

All of the superfluous tournaments, lucrative games and the Nations League would be scrapped.

Mourinho loves a pound note more than he loves himself

Jose Mourinho unveiled as Fenerbahce manager.

Jose Mourinho is very clever. What he does is that as his managerial abilities wane, his mouth works over time. We know from the ‘Special One’ thing that he’s having himself, but he was winning major trophies with major clubs at the time.

Let’s not beat about the bush, he likes a pound note. He’s getting paid €21m over two years by Fenerbahce, so he’s not going anywhere for other than top, top, top dollar. You have a look at the deals that he signed with Roma and Fenerbahce and with the greatest respect, neither are getting anywhere near the Champions League. They’re not getting anywhere near the Europa League either.

If you’re a chairman and you see Mourinho popping up on Sky Sports or any television channel around Europe to tell you how great he is, you go ‘Brilliant. We’re going to get him,’ and fans will be lining the streets.

The way to judge him though is when he leaves your club and he left Manchester United and Tottenham much worse off, in my opinion. Of course, the revisionists are now saying he was right about United but Mourinho left the dressing room fractured. At Tottenham, he did nothing. The football was turgid.

So watch this space Fenerbahce fans. You’re all getting very giddy and very excited, but let’s see, in two years time, if your thoughts and memories of Jose Mourinho are the same as when he waved the shirt and kissed the badge.

Pardew chase is a surprise because ‘old school’ managers don’t have a place in a modern Premier League

Old school managers have no place in the modern game, although they should because the Premier League should be about different styles and different systems.

Whether it be longer ball versus Pep ball or 4-4-2 versus 4-3-3, most clubs, on the back of a three plus goals per game Premier League season, want a manager now with all the bells and whistles and whose team defend on the halfway line. Who are a guarantee of three or four goals a game, so the clubs can get punters In.

It’s somewhat of a surprise that Alan Pardew would be considered for the Burnley job because I don’t see his of play being conducive to anything exceptional for Burnley as they’re trying to get back into the Premier League.

You look at the clubs that they’re going to be competing with, pretty much most of them are going to be those that can finish at the top. They’re going to be footballing teams.

Maybe Burnley have identified something and said ‘We’re going to be a bit more industrial. We’re going to be a bit more pragmatic. We’re going to have use old school management to get into them a little bit more,’ and maybe they see something of a Sean Dyche in him, but I just think that what got Burnley out of the championship into the Premier League in the first place was quality on the deck football.

The Sam Allardyce’s, the Neil Warnock’s, the Harry Redknapp’s and the Alan Pardew’s are great at going on podcasts and telling the great tales of yesteryear, but I don’t think in reality, they have the attention to detail or the energy levels that a modern coach has.

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