Catch Seventy7

Sports news and views, and other stuff in life…

Collingwood’s Assessment of England’s Efforts Proves the Most Accurate

England go out of another World Cup, everyone’s up in arms. But in reality, Collingwood’s men did just about as well as their abilities deserved…

Collingwood congratulates Rashid: But the spinner's selection was controversial...

Collingwood congratulates Rashid: But the spinner's selection was controversial...

After a valiant struggle, England eventually succumbed to the enemy they perhaps knew best.

The rain.

It may be debatable whether or not West Indies are an inferior side to England, but the fact of the matter is that 80 runs in nine overs (with 10 wickets to play with) is an easier target than 162 in 20 overs (with the same number of wickets). When you know the opposition as well as England and the Windies know each other, such an advantage is only magnified.

England struggled valiantly, but the composure and quality of Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul proved more than enough.

England captain Paul Collingwood stuck by his side after the defeat.

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June 16, 2009 Posted by | Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

Weekly Musings: Ronaldo Saga, The Apprentice, Twenty20 Cricket, and more

What Catch Seventy7 learned after another week wishing they’d concentrated on football as a kid…

Ronaldo spots a mirror in the crowd...

Ronaldo spots a mirror in the crowd...

Cristiano Ronaldo + £80m = A deal too good to refuse

Has anything else happened this week apart from the potential of transfer of a certain Portuguese poseur to a certain Spanish side this week?

Didn’t think so.

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June 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized, Weekly Musings | , , , | Leave a comment

Madrid Solve Milan’s Recession Woes, in the Hope Kaka Can Solve Theirs

Milan needed money, Real Madrid needed a world-class footballer. Sometimes the most expensive transfers are also the simplest to complete… 

Kaka: Belongs to Jesus... but also Real Madrid

Kaka: Belongs to Jesus... but also Real Madrid

The first Galacticos era under Florentino Perez has not been viewed too kindly by history.
Overblown salaries and egos are remembered, and not with great affection. Too many big names, and not enough team unity seems to have been the overriding summation of Perez’s unique experiment.
When the inevitable end came, it came with ugly recriminations for many concerned.
But, amidst the hedonism and glitter, there were some highlights. None more so than the Champions League title the club won at Hampden Park in 2002, thanks to a sumptuous volley from Zinedine Zidane.
The Frenchman, one of the greatest players ever to grace the game, arrived at Madrid in 2001 for a world-record €73.5m. Along with Luis Figo he was one of the original Galacticos, and invariably the best.
But in the long run, that wasn’t enough.
Back for a second bite at the cherry, the returning Madrid president is hoping history can repeat itself for the Galactico experiment—initially at least. But with Zidane retired (he now acts as an advisor for the club), a new talisman had to be found for a club noticeably lacking in leadership.
For Zidane in 2001, then, read Kaka in 2009.
In the Brazilian, Real Madrid hope they have found the player to reassert their position at the forefront of European football.
Unveiled yesterday for the eye-watering fee of €65m, the former AC Milan attacking midfielder is arguably the modern player most reminiscent of Zidane in his pomp.
The 27-year-old might be more sprightly across the turf with the ball at his feet, but he possesses the nearest approximation to the consummate touch and vision that the Frenchman always exhibited.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi might be the two names most frequently mentioned in conjunction with the phrase “the best player in the world”, but over the last five years, it is hard to argue that Kaka has played at a higher level than his two illustrious peers.
His new employers, perhaps unsurprisingly, clearly agree.
“Kaka, who many consider the best footballer on the planet, now plays for Real Madrid,” Madrid stated bullishly on their website. “What he does from here on out will only add to his legend and that of Real Madrid.”
For their part, AC Milan were remarkably sanguine about the loss of their greatest player. In the current economic climate, such a vast sum of money simply could not be turned down.
“It will be very difficult to fill the void that will be left by Kaka, a shining example of commitment and professionalism,” a statement on the club’s website read. “The Rossoneri offer him the most cordial and affectionate wishes for the continuation of his sporting career.”
The player himself admitted that the transfer had been completed with the club’s approval.
“Everything I’ve always done for Milan has been by mutual agreement, from the moment I arrived until my departure today,” he said.
“The world financial crisis has taken a lot of people by surprise and some clubs, such as Milan, also suffered. This is the best way to help the club at the moment.”
While the sale of Kaka has all but solved the Italian club’s financial problems—chief executive Adriano Galliani admitted last week the club was losing €70m a year—Perez is hoping that the player will solve Madrid’s own footballing recession.
Second in La Liga this season, it was clear to all observers that the club were streets behind the accomplished and exuberant football played by arch-rivals Barcelona.
As the Catalan giants grabbed every trophy in sight, Real seemed to lurch from disaster to disaster. The fans demanded change.
In the end, change seemed to mean regression as Perez was re-elected. But Kaka’s signing, while clearly indicating a return to Galactico’s policy, also hints at a slightly adjusted approach.
Where past Galacticos signings might have been as much for economic reasons as tactical ones—David Beckham being the obvious example, as the club turned down Ronaldinho in his favour as the Brazilian was deemed “too ugly” to be a marketable asset—this time it appears football has been prioritized.
Kaka does not have the world image of Messi or Ronaldo. But by adding his creativity, poise and threat to their side, Perez is hoping the club will be back challenging, and winning, the game’s biggest trophies in the very near future.
The club’s footballing recession would be over.
And in the long run, being successful on the pitch makes more money than any other method.
Kaka is just the first high-profile piece to Madrid’s puzzle. Cristiano Ronaldo might indeed end up being the second piece, David Villa the third. But that is not the real issue.
Last time, Perez’s undoing was to forget about the smaller pieces—the unfashionable water carriers like Claude Makelele who allow the attacking superstars to perform. Possessing the likes of Luis Figo, Ronaldo, and Zidane was great—but worthless without a rigid and disciplined defensive structure.
Will the likes of Lassana Diarra—the nearest approximation to Makelele in the current squad—find a place in the Galacticos Mark II?
Will the signing of a worldclass defensive midfielder (Javier Mascherano, for example) be sanctioned?
For all the attacking talent in the world, it is questions like these that will decide whether Perez’s second coming is more successful than the first.

The first Galacticos era under Florentino Perez has not been viewed too kindly by history.

Overblown salaries and egos are remembered, and not with great affection. Too many big names, and not enough team unity seems to have been the overriding summation of Perez’s unique experiment.

When the inevitable end came, it came with ugly recriminations for many concerned.

But, amidst the hedonism and glitter, there were some highlights. None more so than the Champions League title the club won at Hampden Park in 2002, thanks to a sumptuous volley from Zinedine Zidane.

The Frenchman, one of the greatest players ever to grace the game, arrived at Madrid in 2001 for a world-record €73.5m. Along with Luis Figo he was one of the original Galacticos, and invariably the best.

But in the long run, that wasn’t enough.

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June 9, 2009 Posted by | Sport, World Football | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Impending Transfer Saga of the Summer: Glen Johnson?

The rumours have already begun in earnest. Once the World Cup Qualifiers are finished, expect Portsmouth’s right-back Glen Johnson to quickly become one of the transfer stories of the summer… 

Glen Johnson: Joining Defoe at Spurs, or giving Malouda hairstyle tips at Chelsea?

Glen Johnson: Joining Defoe at Spurs, or giving Malouda hairstyle tips at Chelsea?

With Gareth Barry having already made the leap up North to join Manchester City and Kaka apparently close to signing an agreement with Real Madrid, the newspapers are fast running out of high-profile transfers to write about. The never-ending Cristiano Ronaldo-Real Madrid saga is still alive, but it is looking increasingly likely that the Portuguese winger will stay at Old Trafford for another season, at least.

In summary then, there appears a shortage of column-fodder for the traditional media. A new target must be found, to keep readers interested for the majority of the summer.

That man could be Glen Johnson.

The Portsmouth right-back has long been coveted by the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool, and now Chelsea are believed to be in the race to sign a player they sold to the Fratton Park club in 2007 for £4m.

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June 6, 2009 Posted by | Sport, World Football | , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekly Musings: Twenty20, The Apprentice, FA Cup and more…

What Catch Seventy7 learned after another week secretly enjoying Gilmore Girls…

Trent Bridge: One of three venues for the pointless World Cup

Trent Bridge: One of three venues for the pointless World Cup

Twenty20: Fun, for all the TV audience

I’m not one to stand in the way of progress (mainly because if I did, progress would doubtless mow my insignficant self down without so much as a second thought) but I am not convinced by Twenty20 cricket.

Sure, on TV it fits the medium perfectly. The pace of the game is brisk and eventful, and it’s all over within an agreeable three-hour timeframe. But live, at the ground, Twenty20 just cannot compare with the 50-over or Test match versions.

Everything is over too quickly, and the frequent musical interludes quickly begin to grate. It might have been because I was watching Middlesex/Hampshire at Uxbridge, but I’m really not a fan. The World Twenty20 can’t be over soon enough.

The Ashes is all that matters. 

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June 5, 2009 Posted by | Weekly Musings | | Leave a comment

Gary Cahill Gets Reward for Fine Form With England Call

He’s long been on Fabio Capello’s radar, but with Rio Ferdinand’s injury the Bolton defender has finally been brought onto the international stage, and into the national spotlight…

Cahill: Wasn't impressed with his hairdresser's efforts...

Cahill: Wasn't impressed with his hairdresser's efforts...

Gary Megson might not be the most popular Premiership manager, but it is difficult to criticise the job he has done at Bolton Wanderers.

Following in the footsteps of Sam Allardyce—no easy task, considering the results “Big Sam” engineered for the Trotters—the former West Brom and Nottingham Forest manager has carefully steered the squad to two safe mid-table Premiership finishes.

This season the club finished 13th, an improvement on last season’s 16th place effort. Considering the meagre budget Megson has had to work with, that is no mean feat.

While he might not have had much to spend, when he has he has invariably spent it wisely.

The £5m spent on Gary Cahill is a case in point.

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June 3, 2009 Posted by | Sport, World Football | , , | 1 Comment