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Nigel Reo Coker has launched a scathing attack on foreign footballers calling them ‘average and they (footballers) do not improve the game.’

He carries on saying, “But you get a lot of guys who know nothing about the League or the club they are signing for and just want the money. They want to pick up their wages and send the money back home. That is their only concern.’

“Too many of the foreign players are average and do not improve the game.’

Safe to say he hasn’t come out of this whole affair shining in glory.

From his quotes its quite difficult to see what it is exactly he has a problem with. Is it the wages? Is it foreigners? Is it players who play ‘just for the money?’

There is no doubt foreigners have improved the premiership. The likes of Cantona,Henry and Zola graced the premiership with their exciting football and are the reason to why it is the best league in the world.

Now lets take what Nigel Reo Coker said and take it in its most literal form.

‘But you get a lot of guys who know nothing about the League or the club they are signing for and just want the money.’

This may be true. In a revealing interview with the Guardian, Assuo Ekotto said, ‘All people, everyone, when they go to a job, it’s for the money. So I don’t understand why, when I said I play for the money, people were shocked.’

It is here he cuts the line of hypocrisy many footballers are guilty of today.  All footballers play for the money. However if we based football on Reo Coker’s idea of only people who know about the league and the club then it would be football fans and supporters who would be in the starting 11 not the high-flying, Range Rover driving footballers we see today.

Back to Reo Coker.  He then says,’They want to pick up their wages and send the money back home. That is their only concern.’

This one is baffling. It seems as if he has a problem with footballers particularly foreign footballers who support their family with the income they earn from football. What does he expect them to do with their wages then?

On the matter foreigners earning high wages, in 2010, Yaya Toure said in an interview that, ‘My family were very poor,” he says. “My mother died [in 2003] and I have only my father [an army officer]. It is a footballing family – my brother Ibrahim plays in Tunisia and three more work in Europe – but our lives have not been good.

“In Africa, life can be very terrible. We were only eating one meal a day. When I signed my first contract in Europe, I said to Kolo that now our family could be happy.’

The only way Reo Coker would be satisfied would be if all foreign footballers donated 100% of their earnings to Oxfam and maybe then he would accept that foreigners haven’t ruined the game.

From one extreme to another, most people ave already forgotten when Wayne Rooney held out Manchester United for a larger contract in 2010. His 90 grand a week salary wasn’t enough so he announced he would leave the club saying they had no ‘ambition.’ However once they offered him £250,000 a week the club had somewhat re-illustrated their ambition by showing that they do give in to greed and that football players have some god given right to earn high wages and if not they will seek new pastures.

‘Too many of the foreign players are average and do not improve the game,’ Nigel Reo Coker continues.

This statement is full of ambiguity. Improve the game is one of those football cliches that Match of the Day presenters seem to chuck around, particularly in the last few years, which has got every football fan around the country thinking the games in disarray. To prove this I would like to ask Nigel Reo Coker how has he improved the game? I’m assuming getting relegated with Bolton won’t be his first reply. In fact he’ll be baffled by this question and think what kind of question is that? Point proven.

I think that what Nigel is trying to say is that the number of foreigners coming in to the Premier League is increasing and perhaps home-grown players deserve a chance. Right now there are a number of young talented English lads who are waiting in the wings. However the problem here is their value. English players seem to be worth more than their foreign counterparts. Andy Carroll cost Liverpool a whopping £35 million and Newcastle nearly brought a whole squad with that. Pipiss Cisse cost Newcastle £10 million and with his goal scoring record, if he was English there would be no doubt his estimation would treble. Then you have Jordan Henderson, once again the chief culprit here is Liverpool. They brought him for £16 million when Arsenal brought Santi Carzorla for the same price although Henderson is still young and still has time to be great player.

This whole idea that foreigners have ruined the game is a myth. Commercial football has always been ruined, It is only now that we are seeing the cracks.


Ever felt like you’ve entered a shop and you find yourself spending excessively despite knowing that you’ll regret it later.  You spend, squander and waste the money you have only to be left with a head filled with remorse and think to yourself; what was the point of that?

Well spare a thought for Manchester City’ Arab owners. Since their takeover a total of £355m has been spent on transfers, £487.8m has been committed to wages for new players and those on existing contracts, while the initial takeover itself cost £210m.

Add to that £20m spent on stadium and training ground improvements and the ridiculous figure of £1.08bn is reached.

Is it the biggest waste of money in history or do Man City need more time to gel as a team? Either way the owners (primarily Sulaiman-al Fahim although his have family have a stake) must be baffled at the way their money hasn’t won them a trophy yet.

A 2-0 defeat at the hands of Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League has put the clubs aspirations’ for trophies this season on the line. Dynamo Kiev is a team which have an annual budget of £13million which seems something of a miniature figure when compared to Man City never-ending budget.

Money can’t buy team spirit, morale and mentality. The Arab family must be scratching their heads, sorry I meant turbans. Sulaiman and his family may be wondering that did their purchase of Man City come with a receipt.

It was supposed to be a great match. It was expected to be a battle between the two most attacking football teams in the planet yet the game between Barcelona and Arsenal in no way lived up to its expectations.

From the first minute to the last Barca was by far the superior team. They had Arsenal running around in circles. Arsenal were taught a footballing lesson and the final result doesn’t exactly do Barca any justice.

However there is no denying that the sending of Robin van Persie in the second half had affected the result. Referee, Massimo Busacca, had a job to equally enforce the laws of the game. Did he carry out his job? No.

''Get off the pitch. You obviously heard the whistle after 95,000 fans chanting and you still decided to kick the ball''

In fact Busacca perhaps would have been better off wearing a Barcelona t-shirt. His judgement was poor, his level of fairness to both teams was non-existent and it seemed that he would do as so much award a free kick to Barca every time an Arsenal player breathed.

The Gunners were still in the game until van Persie was sent off, albeit through luck. They were getting battered, but the score was at 1-1 and that is what counts. Almunia came on and was absolutely flying with loads of great saves to keep them in the game. I can’t help but feel Arsenal could have stolen it if they had 11 men on the pitch.

There are some fans who will believe that Wenger’s criticism of the referee is just an excuse from the reality that Arsenal were outplayed. However Wenger is spot on in this case. How many times do we see a team being outplayed and outpaced and yet still manage to win? Hmm does Bayern Munich vs Man U(1999) ring any bells? Does Barca vs Inter Milan last year (when Mourinho ‘parked the bus’ in front of goal)’ answer the question?  I thought they would.

Watch and listen carefully between 2:08-2:30. Busacca admits he’s made a mistake yet smiles gleefully literally a second later in a competitive international match

UEFA also had the cheek to charge Nasri and Wenger with improper conduct after their comments on the referee following the match. And I won’t jump on to the bandwagon that referees  have a hard job to do because every job is hard and they won’t be getting any sympathy from me. Look at this way. If a person doesn’t do ones job properly and effectively I feel it is the role of the people who are influenced by ones actions/decisions to produce constructive criticism so one can learn from their mistakes. This is what Wenger and Nasri did after the game. It wasn’t improper conduct but simply constructive criticism.

The referee spoilt the game just as Arsenal did when they played defensive with players who have innate attacking abilities. Congratulations to Barcelona. The best team won.

OK so it’s been sometime since Andy Gray and Richard Keys departed from Sky Football over their sexist remarks (although you can now listen to them on TALKsport) regarding lineswoman Sian Massey.

However was it right for Sky to fire them or was it just the type of epic banter that you’d find in a lads mag? There is no doubt that many viewers of football will miss Gray and Keys and their analysis on the game. They have been the face of the Premiership for 20 years.

DJ Gray and MC Keys can now be found at TALKsport radio station

Maybe there was a slight over-reaction from the public, maybe Gray and Keys are sexist or maybe Sky have fired them in a desperate attempt which will see the satellite network in a portrait of a colourful picture which everybody eventually likes.

In my opinion it is Sky(owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation) that is sexist and not just these two men.  You just have to watch Soccer A.M to see who this weeks ‘Soccerette’ is and watch women/models being treated with traditionally sexist views. The apparent models are greeted with a chorus of approval if they are single and boos if they are in a relationship.

Also The Sun with its infamous Page 3 is further proof that News Corporaton has double standards. With its topless models I’m sure many women are offended by the way they are viewed as sex objects by the paper. However it is the most read newspaper in the UK which I am afraid says a lot about the type of country we live in.

Grays and Keys comments were made off air(and they didn’t know they were being recorded) so it was supposed to be a private joke. It seems we can’t have an opinion these days without someone getting offended. I’m sure we all crack the odd sterotypical joke amongst our social groups. In fact it stereotypes that British comedy thrives on and we the public have come to love and sometimes hate.

I end this post with a memorable quote from Andy Gray during a coverage of  football match but also ironically sums up the incident he got sacked for.

”It’s what I call one of those ‘indefensible ones’ – you can’t defend against them.”

As I turned off the TV after watching the Marseille vs Manchester United match I couldn’t help but feel a certain dissatisfaction. With Fergie choosing both Rooney and Berbatov up front, I as many other fans across the country, expected that it would be goals galore. The goalless result does however make the second leg more interesting and could prove to be a sticky fixture against the current France Ligue 1 Champions.

Nani seems to be improving every season

In the other Champions League match being played today Bayern Munich were made to work hard for their 1-0 victory over Inter Milan. Mario Gomez was the hero for the Germans as he scored in the 90th minute from close range.

Arsenal beat Stoke City 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium. However the victory came at a cost as both Walcott and Fabregas received injuries which all but likely end their chances of playing in the Carling Cup final against Birmingham this Sunday. The next two weeks will be crucial for Arsenal as they play four matches in four matches in four different competitions as they target a quadruple to end their trophy drought. Today’s match saw Wenger renew his rivalry with Tony Pulis. The much detested Ryan Shawcross returned to the scene of the crime after a year passed since he nearly ended Aaron Ramsey’s career.

Shawcross leaving the pitch after injuring Ramsey last season

A chorus of boos were heard every time Shawcross had a touch of the ball. Rory Delap was unable to use his magic to shot-put the ball in the Arsenal box. Maybe there were no towels there?

In other footballing matters it was announced today that Brazil will host the 2015 Copa America. The tournament is sandwiched between the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics which are all being played in Brazil.

Away from football slightly is the growing unrest in Libya. As the world watches the corrupted Ghaddafi incite violence and hatred against peaceful protestors the superpowers have remained silent. They need his oil and he wants their money. However Juventus will be keeping an eye on Libya and Ghaddafi. Why? Well the Libyan Foreign Investment Company (Lafico) currently has a 7.5% stake in the club. The Agnelli family who own 60% of the club may be planning to buy back their shares but one may consider that a stake in one of Italians largest football club’s is perhaps the last thing on Ghaddafis mind.

As we reach the business end of the football season it seems that no one can guess which team will win which trophy. The Premiership has strengthened its case that it is the most entertaining and powerful league in the world after Arsenal and Tottenham respectfully won their first leg Champions League matches.  And Chelsea’s signing of Fernando Torres looks set to be one of the most bizarre transfers of the past decade. Not since the Blues brought 30 year old Andrey Shevchenko for a record £30 million has a transfer looked so out-of-place.  However saying that I admit Torres still has age on his side and when he’s on form all teams fear him, just ask Chelsea. One thing that does remain certain is that football is more than just a sport. It’s a community of fans, a business for chairmen and a spectacle for worldwide audiences.

'Can I have a hug?'

The pressure on the players to perform and the passion for the fans to see their team succeed is what makes football the most played and watched sport in the world. ”Through its social and cultural dimension, football connects people. Football is a school of life,” said FIFA President Sepp Blatter (who is rightly the most hated man in England after David Cameron and Nick Clegg) in December 2010.

Football fans in Germany

The way in which fans of a team are so diverse yet when their team plays, all fans forget their differences as they all unite as one body. Anxiety grips their body and it does not escape until the full-time whistle blows. That joint groaning and moaning from the fans when a player misses a great chance and that moment of combined hope and expectations is a moment worth savouring.

Stephen Tomkins from the BBC wrote,’Football has inherited all the tribalism of religion, giving followers something to belong to, bringing nations and communities together, and uniting them against the enemy – whether in physical violence or just chant.’

England fans are amongst the most passionate in the world

England fans are amongst the most passionate in the world

The argument that football players just play for money is true to a certain extent but who wouldn’t want to play football for money? I personally don’t have a problem with players earning extortionate amounts as long as they play their utmost best every time they put on the clubs shirt.

An estimated 700 million people tuned in to watch the World Cup Final being played by Holland and Spain, which is staggering when you consider that 1 in 7 people across the world watch the worlds best tournament in its most boring from. The final wasn’t what Wenger and Guardiola would label as ‘pure football’ but rather resembled a match Tony Pulis of Stoke would be proud of. Nonetheless it still had large audience and was a highly successful tournament.

Commercially football is a billion dollar industry and over the years it has become more and more powerful. You would perhaps be forgiven if you thought poor and hunger were non-existent in today’s world after Real Madrid brought Christiano Ronaldo for£80 million. Nevertheless that is another debate for another day.

In short football is more than just a game. However there are many more important things in life than football.