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Monday, January 16, 2006

Sven-Goran Eriksson misleading his employers yet again??

Sven-Goran Eriksson is yet again the subject of newspaper revelations regarding lucrative secret dealings. This time, additional to previously where he was involved in talks to join Manchester United and Chelsea behind the backs of the FA, Eriksson is said to have joined his agent, Athole Still and a lawyer in company with a sheikh to discuss a possibility of coaching a football academy in the United Arab Emirates captial of Dubai. While wining and dining, talk arose of buying a football club in England, and Mr Still revealed Aston Villa Football Club was under takeover talks and £25m would entertain a controlling interest. Eriksson then spoke of the possibility of such a circumstance where the sheikh would have control over Villa Park and install Eriksson as manager (which would mean David O'Leary being dismissed, regardless of whether Villa were riding high under his management or not at the time).

Eriksson explained his current salary deal with the FA and to be manager of Villa would mean a bigger salary of £5m per year for 3yrs to equal that of Chelsea's Jose Mourinho. The mention of Doug Ellis is said to be on the lines where Eriksson and his agent described the Villa chairman as old and sick, therefore should be stepping down with little fuss. Eriksson spoke of leaving the England job if he went on to win the World Cup and said he could talk David Beckham into leaving Real Madrid to come to Villa, impressing the England captain of the attractions of the Midlands.

So in a nutshell, Still is contacted by an unknown party to discuss a deal for Eriksson to teach football at an academy in Dubai. Eriksson and Still are joined by lawyer Richard Des Voeux to discuss with a sheikh this possibility. Talks turn to purchasing an English football club, Aston Villa is suggested, Eriksson speaks of being manager at the club for a £15m contract, with David Beckham leaving Spain for Birmingham. Eriksson can get out of his current contract with the FA if need be and be available to take over at Villa Park, no problems there. After the World Cup, Eriksson says he will leave the managerial post if England win the trophy.

The 'sheikh' turned out to be an undercover journalist with the 'News of the World' Sunday newspaper, affiliated with 'The Sun' daily newspaper. Perhaps both are known more for notorious sensationalism reporting but rarely shown to be wrong. I said 'rarely'.

I personally feel that after the World Cup, it would be irrelevant how England do, Eriksson would leave with the enticement of a £15m Aston Villa contract like a cushion to comfort his departure, being on more than his current salary. So were this sheikh to suddenly enter a £25m bid for Villa Park, that would signal to the Swede the beginning of his end as national coach. Would his preparations then be distracted, would he be less enchanted with England's progress knowing win, lose or draw, he would be leaving whatever mess or triumph behind to venutre elsewhere? Does he have a more ulterior motive in his links with Beckham, which would add to the 'favouritism' he has been accused of in not dropping certain first-team selections when England were not producing better football? Does Beckham have an ulterior motive in his links with the coach, which would ensure the unlikelihood of being dropped if or when Beckham's performance is questioned or even poor?

Eriksson also revealed to the 'sheikh' conversations he had with a number of England players, where he described one player as "lazy", another as having a bad upbringing and a third as not being worth is transfer fee. Michael Owen was said to have been mentioned by Eriksson as being unhappy at Newcastle and being there only for financial reasons. Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd stated he had spoken to Owen and Owen stated he was happy.

Yet, does this now undermine Eriksson's relationship with the players in question as well as the other England players? They cannot discuss anything with him for fear of it being repeated to dinner guests as a source of amusement? But all of this appears to be immaterial to the FA. They won't be sacking Eriksson so close to the World Cup, and I don't think it would be ideal unless his position was rendered untenable because it unsettled the players. Beckham is his good confidante and if he is OK with Eriksson, the others will follow. Most, I believe, are content with playing for England and what appears in the papers regarding Eriksson is Eriksson's business, and that of the FA. The FA have stated they are behind Eriksson and give him their full support. Still stated the conversations as hypothetical and sheer fantasy and regarded the set-up by the News of The World reporters as "disgraceful entrapment". He has revealed Eriksson had actually asked if his contract with the FA could be extended.

The News of the World investigations maybe viewed as ill-timed but the paper had stated rumours were in the pipeline that Eriksson and Still were looking out for lucrative deals, which attracted the reporters to the idea of an operation to see how far these rumours could be proved. Still entertained the contact made to him from the 'sheikh'. They met the 'sheikh' and discuss matters in relation to a new deal. The thing with accusations of entrapment is that those caught are not persuaded to take part or forced to be involved, they become involved at their own accord. Police operations have caught numerous suspects in entrapment scenarios as the safest way of enticing them out of hiding. Furthermore, if you do not have the intention initially, why entertain the idea in the first place?

The case is proven for me, neither Eriksson nor Still or even Eriksson's lawyer have denied these conversations took place. But in revealing the conversations, the newspaper has done little to hamper Eriksson's position, I don't think anything will where the FA are concerned. I'll be interested to see if Eriksson's position is extended because while there are good candidates for the position, the FA have their own preferential list, and, to quote Peter Kenyon, it is from "a small group of one". And when you add the FA investigation into Luton Town manager Mike Newell's accusation of 'transfer bungs' being prolific in the English game, I know which subject takes priority.



Blogger BlindJak said...

When Sven was given the job I thought it was the right move as there were no viable English candidates. But his record has hardly backed this decision up. We struggled to qualify for Japan 2002 and then meekly surrendered, star struck, to 10 man Brazil. Euro 2004 barely saw better, again last match qualification. Then in the opening game of the tournament we switched off and surrendered a 1-0 lead to lose two injury time goals and lose 1-2 to France and saw all hopes of progression evaporate after the injury to Rooney in the game against host nation Portugal.

This was all followed by the shambles of qualification for Germany. Add to this the reduction of friendlies to meaningless knockabouts with caps handed out like gift bags at a kid’s birthday party and it’s easy to see why fans have become disenchanted.

Add to this his constant gaffs off the field and it makes you aghast at how he’s held on to his job. But to sack him now would be pointless and server no purpose other than to scupper what chances we have of success in Germany. Which makes you wonder what in the hell the NoTW was thinking of when they published its article?

Why not wait until we inevitably go out then publish as it would force Svens hand and he’d quit. All’s they have served to do is unravel what was a united dressing room that had confidence in its management team.

1/16/2006 9:43 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks, blindjak. The question of the timing of the revelations is a focal one. What did it hope to achieve from exposing the sting now, some four and a half months from Germany? As I said, it wouldn't lead to Eriksson's resignation, but imagine if it had?? Who would take us into the World Cup, Steve McClaren, Sammy Lee? In that circumstance, I wouldn't mind.

It wouldn't lead to the FA suddenly sacking him, but it could lead to Eriksson and the FA thrashing an extension to his contract. It will probably lead to a public scrutinisation from now and into the tournament.

But what was the intent of the revelation? To make us, the public and the FA, aware of what had been going on behind the scenes? Would this lead to the Swede's popularity going down? I imagine a number of fans being disgruntled with him, again, but Eriksson will remain in his post and probably will be given an extension in due time.

With the group of players we have currently, it is probably our best moment since 1966 to win the tournament. We were close to the semi-finals in 2002, we can go better this time, provided the players are more determined, more hungry and more prolific. It's not asking much, the players have it within them. I hope they can bear this all in mind, if they feel they cannot get inspiration from their coach.


1/16/2006 11:54 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's just say the FA would be incredibly stupid to cave in again and extend SGE's contract. What has he done to show he's worth it? That said, I agree with the writer. These revelations don't make much difference. If England did manage to win the WC, it can only be downhill from there, and he'd have earned the right to go where and when he chose. If they didn't, again, why would the FA want him to stay on? He's only going to stink like fish more. It's in the best interests of both parties to part ways after the WC whether England wins or loses.

1/16/2006 7:40 pm

Blogger T said...

Excellent discussion Redsman, Blindjak and Anon.

Redsman, I haven't read the original article, but it is no surprise to hear that Sven has been unprofessional again.

I dislike the man for holding the England job despite displaying zero analytical ability when discusing football; for his affairs with numerous women; and I particularly detest the crude and selfish way he is said to have discussed the health of the Aston Villa chairman- and viewing the specific facts of his health as an opportunity for him to further his career on huge money.

What a disgusting character.

Redsman- the 'favouritism' allegation with Beckham seems even more rock solid now. Has Eriksson been determined never to drop him because he wants to maintain good relations... and use the fact of this to tell potential future employers that he can attract Beckham to play under him.... and therefore place him in a favourable negotiation position with those who interview him for a coaching job? (Sorry if I didn't put this more concisely!)

BJ- the NOTW could have waited until after the World Cup so not to stir potential player unrest, but personally I feel they are right to reveal it now as it is information that I - as an England fan - would want to now about ASAP. And as Redsman says, England players should be professional enough to play at their best for their country no matter their personal thoughts on the coach.

1/16/2006 8:39 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Reading further, the NOTW have substantiated Eriksson's mentioning of Rooney as the one having the rough upbringing as a reason why he has a temperamental issue now and again. Rio Ferdinand was mentioned as being lazy, Shaun Wright-Phillips as not being worthy of his transfer fee. Michael Owen as being unhappy and moving for the amount of salary he is being paid. David Beckham is said to have exclaimed his unhappiness at Real Madrid because they haven't won again since his arrival, five different coaches since his arrival but no achieving progress. That's five players. How could he possibly have their confidence when he sold out their intimate conversations without even any surface of money being shown, much less achieved? Goodness, this throws a big question over Eriksson's conduct that is being carefully swepted away by the FA and Eriksson's party.

Beckham's potential arrival in the Midlands (to look around), had it been picked up by the media, was expected to be completely covered via a letter to the FA chief executive Brian Berwick. What was that about?

This whole fiasco is something on the verge of being identical in availablity terms to the camcorder footage of Rodney King being beaten by four LAPD officers. The evidence is there and little is being made of its authenticity. The Rodney King footage is where we had complete blatant proof that you couldn't have at all BUT for the chance of someone actually being near the scene, having a camcorder and actually caring enough to film it and providing it as evidence. The NOTW have done the same thing. They developed an operation that blatantly caught Eriksson and co. discussing something you couldn't proof of in any other way. The possibility of earning more money, meaning a professional Premiership manager would have to inevitably leave his club, national football fans who are meant to give their backing to their coach being dumped because the coach finds that four and a half years in the post is long enough. He can receive more money elsewhere, meaning no considerations of giving the FA notice to find a replacement, and England fans are led to believe the national coach has the best interest of the team going into the biggest football stage in the world. This is all irrefutable.

I agree with T, I would like to know about this as soon as possible. The England players, particularly those mentioned, the fans and the FA have that right too. Whether the NOTW could have obtained and revealed this earlier is debatable but we should know that our national coach has other matters at heart much more than our World Cup preparations. Finding the whole episode deplorable, there isnt much more than to wait and see the developments of Eriksson's movements from this point on.

1/16/2006 11:13 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

It's REALLY astounding that Sven attracts so much mud!!! You would have thought he can use his BRAIN once in a while...I DO worry for the England team (whom I will cheer for if I can't cheer for Australia!)...some bloke like this leading them up the garden path?!!?

Sheesh...and he get's money for sitting around to watch football matches!

1/17/2006 7:23 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

I find the general attitude of the FA so fickle that they cover themselves well with one hand through their administration and then expose themselves with the other when they fail to appropriately answer questions over Eriksson's reprehensible, or even irrepressible, movements. Yet the FA are merely powerless other than to free Eriksson from his contract to their financial detriment and possibly to that of our World Cup hopes.

I said the FA may well offer an extension after the World Cup because it saves them having to look for another manager but they could surprise us all by running out the current contract and releasing Eriksson. Something must give now, for this is the fourth time his name has been printed in mud.

The World Cup performance is now critical to Eriksson's position.

1/17/2006 10:06 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

David O'Leary has issued a statement in regard to the NOTW revelations:

"It is not acceptable that the National Coach speaks publically about replacing another manager whilst he is in the post.

I have given Sven every co-operation whenever he has asked and even supported the early finish to the season to allow more time for his World Cup preparation.

I will of course continue to give the necessary co-operation, but want recorded my dissatisfaction and disappointment at his comments."

Aston Villa Football Club had stated no comment regarding the revelations yesterday as they said the situation involved Eriksson and the FA, so O'Leary has made his thoughts known via the League Managers' Association. Despite Eriksson's agent, Athole Still, dismissing the recorded conversations as sheer fantasy and hypothetical, O'Leary clearly felt there is a substantial amount of truth in them.

I find it hard to believe the mentioned players have all been contacted and all said they are content with Eriksson so quickly. Eriksson obviously missed out on one other professional when he allegedly made his calls.


1/17/2006 10:33 am

Blogger BlindJak said...

T, Reds, I take your point about wanting to know now and as a fan I agree. But I feel that damaging the player’s confidence in their manager could have waited until after the tournament.

Let’s not forget that the NoTW has a history of this. After all it was they that broke the Rebecca Loos story right before Portugal 2004 (if memory serves).

I think that while Sven was being personally attacked for his Philandering etc that the players backed him and developed a siege mentality that translated into a fighting attitude to do the best for their coach. But now that Sven has attacked them and breached their confidence, how will they be able to trust him and show him the same loyalty?

And what was the NoTW aim here? To get Sven sacked? Not going to happen right before a major tournament. The revelations would be just as, if not more, damaging right after the WC so why now? All’s the revelations serve to do is undermine the teams spirit which in turn diminishes our chances of success.

1/17/2006 11:57 am

Blogger SKG said...

sven is like a cartoon character. enough said!

1/17/2006 1:32 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Blindjak, your point equally noted. The revelations can have that effect right before the preparations. Players viewing Eriksson in a different light as a result, maybe not paying attention, others disgruntled.

Would it make a difference in their play? We'll see in the friendlies. I think the players play out there on their own accord, they know their positions and know what is expected of them. In fact, all the revelations have done is exposed Eriksson's intent to leave all for the Aston Villa managerial position when certain parties had made their moves. I don't think it has done much damage, if any, to preparations. As for the mentioned players, they are professional enough to let it go over their heads, they have a duty to perform in their respective teams so they shouldn't dwell on anything at all. The only question now is their personal relationship to Eriksson.

Just such a shambles.


1/17/2006 5:41 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

SKG, which one?

1/17/2006 5:41 pm

Blogger Abdul said...

A very intersting debate. Appointing Eriksson was a mistake from the very beginning and he seems hellbent on proving that. Even before his job with England, his backtracking on the job he had accepted with Blackburn was a pointer that he is a man not to be trusted.

On the NOTD - I think we give them too much credit by assuming they care at all about England winning the World Cup. Their sole aim is to sell newspapers - and to sell them right now - not in July or August. This sting operation was apparently very expensive and they want to recover their money asap. Besides, everyone knows that Eriksson will not be in the job come next season and so this story gives them maximum mileage now.

1/18/2006 9:57 am

Blogger T said...

Yep, point taken BJ and in many respects I share your bemusement, but I think Abdul has got it spot on when highlighting the primary commercial interest of NOTW.

Redsman, I agree that Sven seems to have forgotten to call O'Leary during his series of phone-calls on Sunday/Monday! What a big joke he is!!

I think a good thing about this story coming to light is that it has shed further light on Eriksson's naked greed and hopefully will mean that he will find it harder to get a job in England.

Sven to Villa or to Newcastle seems a far more distant prospsect now... which as far as I'm concerned is good news!

Interesting comments this morning from Wigan Chariman, Dave Whelan:

"I have criticised Eriksson in the past but there should be no way back from this. It is an absolute scandal, a disgrace. You simply do not expect the England manager to openly discuss his future plans and to air his views about what he thinks about players in his squad. He has broken one of the game's golden rules. It is gross misconduct and the man has to go.

I just don't know what the man must have been thinking of, coming out with such comments. If it was up to me, I'd say goodbye to him and bring in City's Stuart Pearce and Paul Jewell. What a team they would be."

1/18/2006 1:08 pm

Blogger SKG said...

bring back sir bobby!

1/18/2006 2:07 pm

Anonymous Lost Key said...

cool to notice Stuart Pearce was mentioned. He is the man with strong attitude and character, just good for current talented Englad squad. Like most of the fans, I always believe the national coach of England team should be no other than Englishman.

1/18/2006 2:13 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks for that quote, T, Mr Whelan is a grass roots chairman, something that is currently missing at the FA. I felt Brian Berwick would be someone of that flavour but since Eriksson's revelations, maybe he too is caught in the mesmerising lights turned on by the Association's affiliation.

Research should be done on the management of pass managers to see the blood and guts attitude we need installed into our players regularly. I don't want a manager who prefers his hair combed right just to get out of bed. No thank you. We need someone who will shout it out with a player with criticism and almost come to blows yet still pick him the next match without hesitation because he impressed in training. We don't want a manager who will pick a player because he is one of the households' favourite and despite his previous performances being questionable.

Remember before when Terry Venables was spoken of as a possible candidate? The FA wouldn't go there at all. Paul Jewell and Stuart Pearce is a good start, particularly Pearce. His turning to the City fans behind him during the derby showed the passion the man has, as if we needed reminding.


1/18/2006 6:10 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

Nice comments everyone. Cetainly Redsman...I think you have hit it on the spot...we've lost sight of some managers like Venables who definitely have the experience...but somehow the FA sort of muddle their way through....with Sven.

Pearce is interesting...I find it fantastic that managers like him and Jewell are flavour of the they have done well and are NOT high profile like Mourinho or Wenger or Benitez...sometimes being Englash certainly works against you...and it swings many ways...

A bit of humour (since Sven is so humourous)...


One of the British national daily newspapers is asking readers "what it means to be British?". Some of the emails are hilarious but the best is from a chap in Switzerland ...

"Being British is about driving in a German car to an Irish pub for a
Belgian beer, then traveling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab on the way, to sit on Swedish furniture and watch American shows on a Japanese TV. And the most British thing of all? Suspicion of anything foreign."

1/19/2006 10:02 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Very amusing and yet typical, thanks nturtle.


1/19/2006 1:58 pm

Blogger T said...

Ditto Redsman on that score- the truth indeed!

And yet... I agree with the comment by Lost Key that ideally the manager of England should be English. Pearce would be great but - as he himself said today is - he is many years short of having the requisite experience to take on such a prestigious and important job.

1/19/2006 6:59 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

That is very honest and quite acceptable. First season with Manchester City, so he is relatively fresh in the field, but the change in the team is a big difference and the passion is evident. It is a pity, Pearce seems to be one who wouldn't allow avarice or debauchery to intervene in his management at all. The same with Paul Jewell. We sing his praises because of the achievements Wigan have made from promotion and from such a budget. Two peas in a pod that should be followed, hopefully. Why not have an English manager, we have a number of good candidates.


1/19/2006 11:14 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

It's good that people can take humour these days!

As for the England manager...I think it is something ery interesting. It's certainly not a "patriotic" thing so to speak...but perhaps the mentality is that an English manager can COPE with the English Press so much better...or in theory it is the case. I would put forward the fact that it is almost like having Arnold Swarzanegger (spelling) as California is something the masses can relate to. seems can relate to Sven!! THAT is the problem my fellow EFTalkers...

We really need somebody universally admired int eh's say we make the Queen the national coach (is she taboo?)...or Bono?

No other country in the world insists on a homegrown National Coach...but looks at that's how we ended up with Sven...what is the lesser of two evils? The devil you know...or....????

Heh...a pinch of salt needed of course...or a nice margarita!

1/20/2006 7:43 am

Blogger BlindJak said...

Point taken about the motivation of the NoTW and how it would rather make money now than give genuine support and assistance to the teams chances. I guess I should try to remember that the press think differently than do the general public on such things.

Interesting comments on English managers. As said previously said I welcomed Svens appointment as I didn’t have faith in any of the English candidates mentioned at the time. Even now the list of candidates trotted out by the press do not inspire a great deal of confidence. Managers like Jewell and Pearce are often referred to as inexperienced at the top level and distanced from the role.

Yet Klinsman and Van Basten are doing good jobs with Germany and Holland respectively in their very first managerial roles. Who’s to say either Pearce or Jewell could not have the same galvanising effect of these two?

1/20/2006 8:50 am

Blogger T said...

Always enjoy your comments Nturtle!

Pearce has caught the English public's imagination with his honest straight-talking, good-guy credentials, and remarkable passion on the sidelines.

In other words he is the total antithesis to Eriksson.... which is probably why we are all touting his name for the job.

You are right to highlight the key issue that no one in England can relate to Eriksson... my number one problem with him- among a growing list - being that his communication and analytical ability on football is totally poor. I love listening to Wenger, Venables, Mourinho (arrogance aside) discuss and analyse football. With Eriksson I might as well have not wasted my time!

So if the test is universal admiration among the English public: than Pearce is the top candidate!

BJ, you make a really interesting point about Van Basten and Klinsmann. I'm slightly too young to remember but is it true to say that the talismanic Franz Beckenbauer did not have much managerial experience before guiding Germany to the 1990 World Cup? I need to check this out some time.

P.S Nturtle, I downloaded the TH link. My brother couldn't stop talking about it when he saw it at the weekend!

1/20/2006 11:40 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Is that the one where he looked one way and his left foot passed the ball the other way down the wing? Let me look at that link myself....!

Well, following on from the weekend's revelations, rightly or wrongly about its timing, I feel for Eriksson to leave. It is said he will probably not be having his contract extended but as I said don't be surprised if the FA turn round and do exactly that. The FA and Eriksson....nturtle said the lesser of two evils....I don't know which out of those two I'm less comfortable with! Could you pass the pepper too, please, nturtle....mine's stuffed crust with ham and pineapple!

Pearce has stated his annoyance at being connected to possible candidates but I can't help feel he is within him and has shown through his team some thing that certainly couldn't go amiss with the England team.

Fear not, people, I'm very much behind the England push for the tournament and if that is alongside Eriksson, so be it. At the end of it all, we are behind them together.


1/20/2006 1:51 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Adn the latest is Eriksson has instructed lawyers to issue legal proceedings against the newspaper for 'breach of confidence'. Surely it must refer to that of the England fans? Or the FA? Not that of Eriksson. Well, that is a legal matter for him, or rather one of damage limitation.


1/21/2006 3:50 am


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