Friday, September 12, 2008

Moyes and Pulis: Lower leagues to the top

Premier League new boy Tony Pulis has said Everton need more cash if they are to break into the top-four. Hmm...I'll forgive him because he's new, but not only is he stating the obvious, he is stating what now appears to be the extremely unlikely!

Everton owner Bill Kenwright has already told fans the club needs a billionaire owner to progress but, in reality, they look further from breaking into the top-four than they have for some time. The dominance of the top-four, combined with the massive investment at Manchester City, appears to have caused a lot of damage to Everton's chances of moving on up.

But back to Tony Pulis. The Stoke boss will be hoping his team can beat Everton on Sunday (Sep 14), but ahead of the game he has spoken about the amount of money involved in the modern game - and took a swipe at Man City new boy Robinho, by suggesting the player didn't know anything about his new club before his move from Real Madrid.

Pulis was quoted by as saying: "It is no secret that money talks in football - we have seen it recently at Manchester City with the signing of Robinho. Did Robinho know about Manchester City? I'm not sure Robinho did know much about Manchester City but the money was there and as we all know that money attracts players.

"David (Moyes) has done a fantastic job at Everton, last year they finished fifth and now he is looking at it to see if he can take them into the top four again. But to break into the top four you need more resources, and that's not having a go at (chairman) Bill Kenwright or anyone at Everton Football Club. David Moyes is being really, really ambitious from a personal point of view to take them on to that next step again, and there is nothing wrong with that at all."

Of course, those who read and think the Premier League is the only league worth bothering about in England may not be aware of the fact Moyes and Pulis have had success in the lower leagues, with Moyes once managing Preston North End and Pulis managing a variety of clubs including Gillingham.

Now their work with those two teams, even if Pulis did Gillingham under somewhat acrimonious circumstances, make the current cash injection and death of top-flight football all the more disgusting. Pulis and Moyes have both managed at the sharp-end of the game - how many other Premier League managers can claim such experience?

And how many will be able to in the future? Mega-money owners seemingly prefer to employ "top-name" former players than proven managers, so the rest have to work their way up through the leagues. If Stoke weren't promoted from the Championship, it's unlikely Pulis would ever have managed in the Premier League.

It's just another example of how the top-flight cartel is getting harder and harder to break.

Wenger ponders mega-money injection

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has made some good points - and some not so good points - in his latest rant about how the English game is changing, though it's hard to take the views of a man who apparently has issues utilising English players too seriously.

For while Wenger has slammed clubs where the manager has little say in what players are signed (such as Newcastle, apparently), the Gunners boss still takes the fact there is so much money in the game in a "positive way".

The somewhat dry Frenchman also seemed to take a swipe at Manchester City's signing of Robinho. He told The Sun: "What is worrying is that a player signs somewhere and then the next day he does not even know where he has signed. You cannot say that is a good trend.

“Football is not a supermarket. There is money in the game and I take it in a positive way. But the football bodies have to make sure money is ruled properly and used well for the ethic of the game.

"On the Continent, at least you are informed on what kind of players you buy. It looks like some are not even informed any more. It looks to be going a very worrying way. People who come from another country, they import the way people manage in their country. In England you had a tradition that was never questioned."

Another interesting comment Wenger made was in relation to the comments coming out of Man City about what players they are intending to buy, and for how much money, when the transfer window re-opens in January. Now, while I personally think the "tapping-up" rule is ridiculous it is there and some of the things coming from the Middle Eastern billionaires may go too far.

Not that it really matters in the grand scheme of things and, as mentioned, it's hard to have sympathy for a man who doesn't seem to care for English footballers. The only good thing that may come out of that is by cutting down the chances of British players in the top-flight, the ones in the lower leagues will probably survive the implosion when the Premier League dies.