In a year of no World cup or European championship action, most football fans will be wondering what to do this coming July in place of watching the beautiful game. Wife’s and partners are rejoicing as they plan a summer of activities for their other half’s such as gardening, painting the fence or fixing those broken stairs that have stood that way for the past nine months. However don’t despair there is still football on offer in the shape of the MLS, Champions league qualifiers and meaningless pre-season friendlies. If that’s not enough, BOTN will be there as always reporting on the stories that matter in football and some that don’t. In June alone we covered a variety of topics such as the controversial appointment of Joe Kinnear as Newcastle new Director of Football. In a hastily organised interview (arranged by Kinnear without the clubs knowledge), Kinnear proceeded to not only talk himself up as god’s gift to the game but also managed to annoy the clubs top stars by embarrassingly mispronouncing their names. Alan Pardew never felt as safe in his job as he does now. Also making waves last month were French side Monaco who proved that cheating in Football Manager by spending millions in one transfer window, buying the world’s biggest names in an effort to build a winning team, makes a lot of sense. Arriving players like Colombian duo James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao as well as Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho, will surely make life extremely difficult for PSG and their new head coach, Laurent Blanc to win back to back titles.
In Scotland, the football landscape is finally changing with the joining of the SPL and the SFL to make one new governing body, ironically named the SPFL. In a move which only took a decade to do, Scottish fans rejoiced with the complete restructuring of the domestic game, except with hardly anything actually changing. The only major change is the reallocation of monies throughout the four leagues, something that really should have happened say a decade ago when there was money in the Scottish domestic game. One player who knows all about Scotland’s woes is former international defender David Weir, who took his first steps into management with his appointment at Sheffield United. Weir was classified as a shock choice but given that several of Everton’s first team coaches from last year are leaving following the departure of David Moyes, it’s actually not that surprising. Weir is now spending the summer looking for new players to sign to strength his squad, something that fellow Scot Paul Lambert has not hesitated in doing myself. The Villa manager has signed six players so far with one, Nicklas Helenius the stand out player to everyone here at BOTN. The young Dane has a promising career ahead of him and will likely be one of the signings of the summer in the Premiership.
It wasn’t all good news in June as the footballing world paused to remember Marc Vivien Foe on the 10th anniversary of his untimely death. Foe, who suffered a fatal heart attack on the pitch during Cameroons semi-final appearance against Colombia in the 2003 Confederations Cup, will not be forgotten easily with players and fans alike reminiscing on social media and on football talk shows about what a great player he was. Also making the news was the shocking story of Bosnian goalkeeper Dusko Krtalica who was shot in the head during a match. Remarkably he wasn’t killed and was actually unaware that he had been hit, playing on till the end of the match before friends had to take him to hospital following severe headaches and pains in his arm. It’s a story we couldn’t make up which is also what we were all wishing was true when we discovered that kids in Quebec, Canada were prevented from playing football as they were wearing turbans. The kids and their parents turned to the Quebec Soccer Federation to stop the nonsense but were amazed when they supported the decision, despite FIFA clarifying that wearing a turban is allowed. Calamity followed with the Canadian Soccer Association banning the QSF, who then faced the wrath of Quebec Premier Pauline Marios who defended the QSFs honour and right to do so despite not actually understanding the point of the whole issue. FIFA eventually had to step in and tell everyone to settle down and behave before the ruling was overturned and the kids could return to the pitch. Farcical is not the word.
June was action packed as July will be with the opening of the transfer window and the madness that brings to look forward to. So to all wives and partners out there who are hoping to steal some time back with their loved ones, I am afraid you will be bitterly disappointed as football never stops, it merely pauses to let the fans catch their collective breaths before a whole new season begins again.
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