Just when Liverpool fans thought that their 20 year wait was over, Chelsea threw a wrench into their plans with a controversial 2-0 win blowing the title race wide open. One Steven Gerrard slip, two goals from Demba Ba and Willian plus a lost three points shows how much this Premiership title was balancing on a knife edge. This one looks likely to go to the wire, much like the Spanish league with Altetico leading the way with Barcelona and Real Madrid in hot pursuit. Its been a strange month for Barcelona who were knocked out of the Champions League then lost the Copa Del Rey to Real Madrid thanks to a wonder goal from Gareth Bale. Added into this, dropping points in the race for the title, a transfer ban imposed by FIFA that was eventually temporally postponed and the sad death of former coach Tito Vilanova, the Barca players will be happy to see the back of April. Someone else having a bad month was David Moyes, who was shown the door in April by the bewildered United board who had watched in horror as the Chosen One failed to live up to his billing. Ryan Giggs has taken on the role of acting manager until they can appoint someone more senior, with Van Gaal the most likely candidate. Spurs board wont be happy about this and nor will its fans who were hoping that the Dutchman was on his way to White Hart Lane to release Tim Sherwood of his role. In April we heard again from Leon Butler in Shout Out from the Stands on Spurs continued managerial roulette. They are not the only one who is playing this game and last month we asked whether it was wise to continue to do so given the conditions many have to work under?
The UEFA Benchmark report released last month backed up this argument with the average time given to a manager now down to 17 months. Well that is unless you are in the Greek league, in that case its only 4! The report was full of useful insights into modern day European football and its clubs but even it would have struggled to explain what happened to Ajax during the Dutch Cup final. De Boer’s men sealed the Eredivisie title at the end of the month but appeared to have not shown up to the cup final the weekend before, eventually losing to underdogs PEC Zwolle 5-1. The game wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t helped by the crowd problems that covered the back pages the next day. Several Ajax fans were arrested for throwing fireworks onto the pitch much to the frustration of the police and one Edwin Van Der Sar who took exception to this and stormed onto the pitch to tell the fans to behave themselves. Talking of Pyscho’s, Stuart Pearce has agreed to return to Nottingham Forest as manager in one of several big news items last month. Also making the news was the retirements of Harry Kewell and Kevin Phillips whilst the future of Alessandro Del Piero is uncertain after he refused to extend his stay in Sydney. We also looked at the new WSL season that has just kicked off, whilst took a closer look at who could join Leighton Baines on the plane to England in the remaining left back slot for England. Ashley Cole will need a miracle to get ahead of Luke Shaw given the youngster’s performances this year which saw him narrowly miss out to Eden Hazard for the Young Player of the Year award. Finally we questioned whether scrapping the loan system would improve or damage football long term. The debate still rages on and is unlikely to be solve anytime soon. But something we can solve now is what story you felt was the best one from April. Cast your vote now below in April’s Poll.
Check out all these stories and more on the Back Of The Net Blog.