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All Things Footie | Monday, July 14 | Jordan

The bad, the good and Ronaldinho

I’ve heard some Liverpool fans tell me that Harry Kewell, his agent, and the deal that brought him to Liverpool, have all been properly conducted and Leeds Utd are just moaners who are annoyed at losing one of their best players for tuppence. They may be right about Leeds Utd being moaning gits, but the deal and all parties have not acted pleasantly.

Firstly, how anyone can excuse the coiffered motormouth Bernie Mandic taking £2m out of a game struggling for cash? Secondly, there’s the whole princpal of what agents are for — to get the best deal for their clients, not themselves. How is it in Harry Kewell’s best interests to say ‘pay me £2m or Harry won’t go anywhere. He’ll sit out the rest of his contract and move for free next summer.’ This, after personal terms and a fee has been agreed with Kewell’s boyhood club, with whom he’s been ‘speaking’ for six months. How is Kewell going to benefit from this laughably titled ‘loyalty payment’.

Particularly given the fact that Mandic told Liverpool to wait until now to sign him because they’d get him for a snip, with Leeds panicking about transfer money over the Summer.

It’s a disgrace, and scumbags like Mandic need ousting from the game if it’s ever going sort itself out. He’s not the only one to blame of course; Leeds Utd. have handled their finances and personel terribly, and in many ways deserve everything they get. But football doesn’t.

Further reading : spies, conmen and rogues (Michael Parkinson) and ashamed of the game (Gary Lineker).

While some parts of football remain stagnant, rotting, cess-pools of corruption; other areas move forward and make me proud of the game. I’ve never been his biggest fan, but kudos to Steve McLaren for being open-minded enough to be interested in developing a much underappreciated area of the game — coaching.

Taking pointers from American Football, Basketball and — closer to home — Clive Woodward’s phenomenally successful Rugby Union set-up, McLaren is pioneering a revolution in the club coaching system. For many years goalkeeping coaches have worked specifically with a few players, while the other thirty were herded together and trained as one. The restructuing of roles at Middlesbrough has seen reserve team coach Steve Round become the ‘attacking coach’, the roll of assistant manager has been scrapped, with Bill Beswick concentrating full time on being the clubଁs sports psychologist and first team coach Steve Harisson has become the dedicated ‘defensive coach’.

I believe that this structured and more attentive attitude to coaching will benefit Boro in the long- and short-term. It’s no surprise either that it’s a ‘young’ club like Middlesbrough ushering in a new and era for football coaching. Football, take note.

Unsurprisingly, United have caved in to PSG and shelled out a massive £19m to bring Ronaldinho to Old Trafford. It seems the one who is fleet of foot and fair of face didn’t fancy staying in France for another year. Simple as that.

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  2. Horse, Wolves …
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  5. Still Nothing?
  6. A little respect
  7. Excitement mounting?
  8. Adios David!
  9. The search
  10. I give up