Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Premier League”

Can Liverpool move up the table in 2013-14?

European Football - UEFA Champions League - Semi-Final 2nd Leg MD12 - Liverpool FC v Chelsea FCLiverpool opens the 2013-14 Premier League season – and Brendan Rodgers second season in charge – on Saturday when they host Stoke City.

After finishing in seventh place last season, the Reds are going on their fourth consecutive season without Champions League football, something that once seemed unfathomable for a club that is synonymous with European football.

So what will this season bring for Liverpool?

We start looking for answers in our latest post at World Soccer Talk.

Jimmy Haslam missing out on a prime chance to go global

haslam weedenEveryone wondered what was going on when Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam announced that the family was putting the Tennessee Smokies minor league baseball team up for sale.

We thought we had found the answer when we saw the headline that owner Mohamed Al Fayed was planning to sell Premier League-side Fulham to an American investor – one that currently owns an NFL franchise.

Haslam had to be the guy, right? It made perfect sense. After all, we have experience here in Cleveland with a Browns owner also owning a Premier League team and that worked out all right for everyone, yes? (Wait, don’t answer that).

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Tribe’s Hagadone feeling a little punchy

Nick Hagadone? We won’t be seeing him for a while.

The Cleveland Indians placed the left-handed reliever on the Minor League disqualified list on Sunday after Hagadone reportedly suffered a self-inflicted injury to his pitching hand following Friday night’s game against Tampa Bay.

“We’re certainly disappointed with the reaction to it,” Tribe general manager Chris Antonetti said. “He was certainly very frustrated coming out of the game. We certainly would have wished he would have handled it a little differently.”

Well, as long as everyone is certain.

The Indians are working with Major League Baseball and the Players Association to determine what to do with Hagadone while he recovers from the injury, which could sideline him for some time, according to Antonetti. Oh, and Hagadone will not be paid while he is on the disqualified list.

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This is why sports are the best

What an end to the 2011-12 British Premier League season.

The task was simple for Manchester City: win at home (or at least mirror Manchester United’s result on the day), against a Queens Park Rangers that had not won on the road all season, and City would claim its first league title since 1968.

So of course Manchester City trailed 2-1 heading into stoppage time against QPR, which had played a man down since the 55 minute mark. But goals by Edin Dzeko Sergio Agüero, who tallied with only about a minute left, gave City the title.

Just the way everyone expected the final day to turn out.

“It was incredible – they deserved this,” Manchester City manager Robert Mancini told The Daily Mail. “To win like this is incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a finale like this. We didn’t deserve to lose, we had a lot of chances and we deserved to win the game and the championship.

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Blame Homgrem or Shermen?

Welcome to Cleveland, John Hughes. Are you ready to start?

The Cleveland Browns better hope Hughes, the team’s third-round draft pick, is ready for his close-up because it looks like they will need him this fall after starting defensive tackle Phil Taylor injured a pectoral muscle while working out on Thursday.

Of course he did.

“We’re awaiting results of the MRI,” Peter Schaffer, Taylor’s agent, told The Plain Dealer. “He’s staying positive. He’s got a great attitude. He’ll either be 100 percent or come back 100 percent.

Obviously this is an indictment of the lax attitude installed in Berea by team president Mike Holmgren. Or the lack of preparation on coach Pat Shurmur’s part. Or a referendum on owner Randy Lerner’s lack of involvement. Or it could just be that injuries happen.

We’re pretty sure it’s one of those things.

Look, these things happen – just look at Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs and Tampa Bay’s Da’Quan Bowers, who both have suffered torn Achilles tendons.

As it turns out, it’s fortunate the Browns selected Hughes, even if the original plan was to have him provide depth as a rotational player. Now he’s going to need to step up and play big-boy minutes.

Let’s hope he’s up to the challenge.


While the Browns were once again bad against the rush last season, finishing 30th in the NFL giving up an average of 147.4 yards per game, turns out they were not historically bad.

Before the 2011 season, there were just 19 defenses in NFL history that gave up more than 5.0 yards per rush for an entire season. Last year, four teams gave up five yards or more each time the opposing team ran the ball – Oakland, Detroit, New Orleans and Tampa Bay.

As bad as the Browns were, they finished 19th in the league with an average of 4.4 yards per rush allowed.

Not sure what that means – after all, it’s not just how many yards you give up but when you give them up – but thought it was worth pointing out.


Major League Baseball is reportedly ready to make the ridiculous fake-to-third, throw-to-first pick off play that never works and is one of the things that makes baseball increasingly irritating.

According to The New York Times: The Playing Rules Committee has approved a proposal to make it a balk, with MLB executives and umpires in agreement. The players’ union vetoed the plan for this season to discuss it further. MLB is allowed to implement the change after a one-year wait — no telling whether that would happen if players strongly object. 

 Under the new wording, a pitcher could not fake to third unless he first stepped off the rubber. If he stayed on the rubber, it would be a balk.

Works for us.


Sunday is the end of the Premier League season and all 10 games will be shown live in some fashion on Fox’s family of networks and ESPN2.

FX’s live coverage of Sunderland’s match with Manchester United (who are tied for the top spot with Manchester City) will feature in-game highlights (shown in the corner of the screen) of all the goals scored in the other match’s of the day. (h/t EPL Talk)

(Photo by Getty Images)

Is English football more racist than American sports?

Shocking news this week out of England as Fabio Capello resigned as manager of the national team just four months before the start of the Euro 2012 tournament.

Capello got into a row with The Football Association, England’s governing body, over the group’s decision to strip John Terry of the captain’s band while a court of law determines if Terry is guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, a player on Queens Park Rangers.

“They [the FA] really insulted me and damaged my authority,” Capello told the Italpress news agency. “What really hit me and forced me to take this decision was the fact the much-vaunted Anglo-Saxon sense of justice, as they are the first to claim that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

“In Terry’s case, they gravely offended me and damaged my authority at the head of the England side, effectively creating a problem for the squad. I have never tolerated certain crossing of lines, so it was easy for me to spot it and take my decision to leave.”

This isn’t the first time Terry has been stripped of the captain’s band (and really, why is he still captain in the first place?) as Capello himself took away the honor before the 2010 World Cup because Terry allegedly had an affair with the ex-girlfriend of teammate Wayne Bridge, who then quit the national team. (Why are our scandals in America so less scandalous?)

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Belichick and Brady are certainly no Brown and Graham

There has always been a subset of NFL fans who think the league did not begin until the Super Bowl era started in 1967 (in these parts, they are known as Steeler fans).

So it didn’t totally surprise us when we read on ESPN how, if New England beats Baltimore in today’s AFC Championship Game, then Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will become the first head coach and starting quarterback tandem in NFL history to reach five Super Bowls.

Belichick and Brady are currently tied with Pittsburgh’s Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw, Buffalo’s Marv Levy and Jim Kelly, and Dallas’ Tom Landry and Roger Staubach with four Super Bowl appearances.

While getting to five Super Bowls is certainly an impressive feat, by ignoring the fact that the NFL has existed since 1920 and overlooks coaching and quarterback duos that have far surpassed what Belichick and Brady have accomplished.

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In Defense of Randy Lerner

In the Premier League, not everyone is upset with Martin O’Neill’s decision to leave Randy Lerner’s Aston Villa. Least of all the players, who were reportedly texting each other images of champagne bottles after hearing the news.

Lerner issued a statement saying that he and O’Neill no longer “shared a common view” on the best direction for the club. Lerner planned to hold O’Neill to a budget, not allowing him to spend money on player transfers without selling a player first.

The Premier League is similar to Major League Baseball in that there is no salary cap, but all teams share in the TV revenue under the following system:

  • 25% is paid in merit payments determined by where a club finishes in the final league table;
  • 50% of the domestic revenue is split equally;
  • 100% of the non-domestic revenue is split equally among the clubs.
  • 25% is paid in facility fees, based on how often a club is shown on TV in the U.K., with each club guaranteed a minimum of 10 facility fees.

Every team gets a large share of the money pie, with Forbes reporting that, in 2009, Middlesborough received the smallest share (£30.9 million) while Manchester United received the largest (£51.1 million).

While £21 million is certainly a lot of money, it’s not on par with the differences in revenue between a team like the Yankees and the Indians. Even smaller-market teams can be competitive; it’s just not the big-market London clubs or Manchester United.

Aston Villa does take a hit at the gate, as Villa Park holds 42,500, compared to Old Trafford (76,000) or the Emirates Stadium (60,000) for example, which helps widen the gap a bit more.

One way to shrink the revenue gap is to qualify for the lucrative Champions League. O’Neill wasn’t able to break through – the team peaked at sixth place – and without the big payday and large crowds from Champions League games, Lerner has to keep an eye on the budget. Think about how much extra revenue the Indians used to produce when they routinely made the playoffs in the late ’90s – those extra dollars help.

O’Neill’s cries of not being allowed to spend money ring hollow, as he spent more than £120million on transfer fees alone for new signings during his four years at Villa Park and recouped just £39m in sales during that period – leaving him with a net loss of almost £82m.

Lerner is the best kind of owner, as he hires people and then lets them do their jobs without constantly micro-managing them. Some fans in Cleveland don’t understand that is a good thing, thinking that because Lerner doesn’t sit behind a desk every day in Berea that he “doesn’t care.”

It certainly is well within his rights to set a budget for the team. If O’Neill couldn’t deliver under those conditions, that’s on him, not Lerner.

I certainly don’t wish ill on Aston Villa fans, but if one of Lerner’s teams has to have coaching issues days before the season starts, better it be at Villa Park than at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Psst, want to buy a soccer team?

With Saturday bringing the start of the new Premier League season, it’s been a good summer for Liverpool.

First Steven Gerrard, aka the anti-LeBron, recommitted to the team, then Fernando Torres, fresh off a World Cup victory with Spain, announced he was staying at Anfield. Rafa Benitez, his ego and odd player rotations are in Italy, replaced by Roy Hodgson.

And it looked like, at long last, the team would be rid of goofball owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who after running the team into the ground since buying it in 2007 decided to put it up for sale last spring.

But even that hasn’t gone smoothly. At first, Chinese investor Kenny Huang appeared to be the front runner to buy the club. (His name should sound familiar to Cavs fans – he advised Chinese investors bidding to acquire a 15 percent stake in the Cavaliers, although the deal did not work out).

More potential owners have come out in recent weeks, although the Sahara Group has apparently pulled out; while the interest from Yayha Kirdi has left many fans cold.

Hicks and Gillett prefer Kirdi, of course, as he is reportedly willing to pay 600 million pounds for the club, twice the value of the other offers and enough to ensure the owners of turning a profit. The other offers would allow the pair to walk away without losing any money.

It’s not surprising that Hicks and Gillett can’t even get this right. Gillett, while he was owner of the Montreal Canadians, was part of the NHL when it closed down for a year because the owners couldn’t figure out how to control themselves from overspending on contracts.

Hicks famously bid against himself as owner of the Texas Rangers to give Alex Rodriguez $250 million, and recently sold the team out of bankruptcy.

Just the duo you want running your club.

And we think the Dolans are bad.


Finally, more good news from the always top-notch EPL Talk.

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