I was on a trail run yesterday and for some reason my thoughts went to Newcastle's relegation. Living in Jacksonville, FL, and being a follower of Newcastle United for roughly six years, there is not a strong tie to the club. Frankly, being a fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Tigers, San Diego Padres, UCLA Bruins (among a few) have prepared me for dealing with failure. Yes some of those teams have tasted championships, but since I have been following sports these teams are no world beaters.
There is an odd peace about me that I can only attribute to Rafa Benitez. If I lived in Newcastle, and have been a fan since birth, maybe the sentiment is different. Yet everything I read from the local Newcastle sources tells me I am not alone in this sentiment. Of the clubs listed above, along with those not listed, I cannot think of a coach who came in that gave me such comfort. Maybe Jim Leyland or Sparky Anderson are the closest.
How would you feel as a fan of Manchester United in light of the Jose Mourinho hiring? For me he's one of those guys that maybe you like if he's your coach, but you otherwise hate. Man U will probably never taste the sauce of relegation, but with Jose as my coach I'm not sure how proud I could be of my team. Some simply do not care. For them it is all about winning. This is the perfect segue for a rant on American politics, but I love you (and writing for this site) too much to open that box.
We are in the Championship, yet Nina Simone's "Feeling Good" is playing in my head. Let's kick the ball.
Pecchia was part of Rafa Benitez's staff at Napoli and Real Madrid. Hellas Verona was relegated this past season.
Anita is Pecchia's replacement. That was fast. Anita earned his chops working in Qatar at the Aspire Academy. Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino visited the Academy last month and has this to say about their quality. What's not to like?
We have heard great things about Aspetar and Aspire Academy and wanted to come and see for ourselves. It has been mind-blowing what we have seen here and we are extremely impressed by it all. There is a lot we could gain in our work from what we have seen during our tour and we will explore avenues of collaboration and mutual cooperation with Aspetar and Aspire Academy.
Shola Ameobi has been released by Fleetwood Town. In his 14 year run at Newcastle he tallied 53 goals in 312 appearances. Of course some are linking him to Newcastle. Sigh.
A familiar face joins us in the Championship. Leeds is a club I have followed for a while, and this hire has the promise of improving their traditional mid-table finishing. Whether this hiring nixes a Ross McCormack move from Leeds remains to be seen.
Some names I know. Some I have never heard of. If you're like me, and you're still digesting the grand landscape that is English soccer (heck, International soccer) this list will add to your library. Good conversation fodder at the very least.
Georginio Wijnaldum seems to like goals in bulk. I'm ok with that.
Knowledge is power.
I am a huge Friends fan. This is important.