I have precious little to look at across the many football websites this morning. One of the top stories on BBC Sport is of Titus Bramble suggesting he may or may not leave Sunderland. Reading that news fails to titillate me. Could there be a worse transfer story? “Ben May hints he may not renew his contract with Dover Athletic.” Okay, so there could be worse.
Tony Pulis has written Stoke City supporters a letter in their local newspaper, speaking of his pride when he looks at where Stoke were when Pulis took charge for his first spell, which was 21 in the old Division One, in 2003. He has done a great job in taking them so far, but his tactics and approach to the game are frankly, unsustainable in the long-term. Maybe not so in the lower divisions, but in the Premier League, it will only get you so far and for that, getting rid of Tony Pulis is the right thing to do.
Just when you think Stoke are on to something however, things take a turn for the worse. I applauded Peter Coates’ ambition to take a new direction. I’d even heard a rather audacious rumour that he’d try and lure Rafael Benitez to the Britannia Stadium! It was always “unlikely” to happen, but still, I appreciated the effort put in to name-planting Benitez at Stoke.
When I was on the cusp of thinking that they might coaxe Sir Alex Ferguson away from his retirement plan, they pulled one unlikeable character out of the frying pan at Stoke and launched the despicable Mark Hughes right in there. It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but bookies have slashed odds on the likelihood of Hughes taking over at Stoke and in general, they don’t do that for no reason. If Hughes does take over, it’s a huge disappointment for Stoke fans who were looking forward to something more exciting and instead, got another heap of boring in Hughes.
Maybe the biggest news that is to be announced later today, is the decision from UEFA on whether a team that wins the Europa League can be rewarded with a Champions League place in the following campaign. To be honest, I’m surprised it isn’t already in affect. I’ve always felt that the winners of the Europa League should be granted a spot in the Champions League. Said team have won a European competition and thus deserve to go compete in the “bigger” tournament. I don’t understand why it wouldn’t be allowed and I fully expect UEFA to announce that they’ll allow it later. Good decision, if so.
In transfer news, everything is getting slightly tedious already. It’s been 48 hours since Stevan Jovetic’s agents were in London to meet with officials and in that time, Fiorentina have claimed there to be no official contact from Arsenal and that they aren’t interested in buying him. It’s now going round Twitter that Jovetic favours a move to Juventus, just a couple of days after Arsenal was his preferred destination.
Pending an agreed fee, passed medical, signed contract and a photograph with the club shirt, Jovetic will definitely be a player somewhere other than Fiorentina next season.
Finally, it’s the Champions League Final this weekend in London. I really, really wish that me and my brother would be going down to London to watch the match in a bar with Borussia Dortmund supporters, as we have a good following from them on Twitter and have always had nice e-mails from their support whenever we’ve covered them on here. Unfortunately, my brother isn’t old enough to drink and I’ll be watching the game at home, but it would have been lovely to meet up with a few of the Dortmund fans we’ve spoken to on here.
Due to my affinity with Dortmund because of playing FIFA 2004 and seeing them play my team, Arsenal, at the Emirates Stadium two years ago, I’ll be rooting for them completely as they player Bayern Munich. Hopefully we can get to Germany to watch Dortmund next season!
A word on the final itself - I’d prefer Kevin Grosskreutz to the out-going Mario Gotze, who is moving to Bayern Munich at the end of the season, for the Champions League Final. I know that’s a bold thing to say, as Gotze is a very special talent, but Grosskreutz bleeds yellow and if I were to need an extra edge of mental strength on Saturday, then I’d pick Grosskreutz every day.
That’s all from me today!