Brighton lift Taricco suspension

10 June 2013 17:14

Brighton have lifted their suspension on assistant boss Mauricio Taricco following the conclusion of internal proceedings.

The Argentine was suspended along with manager Gus Poyet and first-team coach Charlie Oatway in May, with Poyet’s comments regarding uncertainty over his future thought to be the reason behind their punishment.

And, although Taricco has now been cleared to resume work at the Amex Stadium, his colleagues remain the subject of an ongoing investigation.

“In relation to the suspensions of manager Gus Poyet, assistant manager Mauricio Taricco, and first-team coach Charlie Oatway, the club can confirm the following,” a statement on the club’s official website read.

“The internal process concerning Mauricio Taricco has now concluded. Mauricio’s suspension has been lifted. The club looks forward to Mauricio’s return to work following his scheduled annual leave.

“The club’s internal processes concerning Gus Poyet and Charlie Oatway are on-going. As such, the club is not able to make any further comment on this matter at this time.”

Taricco joined Brighton alongside Poyet in 2009, having officially ended his professional playing career four years earlier with West Ham.

However, he has since come out of retirement to make a number of appearances in defence for the south-coast club – though he did not feature at all during the 2012-13 campaign.

Guzan praises Villa chief Lerner

10 June 2013 17:13

Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan has praised the club’s “approachable” owner Randy Lerner.

The American businessman took control of the Midlands outfit from Doug Ellis in 2006, and has invested vast sums of his own money during the tenures of four managers since.

Lerner opted to sack Alex McLeish in May 2012 following a disappointing campaign, but saw Villa struggle again last season as they narrowly avoided relegation under the guidance of Paul Lambert.

However, Guzan has revealed that his compatriot’s interest in the club has never wavered during their recent battles against the drop.

“He’s invested a lot into the club and as players, that’s all you can ask,” he told the Birmingham Mail.

“On a personal level, he’s at the training ground and he’s at the stadium. I know the fans really take to him. The players really take to him. He’s very personable, approachable.

“The last few years when we’ve been going through some rough patches, he’s come and given everyone his backing. It’s nice to have that as a player.”

Guzan is currently on international duty with the United States, but did not feature in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Jamaica.

Ribery named Bundesliga Player of the Year

10 June 2013 16:56

Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery has been named Bundesliga Player of the Year by his fellow professionals.

Over 200 players voted in the poll run by Kicker magazine and Ribery was the overwhelming winner, claiming 29 percent of the vote, over 11 percent more than second-placed Robert Lewandowski.

Ribery enjoyed a stunning campaign for Bayern last season, helping them collect three trophies both at home and in Europe, scoring 10 goals himself and providing 15 assists as the Bavarians became the first German side to win the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and UEFA Champions League in one term.

The France international has also signed an extension to his current contract at the Allianz Arena that will see him remain at the club until 2017.

Dortmund striker Lewandowski was runner-up to Ribery, with Bayern team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger coming third.

There was also a victory for Manuel Neuer as he collected the award for Goalkeeper of the Year. The Germany international made 44 appearances for Bayern this season and narrowly took the prize ahead of Roman Weidenfeller and Rene Adler.

Bayern were unable to make it a clean sweep of awards though as coach Jupp Heynckes was beaten in the Coach of the Year poll by Freiburg’s Christian Streich.

Despite Heynckes winning a European and domestic treble, Streich polled 48.7 per cent of the vote after guiding Freiburg into fifth place in the Bundesliga last season.

Chelsea fans delighted with Mourinho return

10 June 2013 16:44

A returning Jose Mourinho will unify Chelsea after a divisive season under Rafael Benitez, according to the club’s supporters trust.

Mourinho – who led Chelsea to two Premier League titles and one FA Cup success from 2004 to 2007 – was officially presented to the media as the club’s new manager on Monday.

The Portuguese coach has always been held in high regard by the fans at Stamford Bridge, who were disappointed to see former Liverpool boss Benitez in charge of them last season.

Benitez stepped in an interim role in November, and although he eventually led them to UEFA Europa League success, as well as a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League, the club’s fans never warmed to him after he made a series of derogatory comments about the club when in charge at Anfield.

The appointment of Mourinho will play a vital role in creating a sense of unity, and will get the club pulling in the one direction, according to Chelsea Supporters Trust spokesman David Chidgey.

“You cannot believe how important Mourinho’s appointment is, particularly after last season,” Chidgey told OMNISPORT.

“Most supporters really did not want to see Rafa Benitez at the helm at all. And what that led to was actually quite a depressing season, and among the supporters, a very divisive season.

“No supporters like to see that. So with Jose Mourinho coming back, a guy who clearly loves the club, and a guy who is clearly loved by the supporters, what I hope we will see next year is a real unifying force.

“As Chelsea fans, we will all be able to get behind a guy we have a lot of time, respect and love for and we will know that is reciprocated by him. It will lift the crowd.

“The best thing for (club owner) Roman Abramovich to have done after appointing Benitez was to appoint Mourinho afterwards.

“If you go and find 2,500 Chelsea supporters right now, everyone will be smiling. We are absolutely delighted that he is back.”

Mourinho’s Chelsea exit was reportedly due to a fall-out between himself and Abramovich, but the 50-year-old denied those rumours, and said he had mutually left the club.

Chidgey believes the pair have both matured since they split ways in 2007 and has no doubts they can successfully work together.

“Jose is calmer, older, wiser and he is a more mature manager. I think you can say the same about Roman Abramovich,” he said.

“The underlying theme about Jose’s press conference was stability and perhaps one of the things that Abramovich really does crave, is rather than having to get rid of managers every year, pick the best one for the club and stick with him for as long as they can.”

Chidgey says Mourinho’s “excellent relationship” with veterans Frank Lampard and John Terry will help him immensely, and he believes Chelsea can now challenge for the Premier League title with their new manager.

“We have a very good squad but one that is quite inexperienced. But looking at the opposition, Manchester United do not just have a new manager, but they do not have (Alex) Ferguson for the first time in 26 years. It is acknowledged that he is worth 10 to 15 points a season for them,” he said.

“Pellegrini at Man City, a new manager, he is going to take a while to bed in. He has never managed in the Premier League before. Arsenal, they will have money to spend but they have not won a trophy in eight years.

“With a stronger squad and with Mourinho’s tactical ability coming back in, I would be expecting us to at least be challenging for the title.”

Tebas fears Spain talent drain

10 June 2013 16:31

Javier Tebas, the Spanish Football League president, believes mounting club debts may force the best talent to leave the country.

Tebas is concerned that the departure of big-name players like Radamel Falcao and Jesus Navas could be the start of an exodus of talent as the top club’s struggle to control rising levels of debt.

Valencia, Deportivo La Coruna and Atletico Madrid are among the clubs to have hit the headlines in recent years due to financial problems.

Tebas believes the only way the clubs can shed these pressures is to sell their better players.

Since the end of the season, Atletico have sold Falcao to Monaco and Navas looks set to sign for Manchester City from Sevilla, with Tebas warning fans of all clubs that more players could follow them out of Spain in the coming years.

“Fans need to be aware that there is going to be an exodus of players over the next three to four years, because we need clubs to decrease their debts if they are able to become alternatives to the big clubs,” he told AS.

Tebas is looking at ways to expand the global appeal of Spanish football in order to generate extra funds.

“We need to look to the foreign market if we are to increase our television revenues,” he added. “That means we have to pay attention to the television operators abroad, and make things easier for them in terms of kick-off times.”