Here’s a round-up of this morning’s remarkable press conference.
Christian Oquendo emails in and isn’t surprised by the Rubiales press conference.
“The thing is that you have women there clapping and that’s the old issue why things don’t work (take the taking the knee before a game for example). The moment you have individuals, from the group that the gesture/action/complaint is supposed to be helping, criticize it, not participate on it or in this case applaud the assailant, the complaint loses value, power, its meaning!
“What I would hope happened in that clip (that never did) was me watching all the women (and hopefully some men) in that place walk out of there to protest his grotesque act of victimism.”
More feedback coming in on Luis Rubiales and it’s one-way traffic.
Niall O’Keeffe writes: “Awful that the great accomplishment of the Spanish Ladies football team winning the World Cup should be overshadowed by this man talking about ‘fake feminism’. Even more disturbing is the ovation he got from his mates in the Spanish FA. I tried to see ‘his point’ but failed. He has no excuses. Resign.”
“He is messing up a lot of manager’s heads,” says West Ham boss David Moyes of Brighton manager Robert De Zerbi. That’s a pretty good take but not sure you’d want your manager saying it as he prepares to do battle with his opposite number.
What’s more, Moyes is aware of Brighton’s excellent record against West Ham which shows six wins and six draws for the Seagulls in the last 12 league meetings. Here’s Moyes sounding on the back foot already.
“We are playing a team that we have found it really hard to beat over the last few seasons. It has been a bit of a bugbear that we have not been able to beat them. We go there in good spirits but they have won their first two matches by three goals or four goals in each game – just about – so they are in really good form.
“They’re difficult opponents and they are arguably as difficult as they have ever been. They are showing that by their league position. We have to play extremely well to get a result. There is a first for everything so let’s hope this is the one. He is messing up a lot of manager’s heads but this is the world at the moment, with so many different varies of football.”
Now it’s Paris St Germain coach Luis Enrique’s turn to give his thoughts on Luis Rubiales. And it’s another deep sigh I’m afraid.
The former Spanish manager said Rubiales’ work as FA president had been “exceptional”, adding: “The statistics are there to see so he has done brilliantly. As for what happened in the last game, the president has admitted his mistake so I don’t have to offer my opinion.” Well, you do. And you haven’t. And it’s not hard to read through the lines.
Thanks Daniel. Iker Casillas was watching the Rubiales press conference and tweeted one word: “Embarrassing”. Of course, the former Spain and Real Madrid goalkeeper doesn’t exactly have an untarnished reputation himself. He’s since added: “We should spend these 5 days talking about our girls! Of the joy they gave us all! To boast of a title that we did not have in women’s football but…”
That’s it from me. I’m racing off to Twickenham to cover some rugby. David Tindall is back in the driver’s seat.
Now for a slight departure from Spain, but still a concerning story for the women’s game.
The World Cup was a tremendous success and could leave a lasting legacy in Australia. But there’s a cautionary tale for those paying attention.
This is a cracking read from John Deurden.
A reminder that it’s not just one bad apple but an entirely rotten bunch:
Christopher Sharpe has been in touch again:
“Totally fair response there Daniel (he’s talking about my response to his initial email concerning Arteta). The last week (and few hours) has represented an utterly appalling new low, even by the standards of modern football. Mikel infamously doesn’t give much away in these press conferences, but there’s a vast difference between transfer updates and matters of basic human decency.”
It’s all felt so grim, hasn’t it?
“Bald men making their own realities in their boardrooms and press conferences where critics are silenced? Welcome to FIFA in 2023.”
Hang on now, Justin Madson, not all of us baldies are baddies. But I take your point.
“The many powerful men in football thoroughly believe that they are so important and infallible that rules do not apply to them. Get 20 of these types in a room together and they will protect one another at the cost of everyone else, because well they are important and powerful. All the sudden you have an FA that is applauding a man like this because sadly, power matters more than people. Everything they say for the advancement of anyone else is purely lip service as a function of increasing revenue or minimizing loss, and when the cards are down they will do whatever it takes to protect themselves. Makes you wonder what the other guys in the room have in their closets.”
Ruth Purdue has fired off a very challenging question and I’m not totally sure how to answer it:
”Hi Daniel, Doesn’t FIFA has rules about political interference though.”
My guess is that, yes, FIFA would fronw upon political interference but that some sharp lawyer would show that this is an exception to the rule. To be honest I don’t know how the governing boy would respond. I’ll try find out.
Ruth also wants clarity on this story from Zambia.
We’ve had two emails concerning Arteta’s reaction to Rubiales. Will share them in full.
First Christopher Sharpe got in touch:
“I felt the same disappointment as you on hearing that clip—but have since realised his response and the Hayters tweet have not been placed in context of the actual question he was asked: “(Luis Rubiales has) refused to resign, there’s a lot of criticism from Spanish football players and managers. I just wonder whether you thought all this was overshadowing what was a great success for Spain?
“Whilst I’d have loved for Arteta to have spoken out against Rubiales specifically, he’s been asked whether he was upset this incident has clouded the women’s success—which he then says he is. He might well “not get it”, but I don’t think we can judge him based on this response. Feels like he’s been set-up for a fall there.”
Then Robin Lee sent this in:
“Sorry but I can’t quite place your ire over Arteta’s comments… is it possible he didn’t watch the RFEF press conference this morning? That he wasn’t refreshing social media every five minutes, or browsing news websites obsessively? That he might have been preparing his team for a football match, perhaps out on a training pitch, or discussing with his coaches and assistants? Just a thought.
(Liverpool fan here, so no skin in the game viz Arteta)
Rubiales has to go though, it just gets worse. And the rest of the seal-clapping morons of the Spanish FA.”
Thanks both for your correspondence. What I’d say is that any fence sitting on this matter is as good as support. Without getting too lost in the weeds, to quote the late and great Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” There is simply no nuance in this debate.
As for Arteta’s ignorance, I don’t for one second believe he didn’t know what had unfolded by the time of his press conference. I could be wrong, but I just can’t believe this was the first he was hearing of it.
Of course, happy to hear contrasting views and welcome them all.
We don’t have much just yet but Reuters are reporting that Spains government might suspend Rubiales if the sport court agrees.
More to come as we get it…
“The guy should be fired and prosecuted. He should not be given the chance to resign. And I don’t think Hermoso was the only woman who suffered at that award ceremony. Pretty much every woman there was treated with the same contempt. Why are we even discussing this?”
I couldn’t agree with you more, Anne Dawson. It’s been one disgrace after the next for the Spanish FA. I guess we’re discussing it because it needs to be discussed. I wish that wasn’t the case.
“Have we got an answer from Pep on Rubiales? I can’t imagine it’ll be any better than Arteta’s shameful dodge.”
To be fair to Pep, Sean Orlowicz, the man is recovering from back surgery. Guardiola did describe Benjamin Mendy as a “really good boy” in court, though – and his track record is patchy when it comes to tackling off-field controversies.
As we get excited for the Premier League action this weekend, let’s not forget that Luis Rubiales is keeping his powerful job despite the behaviour we all saw on camera.
What makes this situation so much worse is that his refusal to even acknowledge his fault or step down was met with applause. The Spanish FA have shamed themselves and let down the entire football community.
Not that you asked, but the game I’m most looking forward to this weekend is Brentford v Crystal Palace. There’s just something about the Bees and the way they cut Fulham to ribbons last week suggests they’ve got higher gears to climb.
The Eagles’ manager, Roy Hodgson, was full of praise for his opposite number, Thomas Frank:
To be able to shrug off the loss of a player so important as Ivan Toney is in itself an enormous strength, and something I’m sure Thomas Frank is proud of doing.
“As far as their (Brentford’s owners’) trump card was to find Thomas Frank and to get behind him, and show their faith in him and believe in what he does, and to give him the chance to put this team together, and give him the type of players he’s asked for, to be able to play the type of football they want to play.
“They’ve reaped a very big reward for it, because not only did they get back into the Premier League, they’ve got into the top ten of the Premier League already.
“They’re selling lots and lots of tickets to their stadium, and they’ve built a new stadium.
“For Brentford at the moment it’s a very good period of time in their history, and Thomas Frank has played a massive part in that period of their history, as has the owner.”
James Maddison is available for Spurs this weekend. His manager, Ange Postecoglou, said as much in his presser:
“He trained today unrestricted. We’ll see how he holds up but at the moment he will be available.
“I think it was the incident when (Cristian) Romero got brought down, he had a shot and it was a block tackle. His ankle was a bit sore after that but medical team looked after him. There was no real push to have him available. It was down to him. People would have seen him in a moon boot but it was more precautionary. He has felt good and probably could have trained yesterday.”
Maddison was seen hobbling in a moon boot after his team’s dismantling of Manchester United last week. He’s been a key figure in the revival in North London. So good news for Spurs fans.
Are you struggling to keep up to date with all the comings and goings in the transfer market? Do you like slick graphs and well designed web pages?
My friend, have I got something to show you:
“It’s over”. Barca’s Alexia Putellas has shown her support for Jennier Hermoso.
David Moyes has promised to bring in more new faces before the window shuts.
“We will look and see what we can get, the club have been really supportive to what we have already got,” the veteran manager told the gathered press. “I said last week by the end of the window we will have added a couple of players.”
He touched on other pressing topics, including the soon to expire contract of Ben Johnson. Moyes wants to keep him and revealed that the club had offered the player a new deal a year ago. Keep an eye on that one.
This is so poor from Arteta. Just so maddeningly, infuriatingly, mind-warpingly poor. How does he not get it?
Brighton are top of the table and they intend to stay there.
So says their manager Roberto de Zerbi who is at the helm of what is surely the most exciting project in English football. Here’s what the ’Gulls’ gaffer had to say ahead of their clash with West Ham tomorrow:
I usually feel good if we work well during the week. Saturday is always the result of our work. Tomorrow, we want to win to stay top of the table and take another three points – but then we will focus on Newcastle.”
And other bits from the boss on Julio Enciso’s injury, new signings and potential international call-ups for his troops:
“We will be without Julio for a long period. Unfortunately this can happen in football. I am sorry for him because he was playing really well, it is a shame. In football sometimes, it’s normal.
“I would like to build a stronger squad, we have another six, seven days and we will look at an attacker and midfielder. Without Julio, I think we need another attacker, and a midfielder because we lost Caicedo. It’s not fair to speak about other players (at other clubs). We have many options.
“We have a lot of players ready to play for their international teams, but not just England players. For example, Pascal Gross is at the right level to be on the list for Germany.”
Hector Bellerin speaks out against Rubiales. Because of course he has. He’s a fantastic human and seemingly on the right side of every poltiical and social debate (I’m sure someone will prove me wrong).
“The narcissist never believes they have made a mistake, they are able to lie, manipulate the truth & make the victim guilty in order to retain their power over others”
Strong stuff from the Real Betis fullback.
Pep’s surgery has been a success. The good news was delivered by Juanma Lillo who’ll be taking over from his mentor this weekend.
Guardiola required surgery to his back and travelled to Spain to get it done. It’s all gone according to plan and he should be back in no time.
Lillo fielded questions concerning the club’s new signing, Jeremy Doku. What can he bring to the serial winners?
“Every time a new player arrives we think they are going to bring something and help the team globally,” Lillo said.
“It’s not about him and placing responsibility on him.
That is the good thing this team has, the idea is to bring players who are better not modify them.
“The team will grow and he will improve us, the team is at a good level.
“He’s a great player, you’ve seen him, he has specific qualities and he can help.”
There’ve been multiple reports that Manchester United are interested in signing left-back Ryan Bertrand on a free.
The England international who started at Chelsea and bounced between Bournemouth, Oldham, Norwich, Reading, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa, Southampton and Leicester, would help fill the void left by the currently injured Luke Shaw.
He’s 34 though. And I’m not saying that’s old. I’m older than that. But is this the sort of short term thinking that’ll lift the funk at OLd Trafford? I’m not so sure.
A Spanish male player speaks out.
This is what being an ally looks like. Good on the Real Betis forward, Borja Iglesias, who has called out his national FA for their baffling decision not to sack Rubiales.
Iglesias said on X (formerly Twitter), “I am sad and disappointed. As a footballer and as a person I don’t feel represented by what happened today in the Ciudad del Fútbol de Las Rozas. I find it unfortunate that they continue to press and focus on a colleague.
“Wearing the Spanish National Team shirt is one of the greatest things that has happened to me in my career. I don’t know if at some point I will be an option again, but I have made the decision not to return to the National Team until things change and this type of act does not go unpunished.”
More of this please fellas. This is a football problem, not just a women’s football problem.
What’s got you revved up for this weekend? Is it the midfield hope at Spurs? The prospect of a tweak at Chelsea? A chance for Brighton to once again steal our hearts? Or maybe it’s the (slim) chance that Sheffield United could spring a surprise and turn over a Manchester City outfit who must go to work without their manager?
If you’re short of inspiration, we’ve got you covered:
For the first time since his arrival, Erik ten Hag is sweating in the Manchester United hot seat. Sure, they lost to Tottenham in their second game after scraping past Wolves in the opening round, but the Dutchman’s problems are deeper than that.
His midfield looks a mess, he doesn’t appear to have a cohesive attack plan, the transfer window has disappointed and the club’s handling of the Mason Greenwood fiasco was, well, a fiasco.
The manager needs a lift and claims that he “definitely has a solution” while refuting the claims that his midfield was overrun by Spurs. It’s fighting talk. Do you buy it?
“Injuries are always disappointing but we can deal with it. Rasmus Hojlund is not available for tomorrow; he came into team training for the first time. Next week we expect him to do a full week, so he is very near to the squad.
“(Mason Mount and Luke Shaw) will be absent for some period. Luke will be longer than Mason.” Tyrell Malacia will take a few weeks, we have the solutions in our squad. Definitely.
“That assessment (on the midfield) isn’t right. It was about the back and the front. That is why we were so open. If you see his numbers, you’ll see Casemiro is fully fit. I don’t have any doubts they can do it.”
We are where we want to be as a team. I have a lot of work to focus on the team; so I’m focussed on the players I have available.”
By the way, that last line was in response to questions around Greenwood.
“Salah ain’t going!” That’s the line from Liverpool’s manager, Jurgen Klopp. The Egyptian pharaoh of Anfield has been offered a reported £155m over two years to become one of the highest paid footballers in the world. That carrot is being dangled by the Saudis with Al-Ittihad Salah’s most likely destination.
But the Liverpool boss has dig his heels in. But can he actually do anything to scupper the move?
Thanks David. Tremendous shift. What a day. To be honest I’m still fuming at the Spanish FA’s decision not to give Who-Know-Who the boot. It seems that the women’s game continues to dance a corrupted version of the Time Warp. A jump to the left followed by a step to the right leaving us right back where we started with no progress at all.
Anyway. There’s plenty to unpack besides that unpleasantness.
If you’ve got a thought you’d like to share with the group to get in touch. I’ll also take any proven home remedies for a persistent and nagging ear ache.
Righty, it’s time to pass the baton to Daniel Gallan for the rest of the afternoon. Let’s hope for a good exchange as we round the bend.
Despite losing Ivan Toney for betting offences, Brentford have picked up four points out of six so far and scored five goals in their opening two games. Jonathan Liew looks at how they’ve continued to thrive.
Tottenham team news now and head coach Ange Postecoglou says James ‘Madders’ Maddison should be fit for the weekend trip to Bournemouth.
“Madders trained today unrestricted,” said the Spurs boss. “We’ll see how he pulls up but at this stage it looks like he will be available. I think it was the incident when (Cristian) Romero got brought down, he had a shot and it was a block tackle (by Antony). His ankle was a bit sore after that but the medical team looked after him. People would have seen him in a moon boot but it was more precautionary. He has felt good and probably could have trained yesterday.”