SportsNet - September 2012
It seems like so long ago. Just prior to the start of last season, the National Football League and the Player's Union were locked in a drawn out battle. The owners locked out the players. The players decertified their union. The NFL dug in and prepared for a heated battle. The players filed an anti-trust lawsuit. The lawyers were feasting like lions on the endless supply of litigation. Meanwhile, the fans got sick of hearing about the battle between the millionaires and billionaires.
The NFL's Hall of Fame game was cancelled. Owners were in danger of losing concessions and parking revenue. Players were in danger of missing game checks. Fans were in danger of missing real games. Suddenly, at the 11th hour, all of the pieces fell into place and a deal was done. It was done so quickly, in fact, that players showed up to training camp even before the official agreement was signed. The world breathed a collective sigh of relief as football would live to see another day.
Various sources are stating via the English press, that Athletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, will become a Chelsea player in January for a fee of around £45 million.
The Sun claim that an inside Chelsea source has confirmed that 'the groundwork is already being done for Falcao, the owner wants everything in place before another club can come in with a counter-offer'.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has shown his concerns over the lack of out and out strikers at Stamford Bridge this season, with only Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge being able to play in the centre forward role. Abramovich is keen to bring in the prolific Colombian international forward as soon as physically possible, which is the January transfer window.
Falcao is one of the most highly rated strikers in the world at the moment and has been on the Chelsea radar for some time now, they attempted to secure a deal during the summer transfer window, but it fell through in the dying stages.
Chelsea have confirmed that they have offered 15-year-old Ihab Naser a trial with the club and he has impressed the blues staff already.
Naser comes from Gunnilses IF and is a highly rated Swedish youth international, he was spotted by Chelsea during recent Sweden scouting missions and has now been handed his chance.
Having recently featured in his first game for Chelsea, which was a behind closed doors friendly against Crystal Palace, he spoke to fotbolltransfers.com saying "It was fun to train with such a big club like Chelsea. It went well for me, I played a match against Crystal Palace and scored a goal".
Blues officials will now decide whether to offer the youngster a permanent contract within the Chelsea squad, or another option will be re-trial later in the season.
Naser is an exciting attacking player who offers flair and pace, he has an eye for goal and is full of confidence. Still only very young he is sure to be a hot prospect for the future.
The NFL and the NFL Referees Association have reached an eight-year collective bargaining agreement that will end the lockout. During the deal, NFL official salaries will go from $149,000 in 2011 to $205,000 by 2019. Roger Goodell has said that the union referees will be on the field on Thursday night for the Browns and the Ravens game.
The NFLRA has said that they have 121 referees that have been trained and taught the new rules implemented from last season and have already passed the necessary physicals. One thing that may not be ready are their black and white striped 'Foot Locker' uniforms that some call them. Nike is the new sponsor of all NFL jerseys, apparel and merchandise; even the guys with the whistles around their necks. Some may not be able to have their customized referee uniforms by Sunday, but that is the last thing on the mind of the players.
Maybe it is time.
Despite the sensible rationale presented by the small, but vocal “cooler heads prevail” crowd in Philadelphia, perhaps the Nick Foles era should get started. Now. Today. Without further delay.
Sure, the move would be seen as a sign of panic, of the Eagles putting the proverbial cart before the horse, apparently scrapping the remainder of this season in favor of what the future may hold with kickstarting a young quarterback’s career at the helm.
The “sane” thinking says that the team will fare better if Michael Vick remains the starter. He’s a veteran, been in the Birds’ system for three years now. He brings athletic skills to the table that no other signal-caller in the NFL does. He’s had success in the league before coming to Philly, and just two years ago he was the toast of the town.
Besides, at 2-1, with Vick directing two last-minute, game-winning drives to open the campaign, why change?