Mihir Bose: Frenchie Gerard Houllier has unfinished business in the Premier League

Mihir Bose(2)

Gerard Houllier’s return to the Premier League was, perhaps, one of the most predictable of events of the season. What is more, he will bring to Aston Villa the conviction that his departure from Liverpool in 2004, after six years in charge, left him with unfinished business in England.

Houllier has a mission to accomplish and he sees the Midlands club as his last great chance to leave his mark on the English game.

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Mihir Bose: England still searching for winning team to bring home 2018 World Cup

Mihir Bose

Just over ten years ago, after a visit to Downing Street of a FIFA delegation not very dissimilar to the one last Monday, Tony Banks, then the Prime Minister’s special envoy to the 2006 World Cup bid, made one of his exuberant comments.

“You know,” he said, “this visit proves that England is the only country that can defeat South Africa for the 2006 World Cup, Germany is out of it. I am now so close to these FIFA members I feel they are joined to the hip to me.”

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Mihir Bose: Welcome to Premier League Two

This Premier League season may well prove to be a seminal one. Not on who wins it, or who qualifies for that modern Holy Grail the Champions League, but marking the moment when the Premier League, in effect, created Premier League Two.

Creating a second division in the Premier League has always been talked about, particularly by the smaller clubs fearful of relegation, but the idea has never found favour in the rest of the Premiership.

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Mihir Bose: Fans should treat new owners with extreme caution

It is part of the change that has come over football that, as the new season starts, the fans must not only look out for the new players who have walked into the clubs’ changing rooms but the new owners who may now own their clubs’ boardrooms.

In the last few weeks, the football news has been as dominated by the transfers of club ownership as much as player transfers. Or more accurately stories of possible sales of clubs with Liverpool,

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Mihir Bose: I will believe Chinese whispers when I see it

The Liverpool take-over has long been one of football’s most curious soap operas but the latest twist with the Chinese Government, albeit through its investment arm China Investment Capital, seeking to buy the club, has something of a touch of Dallas combined with that of the East Enders.

Like the best of these soap operas it spins story lines which then turn out to be just that, nice tales that do not reflect reality.

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Mihir Bose: Premier League is something to be proud of but Government still ready to intervene

English football presents a contradiction that could well be the subject of a novel, but not even the greatest of novelists could come up with a solution to its problems.

The last week has provided a vivid illustration of that. It saw a representative of football accompany the Prime Minister David Cameron as he went on his “mission with humility” to India hoping to sell goods and services to the country Britain once ruled.

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Mihir Bose: We wondered about South Africa but now it is FIFA we doubt

The South African World Cup has proved supremely ironic. We went to South Africa wondering if the country could host the event. We have come away knowing South African can, but we are now not sure if FIFA can manage a World Cup in the modern era of technology.

Our FIFA doubts have to do with its failure to appreciate that it cannot continue to rely on the naked eye to judge all on field events.

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Mihir Bose: England have lost their identity and the Premier League is to blame

Defeats are not easy to take, but they can be a springboard for success provided we are prepared to learn from them. The depressing thought is that England’s annihilation by Germany - and despite the disallowed goal, that is what it was – will not lead to the sort of revolution the national team needs.

So the debate in England has been whether Fabio Capello should stay or go. That is the wrong question. 

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Mihir Bose: Africa has wasted golden opportunity presented by World Cup

On  Wednesday night, as England qualified to meet Germany in the round of 16,  with the USA topping England’s group and Australia doing Ghana a favour, the great and good of south African football returned to Sandton, the exclusive Johannesburg suburb which they have made their home during this World Cup, and their joy was  unconfined.

The reason for the joy was not just on footballing grounds, although these are not insignificant.

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