Tag Archives: extraordinary

Liverpool – what needs to change under Brendan Rodgers

What is wrong at Liverpool The problems facing Rodgers after nightmare start

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UPDATED:

10:11 GMT, 25 September 2012

After the controversy and emotion of a highly charged occasion at Anfield on Sunday, reality has started to dawn for Liverpool. This has been a unique time on Merseyside and extraordinary circumstances have meant the focus has been drawn away from results.

But after five matches, they are in the bottom three with just two points. It is their worst start since 1911 and Brendan Rodgers finds himself sharing a record with George Patterson, who was appointed in 1928, as a Liverpool manager failing to win any of his first five league games.

As is always the case with Liverpool, there is never a dull moment but, as they approach a crunch sequence of fixtures, Sportsmail looks at some of the issues that the ebullient Rodgers needs to address to get his side climbing the table.

Winless: The focus now switches back to on-field issues for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

Winless: The focus now switches back to on-field issues for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

LACK OF DEPTH

The travails Liverpool endured during the transfer window have been well documented but only now are the ramifications of a summer when they moved on nine players really beginning to hit home, as the squad are set to be stretched to breaking point.

It was confirmed on Monday that England Under-21 right back Martin Kelly will effectively miss the remainder of the season after he ruptured cruciate ligaments in the final stages of Sunday’s 2-1 defeat by Manchester United.

Key midfielder Lucas Leiva is still out with a torn thigh muscle, Jonjo Shelvey must serve a three-match ban for his sending off against United, while Fabio Borini will be sidelined for a couple of weeks after suffering serious bone bruising to his ankle.

When you consider that leaves Luis Suarez as the only fit senior striker, it is clear Liverpool’s new scouting department of Dave Fallows and Barry Hunter – who started work two weeks ago – will need to move quickly to have reinforcements ready for the January window.

Lone ranger: Suarez is Liverpool's only fit striker

Lone ranger: Suarez is Liverpool's only fit striker

There was, at least, better news with regard to Daniel Agger. It had initially been feared that the Denmark defender had suffered a problem similar to Kelly’s but his agent Per Steffensen confirmed on Monday that Agger could return within a month.

‘Daniel hasn’t torn any ligaments,’ said Steffensen. ‘It’s very good news. He has got a bruise on his bone behind a knee. It is very sore and a bit swollen, but as soon as that goes down he can come back to training.’

THE PROBLEM WITH LUIS

Suarez is Liverpool’s most potent supply of goals, but he is also their biggest worry. If he was to suffer an injury, it would be difficult to see how they would cope but he is also running the risk of picking up a suspension.

The Uruguayan has already received three yellow cards and there is bemusement among Liverpool’s players about how he is being treated by match officials. Certainly against United he was unlucky not to receive some decisions.

Unlucky Suarez was not awarded a penalty after this challenge by Jonny Evans on Sunday

Unlucky Suarez was not awarded a penalty after this challenge by Jonny Evans on Sunday

‘I almost guarantee that if Luis was in the position of Antonio Valencia, he wouldn’t have got a penalty,’ said Glen Johnson, who was penalised for a foul on United’s winger.

‘We all know that. Reputations go in front of people, and because Valencia is not known as a diver he gets the decision.

‘I know it is difficult for the referee. Everybody has to do their job. They have to forget who they are looking at.

‘They just have to make the decisions. They can’t let anything from the past affect their decisions. They have to call the shots at the time, regardless of who it is.’

GETTING THE FIRST WIN

The feeling around Liverpool’s squad is that two points are not a fair reflection of how they have played in the opening weeks and, with better fortune, their return from home games against the two Manchester clubs could easily have been six points as opposed to one.

Work to do: Liverpool travel to Norwich on Saturday

Work to do: Liverpool travel to Norwich on Saturday

Rodgers has certainly got Liverpool operating with a style that is easy on the eye and he has players like Steven Gerrard, Johnson and Joe Allen to inflict on opponents what he has described as ‘death by football’ but the longer they wait for three points, the more hollow those words will become.

‘If you have watched every one of our games – bar the defeat to Arsenal – we have been the best team,’ Johnson argued. ‘There are a lot more positives than it looks.

‘As soon as we get a little bit of luck, I think we are going to beat someone with a big score. We can say that as much as we like but, really, we have got to get down and do it.’

Those are sentiments that Liverpool’s captain shares.

‘We know how many points we have got and it’s not good enough,’ said Gerrard.

‘But if we keep playing with that effort and determination it will only be a matter of time before we go on a sequence. Not many sides will be able to live with us because we are playing some good stuff.’

Bradford Bulls chairman Peter Hood quits

Chairman Hood bows to fan pressure and quits crisis-hit Bradford Bulls

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UPDATED:

07:09 GMT, 9 May 2012

Bradford chairman Peter Hood has quit the beleaguered Super League club to pave the way for new investment.

Hood and fellow director Andrew Bennett were expected to be removed from office later this month at an extraordinary general meeting convened by former chairman Chris Caisley but both stepped down with immediate effect on Wednesday.

Financial meltdown: Bradford are in trouble

Financial meltdown: Bradford are in trouble

Hood said: 'Andrew Bennett and I have
concluded that the interests of Bradford Bulls and its players, coaches
and staff are best served by us making way for Mr Caisley and his
cohorts now, rather than awaiting an EGM at which we are bound to be
out-voted.'

Hood, who has been on the club's board since 1999 and succeeded Caisley as chairman in 2006, had become resigned to his fate, hinting at his likely resignation at the Bulls' last home match last month.

He added: 'Chris has indicated to me and also to chief executive Ryan Duckett that he has investors waiting in the wings who are ready, willing and able to get on board but apparently they are not prepared to do so under the present regime.'

It was Hood who announced on March 27 that the club needed 1million to stay in business and a major fund-raising exercise enabled them to reach half their target inside a fortnight.

However, a group of majority shareholders including Caisley who remains the major stakeholder, lost faith in the directors' efforts to take the club through the crisis and called an extraordinary general meeting for May 23.
Duckett is expected to stay and see through a takeover.

Caisley, a Leeds-based solicitor who was chairman during the club's glory years in Super League where they reached five consecutive Grand Finals up to 2005, is expected to re-take his place on the board and lead a strategic review, initially to ascertain the extent of the club's financial problems.

The club raised sufficient funds to play the players' and staff wages for April and also to avert the threat of a winding-up petitition by HM Revenue and Customs over an unpaid tax bill, but the threat of administration remains.

The crisis was thought to have been prompted by Bradford's sale of the Odsal lease to the Rugby Football League earlier this year which removed their security with the Royal Bank of Scotland, who cut the club's overdraft as a result.

Former coach Brian Noble and former general manager Gary Tasker are thought to have been earmarked to play key roles in the review.

Chelsea bid for Battersea Power Station site

Chelsea planning 60,000-seater stadium after bidding for Battersea Power Station site

PUBLISHED:

12:30 GMT, 4 May 2012

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UPDATED:

13:00 GMT, 4 May 2012

Chelsea have confirmed they had submitted a bid to acquire the Battersea Power Station site in order to build a new 60,000-seater stadium.

The Blues announced they and property development partner Almacantar were hoping to acquire the 39 acres of land they could redevelop if they decide to relocate from Stamford Bridge.

The clubs plans include preserving all the significant aspects of the power station itself.

For sale: Chelsea hope to buy the Battersea Power Station site

For sale: Chelsea hope to buy the Battersea Power Station site

Chelsea said in a statement: 'Battersea Power Station is one of London's most famous buildings and has the potential to become one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world.

'Our joint bid was submitted in accordance with the sales process established by the joint administrators for the site. The process could run for a number of months.

'We are not the only interested parties and there is no certainty that we will be successful.'

Chelsea cannot move from Stamford Bridge unless they can convince fan-led group Chelsea Pitch Owners, who own the land beneath Stamford Bridge, to sell them back the freehold.

That was something they failed to do at an extraordinary general meeting of CPO back in October.

The statement added: 'We also appreciate that we have many significant hurdles to address if we are to build a new stadium on the site, including winning the support of our fans, the CPO shareholders and local Wandsworth residents, as well as securing the approval of Wandsworth Council, the Greater London Authority and heritage authorities.

'We must also stress that making an offer for the Battersea Power Station site does not mean the club has made a definitive decision to leave Stamford Bridge.

Home: Chelsea currently play at Stamford Bridge

Home: Chelsea currently play at Stamford Bridge

'Working with architects and planning experts, we have developed a plan
to preserve all the significant aspects of Battersea Power Station.

'The four iconic chimneys and wash towers along with the Grade II*
listed west turbine hall and control room will be restored and retained
in their original locations and provide a unique architectural backdrop
to a world-class stadium with a capacity of around 60,000 seats.

'Following feedback from fans, our initial plans include a 15,000
all-seated one-tier stand behind the south goal, likely to be the
biggest one-tier stand in football.

'Also as suggested by many fans, the stadium proposed is rectangular in
shape with four separate stands. The design includes a bigger family
area and more room for disabled supporters.

'As well as a new home for our club, the development would include a
town centre with substantial street-level retail shops, affordable
housing and offices – all of which would benefit Wandsworth and bring a
significant number of permanent jobs to the area.

'We would also make a significant contribution towards the Northern Line
Extension, a new high-volume transport link proposed for the area.

'We will keep our fans updated as the process develops.'

Chelsea fans CPO won"t sell any more shares

We shall not be moved! CPO refuses to sell more shares amid Stamford Bridge row

Chelsea fans dealt what could be another blow to the club’s hopes of moving to a new stadium after another stormy meeting of Chelsea Pitch Owners.

Supporter-led company CPO, which owns the freehold of Stamford Bridge and in October revolted against Roman Abramovich’s bid to buy it back, effectively blocked the Blues owner from being able to railroad through any relocation plans.

In what were scenes almost as dramatic as those at last year’s extraordinary general meeting, the CPO board caved into angry calls to prevent more shares in the company being sold pending an investigation into whether associates of Abramovich and other club directors engaged in bulk buying prior to the EGM.

Home: The debate over Chelsea's Stamford Bridge has raged for months

Home: The debate over Chelsea's Stamford Bridge has raged for months

It has been claimed those alleged associates – some of whom were named in a report this week – backed Chelsea’s proposal to reacquire the stadium freehold at the EGM, a vote the club needed to win to be able to move ground but ended up losing anyway.

Bulk buying is perfectly legal and there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by anyone at Chelsea, but CPO sold 1,686 more shares than they were entitled to last year and it has been claimed many of them were bought by those with sympathies to the club.

Sales of shares were suspended shortly before the EGM and the CPO board proposed that they be reopened at Friday’s AGM.

Fearing the 1,000 shares available would be hoovered up by more alleged club sympathisers, shareholders queued up to demand no more were issued, and they got their way in the most unexpected fashion.

Having insisted he would use his hundreds of proxy votes to ensure the resolutions to reopen share sales were passed, CPO chairman Steve Frankham performed a dramatic u-turn when it came to the vote itself.

The man who succeeded Richard King after the EGM used his proxies to defeat the resolution that would have effectively given CPO permission to issue shares to non-shareholders.

Protest: Chelsea fans reacted angrily to suggestions they could leave the Bridge

Protest: Chelsea fans reacted angrily to suggestions they could leave the Bridge

His climbdown prevented anyone joining CPO until a resolution was passed otherwise.

Frankham said: 'I did it because the room asked me to.

'Hopefully that shows that we are listening.'

The CPO board also bowed to pressure to hold another EGM in the next few months, during which shareholders would be able to propose resolutions of their own.

In the meantime, CPO director Gray Smith – a lawyer who was invited to join the board after voting against the club at the EGM – vowed to try to establish who bought the 1,686 oversold shares.

The board reiterated it was against the law for CPO simply to void the shares in question but promised to explore whether their validity could be challenged.

Were they to succeed, that could make it even harder for Chelsea to win any future vote on the Stamford Bridge freehold.

That might also be the case were CPO to slash the voting rights of any new shareholders, something the board suggested they would be willing to discuss.

Currently, the most number of votes an individual shareholder can cast is 100 – regardless of the number of shares they own – and there were calls to limit that to 10 or even one.

Eyes on the future: Roman Abramovich would like a new stadium

Eyes on the future: Roman Abramovich would like a new stadium

But as at the EGM, it was the overselling of shares which drew the most anger at Friday's meeting, which was held in Stamford Bridge's Harris Suite.

Although only around 150 shareholders attended, as opposed to the 700 who turned up to the EGM, the club and the CPO board's sternest critics were among them.

Several called into question the validity of any resolutions passed while the holders of the oversold shares continued to have voting rights.

Shareholder David Spring said: 'Every other issue is a farce if the 2,000 votes are counted today.'

There were numerous demands for an adjournment and stinging attacks on Frankham and fellow board members Rick Glanvill and Bob Sewell, the latter two the only surviving directors from October's EGM.

CPO secretary Sewell insisted the overselling of shares had been 'simple human error', with Glanvill apologising and admitting the mistake had given him 'sleepless nights'.

Both survived calls for their heads, as did Frankham, with Gray and former Chelsea captain Dennis Wise also re-elected to the board.

Wise was, perhaps surprisingly, a voice of reason amidst the infighting, saying: 'It's not an “us and you”. We're all together.'