Tag Archives: Manchester City

Will Premier League teams ever come back to China?

Thousands of Chinese soccer fans went home very disappointed last Monday evening, following the cancellation of the much-anticipated Manchester derby, after rain the previous week had left the pitch at the Bird’s Nest stadium in an unplayable state. Coupled with less than stellar pre-season tours in previous years, it’s hard to see many top Premier League teams jumping at the chance to return to China, especially when trips to the US and elsewhere are so much more enjoyable.

The expected resumption of hostilities between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, the new coaches of City and United respectively, had shone an unusually bright spotlight on this pre-season friendly, which, unfortunately, only served to highlight the inadequacies of the event’s preparation.

Continue reading Will Premier League teams ever come back to China?

Explained: What’s behind Chinese takeovers of football clubs

I spoke to Sky Sports reporter Johnny Phillips last week for a piece he did on the increasing amount of Chinese investment directed at English football clubs in recent weeks. Editors being as they are, only a few selected highlights appeared in the finished article, but we covered a lot of ground, so here is an uncut version (completed shortly before the Wolves deal – the latest of the Chinese takeovers – was announced), touching on why rumours spread so quickly, West Brom’s possible owner and his plans for world domination, Sven spouting nonsense and why Wolves fans are probably sleeping better than Villa ones at the moment.

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Money trumps player safety in EPL’s Hong Kong jaunt

I wrote about the state of Hong Kong stadium last week, after which two more Barclays Asia Trophy games took place and another player was injured. I don’t usually sympathize with players who get paid tens (and sometimes hundreds) of thousands of pounds per week for kicking a ball around a field, but that changes somewhat when their safety is willfully put at risk simply because the Premier League must make money at all costs.

The Manchester United squad was pictured watching the games on Saturday. Do these faces look like they are happy about playing here this evening?

David Moyes Man United Continue reading Money trumps player safety in EPL’s Hong Kong jaunt

Weekly Wrap: diving, sliding and Camacho

Hong Kong has been drawing lots of negative attention this week – specifically the semi-flooded state of the Hong Kong Stadium pitch, on which the Barclays Asia Trophy is being played. It consists of 3 EPL teams and a local side sliding through puddles under the guise of vaguely competitive soccer.

Hong Kong pitch
The Beautiful Game
Picture credit: Getty/The Telegraph

Continue reading Weekly Wrap: diving, sliding and Camacho

Soccer teams avoid China – but should fans care?

Maybe things will be different next summer, but pre-season tours of China by European soccer teams appear to be a thing of the past. This week’s Sports Talk column, posted below, explains why, though when English Premier League teams are touring Costa Rica but not China, it’s obvious the business model here is broken. It would be interesting to see how many fans would turn up if a – gasp! – regular season EPL game was played in China; if the NFL, with its far shorter season, can do it, then why can’t the EPL? I suspect it would be a full house, but ticket prices might be an issue, as I discuss below.

Fans of Manchester United cheers during a promotional event in China's southern city of Guangzhou Continue reading Soccer teams avoid China – but should fans care?