Eric Wynalda

Is Eric Wynalda the right guy for New York Red Bulls?


Someday, someone in Major League Soccer will hand Eric Wynalda the managerial car keys. At that point, he will either proceed to drive the club right down Glory Road – or he’ll batter the bus en route to driving it over the doggone cliff.

Hard to say which, although it could surely go either way. Wynalda is something of a mad scientist in the game, capable of grand things but also capable of wrecking ball destruction. His soccer brain is sharp and streetwise. His eye for talent approaches profound, as evidenced by his ability to gather up a bunch of cast-offs and show higher tier teams what’s what. We saw as much in last summer’s U.S. Open competition.

But the former U.S. international striker comes with no filter; witness his notorious propensity to lash out at the U.S. Soccer establishment. Whatever his faults, you have to say that self-awareness isn’t one of them. What Wynalda told the L.A. Times last summer: “Everybody thinks that I’m just a TV guy with a big mouth that’s very critical of things. And I get it. They’re right.”

On the other hand, the guy knows the game. And in speaking of the very high-profile managerial opening now in MLS, in New York, there’s a case to be made the Wynalda fits the Harrison bill.

It will probably take a big personality to drag the New York Red Bulls into a better place, trophy-gathering wise. And it would take a man with steel-girded opinions to stand up to the new regime, now the province of Scottish sporting director Andy Roxburgh and the organization’s French head of soccer Gerard Houllier.

They have apparently not yet offered the managerial position to Scotsman Gary McAllister, although the Red Bulls and interested journalists kept our guy Richard Farley busy yesterday trying to unwind it all.

So while the Red Bulls deciders make their choice here (uh, tick … tock, guys; MLS camps open in a couple of weeks, and the draft is just 14 days away), perhaps they can lay this on the table as supporting evidence:

This piece from Once A Metro makes a cogent case for Wynalda as the best choice here.

It will be a bold stroke when someone does trust Wynalda to be a club’s flag carrier. But in all honesty, if they are concerned about wins and losses – and the Red Bulls organization really should be concerned with little else at this point – they could do a lot worse.

Personally, I would have more faith in Wynalda, someone who has played in MLS, someone who knows everyone important enough to know in American soccer and someone who does have bright ideas about the game, over a Scotsman with zero knowledge of MLS, and only slightly more than “zero” in terms of managerial success.

FIFA presidential candidate Chung to sue “liar” Blatter for at least $100 million

Chung Mong-joon
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LONDON — FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon was in a defiant mood in London on Wednesday, as the South Korean labelled current FIFA president Sepp Blatter “a liar and a hypocrite” before revealing that he plans to sue Blatter, the leader of FIFA for 17 years.

[ MORE: Bradley to Sunderland? ]

Chung, 63, was speaking at the Leaders Sport Business Summit 2015′ held at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge home in London, and while he is currently under investigation by FIFA’s ethics committee, as he claims FIFA is trying to “sabotage” his presidential campaign, Chung launched a tirade of abuse against Blatter and the current regime as world soccer’s governing body continues to unravel amid separate corruption investigations from both the U.S. and Swiss governments.

Despite being a member of the FIFA executive committee for 17 years up until 2011, Chung stated that “this battle against FIFA has been a very lonely battle for me,” as he claimed fellow ExCo members were not willing to stand up and fight against Blatter.

From the get-go of his speech at a packed-out convention hall within Stamford Bridge, Chung went after Blatter as he detailed the 2007 court ruling which saw FIFA sued, and subsequently agreeing to pay $90 million in damages, by former sponsor Mastercard after the organization did not honor contractual obligations when switching to Visa.

“Mr. Blatter is a hypocrite and a liar,” Chung said. “I plan to sue Mr. Blatter on his embezzlement in court. In the Visa-Mastercard case the jury said FIFA is not fit to use the slogan of Fairplay. The judge used the word lied 13 times in her verdict. Those lies cost $100 million U.S. Dollars for FIFA. The Visa-Mastercard case should have been dealt as a criminal case. That was corruption.”

Chung spoke for over 30 minutes on his own before facing a moderated question session and then media questions.

“At FIFA, money and power have blinded Mr. Blatter to the values of sportsmanship,” Chung added.  “Preposterously, Mr. Blatter and his associates are under the delusion that they are under the delusion that they are above human values and norms. They seem to live in a separate world. FIFA has become a corrupt organization only serving the interests of a few.”

[ MORE: Sponsors call for Blatter’s resignation ]

Speaking in a Q&A with journalists at the end of his speech, Chung was asked to go into more detail as to how much he planned to sue Blatter for and what he would do with the cash if he was successful. The South Korean said he has appointed a lawyer in Switzerland and will sue 79-year-old Blatter in his home country for at least $100 million.

“My understanding is that the amount of money I can claim against Mr. Blatter is in proportion with the amount of damage he inflicted on FIFA,” Chung said. “FIFA had to pay a $100 million fine. That happened in 2006, so it must be bigger than that. If I succeed the money will go back to FIFA. They must think how generous that would be and appreciate my offer.”

For large parts of the speech, Chung defended himself as he is currently under investigation from the ethics committee at FIFA.

He held up two letters from currently suspended FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke which he claims cleared him of any wrongdoing in the case of South Korea’s failed bid for the 2022 World Cup. It is alleged he was part of a vote swap with the England bid team for their failed 2018 World Cup bid but Chung vehemently denied any wrongdoing when repeatedly asked by the media if that occurred and if he voted for England 2018.

It was a show of defiance from the South Korean throughout but many journalists were still left underwhelmed by his lack of transparency, the very thing he is using as his key component to try and bring about change at FIFA. Chung greeted the waiting media after his speech was over and was keen to try and spread his message of innocence while also remaining hopeful of being able to be a candidate at the presidential elections on Feb. 26, 2016.

He needs at least five FIFA federations to back him in order to be a candidate for the vote, while the impending suspension that hangs over his head while he is investigated by the ethics committee is clouding his candidacy. He promises that if he replaces Blatter, he will clean up the corruption in “one four year term” and then he will step down.

Given the investigation surrounding him at the moment, Chung’s chances of running for FIFA president may be a long shot.

Sunderland yet to make approach for Bob Bradley

Bob Bradley
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Former U.S. national team head coach Bob Bradley has emerged as one of the front-runners to take over at Premier League side Sunderland.

However, ProSoccerTalk can confirm that Sunderland have yet to make an approach to his current club, Stabaek, about talking to Bradley, 57, about their vacant managerial positions. But the American coach — who has also been linked with taking over at Norwegian giants Molde — is currently able to speak with other clubs himself as his contract runs out in November.

If Bradley does end up at Stadium of Light, he will become the first American to manage in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Chelsea statement on Mourinho ]

Bradley has led tiny Norwegian outfit Stabaek to second place in the Tippeligaen with four games of the 2015 season remaining, and the former Chicago Fire, New York MetroStars, USMNT and Egypt head coach has worked wonders in just his second season in charge of the modest club in Oslo’s suburbs who were only promoted to Norway’s top-flight for the 2014 campaign.

His current deal runs out at Stabaek in the coming months, with Bradley telling ProSoccerTalk last month that the club believes there “needs to be an opportunity at a higher league” for Bradley and it is clear Stabaek wouldn’t stand in his way if this move came to fruition and he had to leave his role early. He also added that “when we get to the end of the year we will size up everything and figure it out.”

[ SPORTSWORLD: Bradley’s Norwegian journey – “That’s Football” ]

That suggests that the man who led the U.S. to the Confederations Cup final in 2009 and the World Cup last 16 in 2010 may well see out the final four games of the season at Stabaek, which would mean he wouldn’t arrive at Sunderland until November 8 at the earliest. That’s unlikely to happen but with Rosenborg eight points clear of Stabaek at the top of the Tippeligaen with four games to go, results in the next matchday could mean Stabaek’s title hopes will be over on October 17. If that is the case, Bradley will still likely want to stick around and finish his two-year project with European qualification but the lure of a move to manage in the world’s most recognizable league could be too much of a pull.

Other candidates for the Sunderland job include former Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson and Sam Allardyce who are the joint favorites ahead of Bradley, plus Burnley manager Sean Dyche is also being linked with the role. Harry Redknapp has ruled himself out of taking the job, while Pearson and Allardyce are also believed to be unsure. 

The job at Sunderland has become a poisoned chalice in recent seasons with many managers wary of damaging their reputation by joining the Black Cats. American owner Ellis Short has pumped millions into the north east club but players under-performing and managerial instability has riddled the Mackems as they once again find themselves in a perilous situation after a few weeks of the season. In each of the last two campaigns both Gus Poyet and Dick Advocaat led Sunderland to dramatic late escapes from relegation, while the latter left his role on Sunday after failing to secure a victory in the opening eight games of the current PL season which leaves the Black Cats in 19th spot on three points. Advocaat was heavily critical of the directors and said that “the squad is too thin” upon departing the Stadium of Light.

If Bradley is offered the chance to take on the mammoth challenge of rescuing Sunderland from relegation, a task of that magnitude is not alien to him after he led the Egyptian national team through a revolution to the brink of the 2014 World Cup and has worked miracles at Stabaek, a club with one of the smallest stadiums and budgets in Norwegian soccer, where he has them challenging for the title and they’ve reached the cup semifinals in each of his two seasons in charge so far. 

Many fans of U.S Soccer would believe now is the time for Bradley to show what he can do in a top league in Europe.