Day: January 3, 2014


Brendan Rodgers to face his son in FA Cup match

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When Liverpool host Oldham Athletic tomorrow in the FA Cup, it will serve as much more than a simple cup tie between Premier League giants and League One minnows.

Narrative is everything.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will face his own son in a family battle frought with redemption and friendly competition – along with actual competition.

Anton Rodgers, 20 years old and manning the central midfield for Oldham, has journeyed a long way to simply get the opportunity to play his father at legendary Anfield.

The young’in began in Chelsea’s academy before making his way to Brighton & Hove Albion (on his father’s advice) on his first professional contract. He fittingly debuted in the FA Cup against conference side Wrexham as a 63rd minute substitute.

Anton Rodgers plays for Oldham in their FA Cup win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

That was his only appearance at Brighton, before they shipped him off to Exeter for a 2-month loan and ultimately released him in May of this season.

Not, however, before a very difficult period in the family’s lives. Anton and three teammates at Brighton were charged – and ultimately cleared after a retrial – of sexual assault and voyeurism of a teenage girl during their time at the club.

“As parents, both his mum and I found it really, really difficult, especially when you know the innocence of your son,” said the elder Rodgers to the Guardian.

Now, with it all behind them, the pair can focus on not just their individual careers, but the relationship between the two.

But Brendan Rodgers is well aware of how fate can play a part in these matches. With Oldham having bombed Liverpool out of the Cup last season, the 40-year-old manager is taking no chances.

“It is also a situation that I will want the players to pay attention to,” said Rodgers, “because the footballing gods sometimes come into it as well. With the footballing gods, he could end up getting a goal.”

Now with Oldham, Anton has featured in seven league matches this season (two starts), and with Lee Johnson’s good relationship with the family, it’s certainly possible Anton could get a runout – if not a start – against his dad.

However much he plays, no question there will be a sense of family to the match’s atmosphere.

Martinez: QPR interested in Jelavic but squad depth comes first

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Everton manager Roberto Martinez has confirmed to The Guardian that striker Nikica Jelavic has drawn interest from a number of destinations, including recently relegated Queens Park Rangers.

The Croatian striker has been inconsistent at best this year, mostly due to his spotty minutes.

He’s started just five matches all year, making nine total appearances, and has yet to find the back of the net.  He hasn’t played a full 90 yet and since September 21 he’s featured just four times – all substitute showings.

“They have asked but there is nothing concrete,” Martínez said. “We have had a few clubs ask about Nikica and Johnny Heitinga because I made it public. Teams have been really interested in two players of their experience and want to find out about the situation.”

Martinez also confirmed that they will not loan Jelavic out, as he will leave strictly on a permanent transfer.

However, despite the obvious availability to other clubs, the first requirement is to find a replacement, something made a necessity thanks to an injury to Arouna Kone.

“That would be the case with Arouna injured,” he said. “Niki will never go out on loan because it would leave us totally open and we cannot replace him in that respect. He’s a big asset and, if we are allowing him to move, it’s out of respect to his career and what he has done for us.

Martinez continued to acknowledge that while he wishes to present his player with the opportunity to move for moinutes, the health of the club must be the first priority.

“He needs to play to go to the World Cup and I accept that but it has to be the right terms for the club. I wouldn’t let the squad be weakened just to satisfy an individual.”

With Kone out, it leaves Everton incredibly vulnerable at the striker position, as an injury to Lukaku is all that remains between Jelavic and a forced starting spot.  Lukaku is on fire for the Toffees, but one minute could change all that should the big loanee succumb to some bad luck.

Report: With Manchester United not in Champions League position, Rooney stalls on extension


Every year since the Premier League’s inception, Manchester United have finished in the top four and qualified for the Champions League.

But with Europe’s biggest stage no longer a guarantee this season, their most visible player is possibly reconsidering his future.

When asked if Rooney would sign on even if United fail to qualify for the Champions League, manager David Moyes presented a very, very unconvincing sales pitch.

“We would have to wait and see what happens in that situation,” Moyes told The Mirror. “[But] I thought if you looked at his performances, he’s certainly playing at his best.”

The 28-year-old’s deal expires next summer, and with Chelsea nearly having pried him from the United clutches this past offseason, The Mirror speculates that Champions League play is a must for Moyes to get Rooney’s long-term commitment.

The struggle, which has United in seventh, has put Moyes in performance-praising mode typical of struggling managers. “If you’re only judging it on results, fine,” pleaded Moyes. “But if you’re judging it on performances, then it would’ve been a fifth win after how we played [against Spurs].”

Unfortunately this weekend, Moyes will be without Rooney as well as Robin van Persie, Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young, Nani, Rafael, and Phil Jones for their FA Cup match against Swansea.

Brendan Rodgers charged by FA for questioning the integrity of an official

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has been officially charged with questioning the integrity of match official Lee Mason following Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City on Boxing Day.

Rodgers questioned why a referee from the Greater Manchester area (Bolton, to be precise) is refereeing a Manchester match.

Following the loss, the 40-year-old said, “I thought they [the officials] were horrendous in terms of performance.

“Hopefully we don’t have another Greater Manchester referee again on a Liverpool-Manchester game. I was surprised we are playing in Manchester and have a referee from Greater Manchester.”

The FA issued a statement saying:

“Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has been charged by The FA over post-match media comments he made following his side’s game against Manchester City on 26 December 2013.

It is alleged the comments by Rodgers called into question the integrity of the match referee, and/or implied that the match referee was motivated by bias; and/or brought the game into disrepute; and/or amounted to a failure to act in the best interests of the game.”

Rodgers has until 6pm Wednesday to respond.

Clarifying his comments later, the Liverpool manager said, “I was talking in terms of geography and I certainly wasn’t questioning the integrity of referees. I wouldn’t suspect that Mike Dean, from the Wirral, has refereed many games for Liverpool over the years.”

It’s not surprising the FA decided to take action with a manager who not only questioned the unbiased nature of referees but also the FA themselves for their appointment skills.

Oddly enough, Lee Mason attended the Liverpool University of Higher Education from 1990 to 1993, playing for the soccer team there.

Championship side Charlton Athletic taken over by Belgian businessman

Roland Duchatelet (R) pictured in 2012 with his then-recent hire Ron Jans at Standard Liege.
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Belgian businessman and political ideologist Roland Duchatelet has completed a full takeover of Championship team Charlton Athletic.

Duchatelet’s company Staprix NV will acquire 100% of the club’s shares, pending the completion of legal formalities according to the club.

There will be a bit of turnover on the board, with outgoing chairman Michael Slater as well as fellow directors Tony Jimenez and Martin Prothero stepping down.

Charlton will return former chairman Richard Murray as non-executive chairman.

Duchatelet (pictured, right, in 2012 with then-recent managerial hire Ron Jans) is also the sole owner of Belgian Pro League powerhouse Standard Liege.

Slater and Jiminez were the official owners of Charlton, but it was thought that Mayfair property developer Kevin Cash was the one to fund the club, and he was rumored to want out. In addition, Jiminez was ordered to repay Denis Wise, a former Newcastle colleague, £500,000 ($820,500) by court order.

The completion of the takeover comes after the collapse of American Josh Harris’s attempt to do the same.  Harris is the current owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils.

Charlton currently sit in 19th in the Championship table, 3 points above the relegation zone.