Norwich City v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

West Brom to West Coast: Can Liam Ridgewell save Portland’s back line?

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Make no mistake about it, Liam Ridgewell plans to stabilize a leaky Portland Timbers defense and shut the door on Major League Soccer offenses.

The 29-year-old Premier League veteran signed a Designated Player contract with Portland a couple weeks back and spent his first training session with the team on Friday. He likely won’t play against Seattle on Sunday.

West Brom’s defense wasn’t exactly a fortress last season, as the Baggies allowed 59 goals and finished just three points ahead of the drop. Their goals allowed mark tied with Newcastle for sixth-worst in the PL.

And the club’s surprising eighth-place finish in 2012/13 still included 57 goals allowed. Despite playing 2800 minutes, Ridgewell’s advanced stats Squawka score was the lowest on the team.

But he was a mainstay on a Premier League backline, so perhaps he’ll come in and solidify things for head coach Caleb Porter:

“Hopefully I can bring a bit of experience and hopefully I can help that backline,” Ridgewell told the media. “I’m not coming in here to take people’s position and things like that. I’m coming in to help people and slot myself in and make sure we keep a clean sheet in a lot of the games and make sure we win some games.”

Ridgewell says taking in a home match helped tip the scales in Portland’s favor, as its rumored there were plenty of teams looking for his services. The Timbers have scored 30 goals, tied for second in the league, but their 30 allowed is also tied for second in MLS. It’s worth noting they have played more matches than all but four other teams, but that also makes their standing as four points back of a playoff spot more desperate.

What do you think: Will Ridgewell be a marked improvement over Norberto Paparatto, Futty )(traded), Rauwshan McKenzie and Danny O’Rourke?

Sunderland confirm resignation of manager Dick Advocaat

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  Dick Advocaat manager of Sunderland looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and West Ham United at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)
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With rumors swirling of his resignation, Sunderland have confirmed this morning that Dick Advocaat has left his post as Sunderland manager with zero financial compensation despite the protests of the chairman.

Advocaat came on in March as an emergency signing, successfully saving Sunderland from relegation with a solid run of form to finish the season. The 68-year-old Dutchman pondered at length this summer if he wished to continue on, with his wife reportedly urging him to step down, but he chose to continue on with the new season after successful persuasion from the front office.

Unfortunately, things have not gone as planned, with Sunderland sitting 19th in the table, only above Newcastle on goal differential and without a single win on the season. They’ve conceded a whopping 18 goals so far this season through eight league matches.

“I have made the decision to go after only eight games as I felt it was important to give everyone time turn things around – like we did last year,” Advocaat said upon his departure. “I am thankful to the chairman for understanding my feelings and I remain on good terms with everyone at the club.

“I wish Ellis [Short], Lee [Congerton], all of the staff, players and of course the supporters, who made me feel so welcome here, the very best of luck for the rest of the season. I have some wonderful memories to take with me and I hope I will return to see everybody again in the future.”

“I am truly saddened by Dick’s decision,” chairman Ellis Short said, “but I respect him for his honesty and for doing what he feels is right for the club. He is a man of integrity and a true football person. He was hugely respectful of the club in taking this decision and he acted 100% in our best interests. It is also testament to his character that he has forgone any kind of a financial settlement, something which is very unusual in football.”

Meanwhile, the Black Cats have dipped into what is becoming a perennial cycle, making a managerial change for the fourth time in the last four seasons.

Rumors are swirling that a host of experienced Premier League managers could be up for the job, including the currently unemployed Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp. Other linked names include former Leicester manager Nigel Pearson and current Burnley boss Sean Dyche.

Sepp Blatter’s daughter slams media for ruining her father’s reputation

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Sepp Blatter’s daughter blames the media, not her father, for Sepp’s downfall as the head of FIFA and believes he will not step down until the February congress as he initially announced.

“The media has ruined his reputation,” Corinne Blatter told Swiss newspaper Blick. “Why are they picking on him? What did he do to them? … It’s not just envy. It’s hatred.”

A host of major sponsors, including Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Visa called for Blatter’s immediate resignation as president of FIFA, to which the 79-year-old swiftly rejected. This all came after Blatter was called in by Swiss authorities for questioning after the opening of an investigation surrounding corporate mismanagement charges.

“I was afraid that they now take him away in handcuffs,” Corinne said. “He told me, ‘I must be dreaming.’ A federal policeman assured me that he could after hearing home.”

Blick pressed Corinne on many issues, all of which she defender her father. She refused to comment on many that had to do with the investigation, but did give us this gem when asked how Sepp likes to spend his money.

“He buys shoes and travel bags. He has worked 40 years. His life is modest, without any extravagance. He doesn’t play golf or go sailing.”

Shoes and handbags. What an image.