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Moyes, Allardyce out at West Ham, Everton

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Two managerial departures took place on Wednesday in the Premier League as David Moyes wasn’t handed a new deal at West Ham and Sam Allardyce was shown the door at Everton.

Fans of both clubs will be feeling slightly optimistic but there’s no hiding behind the fact that both West Ham and Everton have become anything but models of stability of recent years.

Moyes was only on a short-term deal at the Hammers after arriving in November and guiding them to safety after an intense relegation scrap. West Ham beat Everton 3-1 on the final day of the season to finish in 13th place on 42 points. But with plenty of unrest behind-the-scenes amid fan protests against the owners which sparked pitch invasions during the season, there are a lot of issues for West Ham’s hierarchy to sort out. Moyes’ reputation has been rebuilt somewhat after his debacle at Manchester United and Sunderland, so he may well be happy to move on.

West Ham’s joint-chairman David Sullivan explained the decision for West Ham and Moyes going their separate ways.

“When David and his team arrived, it was the wish of both parties that the focus be only on the six months until the end of the season, at which point a decision would be made with regards to the future,” Sullivan said. “We feel that it is right to move in a different direction. We aim to appoint a high-calibre figure who we feel will lead the club into an exciting future for our loyal supporters within the next 10 days.”

Allardyce arrived at Everton in November and still had 12 months to run on his contract with the Toffees, with Big Sam dragging Everton out of a relegation battle (Ronald Koeman was sacked in October) and into eighth place in the table but a late charge for a Europa League spot faltered.

Despite that huge upturn in results, plus the likes of Theo Walcott and Cenk Tosun arriving in January, Everton’s fans didn’t enjoy the direct style of play Allarydce preferred and often booed the manager and his tactical decisions. He was adamant until last week that he would be in charge next season but Everton’s owner Farhad Moshiri has listened to the fans as the Toffees are searching for a third manager in the space of eight months.

Everton chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale had the following to say on Big Sam’s departure.

“Sam was brought in at a challenging time last season to provide us with some stability and we are grateful to him for doing that,” Barrett-Baxendale said. “However, we have made the decision that, as part of our longer-term plan, we will be appointing a new manager this summer and will be commencing this process immediately.”

What is next for West Ham and Everton?

It has been reported that West Ham are in talks with Shakhtar Donetsk manager Paulo Fonesca, while Everton are said to be interested in bringing Marco Silva to Goodison.

The latter left Watford in January after he was initially linked with taking charge of Everton before Big Sam did, but the Hornets blocked the move and then Silva’s side slumped drastically as he was fired.

The Premier League managerial merry-go-round keeps spinning…

Aubameyang: Arsenal coaching change can help “stagnation”

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Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is politely echoing what many Gunners supporters have been saying for some time when it comes to Arsene Wenger leaving the Emirates Stadium set.

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Unai Emery has been tabbed to replace the departing legend, who oversaw a relatively poor sixth place finish in the Premier League this season.

From RMC, translated by Goal.com:

“I think it’s a little bit of a mixed feeling in fact,” Aubameyang said. “On one hand, it’s strange for all the fans that the coach has left. But it’s definitely a fresh start.”

“Since over the last few seasons – you have to tell the truth – the club has stagnated a little bit, I think everyone is actually a little bit excited to see what happens next season.”

The 28-year-old striker scored 10 times for Arsenal since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in January, scoring or assisting in 10 of 13 Premier League matches and bagging braces in two appearances.

“Hopeful” Commisso extends deadline for $500m NASL restoration

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New York Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso tells ProSoccerTalk that he has extended his deadline in regards to his $500 million investment offer to fund a resurgent North American Soccer League.

Why? Well, for one, Commisso feels that progress is being made, so much so that he’s willing to characterize his outlook as “hopeful.”

“There’s been a lot of back-and-forth, they basically said they can’t get everything done by the 31st and they need more time and that’s the reason why we changed the deadline,” Commisso said.

U.S. Soccer told the NASL it could not meet prior to the June 13 vote regarding 2026 World Cup hosting. In extending his deadline to May 31, Commisso is asking for a few commitments from U.S. Soccer.

Commisso wants U.S. Soccer to commit to a board meeting with a “yes or no” vote no later than June 29, and wants U.S. Soccer to provide a list of prerequisite actions needed to have such a decision on his proposal at said meeting. And he wants a commitment from U.S. Soccer to stick to the timeline.

So what’s the impetus for Commisso’s hopeful nature?

“They’ve showed some good faith and I’m willing to move if they’re willing to do X, Y, and Z. It’s a moving thing and I’m being flexible to their asks and to see at what point and time they’re going to come up with something else.”

Commisso said his deadlines have not been about putting pressure on USSF, rather the many things he’d have to do to get the NASL back on the field by March 2019 for a season with a minimum of 10 teams, which would be sanctioned as D-2.

Additionally, the 10-year runway would include D-1 sanctioning in 2020 with a minimum of 14 teams, a minimum of 10,000-seat stadia, a minimum of three time zones represented, as well as a plan to introduce promotion and relegation in said top flight.

He’d also need multi-team ownership to start, but said that would be solved by independent ownership at the end of the 10-year runway, if not sooner, with all teams meeting the current Professional League Standards for D-1.

“I’m asking for the 10 years, let’s be clear,” Commisso said. “If you read our original letters, we’ve always asked for the ability of multi-ownership. We put out a chart that goes back all the way to 1996 that shows the transition from 1996 to 2011, that during those periods there were certain owners with multi-teams. In 2003, three guys owned the entire league, so that’s what I’m asking for.”

Commisso said that, like the MLS build-up in the late 1990s and early 2000s, there would be safeguards in place to maintain sporting integrity, and that his full 2019 roster of clubs would be finalized by Sept. 20, with the NASL’s league ops fully restored by New Year’s Eve. There’s also an ask of commitment from USSF to address governance issues by February 2019.

The $250 million he’s investing is joined by $50 million each from Miami FC owner Riccardo Silva and Jacksonville Armada owner Robert Palmer, plus help from “leading Wall Street banks.”

The NASL has already identified 12 potential clubs, 11 of which are in metropolitan areas with populations above one million. The investment would go to building modular soccer-specific stadia in some markets, and his league would put an emphasis on youth development and domestic players.

“I’m hopeful that the leadership of U.S. Soccer sees in the largest investment ever proposed by a single individual for the benefit of American soccer getting this through as quickly as possible.”

Italy coach Mancini leaves door open for Gianluigi Buffon

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FLORENCE, Italy (AP) Italy coach Roberto Mancini says former captain Gianluigi Buffon will still be considered if he wants to return to the national team.

Buffon retired from international soccer in November after Italy lost a World Cup playoff to Sweden, but he recently returned for friendlies.

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Mancini says “(Buffon) wants to continue playing football … Everyone who will play and will be among the best can be considered for the national team.”

Buffon is expected to bid the national team goodbye for good in another friendly on June 4 against the Netherlands at Allianz Stadium. However, at a news conference last week to announce his departure from Juventus, Buffon insisted he had made the last of his 176 appearances for his country.

Champions League Final to return to Istanbul

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Here’s a bit of news which will put smiles on Liverpool supporters’ faces ahead of the weekend’s big UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid.

The UEFA Champions League Final is headed back to Istanbul, the city known for boasting perhaps the most celebrated moment in Liverpool history.

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Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium will host the 2020 UCL Final, 15 years after the Reds rallied from a 3-0 halftime deficit to defeat AC Milan in penalty kicks.

The 2019 final will be held in Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, home of Atletico Madrid.