Scudamore’s incredible Premier League legacy

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Nobody has been more influential in making the Premier League what it is today than Richard Scudamore.

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On Thursday the Premier League’s executive chairman announced he will step down from his role by the end of 2018, bringing an end to his stewardship of the league after an incredible 20 years of growth.

Scudamore, 58, summed it up best during his announcement that he will step down.

“The Premier League is in great shape and the future is bright, of course there are still many things to improve and constant challenges, but that is what makes it so exhilarating,” Scudamore said. “The Clubs put on the greatest show; fans, such an essential part of that show, love it both here and around the world. Because it so compelling, the League’s success will continue under new and re-invigorated leadership.”

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Those that know him best say his leadership is firm but friendly, honest but sprinkled with laughter, and as he became the undisputed face of the league, off the pitch, he accelerated the Premier League’s growth following its inception.

His close relationship with club owners was key to his success as he led the PL with exemplary diplomacy while also having time for a wry smile and a friendly chat along the way.

When the Premier League arrived in 1992, it was the dawn of a new era in the English game.

Growing up in England during the early years of the Premier League’s formation, personally I look back fondly on heading to games across the country and seeing the top players on the planet every weekend, plus the extra razzmatazz and greater emphasis on the overall fan experience. As a youngster, I was hooked. I still am.

Since Scudamore took charge in 1999 (he spent a few years leading the Football League before the PL), the league has attracted the best talent from across the planet consistently and it has truly become a global league over the past two decades. Led by Scudmaore’s relentless, focused drive, the financial strength of the league has turned it into a behemoth known across the globe. From Brazil to Japan and the USA to Kenya, the 20 teams who compete each season in the PL are now global brands.

As well as massive commercial sponsorship coming to the league, funding from the domestic TV deal alone has also allowed the league to become the best soccer league on the planet. Scudamore has overseen a rise from a $900 million deal (1997-01) for four years of coverage when he took charge to the current three-year domestic deal which is now worth over $6.7 billion.

That’s not to mention the countries all over the world queuing up to televise the PL and the huge sums that will bring to all 20 Premier League clubs to invest in facilities, players and their communities.

Over the years that cash influx has led to Brazilian’s turning up en masse at Middlesbrough, the giants of English soccer attracting the best managers and players money can buy, state of the art stadiums popping up and wealthy investors from across the world wanting to help the PL grow further.

Merging huge financial clout with soccer prestige yet keeping authenticity has been one of Scudamore’s biggest achievements.

When you think of Great Britain, one of the first things you now think about is great soccer. The Premier League, and in particular Scudamore, has developed that notion and the PL is no doubt one of the UK’s finest exports.

Scudamore was key to all of this and having heard him speak at a small rooftop event in a swanky central London hotel just a few months ago, his enthusiasm and sense of adventure hadn’t diminished. At all.

But perhaps now, heading towards a nice round number of years in charge at the PL, seemed like the best time for a fresh challenge or just to relax a little more.

“Whilst I have no plans to retire, whatever I do next, I will carve out more time to support them in pursuit of their own passions … and to see more of Bristol City,” Scudamore said.

It is known that he is fond of spending time in the USA (when not willing his beloved Bristol City on to reach the Premier League for the first-time ever…) and it will be intriguing to see if Scudamore moves into a similar role within the American soccer community in the coming years. Scudamore worked in the U.S. as a senior executive at newspaper proprietor Thomson from 1994, managing 200 newspapers in 40 different states, and his ties with the nation are extensive.

If he does head back to the USA in the future, he would no doubt be a huge success.

His pursuit of perfection in everything from the way Premier League games are televised, to how the clubs are run day-to-day and pioneering ways to take the league across the globe will be revered for decades to come.

Scudamore is well and truly ‘Mr Premier League’ and he has laid the foundations almost perfectly for the league to continue to grow and build on his unbelievable success.

“It’s an absolute privilege to have been allowed to enjoy this role for so long, it is too much fun to be called a job,” Scudamore said. “Football is an intoxicating environment and therefore difficult to give up being so involved, but my passion for what football means to so many and the positive impact it can make will never diminish.”

Report: Edinson Cavani set to join Inter Miami next summer

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Edinson Cavani is reportedly set to make a big splash in Florida.

According to Uruguayan journalist Alvaro Izquierdo, Cavani, 32, is set to join David Beckham’s Inter Miami next summer. The club will make their MLS debut next season.

The specifics of the supposed move are not know, but per the report from Izquierdo, Cavani will join Miami on a free transfer after his contract with PSG expires in June. Since joining in 2013, El Matador has been irreplaceable for the French giants, scoring over 160 goals and becoming the club’s all-time leading goalscorer. This season, Cavani is off to a perfect start -scoring in the first two games of the Ligue 1 season.

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The striker is one of the first superstars linked to Miami, but the general vibe given off by owners Jorge Mas and Beckham is that the club will look to spend big – similar to Atlanta United, LAFC and LA Galaxy.

Miami has signed three players so far ahead of their 2020 MLS debut – Christian Makoun, Julian Carranza, and Matias Pellegrini all currently makeup the squad.

‘But hey this is MLS’: Wayne Rooney slams MLS’ travel arrangements

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Wayne Rooney is not a fan of MLS’ travel arrangements.

D.C. United lost 1-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday in Canada, and had to fly back to the nation’s capital before prepping for a midweek showdown with visiting New York Red Bulls. To the 33-year-old Englishmen the trip should’ve taken six hours, not half a day.

MLS is notoriously known for the lack of charter flights it offers its teams, a mere four per season is the reported amount each team is allocated. Traveling on commercial flights has caused routine delays for a slew of team’s this season, with certain teams arriving only hours before the first whistle in some cases.

Players, however, will reportedly push for better travel in the upcoming CBA negotiations. Not only for Rooney, but for the majority of professional athletes around the world, flying charter is customary.

Upon his arrival to D.C. in 2018, Rooney turned down first-class flights offered by the Black-and-Red, among other fine accommodations. “If you are going to be part of the team, you have to be part of the team,” Rooney said on his decision to reject first-class flights and private hotel rooms. “All in and do the same things. I don’t want special treatment — I wanted to be treated the same as the players. I’m part of this team.”

Rooney, despite being on his way out of D.C. to join Derby County in January, is certainly a part of the team.

He is also now a part of the complex fight for better travel in MLS.

Vela scores 24th, LAFC clinches playoff berth

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SANDY, Utah (AP) – Carlos Vela scored his MLS-leading 24th goal of the season, Tyler Miller had four saves and Los Angeles FC beat Real Salt Lake 2-0 on Saturday night to clinch a playoff berth.

LAFC played a man down after defender Walker Zimmerman, who was shown a yellow card for time wasting in the 17th minute, was given a red for unsporting behavior in the 48th., Real Salt Lake’s Aaron Herrera, who blocked two would-be goals in the first half, was shown a straight red for denial of a goal scoring opportunity on Vela, who then converted from the spot to make it 1-0 in the 64th minute.

Vela, whose 15 assists are tied with Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers for the league lead, broke the MLS record for combined goals and assists. Sebastian Giovinco’s had 22 goals and 16 assists for Toronto FC in 2015.

Miller has eight shutouts this season for LAFC (18-3-4), who have won four consecutive games and seven of their last eight dating to June 28.

Adama Diomande side-netted a rising right-footer to cap the scoring in the 82nd minute.

Salt Lake (12-10-4) had its six-game unbeaten streak, including three straight wins, snapped and allowed multiple goals for the first time since a 4-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on June 1.

Lampard: ‘We need more personality’

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Frank Lampard‘s baptism of fire as Chelsea boss continued on Sunday, as the Blue coughed up a 1-0 lead and were lucky to draw at home against Leicester City.

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After being hammered at Manchester United in their opening PL game last weekend, then losing to Liverpool on penalty kicks in the Super Cup final in Istanbul on Wednesday, Chelsea started superbly against Leicester but only led 1-0 thanks to academy graduate Mason Mount scoring his first goal for the club.

Speaking to our partners Sky Sports after the game, Lampard revealed he was not happy at all with the second half display and urged his young side to show more personality on the pitch.

“It was a really good start, fantastic, and we could’ve been two or three goals up. We were quick, bright, energetic, then we allowed Leicester back in the game and in the second half I was not very happy, we offered them too many chances on the counter attack,” Lampard said. “We can only look at ourselves. In all our matches I have been delighted in big passages of having the ball but we didn’t have enough angles or options to keep the ball moving. We have to have more personality, we saw that in midweek, but today we didn’t have that.”

The most disappointing thing for Lampard will be the way Leicester grabbed hold of the game in the second half.

Brendan Rodgers‘ side launched counter after counter as Jorginho and N’Golo Kante were overrun in midfield by James Maddison and Youri Tielemans, and both Maddison and Jamie Vardy should have won the games for the Foxes.

“You can attack, but still be in positions to not allow the counter-attack,” Lampard added. “I’m not here to play great attacking football and then concede counter-attack goals. We need to show more than we did. I was under no illusions that there would be moments like this. We have to work on the pitch on the things we can improve.”

Lampard is spot on with his assessment, but how does he change things?

The most obvious thing is that he needs his team to be more consistent. They’ve started their last three games fast but failed to make the most of big chances and have been made to pay for that with some sloppy passing in midfield.

It is still early days for Lampard in his first season as a PL boss, while many of his youngsters are also finding their feet in the top-flight. Chelsea’s fans will stay patient but the fact that have yet to grab a win shows there is plenty of work to do but the Blues have shown flashes of brilliance, usually at the start of games.

Having a consistent lineup is one thing, but Lampard now needs his players to be brave, show their personality and stand tall for the cause as he ushers in his new era. Too many of them went missing in the second half against Leicester at Stamford Bridge, which will be more than a little concerning for the Chelsea legend.