Barclays Premier League five biggest flops - 2010-11 season
Brazilian forward Robinho cost Manchester City $53m when he joined the club in 2008, but scored just one goal for the club in his second season - and that came at lowly Scunthorpe in the League Cup. This year, Robinho has gone, but his legacy of disappointment lived on. Here FOX Soccer's Jamie Trecker examines six of the best and biggest flops of the 2010-11 season.
The Fernando Torres transfer
Eighty million dollars for one goal? Are you kidding me? Chelsea fans can keep praying that Torres will ultimately make good on his promise, but the fact is the Blues got snookered in what has to go down as one of the biggest and most costly transfer busts in history. Consider that Torres’ arrival not only unsettled the club’s existing strike corps, it blew a hole in the entire transfer market, artificially inflating fees in and out of England to an unsustainable degree. Consider also that prior to arriving at Stamford Bridge, Torres looked like damaged goods up north. The only winners? Liverpool, laughing all the way to the bank.
Arsenal's spring swan dive
How in the world did a team that had legitimate hopes of a quadruple fall apart in such dramatic fashion? The wheels came off after they gifted Birmingham the Carling Cup, but the truth is this team was rotten long before then - just good at covering it up. Their weaknesses now stand revealed. They cannot defend, lack a quality goalkeeper and have no leadership anywhere on the field. Manager Arsene Wenger is lucky to have his job after this debacle, and will have to preside over a major housecleaning this summer. If he’s unwilling to wield the hatchet, new owner Stan Kroenke may wield one of his own.
Gerard Houllier and Aston Villa
The man is clearly seriously ill with a heart problem, so I don’t want to pile on too much, but his management of Aston Villa has been an almost unmitigated disaster. How much of this is his fault depends on how you see things. Keep in mind that the man he replaced, Martin O’Neill, quit when owner Randy Lerner refused to spend to strengthen the squad. Since that decision, Villa have gone from a team that finished sixth last season to a colorless bunch that flirted with relegation. Houllier’s squad choices and tactics bear no small responsibility, with an expensive winter signing binge doing little to settle matters. The fact is, the team is a mess behind the scenes, and big changes have to be made. Hopefully Houllier will take the wise course and step aside - for his health and for Villa’s.
Newcastle’s strange sackings and sales
It’s a good thing Newcastle have Joey Barton and Fabricio Coloccini, because otherwise, they would top our hit list. Start with the inexplicable sacking of Chris Hughton for Alan Pardew - Alan Pardew! - a decision no one in their right mind would make. Then there was the Andy Carroll sale. Sure, the money was good, but it apparently didn’t dawn on the club that they didn’t have another striker to replace him. Cue a desperate, degrading transfer deadline day caterwaul that only served to reinforce just how little planning the club really did. Or, should that be "does?"
The Olympic Stadium decision
Let’s get this straight. The 2012 Olympic Stadium will be occupied by a second division team, whose owners David Sullivan and David Gold admit they face at least a $70m shortfall, instead of a Premier League team that draws capacity crowds and badly needs a new stadium? Yep, relegated West Ham, whose owners call the team’s finances "the worst of any in the country," will take over the stadium at Tottenham Hotspur's expense. This despite the fact that West Ham cannot fill it and will need $60m in financing from the local council to move. Why? Because Tottenham were honest in their proposal. They said, post-Games, that a little-used running track would have to come out, while also offering to redevelop Crystal Palace so British Track and Field could have its precious track. Not good enough, they sniffed. No wonder Spurs are suing. The situation is a joke all the way round.
West Ham's entire season
Begin with the collapse of the Icelandic bank that owned it, then stir in the expensive and embarrassing Benni McCarthy disaster. Blend the soul-sucking "management" of the personality-challenged Avram Grant, who has since been sacked, with the Olympic Stadium controversy and top it all off with the club's admission it is broke. What an ugly dish. West Ham have long been one of England’s great clubs and its fans deserve far better. Sadly, the dysfunction up top has been matched on the field - this team simply doesn’t seem to care.
What do you think?
We have some dishonorable mentions (Paul Konchesky’s ill-thought foray to Liverpool; Sebastien Squillaci’s defending at Arsenal; Stephen Ireland’s short stint with Aston Villa; Bebe’s misfire at Manchester United), but by now, you'll want your say. Vote on the season's biggest flop (below) and leave your comments. We're sure your list of flops will be more beguilling than ours. Tomorrow, FOX Soccer picks their ten best midfielders of the 2010-11 Premier League campaign.