Is Di Maria Worth It?

It has been one point shy of a nightmare start for Louis Van Gaal in the premier league. Following a lackluster defeat to Swansea at home, Manchester United bagged a point in week two away to Sunderland. Things cannot get much worse for the Dutchman, but with the addition of Marcos Rojo, and the imminent signing of Angel Di Maria, things are looking to improve.

It is widely believed that Angel Di Maria will be unveiled as a Manchester United player Tuesday morning, having completed his move to Old Trafford for a fee in the region of 60 million pounds.

This will break the English transfer record by 10 million pounds, so one has to wonder if Di Maria is worth the fee. However, the way things are going at Manchester United right now, it’s a given that the club will have to overpay players of Di Maria’s pedigree to join.

The 130,000 pound-per-week wage package given to Luke Shaw was heavily criticized by Jose Mourinho of all people. These comments mean a lot coming from «The Special One», who has spent more than any manager in the world since 2004 (now over 900 million euros) and would be better suited for the title «The Spending One.»

Part dig at a rival club, and part truth, this accusation that United are overpaying for Luke Shaw is completely spot-on. Mourinho justifies this by saying a deal that large for a 19 year old would derail morale amongst the older players, but United would not have the youngster had they not stumped up that amount of money.

United are not in a position of leverage right now as they had been for decades under Alex Ferguson. Liverpool are exiting their own era in which they had to overpay for players, while United are taking their turn dealing with the cruel nature of the transfer market. Coming off a seventh-place finish in the league and no Champions League football to show for it, United are in the precarious position of being forced to pay top dollar for everything.

Di Maria is no exception to this, but even so, the fee is very, very steep. Paris Saint Germain were priced out of a deal for Di Maria a month ago, so Van Gaal must be beyond impressed by the Argentine to shell out this much cash for him.

Di Maria showed his worth to Argentina in the World Cup, and was awarded man of the match in the UEFA Champions League Final against Atletico Madrid. His pace is unquestionable, and although he has shortcomings defensively, Van Gaal will accommodate these with the team he puts on the field.

However, it remains to be seen if Di Maria can be ‘the man’ for a team. For Argentina, he always plays off of Lionel Messi, while Madrid have their own fair share of world-beaters to grab headlines. Stepping out from under the shadow of these players will be a big step in the career of the Argentine.

Di Maria impressed me greatly last season when he still managed a spectacular year with the arrival of Gareth Bale from Tottenham. The Argentine played more through the middle than he had in years past and was a catalyst for both club and country with a more free role.

If Di Maria can handle the rockstar-type media attention that will hover over him like a dark cloud, he could very well justify the 60 million pounds United are paying for his services. Earlier in the summer, Di Maria turned down a lucrative contract extension, and given the arrival of James and the presence of Bale, it’s no surprise he has moved on.

Coming off Champions League glory in Lisbon and a silver medal in Brazil, Di Maria easily could have signed a bigger deal and sat around in Madrid likely surrounding time to the likes of Isco, Modric, and James. The winger’s desire is on full display right now; he has left the Galacticos in favor of spearheading a rebuilding project.

The Argentine is stepping out from the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo and taking it upon himself to be ‘the man’ at Old Trafford. In fact, it is rumored that Ronaldo had to do with Di Maria’s decision to join United. It would be poetically just if the Argentine brought back the same flair that has been missing from Old Trafford since Ronaldo left.

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The Wright Decision

July 19th 2005, the morning after his dream transfer to the English Premier League champions, Shaun Wright-Phillips must have woken up feeling like the happiest man alive. He had just been unveiled as the answer to Chelsea’s right-sided «problem», and the stage was set for Shaun to stake his claim as the best right winger in England even pushing for David Beckham’s starting role.

Fast forward ten months and Shaun must now be echoing his adopted father’s sentiments that he should have signed for Liverpool. Admittedly Ian Wright’s comment was tongue in cheek, but few would argue that Anfield would have been the more logical destination last summer. Not only would he have been guaranteed all those games where Steven Gerrard, Dribril Cisse, Jan Kromkamp, Steve Finnan and Luis Garcia provided makeshift cover at right-midfield, but he would most certainly have been included in Sven Goran Eriksson’s swan song. As it stands he is not even on the stand by list.

For once Sven has shown the courage to select his England squad based on form alone. For the 15 or so games that Wright-Phillips was granted access to the playing field by Jose Mourinho he has failed to impress and surely Aaron Lennon is ahead of him on merit. One could even argue that were Lennon to have picked up an injury then Birmingham’s Jermaine Pennant should replace him rather than Wright-Phillips. It is one thing to gamble on a half fit Michael Owen or Wayne Rooney, but for all the hype Shaun is really in the same category as Andy Johnson and Darren Bent. All three have only had one solid EPL season and remain unproven at the highest level.

A transfer to one of the Big Four clubs should never be enough to guarantee an international place. Scott Parker quickly learnt that in order to re-ignite his career, a move away from Stanford Bridge was necessary. Only a brave man would put money on Shaun Wright-Phillips still being a Chelsea player in three months time.

    Career Highlights

    October 25, 1981
    Born in Greenwich, London

    1996
    Released by Nottingham Forest for being «too small»

    August 18, 2004
    Scores on his England debut against Ukraine

    July 18, 2005
    Joins Chelsea for £21million

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Presidential Authority in Nuclear Warfare

Most Americans are generally aware that the United States and Russia have huge stockpiles of nuclear warheads. But this matter has never loomed large until recently. Now Americans are hearing bellicose statements by the president that can be interpreted only as veiled threats of nuclear strikes against Iran and North Korea. Such statements, if taken seriously, could precipitate a nuclear conflict.

How has this situation come about? Prior administrations did not brag about the American nuclear arsenal, nor did they take actions that would aggravate international tensions. In fact, in July, 2015, the United States, along with five other nations, agreed to lift economic sanctions against Iran in return for that country’s pledge not to develop nuclear weapons. Since then, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly inspected all possible nuclear weapons sites and certified that Iran was in compliance, most recently on May 24, 2018.

In spite of this, the current president stated that «The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into», and in August, 2018, his Administration re-imposed economic sanctions on that country.Mr. Trump justified his action by saying «America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail. We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. And we will not allow a regime that chants «Death to America» to gain access to the most deadly weapons on Earth.» On July 22, 2018, Mr. Trump published the following statement on Twitter: «To Iranian President Rouhani: never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered… » Was he referring, indirectly, to Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Iran did not have any nuclear weapons or intercontinental ballistic missiles. American cities were not threatened with destruction.

The country of North Korea has also been the object of Mr. Trump’s wrath and sometimes ridicule. On January 2, 2018, Mr. Trump published the following Tweet: «North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!» Also, journalists Peter Baker and Choe Sang-Hun wrote the following in the August 8, 2017, issue of the New York Times: «President Trump threatened on Tuesday to unleash ‘fire and fury’ against North Korea if it endangered the United States, as tensions with the isolated and impoverished nuclear-armed state escalated into perhaps the most serious foreign policy challenge yet of his administration. In chilling language that evoked the horror of a nuclear exchange, Mr. Trump sought to deter North Korea from any actions that would put Americans at risk. But it was not clear what specifically would cross his line. Administration officials have said that a preemptive military strike, while a last resort, is among the options they have made available to the president.»

A preemptive military strike against North Korea? Is it that easy to do? No. Also, it does not matter if military strikes against North Korea (or Iran, for that matter) are with conventional or nuclear munitions. Mr. Trump and his advisors need to read applicable laws and Congressional Resolutions before they threaten to militarily strike another country.

Let’s begin with the U. S. Constitution. Article I, Section 8, states that only the Congress has the authority to declare war. Also, the Presidential War Powers Resolution, frequently called the Presidential War Powers Act, states that the executive branch must consult with and report to Congress before involving U.S. forces in foreign hostilities. Defenders of broad, unfettered action by the president argue that Article II, Section 2 of the U. S. Constitution states that he is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and of the militias of the various states, and that position supersedes the war-restricting authority of the Congress. This title, however, is political rather than military. It is intended to protect our civilian government from a military takeover. It is not a military title that enables the president to personally command military forces. Most important, it does not mean that the president can unilaterally order nuclear strikes against other countries.

Department of Defense directive 5100.30 states «The NCA (National Command Authorities) consists [singular verb] only of the President and the Secretary of Defense or their deputized alternates or successors. The chain of command [for conventional military operations] runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense and through the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Commanders of the Unified and Specified Commands. The channel of communication for execution of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) [nuclear war] and other time-sensitive operations shall be from the NCA through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, representing the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to the executing commanders.»

The directive thus imposes a two-man rule on presidential authority to order or direct military operations, either conventional or nuclear. In the first case decisions must go through both the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff before they can be implemented. In the second case, the NCA decisions go directly to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then to the executing commanders. There is no provision for the President of the United States to act unilaterally in either case.

There is one possible exception to the presidential two-man rule. In the unlikely event a major nuclear power has unleashed a missile attack on the United States, our retaliatory response must be swift and certain. If the president hesitates or is otherwise uncertain what to do, a senior military officer will make the decision for him. The scenario might be as follows:

Mr. President. This is the NMCC. We are tracking 60 inbound Russian

missiles. We must execute the SIOP, and we recommend SAO-2, withhold

Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Our current president might respond by asking: What is SIOP? What is SAO-2? What does «withhold» mean? Instead of trying to hold a last-minute tutorial on nuclear war for Mr. Trump, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will simply direct the NMCC to release an Emergency Action Message and execute the SIOP. The alternative would be widespread destruction in the United States without the benefit of retaliation. In this limited scenario, the two-man rule would be irrelevant.

Conclusion. Blustering, threatening statements by the President of the United States do not advance the security or other interests of this country. They may be misunderstood by other countries, some of which have nuclear arsenals of their own. Further, since both nuclear and non-nuclear military missions are subject to a two-man decision rule for safety, response times are critically important if the United States is under attack. Our national leaders must always demonstrate maturity, professionalism, and restraint when discussing nuclear warfare.

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Burnley – Lancashire – Facts About the Town

The large town of Burnley – Lancashire is located in the Burnley borough in Lancanshire, England. The big market town has a large population, over 73, 000 residents. The town is situated 18 kilometers away from the eastern side of Blackburn and 40 kilometers away from the eastern side of Preston. The town is just on the meeting point of the River Brun and River Calder. The name Burnley is translated to "meadow by the River Brun". The existence of the town has been traced back to the early medieval times. During this time, it was just a small town with a marketplace.

The Industrial Revolution saw the development and expansion of the town into a big marketplace. It earned a reputation as a major center for cotton cloth production. Business was booming and many factories were operational. The face of the town as an industrial area is changing. Nowadays, the town serves as a satellite town for major cities like Leeds and Manchester. It is also a relief center to the M65 transit. It is hard to imagine that a town that was once a catalyst of the Industrial Revolution is now employing more people in the public sector than in the industrial sector.

The origin of Burnley can be traced back to prehistoric times. Archeological artefacts like Stone Age flint tools and weapons have been discovered in some parts of the town. These were found in the moors. Angles might have occupied this place in the 7th century. Angle names like Habergham and Padiham can be found in Burnley. Records of the early settlement by the Angles are not available, but as from 1122, records were available. One record involves the handing over of the Burnley church to the Ponterfract Abbey monks.

Burnley started as a small community, with farming being the main activity. Farming tools such as corn mill were in use in the 1290s. Asmall market was established in 1294, followed by a fulling mill in 1296. A big settlement started in the manor of Ightenhill. It exceeded 50 family units by that time. Other four manners were in existence as well, as part of the Clitheroe Honor.

Small remnants of early Burnley can be seen today. One of these is the Market Cross built around 1295. The Burnley cross can be seen in the premises of the Burnley College.

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Landlords, Do You Know the Importance of Keeping Your Property Safe?

With the winter season well underway, domestic gas and electricity usage is on the up – and it’s your job to ensure that your property and tenants are as safe as possible by checking all the electrical and gas appliances in use.

Hiring a fully qualified, registered professional to tackle any gas and electrical jobs, whether large or small, is of the utmost importance.

A good lettings agent should be able to organise electrical tests and gas safety checks for you, whether in house or by recommending trusted contractors.

Electricity

You’re legally obliged to ensure that all electrical items and household appliances supplied as part of your property letting are safe. Look out for:

  • Badly frayed or damaged insulation
  • Old or exposed wire
  • Poorly fitted or cracked plugs
  • Scorch-marked or damaged sockets
  • Plugs without sleeved, insulated pins

Be sure to repair or replace any equipment or appliances that are past their best with new equipment that meets current BS and EC standards.

If you have a property requiring a house of Multiple Occupation License from the Local Authority, by law you will need to provide confirmation of electrical safety. But it will give you and your tenants real peace of mind if you arrange for on-going checks anyway. A qualified electrical engineer should test every appliance and help you to keep a log of:

  • Item make and serial number
  • Item condition
  • Dates of Portable Appliance (PAT) test

Remember, some insurance companies won’t pay out if untested electrical items cause damage.

Gas

Any gas appliances and systems can pose a great risk if they are not fitted and maintained properly.

As a landlord, you are legally obliged to comply with the Gas Safety Regulations 1994 for any equipment that uses mains or liquid gas in your rented property.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a real danger that can cause severe illness and even death. Carbon Monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas, so you and your tenants may not even be aware of its presence until it’s too late.

And any kind of gas leak can have catastrophic consequences, from gas poisoning to risk of fire.

A fully qualified GasSafe engineer should carry out an annual full check at any properties that you rent out.

It is important to be aware that a standard annual service offered by many tradespeople does not comply with the legal regulations for landlords and may leave your tenants and property at risk – so be sure that your engineer is GasSafe registered.

To comply with the regulations you must:

  • Hire a GasSafe registered engineer who is qualified to work on the particular appliances and systems in your property
  • Ensure a full gas safety check is completed both prior to a let and every year thereafter
  • Ensure all gas fittings and flues are maintained safely at all times
  • Repair or replace any defective gas appliances or pipework as soon as possible, ensuring any damaged items are not used until made safe
  • When all checks have been completed, you must:
  • Give a copy of the gas safety check certificate to your tenants

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History of Middlesbrough Football Club

Middlesbrough Football Club was originally founded in the late 19th century. The club had varying degrees of success but it wasn’t until the times prior to the 2nd World War that the team was in good enough shape to challenge for the major trophies. This team graced by the likes of England internationals like George Hardwick and Wilf Mannion although never winning a trophy, was said to have been capable of going on to win the league had it not been for the outbreak of the war.

It wasn’t until the 70’s arrived that the club had any degree of major success again. This team, containing the likes of David Armstrong and Greame Souness coached by the great Jack Charlton formally a Word Cup winner with England had been the best seen for a while. The promotions seen over this period although impressive produced no trophies to behold.

Into the 80’s the club almost went into liquidation, and if it wasn’t for the financial assistance of a consortium lead by the now chairman and successful businessman Steve Gibson then the club might has disappeared. A boost to the re-emergence of the club in 1986 was funds appreciated by the sale of a number of talented youngsters who had come through the youth system, including but not limited to Gary Pallister and Colin Cooper.

In successive years after the take-over ‘Boro’ as they are affectionately know by their fans cemented themselves as a side good enough to get out of the 2nd tier league but not quite good enough to stay in the top league for very long. An example of this yo-yoing nature being the inclusion of Boro in the very 1st year of the ‘Premier League’ but relegation the year after.

In 1994 Boro attracted probably their highest profiled manager to date in the shape of former England and Manchester United captain Brian Robson. Using the crutch of the squad left to him by his predecessor Lennie Lawrence swell as some good decent professionals like Nigel Pearson and Steve Vickers, who had been brought in, he took the team back into the Premiership. A new season in the top league and the moving into a brand new 30,000 all seater stadium saw a new sense of belief and optimism around the town. This sense of belief was backed with funds and with the captures of the likes of then England international Nick Barmby and the magnificent Brazilian international Juninho the club had one of the best teams in a long time. Boro were to retain their premiership status in the years following, and with the captures of the likes of Champions League winner Fabrizio Ravinelli and the Brazilian powerhouse Emerson football fever was taking over the town. Riding this support the team went on magnificent runs in both the League and FA Cup. Disastrously heartache would soon follow though and Boro fell at the final hurdle in both cups and as if to add insult injury a deduction of 3 points for failing to turn a team out against Blackburn saw the club relegated back to the 2nd tier.

Although the relegation would see the team lose Juninho and Emerson, they were able to capture the high profile Paul Merson and with hope still high the club was dominant in both the League and League Cup seeing them win promotion straight back into the top league and reach the final of the League Cup. The successive season would see boro retain their premiership status but seasons after saw results getting progressively worse culminating in the decision by the board to bring in the experienced former England coach Terry Venables to work alongside Robson. The decision bore fruit and the club was to avoid relegation. Support for the club was dwindling though and change was wanted. The upshot of this being the reluctant sacking of Robson and the bringing in of the then Manchester United assistant manager Steve Mclaren.

Mclaren would bring solidarity to a haphazard team with his strong work ethic and love of professionalism. The football was boring to watch but the team was never to look like relegation material. With this new professionalism and continued financial backing the club would cement their position in the top league, putting behind it the yo-yoing years. Another cup final soon followed and this time Boro were the victors leaving with their first ever major trophy in the shape of the League Cup. This victory would see Boro’s first ever qualification for Europe. The following season would see Boro qualify again for Europe with their best ever Premiership position. The season following this would see Boro push all the way to the EUFA Cup Final, making McClaren the most successful manager in the club’s history.

McClaren though, on the back on his triumphs has recently left the club for the dizzy heights of coaching England. The club has now a great set of players, a great setup, as well as top class youth and reserve teams. With this and recent successes, and the likelihood of continued financial backing, a new manager with worthy credentials I would have thought is only around the corner. And whatever future this brings for the lowly north east football club is yet to be written.

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Arsenal’s Realistic Chances This Season (2010/2011)

I am happy about the current form of my gunners. But I hope they just take a bit of precaution at the moment. We have not really lost since the beginning of the new year and there are indications that we have just an opportunity to get our hands on the first major trophy since the last five years. But Arsene Wenger’s hope of running for the four possible titles is not just so real.

Considering that the boys are just coming of age and there are likely to be injuries and fatigue it is very good that he show concerns about this. Playing the boys three times a week would wear them off. Just recently Samir Nasri who happens to be the most promising this season is suffering from hamstring injuries. Even if he believes that this is the best gunners in so many years, caution has to be taken.

Arsenal remain in the Champions League where there is little hope of any success since they will be playing the best team in Europe, I will not try to be so optimistic about our chances like we had it during the 2007/08 season where we beat the best then, that is, AC Milan. We knew the consequence of winning that game. We lost our lead in the premiership and we were knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United before that remarkable win.

We went ahead and lost in the quarter-final to Liverpool who know how to gamble with matches sacrificing the premiership trophy for the Champions league. Our realistic chances this season are the Carling Cup and the Premiership. As we trail behind Man. Utd by five (5) points, it will do us good if we just play Barcelona with the mind that we have lost (though we can give them a good fight), and hope that in the home and away games between Man. Utd and Chelsea they (Man.Utd) can drop six points and hopefully we win our return leg against them.

I still know that Alex Ferguson will not like to repeat the same mistake as last season. We better play with serious caution as there are likely to be more injuries and little recovery time. We still have 14 games as at the time of writing this report and our attack force is about the best in the premiership and we can believe that our boys will always be used to winning and the winning spirit will continue to the end of the season. I believe Arsene as a great and experience coach will have some of his advisers telling him the same or similar news!

Gunners 4 Life.

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