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Butler: The 2013-14 Premier League season is taking shape

Noel Butler
6/21/2013 2:52:14 PM
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With the release of 2013-14 fixture list, has it really only been a month since Sir Alex's exit from the BPL stage?

El Happy One's home and loved up, Ronaldo's allegedly on the way back to his spiritual home and Gareth Bale looks set to replace him (or is it Luis Suarez?). And low and behold, the pantomime season has come early for a club whose shenanigans even Ricky Gervais couldn't have scripted.

The latest going round the Newcastle office is, 'Get down the Orange Tree pub in Totteridge if you want a senior football executive position.'

Ultra posh Totteridge has been made famous over the recent few decades as a North London suburb which counts amongst its residents current and former Tottenham players.

One such former Spur is Joe Kinnear who, according to the always reliable red top tabloids, was offered the position of Newcastle United's Director of Football over Sunday lunch and a few pints at the Orange Tree with owner Mike Ashley.

Kinnear's once more a fully paid up member of Ashley's so termed Cockney Mafia - the gatekeepers of the football ground formerly known as St. James' Park.

Unsurprisingly, the drinking theme has continued through the week for Newcastle with news leaking this week - and much to the chagrin of Alan Shearer – that the pub which adorns his name at the stadium has been renamed.

And Newcastle denying the rebrand was at all linked to the highly polished criticism Shearer leveled at Ashley once news of Kinnear's appointment was officially announced.

To get a sense of the passion that exudes from Geordie pores and veins, those firmly locked doors in Miami would have been no match for Jimmy Five Bellies and his fellow members of the NUFC shirtless brigade.

Such has been the enthusiasm for Kinnear's return to the North East - the man with the longest managerial contract in the Barclays Premier League Alan Pardew has been firmly installed as the London Bookie's favourite to be the first head coaching casualty of the new season.

What though to make of loadsamoney Arsene splashing the cash - where it's heavily rumored that Wayne Rooney will soon be swapping the red half of Manchester for the red half of North London?

If indeed the move comes to fruition, Rooney's new strike partner will be Gabriel Higuain, who he will fondly recall played a significant role in Manchester United's demise in last season's Champions League.

With a prime seat (dropped by Ferguson to the bench), that particular Champions League night is seen as the pivotal moment Rooney agitated once more for a move away from Old Trafford.

One can't help but think - as we approach the first anniversary of that famous RvP upping-sticks phone call between Wenger and Ferguson – that Arsenal were granted the first option on Rooney.

The stock has dropped for the player all English hopes are pinned on for Brazil 2014 Qualification, but that certainly isn't the case for a player who is sure to make the Podium short list for the 2014 Ballon d'Or. Stand up Gareth Bale.

The one-time left back was given a new role by André Villas-Boas last season and in doing so was one of world football's most prolific goal scorers last season. No one scored more game winners than Gareth Bale who is currently beinh serenaded to the Barnebeau by Zinedine Zidane.

Earlier in the week, the French Legend was quoted as saying to a UK tabloid, "If Gareth feels now is the time to move, then he has to have a private discussion with his club and express that he wants to leave."

A glaring case of 'tapping up' if ever there was one.

With AVB insistent earlier Friday that Bale was going nowhere, Liverpool appear prepared for a life post- Luis Suarez.

A player of prodigious talent (whose heinous behavior on the pitch culminating in the rabid dog-like biting of Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic), he not only earned a 10-match ban but has forever soiled the so termed Liverpool Way.

It's well past time for Suarez to walk alone.

With Jose Mourinho back home in his palatial Chelsea surroundings, I wonder if David Moyes is as keen an up taker of post-match vintage bottles of red wine as his predecessor Fergsuon was. We won't have to wait long to find out as Chelsea travels to Old Trafford in Week 2.

On the threshold of signing Spain's EUFA Under-21 hero Thiago for an expected $25 million, Moyes will certainly need him to arrive into training camp refreshed. United plays Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City within weeks of the new season getting under way.

Although it's the action on the pitch which compels the globe to gather round their TV's each weekend from mid-August through mid-May, how wonderful is it that this season's cast includes Ian Holloway?

Having navigated Crystal Palace through the treacherous play off waters following a quite scintillating encounter at Wembley in late May with Franco Zola's Watford, the season gets under way for Holloway with a difficult London derby against Tottenham.

The ex-Blackpool manager who regaled us week in week out back in 2010-11 will go toe-to-toe this season with Mourinho for the crown of BPL media darling.

And with Manchester City completing 2012-13's Top 3 who have all installed new coaches in the off-season, predicting who'll reign supreme come Sunday, May 11 is more difficult a task than separating the Bruins and Blackhawks.

One thing we can be certain of in the new season is - no bar room chat over ghost goals a la Frank Lampard at South Africa 2010.

BPL hearts GLT. The world's most exciting league will be the pioneering global force as Goal Line Technology enters the realms of competitive club football beginning August 17.

You can reach and follow Noel Butler at:
Noel.Butler@BellMedia.ca
@TheSoccerNoel

Noel Butler

Noel Butler


Noel Butler is an analyst for TSN's soccer coverage and his blog can be read on TSN.ca. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/TheSoccerNoel and listen to his radio program oranges@halftime on TSN Radio 690 Montreal.

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