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Wednesday Kickoff: Clark sidelined, Liverpool owners face crisis and more

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You can add Ricardo Clark to the list of U.S. national team starters dealing with injuries.

The Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder will be sidelined three to four weeks after picking up a calf strain in training on Tuesday. 

Clark has yet to make his debut for the German club since moving to Frankfurt on a free transfer, and now he will have to wait even longer. Clark is also likely to miss the U.S. team's friendly vs. the Netherlands on March 3.

Here are some other stories to get your Wednesday started:


Beleaguered Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillet could be forced to sell their stake in Liverpool if they cannot come up with £100million ($159 million) in new investment by July.

Liverpool is believed to be £237 million in debt, with Hicks and Gillet facing mounting opposition from fans who blame the American duo for the team's struggles.


If you are planning to attend the World Cup you could face some exorbitant flight prices to get around South Africa.

Six airlines operating in South Africa are being accused of price fixing ahead of the World Cup. A commission set up to investigate price hikes in flight prices has uncovered what appears to be a plan to raise ticket prices during the World Cup. No, this isn't that much of a surprise, but soccer fan around the world can only hope the South African government can keep the practice of price fixing from getting out of control.


The U.S. national team held on to the No. 14 world ranking in the latest FIFA rankings, released on Wednesday.

Egypt was the big mover, jumping up to No. 10 after winning its third straight African Cup of Nations. Cameroon dropped to No. 20 after a disappointing finish at the tournament.

Spain held on to the No. 1 spot, with the top nine going unchanged.


What do you think of these developments? Disappointed that Clark will have to wait to make his Frankfurt debut? Hoping Hicks and Gillet will be forced to sell their stake in Liverpool? Starting to wonder if you can afford to go to the World Cup?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Not to defend the Glazers or the Hiclletes of the world but Man U and Liverpool didn’t have to go public but they chose to.

    Whoever made that decision should be held accountable for what has followed, not the slimeball capitalists who bought a business. I mean did anyone expect they weren’t going to try to maximise profits and squeeze the club for all it was worth? Get real, hypocrites.

    When you do that you run the risk of having to sell the club to people who maybe don’t agree with your vision of what is best for the club. Man U and Liverpool fans who hate these guys should form a consortium or social club like Barca, Benfica or Real Madrid if they want real participation in their clubs. Ot they could have the government nationalize the teams. I don’t even know if they can do that in England. But hey, when you knock on the Devil’s door, don’t be all upset if he decides to open it.

  2. The EPL and football in Europe, in general, is going to implode if they don’t get the finanical side under control….paying $131M for Ronaldo is just one example…money is killing thr game….why would any buisnessman invest in teh EPL? Guaranteed to lose money.

    The whole “transfer” system is broken…

  3. Egypt who doesn’t qualify for the World Cup and who we beat 3-0 moves up to #10? Another reason not to take FIFA very serious….they are giving the BCS a run for their money….

  4. Ricardo Clark and Stuart Holden are prime examples of what I am talking about. They both went overseas and were almost immediately injured while trying to prove themselves to potentially new teammates, including players they might replace. How many times have we seen this? It seems like it’s happened to Beasley several times. Sometimes it’s so bad that the player can’t even finish their trial before they get injured and have to come home. You don’t think that’s a little strange?

  5. CSD, thanks for clarifying that the top nine rankings have not changed since December. But this makes it even worse. Fifa used October rankings for the WC draw (otherwise France would have been seeded and England would not). But the only difference between October and December rankings for Portugal is scoring two goals in two games against Bosnia-Herzegovina. With due respect to Bosnia, scoring twice against them does not seem to a sufficient enough achievement to elevate a non-seeded team to No. 5 rank in the world.

  6. My brother and I have 6 tix for each US group game but because of prices can’t go. Because the tickets have to be picked up in SA, there will be 6 empty seats in the stadium. I have a feeling there’s going to be alot of empty seats

  7. They could have improved operations and marketing, but it would have nothing to do with the large amount of debt saddled on the club. There are reasons that using debt like that can improve things at a company. Specifically improving corporate governance by reducing free cash flows, but that doesn’t really apply in this case. And, these owners obviously don’t have a large amount of human capital built up in managing soccer teams.

    Basically, the leverage was used to increase returns at a time when debt spreads were low and debt was really cheap. This isn’t a free pass though and comes along with an increased risk.

    Their investment was doomed to fail unless debt spreads stayed the way they were, unless they were magically able to increase revenues to make up for increasing financing costs every time they tried to roll over their debt. I wouldn’t blame wall street as much as blame the general economic recession. LBOs are still happening and still performing well, they are just firms that should be taken private via LBO

  8. Rafa has spent a lot of money, it’s true, but unlike ManU, Chelsea, and Man City he doesn’t have the money to buy 7 or 8 superstars — he has to pick 3 or 4 and dedicate a huge portion of the payroll bill into their transfers and weekly wage. That’s why Gerrard/Torres/Reina have been locked into increased deals, while Rafa’s bought such mediocre players as Dossena, Degen, etc. And when Torres or Gerrard go out injured, you can see the (relative) dross that is leftover.

    And the owners of these clubs have largely not “spent” their own money — they’ve piled debt onto the clubs. The Glazers have piled more debt than others, plus they have great marketing and a huge Old Trafford. OT has what, 70k seats to Anfield’s 45k? That’s a lot of extra cash every match. They are rightly above Liverpool in the standings.

    Rafa moronic? I dunno, 2 Champions League finals, 1 FA Cup, and a pretty good season last year speak for themselves. They’ll finish in the top 4 in the end. They always do.

  9. As far as Hicks and Liverpool are concerned, I think they are only partly to blame. IMO one big issue is transfer fees and player salaries. The amount of money professional athletes get is just criminal. I don’t mind a guy getting a few million per year but anything over that is just stupid for kicking a ball around. It is starting to get so expensive to even go to a game. Look at our MLB and NFL too.
    New stadiums like the one in Dallas and the cost to go to the games? When I used to go back in the eighties we could get two decent tickets for about $30 and park for $10 and two people could eat and drink for around $20. Now at the Cowboy stadium it cost way over that just to park your freaking car. On top of the cost for tickets these days, and if I want to buy an $8 hot dog and a $9 beer, it just gets to be stupid expensive to go to a game. Imagine the cost for a family of four.

    At least MLS matches are a little less for the moment. The last game I went to in Seattle, I dropped about $110 for two tickets (you got to love those Ticket Master fees too) and then about another $60 on beer and food for two. At least we could take the bus to the game.
    Would be interested to see how much others are paying in Madrid to go see Mr. stepover Ronaldo play.

  10. The question is, who do we have left for our March friendly? We are going to send a team similar to the Honduras match. Good thing our first team players can gel before the world cup..

  11. Ok scratch that. I just looked at the rankings, but I still think that even teams in the top 32 who didn’t qualify should have that counted against them.

  12. Actually, we’re 2 for 4. Randy Lerner has been working wonders at Aston Villa and since he purchased them, they’ve made a profit every season, and have finished higher each season. The fans there absolutely love him.

  13. Any chance Bradley sends a team of in-shape bodyguards to create a bubble around Donovan? I’m sure NASA has something in the works as far as forcefields go. No big deal about Clark though, one month out, he’ll be back in game shape by April, giving him 2 months of playing time. The world isn’t ending…

  14. Bush Derangement Syndrome will never leave. If the US loses to Slovenia, it will be blamed on Bush and “Wall Street fat cats” because, e.g., the referees dislike American “imperialism.”

    But back to soccer, why couldn’t the Glazers/Hicks have improved operations and marketing . . . at least in theory? Note that I don’t blame the Wall Street straw man for the financial downturn, but isn’t that what tanked their investment?

  15. The top nine rankings haven’t changed from December. France and Portugal both had to win play ins to get to the World Cup so that probably helped them move up prior to November. Egypt’s ranking will drop after the World Cup because they won’t get points during the World Cup. It just really isn’t that complicated to figure out how FIFA rankings work. But I guess it is easier to not take a look at the formula that determines FIFA rankings and complain about it.

  16. I agree to an extent, but there are teams in the top 10 that didn’t make the WC. I just think that in a WC year, if you didn’t make the WC finals, then you shouldn’t be ranked in the top 10. And the top 32 should be the 32 teams who make the tournament.

  17. I think it’s hilarious that South Africa got the World Cup as opposed to somewhere else like Northern Africa.

    It’s all about bribes and kickbacks. FIFA is like the UN – worthless.

  18. What does that have to do with corruption in Africa? And artificially inflated flights to South Africa? When did Spain last host a World Cup?

    Your reply is completely pointless.

  19. I think you hit this on the head. A lot of our guys have not had a lot of time off in the last year. I think this has a lot to do with the injuries. The USMNT has had a grueling schedule in the last year. Considering the recovery rate of these players I think this may be a blessing. There are a couple star players that have avoided the injury bug that have been playing non stop for basically two years. I won’t mention them by name (don’t want to jinx it) but let’s hope they get their scatches soon or it doesn’t happen at all to them.

  20. And what Europe= Fair play??? have you heard of the IOC? there’s no backroom deals in FIFA and Jack warner?? come on… and have you ever heard of “briefcase games” in UEFA and especially in SPAIN!!!

  21. “fitness deficit”???!!???

    That’s what you’re talking about?

    What player has ever transferred from the USA or to the USA without his coach saying he needed to get game fitness? Why do you think teams have month or more of training camp before they play games? WHy do you think htey play exhibitiongames before the league season? Running on a treadmill isn’t the same thing as game condition.

    Rico was already battling an injury at the end of the MLS season that caused him to miss USA and Dynamo games. He hasn’t played regularly in 4 months. He’s joining players who have been playing since August, except for a week or two off for Xmas. Of course he has a “fitness deficit”.

    Why do jackarses insist on outing themselves on the internet?

  22. Funny, Moyes said the same thing about Donovan. He said he would need to get match fit. He said he wasn’t up to speed. That sounds an awful lot like “fitness deficient.”

    You’re reading too much into it. It’s not like Clark went all pear-shaped in the time he had between MLS and now.

    You’re a tool.

  23. Right on, although I don’t see too much anti-Arab hatred being expressed for the folly that is Portsmouth and the folly that will be Man City. But there is a deep anti-US attitude in England that is troubling that is revealed by the anti-Hicks/Gilette and anti-Glazer sentiments.

  24. In this economy you’re no longer able to buy clubs with massive amounts of debt. Unfortunately, this has happened too late for Liverpool.

  25. Chances are Ives isn’t going to lie about receiving threats that he actually never received, though. Only scumbags who prey on other people’s ignorance do things like that.

  26. Maybe when you realize that half their team was injured for our game, you will see they would have beaten us easily or kept it to a draw.

  27. I just knows what I reads in the papers inkedAG. The Eintracht manager and reporters covering the team all said the same thing. I think “fitness deficit” is the term his manager used.

  28. the “far-from-home” blues only occurs with young landon donovans who are weak an unconfident……that syndrome doesnt effect strong willed hard tackling Ricardo Clark that gets about 20 red cards a season

  29. I think it is funny that the Liverpool fans point the finger @ the owners who in general have spent money to get them the players they wanted yet they turn a blind eye top Rafa who is just a moronic manager who has no clue what team chemistry and cohesion are…

    Oh and all the glazers have done is win…must suck being a Manure fan… with Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Nani, Evra etc…

    Try being Fulham and having to sign Nickey Shorey to play left back because you have no other healthy left footed players in your squad…

  30. I don’t really see that too much. Davies hurt off the field, Rico in training, Stu in training, Gooch’s did not come from a hard foul but an unlucky turn…list goes on.

    Not to say that continuous hard fouls couldn’t lead to some of these, but I don’t see many cases where a hard foul (other than Dempsey really) results in the current injury problems.

  31. fair enough, Jason. You make some good points. I disagree that they are necessarily bad owners in the EPL but we shall see how their debt mgmt. works out.

    One thing that is true is that Man U has titles the last three years largely because of the Glazers spending and by staying out of the football end of things. In the case of the ‘pool, they can’t blame the owners for their lack of winning….they spent the money and again, stayed out of the sporting matters.



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