Wednesday Kickoff: Stevenage hires Smith, Europe's financial woes and more

Wednesday Kickoff: Stevenage hires Smith, Europe's financial woes and more

European Soccer

Wednesday Kickoff: Stevenage hires Smith, Europe's financial woes and more

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Smith rapids getty

By JOHN BOSCHINI

Former Colorado Rapids head coach Gary Smith is headed back to England.

The man who took charge of the Rapids' surprising 2010 MLS Cup run has been hired as manager of League One side Stevenage FC. Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace said Smith's ability to produce success despite a low budget with the Rapids was a major reason for the hire.

Smith, who is one of the league's younger managers at 43, began his career as an assistant with Wimbledon, Wrexham and Arsenal before landing the Rapids job in late 2008. He became the first English coach to win the MLS Cup, but a falling out with team management led to his contract not being renewed after this past season.

Stevenage is currently in sixth place in League One and is in serious contention for a playoff promotion spot.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Wednesday:

EUROPEAN CLUBS REPORT $2 BILLION IN LOSSES

A UEFA report released Wednesday said that the top European clubs had lost a collective $2 billion in 2010, and the trend is expected to continue. The survey of about 650 clubs came as new financial fair play rules loom on the horizon. The report estimates over half of European clubs are losing money, with more than 75 percent of the top clubs in the Champions League spending more than they earn.

UEFA said that if the financial fair play rules were in effect today, 13 clubs would have failed to meet the criteria in 2010 and could theoretically be excluded from playing in European competitions. The clubs were not identified, but it is widely expected they come primarily from England, Spain and Italy. The record losses come in conjuncture with record revenues, with $16.6 billion being generated in 2010 alone.

GOETZE OUT FOR TWO MONTHS

Borussia Dortmund will be without star midfielder Mario Goetze for at least two months due to pubic bone injury.

It's a sizable blow to a Dortmund side that sits atop the Bundesliga along with Bayern Munich and Schalke. Dortmund is trying to defend the Bundesliga title after taking the league by storm last season. This also puts Goetze's place in the German national team in jeopardy if there is a setback in recovery. The 19-year-old already has 12 appearances and has scored two goals for Germany.

VAN PERSIE SAYS NO FALLOUT WITH WENGER

Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has denied rumors that his relationship with manager Arsene Wenger is on thin ice. Van Persie appeared to voice dissent during Sunday's loss to Manchester United when Wenger subbed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Andrei Arshavin in a much-maligned move.

"The manager and I are fine and my relationship with the club is good," van Persie told reporters.

Arsenal, who are currently in fifth place and face the possibility of missing next season's Champions League, face a tough fight to hold on to the striker during the summer transfer window. The Dutch International has scored 19 league goals for the Gunners this season.

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What do you make of Smith's move to Stevenage? What's your take on the financial troubles across European soccer? Will Dortmund be able to maintain title challenge without Goetze? Do you think Arsenal can work its way into a Champions League spot?

Share your thoughts below.

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