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Volume 6 No. 217

International Football

Gordon Strachan has been named the new Scotland national team manager following November's dismissal of Craig Levein. Strachan, 55, takes the job having been out of work since leaving Middlesbrough FC in Oct. '10. Strachan is a former ManU and Leeds United midfielder, who lifted the European Cup Winners' Cup as a player with Aberdeen FC in '83. His contract runs through the end of Euro 2016 qualifying. Strachan will begin his new role with a Feb. 6 friendly against Estonia. Strachan's back-room staff will be released at a later date (UEFA). Strachan said, "I'm very proud but also my family are proud. The time is right for me to be able to take a job like this. There'll be rough times, but I hope there'll be good times, too" (BBC, 1/15).

TOUGH TASK: The LONDON TIMES reported Strachan "will be faced with the biggest task of his career." In "attempting to revitalise the broken dreams" of Scotland's 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, which "lie in tatters with the team in an embarrassing bottom place in Group A." Strachan "will be a popular choice with the Tartan Army, who have long since given up on any hope" of qualifying for the South American finals, and have not seen their nation make any leading championship since the 1998 World Cup in France. Brazil will be the eighth competition in a row that the Scots have missed (LONDON TIMES, 1/15). The SCOTSMAN wrote when asked if Levein’s previous selection would require a significant overhaul to boost Scotland’s performances in Group A, Strachan "referred to his failed experiment at club level." Strachan: "I made that mistake when I went to Middlesbrough. I really should have used the players that were there and used a system for them. So I’m going to get a system that suits these players and over the years, through Mark (Wotte) and Billy (Stark), we’ll find a style that works" (SCOTSMAN, 1/15). The Scotland DAILY RECORD reported Strachan said that he made an approach to an "unnamed colleague with a view to hiring an assistant at Hampden." Reports have suggested former Scotland footballer Gary McAllister "is the man Strachan wants." Strachan said, "I've spoken to one person and there's no doubt that they would like to take it on but this is before everything was settled. You'll know him" (DAILY RECORD, 1/15).

THE "RIGHT MAN": In Glasgow, Fraser Wilson suggested Scotland winger Pat Nevin believes that Strachan "is the right man to lead the national team forward after years in the doldrums." Nevin "believes the new man has exactly the type personality required to get the nation behind the team again." Nevin said: "You need a big personality to come in and do that job. He's proven, he's Scottish and available, which is helpful, and he's accepted by the Tartan Army, but he has a massive job to do and it starts right away" (DAILY RECORD, 1/15). In London, Ewan Murray wrote on The Sport Blog the Scottish FA "can emerge with credit for its successful and quiet pursuit" of Strachan. The governing body has "coaxed the 55-year-old back north with a minimum of fuss and without courting any publicity, let alone of the negative variety." It recognized Strachan as "the outstanding candidate for the role and duly got its man, in time for Scotland's friendly with Estonia early next month" (GUARDIAN, 1/15). In Glasgow, Graham Spiers opined Strachan’s appointment "can be damned with that most faint of praises: he seems a decent enough shout." But it is "little more than that." He is "a capable manager, and a thoughtful observer of the game, whose track-record is nonetheless patchy." One thing Strachan is not "is a stellar appointment by the Scottish FA -- not that they were left with much choice." Strachan was "the stand-out candidate, though it is sobering to note that his stock has fallen, not risen, in recent years" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 1/15).

Barcelona President Sandro Rosell claimed that Man City "has tried to lure a number of people to the Etihad Stadium from the Nou Camp," according to Andy James of the London DAILY MAIL. Rosell said that the Premier League champions have "not only tried to sign players from all levels of the club's structure, but also other employees of the Catalan giants." Former Barcelona Directors Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain are now at Man City as CEO and director of football, respectively. Rosell said: "There have been some offensive approaches from City, at all levels of the structure of the club, but no one wants to go. They wanted to fish here, but there were no fish left. We're talking about people at all levels of the Barça structure, not just players. Their attempts have been unsuccessful, though, as our employees are happy here" (DAILY MAIL, 1/15).

Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg has the highest payroll in the Bundesliga, however, the team's high price tag does not translate into victories, according Marco Plein of FOCUS. German news magazine Focus "compiled a list that shows how much money a club has spent per point ahead of the start of the second hand of the Bundesliga season." For Wolfsburg, the list "is a bitter sight." VfL Wolfsburg tops the list with its €75M ($100.3M) payroll and only 19 points in the first half of the '12-13 season. Meaning each of the 19 points cost Wolfsburg €1.97M ($2.63M). Wolfsburg is followed by Schalke 04, which spent €1.5M ($2M) per point. Third on the list is 1899 Hoffenheim that paid €1.42M ($1.9M) for each of its 12 points, followed by Bayern Munich, which has the highest payroll of all clubs with €112M ($149.8M) and spent €1.33M ($1.78M) per point. Defending champion Borussia Dortmund is one of the more efficient teams in the league with a point price tag of €830,000 ($1.1M). The most-efficient Bundesliga team in regard to price per point ratio is SC Freiburg, which spent only €340,000 ($455,000) on each of its 26 points (FOCUS, 1/14).

Club Payroll In Millions (Full Season)
Points Price Per Point
VfL Wolfsburg
€37.5 (€75)
19 €1.97M
Schalke 04
€37.5 (€75)
25 €1.5M
1899 Hoffenheim
€17 (€34)
12 €1.42M
Bayern Munich €56 (€112) 42 €1.33M
FC Augsburg
€10 (€20)
9 €1.11M
Hamburg SV
€20.5 (€41)
24 €850,000
VfB Stuttgart
€21 (€42)
25 €840,000
Borussia Dortmund
€25 (€50)
30 €830,000
Werder Bremen
€17.5 (€35)
22 €790,000
Borussia Mönchengladbach €17.5 (€35)
25 €700,000
Hannover 96
€16 (€32)
23 €690,000
Greuther Fürth
€6.25 (€12.5)
9 €690,000
Bayer Leverkusen
€20 (€40)
33 €600,000
FC Nuremberg
€11.5 (€23)
20 €570,000
Eintrach Frankfurt €13.5 (€27)
30 €450,000
FSV Mainz 05
€11 (€22)
26 €420,000
Fortuna Dusseldorf
€7.5 (€15)
21 €350,000
SC Freiburg
€9 (€18)
26 €340,000