EPL Talk Archives for January 2007

Why EPL Clubs Should Buy English Not Foreign Players

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By John Nicholson

Here's a mantra you'll all be familiar with: English born players are over-priced. That's why clubs buy so many overseas players. You get good players for much less money.

That's the received wisdom. We can all point to examples to prove this. Everton paid just a couple of million quid for Arteta who was one of the best, most creative midfielders last season; an absolute steal for that money.

New Blogger Joins the EPL Talk Community

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The number of bloggers contributing to the EPL Talk Community has grown by one. Michael James, aka, is now the sixth blogger with the launch of his English Soccer Talk blog.

You may know Michael from his postings on the Soccer Shout comments section or his original English Soccer Talk blog at Blogspot.

Please welcome him aboard and watch out for more posts from him after he returns from vacation in early July.

Sky Sports Not Making Life Easy for Setanta in UK

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EPL Talk reader Tokyo Toffeeman wrote in to say how "coincidental" it was that Sky Sports decided to broadcast its live Championship coverage for the 07/08 season at the same time that Setanta will be broadcasting its package of matches. Seems like Sky is already trying to make life difficult for Setanta.

For example, Setanta will be showing the 12:15pm ET match on Saturdays in addition to some of the Monday 3pm matches.

Argentina 4-1 United States: The Harsh Reality

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It's the morning after the night before and all throughout America I imagine there are many soccer fans with their heads stooped a little lower today. After being convincingly beaten 4-1 by Argentina in their first match in the Copa America, the harsh realization is that the United States was outclassed, outplayed and soundly beaten.

The irony is that the United States had a fantastic first half performance and, when the second half began, the U.

Hear the new English Premier League Theme Song

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The English Premier League will unveil a new anthem starting with the 2007/2008 season with a theme song entitled "My Saturday Self" by musician Peter Lawlor, and you can hear a shortened version of the song here first courtesy of a tip-off by reader David Carroll.

The song definitely sounds like The Who and was recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London.

Back From The Dead: A Game of Two Halves Podcast

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For many of you old timers to the world of soccer podcasts, your first foray into soccer podcasts may have been The Treble or A Game of Two Halves. While the former continues, the latter has been missing in action for over six months. Until now, that is. A Game Of Two Halves has returned from the ashes with hosts Mark Hesketh and Chris Knowles at the helm once more.

Mexico Stuns Brazil in Another Copa America Shock

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For the second night in a row, there's been a huge upset in Copa America. The opening night it was Peru's emphatic 3-0 win against Uruguay. Tonight, it was an even bigger shock as Mexico annihilated Brazil with a 2-0 win.

I say annihilated because Brazil was hardly in the match. After a lacklustre first half performance, this Brazil side looked nothing like their former self.

Chelsea & Aston Villa U.S. Friendlies on Fox

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This July, Fox Soccer Channel will be broadcasting Chelsea's first friendly of the summer against the Suwon Bluewings on Tuesday, July 17, live at 11pm ET. The match will debut Chelsea's new yellow dayglo away jersey.

Eight days later, you can watch the Toronto FC v Aston Villa friendly on Fox Soccer Channel. The match will be shown live on Wednesday, July 25, beginning at 7pm ET.

Copa America Kicks Off on GolTV

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I had the pleasure yesterday evening to watch the opening match of Copa America as Peru shocked Uruguay 3-0 in a thoroughly entertaining match. The Peruvians were incredibly impressive in all areas of the pitch. And what a magnificent goal by Juan Carlos Marino to make it 2-0 for Peru.
If you watch the above clip from Sky Sports and you watched the same match on GolTV as I did, take notice of the difference in crowd noise.

Deal Between Setanta and DISH Network Imminent

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EPL Talk can exclusively reveal that the deal between Setanta Sports and DISH Network will be completed within weeks according to an unconfirmed source.

Elsewhere there are strong rumors that Setanta Sports will be available in Canada in the very near future. As soon as we hear more news, we'll let you know.

The Madness of Thierry Henry and Thaksin Shinawatra

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This past week, the two names you can't escape are Arsenal's Thierry Henry and soon-to-be conqueror of Manchester City Thaksin Shinawatra. I've purposefully stayed away from writing about them. Why? If you're like me, I'm a bit sick of hearing their names in the news so often, which is why I've waited until now to share my thoughts.

On Monday, Thierry Henry will be unveiled as Barcelona's newest striker.

Bring Back the British Home Championship

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By John Nicholson

It seems likely that a revamped version of the Home Internationals will be revived in a couple of year's time. England will be invited to join Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the end of season tournament but the F.A is likely to turn it down because it thinks England needs to be playing other European friendlies and their place will be taken by Ireland to make a Celtic Cup competition.

$200 Million Buyout of GolTV Falls Through

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The proposed agreement for GolTV to be purchased by SCP Worldwide for $200 million has fallen through, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.

The Business Journal reporter quotes industry sources speculating that the deal fell through because SCP Worldwide, owned by Dave Checketts, "could violate Major League Soccer non-compete rules because SCP, owner of the St.

MLS Clubs Taking Advantage of EPL Fans in States

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If you're planning on going to see Everton play Real Salt Lake on July 21st, be prepared to be disappointed. According to their web site, you won't be able to buy single tickets to the match but will be forced instead to buy tickets to three matches instead.

The trend is becoming more common with MLS clubs as they seem to be trying to take advantage of the popularity of Premier League sides in North America.

How Rupert Murdoch Changed Football: For Better or Worse

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Here's an interesting article you may have missed: How Rupert Murdoch Changed Football. The tycoon launched Sky Sports and changed the history of English football forever. The question is: Did he change it for better or worse?

Meanwhile, at EPL Talk HQ, I'm busy working on a redesign of the EPL Talk site. As we've grown over time, many of the sections of the site (the blog included) look inconsistent with other pages.

Damn The Torpedoes: Two New Soccer Blogs

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The quality of soccer blogs throughout the blogosphere is continuing to increase. The difficult part is finding them.

Two new ones I uncovered and highly recommend are:
  1. Pitch Invasion: It's not just the pretty pictures at Pitch Invasion which make the blog stand apart, although the images definitely do help. Blogger Tom Dunmore creates a 'thinking man's blog' with plenty of appealing and irreverant soccer stories.

List of Pundits at Setanta Continues to Grow

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Pat Dolan (pictured) has decided to continue as a Setanta Sports pundit instead of becoming manager of Derry City, according to BBC Sport. That means that the Setanta Sports crew for next season will feature Dolan, Paul Dempsey, Steve McManaman, Les Ferdinand, Angus Young, Steve Bower and Tim Sherwood (the former Blackburn Rovers player).

Expect a few more acquisitions of talent between now and August 11.

Interview with Peter Hargitay

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The interview with Peter Hargitay, special adviser to FIFA President Sepp Blatter, is now live on the EPL Talk Podcast (episode 71).
Hargitay responds to some of the allegations that Andrew Jennings recently made on an earlier EPL Talk Podcast episode (number 69). Sepp Blatter's special adviser also answers criticism about other FIFA-related topics including the new headquarters, Jack Warner and the 2005 raid on the FIFA offices by Swiss fraud police.

New English Premier League Theme for EPL

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The English Premier League will debut a new anthem to be played before matches and during the "English Premier League Preview" and "English Premier League Review" shows.

That means that the ever-popular track remixed by DJ Judge Jules will be gone, and will be replaced instead by a track from Peter Lawler that, according to a Premier League official, sounds like a cross between The Who and The Lightning Seeds.

Alexi Lalas Criticizes Premier League

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A funny thing happened tonight. I read an article about LA Galaxy President Alexi Lalas's criticism of the Premier League and I started writing a blog post ripping him apart. Then I re-read the same Guardian article and found that I agree with about 90% of what Lalas had to say!

In the piece that will appear in Tuesday's Guardian newspaper in England, Lalas responds to the criticism by the English media regarding Beckham's "move to Hollywood" and how Becks is now going into semi-retirement.

Fox Soccer Channel Bringing Premier League Matches Live to the Internet

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Beginning this August, Fox Soccer Channel will begin broadcasting some Premier League matches live via the Internet at FoxSoccer.com

According to a source at Fox Soccer Channel, the 24/7 soccer network will show a combination of some live matches not airing on the channel and selected matches on short delay. The live Internet feed will not be a simulcast of the channel.

Taking a Break on Father's Day

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Just a quick note to let you know that this week's EPL Talk Podcast interview with Peter Hargitay, special adviser to FIFA President Sepp Blatter, will be delayed slightly. Instead of its release tonight (Sunday), it should be released Monday night. Thanks for your patience.

Frustration With License Rights to Football Commentaries

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The football authorities need to re-evaluate the way that license rights are managed for football matches. Case in point, I was listening to BBC Radio Five Live this week and wanted to hear the live commentary of the England v Italy U-21 international.

After getting excited about the pre-match buildup on the radio, my hopes were dashed when I heard the words that most overseas soccer listeners dread to hear.

Diamonds In The Rough

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It's been a hectic week getting interviews done for the upcoming EPL Talk Podcast. This Sunday, it's an interview with Peter Hargitay (special adviser to FIFA President Sepp Blatter) who has some very interesting things to say about Andrew Jennings. Then, the following Sunday, I'll publish my interview with Mike Ingham, football commentator for BBC Five Live.

Rumor: Everton v Monterrey Friendly on July 29

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EPL Talk has received the following rumor about Everton's second friendly in the U.S. this summer:

The unconfirmed friendly for Everton is against Monterrey (a Mexican team) on the 29th of July in Santa Barbara, California.

If true, the match will be the sixth friendly this summer in the United States featuring a Premier League team (the other teams being Aston Villa and Chelsea).

U-21 Tactics Expose Weaknesses of English Football

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By John Nicholson
Those of us who are still clinging to the wreckage of the 2006/07 season in Europe are all watching the Under21 European tournament in Holland and fascinating watching it's proving to be, especially for England fans.

England has drawn both their games. A tedious 0-0 v Czech Republic and a 2-2 against Italy after being 2-0 up.

Are Brits Shortsighted In Their Disgust for U.S. Soccer Fans?

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Thanks to Brucio from the Du Nord blog for tipping me off about this one. It's a revealing article by Steven Wells from The Guardian who, believe it or not, defends American soccer fans. The title of the article? "Americans Are Soccer-Savvy ...And That Scares Little Englanders."

Personally, what I love about Americans is the way that many of them follow the Premier League as a whole rather than putting blinders on and just following the Premiership team they support.

Everton Announces Preseason Tour of America

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The Toffees are coming to America!

Everton is the third Premier League club to announce preseason friendlies in America. The Merseyside club will play Real Salt Lake on Saturday, July 21, according to the Liverpool Echo newspaper.

Everton also plans on playing one more friendly in the States, which will be announced shortly.

Breaking News: Five Premier League Clubs Named in Bungs Investigation

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This just in: Chelsea, Newcastle, Bolton, Middlesbrough and Portsmouth have been named in the bungs investigation for breaching transfer regulations. More news here.

The case now goes to the Football Association (FA) for further investigation (expect this case to drag on and on).

U.S. Soccer Fans Become Center of Attention

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It's one of the rare times in the year when U.S. soccer takes a front seat. Major League Soccer is in full swing. The U.S. men's national team is battling in the Gold Cup and looking ahead to Copa America, and the nation is talking about Beckham's forthcoming arrival after Spain's La Liga season ends this Sunday.

Closer to home, fellow bloggers and podcasters Kartik and BCJohn have been busy.

Premier League Risks Losing Brand Recognition

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A football story that was overlooked by many in mid-May is how the Premier League officially dropped the usage of the 'Premiership' name and changed the official title of the league to the Barclays Premier League (BPL).
To me, it's a big mistake. While sponsorship is such a huge part of the game nowadays, it shouldn't be included in the official name of the league.

West Ham United's New Home Shirt 07/08

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West Ham United has unveiled its new home shirt for the 07/08 season (pictured). The club has changed kit manufacturers from Reebok to Umbro, and the new shirt is based on the Umbro template which is very similar in design to England, Everton, Rangers and many other clubs adopting the Umbro brand.

The Hammers have also changed sponsors.

Chelsea's New Away 07/08 Shirt Unveiled

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Chelsea has unveiled their new away shirt for the 2007/2008 season, and it's certainly going to a love hate relationship for many Blues fans worldwide.

The new shirt, from Adidas, is yellow day-glow in color but a much softer yellow than I had imagined.

The bright, almost fluorescent, shirt will be worn for the first time this season in the July 17 friendly at the Home Depot Center against LA Galaxy in David Beckham's debut match for the Major League Soccer side.

07/08 Premier League Fixtures: All You Need to Know

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The Premier League has announced the fixtures for the 2007/2008 season, and there's plenty of mouthwatering matches to look forward to.

On opening day, August 11, the most appealing match is Manchester United v Reading. New boys Sunderland will play home against Spurs, while Derby County plays Portsmouth at home, and Birmingham City tackle Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Blackburn Rovers Targeted by American Investors

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Blackburn Rovers is the latest Premier League club to be courted by American investors for a possible takeover.

According to BBC Sport, Rovers is in preliminary discussions with an American investor. In addition to the Lancashire club, Arsenal and Manchester City are targets for American investors, while three Premier League clubs are already owned by American businessmen: Manchester United, Aston Villa and Liverpool.

All You Need to Know About Mobile & Internet Highlights on Fox Soccer Channel

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Fox Soccer Channel and the English Premier League announced on Monday that the U.S. soccer network has acquired the U.S. rights to the mobile and Internet highlights for the next three seasons beginning in August with the 2007/2008 season.

This is a positive step forward for Premier League fans in the United States, especially those who experience the EPL online.

It's Official: Arsenal 07/08 Away Shirt is White

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The long awaited unveiling of Arsenal's controversial new away shirt has happened. As EPL Talk reported a few months ago, it is, in fact, white.

The shirt will be available as of July 5. But, in the meantime, the Arsenal web site has released a wallpaper with an image of the new kit.

The Gunners have also created a special page on its web site focused on the away shirt, which is a tribute to their great manager Herbert Chapman.

Breaking News: Fox Acquires Mobile & Internet Highlights Rights to EPL

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Fox Soccer Channel Acquires Exclusive Mobile and Internet Highlight Rights to Barclays Premier League: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance.

More news/analysis to come later.

New Blogger Joins the EPL Talk Community

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If you enjoy the EPL Talk Blog, be sure to head on over to the EPL Talk Community where we have five active bloggers writing about soccer/football.

The newest addition to the EPL Talk Community bloggers is Justin The Manc who has created a blog named "Across The Pond."

Justin, a North Carolina resident, is the first Man Utd blogger in our ranks.

Interview with Duncan Hamilton

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Duncan Hamilton, the author of a new book about Brian Clough entitled "Provided You Don't Kiss Me: 20 Years With Brian Clough," is featured in episode 70 of the EPL Talk Podcast.

The interview with Hamilton (pictured alongside Brian Clough) focuses on his career as a reporter for the Nottingham Evening Post where he was responsible for writing about the once great Nottingham Forest football club.

English Premier League: All Around The World

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One of the redeeming qualities about the Internet is its ability to provide news from all corners of the globe, which may been missed before unless we had subscriptions to newspapers from India, Vietnam, Thailand and other countries.

For example, here's an article from The India Times about how Nike is trying to surpass Adidas's popularity in India.

The New "Journey"

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A new show is about to emerge.

Interview with Andrew Shue

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This week's episode of the Major League Soccer Talk podcast features an interview with Andrew Shue, the former Melrose Place actor and star of the new movie, Gracie.

Shue is interviewed by Major League Soccer Talk host Kartik Krishnaiyer. They discuss Shue's son who is a Manchester United supporter, as well as delving into the story behind Gracie and Shue's opinions regarding U.

Premier League Clubs Favor China Over United States

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It's already almost the middle of June and the disappointing news for fans of the English Premier League in America is that only two English sides have announced preseason friendly tours to the United States thus far: Chelsea and Aston Villa.

Chelsea will be playing three matches in the States, while Aston Villa - so far - will play just one here (and another one across the border in Canada).

Ronnie Whelan Coming to the States

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If you live in the Dallas area, you'll be interested to know that former Liverpool player Ronnie Whelan will be doing a speaking engagement on June 19.

Whelan, who also played internationally for the Republic of Ireland, will be discussing some of the stories from his memorable career at Anfield. Tickets, which include the price of dinner, are $50 per person.

Premier League Stories You May Have Missed

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Here are some of the stories from around the world about the Premier League that you may have missed:
  • Man United's match in Seoul, Korea on July 20 quickly sold out all 65,000 tickets. Demand was so high that the tickets sold in a matter of hours.
  • Sky has been presenting news in the virtual world of Second Life.
  • Manchester City could become very popular in Thailand beginning next season if Thaksin Shinawatra's proposed takeover of Manchester City goes through.

Setanta Sports Expands its Team of EPL Pundits

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Setanta's team of pundits for the 2007/2008 season is continuing to grow. In the past few months, they announced that Steve McClaren, Angus Young and Steve Bower will join the Irish company.

Now, Setanta has added Les Ferdinand to their ranks and The Guardian is reporting that Emmanuel Petit is in talks with Setanta.
At the same time that all of these deals are happening, current Setanta pundit Pat Dolan -- the rotund colleague of Paul Dempsey who we saw on Setanta this past season -- has been named manager of Derry City, a team in Ireland.

Mickey Mouse League

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Not sure if you caught Alan Mullery on Sky Sports last week, but he called Major League Soccer a "mickey mouse league." While it's far from that, I am in the land of the Mickey Mouse this week, that is Orlando, Florida.

I'll be reporting throughout the week. For those of you looking for the reviews of the new football shirts for the Premiership clubs (as mentioned in this week's EPL Talk Podcast episode with Andrew Jennings), I'll add those as soon as I get a chance this week.

The Politics of Football: Sheffield United & Premier League

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Is it a coincidence that the Premier League was scheduled to announce the fixtures for the 2007/2008 season on June 21st, but has now moved the date back to June 14th?

Could it be because the arbitration hearing between Sheffield United and the Premier League is scheduled for June 18 and 19?

The arbitration hearing into Sheffield United's case should be of interest to all fans of Premier League teams.

Ten Percent of Soccer Fans Watch EPL Illegally

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The final results have been tabulated for the latest EPL Talk poll and one of the answers is quite surprising. When asked "where do you primarily watch Premiership matches," 80% of the respondents answered "at home," but surprisingly, 10% voted "online via P2P."

This may not be surprising to many of you. P2P (peer to peer) applications allow you to watch matches (and share files) online.

Chelsea Introduce Two Versions of their Web Site

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In November 2006, Chelsea launched a brand-new redesign of their web site in conjunction with Premium TV. Some of you may remember that I was the only US-based reporter at the press conference and I brought back interviews and photographs from the press conference.

Well, Chelsea has now announced that they've made some significant changes to that redesigned web site.

Chelsea to Unveil New Away Shirt in Los Angeles

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Chelsea has announced that they'll unveil their new 2007/2008 away shirt during their July 17 friendly against the Suwon Bluewings in Los Angeles.

The new Chelsea shirt (pictured) is supposed to be a flourescent green/yellow color from kit manufacturer Adidas.

More details about the 07/08 Chelsea away shirt can be found here.

Beckham Glosses Over An Uninspired England Performance (Again)

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By John Nicholson

And so another England game is consigned to the history books. It is a sign of just how little is expected of England that this morning, the press is writing up this performance as 'reinvigorating.' Indeed, much of the press coverage seems to see it as a return to some sort of form.

This is pure delusion.

Interviews with US Players Plying Their Trade in England

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I just found out that today's episode of The 2 G's radio show (Friday, June 1st, Noon ET) will feature exclusive interviews with many of the US stars who play in the Premiership.

The interviews were conducted by Peter Brown with Tim Howard (Everton), Carlos Bocanegra(Fulham) and Jonathan Spector (West Ham United).

The Tim Howard interview, especially, will be very revealing.

Welcome to the Major League Soccer Talk Podcast

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For those of you who subscribe to the EPL Talk Podcast feed from iTunes (give yourselves a pat on the back!), you'll have discovered a surprise this week with the first episode of the Major League Soccer Podcast.

Hosted by Kartik Krishnaiyer, the podcast aims to cover the MLS just as well as the EPL Talk Podcast covers the English Premier League.

Chelsea Loses Pace Behind Man Utd in Transfer Race

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In the back of my mind, I keep hearing the words "Never underestimate Chelsea." But unless the Blues make some significant signings this summer, their 2007/2008 season could be dead and buried before Christmas.

If Manchester United continue to make more signings similar to the talent they're purchased in Anderson, Nani and Hargreaves -- and if Liverpool secures some major transfer signings, especially in attack -- Chelsea will be left behind.