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The 2 Robbies podcast: Dutch League voids season, questions loom for other European Leagues

The 2 Robbies podcast: Dutch League voids season, questions loom for other European Leagues

Against the backdrop of the German and Spanish top divisions of football, the Bundesilga and La Liga respectively, laying out plans to return to play in the not-so-distant future, the Dutch Football Association’s (KNVB) decision to void the season in their top division Eredivisie stands in stark contrast. 

 The KNVB had initially planned to resume the top two divisions of Dutch soccer on June 19, but a three-month extension of a government ban on events until September 1 put those ideas on hold. 

On the latest episode of the 2 Robbies podcast, Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle dive into the latest on the developing situation in the Eredivisie and what it might mean for the rest of the top European soccer leagues.  

The complications from the decision by the Dutch Football Association are enumerable - from promotion and relegation to the places in European competition - but as the FA said in a statement: “It will be crystal clear to everyone involved, from supporters and players to directors and referees, that public health always comes first.” 

The KNVB’s decision to void the season means there is no title for league leaders Ajax, but the Dutch FA did lay out its recommendations for the league’s places in European competitions next season, which are subject to UEFA approval.  

Second place AZ Alkmaar, who are level with Ajax on points but sit behind thanks to a lesser goal differential, released a statement noting that they are exploring their options, especially as it relates to their Champions League place, and expressed disappointment with the judgement by the FA to void the season. 

Mustoe summed up the whole situation quite well: “Just to nullify the season, and void it, that is the last thing, isn’t it, that anyone wants.” 

Apart from the news of the day, Mustoe and Earle continued their breakdown of the Premier League with teams No. 5-7 in the current standings: Manchester United, Wolves and Sheffield United. 

Manchester United 

The conversation about the Red Devils started with what to do with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. A club legend as a player who is now in his first Premier League managerial role, Solskjaer has turned around a slow start for the club to begin the season and orchestrated an 11-game unbeaten run across all competitions that was still intact when the season paused.  

The debate centers around whether former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino would be able to do a better job with United than Solskjaer is currently doing. 

“In terms of coaching, I would say there is a bit of distance,” Earle noted about the differences between Solskjaer and Pochettino. “Experience, coaching, development, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has slightly changed opinion, he’s earned the right now to be given the chance.  

While agreeing with the premise of Earle’s argument, Mustoe points out that a decision might have to come soon – or there won’t be a choice to make at all.  

“It’s now or never” for United to bring in Pochettino, who will surely get another job this summer if Solskjaer is still at the helm at Old Trafford. 

As for the squad itself, Mustoe and Earle have some ideas to bring the once-dominant United back to the top of the Premier League table. There were some disagreements between the two, especially in the midfield where Mustoe thinks it might be time to move on from Paul Pogba and cash in while you can.  

Earle thinks Pogba still has the game-changing ability that will take United back to where they used to live when Sir Alex Ferguson was manning the touchlines. However, when Mustoe floated the potential of bringing someone like Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish aboard, Earle jumped on it.  

“Sometimes you’ve got to put people in the environment, Rob, and find out about them,” Earle said. “We don’t really know, but I get the sense that the better the environment, the better Jack Grealish becomes.” 

Despite the ideas about changes for the future, both Mustoe and Earle feel United are likely to just miss out on a top-4 finish (and a Champions League place) if the season were to resume. One caveat: Rival Manchester City's appeal of a two-year Champions' League ban remains up in the air due to the coronavirus pandemic. If City's punishment is upheld that could change Man U's fortunes dramatically. They'd be next in line for a spot.  

Wolves 

As Earle and Mustoe continued down the table to Wolves, they were both very complimentary of manager Nuno Espírito Santo. Earle noted that despite all the games Wolverhampton have played this season across competitions, with a smaller-budget squad than many of his competitors, Espírito Santo has not complained once about the number of games or injuries.  

“When you have a manager like that, when you have a mentality like that, it goes through to the players, it goes through to the fans,” Earle said. “And Nuno is the kind of manager, if he continues to do what he does, any top-6 team that comes up, his name is going to be part of the conversation.” 

Mustoe seconded the praise of Espírito Santo, but also noted another reason for the club’s success: Recruitment.  

“I’ll say it for as long as I’m breathing, recruitment is the number one thing for a football club,” Mustoe mentioned when describing the role that super-agent Jorge Mendes has had in bringing promising, young Portuguese players to Wolves.  

To that end, both Mustoe and Earle do not see many changes needed to the club in the transfer window.  

“Wolves have got a current squad, at the moment, that are absolutely perfect for what they need and what they would want,” Mustoe said.  

Sheffield United 

Earle started the conversation on the newly-promoted Blades by looking back to what he was thinking at the beginning of the season. He didn’t think much of them at the time. That’s all changed now.  

“A journeyman manager [with] journeyman players…when I saw that combination, I’m thinking this could be a tough first year,” Earle said. “Just staying up is brilliant and then start to build, but it’s been more than that.” 

Sitting in seventh place on 43 points when the season paused, Sheffield have been a pleasant surprise in the Premier League this season and the Robbies were both quick to point out that this side does not need much over the summer to be able to replicate this success next season.  

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Officials say RFK site not an option for Redskins unless team changes name

Officials say RFK site not an option for Redskins unless team changes name

As the Redskins search for a new football home in the future, the RFK Stadium site is one that is at the top of the list. However, unless the team is willing to change its name, the area becoming their new field is a non-starter, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday

Speaking with several government officials, a similar message was shared throughout. The federally owned land will not be given to the franchise if the name remains what it is today.

“I call on Dan Snyder once again to face that reality, since he does still desperately want to be in the nation’s capital,” D.C.'s nonvoting delegate to the House of Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) said. “He has got a problem he can’t get around -- and he particularly can’t get around it today, after the George Floyd killing.”

“There is no viable path, locally or federally, for the Washington football team to return to Washington, D.C., without first changing the team name," D.C. Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio said.

Washington's name has been a topic of debate for years but has recently received major pushback over the past month as the nation yearns for racial justice following the murder of George Floyd.

It was also reported on Wednesday that investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion have asked Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to terminate their business relationships with the Washington Redskins unless the team agrees to change its name.

The Redskins have expressed interest in playing on the grounds of RFK after a bill was introduced in 2019 calling for the federal government to sell the area to the city. However, the bill won't pass through Congress unless the land is used for the team under a different name. U.S. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, referred to the current name as a "racist nickname."

RELATED ARTICLE: RON RIVERA MAKES FIRST PUBLIC COMMENTS REGARDING REDSKINS' NAME

Redskins owner Dan Snyder has stated in the past that he is not open to a name change, as he considers it to be an act of honor toward Native Americans. 

Washington currently plays its games at FedEx Fied in Landover, Md. Both sides would like to see the team return to the District, but for as long as they are called the Redskins, it won't happen.

“The time has ended,” Grijalva said. “There is no way to justify it. You either step into this century or you don’t. It’s up to the owner of the team to do that.”

“The city obviously would like the team back,” Norton said. “But it’s important that [Falcicchio] used the word ‘federally’ -- meaning that they now recognize that there is no hope unless this name is changed.”

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Jeff Bostic shares hilarious story of Joe Bugel blaming him for a missed block that wasn't his doing

Jeff Bostic shares hilarious story of Joe Bugel blaming him for a missed block that wasn't his doing

Former Redskins coach Joe Bugel, who died on Sunday at the age of 80, impacted numerous players throughout his time in the NFL. Specifically, from 1981-89 he helped members of  "The Hogs" offensive line in Washington become one of the greatest units ever assembled.

However, for as much as Bugel loved his players and his players loved him back, the two sides were prone to some arguments. Bugel's fiery passion for the game led to some outbursts that no one was immune to. From Joe Gibbs to Russ Grimm, plenty got an earful.

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That includes former Redskins offensive lineman Jeff Bostic, who was alongside Bugel during his nine seasons in Washington. On the latest Redskins Inside Look, Bostic joined former Redskins teammate and legendary running back John Riggins to share one of his most memorable stories of Bugel.

It all started when Mark May, another member of the offensive line, didn't want to hear Bugel yell at him.

“You know the biggest whiner in Redskins history is Mark May. He had missed the block and Buges was on the staff," Bostic said. "Well, May is over there telling him I missed the block."

So, with that information to go off of, Bugel prepared to shame Bostic for the failed play. As Bostic jogged to the sideline following a field goal attempt, he couldn't understand why his name was being called.

“I’m coming off the field and I hear Buges yelling ‘He kicked your a--.’ And I’m like ‘who is he talking to?’" Bostic said. "And then he said it again. I said ‘who are you talking to?' He said, 'I’m talking to you.'”

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That led to Bostic showing his frustrations and sending his helmet hurdling through the air.

“I unbuttoned my helmet and threw it at him from about 15 yards away," Bostic said. "And I just left my helmet and went over and sat on the bench.”

Following the heated back-and-forth, Bugel quickly displayed the other side of his personality -- the one that cared for his players and just wanted to see them succeed. Heading over to Bostic, he wanted him to know there were no hard feelings, it was just the emotion of football getting the best of him.

"He said, ‘Hey horse you know I love you.'”

Because Bostic -- like so many other Redskins -- had a deep love and respect for Bugel, it was easy for him to take the apology and move on. However, he did want his coach to know that all the yelling was actually done for no reason because he was not the one to blame.

"I said 'You got a strange way of showing love. What you’re gonna do is when you watch the film tomorrow you’re gonna owe me an apology,'" Bostic said.

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