Beyond The Pitch

Beyond The Pitch


Now We’re Talking Football: A fresh perspective on the World’s only Beautiful Game. Beyond The Pitch is a new and creative endeavor that has dedicated itself to the global game from numerous points of view, featuring expert opinion and debate to offer their unique perspectives.


One World Sports: The Summer Madness Tour  

Just as the new domestic club season appears in the road ahead, we set the transition course from a summer tournament that disappointed many, straight into the ongoing saga of Paul Pogba and even explore the change at the top of the England National Team as Big Sam enters the frame. International commentator Tim Caple joins the show to take on these topics and also take a look at the big two clubs in the Bundesliga who are once again exchanging ideas in the transfer market while one of these club is clearly reloading with new names and bright young prospects. This is where we examine all the disappointment with EURO2016 and whether the expanded field of nations was in need of a change from group stages to something more dynamic, if the top players are being underserved in the summer after long club seasons, and exactly how exciting have past competitions been of late. We also take the same hard look at what is the real value of Paul Pogba and what this saga really does represent, and then it is off to the Bundesliga where Mario Gotze seems to be left with one road back to home.

BTP Premium: Transfer Season Checkpoints  

With less than 30 days away from the start of the 2016-17 Premier League season, Anto and Phil jump on the line to take a look at a key juncture of the off-season to calculate which of the top clubs of a season ago have made the best moves, who needs to get into gear and also weigh in on some top transfers that could alter the balance. We explore the ongoing saga for Paul Pogba to make a bold statement there, the impact of Antonio Conte at Chelsea as he looks to shore up the toughness of the spine with the arrival of NGolo Kante and some defensive help in the coming days, along with some other under the radar moves that could prove to be big moves during the context of a long and rugged campaign. Also in focus is the exodus of key players from Leicester City, some interesting arrivals at West Ham and the ongoing difficulty for Arsenal to land a key striker. We also gauge the ongoing jigsaw puzzle between the Premier League and Serie A where Juventus continues to land crushing blows in the market, and a phony war link to Gonzalo Higuain that has some big clubs in England considering what to do next for the Argentina hit man. A ton gets covered in this episode, including an early curtain call for who is winning the offseason in England, and why Manchester United should be feared again already.

BTP Premium: Triumph, Tours and Transfers  

Since the end of EURO2016 much has been said about the quality on the pitch and perhaps even more about how few goals have been scored, but for Anto and Phil the competition itself revealed so much more about the sport, where it's headed and told us even more about one of its reigning superstars who has now matched his club exploits with a trophy that will distinguish him among the greats. Make no mistake about it, when we look back at this tournament we will remember Cristiano Ronaldo declaring it the highlight of his career, but we will also remember Iceland, Wales and several other stories that should not be forgotten and perhaps heed the warning that our players are being pushed well past the brink of what we should expect from them. Then in segment two (at 16:10) Liverpool legend and club ambassador Gary McAllister makes an appearance to give us a look at the Reds in the offseason and what to expect as Jurgen Klopp leads his team to the United States for a summer tour. We discuss some new arrivals, a couple of the young players to watch out for and Gary takes us back to that special season in 2000-01 when he was the architect of some brilliant moments at Anfield. In segment three, Anto and Phil take on some transfer news and analysis and begin to weigh the impact of how China is beginning to make supporters and pundits nervous with the billions in spending, leaving them unsure about the future. How this begins to shape the sport is still unknown, but it will have an impact on how fans watch and interact with the game and it is no way slowing down.

BTP Premium: EURO Finale and The Pogba Obsession  

One last match to go to determine a champion of Europe, cast against a new backdrop of one superstar chasing international glory at last and another who stands to match the opportunity to his hype as Portugal looks to unseat host nation France. Anto and Phil take a look at how France and Portugal find themselves in the final encounter, what failed Germany at the semi-final stage once again and whether Manchester United is suffering from a Paul Pogba obsession as a summer of big names moving to Old Trafford has sparked a transfer battle for the talented French midfielder. We also look at whether the World Cup should expand its field in light of how a number of smaller national teams fared at EURO2016, and some early deals in the Premier League that reveal true value in the summer marketplace.

One World Sports: Value Deals and Transfer Trends  

With the first official deals now in place as the transfer window begins, once again we dig deeper into the many of the trends, possible moves and clubs with a real sense of urgency as a market shaped by external factors could begin to take some important turns amidst unexpected issues which could surface this summer. No sector or league will not feel the pinch of volatile currency issues in the wake of Brexit, new Chinese money entering the transfer system like never before and the impact of a Premier League TV deal filled with riches that could prove to have just as many unexpected consequences. Joining Anto for another whirlwind round of transfer news and analysis is David Amoyal from Gianluca and ESPN FC as we gauge some of the top early deals that have been made, some questionable ones as well, and how several clubs seem to be lining up their business in what seems quite unpredictable given the number of moves made this off-season by some big reputation managers who must hit the ground running. As usual, the biggest of the clubs in Europe are off to the fastest start, while some clubs with new money are suddenly hitting the trail with a new sense of purpose and tenacity. Some important dominos appear to be waiting until EURO2016 is complete, but that does not suggest that some key moves in Manchester are already forcing the issue throughout football as first team players return to their clubs for preseason.

BTP Premium: The Copa Effect  

Ever since the US National Team fulfilled its target of a semi-final result at Copa Centenario, the heat surrounding its complex manager Jurgen Klinsmann has been turned down to a simmer as the next stage soon returns back to World Cup qualification. However, that does not mean that rampant speculation about his future has not subsided. In fact, it does appear that this part of the tale has some consideration to be flushed out as links to the England national team job may suggest an uneasiness or a level of raw preparation for what may come next for Klinsmann himself. Joining Anto to discuss the upcoming challenges for the US team now fully focused on the 2018 World Cup cycle and the speculative ramifications is ESPN FC football correspondent Jeff Carlisle as we examine some of the positional concerns and then the real political implication for a national team manager and technical director surrounded by divided interests and a figure largely left to defend for himself in an uncertain loop with Sunil Gulati likely taking up a more critical and harsher tone with Jurgen Klinsmann as his second four year mandate leads to some uncomfortable questions.

BTP Premium: EURO2016 Jackpots and Long Shots  

Anto and Phil take another look at the checkpoint stories from a surprising quarterfinal round that truly illustrates the key facets to EURO2016 where some of the favorites finally fell, more appear to be destined for failure and whether Germany-Italy will turn into the heavyweight scrum most believe it will be. We also look again back at England-Iceland as the upstarts are set to match destinies with the host nation France. How unexpected should this upset really be viewed given the nature of England football history since 1966. We explore how Antonio Conte shaped his Italy team, whether Chelsea fans have unrealistic expectations from his summer performance and whether Wayne Rooney should be looking for greener pastures including the Far East, where a mega-offer now appears in the cards from China.

BTP Premium: Tournament Clashes and Transfers  

In this segment Anto and Phil are joined by Gab Marcotti to take a look at the quarterfinal field in advance of the big clash between Germany-Italy as well as weighing in on a couple of big transfer targets that signal a huge turn for Manchester United as Jose Mourinho has secured Zlatan Ibrahimovic and apparently Henrikh Mkhitaryan. We also examine how many of the strikers who have performed for their clubs have failed to show up in EURO2016 to date, how fear might be tempering some managers as we progress through the knockout rounds and why this tournament has been more successful for taking on more teams and adding intrigue into what surely is a more competitive field beyond the few favorites left to challenge for the title. In closing we examine the changing fortunes for Milanese football where questions do remain regarding the AC Milan takeover, yet seem more grounded for Inter and its new partner from the Far East, to determine if this is a point from which these two Serie A giants can now modernize and develop with new cash from wealthy Chinese companies and business interests.

One World Sports: Copa Calamity and England Erased  

A very significant week in world football as disappointing milestones and remarkable results mark the landscape from two tournaments where a champion was confirmed and continued upsets and miscalculations continue to demonstrate how EURO2016 has defied expectations and thrown up some huge surprises that are sending shockwaves back to some prominent football federations. Joining Anto for this episode is broadcaster and pundit Janusz Michallik to consider the damage done to England by an Iceland team which delivered a shattering and historic blow to its reputation, an Italian team which continues to defy the odds with a sum better than the parts performance against two time defending champions Spain, and how Copa Centenario has thrown up a cruel and bitter blow to Argentina, which has now lost three finals in consecutive years and will have to go forward without its most important player in Lionel Messi who also served up his walking papers in its aftermath. We also discuss the progress of the US National Team in this episode and really dig deep for some trends and observations found in the Euros and consider if Italy with one more important scalp becomes a near impossible force in this tournament.

BTP Premium: Wasted Chances in Full Bloom  

As both summer tournaments continue into the single elimination rounds, Anto and Phil take on the matter of what is wrong with England and why the goals have dried up so much in EURO2016 as many of the top 20 target-men are misfiring or are simply not there in France, while in Copa Centenario the marquee names have largely delivered with at least a goal per game more. Joining for a brief appearance from France is Miquel Delaney from ESPN FC to answer to that big question and more - are the top strikers tired, off form or is the style and manager decisions leading to this performance. Wales and Gareth Bale continue to defy this trend with consistency, however the matches are tight and do not lack the talking points. Has Belgium slid back into contender status, can the French sort themselves out in time and have Spain and Italy with their unique systems suddenly overtaken the Germans who continue to struggle in the final third.

BTP Premium: Takeovers and Tournament Selections  

As world football is rightfully distracted by Copa Centenario and EURO2016 big news continues to emerge from the Far East as selection events for the AFC Champions League, World Cup Qualification and new takeovers of European clubs continues with China as a big factor in each of these events. Joining Anto for a look into all these matters is Asian football correspondent John Duerden to examine the remaining field with some new players and stalwarts in the annual continental club tournament who could take control of what appears to be a wild open chase to resume this summer, a first take look at World Cup qualification where the favorites are clearly divided yet set up a ferocious battle for one playoff slot, and then we take a deeper dive into the ongoing takeover of Milanese football by new and emerging giants inside China. John Duerden gives us the view from Kuala Lumpur where both draws were held, and we consider the longer term view of what two Milan clubs could mean to China and what Serie A will need to do to expand its reach back into the Far East.

BTP Premium: Brexit Sized Problems in Britain  

In the days leading to a very important and hugely polarizing referendum in the UK, Anto is joined by Daniel Geey of Sheridans of London to consider some key ramifications of leaving the European Union for English football and the Premier League, in particular. Work Permits, Quotas, Free Movement of Goods and Services are just some of the topics discussed in this episode as other significant impacts in terms of player allocation and youth player recruitment are also evaluated as well. How will domestic competitions such as the FA Cup and League Cup be handled as well, given unintended outcomes in an evolving relationship between local governing bodies and the league entities themselves would likely emerge. One of the fundamental pillars of the current EU Treaty framework prohibits discrimination on the grounds of nationality. Should Brexit come to pass, many believe that discriminating against non-UK nationals through nationality quotas, as one example, could be imposed to promote the national team thus exposing more English players to top level football.

BTP Premium: Fear and Loathing for Infantino  

As two continental tournaments continue to provide further cover for some early yet disturbing days at FIFA, there are a number of ongoing questions surrounding the new president both in terms of actual messaging and first round decisions that may have become instantly problematic had the ethics layer not been dismantled by the president himself in the aftermath of his election in February. Joining Anto is David Larkin of ChangeFIFA to examine where FIFA really is in terms of its evolution from the days of Sepp Blatter to consider whether the organization has taken big steps backward both in terms of audit and compliance, but also in practice too. Much of the discussion involves internal politics, too, but riding beneath those concerns are real questions that have to be fully considered in the areas of credibility and integrity against an ongoing landscape of ongoing investigations and allegations that evidence may have been compromised with respect to tapes that were recording key meetings. We also explore the grand prize at stake and what seems to have been the catalyst for all the problems in the first place: who will control the media rights kingdom at FIFA, which represents tens of billions as the rest of the world is being connected into this new kingdom where the one to one relationship between media rights, commercialization and marketing potential from big data companies like Google, Amazon and Netflix will hyperinflate the earning potential for live action sport in the future. Who will be the next generation of key stakeholder at FIFA to now support this vision for the future too, will new allies emerge from convenience and does the new General Secretary suggest a move toward the UN as yet another curious marriage of convenience as more questions come to the surface around how Jack Warner was forced from office.

Jovan Kirovski on Galaxy Youth, Pulisic and The Future  

As Copa Centenario continues to prove to be a positive experience for the US National Team, Anto and Phil are joined by LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski to assess how the tournament is progressing along with a number of technical matters including how the league is evolving and where the future lies within a Galaxy system already delivering young players to its first team. We also explore how technical directors in America view the Far East, the emergence of Christian Pulisic at Borussia Dortmund and how the Bundesliga can serve as a model for how to bring academy players to the first team. Along similar lines we examine the always evolving role of designated players in the league and how the Galaxy hopes to approach the future as investments in infrastructure are beginning to reveal a new class of young player to the organization.

BTP Premium: Early Transfer Market Splashdown  

Already some important first shots have been fired in the transfer market from both Bayern Munich and Juventus where some important names have now been moved for substantial fees, but surely have further ramifications as new money, new managers and big new projects are soon to envelope the back pages this summer. Joining Anto for a first look at the Italian market which often shapes the higher end moves and the after market moves late in the summer is David Amoyal of to examine the fates for a number of clubs and deals including the likes of Pogba, Morata, Icardi, Vasquez, Higuain, Brozovic, young Italian strikers, two Milanese giants who suddenly could become players with new cash from the Far East, and the sudden and unexpected arrival of Marcelo Bielsa at Lazio who is sure to alter the roster there as well. How does a vast TV deal in the Premier League define this market, how will Roma and Napoli respond as they face Champions League challenges and what next for those two clubs in Milan who are in a pitched battle to return to Europe.

Ray Wilkins on England, Conte and Sale of AC Milan  

Now that the first round of group stage matches have been completed in France, Anto and Phil are joined by former player, manager and now pundit Ray Wilkins to weigh in on the matter of what next for England, Wales and a number of important topics across European football. We explore the matter of Belgium and Marc Wilmots after a stunning loss to Italy, the arrival of Antonio Conte at Chelsea later this summer and ask the question about why England continues to struggle to meet expectations once the pressure gets added in finals competitions. Ray also gives his take on the timing of the sale of AC Milan, nearly 30 years after Silvio Berlusconi ended his time at the football club and set the stage for one of the great eras in the sport starting in 1986. We also explore the violence that marred the first round matches and take a look at how the smaller national teams are finding a way forward in EURO2016 as transitions and the counter attacking game seem to be the blueprint for close games, late heroics from unexpected players and why this formula is working so well early on.

Summer Moves and Early Euro Returns  

Joining Anto and Phil is former Manchester United, Chelsea and Aston Villa goalkeeper Mark Bosnich from Australia to give us his take on a variety of early summer returns both in terms of the Premier League and first glance perceptions of the field competing at EURO2016 as the group stage is now underway. We examine the groups for a couple of potential upstarts and surprise packages, who exactly are the favorites and even dig into who could be the dark horses based on early performances. We also take a look at the early summer moves for a number of big clubs in the Premier League with respect to expectations.

Early Transfer Takes and England Questions at EURO2016  

Heading into a weekend when EURO2016 begins its grip on summer football, former Manchester United and Stoke City defender Danny Higginbotham joins Anto and Phil for a couple of important early transfer stories that show some first indications of where a number of big clubs in the Premier League could be headed in an off-season ripe with TV revenue and new managers seeking to restock and rebuild. We explore where the move for Jamie Vardy at Arsenal could signal a degree of evolution in the approach for Arsene Wenger, whether Zlatan Ibramhimovic landing at Old Trafford is a signal that Jose Mourinho is seeking out a big personality to shake up the chemistry for Manchester United, and how two new midfielders at Arsenal and Manchester City from the Bundesliga is about to signal a deeper trend during the summer transfer window. Of course, we also take a moment to reflect on the start of EURO2016 for England as Roy Hodgson still has a couple of significant questions to answer in his lineup and approach and whether there is signs for real optimism for this young team heading to France.

Richard Keys on EURO2016, Mourinho and Sepp Blatter  

Joining Anto and Phil for a quick series of takes into several major topics of the day is BeIN Sports Senior Football Anchor Richard Keys as we are now just days away from the start of EURO2016 featuring a number of talking points for England, security warnings for the tournament and what lurks ahead in a transfer window destined to be shaped by some big names in the Premier League. We also get his perspective on the always controversial figure that is Sepp Blatter, who he recently interviewed for the network, both in terms of his lasting impressions from the FIFA president now deposed and how he likely will be remembered which is often shaped by two very different opinions in world football. However, we also tackle the x-factor for these European Championships as it relates to security concerns that are evolving and take a quick glance at the Premier League field to determine who has the most work to do this offseason.

One World Sports: New Boss Like the Old Boss  

The summer shows no signs of relief for world football as a tournament and more FIFA nonsense dusts up in the aftermath of the Champions League final, and the implications could be massive as details emerge on yet another potential scandal tied to Sepp Blatter over compensation and preparations continue for both EURO2016 and a transfer window already shaping up to be a serious blockbuster in scope. Joining Anto is regular co-host Phil Brown to take on a number of emerging storylines in football and then in segment two Simon Evans from The Washington Post returns from the City of Milan to take on the matter of reorganizing the Champions League format and what is driving it, more trouble inside FIFA for both its new president and a culture that has continued to resist the very transparency and reforms that its presidential candidates once promised. Anto takes on the matter of Jurgen Klinsmann and the power of expectations and Phil gives his take on what Manchester United might do in the market and how this may just be a European summer tournament for surprises as each of the favorites has yet to reveal something special in advance of the competition to date.

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