T-Shirts Show That English Soccer Won’t Tolerate Racism

On Thursday, October 18, England’s Kick It Out began a “week of action,” asking Premier League players to support their fight against racism in soccer. Those participating will put on Kick It Out t-shirts before soccer matches so that more people will get a chance to see the group’s message and understand that racism will not be tolerated.

Several teams united behind the campaign, including Arsenal and United, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in particular praising the attempts by the English soccer league office to fight against racism.

A native of France who has managed Arsenal since 1996, Wenger admitted that it isn’t an easy problem to solve, but gave credit for the FA’s “consistent behavior to fight [racism] every year” and their unwillingness to let even big-name players display racist behaviors without facing severe repercussions. “There are some countries,” he said, “where they don’t do [anything],” but in England “they tackle the problem. They don’t hide behind it.”

Of course, it would be nearly impossible to hide after the events of the past year in English soccer, which saw several racist incidents occur that involved well-respected players and got a lot of public interest.

Manchester United’s Patrice Evra had racial slurs directed at him by Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, leading to the latter’s eight-game ban. Serbian fans recently abused England’s Danny Rose at an under-21 international. And then there is the matter of Chelsea’s John Terry.

Last October, the 31-year-old team captain allegedly hurled racial epithets at Anton Ferdinand of the Queens Park Rangers during a league match. The whole thing snowballed to become the most high-profile incident of racism in the game over the past year with both a criminal case and an investigation by the league.

Terry consistently denied the allegations, and was cleared of criminal charges, but admitted to using a racial slur in response to Ferdinand’s accusations.

There was such a firestorm of activity surrounding him that in September he retired from the England national team, saying his position had been made “untenable” by the FA. He did, however, keep his position with Chelsea, and just recently he was given a four-game ban and fined 220,000 pounds ($353,000), which he decided not to contest.

Despite this, Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo allowed Terry to stay on as team captain. Moreover, his suspension only affects domestic games, so he’ll be able to play in Champions League matches while still technically being punished.

Partially due to seeming inconsistencies like that, a number of players declined to wear the Kick It Out t-shirts in protest - including Anton Ferdinand, his older brother Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United, and Reading’s Jason Roberts.

Roberts specifically released a statement saying that he won’t take part because he doesn’t believe the group has done enough to punish racist behavior. The refusal is particularly damning coming from Roberts, who has always been vocal about speaking out against racism.

Some managers expressed frustration with their players, with Manchester’s Alex Ferguson even suggesting Rio Ferdinand might be disciplined. But the chairman of the Pro Footballer’s Association - the organization that partially funds Kick It Out - defended the players’ right to free speech, although he said that he thinks “joining in with the campaign is the best way forward.”

On this he agrees with Ferguson, who said that “everyone should be united,” and he doesn’t think that speaking out against a group working to improve race relations is the way to go.


About the author: Earl Reidlen has covered the sports industry for many years and has developed a wealth of knowledge over those years. When he isn’t writing, you can find Earl covering M.Putterman, a tennis windscreen supplier.

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The Football Betting Guide

There’s nothing quite like the excitement of laying a bet on the football on a Saturday afternoon to really get your adrenaline pumping.

A few small bets here and there can turn a game you may have had little interest in into one of the games of the season but where to start? Football is a notoriously unpredictable game with surprise results coming every week. Here’s our guide to the fundamentals, to get you started:


Do your homework

Picking out a team from the match day schedule can be a tricky business. All you have, until you do your homework, is a name. What do we mean by ‘homework’? Well, a team’s form is crucial in making your betting decision, so you should be asking yourself questions like; ‘what was their last game like? Did they win?’; ‘who scored and how many?’

By asking yourself questions like this, you’ll be able to work out the ‘in-form’ teams of the moment. Conversely, you’ll be able to work out the weakest selections in the league and bet against them.


What bet works best for you?

Defining what you want out of your bet is a good place to start. The most obvious factors are how much you’re willing to stake as well as how much you’d like to win- after all, putting ten pounds on a thousand to one bet may sound tempting but you’re more likely to lose that ten pounds than make ten thousand.

Online gaming websites often have an instant bet calculator which shows you exactly how much you’re likely to win from your proposed bets and here are two types of bet to consider laying:



Instead of betting a large amount on one fixture, betting on an accumulator is a great way to increase your odds at the same time as decreasing your stake. On any given day there are likely to be large favourites to win, so by putting a bet on more than one result you can massively increase your potential pay out.

Look for teams called ‘bankers’, these usually consist of three or four favourites which are there to ‘bulk out’ your accumulator- adding riskier teams at the end will increase your potential pay out further.

Of course, if you’re looking for something a little more skilful that doesn’t rely completely on others’ luck then try a few hands of poker but remembering first to read a decent poker blog.



Perhaps one of the more challenging bets to lay, the scorecast can simply be described as picking the correct final score. If you’ve done your homework as described above, you’ll quickly see how many goals a team is likely to score in a given match and how many another are likely to let in.

Of course, this is sometimes a lot easier said than done as football results vary massively- so you may not be correct in your prediction but you may have the comfort of an excellent afternoon’s football.

Adding the first or last goalscorer to your scorecast is a sure-fire way of massively increasing your odds- and if your team tends to rely on a single striker for their goals, it may not be a bad addition to your bet.


Jack Linsel is a freelance copy writer in London. He enjoys writing about football, sports and exercise.

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Match Preview: Manchester United vs Real Madrid (Part 2)

The return leg of the massively anticipated battle between two of the World’s most appreciated and successful clubs goes down tonight at the Theatre of Dreams. With the tie in the balance at 1-1, the war is expected to be keenly contested and excellently played out.

Visitors, Real Madrid have been unbelievable in the past week, comprehensively beating fierce Clasico rivals, Barcelona in two consecutive matches. Mourinho would have taken 1 win, 1 loss but his boys had other ideas and he himself was the master strategist. The Portuguese genius took his boys to the Nou Camp seven days ago and returned with a 3-1 defeat of Barcelona, sending them packing out of the Copa Del Rey in the semis and setting up a mouthwatering Capital derby final meeting with Atletico Madrid. He did not end there.

Back at the Bernabeu for the League match, Jose rested 7 of the players who made him proud in Catalonia and brought in the likes of Castilla campaigner, Alvaro Morata and co. The soldiers were different, but victory was attained. Five of the regular starters remained on the sidelines with the exception of Angel Di Maria who was suspended for the game. The match ended 2-1 in favour of Real and it condemned the Blaugrana to their second defeat in about 67 hours to their great rivals.

The Merengues also became only the 2nd team in the history of football to defeat Barcelona in the space of approximately four days since its formation. The win at Camp Nou was also significant. It was the first time in 10 months that they lost on their home turf, although the last time was also to Madrid in April of last year. In his press conference yesterday, Jose stated that his team would have been just as motivated to come to Manchester and win outright even if they had lost both games v Barcelona. That man.

Premier League leaders, Manchester United welcomed Norwich to Old Trafford on Saturday evening. The result was a battering for the Canaries who were soundly beaten 4-0. The spanking was sweet revenge meted out on a Norwich side that accounted for the red devils last defeat in the EPL till date.

Japanese star, Shinji Kagawa came through, scoring a spectacular hat-trick to cap a fine day for Fergie’s men. Wayne Rooney also scored a beauty at the end. After leaving Bradley Johnson for dead, he sent a screamer from all of 20 yards to leave the opposition keeper gasping for oxygen. This added to his two assists in the match showed signs that the English superstar is back to form just at the right time with important games coming in thick and fast for the champions elect. Treble dream still alive.

Tonight’s encounter has all the makings of a razzle-dazzle affair. The match of ten years ago comes to mind. When a certain Ronaldo da Lima with revenge on his mind, came to conquer Old Trafford with his exceedingly magnificent footballing skills. David Beckham came off the bench that day in an attempt to spark a highly unlikely Manchester United revival.

Hard as he toiled (scored two brilliant goals), he couldn’t turn the aggregate scoreline in his side’s favour, but he made sure the red army won the match 4-3 (eventually lost the tie 6-5 after losing 3-1 in Madrid) and restored some pride. Sir Alex will want none of that drama.

He has set up his side in a way that they must look for a win, focus more on its strengths and care less about what Real Madrid and returning Legend, Cristiano Ronaldo will/can do. Being scared of the threat Ronaldo carries will do more harm than good according to the great Scot whose 26+ years at the helm have been nothing short of extraordinary. While defending to its maximum, the team must also attack well and take most if not all of chances created.

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aviero is a familiar name in this parts. The Portuguese living Legend took Manchester by storm when he arrived from Sporting Lisbon in 2003 to replace the equally Legendary David Beckham. After six years and 118 special goals, he left Old Trafford to seek pastures new. Quite rightly, he chose the beautiful city of Madrid to continue his football development. He left Manchester United with fantastic memories, most especially his elevation to the status of best footballer in the World in 2008.

Since transferring to Real, he has seen Lionel Messi claim the award four consecutive times and he is not in the least happy about it. His scoring record for the Bernabeu side is incredibly phenomenal. 185 goals in 184 games including 20 hat-tricks explains it all. His goal against his former team three weeks ago was reminiscent of the one he scored for Manchester United v Chelsea in the UCL final five years ago.

Fergie told the press after the match that he was critical of Evra at half-time on why he allowed Ronaldo to out jump him for that glorious goal. Well,after watching the replays, he had nothing more to say. CR7’s knees were above the Frenchman head when he headed past David de Gea. A repeat might be consequential.

Wayne Rooney disappointed me in the first leg. I wrote about his importance to the MUFC cause and how the match would be decided by him and not RVP as most people felt. He was absent throughout the game and misplaced more passes than ever before. His shambolic display must have to be transformed to one that can cause the Madrid defence all sorts of problems. When he is on fire, his teammates come alive.

RVP has to wear his scoring boots tonight, his scuffed shot in the closing minutes of the first leg hurt a lot of people. He usually puts those away.

Sir Alex announced during his presser that Phil Jones won’t take part in the game as he hasn’t fully recovered from the foot injury that has seen him miss the last two games. I wouldn’t buy that. Mourinho decided to match Fergie wit for wit by stating that Iker Casillas is out of contention for the match as well. Mind games. If they both start tonight, It won’t be a surprise at least to me.

People might ask why Casillas should be thrown into the starting 11 in place of the very impressive Diego Lopez. Simple. San Iker is way more experienced than his Spanish counterpart. Experience counts more than anything in these type of matches.

Ryan Joseph Giggs who started his Manchester United adventure 22 years ago, is set to appear in his 1000th official game as a professional tonight. It may have been better if he did it against Norwich at the weekend and it was against the same team he made his debut and on 2nd March as well which would have been a perfect historic achievement.

SAF has explained that he feels the game against the ‘Whites’ is the perfect time for him to reach the incredible milestone. Real Madrid fans rose up in applause of the Welsh legend when he came on at the Bernabeu. This will be even more rapturous. Whether he will start or appear as a sub is what Fergie has kept close to his chest.



Predicted Lineups

Manchester United- DDG, Rafa, Rio, Evans, Evra, Jones, Carrick, Kagawa, Welbeck, Rooney, RVP


Real Madrid- Casillas, Arbeloa/Ramos, Ramos/Pepe, Varane, Coentrao, Alonso, Khedira, Ozil, Di Maria, CR7, Benzema


Ryan Giggs might have to make do with a place on the bench alongside his fellow veteran Paul Scholes, who hasn’t played for a while due to a knee injury. The Ginger Maestro is back and his experience of these kind of games could prove vital. Remember his unstoppable rasping rocket of a shot that was eventually the difference between United and Barcelona in the 2008 semis. He hasn’t lost that quality. Once a maestro, always a maestro.

Rafa, Evans and Welbeck return to the starting 11. David de Gea has not conceded a goal in 447 minutes of Premier League football and his form of late has been excellent. If he can put on a similar show like the one at the Santiago Bernabeu, then MUFC are as good as qualified.

For Mourinho’s men, all the star names return after sitting out the Barcelona game. CR7, Ozil, Alonso et al are all set to feature from the start.


Written by Ohireime Eboreime

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