English Premier League: The top three best 30+ performers this season

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Premier League 2014/2015 scores, Football England
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All players decline with age no matter how gifted they are. However, some players are able to adapt their play to emphasize technical ability and intelligence over physicality, and are able to make an impact in the best leagues in the world well past their physical peaks.


3. Frank Lampard

What Frank Lampard has accomplished in the English Premier League (EPL) is unrivaled. He is the top scoring midfielder of all time, and has scored more goals than most strikers. In addition, he has been a mainstay of the English national team since a young age.

Even at the age of 36, Lampard has postponed a transfer that would result in him playing in Major League Soccer (MLS) in order to remain at Manchester City for the 2014-2015 season. He’s already scored a number of pivotal goals to help them challenge for the title.



2. Martin Demichelis

Also at Manchester City is Martin Demichelis. At the age of 34, Demichelis is sometimes exploited for his lack of pace, but does an admirable at recovering by using his intelligence and vast experience.

Despite his age, Demichelis has been a crucial part of the Manchester City team this season, starting almost every game. In the absence of Vincent Kompany for a long stretch, Demichelis stepped up to hold the defense together.



1. John Terry

Most players slow down, Terry seems to do the opposite. Even at the age of 34, he has never looked sharper. Terry has been a rock in the Chelsea backline this season as they challenge for the league title and other trophies.

Terry has stated that he has no intentions of retiring anytime soon, so don’t worry about seeing him leave any time soon. With a strong protective midfield that includes Matic, the Chelsea captain can utilize his intelligence while he directs his teammates to do any extra physical work that is needed.



While the up-and-coming stars are exciting to watch for the first time, it’s the experienced leaders that put in a shift every week that are crucial to a club’s success and stability. While they may not have as much value on the transfer market, they have tremendous value to their clubs.



Written by Dale Cahill

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Pre-season friendlies: Have they become a victim of football’s obsessive media scrutiny?

Pre-season friendlies are an established part of football’s close season. With the pressure of the various league competitions forcing clubs to be ready to hit the ground running, friendlies play an important role in ensuring players’ fitness and bedding in new signings.

Having spent several weeks with little to no physical exertion, footballers can be forgiven for being sluggish in their first few weeks of training. More than this, the summer transfer window sees the majority of teams face at least some upheaval in their squads, as departures need to be plugged and new faces accepted.

Additionally, coaches can play around with new formations and blood potential stars, luxuries not permitted in the ultra-competitive league format. Over recent years, however, friendlies have created more and more media interest.

Real Madrid’s pre-season match against Shamrock Rovers, featuring the debut of the one-and-only Cristiano Ronaldo, was a tepid affair, settled only by a late Benzema goal. Having spent over 180-million-pounds that summer, many expected Real to annihilate their opponents. The score, though, was not where the popular interest lay. The match was an exhibition, an opportunity for Real to showcase the attacking talent that they held, and to allow salivating fans their first chance of seeing Ronaldo in action.

More than this, the friendly served as a glorified fitness check, ensuring the Madrid players were in acceptable shape. Friendly in name only, this type of fixture does possess a serious drawback – the attitude of the opponents. Refusing to lie down and die, Shamrock attempted to match their superior foes through sheer physicality. Although an accepted part of football, a problem for managers is the risk of losing their star players to injury in an ultimately meaningless friendly.

Another footballing superpower, Manchester United, took a different approach to their pre-season preparations. Renowned for having a huge following in the Far East, United took the team to them, playing a series of fixtures in China. This not only swells their coffers in the short-term through merchandising, but also serves to raise their profile even higher.

Additionally, their friendlies against inferior opponents have allowed new summer signings acquired in previous years such as Michael Owen a chance to show his prowess by netting four goals in as many matches. This helped eases fans’ worries over his suitability for the team, and encouraged high hopes heading into that season. United’s financial gains were surely welcomed, but is this reason enough to justify the trip?

Every club must balance their accounts, but United may well have let greed choose an unsuitable pre-season. Another example of a pre-season friendly that raised the hopes of fans and players alike is provided by Villarreal’s 27-0 demolition of third-division Navata in 2009. Whilst United’s success on tour and Villarreal’s record-breaking victory can have a psychological impact on the team and the fans, that wasn’t why they were scheduled.

Results aren’t important in friendlies. An example of this: Newcastle’s 6-1 humiliation at the hands of League One side Leyton Orient. It was a result that hinted at the possibility of malaise gripping the club, but it doesn’t hide the talent still resting there. The fixture meant nothing to the players who would have shown more fight in a competitive match. Although it would have been another blow to severely weakened morale, that one result will have no effect on the club’s overall season.

Symbolic of the hyperbolic world of friendlies was the Wembley Cup, a competition featuring Tottenham Hotspur, Barcelona, Celtic and Egyptian Champions Al-Ahly. This served the traditional purpose of a pre-season competition by allowing players to adjust into vaguely competitive football again.

However, the marketing aspect of the competition demonstrated how serious friendlies could be, portraying a glorified training session as one of the prizes of European football. The crowds that swelled to Wembley (with a two-day ticket reaching £100) illustrated the moneymaking potential of pre-season, and football as a whole.

Friendlies should be merely opportunities for players to prepare for the upcoming campaigns. Instead, they become more victims of football’s obsessive media scrutiny. Victories and defeats should count for nothing, but are seized upon and used as evidence to praise or vilify players and teams. These stories are lapped up by fans, desperate for any indication of how their team will fare in the coming season.

The financial side of friendlies just demonstrates how commercial modern football is, with fans charged for the privilege of watching their team prepare.


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Artificial football pitches: Is it a good move?

Due to the climate in certain countries, the debate surrounding the use of artificial grass has grown ever bigger. Recently, the debate has risen to a higher profile than previously with the Women’s World Cup planned to be carried out on artificial turn in arenas located in Canada. Sparking debates on whether not it should be used, FIFA’s secretary general has said that he believes the Men’s World Cup could be played on artificial grass “sooner rather than later”.

This belief is thought to be shared between him and other members high up in the FIFA governing body.  Obviously there will be divided opinions on such a large step in football, because some of the purist fans will not appreciate the change of surface from natural to artificial. However, others will understand that it offers countries with unsuitable climates for good quality natural grass more opportunities to host larger competitions – such as the World Cup.

Artificial grass is a fairly modern development in technology; it is an artificial turf made up of lots of synthetic fibres so that it looks similar to natural grass as much as possible. Often artificial grass is chosen by homeowners with artificial grass companies like Forever Green Lawns, so that they can cut down on maintenance and have a green lawn all year round.

Recently though, it has become part of a debate as to whether or not it can be used in professional sports such as football. The theory of integrating artificial grass into the sport comes with Canada hosting the Woman’s World Cup, and having planned to use artificial grass instead of natural grass due to the country’s climate.

As many of you might expect, when you start introducing a new turf into any sport – there will be negatives and there will be positives. FIFA has obviously identified the positives to outweigh the negatives in some situations, its doubtful that artificial grass will ever become the main playing surface, but it does offer a certain amount of pros as an alternative.

With artificial grass it offers you a playing surface that you can use in almost any conditions, low maintenance, not patches, and most of all it thrives no matter what the country’s climate is. Some lower league clubs might currently be spending a high amount of their revenue on maintenance and keeping their pitch up to scratch, however with this new technology it will allow lower league clubs to have a pristine playing surface every match with very little maintenance compared to natural grass.

With that in mind, paying maintenance fees is not a big deal for clubs in the higher tears of football, with large revenues being created each and every year. That being said, when a large club meets a smaller club that might mean playing on artificial turf.

At such a high level in any sport the smallest differences in playing surface can make a big impact on athletes performance. For example, in golf, the length of the grass makes a huge difference on the behaviour of the golf ball when it bounces or rolls etc.

Another example is tennis, tennis courts are usually grass or clay – each surface feels different under the feet of the athletes and the tennis ball reacts slightly different on the different turfs.

So in football, would the playing surface make a difference in the teams performance and could it offer a noticeable advantage to those who use artificial grass consistently.

Taking this into account will be the people who sit right at the top of FIFA’s governing body. Over the course of the Woman’s World Cup they are likely to see how artificial grass plays out on a world stage, most likely dictating whether or not we see artificial grass in football a lot in the future.


Written by Aedan Kiernan

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Luis Suarez: Liverpool star’s heavy ban must help him avoid becoming a pariah

It took a major medical achievement for Luis Suarez to even play at this summer’s World Cup, pictured in a wheelchair following keyhole surgery after damaging his meniscus in training. Three weeks later he was back, sitting on the bench as Uruguay lost their opening group game to Costa Rica before 5 days later he was fit enough to eliminate England with two goals in Sao Paulo.

For Suarez it was an emphatic riposte to England’s Football Association, the governing body who have handed the striker bans for racism and for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic last April. “I dreamt this. I’m enjoying this moment, because of all I suffered, the criticism I received. So, there you go” said Suarez, who enjoyed an embrace with the man who, perhaps astoundingly, got him fit enough to play in Brazil, physio Walter Ferreira.

Only five days later and he was to let Ferreira, as well as everybody else who have installed faith in his rehabilitative last 12 months, explicitly down. As he tried in vain to breach Italy’s resolute defence, his ubiquitous dark side got the better of him as he sank his teeth into Giorgio Cheillini’s shoulder. Minutes later Diego Godin headed Uruguay into the last 16 but Suarez, the man who battled back from injury to play a pivotal role in getting them through group D, wouldn’t be going with them.

FIFA expectedly came down heavily, issuing an unprecedented sanction of a four month ban from “all football-related activity”. He will not be permitted to enter any football stadium during the period of his suspension which lasts until 26th October for Liverpool as well as Uruguay’s next 9 international matches.

Once again Brendan Rodgers will be prevented from having the striker available for Liverpool’s start to the season but this time round he will be robbed of a pre-season completely, unable to train with the club as the Reds prepare for their return to the Champions League.

It is an unwelcome replication of history for Rodgers who had to wait until the 25th September for his striker’s return last year after he was banned for the incident with Ivanovic. He did go on to finish as the Premier League’s top scorer with 31 goals as well as a winner of both the Player of the Season and Writer’s Player of the Season awards after a season of undisputed genius nearly took Liverpool to a first title in 24 years. However, both the patience of his club and manager must now be wearing thinner than it ever has before.

Fenway Sports Group, the club’s American owners, oversaw the player’s racism charge, for which he was banned for 8-games for verbally abusing Patrice Evra, with an embarrassing passivity as they left Kenny Dalglish to lead a flimsy support of the striker. Last summer’s handling of Suarez however, the player who reacted indignantly enough to an apparent persecution from British media after the second bite of his career to demand a transfer, was admirable.

Rodgers was given full support as he refused to toe the line of Suarez’s want-away camp and such defiance translated onto boardroom level who stood firm after Arsenal triggered his £40 million release clause. Eventually came a full apology and the Northern Irishman was free to reap the benefits of a player who was ready to produce his most relentless form.

So too came the traits that Rodgers was adamant were existent in his striker, “a very, very highly intelligent man off the field” the manager called him, “a real humble guy and so professional.” Staff at Anfield regard him as highly popular, a man devoted to his family and to his career and lifestyle, but sadly it can be all too easily forgotten as he steps onto the pitch.

Perhaps his family drives him too much, Wright Thompson’s excellent portrayal of Suarez for ESPN found a man so desperate to provide for his wife and two children that he simply can’t switch off from the game in fear of losing his dream.

Three separate biting incidents, the first one coming in 2010 when playing for Ajax, are too much to be an unfortunate coincidence and the indulgence of the striker, the attribution of his behaviour to a determined will to win and a footballing education that took place on the streets, even those who attempt to justify or ignore his actions, like Uruguay’s captain Diego Lugano did in the aftermath, must now cease.

Uruguay’s coach Oscar Tabarez went as far as accusing reporters of having an “agenda” against his striker, an astonishing and toxic refusal to accept that the player just may be in the wrong. The country’s own media even tried to portray Suarez as the victim, “Nobody talks about how Suárez was injured in the jaw and the eye”.

It must be general consensus to the rest of the globe that biting should have no place in football and that FIFA’s ban is a satisfactory punishment for a player who must now take full responsibility for his actions.

The size of Suarez’s talent is big enough to push him to the boundaries that are occupied by the game’s elite but his career is at risk of infamy if he does not learn to control and curb his rage. He can be a player of ferocious energy and irrepressible drive but it has too often proved unrestrained, these next four months must be spent positively channelling that aggression in order to ensure that his genius is not drowned out by controversy.

Sponsors have lined up to end their association with Suarez and Liverpool may yet be forced to relinquish the striker in the face of previously vehement interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Whatever the Uruguayan’s next move, there has to be an acceptance that it is him causing his own problems and that only he can work to stamp that out. A career of the lustre that his majestic ability deserves can still be salvaged if he is willing to wake up to his demons.

Reacting to his player winning the PFA Player of the Year award in April, Rodgers said “he was a star of the last World Cup for different reasons – a great save [the handball against Ghana] – but I think his talent will do the talking this time. It’s a remarkable turnaround for a player who has been vilified – and some may see he brought it on himself – but it’s great to see someone change and to be stood up there getting this award.”

It is amazing now just how wrong the manager’s prophecy could be, Rodgers another man duped into believing that Suarez could stay away from uproar. Individuals like Liverpool’s coach will remain pragmatic and wise enough to believe that the player of Suarez’s ability still warrants their support but very slowly that will begin to evaporate should he permanently stay just seconds away from meltdown.

Starting with the next four months, Suarez must do all he can to realise and alter that before it really is too late and he suddenly finds himself walking alone.


Written by Adam Gray

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Personal Feature: Three top players I wish I had seen in their prime

Football has long played a huge part in the lives of many people, and football players have left many memories for those who have witnessed their talents. Memories that can be passed on and kept alive for future generations.

Having been born in 1995, I’d perhaps be considered part of the last generation to have witnessed the greatest players from 2000 onwards, and I would consider myself fortunate enough to be at the age where I am able to pass on some wonderful memories. There’s nothing like football to make you feel old.

Being a kid and growing up learning about football is a truly mesmerising experience. Your eyes open to a world full of professionals who have mastered their craft, transfixed by skill, technique and innate ability combined with the rewards for hard work. Past or present, some footballers have lit up the world more than any player of their generation can dream of. It’s due to the learning of football that I’m writing this.

I have learnt a lot from other people, books, videos, documentaries, and because of that learning I am familiar with some of the greatest players to ever play without ever being alive to see them at their best.

So, as to not digress any further, here are  players that I wish I had seen play


3 - PELE

Probably the greatest goalscorer of all the time, the Brazilian scored over 1000 goals for Santos and grabbed 77 goals in his 92 games for his country. Pretty impressive. He is also the only player to ever win the World Cup three times.

During his international career, he helped create Brazil’s synonymy with the beautiful game, taking them to a new level alongside some great teammates. He could dribble at pace, score goals, had skill and a great mind, as proven with his famous ‘runaround move’ around the Uruguayan ‘keeper in the 1970 World Cup.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele was given the nickname “O Rei do Futebol” (the King of Football) and will go down as perhaps the greatest Brazilian footballer ever.



Alongside Pele, The Black Panther as he was known, took goalscoring to a new level, and the pair were perhaps the Ronaldo and Messi of their time. Two players above everyone else, scoring goals for fun. With so much power and athleticism he became an unstoppable force in Benfica’s quest to dominate Europe, and was a similar feature in Portugal’s National Team too.

After his recent passing, many players who have had the pleasure of facing him spoke fondly. A gentleman in the game, a player who was almost impossible to stop, one of the best ever - many things were said, and all positive. Born in Mozambique, he was signed by Benfica after rejecting a trial from their rivals, Sporting. They missed out on one of the greatest players ever.

He had pace, a powerful shot, strength and many other attributes that propelled him to excellence. Admittedly, I’m not the most knowledgable when it comes to Eusebio, but he’s a player that I’ve enjoyed watching back. If only I could’ve seen him first hand.



“When he was out there, the pitch was a circus ring, the ball a tamed animal, the match a party invitation. Garrincha nurtured his pet, the ball, and together they created such mischief that people almost died laughing. He jumped over it, it gambolled around him, hid itself away, skipped off and made him run after it. And on the way, his opponents ran into each other.”

Eduardo Galeano, a Uruguayan writer, puts it perfectly. Garrincha played football to entertain; to enjoy himself; for the fun of it. He was not worried about the money, the occassion or the opposition: he would take on any right-back in the world, and beat him. He cared only for football and women.

Give him the ball and he would provide many people with pure joy. While Pele may stand as the greatest Brazilian player ever, Garrincha will always be the most adored. His Botafogo and Brazil team-mate Amarildo, who replaced Pele in the 1962 World Cup after his injury, states that Garrincha is the only player who is loved by every one. Fans of rivals love him like the fans of Botafogo; he belonged to Brazil.

With a turbulent lifestyle and bent legs, Garrincha’s talent was outstanding. However, that turbulent lifestyle ultimately cost him. After retiring from football, he was no longer able to sweat out the alcohol he was drinking and it took its toll, leading to his death. It’s his incredible story that drew my interest in him. Learning of his life and watching old clips of him has been great fun, although it would have been more fun to have seen him live.

Taking on a defender then turning back to take him on again is something not done in today’s era, but done all the time by Garrincha. He was an entertainer, rightly nicknamed Alegria do Povo and undoubtedly a joy to watch. Just a shame I never had the opportunity.


Some other names:

Personally speaking, I couldn’t simply pick just 3. That would be far too difficult, but after much deliberation I decided I had to.

However there were some others in the running:
Marco van Basten, a player I fell in love with during Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial. You could see the class with every touch of the ball, even flicking it over the head of one defender (Steve Bould if I remember correctly) and unleashing a sweet left-foot volley which was saved by Mart Poom.

As an Arsenal fan there are many players I wish I’d have had the pleasure of watching. Liam Brady, Charlie George, Paul Davis and Bob Wilson to name a few, and as a follower of the Brazilian National Team Socrates and Zico spring to mind as well. Puskas is another who has intrigued me. Many great players have graced football pitches over the years, and many have left memories in the minds of fans. Memories to be cherished and passed on.

Divulging into the history of the sport is a pleasure for many young fans, and maybe in 30 years time another teenager will be sitting there wishing they could’ve witnessed the brilliance of Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho or whoever, but one thing’s for certain - players come and go, but great players remain.

Thank you for reading.


Written by Ryan Goodenough

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Are International Breaks Ruining The Premier League?

Two words that many football fans hate with a passion: international break. Just when it seems your favorite team is gelling and finding their rhythm, here it comes.

Suddenly, players are flung around the world where they must acclimate to a completely different team, with a totally different goal. It’s a period of time not popular with Premier League fans or coaches.

But, are international breaks really ruining the Premier League or is it a lot of tantrums for nothing?


International Breaks as Problematic

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger, recently expressed concerns about having so many star players gone for the break. He feared they would come back with injuries and exhaustion. Just ask Real Madrid, who lost midfielder Sami Khedira to an injury when Germany faced Italy in mid-November.

The club will be receiving nearly three and a half million dollars in compensation, but what good does that do on the field? Teams that succeed need healthy star players. The more important a player is tactically, the greater the risk that an international break can throw them off their rhythm or make them too tired to contribute.

Having players competing for multiple teams within a similar time period just seems like stretching it too far.


International Breaks as Necessary

International breaks exist to allow for qualifications for major international competitions, namely, the World Cup and Euro Cup. As much as fans grumble about international breaks during the season, it is often the existence of these “off-season” competitions that keep football lovers from chewing a leg off during the summer months after the Premiere League has ended.

It gives individuals a chance to come together under the umbrella of national pride and cheer for their country’s national team. And should England manage to hold up the World Cup trophy in Brazil? You wouldn’t hear a peep out of anyone in England about the “unnecessary international breaks”.

The reality is that the months between seasons are often reserved for players to rest and then preparing them to get back into the swing of things by playing through friendlies. The same concept often applies for international breaks. But, with domestic competitions and Champion’s League football on the line, there’s not enough time during the off-season to bring national team players together.

There is really no practical alternative. It is as one fan said, “a necessary evil”.


Impact on International Breaks

As hard a pill as it is to swallow, there is nothing about international breaks that can be considered detrimental to the functioning and survival of the English Premiere League. The league has thrived since its creation in the early nineties off the success of legendary players and coaches, not to mention loyal fans.

Even if international breaks were to be eliminated, there is still going to be the reality of bad calls by referees, tired players due to tough schedules and injuries. These are all part and parcel of life in football. Not all of it is wonderful, but they don’t take away from the parts that are.

In the end, a lot of the fuss is over feeling deprived of a sport you love and having to find something else to do to pass the time for two weeks. Read a book, get a buffing and polishing machine for your nails, go to the beach and hit the pub. Find some quality time for something other than football.

Even if the breaks are annoying, you’ve lived through them until now. Just think of them as something that makes you appreciate your team a little more.


Michael is a full-time blogger who has passions in all corners of the online world. In his down time he enjoys being outdoors, traveling, and blogging on everything from technology, to business, to marketing, and beyond. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

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Manchester United: Moyes between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Last night must have been one of the worst of my life. I am a football fan, yes. But on top of everything, I am a staunch, unrepentant supporter of Manchester United and what the club stands for. For almost two decades, I have loved and followed the red devils and long may that remain.

This Premier League season has been intriguing and exciting to say the least. Irrespective of where our allegiances lie, this campaign might be the best we have ever witnessed the way events are unfolding.

However, one man is a beleaguered and confused spectator thus far. Sometimes, I think of what I can actually do to the Scot who was handpicked by SAF to take over the managerial responsibilities of MANCHESTER UNITED. Unfortunately, my hands are tied.

David Moyes has won the LMA award three times in his career and only SAF (RETIRED) and Arsene Wenger have taken the MOTM (Manager of the month) gong more times than him since he became a top flight manager. He has the credentials to coach any team in the country but I am beginning to doubt if the present one is part of the ‘pot’. The former Celtic defender has only been here for five months and all our enviable records against every team in the League are disappearing faster than anyone could ever have imagined.

When SAF was delivering his final speech at the Theatre, he said ‘The fans MUST stand by their new manager’, knowing fully well how rough his first few years where before he starting hitting the right notes and accumulating titles like they were going out of fashion.

Those times seem to be lost now. Memories we would have liked to remain fresh if his replacement does well to keep up with the winning tradition. So far, so underwhelming, so frustrating, and so depressing. 14 games into the 13/14 Season and it is W6-D4-L4. For EVERY other team, it would seem a pretty decent record, but not for a club in the stature of Manchester United. The position is even more shameful. 9th? Holy Christ.

For God’s sake, we are staring at the likes of Soton, N’castle, Everton and Spurs ahead of us after more than a third of the total no of games have been played. It isn’t something out of the ordinary that Arsenal, Citeh, Cfc and Liverpool lead the pack with the gooners setting the pace quite remarkably and Ozil providing the needed flair and maturity of a WINNER.

It’s all doom and gloom at M62. With the departures of Gill and SAF, the club has been positioned under the leadership of Edward Woodward- a man who from all indications, knows absolutely nothing about being at the forefront of greatness. The man is bereft of ideas and has done nothing to improve the club since he was promoted.

The last transfer window was probably the worst in the club’s history with the failed pursuits of Fabregas, Thiago, Ander Herrera, Leighton Baines are a host of others, the major talking point(s). Toothless and tactless. More painfully, we panicked at the last minute and paid far more for Maroaune Fellaini than he was valued by the club he served for half a decade. Bad bad bad all the way.

More saddening is the disgraceful statistic that the Belgian giant has failed to start a League game for us and end up on the winning side. Yesterday night was probably his best game for the club and it still ended up in disappointment.

Before Moyes came, the likes of West Brom would come to the Theatre knowing fully well that only a point could surface whatever they brought to the table. This season, everything has turned for the worse. The differences between the way Fergie took over and his woes in the early part of his reign and Moyes’ are glaring for all to see.

SAF left a league dominating side for Moyes, whereas the great Scot inherited a rotten team staring at relegation in the face with morale at its lowest ebb. Nothing can be worse than watching your beloved club being taken apart by teams unworthy of even getting a shot on target before the arrival of Uncle Dave the dithering one.

Lamentations and rants aside, I still believe Sir Alex has reasons why he chose Moyes ahead of more illustrious and deserving candidates for the managerial hot seat he vacated. Only time will tell if the 50 year old will eventually prove everyone wrong and resurrect the hopes of the average fan. As defending champions, even if we are going to get beat (no, we should show some resilience and courage).

Four losses have left us TWELVE POINTS behind Arsenal and just a paltry TWELVE ahead of 19th placed Crystal Palace. The mathematicians among us can do all the permutations they deem fit, but as things stand, only a miracle will enable us retain the title and realistically, 4th place is now a priority for a club used to dictating the pace and leading the pack season after season.

The likes of Arsene and Jose still maintain that we are not out of the title race yet. Nothing can be more distasteful than seeing rival managers holding hope in a seemingly hopeless situation which has metamorphosed into a big sarcastic brouhaha. I can’t deal!

In situations like this, we have to stand by our new MANAGER as Fergie said. Those who play the piper must dictate the tune. Circumstances may have changed but we owe SAF a lot for establishing us among the greatest teams of the last two decades. Taking his parting words hook, line and sinker for a couple of seasons might hurt, but will not kill.

My final submission is that DAVID MOYES is the right man for the job. He alone cannot make the ship sail. Everyone must contribute in his own little way, especially the executives, including SIR ALEX FERGUSON. Astonishingly, I never thought I would ever toe this path, but a scary situation calls for urgent reactions and actions.

Decisions have to be taken, no matter whose ox is gored. Some players are not fit to wear the United jersey and we are all aware of that. Names like Welbeck, Cleverley, Anderson (sadly) should never be seen/found anywhere around the club. Danny Welbeck never improves. Our patience as fans, has run out.

Even an imbecile would have transformed into something much better in the span he has taken to score a handful of goals in a zillion appearances. We cannot continue to eat work rate and industry. He can keep those attributes in his pocket. January represents a good chance to bring in some very good players who can at least bring back some sanity into the club.

Remi Cabella very much wants to exit Montpellier and the likes of Koke and Resu have been thrown into the mix. Although the latter is a big ask and Klopp will know more than to sell one of his prized assets. We need MIDFIELDERS- about 10 (exaggerating), and good wingers. Nani and Valencia are pipes. Januzaj needs to continue developing and Uncle Ashley Young should be donated to/for a good cause.

Enough is enough. AS ROY KEANE said in 2005 before his ill-fated RANT, ‘WE ARE MANCHESTER UNITED AND THAT’S WHAT WE DO.’ Nothing else matters but to remain the UNDISPUTED BEST.

One thing is for sure though-DAVID MOYES has no place to hide anymore at Manchester United. Good results are tied to a great tactician and he must start to turn things around. Enough of the ‘LEARNING CURVE’ sh*t.

It is SQUEAKY BUM time and the earlier he realises it, the better for us all.


Written by Ohireime Eboreime

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Special Feature: Top 4 London Football Stadiums

When you think about the world’s most loved sport football, your mind automatically goes to England and then it goes to London where some of the best teams in the world were born.

If you’re a sports fanatic then you’ll love the tailored trips that discover some of the world’s best sporting museums and football stadiums.



Every football lover has heard about Arsenal, whether you’re a fan of the team or not, you can’t help but feel respect for their finesse and skill.

So, what’s different from the Arsenal tour to all the others?  At the Emirates Stadium the dedicated Arsenal players know their fan base and appreciate their loyal followers and that is why it is the ex-players who are the tour guides, giving the eager fans a true insight to life on and off the pitch.

You’ll get to see everything you can imagine and more from the changing rooms, to the commentator’s box, to the dugout, to the players’ tunnel and of course the pitch itself.  Head down to the stadium and discover where sporting dreams come alive.



Who hasn’t heard of Chelsea and its fabulous stadium Stamford Bridge?  Everyone has heard of this team whether you like football or not.  Chelsea also offers personalised guided tours throughout the stadium and you can see where the likes of Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech and John Terry sit, wash, discuss and play.

Kids will particularly love Chelsea’s new hi-tech museum which is the largest museum dedicated to football in the whole of the UK.  With high-tech gadgets and interactive games, kids have an absolute blast trying to shoot penalties and what not at Stamford Bridge.



Another Premier League team from London, Fulham FC also opens its doors to visitors and fans wishing to get up close and personal with members of the team and visit places within the Craven Cottage stadium that are only usually reserved for players and the administration staff.

Tours run daily at 11.35am and booking is essential as it’s a popular half-day out for all football enthusiasts.  Fulham FC is now owned by auto-parts entrepreneur Shahid Khan, who is also the owner of NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

Craven Cottage has also played host to the late great Michael Jackson and even had a statue erected in his honor, which has now been removed.



Finally, you must see Wembley Stadium in all its glory.  It’s the second largest stadium in Europe and many great players have walked proudly through the tunnels onto that beautiful manicured pitch.

Each tour lasts 90 minutes and you’ll get to see every nook and cranny of this famous stadium. You’ll also get the chance to hold up a replica of the FA Cup in the royal enclosure box, an amazing experience!

If football is your game make sure you find out more about some of the world’s finest teams and get yourself onto a tour that you’ll simply have a ball on.

This article is written by Chris Clayton who enjoys organising London day trips with professional and experienced tour guides and finding new and unique ways to see this popular city.

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Feature: The Increasing Success of Football Betting

Football betting has long been popular amongst those that like to gamble, as illustrated by the ubiquitous presence of betting shops on high streets across the United Kingdom. Yet unlike many formerly popular industries, the world of football betting has thrived in the era of the internet.

Indeed, all of the major bookmakers like bwin.be have setup online versions of their physical shops, leading to not only a mass exodus from the high street to the virtual world of online gambling, but it has tempted a greater proportion of the population to gamble on sports than ever before.

Now, in terms of popularity, football betting is matched only by the wealth of similarly popular online casinos.

Reasons for the continued and increasing popularity of football betting:

1. Convenience – this is arguably the main reason for the aforementioned surge. The added convenience has been generated by giving those interested in sports betting the ability to find tips and odds information, in addition to being able to place bets securely online.

The World Wide Web has therefore made football betting into something that is very accessible in terms of the ability that the average punter now has to make an informed betting choice.


2. Audience – There has been a marked increase In the level enthusiasm for sport in general amongst the public, but it is football – and the Premier League in particular –that has seen a surge in popularity and therefore in the number of people betting on its results.


3. Advertising – The likes of Bwin are experts in marketing their brand and bringing themselves to the attention of a mass audience. Indeed, sponsorship deals with European footballing behemoths, Real Madrid and AC Milan, have obviously brought the betting site to the attention of a massive audience, thus helping to increase the popularity of sports betting on a global scale.


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The Januzaj debate: The FA means well but, keep England for the (properly-naturalised) Englanders

Greg Dyke, the relatively new chairman of the FA, has been quite busy this week. As he enters the third month in his position, Dyke has been tasked with setting up a new commission that will be charged with improving the development of future English youngsters as well as overseeing the build-up to the two crucial World Cup qualifiers with Montenegro and Poland.

If Dyke has been involved in Roy Hodgson’s preparations, he hasn’t been notable, instead involved in his own sub-plot surrounding the growing controversy of Adnan Januzaj.

It is somewhat ironic that in the week before a pair of matches that carry substantial significance, it is not an Englishman, nor a Pole, nor a Montenegrin that has dominated the headlines. Instead it is a Belgian teenager, born in Brussels to Kosovan- Albanian parents, who burst onto the scene last Saturday evening with two goals to direct Manchester United to victory over Sunderland.

However it wasn’t his goals nor his impact that have got everybody talking, it is his eligibility to play for England, amongst several other countries, that has opened such a pressing issue.

Analysing his performance against Sunderland from the comfort of the Match of the Day sofa, Hodgson claimed England have been monitoring his progress, “There’s no doubt that he’s a real talent and we have our eyes on him but a lot will have to be discussed,” he said, “Yes [he could play for England] down the line if he becomes naturalised or if he becomes a home-grown product.”

His club manager David Moyes certified the comments, “Yes. There is some way he has a chance of qualifying for England through residency.”

It is important to pause for a second in order to appreciate the absurdity of what was being said on Saturday evening. They were talking of a teenager who had enjoyed the majority of his footballing education over in Belgium, playing at Anderlecht, before he cropped up on the radar of Manchester United at a skills session, making the move to Old Trafford at the age of 16.

Before then he held no tie to the country, no English parentage, no English influence on his family blood-line, but yet a loophole that would allow him to play for England had presented itself and it appeared that the FA’s hierarchy were determined to push it through.

It seemed like the FA and those involved with the England team had refused to acknowledge the lunacy of pursuing Januzaj’s services in favour of pragmatism. There is little doubt of the teenager’s talent, rated so highly in the corridors of Carrington that Moyes has seen little issue in throwing him into his first-team squad at such a tender age.

His display at Sunderland, devoid of fear, graced with balance, energy and imagination, suggested he will have a very bright future ahead. Yet, those traits and skills were taught and learned in Brussels, not Manchester, it would promote a great unease watching Januzaj playing in the white of the three lions should the FA get their way.

That is a belief that would not take an amount of jingoism or even xenophobia to cultivate, just a degree of rational thought. That is what Jack Wilshere used when he was asked about the situation on Tuesday.

“If you’ve lived in England for five years, for me, it doesn’t make you English. You shouldn’t play. It doesn’t mean you can play for that country. If I went to Spain and lived there for five years, I’m not going to play for Spain. For me an English player should play for England really,” said the Arsenal midfielder, inviting intense debate and gross misunderstanding of what he was referring to.

The stories of Wilfried Zaha, born in Ivory Coast and moved to England aged 4, Raheem Sterling, Jamaica born but moved to England aged 5 and Saido Berahino, the Congo refugee who moved to England aged 10, were all used in reply without any real thought.

These were players who had been properly naturalised, just like Mo Farah, the long-distance runner who migrated here as a toddler, assimilating, learning and being coached from an age young enough to develop through the national system.

It was Arsene Wenger who claimed the most important age of youth development was between five and 12, the ages Berahino, Sterling and Zaha enjoyed in England, unlike Januzaj who passed completely through that stage in Belgium.

Wilshere wasn’t objecting to any player who had come here as a child, settled into school, learnt, watched their parents pay taxes, he was perfectly happy for them to play for England, like Wayne Rooney, Stan Collymore and Harry Redknapp had all agreed this week.

England and Januzaj isn’t the first time a national side has tried to push the boundaries of nationalism back, Portugal granted Brazilian-born Deco citizenship and a place in their team after he arrived in the country aged 19.

Luis Figo expressed his ire, saying “if you’re born Chinese, well you have to play for China.” Simultaneously to England’s association with Januzaj, Spain have approached Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid’s Brazilian-born striker, about playing for La Roja after he was granted Spanish citizenship in the summer. Even the best in the world are not exempt from altering the rule-book.

Costa, like Januzaj, arrived in his current country aged 16 but has at least proved his talent in La Liga by scoring 8 goals in 10 games so far this season. Vincent Del-Bosque sees Costa as a way of solving his problem at centre-forward and is exploring the rules to make it happen motivated purely by self-interest.

England are too, but with a player who has started just one game at the highest level and, even if the rules do allow him to play and he chooses England, won’t be able to be capped for another five years. It is a veiled admission from the FA that indigenous youngsters are not quite good enough and the net is best spread wider to ensure the talent pool does not suffer as a result.

Dyke, pausing for a couple of minutes this week as he roved around staffing his new commission, gave his backing to a player of Januzaj’s talent and back-story to be eligible to play for England, seemingly unable to realise the contradiction of his quest for better youth production and more chances to be granted to them.

Since inheriting the helm of the Football Association from David Bernstein in the summer, the former head of the BBC has bemoaned the ever-declining stream of English players in the Premier League and has spent time forming a ten-strong band of experts, including Dario Gradi and Glenn Hoddle, to solve the problem.

Yet, at the same time, he is encouraging the further integration of European youngsters who have learned their trade away from England to come over here and gain a place in his national side. It is a ludicrous conflict of interest and you don’t have to be ignorantly jingoistic to figure that out.


Written by Adam Gray

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamGray1250

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