Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Most Powerful Football Agents 2015


Business analysts Forbes have published their most recent findings on the
'World's Richest Football Agents' with those responsible for brokering deals for the biggest names unsurprisingly near the top of the list.
Premier League clubs spent over £1billion on transfers in 2015, shattering the equivalent figures recorded by the other major European leagues.

With the role of the agent becoming more and more prominent, here we look at the most powerful middle men currently doing business in the game.


7/ Thomas Kroth

Thomas Kroth was born 26 August 1959 in Erlenbach am Main, Germany. Kroth is a former Bundesliga professional football player.

Kroth won the DFB-Pokal (German Cup) with three different teams. In 1983 with FC Köln, in 1987 with Hamburger SV and in 1989 with Borussia Dortmund. In 1985, he earned one cap for Germany against Hungary.

Kroth retired from his pro soccer career in 1991 to enter into the player representation business. These days, his agency Pro Profil, represents over 110 football/soccer players throughout Europe and the world including: Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, former Manchester United playmaker Shinji Kagawa, Dynamo Kyiv defender Aleksander Dragovic, Shinji Okazaki of Leicester City, Bayern Munich midfielder Sebastian Rode and Watford's José Holebas.


Contracts worth: £146m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £14.7m

Thomas Kroth is ranked #25 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.


6/ Fernando Felicevich

Fernando Felicevich was born 22 April 1970 in Argentina.

Until the age of 33, Fernando Felicevich never had contact with professional football.
But Fernando Felicevich is now the king of South American soccer, representing the likes of Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal, Aresenal's Alexis Sanchez (below) and Inter Milan midfielder Gary Medel, Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, Felipe Guitiérrez who plays for FC Twente in the Eredivisie, and Charles Aránguiz who plays in Qatar.

Felicevich's has a sterling reputation in the global football business for his pragmatic approach to negotiation, as well as parental relationship with many of his players.

In Chile he works with a counselor who can provide services to his players. Fernando always cares about his players’ image and the information that appears about them. You can see that just taking a look at his Twitter account: he uses it to inform about transfers, to correct incorrect news and to answer when someone has any doubts about one of the footballers he represents.

Felicevich has become one of the game's most coveted agents, having enjoyed an extremely lucrative 12 months following the Brazil World Cup in 2014, where they reached the round of 16 before being eliminated by the host nation.
Chile's success at the tournament laid the platform for things to come and they went on to win the Copa América the following year, with four of manager Jorge Sampaoli's side now having signed big-money deals across Europe - all coming from Felicevich's stable.


Contracts worth: £148m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £15m

Fernando Felicevich is ranked #23 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.


5/ Mino Raiola

Mino Raiola was born 4 November 1967 in Nocera Inferiore in the Salerno province of southern Italy.

A one man show, Mino Raiola is one of the most powerful agents in the soccer industry. Raiola, of Maguire Tax & Legal in the Netherlands, represents a small (relative to multi-agent agencies) but star studded collection of players (approx. 35 in total).

Sir Alex Ferguson may have blamed Raiola for the departure of Paul Pogba from Manchester United on the cheap, but the player's agent is synonymous with the trade, becoming a revered figure among his peers in recent years.

Mino Raiola with his client  Zlatan Ibrahimović in Milan

Raiola powerful roster of soccer’s top talent includes: Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović, Juventus star Paul Pogba, Italian striker Mario Balotelli, Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi, Borussia Dortmund's Henrikh Mkhitaryan and AC Milan's Ignazio Abate.


Contracts worth: £186m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £18.7m

Mino Raiola is ranked #22 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.


4/ José Otin (José Antonio Martín Otin)

Founder and president of Bahia International, Otin transitioned form a career in radio to the sports agent business by recruiting some of the Iberian Peninsula's best players. Dealing only in players from his homeland of Spain, Otin represents the likes of Chelsea striker Pedro, Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez, Spanish international Fernando Torres, Manchester City's Jesus Navas, Sevilla FC winger Víctor Pérez, Athletic Bilbao midfielder Raúl García, Valencia CF's Dani Parejo, Real Sociedad's Asier Illarramendi, Málaga CF midfielder Ignacio Camacho and Arsenal's Nacho Monreal

Otin has cast his net across Europe, reaping the rewards of negotiating deals for some of the biggest stars across the top five leagues from one country to another. The Bahia Internacional agent deals exclusively with Spanish footballers, but that hasn't stopped the man who once worked in radio from sending his clients abroad.


Contracts worth: £191m
Commissions: (career payments for completed deals): £19.2m

Jose Otin is ranked #15 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.


3/ Volker Struth

The SportsTotal agent is the most powerful middle man in German football, with some of the biggest names currently plying their trade in the Bundesliga (considered by many to be the best football league in the world) being on his books.

Mario Gotze is one such illustrious name, but Struth made headlines in the summer when he claimed the current Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola had 'destroyed' his player through a lack of first-team opportunities.

Struth with Mario Gotze and Marco Reus

Other notable clients include: Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus, Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos, Schalke captain Benedikt Howedes, Bayer Leverkusen and Turkish international Ömer Toprak, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Gonzalo Castro, Schalke's German international winger Sidney Sam and Swiss international Josip Drmic.


Contracts worth: £278m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £27.8m

Volker Struth is ranked #5 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.


2/ Jonathan Barnett

Jonathan Barnett was born 28 January 1950. Barnett is one of the most important figures in football — and yet you may never have heard of him. Barnett grew up on Baker Street in the West End of London, entering the workplace as an employee of Curzon House Group, a casino business owned by his family. Barnett owns Stellar Group, an agency he founded with David Manasseh in 1994.

While Barnett's first client was legendary Cricket player Brian Lara, he has made a name for himself since then representing some of the world's best soccer players. Representing well over 100 players throughout dozens of global leagues, Barnett manages the largest roster of clients of any single agent in the Forbes Top 50. Barnett is also often given credit for introducing Lennox Lewis into professional boxing.

Barnett masterminded Gareth Bale's £86million move from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2013, and the highest-placed Brit on the list also played a crucial role in negotiating Luke Shaw's £27m move from Southampton to Manchester United the following summer.

His clients include: England and Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart, Lyon and Brazilian international Rafael da Silva, Poland's international goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, Swansea's Gylfi Sigurdsson, Newcastle's recent signing Jonjo Shelvey, Everton defender Phil Jagielka, Liverpool's Adam Lallana and former Arsenal, Chelsea and AS Roma defender Ashley Cole.


Contracts worth: £287m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £28.8m

Jonathan Barnett is ranked #4 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.


1/ Jorge Mendes

Jorge Paulo Agostinho Mendes was born 7 January 1966 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Jorge Mendes is often referred to as a "super-agent," having negotiated more than £625m in player contracts, including a £135m deal for client Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo returned the favour when his agent recently got married, buying him a Greek island as a wedding present. He has been recognized as 'FIFA's Agent of the Year' on three occasions by his peers.

Mendes began life as a footballer but was forced to abandon his hopes of a professional career after being rejected by a number of Portuguese clubs when he was in his early 20's. Instead, he ran a video rental store, worked as a DJ and opened a bar and nightclub in Caminha, north-west Portugal.

Mendes, began his football agent career focusing primarily on Portuguese players. He is registered with the Portuguese Football Federation and heads the GestiFute company, which was founded in 1996 and is based in Porto.

Mendes's first deal as a football agent came in 1996 when he brokered Nuno's move from Vitória de Guimarães to Deportivo de La Coruña. He had met the goalkeeper in a bar in Guimarães. After that deal, Mendes gradually attracted more Portuguese players, including Jorge Andrade. Hugo Viana's move from Sporting CP to Newcastle United in the Premier League for around €12 million in 2002 was his first major international transfer.

Part of Mendes's success was ostensibly based on his frequent presence at soccer schools and youth teams throughout Portugal, spotting and signing up young players, as he did with Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Quaresma.

In 2008, GestiFute announced that it had entered into partnership with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in the United States to "create global opportunities for current and future clients," following CAA's expansion into the sports market.

"Sir Alex Ferguson wrote in his new autobiography Leading: 'There are some decent agents, but you don't need all the fingers of one hand to count them. Jorge Mendes is one."

His clients include: Ronaldo, Chelsea striker Diego Costa, Manchester City and French international defender Eliaquim Mangala, Real Madrid winger James Rodriguez, Portuguese international Fábio Coentrão, Real Madrid defender Pepe, Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil defender Thiago Silva, Radamel Falcao currently on loan at Chelsea, AS Monaco's Ricardo Carvalho, Angel di Maria the Paris Saint-Germain and Argentine international, Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea and football manager Jose Mourinho.


Contracts worth: £626.3m
Commissions (career payments for completed deals): £62.8m

Jorge Mendes is ranked #2 richest sports agent in the world by Forbes.


Jorge Mendes with his client Cristiano Ronaldo


Monday, February 01, 2016

Babe of the Month - Fitness Beauty Jamie Eason


Jamie Eason is an American fitness model, writer and online trainer who was born in Houston, Texas on 10th April 1976. Jamie is also a former NFL cheerleader and winner of the World's Fittest Model competition.

While working towards a degree in speech communication/organization at Texas A&M University, she took a weight training class for a kinesiology credit.
It was then that her interest in fitness training began.

In 2001, after graduating from college and while working for her grandfather's roofing company, she tried out for the new Houston Texans cheerleading squad. She was one of 35 girls selected from 1,600 girls in a rigorous two-day process.

After a short time as a Houston Texans cheerleader, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 22, forcing her to a desk job where her inactive lifestyle and poor nutrition took a toll on her body. In an attempt to get in shape, she joined a local gym. She continued to work out and improve but wasn't completely satisfied with her results. After consulting a nutritionist, she was put on a proper diet that completely transformed her body.

However and at the age of 28 a back injury revealed that she has Spina Bifida Occulta, a minor form of the disease that is quite debilitating during flare-ups. Jamie doesn’t let health ailments get in the way of her career and goals.

As a result of that incident, Jamie became even more determined to take control of her life and health and become a role model for women everywhere.

Jamie explains her personal philosophy that she shares with others:

"This is your life. If you are not who you want to be, change it! It won't be easy and it may take some time, but surround yourself with people who love and support you and go for it! No regrets! Only you dwell on your failures. Good luck and remember the inner strength you'll achieve from adopting a healthy lifestyle, far supersedes anything physical."


With nearly 235,000 followers on Instagram, and a Facebook page with over a million followers, Jamie has appeared on numerous covers of fitness magazines and is one of the most identifiable figures in the industry.



Eason was first discovered at a fitness competition in Austin, Texas. Jamie began her bodybuilding career in 2005 as a fitness and figure athlete, achieving WNBF Figure Pro and WNSO Fitness Model Pro cards and was crowned the "World's Fittest Model" in 2006.

In addition to her work for bodybuilding.com, Jamie is frequently featured in articles and cover photos of many of the top fitness magazines and websites including, Oxygen, Ironman, Status Fitness, MuscleMag, Flex, DXL, Fatfighter.TV, Muscle and Fitness Hers and Planet Muscle.

As a spokesperson, Eason has been dubbed the "female face" of Bodybuilding.com, the world's largest and most-visited online retailer for sports supplements and nutritional products. Jamie also has authored several workout plans and routines that are followed by millions of people on the website.

Jamie also focuses on removing the stereotype that women with muscle are unfeminine. She has stated that she regrets some of her earlier photo shoots that showed 'too much skin' when she began her career modeling.

She continues fitness modeling but encourages young women in fitness and modeling not to show a lot of skin stating "It's not worth it." Her training style mostly revolves around weight training, she has stated she prefers that over cardio training, so she doesn't do cardio training a lot but heavily focuses on weight training.



Jamie was married in July 2012 and gave birth to her son August in late 2013 and is expecting her second child this April.


You can follow Jamie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter


Friday, January 22, 2016

All the very latest transfer gossip across Europe!




With the January transfer window closing in ten days at 11pm GMT on Monday 1st February, here is all today's latest football news and transfer gossip with Louis van Gaal, Manuel Pellegrini, Pep Guardiola, Liverpool, Chelsea, John Stones, Scott Sinclair, Tottenham, Crystal Palace, Real Madrid, Jordan Rhodes, Alex Teixeira, Newcastle and Swansea all in the news! 

Here is a round up of all the latest transfer gossip across Europe today!

Is your club involved?

Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Zenit St Petersburg, Chelsea, Liverpool, Shakhtar Donetsk, Atletico Madrid, Everton, Tottenham, Real Madrid, Aston Villa, Newcastle, Espanyol, Swansea, Blackburn, Sheffield Wednesday, Crystal Palace, VfL Wolfsburg, Stoke, Norwich, Southampton, Porto, AS Roma, Napoli, Shanghai SIPG, Dynamo Kiev, Bournemouth, Peterborough, Besiktas, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, West Ham, Fiorentina, Spartak Moscow, Watford, QPR, Levante, Middlesbrough, Norwich, Ipswich, FC Copenhagen, Wolves, Nantes, Brentford Leeds and Newport..........are all caught up in the latest transfer news/rumours across Europe, as we speak.

Manchester United have put their major transfers on hold because of the increasing uncertainty over Louis van Gaal's future as manager - Daily Mirror

Manchester United have denied a report in France that officials from the club held a meeting with the outgoing Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola. French newspaper L'Equipe claims the meeting took place in Paris last week, but Sky Sports News HQ have spoken to Manchester United who claim the story is not true - skysports.com

Zenit St Petersburg want Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini to take charge when Andre Villas-Boas leaves at the end of the season - Daily Star

Alexandre Pato's agent has confirmed that four clubs - including Chelsea and Liverpool - have a chance of signing the 26-year-old Brazil striker, but insisted that no bids have yet been made - UOL Esporte (Brazilian publication in Portuguese) and Daily Mirror

European football writer Andy Brassell says Shakhtar Donetsk value 26-year-old Brazilian forward Alex Teixeira at £39m - significantly more than the £24.5m Liverpool are willing to pay for him - BBC Radio 5 live and skysports.com

Atletico Madrid director Andrea Berta has flown to London to try to land Chelsea stars Pedro and Diego Costa - Daily Star

Chelsea are planning to make another move for Everton defender John Stones, despite failing with four bids in the summer, including one in the region of £38million rejected by the Toffees. However, the 21-year-old remains top of their wanted list and they will try again to land him before the end of this month - talksport.com

Tottenham have the first option to re-sign Wales forward Gareth Bale, 26, should he be sold by Real Madrid - according to a leaked document - Daily Mirror

Meanwhile, Bale's representatives are outraged by the leak of financial details of his £85m transfer - Daily Telegraph

Swansea are in talks with Aston Villa about signing winger Scott Sinclair - skysports.com

Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren has made a £7m bid for 30 year-old Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis, while Aston Villa's Scott Sinclair is also on their radar - The Sun and Daily Mail

Newcastle have made an offer for Espanyol striker Mamadou Sylla Diallo for a fee of around £1million - Sport (Spanish daily sports newspaper) and talksport.com

However, Newcastle look likely to end their interest in Andros Townsend after Tottenham refused to lower their £14m valuation of the 24-year-old England winger - The Guardian and Daily Telegraph

Swansea have made a move to sign Blackburn striker Jordan Rhodes. Sheffield Wednesday are also thought to be interested in the Scotland international - Daily Mirror

Crystal Palace full-back Pape Souare has signed a new three-and-a-half year contract with the Premier League club - skysports.com

Crystal Palace are considering offering a six-month contract to striker Emmanuel Adebayor, 31, who is a free agent after being released by Tottenham - The Guardian

VfL Wolfsburg's Nicklas Bendtner is set for a sensational Premier League return at Crystal Palace - Daily Star

Stoke have lodged a £19m bid with Porto for midfielder Giannelli Imbula,
The Frenchman move to Portugal last year from Marseille but has struggled for opportunities with Porto. The reports suggests Imbula has also attracted the interest of Southampton - Daily Mirror

Sheffield Wednesday have completed the signing of striker Gary Hooper from Norwich City on a 3-and-a-half-year deal, for an undisclosed fee - skysports.com

Real Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez, 26, is being chased by a host of clubs including Napoli and AS Roma, after it emerged his future at the Bernabeu remains unclear - The Sun and transfermarketweb.com

Mauro Zarate has ended his 18-month spell with West Ham by joining Fiorentina on a permanent contract. Also joining Fiorentina is Argentinian international midfielder Tino Costa, 31 on loan from Spartak Moscow - talksport.com and transfermarketweb.com

Watford are back in talks for 28 year-old Spain international Mario Suarez over a loan move from Fiorentina, which is expected to involve an option to sign Suarez permanently in the summer - skysports.com

Nemanja Matic, 27, is debating his future at Stamford Bridge and may choose to leave Chelsea after a recent dip in form, while John MNikel Obi is wanted by Shanghai SIPG - Daily Mail

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has revealed Kevin Mirallas will not be leaving the club after a string of good performances recently - skysports.com

Dynamo Kiev have told Everton to forget about trying to sign Andriy Yarmolenko this month - Daily Mirror

Bournemouth are showing an interest in Peterborough defender Jack Baldwin - Daily Mail

Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa could join Besiktas this month, according to Mundo Deportivo. Arbeloa is inside the final six months of his contract at Real Madrid and Besiktas could look to take advantage of that situation by trying to sign him before the close of the transfer window - Mundo Deportivo (Spanish daily sports newspaper) and skysports.com

Fernando Torres could soon be the highest-paid player in the world, with eight offers on the table according to his agent. The 31-year-old Spain striker is on loan at Atletico Madrid from AC Milan - The Sun and skysports.com

Giuseppe Rossi has signed for Levante on loan for the rest of the season from Fiorentina - skysports.com

Middlesbrough have had a £6m bid for QPR winger Matt Phillips rejected - Daily Mail
and skysports.com

Norwich want to sign Chelsea's Patrick Bamford, after his recent loan spell at Crystal Palace was cut short - Daily Mirror

Ipswich Town have confirmed the signing of Kevin Foley from FC Copenhagen on a deal until the end of the season, subject to international clearance - skysports.com

Wolves are in talks over a £3m deal for Nantes forward Emiliano Sala - Daily Mail

Brentford have agreed a fee with Leeds for midfielder Toumani Diagouraga - skysports.com

Newport County forward Aaron Collins has joined Wolves for an undisclosed fee -skysports.com

Friday, January 15, 2016

Statistically, the EA Sports best performing players in the English Premier League so far this season!


The EA SPORTS PPI (Player Performance Index) is the only official player rating index of the Barclays Premier League which measures a player's all round contribution to the success of his team using six key indices:

The intention is to remove any opinion bias and only work with proven statistical measurements which become more accurate as the season progresses.


Season 2015/16 - Last update: 15/01/16

For those of you currently playing 'Fantasy Premier League Football' you may want to take note!


Goalkeepers:

1. Petr Cech (Arsenal) 272 EA Sports PPI
2. Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester) 258 (right)
3. Jack Butland (Stoke City) 240
4. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) 221
5. Joe Hart (Man City) 216
6. Tim Howard (Everton) 215
7. Heurelho Gomes (Watford) 211
8. Boaz Myhill (West Brom) 203
9. Adrian (West Ham) 198
10. Simon Mignolet (Liverpool) 197


Defenders:

1. Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham) 330 (below right)
2. Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) 316
3. Aleksandar Kolarov (Man City) 300
4. Bacary Sagna (Man City) 299
5. Eric Dier (Tottenham) 296
6. Aaron Cresswell (West Ham) 295
7. Nacho Monreal (Arsenal) 294
8. Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) 291
9. Wes Morgan (Leicester) 280
10. Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) 272


Midfielders:

1. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester) 612
2. Mesut Özil (Arsenal) 476
3. Ross Barkley (Everton) 452
4. Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle) 395
5. Yaya Toure (Man City) 388
6. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) 382
7. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) 371
8. Dele Alli (Tottenham) 347
9. Dimitri Payet (West Ham) 345
10. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) 329


Forwards:

1. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) 550
2. Odion Ighalo (Watford) 510
3. Harry Kane (Tottenham) 509
4. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 506
5. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) 380
6. Raheem Sterling (Man City) 344
7. Troy Deeney (Watford) 327
8. Marko Arnautovic (Stoke) 325 (right)
9. Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) 310
10. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) 309


The Six Key Indices:

1. Winning Performance

Players receive points for time on the pitch in a successful team. Players will receive more points if they play the full 90 minutes in a winning team. This index shares league points won by a team between the players according to the minutes they are on the pitch. Only time on the pitch and points scored are taken into account in this first index.

2. Player's Performance per match

Players receive points for positive influences on a winning performance (shots on target, tackles, clearances, saves etc). Players have points taken away from their score for negative actions such as shots off target and receiving yellow and/or red cards.

3. Appearances

Players receive points for minutes on the pitch. The number of points won by ALL teams in the Barclays Premier League are divided among the players according to the number of minutes they have played. This does not take into account the result of a match, it awards points purely for playing time.

4. Goals scored

Players are awarded points for scoring goals. These points are only given to the goalscorer.

5. Assists

Players are awarded points for assists. These points are only awarded to players that make the assist.
Assists are awarded to the player from the goal scoring team who makes the last touch before the goal is scored.
If after this touch, an opposing player touches the ball outside the penalty area altering the intended destination of the ball, then no assist is given, except if this intervention directly results in an own goal.
In the event of a penalty or free-kick, the player earning the penalty or free-kick gets an assist if a goal is directly scored, but not if he takes it himself, in which case no assist is given.

6. Clean sheets

Allocates points for clean sheets to the whole team. The proportionate split of the points is weighted according to the player's position. Therefore a goalkeeper will be awarded a greater proportion of the points for keeping a clean sheet than a striker. The points are also awarded proportionately to the time spent on the pitch.


N.B. The overall EA SPORTS PPI is a correlation between all of the above indices. The Index only includes actions that can be measured objectively and does not reward one action more than another (e.g. a pass by a midfielder will not gain more points than a tackle made by a defender). Subjective factors relating to individual players' skill levels or evidence of a specific flair, such as a particularly spectacular pass or goal, are not included within the index.




Friday, January 08, 2016

The History of the Replica Football Shirt


A replica football shirt is defined as an (official) copy of a kit. It is a huge business in the United Kingdom.

Though replica shirts have been produced since the late 1950's, they were initially marketed only to children, and sold as part of a full playing strip. Kit designs were also not copyrighted and at times different clubs, such as Derby County and Spurs, wore identical outfits and different manufacturers produced the same designs.

In the good old days any old red shirt could indicate that you were a Liverpool or a United fan. A dark blue would indicate either Everton or Chelsea.

There were only certain teams which deviated - Arsenal had those white sleeves and Blackburn Rovers played in their blue and white halved shirts.
But then things began to change!

At Coventry City, Jimmy Hill realised the kit was something more than just a uniform to wear on the pitch and he introduced the first ever kit of just one colour (other than white) as they changed from their hitherto mostly dark blue shirts with white shorts to a kit of all sky-blue. Bill Shankly only adopted all red for his Liverpool side in 1965-66 - three years after Coventry's all sky-blue affair (below).


Moving into the 1970's Bert Patrick who was the chairman of Admiral (top right), a Leicester-based knitwear firm, spotted an opportunity to produce football teams’ kits in exchange for prominent branding on the shirts, plus exclusive rights to sell the replica versions to fans.

Leeds United, who had changed from their traditional colours of blue and gold to all white in the early 1960's, became the first club to offer their fans the chance to buy replica kits in 1975 as part of their deal with kit supplier Admiral. When Don Revie left Leeds to take over as England Manager the national team entered into a similar arrangement with Admiral.

When Bert Patrick's Leicestershire knitwear company Cook and Hurst, started producing the official England football kit using the trade name ‘Admiral’ - they became the first to include the manufacturer's logo on the chest - and in 1974 he paid the Football Association £16,000 a year for the privilege. England’s traditional plain white shirt was suddenly adorned with red-and-blue sleeve stripes and a yellow logo, much to the horror of traditionalists and to the delight of schoolboys across the nation.


That shirt was the must-have item of 1975, and when Manchester United were also signed up, Admiral had the ‘Big Three’. The rest quickly fell into line. The revolutionary deal allowed Admiral to sell British-made replica shirts to supporters for £5 - increasing to £9 with shorts and socks included.

Now Nike, the current England kit manufacturer, have a £25 million sponsorship deal with the Football Association, and charges fans around £90 for a replica shirt.

Nike also currently represent the England national women's football team too (right).

Between 1975 and 1980, use of different coloured trim on shirts increased by 40 per cent, and manufacturers’ logos soon became ubiquitous.

The Admiral agents had an eye for an opportunity. When Southampton beat Manchester United in the 1976 FA Cup Final both teams wore an Admiral strip that had been designed and manufactured since their semi-final victories, and the multiple logos down sleeves and shorts were exposed to a huge global TV audience.

In the last 25 years, the percentage of clubs changing their home kit at the start of any season has doubled to almost 100 per cent.

Things really took off when Liverpool became the first club to wear a sponsor's name on their shirts following their 1979 deal with Japanese electronics manufacturer Hitachi (right).

Replica shirt sales are important to both sponsors and clubs. In the 1980's, when hooliganism was a factor, club replica shirt sales were quite low and clubs did relatively little to limit the use of official club logos.

Despite Admiral's innovative deals, by the start of the 1980's the competition from the Far East had become too much and Patrick, faced with low profits which were dwindling into losses, was forced to close his factories in Wigston, Leicestershire. Admiral was bought up by a Dutch oil company called, Frisol. By 1984, England had a new kit manufacturer, Umbro.

In 1990, following the National League Baseball Association example, Arsenal were one of the first clubs to register its name, to stop traders outside the football ground selling the club logo at an undercut price (Hallam, 1992).

Following this and the launch of the new FA Premier League in 1992, the League and all individual clubs now jealously protected 'official' club and League products from reproduction or imitation by non club producers.

Today, as the game has rid itself of the 'hooliganism' tag and wearing club shirts has become fashionable, effective licensing deals are crucial to commercial success. All top clubs now have extensive club shops or superstores selling exclusive official club merchandise.

The market for replica shirts has grown enormously, with the revenue generated for leading clubs and the frequency with which they change designs coming under increased scrutiny, especially in the United Kingdom, where the market for replicas is worth in excess of £200m.

Several clubs have been accused of price fixing, and in 2003 Manchester United were fined £1.65m by the Office of Fair Trading. The high prices charged for replicas have also led to many fans buying fake shirts which are imported from countries such as Thailand and Malaysia.
Nonetheless, the chance for fans to purchase a shirt bearing the name and number of a star player can lead to significant revenue for a club.

In the first six months after David Beckham's transfer to Real Madrid in 2003 the club sold more than one million shirts bearing his name.

When Newcastle United signed Alan Shearer (below) in July 1996, the North-East club made £250,000 on the day of his signing, just in terms of Shearer replica shirt sales. 


When Inter Milan, in contrast, signed Ronaldo in 1997, the club had prepared no shirts carrying the Brazilian's favoured No.9. Instead, counterfeit No.9 shirts appeared to satisfy local demand, forcing the club to play their new star as a No. 10 in order to cash in later on official shirt sales!

The adult market for replica football shirts as leisurewear only developed significantly from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Today sales to adults provide the bulk of a billion dollar industry, Manchester United alone selling approximately 2 million shirts per year.


Top selling player shirts (as at 30/09/2015):

10/ Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool/Brazil)

9/ Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal/Chile)

8/ Sergio Agüero (Manchester City/Argentina)

7/ Neymar (Barcelona/Brazil)

6/ Wayne Rooney (Manchester United/England)

5/ Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Belgium)

4/ Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United/Germany)

3/ Memphis Depay (Manchester United/Netherlands)

2/ Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Portugal)

1/ Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina)


# Information courtesy of kitbag.com



Friday, December 18, 2015

The Best Ever Loan Deals in Football History!


With the January transfer window just two weeks away it is a time for Clubs to take the opportunity to sign new players and release others as they bid to a fulfil the dream of a successful season or in some cases to help save their season!

Loan signings are rife in football these days, but who are some of the best short-term captures of all time?


Romelu Lukaku – Chelsea to West Brom (2012-13) and Chelsea to Everton (2013-14)

The Belgium striker was loaned out to West Bromwich Albion in August 2012 and scored his first league goal eight days later, coming on as a substitute in the 77th minute in a 3–0 win against Liverpool. He scored 17 goals in 38 appearances, in all competitions, and was a major reason for The Baggies excellent Premier League campaign.

Despite being loaned out by the club, Lukaku outscored all of his Chelsea teammates in the Premier League that season, finishing as the sixth-highest goal scorer of the 2012–13 campaign.

Lukaku returned to Chelsea, but on the final day of the 2013 Summer transfer window Chelsea loaned him out again, this time to Everton on a season-long loan. The striker made his debut for the Toffees away to West Ham United on 21 September 2013, scoring the winning goal in a 3–2 victory for Everton.

His final (on loan) goal for the club came on the last day of the 2013-14 season in a 2–0 win over Hull City. Lukaku found the net 15 times in 31 league games to help Everton to fifth place with a club record of 72 Premier League points.

On 30 July 2014, Everton announced that Lukaku had signed a five-year permanent deal with the club, for a record fee of £28 million.


Jimmy Glass - Swindon Town to Carlisle United (1999)

Jimmy Glass joined Carlisle from Swindon towards the end of the 1998/99 season, after a goalkeeper crisis struck the club, with the Surrey born stopper going on to play just three league games while on loan with the Cumbrian club.

His moment of fame came on 8 May 1999, in the final match of the 1998–99 season against Plymouth Argyle, which Carlisle needed to win to avoid relegation to the Conference. With the score 1–1 and with just seconds remaining, Carlisle won a corner. Glass came up from his own penalty area and promptly scored a dramatic last gasp volleyed winner.

Carlisle got the win they needed and Scarborough were relegated to the Football Conference instead after a 1–1 draw with Peterborough. Scarborough's match had already finished before Glass scored, and their fans had already been celebrating on the pitch at the McCain Stadium.



However, despite that vital last-minute strike to keep the Cumbrian side in the Football League and making Glass a Carlisle legend overnight, he never played again for the club.

Beyond the Carlisle goal, Glass's most notable time with any club was three seasons playing for Bournemouth from 1996–1998. Bournemouth was the only Football League club for whom Glass was a regular member of the first team and he retired from football in 2001 aged 27.


Thibaut Courtois - Chelsea to Atletico Madrid (2011-2014)

Within weeks of joining Chelsea in July 2011 Courtois was loaned out to Atlético Madrid, where he went on to make 154 appearances in all competitions and won four major trophies during his spell there in what was a remarkable journey from a young prospect to now arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

It’s safe to say Courtois' three-year spell with Atlético ranks as one of the best loan signings in recent time.

La Liga (2013-14), Copa del Rey (2012-13), Europa League (2011-12) and UEFA Super Cup (2012) crowns were all won during his time in the Spanish capital and it could well have ended in even greater success had Atlético held on against rivals Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League Final last season.

Ironically his UEFA Super Cup win in 2012 with Atlético was against his parent club Chelsea as the Madrid based outfit defeated The Blues 4–1 in the Final held in Monaco.


Daniel Sturridge - Chelsea to Bolton Wanderers (2011)

Sturridge moved to Bolton on a six-month loan deal in January 2011, after struggling to win a starting berth up front at Stamford Bridge. He made his debut two days later, making an immediate impact by coming off the bench to score an injury-time winner on his debut against Wolves, the first of four goals in his first four games for the club, the others coming against Tottenham, Everton and Newcastle.

The on-loan Chelsea forward continued to make an impact at Bolton and finished his loan spell with eight goals in 12 Premier League appearances at the club.


Jermain Defoe – West Ham to Bournemouth (2000-2001)

London born Jermain Defoe was a member of the West Ham United under-19 team that won the Premier Academy League title in 1999–00, and went on to make his first-team debut for The Hammers in a League Cup game against Walsall in September 2000, scoring the only goal in a 1–0 win.

However the West Ham United manager at the time, Harry Redknapp decided to send 18-year-old Defoe out on loan to then second division club AFC Bournemouth, to gain some regular first-team football.

During his time on the south coast the striker scored in 10 consecutive league games, as well as finding the net on both his FA Cup and Football League Trophy debuts for The Cherries.

In total, Defoe bagged an impressive 18 goals in just 27 games for Bournemouth before heading back to Upton Park at the end of the campaign.


Robbie Keane – Tottenham to Celtic (2010)

Despite failing to win a trophy during his time at Parkhead, lifelong Celtic fan Keane certainly enjoyed his stay at the club.

The Republic of Ireland’s all-time top goalscorer and most capped international had a superb spell at the Scottish giants in 2010.

On 1 February 2010, Keane signed for Celtic in a loan deal until the end of the 2009–10 season, having fallen out of favour at White Hart Lane. He made his debut on 2 February at Rugby Park against Kilmarnock. Robbie Keane scored 16 goals in just 19 games for the club and, despite the fact he only played between February and May, he was awarded the club’s Player of the Year award for the 2009-10 season.


Ronnie Rosenthal - Standard Liege to Liverpool (1990)

Israel born Ronnie Rosenthal arrived at Anfield from Standard Liège on 22 March 1990 in a deal until the end of that season, with Liverpool trailing Aston Villa in the title race at the time.

However, it did not take the relatively unknown forward long to make a mark in England, with Rosenthal scoring a hat-trick on his full debut three weeks later, in a 4-0 win against Charlton Athletic at Selhurst Park.

And the Israel international’s 7 goals in the final 8 league matches of the season, displacing Peter Beardsley as Ian Rush's strike partner in the process, were crucial in Kenny Dalglish’s side going on to win that season’s First Division Championship, still the club’s last top-flight crown.

On 29 June 1990 Rosenthal was signed permanently by Liverpool for a fee of £1.1m making him the first foreign player bought by an English club for more than £1million.


Henrik Larsson - Helsingborg IF to Manchester United (2007)

The Sweden and Celtic legend was 35 when he made the shock loan move to Old Trafford back in 2007. With Sir Alex Ferguson short on strikers, he signed Larsson on 1 January until 12 March 2007 during the Swedish League's off season. He scored three goals in his 13 appearances, including one on his debut in the FA Cup against Aston Villa.

Although that may not sound like a particularly impressive goal return, it was his overall professionalism and team ethic that had an effect on the side. United went on to win their first Premier League title in four years, and Larsson played his part. He had not played the required quota of 10 league games to qualify for a Premier League winners medal, but he was granted special dispensation by the Premier League after the club requested an extra medal for the striker.

Larsson is currently the manager of his former Allsvenskan club Helsingborgs IF.


Kevin Campbell - Trabzonspor to Everton (1999)

Everton, who were battling against relegation from the Premier League, signed Campbell on loan in March 1999 from Turkish side Trabzonspor. His impact on the side was immediate as he scored 9 goals in 8 games, making him Everton's top goalscorer that season as Walter Smith’s side avoided the drop.

Campbell became the first-ever loanee in Premier League history to be awarded the Player of the Month award after scoring six times in five matches in April 1999.

Campbell's move to Everton was made permanent in the summer of 1999 for a fee of £3million


Andrés D'Alessandro - Vfl Wolfsburg to Portsmouth (2006)

In January 2006, Vfl Wolfsburg's €9 million club record signing Andres D'Alessandro shocked everyone when he joined Premier League relegation candidates Portsmouth, on loan for the remainder of the season.

In what would be a major coup by Pompey manager at the time, Harry Redknapp, the Argentine playmaker was heavily influential in the club's survival that season.

Once deemed the 'New Maradona,' D'Alessandro scored three goals in his time at Fratton Park and Pompey finished the season four points clear of relegation, having been 19th in the league at the time of D'Alessadnro's arrival. Redknapp tried to sign him permanently in the summer, but the Argentine moved to Real Zaragoza in Spain, before returning home to South America.

In 2010, D'Alessandro led Internacional of Brazil to their second Libertadores Championship, and was elected the best player in South America for that year. In the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup, he also helped Internacional to a third-place finish, and was awarded the Bronze Ball as the tournament's third best player. The 34 year-old is still plying his trade with Internacional.



* Other players that made a big impact during their loan spells.

Mikel Arteta - Real Sociedad to Everton (January 2005)

Fernando Morientes – Real Madrid to AS Monaco (2003-04)

Jurgen Klinsmann - Sampdoria to Tottenham Hotspur (January 1998)

Edgar Davids – Juventus to Barcelona – (2004)

Christophe Dugarry - Bordeaux to Birmingham City (January 2003)

Kyle Walker Tottenham to QPR (August 2010) and Tottenham to Aston Villa (January 2011)

Iván Campo – Real Madrid to Bolton Wanderers (2002-03)

Kieran Richardson - Manchester United to West Brom (January 2005)

Patrick Bamford - Chelsea to MK Dons (2012-14) and Chelsea to Middlesbrough (2014-15)


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Dr Eva Carneiro - The Curse of a Scorned Woman!


Having closely followed the Dr Eva Carneiro versus Jose Mourinho 'controversy' and subsequent fall out, and having also written two previous articles on here outlining the case in question (on the 18th September and 24th September 2015), it is with interest that I read the very latest turn of events in 'DoctorGate'

Coming from a family with a substantial background in medicine, and having discussed and read in some detail the rights and wrongs of the behaviour of Mourinho on that fateful day back in August, I for one am pleased, if not slightly surprised to see that Dr Caneiro has the full weight of FIFA's medical committee behind her in her fight against Chelsea Football Club and manager Jose Mourinho.

They have promised the former Chelsea doctor the full backing of FIFA's medical chief in her legal case against the Premier League club.

Carneiro is taking action against the club for constructive dismissal and an individual action against Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho for victimisation and discrimination.

She was dropped from first-team duties after Mourinho criticised her and head physio Jon Fearn for going on to the pitch to treat Eden Hazard after being summoned by referee Michael Oliver.
The action meant that Chelsea were temporarily down to nine men against Swansea, and afterwards Mourinho called Carneiro and Fearn "impulsive and naive."


Mourinho was cleared of using discriminatory language towards her following an investigation by the Football Association, but he is now the subject of a separate but connected claim.

With Mourinho's Chelsea side currently ailing like a rudderless ship, and 'The Special One' now favourite with the bookmakers to be the next Premier League manager to lose his job, one has to question how much damage his bust up with Dr Carnerio (right), during the opening match of the Premier League season back on the 8th August has contributed to what can only be described as a cataclysmic disaster of a season.........to date.

FIFA's medical committee chairman Michel D'Hooghe has now revealed he has been in touch with Carneiro to offer his support and that of the world governing body.
He has backed Carneiro's insistence that she was simply doing her job.

D'Hooghe said: "Of course I support Eva Carneiro. She did her job, she did her duty - when somebody is medically in trouble she has to intervene. Of course she has my support and the whole medical committee's."

"I have had email contact with her and she is very happy with the global support of the medical world in football."

D'Hooghe said the fall-out from the case could mean that Carneiro may find it difficult to find a new job in football but that he would do what he could to help her.

He added: "I can imagine that in the short term she might have some problems with that, but with her personality and her competence she must certainly have a great future and if I can help her I will do it."

I may not be a Chelsea supporting fan, or someone who can be hoodwinked by Mourinho's confident external persona, but I am a football fan, and I can tell you for a fact that there is precious little harmony within the Chelsea camp as I speak!

Following defeat at home to to Bournemouth last Saturday, an insider told how 'The Blues' trained earlier this week saying: “It was a very, very flat atmosphere at the training ground,” with midfielder Nemanja Matic seemingly backing up this observation by admitting the whole club is stuck in a rut with no sign of a way out.
He said: “We are in a difficult situation, so it’s going to be hard to come back from this. But we have to try to resolve this problem, we have to try to recover."


This week could define Mourinho's future. He stays in charge for tonight's decisive Champions League clash with Porto and for a date with ex-Blues boss Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City next Monday......but for how long! Should Chelsea bow out of the Champions League and then lose to Ranieri’s table-toppers it could force Abramovich’s hand — and get Mourinho sacked just a few months into a new four-year contract.

Chelsea refused to comment on FIFA's decision. The cases are likely to be heard early in 2016, unless they are settled beforehand.

In the wake of the controversy, FIFA's medical committee is to draw up a new code of ethics for managers and team doctors.

As the saying goes: "Nothing like the curse of a scorned woman"

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Babe of the Month - Gorgeous TV presenter and model Layla Anna-Lee


Layla Anna-Lee was born on 22nd March 1983 in London, England.

Layla is an English TV presenter, host, model and actress, best known as the voice of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, broadcast live to an audience of nearly one billion. She also hosted the London 2012 Olympic Beach Volleyball Finals.

That same year Layla hosted the Queen's Diamond Jubilee party live in front of 20,000 people in Trafalgar Square.

Layla has hosted 'OK! Insider,' since its launch in 2008, presenting red carpet events and interviewing celebrities for the magazine's website. In 2010, she became the face of  'OK! Magazine Online,' and has interviewed cast members of the Twilight movies, actor Harrison Ford, and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, as well as covering 'Big Brother' series eleven in 2010, which lead to her appearance on 'Big Brother's Little Brother.'

Having presented the Goal Line show on Goal.com, Layla was headhunted by MLS's 'KickTV' and hosted their weekly show 'The Rumour Mill' before hosting 'KickTV’s' journey to the Confederations Cup in 2013.

In 2014 Layla returned to Brazil for the World Cup for 'KickTV.' Whilst in Rio the views on Layla’s videos helped 'KickTV' reach their 100 million viewer milestone. During the World Cup Layla also hosted adidas' live World Cup show 'The Dugout' - where she interviewed many legends of the game such as David Beckham, Kaka and Ruud Gullit.

Layla continues to work with the brand fronting their Champions League show 'adidas GameDay+,' currently the most popular football show online.

Layla has also worked for Eurosport and Sky Sports covering major road cycling events and mountain biking.

Layla has continued to interview many footballing legends including a rare interview with Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale, Pep Guardiola and Luis Suarez.

Since 2013, she has co-presented 'The Munch Box,' a Saturday morning children's cooking show alongside Ben Ebbrell and then Joe Hurd for ITV and CITV.

An accomplished writer, Layla attended the London School of Journalism and regularly writes for the Huffington Post. She is an avid Crystal Palace fan and has a regular column in the Crystal Palace official match day programme under the appellation 'Layla The Eagle.'

Layla speaks French, Spanish and Portuguese and can be seen on 'BBC Bitesize,' helping children learn French. She has also modelled for Max Factor, Daewoo, Samsung, Bacardi, First Choice Holidays, Harvey's and Kinder Bueno.

In 2013 Layla was named in FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World and appeared in an exclusive interview and photo shoot for a 6-page FHM feature in their April 2013 edition. In 2012 she made Time Out’s Hot 100 – a prestigious list of the most influential creatives in Great Britain.


You can follow Layla on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Statistically, the EA Sports best performing players in the English Premier League so far this season!


The EA SPORTS PPI (Player Performance Index) is the only official player rating index of the Barclays Premier League which measures a player's all round contribution to the success of his team using six key indices:

The intention is to remove any opinion bias and only work with proven statistical measurements which become more accurate as the season progresses.


Season 2015/16 - Last update: 09/11/15

For those of you currently playing 'Fantasy Premier League Football' you may want to take note!


Goalkeepers:

1. Petr Cech (Arsenal) 162 EA Sports PPI
2. Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester) 152
3. Jack Butland (Stoke City) 136
4. Tim Howard (Everton) 133
5. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) 130 (right)
6. Joe Hart (Man City) 129
7. Heurelho Gomes (Watford) 121
8. Boaz Myhill (West Brom) 114
9. Simon Mignolet (Liverpool) 112
10. Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea) 110


Defenders:

1. Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) 202 (below right)
2. Aleksandar Kolarov (Man City) 196
3. Nacho Monreal (Arsenal) 191
4. Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham) 189
5. Eric Dier (Tottenham) 185
6. Laurent Koscielny 175
6. Bacary Sagna (Man City) 175
8. Aaron Cresswell (West Ham) 174
9. Jose Fonte (Southampton) 161
10. Ashley Williams (Swansea) 160


Midfielders:

1. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester) 332
2. Dimitri Payet (West Ham) 292
3. Mesut Özil (Arsenal) 268
4. Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle) 255
5. Ross Barkley (Everton) 250
6. Sadio Mané (Southampton) 229
7. Dusan Tadic (Southampton) 228
8. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) 227
9. Juan Mata (Manchester Utd) 222
10. Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) 218


Forwards:

1. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) 375 (right)
2. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 302
3. Harry Kane (Tottenham) 288
4. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) 283
5. Odion Ighalo (Watford) 223
6. Raheem Sterling (Man City) 211
7. Sergio Agüero (Man City) 202
8. Graziano Pellè (Southampton) 193
9. Arouna Koné (Everton) 190
10. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) 187


The Six Key Indices:

1. Winning Performance

Players receive points for time on the pitch in a successful team. Players will receive more points if they play the full 90 minutes in a winning team. This index shares league points won by a team between the players according to the minutes they are on the pitch. Only time on the pitch and points scored are taken into account in this first index.

2. Player's Performance per match

Players receive points for positive influences on a winning performance (shots on target, tackles, clearances, saves etc). Players have points taken away from their score for negative actions such as shots off target and receiving yellow and/or red cards.

3. Appearances

Players receive points for minutes on the pitch. The number of points won by ALL teams in the Barclays Premier League are divided among the players according to the number of minutes they have played. This does not take into account the result of a match, it awards points purely for playing time.

4. Goals scored

Players are awarded points for scoring goals. These points are only given to the goalscorer.

5. Assists

Players are awarded points for assists. These points are only awarded to players that make the assist.
Assists are awarded to the player from the goal scoring team who makes the last touch before the goal is scored.
If after this touch, an opposing player touches the ball outside the penalty area altering the intended destination of the ball, then no assist is given, except if this intervention directly results in an own goal.
In the event of a penalty or free-kick, the player earning the penalty or free-kick gets an assist if a goal is directly scored, but not if he takes it himself, in which case no assist is given.

6. Clean sheets

Allocates points for clean sheets to the whole team. The proportionate split of the points is weighted according to the player's position. Therefore a goalkeeper will be awarded a greater proportion of the points for keeping a clean sheet than a striker. The points are also awarded proportionately to the time spent on the pitch.


N.B. The overall EA SPORTS PPI is a correlation between all of the above indices. The Index only includes actions that can be measured objectively and does not reward one action more than another (e.g. a pass by a midfielder will not gain more points than a tackle made by a defender). Subjective factors relating to individual players' skill levels or evidence of a specific flair, such as a particularly spectacular pass or goal, are not included within the index.