Wednesday, June 30, 2010

All The Latest Transfer Gossip

Transfer speculation is rife at the moment, as clubs all over Europe pursue new signings for the forthcoming season, which for English Premier League clubs begins on the 14th August. As we speak, some of the rumoured potential player signings have more substance than others. However there is no doubt, the transfer merry go-round is in full swing as we speak!

Manchester City, Valencia, Celtic, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Werder Bremen, Manchester United, Bolton, AC Milan, Benfica, Cardiff, Stoke, Roma, Liverpool, Tottenham, Lyon, Arsenal, Lorient, Wolfsburg, Everton, Strasbourg, Hertha Berlin, LA Galaxy, Genoa, Panathinaikos, Paris St.Germain, Chelsea, Aston Villa, West Ham, Bayer Leverkusen, West Brom, Crystal Palace, Ipswich Town, Bristol Rovers, Watford, Plymouth and Carlisle are all currently caught up in transfer gossip.

Is your Club involved?

Here is a round up:

Manchester City have confirmed a deal has been reached to sign David Silva from Valencia on a five-year contract and he will officially join the club after his involvement in the World Cup with Spain is over. The transfer fee is reported to be in the region of £25 million.
City have also been heavily linked with Barcelona’s defensive midfielder Yaya Toure it is reported that Toure is 'poised' to sign for the Eastlands club -

Roy Hodgson is keen to make midfielder Joe Cole, recently released by Chelsea his first signing for Liverpool, once he takes over the reigns at Anfield -

Joe Cole is set to be offered £3m a year to join AC Milan after being released by Chelsea - The Sun

Tottenham Hotspur look set to beat Arsenal to the signing of Joe Cole - Daily Mirror

Standard Liege and Serbian international sriker Milan Jovanovic has reportedly agreed a three-year deal to join Liverpool -

Arsenal are close to completing the transfer of centre-back Laurent Koscielny from French club Lorient for £8.5 million as a replacement for William Gallas who has failed to agree a new deal - The Sun

Mesut Ozil's agent Reza Fazeli says the Germany playmaker is focused on the World Cup after being linked with a move to Barcelona. Reports had suggested that Barcelona would offer Werder Bremen a transfer of Ozil that would include an exchange for Alexander Hleb and Henrique Adriano Buss -

German side Wolfsburg have stunned Manchester City by demanding £50m for striker Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian is reportedly keen to move to Eastlands - Daily Mail

Manchester City are also keen to recruit Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan, who had a successful spell on loan at Everton last season and was impressive for the United States at the World Cup in South Africa - Daily Mirror

Reports in Italy are linking Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea with AC Milan's Klass-Jan Huntelaar and Mathieu Flamini. Milan are said to be keen to raise £40million for a bid for Barcelona's Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Manchester United look set to lure Panathinaikos midfielder Sotiris Ninis to Old Trafford in a deal believed to be worth £9.6m - Daily Mirror

United are also keen on signing Paris St.Germain midfielder Stéphane Sessègnon, and are willing to offer Brazilian midfielder Anderson as part of the deal -

Aston Villa are maintaining their interest in Arsenal striker Eduardo, who is keen to move from the Emirates - Daily Mail

Villa are also believed to be chasing West Ham midfielder Scott Parker and Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Tranquillo Barnetta and could be prepared to part with £14m for the pair - Daily Mirror

Cardiff City and Wales midfielder Joe Ledley held talks with Stoke City about a possible move to the Britannia Stadium. The 23-year-old who is out of contract with the Championship club. Celtic and Roma are among the clubs also linked with Ledley - BBC Sport

Bolton are confident of beating Benfica to the signing of Real Madrid's Spanish under-21 defender Marcos Alonso and striker Rodrigo Moreno.
Bolton are closing in on the capture of Brazilian striker Ilan, who is available on a Bosman deal after being released by West Ham. The Trotters also want fellow free agent Juan Roman Riquelme following the midfielder's release by Boca Juniors - Daily Mirror

Everton have bid £900,000 for Strasbourg striker Magaye Gueye and are also keen on signing German defender Arne Freidrich, who is reportedly available at a knockdown fee of £2m following his club Hertha Berlin's relegation from the Bundesliga - Daily Mail

Genoa President Enrico Preziosi expects to make the signing of Luca Toni official next week. Toni is a free agent after Bayern Munich released him earlier this summer -

Crystal Palace have completed the signing of David Wright following the defender's release by Ipswich Town -

West Brom are set for talks with Frederic Piquionne on Wednesday after Lyon accepted a £1m-plus offer for the striker, who spent last season on loan at Portsmouth - Daily Mirror

Bristol Rovers have completed the signing of left-back Gary Sawyer from Plymouth Argyle - BBC Sport

Watford are set to sign Carlisle United starlet Tom Aldred -

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Missing! - Has Anyone Seen Zakumi, the Official World Cup Mascot?

For the last four decades the FIFA World Cups have had unique mascots for the different tournaments and the tradition continues this year with Zakumi.

Zakumi is the official mascot for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The green-haired leopard symbolizes the hopes and dreams of South Africa and the African continent through his self-confidence, pride, hospitality, social skills and warm-heartedness. He is lively, fervent, jovial, and a go-getter. He also loves football.

According to the official International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) website - "one thing is for sure, Zakumi will be first on the dancefloor and last off it at the biggest party in the world - the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa."

How Zakumi Got His Name:
Zakumi’s name comes from ZA, which is the international code for South Africa, and ‘kumi’ which means ‘ten’ in various African languages, making him a truly African mascot who will be the best host to all the fans visiting South Africa for the exciting football event.

The Importance of Zakumi’s Birth Date:
Although Zakumi was presented to the world on 22 September 2008, his birthdate is 16 June 1994, causing him to turn 16 in June 2010. This is an important day for South Africa, now celebrated annually as Youth Day, because it saw the beginning of the Soweto youth uprising as they protested against apartheid. The year 1994 is also an important year as it marks the first democratic vote for all people in the nation. Zakumi, therefore represents South Africa’s hopes and dreams.

However with the tournament into its third week I have yet to speak to anybody who has actually seen this character out and about performing his hosting duties - whether it be in person at a game, on or around the streets of any stadium, on billboards, through the media, or simply on our television screens!

Have YOU seen Zakumi?
Does Zakumi really exist?
Perhaps Zakumi has been abducted or kidnapped, and is being held to ransom!

If you have spotted Zakumi let me know when and where?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Latest World Cup News

After yesterday's final group games which saw Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Chile book their places in the second round of the 2010 World Cup, we now move straight into the knock-out phase of the tournament.
Today sees Uruguay up against South Korea in Port Elizabeth, whilst the USA take on Ghana in Rustenburg in the late kick-off.

Uruguay are expected to stick with the same line-up that beat Mexico 1-0 in their final group game. Coach Oscar Tabarez may be tempted to bring in defender Diego Godin in place of Mauricio Victorino, who is one booking away from suspension, as are fellow defenders Diego Lugano and Jorge Fucile - BBC Sport

South Korea coach Huh Jung-Moo could drop fullback Cha Du-Ri, who was at fault for Nigeria's opening goal in their 2-2 draw, with Kim Dong-Jin favourite to replace him.
One booking away from suspension are midfielders Lee Chung-Yong and Kim Nam-Il, along with striker Yeom Ki-Hun - BBC Sport

The United States welcome the return of Robbie Findley from suspension after he missed the Algeria victory thanks to two yellow cards picked up in the opening two matches.
Replacing Findley in attack for the game in Pretoria was Herculez Gomez, however with DaMarcus Beasley and Edson Buddle also both available, coach Bob Bradley has options as to who will partner Jozy Altidore up front.
Midfielder Maurice Edu is likely to retain a starting berth after coming in for Jose Francisco Torres -

Ghana could be without centre-back Isaac Vorsah for the knockout encounter as the defender struggles to win his fitness battle. Vorsah missed the draw against Australia through injury and was hoping to be in contention for the loss to Germany, however Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac was forced to start him on the bench.
There was better news for fellow first-choice defender John Mensah, who also returned from the sidelines to complete 90 minutes, meaning Ghana may field an unchanged starting XI.
Midfielder Sulley Muntari may come in for Prince Tagoe, despite a 'reported bust-up' with his coach, should Rajevax decide to tinker with his system -

The clash between arch-rivals Germany and England rates as one of the glamour fixtures in world football, as both teams gear up for Sunday's last 16 meeting in Bloemfontein.
England's Jamie Carragher could return after suspension at the heart of England's defence replacing Matthew Upson.
Striker Miroslav Klose should return to the German starting line-up after suspension with Cacau making way. Toni Kroos may start in midfield as Bastian Schweinsteiger is doubtful with a thigh muscle injury -

Brazil will welcome back midfield pair Kaka and Elano for Monday's last 16 encounter against fellow South Americans Chile, in Johannesburg. Kaka served a one-match ban against Portugal while Elano was ruled out through injury -

Spain midfielder Xavi Alonso is a doubt for the World Cup round of 16 showdown with Iberian neighbours Portugal after suffering a sprained ankle in their win over Chile -

Japan striker Shinji Okazaki has warned Paraguay that they have "nothing to lose" as they bid for a historic place in the World Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.
The Samurai Blue helped Japan to victories over Cameroon and Denmark in Group E to seal their place in the last 16 for the first time ever on foreign soil. Okazaki opened his World Cup account when he came off the bench to score the clincher in the 3-1 win over the Danes on Thursday.
Okazaki's first World Cup goal came as a relief for the 24-year-old, who finished as the world's top international scorer for 2009 with 15 goals. Since the turn of the year, however, he has struggled to match that form, but after getting off the mark on Thursday he is determined to add to his tally in South Africa -

Sven-Goran Eriksson has refused to confirm where his future lies after stepping down as Ivory Coast manager.
His team crashed out of the World Cup in the opening stages after failing to progress from Group G, and now that the Swede's short term deal as coach has ended, he has been linked with a return to club management -

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Could a Simple Chemistry Lesson be at the Heart of a Winning Formula for England at the World Cup?



To win a football match, by way of scoring more goals than the opposing side, and in doing so by keeping within the laws of the game.


a) 16 players (11 of whom must only be on the field of play at the start of the game)
b) Management team + a bench
c) Matching shirts + shorts + socks (players must provide their own footwear)
d) Seeded grass area with the appropriate markings in white paint
e) Two standard sized goals with netting
f) One official 'Jabulani' adidas ball
g) Flags on sticks
h) One referee + whistle + watch + coloured cards
i) Two assistant referees + flags
j) One further official + display board
k) Crowd of paying spectators (optional)



1/ Pick one goalkeeper, 4 defenders, 3 or 4 midfield players and 2 or 3 strikers, up to a maximum of 11 players. There is no limit to how many players you can pick from any one club.

2/ Use a tactical formation familiar to the squad selected for the tournament. We shall call this 'Plan A.'
Do not be afraid to experiment if necessary.

3/ Prepare for different scenarios on the training pitch to accommodate even the unlikeliest of events. Remember practice makes perfect

4/ Have a 'Plan B' in case Plan A is not working.

5/ Name your starting XI more than two hours before kick-off. For example, tell them over breakfast (Continental or English style) on the day of a game that starts at 3pm.

6/ Be open with YOUR players. Express your opinions and thoughts to them, and in turn allow them to convey their views and share with you any underlying issues they may have. Bond with them as if they were your family.

7/ At the end of the day do NOT forget YOU are the boss!


1/ Once the game has begun, pass the ball to your fellow players (those in the same coloured shirts as yourself), rather than to the opponents.

2/ Move the ball in a forward direction whenever possible.

3/ Continue to play the ball back and forth to your team-mates until the final movement of the ball results in the (whole of the) ball crossing a white line painted between two upright sticks 12 yards apart. This is called a goal!

4/ Do your utmost to stop the opposition from doing likewise (legally of course).

5/ After a goal is scored YOU may then run around and celebrate in whatever fashion floats YOUR boat. Be warned - do NOT remove YOUR shirt in celebration or jump into the crowd. These are law breaking offences and could also result in injury. However YOU may perform acrobatics, themed dance routines, kiss, hug, point, cup your ear and shake your booty if you so wish.

6/ Remember a WAG is NOT for life, so sharing a WAG is at the owners discretion. Do NOT do to someone else what YOU would not like done to yourself. Be polite and always ask (JT) first!


Not known at the time of writing, as kick-off is still some 15 hours away. However the bookmakers odds are as follows:

England to win 4/9
Match Drawn 10/3
Slovenia to win 15/2

(Odds supplied courtesy of Betfred)


An England win and they qualify for a place in the last 16.

Any other result and the express jet will be fuelled and ready to transport the 'prima donnas' to a safe house for their own protection, and a brown envelope containing a document labelled 'P45' will be winging its way to the Italian, Mr. 'not so fabio' Capello, c/o The FA, the governing body of association football in England.

Any questions???

Monday, June 21, 2010

All The Latest Transfer Gossip

With the World Cup in full swing, the greatest football tournament on earth has put all the players involved in the 'shop window,' giving club managers both here and abroad further opportunity to monitor any prospective transfer targets for the new season, or even unearth some new gems.
Meanwhile plenty of other players not featuring in the World Cup are also being pursued - as clubs aim to strengthen their respective squads in time for the start of next season.

Real Madrid, Liverpool, Palermo, Inter Milan, Arsenal, Fiorentina, Manchester City, Manchester United, West Ham, Roma, Panathinaikos, Everton, Birmingham City, Wolves, Fulham, Hull, Nantes, Aston Villa, Bolton, Blackburn, Olympique Marseille, Rapid Vienna and Al Jazeera Abu Dhabi are all caught up in transfer gossip as we speak.

Is your Club involved?

Here is a round up:

Manchester United have set their sights on Inter Milan midfielder and Real Madrid target Wesley Sneijder. The Red Devils are planning to approach the reigning UEFA Champions League champions with an offer of around 24 million Euros for the 26-year old Dutch international, even though he is not for sale -

Real Madrid want Liverpool to drop their valuation of Steven Gerrard as they try to finalise a move for the England midfielder. Liverpool are reluctant to sell the 30-year-old but are currently holding out for £30m. Real Madrid have reportedly told Liverpool that they are only willing to spend £20m on Gerrard and have inquired about Roma's Italy international Daniele de Rossi as an alternative - Daily Mail

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is lining up a shock bid for Manchester City defender Micah Richards, who has been starved of first-team opportunities and is rated at about £12m - Caught Offside

Birmingham City are ready to rekindle their interest in Liverpool's Ryan Babel. City tried to sign Babel during the January transfer window, but failed to agree a deal with Liverpool. Blues boss Alex McLeish is thought to be a big admirer of the Dutchman and is ready to revive his attempts to lure him to St.Andrews -

Arsenal are interested in Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Montolivo. A World Cup starter for Italy, the 25-year-old has spent the last five seasons at La Viola - Caught Offside

A number of Premier League sides are keen on bringing former Arsenal ace Gilberto Silva back to England. Silva, who has impressed during Brazil's first two games at the World Cup, could be on the move this summer. The 33-year-old is currently plying his trade at Panathinaikos, but the Greek club could decide to offload the midfielder to ease their financial problems. The likes of Fulham, Blackburn, Everton and Liverpool are all thought to be monitoring Gilberto's situation at Panathinaikos -

Wolves are set to sign Hull City winger Stephen Hunt for £3m this week and are closing in on a £2m deal for Senegalese midfielder Guirane N'Daw, who plays for Nantes - The Daily Mirror

West Ham midfielder Valon Behrami will meet with the club after the World Cup to discuss his future. Serie A outfit Palermo are thought to be interested in the 25-year old Swiss international, but his agent Alessandro Beltrami believes the Hammers do not want to sell someone who they regard as a key player -

Aston Villa will try to persuade Martin Petrov to join them ahead of Bolton after last-ditch talks. Blackburn have also offered terms to the Bulgaria winger, who is a free agent after being released by Manchester City - Daily Mail

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce has his eyes on Croatia striker Nikica Jelavic and wants the Rapid Vienna star to play alongside the Ewood Park outfit's Croatian frontman Nikola Kalinic - The Daily Mirror

Out-of-contract Arsenal defender Mikael Silvestre is very close to agreeing terms with UAE side Al Jazeera Abu Dhabi, who are reportedly offering the 32-year-old an annual salary of £4 million -

Olympique Marseille are poised to sign Brazilian and former Liverpool left-back Fabio Aurelio on a free transfer -

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Latest World Cup News

After terrific results so far in this World Cup for most of Latin America's teams, Paraguay hope to keep the roll going against Slovakia in Sunday's first game in the quest for a second round place.
The South Americans have not passed the second stage in seven attempts but are buoyed with self-belief after wins over big guns Brazil and Argentina in the qualifiers, and a creditable 1-1 draw with world champions Italy in their opening game - Reuters

Just 15 days after undergoing surgery on a broken arm, Didier Drogba is set to start tonight for the Ivory Coast against Brazil, and that would be a huge boost for a side that has already taken a point off Portugal.
The Chelsea striker made a difference when he came on late in the 0-0 draw and Brazil, having been stretched by North Korea, will be aware of his threat in this most unpredictable of World Cups.
Brazil could keep faith with the side that won 2-1 against North Korea ahead of the final game, against Portugal -

Paul Le Guen insists he will not step down as Cameroon coach after they became the first nation to be knocked out of the World Cup.
The Indomitable Lions' hopes of reaching the second round are already over after suffering a 2-1 defeat by Denmark in Pretoria on Saturday -

The Netherlands and Denmark will both be missing key players when they face each other on Monday.
Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben will definitely miss out for the Netherlands with a hamstring injury, while Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner is likely to be missing for Denmark with a groin problem - BBC Sport

Fabio Capello has warned his underperforming England side that he is prepared to get tough if necessary.The Italian has made it clear that he will make his selections based on form, meaning nobody is immune from the axe.
Two lacklustre showings in their opening Group C games at the 2010 World Cup have left Capello pondering sweeping changes.
Some difficult decisions may have to be made before the midweek encounter in Port Elizabeth, with the performances of too many players having fallen below the required standard.
Capello accepts as much and has informed those still feeding their feet that he is running out of patience.
The former AC Milan and Real Madrid is renowned for his no-nonsense approach to management and has revealed that he would not be afraid to drop any of his so-called stars against the Slovenians.
"No-one is untouchable, not in my mind," he said -

It is has been reported that France striker Nicolas Anelka has retired from international football.
Anelka was sent home from the World Cup squad on Saturday following a dressing-room bust-up with manager Raymond Domenech.
It is reported that the 31-year old directed a foul-mouthed tirade at Domenech during half-time of Thursday's 2-0 defeat to Mexico.
Anelka, capped 60 times accepted his exclusion and wished the team well, but it now appears he has called time on his international career.
A win over South Africa in their final group game may not be enough for France as they will still be eliminated if Mexico and Uruguay draw their match -

Honduras' three Palacios brothers are forever assured a place in the annals of the FIFA World Cup. They became the first ever trio of brothers to appear at the tournament after Jerry was given a late call-up by Honduras coach Reinaldo Rueda, as a replacement for the injured Julio Cesar de Leon. Jerry thus joined his two younger brothers, Jhony and Wilson, who were named in the original squad for South Africa 2010 -

The thought of Chile against Switzerland as a top-of-the-table clash in the same group as World Cup favourites Spain would have been inconceivable only a few days ago.
But both teams are in the unlikely position of joint Group H leaders after the Swiss stunned the Spaniards 1-0 and Chile beat Honduras by the same scoreline, to seal their first win at a World Cup in 48 years.
Although far from a mouth-watering matchup, Monday's encounter has taken on added significance that might just be enough to wake sleepy Port Elizabeth from its World Cup snooze.
The defeats for Spain and Honduras, who meet later on Monday in Johannesburg, means a win for either Switzerland or Chile would give them one foot in the next round. The winning side may be able to advance with a defeat in their final game - Reuters

Coach Bob Bradley and the USA team are putting the controversy of the tie against Slovenia behind them, with the focus switching to Wednesday's key match against Algeria.
USA coach Bob Bradley firmly believes his team's apparent game-winning goal against Slovenia in the 85th minute should not have been disallowed by referee Koman Coulibaly, who overnight became one of most well-known figures of this World Cup back in America.
Bradley said he watched and rewatched footage of the controversial call on Maurice Edu's close-range shot and did not see anything out of the ordinary pushing and shoving that goes on in the penalty area during a free kick. Instead of a dramatic 3-2 comeback victory, the United States had to settle for a 2-2 draw -

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac declined to criticise his men for failing to kill off 10-man Australia in their 1-1 draw yesterday.
Harry Kewell was sent off for a first-half handball on the line, and although Ghana equalised from the spot, they could not find a winning goal.
But the result leaves the Black Stars needing only one point from their final Group D match to reach the last 16. Ghana, who play Germany on Wednesday, top the group with four points, one more than the Germans and Serbia.
Australia have one point and must beat Serbia to have any chance of progressing to the next phase - BBC Sport

Australia's Harry Kewell has been suspended for one match following his sending off for a deliberate handball during Friday's 1-1 draw against Ghana.
Kewell could have been handed a two-game ban, but Fifa's disciplinary committee opted not to impose a stiffer punishment on the ex-Liverpool player.
It means he will miss Wednesday's final Group D match against Serbia but will be available if Australia progress - BBC Sport

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Back Wayne Rooney to crush Algeria - World Cup Betting News with Betfred


Following England's horror show against the USA, someone needs to step up and carry the flag for the Three Lions and could that man be Wayne Rooney.
Fabio Capello's men face a crucial match against Algeria in Cape Town on Friday.

The World Cup odds make them 2/9 to win the game, while the draw is 11/2 with Betfred and, according to team-mate Matthew Upson, Rooney is the man to fire England to victory.

Upson, who hopes to replace the injured Ledley King in the heart of England's defence, has seen Rooney in training over recent weeks and is confident the goals will come for the Manchester United forward.

Rooney has scored only once in eight internationals over the past year, but remains a 12/1 shot in the World Cup 2010 betting to win the Golden Boot. However, if he wants to be top scorer he will need to start finding the back of the net, starting on Friday.

Upson claimed that despite Rooney's recent disappointing international scoring record, there is no need for the striker to panic and "start thinking" about the problem.

"It will happen. Wayne's movement is great. He is a class player and he is totally gifted," the West Ham defender said.

"He just needs to relax, play his game and the goals will come because he is top draw."

England fans could have received a great boost with the confirmation from Capello that Gareth Barry is back from injury and will start the Algeria clash.

The balance of the England side had looked a little off during the draw with the USA, but the return of Barry could give Frank Lampard more chance to push forward which means 7/4 for him to score at anytime could be a good bet.

My Tip of the Weekend:

England should rediscover their goalscoring boots against a sloppy looking Algeria side, so the 3-0 at 13/2 with Betfred is my pick. Over 2.5 goals also looks attractive at 4/5.

Remaining Group C games:

Slovenia v USA - Friday 18th June, kick-off 3pm, live on the BBC.
England v Algeria - Friday 18th June, kick-off 7.30pm, live on ITV.
England v Slovenia - Wednesday 23rd June, kick-off 3pm, live on the BBC.
USA v Algeria - Wednesday 23rd June, kick-off 3pm, live on the BBC.

By Drew Swainston
(Guest writer from Betfred on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Shoes 4 Life" - You Can Help Make a Difference!

How many pairs of shoes do you own? 5, 10, 20.............more than 20?
Do you ever stop and think that there are millions of people in our world who don't have any shoes at all !

Well SoccerPro is at it again!
Like their 'Jerseys 4 Life' campaign earlier this year, this summer during the World Cup, SoccerPro has teamed up with the international shoe charity, Soles4Souls to bring us 'Shoes 4 Life'.

They are raising awareness of the fact that millions of people every day, many of them children, do not have shoes. Without shoes, walking long distances to schools or jobs is nearly impossible, and bare feet are prone to injury. By donating money to Shoes 4 Life, you can help make a step in the direction of ending this easily fixable problem.

One dollar sends one pair of shoes to a barefoot child or adult, and can help deliver much more: Hope!

SoccerPro is thanking everybody who helps in the movement by giving away some of their inventory. Some lucky winners will receive $800 worth of soccer shoes.

Beer, Footy and Birds is just one of many sites making people aware of the campaign, and giving you an opportunity to make a difference, by providing some much needed help to people far less fortunate than ourselves.

Take a look at Shoes 4 Life - it's a positive way to celebrate how the World Cup is bringing the world together.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

More Butter Fingers than Green Fingers !

Now I would like to point out that due to work commitments I had to view last night's game intermittently at work on a small screen TV with the sound muted, and as of yet I have not listened to or read any broadcasting opinions, official interviews or press reports made since the final whistle of the England v USA game.

As a result this article is brief and written without any outside influence, so here we go!

England's history of starting major tournaments poorly continued with another rather uninspiring display last night, as they 'let slip' an early lead given to them courtesy of a serene Steven Gerrard strike, to share the spoils in a rather drab 1-1 draw with the United States in their opening group C match, on day two of the 2010 World Cup.

It may sound a bit premature with only five matches completed as I write, but the word 'uninspiring' seems prevalent thus far in football's showpiece event, with adventurous attacking flair playing second fiddle to some rather apathetic tactics, seemingly deployed and installed by managers into their players.
A psychological condition I am going to call for the time being anyway, the 'lose at no costs' syndrome.

Not for the first time last night England fell foul, largely due to yet another goalkeeping 'gaffe' that would rival any other previous goalkeeping faux pas made by the men between the sticks over the years. Is their some kind of goalkeeping style Masonic Club we are unaware of on these shores!

If there is should it read something like this:

"Ultimately, we are the same Freemasons that you have known throughout your life and all of history – a fun-loving Brotherhood of Charity, that is reflected in our works. We are dedicated to promoting good will in our local communities while at the same time promoting fun, unsafe and unreliable English goalkeepers."

Current members of our club include, Mr.Bonetti, Mr.Clemence, Mr.Seamen, Mr.Robinson, Mr.Carson. Now step forward Mr.Green who has himself thrown his own hat into the ring. However, full membership can only be achieved upon that individual being raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason...........

I digress. Moving on swiftly.
Robert Green in my opinion should not bare the sole brunt of the blame for our failure to beat the USA at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium near Rustenburg last night.
There are other candidates who's influence on our national team puts them well and truly in the line of fire! Not least the Football Association's own £6 million a year employee, our very own England manager, be he of Italian descent, Mr.Fabio Capello.

England qualified for the World Cup with aplomb, but since the end of the English domestic season, and the announcement of the provisional 30 man squad, we seem to have lost our way.

Three lacklustre warm-up matches prior to the tournament seem to throw the England circus out of formation.

I find some of Capello's behaviour and decision making of late somewhat unsettling. The manner in which he whittled down his squad of 30 to a final 23, the omission of certain players and the inclusion of others, along with the reported and I feel rather bizarre decision not to tell his squad who would be starting the game against the USA, until something like two hours before kick-off. Football is as much a mental game as a physical one, and I am not sure I agree with the wisdom of his methods of thinking!

Some may argue the phrase there is 'method in the madness,' but on this occasion I am not convinced the boss got it right!

Having said that, it is still early days, but if 'Fabio' wants to live up to his name, then he has some serious thinking and soul searching to do before Friday's must win encounter with Algeria.

Who will wear the goalkeeping jersey?
What formation should he play?
Should Rooney play as a loan striker?
Is there room for a fit Gareth Barry?
Who will make up the best centre-half pairing?
Should Lennon or Wright-Phillips provide the width?

Good luck Fabio, because ' your necky may well be on the blockey ' if the team fails to deliver on Friday!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Should England Fans Really Be Dreaming of World Cup Glory? - World Cup Betting News with Betfred

The World Cup adverts are already proclaiming a possible England win, the songs, good and bad, are flooding the charts and the kick off is drawing ever nearer.

A singing Terry Venables, advertising a leading tabloid newspaper, is claiming England fans should be dreaming of a possible World Cup win this summer. This hype seems to have gone to people's heads and is probably part of the reason why the World Cup football odds make England third favourites at 6/1 to win the World Cup. England are just 3/1 to reach the Final.

Rio Ferdinand, who had been named as England skipper (following John Terry's much publicised unsavoury off-field antics) has been ruled out of the entire tournament, following a knee injury picked up in training. Steven Gerrard has been handed the captain's armband in his absence, with Frank Lampard being appointed the new vice-captain. Gerrard however still believes the side can win the World Cup this summer, despite the loss of Ferdinand and the rather abject England performances in their recent warm-up games against Mexico and Japan.

Speaking to Prince William via a video link, the Liverpool midfielder claimed the team are focused on the task in hand.

"We're very disappointed about Rio, but by the time that first game comes around I'm sure the team will be fit and ready to win," he said.

Prior to his injury, Ferdinand stated that star striker Wayne Rooney will be crucial to England's hopes this summer and the Manchester United forward is 10/1 with Betfred to be top scorer in the World Cup.

England fans will be hoping the rest of the squad remain injury free and it is Gerrard who lifts the trophy in Johannesburg on July 11th.

My England Tip for the Tournament:

I expect England to carry on their recent tradition and exit at the quarter-final stage, an eventuality which is 10/3 with Betfred and possibly a more realistic World Cup bet than them actually winning the tournament.

Group C games:
England v United States - Saturday 12th June, kick-off 7.30pm, live on the ITV.
England v Algeria - Friday 18th June, kick-off 7.30pm, live on the ITV.
England v Slovenia - Wednesday 23rd June, kick-off 3pm, live on the BBC.

By Drew Swainston
(Guest writer from Betfred on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Latest World Cup News

Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba's participation in the World Cup is in serious doubt after he broke a bone close to his elbow.
The Chelsea striker, 32, picked up the injury 16 minutes into his side's 2-0 friendly win over Japan yesterday, in Saitama.
However coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said there was still a chance the talismanic Drogba could feature in South Africa.
"He got a bad injury and may have an operation, but he is not out. The doctors can't say any more than that," he told BBC Radio 5 live - BBC Sport

Nigeria suffered a blow just under a week away from the start of the World Cup as they announced that star midfielder John Obi Mikel had been left out of the squad because he did not want to aggravate a knee injury.
The 23-year-old Chelsea star will be replaced in the Nigeria squad by uncapped Brown Ideye, who plays for Sochaux in France -

Brazil have two injury worries in the shape of goalkeeper Julio Cesar and left-back Michel Bastos.
Cesar, 30, missed training for the second consecutive day on Friday and had intensive physiotherapy on the back injury he suffered in Wednesday's 3-0 win against Zimbabwe.
The 26-year-old Bastos damaged his ankle in training.
However, both players are expected to be fit for Brazil's opening fixture against North Korea on the 15th June - BBC Sport

New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert remains bullish about his side's chances at the World Cup despite going down 3-1 to Slovenia (Group opponents of England) in a warm-up match in Maribor on Friday.
Two excellent free-kicks from star Milivoje Novakovic, and a tap-in from Andraz Kirm was enough to see off the challenge from the All Whites, who saw Rory Fallon drive home their solitary goal -

Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo faces a race against time to be fit for the finals after suffering a calf injury in Thursday's 2-1 friendly defeat to Mexico.
The 31-year-old will miss the World Cup holders' opener against Paraguay on the 14th June and there are fears he could be ruled out of the whole tournament.
The AC Milan playmaker has left the Azzurri's training camp in the Italian Alps to recover at home but is scheduled to fly to South Africa with the team on the 8th June.
"It's an injury which worries me but there's time," said team doctor Enrico Castellacci - BBC Sport

France suffered a shock 1-0 defeat against China in their final warm-up match on Friday.
China, who are ranked 84th in the world, scored the only goal in the friendly on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean in the 68th minute.
France play Uruguay in their opening match on the 11th June and are hoping to avoid a repeat of their group-stage exit during Euro 2008 - BBC Sport

Chile striker Humberto Suazo may be forced to sit out the World Cup if he is deemed to have used a banned substance when trying to overcome injury, according to Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.
Having acquired a hamstring problem that threatened to rule him out of the competition in a friendly against Israel last Sunday, the powerful forward underwent a course of platelet injections, which have been proven to speed up the muscle healing process. These injections, however, may be illegal according to revised WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) rules.
The 29-year-old was in prolific form during the qualifying campaign, registering on 10 occasions to send the Chileans through as the second best team from South America.
Chile is appearing in its first World Cup since 1998, and faces Honduras in its opening Group H game on the 16th June -

Holland coach Bert van Marwijk fears Arjen Robben may miss the World Cup after the winger suffered a hamstring injury against Hungary.
Robben appeared as a second-half substitute in today's friendly against Hungary and scored twice in the 6-1 romp before hurting his hamstring in the closing stages.
The Bayern Munich ace will undergo a scan on the problem on Sunday, meaning he will not travel with the rest of the Dutch squad to South Africa this evening.
Van Marwijk is hoping that Robben's injury will not prove serious enough to rule him out of the World Cup, but he is braced for the worst -

Denmark's injury problems are mounting.
Thomas Kahlenberg is set to miss Denmark's World Cup warm-up match against South Africa tomorrow.
The Wolfsburg midfielder is struggling with injury while Jon Dahl Tomasson is also doubtful for the match. The Feyenoord striker was absent from yesterday's training session and was to be assessed today.
Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen, defender Simon Kjaer and striker Nicklas Bendtner are already missing as Denmark complete their preparations for their Group A matches against Holland, Cameroon and Japan -

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

'Eagles' still soaring as takeover deal is agreed in principle !

Selhurst Park stadium - home of Crystal Palace Football Club

Crystal Palace Football Club have been saved from extinction after an agreement in principle was reached to enable the consortium 'CPFC 2010' to buy the club and Selhurst Park.

Administrator Brendan Guilfoyle gave them until 3pm today to reach agreement with Lloyds Bank or he would start to liquidate the club.
Hundreds of fans protested outside the bank's offices prior to the deadline.
But an 11th hour deal was reached with 'CPFC 2010' which is headed by Palace fans Steve Parish and Martin Long.

The headquarters of Lloyds Bank, who own Bank of Scotland, was the focus of a peaceful but vocal protest by Palace fans today.
This followed a demonstration by around 1,000 supporters outside Selhurst Park on Monday.

A statement from Lloyds said:

"PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP has reached an agreement in principle with CPFC 2010 in relation to the sale of Selhurst Park. This enables the consortium to go ahead with the purchase of both the Crystal Palace Football Club and Selhurst Park.

We have worked hard throughout this process to achieve a durable solution. We are pleased a successful conclusion has now been reached. We are also pleased that PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, which acts on behalf of Selhurst Park, has publicly acknowledged today the ongoing support it has received from the Bank."

The 'CPFC 2010' consortium said:

"We can now confirm that there are no material differences between ourselves and Bank of Scotland regarding the sale of Selhurst Park.
Whilst its not 100% done we are confident that all the main barriers have been removed."

The next step in 'CPFC 2010's takeover is to agree the Company Voluntary Agreement – a process that is no formality, but one that has been eased by reports that both Agilo, the hedge fund that put the Club into administration in the first place, and ex-chairman Simon Jordan have agreed to do a deal.

If all goes well, a CVA meeting should be announced within the next few days (with the date set two weeks in advance) – and the club will then finally be able to step away from administration, and be able to look ahead with confidence, in the knowledge that the future of the club is finally secure.

Palace avoided relegation from the Championship under manager Paul Hart on the final day of the season with a 2-2 draw at Sheffield Wednesday that condemned the Owls to League One.

It was just another twist in a turbulent year so far, after the club was docked 10 points for going into administration in January. Manager Neil Warnock then left to join London rivals QPR and star striker Victor Moses was sold to Premier League side Wigan Athletic..