Monday, March 26, 2012

The most sought after young players outside the English Premier League

With the current football season about to reach its climax, many Premier League clubs will already be planning ahead and looking over the cream of the crop in England's other three divisions, in preparation for next season. While lower league clubs try their best to hold onto their talented youngsters, and with commonly heard phrases bounded about such as "they should stay and learn their trade here first," it is somewhat inevitable that the lure of the bright lights of the Premier League will be too much for some young players to resist!

Here is a selection of the best young players outside the top flight that I think will be on the radar of many Premier League clubs this summer.

Jordan Rhodes - Huddersfield Town, date of birth: 05/02/90.

Jordan Rhodes (right) has been renowned for his goal scoring prowess for some time now. The Scottish international striker has scored 33 league goals so far this season (after netting 39 times last season) for The Terriers, who pulled off a minor miracle by keeping him at the League One club this January. Even if Huddersfield are promoted to the Championship this season, it is likely that Rhodes will seek pastures new in the summer.
Rating: 7/10 Rhodes will be at a new club come next season.

Nathaniel Clyne - Crystal Palace, date of birth: 05/04/91.

The Palace defender is just one of several top class youngsters blooded by the South London club in recent seasons. Although still only 20 years old the England under-21 full-back has made well over 100 first-team appearances for The Eagles. He is out of contract at the end of the season and it is reported the likes of both Manchester clubs are interested in securing his services. Rating: 8/10 Clyne will be at a new club come next season.

Matt Richie - Swindon Town, Date of Birth: 10/09/89.

Richie, the recently crowned League Two Player of the Year for 2012 is the heartbeat of a Swindon team that are currently top of their division, and looking almost certain to be plying their trade in League One next season. The goal scoring midfielder began his career at Portsmouth, and following a couple of loan spells finally settled at the Wiltshire club. He has since flourished under the stewardship of manager Paolo Di Canio. The Premier League may be a step to far for him next season, but Richie is most definitely Championship quality.
Rating: 6/10 Richie will be at a new club come next season.

Nathan Redmond - Birmingham City, date of birth: 06/03/94.

The Blues have unearthed a gem in attacking midfielder Nathan Redmond (right), who operates mostly on the flanks. A graduate of the Birmingham academy Redmond has has received unprecedented attention following a run in Chris Hughton's first team this campaign. The youngster has represented England at under-16/17/18 and 19 level. With Europa League experience under his belt too this term, Redmond will prove an appealing acquisition to likely Premier League suitors at the end of the season, especially should Birmingham fail to gain promotion back to the top flight.
Rating: 3/10 Redmond will be at a new club come next season.

Matt Phillips - Blackpool, date of birth: 13/03/91.

Winger Phillips was lucky enough to sample Premier League football last season during the Tangerines brief spell in the top tier. He may want to get back there sooner rather than later following a scintillating run of form for Ian Holloway’s men in the Championship. Phillips began his career at Wycombe and a month after his seventeenth birthday, he made his first team debut. He signed for Blackpool on 31st August 2010 and has represented England at both under-19 and under-20 level. Much like Rhodes, Richie and Redmond, the future of Phillips may depend on his team gaining promotion this season. Rating:
Rating 4/10 Phillips will be at a new club come next season.

Luke Shaw - Southampton, date of birth: 12/07/95.

Despite having made only one substitute appearance for the Saints first team, the England Under-17 full-back has been attracting plenty of attention. Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City are all reported to have watched him play. Shaw (right) has represented England at both under-16 and under-17 level and is developing nicely at Southampton's fabled academy. With Shaw being so young and inexperienced, and with the Saints almost certain to be promoted to the Premier League this season I would expect him to stay put at St.Mary's for at least another season.
Rating: 2/10 Shaw will be at a new club come next season.

Jay Rodriguez - Burnley, date of birth: 29/07/89.

The Burnley striker has been on fire this season even if his team have not! He has bagged 21 goals for The Clarets, second only to Southampton hit-man Rickie Lambert. He was also Burnley's top scorer last season. The striker has made over 100 appearances for his home town team, and averages nearly a goal every three games. With Burnley likely to finish mid-table this season, Rodriguez is likely to fancy a crack with a Premier League side next season, should the opportunity arise.
Rating: 8/10 Rodriguez will be at a new club come next season.

Wilfred Zaha - Crystal Palace, date of birth: 11/10/92.

Wilfred Zaha is one of the most talented and exciting young players in the country. Last season in his first full season with Crystal Palace, Zaha made 44 appearances in all competitions and was named 2011 Crystal Palace Young Player of the Year. His rapid rise in the world of football culminated in him winning his first cap at England under-21 level this season and being named 2012 Football League Young Player of the Year. Although he recently signed a new five-year deal with The Eagles, the fleet footed winger has caught the eye of several high profile clubs. A big offer would be needed to lure the youngster away from Selhurst Park, and although Palace are no longer considered a 'selling club' every player has their price!
Rating: 5/10 Zaha will be at a new club come next season.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

All the latest Transfer Gossip across Europe

As we approach the business end of the season, and despite the fact that only free agents and loan extensions are negotiable between now and the end of the season, transfer rumours inevitably continue to fuel the internet and the newspapers. Clubs across Europe, not surprisingly are already planning ahead and looking at players with a view to next season. Meanwhile players themselves are also assessing their options with an eye on a possible summer move.

Here is a round up of today's transfer gossip:

Is your club involved?

Newcastle United, AZ Alkmaar, Chelsea, Porto, Guizhou Renhe, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Santos, Manchester United, Schalke O4, FC Twente, Napoli, Liverpool, Arsenal, Udinese, Napoli, Arsenal, Rennes, Toulouse, Fulham, Montpellier, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Blackburn, Nottingham Forest, Portsmouth, Sheffield Wednesday, Wigan, Brighton and Barnsley are all caught up in transfer gossip as we speak.

Chelsea are planning a £30m summer move for Newcastle United goalkeeper Tim Krul, 23, and 25-year-old Magpies midfielder Cheick Tiote - The Independent

Newcastle have sent scouts to watch highly rated AZ Alkmaar midfielder Adam Maher (right), 18, as a possible replacement for Tiote - The Independent

Meanwhile Chelsea have held talks to sign Porto's Brazilian striker Hulk, 25, for a reduced fee of 40m euros (£34m) - Daily Telegraph

Chinese Super League club Guizhou Renhe are preparing summer moves for Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand and Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, both 33, in deals that would see each player earn £250,000 a week - and The Sun

Barcelona have made a 14m euro (£11.6m) down-payment to Brazilian club Santos for 20-year-old forward Neymar - Cadena Ser (Spain's biggest radio station).

Striker Edin Dzeko is considering quitting Manchester City in the summer. Dzeko has not requested a transfer but City officials are aware of his unhappiness over a lack of first-team opportunities. The 26-year-old could be set for a swap deal with Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain (right) - The Independent

Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov is poised to leave Manchester United at the end of the season despite the English champions taking up an extra year's option on his contract, his agent said on Sunday. Several clubs from Spain, Germany and France have been linked in the media with signing Berbatov - The Guardian and The Independent

Schalke 04 are prepared to break the bank in a bid to keep Klaas Jan Huntelaar on their books in the long term. The former Real Madrid and AC Milan striker has scored 38 goals in 37 appearances for the Royal Blues in all competitions this campaign. This despite rumours yesterday that Schalke 04 are looking at FC Twente striker Luuk de Jong as a possible replacement for Huntelaar -

Reports in Italy are linking Liverpool and Arsenal with Udinese duo Mehdi Benatia, 24 (right) and Mauricio Isla, 23, but they face competition from Napoli. Benatia is a Moroccan international defender, whilst Isla is a Chilean international defender/midfielder - talkSPORT

Arsenal are interested in Rennes 21 year-old midfielder Yann M'Vila. Gunners scouts watched M'Vila in a recent match against Toulouse -

Dirk Kuyt has admitted he could be forced to consider his future at Liverpool if he does not play more reguarly next season. The Dutchman insists he is happy at Anfield and would consider finishing his career at Liverpool, but that he might have to reconsider his options if he finds himself on the sidelines. and

Barcelona are plotting a shock summer move for Manchester United twins Fabio and Rafael da Silva, both 21 -

Crystal Palace's highly rated right-back Nathaniel Clyne (right) is a summer target of Manchester United. The England Under-21 international who is out of contract at the end of this season has been on the Reds' radar for sometime now, and Sir Alex Ferguson is understood to have been impressed with the Stockwell-born defender in Palace's shock Carling Cup quarter-final win at Old Trafford last November. Source: Take your pick!

Fulham midfielder Dickson Etuhu has conceded he is likely to leave Craven Cottage at the end of the season. Etuhu is unhappy with his lack of regular first-team action under Martin Jol - and The Sun

Blackburn striker Ruben Rochina is eyeing a summer move away from Ewood Park, if he continues to be left on the bench. The former Barcelona player has not started a Premier League game since New Year’s Eve - Daily Mirror

Arsenal are also believed to be chasing Montpellier and France striker Olivier Giroud (right), 25, who has also caught the eye of both Aston Villa and Newcastle United and Arsenal are also set to swoop for Toulouse centre-back Aymen Abdennour - Metro and

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cotterill has revealed his frustration after failing to sign Portsmouth forward Luke Varney - and Daily Express

Brighton & Hove Albion have extended the loan deal of Manchester City winger Gai Assulin until the end of the season -

Sheffield Wednesday boss Dave Jones, who took Robbie Fowler to Cardiff in 2007, is set to offer the former Liverpool striker a deal at Hillsborough until the end of the season - Daily Mail

Wigan's Irish striker Conor Sammon is wanted on loan by promotion-seeking Sheffield Wednesday - Daily Mirror

Barnsley have signed Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper David Button on a month's loan after losing David Preece for the rest of the season -

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cheltenham Festival 2012

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the most prestigious meetings in the National Hunt racing calendar in the United Kingdom.
The festival takes place annually in March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. The modern racecourse occupies a 500 acre site which nestles in a natural amphitheatre created by the surrounding Cotswold foothills.

Long Run leads Denman & Kato Star over the last fence in the 2011 Gold Cup

Horse racing at Cheltenham dates back to 1815, when the first recorded race took place on Nottingham Hill. The next meeting did not take place until 1818, when the venue was changed to Cleeve Hill, overlooking the present racecourse. The new venue proved a success and organisers built a new grandstand and increased the duration of the meeting to three days. In 1819, the very first Cheltenham Gold Cup was run, but as a three mile flat race, rather than the jump race we know today.

In 1829, the local parish priest, Francis Close, stirred up such strong feeling against racing that the venue had to be moved from the original site of Cleeve Hill to the current venue, Prestbury Park, following an arson attack on the grandstand.

The new venue proved a success, and in 1861 the National Hunt Meeting was held at Cheltenham for the first time. After moving to other venues, it returned to Cheltenham in 1904, 1905 and finally 1911, and has remained there ever since. Although still officially called the National Hunt Meeting, the event is now better known as the Cheltenham Festival.

Until 2005, the Festival had traditionally been held at the course over three days, but this changed with the introduction of a fourth day, meaning there would be one championship race on each day, climaxing with the Gold Cup on Friday.

The most famous race of the festival is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which takes place on the last day. The modern version of the race, which includes jumps, was first held in 1924 for a purse of £685. The festival is now held in March, usually to coincide with St Patrick’s Day. Perhaps due to its timing, the event draws many of the best Irish horses to compete against the cream of the British crop. The total prize money for the festival is £3.67 million, of which almost half a million is set aside for the winner of the Gold Cup, making the race the most valuable non-handicap race in Britain. It still covers a distance of around three miles and incorporates 22 fences.

The most successful Gold Cup competitor remains Golden Miller, owned by the redoubtable and eccentric Dorothy Paget, who won every race between 1932 and 1936 (five in total), with a succession of different jockeys.

The famous Gold Cup trophy

Other multiple winners are Arkle, who won three times between 1964 and 1966 with jockey Pat Taafle, and Cottage Rake, trained by the legendary Vincent O’Brien, who took the race from 1948 to 1950 inclusive.
Best Mate, also notched up three wins between 2002 and 2004, paired each time with jockey Jim Culloty.

The Gold Cup is so prestigious that it's only been cancelled a handful of times in its entire history. The first of these occasions occurred in 1931 when the course froze, and the second in 1937 due to flooding. During the Second World War the race was only cancelled twice, in 1943 and 1944. Most recently, the entire festival was cancelled in 2001 due to the then-ubiquitous foot and mouth disease.

Only seven horses have landed the Gold Cup more than once with Easter Hero (1929-30), L'Escargot (1970-71), added to the aforementioned quartet of Golden Miller, Cottage Rake and Arkle and Best Mate. Kauto Star, the most recent dual winner of the race, became the first horse to regain the Gold Cup after losing it when adding the 2009 contest to his 2007 success.

Arguably the greatest achievement by an individual came in 1983 when Michael Dickinson saddled the first five home, led by Bregawn, while the emotional successes of Dawn Run in 1986 and the hugely popular Desert Orchid, the most recent grey to win the race. Although many people associate Desert Orchid with the Gold Cup, he in fact only won it once in 1989; however, the win was made memorable by the extremely difficult weather conditions on the day.

The Gold Cup is not immune from shocks though, and in 1990 the 100-1 shot Norton’s Coin caused one of the biggest upsets in festival history, and to this day remains the longest-priced winner in the history of the race.

The disqualification of all-the-way winner Tied Cottage in 1980 for a positive dope test, caused by contaminated feed, also features amongst the Gold Cup’s more infamous events.

Day One - Tuesday 13th March:
On the first day of the Festival six races are held, beginning with the Supreme Novice Hurdle, a fast and furious event which is run for just over two miles of the course. Next, the Arkle Challenge Trophy is held, which is named after one of the festivals most famous competitors and is run over two miles of the racecourse. Competitors need speed and good jumping to succeed in this event.

Tuesday’s feature race is the Champion Hurdle, a favourite with the Cheltenham betting markets. The National Hunt Handicap Chase is held shortly after and is run over three miles. The Cross Country Chase is a popular event with both spectators and competitors alike as it adds a different dimension to the Festival. The final race of the day is the Juvenile Novices Handicap Hurdle.

Day Two - Wednesday 14th March & also Ladies Day:
The first of Wednesday’s six races is the Sun Alliance Novices Hurdle which, at two miles and five furlongs long, challenges competitors’ stamina. Next is the Sun Alliance Handicap Chase, a favourite with experienced racers.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase is one of the highlights of the whole festival. This feature race is feared by most bookmakers, as favourites often perform well. The Coral Cup has established itself as having a strong Irish winning connection. Also on Wednesday is the Kim Muir Challenge Cup Race, in which only amateur jockeys are allowed to compete. Events are rounded up with the Champion Bumper, a flat race run over two miles and under National Hunt rules.

Day Three - Thursday 15th March:
The first race on Thursday is the Jewson Novices Handicap Chase, one of the season’s top races for handicapped racers. Next comes the Daily Telegraph Festival Trophy, but

Thursday's predominant event is the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, arguably the most eagerly anticipated race of the festival. Also on Thursday is the Mildmay of Flete Handicap Chase, a race mainly for experienced competitors. The penultimate race of the day is the Cheltenham National Hunt Amateur Hunt; one of the most difficult races to predict in the entire festival. The final race is the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, a new race which is fast becoming favoured by the Irish.

Day Four - Friday 16th March:
The final day of the festival is by far the most popular. The meeting begins with the Cheltenham Triumph Hurdle, the most notable event of the festival for the betting world. This is followed by the Brit Insurance Novices Hurdle, a race which was previously held at Sandown Park.

Undoubtedly the feature race of the entire meeting is the Cheltenham Gold Cup. This race is a real challenge to its competitors at three miles two furlongs long, and you can expect all eyes to be glued on the racecourse for the duration. Taking the task of following the Gold Cup is the Cheltenham Festival Foxhunter Chase, which is in its own right a key event for the hunter chase crew, with a strong competition existing between Irish and UK based trainers.
The penultimate race of the festival is the Grand Annual Chase, which is reserved solely for horses five years and over. Novices often do well in this event. There is a final betting stampede with the Country Handicap Hurdle, although it is one of the most difficult races to back. Events are truly brought to an end in spectacular style with this race.

The Festival is without doubt one of the biggest events on the racing calendar, bringing thousands of fans to the Prestbury Park course with millions wagered throughout the four days of racing.

While the 2012 Cheltenham Festival will miss St Patrick's Day that won't detract several thousand horse racing fanatics from Ireland, with those making the trip across the Irish Sea a feature of the strong crowds that converge on the festival.

Here are some simple numbers and facts that make the Cheltenham Festival such an important date in the racing calendar:

27 – Number of races to be held over the four days.

109 – Number of years since the first Cheltenham Festival was run at Prestbury Park.

82 – Number of Gold Cup races to have taken place at Cheltenham.

5 - Since its inception in 1924, just five Gold Cup races have had to be cancelled or abandoned.

5 – The number of Gold Cup’s won by Golden Miller, still the most in history. Golden Miller won five consecutive Gold Cups between 1932 and 1936 and is also the only horse to have won both the Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same year, achieved in 1934.

7 – The number of races won by Ruby Walsh at the 2009 festival, breaking the record for most festival wins by a jockey in a single year.

5 - Ruby Walsh has been the Jockey of the Year on five occasions, more than any other jockey.

5,000 - The number of staff employed by the racecourse for the four days of the Festival.

210,000 – Number of fans expected to pack into Cheltenham over the four days.

65,000 - Number of fans expected to pack into Cheltenham on Gold Cup Day alone.

214,000 – Estimated number of pints of Guinness drunk at the Cheltenham Festival.

18,000 - Number of bottles of Champagne expected to be drunk at the Cheltenham Festival.

£25,000,000 – Amount expected to be handed over in the betting ring alone – equivalent to £1m per race.

£50,000,000 - What the he Festival is worth to the local economy.

£3,700,000 – Estimated total amount of prize money on offer across the 27 races, making it the most valuable and prestigious fixture in jump racing.

£600,000,000 – Total amount expected to be wagered on the festival.

My Festival Betting Tips and some of the best Bookmaker offers:

Tuesday 2.05: Back SPRINTER SACRE in the Arkle.
I suggest you place this bet with Boylesports who will give you £40 of free bets for opening an account with them and your money back if your horse finishes second in this race!

Wednesday 1.30: Back UNIVERSAL SOLDIER each way, in the National Hunt Challenge Cup with Paddy Power.

Thursday 4.00: SALUT FLO in the Byrne Group Plate.
Top up your betting balance with £200 of free cash from Bet 365. Simply open an account, deposit up to £200 and get it matched.

Friday 2.40: Back BOSTON BOB in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle with Skybet. Deposit nothing, and they will give you a £10 free bet!

Links to all these bookmakers and others can be found on this page.

Good luck and even if you are not having a bet enjoy this magnificent racing spectacle!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Lionel MESSI-ah is the real deal and this is what people are saying about him today!

LIONEL MESSI enhanced his status as the best footballer of his generation with another record-setting performance for Barcelona last night in the UEFA Champions League.

Barcelona progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 7-1 rout of German side Bayer Leverkusen. But that is not what captured the headlines.

Lionel Messi - is he the greatest footballer of all-time?

Barca superstar Lionel Messi turned in a truly historic performance as he became the first player to score five goals in a UEFA Champions League match, as Barcelona thumped Leverkusen at Camp Nou, sealing a 10-2 aggregate win in the last 16 match.

The last player to score five in European football's top club competition was Soren Lerby of Ajax against Omonia in 1979.

Messi has been nothing short of sensational this season, scoring 48 goals in all competitions, including an incredible seven hat-tricks.

Against Leverkusen Messi was unstoppable, scoring twice in the first half and three times after the break to move to 49 Champions League competition goals - joint fourth on the all-time European Cup list alongside Alfredo di Stefano. He is one goal behind Thierry Henry in third place on the all-time list.

With 12 Champions League goals in seven appearances this season, the 24 year-old Argentine forward equalled the Champions League goal record for a single season, held by former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2002-03, and Messi himself, who also scored 12 goals last season.

Here are some post-match quotes following his five star performance last night:

Pep Guardiola, Barcelona coach:
"He's the best [ever] - there is no other like him. Tonight we witnessed one of [Lionel] Messi’s most special nights; watching it was like receiving a gift."

Xavi, Barcelona midfielder:
"He deserves the admiration of any sportsman. He is incomparable, a one-off. There is no other player who can make such a difference — he’ll break all the records."

Cesc Fabregas, Barcelona midfielder:
"He is the best player in football's history and we've never seen anyone like him."

Victor Valdes, Barcelona goalkeeper:
"At the end of the game I had to ask him if he had scored four or five goals."

Robin Dutt, Bayer Leverkusen Coach:
"Without Messi, Barca is the best team. And with him, they are in another galaxy."

Rudi Voller, Bayer Leverkusen sporting director:
"It is not just about his five goals today, he has been showing this already for years," Voller told SAT.1. "He is now in a region with Pele and Maradona."

Eric Cantona:
"I have always thought that Barca’s play was incredible but Messi is exceptional."

"To describe Lionel Messi as a good player, a great player, is a statement so facile as to render it pointless. Such is the utter brilliance of the Barcelona forward, we are not just running out of superlatives, as the old cliché has it, we are running out of ways to say we are running out of superlatives. He is a man for which conventional language is no longer sufficient."

Messi's seven hat-tricks for Barcelona this season have been against:
Osasuna, Atletico Madrid, Real Mallorca, Viktoria Plzen, Malaga, Valencia (4 goals) and Bayern Leverkusen(5 goals).

The million dollar question everybody in the world of football is debating as we speak is whether or not Messi is the greatest football player of all-time?

The simplest and fairest solution is this: Accept that, for each era, there is a footballer who towers above the rest. Pele, Maradona, Zidane and now, unquestionably, Messi.

But we don't need to compare Messi against those other players to understand a blindingly simple truth: The way he plays football, his humble and inventive genius, is an absolute delight to behold.

How lucky we are to live in his time!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Talking AVB - Reaction today to the sacking of the Chelsea boss.

Football is in the news for all the wrong reasons at the moment!

Portsmouth, Rangers, Port Vale, Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas-Boas are all hot topics of conversation, so let's see what the players, managers and journalists think about one of the issues dominating the news as we speak!

Here are what some people have written or tweeted today in reaction to the sacking of Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas:

The Daily Telegraph's Henry Winter on Twitter: ‏"So it cost Abramovich £28m to sack Ancelotti & recruit AVB. He could have kept Ancelotti, a Double-winner. Just a thought."

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty on Twitter: "Encouraging words from Luiz Felipe Scolari for AVB's replacement: It will be hell for whoever succeeds him."

West Brom boss Roy Hodgson says "the patience shown to Sir Alex Ferguson when he became Manchester United manager no longer exists in football." Hodgson was speaking following Andre Villas-Boas' sacking as Chelsea boss, a day after the Blues lost 1-0 at the Hawthorns.

Former Chelsea coach Ray Wilkins has leapt to the defence of the club's players in the wake of Andre Villas-Boas' sacking Villas-Boas lost his job yesterday amid reports of dressing-room unrest at Stamford Bridge, but Wilkins told talkSPORT: "I found the players an absolute delight to work with. They are a very nice bunch of guys, they are a hard-working bunch and, coupled with that, they are an extremely talented bunch. We didn't have a problem. I don't think the players swayed the owner."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on Andre Villas-Boas' sacking as Chelsea boss: "I feel sorry for Andre Villas-Boas because I know him and I like him as manager and as a man. I'm sorry that he was not given enough time to do his job. When you're not given time you have no chance."

AVB waits in line as Roman fills out an eighth managerial P45 in nine years!

Chelsea winger Juan Mata has declared the club has two months to save their season in the wake of Andre Villas-Boas' removal. Speaking to Chelsea TV, he said: "I think we have to start again. We have a very good squad and we have two months to achieve our objectives in the Premier League, in the FA Cup and Champions League. We are not in a good moment, we are not in a good run of results, but we all want to change it. I think we are ready to change it."

Eddie Newton has been talking about his new coaching role at Chelsea. "The ambition is to get fourth place," he told Sky Sports News. "We will push as hard as possible to get it. Every game is important until the end of the season."

Tony Cascarino on twitter: "Good managers don't lose dressing rooms. That's a simple truth."

Rafa Benitez's agent has again insisted that there has been no contact from Chelsea regarding the possibility of the former Liverpool manager replacing Andre Villas-Boas.

League Managers' Association chief executive Richard Bevan says Andre Villas-Boas was 'frustrated and saddened' to be sacked by Chelsea and has suggested the club are becoming an 'embarrassment'.

Bevan went on to say: "Looking for what is an eighth manager in nine years is a serious embarrassment to the owner, the club, the fans and the league."

Chelsea defender David Luiz has taken to Twitter to thank former manager Andre Villas-Boas: He tweeted: "Thanks AVB! You are an amazing guy! Big hug."

Opta Sports tweeted: "47.5% - André Villas-Boas won just 19 of his 40 games in charge of Chelsea, the lowest win% at the club since Glenn Hoddle (34%). Gone."

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Babe Of The Month - Feeling Horny!

Sophie Horn is a 25 year-old English born rose who can boast an impressive Curriculum Vitae that includes all of the following: GOLFER - MODEL - TV PRESENTER - MAGAZINE COLUMNIST and PERSONAL TRAINER.

She was brought up in the Midlands, and has been playing golf since she can remember, having grown up on a golf course (her parents run the Eagles Golf Centre at Tilney All Saints). She was crowned Norfolk County Champion three years running. She won the Under-21 title when she was just 15 years old. She also won the Midlands Championship, and significantly became Champion of Champions in 2001.

In 2005 she became 'The Golf Nurse' for Golf Punk Magazine, contributing articles, advice, golfing tips as well as modeling clothing. She was involved with all aspects of promotional work for the brand.

Sophie moved in front of camera in 2008 to co-present 'Show Me The Golf' for Setanta, where her cocktail of style, bubbly personality and attractiveness, allied to her undoubted golfing ability made her an instant hit with viewers. She also presented 'The Golf Show Pilot' for Sky Sports Online.

Sophie is a qualified Personal Trainer (Premier Training Level 3) and was a finalist in the ‘Maximuscle Body of 2009′ competition. She has been featured in 'Sport Magazine' twice (August 2009 and April 2011) and then most notably was featured in Sports Illustrated (August 2010). After Sophies feature in SI she became the most searched name on Google for two days.

Last year, Sophie Horn really did reach the top of the world when both and Sports Illustrated voted her The World's Sexiest Golfer.

Sophie was recently been appointed a 'De Vere Club Ambassador,' along with Freddie Flintoff and Harry Redknapp. Since becoming a De Vere Club Ambassador she’s been featured in a number of major golf magazines and on radio.

Shortly Sophie will be contributing a 'Fit for Golf' section on the 'Golfing World' television show – which is currently shown in 35 countries (including Sky Sports in UK), 14 airlines and has a worldwide household audience of 350 million.

You can follow Sophie on Facebook and Twitter