Friday, September 28, 2012

The World's Best Football Player Nicknames!

DUNCAN FERGUSON - 'Duncan Disorderly' - Scottish

The former Dundee United, Rangers and Everton striker was notorious for his 'hardman' image and his misdemeanours on and off the field, such as assault, headbutting and punching earned this fiery Scotsman the nickname 'Duncan Disorderly.'

Ferguson has had four convictions for assault - two arising from taxi–rank scuffles, one an altercation with a fisherman in an Anstruther pub, and the most infamous: his on–field headbutt on Raith Rovers defender John McStay in 1994 while playing for Rangers, which resulted in a three-month prison sentence. The first incident led to a £100 fine for butting a policeman, while the second resulted in a £200 fine for punching and kicking a supporter on crutches. He had been put on a year's probation for the third offence.

ANDONI GOICOECHEA - 'The Butcher of Bilbao' - Spanish

The former Osasuna, Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao and Spanish international was known as ' The Butcher of Bilbao.' Goicoechea left his stud-marks on the game's history when he almost ended the career of Diego Maradona in September 1983. The Argentinian superstar was left with a broken ankle and damaged ligaments, Goicoechea (right), who played for Spain at the 1984 championships - was given a 16-match ban. 'The Butcher' decided to commemorate the event by having the boots he wore that night put in a glass case and made into a permanent fixture in his living room.

TOM FINNEY - 'The Preston Plumber' - English

Sir Tom Finney truly was a one club man! He was born and bred in Preston and went on to play over 400 times for the Lancashire club between 1946 and 1960. He was also capped by England 76 times. When he was offered the opportunity to sign for Preston North End, his father insisted that he complete his apprenticeship in the family's plumbing business before signing as a professional. This led to one of his nicknames, the 'Preston Plumber.'
Sir Tom now aged 90, is one of England's oldest living former international footballers, but he still maintains his links with Preston North End.

FITZ HALL - 'One Size Fits All' - English

No hidden meaning here - just plain funny! The Leytonstone born defender is currently plying his trade at Watford but has worn the colours of Oldham, Southampton, Crystal Palace, Wigan and QPR since he turned professional over ten years ago.

KIM NAM-IL - 'The Vacuum Cleaner' - South Korean

South Korea’s holding midfielder (right) became a star in 2002 because of his performance in 2002 FIFA World Cup, where his nation reached the tournament semi-finals. He earned his nickname ' The Vacuum Cleaner' for his clean tackling and ability to tidy up a game from his position in front of the defence. The term 'Kim Nam-Il Syndrome' began to be coined by tabloids to describe Kim's superstardom status following the 2002 World Cup. He gained an unusually large female fan base and also became notorious for his frank and eccentric personality. Kim, now 35, currently plays for his hometown side Incheon United in South Korea.

DARREN ANDERTON - 'Sicknote' - English

The original 'Sicknote' - a name given to Darren Anderton by fans and the media due to his lengthy periods out with injury. Tottenham’s fans annoyance with Anderton, apart from the lengthy periods out of the team was, when having been out injured for almost the whole of the 1995-96 season, he unexpectedly returned to fitness for the final three matches of the domestic season, and was immediately selected to star for England in the European Championships in 1996. This gave the impression that the player was more interested in playing for his country rather than his club.

He missed most of the 1997–98 domestic season through injury, but was recalled to Glenn Hoddle's England squad for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, starting on the right wing in the first two matches of the tournament. In twelve seasons with Tottenham he made just 299 appearances and apart from three successive seasons (1995–98) when he played in total only 39 games, his appearance record averaged 29 matches each year. Anderton announced his retirement from football on 7th December 2008.

LIONEL MESSI - 'The Atomic Flea' - Argentinian

I could not let this day pass without commenting on Barcelona's Argentinian born superstar, Lionel Messi. At 25 Messi is the greatest player of his era, and maybe one day of all-time! In Spain and South America they call him ' La Pulga Atómica', meaning ' The Atomic Flea'. At the age of eleven, Messi was diagnosed with a serious growth-hormone problem. He needed expensive hospital treatment which his family simply couldn’t afford. His condition meant he was far smaller than anyone else his age, and even today he is still only 1.69 metres (5′ 7″) tall. But being smaller he was also more agile. He learnt to play with the ball on the ground, as that’s where it felt most comfortable. The rest, as they say, is history!

RAY WILKINS - 'The Crab' - English

The former England international was a much travelled club player that included spells at Chelesa, Manchester United, Milan and QPR to name but a few, but he had a penchant for passing the ball sideways. Often derided for his negative play but often had a 100 per cent pass success rate - you can't argue with that!

YOURI DJORKAEFF - 'The Snake' - French

The former French international footballer played as a forward or as an attacking midfielder and won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and European Championships in 2000 with the national team. He is nicknamed ' The Snake' because you do not know when he will strike again!
Banging the goals in for Monaco, Youri (right) spent one season at Paris St Germain before signing for Italian giants Inter Milan and then Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern, before somehow Bolton Wanderers, then managed by 'Fat' Sam Allardyce persuaded 'The Snake' to join them. He finished his playing career in the MLS with the New York Metro Stars and retired in October 2006.

JONATHAN WOODGATE - 'Village' - English

Although he denies it, Woodgate was known as ' Village' as in (village idiot) during his days at Leeds United. He began his career at Middlesbrough but moved to Leeds at the age of sixteen in 1998. However on on his frequent trips back to his native Teesside he became part of the notorious Middlesbrough 'drinking culture.' There seems little doubt that Woodgate was a personable young man when sober, but he was sucked into the drinking culture and became quite different on drink. As Woodgate became more successful and earned more, he was regularly seen at Teesside's trendiest pubs. He had a reputation for 'flashing the cash' and acting 'the big-I-am' on drinking nights in his home town. Woodgate, according to one regular publican was known to take £20 notes from his wallet and set fire to them. Once fuelled, especially with old pals in Middlesbrough where booze is plentiful and cheap, darker forces took over.

In 2000, he was a defendant with teammate Lee Bowyer in a Crown Court trial due to his involvement in a town centre brawl in which a student suffered severe injuries. The initial trial collapsed, and following a second trial, in December 2001, Bowyer was cleared of charges of GBH with intent and affray, while Woodgate was convicted of affray and sentenced to 100 hours' community service. He was also banned from international selection by the Football Association, which prevented him from being selected for the England squad for the 2002 World Cup. Never the sharpest knife in the box, perhaps, he was not bright enough to work out the dangers his social circle might embrace. His own counsel in the aborted first trial at Hull described him as 'two short planks, and thick ones at that'. Woodgate went on to play for Newcastle, Real Madrid, Middlesbrough and Spurs, but his career was blighted by injury and controversy. At the age of only 32 Woodgate has certainly led a colourful career both on and off the field, and is currently back playing for his hometown club Middlesborough.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Unwritten Laws of Football

In addition to the official laws of the game, there are also the unwritten laws.................!

* No matter how badly a player played for a club, and irrespective of how woeful he was in front of goal, once the player leaves and returns to play against his old club, he will score against them.

* Once a manager has been sacked (right), the managerless team will win their next match.

* A manager returning to a club for a second spell will almost inevitably fail repeat the success enjoyed during his first spell at the club.

* The winning run of a team will come to an end when their manager is awarded the 'Manager of the Month' award.

* Following the sacking of a manager, a team will suddenly pick up and record victories under a caretaker manager. In turn this will prompt the Board of Directors to appoint him on a permanent basis, from which point on the team will start on a downward spiral again.

* A team that couldn't put a win together to save their lives will, once relegated start to turn things around, and win games.

* Any World Cup or European Championship group that contains three decent teams will be referred to as 'The Group of Death' (right).

* When your team is embroiled in a battle for promotion or against relegation, you will take an inordinate amount of interest in the exploits of other clubs that previously held no interest for you at all.

* No matter how bad the traffic is, there is no such thing as a long and tiresome journey home following an away win.

* The national football team of Wales has been adopted as the benchmark unit of measure for all other international football teams, as in, "We're talking of a country about the size of Wales," or "They do remarkably well for a country with a population on a par to that of Wales" (see right).

* A goal will never come about directly as a result of a short corner.

* Supporters will cheer and get excited when their team wins a corner, but invariably nothing will come of it.

* Your team are on a fine run and playing really well. As a die hard supporter you invite a 'fairweather fan' to accompany you to the next home game. Your team will play dreadfully and lose, prompting the fairweather fan to say something along the lines of: "It's been two years since I've been here and it'll be another two years before I come back."

* Every team will contain one player the supporters don't like.

* A game at Manchester United is a good day out, even though you know your team will probably not win, or be awarded at least one 'stone wall' penalty (right).

* There will always be at least one TV commentator who will refer to the Community Shield as the 'traditional curtain raiser to the season.'

* Everyone becomes a better player once they have given up playing.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A front row ticket to The Circus. Charlton v Palace tonight. The facts and the betting!

Tonight sees a unique derby match at The Valley where Dougie Freedman takes his Crystal Palace side on a short trip to a local circus, where they have not won so much as a donkey ride for sixteen years. This however is not Merseyside, Glasgow, Sheffield or The Black Country because but this is no ordinary derby, this a South London derby where the rivalry is predominately one-sided!

Charlton Athletic hate Crystal Palace, the football club and of course that includes the fans of the club. Nothing strikingly unusual about one club and its fans disliking another club, other than that we as Palace fans care little about what goes on in London, SE7, as our true disdain surrounds a football club some sixty miles away on the East Sussex coast.

It’s fair to say that there is history between the clubs, most recently Charlton sent Palace reeling out of the top flight on the last day of the season back in 2005, but the damage had been done many weeks and matches prior to the lights being turned out on Crystal Palace’s last taste of top flight football. Charlton celebrated the relegation of Palace on that infamous last day of the season as if they themselves were celebrating a big fat gypsy wedding. The Clowns as they are affectionately nicknamed by the Palace fans’ have hit a few highs and plenty of lows in recent years, culminating in a fall from grace which ended up with Clowntown (an area of London with the postcode SE7 twinned with.......well absolutely nobody) being visited by such footballing giants as Scunthorpe and Hartlepool in the third tier of English football, (no disrespect whatsoever is meant to either The Irons or The Monkey Hangers or their fans in this piece).

Then unlike a phoenix rising from the ashes, and more like a bunch of red nosed buffoons in wigs, baggy trousers and face paint Charlton Football Club and their fickle fans pulled together and managed to rescue a semblance of respectability, by regaining their Championship status this season, after three seasons in the wilderness.

I have never known a football club like Charlton to want a rivalry with a fellow club who only on the basis of geography happen to reside close by, whilst their neighbours simply do not feel the same. For Palace, a match against the Clowns is just another league fixture, and for Crystal Palace and their fans it is the opportunity to win a match, as with any match, every week of the season. The notoriously loud Crystal  Palace fans will turn up in their numbers on the day and win, lose or draw they will sing for 90 minutes to show the pride and passion and absolute love they have for their club, no matter what!

Palace and Charlton are bordered by another South London club, in Millwall, all three of whom now ply their trade in the second tier of the English game and some sizeable Premier League London based giants such as Arsenal, Chelsea and  Tottenham, whilst we are also surrounded by some other novelty clubs in areas such as West London, East London, Hertfordshire and Kent.

Palace have a rivalry with Brighton that is as animated as any footballing rivalry in the Country, and probably the most unusual of its kind, because if you are not a fan of either team it is very unlikely that you will understand the history and subsequent loathing that the fans of these two clubs have for each other. It is indeed a truly intense and fierce rivalry and the game that both sets of fans look for the moment the fixture lists are released. If as a fan of football you want to understand better what fuelled the Palace v Brighton hostility then do please read this article.

As for Charlton, well they are looking forward to this evening’s game under floodlights like a rabbit about to pass a row of six snarling caged greyhounds before the traps fly open. This is their Cup Final! For Palace fans it’s another game with three points at stake and some clown and traveller based banter to occupy the moment, but bragging rights......well we’re just not interested!

Palace fans love their club, the owners, the management team and the players. To Palace fans, the players must play for the crest on the front of the shirt first and foremost. Any name on the back of the shirt will not break or divide the unyielding united front amongst the fans. The players know this, they play their hearts out for the name on the front of the shirt, because the name on the back can easily be replaced. At Palace we believe in the players under the stewardship of Dougie Freedman, because we have a boss who is a Crystal Palace playing legend and knows how much the club needs the fans and the fans need the club.

Charlton currently have an ex-player as their manager, and I have great respect for him, but I bleed red and blue and 3,000 Palace fans on Friday night will I believe out-sing a stadium where they will be outnumbered in the region of 6 to 1. Come what may after tonight’s match, believe me, this is just the undercard. Come the 1st December and the 17th March, as Palace fans this is when the main event truly takes centre stage!

Bring on Brighton!

Betting Preview:
Charlton win: Evens (Coral and Ladbrokes).
C.Palace win: 33/10 (BetVictor).
Match Drawn: 5/2 (Betfred, Paddy Power and Totesport).

First Goalscorer:
B. Wright-Phillips 6/1 (Paddy Power and William Hill), D. Goodwillie 9/1 (Bet365), G.Murray 10/1 (BetVictor and William Hill), O.Garvan 14/1 (Ladbrokes and Coral), A. Moritz 16/1 (Bet365 and Blue Square).

Correct Score:
Charlton win 1-0 13/2 (Bet Victor), Palace win 2-1 12/1 (Hills, Betfred and Coral) Draw 0-0 10/1 (Ladbrokes).

# Odds correct at time of going to press.
For more odds go to Oddschecker

Friday, September 07, 2012

An Alternative Glossary of Footballing Terminology

Football quotes, remarks, terms and descriptions are open to a minefield of interpretation and analysis, so here is a list of often heard, sometimes overused classic football related remarks, and what they really mean!

# Great vision  =  Does not see a simple pass.

# A very experienced player  =  A bit over the hill.

# Temperamental  =  Nutcase.

# Not afraid to take people on  =  Blissfully unaware of team-mates screaming for him to pass the ball.

# He did everything right but put the ball in the net  =  He can't finish.

# I'm happy with the squad I've got  =  The board has told me I'm not getting another penny to spend on players.

# Loyal club player  =  Never had an offer from another club.

# Workrate is excellent  =  Runs around the pitch like a  headless chicken, but never gets the ball.

# That's what the cup is all about, the whole town is buzzing  =  The butcher has put a rosette in his window.

# We're just going out to enjoy ourselves  =  We haven't a hope in hell of winning.

# We'll settle for a replay  =  We need the money.

# He was on fire today  =  His contract's up for negotiation.

# He's still learning  =  He's rubbish, but he's young, so there's hope.

# Creative player  =  Bit namby-pamby but can pass a ball.

# Looks to be struggling with his knee  =  Knows he's played rubbish and is about to be substituted.

# An ambitious effort  =  Hopelessly wayward shot from 30 yards.

# He got too much purchase on that  =  Open goal, head back and blazed the ball over.

# Good footballing brain  =  Brain contains basically what you find in a football.

# This is real cat-and-mouse stuff  =  Neither team has had a shot at goal.

# You'd expect him to do better from there  =  He missed from three yards out.

# He was given too much space  =  The marking was diabolical.

# I wouldn't write them off yet  =  They're dead and buried.

# Which is why it's such a wonderful game  =  I'm wrong again.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Babe of the Month - Gorgeous Crystal Cheerleader Claire

Claire is the vice-captain of the 'The Crystals,' the official cheerleaders of Crystal Palace Football Club. 'The Crystals' are a regular feature on match days at Selhurst Park, entertaining the fans at every home game.

Babe of the Month - Crystal Cheerleader Claire 

The girls are all huge Crystal Palace fans themselves and regularly feature and promote the Club through their media work. This morning (Saturday 1st Sept) they will be appearing, not for the first time, on Sky Sports Soccer AM.

In the summer 'The Crystals' were runners-up in their bid to become the official 'Team GB' cheerleaders for the London Olympics 2012.

Last July they created their own dance routine to Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen's monster hit 'Call Me Maybe.'

The video features the cheerleaders performing along to the song in and around the Selhurst Park stadium, and it has proved a smash hit on YouTube with nearly one and a half million views. Here is the video that made 'The Crystals' an overnight internet sensation!

Find out more about the 'The Crystals' on Facebook and Twitter

* For Information/bookings contact