Thursday, December 31, 2009

All The Very Latest Transfer Gossip, With The Transfer Window Opening In Just 12 hours

It's New Years Eve, at least here in the UK right now, and the temperature is rising rapidly in the world of football - as speculation on where some footballers might be plying their trade in 2010 will come to light from tomorrow onwards, as a month of transfer activity officially begins!

Arsenal, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Tottenham, Manchester City, Crystal Palace, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Wigan, Bari, Stoke, Real Madrid, Everton, Sporting Gijon, Aston Villa, Borussia Monchengladbach, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Manchester United, Moucron, Fiorentina, West Ham, Sporting Lisbon, Lyon, Auxerre, Portsmouth, Valencia, Wolves, Blackburn, Besiktas, Derby, Forest, Birmingham, Middlesbrough, Lorient, Newcastle, Leeds, Burnley, QPR, Ipswich, Sheffield United, West Brom and Swindon are all caught up in the transfer gossip as we speak.

Is your club involved?

Here is a round up:

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini will move for Liverpool trio Fernando Torres, Javier Mascherano and Steven Gerrard if the Reds finish outside the top four in the Premier League this season and are forced to sell their superstars - The Sun

City boss Roberto Mancini is close to making Inter Milan defender Ivan Cordoba his first signing at Eastlands - Daily Telegraph

Chelsea are set to smash the British transfer record with a £40m swoop for Valencia striker David Villa - Daily Express

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has rejected claims a deal has already been struck to sell Franck Ribery to Real Madrid in the summer for a fee of around £49m - German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung

Liverpool have held preliminary talks with Crystal Palace about signing highly-rated teenager Victor Moses - Daily Star

Ruud van Nistelrooy's wages have scared off Blackburn but Liverpool can just about run to the £87,500 a week he wants to leave Real Madrid - The Guardian

Everton manager David Moyes hopes to sign 17-year-old midfielder Maxime Lestienne from Belgian side Moucron - Daily Mail

Manchester United will move to bring in a goalkeeper with Lyon's Hugo Lloris their target, but not at the current £20m asking price - The Guardian

Manchester City have made an enquiry about signing £6m-rated Bari defender Leonardo Bonucci - Daily Mail

Aston Villa have joined Liverpool and Tottenham in the chase for West Ham midfielder Scott Parker, who could be available for around £8m - The Guardian

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez wants to take Argentina winger Maxi Rodriguez on loan from Atletico Madrid, while out-of-favour Reds forward Ryan Babel is set to reject moves to Fiorentina and Besiktas - Daily Mail

Birmingham are ready to rival Wolves in the £3million chase for Aston Villa defender Craig Gardner - Express & Star

Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford has put a £2m move to Newcastle on hold so he can help his side try to upset Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday - Daily Mirror

Wigan have confirmed they have agreed a loan deal for Sporting Lisbon goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic - Sky Sports

Middlesbrough boss Gordon Strachan is planning a £3m bid for Leeds striker Robert Snodgrass - The Sun

Portsmouth have invited Manchester City to make an offer for their £8m-rated defender Younes Kaboul - Daily Mirror

Sporting Gijon have no plans to sell highly-rated midfielder Michel during the January transfer window. The 24-year-old has been strongly linked with a New Year switch, with in-form Premier League outfit Birmingham City reported to be interested - Sky Sports

Wolves are weighing up a £1.5m bid for Derby County winger Kris Commons - Express & Star

Mick McCarthy wants Sheffield United contract rebel Matthew Kilgallon to come to Molineux but faces a test in prising him away from the Blades - Express & Star

Arsenal are monitoring QPR's 15-year-old "wonderkid" Raheem Sterling and Arsene Wenger will do his best to stop Jack Wilshere joining Burnley on loan, following injuries to Cesc Fábregas and Denilson - The Guardian

Everton manager David Moyes hopes to sign 17-year-old midfielder Maxime Lestienne from Belgian side Moucron - Daily Mail

Wigan have made a shock move to sign Ivory Coast centre half Steve Gohouri from German side Borussia Monchengladbach - Daily Mirror

West Brom have struck an agreement with Auxerre with Auxerre to bring in defender Gabriel Tamas on loan. The Championship side were linked with a move for the Romanian in the summer and are now set to recruit him on a deal until the end of the season - Sky Sports

Sheffield United striker Jamie Ward is set to sign a new deal despite interest from West Brom - Daily Mirror

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has admitted that he would welcome the opportunity to bring Inter Milan defender Maicon to Eastlands - Sky Sports

Derby, Nottingham Forest and Ipswich are all chasing in-form Swindon striker Charlie Austin - Daily Mirror

Burnley, meanwhile, are close to agreeing terms with Algeria's captain, Yazid Mansouri. A bid of £1m should persuade Lorient to let the midfielder strut his stuff Turf Moor - The Guardian

Monday, December 28, 2009

All The Latest Transfer Gossip

With the transfer window due to open this Friday the amount of 'potential deals' or 'rumours' flying around is unsurprisingly rife.

However with many clubs struggling in this current financial climate, it will be interesting to see how many actual purchases and sales go through.

The January window may turn into a damp squib - all talk and little action.
Personally I think their will be two or three big money transfers, but other than that the movement of players will be predomiminantly made up of loan deals

Bayern Munich, Tottenham, Manchester City, Inter Milan, Arsenal, Bordeaux, Wigan, Stoke, Real Madrid, Sunderland, Juventus, Liverpool, Real Zaragoza, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Lazio, Manchester United, Toulouse, Fulham, West Ham, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Athleico Madrid, Bolton, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield United and West Brom are all caught up in the transfer gossip as we speak.

Is your club involved?

Here is a round up:

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti will make a transfer window U-turn by offering a British record £45m for Bayern Munich's France winger Franck Ribery - People

Manchester City are on the brink of signing Inter Milan defender Ivan Cordoba, 33, who has fallen out with boss Jose Mourinho - Daily Mail

Fernando Torres is ready to quit Liverpool if they fail to qualify for the Champions League this season - News of the World

Bayern Munich striker Luca Toni, who has been linked with a move to both Chelsea and West Ham, has set his sights on a return to Serie A with Roma this winter, although a deal has yet to be concluded - Gazzetta dello Sport & Reuters

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is considering splashing out on a new striker in the January transfer window, with Bordeaux's Marouane Chamakh top of his wanted list - Mail on Sunday

Or Wenger could launch a £12m January bid for Toulouse's French international striker Andre Pierre Gignac - News of the World

Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic and Newcastle United's Fabricio Coloccini are just two of the latest players to be linked to a move to Spanish giants, Real Madrid - Spanish daily AS

Craig Bellamy has rubbished claims he wants to quit Manchester City and denies he led a player rebellion in the wake of Mark Hughes' sacking - Daily Mirror

Newcastle officials are understood to have been in touch with Leeds to outline their interest in leading goalscorer Jermaine Beckford - Northern Echo

Juventus director of sport Alessio Secco has made Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini 'unsellable' amid interest from both Manchester United and Manchester City - Football Italia

Arsenal and Tottenham are ready to fight it out for Newcastle keeper Fraser Forster. Both clubs have sent scouts to check on the 6ft 6in stopper, who is currently on loan at Norwich - Sunday Mirror

Portsmouth goalkeeper David James admits he is 'flattered' by the interest of Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp and would be keen on a move to White Hart Lane to boost his England World Cup chances - Sunday Telegraph

Harry Redknapp has paved the way for Roman Pavlyuchenko's Tottenham exit and says he would not necessarily need a replacement if the Russian quit White Hart Lane in January - Daily Mirror

Birmingham are ready to launch an £8m raid for Wigan winger Charles N'Zogbia - News of the World

Manchester United striker Frederico Macheda, 18, is being linked with a loan move to Real Zaragoza - News of the World

Liverpool are poised to mount a major effort to sign former Lazio striker Goran Pandev on a free transfer next month in a bid to boost their flagging season - People

Ambitious Stoke manager Tony Pulis could make a surprise three-pronged raid for Liverpool misfit Ryan Babel, Aston Villa's Emile Heskey and Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones - News of the World

Bolton boss Gary Megson is attempting to sign veteran Real Madrid midfielder Guti - Daily Mirror

Sunderland have launched an attempt to hijack right-back Danny Simpson’s move from Manchester United to Newcastle - Daily Star Sunday

Tottenham's Scotland full-back Alan Hutton is a January target for Stoke and Fulham - News of the World

And Hutton's fellow out-of-favour Tottenham team-mate David Bentley is also attracting interest from Spanish side Atletico Madrid - News of the World

West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo is planning a £3million swoop for Sheffield United star Jamie Ward when the transfer window opens next month - Sunday Mirror

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Liverpool Looking To Get Campaign Back On Track Versus Wolves - Betting Tips with Betfred

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has admitted his side must look to win all their remaining Premier League games in order to finish in the top four.

The Anfield club are currently in eighth place in the Premier League, having only won eight of their 18 games this season, and face a resurgent Wolves side on Boxing Day, who have taken nine out of a possible twelve points in their last four fixtures.

Wolves are an outside bet at Premier League odds of 15/2 with Betfred, but 'could be' worth a small wager on the basis of a very inconsistent Red's team this term, who have only been victorious in five of their nine games at Anfield.

Liverpool are eight points adrift of Aston Villa in fourth place and Brazilian midfielder Lucas thinks the side's target must now be to win "almost every game" in order to get back into the Champions League next season.

"Wolves have quality. We have to respect them and try to show our own quality and play well for the fans," said Lucas.

"All games are tough in the Premier League, so we have to prepare well, work hard and have confidence. We have quality and if we can play well we can beat anyone."

Odds with Betfred of 5/1 for a 2-0 victory for Liverpool could be a good offering as the Reds will be looking to recover quickly from their 2-0 defeat at Portsmouth last weekend.

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy could also make big changes to his side, like he did against Manchester United earlier in the month, which would also make 8/1 for there to be over 2.5 goals in the tie a good football bet.

My Tip Of The Weekend:
Back over 2.5 goals @ 8/1 in the Liverpool versus Wolves fixture on Boxing Day - kick-off 5.30pm GMT.

By Charlotte Cook
(Guest writer from Betfred on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Festive Xmas XI of Former England International Players

  • GK: Tim Flowers - Blackburn

  • DEF: Ledley King - Tottenham
  • DEF: Trevor Cherry - Leeds
  • DEF: Barry Venison - Newcastle
  • DEF: Terry Butcher - Ipswich

  • MID: Harry Nutall - Bolton
  • MID: Dennis Wise - Chelsea
  • MID: Alfred Priest – Sheff Utd

  • FWD: Albert Shepherd - Bolton
  • FWD: John Cock – Chelsea
  • FWD: George Holley - Sunderland

Friday, December 18, 2009

Champions League Last 16 Draw

Inter Milan v CHELSEA

Lyon v Real Madrid


Olympiakos v Bordeaux


CSKA Moscow v Sevilla

Stuttgart v Barcelona

Bayern Munich v Fiorentina

The first-leg ties will be played on the 16th, 17th, 23rd or 24th February 2010.
The return games will be played on either the 9th, 10th, 16th or 17th March 2010.

*It had to be, didn't it? David Beckham will return to Old Trafford with AC Milan. Jose Mourinho goes back to Chelsea with Inter.

Terrific Stuff!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All The Latest Transfer Gossip

With the January transfer window opening in just over two weeks, transfer rumours are unsurprisingly ubiquitous.

Players at home and abroad are being linked with new clubs on a daily basis.

Clubs are on the lookout for reinforcements for several reasons - to ease an injury crisis, to bolster their squads in their chase for honours, or in their quest to avoid relegation, and in some cases they need to offload players to ease their current financial plight.

Barcelona, Crystal Palace, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Wigan, Schalke, Tottenham, Stoke, Sunderland, Liverpool, AC Milan, West Ham, Aston Villa, Standard Leige, FC Twente, Everton, Man United, Portsmouth, Blackburn, Newcastle, Birmingham, Coventry and Nottingham Forest are all caught up in transfer gossip as we speak.

Is your Club involved?

Here is a round up:

Crystal Palace could be set to lose one of their biggest young stars with Barcelona ready to make a shock £3.5m move for Victor Moses in the New Year. Sunderland, Wigan and Tottenham are also keen on the 19-year-old striker - Daily Star

Stoke manager Tony Pulis is preparing to make a £4m offer for Newcastle United forward Andy Carroll - Daily Mirror

Rafa Benitez will try to exploit the uncertainty over West Ham's future by making a swoop for Scott Parker. Liverpool are ready with a £6million offer for the midfielder when the transfer window opens next month - The Sun

Chelsea are plotting a January swoop for West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green following a series of below-par performances from Petr Cech -Daily Express

Real Madrid have targeted Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho and offered striker Ruud van Nistelrooy in part exchange - Daily Mail

Chelsea have rejected Portsmouth's request for more time to pay the £750,000 still owed from Glen Johnson's transfer to Fratton Park - The Sun

Manchester United and Arsenal have been told to forget about signing Standard Liege's £15million-rated midfielder Steven Defour, 21, in January. But Paul Stefani, the player's agent hinted at a summer move and said: "Of course Steven would be interested in coming to England in the future" - The Sun

Manchester United face battle with former England boss Steve McClaren to sign AC Milan striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar - Daily Mail

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce has been given the green light to sign Chelsea striker Franco Di Santo on loan for the rest of the season - Daily Mirror

Everton are set to bid £7m for Schalke midfield ace Lewis Holtby, 19, who has been getting rave reviews in the Bundesliga - The Sun

Tottenham winger David Bentley wants to leave Spurs - Daily Mirror

Cash-strapped Coventry are set to sell star keeper Kieran Westwood next month to raise funds.
Both Everton and Aston Villa have been monitoring the £3million-rated star closely.
City’s top-scorer Leon Best, out of contract next summer, is also poised to be offloaded after rejecting new terms
Coventry boss Chris Coleman is keen to wheel and deal when the window opens to bring in fresh faces - Daily Mirror

Coventry manager Chris Coleman wants to sign Nottingham Forest midfielder Lewis McGuigan - The Sun

Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish made a surprise move for Giles Barnes last night - and will try to stop him joining Steve McClaren's Dutch side FC Twente - Daily Mirror.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sony Ericsson launches once in a lifetime 2010 FIFA World Cup Flag Bearer competition

Christmas will come early for two incredibly lucky young people from the United Kingdom as Sony Ericsson, Official Mobile Handset of the 2010 FIFA World Cup is, today, launching a competition to enable them to become the 2010 FIFA World Cup Flag Bearers.

Live the dream together – Football enthusiast families across the UK will be able to enter their child into the free draw by logging onto and completing a very simple task.

If you and your child love football then this is the competition for you!

This incredible opportunity for 10-16 year old girls and boys will see them, and a parent, travel to the home of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Each child and parent will receive free flights, stunning hotel accommodation plus a ticket for the parent to watch their child take to the field alongside some of the world’s greatest football stars.

To ensure your entry is counted for this once in a lifetime prize, we must receive your details via by the 19th December 2009 (by 23.59 hours GMT).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Arsenal Suffering Ahead Of Crucial Trip To Anfield - Betting News with Betfred

Arsenal are suffering from their worst injury crisis in recent years, as they prepare for this weekend's crucial Premier League match against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.

The Emirates treatment room must seem like the set of a war movie as almost a dozen first-team players are currently ruled out of the game.

Robin van Persie, Nicklas Bendtner, Gael Clichy, Theo Walcott, Abou Diaby, Kieran Gibbs and Johan Djourou were all missing ahead of last weekend's victory against Stoke City.

Then, during the 2-0 win, Tomas Rosicky, Emmanuel Eboue, Armand Traore and William Gallas all picked up knocks that could see them miss the Liverpool tie.

Arsenal are priced at 15/8 with Betfred to win at Anfield and could be well-fancied as Liverpool have been struggling in the Premier League this season, having won only seven of their 15 games to date.

Arsenal's gap behind top-placed Chelsea reduced to eight points after the West London club lost to Manchester City at the weekend, and Arsene Wenger thinks his Gunners side can still upset the domestic football odds and mount a challenge for the Premier League title.

The Frenchman has bemoaned his side's lack of luck with injuries this season, and claims they are suffering more than any other side at the top of the table.

"You cannot say there is not a reason for it but we have not found it yet," said Wenger.

"It's the worst season for injuries for us. And they are all in the same area - in the offensive side. Last year it was in the defensive side."

My Tip Of The Weekend:
A 0-0 draw priced @ 15/2 with Betfred could be seen by many as a likely score as both teams are struggling offensively and the game may be tight and nervy as it is a must-win for both sides.

By Charlotte Cook
(Guest writer from Betfred on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Monday, December 07, 2009

To All Football Fans Out There...............Xmas Is Coming! Who Is Your Favourite Football Player?

Are you a football fan, but stuck for gift ideas this Christmas!
Have you a family, relatives or friends who are mad about football?

Then look no further!

How would you like to purchase a professional photograph of a favourite player or players?
As long as they play in England, then there is a great chance I can get you an original unsigned print of them playing for their respective clubs.

Unsigned photographs come in two sizes:

16" X 12" at £8 each (not inc.postage & packing)
12" X 8" at £6 each (not inc.postage & packing)

* Depending on who the photo is of, it is possible I may be able to get it signed for you as well - in time for Xmas!

The cost of signed photos varies significantly depending on the club involved.

All pictures are unframed, so that the recipients of your gift can choose the type/style that best suits their taste.

Whether you live in the UK, USA, Europe or further afield then email me at with your request & I will get back to you within 24 hours.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Physio Room - Injury Update

With the Word Cup draw from Cape Town, South Africa only about six hours away (5.30pm GMT), there will be plenty of nervous, anxious faces looking on to see who England are drawn against in the opening phase of the competition.

Obviously the fans' will be keen to see that England get a favourable draw in the group stages, perhaps joined by the likes of Slovenia and New Zealand, rather than the Ivory Coast or France - but what about the players?

The likes of Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, John Terry and Ashley Cole will without doubt be watching with great interest.

However those players on the fringes will probably be more concerned not who we draw but whether they themselves will be on the plane to South Africa next summer.
Obviously England boss Fabio Capello will want to take his strongest possible squad to the biggest tournament in world football. Capello is unlikely to name a squad that contains out of form players, or anybody struggling with a slight injury.

Therefore the fringe players if they are to force their way into the squad will only be able to do so if they are being picked on a regular basis by their respective club managers, show good form and stay injury free.

Players such as: David James, Ben Foster, Joe Cole, Peter Crouch, Ashley Young, Darren Bent, Phil Jagielka, Ledley King, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Carlton Cole, Mathhew Upson, Wayne Bridge and Stewart Downing to name but a few, will probably all be sweating on their places in the England squad when it is narrowed down to the final 22.

Meanwhile there is a full programme of English Premier League fixtures this weekend, so here is your chance to catch up on which players are out injured and who will be fit to play for their clubs.

Click on the 'link' to find out the latest on your Club's injury worries, and how soon it will be before some of your teams players will be back in action.

David Moyses' Everton are injury ravaged at the moment, and have eleven players on the treatment table as we speak. A couple may in contention for at least a place on the bench for Sunday's visit of Tottenham.
Arsenal and West Ham are also struggling with injuries, while Wigan have no injury worries going into their game with Birmingham at the DW stadium tomorrow.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

London Rivals To Clash In Crunch Game - Betting Tips with Betfred

Chelsea could deal another hammer blow to their punch drunk Premier League title rivals if they win the London derby against Arsenal this weekend.
However, Theo Walcott is 'gunning' to bring the trophy to the north of the capital.

Arsenal currently sit in third place in the Premier League table, eight points behind the Blues but with a game in hand, and know a victory at the Emirates on Sunday could propel them right into a title battle.

They are well-fancied @ 6/4 to beat their rivals with Betfred and could be well-backed by many punters.

The Gunners have been hit hard with injury problems, with an ankle problem keeping top scorer Robin van Persie out for anything up to five months, while Gael Clichy and Nicklas Bendtner are also missing.

Arsene Wenger’s men were also not aided by young defender Kieran Gibbs suffering a broken metatarsal in the Champions League victory over Standard Liege, which will see him spend a lengthy time on the sidelines.

One man coming back into the team is Walcott, who made only his fourth appearance against Liege and now wants to fill Van Persie's role through the middle for Arsenal to help fire them to Premier League glory.

Walcott has predominantly been played as a winger by Wenger and said upon his return to the first team that he now feels great and his problematic knee is fine.

He is priced at football odds of 12/1 with Betfred to open the scoring at the Emirates, and could be a good bet against a Chelsea side which has struggled to deal with pacy forwards in the past.

"I would love to play up front, it was my position," said the forward.

"I played up front at Southampton but it has been quite a while. I will play anywhere for this team."

My Tip Of The Weekend:
Arsenal to win 2-1 @ 10/1 with Betfred may be a good price for a side looking to bounce back from last week’s disappointing defeat to Sunderland.

By Charlotte Cook
(Guest writer from Betfred on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Festive Xmas XI Of Former England International Players

  • GK: Tim Flowers - Blackburn

  • DEF: Ledley King - Tottenham
  • DEF: Trevor Cherry - Leeds
  • DEF: Barry Venison - Newcastle
  • DEF: Terry Butcher - Ipswich

  • MID: Harry Nutall - Bolton
  • MID: Dennis Wise - Chelsea
  • MID: Alfred Priest – Sheff Utd

  • FWD: Albert Shepherd - Bolton
  • FWD: John Cock – Chelsea
  • FWD: George Holley - Sunderland

Friday, November 20, 2009

Latest Serie A News - Pato offers support to Huntelaar

It is certainly not new news when I tell you that Klass-Jan Huntelaar hasn't really had the impact at AC Milan that many had hoped he would. In fact he has already been linked with a move away from the club as early as January, but team mate Alexandre Pato has come out in support of the under fire striker, as have coach Leonardo and fellow Dutch team-mate Clarence Seedorf.

Pato, the Brazilian striker said of Huntelaar:

"I’m sure he will give much to Milan."
"I had a hard time too, when I just arrived here,”
"I found it difficult to speak Italian and off the field I could not communicate with others, I was afraid to make mistakes."
"Everyone saw that he was the best player in Holland and scored plenty of goals when he played for Ajax, has done well at Real Madrid and I am sure that even here he manages to make his contribution to Milan."

Huntelaar currently sits as fourth choice striker for Milan at the moment with Pato, Ronaldinho and Filippo Inzaghi all ahead of him. there is no doubt the Dutch international knows how to find

He has failed to hit the ground running at Milan since his arrival in August 2009, and has not scored in any of his eleven appearances for the club, and with three strikers in front of him his opportunities are looking somewhat limited.

There is no doubt the Dutch international knows how to find the back of the net.
At Ajax he scored 76 goals in just 92 appearances, prompting Real Madrid to get out the cheque book in January 2009, and pay £17m to secure his services.
He scored eight times for the 'Galaticos' in twenty appearances, before he joined Italian giants AC Milan for a fee in the region of £12m, just seven months later.
Huntelaar has also scored 14 times in 25 appearances for the Dutch national side (below).

Not helping matters are the rumours that Milan are continually being linked with a move for Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko, who if signed from the Bundesliga club would push the Dutch striker further down the pecking order.

However reports coming out of Italy say rivals Juventus are trying to hijack the deal and bring the Bosnian hitman to Turin in January. Huntelaar's fate with Milan is not yet sealed, even though most of the Italian press have already written off the striker.

However things will have to start to change quickly on the pitch for the Dutchman, or Huntelaar may soon find himself back on the transfer list, and looking for his third club in a year.

In October, Huntelaar was linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur and a possible swap deal with Roman Pavlyuchenko during the January transfer window.
The North London side were again reportedly linked with the Dutchman earlier this month, although German side Hamburg are also now thought to be in the race to sign him.

Roll on this weekend where in Serie A, AC Milan and Hunlelaar entertain Cagliari in a league fixture at the San Siro Stadium.

Written by:
Mark Ferguson, a sports editor who blogs about where to purchase inexpensive quality football shirts.
(Today he is guest writing on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Monday, November 16, 2009

All The Latest Transfer Gossip

Despite the transfer window not re-opening for another six weeks or so, plenty of clubs both at home and abroad are monitoring the progress and availability of many players, in the hope they may be able to snap up the final piece(s) of the jigsaw in their chase for honours.

Equally their are clubs who may be attempting to off-load squad players who have not fitted in or are unsettled at their current club(s), in the hope of raising some much needed cash. This may enable them to bag say a new striker, centre-half or creative midfield player that could make the difference between survival or relegation.

There are also some clubs that are injury ravaged, and they will be on the lookout for reinforcements to bolster their respective squads for the remainder of the season.

Real Madrid, Everton, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Man Utd, Hamburg, Barcelona, Arsenal, Liverpool, Benfica, Hoffenheim, AC Milan, Portsmouth, Cardiff City, Man City, Borussia Dortmund, Ipswich, Wolfsburg, Spurs, Nice, Marseille, Seville, Atletico Madrid, Newcastle, Anderlecht, Sao Paolo, Sunderland, Celtic, Birmingham, Wigan, Bolton, Middlesbrough, Swansea, Olhanense, Reading, Huddersfield are all caught up in transfer gossip as we speak.

Is your Club involved?

Here is a round up:

Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano looks set for a £30m move to Barcelona after his advisors agreed the player's personal terms with the Spanish club - Sunday Express

Liverpool are also keen on Arsenal striker Eduardo and are poised to make a £10m bid for Croatian - News of the World

Manchester United are also lining up a £15m January bid for Bayern Munich right-back Philipp Lahm - Sunday Mirror

Manchester United and Chelsea are fighting it out to sign Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell who is valued at £20m - News of the World

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez hopes to raise £15m from the sale of defender Andrea Dossena and forward Ryan Babel - and wants to splash some of the cash on Hamburg striker Eljero Elia - Sunday Mirror

Arsenal are preparing a £5m bid for Hoffenheim's Brazilian midfielder Maicosuel - News of the World

The Gunners are also keen on Cardiff City full-back Adam Matthews and are planning a £5m swoop for the 17-year-old - Sunday Express

Manchester City have agreed a £36m deal to sign Benfica midfielder Angel di Maria in January - News of the World

Manchester City are also preparing to make a £20m January bid for Borussia Dortmund defender Neven Subotic - Sunday Mirror

Man Utd and Man City are both keen on Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko who is rated at £20m - Mail on Sunday

Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea are all battling it out to sign 16-year-old striker Connor Wickham from Ipswich in January - Mail on Sunday

Chelsea will have to match Atletico Madrid forward Sergio Aguero's huge £6.5m a year wages to land the striker - News of the World

The Blues are also leading the chase to sign Anderlecht striker Romelu Lukaku who has already attracted interest from AC Milan, Real Madrid and Manchester United - News of the World

Tottenham are set to renew their interest in Sevilla winger Diego Capel - News of the World

Birmingham are lining up a £7m bid for Celtic winger Aiden McGeady - News of the World

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is set to raid his old club Swansea City for £2m-rated defender Ashley Williams - News of the World

Portsmouth have set their sights on a January double swoop for Nice striker Loic Remy and Marseille winger Hatem Ben Arfa - News of the World

Middlesbrough winger Adam Johnson has been told he cannot leave the club in January despite interest from Sunderland, Spurs, Chelsea and Everton - News of the World

Former England striker Darius Vassell who currently plays for Turkish side Ankaragucu is hoping to secure a January switch to Bolton - News of the World

Sunderland will go after Newcastle left-back Jose Enrique if they fail to sign Wigan defender Maynor Figueroa in January - Sunday Express

Real Madrid's Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart dismisses talk of a return to German club Hamburg and vows to stay at the Bernabeu - Bild magazine

AC Milan striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar has been linked with a January move to several Premier League clubs but the Dutch international says he wants to stay with the Serie A outfit - Press Association

Chelsea are lining up a bid to sign Brazil Under-15 skipper Lucas Piazon, who is seen as the new Kaka, from Sao Paolo - Daily Mirror

Egypt striker Amr Zaki, who spent last season on loan at Wigan, is wanted by Portsmouth and could join the Premier League club in January - Daily Mirror

Newcastle are monitoring the form of versatile Portugal winger Ukra, who currently plays for Olhanense and was in action against England Under-21s on Saturday - Daily Mail

Championship strugglers Reading want to sign Huddersfield striker Jordan Rhodes and are prepared to pay £600,000 for the player, who joined the Terriers for half that amount from Ipswich in the summer.
Full story: Daily Mirror

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hughes Looking To Robinho To Return To The Fight - Along With All The Latest Betfred Odds.

Although Robinho has been courting Barcelona’s advances like a bloke eyeing up a girl across a seedy dance-floor, Mark Hughes is optimistic the Brazilian could soon be back to help inspire Manchester City’s Premier League title bid.

The Brazilian forward has not played for City since September, after he injured his ankle while away on international duty with Brazil.

While out of action he has been heavily linked with a move back to La Liga and stories have done the rounds in the media that his representatives are to meet with officials from Barcelona, something which both his manager and City chief executive Garry Cook have been quick to dismiss.

Hughes has come out and declared Robinho could return to the City fold for the crunch Premier League tie with title-chasing rivals Liverpool on the 21st November.

Despite being unfit to play, the Brazilian is in Qatar with his international teammates ahead of his country’s match with England in Doha on Saturday, with his presence in the Middle East one of the key factors behind the continued speculation over his future.

Hughes claims he "would not close the door" on the prospect of Robinho featuring in the Liverpool game, as City look to upset the football odds and end a run of five consecutive draws in the league.

"It would be a big ask, but we will see how he goes next week," said the Welshman.

One player who will not be coming to Manchester from Barcelona is Yaya Toure, brother of City captain Kolo.

The Ivory Coast international’s agent claimed that bigger clubs are interested in Toure and the player is considering his future at the Nou Camp, something which is believed to have alerted City’s Premier League title rivals Chelsea and Manchester United.

By Charlotte Cook
(Guest writer from Betfred on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Tribute To Footballers Who Tragically Died Too Young!

While the rest of the footy world argue over the latest diving/cheating scandal, or debate the latest managerial sacking, that of Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson, as the clubs worry about the debts they owe as they try to avoid going into administration, and bookies price up who will last longest, Red's boss Rafa or X-Factor duo Jedward, I am going to discuss a topic most people try to avoid whenever possible, and that is the subject of 'death.'

The death that is of young footballers whose careers were either only just beginning, or in the case of others whose careers were cut off in their prime, when their lives tragically ended. Dying as a result of a playing injury is mercifully rare. The most famous example was Celtic goalkeeper John Thompson, who in 1931 sustained serious head injuries diving at the feet of Rangers' Sam English. He died hours later in hospital, aged 22.

However there has been an upsurge over the years of in players losing their lives through what in the medical world is called 'Sudden Death Syndrome' or 'Sudden Cardiac Death' but to many of us is better known simply as 'heart failure.'

How is the average supporter, who likes a pie and a pint, who never warms up or down before or after his weekly five-a-side game, begin to comprehend such incidents. They must struggle to understand why such tragic events occur!

These mega-rich footballers after all, are fit guys, professional athletes. "It's nothing to do with fitness," according to Dr Craig Panther, of Pure Sports Medicine who has worked with Fulham FC. "There will be some underlying heart problem, something they were born with, have developed, or are suffering as a consequence of a viral illness. It can happen at all levels, we just hear about the professionals."

The risk needs to be kept in perspective. Dr Brian Aarons, formerly Wimbledon's club doctor, who now works with the FA's disability teams, said: "We are not talking about conventional heart attacks – smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. These are rare conditions, a number of different ones, but all of them very rare.
The death that is of young footballers whose careers were either only just beginning or for of some whose careers were cut off in their prime, when their lives tragically ended.

One particular high profile player to lose his life from SDS was Marc-Vivien Foé, 28.
On 26 June 2003, Foé collapsed near the centre circle playing in the Confederations Cup semi-final for Cameroon against Columbia. The death was said to be caused by an enlarged right ventricle. He played for Lens and Lyons and had Premier League spells with West Ham United and Manchester City. Foé scored the last City goal at Maine Road. City retired the No 23 shirt he wore in 2002-03.

The following players also were victims of SDS:

Antonio Puerta, aged 22. The Seville player collapsed 35 minutes into Seville's match with Getafe in 2007. He died of multiple organ failure brought on by a series of prolonged cardiac arrests. Puerta, Seville born-and-bred, left a wife who was seven months pregnant at the time.

Robbie James, 40. The former Swansea City, Stoke City and QPR star died on the pitch playing for Llanelli AFC, where he was player-manager, in 1998. James won 47 caps for Wales.

Phil O’Donnell, 35. The Motherwell midfielder died after collapsing during a match against Dundee United in the Scottish League in 2007. An autopsy revealed he had died of heart failure.

David Longhurst, 25. A striker who began his career in the Nottingham Forest youth team, Longhurst suffered a heart attack playing for York City in 1990. York later named one of the stands at Bootham Crescent after him.

Anton Reid, 16. On 20 August 2007, Anton Reid passed away during training with his club Walsall on their Aston training pitch. He was in his first year with the youth team.

Other football players to have died indirectly at the hands of the 'The Beautiful Game' include:

John White, 27. In 1964 the Spurs star died after being hit by lightning while sheltering under a tree during a round of golf.

Laurie Cunningham, 33. The the first black player to represent England in a competitive match, died in 1989 in a car crash in Madrid. The 33-year-old was in Spain playing for Rayo Vallecano.

Andres Escobar, 27. In 1994 after returning from the World Cup, the Colombian defender was shot dead. His shooting was rumoured to have been ordered by a betting syndicate after Escobar’s own goal led to Colombia’s unexpected first-round exit.

David Rocastle, 33. In February 2001, the former Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea player announced that he was suffering from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer which attacks the immune system. He underwent a course of chemotherapy for the illness and was hopeful of a recovery. But he died in the early hours of 31 March 2001, leaving a wife and four children. Arsenal opened up a new youth team indoor training facility named after him, as a tribute to his contributions to the club.

Aaron Flahavan, 25. In 2001 the Portsmouth keeper died in a car accident near Bournemouth. An inquest heard that Flahavan died as a result of a fractured skull, and his blood alcohol level was nearly three times over the legal limit when he lost control of his BMW sports car. His brother Darryl plays for Crystal Palace.

The hearts of young footballers are screened when they come into the game under a joint initiative by the Football Association and the Professional Footballers' Association, which dates back to 1997. Premier League regulations, and common sense, dictate that clubs continue to monitor players' health. But an ECG screening will not pick up every abnormality.

Antonio Puerta
Laurie Cunningham
David Rocastle
Marc-Vivien Foe

May all those players mentioned in this article R.I.P.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

New Business Partnership With Voucher Alerts - The UK's Leading Voucher Codes Website For Sports Merchandise.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

North London Bragging Rights On The Line - Betting Tips with Betfred

The crunch tie to settle bragging rights in the North of London has to be one of the fiercest derbies of the football season.

With Tottenham and Arsenal currently level on points in the English Premier League, the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday (12.45pm), will show which team has the greater potential to finish in one of the top four spots come the end of the season.

Arsenal have already lost out to title rivals Manchester United and Manchester City this season while Spurs have been putting on strong performances to challenge at the top of the table, but a disappointing result last time out against Stoke City means they sit level with their bitter rivals five points behind league leaders Chelsea.

Tottenham captain Robbie Keane has come out to stoke the fires between the two clubs by claiming that his side has a greater strength in depth than their counterparts.

He said: "Arsenal have had the better of Tottenham over the last several years but Harry Redknapp's revolution at White Hart Lane means they are now on a par at least with their North London rivals."

Firing a clear warning to Arsene Wenger's men and their fans, the Irish striker claimed: "It will be judged at the end of the season but if you look at the bench we have, it is probably a bit stronger than their bench."

Spurs are entering the game on the back of a 2-0 victory over Everton in the Carling Cup, while Arsenal will be buoyed after their youngsters put on a fine display to earn a 2-1 victory over Liverpool.

An Arsenal win is priced at Premier League odds of 4/7 with Betfred, while Spurs although likely to be without the influential Lennon and Defoe, could be well worth an outside punt at odds of 4/1 to put one over their North London Rivals. As is often the case current form tends to go out the window in derby matches.
The draw is priced at 13/5.

By Charlotte Cook
(Guest writer from Betfred on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Come Dine With Me - ' The Athenaeum Restaurant' London

I am always on the lookout for a new restaurant, all in the course of research - the type that involves finding a plush venue to woo the ladies with......and in doing so trying to avoid such a place that will inevitably lead to the 'de rigueur' phone call on a Monday morning from my bank manager, regarding my incalculable overdraft created in the last 48 hours, usually due to a lavish shin-dig of a weekend.

So when I heard the five-star Athenaeum in Piccadilly had just had a revamp I sort vengeance last Friday, as a result of another rather dire week at the 'orifice' - a seemingly all to familiar feeling of late!
My mobile, little black book and my plastic were now at the ready and fully charged!

I met my date outside Green Park tube station, a few minutes walk from The Athenaeum.
On arrival we were greeted by the suited and booted door stewards and the attentive waiting staff who took our coats.

We both indulged in a pre-dinner cocktail in the stylish bar (left) - all tasteful low slung red velvet seating with plenty of cushions and touches of vintage-style decor all around.
Delightful attention to detail.
I opted for a dry vodka martini, while my date had a 'Garden Of Eden' comprising apple vodka, fig, cranberry, peach liqueur and elderflower.
Both were made with panache and tasted superb.

We made our way through to the opulent restaurant(below right), designed so most tables nestle in a booth. My date's starter of Brixham Crab Salad served with a Golden Beetroot, Heritage Tomatoes and Tarragon Dressing (£11.75) was delightfully presented and my Diver Scallops served with Jerusalem Artichoke, Sweetcorn and Grapes (£10.50) was almost a work of art. It seemed a shame to disfigure it!

For our main courses my date ordered Pan Fried South Coast Lemon Sole served on the bone with Ceps, Caper and Parsley Butter (£28.00), whilst I opted for Smokey Hay Baked Venison served with Cheltenham Beetroot and Roasted Figs with Vanilla Sauce (£24.00).

We also shared three sumptuous side orders of: Sweet Stewed Pumpkin, Roasted Field Mushrooms, grilled with rock salt and Hand Cut Chips.

We washed it down with a lovely 2007 Chablis vino (£37.50).

Following coffee we then returned to The Bar for an aperitif. The bar's extensive list including a choice of 270 different whiskies proved a real talking point - one of them was £150 for a double! (In my head I could hear the cutting voice of my bank manager). We instead opted for a couple of Vanilla Mojito's.

As Oscar Wilde once said, "Work is the curse of the drinking classes."

'The Athenaeum Restaurant' is located on: 224 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7BJ
Nearest tube: Green Park.
Breakfast Menu: 7.00-11.00 Mon to Sun.
Restaurant Menu: 12.30-14.30 & 17.30-22.30 Mon to Sun.
Tel no: 020 7499 3464
Web address:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Congratulations to Jenson Button - F1 Champion 2009

Hats off to Jenson Button as he joins an elite group of British Formula One Champions, following Sunday's Grand Prix at the Interlagos circuit in Brazil.

His fifth placed finish was good enough to secure the title from his nearest rival Rubens Barrichello, and at the same time secured the constructors title for his Brawn GP Team, in the penultimate race of the season.

Jenson won six Formula 1 races during the 2009 season in: Australia, Malaysia, Bahrain, Spain, Monaco, and Turkey.

The Ten British Formula 1 Champions:

Jenson Button 2009
Lewis Hamilton 2008
Damon Hill 1996
Nigel Mansell 1992
James Hunt 1976
John Surtees 1964
Jim Clark 1963, 1965
Graham Hill 1962, 1968
Jackie Stewart 1961, 1971, 1973
Mike Hawthorne 1958

Saturday, October 10, 2009

After-Dinner Sports Tales - Gareth Southgate

This month is my fifth installment of light hearted after-dinner sporting tales, as told by current or ex-professional sportsman.
My after-dinner sports tale for this month is one told by Gareth Southgate, a well respected football player and now club manager, who has been a model professional since making his debut in 1988.

Born in Watford, Hertfordshire in 1970, Southgate began his career at Crystal Palace, playing in central midfield. He became captain and led the club to the 1994 Division One title.

He moved to Aston Villa in 1995 for a fee of £2.5 million, having made 152 appearances and scoring 15 goals over four seasons for the South London club.
In 2001 he joined Middlesborough as a player, before becoming the Teeside clubs manager in 2006.

"I went to watch a match with my wife and the family of a friend (who was playing).

People started turning around to ask me for autographs, which is always flattering but can start to interfere with your enjoyment of an event.

By now the game had kicked off and yet still I was being passed scraps of paper and programmes to sign.
I obliged, but must confess I was getting irritable as I tried to watch the game.
A flag was passed along then a ticket.

'Pen?' I asked down the line, somewhat abruptly, and a pen was duly passed down the line.
'What's his name?' I asked my friend's wife, and the query was passed down the line.
'To John, all the best, Gareth Southgate,' I wrote and passed the ticket back along the line.

Out of the corner of my eye I see the guy look at the ticket and start to edge along the row.
I'm just about to say to him: 'Look mate, no disrepect, but I'm trying to watch the game,' when he says apologetically: 'Excuse me, I'm very sorry but you're in my seat."

During the 2003–04 season Gareth became an author, penning Woody & Nord: A Football Friendship with close friend and former West Ham goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman. This book describes an enduring friendship forged in the Crystal Palace youth team that has survived Southgate and Woodman's wildly differing fortunes in the professional game. The book won the Sporting Book of the Year Award for 2004 from the National Sporting Club.

Friday, October 02, 2009

'Hull & Portsmouth Set For Another Fruitless Weekend' - Betting Tips with Betfair

So far this season Hull and Portsmouth have been shambling along like a pair of old drunks trying to find their way home after a night out. Hull got lucky and managed to find a late bus but after a promising start to the journey, they promptly fell asleep and missed their stop. Portsmouth meanwhile have fallen into a ditch and are still trying to get up.

This weekend has actually thrown up two winnable fixtures for the duo, with Hull at home to Wigan, while Portsmouth travel to Wolves. Both sides will be hopeful of picking up points but the smart money is on another miserable day for the pair at the bottom of the Premier League table

Roberto Martinez has taken a while to settle in at Wigan but last weekend's shock win over Chelsea will rejuvenate the side and that confidence should be enough to see off Hull, who were knocked for six at Anfield last week.
The match is also likely to be a high scoring affair, with the two teams conceding a combined total of 32 goals already this season.

Wigan to win can be backed at 2.6, while the +2.5 goals market looks a steal at 2.1.

Down on the south coast, Portsmouth's problem has not been conceding goals but scoring them. Only Aston Villa and Arsenal have scored more than a solitary goal against Pompey this season and yet Paul Hart's men are still pointless, courtesy of just 3 goals in the 'for' column.

Their opponents have been no great shakes either but with a couple of wins already this season and the added bonus of home support, Wolves should have enough about them to pile on the misery.

A home win is priced at 2.14 but the pick of the Premier League bets may just be the 2.64 on offer for a Wolves clean sheet.

By Josh Allen.
(Guest writer from Betfair on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stoppage Time or Fergie Time?

After Manchester United's 4-3 victory in their derby match with Manchester City last Sunday, care of a Michael Owen strike deep into stoppage time, City boss Mark Hughes was left furious that the referee Martin Atkinson had added so much time on.
Was Hughes correct and is there really such a thing as 'Fergie' time?

After watching the game on television, reading various post match reports in the newspapers, scouring the net, looking up the laws of the game, reading Club messageboards and listening to several radio phone-ins, I personally feel City have a right to feel aggrieved at the amount of added/injury/stoppage time allowed.

There's been much talk about whether the time added on was or was not correct.

So lets look at what the rules say:

FA Rules:

Many stoppages in play are entirely natural (e.g. throw-ins, goal kicks). An allowance is to be made only when these delays are excessive.

The fourth official indicates the minimum additional time decided by the referee at the end of the final minute of each period of play.

The announcement of the additional time does not indicate the exact amount of time left in the match. The time may be increased if the referee considers it appropriate but never reduced.

The referee must not compensate for a timekeeping error during the first half by increasing or reducing the length of the second half.

Dermot Gallagher (former referee)

"From Euro 96 we've had this standardisation that we're going to play 30 seconds per substitution, and for excessive goal celebrations we're to play another 30 seconds - so it starts to tot up, and this is why we find the three or four minutes we have on average at most games."

Right so lets break it down:

In the second half there were no injury delays and the medical team never went on the pitch once.

There was no time wasting by either side.

There was three substitutions in total in the 2nd half. So now we are on one minute 30 seconds (30 seconds per sub).

There were four goals in the 2nd half, (before the Owen stoppage time goal and the sub in stoppage time). That's another 30 seconds for each of the four goals.
That's a total of 2 minutes following the goals. So now with subs and goals taken into account the total is 3 minutes 30 seconds.

So where did the initial four minutes come from? I make it three minutes 30 seconds. Within the given 4 minutes, there was a substitution in the 93rd minute. An additional 30 seconds for the sub in extra time leads me to a grand total of four minutes 30 seconds.
If my mathematics are correct the referee should have blown the final whistle to signal the end of the game after 94 mins 30 seconds.

Micheal Owen's winning goal was timed at 95 mins 28 secs, almost exactly one minute after the match should have finished.

Referee Atkinson I assume then takes into account the excessive goal celebrations, following Owen's goal, (which is only applied by him and is based solely on his own opinion on events and remains questionable).

However allowing a full minute following Owen's goal he eventually blows the final whistle after 96 mins 58 seconds.......almost a full 3 minutes after the originally allotted 4 mins of added time.

Fergie time - Does it exist? The Guardian examines the phenomena using statistics.

'After the controversy over Michael Owen's winning goal in Sunday's Manchester derby, the 'Guardian' has looked at all of United's league matches at Old Trafford since the start of the 2006-07 season and discovered that, on average, there has been over a minute extra added by referees when United do not have the lead after 90 minutes, compared to when they are in front.
In 48 games when United were ahead, the average amount of stoppage time was 191.35 seconds. In 12 matches when United were drawing or losing there was an average of 257.17sec.

But there is also evidence to support the suspicions of many managers, players and supporters that United get preferential treatment at home. When Owen made it 4-3 on Sunday the game was five minutes and 26 seconds into stoppage time. In total, the referee, Martin Atkinson, allowed almost seven minutes, even though the fourth official had signalled a minimum of four. Mark Hughes, the City manager, spoke of feeling "robbed". His sense of grievance will not be helped if he analyses the last three seasons.'

In 2006-07, for example, United were winning 15 times on entering stoppage time and referees added an average 194.53sec. In the four games when United were not winning there was an average of 217.25sec. The following year the disparity was greater, Opta's figures showing an average 178.29sec added when United were winning and 254.5sec when they were not. Last season it was 187.71sec compared to 258.6sec.

The pattern has continued in the first three games of the season. In the two games United have led they have played an average 304sec of injury time. On Sunday, Atkinson allowed the game to go on for 415sec.

Make your own mind up and leave me a comment. I would very much like to hear what all fans of all Clubs feel about the outcome of the Manchester derby, the statistics that seem to favour United when they play at Old Trafford and the subject of stoppage time in general.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ten Classic Football Quotations made about 'Our Beautiful Game'

I have no morals when it comes to dealing with my clients. I would deal with the Devil to get the best deal for them
- ERIC HALL, Football Players Agent, 1989.

Three or four of the Villa lads buy quality newspapers. At Crystal Palace it was always eight Suns and four Mirrors - GARETH SOUTHGATE, Aston Villa defender, 1996.

Maybe my players have a rampant sex life when they stay at home on Friday nights - TERRY BURTON, Wimbledon manager on his team's poor home form, 2001.

It's not the sex that tires out young players. It's the staying up all night looking for it - CLEMENS WESTERHOF, Dutch coach to Nigeria, 1994.

On my debut for Besiktas they sacrificed a lamb on the pitch. Its blood was daubed on my forehead for good luck. They never did that at QPR - LES FERDINAND, England striker recalls his spell in Turkey, 1995.

The average English footballer could not tell the difference between an attractive woman and a corner flag - WALTER ZENGA, Italy goalkeeper, responding to Wimbledon manager Bobby Gould's quips that his players wanted the phone numbers of the Italian players' wives while the Azzurri were away at the World Cup, 1990.

Football takes all my pressures. The Police have my passport and I'm not allowed to train with the other players, but nothing bothers me out on the pitch - MICKEY THOMAS, Wrexham captain, as his team's FA Cup run coincided with his release on bail on charges of counterfeiting currency, 1992.

Liverpool won the FA Cup a few years ago with a team of eleven foreigers, including Scots, Welsh and Irish. Now we have Spanish, French and Italians. They speak better English, are more civilised and know how to use a knife and fork - KEN BATES, Chelsea chairman, on the influx of players from abroad, 2000.

Someone asked me last week whether I missed the Villa. I replied 'No I live in one' - DAVID PLATT, former Aston Villa player on life with Bari in Italy, 1991.

Football and politics are much the same. They're both full of people who are jealous of success - TONY BANKS MP, Labour, former Minister of Sport, 1999.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

'Brits All Ready To Hit The Ground Running' - Betting Tips with Betfair

In the last five years English teams have dominated Europe's premier competition and while that may not last forever, few would bet against a perfect start to this year's event, for all four Premier League sides.

Last night Chelsea and Manchester United both picked up three points, with victories against Porto and Besiktas respectively.

Tonight sees Liverpool and Arsenal enter the fray as they take on Standard Liege and Champions League newcomers Debrecen of Hungary.

There's very little value to be had backing a Liverpool victory, with the Reds as short as 1.11 in the match odds. However, there could be money to be made by predicting a high scoring affair. All three of Liverpool's wins this season have witnessed four goals or more and with Debrecen inexperienced at this level, there could be another goal fest at Anfield.
The Champions League betting odds currently stand at: over 3.5 goals in the match available at 2.08, with +4.5 goals a tempting 3.55.

Arsenal should face a tougher test as they travel to Belgium to play Standard Liege. The hosts came within two minutes of taking Liverpool to penalties in last season's Champions League third qualifying round and could provide tricky opposition for Arsene Wenger's team.

Unfortunately for Liege, they will face an Arsenal side with a real point to prove, after suffering successive league defeats. Arsenal can be backed to win both halves at 2.86 but if you fancy an upset, the Belgian champions look good value at 5.5 in the 'draw no bet' market.

Elsewhere, Rangers will be desperate to restore some pride in Scottish football after the national side's failure to qualify for the World Cup.

German side Stuttgart stand in their way, but could be prime candidates for an upset after picking up just five points from their opening five league matches in the Bundesliga.
Rangers are a massive 6.6 to win the game and complete a good opening week for Brits abroad.

By Josh Allen.
(Guest writer from Betfair on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Promotion to & Relegation from 'The Football League.'

The 2009/10 football season maybe barely a month old, but fans of Clubs up and down the country are probably already dreaming of a trip to Wembley, promotion to the Premier League, creating a major Cup upset e.t.c, but spare a thought for those Clubs in League Two who come the end of the season, will be battling for their lives just to keep their Football League status!

For much of the last century, the Football League was a distinct entity, a private members' club if you like. The reason was re-election.

Rather than a system of promotion & relegation that the four Football League divisions operated, any top non-league club hoping to become a member of the elite 92, had to wait for a current member to be 'kicked out.'

At the end of every season clubs in the top two divisions, 'Full Members' and four 'Associate Members' representing the bottom two divisions were presented with a ballot, comprising of the four clubs who finished at the foot of Division 4 (now League 2) and the names of a substantial number of non-league clubs, who were applying for League membership.
Each representative of an 'Associate Member' had to vote for the four clubs they wished to participate in the League the following season

A Football League club having to apply for re-election may have seen it as some form of ignominy, but for 50 years or so it was mostly nothing to worry about.
The system ensured that League membership remained relatively static, with non-league clubs having almost no chance of joining.

For some clubs it was an 'annual humiliation.' Several non-league clubs in particular, namely Nuneaton, Chelmsford & Cambridge City, routinely put themselves forward without success.

Only if a club applying for re-election were located in some tiny northern coastal town, meaning long awkward trips for other teams, and/or the size of their crowds was extremely poor, bearing in mind at the time that gate receipts were shared between clubs, were you in any danger of not being re-elected.

As a result Gateshead were replaced in 1960 by Peterborough, Barrow lost their league status to Hereford in 1972 & Wokingham (who had replaced another northern coastal town, New Brighton in 1951), were dropped in favour of the now defunct Wimbledon in 1977.

Other teams to lose their League status include Southport, who were replaced by Wigan in 1978, Bradford Park Avenue, who were replaced by Cambridge United in 1970, & are now ironically back playing non-league football themselves.

As it stands at the time of writing this piece, 7 out of the current top 10 positions in the non-league Conference division are occupied by former Football League clubs.

Finally in the late 1980's the League conceded that the 'closed shop' mentality they were running was indeed unfair. Therefore re-election was replaced initially by one-up, one down in 1987 (although it was on condition that the non-league Conference Champions were deemed as having stadium facilities of a League standard).

Since 2002-03 a change to a two-up, two-down system has been implemented. The bottom two teams in League 2 are replaced by the Conference Champions plus one other team. This is decided through a play-off system, made up of the Conference teams that finished 2nd down to 5th place.

Since 2002/03, none of the perpetual strugglers have slipped out of the League, with Hartlepool (re-elected 14 times), Crewe & Rochdale (ten each) all surviving & sometimes thriving!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Physio Room - Injury Update

It has been a busy week in the world of English football.

As well as a full programme of English Premier League fixtures last weekend, we also had the 2nd round of the Carling Cup and some UEFA Europa League matches in midweek too.

Which players from the English Premier League came away unscathed from the last 7 days of action on the field, and who on 'millionaires row' picked up a bump or a bruise that might rule them out of their teams' weekend EPL game.

I can tell you the team with most to worry about in terms of injuries at the moment is Birmingham City, although they have several players due back this weekend, whilst Sunderland and Wigan it would appear have the least to worry about in terms of injury woes.

Click on the 'link' to find out the latest on your Club's injury worries, and how soon it will be before some of your teams high profile player's will be back in action.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

After-Dinner Sports Tales - Phil Tufnell

My after-dinner sports tale for this month is one told by the charismatic and controversial Phil Tufnell, the former England cricket bowler with a talent for spinning the ball on the field and getting into trouble off of it.

Nicknamed 'The Cat' for his ability to sleep anytime, anywhere, Tufnell made his debut for Middlesex in 1986. It was here that he developed a reputation for being a cricketer with big talent, but little dedication for the discipline of the game. He was occasionally in trouble for missing practice or minor matches and once missed a game when shopping for a fridge instead.

Despite brilliant bowling figures, once getting 11 wickets for 93 runs, he was an abysmal batter whose career average did not reach double figures. He played 42 Tests and 20 One Day Internationals for England between 1990 and 2001, and 316 first-class matches, mainly for Middlesex.

Tufnell’s larrikin tendencies meant he was later disciplined for numerous offences to do with birds, booze, drugs and generally offensive behavior.
In 1997 on an England tour to New Zealand he unwittingly became the focus for a publicity campaign for a winebar in Christchurch.

Here is an amusing excerpt from an after-dinner speech made by Phil on that infamous incident in New Zealand in 1997

"I woke one morning to find myself plastered all over the front of the local paper for apparently having smoked grass in the gents at an establishment called Bardelli's. By 10 o'clock that same morning a rash of posters appeared around town declaring, 'Tufnell reckons that Bardelli's is the best joint in town.'
It was complete nonsense, of course. I was invisible at the time."

Tuffers' retired from professional cricket 2003 in order to participate in the reality television show 'I'm a Celebrity.....Get Me Out of Here!' from which he emerged as King of the Jungle. He was a team captain on the sports quiz show 'They Think It's All Over', did analytical punditry on Sky Sports and Channel 4, and has made appearances on current affairs programmes, chat shows and quiz shows. He has co-authored a humorous book called 'Phil Tufnell's' A To Z of Cricket' and wrote his autobiography, 'What Now?'

He is extremely accommodating to people who wish to discuss matters with a sporting celebrity.