Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pre-Season Predictions - Now The Reality............

On Friday 8th August 2008, I published on this site my pre-season football predictions for the forthcoming season (2008/09).

The teams I thought may win or gain automatic promotion from each of the four top flight football leagues in England, along with the odds supplied courtesy of Coral Bookmakers.

Premiership Winners: Chelsea 15/8
Championship Automatic Promotion: Birmingham 6/1 & Wolves 12/1
League One Automatic Promotion: Peterborough 11/1 & Carlisle 16/1
League Two Automatic Promotion: Darlington 9/1 & Wycombe 10/1

Now with the final weekend of fixtures approaching for those teams in the Championship, League 1 and League 2 here are how things stand:

The Championship:

Birmingham - Currently 2nd. A last day victory will see them join Wolves in the Premier League next season. Should results conspire to go against them, then a play-off place is at least guaranteed.
Wolves - Champions before the final game of the season.

League 1:

Peterborough - Currently 2nd (automatic promotion guaranteed).
Carlisle - Currently 21st & fighting to avoid relegation with one game to go.
Can escape at the expense of Northampton or Brighton if results go their way this weekend.

League 2:

Darlington - Currently lying 12th and but for a ten point deduction handed out mid-way through the season, they would be in a play-off place going into the final game this weekend.
Wycombe - Currently 2nd with one game to go. Their destiny is in their own hands. A point at the weekend will guarantee automatic promotion. Defeat this weekend combined with a victory for Bury will mean they will have to settle for a play-off place.

The Premier League season concludes on Sunday 24th May.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

'Best Bet' - Championship Betting Tips with Betfair

Hello, I'm Tom Mallows and welcome to my latest fortnightly football betting preview on behalf of this site.

I shall be looking at this weekend's Coca-Cola Championship fixtures, along with some of the LIVE TV games in more detail.
Hopefully I can try and win you some cash with my 'best bet' football tips.

Last time out I correctly predicted a 1-0 Sheffield United win at Reading at 11/1, as well as correctly picking two home wins and a draw from my sections list. Here’s hoping for more success this week.

Here’s my pick of the action this weekend:

Birmingham v Preston
Saturday 25th April April KO 17:30 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

It’s a day of destiny for Alex McLeish’s Birmingham. With Sheffield United losing to play-off hopefuls Burnley in midweek, the Blues know a win can seal a return to the Premier League at the first attempt. Preston’s play-off hopes are fading fast and they know they have to win both their remaining games, and hope the likes of Burnley and Cardiff immediately above them lose theirs - if they are going to crash the party.

Current Match odds:

Birmingham 4/5 Preston 4/1 Draw 13/5

Birmingham 1-0 6/1 2-0 8/1 2-1 17/2 3-0 18/1

Preston 0-1 13/1 0-2 31/1 1-2 18/1 0-3 109/1

Draw 0-0 10/1 1-1 13/2 2-2 21/1

My ‘best bet’ prediction:

There is no margin for error for either side, but with the carrot of the Premier League dangling tantalisingly in front of Birmingham I think they will do enough to win and secure automatic promotion.
Birmingham 2-0 win @ 8/1

Norwich v Reading
Monday 27th April KO 19.45 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

Two sides at either end of the table who need the points for very different reasons. Reading would have fancied automatic promotion at the start of the year, so will be disappointed that the play-offs is the best they can do. Norwich are staring relegation in the face following a disappointing derby defeat against Ipswich last Sunday. They remain third bottom, two points adrift of safety with two to play.

Current Match odds:

Norwich 8/4 Reading 2/1 Draw 12/5

Norwich 1-0 17/2 2-0 14/1 2-1 9/1 3-0 35/1

Reading 0-1 9/1 0-2 16/1 1-2 10/1 0-3 43/1

Draw 0-0 10/1 1-1 6/1 2-2 14/1

My ‘best bet’ prediction:

Reading may be riding high in the table, but they only have one win in their last six matches. Norwich are scrapping for their lives, but I don’t think they have enough quality to take all three points, so I predict a share of the spoils.
Draw 1-1 @ 6/1

The Best Of The Rest:

Fancy a sections list this weekend? A multiple bet can win you some 'serious' cash.

Here are my tips for this weekend's matches:

Home wins:

Bristol City v Sheff Wed
Doncaster v Crystal Palace
Sheff Utd v Swansea

Away wins:

Barnsley v Wolverhampton
Southampton v Burnley


QPR v Plymouth
Coventry v Watford
Derby v Charlton
Blackpool v Nottm Forest

My Tip Of The Weekend:

Cardiff City v Ipswich Town

It's sure to be an emotional day in South Wales as Cardiff bid farewell to Ninian Park, their home for 99 years, and also look for the point they need to seal a play-off spot. It will be a significant day for Ipswich too, as Roy Keane takes charge of the Tractor Boys for his first game at the helm. The Bluebirds have more to play for though and I think they will be smiling come the final whistle. Sorry Roy!
Cardiff 2-1 win @ 15/2

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sky Sports FanZone - An Absolute Classic!

Here are two of the most memorable minutes in the history of the 'Sky Sports Fan Zone' recorded during the magnificent eight goal drama filled thriller between The Reds and The Gooners at Anfield last night.

You have to watch these guys go through the roller coaster of emotions, (that all fans of the game can appreciate) as they both experience moments during the game when they can almost taste victory and then that feeling of despair, as it is snatched away during this wonderful attacking goal fest!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Amusing Terrace Chants

Football chants come in all shapes and sizes, some can be cruel, some are simply witty, others are variations of songs that have been around for years - They can be historic, dating back to the formation of a club, adaptions of popular songs, or spontaneous reactions to events on the pitch.

Some songs are in support of their own players, others are aimed at rival fans, opposition managers and players, but on occasions fans do turn on their own players. Very often football chants are directed at a clubs former player, particularly if they left the club under acrimonious circumstances.
Not surprisingly the games officials also suffer the wrath of football fans.

There are thousands of chants out there, but I've just picked out a small selection, that should at least raise a smile!

West Ham fans take the mickey out of London rivals Fulham by asking: 'Does your butler know you're here?'

'We've all had you're missus, We've all had you're missus.'
At a Cambridge United game, while some bloke proposed to his girlfriend at half time.

From Oldham fans:
'Give us a T. Give us an I.
Give us a T. Give us an S.
What do you do with 'em?
'Old'em! 'Old'em!'

'All bling and Burberry, high teenage pregnancy, no father on the scene, all robbing cash machines!'
A chant that Sittingbourne fans sing to local rivals Chatham (to the tune of Verdi's La Donna e Mobile).

'When the ball hits your head and you sit in row Z, thats Zamora.'
Sung about aimless Bobby Zamora to the tune of 'That's Amore' by Dean Martin.

'How wide? Nationwide!'
Birmingham fans to any wide shot.

'Two Andy Gorams, there's only two Andy Gorams!'
Political correctness went out of the window when it was reported that larger-than-life keeper Andy Goram was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

'You've got Di Canio, we've got your stereo'
Liverpool fans being all post-modern and deconstructing their own stereotype. Sung at West Ham fans, who would often boast 'We've got Di Canio!'

'Who ate all the pies, who ate all the pies? You fat bastard, you fat bastard, you ate all the pies!'
Well, it had to be in here somewhere. A timeless classic:  More often abbreviated today to simply 'You fat bastard, you fat bastard!'

'In for a week, out for a month, in for a week, out for a month, in for a week, out for a month, Kewell is a tampon.'
Sung to Liverpool fans during Harry Kewell's injury plagued spell with the Club.

'You dirty northern bastards!'
A versatile chant, most often used by southern shandy-drinking types to wind up their northern cousins. Can also be used ironically - Plymouth Argyle and Exeter City fans sing it to anyone!

Chelsea were beating Leeds 5-0, so the Leeds fans attacked the electronic scoreboard until it short-circuited and went up in smoke. Then sang, 'Chelsea, Chelsea what's the score.'

'We hate Tuesday'
Millwall fans after Sheff Utd fans chant 'We hate Wednesday', at Bramall Lane.

'Come in a taxi,
You must have come in a taxi,
Cooome in a taxieeeee,
You must have come in a taxi.'

Birmingham fans to the few Sunderland fans that turned up at St.Andrew's.

In 1998 when Graham Rix was convicted of having sexual intercourse with an underage girl, football fans came with the chant: 'If you tolerate Rix, then your children will be next,' to the tune of the Manic Street Preachers song: 'If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next.'

Chelsea fans mocked Turkish side Galatasaray with this chant:
'You're shish. And you know you are. You're shish........'

Chelsea and Norwich fans at a game a couple of years ago:
'We have Abramovich, you have a drunken ****.'
Norwich fans reply:
'We have a super cook, you have a Russian crook.'

'Away in a manger, No crib for a bed, The little Lord Jesus, Laid down his sweet head, The stars in the bright sky, Looked down where HE LAY, HEALY, HEALY!'
Leeds fans to David Healy.

Aside from pop songs, there are several other songs from which football chants have taken the tune and/or words:
The tune of Camptown Races is used for 'Two World Wars, One World Cup,' and 'Ten Green Bottles' became 'Ten German Bombers' (to the tune of 'She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain'), both songs used by England fans to slight their main rivals, Germany.

'If it wasn't for the English you'd be Krauts
If it wasn't for the English you'd be Krauts
If it wasn't for the English
Wasn't for the English
If it wasn't for the English you'd be Krauts'

Sung by English fans to the French during the World Cup Finals held in France in 1998.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

'Best Bet' - Championship Betting Tips with Betfair

Hello and welcome to my latest guest blog previewing this weekend’s Coca-Cola Championship fixtures as well as looking at some of the LIVE TV games in more detail. Hopefully I can try and win you some cash with my best bet football tips.

Last time out I got my prediction for the Bristol City v Preston game spot on as well as correctly picking three draws in my sections list. Here's hoping for more success this week.

Here’s my pick of the action this Easter weekend:

Reading v Sheff Utd
Friday 10th April KO 17:30 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

It's third versus fourth in this Good Friday clash, live in front of the Sky cameras. Kevin Blackwell's Blades have won four in a row, a run of form which has seen them overtake Reading into third and are now just three points behind Birmingham in the race for automatic promotion. Reading meanwhile have had just one win in six so will look to stop that slide against the Blades.

Current Match odds:

Reading 5/4 The Draw 13/5 Sheff Utd 5/2

Reading 1-0 8/1 2-0 12/1 2-1 9/1 3-0 26/1

Sheff Utd 0-1 11/1 0-2 20/1 1-2 13/1 0-3 54/1

Draw 0-0 10/1 1-1 13/2 2-2 17/1

My 'best bet' prediction:

Two talented sides who would not look out of place in the Premier League. The Blades are coming up on the rails of Reading at the moment, they have the momentum and I fancy them to come away from the Madejski Stadium with a narrow victory.
Sheff Utd 1-0 win @ 11/1

Wolves v Southampton
Friday 10th April KO 15.15 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

It’s not been a good few weeks for Southampton. Their parent company has gone into administration, with the prospect of a potential ten point penalty as a result, added to their precarious league position as they face the threat of relegation to the third tier of league football (even without a points deduction) - it would be safe to say that things down on the South Coast right now are looking bleak! They left Watford on Tuesday night with a point when three would have seen them jump out of the relegation zone. They now have only five more league games to save their Championship status, beginning with a tricky trip to the Black Country on Good Friday.
Wolves remain top of the tree, although their lead was cut following a disappointing derby defeat at Birmingham on Monday night. Mick McCarthy's side will look to secure automatic promotion as soon as possible, starting with a victory against the Saints.

Current Match odds:

Wolves 4/7 The Draw 3/1 Southampton 13/2

Wolves 1-0 6/1 2-0 7/1 2-1 10/1 3-0 12/1

Southampton 0-1 20/1 0-2 49/1 1-2 23/1 0-3 189/1

Draw 0-0 13/1 1-1 8/1 2-2 17/1

My ‘best bet’ prediction:

Southampton look doomed in my opinion. Wolves may have lost their last game but I think they will have enough quality to get the win and hammer another nail in the Saints coffin.
Wolves 2-0 win @ 7/1

The Best of the rest:

Fancy a sections list this weekend? A multiple bet can win you some 'serious' cash.

Here are my tips for this weekend's matches:

Home wins:

Burnley v QPR
Preston v Blackpool
Sheff Wed v Derby
Swansea v Norwich

Away wins:

Charlton v Birmingham
Nottm Forest v Bristol City


Ipswich v Doncaster
Plymouth v Coventry
Watford v Barnsley

My Tip Of The Weekend:

Crystal Palace v Cardiff City

Dave Jones' Cardiff are bang in form at the moment as they look to seal a play-off spot. Palace, rooted in mid-table, don’t have much to play for so I fancy the Bluebirds to come away from Selhurst Park with all three points.
Cardiff to win 2-1 @ 11/1

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Sickening Carsley Tackle!

There can surely be NO place in our game for the quite nauseating stomach-churning X-rated tackle by Brum skipper Lee Carsley on Wolves and Scotland striker Chris Iwelumo, in their Championship game at St. Andrew's last night. 

Yes, it was a tense passionate affair as with any derby match, with the prize of a place in the Premier League ultimately at stake come the end of the season. Here are the match highlights AND that horrific tackle.
Judge for yourself!

How can anybody in their right mind condone such reckless behaviour and a seemingly total disregard for the welfare of a fellow professional?

Well it seems BOTH managers seem to have done so!
Mick McCarthy and Alex McLeish both jumped to the defence of Lee Carsley.

Wolves boss McCarthy said: "Lee wouldn’t go in to hurt anybody and that's for sure. He's a competitor and I think he's just mistimed it, he's caught him and it's not a very nice tackle. He’s one of the nicest blokes you’ll ever come across in football and not for one minute do I think he's attempted to 'do' Chris." that makes it ok then!!!!!!!!

Whilst Blues manager McLeish said: "I thought he wasn't the favourite to win the ball. Lee's a wholehearted player, committed, he's not a dirty player by any means and all the professionals know that.
But he's high with his studs and when you do that and don't get the ball then 99% of the time it's a red card.
He was upset at half-time. He knows that the player is injured and he cares, he is a guy who cares not only about the cause for Birmingham but he respects his fellow pros."

I'm sure neither manager would be so supportive if the injured player was their son!

It seems that these 'types' of disgusting potential career ending tackles whether they be two-footed, studs up, feet off the ground, knee high, from behind etc.........are unfortunately becoming an all to familiar part of the modern game.

Horror tackles of late that immediately spring to mind include: Taylor on Eduardo, Nolan on Anichebe, Gutherie on Fagan, Neill on Cattermole and Cattermole on Parker.

Granted the game is quicker than ever, players are stronger and fitter, the stakes are higher than ever before and the price of success and familiar is all to apparent.

But what sort of message does this send out to the fans, fellow professionals, amateur players, and worst of all to OUR KIDS!

Bad tackling has become fashionable because players believe they can get away with it or at worst they will only have to serve a 'bog standard' FA punishment for their crime if sent-off - a three game ban, possibly a small fine, but all the time on 'full pay' for the duration of the ban.

How about banning players for six games, ten games, twenty games, fining them £100K for a first offence and another £200K for a second offence if commited in the same season. Make these players do community service, they have effectively 'assaulted' an opponent. Make them stand up in front of the nation and apologise on television. Make them train with their Club's youth/academy teams. Send them to schools to coach kids the dangers and effects of bad tackles, why it is wrong to abuse players, swear at officials or cheat, and instead how to behave and show respect for their fellow players/managers and officials.

Is it really that difficult to reduce thuggery and make players think before they act OR do players nowadays really and truly believe they are above the law!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

'Best Bet' - Championship Betting Tips with Betfair

Hello and welcome to my latest guest blog, where I shall be previewing this weekend's Coca-Cola Championship fixtures, as well as looking at some of the LIVE TV games in more detail.

Hopefully I can try and win you some cash with my best football bet tips.

After a week of International action it’s time to get back to league business as we enter the final, crucial stages of the Championship Season.

Here's my pick of the action:

Bristol City v Preston North End
Saturday 4th April KO 17.20 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

With games running out both these sides know they have to pick up results quickly if they are to secure a play-off place. Alan Irvine’s Preston lie seventh, just two points outside the play-off positions. Meanwhile Gary Johnson’s City, play-off finalists last season of course, lurk just three points further behind.

Current Match odds:

Bristol City 5/4 The Draw 12/5 Preston 13/5

Bristol C 1-0 13/2 2-0 12/1 2-1 17/2 3-0 27/1

Preston 0-1 10/1 0-2 20/1 1-2 12/1 0-3 59/1

Draw 0-0 9/1 1-1 6/1 2-2 15/1

My 'best bet' prediction:

This is a clash between two very evenly matched sides, who both are in need of maximum points in their quest for a play-off place. However I just cannot separate the two sides, so I will have to sit on the fence on this one and I predict the points are shared at Ashton Gate.
1-1 Draw @ 6/1

Birmingham v Wolves
Monday 6th April KO 19.45 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

Mick McCarthy’s Wolves are so close to the Premiership they can almost taste it. One side which will be desperate to stop them will be near rivals Birmingham, who would love to put the brakes on Wanderers’ title charge, and give their own a real boost.

Current Match odds:

Birmingham 13/8 The Draw 9/4 Wolves 85/40

Birmingham 1-0 7/1 2-0 13/1 2-1 10/1 3-0 35/1

Wolves 0-1 8/1 0-2 16/1 1-2 10/1 0-3 45/1

Draw 0-0 17/2 1-1 6/1 2-2 17/1

My 'best bet' prediction:

Another pair of closely matched sides and it is bound to be a fast-paced competitive encounter. But after a sticky start to the year Wolves are gaining momentum again and I think they will end the season in style.
Wolves 2-0 win @ 16/1

The best of the rest:

Fancy a sections list this weekend? A multiple bet can win you some 'serious' cash.

Here are my tips for this weekend’s matches:

Home Wins:

Norwich v Sheff Wed
Sheff Utd v Ipswich
Southampton v Charlton

Away Wins:

Coventry v Reading
Derby v Burnley


Barnsley v Nottm Forest
Blackpool v Plymouth
QPR v Crystal Palace
Cardiff v Swansea

My Tip Of The Weekend:

Doncaster v Watford

Doncaster have surprised everyone recently with their recent run of form lifting themselves away from danger. Just two points separate these sides but with home advantage I fancy Rovers to take all three points.
Donny to win 2-1 @ 9/1