Thursday, May 28, 2009

Congratulations to FC BARCELONA - The 2009 European Champions League Winners

The BARCELONA players, management and officials celebrate their sides European Champions League Final victory in Rome last night, after they beat Manchester United 2-0, courtesy of goals by Samuel Eto and Lionel Messi.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Congratulations To All The Play-Off Winning Teams of 2009

Burnley (left) celebrate promotion to the Premier League yesterday, after their 1-0 victory over Sheffield United, thanks to a spectacular 13th minute long range strike from Wade Elliott.

Scunthorpe United (right) celebrate promotion to The Championship after their thrilling 3-2 victory over Millwall on Sunday.

Gillingham (left) celebrate promotion to League One after Simeon Jackson's last minute minute header defeated Shrewsbury Town on Saturday.

Torquay United (right) celebrate promotion back to the Football League, after beating Cambridge United 2-0 in the Blue Square Premier League play-off final at Wembley on the 17th May.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

‘Best Bet Special’ Championship Play-Off Final Betting Tips with Betfair

Hello, I'm Tom Mallows and welcome to my final betting preview of the season as we look forward to the three play-off finals, with a particular focus on the Championship Play-Off Final 

I correctly predicted that it would be Burnley and Sheffield United who would meet at Wembley this Monday, to contest the £60 million prize that awaits the winners.
Here’s hoping I can help win you some cash with my 'best bet' tips.

Burnley v Sheffield Utd

Mon 25th May KO 15.00 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

It's a war of the roses in this year’s instalment of the play-off final. The multi-million pound goldmine of the Premier League awaits the winners, and for the losers - all their hard work over the past season will amount to nothing!
Expect tears, drama, shredded nerves and no shortage of excitement. They are horrible matches to be involved in, but are exciting to watch – and great to have a flutter on!

Owen Coyle’s 'Clarets' have certainly served up a rich vintage this season. With a small squad and despite playing 60 games already this season, they are showing no sign of letting up - their convincing 3-0 aggregate win over Reading in the semi-final is proof to that.
Can he guide the Lancashire club to the top division for the first time in 33 years?

Sheffield United:
United go into this game fuelled with a sense of injustice. The fall-out from the Carlos Tevez affair still wrangles within the Yorkshire club. They still feel in part a sense of injustice in their relegation from the Premier League in 2007, revolving around the 'illegal' third-party ownership of Tevez, then a West Ham player.
I feel they will never be satisfied until they feel they are back where they belong.
Kevin Blackwell has some bad memories of his own to banish. The last time he was involved in a Championship play-off final it cost his job as boss of Leeds, as they were hammered 3-0 by Watford in the 2006 final.

Current Match odds (90 mins only):

Burnley 2/1 Sheff United 13/8 Draw 12/5

Burnley 1-0 15/2 2-0 15/1 2-1 11/1 3-0 45/1

Sheff U 0-1 7/1 0-2 14/1 1-2 10/1 0-3 37/1

Draw 0-0 17/2 1-1 6/1 2-2 18/1

My 'best bet' football prediction:
It will be tight, tense, nervy affair and I wouldn’t rule out extra time and/or penalties. But I feel the Blades' may have just enough to blunt 'Coyle's Clarets.'
A narrow victory by the odd goal will secure a return to the top flight for United, after a two year absence.
Sheffield Utd 1-0 win @ 7/1

The Best Of The Rest:

League One Play-off Final
Millwall v Scunthorpe
Sunday 24th May KO 13.00 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

Kenny Jacket's Millwall were mightily impressive in their disposal of Leeds in the semi-final, whilst Scunthorpe booked their place at Wembley by beating Bury on penalties. Some might say luck is on the side of Nigel Adkins' Irons, but I still think the Lions will come out on top in this one.
Millwall 2-1 win @ 9/1

League Two Play-off Final
Gillingham v Shrewsbury
Saturday 23rd May KO 15.00 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

Both teams have decent strikers in Jackson (Gillingham) and Holt (Shrewsbury) with 39 goals between them this season.
Way back in September the Gills were on the end of a 7-0 league hiding at the hands of their hosts on Saturday.
However eight months is a long time in football, and I fancy the Gills to seal an immediate return back to League One.
Gillingham 2-0 win @ 10/1

Friday, May 15, 2009

After-Dinner Sports Tales - Rodney Marsh

I have decided over the next few weeks to assemble a compilation of some of the most humorous after-dinner tales as told by some of Britain's most famous sporting legends.

These are real stories from their lives, both inside and outside the world of sport.

Nowadays, most professional sportsmen receive advice on how to present themselves in front of an audience, but in the dim and distant past this was not always the case.

First up is Rodney Marsh, a former England international footballer, who played for QPR, Fulham, Manchester City and Tampa Bay Rowdies in the USA.

Latterly Marsh would become a highly respected television pundit, bringing the same instinctive flair into the studio that had served him so well on the pitch.

Not surprisingly, however, Marsh also retained the characteristic ability to self destruct. Marsh would lose his job with Sky Sports after making an unfortunate, but basically harmless, joke concerning David Beckham's inability to understand the difference between the Toon Army and the tsunami which had just struck Asia, a joke virtually every football fan must surely have already heard.

Here is one amusing excerpt from a speech made by Rodney at a sporting dinner.

"I was capped nine times for England and I'm often asked why I only got nine. Well, here's the reason why:

England were playing Northern Ireland in the Home Nations Championships and they were tough opposition in those days, with the likes of George Best and Pat Jennings in their line-up.
Alf Ramsey was England manager at the time, a cockney like me, but he had taken elocution lessons before the World Cup finals in 1966, so he now spoke very posh.
Before the game Alf gave his team talk and stressed that if we were to win the game we would have 'to work very hard.'

He went on:
'As a team we must work harder, you in particular Rodney. You must work harder when you play for England. I've told you before when you play for England you can't play the way you usually do. In fact, this is your last chance. If you don't work harder tonight I will pull you off at half-time.'
'That's brilliant,' I said. 'At Man City we only get a cup of tea and an orange!'

Funnily enough, that was the last time I ever played for England!"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Today's Latest Tabloid Transfer Gossip

With the current season still upon us.........and for at least half a dozen clubs or so it is certainly far from done & dusted, transfer rumours are already rife up and down the country, and also abroad in as far as which players 'may' be joining what clubs this Summer, in currently the most lucrative domestic league in the world.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Chelsea, AC Milan, Aston Villa, Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers, Tottenham Hotspur, Wigan Athletic, West Brom, Crystal Palace, QPR, Cardiff City, Birmingham City, Barnsley, Norwich, Stockport & Tranmere are all caught up in transfer gossip this morning.

Is your Club involved?

Here is a round up:

Manchester United are favourites to beat Liverpool in the £20m race for Wigan winger Antonio Valencia. Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are also interested in the Ecuadorian - The Sun

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has his eye on former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan, who is now at Atletico Madrid - Daily Star

Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso, who has been linked with a host of top clubs, will not be leaving Anfield this summer, according to his agent - The Guardian

Former Chelsea boss Avram Grant believes the club would be making a mistake if they allow striker Didier Drogba to leave this summer - The Sun

But Drogba will depart and the club are lining up Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor as his replacement - Daily Mirror

Carlo Ancelotti will bid for Aston Villa's Ashley Young if the AC Milan coach takes the job as Blues boss this summer - The Sun

Chelsea will send Ricardo Quaresma back to Inter Milan but the Portugal winger is then likely to make a permanent switch to Benfica - The Sun

Current Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink has recommended the club go for £15m-rated CSKA Moscow striker Yuri Zhyrkov - The Sun

Blackburn striker Roque Santa Cruz will turn down Arsenal and Tottenham if he can secure a move to Manchester City or Liverpool - The Sun

But Spurs boss Harry Redknapp is determined to sign Cruz after putting the Paraguay forward top of his wanted list - Daily Mail

One player on his way to Blackburn is defender Gael Givet, who will complete a £4m permanent switch from Marseille. It will also pave the way for Stephen Warnock to leave Ewood Park - Daily Mirror

Striker Roman Pavlyuchenko says he expects to remain a Tottenham player next season, insisting he has received assurances over his future - The Independent

Newcastle manager Alan Shearer wants Wigan midfielder Paul Scharner - Daily Mirror

Crystal Palace are keeping an eye on Norwich's out-of-contract winger Lee Croft - Daily Star

Sheffield United and Blackburn are competing for the signature of Preston goalkeeper Andy Lonergan - The Sun

Bolton are ready to make a £4m bid for Middlesbrough midfielder Gary O'Neil - The Sun

Birmingham have cleared the way for goalkeeper Joe Hart's arrival on loan from Manchester City by loaning out Colin Doyle to Swansea - Daily Mirror

West Brom are set to beat Fulham to the signature of Stockport striker Oli Johnson - Daily Star

Coventry have turned their interest from Hearts winger Andrew Driver to former Sky Blues striker Gary McSheffrey, who is now at Birmingham - Daily Star

Cardiff are closing in on Norwich's 25-year-old midfielder Sammy Clingan - Daily Star

Kidderminster defender Mark Creighton is set to join Oxford - Daily Star

Tranmere's Charlie Barnet is wanted by Barnsley and Blackpool - Daily Mirror

QPR's Liam Miller has been linked with move to Cork City when his contract expires this summer - Daily Star

Striker Barry Hayles is in talks with Cheltenham and Walsall after being released by Leicester - Daily Star

Forward Lloyd Owusu is thinking over offers from Brighton and Adelaide after being released by Cheltenham - Daily Star

Sunday, May 10, 2009

'Best Bet Special' - 2nd Leg Play-Off Betting Tips with Betfair

Hello and welcome to the second leg of my 'special' edition guest blog. I am going to be previewing this week's 2nd leg play-off fixtures, and in particular those games involving Championship sides.
Drama, nerves and excitement are guaranteed, but hopefully I can also try and win you some cash with my best bet tips.
I told you last Wednesday predicting the play-off was hard, and as if to prove the point a narrow victory for Burnley was the only game I got right! Here’s hoping for better luck this week:

Sheff United v Preston - 2nd leg

Mon 11th May KO 19.45 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

It is still all to play for at Bramall Lane after the two sides couldn’t be separated in the first game at Deepdale. Sean St Ledger gave Preston the lead only to be pegged by back Brian Howard minutes into the second half. With no away goals rule this one could go all the way to penalty kicks.

Current Match odds:

Sheff U 11/10 Preston 3/1 Draw 12/5

Sheff U 1-0 7/1 2-0 17/2 2-1 8/1 3-0 17/1

Preston 0-1 17/2 0-2 20/1 1-2 13/1 0-3 69/1

Draw 0-0 17/2 1-1 6/1 2-2 15/1

My 'best bet' prediction:

It is almost too close to call but I am going to stick my neck out and tips United to go through - but only after extra time or penalties. I think it will be level after the 90 minutes.
1-1 draw @ 15/2

Reading v Burnley - 2nd leg

Tuesday 12th May KO 19.45 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

Despite having an array of attacking talent on show, Saturday’s first leg failed to live up to expectations. The game looked to be heading for a bore draw until a moment of madness by Andre Bikey. The Reading defender inexplicably pulled back Stephen Thompson in the area with only six minutes of the match remaining. Referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot, and Graham Alexander duly converted the penalty to give the Clarets a vital first-leg lead.

Current Match odds:

Reading Evens Burnley 16/5 Draw 5/2

Reading 1-0 7/1 2-0 9/1 2-1 8/1 3-0 20/1

Burnley 0-1 12/1 0-2 25/1 1-2 14/1 0-3 79/1

Draw 0-0 10/1 1-1 6/1 2-2 16/1

My 'best bet' prediction:

Steve Coppell's Reading team are in poor form of late, and they will have to produce a much improved performance on Tuesday night if they want to progress any further.
Meanwhile Owen Coyle's Burnley have been going great guns of late, and I fancy them to grind out a draw at the Madejski Stadium, and book themselves a place at Wembley on May 25th.
O-O draw @ 10/1

The Best Of The Rest:
Eight other teams face off this week in the race to earn promotion from Leagues One and Two.

Here are my predictions:

Home wins:
Sunday 10th May KO 18.30 Gillingham v Rochdale
Thursday 14th May KO 19.45 Leeds v Millwall

Sunday 10th May KO Noon Bury v Shrewsbury
Friday 15th May KO 19.45 MK Dons v Scunthorpe

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

'Best Bet Special' - 1st Leg Play-Off Betting Tips with Betfair

Hello and welcome to a 'special' edition of my guest blog, previewing this weekend's 1st leg play-off fixtures, and in particular looking at The Championship as four teams fight it out for that lucrative final promotion place, that will ultimately take them to the 'promise land' - The Premier League.

Drama, nerves and excitement are guaranteed but hopefully I can also try and win you some cash with my 'best bet' tips.

Last time out I correctly predicted two home wins and two draws in my sections list so here’s hoping for more correct football predictions this week.

Preston North End v Sheff United

Friday 8th May KO 19.45 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

Going into the final 45 minutes of the season Alan Irvine’s Preston were still outside the play-off places. But a Sean St-Ledger header against QPR coupled with Sheffield Wednesday’s defeat of Cardiff saw the Lilywhites sneak through in dramatic style, at the expense of The Bluebirds. Kevin Blackwell’s Blades still held hopes of automatic promotion on the last day, but with Birmingham ending the campaign with a win they had to be content with a play-off spot.

Current Match odds:

Preston 13/8   Sheff Utd 2/1 Draw 12/5

Preston 1-0 15/2 2-0 13/1 2-1 11/1 3-0 37/1

Sheff U 0-1  8/1 0-2 16/1 1-2 12/1 0-3 47/1

Draw 0-0 9/1 1-1 6/1 2-2 18/1

My ‘best bet’ prediction:

Tight, passionate and tense – all the attributes we expect from the play-offs. Preston know they need to take some sort of result over the Pennines' for the 2nd leg, and they have been in good form at Deepdale recently. Because of that I am going for a narrow home win.
Preston 1-0 win @ 15/2 

Burnley v Reading

Saturday 9th May KO 17.20 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

Burnley’s mammoth season continues – this will be their 59th game of a campaign, which has also included a journey to the FA Cup fifth round and the semi-final of the Carling Cup. Standing in their way is Steve Coppell’s Reading. Pre-season favourites for automatic promotion the Royals will be disappointed to have finished 4th, as they now face the lottery of the play-offs. However with last year’s final day relegation still fresh in the memory, they will be hungry and determined to make a return to the Premier League at the first attempt.     

Current Match odds:

Burnley 6/4 Reading 2/1 Draw 5/2      

Burnley 1-0 15/2 2-0 13/1 2-1 10/1 3-0 33/1

Reading 0-1  17/2 0-2 17/1 1-2 12/1 0-3 45/1

Draw 0-0 9/1 1-1 6/1 2-2 17/1

My ‘best bet’ prediction:

Burnley are a tough proposition at Turf Moor, and despite their long season they are showing no apparent signs of fatigue. I think they will take a valuable lead to the Madejski Stadium for the 2nd leg.
Burnley 2-1 win @ 10/1

The Best Of The Rest:
Eight other teams face off this week in the race to earn promotion from Leagues One and Two. 

Here are my predictions:

Home win:
Thursday 7th May KO 19.45 Rochdale v Gillingham

Away win:
Friday 8th Mat KO 19.45 Scunthorpe v MK Dons

Saturday 9th May KO 12.45 Millwall v Leeds
Thursday 7th May KO 19.45 Shrewsbury v Bury