Thursday, October 28, 2010

Birmingham Bragging Rights on the Line - Betting News with Betfred


It is the battle of the second city on Sunday and the blue half of Birmingham are now looking to get one over on their old rivals after living in the shadows of claret for too long now.

Both of the teams currently sit mid-table in the Premier League, separated by two places and one point, and both go into the game having scraped through in the Carling Cup in midweek - although admittedly Birmingham did need penalties to beat a struggling League One side.

Aston Villa did a 1-0 double over Birmingham City last season, and in fact you have to go back to March 2005 for the last time the blue half of the city held the bragging rights. Bearing that in mind it is no surprise the football betting makes Villa 5/6 to win on Sunday and heap more misery on their rivals.

Indeed for many years Villa have held the mantle of the major team in the second city, but could this be the year Alex McLeish's side topple their more illustrious rivals despite being outsiders at 4/1 to win at Villa Park?

One man looking forward immensely to the derby is Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic, and the beanpole Serb, who is priced at 15/2 to score the first goal, has set his sights on being a hero at Villa Park on Sunday.

"I am aware I could become an instant hero. Of course I am. It's like every derby the world over," he said.

"If you do score, especially a winner, you are a hero for life. It is something I am well aware of."

One man who already has a reputation for scoring in derby games is Kevin Phillips, and he is looking to play some part after making his comeback from injury. He played the full 120 minutes in the Carling Cup run and is eyeing up a goal on Sunday if he gets the opportunity. The veteran is 5/2 with Betfred to find the back of the net at some stage - an attractive price for people looking to have a bet on a Premier League game this weekend.

My Tip of the Weekend:

Aston Villa look to hold the upper hand once again, but they face a tough battle, so I fancy the 10/3 double result: Draw at half-time, Villa at full-time.
Also the 2/1 for the in-form Nikol Zigic to score at anytime looks tempting.

Sunday 31st October: Aston Villa v Birmingham City, kick-off at Noon.

By Drew Swainston
(Guest writer from Betfred on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bizarre Footballing Injuries!

Now being a clumsy person myself, this is indeed a subject very close to my heart.

I have spent so much time over the years in the Accident & Emergency department of my own local hospital, that the reception desk staff would not need to ask me for my details, if it wasn't mandatory procedure.
They have even joked that I should 'own' an A & E gold card and should have a seat in the waiting area made up with my own name plate - so on my arrival I just wave my card and proceed to sit, depending on the nature of my injury of course, in my designated seat.

However my reasons for attending A & E over the years have been a combination of daft stunts gone wrong, and genuine sporting injuries that have occurred during a competitive match or training session, and on several occasions have left me requiring surgery.

All the injuries in this article were sustained by professional footballers as a result of accidents or acts of irrational behaviour off the field – or in basic vernacular dialogue, incidents that nine times out of ten have taken place without a ball in sight - with goalkeepers being particularly susceptible!

Darius Vassell - The then Aston Villa striker missed several games after he drilled through his toe nail with a home power drill thinking it would relieve the pressure on a swollen toe. The attempt at DIY surgery succeeded only in giving the toe an infection which required medical attention.

Michael Stensgaard - Liverpool's Danish goalkeeper was forced out of the game for a year after suffering an injury to his shoulder while he attempted to fold down an ironing board. He now plies his trade with FC Copenhagen.

Santiago Canizares - The Spain goalkeeper (right) missed the 2002 World Cup whilst in the midst of one of his sessions swooning over himself in front of the bathroom mirror. He dropped his aftershave into the sink, a piece of glass fell on his foot, severing a tendon in his big toe.
This led to the emergence of the great Iker Casillas.

Richard Wright - Wright was ruled out of Everton's FA Cup fourth-round replay at Chelsea after suffering a freak injury during the warm-up. Wright ignored a notice warning him not to practise in the goalmouth and promptly fell over the sign, suffering a twisted ankle. He also damaged his shoulder falling through a loft as he was trying to pack away his suitcases.

Darren Barnard - The former Barnsley midfielder was sidelined for five months with a torn knee ligament, after he slipped in a puddle of his puppy's urine on the kitchen floor.

Jerome Boateng - Before the start of this season (2010/11) Manchester City's new £12million summer signing from Hamburg, further aggravated a knee injury by accidentally smashing it against a flight attendant’s drinks trolley, delaying his recovery by another month.

Alan Mullery - The England star missed the 1964 tour of South America after injuring his back while brushing his teeth.

Svein Grondalen - The Norway defender had to withdraw from an international during the 1970's after colliding with a moose while out jogging.

Chic Brodie - The Brentford goalkeeper's career came to an abrupt end in October 1970 when he collided with a dog which had run on to the pitch. Brodie shattered his kneecap while the dog got the ball.

Kieron Dyer - The former Newcastle midfielder damaged his left eye when he collided with a pole in training - ruling him out for two weeks.

Dave Beasant - The veteran goalkeeper managed to rule himself out for eight weeks in 1993 when he dropped a bottle of salad cream on his foot, severing the tendon in his big toe.

Kirk Broadfoot - The Glasgow Rangers defender needed hospital treatment for burns after nearly blinding himself while trying to poach an egg in a microwave. The defender opened the microwave door to peer in at the eggs when one of them exploded, firing boiling hot eggy water all over the Scotland defender’s unsuspecting face. It’s understood he narrowly avoided burning the whites of his eyes.

Kasey Keller - The American international goalkeeper knocked out his front teeth while pulling his golf clubs out of the boot of his car.

David Batty - The former Leeds and Blackburn midfielder managed to re-injure his Achilles tendon when he was run over by his toddler on a tricycle.

David James - The England goalkeeper once pulled a muscle in his back when reaching for the television remote control. The keen angler also tweaked his shoulder when trying to land a monster carp when out fishing.

Sean Flynn - The then-Kidderminster captain suffered a broken nose, busted lip and bruised toes after tripping over his son's toy cars.

David Seamen - The former Arsenal and England keeper tore a back muscle after bending down to record Coronation Street on his VCR.

Finally a quite freakish injury that occurred 'during' a game.

Paulo Diogo - The Servette midfielder scored a goal and ran into the crowd to celebrate. However, he caught his wedding ring on the fencing and managed to tear off the top half of his finger - as well as getting cautioned for an excessive celebration.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Top 5 Signs that your Girlfriend is a Gold Digger!

Those Kanye West lyrics hit the nail on the head when they claimed a gold-digging woman won't mess with a broke man. Hell, it costs a lot to keep her happy!

The gold digger can be defined as a woman whose main reason for hooking up is so that she can gain material benefits from the latest sponge she's dating.

Here are five signs that your girlfriend is much more interested in spending quality time with your wallet than with you.

5/ Her Friends Are Gold Diggers:

As the saying goes, you can tell a lot about someone from the company they keep. If your girlfriend spends time with other women who seem to show signs of being gold diggers, or you’ve heard gossip about their behaviour, chances are she could well be influenced by their tendencies.

It's a good idea to keep your hand on your wallet.

4/ She Hates Other Women:

Always dressed in the finest clothing and looking gorgeous, the gold digger flaunts the fact that she likes to take care of herself. But it's with other people’s money, of course. Since she places emphasis on her looks, she is wary of and competitive with other desirable women and dislikes their company if they are just as gorgeous or as status-endowed as she is.

Clearly, her behaviour is caught up in insecurity.

3/ She Wants Expensive Gifts:

When you give her something sentimental that doesn't cost much, but reminds you of a special time together, or you write her a heartfelt poem, she might give you a blank look or turn her nose up at the gift.
She would've just preferred it if you bought her a pair of diamond earrings or those Jimmy Choo heels she pointed out the day before.
The gold digger is eager for gifts that are caked with money, instead of sentimental value.

2/ She's Status Obsessed:

The gold digger craves high status, thinking that she can gain it by how she looks and dresses. She’ll regularly snub people whom she perceives as having a low status, like the homeless or those working in service jobs.

On dates, she’s more likely to appear impressed if men tell her they own an Audi R8 than if they mention that they help out at soup kitchens on Sundays.

1/ She's Obsessed With Your Financial Status:

Your girlfriend has been interested in hearing about your career and financial status from day one. Though you might mistake her curiosity for interest in your life, she’s probably sussing you out to ensure you will be able to pay her way through the relationship.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Heather Mitts - USA Soccer Babe

Heather Blaine Mitts (born 9 June 1978) is an American currently playing for Philadelphia Independence as a defender in the (WPS) Women's Professional Soccer league in the United States. Heather is also a member of the United States women's national soccer team, having won 109 caps to date, and she is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

Read more at:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Toffees Hoping To Leave Their City Rivals Feeling Blue - Betting News with Betfred


The pressure of a Merseyside derby could be coming at the wrong time for Liverpool, but Everton fans must be looking to heap more misery on their struggling city rivals.

Both teams have had disappointing starts to the season, but few football fans expected Liverpool to be sitting in the bottom three after seven games, with just one Premier League victory so far this season. Everton sit just one place above them on goal difference, after their win over Birmingham last time out – but this clash at Goodison could have added importance for Liverpool as they have already drifted out to 8/1 with Betfred in the football betting to finish the season in the Premier League top four.

Liverpool are going to be without Dirk Kuyt, but could have Fernando Torres back in the side after recovering from an adductor strain. Although he has disappointed this season there is no doubting his quality, and as a big-game player Reds fans may fancy the 11/2 on offer for Torres to score the first goal of the derby.

One man who has scored in a winning Everton side over Liverpool is Danny Cadamarteri, and he believes the Toffees are "more than capable" of piling even more pressure on Roy Hodgson's shoulders and indeed the Toffees are many people's Premier League tips to win on Sunday.

Cadamarteri claimed the Reds look "rock bottom" and the blue side of the city could "put one over" on their more illustrious rivals.

He went on to say: "They're obviously going to be up for the derby but I think confidence in the Liverpool camp is low, and I just have this sneaky feeling that it could turn out to be one of those weekends where Everton have an opportunity to brag about a big win against the Reds."

Everton's defender Leighton Baines has told BBC Radio Merseyside that he thinks Tim Cahill could be the match-winner at Goodison Park. He is hoping the Australian midfielder can be the "man on the spot" for Everton, as he has been so often in the past, at the most crucial of times – and Cahill is 15/2 to open the scoring on Sunday.

My Tip of the Weekend:

With both sides struggling for form and goals, it's likely neither team will come away from this game happy, and as such 9/4 for the game to be a draw looks like the value bet.
Referees are also likely to be cracking down on bad challenges after the storm about dirty tackles - fuelled by former Kop star Danny Murphy's comments. So the 9/4 on offer with Betfred for a red card at Goodison Park looks tempting.

Sunday 17th October: Everton v Liverpool, kick-off 1.30pm - Live on Sky Sports 1.

By Drew Swainston
(Guest writer from Betfred on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Maverick Mal - A Short Biography of Malcolm Allison

Malcolm Allison was born in Dartford, Kent on the 5th September 1927.

'Big Mal' became one of British football's most colourful, charismatic and controversial characters to have ever graced the game, as well as being an incredibly innovative coach of his era.

His naturally flamboyant, outspoken and brazen nature made him the maverick character that he indeed was.

He played football for Erith & Belvedere before signing for Charlton Athletic in 1945.
He only played two first-team games for the club before Ted Fenton signed him for West Ham United for a fee of £7,000 in February 1951.

Allison had a poor relationship with Ted Fenton and openly described Fenton as a "useless manager."
The under pressure Fenton eventually agreed that Malcolm Allison should take over the training sessions, where he in turn he acted as mentor to a young Bobby Moore. He introduced all-day training which included weights in the afternoons. In fact he more or less ran the playing side of things, and the fans enjoyed the style of football introduced by Allison.

His playing career was cut short when on 16th September 1957, at the age of 30 Allison was taken ill after a game against Sheffield United. Doctors discovered he was suffering from tuberculosis and he had to have a lung removed. He made well over 200 appearances in his time with the East London club.

Allison took on a coaching role at Cambridge University, and moved into management at non-league Bath City in 1963. His moderate success at Bath City had alerted a number of Football League clubs, and in May 1964 he took up the position of manager of Plymouth Argyle. He soon returned to Bath to sign full-back Tony Book. However, Allison knew the Plymouth board would be reluctant to permit the purchase of a player with no League experience, who was approaching his thirtieth birthday. Allison encouraged Book to doctor his birth certificate, making him appear two years younger.

However all his trophy wining success in English football was crammed into a four year spell at Manchester City in the late 1960's.
Joe Mercer was named City manager in July 1965, but due to poor health Mercer sought a younger, energetic man to be his assistant. He offered the position to Allison, who he knew from coaching courses at Lilleshall.

The Mercer-Allison era is believed to be strongest in Manchester City's history. Renowned for a free-flowing style of football, developed by Allison in their first season City they won the Second Division championship. Two years later (1967-68) they won the First Division league title. The club won the FA Cup (1969), the League Cup (1970) and European Cup-Winners Cup (1971).
Allison was also responsible for introducing a red and black away kit because he wanted his side to look like AC Milan.

The following year Allison took over from Mercer as manager of the club, with a team including such greats as Bell, Summerbee and Lee.

City nearly won the League in Allison's first full season but lost key matches after the balance of the side was disrupted by the signing of the flamboyant Rodney Marsh, along with Allison's repeated desire to tinker with the side to little effect.
Although Allison resigned the following year he had left a lasting impression. It was said that during his time at City, "His influence was felt throughout the club and his approach was refreshing. His charisma and style brought excitement to sixties Manchester."

On the 31st March 1973 Allison was appointed manager of Crystal Palace. Despite his arrival the Eagles were relegated, losing five out of their last seven games.

Malcolm immediately instigated a huge stylistic shift both on and off the field, raising Palace's profile with his charismatic media appearances, rebranding the club’s rather homely nickname ‘The Glaziers’ as ‘The Eagles’ and ending the club’s 68-year association with claret and blue kits. Palace’s highly recognisable red and blue striped home kit was introduced, and later, the all-white strip with red and blue sash, changes which still reflect in the character of the club today.

The following season (1974-75)was even more disastrous because of a second successive relegation.

However the 1975-76 was Allison's most successful season at Selhurst Park as he spurred his side onto a fantastic FA Cup run. Brilliant victories against higher league opposition in the shape of Leeds United, Chelsea and Sunderland lead to the club's first ever FA Cup semi-final. Palace lost the semi-final to eventual winners Southampton at Stamford Bridge, with Allison resembling a Chicago gangster in his fur or sheepskin coat, 'lucky' fedora hat, and a cigar never far away.
With the team failing to reach Wembley and win promotion Allison resigned in May 1976.

Despite two successive relegations during his tenure, Palace supporters will always remember the mid 1970s as the era of FA Cup runs and Allison's fedora hat. His period at the helm of 'The Eagles' was not the most successful but during his time in charge the seeds were sown for the success that would follow under Terry Venables.

Much in line with his flamboyant persona, his career was shrouded in numerous controversies. His outspoken nature and 'laddish womanising antics' were ideal for the tabloids but nothing topped Allison's decision in 1976 to invite the famous porn star Fiona Richmond to Palace's Park Langley training ground for a photo shoot with a cameraman from the News of the World.

Richmond went in goal while Palace's slightly bemused but uncomplaining players took penalties at her, and the session ended with the club's goalkeeper Paul Hammond covering the former Playboy model in mud.

But that was just the start of it. Moments later, Richmond appeared in the dressing rooms wearing only a fur coat, which she promptly whipped off before jumping in the players' communal bath, along with Allison.

Then Crystal Palace player, Terry Venables later said of the incident, "I was in the bath with all the players and we heard the whisper that she was coming down the corridor." So far, so good. "We all leapt out and hid, because we knew there'd be photos and that wouldn't go down too well. Malcolm and Fiona dropped everything and got in the bath."

Allison received a Football Association disrepute charge after a photograph was published in the News of the World showing him in the Crystal Palace players' bath with the porn star.

Among Big Mal's 'other women' were Roger Moore's ex-wife Dorothy Squires, 1950's movie legend Jane Russell, Profumo scandal hooker Christine Keeler, two Miss UK's! and a Playboy Club employee called Serena Williams!

After Palace, Allison had short managerial stints at Galatasaray in Turkey, and back at Plymouth before Allison returned to Manchester City as manager in 1979. It was an unmitigated disaster and he left for Palace again in 1980.
Stints with a number of other clubs never saw Allison scale those giddy City heights again, apart from a golden period out of the British spotlight where he won the Portuguese league and cup with Sporting Lisbon.
Allison’s final spell in management came at Bristol Rovers in the early 1990's, where he introduced a tactical concept called the 'Whirl' which involved players regularly swapping positions on the field of play.

Allison settled into semi-retirement as a radio pundit on Teeside, despite being 'accidentally' caught on air using an array of expletives!

With his enthusiasm for expansive football, Allison would have made a fine director of coaching at the FA, but his extravagant lifestyle seemed to colour his approach to club management - he couldn't be left alone with a chequebook!
He remains the only English football manager to have published an autobiography that sounds like a psychedelic LP, 'Colours of My Life.'

Sadly his health is in decline. In 2001 it was revealed by his son that Allison was suffering from alcoholism, and he is now in a care home suffering from Alzheimer’s. It's a heart-rending end for one of football's greatest entertainers.

As a football manager, he was moderate, his achievements as a coach far outweighing his titles as a number one.

But as a PR guru, he was simply peerless!

Friday 15th October 2010, only four days after writing my short biography on Malcolm Allison -
I am truly saddened to say that today Malcolm Allison passed away, aged 83.
God bless you 'Big Mal' and may your rest in peace.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Four Step Guide To Crushing A Beer Can On Your Forehead

Remember the first time you saw John Belushi smash a beer can on his forehead in the genre-busting all-time college party film Animal House?
Since then, anyone who’s ever devoured a cold can of beer at a party or while hanging out with their mates has probably thought about slamming a can on their forehead (naturally, the more beers, the more common the urge).

Why would anyone want to smash a can on their head? It's hard to say.
Macho stunt? Bragging rights? Getting your mug on YouTube? Impressing your friends? Conversation starter?
Whatever reasons you have, and we’re sure they’re good ones, here are some tips to help you achieve beer can head-crush nirvana.

You should expect some pain after pulling off this trick, but you can cushion the blow if you know what you're doing.

Beer, Footy and Birds is in no way responsible for any injury whatsoever that occurs from trying to smash a beer can on your forehead. Whether you’re completely wasted at a party or stone-cold sober at home in front of a mirror, you do so at your own risk.

Here is a four step guide to help you crush a beer can on your forehead and live to brag about it!

Palm the can properly:

For starters, make sure the can of beer is empty. If you can’t ascertain this, it probably means you’re too drunk to be doing anything at all. Call a cab and go home to bed.
So, let’s assume you’ve just finished your beer. The can will probably be a bit warmer than when you started drinking your beer. This is good - the can will collapse better if it’s at room temperature. Next, grab the can and gingerly grip the sides of the can without crushing the can with your grip. You’ll want a can that is perfectly rounded and untouched, for a more dramatic effect and for more bang. Place the can upside down in your palm.

Create a distraction:

Now, pinch in the sides as you swing the can up. This technique helps to subtly weaken the can, making the impact somewhat less painful on your forehead while weakening the can’s metal construction and exterior. It’s very important that this be done on the sly so that your audience doesn’t notice. Think of yourself as a magician - a magician with a buzzed audience who wants to see some beer can wizardry. Like any good magician you can help distract the audience with an exaggerated, loud grunt or yell, or a well-placed fist pump while slyly collapsing the beer can.

Pinch and push:

This step is the 'money shot' and what your audience is rapturously waiting for - it’s time to give them what they want!
The key here is to not actually use your forehead to crumple the can but to tightly pinch the can as it’s hurtling into your sweaty forehead. This step should help effectively crush the can and give the illusion that your burly forehead and not your meaty hands actually crushed the can.

The Casual finale:

The final step when crushing a beer can with your forehead is the casual finale. Let said crumpled beer can fall to ground, and raise your hands in victory. Congratulations! You have successfully crumpled a beer can using your forehead. You are now the talk of the party (for a couple of minutes at least).
Once you’ve crushed the said can, simply hold it up to the crowd and drop the can to the ground and raise your hands in the air with a well-timed fist pump.

STEP 5 (purely optional)
The icing on the cake:

For an even cooler effect, look for a bin and either toss or volley the defeated beer can across the room into the trash, thus creating the opportunity for further adulation and ' hero status.'

Then get yourself another cold beer - you’ve earned it!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Celtic thriller as Europe triumph in Ryder Cup classic!

A victory roar from McDowell (left) and Poulter after clinching the Ryder Cup

A stunning days golf at the Celtic Manor in South Wales saw Europe win the closest Ryder Cup contest since Brookline, Massachusetts in 1999.

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell won the final singles match to help Europe regain the trophy by the smallest possible margin, 14½ points to 13½ points.

Trailing 9-6½ going into the weather delayed finale, the United States fought back superbly to take the match to the wire. Only Europe's Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and Miguel Angel Jimenez managed to win their singles matches, whist victories in the singles today by American's Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson brought the USA level with Europe at 13½ points apiece.

This meant it all went down to the final singles match between McDowell and Californian Hunter Mahan, as Europe went in search of the magical 14½ points needed for outright victory. McDowell, ironically the US Open champion kept his cool and held his nerve as Mahan was forced to concede defeat on the 17th green, sparking wild celebrations among the European team and the majority of the 35,000 fans.


0905: Westwood/Stricker start singles (Europe 9½-6½ USA)
1149: Europe up in 7 matches, USA in 4, one all-square
1247: Stricker beats Westwood 2&1 (9½-7½)
1248: D Johnson beats Kaymer 6&4 (9½-8½)
1302: Poulter beats Kuchar 5&4 (10½-8½)
1320: McIlroy halved with Cink (11-9)
1329: Donald beats Furyk 1up (12-9)
1403: Jimenez beats Watson 4&3 (13-9)
1409: Overton beats Fisher 3&2 (13-10)
1414: Woods beats F Molinari 4&3 (13-11)
1442: Mickelson beats Hanson 4&2 (13-12)
1501: E Molinari halved with Fowler (13½-12½)
1502: Z Johnson beats Harrington 4&3 (13½-13½)
1520: McDowell beats Mahan 3&1 (14½-13½)

"A fantastic result for Europe's golfers, a great advert for the game and a marvellous advert for sport."

Chicago, Illinois is the venue in two years time, when the USA will have the opportunity to regain the coverted trophy on home soil.

The 2010 Ryder Cup in detail: