Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Unwritten Laws of Sunday Morning Football

# There will always be one player standing at a meeting point on an autumnal Sunday morning and wondering where everybody is, blissfully unaware that the clocks have gone back an hour. This same player will be the one who, in late March, rolls up when the match is in progress and asks, "What's going on, it's only half nine."

# When 'signing' players in the summer, the wily old Sunday league manager will always register two or three fictitious players, thus enabling him to continue playing his best players should they be suspended.

# Changing rooms the size of a matchbox. On trips to dodgier areas the changing rooms are normally covered in graffiti, with greeting messages such as 'Welcome to Beirut'. In particularly rough areas you may also notice that the houses next to the pitch have there windows painted so it looks like they have curtains. Don't be fooled!

# No substitute will ever volunteer to 'run the line' for the referee, he has to be press-ganged into it.

# There will only be one spare tracksuit, so the other substitutes must suffer the indignity of standing on the touchline wearing their coats.

# As the players change, the manager/club secretary /club treasurer will move among them with a ropey old supermarket branded plastic carrier bag saying the immortal words: "Any valuables."

# The player with the most expensive boots will be the worst player in the team.

# An abusive section of crowd, some of the whom will be swigging from cans of cider, despite it being 10.15 in the morning.

# The lazy pre-match kick about which always involves someone banging in a cross and everyone else in the middle just stood around talking, sometimes doing those outstretched-leg-behind manoeuvres whilst the ball harmlessly bypasses them all.

# The official referee - on most occasions he'll be either (a) a 5" 2", bald, chain-smoking 65 year old, or (b) a tall, gawky youth in a really shiny kit, who appears to be doing his first game.

# The left back who was out on the beers the night before, and arrives at the match wearing the same clobber from the night before, being sick on the sidelines about 20 minutes into the game.

# The opposition's massive, hopeless, one-punt centre half. Often captain of the team.

# The decent Saturday amateur player, head and shoulders above the rest, but turning out for his mates. Normally takes the p*ss out of the hopeless one-punt centre half.

# The total psychopath.....whatever you do make sure you don't tackle him, look at him or even think about taking him on, its just not worth it. Normally referred to as something along the lines of: Nut-Nut, The Duke, Mad Dog, Killer, or Baz.

# At least one of the players having a half-time fag. 90% of the time this player will be the keeper.

# In bad weather, when the first-half ends both captains readily agree to the referee's suggestion "Straight round," meaning no half-time interval.

# At council-owned grounds where there are a number of pitches, there will come a point when the ball from the game on the neighbouring pitch encroaches on to yours. This will involve a player keeping his eye on his game while running across to kick the wayward ball back to the other player from the other game who has been sent to retrieve it. This player invariably acknowledges the gesture with a "Cheers mate" retort.

# The magic sponge and bucket. This legendary combination is the only means of first aid available, no matter what the injury.

# At the end of the game it is always the same players who try to slope off and avoid helping take the nets down.

# As the players change out of their muddy strips, the manager/secretary/player responsible for washing the kit will plead, "Socks and shorts the right way round."

# When everyone has collected their valuables there will always be one player who hasn't remembered, resulting in the manager repeatedly bellowing out, "Anyone hand in a watch, car keys, earring and a kit-kat?"

# The club treasurer/secretary in the changing rooms after the game trying in vain to get the match subs off the players, and getting the usual response of  "Soz, I've left my cash in the car" or "I'll pay you in the pub chief." The said player never coughs up, and by the end of the season has racked up a sizeable debt.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fantasy Football 2012/13 - The npower Championship

The opening game of 'The Championship' football season kicks-off tonight, when Cardiff City host newly promoted Huddersfield Town, and I have decided to take part in the forthcoming Phones 4u sponsored Championship Fantasy Football league game for the 2012/13 season.

In doing so I shall be pitting my wits against friends and football fans around the country in an attempt to gain some bragging rights, and similarly dent a few egos of those fans who 'believe' they know everything about the second tier of English football. I shall attempt to keep you updated throughout the season on my progress, good or bad as I suffer like any football manager does by trying to select an initial starting eleven of the best players available, without exceeding my 'fictitious' set budget.

Then as every week passes I will have to cope with injuries, suspensions, players moving clubs, along with 'jettisoning my flops' - those players that promised so much but failed to deliver! Then as the manager of my team I will be responsible for any wheeling and dealing in the transfer market, whilst keeping within my financial means.

Click on this link for the rules on how to pick your team, score points and make transfers.

The 'Team of the Season' for 2011/12 in terms of top points scorers in their respective positions was as follows:

Goalkeeper - Adam Federici (Reading).
Closely followed by: Rob Green (West Ham) and Julian Speroni (Crystal Palace).

Defenders - James Chester (Hull, pictured right)), Alex Pearce (Reading), Danny Fox (Southampton), Kasper Gorkss (Reading).
Closely followed by: Mark Hudson (Cardiff), Ian Harte (Reading) and Liam Rosenior (Hull).

Midfielders - Peter Whittingham (Cardiff), Chris Burke (Birmingham), Robert Snodgrass (Leeds).
Closely followed by: Adam Lallana (Southampton), Grant McCann (Peterborough), Kevin Nolan (West Ham) and George Boyd (Peterborough).

Strikers - Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Ross McCormack (Leeds), Marlon King (Birmingham).
Closely followed by: Billy Sharp (Southampton), David Nugent (Leicester), Michael Chopra (Cardiff), Jermaine Beckford (Leicester), Darius Henderson (Millwall) and Kevin Phillips (Blackpool).

Here is my team to start the 2012/13 campaign:

Goalkeeper - Paddy Kenny (Leeds).

Defenders - Wes Morgan (Leicester), Anthony Gardner (Sheff Wed), Aaron Cresswell (Ipswich), Curtis Davies (Birmingham).

Midfielders - Chris Burke (Birmingham), Tom Ince (Blackpool, pictured right), Wilf Zaha (Crystal Palace, pictured below right).

Strikers - Jordan Rhodes (Huddersfield and Captain), Simon Cox (Forest), Marlon Harewood (Barnsley)

If you fancy playing and you want to prove you know the most about the beautiful game then go head-to-head with your friends, work colleagues or family by logging onto the Phones 4u Fantasy Football game and sign up right away.

It's free to play and there's plenty up for grabs including: a whopping £10,000 in cash for the person who accumulates the most points during the season. Also top priced tickets to the npower Championship Play-Off Final 2013, including VIP hospitality at Wembley stadium, a signed shirt from the npower Championship club of their choice, plus every 'Manager of the Month' wins the chance for a unique behind the scenes tour of an npower Championship club, including match tickets, a manager of the month trophy presentation at the game and £500 in cash.

If you miss the opening match deadline (the new season gets underway at 19:45 this evening, the17th August), don't worry just join the league as soon as you can. Remember the competition is not won in the first week of the season, but in May of next year.

Finally, Good Luck!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crystal Palace Football Club Squad List - 2012/13


#1.Julian Speroni - Age 33 - Date Signed: 12 Jul, 2004.
#34.Lewis Price - Age 28 - Date Signed: 29 Jul, 2010.
#40.Ross Fitzimons - Age 18 - Date Signed: 01 Jun, 2011.


#2.Joel Ward - Age 22 - Date Signed: 30 May, 2012.
#3.Ashley Jazz Richards - Age 21 - Date Signed: 25 Jan, 2013 (Loan deal).
#4.Jonathan Parr - Age 23 - Date Signed: 16 Jul, 2011.
#6. Jacob Butterfield - Age 22 - Date Signed: 16 Jan, 2016 (Loan deal).
#12.Danny Gabbidon - Age 33 - Date Signed 16 Sep, 2012.
#14.Darcy Blake - Age 23 - Date Signed: 24 Aug, 2012.
#21.Dean Moxey - Age 26 - Date Signed: 31 Jan, 2011.
#22.Alex Wynter - Age 18 - Date Signed: 01 Jan, 2010.
#27.Damien Delaney - Age 31 - Date Signed: 31 Aug, 2012.
#26.Mathew Parsons - Age 21 - Date Signed: 01 Jul, 2010.
#28.Peter Ramage - Age 28 - Date Signed 08 Aug, 2012.
#39.Quade Taylor - Age 18 - Date Signed: 05 Mar, 2011.
#42.Ryan Innis - Age 17 - Date Signed: 01 Jan, 2012.
#45.Kadell Daniel - Age 18 - Date Signed: 01 Jun, 2011.
#TBC Michael Chambers - Age 18 - Date Signed: 30 Jan, 2012.


#4.Jonathan Parr - Age 23 - Date Signed: 16 Jul, 2011.
#7.Yannick Bolasie - Age 23 - Date Signed: 24 Aug, 2012.
#8.Kagisho Dikachoi - Age 27 - Date Signed: 04 Jul, 2011.
#10.Owen Garvan - Age 24 - Date Signed: 04 Aug, 2010.
#12.Alex Marrow - Age 22 - Date Signed: 06 Jan, 2011 (On loan at Fleetwood Town since 17 Aug 2012).
#15.Mile Jedinak - Age 28 - Date Signed: 11 Jul, 2011.
#20.Jonathan Williams - Age 18 - Date Signed: 01 Jul, 2011.
#22.Stuart O'Keefe - Age 21 - Date Signed: 18 Aug, 2010.
#23.Andy Dorman - Age 30 - Date Signed: 06 Jul, 2010 (Contract terminated on 31 Aug 2012).
#24.Jack Holland - Age 20 - Date Signed 01 Jul, 2009.
#25.Kyle De Silva - Age 18 - Date Signed: 01 Jan, 2012.
#30.André Moritz - Age 26 - Date Signed: 24 Aug, 2012,
#35.Bayan Fenwick - Age 18 - Date Signed: 02 Mar, 2012.


#9. Kevin Phillips - Age 39 - Date Signed: 31 Jan, 2013 (Half-season loan from Blackpool).
#11. Stephen Dobbie - Age 30 - Date Signed: 31 Jan, 2013 (Half-season loan from Brighton).
#16.Wilf Zaha - Age 19 - Date Signed; 01 Jul, 2009.
#17.Glen Murray - Age 28 - Date Signed: 31 May, 2011.
#18.Aaron Wilbraham - Age 32 - Date Signed: 04 Jul, 2012.
#19.Jermaine Easter - Age 30 - Date Signed: 14 Jan, 2011.
#23.Alex Nimley - Age 21 - Date Signed: 10 Jan, 2013 (Half-season loan from Manchester City).
#24.Kwesi Appiah - Age 22 - Date Signed: 31 Jan, 2012.
#27.Ibra Sekajja - Age 19 - Date Signed: 01 Jul, 2010 (One-month loan to Barnet from 10 Jan 2012).
#TBC Reise Allassani - Age 16 - Date Signed: 17 Feb, 2012.

Management Team:

Manager: Ian Holloway
Assistant Manager: Keith Millen
Goalkeeping Coach: George Wood
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Scott Guyett
Chief Scout: Steve Kember
Head Physio: Alex Manos
Assistant Physio: John Stannard
Kit Manager: Brian Rogers

Friday, August 10, 2012

Congratulations Team USA - Women's 2012 Olympic Football Champions

A crowd of 80,203, setting a new Olympic record for women's football saw the United States beat Japan 2-1 in an entertaining and dramatic Women's Olympic Football final, at Wembley a few hours ago. This was a re-match of last summer's Women's World Cup final, when Japan beat the USA on penalty kicks.

An eighth minute goal by midfielder Carli Lloyd following good work by Alex Morgan gave the USA an early lead. Her sublime cross on the turn was headed home by the onrushing Lloyd six yards out, but it was Japan who dominated possession and had the better scoring chances in the first half.

Lloyd is mobbed by her US team-mates after scoring the opening goal in the Olympic final 

Christie Rampone had to make a clearance off the line from a shot by Nahomi Kawasumi in the 17th minute. Then in the 18th minute Ogimi missed two chances to draw Japan level. First US goalkeeper Hope Solo showed magnificent agility to tip the Japan striker's header onto the crossbar. The ball fell to Rachel Buehler, but her poor attempted clearance went straight back to Ogimi, but sadly she could only manage to blast her follow up shot from close range high and wide.

Hope Solo keeps Japan at bay with this outstanding save from Ogimi's header

In the 25th minute, Japan had their first of two clear cut penalty shouts turned down. Tobin Heath stuck out her arm and clearly handled the ball following a free kick, but no penalty was awarded.

The Americans' nearly went two up in the 28th minute, courtesy of a near-own goal by Azusa Iwashimizu. A deep cross to the back post was about to be met by Alex Morgan, but Iwashimizu's headed interception saw the ball bounce off her own post and away with Fukumoto stranded.

Then in the 33rd minute Aya Miyama's rasping drive from 12 yards cannoned off the crossbar to safety, and Shinobu Ohno curling right-footed shot from the edge of the box five minutes later beat Solo and the upright by a whisker.

At the break the USA still held a slender one goal advantage.

Early in the second half, an even more obvious penalty offence was committed by the US defender Rachel Buehler, who 'rugby tackled' Saki Kumagai to the ground. Incredibly, no penalty again was given by German referee Steinhaus Bibiana.

Nine minutes into the second half the USA doubled their lead, Lloyd getting her second goal of the night and what a goal it was! She dribbled her way through a number of defenders and towards the edge of the penalty area, before hitting a rocket of a shot across the face of goal and into the far corner of the net, giving Fukumoto in the Japan goal no chance. A contender for goal of the tournament!

Yuki Ogimi deservedly pulled a goal back for Japan in the 63rd minute. Following a goalmouth scramble, Ogimi was on hand to poke home and cut the United States lead to set up a tense final quarter of the match.

Japan did have one last great opportunity to equalise in the 83rd minute, but unlike their other chances, it came as the product of a gift and not their spectacular build-up play.

Rampone, who had been excellent all evening committed a horrendous mistake on the edge of her own penalty box, giving the ball away and allowing substitute Asuna Tanaka to get through on goal. She attempted to curl a shot around Solo, but the US goalkeeper made a spectacular two handed diving save to her left to preserve the lead.

That would be the last great chance that Japan would produce in the match. Japan played excellent football throughout the Olympic final, but Solo's heroics, Lloyds clinical finishing and a large slice luck kept the United States from conceding more than once.

For the fourth time, the United States women's football team are gold medallists at the Olympics.

Match highlights from Wembley as USA beat Japan in the Women's Olympic Football final

USA: Solo, Rampone(capt) (Cheyney '57), Buehler (Sauerbrunn '80), O'Hara, Le Peilbet, Boxx, Lloyd, Morgan, Wambach, Rampinoe, Heath.

Japan: Fukumoto, Kinga, Iwashimizu, Kumagai, Sameshima (Iwabuchi '77), Sakaguchi (Tanaka '59), Miyama (capt), Sawa, Kawasumi, Ohno (Maruyama '86), Ogimi.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

All the Latest Transfer Gossip across Europe

With the the 2012/13 English domestic football season only eleven days away, there is a plenty of transfer speculation doing the rounds as one would expect. However there has been a spot of business completed today!

Here is a round up of all of today’s latest transfer gossip and any done deals:

Is your club involved?

Arsenal, Malaga, Juventus, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, PSG, Sao Paulo, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Liverpool, Swansea, Bologna, Tottenham, Galatasaray, Queens Park Rangers, Montpellier, Newcastle, Wigan, Chelsea, Marseille, Blackpool, Stoke, Wolves, Huddersfield, Fulham, Blackburn, Cardiff, West Brom, Crystal Palace, Nottm Forest, Norwich, Sheff Wed, Reading, Derby, Trabzonspor, Real Oviedo, Sabadell, Deportivo La Coruna, AS Roma, Parma, Hamburg, Hearts and Rangers ..........are all caught up in the latest transfer rumours across Europe, as we speak.

Arsenal have completed the signing of attacking midfielder, Santi Cazorla (right) from Malaga for an undisclosed fee. The 27 year-old Spanish international, has reportedly moved from debt-ridden Malaga for a fee in the region of an initial £16million - and

Juventus are interested in Liverpool's Luis Suarez. It is understood that Juventus would ideally love to pair Van Persie and Suarez in a dream attack. Whether either deal is pushed on remains to be seen, but Italian champions Juve are aiming big. They have already made a firm move for Van Persie but, as with rival bidders Manchester City and Manchester United, they have not been able to agree terms with Arsenal – Daily Mirror and

Lucas Moura is said to be favouring a move to Paris Saint-Germain rather than Manchester United, with the 19-year-old rumoured to consider Manchester "boring." United are also unable to meet Sao Paulo's demands - which are reportedly around £36 million for the player and a further £6million for his representatives in fees – Daily Mirror,, and talkSPORT

Inter Milan chairman Massimo Moratti claims his club are out of the running for Moura because PSG have already made Sao Paulo a huge offer to sign him –

Roberto Mancini has rejected a bid from AC Milan to sign striker Edin Dzeko on a season-long loan from Manchester City – Daily Star

Liverpool have told Manchester City that defender Daniel Agger, 27, will cost at least £22m after City made an informal inquiry for the Dane - The Guardian, The Times and Liverpool are set for further talks with Swansea City midfielder Joe Allen now that the 22-year-old's involvement at the Olympics is over. However Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup has insisted that Joe Allen will be 'very, very expensive' and whould cost Liverpool more than £20million – The Metro, and

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has told Liverpool they will have to pay at least £15m or forget about signing Allen – Daily Star

Bologna are demanding a fee in the region of £16m for Gaston Ramirez (right), 21, a target for Liverpool and Tottenham. Inter Milan are also said to be looking at the Uruguayan playmaker - talkSPORT

Arsenal forward Andrey Arshavin would be prepared to move to Turkey, according to his agent, amid reports of a £4million bid from Galatasaray. Queens Park Rangers have also been linked with the Russian – Daily Mirror, and

Dave Whelan is waiting to see if Chelsea will match Wigan Athletic's valuation of Victor Moses following fresh talks regarding the winger. A reported £4million bid has already been rejected and there are now claims that Latics chairman Whelan has lowered his asking price from £10million to £8.5million - and

Chelsea have made a 'serious approach' for Marseille defender Cesar Azpilicueta, according to the French club. Marseille are thought to want £8million for the Spanish full-back and big-spending Chelsea could be prepared to match that fee as they seek to solve a problem position at right-back. Sources in France are saying Chelsea are prepared to offer Gael Kakuta as part of any deal for Azpilicueta - and

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis has confirmed he is close to signing Wolves winger Michael Kightly -

Stoke City winger Jermaine Pennant has denied speculation that he is set to leave the club to join Premier League rivals Wigan Athletic. Pennant has been linked with a move to Wigan due to Stoke being on the brink of signing Michael Kightly from Wolves -

Stoke City are in talks to sign Polish international left-back Sebastian Boenisch, 25, who is available after his contract with Werder Bremen expired – Daily Mirror, and

Montpellier star Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (right) has confirmed that Newcastle United remain interested in his signature. The highly-rated France international defender has admitted he would relish the chance to move to Tyneside. However, the 23 year-old also states that he would see the move to Newcastle as a perfect stepping stone to move on to AC Milan who have seen a bid rejected -

Huddersfield Town are set to sign Cardiff City defender Anthony Gerrard on a three-year contract. It is understood that 26 year-old Gerrard has travelled to Huddersfield to undergo a medical and hold talks about finalising a move to the club – and

Huddersfield Town are refusing to comment on reports that Blackburn Rovers are the latest club to have made a bid for striker Jordan Rhodes. Fulham are already understood to have seen a bid turned down, while Blackburn boss Steve Kean recently confirmed he has made an offer for the 22 year-old –

Stephen Dobbie is still a major transfer target for Blackpoolmanager Ian Holloway, who has made clear his admiration for the Swansea striker -

Cardiff City are keen to sign Craig Bellamy from Liverpool, although Mark Hughes would like to add the Welshman to his QPR squad – Daily Mail

West Bromwich Albion have completed the signing of Markus Rosenberg. The 29-year-old has put pen to paper on a three year deal having previously been a free agent following the conclusion of his contract at Werder Bremen – and

Crystal Palace are considering a move to bring 22 year-old Manchester City defender Ryan McGivern back to the club on loan –

Nottingham Forest boss Sean O'Driscoll has set his sights on Norwich City defender Elliott Ward. Ward played under O'Driscoll during a loan spell at Doncaster Rovers in 2010 -

Derby County have today added 18 year-old defender Michael Hoganson to their ranks, following a successful trial spell. After being released by Newcastle United at the end of last season, the free agent has signed a one-year contract at Pride Park - and

Currently a free agent after not having his deal with Manchester United renewed, former English international striker Michael Owen, 32, is in negotiations with Trabzonspor. Owen is asking for a £3million euros annual fee, the Turkish club are offering 2 and a half.

Sheffield Wednesday have signed Michail Antonio (right) from Premiership side Reading for an undisclosed fee. Antonio has put pen to paper on a four-year contract at Hillsborough, following a successful loan spell with the Owls last season -

Real Oviedo have signed winger Aaron Bueno, 28, from Sabadell -

Carlos Marchena López has joined Deportivo La Coruna. The former Spanish international defender, 33, was released from his contract with Villarreal at the end of last season -

After AS Roma and Aleandro Rosi mutually agreed on the early termination of the player's contract with the club the Italian right wingback, 25, has agreed a four year deal with Parma -

Austrian international centre-back Paul Scharner, 32, formerly of Wigan Athletic and West Bromwich Albion, has joined Hamburg on a 2 year deal -

Former Hearts striker Kevin Kyle has become the third player to sign for Rangers today following earlier deals for former St Johnstone striker Francisco Sandaza and former Lazio and Udinese defender Emilson Cribari - and

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Babes of the Month - Oozing Olympic Sex Appeal!

Antonija Misura  - Croatian Professional Basketball Player

Antonija Mišura is a professional basketball player. Antonija was born on 19th May 1988 in Šibenik, Croatia. She plays for the Croatian women's national basketball team, switching between point and shooting guard, and has represented the national team in several Eurobasket Women competitions. Antonija won a bronze medal at youth level in 2006 at the U18 European Championship Women Division B, and has lots of European experience at club level with ŽKK Šibenik Jolly JBS. She went on to win a bronze medal representing Croatia at the 2009 Mediterranean Games.

Here are more pictures of stunning Antonija

Niki Gudex - Australian Professional Mountain Biker

Niki Gudex is an Australian professional mountain biker from Sydney. Niki was born 19th July 1978 in Guildford, Surrey, England. She competes in both downhill and cross country disciplines. In addition to being a professional mountain biker, Gudex is also a model and a graphic designer. When Niki Gudex took a nasty tumble while snowboarding, she had no idea it would lead to a whole new career. Her injuries which included two broken vertebrae meant spending two months flat on her back, though not needing surgery, the Australian wondered if she would ever snowboard again. But, sure enough, she was soon back out at Thredbo, the Aussie winter sports paradise, ready to go again. Somehow, though, Niki wasn't quite the force of old. Then, for no good reason, she went for a ride on a bike. She was bitten by the mountain-biking bug there and so, on returning home to Sydney, she bought a bike and, for the hell of it, entered a race. She won. Being a natural competitor, Gudex was determined to make the most of her newly discovered talents, so she entered more races. She won the lot. Within a year, she was the Australian national champion and as they say.....the rest is history!

Here are more pictures of gorgeous Niki

You can also follow Niki on Twitter and Facebook