Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Premier League Players that are Free Agents from 1st Jan 2015

Whether clubs are primed to contest the title race, battle over European places or fight tooth and nail to avoid the drop, the winter transfer window (January 1st-31st) is their chance to shuffle the squad.

Clubs notoriously play it rather cagey in the early part of the window. But as soon as a couple of big deals happen later in the window, it often sparks a mad scramble as clubs look to bolster their squads at knockdown prices.

Of course, January is also a time out-of-favour players agitate for a move away or clubs look to ditch high earners.

Pre-contract agreements can also be penned by players who have less than six months remaining on their deals, as we saw with Robert Lewandowski's move to Bayern Munich last term.

So, keep track of all the latest transfers this month with a guide to the Premier League players that are free agents and are to talk to other sides beginning on 1st January 2015.

Mathieu Flamini
Current club: Arsenal
Age: 30
Position: Midfield
International: France

Abou Diaby
Current club: Arsenal
Age: 28
Position: Defensive Midfielder
International: France

Mikel Arteta
Current club: Arsenal
Age: 32
Position: Midfield
International: Spain

Fabian Delph
Current club: Aston Villa.
Age: 25
Position: Midfield
International: England

Ron Vlaar (right)
Current club: Aston Villa.
Age: 29
Position: Centre-back
International: Netherlands

Danny Ings
Current club: Burnley
Age: 22
Position: Striker
International: England U21

Didier Drogba
Current club: Chelsea
Age: 36
Position: Striker
International: Ivory Coast

Mark Schwarzer (right)
Current club: Chelsea
Age: 42
Position: Goalkeeper
International: Australia

Sylvain Distin
Current club: Everton
Age: 37
Position: Centre-back
International: N/A

Antolin Alcarez
Current club: Everton
Age: 32
Position: Centre-back
International: Paraguay

Hatem Ben Arfa
Current club: Hull City (on loan from Newcastle)
Age: 27
Position: Winger
International: France

Anthony Knockaert (right)
Current club: Leicester City
Age: 23
Position: Midfield
International: France U21

James Milner
Current club: Man City
Age: 28
Position: Midfield
International: England

Martin Demichelis
Current club: Man City
Age: 34
Position: Midfield
International: Argentina

Michael Carrick
Current club: Man Utd
Age: 33
Position: Midfield
International: England

Tom Cleverley (right)
Current club: Aston Villa (on loan from Man Utd)
Age: 25
Position: Midfield
International: England

Current club: Man Utd
Age: 26
Position: Midfield
International: Brazil

Jonás Gutiérrez
Current club: Newcastle
Age: 31
Position: Midfield
International: Argentina

Rio Ferdinand
Current club: QPR
Age: 36
Position: Centre-back
International: England

Joey Barton
Current club: QPR
Age: 32
Position: Midfield
International: England

Bobby Zamora
Current club: QPR
Age: 33
Position: Striker
International: England

Jack Cork (right)
Current club: Southampton
Age: 25
Position: Midfield/Striker
International: England U21

Maya Yoshida
Current club: Southampton
Age: 26
Position: Centre-back
International: Japan

Peter Crouch
Current club: Stoke
Age: 33
Position: Striker
International: England

Glenn Whelan
Current club: Stoke
Age: 30
Position: Midfield
International: Republic of Ireland

Wes Brown
Current club: Sunderland
Age: 35
Position: Defender
International: England

Gerhard Tremmel
Current club: Swansea
Age: 36
Position: Goalkeeper
International: N/A

Younes Kaboul
Current club: Tottenham
Age: 28
Position: Centre-back
International: France

Ravel Morrison (right)
Current club: West Ham
Age: 21
Position: Cardiff (on loan from West Ham)
International: England U21

Winston Reid
Current club: West ham
Age: 26
Position: Defender
International: New Zealand

# Information sources: Thanks to The Telegraph Newspaper and The Mail Online.

Monday, December 22, 2014

All the latest transfer gossip across Europe!

The January transfer window is open in just over a week and Clubs across Europe and North America are busy targeting new players to bolster their season.
Whatever their agenda, it is a crucial time for many clubs as this transfer window could mean the difference between success or failure come the end of the 2014/15 season!

Here is a round up of all the latest transfer gossip across Europe today!

Is your club involved?

Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Manchester City, Wolfsburg, Barcelona, Paris St-Germain, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Galatasaray, Aston Villa, Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Dortmund, Red Bull Leipzig, Crystal Palace, Lille, Fiorentina, Spartak Moscow, FC Karpaty Lviv, Lyon, Corinthians, Hull, Nottingham Forest, Wigan, AS Roma, Tottenham, Seattle Sounders, Olympiakos, Werder Bremen, Southampton, Everton, Red Bull Salzburg, QPR, VfB Stuttgart, Stoke City, Newcastle, Swansea City, Benfica, Napoli, Aston Villa, Standard Liège and Charlton................are all caught up in the latest transfer news/rumours across Europe, as we speak.

Liverpool and Arsenal have joined Manchester United in the race to sign Real Madrid left-back Fabio Coentrao, 26, after it was made clear he was unwanted at the La Liga side - Daily Express and

Inter Milan are keep tabs on the situation at Liverpool of winger Lazar Markovic - Tuttosport (Italian sports newspaper)

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has made Wolfsburg's £20m-rated midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (right), 23, one of his top January transfer targets just 11 months after the Belgium international left Chelsea for £18m - Daily Star

Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United are interested in signing Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets, 26, but Paris St-Germain are also keen on the Spanish international - Diario AS (Spanish daily sports newspaper) and Daily Express

Manchester City and Southampton look set to miss out on signing Galatasaray midfielder Wesley Sneijder, 30, in January after the Turkish side promised to meet all the Dutchman's contract obligations - Daily Mirror and

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert is keen to make Manchester United's on loan midfielder Tom Cleverley's deal a permanent one. The fee for the 25 year-old is thought to be in the region of around £7m -

Arsenal look likely to miss out on highly rated Bayer Leverkusen holding midfielder Christoph Kramer's coveted signature.The Germany international, who was heavily linked with a £20m move to the Emirates in the January transfer window, has now extended his contract with Leverkusen until 2019 -

Arsenal are ready to submit a £4m offer in order to purchase 24 year-old German goalkeeper Kevin Trapp (right) from Eintracht Frankfurt in January. Currently on a deal with KSV Hessen Kassel until June 2016, the player is also of interest to Inter, Napoli, Borussia Dortmund and Red Bull Leipzig -

Out-of-favour Tottenham Hotspur and Romania international centre-back Vlad Chiricheș, 25, will be leaving the North London club to sign for Serie A outfit AS Roma when the January transfer window re-opens, initially on loan with a view to a permanent deal -

Crystal Palace have made a £2.5m bid for Lille left-back Pape Souare, 24, but the French side will not let him go for less than £3m - Daily Mail

Slovenian internatinal central defender Gregor Balažic, 26, is on the radar of Crystal Palace who are keen to sign the who becomes a free agent at the end of December - and Daily Mirror

Crystal Palace are ready to make a January move for Arsenal's 6'4" striker Yaya Sanogo, 21, (below) a French U21 international - The Sun

Fiorentina president Andrea Della Valle fears losing Norberto Neto with the Brazilian goalkeeper strongly linked with a move away from Florence in January, with both Roma and Liverpool touted as potential destinations -

Spartak Moscow are obviously keen on signing out-of-favour Chelsea winger Mohamed Salah next month, at least judging by manager Murat Yakin's comments on the Egyptian -

Chelsea are monitoring the progress of Brazilian Malcolm Silva. The 17 year-old Corinthians striking sensation is also interesting Barcelona, Arsenal and Manchester United - Daily Star and The Sun

Arsenal have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Lyon midfielder Nabil Fekir, 21, after his father admitted he will only leave France for the Gunners - Le Parisien (French daily newspaper)

Hull manager Steve Bruce is considering recalling Tom Ince from his loan spell at Championship club Nottingham Forest and Maynor Figueroa from his loan spell at Wigan - and The Sun

USA international right-back DeAndre Yedlin (right) will join Tottenham Hotspur in January after securing a work permit. Tottenham announced in August that Yedlin had agreed a four-year deal to move to White Hart Lane from MLS franchise the Seattle Sounders for a fee of £2.5m. He will be officially unveiled as a Spurs player when the transfer window reopens.

Recently appointed Inter Milan head coach Roberto Mancini has ruled out making a move for Tottenham Hotspur winger Aaron Lennon when the transfer window reopens for business next month -

However it appears Queens Park Rangers are lining up a swoop for the 27 year-old Tottenham Hotspur winger in the January window - Daily Telegraph

Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko, 25, has responded to interest from Arsenal by admitting he loves the Gunners and says it is his dream to play in the Champions League - L'Equipe (French sports newspaper), Daily Star and The Sun

Greek champions Olympiakos are chasing Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky. The 34-year-old has made just eight appearances this season - The Independent

Former Inter, Lazio, Napoli and Macedonian international striker Goran Pandev, 30, could leave Galatasaray during the next transfer window - Fanatik (Turkish newspaper)

Southampton have moved a step closer to landing £4m-rated Werder Bremen and Dutch international wide man Eljero Elia, 27 (right) - The Sun

Southampton will sign Ryan Bertrand permanently from Chelsea in 2015 - The Sun

Barcelona are ready to loan out teenage prospect Adama Traore and Everton could be in pole position - Daily Mirror

QPR manager Harry Redknapp is trying to sign free agent Lassana Diarra. The French midfielder played under Redknapp at Portsmouth - The Sun

Stoke City and West Ham are ready to try signing Romanian international offensive midfielder Alexandru Maxim, 24, from VfB Stuttgart in January - Ziare (Romanian newspaper)

Swansea City are being heavily linked with a loan move for Benfica's Nelson Oliveira (right) as Garry Monk searches for a striker - and South Wales Evening Post

Tottenham Hotspur and Napoli are interested in signing Aston Villa left-back Aly Cissokho in January - The Sun and

Bundesliga strugglers Borussia Dortmund have agreed to sign Slovenia international Kevin Kampl from Red Bull Salzburg in January -

Standard Liège's Scottish striker Tony Watt wants to leave Belgium in an effort to kick-start his stuttering career with a surprise move to Charlton Athletic - Daily Express

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Worst Gifts a Man could buy a Woman for Christmas!

It’s that time of year again, when thoughts turn to Christmas and that annual dilemma of what to buy friends and family.

Buying Christmas presents for your partner however, can prove even more of a minefield, especially if you are the kind of man that finds gift buying an ordeal.

This is the time of year when many husbands and boyfriends break out in cold sweats trying to figure out just the right gift to give their wives and girlfriends, so they won’t end up in the doghouse!

First of all start by making a a list of all the things you’ve been thinking of getting her. When you are through, light the list on fire and toss it into the fireplace. Make sure the flue is open!

Think harder and make another list. Spend some time on it. More time than say, the half-time break during a televised football match.

Ok, now look over the list and mark out anything that:
(a) requires an extension cord, (b) you’d enjoy using as much or more than she would, (c) can only be purchased in a hardware store or petrol station, or (d) in any way implies that you don’t like her body, her hair, or her mother. If there’s anything left on the list, mark it out too.

Good, now we’re getting somewhere! This time, make a list of what your partner enjoys doing in her spare time, when she’s not working, raising the kids, doing chores or returning the gifts you got her for her birthday. Add as many things as you can; try to get the list up to at least two items.

When choosing a gift for your wife consider how she will interpret the meaning behind your gift. If in doubt, ask one of her friends or don’t run the risk.

What men don’t understand about gift buying for their wife is........women see the creativity, effort and gift itself as a direct reflection of how much her partner loves her. Men see a gift as a gift! Whether you think it makes sense or not, in general, there is a lot riding on your gift choice – so if you are not planning on taking up residence in the dog house take your gift buying seriously!

Plastic Surgery Voucher: 

A sure-fire death sentence. Nothing says 'unconditional love' like a gift certificate for a tummy tuck! Rule number one: It's okay for women to say they're not happy with their appearance. It's NEVER okay for you to agree. This voucher is a one-way ticket to D.I.V.O.R.C.E.


There’s no bigger slap in the face than telling your girl she needs to slap a little something on her face. Face it guys, you don’t know anything about make-up anyway, so stay away from something that’s almost a guaranteed failure, not to mention relationship breaker.

A Stripper Pole: 

Just because your partner has taken up an exercise class to get into shape, do not assume she will appreciate a pole under the tree!

I know you’re just dying to see your lady’s new-found talents, but installing one of these in your house will only ensure your disappointment when you realize she sucks. Plus she will have all the ammo she needs to start accusing you of going to strip clubs all the time and not being happy with the 'real' woman in your life.

Festive Leggings:

The describer 'one size fits all' on these leggings is your first clue. Banish all thought of sexy snow-bunnies in Alpine ski lodges - these beasts are guaranteed to look terrible on everyone.

Underwear: (Particularly Smart Ass thongs, Sexy Santa lingerie or Shaping underwear)

A line of novelty thong underwear emblazoned with 'hilarious' messages like
'gold digger,' 'control freak,' and 'desperate housewife'............because nothing says "I love you deeply" like personalized panties.

As for Sexy Santa lingerie - stop, take a long hard look at yourself and think is that on her Christmas wish list, or yours.........? And really, do you want to be reminded of a fat guy with a beard when you look at your girlfriend?

When it comes to Shaping Underwear, anything that suggests that the recipient is anything less than perfect will go down worse than Frankie Boyle at a kid's Christmas party.

Promise Ring:

Maybe you’ve been together for a while and really want to get her something special this year. Sure, you may promise to love her for as far as you can see into the future, but if you’re not planning on proposing to this girl by spring time, you’re sending the wrong message. You give her a promise ring and she’ll have a caterer booked and baby names written down before Boxing Day.

Gym Membership/Exercise Equipment/Workout DVD: 

Tread carefully! Women are always talking about how they want to lose weight, but if you buy them anything that will help them out, they will blow a gasket.
They want to lose weight, but they don’t want you to tell them they need to!

Facial Hair Remover:

These things, hilarious as they may be, are all the rage right now among women. They apparently do work for all sorts of things, but women don’t generally react well to guys suggesting they use them. You may think you’re being clever in getting her a useful tool to use in her never ending quest for beauty, but she’ll think you’re telling her she has a moustache and a unibrow.

Small Appliances:

Never give a woman for Christmas any household appliance that you think will make her life easier. If a woman needs (or even just wants) a new blender, vacuum cleaner, toaster or microwave, they'll go out and buy it for themselves. Appliances just send the wrong message.

For me, it congers up images of the 1950's housewife who wishes to please her man by keeping the house clean and has dinner waiting on the table when he walks through the door.


Yes it's true people do it and yes I think it is cruel and psychopathic to do so.
If you are going to end the marriage, don't ruin Christmas and scar her for the rest of her life by handing her a set of divorce papers. Get it over with at least a month before or after Christmas. At least then she can buy her own Christmas present.

The clock is ticking and Christmas will be here before you know it. Now that you know a few of the things you should not purchase, how do you know what would be a great gift?

Be a good understudy to your partner. Listen carefully to what she says. Pay attention to the things she enjoys and the way she spends her time. Does she enjoy weekend breaks, being pampered, reading a good book, going to the movies, eating out or crazy outdoor activities like extreme sports?

You might even try asking her to give you a list of things she would like for Christmas.
(Note: wives/girlfriends/partners, if your other half asks you to make a list of things you would like for Christmas, please do it. Don’t respond with, "If you don’t know what to buy me for Christmas, I am certainly not going to tell you.").

Guys, with a little investigative work you can uncover some helpful hints that will guide you in your gift buying. There are many things that your wife/girlfriend/partner would probably enjoy, but she would never purchase it for herself.

If all else fails and you are still at a loss it isn’t against the rules to ask her to accompany you on a shopping spree, to find the perfect gift.

Good luck guys!

Monday, December 08, 2014

All the latest transfer gossip across Europe!

With the January transfer window only weeks away the wheels are in motion already as Clubs look to bring in new signings in an attempt to secure their own personal goals, whether it be short-term, long-term, finishing top of their respective leagues, avoiding relegation, filling voids left as a result of a number of injured or out of form players etc.
Whatever their agenda, it is a crucial time for many clubs as this transfer window could mean the difference between success or failure come the end of the 2014/15 season!

Here is a round up of all the latest transfer gossip across Europe today!

Is your club involved?

Tottenham, Southampton, Napoli, Manchester United, Celtic, Arsenal, Manchester City, Newcastle, Swansea, Sunderland, Liverpool, Leicester City, Chelsea, HNK Rijeka, Real Madrid, River Plate, Cruzeiro, AS Roma, Aston Villa, Napoli, Juventus, Lazio, QPR, LA Galaxy, Lille, Fiorentina, Strømsgodset IF, Bayern Munich, Ajax, Exeter City, FC Twente, Derby and Middlesbrough .................are all caught up in the latest transfer news/rumours across Europe, as we speak.

Tottenham are targeting Southampton's 25-year-old France midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, team-mate Jay Rodriguez, 25, and Napoli's Spain centre-back Raul Albiol, 29, as they look to bolster the squad in January - Daily Mirror and

Manchester United remain interested in AS Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman (right) and despite the Giallorossi insisting their star midfielder is not for sale at any price, the Red Devils would be prepared to pay as much as €40m in order to persuade the club to part company with the player - Il Messaggero (Italian national newspaper)

Tottenham are also set to move for Celtic defender Virgil Van Dijk, although the 23-year-old is also wanted by Arsenal, Manchester City, Newcastle, Southampton and Swansea - Daily Express

Real Madrid are interested in River Plate defender Augusto Batalla - Olé (Argentine national daily sports newspaper)

Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva, who is valued at £12m has been attracting the attention of Arsenal of late, has now spoken of his excitement about the possibility of joining European champions Real Madrid -

Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet remains keen on signing Liverpool's out-of-favour Italian forward Fabio Borini, 23, in January - Daily Mirror and

Leicester City have had a £7m bid rejected for HNK Rijeka and Croatia striker Andrej Kramaric, 23 (right) who is also wanted by Chelsea and Tottenham - Daily Express and

Serie A giants AS Roma want to lure 25 year-old Tottenham centre-back Vlad Chiriches to the Stadio Olimpico when the transfer window re-opens for business in January -

QPR boss Harry Redknapp hopes to bring in some Major League Soccer players on loan in January with LA Galaxy's Robbie Keane, 34, top of his list - Setanta Sports and

Lille have enquired about Fiorentina's 29-year-old German international striker Mario Gomez - L'Equipe (French daily newspaper)

Liverpool want Strømsgodset IF's attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard. The 15-year old Norway international will also meet Bayern Munich and Ajax before deciding which club to join - The Sun and

Already tracked by Arsenal as well as reportedly being on the radar of Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, AS Roma, Juventus and Lazio, Ron Vlaar (right) Aston Villa's 29 year-old Dutch international centre-back, is according to the latest rumours from the Italian media, also a target of Napoli -

Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini is looking at Torino's 24 year-old Brazilian wingback Bruno Peres -

Arsenal are set to beat Manchester United to Exeter City's 14-year-old academy player Ethan Ampadu - Daily Star

Derby County boss Steve McClaren will raid his old club for FC Twente for their Dutch U21 international striker Luc Castaignos -

Chelsea's Patrick Bamford will extend his loan at Middlesbrough - Daily Mirror

Monday, December 01, 2014

Babes of the Month - Merry Christmas/Fröhe Weihnachten/Joyeux Noël/Feliz Navidad/Buon Natale/Feliz Natal/Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders

   Denver Broncos Cheerleader                             St. Louis Rams Cheerleader

Crystal Palace Football Club Cheerleaders Christmas video

Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Physio Room - Premier League Injury Update

Following an enforced fortnight break due to international matches right across the globe, the Premier League is back this weekend with some enthralling fixtures.

The stand out game is Saturday's match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium.
The teams lie sixth and seventh in the table respectively and although both clubs may have given up the ghost of lifting the Premier League trophy for this season, they are both desperate for a win as they strive for a top 4 finish come May.

However both clubs are ravaged by injury and the international break just compounded matters further. Arsenal are missing the likes of Koscielny, Walcott and Ozil but could welcome the return of Mathieu Debuchy against 'The Reds' - while United's injury list mirrors a 'long list football coupon' you might find in a bookmakers - Falcao, Blind, Rojo, Jones, Rafael and Young are all definitely ruled out this weekend and there are fitness doubts over De Gea, Shaw, Di Maria and Carrick.

Another interesting fixture this weekend is Liverpool's trip to South London on Sunday, where they take on Crystal Palace, the team that destroyed their title hopes last May in front of the cameras at Selhurst Park. Liverpool will be looking for revenge but have only won two of their last eight PL games, and are missing some crucial players including Daniel Sturridge. Palace are also on a poor run of form but they currently have a squad with the fewest injuries in the league.

Meanwhile Everton take on high-flying West Ham at Goodison, Leicester host Sunderland, 2nd in the table Man City face 5th in the table Swansea, struggling QPR go to a rejuvenated Newcastle under Alan Pardew, and an improving Stoke side play basement boys Burnley, who recorded their first PL victory of the season last time out. Finally Steve Bruce's stuttering Hull entertain a very unpredictable Spurs side, and on Monday evening the surprise early pace-setters Southampton go to a wibbly wobbly Villa Park, where Paul Lambert's side haven't won a home game since 31st August.

See which Premier League players are feeling below par this week, and will instead be staying at home to play 'camps' in the front room with their kids, whilst hoping the missus might be up for a bit of hanky panky at the suggestion of a game of 'Doctors and Nurses' come bedtime.

Also if you are playing 'fantasy football' this season the latest injury news may help you re-jig your team or teams accordingly.

Here is the link to The Physio Room Injury Table

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Some of the Biggest Derbies in World Football - that you may less familiar with!

Football has seen a lot of rivalries develop between clubs during it's rich and long history which can be traced back to more than a century. During that time, countless managers and players have come and gone but the clubs have lived on with their pride and legacy being passed on from generation to generation to keep the rivalry fueled. No other match is given as much importance to than derbies. These are more than just matches, more than just 3 points. these are matters where the pride of the club and the fans is at stake, it is an all out war between both the clubs with the victor earning the bragging rights over their rivals.

Here is a look at some of the most prestigious and sought after derbies in the world of football. There are many many derbies played across the globe, although it is impossible to say which is the biggest or the fiercest, because how do you measure what makes one derby match more important or intense than the another. Is it about history, locality, crowd size, religious or political factors etc?

One thing for sure though is that if you are a fan of one of the sides involved in a derby match, whether it be between two London clubs, two Milan clubs, two Madrid clubs or two Rio clubs, in the eyes of the supporter your own derby is always the biggest!
However some of these derbies in this article include great fixtures around the world with which you may not be so familiar.

Esteghlal v Persepolis (Tehran Derby, Iran)

So important is the city derby between Esteghlal and Persepolis in Tehran, the capital of Iran, that businesses close down on the day of the game.

Arguably the biggest derby in Asia, the Tehran derby regularly attracts crowds of 100,000, while an average of 20 million people across Iran tune in to watch the game on television.

The first derby match between the teams took place on April 5, 1968. Both clubs were relatively young but Persepolis had a solid fan base, because of its close association to the once popular Shahin club.

Over time, the rivalry became more heated and club fans began attaining collective identities. By the mid-1970s Persepolis was seen as a working class club, while Taj was viewed as a club close to the ruling establishment and supported by the upper class of Iranian society. Persepolis fans outnumbered Esteghlal fans by large numbers at the time and still do.

Because of the sensitive nature of the matches, fan violence has occurred several times. In minor cases fans break chairs or throw garbage at the field, but more notable cases of violence have involved physical fights between opposing teams and fans, storming of the field by fans, as well as significant destruction of public property.

Ever since 1995, federation officials have invited foreign referees to officiate the game to ease fan and player suspicions of referee bias.

Over the years, a number of players have played for both of the heavily supported clubs. Switching sides often angers fans, and players who have done so are heavily booed and mocked in and out of the stadium. When Mehdi Hasheminasab joined Esteghlal, Persepolis fans booed and swore at him so loudly that he covered his face with his hands to hide his tears.

As of 17 January 2014, there have been 76 competitive first-class meetings between the two teams since the first league meeting in 1970, of which Esteghlal has won 24 and Persepolis 18.

Olympiacos vs. Panathinaikos (Derby of the Eternal Adversaries, Athens, Greece)

This football derby held in Athens betweeen the two most successful football clubs in Greece is also called the 'Mother of all Battles.' The rivalry between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos and their fans is hugely intense, thus this derby has always been a classic for the Greek capital, as well as the whole of Greece and is the most prestigious in the country.

The rivalry between the two top Greek clubs can be traced back to some social, cultural and regional differences. Panathinaikos, founded in 1908, comes from the centre of Athens and was considered the classic representative of the high class society of the Greek capital. On the other hand, Olympiacos was founded in 1925 and comes from Piraeus, the port of Athens, thus attracting supporters from the surrounding working class area.

These class differences between the people in the homelands of the two clubs offered further reasons for the animosity between their fans. Olympiacos' early success provided a way for the people of Piraeus to express their contempt for the wealthier classes, by which Panathinaikos was heavily supported. Furthermore, Olympiacos attracted fans from all over Greece who believed themselves to be victims of social and political unfairness. However, this kind of clash was much more pronounced in the past, as the class differences between the fanbases have faded out and the social gap that once separated the two sides has closed over the years. Nowadays, both clubs boast fanbases that represent all the social classes. The trouble continues though.

Football hooliganism is a very common phenomenon between their fans in recent years, featuring anything from fighting, throwing petrol bombs, street rioting and attempts to torch the team coach of their fierce rivals.

The hatred is so intense that many violent incidents have taken place in several regions of Athens, especially before or after a derby.

When Greece's two major powers met last March, Panathinaikos manager Yannis Anastasiou (above) was left sprawled on the touchline after being hit by an object thrown from the crowd.

Serious disturbances broke out in March 2012. The start of the second half was delayed by 45 minutes as fans pelted police with Molotov cocktails, flares and missiles, and the game was subsequently abandoned altogether. Twenty police officers were injured and more than 50 arrests were made while three fire engines were called in to extinguish flames as hundreds of fans set alight sections of the stands.
Two years earlier, a late Olympiakos winner by former Blackburn forward Matt Derbyshire prompted Panathinaikos fans to try to set fire to the visitors' team coach.

On the pitch Olympiacos is the most successful football club in Greece, having won a record 71 major official titles compared to Panathinaikos' 41 titles and also being the most successful in their head-to-head fixtures, although no Greek team has ever won a European title.

Al Ahly vs. Zamalek (Cairo Derby, Egypt)

The Cairo showdown between Egyptian sides Al Ahly and Zamalek - the country's two most successful clubs - is so fierce that local officials are not entrusted with the fixture, with foreign referees instead brought in. Back in 2001 Scottish referee Kenny Clark, was appointed to take charge of Africa's biggest and arguably the continent's most hotly contested derby, and was flown in under the cover of darkness prior to the fixture. Clark and his fellow officials were also assigned a bodyguard who stuck with them throughout their time in Cairo.

The game itself passed by largely without incident until the final 10
minutes, when bottles and bricks were thrown on to the pitch, prompting Clark to tell his linesmen not to go near the corner flags.
"I said go as far as the 18-yard box for offsides but don't go any further - if you get an offside wrong, you get it wrong, it is not worth getting a rock on the head for," added Clark.
"We managed to get the riot police to move the fans further up the terracing and we were able to finish the game."
In the end, Zamalek took the derby honours, beating Al Ahly 2-1.

Flamengo vs. Vasco da Gama (Clássico dos Milhões - Rio, Brazil)

Clássico dos Milhões (meaning "Derby of Millions") is the name of the classic Brazilian derby between Flamengo and Vasco da Gama, both from Rio de Janeiro city, considered the greatest Brazilian football derby and one of the biggest in football worldwide. Flamengo v Fluminense ('Fla-Flu') might be better known around the world, but the Rio derby that really gets the city going is Flamengo against Vasco da Gama

Introduced by the British, football in Brazil spread down from the elites and Vasco, the club of the city's Portuguese immigrants, did more than anyone to give the process a push.

Having developed from an existing rivalry between 'rowing clubs' of the same name, it is one of the oldest in Brazil and also one of the most followed in the country, with the two teams boasting an estimated 45 million fans between them - about 20% of the country's population.

Vasco won the Rio first division at the first attempt in 1923, with a team including both black and white players from poor backgrounds. Their success provoked a furious backlash from the traditional elite clubs, among them Flamengo.

But in the mid-1930s, seeing which way the political winds were blowing, a visionary Flamengo president signed the leading three black players of the day - among them centre-forward Leonidas, charismatic and controversial.
At a stroke an elite club had rebranded itself, acquiring the popular touch and stealing Vasco's thunder - provoking a rivalry which grows deeper with time.

Genoa v Sampdoria (Derby della Lanterna, Genoa, Italy)

Turin, Roma and Milan steal the headlines but Genoa and Sampdoria who steal the show when it comes to Italian derbies.

The Derby della Lanterna, Italian for the 'Derby of the Lighthouse' is played between U.C. Sampdoria, and Genoa C.F.C. It takes place in the Luigi Ferraris Stadium, which both clubs share.

When it comes to passion, when it comes to build up, when it comes to the sheer enjoyment of calcio being presented in its truest form nothing beats the Genoa versus Sampdoria derby.

The rivalry is fueled by the fact that Genoa has a long history, being Italy's oldest football club (founded in 1893), while Sampdoria is the country's newest continuously operating club (formed in a merger in 1946).

The buzz in the city before the game ensnares anyone and everyone in the city of Genoa. The build up in recent years has been dulled with some poor seasons from both, but now with the two sides playing for potential Europa League spots at the end of the season, renewed optimism on both sides makes this game an enthralling view.

The fans are not divided in class nor political stance, as there is none which separate the teams. The game stands alone as two teams dividing a city in purest motives with wonderful passion and colour.

Such is the rivalry that it seems both sides will go to great lengths to get any sort of edge over the other - even resorting to dressing in camouflage and spying on training. That is what happened last year (2013), when Genoa youth team coach Luca De Pra was found hiding in bushes observing a training session held by Sampdoria.

De Pra was suspended by his club, with Sampdoria releasing a tongue-in-cheek statement which read: "Like Rambo hidden among the branches on the hill, Luca De Pra failed to overcome Sampdoria's intelligence and counter-intelligence operations. However, no prisoners were taken and no blood was shed. You should always forgive your enemies, as nothing annoys them more."

The incident, though, highlighted how important the game is to the two sides.

Dinamo Zagreb vs. Hajduk Split (Eternal Derby, Croatia)

The rivalry can be traced back to 1920's when Zagreb's Građanski and Hajduk often clashed in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia championships. After World War II, Građanski was disbanded by the authorities, and Dinamo Zagreb was formed to take its place, retaining its royal blue colours.

The Eternal Derby also known as the Croatian Derby, and is the name given to matches between the two biggest and most popular Croatian football clubs Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split.

An important aspect of the Croatian derby are the fans. Both sides prepare intensely between the matches, make large flags and special messages that are appropriate for that particular occasion, to be usually directed towards the opposing side.

The 'Bad Blue Boys' (BBB) were originally founded on 17 March 1986 in Zagreb (Croatia), with members from different areas of Zagreb. The BBB are considered one of the most dangerous supporters' groups in the world and are known for their vocal and physical intimidation at football matches. At home matches in Dinamo Zagreb's Maksimir Stadium, the Bad Blue Boys usually settle behind the home goal on the stadium's north stand.

'Torcida Split' or just 'Torcida' is the Hajduk Split supporters' group. Founded on 28 October 1950, it's known as one of the oldest supporters' groups in Europe and one of the largest in Southeast Europe. The slogan of the fans, "Hajduk lives forever" testifies to the long and continuing tradition of Hajduk Split, which has survived without change from its establishment until today, while states and leagues have failed, "Hajduk lives forever." Torcida members and other fervent fans of the club gather in the north stand at the Poljud Stadium in Split.

Mohun Bagan v East Bengal (Kolkata Derby, Calcutta, India)

East Bengal versus Mohun Bagan is undoubtedly the definitive rivalry in Indian football. The Calcutta derby is the only football match in India capable of challenging cricket for popularity.

Culturally, this derby is very similar to Scottish Premier League's Old Firm derby, since a majority of the Mohun Bagan supporters represent the 'nativist' population (similar to Rangers FC) whilst the 'immigrant' population, support East Bengal, now Bangladesh (similar to Celtic FC).

Matches between the two have been fiercely contested for the past 89 years.
They have regularly drawn crowds of 100,000 at the Salt Lake Stadium. Arguably, the most memorable Kolkata derby of all took place in 1997, when a remarkable crowd of 131,000 – a record attendance for any sport in India – filled a heaving Salt Lake Stadium.

The first major meeting between the two clubs occurred in 1925 and resulted in a 1-0 win for East Bengal in a Calcutta League match.In the return league of 1925 Mohun Bagan defeated East Bengal by the same score.

As we speak, the Kolkata rivals East Bengal and Mohun Bagan have played 308 matches against each other. East Bengal fans have got their noses comfortably ahead as they have won more than their city rivals.

Partizan Belgrade vs. Red Star Belgrade (Belgrade Derby or Derby of Southeast Europe, Serbia)

The biggest match in Serbia takes place in the capital of Serbia, Belgrade.

This derby replaced the pre-World War II rivalry between BSK Belgrade and SK Jugoslavija.
The origins of Red Star and Partizan are in political institutions.
Red Star were formed on 4 March 1945 by 'United alliance of anti-fascist Youth,' part of the new civil authority in Yugoslavia.
A few months later, on 4 October 1945, Partizan was founded as the sports association of the Yugoslav People's Army.
The first match between these football sections was played on 5 January 1947.

Partizan's supporters, known as 'Grobari' (Gravediggers or Undertakers), were formed in 1970. The origin of the nickname itself is uncertain, but an accepted theory is that it was given by their biggest rivals, the Red Star fans, referring to club's mostly black colours which were similar to the uniforms of cemetery undertakers.

Supporters of Red Star are known as 'Delije' roughly translated in English as Heroes.

When Red Star Belgrade is the host, the derby is played at Red Star Stadium. Colloquially known as Marakana after the famous Brazilian stadium, it was opened in 1963. Its current capacity is 55,000 spectators. The 'Delije' often call it 'Mara' for short, The 'Grobari' use the insulting name 'Rupa' ('The Hole').

When the host is Partizan, the derby is played at Partizan Stadium, formerly known as JNA Stadium which is still its common name. It was opened in 1949. Its capacity is 32,710 spectators. Partizan fans call it Fudbalski Hram (English: 'Temple of the Football'). The Delije use the insulting name 'Lavor' ('The Washbowl').

The derby’s most infamous day came in 1999 when a 17 year old boy was killed when he was hit by a flare let off in the opposition stand. Red Star have been more successful with numbers, as they are the only Serbian team to win a European trophy.

Fenerbahçe vs. Galatasaray (Intercontinental Derby, Turkey)

The derby fixture between Fenerbahçe SK and Galatasaray SK, is more than a century in existence and involves two major Turkish teams from different parts of Istanbul.

The clubs originate from two different sides of the Bosphorus. Fenerbahçe SK were founded in Kadıköy that is located in the Asian side of Istanbul, while Galatasaray SK were founded in Galatasaray, on the European side of Istanbul. Both clubs naturally draw the majority of their support from the side of the city that they're native to, but maintain a significant majority of support drawn from the rest of Turkey. It is also a local derby, one of many involving Istanbul clubs. This fixture and has developed into an intense and often bitter rivalry, traditionally attracting large attendances.

The first game played between the two sides was a friendly game on Sunday, 17 January 1909, but the rivalry did not start until Friday 23 February 1934 when unexpected riots happened at a supposed to be friendly match between the two clubs played at Taksim Stadi. Both teams wanted to win badly and the high tension on the pitch caused high tension in the stands as well. The game ended with players fighting, the pitch turned out to be a war area. The referee had no choice except to abandon the match. It was the end of friendly displays between both clubs. The trouble continues though.

When Manchester United visited Galatasaray in the Champions League in 1993, the home fans greeted them at the airport with 'Welcome to Hell' banners!
Gary Pallister recalls: "I remember we were staying in this beautiful place on the Bosphorus. It used to be a palace and had an absolutely massive foyer. I was the last off the bus carrying my kit and was maybe 30 yards behind the rest of the lads as they were checking in. One of the bellboys was standing by the door and I smiled at him. He ran his finger across his throat and I carried on walking, thinking: We are not safe even in this hotel."

They were not safe on the two-decker coach that had its windows put through....!
An hour before kick-off, Ferguson ordered his players on to the pitch to take in the atmosphere.
"There were so many flares and so much smoke, it seemed the entire stadium was on fire," Gary Neville recalled. After the game as the players descended into the underground dressing-rooms, Eric Cantona was attacked by a policeman and so, too, was Bryan Robson as he tried to intervene. Istanbul that night created the single most intimidating atmosphere Sir Alex Ferguson said he has ever endured.

When Graeme Souness was Galatasaray manager back in 1996, he was so pleased with victory over their arch rivals, he famously planted a club flag in the centre of Fenerbahce's pitch!
Even a veteran of the great derbies of Glasgow, Liverpool and Genoa was lost in the drama and passion of this fixture!
He narrowly avoided the wrath of Fener supporters by escaping through a tunnel of riot policemen!

Fenerbahçe SK are the more successful team in terms of 'Intercontinental Derby' victories beteween the two clubs, while Galatasaray SK can boast success in Europe, winning the 2000 UEFA Cup Final and the 2000 UEFA Super Cup, and being the only Turkish team to have achieved European success to date.

# Other famous but possibly less familiar derbies:

Ajax Cape Town vs. Santos F.C (Cape Town Derby)
Lyon vs. Marseille (Choc des Olympiques)
Boca Juniors vs. River Plate (Super Clasico)
Steaua Bucharest vs. Dinamo Bucharest (Eternal Derby)
Al-Ittihad vs. Al-Hilal (Saudi El Clasico)
Napoli vs. AS Roma (Derby del Sole)
Corinthians vs. Palmeiras (Paulista Derby)
Ajax vs. PSV Eindhoven (De Topper)
Raja Casablanca vs. Wydad Casablanca (Casablanca Derby)
Real Sociedad vs. Athletic Bilbao (Basque Derby)
Bayern München vs. Nürnberg (Bavarian Derby)
Al-Zawra'a SC vs. Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya (The Classic of Baghdad)
Vålerenga Fotball Vs. Lyn Fotball (Battle of Oslo)
Sporting Lisbon vs. Benfica (Derby de Lisboa)
LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes (California Clásico)
C.D. Tenerife vs. UD Las Palmas (Canary Islands Derby)
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Hapoel Tel Aviv (Tel Aviv Derby)

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Babe of the Month - Ainsley Rodriguez, Goddess of Fitness

Ainsley Rodriquez is 22 years of age, a fitness model, bikini pro competitor, a sports nutritionist and one of the top diet and training coaches who has helped so many people achieve the look and healthy lifestyle that they have always dreamed about. She is also Shredz Sponsored Athlete and even goes by the nickname 'Hardcore Ainsley.'
She’s Hardcore Hot, all right!
Ainsley was was born and raised in Miami, Florida although her grandparents are from Cuba.

She grew up active in gymnastics and dance and later graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s in Biology. Ainsley started substitute teaching, but she wasn’t able to commit to the fitness model lifestyle like she wanted to with her teaching career and studies.

Ainsley signed with SHREDZ® in April of 2013. Signing that contract Ainsley says was one of the best things to ever happen to her, because now she is a part of something that’s much bigger than any single individual can be. She's part of a movement that's goal she fully endorses - helping the general public in reaching their health and fitness goals.

Ainsley Rodriguez got involved in bodybuilding after getting a taste for working out. “When I stepped into a gym and felt the adrenaline pump through my veins as my heart-rate rose, I knew I had found my true passion and I was hooked. What started off as a hobby, quickly turned into a habit, then a full-blown lifestyle.”

With over half of a million loyal followers on all of her social media platforms, Ainsley continues to push herself and motivate others on a daily basis. "I take tremendous pride in who I am as a person; I want to break the stereotype about bodybuilder women who lift weights."
Now she’s making a splash in fitness magazines, showing that abs are not just for guys!

Ainsley says Jaimie Eason is her biggest fitness influence. She is not only beautiful with an amazing physique but she is also a down to earth and a genuine person. I agree with her mindset one-hundred percent. Eating clean and maintaining a healthy body is a lifestyle, not an 'on-season /off-season' diet.

Ainsley's favorite quote is: "Obsessed is a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated."

You can follow Ainsley on: FacebookTwitterInstagramTumblr or on her Website

Ainsley's Prefered Workout Routine:

Monday: Shoulders/Abs
Barbell Shoulder Press 4 x 10
One Arm Side Laterals 4 x 8
Arnold Dumbbell Press 3 x 10
Front Dumbbell Raise 4 x 8
Push Ups (Until Failure)
Cable Crunches 4 x 20
Hanging Leg Raises 4 x 20
Roman Twists 4 x 20

Tuesday: Quads/Calves
Leg Extensions 4 x 8
Squats 5 x 6
Leg Press 4 x 8
Reverse Hack Squat 3x 10
Sissy Squats (Until failure)
Seated Calf Raises 4 x 20
Standing Calf Raises 4 x 20

Wednesday: Off (Rest Day)

Thursday: Arms
Barbell Curl 3 x 10
Tricep V-bar Pushdown 3 x 10
Hammer Curls 3 x 10
Dips 4 x 12
Preacher curls 3 x 10
Skull Crushers 3 x 10
Incline Dumbbell Curl 4 x 10
Diamond Pushups (Until failure)

Friday: Shoulders/Abs
Bent Over Low-Pulley Side Lateral
4 x 10
Reverse Fly’s 3 x 10
Seated Bent Over Rear Delt Raises 4 x 10
Planks 4 x hold 1 min
Side Bends 4 x 15
L-Sit 4 x hold 30 sec

Saturday: Hams/Glutes
Walking Lunges 4 x 12
Stiff Legged Deadlift 5 x 6
Lying Leg Curl 4 x 8
Cable Kick Back 4 x 10
Reverse Hyper Extension (until failure)

Sunday: Back/Calves
Bent Over Barbell Row 4 x 12
Wide Grip Pull Down 4 x 8
Seated Lat Row 4 x 10
One Arm Dumbbell Row 3 x 8
Seated Calf Raise 4 x 20
Standing Calf Raise 4 x 20

Friday, October 17, 2014

Before I became a Professional Footballer I worked as......?

Stuart Pearce MBE: 

Stuart 'Psycho' Pearce was born 24 April 1962 in Hammersmith, West London. After leaving school he failed a trial at Queens Park Rangers and then rejected an offer from Hull City, instead settling into a career in the non-league game with his local side, Wealdstone, while training and working as an electrician.

In 1983 Wealdstone received an unexpected offer of £30,000 (then a huge sum for a semi-professional player) for Pearce from then top-flight club Coventry City, managed by Bobby Gould, making his professional debut for Coventry immediately.

Two years later he was brought to Nottingham Forest by manager Brian Clough as the makeweight in a £300,000 deal which also saw Coventry's centre back Ian Butterworth move to Forest. Indeed, so unsure was Pearce of his footballing future that, after the transfer, he actually advertised his services as an electrician in Forest's match-day programme.

Pearce went on to spend 12 years at Forest, making over 400 appearances, most of them as club captain. After leaving Forest in 1997, Pearce had spells with Newcastle, West Ham and Manchester City. The last of his 78 England caps was in a goalless draw in Poland on 8 September 1999. Throughout his career he was given the nickname of "Psycho," for his unforgiving style of play. His autobiography, "Psycho" was released in 2001 and became a Sunday Times best seller.

Chris Waddle: 

Waddle was born 14 December 1960 in Felling, Tyne and Wear.
Waddle began his footballing career with Pelaw Juniors, moving on to Whitehouse SC, Mount Pleasant SC, HMH Printing, Pelaw SC, Leam Lane SC and Clarke Chapman before joining Tow Law Town before the start of the 1978–79 season.

While working in a sausage factory, Waddle had unsuccessful trials with Sunderland and Coventry City. He joined Newcastle United as a 19-year-old in July 1980 for £1,000.
He made his professional debut for them in a 2nd Division match against Shrewsbury Town on 22 October 1980.

During his professional career that lasted from 1978 to 1998, he played for clubs including Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Sheffield Wednesday, bradford, Sunderland and Burnley in England, and Olympique de Marseille in France.
Waddle racked up more than 650 club appearances during his career and won 62 caps for the England national football team between 1985 and 1991.

Rickie Lambert:

Lambert was born 16 February 1982 in Kirkby, Merseyside.
Lambert joined local club Liverpool as a youngster aged 10, but was released when he was 15.
Lambert tried out for non-league side Marine,before becoming a trainee with Blackpool in August 1998 at the age of 16. He made his professional debut on 7 August 1999 as a 17-year-old but was released by Steve McMahon in November 2000.

Lambert remained a free agent for almost four months, during which time he worked in a beetroot bottling plant to make ends meet, until he was signed by another Third Division club, Macclesfield Town in March 2001. Lambert then signed for Stockport in 2002, Rochdale in 2005 and joined Bristol Rovers in 2006.
On 10 August 2009, with a total of 155 appearances and 59 goals for Bristol Rovers, Lambert completed a move worth in excess of £1 million to League One club Southampton.

On 2 June 2014, aged 32, Lambert was confirmed as a Liverpool player, signing a two-year deal for an initial £4 million transfer fee. To date Lambert has made over 600 appearances at club level, scoring over 230 goals in all competitions, as well as making a goal scoring England debut in 2013 versus Scotland and appearing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer:

Born in Kristiansund, Møre og Romsdal, Norway Solskjær completed a year's national service in the Norwegian Army, before signing the same year with Norwegian Third Division side Clausenengen F.K. He moved to Norwegian Premier League Molde F.K. in 1994.

Solskjaer joined Manchester United on 29 July 1996, for a transfer fee of £1.5m. He will perhaps be best remembered as a "super-sub" having earned wide acclaim for a habit of coming into matches late on as a substitute and scoring goals.

The Norwegian went on to score the stoppage time winning goal against Bayern Munich in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final held in the Camp Nou in Barcelona, again after coming on as a substitute. Ferguson introduced Solskjaer into the fray with just 10 minutes of the game remaining with United trailing 1-0. announced his retirement from professional football on 27 August 2007. He made over 230 Solskjaer appearances for 'The Reds' scoring over 90 goals.

Dean Windass:

Windass was born in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire on 1 April 1969.
He started his footballing career as a YTS trainee at Hull City before being released by manager Brian Horton. He had unsuccessful trials at professional clubs Sunderland, Cambridge United, and York City and instead started playing for non-league North Ferriby United while also having to work on building sites and packing frozen peas.

Windass was brought back to Hull by manager Terry Dolan in October 1991, entering professional league football at the relatively late age of 22.

Windass who was often seen as a controversial player, once being sent off three times in a game for Aberdeen, once for foul play (having previously been booked), another for verbally abusing the referee and a third for taking out his frustration on a corner flag as he left the field – for which he received a six-match ban. Windass went on to make over 700 appearances for a number of clubs including Hull, Bradford, Aberdeen, Oxford United, Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Oldham Athletic.
He announced his retirement on 19 October 2009 after a brief spell at Darlington as player–assistant manager.

Peter Schmiechel MBE:

Peter Schmeichel MBE was born 18 November 1963 in Gladsaxe, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Before becoming a professional footballer, Schmeichel had to work a number of jobs to make ends meet. His first job came in the dyeing department of a textile factory, but his concerns with the factory's policy on safety eventually forced him to hand in his notice. He then spent 12 months as a cleaner at an old people's home, before taking up an office job with the World Wildlife Fund. He originally worked in the organisation's shops, but three weeks after he joined, the store manager quit and Schmeichel was promoted to the position of sales manager. Soon after, Schmeichel was called upon to do his four weeks of compulsory military service.
A job with his father-in-law's flooring firm came next, until he realised that his knees could not support his 15 stone frame for eight hours a day, and he was offered a job with the advertising firm. This was to be his last job outside football, as he was offered a contract with Brøndby in spring of 1987.

Manchester United bought him in 1991 for £505,000 and he went on to win ten major trophies in eight seasons. Schmeichel decided to leave English football at the end of the 1998–99 season, and he moved to Sporting Lisbon. Schmeichel returned to England with Aston Villa in July 2001. In 2002, Schmeichel completed a move to Manchester City. Schmeichel announced his retirement from football in April 2003.

Neville Southall MBE: 

During his teenage years he worked as a binman, waiter and hod carrier. As a teenager, Southall had unsuccessful trials at Wrexham, Crewe Alexandra and Bolton Wanderers.

After a number of years as a semi-professional and amateur player Southall joined Bury from Winsford United for a £6,000 fee in 1980, and turned professional in his early 20's. In his first season for Bury Southall kept 15 clean sheets in his 44 domestic appearances during the 1980-81 season, and was named as Bury's Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year.

He moved on to Everton for £150,000 in 1981.
Southall went on to make a club record 750 appearances for Everton in all competitionsr as well as 92 caps for Wales. His honours with the club include a European Cup Winners' Cup medal in 1985, a First Division championship medal in 1984–85 and 1986–87, an FA Cup winners medal in 1984 and 1995. In 1985 Southall was named 'The Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year.'

Southall played his final game for Everton on 29 November 1997, before going on to play for some lower league clubs including: Stoke, Doncaster and Torquay. He eventually hung up his gloves at the end of the 2000/01 season.

In August 2012, his autobiography 'The Binman Chronicles' was released. It was the sixth best selling football book of 2012.

Charlie Austin:

Born in Hungerford, Berkshire, Austin trained with Reading's youth teams as a youngster but was released for being too small. He subsequently played for local team Kintbury Rangers and his hometown side Hungerford Town. Moving with his family to Bournemouth, he then switched to nearby semi-professional Wessex League Premier Division team Poole Town while also working as a bricklayer.

Austin was offered a trial at Swindon Town in September 2009 and made his debut appearance for Swindon Town on 6 October in a 1–1 draw with Exeter in the 2009–10 Football League Trophy.
On 28 January 2011, Austin signed for Burnley. On 23 October 2012, Austin scored two goals in a win over Bristol City, and subsequently equalled Ray Pointer's club record of scoring in eight consecutive appearances, set in the 1958–59 season. Two weeks later, on 6 November 2012, Austin broke another Burnley record, as he became the quickest-ever player to reach 20 goals in a season after scoring in a 1–0 win over Leeds United — his 17th appearance of the season.

On 8 July 2013, a fee was agreed between Burnley and Premier League club Hull City for Austin. However, on 9 July 2013, Austin failed his medical and Hull pulled out of the deal.
Austin moved to Queens Park Rangers, on a three-year deal, on 1 August 2013.

Alan Pardew: 

Pardew was born 18 July 1961 in Wimbledon, South London. Pardew started his career as a part-time player in non-League football at Whyteleafe and Epsom and Ewell, whilst working as a glazier. At one stage he gave up football for six months whilst working in the Middle East, but he returned to football at Corinthian Casuals before later having spells at Dulwich Hamlet and Yeovil Town.

Pardew moved to Crystal Palace in 1987 for a fee of £7,500. In 1989, he helped Palace win promotion to the First Division after beating Blackburn in the play-offs. The following year, in 1990, he scored the winning goal as Palace memorably beat Liverpool 4–3 after extra-time in a thrilling FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park.
He then played in both the final and the final replay as Palace lost to Manchester United.
After playing more than 120 games for Palace, Pardew moved to South London rivals Charlton Athletic in November 1991. He went onto make over 100 appearances for 'The Addicks' before joining Barnet, and becoming a player-coach under manager Terry Bullivant in 1995. He finished his playing career with the North London outfit in 1997.

Since turning to management in March 1998 with Reading, Pardew has been involved in several controversial and high profile incidents over the years. During this time he has upset the FA, the BBC, abused numerous managers and rival fans and even assaulted a player!

In March and November 2006, Pardew had disputes with Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger.
In February 2007, shortly before Pardew's new club Charlton faced West Ham, Pardew 'jokingly' made several disparaging comments about West Ham's fans.
On the opening day of the 2012/13 Premier League season, Pardew, the Newcastle manager pushed an official after an incident where the ball appeared to go over the touchline, but the referee deemed it to still be in play.
In January 2014, during the Premier League match against Manchester City Pardew verbally abused opposition manager Manuel Pellegrini. After the initial skirmish Pardew was caught on Sky Sports television cameras calling Pellegrini "a fucking old cunt."
In March 2014 Pardew was sent to the stands after headbutting Hull City player David Meyler.

Bill Shankley OBE:

Shankly was born on 2 September 1913 in a small Ayrshire coal mining village, called Glenbuck, whose population in 1913, the year of Shankly's birth, was around 700.
After Shankly left school in 1928, he worked at a local mine alongside his brother Bob.
He did this for two years until the pit closed and he faced unemployment.

While Shankly was employed as a miner, he played football as often as possible. Shankly developed his skills to the point that he was unemployed for only a few months before Carlisle United signed him. He was invited for a month's trial and was signed after just one trial match for Carlisle's reserves against Middlesbrough reserves, even though Carlisle reserves lost the match 6–0. Shankly made his senior debut on 31 December 1932 in a 2–2 draw against Rochdale and made 16 appearances for the first team. Soon after the 1932–33 season ended, Shankly received a telegram from Carlisle United asking him to return as soon as possible, Arriving at Carlisle, he discovered that Preston North End were keen to sign him and had who had offered a fee of £500. The terms for Shankly personally were a fee of £50 plus a £10 signing-on fee and wages of five pounds a week. Shankly's initial reaction was that it was not enough and the deal nearly fell through, but Shankly's brother Alec pointed out to him that Preston were in the Second Division and a bigger club than Carlisle with the potential to regain First Division status. Shankley helped Preston win the FA Cup in 1937–38.

Shankly had just reached his 26th birthday when the Second World War began and the war claimed the peak years of his playing career. He joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) and managed to play in numerous wartime league, cup and exhibition matches for Norwich City, Arsenal, Luton Town and Partick Thistle, depending on where he was stationed. With the resumption of full League football again in the 1946–47 season, Shankly returned to Preston who held his registration, but he was now 33 and coming to the end of his playing days. By 1949, he was Preston's club captain but had lost his place in the first team, and had decided he wanted to become a coach. So when Carlisle United asked him to become their manager in March of that year, he retired as a player and accepted the job. Shankley went on to become Liverpool manager between 1959 and 1974, winning seven major trophies and often labelled as one of the greatest managers of all-time. On 29 September 1981, he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest, aged 68. Three days later his ashes were scattered on the Anfield pitch at the Kop end.

Neil Warnock:

Warnock was born 1 December 1948 in Sheffield, Yorkshire.
Previous to his football career, Neil enjoyed a number of different occupations, most notably his time as a qualified chiropodist, and a brief stint as a costume designer for a local theatre production.
He also had and fruit-and-veg stall in Sheffield market.

Warnock started his professional playing career with Chesterfield in 1967, before moving on to Rotherham United, Hartlepool United, Scunthorpe United, Aldershot, Barnsley, York City and Crewe Alexandra, scoring 36 goals in 327 career league appearances. He retired in 1979 at just 30 to move into coaching.

Like many sportsmen and managers, Neil Warnock is highly superstitious and has revealed many bizarre rituals including stopping at all traffic lights following a win regardless of whether they're red or green, watching the Sean Bean film 'When Saturday Comes' the day before a big match, using the same razorblade, only urinating when he has held on for as long as possible and remaining in the dressing room after the players have left to play.

He is currently in his second spell as first-team manager of Premier League side Crystal Palace, having previously being managed the South London club between 2007-10.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Biggest Traitors in Football History

Loyalty is a dubious word in the world of football.

When a player transfers to a club in the same league, there's always the possibility of
friction and slight bad feeling. Often when the two teams then face each other, fans of the previous club boo their old boy, but generally get bored after a while. Then there are the transfers that incense fans for years, betrayals that they never get over. Even then there are the players that do it not once, but twice!

Here I look at some of the biggest traitorous players in football history:

William Gallas:

A player that has played for all big clubs in London and is one of, if not the biggest traitor in European football.

Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri bought Gallas from Marseille in 2001 for £6.2 million.
Once playing for Chelsea, Gallas was used in a deal to bring Ashley Cole to Stamford Bridge, and so he went to North London and joined Arsenal in 2006.

Gallas, a combustible character, lost the captaincy to Kolo Touré following his bizarre post-match sulk at Birmingham in February 2008. He ended up kicking lumps out of the advertising boards and sitting on the pitch in protest (right) after Arsenal drew with Birmingham, in a match that would ultimately end their title dreams.

In 2010 contract talks with Arsenal broke down when the Gunners felt that the contractual demands made by Gallas were unreasonable and not made in good faith.
It was reported that such demands included an £80,000 a week pay cheque, which Arsenal couldn't afford to pay him. As a result the Frenchman decided it would be a good move to join fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur managed at the time by Harry Redknapp.

Robin van Persie:

The Gunners' hero was smashing in the goals in his first great season in his 8 years at Arsenal after spending most of the first 7 years on the injury list.
This was a big part of the reason Arsenal fans were incensed when the Dutchman decided to join rivals Manchester United in 2012, after the North London club had stood by him in his injury plagued years.

The striker joined up with Manchester United for an initial £22.5 million with an additional £1.5 million to follow if United won a Premier League or Champions League title within the next four years. In his first season he fired United to their 20th Premier League title, scoring 26 league goals in the process, further aggravating Arsenal's fans.

Roberto Baggio: 

The former Italian forward made an unforgivable switch back in 1990 - from Fiorentina to Juventus.
Back then he was sold for €10m - a world-record fee at the time - but soon after the transfer, there were full scale riots on the streets of Florence where fifty people were injured.
Baggio replied to his fans, saying: "I was compelled to accept the transfer."

When Baggio played for Juventus against Fiorentina on 7 April 1991, he refused to take a penalty, and when substituted he picked up a Fiorentina scarf (right) thrown onto the field by fans and kissed it, a gesture which, although was appreciated by his former Fiorentina fans, caused outrage amongst the Juventus supporters.
Baggio claimed: "Deep in my heart I am always purple," the colour of Fiorentina.

Sol Campbell:

When playing for Tottenham Hotspur, Sol Campbell earned himself a reputation as a great footballer. After almost a decade with Tottenham, Sol Campbell became one of the most hated men in the club’s history when he left for Arsenal in 2001.

Campbell was labelled 'Judas' by the Spurs fans, and rightly so. The England international defender was looking to play European football which was fair enough, with several top continental clubs expressing an interest. Tottenham offered him a new contract which would have made him the club's highest paid player ever, but after months of negotiations and several public assurances that he would stay at Spurs,

Arsenal proceeded to sign him on a free transfer. This left Spurs fans feeling angry and betrayed after losing a top player for nothing to their biggest rivals.
Campbell had previously stated in an interview with Spurs Monthly magazine that he would never play for Arsenal.

Campbell went onto became a part of Arsenal's 'Invincibles' team of 2003/04 and scored in the 2006 Champions League final against Barcelona.

Emmanuel Adebayor: 

The controversial striker really doesn't help himself when it comes to his popularity. After scoring 30 goals in a season for Arsenal, he demanded that his wages were doubled. When they were, he proceeded to underperform and then jumped ship for a big money move to Manchester City in 2009. 

Booed and jeered hugely by the Arsenal fans throughout his first encounter with the Gunners since his move, he scored a goal and ran the length of the pitch to slide in front of the Arsenal fans (right) in his famously idiotic, yet brilliant celebration.
To ensure Arsenal fans would despise him even further, the Togo international then joined North London rivals Spurs in 2011, showing a shocking lack of loyalty to the club that brought him to English football.

Luis Figo:

The Portuguese man was hugely popular at Barcelona before making his controversial switch across the El Classico to rivals Real Madrid in 2000. This caused uproar in the Barcelona fan base, with the some Barcelona fans showing their anger at his traitorous transfer by throwing a pig's head at him when he played in his first El Classico lining up for Madrid. He played for five years at both clubs, although fans of the Catalans only remember their anger at his departure.

Ashley Cole: 

Whether he was tapped-up or not will never really be proved, but the left-back was branded 'Cashley' by angry Arsenal fans after his move from North London to rivals Chelsea in 2006. He was said to be "trembling with anger" when Arsenal offered him a mere £55k per week, so he decided to jump ship to earn £90k per week at London rivals Chelsea. His wage increased to £120,000 a week when he signed a new contract in September 2009.
To be fair, his move did pay off, both in terms of trophies won, and his bank balance.

Never one to be out of the limelight Cole (right) married Cheryl Tweedy in 2006 in a flamboyant wedding ceremony, before her split from the philandering footballer and their subsequent divorce in 2010.

Cesc Fabregas:

Another former Arsenal player, Cesc Fabregas returned to the Premier League this summer after a three-year spell with Barcelona, but decided on a move to the Gunners’ London rivals Chelsea, rather than returning to the Emirates Stadium.

Fabregas had spent eight years at Arsenal between 2003 and 2011, so his move to Chelsea left many 'Gooners' feeling gutted.

Kenny Miller:

If there's one rivalry that can rival the intensity of El Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona, it's the Old Firm derby between Rangers and Celtic.

Given the rich political history behind the rivalry, that goes back well over 100 years, most players know that that is one rivalry you do not want to mess with.

The Scot crossed one of the biggest rivalry's in European football when he betrayed Rangers and joined fierce rivals Celtic in 2006. But this was not the end of his treachery, after spells in English football with Wolves and Derby, he then incredibly made the move back to Rangers in 2008.

He then left Rangers again in 2011 to play abroad, before re-signing for the blue half of Glasgow for a third time in June 2014 - to top off what was a shocking lack of loyalty.


Without a doubt Ronaldo was of the greatest footballers of all time, but he showed a complete lack of loyalty to any of his clubs.

Although, unlike some of the aforementioned men, he never transferred directly from one rival to another, he is the only player to have represented both Real Madrid and Barcelona, and Inter and AC Milan. The fact he was ridiculously good for all four clubs meant he was never victimised as much as most may have been.

The last move of his career is probably what puts him at number one; after training with Flamengo whilst recovering from knee surgery in 2009, he turned down a new contract offer to go play for arch rivals Corinthians.

Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski:

Götze, the German World Cup winning midfielder joined Borussia Dortmund at the age of eight and made his Bundesliga debut on 21 November 2009. After spending four seasons at Dortmund, winning two Bundesliga titles and playing in a UEFA Champions League final he moved to arch rivals Bayern Munich in the summer of 2013, after the German champions activated his release clause of €37 million.

Lewandowski, the Polish international joined Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2010. Having played in the same successful Dortmund team as Götze, Lewandowski followed his former team-mate to Bayern Munich just a year later, leaving Dortmund fans' and boss Jürgen Klopp angry and frustrated feeling Bayern Munich is that school house bully who buys from other German clubs.

Jürgen Klopp put all his efforts in making them the most talented striker and midfielder and then they just left. The way the move happened is what hurts the fans the most. Although, there is no one denying the fact that they both helped Borussia Dortmund win the Bundesliga and reach the Champions league final, the fact remains that they were still indebted to the club and the fans for making them the players they are today.

Borussia Dortmund's much sort after attacking midfielder Marco Reus - former team-mate of both of Götze and Lewandowski has this message for them both and FC Bayern Munich --------------------------->

From what it seems money rules football and it seems that the fundamental thumb rule is show the players some money and all loyalty will be tossed aside. The very essence of loyalty and playing for the club seems lost now.