I have precious little to look at across the many football websites this morning. One of the top stories on BBC Sport is of Titus Bramble suggesting he may or may not leave Sunderland. Reading that news fails to titillate me. Could there be a worse transfer story? Read more
It is quite staggering just how much change has happened in the Premier League over the past few days. Tony Pulis has "mutually" walked away from Stoke City, which actually means he was sacked without ceremony by Peter Coates. Arsenal have been linked with any striker that has a Read more
Do you wanna know why I typed that in caps lock? Because Tony Pulis has "mutually walked away from Stoke City after chairman Peter Coates sacked him for a sh*t run of results." There's nothing "mutual" about Pulis' departure, he's been sacked. Why? Because Stoke City have stagnated Read more
Real Madrid have officially announced what we've all been expecting since about November: Jose Mourinho is leaving Real Madrid after three years in charge, in which time he won the league and Copa Del Rey. Mourinho will take charge for the final time against Osasuna on June 1st, Read more
The contrasting situations between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the end of 90 minutes on Sunday, spoke volumes for the importance of Champions League football.
On the one hand, Arsenal celebrated as if they had lifted a trophy, for which they have been criticised for. "Fourth is not a trophy, this just Read more
Shinji Kagawa – The hottest Japanese export since Pokémon.
Having watched ‘The Dictator’ last week, I purchased ‘Borat’ and ‘Bruno’ from HMV, just to see what all the fuss is about. I’ve not watched Borat yet, but I can honestly say that Bruno is by far the worst film I’ve ever watched in my life. Wow. Honestly, I still have brain cells plotting escape routes out of my ears.
Me watching Bruno, of course, is totally unrelated to what this post is about, I just felt I needed to get that off of my chest. This morning, we’ll be talking more transfer news due to the lull there has been from the England camp, which is a positive sign if I’m brutally honest. Actually, browsing on Twitter this morning, I read a tweet from Christian Machowski who detailed the German national team’s guidelines for Euro 2012. The German team have been told that beer and wine is okay, smoking allowed, wives to visit team hotel after matches and curfew is after 23.00. All of that freedom, something our recent England sides haven’t had the luxury of. Personally I think the monotony of training, travelling and waiting for matches needs to be broken up by allowing such freedom. Hopefully Roy Hodgson is a bit more lenient to his squad than Fabio Capello. Read more
I went to see ‘The Dictator’ last night with Sacha Baron Cohen, (the film featured Cohen, I didn’t go to the cinema with him, obviously) and if you want my advice, steer clear of his latest outrageous attempt at comedy. Yes, there are some real, ’tilt your head back and laugh out loud’ moments, but the rest consists of an hour or more of the audience not knowing whether to laugh or not at attempts of comedy relating to rape and 9/11. I know Cohen has meant for ‘The Dictator’ to be outrageous, but come on, there are social boundaries.
As well as that, the till service at Chesterfield was beyond sh*t. If you live in that area, take my advice and take a packed lunch just for queuing, otherwise you risk death by malnourishment. Read more
So, this is what the end of the season feels like. It’s Tuesday and I’m scrapping round the bottom of a barrell for news. Thankfully, we have an England friendly to run the rule over on Saturday, but, until then, it’s fishing for interesting scraps on NewsNow.
First on this morning’s agenda, the supremely talented Japanese midfielder, Shinji Kagawa, has head a price of £16 million put on his head. With twelve months left on Kagawa’s current deal with Borussia Dortmund, I actually find that £16 million to be fairly reasonable for a player who would attract offers of twice that in today’s market.
Jurgen Klopp snapped up Kagawa for £300,000 from Cerezo Osaka in the summer of 2010 and in his maiden Bundesliga season, scored eight goals and assisted one, having also scored seven for Cerezo Osaka in the J-League before joining Die Schwarz-Gelben. A leg break whilst on international duty with Japan cut Kagawa’s season short and in the 2011/12 campaign, Kagawa picked up where he had left off for Dortmund, scoring thirteen and assisting eight as Dortmund lifted their second consecutive league title, also claiming the double this season after a crushing 5-2 victory over Bayern Munich.
With twelve months left on his deal, Dortmund, naturally, will be trying all they can to sign Kagawa to a new, long-term deal and now is the best time for another of Europe’s big guns to test Dortmund’s resolve should a high bid be made for the Japanese midfielder. Arsenal and Manchester United have been heavily linked with Kagawa in the past few weeks and whilst Kagawa is negotiating his new contract, now is the perfect time for interested parties to launch a bid.
Personally, I don’t think we’ll be seeing Kagawa on English shores, or Spanish, or even Italian for that matter. Kagawa will stay put at Dortmund, I don’t see him leaving. With the signing of Marco Reus and tying down of Mario Goetze to a new contract, it’s clear players are dying to be a part of what is happening in Dortmund, there’s something special happening there and I don’t envision Kagawa not being a part of that.
In a little more transfer news, I’ll touch again on what I said yesterday, that Didier Drogba should not be handed a new Chelsea contract.
Next March, Drogba will turn 35 and if Drogba were to be offered the two year extension on his contract he so craves, Drogba will leave Chelsea as a 37 year old striker. To give somebody so old a two year deal, on the money quoted in the tabloids, would be disastrous.
Top teams are no longer afraid of Drogba in the capacity they once were. Of course, teams still hold a great deal of respect for Drogba, but it’s no longer that same, all consuming fear people once felt about facing Drogba. As an Arsenal fan who has been used to Drogba ripping Arsenal apart, I’ve not felt ‘scared’ of Drogba over the past two years. Drogba is on a physical decline, physicality being such an important factor of the Ivorian’s game.
Drogba has scored five Premier League goals this season in 24 appearances, in what has been Chelsea’s worst league finish for nearly a decade. I appreciate that Drogba scored the important goals for Chelsea this season, with one in the FA Cup Final and the decisive goals in the Champions League Final, but actually getting to major finals with a striker losing his powers is going to be difficult for Chelsea. Chelsea have finished in sixth place this season, is that really good enough? A league season is a true reflection of a team’s quality and sixth place provides evidence to the theory that Chelsea need to get shot of Drogba.
For me, I’d unleash Fernando Torres. With a run of games under his belt, I fully believe Torres will become the striker Chelsea fans expected when he first arrived at Stamford Bridge. At 28, Torres has plenty more gas in the tank.
Chelsea need to scrap the value of sentiment and consider the value of goals scored, and Drogba is a player not delivering his weight in goals anymore. Time to shift him on.
As I said in my guest article last month which resulted in a rant about FIFA, I originally planned to do a Cult Heroes article. Now, as FIFA is all nice and lovely, with all corruption a thing of the past and the fascist dictatorship of Sepp Blatter consigned to history*, here it is!
Everyone has their favourite footballer, with Lionel Messi being a particularly popular and therefore unoriginal choice at the moment. The main problem with Messi is that he’s actually quite good, and liking a player because they’re good is just plain boring. The best choices are the ones with a bit of flair, a bit of charisma! (Who aren’t Cristiano Ronaldo)
Here is are my XI players that form a team which are world class when it comes to womanising, fishing with serial killers, mental hair and just pure comedy. Or, as they shall forever be remembered, legends.
Some of them are quite good, some not so, but any one of them would make a far better pundit for Sky than Gary ‘My dad’s more of a legend than me because I’ve got a pathetic attempt at a moustache, even at the age of 36, whereas he’s got the gangsta name of Neville Neville’ Neville.
*As much as we would like it to be, his may not be true.
In a kind of bodged together 4-4-2 formation to make them all fit in:
People talk about Gordon Banks’ save from Pele as the greatest ever, but those people are just wrong. How anyone can look past Rene Higuita’s scorpion kick against England at Wembley is beyond me. Yes, ok it was only a friendly, and from a Jamie Redknapp shot, but other than that it’s just perfect in every way. Another fun Higuita fact, he has scored more international goals than Emile Heskey, who doesn’t make this team, but may have a stint in the ‘Donkey XI’ if I ever get round to it.
The Psycho himself. A Nottingham Forest and England legend, and captain for both, that earned his nickname for his unforgiving style of play, and going a bit mental on the pitch. There needs to be more footballers like him! As a player of course, as managing is proving a slightly more challenging. And no, don’t blame Jack and Andy for the under 21’s!
He’s the man we want all our footballers to be like ain’t he? Not these poncey foreigners that don’t like it up ‘em, dive like a Daley and hate nothing more than a cold, rainy away fixture in Stoke. Nah, we want them to get there head smashed in, put on a bandage and play on in their blood soaked shirt! There’s a bit o’ old English grit and passion I tell ya! Forever a hero.
Mr Arsenal, the player who defined a club. That was back when they actually used to win stuff of course. But the crowning moment has to be his goal against Everton in the game that won the league title in 1998.
“Adams put through by Bould, would you believe it!”
Sends shudders down my spine. Anyway enough of that, he was a raging alcoholic that once shat himself in a bar. That’s why he makes this list.
Is he a footballer? Well yeah, and he’s quite good at it I guess, but really? Are you sure he’s not Sideshow Bob? Not even in the lookalike contest at Butlins? Rumour has it he spends his weekends dressed as said Simpsons character and works as a male stripper at clown themed Hen-do’s. Tis true I tell you.*
*Again, may not be true.
The original, and always the best, playboy footballer. And also the provider of one of my favourite ever quotes:
“I spent 90% of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted”
Bravo to you sir.
Certainly one of the greatest players to every grace the game, but it’s the off the pitch antics which really give him that cult status. He just seemed to do everything in a far classier way than modern day footballers do now. Messrs Terry and Cole I’m looking at you here.
Again, one of the most gifted players of his generation. However, also an absolute lunatic. Yes he beat his wife and that was quite bad, but we can look past that can’t we? I mean any man that goes up to a police stand-off with a serial killer, absolutely off his face, armed with beer, chicken and a fishing rod deserves our respect right? And he did release a single, ‘Fog on the Tyne’? And he scored that goal against Scotland at Wembley? Yeah we can forgive him a bit of domestic violence. He also cried once, putting him in that ‘shows a bit of English passion’ bracket with Mr Terence Butcher up there. We do love passion don’t we?
He’s one of the ‘He ain’t that good, but he’s funny, so we like him’ footballers. Always a down to Earth lad, his commercial for ‘Wash & Go’ has to go down as one of the greatest adverts (and worst) ever. Also the goal celebration parodying Phil Brown’s half time rant on the pitch has to go down as one of the greatest celebrations. Thank you for bringing a bit of humour and personality to modern day footballers. Note to RioFerdy5 here, I don’t consider #stayonyourfeet humour. #oooff #justsayin. Twitterers will understand.
Here we have a man, part of Wimbledon’s famed ‘Crazy Gang’, that’s capitalised on his hard man image by moving into Hollywood, and snapping up every role that requires an ‘ard English gangster that doesn’t talk much. (I know he played for Wales, but let’s be honest, he’s English. He was born in Watford, to English parents.) He also once managed to get himself booked inside 5 seconds, very impressive if I may say so myself.
Thank you Vinnie, It’s been emotional.
I put him in this team for one reason, and one reason alone. THAT Kung-Fu kick against that Crystal Palace fan. I could honestly watch that all day long, as well as this man here of course. A kung-fu kick so glorious, it was well worth the 8 month suspension and £30,000 fine. He followed this up in a press conference by using the slightly bizarre expression:
“When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much.”
I don’t know what that means Eric, but I completely agree.
Roger Milla found fame at the ripe old age of 38 with his showing for Cameroon at the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Here he became known not only for his four goals, including one gifted to him by his very own cult hero team mate, Rene Higuita (Got a good team-spirit going on here), but also for his elaborate celebrations. He became known for his trademark dance when he scored a goal, and from there on in set the blueprint for the celebration of every goal scored by an African ever since. He was also named by Pele himself as one of the 125 greatest footballers of all time, which is nice.
Good. Morning. I feel like a group of Monkeys are bashing about in my head with tiny cymbals. Oh well, onwards and upwards!
In today’s first lot of fair-sized news; Barcelona have had a bid for Villareal striker, Giuseppe Rossi, rejected. The first thing that sprung to my mind when I read this, was that Barcelona fell way short of Villareal’s £26 million asking price, then it also occurred to me that for such a sum, David Villa may well find himself a casualty of this move.
I know I can hear you bashing your head against a desk as you read that, but hear me out! David Villa will turn 30 this year, an age which traditionally sparks a downward spiral in form, something Barcelona can’t afford to happen in a paper-thin squad such as their own. For example, if Villa were to lose form mid-season, who would replace him? Names such as Jeffren, Victor Vazquez and Oriol Romeu won’t ring many bells amongst you, well, maybe Jeffren aside and he looks to be on his way out. You’ll notice I excluded Bojan out of that small list of strikers, though purely because he looks to be going to AS Roma, though even if he were to stay, he doesn’t look to have made much progress since his debut in 2007.
With age, also comes a diminishing of transfer fee and as Barcelona spent a whopping £30 million on him, I’d like to re-coup as much of that as possible before Villa brings no worth. Signing Giuseppe Rossi would offer a young replacement, who plays in a very similar fashion to Villa, with plenty of time left in his career to make money back on. Add the fact that David Villa could still bring in about £25 million, then Barcelona could add back-up to their forward line, such as Fredi Kanoute, who could act like Henrik Larsson did in his time at Barcelona. It should also not be forgotten that Barcelona have young Brazilian sensation, Keirrison, to return from loan spells elsewhere in Europe, a player they spent £14 million on.
Finally, the receeding of Villa’s talent is already in process. Stats over the past three seasons show a decline in productivity, as having scored 28 goals in the 2008/09 season with Valencia, Villa’s goal count dropped to 21 in the 2009/10 campaign, while only 18 goals were scored last term for Barcelona.
Finally, Borussia Dortmund have signed another young starlet from an obscure league, having secured the services of Mustafa Amini on a four year deal from. The 18 year old Australian, currently playing for Central Coast Mariners is an attacking midfielder by trade and this deal echoes the one Dortmund made for Japanese sensation, Shinji Kagawa, who cost about the same as the reported £220,000 fee for Amini.
Having only played one season, many would think Amini offers a pretty big risk for Dortmund, but an 18 year old talent signed for under a million is a very good deal and considering that Amini would be loaned back to Central Coast Mariners anyway, Dortmund will see him playing in their famous yellow when he’s developed a little more, so everyone would seem to be a winner.
There’s even a YouTube clip of the bush-haired Ozzie…
I’d sign purely on the strength of his hair style, though that would answer the question as to why I’m not a football manager.
Okay, so quite a controversial topic today and I was in two minds as to whether right it or not – a predicament which leads me right into the subject.
Why should this subject be so ‘taboo’? Well, the basis of this story came about after I read a blog on the BBC on Anton Hysen – a 20 year old left-sided midfield player, playing for Utsiktens BK who ply their trade in the fourth tier of Swedish football. On his coming out as openly homosexual, Hysen has been ‘rewarded’ for being open about who he is and has been invited to a host of parties, guest TV appearances, he receives gifts from fans and has been invited to the Eurovision song contest, which he claims to hate. Now, he’s not the only one bemused by being ‘awarded’ for his sexuality, as I too am thoroughly confused by it. Read more