Dienstag, 28. September 2010

FA charge Holloway

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association after confronting referee Mike Dean in the tunnel following the 2-1 loss to Blackburn on Saturday.

The Seasiders' boss was furious Brett Emerton's injury-time winner was allowed to stand despite a suspicion of offside and what he felt was a foul on Gary Taylor-Fletcher in the build-up.

Under the FA's new fast-track procedures, Holloway has until Friday to respond to the charge.

source:PA Sports

Deschamps claims Liverpool interest

Marseille boss Didier Deschamps has revealed Liverpool approached him about replacing Rafael Benitez at Anfield in the summer.

The former France captain, whose side face his old team Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday night, made the admission at the pre-match press conference on the eve of the game. Liverpool eventually appointed Fulham's Roy Hodgson during the close season but Deschamps, who led Marseille to the French title last season, revealed they also approached him.

"I was very proud a club like Liverpool were interested in me," he said. "But the timing was not good."

source: PA sports

Freitag, 24. September 2010

Arsenal post impressive figures

Arsenal have announced record pre-tax profits of £56million and that they have paid off all the debt on their Highbury Square development.

The figures for the year ending May 31, 2010 show pre-tax group profits rose by £10.5million compared to the previous year.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: "The group has made good progress in the last year and I am excited by the opportunities we have in front of us."

source: PA Sports

Donnerstag, 23. September 2010

Can European soccer learn from NFL on team parity?

The NFL prides itself on ‘parity’, on the competitive balance between different clubs being close, ensuring that games are tightly-fought contests and that as many teams as possible start the season with some sort of chance of making the Super Bowl.
Looking at the start to this season, with surprise results and with unfancied teams such as Houston and Tampa making bright starts, the balance is very healthy.
There are a number of mechanisms in place in the NFL to ensure that an elite group of winners and a desperate group of losers do not form. The salary cap which makes sure that cash doesn’t talk too much and the draft, which gives the lowest ranked team the first pick of the best college talent, are the two most obvious means by which the NFL ensures that things stay interesting.
On the surface at least, it seems a remarkably socialist system for a profit-orientated American sports league to have in place. Money and talent is spread around equally to ensure that there is a healthy equality. It hardly seems appropriate for a society that prides itself, in theory at least, on being a free-market capitalist system, with choice and opportunity prioritized above fairness and equality.
Not only does the NFL limit the ability of owners to spend their way to success, it also saves teams from failure. Unlike in most sports leagues in the world, there is no relegation for weak teams — no punishment for being bad. Indeed the draft system is almost a little welfare-state style form of assistance.
In contrast, Premier League soccer in England (or Serie A in Italy or La Liga in Spain for that matter) operates the most laissez-faire style of capitalism you could imagine. If you are a young Russian billionaire or a Saudi businessman with cash to spare (or an American NFL owner for that matter) you can buy a team and assemble the best players and coaches that your money can buy. No-one will tell you how much you can pay your staff or how much you can blow on transfer fees.
The result of allowing that disparity has been that since Blackburn Rovers won the English title in 1995 only three clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have finished champions. In that same period 12 teams, over a third of the NFL, have won the Lombardi Trophy.
Spain, with Barcelona and Real Madrid and Italy with AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus, are similarly dominated by a small number of wealthy clubs with most of the teams beginning the year knowing that they have virtually no chance of winning the competition they are involved in. Throughout Europe, clubs are in huge debt despite lucrative television and sponsorship deals.
So is there something that European soccer can learn from the NFL? I believe there is, even if one has to acknowledge that there will always be some very big differences between the way top professional leagues are organized in North America and Europe.
There is no way that European fans would accept no promotion or relegation between the leagues and likewise it is hard to imagine a return of the old maximum wage rule that once kept wages down in English football and there will obviously never be a draft system.
But an overall salary cap for each team would go some way to allowing the challenging clubs to have a realistic chance of getting their hands on the title and would weaken the grip of elite clubs. That would surely create more compelling matches and better overall competition in the main European leagues.
But would it ever happen?

Liverpool manager apologies

An apologetic Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has admitted their Carling Cup exit to Northampton is another setback in an up-and-down season so far.

The npower League Two side, the lowest-placed club in the competition, recovered from Milan Jovanovic's ninth-minute goal to lead 2-1 with goals from Billy McKay and Michael Jacobs with just four minutes of extra-time remaining. David Ngog nicked a headed equaliser but the Cobblers prevailed 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out.

"All I can do is congratulate Northampton and apologise to everyone," he said. "We wanted to do well in the Carling Cup and we haven't done."

source: PA Sports

Mittwoch, 22. September 2010

Mexico banned Vela and Jaurez for six months

Mexico duo Carlos Vela and Efrain Juarez have been handed six-month bans by their national federation and 11 other players fined for allegedly throwing a party at a team hotel following a friendly against Colombia earlier this month.

The sanctions were announced by national team director Nestor de la Torre, who told a press conference that Arsenal forward Vela and Celtic midfielder Juarez violated four rules from the federation's code of conduct after the 1-0 win in Monterrey.

De la Torre said: "Carlos Vela and Efrain Juarez will be suspended for six months from the date of these events [September 8], for calls for the national team, because there were faults in four sections of the national team rules."

source: PA Sports

Dirk Kuyt to return sooner than expected

Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt is on course to return sooner than expected from a shoulder injury.

The 30-year-old sustained the problem on international duty just over a fortnight ago and was expected to be out of action for a month. However, manager Roy Hodgson believes the Dutchman could be selected in Saturday's squad to face Sunderland or feature on next week's Europa League trip to Kuyt's former club Utrecht.

"Dirk has trained the last couple of days," said Hodgson. "We're trying to protect him a little bit but he's made a remarkable recovery, so it'll be interesting to see how he progresses on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in relation to Saturday's game and the game next Thursday."

source:PA Sports

Wenger fined and banned

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has accepted a charge of improper conduct and an £8,000 fine by the Football Association following his actions at the end of the Barclays Premier League match with Sunderland on Saturday.

He will serve a one-match touchline ban at Tuesday night's Carling Cup third-round clash at Tottenham.

The Gunners boss was fuming after his side conceded a dramatic equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time at the Stadium of Light, which denied them the chance to go top of the table. Wenger appeared to sarcastically pat fourth official Martin Atkinson on the back as Bent's goal came some 15 seconds after the allotted four minutes which had been displayed, and was also critical in his post-match comments.

source: PA Sports

Dienstag, 21. September 2010

Fabregas optimistic about injury

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas expects to be back in action in two weeks, according to his Twitter account.

The Spain midfielder suffered the injury as he scored in bizarre circumstances at Sunderland on Saturday, the ball being kicked at him by Black Cats defender Anton Ferdinand and looping into the net from 40 yards.

But he told his official Twitter account, cesc4official: "Good news on my injury. I have some fluid but nothing bad in the muscle. I hope I can be playing in two weeks."

source: PA Sports

Montag, 20. September 2010

Coyle reveals Clarets bond

Bolton boss Owen Coyle claims he would never have left Burnley last season if his decision had been governed purely by emotion.

Coyle, who got the Clarets promoted to the Barclays Premier League in 2009, departed Turf Moor in January to take over at Wanderers. The 44-year-old makes his first return to the stadium on Tuesday night when the two sides meet in the Carling Cup third round.

"If it was just down to emotion, and emotion alone, I would never have left Burnley," Coyle said.

source:PA Sports

No break for Messi

Barcelona playmaker Lionel Messi suffered ligament damage to his right ankle but no break after being injured in Sunday night's Primera Division game with Atletico Madrid.

Messi was stretchered off following a late challenge by Tomas Ujfalusi in the 2-1 win at the Vicente Calderon, an incident that saw the Atletico defender sent off.

Messi will undergo more tests on Monday determine the full extent of the injury but, according to the Barca website, the first examinations of the Argentinian's ankle showed just ligament damage.

source: PA Sports

Berbatov scores hat-trick

Dimitar Berbatov chose the perfect moment to finally endear himself to the Old Trafford crowd on Sunday with a superb hat-trick that earned Manchester United a much-needed 3-2 victory over fierce rivals Liverpool.

The mercurial Bulgarian, whose Premier League career has been peppered with sporadic moments of brilliance at both United and former club Tottenham Hotspur, began the new season under pressure to find consistency and, most importantly, the back of the net.

Seven goals in six games suggest the United number nine is intent on ticking both boxes this time around.

Ever since swapping Spurs for United back in September 2008 for a reported 23.4 million pounds, Berbatov has split opinion among British media and Premier League fans.

A total of 26 goals in his first two seasons with United would normally be seen as a steady start but too often Berbatov attracted criticism for a poor contribution in matches where he was not finding the net.

Questions were asked about the 29-year-old’s languid playing style, which can be interpreted as genius when he is at his best but quickly morphs into disinterest and laziness when he fails to make any impact. His ability to create a useful partnership with United and England talisman Wayne Rooney has also been under scrutiny.

This season though has begun very differently. Berbatov, fresher after deciding to retire from international soccer and sporting a new trim and tidy haircut, seems intent on being the all-round striker Alex Ferguson’s side need if they are to successfully topple champions Chelsea.

He has also provided the all-important goals lacking from an out-of-sorts Rooney distracted by problems in his personal life.

“There was a lot of criticism of him (Berbatov) last season from the media – it happens when we buy someone for a lot of money, that’s the way of the world,” Ferguson told reporters after Sunday’s win at Old Trafford.

“But this season he has started off in the right fashion. He was good in pre-season and on tour and has carried it on. There has never been any doubt about the quality of the man.”

His second on Sunday – a brilliantly crafted overhead kick worthy of an Eric Cantona flick-up of the collar – shows just what is on offer from the Bulgarian, equally clever in his link-up play with fellow team mates.

United fans will be hoping they can savour many more ‘Berba’ moments as the season unfolds.

Sonntag, 19. September 2010

Royal Bank of Scotland to push Hicks and Gillet into letting go of Liverpool

Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett’s beleaguered stint as the owners of Liverpool could be ending as soon as next month in the wake of Royal Bank of Scotland moving the club’s loans into its toxic-assets unit.

The owners were given until 6 October to refinance their own personal loans, however that date is quickly looking like it will be the end to Hicks and Gillett’s reign over Liverpool. RBS’s decision to move the co-owners’ debts to its Global Restructuring Group are being heralded as a clear sign that the loans will not be extended to the duo.

A previous attempt to refinance all debts in June by Hicks and Gillett failed when the club’s board declined their offer to secure their loans against US-based assets. Now with the move of the co-owners’ loans to RBS’s “bad bank”, the lender has made it clear that it is taking a firmer stance with the American club owners.

According to an insider source, the loans have been removed from the corporate banking department and placed into the Global Restructuring Group. Analysts have speculated that RBS will look to sell England’s most successful football club soon after the 6 October deadline has passed. Many believe the bank will seek to offer the club at a discount price in order to sell it more quickly.

According to account books for the club dating to July 2009, Hicks and Gillett owe RBS £237.4m. Additionally, the two American owners are personally liable for tens of millions of pounds in debt through other various commitments made to the bank and the club through companies based both in the UK and overseas. Last year, the owners were reported as owing £145.3m, but it is forecasted that this year’s refinancing five months ago significantly increased that amount.

source: moo news

Messi’s legacy assured in 10 years at Barcelona

Ten years ago to the day, Lionel Messi stepped off a plane in Barcelona as a scrawny 13-year-old blessed with extraordinary gifts but in need of a big break.

The club’s decision to take a chance on the kid from Rosario and pay for costly treatment for a growth hormone deficiency turned out to be one of the best decisions they or any other club have taken. According to Barcelona legend, his first contract was signed on a paper napkin after Carles Rexach, then Barca’s youth team coach, was persuaded here was a player he could not afford to let slip away.

A decade on and Messi is, in the eyes of almost everyone, the world’s best player and Barca fans should celebrate Sept. 17 like La Diada de Sant Jordi. Consider the achievements:

*Earned his senior debut at the age of 16 in a friendly against Porto in November 2003.

*Led Argentina to glory at the 2005 World Youth Championship in Netherlands, scoring two penalties in a 2-1 final victory over Nigeria.

*Made his debut for Argentina in a friendly against Hungary in August 2005, the same opponents compatriot Diego Maradona made his debut against as a 16-year-old. Messi though was sent off less than a minute after going on as a substitute, for elbowing a defender who had pulled his shirt.

*Led Argentina to the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and came second in the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year vote behind Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo.

*In May 2009 he helped Barcelona win the Champions League final, heading the second goal in a 2-0 victory over Manchester United that sealed his club’s third European Cup title after their triumphs in 1992 and 2006.

*Won the Ballon d’Or (European Footballer of the Year) trophy and was named FIFA World Player of the Year in December 2009.

A look at his list of honours is highly impressive for someone so young; Four La Liga titles, four Spanish Super Cups, two Champions League titles, one Spanish King’s Cup, one UEFA Super Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup.

The one title missing of course is the World Cup, but with the next edition to be in neighbouring Brazil there would be nowhere sweeter for Messi to lift the trophy. Provided he can still lift trophies with all the hoisting of silverware he is bound to do over the next few years.

Freitag, 17. September 2010

The Life of Bayern: Romani Ite Domum

UEFA is ruled by a bunch humourless old men.
During the Bayern vs AS Roma Champions League game, a group of Bayern supporters unfurled a large banner with "Romani Ite Domum" - "Romans Go Home" written on it. An obvious reference to the Monty Python film "Life Of Brian". The accompanying banner which read "Life of Bayern" should have put all doubts to rest. Well, UEFA thought it was derogatory. They chose not to look at the bright side of life and banned the banner.
"Anything that may cause offense to a fan base or ethnic group, and therefore pose a security risk, including banners or symbols, is carefully vetted."
Genuine wit gets smacked down. Left out are the rabid fanatics who think nothing of racist catcalls and anti-semitic symbols. And when that is not enough - maiming others and destroying property. Spare a thought for the Germans too - they've been the butt of so many jokes (Fawlty Towers/ Hogans Heroes) over the years that it is refreshing to see them give it back once in a while.
So here is the clip of John Cleese and Graham Chapman making Romani Ite Domum immortal.

Moyes admits FA charge

Everton manager David Moyes and his assistant Steve Round have admitted to improper conduct charges, the Football Association have confirmed.

Moyes and Round were hit with the charges for their behaviour towards referee Martin Atkinson at the full-time whistle in the Toffees' thrilling 3-3 draw with Manchester United on Saturday.

Everton had trailed 3-1 heading into injury time at Goodison Park but struck through Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta to level matters. But the Blues management team were left furious when Atkinson blew his final whistle with Phil Jagielka closing in on goal in the dying seconds, with Moyes walking on to the pitch to speak to the official.

source: PA Sports

Donnerstag, 16. September 2010

Valencia to miss most of the season

Manchester United have confirmed Antonio Valencia will be out for "a good portion" of the season.

Valencia has had an operation on the ankle he fractured so horrifically in Tuesday's Champions League encounter with Rangers at Old Trafford. Red Devils medical staff assessed the Ecuador wide-man on Thursday morning and confirmed Valencia has also suffered ligament damage.

"The operation went well, a plate has been inserted to stabilise the fracture but there is obviously significant ligament damage that follows a dislocation," read a statement from United. "He will be out for a good portion of the season."

Dont forget to make a wager, it's Euroleague tonight

     Date                                                 Match

  1. 16.09.2010 - 19:00 MET          Red Bull Salzburg     Manchester City     
  2. 16.09.2010 - 19:00 MET          Juventus Turin     KKS Lech Poznan     
  3. 16.09.2010 - 19:00 MET          Bayer 04 Leverkusen     Rosenborg BK     
  4. 16.09.2010 - 19:00 MET          Aris Thessaloniki     Atlético de Madrid     
  5. 16.09.2010 - 19:00 MET          OSC Lille     Sporting Lissabon     
  6. 16.09.2010 - 19:00 MET          Levski Sofia     KAA Gent     
  7. 16.09.2010 - 19:00 MET          NK Dinamo Zagreb     FC Villarreal     
  8. 16.09.2010 - 19:00 MET          Club Brugge KV     PAOK Thessaloniki     
  9. 16.09.2010 - 19:00 MET          Dynamo Kyiv     FK BATE Borisov     
  10. 16.09.2010 - 19:00 MET          AZ Alkmaar     Sheriff Tiraspol     
  11. 16.09.2010 - 19:00 MET          AC Sparta Praha     US Palermo     
  12. 16.09.2010 - 19:00 MET          FC Lausanne-Sport     CSKA Moscow     
  13. 16.09.2010 - 21:05 MET          RSC Anderlecht     Zenit St. Petersburg     
  14. 16.09.2010 - 21:05 MET          AEK Athens     HNK Hajduk Split     
  15. 16.09.2010 - 21:05 MET          FC Getafe     Odense Boldklub     
  16. 16.09.2010 - 21:05 MET          VfB Stuttgart     BSC Young Boys     
  17. 16.09.2010 - 21:05 MET          PSV Eindhoven     UC Sampdoria     
  18. 16.09.2010 - 21:05 MET          VSC Debrecen     Metalist Kharkiv     
  19. 16.09.2010 - 21:05 MET          FC Sevilla     FC Paris Saint-Germain     
  20. 16.09.2010 - 21:05 MET          Karpaty Lviv     Borussia Dortmund     
  21. 16.09.2010 - 21:05 MET          Liverpool FC     Steaua Bukarest     
  22. 16.09.2010 - 21:05 MET          SSC Neapel     FC Utrecht     
  23. 16.09.2010 - 21:05 MET          FC Porto     SK Rapid Vienna     
  24. 16.09.2010 - 21:05 MET          Besiktas Istanbul     ZSKA Sofia     
I say Borussia Dortmund will win with at least 2 goals.
what would you bet?

Ferguson open to Scotland return

Barry Ferguson has not ruled out a return to international football. The Birmingham midfielder, 32, has not played for Scotland since his part in the 'Boozegate' scandal 18 months ago. Craig Levein had offered Ferguson an olive branch ahead of the recent Euro 2012 qualifying double-header against Lithuania and Liechtenstein but the former Rangers player knocked back the offer from the national team boss - insisting he wanted to focus on his...

Mittwoch, 15. September 2010

Valencia injury shocks Broadfoot

Kirk Broadfoot spoke of his horror at witnessing the injury which could rule Antonio Valencia out for the season and wished the Manchester United player a quick recovery.

Valencia went down after a seemingly innocuous incident involving the Rangers full-back and immediately signalled he was in trouble. TV replays showed his foot pointing in the wrong direction and he was eventually taken off on a stretcher, with Broadfoot in obvious distress.

"I'm not too sure what happened," he admitted. "I just slid in and looked round and his bone was sticking out. We tried to get the physio on to help him because you don't like to see that."

source: PA Sports

Dienstag, 14. September 2010

Chris Baird signs new deal

Fulham defender Chris Baird has signed a new deal running until the summer of 2013.

The Northern Ireland international, who was signed from Southampton in the summer of 2007, played a key role as Fulham fought their way to the Europa League final last season.

Baird made his first appearance under new manager Mark Hughes at the weekend when he appeared as a second-half substitute in the 2-1 win over Wolves.

source: PA sports

Champions League ResultsTuesday 14.

 Champions League - Group A
 FTFC Twente Enschede2 - 2Inter Milan

 FTWerder Bremen2 - 2Tottenham H.
 Champions League - Group B

 FTBenfica2 - 0Hapoel Tel Aviv

 FTLyon1 - 0Schalke
 Champions League - Group C

 FTBursaspor0 - 4Valencia

 FTManchester U.0 - 0Rangers
 Champions League - Group D

 FTBarcelona5 - 1Panathinaikos

 FTFC Copenhagen1 - 0Rubin Kazan

Ferdinand Manchester United's next captain?

Rio Ferdinand will find out on Tuesday night whether he is to become Manchester United's next captain.

It had always been assumed when Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs finally ended their stellar careers, Ferdinand would inherit the coveted armband. Yet, even though Neville and Giggs still have plenty to contribute, Sir Alex Ferguson has decided he needs a regular on-pitch leader and has decided to pass on the armband.

"Over the last two or three years we have had to pass the baton along the line a few times," said Ferguson. "We have not had a consistent captain. With all due respect to Gary Neville, he knows and I know, we don't play him every week and I am looking for someone who does."

source: PA Sports

Kyle Walker joins QPR

QPR boss Neil Warnock has signed Tottenham defender Kyle Walker on a one-month loan deal.

The 20-year-old full-back, who joined Spurs from Sheffield United in July last year, could make his debut against Ipswich on Tuesday night.

"QPR are a good, ball-playing team so I am pleased to join the club and hopefully I can improve while I am here," he said.

source:PA Sports

Montag, 13. September 2010

Beckham hoping for England return

  David Beckham has targeted a return for England after coming back from injury to play for Los Angeles Galaxy overnight.

The former Manchester Untied and Real Madrid player also admitted he feared his playing days were over after snapping his Achilles while on loan for AC Milan in March.

"I'd like to be available to play for England," Beckham told Sky Sports News.

Sonntag, 12. September 2010

Ballack faces 6-week injury break

Germany midfielder Michael Ballack is facing a six-week break with a hairline fracture.
Tests Sunday showed the 33-year-old Bayern Leverkusen player has injured the tibia in his left leg. Ballack came off after playing for 30 minutes in the 2-2 draw at Hannover on Saturday.
The news deals Ballack another setback as he tries to return to the national side after missing the World Cup with an ankle injury.
He officially remains Germany captain but coach Joachim Loew has said he must regain his pre-injury form to earn his place.
Germany plays European Championship qualifiers against Turkey and Kazahkstan in early October.

Freitag, 10. September 2010

Defoe facing three-month lay-off

  Tottenham have confirmed Jermain Defoe has been ruled out for "around three months" after undergoing surgery on torn ankle ligaments.

Spurs' fears over the injury the striker suffered in England's European Championship qualifier in Switzerland on Tuesday night were confirmed following consultation with a specialist on Thursday. It means the 27-year-old could miss all of his club's Champions League group matches, as well as two England internationals.

A statement on Spurs' official website read: "Following a review by an ankle specialist, Jermain Defoe underwent surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right ankle on Thursday evening. The striker was forced off with the injury during England's European Championship qualifier in Switzerland and has been ruled out of action for around three months."

West Ham captain Scott Parker has ended speculation about his future by signing a new contract until the end of the 2013-14 season.

The central midfielder, who signed for the club from Newcastle in 2007, had been the subject of interest from Barclays Premier League rivals Tottenham, who had a bid for the 29-year-old rejected during the transfer window.

The Hammers announced on Thursday afternoon that Parker had signed a new contract that will see him stay at the club for another four years, with the option of a further 12 months.

Mittwoch, 8. September 2010

Gunners await Walcott assessment

Arsenal's medical team will assess the extent of Theo Walcott's ankle injury, which could sideline the England winger for the rest of the month.

Walcott had been in decent form for the Gunners, scoring four goals in three games before the international break.

However, the 21-year-old - recalled by Fabio Capello after being omitted from his ill-fated World Cup squad - was taken to hospital Tuesday night for precautionary X-rays after turning his ankle in the build-up to Wayne Rooney's opening goal in the 3-1 win over Switzerland in Basle.

Dienstag, 7. September 2010

Etuhu agrees extension at Fulham

Dickson Etuhu has ended speculation over his future by agreeing a three-year contract extension at Fulham.

Etuhu was due to become a free agent at the end of the season but has agreed fresh terms that will keep him at Craven Cottage until 2014. The Nigeria defensive midfielder was reported to be a target for Liverpool, with manager Roy Hodgson considering him as a replacement for Javier Mascherano.

But fears he may depart when the transfer window reopens in January have now receded. A statement issued by Fulham read: "We're delighted to confirm that Dickson Etuhu has signed a contract extension until the summer of 2014."

Kuyt out for four weeks

Liverpool have confirmed Dirk Kuyt will miss the next four weeks with a shoulder injury.

Kuyt suffered the injury during training with Holland ahead of their Euro 2012 qualifier against Finland, and returned to England on Monday for tests at Liverpool's Melwood training base.

Club doctor Peter Brukner said: "Dirk has damaged his shoulder at the A-C joint, which is between the collar bone and the shoulder. He is likely to be out for four weeks."