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If football unites to support Help for Heroes it will be victory for the beautiful game, ordinary fans and charity that changes lives

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HelpForHeroesLogo400x216 BY JOHN GUBBA

From David Beckham to His Royal Highness Prince William, the charity Help For Heroes has been backed by some of the biggest names in Britain. Launched in October 2007 in response to the desire of ordinary people to do something practical to help our wounded servicemen and women, it is a cause that unites all sections of our society.

The ethos of Help For Heroes is simple. It  is strictly non-political and non-judgemental, recognising that wars happen under any government. As individuals we are powerless to stop our men and women from being killed and wounded. But by joining together we can do something practical to help.

It is this symbollic togetherness that a group of fans hope to inspire across a football community so often divided by tribal hostility and hatred, as they attempt to raise a five figure sum in aid of Help for Heroes by visiting 92 clubs in 92 hours.

92plus1-poster400x225The combination of raising sponsorship for this most popular of charities, as well as trying to foster a new spirit of friendship and respect throughout the football family is winning the support of a growing number of ex-professionals.

WEMBLEY TO WEMBLEY 

Former Tottenham, Chelsea and Swindon Town legend Micky Hazard is just one of the old pros backing the 92 Plus 1 campaign launched by a four-man squad who will will leave Wembley Stadium after England’s World Cup qualifier with Montenegro on Friday October 11. The aim is to be back in time for the Poland game on Tuesday, October 15 that could determine the fate of Roy Hodgson’s team.

Along the way – a 2,600 mile road trip – they will visit every Premier and Football League ground collecting donations and stopping to meet a host of famous names. Hazard, Wayne Fereday and Daryl Sutch are some of the names already signed up to support the whistle-stop tour and hopes are high of attracting a stellar line-up of football heroes. Beckham has already had his invitation “and if he gets involved that would make all our hard work worthwhile and give us a chance of hitting our target” says organiser Simon Cox.

Cox and fellow businessman Mike Peters will be joined on their unique road trip by Darren Young, formerly of the Royal Air Force, and Mark Burns, a serving member of HM Armed Forces as well as being a coach at Swindon Town’s Football Academy.

The mission is summed up by Burns who says: “I have served throughout the world and in more recent years have unfortunately had to witness the devastating consequences of frontline combat on our troops. They have been left with devastating injuries that have an effect long after leaving the front line. help for heroes is a fantastic charity that supports our troops and is something my wife has been involved raising money for throughout the years and is a charity I felt I personally wanted to do something for.”

Bryn Parry, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Offer of Help for Heroes, promises the money raised by 92 Plus 1 will “provide practical, direct support to those who suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses while serving our country.”

Make no mistake, the power of publicity  for this challenge being undertaken by four ordinary football fans will be even more valuable than the direct cash raised – and if it can help promote peace and respect between supporters in a media-driven world that too often thrives on confrontation, that will be a priceless bonus that we should all support.

WHAT SHANKLY REALLY MEANT WHEN HE TALKED ABOUT LIFE AND DEATH 

The great Bill Shankly once said: “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” Those of us who are passionate about supporting our team know what he meant, but no-one who has lost a loved one – or anyone of sound mind who is being serious – will ever agree with the literal meaning of that quote.

Shanks was a legend who understood the importance of rivalry. But he also understood the value of friendship and respect. He rarely missed a match at Old Trafford when Liverpool were not in action because he loved the beautiful game and enjoyed watching Manchester United.  It is hard to imagine such a thing happening today, but he even wore an MUFC tie when he took his place in the director’s box. Managers, fans and media commentators can all learn from the values of days gone by.

If this modest road trip by our selfless ’92 Club Plus 1′ fund-raisers can help spread that message it will be an effort far greater than the value of the money raised.

Arsene Wenger last man standing in the insane managerial merry-go-round of the English Premier League

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BY JOHN GUBBA

When Manchester United’s legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson shocked planet football with the sudden announcement of his retirement it was the end of the world as we know it for a generation of fans. But the subsequent departures of Roberto Mancini at rivals City and yesterday’s  dismissal of Stoke City’s Tony Pulis has completed an unbelievable change in the Premier League landscape over the past season.

A total of 10 managers have left their job since the start of the 2012/2013 season . . . and long-serving Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is the only manager left who has been in the hot seat at a Premier League club more than three years.

It is just one of  a staggering set of statistics that highlight how insane the world of football management has become in England.

Guessing who will be in charge at Premiership clubs at the start of next season has become one of the biggest talking points in the game – a dream scenario for the bookmakers. www.freebets.org.uk

Since Wenger last won a trophy in May 2005, every one of the other 91 Premier League and Football League clubs has changed their manager at least once. In fact, since Wenger took charge at Highbury back in the pre-Emrirates days of October 1996, those same 91 clubs have had a total of 838 different managers, according to figures in today’s Daily Mail.

The professor earned the respect of United fans and players when he saw red at Old Trafford

Arsene Wenger – the Premier League’s last man standing has been in the Arsenal hotseat since October 1996 

Michael Owen Announces Retirement From Football Tuesday 19th March 2013

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BY VISIONSPORT.TV

Michael Owen

Michael Owen

Michael Owen a former England striker has announced his retirement from football at the end of the season.

Debuting for Liverpool at only 17 years old, before his famous solo goal for England against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.

Owen, 33, who scored 40 goals in 89 internationals, played for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United and Manchester United and is now at Stoke. Including a hattrick against Germany in England’s famous 5-1 victory over their rivals in 2001.

He said: “It is with an immense amount of pride that I am announcing my intention to retire.

“I have been very fortunate in that my career has taken me on a journey I could only have dreamed of.”

He has scored 220 goals in his club career, winning the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup (three times) and Uefa Cup. Owen was named European Footballer of the Year in 2001 – the first Englishman to achieve the accolade since Kevin Keegan in 1979.

“Having progressed through the ranks at Liverpool to make my first-team debut at 17, before embarking upon spells at Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City, not to mention representing my country on 89 occasions, I now feel it is the right time to bring the curtain down on my career,”

Funnies on Friday: It is short and sweet but do not miss this hilarious video of ‘Karate Gangnam Style’

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Don't hit me: Gangnam style

Don’t hit me: Gangnam

Introducing our fabulous new featute on VISIONSPORT.TV here is the first edition of Funnies on Friday, featuring a brilliant short from the world of martial arts. Karate Gangnam Style is this week’s favourite funny selected from our trawl of the internet and if you want your video or still to be featured on future updates please email your links, videos and stills to info@visionsport.co.uk so we can share the best with our growing fan base. Don’t forget to send us your feedback on twitter and Facebook.And if there is a story behind your favourite funny we would like to hear that too.
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And this week’s Football Funny courtesy http://www.my-needs.com/comedy-videos/funny-football.html

Funny Football Argentine style

Funny Football Argentine style

Written by visionsport.TV

March 15th, 2013 at 7:54 pm

‘World would be a boring place without Paddy Crerand’ – don’t miss this remarkable feature-length tribute to unique football legend

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BY JOHN GUBBA

There is no one in football quite like Paddy Crerand – and this weekend Manchester United fans around the world will enjoy a fascinating and revealing insight into the life of one of the club’s most colourful personalities when my long-awaited documentary ‘Paddy 50 Years’ premieres on MUTV.

Signed by Matt Busby for £56,000 on 6 February 1963, the kid from the Gorbals was the Paul Scholes of his generation and enjoyed a pivotal role in a hugely successful side that became the first English winners of the European Cup.

Now one of the club’s most fanatical supporters, Paddy has re-invented himself as an outspoken football pundit and has his own show on the club’s TV Channel. His recent radio rant that followed the Manchester derby – when contributors to BBC 5Live Breakfast blamed Rio Ferdinand for inciting the crowd and being hit by a coin – trended worldwide on twitter.

It was an insanely funny piece of radio that re-inforced his cult status with United’s current stars and skipper Patrice Evra says: “The players all love Paddy.” Not that this was the first time that he has vented his fury on radio in his uniquely passionate style to defend a Red Devil. Guess who was dominating the airwaves in support of Eric Cantona after his infamous kung-fu attack on abusive Crystal Palace fan Matthews Simmons back in 1995?

This Glasgow-born Celt of Irish descent is a fascinating character adored by his fans, friends and family alike because he is a man of the people who speaks his mind and is fervently loyal. Sent off six times, he insists he never started a fight but always finished it. And yet, behind that tough-tackling, tough-talking exterior, is a man with a heart of gold.

There are many fascinating chapters in the life of the 73-year-old who briefly dabbled in coaching and management after hanging up his boots. While his passion for politics famously saw him act as a peacemaker between the IRA and his old friend John Hume back in the seventies. Then there was his spell as a pub landlord when the likes of Bryan Robson, Paul McGrath, Alan Brazil, Norman Whiteside and Kevin Moran were his regulars.

“The world would be a boring place without Paddy Crerand,” declares Brian Kidd, who used to clean the Scottish international’s boots when he started out as an apprentice at Old Trafford. Kiddo, of course, is now Roberto Mancini’s assistant at rivals Manchester City. But he remains a close friend and is one of the stars of our feature-length documentary tribute to the United legend.

Paddy Crerand looks back on the past 50 years
Paddy Crerand looks back on the past 50 years in an emotional documentary tribute

It is a film laced with tragedy as well as triumph and I expect a few tears will be shed when viewers share Paddy’s emotional trip down memory lane that begins with the Second World War when his father was killed by a German bomb.

When Paddy finally signed for United from his boyhood heroes Celtic, it was the start of a golden era that saw Matt Busby’s men win the FA Cup, two league Championships and the 1968 European Cup in a remarkable five year spell. “I’d only been at United three months when we beat Leicester City 3-1 in the Cup Final at Wembley,” says our hero, who lined up against Frank McLintock, a player he’d previously faced in schools football back in their Gorbals days.

It was a decade when George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton became the iconic names at Manchester United. All three were European footballers of the Year. But Paddy was the outstanding half-back who made Busby’s team tick.

Nobby Stiles, who reverted to a more defensive role when Crerand arrived, says: “For me Paddy signing was the best thing that ever happened because it meant I moved back alongside Bill Foulkes, which was my best position.”

In the documentary, Sir Alex Ferguson and his brother Martin both talk about their memories of Paddy in the early days. Martin worked with Paddy in the shipyard before he signed for Celtic, and talks about how they used to play football at lunchtime in steel toe-capped boots. Sir Alex recalls Paddy playing junior football for Duntocher Hibs and likes to remind everyone that Celtic were beaten 4-nil by Rangers in Paddy’s final game north of the border.

The biggest accolade comes from Denis Law who told me: “Paddy  was one of the best midfield players Scotland ever had.” Now that is some tribute from my good friend the Lawman who many of us regard as the greatest Scottish player of them all.

To fully appreciate what I am talking about you will have to watch the documentary and I am proud to say that my script has been brought to life by the narration of Bernard Hill, the Hollywood actor who starred in Lord of the Rings and Titanic.

Paddy 50 Years’ premieres exclusively this weekend on MUTV.

Watch primetime at 9pm on Sunday, February 3, or catch one of the repeat showings. You can sign up for MUTV at manutd.com/joinmutv or call 08708 486888. ‘Paddy 50 Years’ is produced, directed & scripted by John Gubba.

Download To Own your favourite Town DVDs straight to your computer, smartphone or connected TV

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Download to Own

Download to Own

BY JOHN GUBBA

When it comes to new technology Ipswich Town have made a giant leap to the top of the table by becoming the first Football Club in Britain to offer our DVD catalogue via a brand new Download To Own (DTO) online store.

While Netflix, Lovefilm and Apple are downloading the latest movies, Planet Blue have embraced the digital revolution by launching our own dedicated service that will bring you the best of the Super Blues at the click of a button.

Our top titles will remain available on physical DVDs because they are still a popular gift item, especially at Christmas. But now you can build your own digital library that you can watch on your laptop, PC, mac, smartphone or connected TV.

Boys of 81, Official History of Ipswich Town, Match of the Seventies and Road to Europe are the four titles available as digital downloads on day one of this new service. And more great titles will be made available soon – including a brand new Great Goals of the Last Decade DVD.

The beauty of download to own (DTO) is that fans can download the complete DVD – including the extras and interactive menus – direct to their own computer or enabled device. This overcomes the streaming issues of variable broadband connection speeds because once the digital file is downloaded it gives you exactly the same experience as having the physical DVD.

Fans can choose between a full licence which enables you to play the file on up to 5 devices and even burn your own physical copy of the DVD, or a 24 hour rental (just like hiring a DVD from Blockbuster without the hassle of leaving home).

The Download To Own service is provided by the club’s DVD production partners VSI Enterprises who will be making the most popular titles in their back catalogue available online.

Check it out now by visiting itfcshop.co.uk

Written by visionsport.TV

December 11th, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Blackburn Rovers win at Old Trafford is the biggest shock in a season of surprises

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BY JOHN GUBBA

It just goes to show you should never count your chickens . . . and that is what makes the Premier League the most watched football league in the world.

Blackburn Rovers arrived at Old Trafford rock bottom and with their fickle fans calling for the head of manager Steve Kean.

Manchester United were odds on to celebrate Sir Alex Ferguson’s 70th birthday with a win that would take them top at the turn of the year.

But Rovers’ enthralling 3-2 win leaves Manchester City in pole position on goal difference and the Blues now have the opportunity to go six points clear before United play again with games against Sunderland and Liverpool over the next 48 hours.

What makes the Premier League so exciting is its never ending ability to produce surprises – and you can bet there will be a lot more twists and turns before the title race is decided in May.

Mick McCarthy absolutely right! Fans of the beautiful game don’t want to see football turned into a non-contact sport

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BY JOHN GUBBA

Mick McCarthy’s passionate defence of wronged midfielder Nenad Milijas is in the best interests of the beautiful game.

The Wolves player was sent off in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal despite winning the ball as McCarthy has clearly demonstrated.

But there is a lot more at stake here than a bad refereeing decision. We are talking about whether or not we want to kill the art of tackling.

While I am not advocating a return to the brutal days – when hardmen like Chopper Harris, Norman Hunter and Nobby Stiles ruled the roost – we must beware not to turn the game into a non contact sport.

McCarthy is absolutely right when he says: “I think the fabric of the British game is based on people tackling.”

And I agree whole-heartedly when the Wolves boss adds: “That’s why people come and watch because it’s exciting because people are tackled. It’s part of our game.”

Mick McCarthy points out the Milijas was first to the ball

Mick McCarthy points out the Milijas was first to the ball

 

Written by visionsport.TV

December 30th, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Gary Speed’s final public appearance on BBC Football Focus

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Gary Speed final public appearance on the BBC Football Focus Show

Gary Speed final public appearance on the BBC Football Focus Show

Gary Speed R.I.P: 8 September 1969 – 27 November 2011

BY JOHN GUBBA

To hear that Gary Speed is dead at 42 and may have committed suicide is just one of the most shocking things I have ever heard. RIP to the Wales manager.

The statement above was my immediate reaction after the news broke on BBC Radio 5Live on Sunday afternoon. In 35 years working in the media I can’t remember a piece of news that has come as more of a shock.

Twenty four hours later as genuine heart-felt tributes continue to pour in from around the world I am still numb with disbelief.

The events leading up to the tragic end to Speed’s life and the comments from the friends and colleagues who were in contact with him only highlight why this is such a shock

Poignantly Gary Speed was in high spirits and showed no signs of anything being wrong in his life when he appeared as a guest on the BBC’s Football Focus show on Saturday with host Dan Walker.

Just 24 hours later Walker tweeted: ‘Staggered by the news of Gary Speed’s death. Was with him for most of yesterday. I genuinely cannot believe it. Thoughts with his family.’

Speed – who was also appearing with Gary McAllister on the show – told Walker that there was nothing like playing football.

Gary Speed was a role-model who was universally liked and respected by everyone in the game and everyone he came into contact with. I have met many footballers in my life in the media and none more likeable and genuine than Gary Speed.

David Beckham deserves the Hollywood ending to the latest chapter in his unique football career

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Becks celebrates in the LA Galaxy dressing room

Becks celebrates in the LA Galaxy dressing room

BY JOHN GUBBA

When David Beckham agreed to leave Madrid for Major League Soccer five years ago and joined LA Galaxy most pundits wrote him off  – but England’s most famous footballer revels in proving the critics wrong and the more he achieves the more popular he becomes.

It was fitting that Becks got his happy Hollywood ending with a heroic performance to secure the MLS Cup for the Galaxy in what looks like being his final game for the Americans.

Combining with Irish team-mate Robbie Keane, the 36-year-old set up Landon Donovan for the only goal in Sunday’s final against Houston Dynamo. For Beckham, playing through the pain barrier despite being clearly injured, this was his first silverware in America since his arrival in 2007.

And boy did he deserve his triumph, in front of over 31,000 fanatical MLS fans at their Home Deport stadium in Carson.

Champagne Becks

Champagne Becks toasts LA Galaxy success

Linked with a move to wealthy Paris St-Germain, Becks said: ‘Whether I stay or not, I’ve had an amazing five years.” And summing up exactly what it meant to him he added: ‘People were talking about if we didn’t win it was going to be a disappointment and an unsuccessful five years. It’s quietened a few people which is always nice.’

Paris would definitely be the perfect sequel for the the showbiz footballer who has starred in Manchester, Madrid, Milan and Los Angeles – becoming only the second Englishman after Trevor Steven to become a champion in three different countries.