Archive for the ‘Premier League’ tag
This is the story of Ipswich Town’s brilliant promotion winning campaign that earned the Super Blues a place in the inaugural season of the Premier League. For manager John Lyall it was a glorious achievement, in only his second season in charge. And winning the old Second Division Championship meant Town stormed into the top flight in glorious fashion.
This official review of the season includes all the goals and all the highlights, including the celebrations on the promotion-clinching day at Oxford. The crowning of the champions followed with unprecedented scenes of jubilation at Portman Road, when Town beat Brighton in the season’s final match. And the party continued with a triumphant civic reception at the Town Hall.
Re-live the goals and the glory. Featuring Jason Dozzell, Chris Kiwomya, Neil Thompson, Mick Stockwell, Paul Goddard, Phil Whelan, Craig Forrest, David Linighan, player of the season John Wark and the rest of the Blues heroes who made it a season to remember.
Approximate duration: 104 minutes
West Ham’s move to Olympic Stadium not just hammer blow for Leyton Orient, it will challenge balance of power in London
Whether or not they take full advantage of the opportunity that has been granted to them remains to be seen, and there is still a legal challenge to be considered. But there is no avoiding the facts.Handing the keys to the Olympic Stadium to West Ham United will change the face of football in the Capital.
Whichever way you break this down, there is no escaping the fact that the Hammers will be paying just £15 million pounds for the keys to an iconic stadium with a 54,000 capacity and that could catapult the East End club into Champions League contention.
Purely based on capacity, that will give the Hammers the potential for more matchday revenue than Chelsea or Spurs. It will also put them close to being on a par with Arsenal, who invested £390 million pounds in building the 60,000 seater Emirates Stadium and have consequently struggled to hold off the challenge of neighbours Tottenham as the dominant force in North London.
It remains to be seen if West Ham fans, and most do not want to leave the Academy of Football at Upton Park, will fill the Olympic Stadium. By the time the Hammers are scheduled to take up residence in 2016 they may be watching a team back in the Championship.
But owners David Gold and David Sullivan, and vice-chairman Karren Brady, in agreeing such an advantageous deal with the London Legacy Development Corporation, have been handed a golden ticket that is better than winning the lottery every week for the next year.
As far as business deals go it is pure genius because when the new owners took control the club was in financial meltdown. Now there is an extremely bright future ahead if the Hammers can build on the solid foundations that have been put in place and continue to make progress on the pitch.
If West Ham play their cards right they could be knocking on the door of the Champions League within the next five years. But there is still much that can go wrong with this master plan and much will depend on the legal challenge being mounted by neighbouring Leyton Orient owner Barry Hearn.
There is something obscene about the ruthless way the League One club have been dismissively brushed aside by the LLDC. And you have to ask why London Mayor Boris Johnson has been so vocal in his support of West Ham at the expense of both Leyton Orient, who want to ground share, and Tottenham.
The financial facts are simple. The Olympic Stadium has been paid for by the public, the total bill topping £600 million pounds. The cost of extending the roof and adding retractable seats could be as much as £190m. And all but West Ham’s £15 million contribution is coming from the tax payer.
While Tottenham have the financial resources to search for an alternative, West Ham’s move – and whichever way you break down the figures they are getting it on the cheap – looks like a death sentence for the Os. It is hard to ignore the complaints by Hearn who quite rightly argues his small club are being trampled on.
“It is a mess, the whole thing has been a mess for the last six years, horribly handled by lots of different people,” said Hearn in an interview with London’s Evening Standard. “We are at the point where we are seeing if the club that is 750 yards away from the Olympic Park are being abused, ignored and sledge-hammered by a massive club.
“We think they have over-stretched their mark and the taxpayer will have something to say about it, but in the meantime we want to preserve the independence and existence of Leyton Orient Football Club.
“It is unbelievable, I remember four or five years ago one of the Olympic organisers said the tenancy of the Olympic Stadium would be decided four months from that point.
“Although West Ham have been confirmed as the tenants, there are still so many questions that need to be asked.It looks to me like there has been a deal done through a back-door somewhere and I have plenty of questions that need to be answered.
“Newham Borough Council have come up with £40million and in the difficult world when you are closing hospitals and libraries and putting people out of work, is this the right money to spend? West Ham are selling Upton Park but only contributing £15million to the stadium, should they be given a free home like this? I’m just asking a question.
“It does seem unfair that Arsenal and Tottenham are spending hundreds of millions of pounds on their own stadiums because they are stand-alone commercial enterprises and West Ham are being levered at huge discount and you have to ask yourself the question why. What has gone on for them to get that deal?”
Hearn is banking on a judicial review in his favour that will force the LLDC and West Ham to discuss the idea of ground-sharing. Whatever the outcome, questions will be asked by the public and the media for years to come.
While morons attack Ferdinand, hero Hart protects City’s honour in defeat – but all hail untouchables Rooney and Van Persie in classic
When Joe Hart sprang to the defence of Rio Ferdinand and blocked the path of a mindless hooligan who ran onto the Etihad pitch to try to attack the Manchester United defender it represented everything that was good and bad about the biggest derby of them all.
The morons who bring shame on the greatest football league in the world will never understand that the real heroes are the ones who are not only great players but respect and admire their rivals.
Hart is without doubt the best England goalkeeper for many years and Ferdinand has been the most skilful footballing defender of his generation. To see Hart put the shameless Manchester City yob in his place was the perfect response to bring sanity to a shocking few seconds that began with Ferdinand being hit above the eye by a coin thrown from the crowd.
This was a Manchester derby that touched the dramatic heights that has made the Premier League the most exciting and popular domestic competition in world sport – and it deserves to be remembered for the brilliant football match that it was.
The big flop was Mario Balotelli who demonstrated once again that he does not have the class or consistency to match truly great players who are both brilliant and eccentric. He is just a poor, immature shadow of a true genius like Eric Cantona.
While the embarrassing Balotelli ended up marching down the tunnel in a sulk after being hooked by the manager he let down, the stars of the show served up a feast of outstanding drama.
Wayne Rooney was at his brilliant best. City rode their luck when a linesman’s flag spared them from trailing 3-nil to stage a Carlos Tevez inspired fightback. But the player of the season so far Robin van Persie struck the 94th minute winner that crushed the defending champions 3-2 and sent Sir Alex Ferguson’s untouchables six points clear at the top. Priceless.
Ferguson v Mancini is always an absorbing side show in the derby that is once again the biggest of them all – and Sir Alex is still the master
He deserved to be replaced by Robin van Persie – but don’t make the mistake of writing off Wayne Rooney
It is a cruel blow for his publishers that Wayne Rooney’s new book is coming out while he is sidelined by injury and Manchester United’s summer signing Robin van Persie. But do not make the mistake of writing off Wazza.
In all honesty being dropped to the bench against Fulham last weekend was probably the wake-up call Rooney needed after some mediocre appearances both for England and Manchester United of late.
Complacency has always been a recipe for disaster in football and Sir Alex Ferguson is the master at keeping his players hungry and motivated in his relentless quest for honours.
Few managers have the confidence to leave out a star like Rooney. But that is exactly what was required because United’s talisman for the past decade has not been hitting the heights we all know he can.
What no one could have predicted was the freak injury inflicted by the collision with Hugo Rodallega that left Rooney with a horrendous gash needing surgery to stitch his leg back together. Assuming no lasting damage is done, however, I expect the battle to regain fitness and re-claim his place in the side could be just the challenge Rooney needs to get back to his best.
Questions have been asked about whether or not Rooney can fit into the same team as RVP and new playmaker Shinji Kagawa. But I have no doubts on that front and predict this trio will be terrorising the Premier League long before the end of the season.
Champions League success for Manchester giants United and City is only the starter before the main course at Old Trafford
The biggest compliment you can pay Manchester City is that they are picking up good habits from their more famous rivals over at United – and Sergio Aguero’s stoppage time winner in the Champions League against Villareal is one of the most precious goals he will score all season.
Instead of settling for the paltry return of two points from their opening three Group matches, City crucially ended the night on four points and with qualification to the knockout stages back in their grasp courtesy of their dramatic 2-1 win. Neither Manchester club was at their best, as United needed second half penalties from Wayne Rooney to see off Otelul Galati in Romania and claim an equally precious 2-0 triumph that puts the Reds in second place behind Benfica in Group C.
For both clubs there is the feeling that tonight was the lull before the storm as the countdown begins to the most intriguing Manchester derby in years. With City holding a two point advantage, the battle between the Premier League’s top two is the most eagerly awaited match of the season so far at a time when the Mancunian rivalry grows more intense with every meeting.
Whatever the outcome, it will tell us a lot about how the season is destined to unfold – and whether or not City have made any progress since being brushed aside 3-2 by United in the pre-season Community Shield at Wembley.
Sporting freeviews onVISIONSPORT.TV
Gary Neville hits England where it hurts and admits Fabio Capello’s team are no hopers – with or without Wayne Rooney
Since ending has career as the best right back of his generation, Gary Neville has established himself as football’s undisputed No.1 pundit.
There is no-one in the game who talks more sense than the tough talking ex-England and Manchester United hero who was grew up in the famous Class of 92 that produced David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and his younger brother Phil.
He has already been a revelation as Sky Sports’ most dynamic expert analyst, a million light years better than the excitable Scotsman Andy Gray. And he has also made his mark as a columnist.
Writing in this weekend’s Mail on Sunday, Nev the Red put it simply for the fans when he explained why England do not have a prayer of winning Euro 2012 – with or without Wayne Rooney.
“The real issue is that the spine of the team is not good enough,” explains Neville, who won 85 England caps, in his assessment of Fabio Capello’s chances of winning next summer’s tournament.
“When I look at it coldly, a team that has John Terry, Gary Cahill, Scott Parker, Gareth Barry, Darren Bent and Rooney in its central positions is nowhere near good enough to take on the major nations such as Spain.
“I’m not having a go at individuals; there are some very good players among those names.
“Rooney aside, there is hardly any pace, very little invention and hardly any rotation of positions. Compare that with the spine of Spain: Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, David Villa and Fernando Llorente.”
England take on Spain in a friendly at Wembley next month with Neville keen to see a number of younger players given a chance.
“Let’s be clear, England are not as good as Spain but you can’t just accept they’re better,” said Neville.
“You have to find a way to stop them, to disrupt the rhythm and to hurt them going forward – because England need to believe that, in a one-off, they can beat Spain.
“The rest of Europe is watching and if Spain do what most people think they will do and destroy us, just like France did in February 1999 at Wembley when they were world champions, then England will go into Euro 2012 thinking they have no chance.
“There are younger players – Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker, Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck – who are mobile, talented and not tainted by previous failures.
“Somehow, Capello has to mould those with the more experienced players into a team to compete with Spain because the team that played on Friday would be well beaten. It’s now time for Capello to be brave.”
Sporting freeviews onVISIONSPORT.TV
For those of us in the UK who can’t afford the luxury of a Sky subscription, news that Sir Alex Ferguson has ended his ban on talking to the BBC has got to be good news.
The boss began his boycott of the broadcaster in 2004 following allegations made against his son, Jason, in a TV documentary. A statement said: “Sir Alex and the BBC have put behind them the difficulties which led to Sir Alex feeling unable to appear on BBC programmes.”
In his attack on the FA Fergie blasted: ‘They treat Man United like s***! United could have up to eight players called up for England duty next week by Fabio Capello and Ferguson is unhappy the organisation do not give his club more respect.
Sporting freeviews onVISIONSPORT.TV
Is Wayne Rooney now going grey after spending £30,000 on a new hair transplant?
John Gubba talks to Tony Livesey live on Radio 5 about Wayne Rooney’s new hair transplant.
Uncover the secrecy that has made it difficult to find out the truth about hair replacement techniques. We will provide a revealing insight into the latest procedure that enables individual hairs to be transplanted non-invasively to create a natural result every time and compare this with the many other options available including the horror stories that have left patients scarred for life.
Sporting freeviews onVISIONSPORT.TV
FIFA 12 is all about authenticity – but the guys at EA Sports have taken attention to detail to a whole new level with a newlook Wayne Rooney.
In the upcoming release of FIFA 12, the makers of the world’s most famous football game have painstakingly upgraded Wayne Rooney’s hairstyle so his new hair transplant is plain to see. “Trust me this will be the best FIFA game ever,” announced Rooney on Twitter.
Wazza’s receding hairline is clearly visible in the old version. But you can see the difference in incredible detail in the new improved image of the Manchester United and England superstar, who films the commercial for the new FIFA game at the end of August.
If you want to watch the inside story on the Wayne Rooney treatment, check out the campaign to launch a revealing new documentary, The Bald Truth
Check out the amazing new gameplay features in action on FIFA 12
Sporting freeviews onVISIONSPORT.TV
PAUL SCHOLES SIGNS OFF WITH A TRADEMARK NETBUSTER AS SOCCER GREATS PAY TRIBUTE TO THE GINGER-HAIRED GENIUS
Truly great footballers let their feet do the talking – and no one in the history of the beautiful game has epitomised that sentiment more eloquently than Paul Scholes.
The ginger-haired genius even managed to serve up a glorious strike in his testimonial match at a sold out Old Trafford tonight as the Manchester United side he has served faithful for nearly 17 years gave New York Cosmos a 6-0 thrashing.
Watched by one of his idol’s Pele, arguably the greatest footballer of all-time, and the incomparable Eric Cantona, Scholesy unleashed a trademark rasping drive past Brad Friedel to open the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes.
It was pure theatre as Unted’s shy and retiring midfield maestro bowed out with a flash of brilliance that brought the house down. It reminded everyone just why Scholes has earned the highest of accolades from so many of the greatest names in football.
Anyone who knows anything about football will appreciate why the unassuming Salford-born 36-year-old is rated as the best English footballer since Sir Bobby Charlton.
Had Scholes been given more respect by the bespectacled Swede Sven Goran Eriksson when he was England manager, who knows, our so-called golden generation may have emulated Sir Bobby’s feat of winning the World Cup in 1966 instead of falling to Portugal in the quarter-finals 40 years later in Germany.
The greatest players around the world have never understood why Scholes was allowed to retire early from the England team. Eriksson should have been down on his hands and knees begging him to carry on.
It is criminal that Scholes earned the last of his 66 caps against Portugal in the quarter-finals of Euro 2004. Fabio Capello came to his senses much too late when he waited until the last minute to sound him out for a dramatic comeback at last year’s World Cup in South Africa.
“I had only been given a couple of hours, so it was a bit of a rush job,” said Scholes. “But the World Cup is the biggest tournament you can be involved in. I wish I had gone. I did feel as though I had made the wrong decision. There was a touch of regret, but it doesn’t matter now. It’s gone.”
A great little feature here with Scholesy being quizzed by my old mate Mark Sullivan at MUTV
Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed Paul Scholes as one of Manchester United’s greatest players of all time”. And many legends of the game have added equally gushing praise for the man who is surely the most modest footballing genius in living memory.
“My toughest opponent? Scholes of Manchester. He is the complete midfielder. Scholes is undoubtedly the greatest midfielder of his generation” – Zinedine Zidane
“For me, it’s Paul Scholes. He’ll do ridiculous things in training like say: ‘You see that tree over there?’ – it’ll be 40 yards away – ‘I’m going to hit it.’ And he’ll do it. Everyone at the club considers him the best” – Rio Ferdinand
“Paul Scholes would have been one of my first choices for putting together a great team – that goes to show how highly I have always rated him. An all-round midfielder who possesses quality and character in abundance” – Marcello Lippi
“I tell anyone who asks me – Scholes is the best English player” – Laurent Blanc
“Without any doubt the best player in the Premiership has to be Paul Scholes. He knows how to do everything, and he is the one who directs the way his team plays. On top of that, he has indestructible mental strength, and he is a genuine competitor” – Thierry Henry
France’s World Cup winning goalkeeper Fabien Barthez: “He’s the best player I ever played with.”
“Everyone of us should emulate him. We can all learn from Paul Scholes” – Edgar Davids
“I have no hesitation in putting a name to the embodiment of all that I think is best about football. It’s Paul Scholes.” – Sir Bobby Charlton
The last word goes to Scholesy – delighted with his farewell goal on his final appearance – who told the fans at the end of his testimonial: “I just want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone. The goal was nice, that’s what I say it’s about. Memories. I just hope I’ve given the fans some decent memories. It was a really nice goal and I was pleased with it.”