Sunday, 19 February 2017

The FA Cup... Is the magic back?

Its Sunday so its time to grab that cup of tea, get them biscuits out, and lets take a look into how the FA Cup has got its sparkle back! 

 Cast your mind back a few seasons... Everything in terms of the Footballing bible was ringing true - 'Money brought success.' Man City proved testament to this. Teams that had to sell to survive ended up falling further and further behind. 'Instant success' was what the fans and the media alike wanted. Managers chopping and changing teams, Arsenal & Chelsea signing individual players costing more than most Championship teams are valued at as a business! It looked like the gap between the divisions was never going to be breached, a similar pattern and fait to what WBA faced in the early 00's 'Boing boing, Baggies Baggies...' Flittering between the two divisions for almost a decade! You could guaranty at least one club coming up from The Championship would end up going straight back down the next season. 

The priority for clubs up and down the country was to make sure they stay in their respective leagues! In theory The FA Cup was a distraction that managers could do with out. *Wigan proved this theory right in 2012/13 When they managed to beat City in the final, only to be relegated a few weeks later! Wigan have not been close to returning to the top tier since. In fact teams of a 'lower' profile that have made it to the final in recent seasons, have ended up being relegated either that season or the following..... Things don't look to good for Big Sam and Palace at the moment! 

After the third round of fixtures it looked nailed on that it was going to be the same old 'Billionaire clubs' making it to the latter stages... But then things started to get interesting, Sutton United and Lincoln City started to cause the odd tremor amongst the lower tier teams. This effect managed to spread across the footballing network and then BOOM! The term 'shock' became less of a shock, Liverpool were fed to the Wolves in their own inclosure, and The Lions who came up against massive off the field distractions made short work of The Cherries and The Hornets (You can also add The Foxes to that list too) and as if by magic The FA Cup started to trend once again... 

Now we're half way through the weekends fixtures concerning the Fifth round, and my gosh its been fun! The early kick off between a solid Burnley at Turf Moor against the non league 'have a go heroes' of Lincoln City. Now no disrespect to the Imps but the biggest test they had faced so far in the cup this season was High flying Brighton in the Championship. (A distraction Brighton could do with out) No one not even the BTSport pundits had given them a chance, The Imps management team of the Cowley brothers, looked calm and collective as they approached the dugout, Danny representing a modern day version of the Legend that is Brian Clough, jogging bottoms and a distinctively coloured top, applauding the traveling fans as he took his seat. 

Before long it was a full on old fashion fight to the death! The script was written for the pantomime villain otherwise known as Joey Barton... Lets just say he got his lines right and hopefully he will end up getting retrospective punishment for being a total tool! Rhead was outstanding for Lincoln and although it must of been tempting to put a cheeky number on Barton the old fashion centre forward restrained himself, allowing for his team to continue with 11 v 11...Something the Burnley lads hadn't expected! 

With time almost up and a replay looking likely, The Imps found themselves with a corner, prior to this set piece it would be fair to say that the others hadn't really gone to plan... The TV cameras focused on the crowd, fans praying for the final whistle so they could walk away with a replay... 

The rest they say is history, and the name Raggett will be talked of for years and years to come! 



  


Sunday, 11 September 2016

Zlatan


I know it's early doors, but Zlatan has already set the Premiership alight! Could he be the answer to ending that title drought? or will it all go Wayne Rooney come May?

Here we go again!

It's taken just under 3 months for us to get blogging again after a shocking performance at the summers Euros.... Hats of to Portugal and Ronaldo.... I've heard a rumour we're gonna see if we can help Portugal pay pack some of its national debt by agreeing to sign Ronaldo on loan for the 3 lions next tournament (if we make it!) Something to do with a loop hole when he played over here at United!

In all seriousness it was a a shambles and it was great to see the FA finally give Roy that final push over the diving board and into the shake infested waters... closely followed by everyones favourite pundit Gary Neville.


Once the bloody had subsided and the waters had calmed back down the FA decided to search the deep depths of our footballing nations ponds (lower leagues) and quickly realised that the ponds were almost emptied of any decent English managers!

In a panic and mist of salt and vinegar flavouring the FA appointed BIG SAM.....


Football fans were outraged! The Scots thought it was the funniest thing since Billy Connolly! 

All jokes aside the Big Man recently got his first international out of the way, and at first glance - Nothing much had changed, Rooney was still living on yesterdays glory and Joe Hart was still in goal even though he had a summer to forget and Harry Kane... well the less said about that the better! 

Twitter was going mental, they wanted blood, they wanted the Big Man to fail at the first hurdle.... Some of the tweets were bang out of line, talk of Big Sam being a secret Jock.. looking to put the final nail in the coffin of our once proud footballing nation! 

The difference this time was that the Big Man had a plan and a vision, as simple as it seemed - "Play to the final whistle" and like the great club teams managed by Sam the lads took that vision on board and well in the depths of extra time we managed to bag all 3 points! It may not of been pretty but in the short time SA has been in charge, England already look a million miles better than they did under Roy! 

Could we dream of a World Cup trophy in just under 2 years? or will it be another false dawn????? 

Friday, 17 June 2016

Payet


What a season this chap is having! last season no outside of France had even heard of Payet... It's safe to say 12 months on every man and his dog now know about Payet. 

West Ham fans may well be worried that he could be heading to a champions league club after the Euros.... 

Monday, 30 May 2016

The Three Lions




So it's been nearly four long years since the last set of Euros! The hardcore fans are searching through their wardrobes for their retro England shirts (Italia 90 no 19 on the back) Hopefully England will play more than 3 games at this tournament! We won't even mention 2014's World Cup run.. Or lack of so to speak! 

Normally the press have already written the headlines by now.. The hype would be reaching fever pitch and every man and his dog would be convinced it was going to be England's year this year... For some reason though no one is really beating the England drum. It's almost as if people are praying that if they don't mention England in the same breath as tournament favorites Germany or Spain the boys may do the impossible!! 




The last truly great Euro campaign we had was back in 96! Who can forget Pearce's pen against the Spanish, or The great interlinking play between Teddy & Shearer against the Dutch? Unfortunately though we only made it to the Semi's.. A Mr G Southgate would be forever remembered as the man that missed that crucial pen! 

So what are we realistically hoping for this summer... 

It's hard to tell what formation or players Roy's gonna start with... But if we can play to our strengths with the likes of Kane & Vardy then there is a possibility that we can restore some pride to our national team following years of underachieving. 

If that doesn't happen then can we at least produce a modern day three lions icon. like we had of Gazza! Someone who the county can get behind... 


Although we all know Gazza was a one off so in that case i'd happily settle for another Chris Waddle! 

 





Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Last Post

Whats worse than The Foxes winning the league? Arsenal winning it! Cast your mind back to the start of the season, the midweeker was convinced that the capture of Cech meant that Arsenal were nailed on to lift the trophy come May.... How wrong he was! Oh by the way he also had The Foxes down for relegation!
So as the two old timers meet with only eight games to go they are left pondering the meaning of life.



Midweeker: What's it all about eh? How did we get it so wrong? I'm thinking of hanging the old sheepskin jacket up for good!

Weekender: I blame Jose! If he had just apologiesed to Eva then all would be right in the footballing world! Instead he decided to carry on like nothing had happened and well the footballing Gods didn't take kindly to that and we are now left with Leicester and Spurs battling it out for the title. In fairness though i think it's safe to say that Spurs will bottle it and end up finishing 5th!

Midweeker: I'm still in shock that our predictions have been so wrong! We both had the Foxes to go down and Chelsea or City to win the thing, the sky blues put their foot in it announcing Pep with Pellegrini still in the hot seat. The players are hardly going to be motivated knowing the boss is out the door come the end of the season!
It's been a topsy turvey season all round, I keep pinching myself thinking it's been a bad dream!

Weekender: That dream better end soon! Who knows it could be the year England actually win the Euros... which in itself is ironic really... considering we're trying to leave the Euros. Harry Kane and James Vardy partnership up top??

Midweeker: Get Kane on the plane! I remember that campaign from a Spurs Facebook page! There's been some other success stories this season so far, Bournemouth and their manager who looks about twelve have done well and Watford and their hairy head coach have gone from strength to strength. But really this season nothing should have surprised us!

Weekender: Could Sir Alex come out of retirement? I've heard a rumour that he is being lined up as the next Arsenal Boss! He may even bring Giggs in as his number 2! On a more sobering note it was a shame to see Kompany go off again with an injury! The big man needs a nice cuppa and a good rest! Hopefully next season he will be back to his best! The way things are going though City may miss out on CL football next season! 

Midweeker: There's talk of a European Super League again but would any of our lot get in it? We gonna have Leicester in the Champions League and Gary Lineker in his speedos what has the footballing world come to?? Maybe it is time to call it a day and let the youngsters take over, it's all getting too complicated for me, bring back the days of Utd or Liverpool wining everything I knew where I was back then!

So with that, the two old timers finish up their beers, put on their sheep skin coats and make their way out into the night








Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Midweek's Team Of The Year

It's that time of year again where we look back and pick out our heroes and moments from 2015.

In footballing terms it's been a random year of results, signings, sackings and look-alikes! Who'd have thought the likes of Neville & Sheringham would get a crack at managing? Considering Neville's first job is that of guiding Valencia up into the Champions League places - its school boys own stuff! It gives hope to all of us playing championship manager! As for Teddy it's proving a harder pack of assorted nuts to crack! Stevenage haven't kicked on under him and although the Hertfordshire team have been understanding in letting Teddy do things his own way, If they carry on sliding down that table towards the trap door that is non-league football ,that understanding will be pushed to the limits! I've heard a rumour that the Stevenage board have got the Midweeker on speed dial!
Now it wouldn't be an end of 2015 year blog with out mentioning Jose... Well we just have and that's all we are saying on the man (If you flick back to a few posts to an earlier blog we've covered all what we needed to!)


Right then down to the fun part  - wait for it... t's our team of the year! 11 players that have sexualised football fans throughout 2015! Making punters spill their tea all over the person sat in front of them! Forget the half time Pie this is all about the side portion of mash! 

We're gonna make this post short and sweet - Due to everyone wanting to get the first round of tea's in early doors ahead of NYE - But first we fill the keeper in our team needs a special mention!

This player has been outstanding throughout his career although things took a bit of a nose dive in the late part of 2014, finding himself on the bench at a club he had been at since 2004! During the summer he had a big question to ask himself! "Do i sit here at the Bridge on the bench playing with my iPhones drum app or do i find a new challenge?" After a lot of definitely maybes the big man got his switch across the capital to Arsenal.  

"Last summer, things changed and I understood I was no longer the first-choice keeper, but I felt it was not the right time for me to go. During the season it became clear that my situation would not improve and, as I know I am not at the stage of my career where I want to be on the bench, I made my decision to move on and look for new challenges." Čech 

It was claimed by some that Petr Čech was coming to the end of his career, that he was past his shot stopping best. "The helmet had finally gone to his head" This didn't stop Arsene spending £10 million on him, and what a signing it's turned out to be. For the unbelievers and Chelsea fans all i can say is that Arsenal are heading into 2016 as league leaders, from a neutral point of view it's sickening as Wenger shouldn't still be in footballing management he looks more like a school teacher! 

The main reason Arsenal are doing so well this season.. it's simple it's all down to a man named Čech!


Right you lucky bunch lot of footballing fans! lets get down to business! The remaining 10 places in our team of 2015! There's no room for the likes of Terry, Bony, Walker or even Radamel Falcao (I know Falcao has been electric this season and it may come as a bit of a surprise but he ain't gonna force his way into our team.) So after a good few minutes of thinking here's are team of the year! 












Wednesday, 23 December 2015

The Other Neville


Our mate Gary has been getting a lot of press recently, It's possibly something to do with him taking over a bang average Spanish side by the name of Valencia. Who'd have seen that coming? Ok i know the owners of Valencia FC have brought a large stake in the Neville's side project - Salford City F.C - But honestly the guy is inexperienced as a manager and this could do him more harm than good! 

Anyway we've decided to focus on the other Neville... Phil. 

Phil started life at Man United along with his brother as part of the Class of 92. It took Phil noticeably     longer to break into the United team than it did his elder sibling although it's been well documented that during their school boy days, It was in fact Gary that struggled for game time. Phil would often find himself in the starting 11 for both county team and country. "Phil was always more talented as a youngster. He got in England schoolboy teams and things like that. I was struggling to even get in the county team - I was sub at times - whereas Phil was always one of the best in the country. I never got close to making England teams" Gary Neville 2003

Once Phil was established at United there was no moving him! He would go on to average between 30 / 40 games a season for the Red Devils. (386 in total) It was during this time Phil realised that he had no idea how to make a decent cup of coffee! (This embarrassing revelation came to light in Jan 2015 when Neville was asked to make a cup of coffee for a journalist visiting his home) *Keep it Tea!

After establishing himself in the United set up - International football soon followed, making his debut for the 3 lions aged 18. The Neville's had written themselves in the history books by becoming the first set of brothers to play together for the national team since the slightly less famous pair of Charltons. (Nope i've never heard of them either) Rumour has it that they we're part of the 1966 World cup winning squad! Phil went on to represent his Country 59 times, although it wasn't all singing and dancing for the younger brother.  In 1998 Neville was left out of the World cup squad - Something that still haunts him today. "It was probably the lowest point for me. I was almost sure I was going. I got right down to the wire and when I wasn’t selected it was a bitter blow." 

In 2005 Neville decided to move on from United and surprisingly enough ended up at Everton. (No United player has ever done that now have they???) The Toffee men snapped him up for a modest £3.5 Million quid! Still only 28 Neville had his best years in front of him. During his time at Everton Neville played over 300 games and in 2007 was handed the captains armband. It was also in 2007 that Phil would earn the last of his 59 England caps. 

Not one to find the net on a regular basis Phil managed to grab himself 2 league goals during 2007/08 and that proved to be his most prolific season for Everton! Many believe his best season as a pro came in the 2008/09 season. His versatility meant he played in an array of positions from right back to centre midfield. It's strange to think that Phil disagrees with this statement... Something to do with 1999 and a treble? Nope no idea either think he may of dreamt that one! 

The only thing missing from his time as a Toffee icon was silverware.  It was during his final seasons as a pro that he gained his UEFA B Licence.  

After hanging up his boots, Neville decided to join David Moyes on the coaching staff at United. The less said about that the better. (Although in fairness to Moyes, Untied haven't been hitting the heights this season either!) 

So what happened after that brief unsuccessful time a United with Moyes?? We need to rewind slightly to 2013 Shortly after the documentary came out regarding the Class of 92. The Neville brothers had this idea to buy a non league team and turn them into next big thing. After a few years of scouting different teams and persuading a couple of other ex pro's from the Class of 92 including a  certain Ryan Giggs to buy into the project they group decided to buy Salford City F.C. If you've got a spare few minutes and fancy a laugh have a google - There's some funny clips on the inter web with the likes of the Neville's acting like a Mike Bassett double act! One of the clips show's Phil pouring a hot drink for a fan.... Got a feeling it wasn't coffee! Unfortunately for Salford they just missed out this season on the FA Cup third round! But the signs are there that they will become a force within the next few years. 

*Before we forget... As if running a non league football team wasn't enough Phil can also be found on the coaching staff at Valencia! The man is a machine! 

So thats are brief history lesson on the living legend that is Gary.. Sorry i mean Phil Neville. 







Friday, 18 December 2015

In a World of José



For weeks it's been a case of will he or won't he... Yesterday the news broke that The Special One was once again booted out the door @ Stamford Bridge and from a neutral point of view i'm gutted. Mourinho is the modern day icon. He is what the Premier League is about - The arrogance, flair, genius, outrageous, box office. Unfortunately for both him and the league his time has for now come to an end. Now depending what is written in his severance package it could be a hell of a long time until we see him managing back in the English top flight.

With so many clubs struggling to find their form this season it's outrageous that Chelsea felt they needed to sack arguably the greatest manager of the modern footballing era.

Ok a few results have gone a bit wrong and the league position isn't the greatest but they easily qualified for the knock out stages of the Champions League and face a winnable tie against PSG.

Have the board forgotten that winning the Champions League means your back in it the following season... It wasn't long ago Chelsea had a similar situation when they finished 6th yet won the CL.....

Now there is a slight ( i repeat slight) possibility that the board deep down were worried that Chelsea could end up getting relegated but in all fairness there is another transfer window about to open and on current form there are around 6/7 teams playing worse than Chelsea! But who's to say the new manager will turn the fortunes around this season???

Will big name players be up for a relegation scrap? Will their top transfer targets come or will the likes of Kane, Stones and co rather see out another few months at their current employers and see what unfolds in the summer?

Everyone has gone on record to say what a great leader John Terry is.. Well now the chips are down this is where the veteran defender will need to earn his keep!

We've got an interesting few months ahead of us.

Who will Chelsea have as their next manager???

Where will they finish come May???

What next for The Special One???







Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Weekender


He may have been away for a while! But the big man is back. Herbal tea in the tea pot and no room for a custard cream! 

With no top flight fixtures this week due to the pointless international friendlies The Weekender has picked a few gems from the lower leagues this week! The form book has been thrown out the window! Going against all things football the 'Ender predicts big wins for Luton and Macclesfield. 

Stevenage make the long trip down south to Yeovil and the 'Ender reckons that their travelling fans are gonna come back signing all the way home with a 2-1 win predicted for Teddy's boys! The Boro are also laying on free travel for the fans! Quality little touch there from the Boro lads! 

In fairness Wigan made a slow start adjusting to life in League One, Their young Chairman making bold claims at the start of the season!  It hasn't stopped them being tipped to spank a Rochdale team who are on a decent run  of results themselves! 

Roll on the weekend and get them bacon sandwiches ready! It's all about the ketch-up! 





Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Internationals....

We love a bit of international football here @ it's a football thing. Although we've never really seen the point of international friendlies... I mean what do they really tell you about the state of your countries football? For example Roy has guided us to the Euro's unbeaten through out the group stage and some future icons have been discovered during the way! Now England are about to play a double header against the Spanish & the French.. If we were to get beat in both these games the media will turn on Roy and all the good work done through qualifying will be forgotten!




On the other side of the coin if we beat both teams then the media will be in a frenzy and the headlines will be 'England must be clear favourites for 2016!'  Its a no win situation for Roy and The Three Lions. 

With the starting 11 almost nailed on for the Euro's (Give or take one or two places) it would be nice to see a few of the squad players starting these games. The likes of Walker, Butland, Gibbs and Carrick. If Roy is feeling brave he could even whack young Dier straight into the thick of it! 


Anyway if you don't fancy watching the friendlies, there are a few qualifying games on which include the likes of The Irish v Bos-Herze & Sweden v Denmark (remember bacon is bad for your health) so there is plenty of choice if you want to see proper football! 





Thursday, 29 October 2015

Class of 92

Regardless if you are a United fan or just a football fan in general, it's great to see ex players involved with non league football! Salford City must be having a right northern knees up!

18 months ago it was first reported that a group of United legends headed up by none other than Gary Neville - were interested in making a cheeky purchase of Salford City F.C.

Salford, like most none league teams were just happy to be fielding 11 players each week followed by a swift pint and a pack of pork scratchings in the pub after. This was school boys own stuff! The kind of thing you dream about being a non league player.

Fast forward to present day and the amount of media (social and TV) that has been generated means Salford almost have as many followers as Jesus!


After a few impressive performances this season Salford find themselves up against the might of Notts County. This is the first time in the clubs history that they have reached this stage of the FA Cup and it's great to see the BBC have chosen to screen the match on the box! 

Obviously the United lads were over the moon, some people have reported seeing Ryan Giggs lifting his shirt up and running along the touch line, bringing back memories of that famous FA Cup goal against the Gunners! 


Phil Neville was a bit more reserved when interviewed "I'm sure it will be a packed crowd under the lights at Moor Lane" adding that 'anything can happen" Rumour has it Neville has been wearing his lucky pants to the matches and that he has had the pants since 92! 

So if like us you absolutely love football you need to either get yourself along to the match or tune into the BBC on Friday 6th November and watch the magic of the FA Cup unfold right in front of your eyes! After all this is the greatest cup competition in the history of the sport!