Twitter Twits

31 May

Twitter – causing the controversy.

As the concept of networking grows, so does social media. Global brands such as Twitter and Facebook have grown in such large proportions such that Facebook floated on the stock exchange lastweekend at a valuation larger than Walt Disney and Amazon. With social networking ever-growing, so has its accessibility – even reaching out to the most media-friendly football players.

This is where the problem starts. Twitter and Facebook are  great to keep in touch with friends and such, and even for celebrities and sportsmen to be more accessible for their fans. And if used in the right manner its great. But when its not, well that leads to a whole host of issues.

Let’s take one main culprit for example – Joey Barton. The QPR captain has never been shy to outlay his opinion, on or off the pitch. And at numerous times has got him in trouble. His recent implosion at the Etihad Stadium coupled with his rant at Alan Shearer(how dare he) have led fellow tweeter’s heckling him with abuse. Louis Saha, Spurs’ on-loan striker has recently been in hot water with his own fans after congratulating Chelsea’s Champions League win – a victory that prevents Spurs from participating in next years competition.

Racial abuse is also highlighted on social networking sites. Danny Simpson was recently abused by fellow tweeter’s calling him the ‘N’ word, a theme that has seen other footballers face similar abuse.

I know certain manager’s have it as a club policy such that social media outlets are banned within the club. I tend to agree with this rather vigilant stance, as one slip-up is picked up by the tabloids to the point that Twitter has become a vulture’s feeding zone.

Why would a professional footballer put certain aspects of their personal life into the public eye? Even if the thoughts or comments may be harmless within their friend-circle, once it is in the public domain its a different ball-game. Of course there are many who use the social media platform’s to great effect, but they will always be running the risk of saying something deemed stupid by some readers. Unfortunately (or fortunately)  we’ve seen many footballers leave twitter due to constant abuse of their opinions, or more often – because of recent performances.

I think it would genuinely help footballers if every club were to adopt a ‘no-social-networking’ rule. So, follow me on twitter @beautifulgame9.

Comments and views welcome.

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The Future of Football

21 May

With Manchester City winning the league in an enthralling game at the end of the season, and Chelsea’s ‘backs-to-the-wall’ job at the Allianz Arena this weekend, it goes to prove an aged footballing belief. Money does bring success.

Chelsea have had relative success domestically in the Abramovich era, yielding three League Titles and three FA Cup trophies since the Russian took over. But not until Saturday’s penalty shootout had Chelsea claimed Europe’s top prize – the Champions League, the one trophy that Roman Abramovich had long-craved. This, coinciding with Man City having their name on the Premierleague trophy illustrates how these money-men can flex their financial muscle and claim whatever they want. The question is, what will this do to football as we know it?

Chelsea – Champions of Europe 2012

One must remember that it wasn’t too long ago that Manchester City were plying their trade in the lower divisions of the British leagues – a far cry from lifting the trophy on Saturday. I’m not one of those fans that despises a club just because of their financial clout – I understand that having a uber-wealthy ownership could happen to any club. For example, in the 90′s under the Hall family riches, Newcastle essentially tried to bring home success to no avail. Manchester United successfully achieved this, with their extended period of dominance. And I’m sure that another club will feature in the limelight soon enough – despite the introduction of the Fair-Play rules.

My understanding is that these rules would probably hinder the clubs who don’t produce enough revenue to go out in the transfer market and upgrade their squads without selling their best assets. The likes of Chelsea and Man City will forever have the global income from advertising and public-profile to generate cash, thus probably not needing to prune their outlays.

I just wonder what will happen when these sugar-daddies get bored with football and move onto other things. Where does that leave the fans? Many of these clubs are amassing enormous debt to their owners, so in any case of a pull-out, the club’s will be put into a financial vacuum – and the people who suffer most will be the true die-hard fans that have witnessed their club in a much poorer position than they are now.

Unfortunately football has become a rich-man’s toy. Look across the globe – Qatari ownership at both Malaga and Paris Saint-Germain,  Kerimov’s ownership at Anzhi Makhachkala, not to mention Manchester City and Chelsea.

It’s my belief that these sugar daddies look to invest in football for one of two reasons. One – due to investment. Just like the Venky’s at Blackburn, or the previous Hicks and Gillett era at Liverpool – it is an opportunity to advertise and generate money. Or two, more profoundly as a vanity project to showcase their wealth across a global audience. The problem is, the heart and soul is being ripped out football, being replaced by massive cash injections.

Nevertheless, I must congratulate Chelsea and Manchester City on their respective success’. The player’s on the pitch still have to deliver the goods regardless of who paid their wages, and the men representing both of these clubs did so on their respective platforms.

Again I must state I’m not envious in the slightest of another teams wealth – I’m more than happy being in love with my club just the way it is (despite its roller coaster rides). Football has succumbed to being a playground for the rich. Sadly, the truest fans probably cannot afford to see their team play.

Heart and soul? That is long gone.

Comments welcome.

Why The Next Appointment Is Crucial

16 May

Kenny Dalglish, manager of Liverpool FC.

Kenny Dalglish – a forlorn figure.

As we know, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish was sacked last night along with members of his back room team – just a short 18 months since his arrival. Fenway Sports Group, headed by J. Henry in Boston, felt that a meagre 8th place finish, albeit a Carling Cup victory, was unsatisfactory and decisions had to be made.

I stated a few months ago that Dalglish shouldn’t be sacked, particularly if you are to invest so much into him. We saw towards the end of the season that Liverpool could actually play half-decent football despite blowing between £100-140 million on new acquisitions. Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez began to find some consistency between them – a partnership that could blossom next year. However that won’t be overseen by the Liverpool great that is ‘King’ Kenny.

Whoever follows the steps of Kenny, will have a big task on their hands. Not just because it is Liverpool, but instead it is a Liverpool club that could potentially be teetering towards years of ambiguity and misfortune. Another season of mediocre football and poor achievements could see some of the larger names leave the club – which they have every right to do so. And unless European football is secured again, replacing these big names could be more difficult than first presumed.

Kenny Dalgish was previously in-charge at Newcastle United, after the Kevin Keegan ‘entertainers’ era. And despite finishing 2nd, he was sacked the following year after finishing in 13th place – prompting the loss of the likes of Les Ferdinand, Peter Beardsley and Lee Clark, players that were essentially never replaced. The following appointment at that time was crucial with Ruud Gullit taking the helm, and unfortunately the club has never been the same, with mainly mid-table finishes all the club had to show for since.

Rumours are rife that Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is the favourite to secure the Anfield hot-seat. To be fair, he has never been at a ‘big’ club but that isn’t to say he won’t be able to manage it. If indeed Martinez does take over, it could be a promising thing. Decent football under a very stringent budget at Wigan have led some quarters to believe that he was always destined for greater things. And lets not forget that Brendan Rodgers is probably thanking Martinez for the way he left Swansea – it was actually him that initiated the possession game ethos seen at the Liberty Stadium.

However if Martinez, or whoever replaces Dalglish, fails to invigorate a true sleeping giant of the game, unfortunately Liverpool could be facing a long hard road back to being amongst the highest echelons of European football, and taking off my Geordie-bias glasses, that would be a true shame. And as for Kenny himself, despite his failings in NE1 – I have utmost respect for a true legend of the game and his failings this season shouldn’t sour the name he had earned himself at Liverpool.

It would be a sad day if Liverpool ever become associated with the likes of Nottingham Forest or Aston Villa. Clubs that once were giants of the game – clubs that will unlikely ever be the same.

Comments welcome.

My England Squad

12 May

On the undercard for tomorrow’s season finale is the small matter of who is going to go to represent England at the 2012 European Championships, under Roy Hodgson‘s stewardship.

Roy Hodgson as a head coach of Fulham F.C. Рус...

Uncle Roy – Decision time.

As an England fan, as many of our readers here, I’m sure squad predictions are flying about everywhere. So going on the basis of a 22 man squad, here is the squad I would take:

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Scott Carson, Fraser Forster.

Defenders: Micah Richards, Kyle Walker, John Terry, Phil Jagielka, Joleon Lescott, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines.

Midfield: Aaron Lennon, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Scott Parker, Gareth Barry, Ashley Young, Adam Johnson

Forwards: Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Danny Welbeck, Peter Crouch.

Now, there probably isn’t too many surprise inclusions and exclusions in that list, yet there probably is enough flexibility to utilise both 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 systems.

The exclusion of Andy Carroll and Darren Bent is quite obvious. Carroll has been poor all season, and two decent games now shouldn’t merit a place in the squad. Unfortunately Darren Bent has been injured for the majority of this season, thus he shouldn’t be risked taking.

With regards to Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, club level inconsistency’s and genuine lack of playing time can’t warrant international inclusion, and in my opinion they are very much over-hyped, particularly the former. Nevertheless they will both probably be in contention for the next major tournament as the ‘new breed’ of English players shines through.

Theo Walcott is a tricky one – pace is always needed in big competitions, but again his performances this season have fluctuated. Although if any absences in attack or midfield up until the tournament initiation, he and James Milner would be the first to call, with the latter missing my squad narrowly due to better options ahead of him, despite his obvious versatility.

Grant Holt also misses out, despite scoring 16 goals this season. He has been a revelation but a lack of top flight experience and big-game play on a consistent basis may lead him to be overawed in Poland. I also left out Danny Sturridge as in my eyes, it was a pick 2 of 3 situation also regarding Defoe and Welbeck, and sided with the goal-scoring prowess and experience of the latter two.

Now looking at it, its extremely hard to speculate which squad should head out. On reviewing, the likes of Barry and Terry being in the squad makes me feel a bit sick knowing that I’ve slated them most of the year – yet I’d take them to the Euro’s. But then again, I’m not Roy Hodgson. I’m just some bloke who got Burnley winning the Champions League in Football Manager. Ahem.
Comments and predictions welcome.

Temporary Hiatus

10 May

Due to impending end of year exams and increasing workload, the number of posts will reduce over the next few weeks. There will however be the occasional post over the upcoming weeks.

Apologies for the lack of activity, but the blog will be back in full swing in July.

RS

The Magic of the Cup

6 May

Taking todays results away from the main stage, yesterday marked the 131st FA Cup final. Aside from the largely lacklustre Liverpool performance at Wembley yesterday (although not too surprising), there were a few striking issues that hit me.

The FA Cup

The obvious would have been the scheduling of the cup final – a week before the end of the league season. This is odd very odd considering the FA Cup final is usually the end of the domestic season. The changing of the date had something to do with the Champions League final, or so I assume. If this is the case, it’s quite difficult to understand. It seemed to me that it was a ploy to favour the larger teams in the league, who may have been participating in a Champions League final 2 weeks later.

An end of season FA Cup final was usually the last piece of domestic footballing action before the passports come out, and the summer rumour mill goes into over-drive. A long-lasting tradition of English football, just like the Saturday 3pm kick-off, shouldn’t be  tampered with. And the beautiful game is now getting very much diluted by TV companies and favouritism to the larger clubs.

The atmosphere at the game yesterday also seemed very much dead, and I don’t think this was due to the two sets of supporters – instead, the amount. Rumours were that 40,000 tickets were given to corporate seating, and the rest split between the two sets of fans. I find it disheartening that many true fans who would die to see glory for their club, couldn’t get a ticket due to the lack of availability.

So much so, that the FA Cup final was unfortunately the 3rd most important game of the weekend a true shame, for once the most glorified cup competition on the glove.

The romance of the cup? Definitely gone.

Comments welcome.

Poll: Goal of the Season

4 May

It’s that time of the year where we start looking at just which goal was the best scored this season. Here are my top league goals this season – I’ve tried not to be bias. (VERY difficult). Vote in the poll:

Video’s below.

HATEM BEN ARFA vs Bolton – a game deadlocked at 0-0 with Bolton seemingly more than content with loading their box to prevent anything passing meant it required something really special to break it down. And it did. Receiving the ball inside his own half with a delicious turn, Ben Arfa evaded the attentions of 4 Bolton defender’s before sliding it past the on rushing Jussi Jaskeleinen. He scored an even better one in the FA Cup.

PAPISS CISSE vs Swansea – Swansea bossed this game with the possession steeped in the favour of the south Wales outfit, but both chances created, the clinical Senegalese striker put away. The second of which was a delight; ball moving away from goal, he opened his body up before curling an absolute pearler in the only place it could go. All this off-balance.

PETER CROUCH vs Manchester City – since his move to Stoke this season, the big man hasn’t had the media attention he had at Spurs. Let me tell you, had he scored this in lily-white, the southern media would be orgasmic for days. On the volley, 30 yards out, Crouch struck and absolute beast of a shot darting into the far corner.

LUIS SUAREZ vs Norwich - The 3rd of his hat-trick, the mercurial Uruguayan evaded the attention of his marker on the half way line. What happened next was pure ingenious quick thought and technique. A lovely 50 yard chip over the keeper whilst on the move wheeled him away for his first Liverpool hat trick.

PAPISS CISSE vs Chelsea – this lad doesn’t score tap-ins, and with his current record of 13 goals in 12 appearances, he’s already had a few belters. But without doubt, the strike at Stamford Bridge was right up there. Steeped in injury time, a throw in fell back to Cisse on the angle of the area, 30 yards out. He hit it first time with the outside of the boot, eliciting a ‘banana’ shot reminiscent of that Roberto Carlos strike – with the ball whistling over and passed Petr Cech, going in off the goal frame. The thing is, he could have 2 or 3 more contenders.

ROBIN VAN PERSIE vs Everton – we’ve been used to the Alex Song – RvP partnership this season, and this was a delight. A flighted diagonal from deep via the right boot of Song glided over the shoulder of Robin Van Persie , before directing it on the volley into the back of the net. Stunning technique.

SEB COATES vs QPR - Who knew a centre-half has this kind of agility. A goal mouth scramble led to the ball being flicked into the air, before Coates applied the finish. With aplomb. 
So what’s your choice of goal of the season (providing there isn’t any more), vote in the poll!

Comments also welcome.

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