Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Bad Choice of Halloween Costume for JT [picture]

John Terry pledged his full support to the Kick It Out campaign to end discrimination last weekend in the aftermath of his suspension for racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand.

The defender missed out on Sunday's defeat to United at Stamford Bridge as a result of his suspension, but spoke out in support of Kick It Out’s  new 'One Game, One Community' initiative in the matchday programme.

'This is our dedicated match for the Kick It Out One Game, One Community campaign,' said Terry. 'We continue to be committed to eradicating all forms of discrimination from our game and creating a great atmosphere around the stadium.'

Ironically the game created fresh controversy, with Chelsea making a formal complaint afterwards against referee Mark Clattenburg alleging that he used inappropriate language against two of their players.

The Metropolitan Police have now began an investigation into the comments Clattenburg has been accused of, which includes racial words towards two Chelsea players.

Clattenburg has not been picked to officiate a game this upcoming weekend as a result of the accusations against him, which the Press Association report he will deny.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Fergie Backs Ferdinand After T-shirt Bust-up [picture]

Alex Ferguson has spoken out in support of Rio and Anton Ferdinand's joint statement, which critisises England's football authorities for not doing enough in the fight to stamp out racism in football.

Fergie was angered last weekend after Ferdinand opted not to wear his 'Kick It Out' pre-match t-shirt, however the issue was resolved between the pair this week with a 'communication problem' being identified as the reason for the spat.

Ferdinand's statement praised the work that the 'Kick It Out' campaigners have done, but identified a need for the organisation to 'change with the times' in order to stay relevent in the battle against racism.

Dissapointment was expressed with the actions of the FA and PFA over the past year, however the Ferdinand's stated that they are 'committed to working with football's existing organisations, to address problems.'

Sir Alex stated that: 'Rio and Anton did the right thing. 'But the race issue is bubbling along. It's not completely gone away. The awareness is getting stronger. The Professional Footballers Association is doing its best but Uefa, Fifa and the Football Association have to do more.'

After being rested for United's mid-week Champions League game, Rio is expected to start against Chelsea on Sunday and it is rumoured that he will shake hands with Ashley Cole in order to put the John Terry racial abuse saga behind them.

Illustration by Ned Wilson of WhimsyWoods

Friday, 19 October 2012

AVB: Beating Chelsea will be Proper Bo

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is ready to face up to the club that sacked him after only nine months in charge, when Chelsea visit White Hart Lane for the lunchtime kick off fixture this Saturday.

After a shaky start the Portuguese manager has led Tottenham on a run of four consecutive wins, including a historic victory at Old Trafford. A win this weekend would move Spurs to within two points of Premiership leaders Chelsea, who are the only side left in the league yet to suffer a defeat.

Despite his unceremonious exit from Stamford Bridge last season, AVB has insisted that he isn’t motivated by thoughts of revenge, however his players could be as a result of the conclusion of last season. Tottenham’s top 4 finish had earned them a Champions League place, which was then snatched away when the Blues won the competition.

'In the end there is one thing which has been to a certain extent blown out of proportion in some ways this is certainly not a personal matter,' Villas-Boas said. 'It counts as three points. It doesn't win us a trophy.'

'To a certain extent I feel this is much more about Tottenham in the sense that it is the team who took this club out of the Champions League. This is the team who prevented this team from playing in the FA Cup final last year, with a result that we know. So, in the end, we certainly have ingredients for it to be a spectacular match.'

'I'm going to see people who mean a lot to me, people who are part of my development as a coach. I certainly feel I have become a better coach because of them. They have helped me a lot on my development of career. People who gave everything for me, obviously it is special to encounter any team you have played or belonged to in the past.'

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Can Rooney Control his Dark Side? [picture]

Roy Hodgson has backed Wayne Rooney to become England’s permanent captain in the future, despite the numerous occurrences of indiscipline that have arisen throughout his career. The Manchester United forward was given the captains armband in Steven Gerrard’s absence for England game against San Marino last Friday.

Many have questioned if Rooney can cope with the added responsibility of captaining England, though some have claimed he has matured since his sending off against Montenegro in 2011 that led to a two game suspension for Euro 2012. There was no sign of Rooney’s dark side when he scored a brace in England’s 5-0 over San Marino in which he moved into fifth place in England’s all time scorers list.

When asked if Rooney was a future England captain after Friday's game, Hodgson stated: 'Yes, he was my vice-captain at the Euros from the moment he could start playing again. He does take playing for England unbelievably seriously. I know being captain is something he's very proud of and something he wants to do. Frank Lampard has captained the team when both Steven (Gerrard) and Wayne were absent. But I always had in my mind that Wayne would be the vice captain and when Frank comes back I suppose I've got a decision to make.'

Rooneys' Manchester United and England team mate Tom Cleverley has also championed his leadership skills for club and country stating that: 'Wayne has got all the attributes to be a top-class captain. He is a leader, a winner and I like playing underneath him as a captain. Wayne was quite vocal in the dressing-room before (the San Marino game). He was chipping in with points for the team, to improve the team. We are lucky at my club too - we have got so many people you can go to.'

'For quite a young guy, Wayne has had a lot of experience that myself, Danny Welbeck and all the young players in the squad can tap into. So he is definitely someone you could go to. He is approachable and someone you can get advice from.'

Illustration by Ned Wilson of WhimsyWoods

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Rodgers Finds new Role for Downing at Liverpool [picture]

Stewart Downing’s Liverpool career hit a new low last weekend, when he was left out of the squad for Sunday’s Premier League game against Stoke. Downing has been on a downward spiral this season, having not started a Premiership game since Liverpool’s opening game against West Brom.

The former Middlesbrough player didn’t get off to the best start following his £20 million move from Aston Villa in July 2011, completing his first season in a Liverpool shirt without a single league goal or assist. Things took a further turn for the worse with the arrival of Brendan Rodgers, who suggested Downing might better off playing as a left back rather than his traditional role on the wing.

Rodgers has been outspoken in his criticism of Downing since taking over at Anfield and has recently questioned whether the 28-year-old has the self-motivation and hunger to succeed required to fight for a place in the Liverpool team. Downing has spoken out in response to the comments made by his manager, who accused him of not being willing to put his body on the line while playing for the club.

'I’m disappointed,' said Downing. 'If that's how the manager sees it then there's nothing I can do. I would have preferred it if it was private. I was upset but you’d have to ask the manager what he meant by it. Bravery is a lot of things. It’s not just tackling. Bravery is also taking the ball when you are losing the game and trying to create things. That's what I try to do.'

'I was surprised that it came out. I've obviously spoken to him on numerous occasions about different things when I wasn’t in the team, private things, but the only thing I can do is keep playing well. I’ll fight, I’ll fight every day. I have done that since I was 10-years-old when I was trying to get through at Middlesbrough.'

'I fought very hard when I was at Aston Villa to do well for them and get a good move to Liverpool. I’ll fight for a place here. My aim is to get back in the team and prove the manager wrong.'

Can Rodgers achieve his aim of a Champions League place this season? Check out http://www.thebookiesoffers.co.uk/blog/ for a betting preview of the biggest Liverpool games this season!