Posts Tagged English Premier League

The Suarez saga: Biters of the world unite

mtyson

Birds of a feather flock together. So when Luis Suarez became a twitter celebrity for biting Branislav Ivanonovic, he gained himself a new twitter friend.

This new follower is none other than the world’s most famous professional athlete to have bitten an opponent, Mike Tyson. Tyson reached worldwide ‘biting fame’ when he chewed a chunk off Evander Holyfield’s ear during a match in 1997.

When asked about his decision to extend this almost virtual pat on the head to Suarez, Tyson said (audio here) :

“I just sort of got on the the Twitter thing and I said hey, um, this is an interesting guy, let me follow him, check him out, see what his journey’s all about. You know, he bit somebody, you know s*** happens, you know what I mean? I’m sure he made amends with his guy, I made amends with Evander, and we go on with our lives.”

It is unclear whether Suarez and Ivanovic have made amends. Suarez says that Ivanovic has accepted his apology but the Guardian claims Ivanovic has rejected it.

But as Tyson says, s*** happens. May be the boxer can tweet Suarez a few tips on how to stop the cannibal jokes.

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David Beckham and the transfer window 2013: Signings

mariobecks

The transfer window deadline day has come and gone. As one circus leaves the UK another one comes rushing in to take its place. Mario Balotelli and his antics will henceforth be reported from Milan where the striker has gone on a £17m deal. Fear not though Posh and the kids are back in the UK while David Beckham is just across the channel in Paris plying his trade at Paris Saint Germain.The Parisian club and David Beckham do have the makings of a match made in  heaven. Becks has announced that he will be donating all his PSG wages. So not only is David Beckham back in Europe, he is back with an absolute PR bang. Welcome back Becks, we’ve missed you. Here are the other confirmed transfer deals.

Permanent deals

  • Mario Balotelli:  Manchester City to Milan – £17m, plus £5m add-ons
  • Christopher Samba:  Anzhi Makhachkala to QPR – £12.5m
  • Danny Graham:  Swansea City to Sunderland – £5m
  • John Stones:  Barnsley to Everton – £3m
  • Brek Shea:  FC Dallas to Stoke City – £2.5m
  • Yacouba Sylla:  Clermont Foot to Aston Villa – £2m
  • Kevin Mbabu:  Servette to Newcastle – £1m
  • David Beckham:  Free agent to Paris St-Germain
  • Luciano Becchio:  Leeds United to Norwich City – swap deal
  • Steve Morison:   Norwich City to Leeds United – swap deal
  • Godsway Donyoh:  Right to Dream Academy to Manchester City – undisclosed
  • Alexander Doni:  Liverpool to Botafogo
  • Stephen Warnock:  Aston Villa to Leeds United
  • Nacho Monreal:  Málaga to Arsenal – £8.5m
  • Jack Butland:  Birmingham to Stoke City – £4m
  • Jermaine Jenas:  Tottenham to QPR – undisclosed

Loans

  • Alou Diarra:  West Ham to Stade Rennais
  • Paul Scharner:  Hamburg to Wigan – until end of season
  • Urby Emanuelson:  Milan to Fulham – end of season
  • Stanislav Manolev:  PSV Eindhoven to Fulham – end of season
  • Alejandro Faurlín:  QPR to Palermo – end of season
  • Dani Pacheco:  Liverpool to SD Huesca – end of season
  • Rory Delap:  Stoke to Barnsley – end of season
  • Chris O’Grady:  Sheffield Wednesday to Barnsley – end of season
  • Heurelho Gomes:  Spurs to Hoffenheim – end of season
  • Asa Hall:  Shrewsbury to Aldershot – end of season
  • Ahmed Elmohamady:  Sunderland to Hull – end of season
  • Gedo:  Al Ahly to Hull – end of season
  • Ahmed Fathi:  Al Ahly to Hull – end of season
  • Patrick Bamford:  Chelsea to MK Dons – end of season
  • David Morgan:  Nottingham Forest to Dundee – end of season
  • Anton Robinson:  Huddersfield to Gillingham – end of season
  • Jordan Obita:  Reading to Oldham – one month
  • Godsway Donyoh:  Manchester City to Djurgardens – rest of year
  • Matthew Upson:  Stoke City to Brighton – end of season
  • Eyong Enoh:  Ajax to Fulham – end of season
  • Andros Townsend:  Tottenham to QPR – end of season

Released

  • Louis Saha:  Sunderland
  • Lorenzo Davids:  Bournemouth

Did your club sign that game-changing player?

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Manchester City win: Don’t believe the hype

ESPN.com gives the title to Man City

ESPN, the self proclaimed worldwide leader in sport, handed the Premier League title to Manchester City last night.  It seems last night’s game between Manchester City and their city rivals Manchester United was so hyped up that even the experienced sports network got carried away.

The Manchester derby is always one of the most-talked about games and one could argue that all matches in the long run are ‘title deciders’. But this year, the build-up to the game was inflated to ridiculous levels. It was called the ‘biggest Manchester derby‘, ‘the ‘title-decider‘, and a ‘match like no other‘. It was compared to the Super Bowl and the Premier League estimated a world record audience.

Well, the cagey, somewhat boring match ended 1-0 when Vincent Kompany’s header in the added time of the first half sent City fans into a delirium and put both clubs at 83 points with two matches left to play.

As soon as the referee blew the whistle, the top story on ESPN.com’s frontpage announced that “Manchester City claimed its first first [sic] EPL title since 1968, defeating Man U thanks to Vincent Kompany’s goal…”

May be it was ESPN’s psychic powers going full throttle or may be the sports media giant got played at its own game.

ESPN  quickly changed the caption to read “Manchester City, seeking its first EPL title since 1968, defeated Manchester United thanks to Vincent Kompany’s goal, the only one of the match, just before the half.”

But there is a lesson to be learnt — Don’t believe the hype.

And check your facts.

Technically, it wasn’t the “EPL” when Man City won in 1968.

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Will John W. Henry be denied Liverpool FC?

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For most football clubs, the fight on the pitch is more important than what goes on behind the scenes in the boardroom. But for Liverpool FC, it is the fights in the boardroom that have become crucial for their survival.

So when it was understood that there were two “credible” bids, one from John W Henry, the multi-millionaire  owner of Boston Red Sox Major League Baseball team and the other from business interests in Asia to buy the debt-ridden club off the current American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, everyone should have breathed a collective sigh of relief.

However, this set the stage for another low  for a club that has always prided itself  for keeping internal matters private. The boardroom war between the American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, and the three other directors came into the full public view when an official statement from Liverpool said the board was preparing to approve the sale yesterday. However, Hicks and Gillett sought to block that decision by ousting the managing director, Christian Purslow, and commercial director, Ian Ayre, and appointing instead Hicks’s son and a close ally.

Hicks and Gillett both reiterated “commitment to finding a buyer” but said that they will not accept bids which in their view “dramatically undervalue” the club, which they say had nearly doubled its revenues since they took over.

What this whole mess  most likely means is that while both the offers commit to clearing the £237m Liverpool owe Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia (which is due for repayment in nine days’ time), they were not prepared to give Hicks and Gillett much for their shares.

Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton thinks  that the attempt by the club’s owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett to block the sale of the club to John W Henry’s New England Sports Ventures group by changing the board, is a “flagrant abuse” of “written undertakings” and that he is the only person entitled to do such a thing.

In an interview on the Liverpool website the chairman said, “We don’t think it was valid to do it. Essentially when I took the role they gave a couple of written undertakings to Royal Bank of Scotland. Those written undertakings included that I was the only person entitled to change the board and that was written into the articles of the covenant, and also that they would take no action to frustrate any reasonable sale.”

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Broughton also believes that the proposed owners were committed to getting the winning mentality back into the team: “I think the demonstration is: let’s look at what they have done at Boston, what they said in Boston, what they have done in terms of investing in players – and I think you get a high degree of confidence of their willingness to do that.”

The iconic Fenway Park stadium and two championship wins for the Boston Red Sox under John W. Henry’s ownership does seem to suggest that he is the right man to lead Liverpool back to winning ways.

However, Liverpool fans cannot be blamed for being sceptical of any US bid after their bitter experience with Hicks and Gillett’s “leveraged buy-out”.

Article first published as Will John W. Henry be denied Liverpool FC? on Technorati.

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Arsenal Offer Fans A Voice Through ‘Fanshares’

As the English Premier League grew, it attracted many rich businessmen. The trouble however, with many such businessmen was the complete control of the club. Their money bought the club that was loved and  supported by many fans. Many of these businessmen like the Glazer family that bought Manchester United and Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett were not cash rich, just credit rich. The result is that both Manchester United and Liverpool despite being successful clubs are in debt and struggling much to the dismay of their supporters.

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In order to avoid the fans being left powerless and voiceless, Arsenal have come up with an interesting scheme. The London club has invited fans to buy shares in the club and play a role in its governance. Although with one Arsenal share trading at £10,250, not all Arsenal supporters could afford it. This is where the Arsenal Fanshare scheme which took  The Arsenal Supporters Trust five years to plan comes in handy. This scheme encourages supporters to buy an affordable portion of the share, a minimum of £100, either up front or in in £10 monthly contributions, to buy one fanshare, one hundredth of an actual share. This secures the supporter full shareholder’s rights: they get to attend the annual general meeting, ask questions of the directors and vote on policy.

Arsenal is majority-owned by four shareholders: US property and sports entrepreneur Stan Kroenke (30%); Alisher Usmanov (27%), the Uzbek-Russian mining and minerals billionaire; long-term shareholder Danny Fiszman (16%) and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith who is currently looking to sell her 16% stake which her family has owned for three-generations. Arsenal is valued at around £640m and each of its 62,000 shares trades at £10,250.

Arsenal Fanshare was a brainchild of The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, a body that opposes the club being bought by one rich individual and demands that supporters be represented in decision-making. The trust hopes that many of the Arsenal’s supporters here and overseas will subscribe, massing small contributions together to form an influential stake. The supporters’ trust spokesman, Tim Payton, said, “The aim is to increase supporter ownership and influence.”

Arsenal Fanshare is fully backed by the club and according to Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal’s chief executive, “In the club’s relationship with supporters, the important thing is that fans are valued and nurtured, not exploited. That’s not only good for the club’s soul; it is also ultimately good for the club overall, because engagement with our fans helps us to be healthier, more vibrant and successful.”

Even though the scheme allows a maximum monthly payment of a £100o which ensures that no one can build a significant holding quickly. The idea is refreshingly democratic especially in light of the recent wars between fans and the absolute owners at  the debt-ridden Manchester United and Liverpool.

Article first published as Arsenal Offer Fans A Voice Through ‘Fanshares’ on Technorati.

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Cesc Fabregas to Leave Arsenal for Barcelona

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Arsenal’s season had started with such promise. The free scoring Gunners had the added advantage of being maturer than they had been in the past and in many games put up a fight when the going got tough. Unfortunately, the season ended in the same fashion as the last, in disappointment. Arsenal were unlucky enough to have drawn Barcelona in the Champions League knock-out stages and were given a master-class in football by the La Liga Champions in their 4-1 loss at the Nou Camp. Just like their Champions League dream died, Arsenal’s title ambitions also fizzled out leaving them third on the league table behind champions Chelsea and second place, Manchester United.

With the north London club failing to add to their trophy cabinet this season, fans must have felt that the worst disappointments of the season were behind them. Unfortunately, the  the final blow was to be dealt by their captain Cesc Fabregas who told  his father figure and mentor Arsene Wenger in a face-to-face meeting that he wants to quit Arsenal and rejoin Barcelona. Cesc had joined Arsenal as a 16-year old from Barcelona’s youth teams where he had played alongside Lionel Messi and has enjoyed the privilege of captaincy and  a demi-god status at Arsenal.

It couldn’t have been easy for the mid-fielder to tell the man he feels he owes his career to that he no longer wanted to stay at the club. A decision that stems, it seems  from the fear of losing out on the higher accolades since Arsenal haven’t come any closer to winning in Europe or in the domestic league in the last few seasons. Barcelona on the other hand are a team on fire. They are the reigning La Liga champions and Champions League winners (till March 28). Barcelona’s manager Pep Guardiola has already proven that his success in his first season at the club was not a fluke and that he knows how to build a champion team.

Arsene Wenger, it is believed, took the news calmly and asked the 23-year old Spaniard to stay for one more season but Fabregas has his heart set on returning home to Barcelona this summer. It is believed that Barcelona would be willing to offer £30m for Fabregas who was signed for nothing by Arsenal in 2003.  Arsenal however, would be looking for more than £40m for the player who they consider irreplaceble and undoubtedly one of the world’s best midfielders. Reports from Barcelona have also suggested that Yaya Touré could be used as a makeweight in the deal.

Fabregas has already said that he wants his future decided before the World Cup and unfortunately for Arsenal fans, it it seems that his belief Arsene Wenger’s vision has suffered a few knocks over the years while his belief in Pep Guardiola’s ability to win silverware is minty fresh.

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Come On Chelsea: Blue is the Colour!

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It’s the final day of the Premier League season and our destiny is still in our own hands. All we need to do is win against Wigan today and bring the premier league trophy back where it belongs in Stamford Bridge. A lot of people seem to think that Chelsea have already won the title (some of my non-football crazy but very adorable  friends have already congratulated me!)  and that the Wigan game is a mere formality but I shudder at the memory of that terrible day earlier in the season when Wigan made beating us look so simple.  I know, that back then we lost only because we were foolishly complacent and that this game has too much riding on it for our players to be silly and that they will be a 100%  motivated to win. The flip side of a game being so important to one side is, that usually it isn’t very important to the other side. Wigan have absolutely nothing riding on this game so they will just want to come out there and play and will enjoy the fact that they have the opportunity to change the complexion of the entire season.

Chelsea stayed top of the table for most weeks and Carlo Ancelotti believes that Chelsea deserve the title saying it would be ” a tragedy, a disaster” if Chelsea fail to win. He did warn the players against complacency saying, “I don’t want to say the title is our destiny. It’s our aim to win. We’ve done a fantastic job, but we’ve still got one game to go. We have to do our best and play at the same level as in the last game. Until now, we’ve deserved to stay at the top of the list. It would be a tragedy if we lost the last game after nine months of such a good, fantastic job. Every day. It would be a tragedy, a disaster.”

Florent Malouda who was named ‘Player’s Player Of the Season’ said it would be the worst blow of his career if Chelsea were to lose today. He added, “We know Wigan will not give up against us, but our chance of winning the title should be big enough to overcome any obstacle placed in front of us.”

Wigan have beaten Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool for the first time this season but lets not forget that we are playing at home and that Wigan haven’t won in their last 5 away games. Chelsea on the other hand have won 16 of our 18 home games and scored 60 goals. If we score another 3 goals , we will break the record for the most home goals in a season!

It has been a very crazy season for us, with the off-field allegations about John Terry and Ashley Cole, but the brilliant Blues really seem to have come out of it stronger. Didier Drogba feels that the scandals actually helped the team to come together and really make a push for the double. Lets pray that we won’t need a similar scandal to unite the team next season but hopefully we’ll continue in this season’s tradition of  scoring 7 goals against 3 different teams.

Chelsea midfielder extraordinaire, ‘Super’ Frank Lampard  described the season perfectly as a ‘mad‘ one, and ranks it as his best campaign ever especially is Chelsea do the double. No one does it better than Lamps, even when it comes to summing up Chelsea’s season finale, “I guess it might be a bit like having a winning lottery ticket and waiting for someone to tell you you’ve won to make it real.”

Well, guess what my wonderful True Blues…. we are gonna win this thing….and then we going to go and do what only 6 teams have manged to do in premier league history … we are going to win the FA Cup and do the double!  Lets paint this town BLUE!  ktbffh

PS: I just hope Chelsea don’t get too nervous.  I am sure they won’t, besides I think I am nervous enough for everyone!

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