Posts Tagged Manchester United

Patrice Evra bites back

patriceevra

Patrice Evra is a not a man who forgets. He showed this by biting into a fake arm while celebrating his team’s utter domination of the Premier League.

Manchester United won their 20th top-ranked title after brushing aside relegation threatened Aston Villa 3-0 at Old Trafford.

After the match, Manchester United players and staff celebrated their title clinching win with all the excitement of a yearly free trip around the sun.

To liven things up, a smiling Patrice Evra picked up and pretended to bite a fake severed arm thrown onto the pitch by a fan.

It appeared to be an attempt to mock Liverpool striker Luis Suarez’s who recently  just had to have a bite of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovich.

Suarez was infamously banned for eight matches last season after being found guilty of racially abusing Evra.

The French full-back just couldn’t help having a dig at his old foe as he tasted title glory for the fifth time with Manchester United.

Either that or it was a homage to some strange magic that has brought Alex Ferguson and Manchester United their success.

Leave a Comment

Top 25 teams on the continent

While Manchester City are basking in the glory of a historic title win. Their arch rivals Manchester United are trophyless unless you count the Community Shield.  The English Premier League has been turned upside down. While in Italy an Old Lady is back on the throne. In Spain, Barcelona are hurting and Atletico Madrid are the new UEFA Europa League champions.

Here’s how it all adds up on the European Power Index.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Comments (1)

Swansea City FC: Elvises in the building

Swansea City lost to Manchester United 2-0 last night but this hasn’t deterred the Swansea manager, Brendon Rodgers, from making a strange request to the club’s fans.

Swansea, who were promoted to the premier league this season, have had a good year. They have played good football and have stayed clear of the relegation zone.

In celebration of this and perhaps wanting not be outdone by Hartlepool, the Swansea manager has requested the club’s fans to wear a specific something for their final match of the season at home against Liverpool.

According to the BBC:

“Next week is going to be brilliant. I will be asking all the fans if they can wear as many Elvis Presley costumes as we can because when we got promoted the bookies said there was a greater chance of seeing Elvis Presley than us staying at this level. As a show of our achievement and a bit of fun we’ll ask for our supporters for that and we’ll see what their reaction is.”

Rogers didn’t specify which Elvis he wanted his club’s fans to impersonate – the young sexy Elvis or the bloated Rhinestone wearing version. It will be interesting to see how many start off as the young Elvis and take the one-too-many-pies route into the Rhinestone suit.

Leave a Comment

A Guide to Champions League Group C

After a long wait, the Champions League kicks-off today. Group C, more popularly known as Manchester United’s group is in action today. Manchester United play the Scottish champions Rangers, a club with whom they share quite a history. While the other two teams in Group C, Bursaspor and Valencia play each other in the second match of Group C on Matchday 1. Here is a quick guide to all the clubs in Group C:

Valencia CF

Valencia C.F aka Valencia Club de Fútbol is a Spanish professional football club founded in 1919 and based in Valencia, Spain. They are one of the most successful and biggest clubs in Europe and play in La Liga. Valencia is third behind Real Madrid CF and  FC Barcelona in the All-Time La Liga Table, an overall record of all match results, points, and goals of every team that has played in La Liga since its inception in 1928. Valencia are the only Spanish club outside the El Classico pair to have won more than five continental trophies.

Manager: Unai Emery

Stadium: Mestalla (capacity 55,000)

Nickname: Los Che,  Els taronja (The Orange),  Murciélagos (Bats)

Honours: Valencia have won six La Liga titles and seven Copa del Rey trophies. In Europe, Valencia have reached seven major European finals, winning four of them including  two UEFA Super Cups, one UEFA Cup, two Fairs Cups which was the predecessor to the UEFA Cup, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, one UEFA intertoto Cup and one Spanish Super Cup.  They also reached two UEFA Champions League finals in a row, losing to La Liga rivals Real Madrid in 2000 and then German club Bayern Munich in 2001.

Trivia: Valencia’s nicknamed Bats came from the bat on Valencia’s crest which is taken from the city’s Coat of Arms. Legend has it that just before James I, King of Aragaon, conquered the city from the Moors, a bat landed on top of his flag, which he interpreted as a good sign.  (I like to believe Valencia is batman’s club!)

One of their most notable former players is Argentinean goal machine Mario Kempes – when he was at the club, the whole of the Mestalla would shout “Don’t say Kempes, say goal!” every Sunday.

Manchester United

Manchester United Football Club is an English professional football club that plays in the Premier League.It is one of the wealthiest and the most supported club in the world and seriously unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last some years, you would have heard about Manchester United. These guys are one of the scariest English teams out there. They have incredibly talented players, one of the best managers (if not the best manager) in the world in Sir Alex Ferguson and this season some of their older players like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs seem to have perfected the process of aging backwards.

Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson

Stadium: Old Trafford (capacity: 75,957)

Nickname: The Red Devils

Honours: Manchester United is the joint-most successful club in the history of English football having won a joint-record 18 league titles, four League Cups and a record 11 FA Cups, Manchester United is the joint most successful club in the history of English football. In the 1998-99 season, they became the only English club to win the  Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League treble.

Quite simply, if your club is drawn against Manchester United, you might want to start praying.

Rangers

Rangers Football Club  based in Glasgow are the current  Scottish Premier League title holders. They were named ‘Rangers’ after an English rugby club in 1872 and are sometimes referred to as Glasgow Rangers, although the word Glasgow is not part of the club’s official title. The club’s traditional support largely comes from the Protestant community, while their biggest rival Celtic’s comes from the Catholic community.In 1961, Rangers became the first British club to compete in a European Cup Final when they reached the Final of the Cup Winners’ Cup. The 2010-2011 season is the Rangers’ 50th European campaign. They have competed in European competitions in more seasons than any other British club. In fact, only Real Madrid, Barcelona, Anderlecht and Sporting Lisbon have taken part in more campaigns

Manager: Walter Smith

Stadium: Ibrox Stadium (capacity: 51,082)

Nickname: The Gers, Teddy Bears

Honours: The Rangers have won a record 52 domestic League titles, more than any other club in the world. They had an exceptional season in 1898-99 where they finished with a perfect record of 18 wins in 18 fixtures. After that every year from 1988–89 season until the 1996–97 season, Rangers won the league title ,making it an incredible nine consecutive titles. In 1961, Rangers became the first British club to compete in a European Cup Final when they reached the Final of the Cup Winners’ Cup. In 1992, the Rangers defeated Leeds United in the qualifying round to become the first British club to appear in the UEFA Champions League. They played in the UEFA Cup for the first time in the 1982-83 season and reached the 2008 UEFA Cup Final at the City of Manchester Stadium where they lost 2-0 to Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg.

Trivia: Manchester United manager Ferguson was a boyhood Rangers’ fan and he played for Rangers from 1967 to 1969 and scored 35 goals in 66 appearances for them in all competitions.

The Rangers’ assistant manager is former Scotland striker and all-time leading Rangers goalscorer Ally McCoist.

Bursaspor

Bursaspor is a professional Turkish football club, formed in 1963 and located in the city of Bursa. They are the current Turkish title holders and are the lowest-ranked team in the competition based on UEFA coefficients, having qualified for the Group Stages as Turkish Champions. This is the first time they will play in the Champions League. However, one must remember that to win their first title (and to become the first side from outside Istanbul to win the Turkish title since 1984), Bursaspor had to beat the likes of Fenerbahçe SK, Galatasaray AŞ, Beşiktaş JK and Trabzonspor AŞ,.

Manager: Ertuğrul Sağlam

Stadium: Bursa Ataturk Stadium (capacity: 25,213)

Nickname: Yeşil Timsahlar (Green Crocodiles)

Honours: Bursaspor won their first Süper Lig title in 2009–2010. They are only the second Anatolian club to win the competition. They have also won one Türkiye Kupası (Turkish Cup), two Prime Minister Cups, and 2 TFF First League titles.Their first, and most successful, foray into European competitions came in the 1974–75 European Cup Winners’ Cup, where they reached the quarter-finals. They also participated in the 1986–87 edition of the cup, but lost in the first round. In 1995, Bursaspor participated in the UEFA Intertoto Cup, but lost in the quarter-finals.

Trivia: The club’s main fan base is known as Teksas (Texas)

Bursaspor have a  trademark ‘crocodile walk’ goal celebration which was invented by Ugandan forward Majid Musisi during the UEFA Intertoto Cup match against German side Karlsruher SC on 2 August 1995.

The arms of Valencia show those of James I, King of Aragon.

Leave a Comment

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.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=emirates+stadium&iid=9464989″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9464989/sports-news-july-2010/sports-news-july-2010.jpg?size=500&imageId=9464989″ width=”480″ height=”333″ /]

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.

Comments (1)

World Cup Preview: Ivory Coast vs. Portugal

Group G  for the 2010 world cup has Brazil, Portugal, Ivory Coast and Democratic Republic of Korea. It has been rightly called the ‘Group of Death’ since it will see at least one and possibly 2 big footballing nations go out without reaching the knockout stages of the tournament. Many believe that there is only one place is up for grabs in this group, since it is impossible to conceive the possibility of favourites Brazil going out in the group stages. Just like it is being taken for granted that Brazil will go through, it is also almost certain in everyone’s minds that Democratic Republic of Korea will surely not go through. So that leaves Ivory Coast and Portugal, the two countries that play each other today to battle out it out for that precious spot in the knockouts that Brazil have available to lose.

Both teams therefore, have everything to play for. It seems almost certain that whoever loses will most probably see their 2010 World Cup campaign come to an end. Ivory Coast are Africa’s best hope to advance further in the competition while were Portugal to lose, the 2010 World Cup would lose one of its major stars in Cristiano Ronaldo. Lets hope the fear of losing doesn’t dictate the game and that we don’t end up with the very likely 1-1 scoreline.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=ivory+coast&iid=9030435″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9030435/japan-ivory-coast/japan-ivory-coast.jpg?size=500&imageId=9030435″ width=”500″ height=”750″ /]

Ivory Coast

Ranking:  27

Ivory Coast’s manager Sven-Goran Eriksson knows all about the pain of losing to Portugal at the World Cup. He might want to take revenge as last World Cup, the Swede was in-charge of England and lost on penalties to Portugal which subsequently cost him his job. He took up the Ivory Coast job after the Elephants shock exit at the quarter-finals stage in the African Cup of Nations in January. Eriksson says that he has been focused on organisation than revolution and will look to unleash the pace of Solomon Kalou along with the talented Gervinho, who was named as the best African player in the French League last year. The news of  Didier Drogba being allowed to play with a protective cast in today’s match must have renewed confidence in the squad and is a definite boost.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=portugal&iid=9113530″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9113530/portugal-training/portugal-training.jpg?size=500&imageId=9113530″ width=”500″ height=”750″ /]

Portugal

Ranking: 3

Portugal have had to deal with injuries to key players and an unconvincing qualification run. Their ‘golden-generation’ is now a thing of the past but they do still have the world’s most expensive player and undoubtedly the world’s  most-eye-catching player in Cristiano Ronaldo. He hasn’t been in great for form for his country but everyone is aware of what he can achieve if he hits form which is also like ‘Ketchup‘ I am guessing. The team is managed by Carlos Queiroz, who did get Ronaldo to play at his very best when he was at Manchester United. Another great advantage that Carlos might have because of his time at Manchester United is that he would know Chelsea’s Didier Drogba and Solomon Kalou’s game to a T. Portugal have managed to reach at least the semis in three out of the last five major tournaments and have a team brimming with talent. The defense is strong with Ricardo Carvalho, Bruno Alves and Pepe while going forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Simao and Leidson can be quite a handful. Zenit St. Petersburg’s midfielder Danny Miguel is another player who could make the difference for Portugal.

Manager Speak

“To go through would be a success from a group like that. If we can reach the quarter-final I think everyone should be thinking it’s a great success from an African team, for the Ivory Coast. That’s the first target.”- Sven Goran-Eriksson, Ivory Coast manager

“The semi-final is not our aim, it’s our ambition. We want to get there. To have the ambition to be champions we don’t need to win all our games. We need to be running ahead of Ivory Coast, then North Korea and thenBrazil. That’s how we have to approach it.” – Carlos Queiroz, Portugal manager

Stars to Watch Out For

Ivory Coast: Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Solomon Kalou, Gervinho (Gervais Kouassi)

Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo, Liédson da Silva Muniz, Simão, Alves

Go figure!

Didier Drogba hit six goals in five appearances for Ivory Coast during qualifying.

During qualification for South Africa, Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score or assist a single goal for Portugal in seven appearances.

Leave a Comment

Liverpool Boss Rafael Benitez Leaves by Mutual Consent

Liverpool FC have announced that Rafael Benitez has left the club by mutual consent. The Spaniard succeeded Gerard Houllier at the english premier league club 6 years ago in June 2004. In 2005, his very first season at Liverpool, Rafael Benitez lead the club to Champions League success followed by an FA cup in 2006. He became the first manager in Liverpool’s illustrious history to win major trophies in his first 2 seasons. American businessmen, Tom Hicks and George Gillette took over the club in 2007 marking a new era for Liverpool FC and Benitez. The new owners were quick to back Benitez and Liverpool returned to the finals of the Champions League in 2007 but this time lost to AC Milan.

The fans however were getting impatient and wanted desperately to win the Premier League title back from their fierce rivals Manchester United. The owners made funds available for Benitez so he could deliver the Premier League. A record £26.5m pounds were spent to bring spanish striker Fernando Torres to the club but the premier league title eluded the Anfield faithful.

Last season Liverpool went out in the group stages of the Champions League and finished 7th in the league table, denying them Champions League football this season. Benitez’s tactics on the field as well as his transfer dealings including the £20m spent on the rarely used Robbie Keane and £20m on an injured Alberto Aquilani started to frustrate the fans and friction between the owners and Benitez became more and more public. However, it seems that falling out of the top 4 is what ultimately caused Benitez to lose his job.

Benitez, who had four years left of his five year contract to run, resigned after accepting a severance payment said that he was “extremely sad” to be leaving the club. The former Valencia manager had in the recent months been linked with a move to Juventus and Real Madrid.  The posts at both these clubs have been recently filled since and it seems likely that Rafael Benitez might fill the spot left vacant by Jose Mourinho at at this year’s European Champions Inter Milan.

Liverpool FC which in debt to the tune of £351m and was put up on sale by it owners now focuses on finding a successor to Rafael Benitez. Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill, Fulham boss Roy Hodgeson as well as former Chelsea manager Gus Hiddink have all been linked with the job. The search for a new manager however could be hindered by the uncertainty surrounding the Liverpool FC’s future ownership and its precarious financial condition.

Article first published as Liverpool Boss Rafael Benitez Leaves by Mutual Consent on Technorati.

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »
%d bloggers like this: