Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Victory for Hillsborough victims....at last

A slightly different entry today as I celebrate the verdict of the Government to ensure the release of all files and details of the horrific Hillsborough tragedy which occurred twenty two years ago.
Ninety-six unsuspecting football fan's died, 766 were injured. A human tradegy didn't really sum up the scale of the disaster.

All the injured and dead were Liverpool fan's, something which rocked the City and the whole Country, and still to this day, the families of the deceased and the injured still seek the answers they feel they are entitled to.

The Hillsborough disaster was and still is the deadliest stadium tradegy in British history, and one of the worst in International football, coming just four years after the infamous Heysel accident, also involving Liverpool.
Heysel though was a completely different set of circumstances and it has been proved that at a time of football hooliganism, Liverpool fan's were at fault for the Belgian incident.

This time however they were most certainly not, and although the authorities pointed the finger at the fan's of England's most decorated club, there were so many differing statements that this will cease to be the case.
The ground of Sheffield Wednesday was being used for the F.A Cup semi final between Liverpool and their rival's Nottingham Forest, the game was abandoned after just six minutes due to the severity of the happenings in the Leppings Lane end of the ground.

The stall wart sport programme of the time, Grandstand, cut to live pictures as the bedlam ensued, showing harrowing images of the human crush. The country watched as football fan's, just going to watch their team in a showpiece semi-final, clambering over anything and anyone to sustain their life.

As the happenings unfolded, supporters were seen ferrying their fellow supporters on advertising boards being used as makeshift stretchers, up to but not beyond a line of police which had been assembled along the half way line to stop Liverpool supporters from getting to the Nottingham Forest fan's at the other end of the ground. This was clearly not the case as people of all ages died amidst, in my opinion, severe police negligence at the dealing of the situation.

The facts are staggering, ninety-four people died on the day. People of ages ranging between ten and sixty seven. Seven hundred and sixty six more people were injured, of which three hundred were hospitalised.
Four day's on the toll rose another one victim, a 14 year old boy, attached to a life support machine, gave up the fight and the total stood at ninety five dead.
It was nearly four years after the fact that the death toll reached its final number as twenty two year old Tony Bland was taken off of life support after showing no sign of improvement and remained in a vegetative state.
Seventy nine of the victims were aged thirty or younger, the youngest of the victims was ten year old Jon-Paul Gilhooley, the cousin of Liverpool's current captain Steven Gerrard.

Out of forty four ambulances that were in attendance that day, only one was let in to care for the injured and dying.
Accusations were quick to emerge, in the era of football hooliganism the English tabloid The Sun was first to brandish generalisations of the fan's that had been in attendance, nearly all of which has since been proved to be un-found. This publication of false information still berates Liverpudlians and many of which still boycott the purchasing of the paper to this day, and will do for a long time to come.
Following the tradegy an inquest now widely known as the Lord Taylor enquiry was published. This was a more in depth look into the factors that contributed to the deaths and injuries of so many innocent people.
This report dismissed many of the conspiracies surrounding police accounts of the day, contradicting stories and reports were put to bed by the ground-breaking Lord Taylor.

As a direct product of the enquiry, the fences and stadium security measures were scrutinised and in lew of this the fences were torn down and standing terraces were no longer standard in England.

The Coroner Dr Stefan Popper, had declared that all victims were dead or brain dead by 3.15 p.m on the day of the match, just nine minutes after the game had been abandoned.
One of the victims mother's, Anne Williams, who's son, via witness statements was still showing signs of life at 4.00 p.m the same day was angered at the coroner's decision, which was clearly a flawed decision by the professional commissioned with the dealing of the bodies. Her case against the 'cut-off' signalled by Dr Popper was rejected in 2009.

The on-going fight for the truth and answers rages on, twenty-two years after the fact. Yesterday the case for the files to be released as public information was heard in the House of Commons after an e-petition in favour of this rose 139,000 signatures.
The unanimous decision was upheld by the entire room and the files will get to see the light of day, and the families of all the victims will finally get some answers, whether they are the answers they are hoping for, time will only tell.

All the families want is the truth, and if people are held responsible then so be it, but this is not why they have pushed for the information to be released. They just want answers, the true answers....and who can blame them....

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

International break is over......now back to the REAL football....

The farce which is International football has now been and gone, the time to reflect on the last round of games in the Premier League is almost over and we can look forward to best league in the world returning to the forefront this weekend and it promises to be a cracker!!!!!
Last time round it was 'Derby' weekend as the teams from North London clashed whilst the Merseyside battle also played out in equally controversial fashion.

In the game at White Hart Lane the droves of Spurs fans witnessed their side get one over on the old enemy, Arsenal struggling for any kind of result, and in truth they didn't deserve anything as the pressure continues to mount on Arsene Wenger.
They really are in trouble, lacklustre defense and for all their endeavour, a pretty toothless attack as well, truly worrying times for the Gunners this year having already lost four games, a tally that almost counts a team out of the title race in any other season.

This season I can see it being less than this, and Arsenal certainly are not going to be in the running for the silverware.
They welcome a team, that is struggling just as much in Sunderland, to the Emirates on Sunday looking to give their season a bit of stability, something they dearly need. Sunderland have been poor recently and I can only see one outcome, an Arsenal win.

The victors of the North London derby, Tottenham, travel up to the North East to face an in-form Newcastle who have been in great form and boast the best defensive record in the league, and you would never have thought that October!!!!

Record's aside, Newcastle have not been tested. They faced Arsenal on the opening day, and we all know it's not the test it was and ended a draw, apart from that only Villa proved to be a real test and that game also ended up a draw.
Spurs had the morale boosting victory over the old foe and in an attacking capacity they look potent with Defoe looking like he enjoys the partnership with Adebayor. The Togo front man is in a race to be fit and I think if he makes the game, then Tottenham will nick it.

The other derby last week, the awe-inspiring Merseyside affair, always seems to produce talking points, good and bad and this one was no different.
It was pretty even up until Rodwell was wrongly shown red for a great tackle on Luis Suarez on 23 minutes, after this a few crunching tackles were flying around and the visitors emerged with the points as Andy Carroll got off the mark for the season and Suarez himself notched to round off the 2-0 win for the red's.

Everton battled hard but were unable to keep them at bay, and they can take heart from their performance.
This week they travel to Chelsea and will hope they can show the same commitment and desire and at least take something out of the game in London.

Chelsea had travelled to Bolton for their last game and it was not the tough game we have all come to expect from the home side as Chelsea brushed them aside with under-fire Frank Lampard netting a hat-trick. Bolton were hap-hazard and deserved to be punished, the fixtures haven't been kind to Owen Coyle and his men and the table shows it.

Manchester City host Aston Villa in a game that sees plenty of ex Villains taking to the field for City. Both teams enjoyed wins last time out and obviously both cannot this time and you would have to be silly to not think that home advantage and having the best squad in the country, that City are not going to win this one.

Two of the league's new boys go head to head as Norwich take on the Swans Saturday afternoon. Norwich have started well for a team that was immediately relegation cannon fodder from the 13th August. They have however battled and played some nice football and enjoyed some good results.
Swansea were renowned for playing the best football in the Championship last year and this year they haven't changed their philosophy and why should they?!
Gradually they will pick up points and home form will be key, but I see them notching an away win here. I feel their brand of football is great and it twins their attitude for success and passion and I think it'll be to much for Norwich, tight Swansea win here for me.

The other promoted side Q.P.R see Blackburn come to town and surely Rangers fans must fancy their side to get all three points in this one. Blackburn under the guidance of Steve Kean look completely lost and well out of their depth, Q.P.R have had a cash injection which will add fuel to those players pulling on the hooped shirt, and I can really only see one winner, Q.P.R fairly easily here I think.

Fulham travel up to Stoke as they look to build on their 6-0 thumping of Q.P.R last week. A first hat-trick in the Premier league for Fulham, with Andrew Johnson's name along side it, will no doubt give the Cottagers confidence going into this game and they'll need it, Stoke will be smarting from their defeat to Swansea last week and are very tough to beat at the Britannia Stadium, so in this game I think it'll end up all square.


The penultimate game is West Brom vs Wolves which for many would have seen it's own six pointer stamp put right over the top of it but both these sides have started pretty well and Wolves especially are playing some great football whilst being quite robust at the back also. West Brom have also been playing well and the table gives me a slightly false impression of both of these sides. As for the outcome of this one I will have to say.....draw.

Now last but by no means least......the champions Manchester Untied travel to their fiercest rivals Liverpool in the Saturday lunchtime offering.
This is the biggest game in both sides calender and one both sets of players and supporters instantly look for, this game is bigger than either sides derby games would you believe!!!
Liverpool went to Everton and got themselves three points two weeks ago and they will take that as a building block for this game. Add to that the imminent return of their Captain Fantastic, Steven Gerrard, this could have all the ingredients of a blockbuster.

United battled through an awkward victory at home against Norwich where they won 2-0, it wasn't the most convincing win for Alex Ferguson's side but it was still a win, something that champions do.
Rooney was missing until late in that game but I'm sure he'll start against Liverpool, and after his petulant kick out in England's Euro Qualifier ending in a red card for Rooney, I'm sure he'll get a warm reception from the ever loving Kopites.

Massive game and probably the hardest to predict, I'll plump for home win, narrow victory for Liverpool, mostly due to home advantage and the return of Gerrard. But United haven't been playing particularly well and it could take them a little while to get back in the old routine.......

For any of you out there that fancy a flutter, my selections for this weekend is a treble, home wins for Manchester City, Q.P.R and Liverpool......

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

City And Aguero Off To A Flyer.............

Oh yes!!!!! The football is back!!!!!
All the expectations, disappointments, and indeed brilliance was back last weekend as England's elite league got under way, with what was some what tentative start by most standards.
Yes there were outstanding performances, and none more so than Manchester City new-boy Sergio Aguero.
The new £38 million man got his City career off to an astonishing start as he came off the bench for thirty minutes against newly promoted Swansea and set about destroying their resilience by scoring two and setting up another as City strolled to a 4-0 opening fixture win to get their title challenge off to the best possible start and cement the fact they mean business for real this time round.
City dominated the play in advanced area's whilst Swansea played nice stuff but without any conviction or end product, but showed the league exactly what they will be about this season.
But it wasn't until the little Argentine, this time not Carlos Tevez, but Aguero entered the frey as it was looking more and more frustrating for the Blue's of Manchester.
They had just taken the lead through Dzeko moments earlier but it wasn't until Aguero came on that City really flexed their muscle's and he certainly took centre stage.
His first was a simple tap in from two or three yards, then he flicked the ball over the keeper and somehow managed to keep the ball in, but also in the same lunge set up Silva to make it three.

Then in the last minutes of the game he picked the ball up around 35 yards out, was given space to drift in by the lax Swansea defense and he duly obliged with a thunderous shot which crashed in the corner to round off a very impressive 30 minute debut.
City's neighbours United struggled past a resilient West Brom side who had pegged back the Champions after Wayne Rooney's opener, but almost inevitably United somehow got their win as they seem to do so often without particularly playing to well.
Optimistic Liverpool fans would have been left ruing several missed chances in their opening game, especially being at Anfield against a Sunderland team that was totally new-look.

Luis Suarez was back for the Red's fresh from his virtuoso performances for his country helping them lift the Copa America just a couple of weeks ago, and he certainly looked fit as he charged down the defender, went clear through and was crudely bought down by Richardson as he was rounding the keeper.
Yellow for Richardson, penalty for Liverpool which Suarez promptly smashed into row triple z as he failed to put the home side ahead.
It wasn't long though before he made amends as he nodded in a free kick from Charlie Adam as Liverpool totally dominated the first 45mins.
Sunderland came out refreshed after the break and pushed the home side further and further back and were rewarded with a sublime equaliser from new boy Seb Larsson as he scissor kicked a cross which flashed past Pepe Reina. They deserved the equaliser and Liverpool didn't really have an answer. Point was fair result. Sunderland would have been the happier camp though.
The other 'Big Guns' also faltered as both Chelsea and Arsenal were both held to goalless draws by Stoke and Newcastle respectively.

Arsenal had a more eventful game as their new striker Gervinho was red carded for a fracas involving, who else but the ever involved Joey Barton.
The scouser felt the Arsenal man had dived to try to win a penalty, he was actually clipped in the box but DID go down in about thirty five stages to make a meal of it. Barton grasped him by the collar and told him his version of events and got a slap for his input. Gervinho then saw red and the game drizzled out to finish 0-0.
Barton was stamped on by Song in this game also, Song has now been charged by the F.A for this.
Fulham hosted Villa at Craven Cottage but this was also a game dominated by the defensive parts of the two sides as this encounter also ran up zero goals.
Relegation candidates went head to head in the first 'Six Pointer' of the season as Wigan welcomed promoted Norwich City to town, both teams battled hard and Wigan broke the deadlock from the spot after 21 min's. But their lead didn't even make it to half time as the visitors pulled level on the stroke of half time to ensure no 'Let's Be Havin' Ya' rally cries from Delia Smith from the stands.
The game failed to bare any more fruit for either team in the second period and yet another two sides shared the spoils as this one finished 1-1.
Two more relegation baited teams went head to head at Ewood Park, Blackburn took on Mick McCarthy's Wolves team. Blackburn's Manager Steve Kean had been quoted as saying that their aim over the next 4 or 5 seasons was to make the Champions League places....yes you read that right....CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, not CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!
This opening day defeat saw them take the lead on 20 mins, only to be pegged back two minutes later by a force full Wolves side. It ended 1-1 at the break only for Blackburn to concede two minutes after the re-start and hold on to pick up a very good three points against one of their rival's down at the bottom.
The only other game that was played was Championship Champions Q.P.R hosting Bolton at Loftus Road.
Unfortunately for the promoted club, Bolton showed the gap between even the 'mid-table' sides in the top league and the new clubs who will be in a season-long relegation battle.

Cahill curled in the opener and pick of the goals, and reporters being told that 'he does that every week in training' by his team mates after the game.
So, first game down, and on the opening games showings it does look like the club's from Manchester will be definitely setting the pace..........

Monday, 8 August 2011

The Countdown Begins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes yes yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The seasons showpiece opener has been and gone and the daily countdown to the big kick off has really started now as we are just FIVE days away from the start of which is shaping up to be possibly the closest season in The Premier League's history!!!!
All the big boy's are starting their engines in anticipation of the first outings in this seasons, all the new faces are no doubt anxious to hit the ground running at their respected club's, and  the managers will soon be feeling the screw of pressure being tightened on them by their teams results and performance's.

The Charity Shield as always kicked off the season and this season's 'friendly' did not fail to disappoint.
There is never such a thing as a 'friendly' game between the two sides in this years game though as the two big guns from Manchester went head to head at Wembley.
United looking to stamp their already impressive mark on the new season, starting this campaign as defending Champions once again, Fergie's men were looking to exert some early fright into their challengers to their throne. Whilst their neighbours in blue are playing catch up and looking to show their progress during the close season having made additions to their squad this summer.

All eye's were on Wembley as this is a game that could lay a blueprint for the season ahead and both sets of fans can be buoyed by their teams showings here.
City took the lead through Lescott and then doubled their tally on the stroke of half time through one of their growing list of strikers, last seasons big money man Edin Dzeko.
There wasn't much De Gea could do about the first, but a keeper that has been entrusted with keeping goal for the Champions and to follow in Van Der Sar's huge footsteps should not have been beaten by a 30 yard daisy cutter in my book. I'm sure he will improve but this wasn't the debut I'm sure he himself was hoping for.
Although City were two goals to the good, United were by far the better side and would have been aggrieved to find themselves two goals behind.
Astonishingly at half time Bookmakers were offering a gargantuan 16-1 for Fergie's men to turn the tide and run out winners!!!! Two goals down yes, but this is still Manchester United, the comeback kings, so whoever was creating the odds on the fightback I'm sure will be counting the cost of his/her mistake this morning!!!!
Being the comeback king's and never letting up, United went back on the attack, and in all honesty out-played City, they got their breakthrough through Smalling as he vollied in from 4 yards and was soon followed by their second after the move of the match as one-two's were exchanged between Rooney and Nani including a back heel before Nani coolly finished over Hart to level it all up.

The game was looking to be heading for Penalties but as City launched their final attack, the ball was cleared up field and as Kompany looked to have an age to make a decision Nani was onto him and the City Captain ricochet the ball off of the Portuguese attacker but it sprang into the path of Nani who sprinted clear, rounded Hart and rolled it into the empty net to give the Champions a much deserved victory right at the death.

Fergie would have been pleased with his teams fightback, City will be happy with their first half showing, and no doubt City fans will be looking forward to the curtain raiser this coming weekend with high hopes, and even higher hopes of seeing their new £38 million pound man, Sergio Aguero.

Either way, fan of these sides or not, this was a great advert for the coming season and me for one cannot wait for Saturday!!!!
My quick predictions for this season.......
  • Sergio Aguero to win the Golden Boot @ 16-1
  • Manchester United to win the league with Aguero top scorer double @ 40-1
  • Swansea to finish in top ten @ 8-1
My three tips for all the gambler's out there..........

My top four will be this: 1. Manchester United
                                     2. Manchester City
                                     3. Liverpool
                                     4. Chelsea

Relegation anyone????? 1. Wigan
                                     2. Blackburn
                                     3. Norwich

Now if any of you out there reading this have any different predictions or bets that are worth looking at, please do not hesitate to tell us......spread the wealth and we can all be happy!!!!!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Is Aguero The Missing Link For City?????

Yes yes yes the season is upon us, and the transfer mill is slowly winding up and the big fish are slowly circling and the big names are starting to arrive.....none bigger than Sergio Aguero arriving in the blue half of Manchester.
City have been the big spenders in the recent transfer windows and this time round is no different, as they stump up almost £40 million for the Argentine striker that most thought was going to replace the want-away Carlos Tevez, but this may not yet turn out like that, having the transfer to Corinthians for their captain crumble at the last minute the two Countrymen may well head up the strike force this Sunday in the seasons grand piece opener, the Charity Shield.
Now just how good is their new South American????? Well I can tell you, top top drawer.
This is a young man, son-in-law of the illustrious Diego Maradona, who scores goals for fun. In the past two seasons he has scored more goals than Tevez, he really is the Real Deal.

He is very similar to Carlos but to have a player that is more prolific than their already loved Tevez, can only bare ripe fruit for the waiting Citizens, and I cannot blame them for being excited!!!
As a fan of football I personally can't wait for him to take Europe's biggest stage, The Premier League.
It is the best league in the world and players are rarely judged until they have pitted their wits in the league.
Me personally think the 12-1 odds of Aguero winning the Golden Boot in his first season is astounding, and not in a bad way!!!
I have to remind everyone that Tevez won the honour last season, all-be-it joint with Berbatov, and yet Tevez was obviously not happy last season, handing in a transfer request in January and missed many games through injury also, and still he managed to win the strikers most prized possession.
This season, a man who is a more out and out goal getter will be heading the line, the team will have grown once again, giving themselves more chance to gel after last seasons big spending. They will always create chances and this is the man to net their goals I can assure you.
So here me loud and clear, Aguero will be top scorer next season, 12-1, get your money on NOW!!!!

Onto an enigma that is surfacing in the transfer doing's this close season.......Spurs......Daniel Levy has a pot of gold he is sitting on, and continues to sit on, is he hoping for it to miraculously hatch into more money???!!!
Harry was quoted two weeks ago as saying 'It is early days in the transfer market' well if you believe that you'll believe anything!!!!
I think Levy is going to to many boot sales or something!!!! At a boot sale you either get there early, scour the stalls for the bargain's and get your dealings done before the hoards arrive, OR you wait until the stalls are packing up and just want to offload the crap at the end that they don't want to take back home with them....and that is exactly what Tottenham are going to be left with if they carry on.

All the other clubs are doing deals and the Spurs Chairman seems to be hoping for another Van Der Vart deal to be the saviour of their pre-season and keep the fans happy, but I don't believe that will be enough.
There has been plenty of speculation but nothing concrete for the Yid army to clutch onto, and at least have a bit of belief that their club has the ambition that they should be having after their first season in the Champions League. No they didn't make it again last term but surely that is even more reason to be strengthening their squad with top players??? Or am I missing the point here????
Harry may look like he has managed to convince Modric to stay, at the minute at least but this will not be enough unless they bring in at least one top striker, and one other to enhance the squad, just to keep pace, not improve it!!!!!
It could be a long season for the Spurs fanatical fans if this is not rectified.......

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Transfer Saga's Are Here.....AGAIN......

Yes yes yes, it is that time of the year, no not Christmas.......yet, but the time where the media circus and general punchline worthy transfer stories rumble throughout world football, and this year is no different.

It seems that every season has one big transfer story, in the past it has been David Beckham's moves around the world, Ronaldo's trip over to the Bernabeu, and of course the Fernando Torres £50 million jaunt to the Capital just six months ago.
But correct me if I'm wrong, and I believe I'm seeing this in a pretty clear light here, but, is there always a story that never quite happens and then carries on for more than just the one season????
Recent memory provides the seasonal Steven Gerrard speculation, then it moved onto Thierry Henry, then Wayne Rooney and the past couple have been drowned with rumours of the Spanish 'Whizkid' Cesc Fabregas moving to his beloved Barcelona.......to no avail as yet.
So my question is, why do we get these protracted transfer stories every year??? I know, when the season isn't around, the media struggle to fill their back pages so these headlines are a good eye-catcher but where there is clearly some truth why is it all dragged out????
Arsenal need to sell Fabregas, for their own dignity and the better of the club.
He clearly wants to return to his home town, boy-hood club, and to work with his idol as a youngster Pep Guardiola. So why are Arsenal stalling the deal for yet another year???
Last season Fabregas was well under par for his own high standards and every season he stays at Arsenal whilst still wishing himself away his performances will continue to dissipate, leaving Arsenal supporters fed up and angry at the teams failures as they are starting to over the last couple of years.
£35 million is the latest bid from the Spanish giants which in itself is puzzling to me, why do Barca want Cesc???

They have the best midfield/attack in the world already, so why spend that kind of money on someone who can't get in his Country's first team ahead of the very players he will be in competition for places against at Barcelona???!!! It's madness, I can only think that Guardiola sees him as a direct replacement for Xavi in the years to come, as the brilliant creative player is now 31 years of age and will have to be replaced at some point, although watching him control the midfield as he does in every game he looks quite a way off of hanging up his boots.
I think with Clichy already gone, Arsene Wenger needs to get rid of Fabregas, tell Sami Nasri that he can play in the position vacated by the Spaniard (Nasri's favoured position, and where he plays for France) in order to keep Nasri and not lose him to another top club.
Then take the £35 million they will get for their Captain, buy a keeper, as they should have done four or five seasons ago, get a strong centre back, and then actually spend some of the boards gigantic cash balance and go after a World Class striker, why they never put a bid in for Fernando Torres in January I will never know., they need a goal scorer to put the chances away after their undoubtedly beautiful footballing moves. Now Torres is situated over at Stamford Bridge I think if Wenger doesn't want to dip into his pockets to much then he should plump for Defoe.

Shocker I know, would Defoe move across to the dark side after being a Spurs player???? Hell yeah he would, Defoe has no loyalty what so ever, he has always looked after number one and this move would be no different. Champions League football will also be a pull to Defoe and he could definitely get some goals for Arsenal I believe.
The other big transfer saga this year seems to be that of Luka Modric. The Spurs play-maker is supposedly unhappy at Tottenham and is thought to be flying back from his home in Croatia to thrash out talks with Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy this Thursday about his plans for the future.

The word on the street.....or should I say the news, is that Luka will tell Levy that he wants to move on from White Hart Lane and move to Chelsea in what is expected to be another £30 million plus deal.
Now Modric is a great player, but £30 million???? Are they sure????
I thought Modric was an attacking creative midfielder isn't he???
So how can someone that scored three goals all last season, yes that is one more than two and one less than four, Vidic the Manchester United CENTRE BACK scored FIVE goals last season, be worth £30 million???!!!
If I was Levy or Harry, I would send him off with a bunch of coconuts and rip their arms off, much like Liverpool did with Fernando Torres in January, take the money and better the squad/team with the money. It is no use keeping players if they do not want to be at your club, so why wait? Get rid, and get signing some players that do actually want to play for you.
With £30 million for Modric, Spurs could get the World-Class striker they need, someone like Rossi from Villarreal, or indeed Sergio Aguero, who they were surprisingly linked with in January. There are plenty of them about if you have they money, so why not get it done and get them in for a good pre-season instead of waiting until the last knockings and panic buy into something.
So my message to Arsenal and Spurs is.......get rid of these players, you'll be better off without them. Yes they are good players but neither of them are irreplaceable.
Arsenal have a replacement in the shape of Nasri, a good ploy to keep him at the club I think, and Spurs will go out and either sign Joe Cole from Liverpool,
someone they should have got last year, or maybe just drop Van Der Vart in there, I'm sure he could fill the void.
So Arsenal and Spurs fans or indeed any fans of football, please let me know what you think about the transfer debacle, or any thoughts on the coming season.......

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Just How Good Is Lionel Messi ????

 Very, is the simple answer here.
Yet another formidable performance from the Argentinian magician against English Champions Manchester United at Wembley in the Champions League Final saw his club Barcelona cruise to a 3-1 win at the hands of the Manchester club.
The win propelled the Spanish giants to super-stardom, that's if you have been living on Mars for the last few years that is!!!
The victory saw Barca notch up their fourth European Cup victory, this followed them winning their third consecutive domestic title, beating their bitter rivals Real Madrid into second again.
Now I watch a lot of Football and I am now starting to run out of superlatives for this current Barcelona side, just the sheer dominance of the past couple of season speaks volumes but here I am going to spell out just how influential and consistent the jewel in their crown is, the one, the only, Lionel Messi.
I heard some rumours about the chance of Cristiano Ronaldo being touted around for the extraordinary price tag of £150 million!!!!! Yes you did read that right, £1 5 0 M i l l i o n.
Now I'm not his biggest fan but I certainly can appreciate the class of the man, he really is something special, but, he is half the player Messi is, so if Ronaldo is worth £150 million, just how much would Messi be worth???
Obviously he won't be going anywhere, but you must be thinking in the region of £200 million if the tariff has been set with the Ronaldo price. There are so many reasons why he would command more money, here are but a few......
  • He IS consistent.
  • He scores goals.......consistently.
  • He works his socks off for 90mins EVERY game.
  • He never sulks. 
  • He has bundle's of skill & an end product.
Ronaldo has a couple of these qualities but if you are forking out some serious cash for either one of these players, both of which have been billed as 'The Best Player on Earth', I certainly know which one I'd be contacting and begging them to join my ranks.
So Messi IS the best in the world, I can't find any other reason at all to think otherwise, but how does he compare to the Greats of years gone by????
In my un-professional opinion the Greatest player ever is Pele, run close by Maradona, Zinedine Zidane and George Best.

These four players were once the dominant figure's of the footballing world.
George Best was probably the best example of pure Natural enjoyment of the game, personified. Unbelievable close control, wizardry, and of course could finish the moves or runs off in considerable style. The only disappointment for him was that hailing from Northern Ireland he never got the chance to perform on the World's greatest stage, The World Cup, but he certainly performed everywhere else he could, even off the pitch which was perhaps his own downfall.
Zidane was for the want of a better word 'Mecurial'. He floated around the pitch with such ease it was breathtaking, mixed in was the skill's, trick's and flicks that every supporter wants to see, unless it was against your team and even then you have to applaud. He could also add goals to his armour through either foot and indeed his head, but for Zidane his greatest moment came playing for Real Madrid at Hampden Park in the Champions League Final in 2002 where he performed the most perfect of volley's even then most picky of technique hunters couldn't argue with. Sadly his career ended in controversy as he was sent off for the 'infamous' headbutt in the 2006 World Cup final on Italy's Marco Materazzi, but this was after Zidane became only the fourth player in history to score in two different World Cup Finals.
Maradona needs no introduction, especially if you are English, but the little Argentinian was undoubtedly a Genius when it came to football. For English fan's he will ALWAYS be remembered for the 'Hand of God' goal in the 1986 World Cup Quarter Final. But if you delve past this controversial moment you will also find the 'Goal of the Century' in the same game by the enigmatic Maradona. It truly was one of the best goals ever and it wasn't the only goal like that he scored I'm sure. Again close control, trickery galore and goals to boot. As with the previous 'Great's' his career veered towards self destruct as in 1994 in U.S.A World Cup he was sent home in disgrace for failing a drugs test.
Last but be no means least, in my opinion, the GREATEST PLAYER of ALL TIME....
Edison "Edson" Arantes do Nascimento.......of better known to the masses as PELE.
The Brazilian wonder was the epitome of everything a footballer should be, power, pace, skill's never seen before, passes from heaven, idea's worthy of coming from Einstein, and all rolled into a 5ft 8" man from Tres Coracoes in Brazil.
He made his mark in his home country before blowing the minds of the footballing world when he was an un-known 17 year old, announcing to the world the next generation of footballer to everyone. Skills that the European game had never thought possible, and all from this youngster from Brazil.
His career was only just beginning, and without writing his entire career out for you guys, because believe me I would be here all day, I'll sum it up......1,281 goals in 1363 games.....
Any player that has a record like this I think it speaks for itself......
So where does Lionel Messi rank in amongst all of these illustrious names?????
Given he is only a mere 23 years of age at present, he has already won five La Liga Title's, three Champions League Winners medals, scoring in two of the three, and he also became the youngest player ever for his National Team in 2006.
Clearly there is plenty more to come from Messi, I already rate him in my personal top three, those being Pele, Maradona and now his compatriot Messi, but I certainly believe that he is more than capable of at least over-taking Maradona in that list.

It is obvious that to try and compare Messi to Pele, as they are separated by nearly 50 years, the game has changed so much, most of it due to the Brazilian, especially the beautiful football that is now the Holy Grail for so many club's, one that I personally think Messi's current side has now found.
So I now leave the final judgement to you, just how good IS Lionel Messi, my verdict....not bad at all....