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TWELFTH MAN FOOTBALL FOR THE FANS

December 2013 £3.00

TRANSFER SPECIAL BALE V NEYMAR MID SEASON REVIEW January Transfer Window: Who will your team sign? Front Cover Final .indd 1

World Cup Column

End of Season Predictions 11/12/2013 13:40


December 2013 LOOKING BACK One of the fanatical Fratton Park faithful

22 THE RISE AND FALL OF POMPEY

The once FA Cup winning side, Portsmouth FC have certainly experienced their ups and downs.

30 CLASSIC MOMENT

Thank God for goal-line technology. Relive the moment Roy Carroll scooped away Pedro Mendes’ certain goal.

28 TOP 10 MADDEST TRANSFERS

The top 10 most shocking Premier League transfers.

Gates to the hallowed turf of Fratton Park

Since their formation 115 years ago Portsmouth Football Club have experienced something of a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows; from two title wins in 1949 and 1950 to the horror of administration in 2009. It must be tough to be a Pompey fan. The most recent dip in a tough time for Pompey is the sacking of their manager Guy Whittingham. As a below par start to the season sees them lingering dangerously above the relegation zone in League Two. A far cry from the dizzy heights of European football a mere five years ago. The troubles for Pompey really started in 2009 when the club entered administration for the first time. As the early stages of the 2009-10 season progressed, money from the recent takeover by Al Fahim started drying up; it became clear that staff and players were not being paid. Towards the end of the season things worsened and a transfer embargo was placed on the club. With results continuing to disappoint Director of Football Avram Grant was promoted from his role as Director of Football and charged with the task of keeping Portsmouth in the Premier League.

While Grant was managing to achieve results on the pitch, their financial woes were worsening. In December 2009 it was revealed Portsmouth had failed to pay their players for a second month running. The club was in debt of up to 135 million pounds. To prevent liquidation, new owner Balram Chainrai placed the club into administration, which brought with it a nine-point penalty from the FA. Relegation soon followed, despite valiant efforts from Grant and his players, who also made it to the FA Cup final, where they marginally lost to Chelsea 1-0. In October of the following year the club were snatch from the jaws of liquidation once again and were pulled out of administration. These days, the drop down to the Championship costs more than just pride for football clubs and there is a huge loss in revenue for relegated sides. Pompey made a promising start to life in tier two of English football but unfortunately it didn’t last long. Manager Steve Cotterill came and went, being replaced by Michael Appleton.

No one quite saw what was coming in November 2011, as a Europe-wide arrest was issued for Pompey’s owner Vladimir Aleksandrovich Antonov. His Lithuanian bank businesses were being seized as they went into administration. The chairman had to resign and Portsmouth were hit with a 1.6million pound tax bill that they had no hope of repaying. There was no other option but to enter administrationagain.Anotherpointsdeduction followed, and Pompey were relegated to the third tier of club football for the first time in thirty years. All professional players left the club after

Whittingham: latest Pompey casualty

relegation and Appleton was left to rebuild on virtually no budget. To make things worse another points penalty was put into place at the start of the 2012-13 campaign. It looked bleak for Pompey and when Appleton left the club to join Blackpool it signaled the start of a winless 23 game run under new manager Guy Whittingham. A second successive relegation followed. However around the corner the clubs salvation was waiting; from an unlikely source. Fans are the lifeblood of a football club. But in todays footballing world money talks louder than any amount of die-hard followers. Just look at the way Manchester City and Chelsea have risen in recent years due to their rich owners. Neither of them amongst the most supported clubs in the country but now title winners and dominant forces in English and European football.

Pompey fans did something truly special however. Endeavoring to save their club, the Pompey Supporters Trust was set up. And in April of 2013 the group successful set up a deal to buy the football club. The group began putting down the stable ground works from

which the club could build and reclaim former glories. The first yearlong contact was given out to a new signing (previously all players were on monthly contracts), new sponsorship deals were put into place, and the clubs promising youth talent was retained. Whittingham’s sacking comes after a disappointing start to life in League Two for Portsmouth. But now the club is on sound financial footing, there is hope amongst the fans once again. The Pompey Supporters Trust is exactly what Portsmouth needed. After so many failed experiences with foreign owners some stability is dearly needed. The fans are right to distrust outside investors and have gone about securing a future for the club they love. Moreover it may be a new revolutionary step for football clubs in general. Lets hope

more fans are able to gain leverage over the running of their clubs. Rather Pompey Supporter’s Trust than Abramovich or Sheik Mansour. One reason the financial fair play rules have been brought in is to try and prevent clubs from suffering in exactly the same manner as Portsmouth have. In todays footballing world of excess, clubs need to be careful not to spend beyond their means. Before their administration Pompey set out an overly ambitious wage structure that lead to administration. It may be a long climb back to the top of the ladder for Portsmouth Football Club. But with the added steadiness and enthusiasm that the Trust may be able to inject into the club, it could be finally an enjoyable few years for Pompey fans. The club will be aiming to rise from the ashes of their former glories. They may not be winning the top division any time soon, like their most successful team of 1948 and of course the first job is to maintain league football for the foreseeable future. With the clubs new relatonship with the fans however all neautrals will be hoping to see them back in the big time soon.

Family fun at Fratton Park

Cor it’s Quiet on Monday morning!

22 Twelfthman.co.uk December 2013

December 2013 Twelfthman.co.uk 23

FEATURES 4 NEYMAR VS BALE

La Liga’s latest arrivals - Neymar and Bale. Who’s better? You decide.

10 NEW MANAGER SUMMARIES

A summary of the Premier League’s newest managers: Moyes, Mourinho and Pellegrini.

20 PROFILE: WEST HAM UNITED FC

This month’s English club team profile. Ladies and gentleman - West Ham United.

18 BELGIUM WORLD CUP PREVIEW

The dark horses of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

OFF THE PITCH

La Liga’s two massive summer signings. We analyse the start to their life in Spain.

L

ast season in the Premier League Gareth Bale was simply incredible. The former left back, turned winger surprised almost everybody scoring 26 goals in all competitions, producing numerous assists and lifting his club Tottenham Hotspur to new heights in the process. He was hard to ignore. The 24-yearold was award the PFA Young Player of the Year, the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year awards for his performances and attracted the attention of clubs such as Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Despite the Welshman’s heroics, Tottenham could not secure Champions League

football for the following season and as the summer transfer window approached it seemed almost inevitable that the player would leave. After much rumor and speculation on September 1st 2013 Gareth Bale signed for Real Madrid for a world record fee of £85.3 million (€100 million). Meanwhile, in Barcelona, Brazilian wonder kid Neymar was putting pen to paper on his much hyped, highly anticipated move to Barcelona. Described by the great Pelé himself as his rightful heir, European clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City have been trying to get him to make the move long before now. Neymar has been scouted by top clubs since the age of 15. In the 2008 the Spanish press stated he had signed a pre-contract with Real Madrid,

however this turned out to be false. As any young star would, Neymar found the idea of leaving his childhood club Santos and by extension, leaving Brazil, very unnerving. However, this year, having just won the Confederations Cup with Brazil and being the rip old age of 21, now, in his own words “seemed like the right time”. The right club too. The chance to play alongside his hero, Lionel Messi, was an opportunity to good to pass up. So much for Madrid, hey. La Liga never fails to captivate. Now football fans of the world had two new superstars to cheer for. As we draw ever closer the winter break, there is no better time to analyze both players performance in their debut season. Did they hit the ground running or falter. Did they fit in

4 Tweltfhman.co.uk December 2013

to their respective teams or are they sat on the bench, homesick. They are many questions to be answered. In this feature we take a look at the stats and investigate who has had the best start to life in Spain and who has the most promising future. At the time of writing, Barca currently top the Spanish league. Real Madrid lie third behind cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid. Neymar has made 11 league appearances thus far, scoring 4 goals and producing 7 assists. Only Atletico’s Koke has assisting more goals. Gareth Bale has only had 7 league appearances, scoring 4 goals. The stats give Neymar the edge, however a recurring thigh injury resulted in Bale missing the first two games of October. Both players have lacked starts, being subbed on and ‘eased’ into life in a new league, however Neymar has had considerably more game time than Bale meaning he has had more time to prove himself. Both players started the Classico earlier this month, however one had greater impact than the other. Neymar scored

the first goal and assisted Alexis second. Barca went on to win the game 2-1. Bale’s performance drew criticism from the Spanish press. He was not on form that day and was substituted in 67th minute. In the Champions League, Gareth has the edge. With Madrid winning all their games thus far, Bale made 3 appearances, scoring 1 goal in the process. Neymar’s Champions League journey has been less impressive so far. In his 4 appearances in European competition for Barca he failed to score or assist. Bale however has had a much harder time fitting into the Madrid squad than Neymar has had at Barcelona. Finding it difficult to emerge from Ronaldo’s shadow, he has also been surpassed by other summer signing Isco at times as well. The Spanish playmaker has had fantastic debut season with ‘los blancos’ in comparison. Bales injury problems also haven’t helped. Neither has his astonishing price tag. Madrid fans and the Spanish press expect a great deal from Bale and he is yet to fully deliver. Only time will tell how the young Welshman deals with all this pressure, so far though things dont look great. Neymar on the other hand, seems to be having the time of his life. Rather than trying oust Messi from the number one spot in the Barca side, he seems content to be the Argentine’s right hand man. He has fitted into the team with great ease. His link up play with fellow Brazilian Dani Alvez or pacey full back Jordi Alba down either flank of Barca’s attack is

formidable. He is also beginning to look like much more of team player than did in his younger, greedier days at Santos. On this evidence alone I would conclude that Neymar has had the better start to life in Liga BBVA, however there is still for Bale to prove himself. I have no doubt that Bale will one day be successful at Real Madrid, however I believe it will take time. For some time now Ronaldo has been number one at Real and that doesnt look as though its about to change any time soon. At Barca however, with Messi and Neymar working together in the same side, not forgetting the talent they have behind them, we could be witnessing the start of something very special. Gareth Elvin

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2 FOOTBALL CLICHES

It’s a funny old game! Take a look at some of the most done-to-death sayings in football.

26 TOTTENHAM HOSTPUR FANS - A.K.A YIDS

An opinion piece on Spurs fans continued use of the term during their Preimier League matches.

24 DEPRESSION IN FOOTBALL

It’s hard to believe, but such a thing does exist. Find out about the mental illness’ impact in football.

LOOKING FORWARD 6 PREMEIR LEAGUE TITLE PREDICTIONS

Who’s heading for glory come May 2014? Predictions of which clubs we can expect to see in the top four.

8 RELEGATION PREDICTIONS

Who’s for the drop at the end of the season? Predictions of the clubs we might see in the bottom three.

12 JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW

With the January transfer window beckoning, we look at the star players who will be looking to move.

16 ENGLAND WORLD CUP PREVIEW

What are our beloved nation’s chances of making an impact in the FIFA World Cup this summer?

TWELFTH MAN

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Twelfthman.co.uk December 2013

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Editorial

Welcome

I am very proud to be the editor at Twelfth Man. I’ve been obsessed with football for most of my life now and have always wanted to share this passion with the world. As a Newcastle United supporter I’ve experienced the extreme highs and lows of being a football fan and know better than most what the game means to people. Here at Twelfth Man we aim to bring you the most important football news fastest. For our new venture, we’ve brought together a brilliant team of young football writers who we believe have an unrivalled passion for the beautiful game. This fresh team means that we have some of the most insightful writing on football on the market within our pages. I believe in the power of football to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together in the love of sport. Behind all the money football is really about the fans. And this is why our motto for the magazine is: “Football for the fans”. We try to bear this in mind when we are writing all of our pieces and endeavor to write from a supporter’s perspective. We want to provide the football features that YOU want to read and hope you’ll keep coming back to our magazine. Robbie Bryson Editor

Our Contributors...

At Twelfth Man we have a number of varied and interesting contributors that all share a common love for everything football. In our magizine you will find opinion columns, interviews with top players and informative features detailing many different issues and topics within the game. All of this content comes from our impressive roster of freelance sports journalists that we are incredibly proud of and grateful to.

Follow the beautiful game with us online @ December 2013 Tweltfhman.co.uk

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FOOTBALL CLICHES

IT’S

E M A G D L O Y N A FUN

With the transfer window in full swing and the World Cup fast approaching; fans, manager and pundits are in overdrive talking about football and with the chat comes an abundance of football cliches.

W

ith Christmas out of the way, the next thing on the agenda, other than what boozer to attend for New Years Eve is to make a New Years resolution. Often, resolutions start off with great purpose but end up in flames after months, weeks or even days for some people. Surely no resolution would be harder to keep than pundits, managers and fans alike giving up saying football cliches. From Paul Merson shouting ‘He’s hit the beans on toast Jeff!’ at Jeff Stelling when a player hits the woodwork on Sky Soccer Saturday to Harry Redknapp (below) declaring someone to be a ‘terrific player’ in the transfer window (watch out for that this month), cliches are all around us in football. Even a Twitter account called Football Cliches @footballcliches (what else would it be called?!) is running and has almost 40,000

followers. They provide their followers with all kinds of typical ‘football talk’ from simple one liners to more detailed descriptions that everyone with any interest in the game can associate with. An example of a tweet they send out in ‘the language of football’ is describing how a substitute prepares and then comes on to the pitch: “Substitutes must warm up, strip off, be “readied”, share a mysterious joke with the 4th official, high-five colleague and then sprint on.”

From Merson shouting ‘he’s “Stelling hit the beans on toast’ at Jeff when a player hits the post on Soccer Saturday to Harry Redknapp declaring someone to be a ‘terrific player,’ cliches are all around us in football.”

Tahiti conceded 24 in 3 games last Summer. Simple and effective tweets like the one above highlight things that everyone sees but no one ever talks about. The ‘mysterious joke’ shared with the fourth official is almost always seen when watching a game on the television yet no one ever finds out just what they are saying to each other.

Below we reel off some of the most criminal football cliches: By Alex Delaney.

no

easy “There are is level” games at th Widely used by a manager getting his excuses in early because he is scared that his team are about to go and lose to big underdogs. Most commonly (and stupidly) used for international matches; however a simple look at the facts can dispel the phrase. Take San Marino with their population of 31,000 and then take Brazil (population 200 million) and then try and argue that there are no easy games in international football. There are no easy explanations in this debate.

“Football’s a funny

old game”

Harry Redknapp loves a cliche.

Legend Jimmy Greaves made this particular catch phrase popular when he was working as a television pundit in the 80s and 90s. Yes, strange and unexplainable things do sometimes happen in football such as an FA Cup giant killing but strange things happen in every other sport and every other walk of life. It could easily be changed to ‘It’s a funny old life’ but that doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

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AME!

The Alan Hansen defending continuum

“Setting out their stall”: Market or football match?

A special mention here for Alan Hansen who is well known for his weekly slating of defenders on Match of the Day. The frequency of his shaming of players even inspired FootballCliches to make a continuum of the best rating he gives a defence - not good; to the worst - suicidal.

“Setting out their stall” Often used as a description for when a team shows their intent for a game right at the start by, for example, attacking straight from kick off. This phrase is used so commonly that if you had your eyes shut you would be forgiven for thinking you had accidentally turned over to live footage of the local market stall. These people are footballers not market workers so there is no stall to put out, only a match to be played.

“A game of two

halves”

“A bad time to concede”

Every game ever played has had just two halves (unless there is extra time or the match is abandoned) and every game that will be played will have two halves. This is yet another phrase commonly used just to fill the silence with noise. Most often used when one team dominates in the first half and the other team comes out on top in the second half. Couldn’t commentators and co-commentators just say that though rather than padding it out with a meaningless cliche?

“This game needs a

goal”

A favourite for the neutral supporter or the bored commentator watching a game that has ‘nil nil written all over it’ (yes, that is also a cliche, but an acceptable one). This is a silly phrase purely for the reason that any game that is 0-0 would benefit from a goal if you are watching as a neutral. Ask a fan of the team in a relegation battle holding out for a goalless draw away at the Champions though and the game definitely doesn’t need a goal!

“On paper” ‘They should win on paper.’ ‘On paper they have the better side.’ ‘On paper he is the best player in the world.’ What a shame it is then that football is played on grass and not paper making all of the above comments totally redundant. Despite that pundits and fans alike will continue to use this phrase and it will continue to be nonsensical.

“At the end

of the day”

This cliche is commonly used in every walk of life, but particularly in football. Usually this sentence is followed by a comment that could have been said with or without the aforementioned cliche. Not only does this cliche get used too much, it means nothing and is simply a tool used by pundits and presenters to extend their talking time.

Where do you even start with this one? Usually said when a team concedes a goal just before half time, just after half time or right at the end of a match. But in all honesty, when is there ever a good time to concede?

“Good feet for a

big man”

Used with particular reference to the six foot seven inch Peter Crouch (right). Polite way of saying that because he is taller than usual you assumed he would only be good at heading the ball and didn’t even consider that he might be able to kick it as well. When you think about it though, a professional footballer should be able to use their feet well regardless of their height. After all they are getting paid enough to do it. Maybe people are just surprised that they can see the ball from all the way up there.

Crouch: Good feet for a big man.

December 2013 Twelfth man.co.uk

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NEYMAR vs BALE

La Liga’s two massive summer signings. We analyse the start to their life in Spain.

L

ast season in the Premier League Gareth Bale was simply incredible. The former left back, turned winger surprised almost everybody scoring 26 goals in all competitions, producing numerous assists and lifting his club Tottenham Hotspur to new heights in the process. He was hard to ignore. The 24-yearold was award the PFA Young Player of the Year, the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year awards for his performances and attracted the attention of clubs such as Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Despite the Welshman’s heroics, Tottenham could not secure Champions League

football for the following season and as the summer transfer window approached it seemed almost inevitable that the player would leave. After much rumor and speculation on September 1st 2013 Gareth Bale signed for Real Madrid for a world record fee of Meanwhile, in Barcelona, Brazilian wonder kid Neymar was putting pen to paper on his much hyped, highly anticipated move to Barcelona. Described by the heir, European clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City have been trying to get him to make the move long before now. Neymar has been scouted by top clubs since the age of press stated he had signed a pre-contract with Real Madrid,

however this turned out to be false. As any young star would, Neymar found the idea of leaving his childhood club Santos and by extension, leaving Brazil, very unnerving. However, this year, having just won the Confederations Cup with Brazil and being the rip old age of 21, now, in his own words “seemed like the right time”. The right club too. The chance to play alongside his hero, Lionel Messi, was an opportunity to good to pass up. So much for Madrid, hey. La Liga never fails to captivate. Now football fans of the world had two new superstars to cheer for. As we draw ever closer the winter break, there is no better time to analyze both players performance in their debut season. Did they hit the ground running or falter. Did they fit in

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E

to their respective teams or are they sat on the bench, homesick. They are many questions to be a look at the stats and investigate who has had the best start to life in Spain and who has the most promising future. At the time of writing, Barca currently top the Spanish league. Real Madrid lie third behind cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid. Neymar has made 11 league appearances thus far, scoring 4 goals and producing 7 assists. Only Atletico’s Koke has assisting more goals. Gareth Bale has only had 7 league appearances, scoring 4 goals. The stats give Neymar the edge, however a recurring thigh injury resulted in Bale missing the first two games of October. Both players have lacked starts, being subbed on and ‘eased’ into life in a new league, however Neymar has had considerably more game time than Bale meaning he has had more time to prove himself. Both players started the Classico earlier this month, however one had greater impact than the other. Neymar scored

the first goal and assisted Alexis second. Barca went on to win the game 2-1. Bale’s performance drew criticism from the Spanish press. He was not on form that day and was substituted in 67th minute. Gareth has the edge. With Madrid winning all their games thus far, Bale made 3 appearances, scoring 1 goal in the process. Neymar’s Champions League journey has been less impressive European competition for Barca he failed to score or assist. Bale however has had a much harder time fitting into the Madrid squad than Neymar has had at Barcelona. Finding it difficult to emerge from Ronaldo’s shadow, he has also been surpassed at times as well. The Spanish playmaker has had fantastic debut season with ‘los blancos’ in comparison. Bales injury problems also haven’t helped. Neither has his astonishing price tag. Madrid fans and the Spanish press expect a great deal from Bale and he is yet to fully deliver. Only time will tell how the young Welshman deals with all this pressure, so far though things dont look great. Neymar on the other hand, seems to be having the time of his life. Rather than trying oust Messi from the number one spot in the Barca side, he seems content to be the Argentine’s right hand man. He has fitted into the team with great ease. His link up play with fellow Brazilian Dani Alvez or pacey full back Jordi Alba down either flank of Barca’s attack is

Can Bale knock Ronaldo off his Throne at Madrid?

formidable. He is also beginning to look like much more of team player than did in his younger, greedier days at Santos. conclude that Neymar has had the better start to life in Liga BBVA, however there is still for no doubt that Bale will one day be successful at Real Madrid, For some time now Ronaldo has been number one at Real and that doesnt look as though its about to change any time soon. At Barca however, with Messi and Neymar working together in the same side, not forgetting the talent they have behind them, we could be witnessing the start of something very special. Gareth Elvin

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PREMIER LEAGUE PREDICTIONS

WHO WILL WIN THE LEAGUE? As the season reaches the halfway point, resident football pundit Robbie Bryson makes his predictions for who will be at the top of the table come the end of the season. I’ve put myself out on a limb here by predicting Arsenal to go on to win the league! A brave move on my part. However I feel the Gunners have finally got the metal need to win the Premiership for the first time since 2003/04. They’ve been able to capitalise on the faltering form of the two Manchester teams and now look like the real deal. For me Mezut Ozil has been the signing of the season, even though he cost an arm and a leg. Wenger’s refusal to change his footballing philosophy will be vindicated if Arsenal win domestic honors this year. I think it’ll be good for the English game if the gunners win the league as it shows it’s not just Barcelona that can play the possession based attacking football that us neutrals just love watching. It’s a real testament to the quality of our League here in England that by this time of the year there are six teams (seven if you include Southampton) still in with a genuine chance of winning the title. The openess of the League is just one of the reasons that make the Barclays’ Premier League the best in the world. We’ve got the players, the managers and a passion for football that is unrivalled here in the UK. Anyone can beat anyone; there are no certain results in the Premiership. The Manchester teams predicted dominance hasn’t materialised yet, and this years title race is shaping up to being the most exciting ever. It’ll be fantastic if the title goes right up until the final day again (another Sergio Aguero moment would be incredible). But whatever happens, us football fans are the ones who really profit from the league being so wide open. There’s nowhere else in the world I would rather be than sat down in my living room, glued to the TV as Match Of The Day broadcasts its final episode of the season. I feel priviledged to be a British football supporter. Our league is certainly a sign that we can create some of the most successful sporting institutions in the world. Long may it continue.

GUNNERS GOING FOR GOLD ARSENAL Current Position: 1st November’s front-runners are looking like serious title contenders for the first time in years. With the signing of Mesut Ozil, Arsene Wenger’s team look like they could finally break their long wait for a trophy. Wenger’s team have always played with style but sometimes lacked the hardened mentality need to win the title. They’ve taken the chance given to them this season by the faulting Manchester clubs and now seem like the team to beat. The loss to Manchester United in November was a big blow, as any result at Old Trafford would really have shown fans and pundits how much Arsenal have progressed since last year. Still, with more money certain to be available in January if Wenger wants it, Arsenal are sure to be near in and around the top of the table come the end of the season.

Prediction: 1st

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PREMIER LEAGUE PREDICTIONS

LIVERPOOL

CHELSEA

Current Position: 2rd

Current Position: 3rd

Brendan Rodger’s side have made an excellent start to the season, thanks mainly to their on fire strike partnership of Suarez and Sturridge (SAS for short). Before the start of the campaign many (including myself) wrote Rodger’s side off for another mid-table finish, but a fantastic start to the season sees them sitting higher in the table than they have been for years. The problem for Rodger’s side will be sustaining this form over 38 games, and if anything happened to Suarez or Sturridge you wonder where the goals would come from. Their midfield is fantastic too but without Gerrard, they may not have the leadership qualities required to get over the finish line.

From the squad Mourinho has to select from they should be miles ahead in the table. The special one’s team haven’t been in the form that many expected of them before the season began. They’ve been struggling to grind out wins as title winners always do. Their defence looks a little leaky and this may be something Mourinho wants to address in January and I’m sure the money will be available from Abramovich. The decision to let Lukaku go on loan to Everton was a strange one; as to many he’s the best striker on Chelsea’s books and has been banging them in for fun for Everton. If they get in a 20+ a year goal scorer I can see Chelsea strength in depth in other areas of the field helping them win the title for many years to come.

Prediction: 6th

Prediction: 3rd

WILLIAM HILL TITLE ODDS: Man City - 7/4 Arsenal - 3/1 Chelsea - 4/1 Liverpool - 13/2 Man Utd - 13/2 Spurs - 66/1

MAN CITY

Current Position: 4th

Many thought City would walk the title this year. With a new manager and plenty of depth added to an already excellent squad it looked like City would be on course to take the title for the second time this year. However Pellegrini’s men have struggled so far, perhaps due to the weight of expectation on their shoulders. The defence has been the problem (without Vincent Kompany they’re a shambles) and this must be addressed in the Citizens want to challenge in domestic football and Europe. Joe Hart’s form has been a problem for City. He has been out of sorts recently and has been dropped by Pellegrini for the most recent games. However he is a quality keeper (one of the best in the world for me) and he is sure to bounce back stronger than

Prediction: 4th

MAN UTD

SPURS

Current Position: 6th

Current Position: 9th

Sir Alex left United in the summer and it has been all-downhill since. The appointment of David Moyes was a brave one, but he needs time to build a side of the calibre to dominate English football. It was a difficult summer for United too as Moyes failed to bring in any of his preferred transfer targets and had to move for Fellaini at the last minute. The decision not to follow up on Ozil’s availability could be a costly one. Never write United off however, because well, they’re United. If they have a good January then I’m sure the fans will be back on Moyes side. They always get stronger as the season progresses and I think if Rooney and Van Persie keep firing in the goals, they’re definitely in with a shout of the title.

Spurs have proved there is life after Bale so far this season. Andre Vilas Boas’ side have been plugging away, racking up a decent points total. They haven’t been the thunderously attacking side that we saw under Redknapp and when Bale was leading the line last season. But if you claim the title on the back of one nil wins it doesn’t really matter. I’m sure Vilas Boas will bring in some more top talent in January with the Bale money, but I think Champions League qualification is a more realistic aim for Spurs this year. Soldado hasn’t hit the form that made Spurs shell out

Prediction: 2nd

Prediction: 5th

to replace Bale and I don’t think Defoe is quite good enough, though he’s an excellent squad player.

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Relegation Predictions

RELEGATION: WHO’S FOR THE DROP?

With Christmas fast approaching, relegation is a main talking point. Chief analyst Robert Clark tells us the clubs who he thinks are looking good to go down.

C

liche alert - if you’re at the bottom of Premier League by Christmas, you have sealed your fate and should prepare for a stressful, gritty relegation battle in the slight chance you will defeat the odds and escape the drop. Unfortunately, it’s a cliché for a reason, given the fact that the majority of clubs who find themselves bottom of the league at Christmas will almost definitely face relegation come the end of the season. Only West Bromwich Albion have managed to defy the odds and stay up despite being bottom at Christmas, the only club in Premier League history.

DANGER ZONE: Position

Team

P

16

Stoke

13 3

17

Cardiff

18

Fulham

19 20

Sunderland

W D

L

Pts

4

6

13

13 3

4

6

13

13 3

1

9

10

13 2

Crystal Palace 13 2

2

9

8

1 10

7

Martin Jol: Soon to be sacked by Fulham?

This is not good news for Crystal Palace fans, who currently find themselves firmly at 20th in the Barclays Premier League. It’s tough to remain optimistic for the Eagles, having to deal with the exit of manager Ian Holloway in October and only finding the net eight times this season. Not much can be said for the quality of their squad too. Many may consider that to be harsh, but looking at the Palace squad on paper it’s not one that could realistically be deemed as Premier League standard. Speroni, Moxey and Gayle have shown signs of being able to cope with top-flight football. There is, however, a large gap between coping and performing. None of Palace’s players appear to possess the ability to turn heads. Dark times at Selhurst Park. If they hope to stand any chance of remaining in the Premiership next season they need start preparing for a busy transfer window. Buying another striker wouldn’t hurt.

8 Tweltfhman.co.uk December 2013 rele.indd 1

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Relegation Predictions It’s a different story for Sunderland. This may not have been the case only a matter of weeks ago, with the prompt sacking of Paolo Di Canio and generally producing a number of shocking displays. The 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace, of all teams, was nothing short of woeful. The Stadium of Light is just starting to brighten though, with the introduction of manager Gus Poyet who will have something to prove after his brutal, and quite frankly unfair dismissal from Brighton. Plus Sunderland do actually have some good players, definitely good enough to take Sunderland to the bitter end of the relegation battle and even stay up. Borini, Fletcher, Cattermole, Larsson and Bardsley spring to mind here, the force behind The Black Cats this season.

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Fulham are the next club who look as if they will struggle to survive this season. This is a shame really, the Cottagers had a fantastic pre-season having made some very shrewd signings. Scott Parker, Darren Bent and Adel Taarabt looked to be the perfect additions to the squad, strengthening the Fulham attack considerably. This is far from the case when you look at their goal tally having managed to bag just eleven goals so far this season. Alas, the Whites find themselves third from bottom.

Fletcher and Larsson: Su

nderland’s finest

It seems as if every club that makes the ill-informed decision to employ Mark Hughes are signing themselves up for a relegation battle. The last three clubs he has managed (Fulham, QPR and currently Stoke) have all been in or around the drop zone come the end of the season.

It’s hard to locate exactly what the problem might be at Craven Cottage. Many are saying the problem lies with manager Martin Jol. This seems harsh, Jol led Fulham to a solid 12th place last season yet speculation suggests he is soon to face the boot.

The stats speak for themselves; the hiring of Mark Hughes is a last resort. Stoke have never particularly been branded as a team who play what you would call good football, no thanks to Pulis’ influence. Teams that enjoy scrappy play and make an excessive use of the long-ball should eventually be punished.

I’m inclined to think this is nothing more than a prolonged rough patch for Fulham. Sacking Jol would be irrational and misinformed.

Hats off to Stoke, they have lasted a while in the Premier League now with their frustrating to watch style of play, but it’s not looking good for the Potters this season sitting only one above the drop zone. One positive is Hughes’ attempt to introduce a more stylish, pass-orientated style of play. 9 Tweltfhman.co.uk December 2013

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Manager Summaries

THE BIG THREE: MOYES, MOURINHO, PELLEGRINI

Mourinho (left), Pellegrini (centre) and Moyes (right) have

Robert Clark

I

t’s fair to say the hiring of David Moyes at Manchester United was one that surprised the majority of us. The Scot is undoubtedly a talented manager having overachieved greatly with Everton, but many were and still are questioning whether he is up to the challenge of managing the most successful club in Premier League history and succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson’s twenty five year reign at the club. The Red Devils’ shaky start to their 2013/14 campaign has been met with much criticism, most of which has been aimed at David Moyes due to a series of questionable decisions. The decision not to pursue the signature of Mesut Ozil is still one that baffles many. Sources have suggested the reason for why Ozil left it until the end of transfer deadline day to sign for Arsenal is because he was advised to wait for an offer from Manchester United. Despite this, no offer came in and so the German international signed for Arsenal. It seems as if the German international was there for Moyes’ taking and would have indeed been an excellent signing, not only because of his footballing ability, but

Robin Van Persie – who by his standards is currently experiencing a goal drought. Javier Hernandez has been the subject of much talk recently. A popular player with the fans since he signed at Manchester United in 2010, Hernandez has clearly failed to impress David Moyes. This has been shown by his lack of appearances for the club this season, a decision which has not been welcomed by fans. Hernandez has generally been overlooked in favour of Danny Welbeck, who scored sixteen goals less than the Mexican international last season. Despite Wayne Rooney now being in form, and the motion to drop Robin Van Persie from the starting eleven simply being out of the question, there must surely be some way for Hernandez to play a more

Manuel Pellegrini has made a good start at Manchester City. Alvaro Negredo has proven to be a shrewd signing for the Blues, helping to prompt Manchester City in to a very promising league position. The 3-2 losses to Cardiff and Aston Villa towards the start of the season were admittedly a cause for concern, but City’s supreme home form has provided something to fall back on. The 4-1 home victory over Manchester United is one that will not be forgotten for a long while. With all going well for Pellegrini in UK club competitions, the Chilean must now turn his attention to the Champions League. The 3-1 home defeat to a superior Bayern Munich side in October is one to be forgotten, but this is easier said than done when they continue to underperform in perhaps the most prestigious club

Mourinho’s decision not to play Juan Mata (right) has not been welcomed by fans

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Manager Summaries

CHRISTMAS STANDINGS:

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Position

Team

P

W

D

L

Pts

1

Arsenal

13

10

1

2

31

2

Chelsea

13

8

3

2

27

3

Man City

13

8

1

4

25

4

Liverpool

13

7

3

3

24

5

Everton

13

6

6

1

24

6

Newcastle

13

7

2

4

23

7

Southampton

13

6

4

3

22

8

Man Utd

13

6

4

3

22

9

Tottenham

13

6

3

4

21

10

Hull

13

5

2

6

17

footballing tournament. Manchester City’s squad, on paper, is one of the best in the world. With the likes of Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Vincent Kompany just making up three of the many big names in City’s squad, Manuel Pellegrini will be looking to make more of an impact in the Champions League this season. Jose Mourinho’s return was one that not only excited Chelsea fans, but all fans of the Barclays Premier League regardless of what team supported. The Portuguese has continued to please Chelsea fans by performing well in the league and Europe. The 2-1 home loss to FC Basel in the Champions League was unexpected, and perhaps the 1-0 away defeat to Everton was also one that didn’t go down too well but Goodison Park is never an easy place to go and Everton are proving a force to be reckoned with. One decision of Mourinho’s that had been heavily criticised was the absence of Chelsea’s player of the year last season; Juan Mata. Yet, Mata was left to twiddle his thumbs on the bench. Fortunately, it seems as if Mourinho has realised the error of his ways and allowed Mata back in to his rightful starting spot.

Manchester Derb y: One to forget fo

r Moyes

“Moyes clearly has a plan for the club, one which the fans of Manchester United should and can hopefully remain patient for.” 11Tweltfhman.co.uk December 2013

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TRANSFER WINDOW SPECIAL

JANUARY TRANSFERS

WHO WILL YOUR CLUB SIGN? The January Transfer Window is back. It’s the window that guarantees drama and there should be no exception this year. Here, Twelfth Man predict who each of the Premier League clubs might sign. By Alex Delaney.

A

h, the January transfer Window is here. Over the years it has brought us great entertainment and plenty of drama. For instance, It is hard to forget the debacle of last January when Peter Odemwingie drove from West Brom to QPR’s training ground to try and push through a transfer before being sent home by the London club who didn’t even want him. Transfers going through or not there is always surprises in January and whether your team is struggling in the relegation zone or flying at the top of the league, every fan wants their team to make at least one new signing. In this issue Twelfth Man will attempt to stifle through the outrageous rumours to discover who your team might sign.

ARSENAL

Peter Odemwingie will be hoping for a quieter January this time round.

After the marquee signing of Mesut Ozil in the summer, boss Arsene Wenger may look to add another big name to his squad to support their title challenge. The defence is looking settled for the first time in a long while, whilst the midfield is amongst the best in the world. With just Oliver Giroud and once outcast Nicklas Bendtner as options up front though, Wenger will surely be looking to Could there be another bolster his squad with a marquee signing at Arsenal? striker. After failing to lure Liverpool’s Luis Suarez to The Emirates in the Summer, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema could be an option with the Spanish side looking to recoup some of the ¤100 million spent on Gareth Bale.

ASTON VILLA Villa are sitting comfortably in mid table which is a vast improvement on their start to last season. Paul Lambert has a young side and that is how he wants it to stay so a loan move for out of favour Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha could be on the cards. The winger who signed for £12 million from Crystal Palace last year would hope that a loan move would help force his way into United’s first team next season. There will be plenty of competition in January for the loan signing of Zaha though with Newcastle and former club Palace both also said to be interested in the Englishman.

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TRANSFER WINDOW SPECIAL

CARDIFF CITY Manager Malky Mackay has received the dreaded vote of confidence from owner Vincent Tan more than once this season but with fans still suspicious, one way for Tan to prove he has got his managers’ back would be a big January signing. Blackpool’s Tom Ince was bid for in the Summer and Mackay could well return to land the attacker especially now that Cardiff have proved that they are no pushovers at Premier League level.

CHELSEA The Blues start to the season hasn’t been as commanding as many thought it would be under Jose Mourinho. The Stamford Bridge club have a reasonably sturdy defence but their main issue comes with a lack of goals scored by their strikers. Having scored thirteen less goals than top scorers Manchester City, Mourinho might be tempted to bring in another striker. Radamel Falcao is an option, especially as the striker has not yet featured in the Champions League this season so would be available to play for another team in the competition should he decide to leave. Whether or not Monaco would be willing to sell their prized asset signed as recently as the summer is another question although there has been reports that the Columbian is unsettled in France so Chelsea may feel that they have a good Falcao could chance. be on his way to London.

CRYSTAL PALACE

HULL CITY

After making no less than sixteen summer signings you could be forgiven for thinking that Palace don’t need any more arrivals. However with the league’s lowest goal scorers looking almost doomed in their fight against relegation, new manager Tony Pulis might be persuaded to bring in a new face up front. Wolves’ Kevin Doyle once scored 13 Premier League goals in a season and a change of scenery could be exactly what the 30 year old needs to get his career back on track. Pulis may also go back to his old club Stoke to try and sign some players who will offer his new side some hope.

The Tigers only conceded more than one goal three times in their first ten league games. Their problem has been scoring goals with summer loan signing Danny Graham’s injury not helping matters. Winger Robbie Brady is their top scorer and he could do with a striker to help him with the goal scoring. Blackburn’s Jordan Rhodes has been prolific at Championship level, scoring a goal every other game and now could be a perfect opportunity to test himself at a higher level. He won’t come cheap though.

LIVERPOOL

After Liverpool’s fast start to the Romelu Lukaku has been a revelation season at Goodison Park since signing on and some loan on transfer deadline day in the sensible summer. The big Belgian has already summer hit double figures but will almost arrivals, certainly be returning to parent club their squad Chelsea at the end of the season and looks well Will Cabaye say bye to Everton must find a striker to replace equipped Newcastle in January? him in the summer. Right now to sustain though Everton could do with their fight for a top four position. more creativity on the wings and Manager Brendan Rodgers has Martinez could look to sign LA made it clear that he will try and Galaxy’s Landon Donovan during strengthen his squad if anyone with the MLS off-season to bolster sufficient quality becomes available his attacking options. The and Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye American has already could fit the bill. After Arsenal enjoyed two loans spells failed with a bid for the French at Everton in the past midfielder in the Summer; Liverpool and both parties should could come in with a bid to see if welcome the chance to Newcastle’s stance on selling the link up for a third time. playmaker has changed.

EVERTON

FULHAM Fulham have had a bad first half of the season and a couple of new additions in the January transfer window could be what they need to get their season back on track. Former fans favourite Clint Dempsey could become available in January as the MLS season ends and the American forward could kill two birds with one stone by firing Fulham to safety and forcing himself into the USA squad for the World Cup. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see new Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen raid former club Man United for a few fringe players.

December 2013 Twelfthman.co.uk 13

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TRANSFER WINDOW SPECIAL

MAN CITY

NEWCASTLE

Joe Hart’s loss of form at the start of the season concerned manager Manuel Pellegrini to the extent that the Englishman lost his place as City’s first Julio Cesar: Trying to keep his choice goal World Cup dreams alive. keeper. Despite Costel Pantilimon’s good form, the City manager may still be tempted to bring in another ‘keeper for competition. QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar was one of the only positives from the Hoops relegation last season however he is yet to make an appearance for QPR this season and he could be tempted to make the move to Manchester as he looks to secure his place as Brazil’s number one before this Summer’s World Cup.

MAN UNITED After a slow start United are finally up and running under David Moyes. Wayne Rooney looks to be back to his best and is scoring lots of goals for the Red Devils. It was well documented that Moyes failed with an attempt to bring in Leighton Baines in the summer and it seems almost certain that he will return to his former club with a bigger offer in January. The fact that Baines isn’t cup tied in the Champions League is a bonus for Moyes. Any move for Baines could however spell the end at Manchester United for influential defender Patrice Evra.

SOUTHAMPTON

Alan Pardew’s men have had a steady first half of the season with wins against Tottenham and Chelsea boosting their league position. The Magpies have striker Loic Remy to thank for almost half of their goals with strike partner Papiss Cisse failing to score in the Premier League this term and still struggling to live up to the form he showed when he first signed two years ago. Pardew made it clear that he wasn’t happy with just one summer signing so a busy January is expected. A return to the club for Demba Ba could happen especially if Chelsea sign a new striker themselves.

NORWICH Having signed a lot of attacking players in the summer, manager Chris Hughton probably thought that he had addressed The Canaries’ main problem area. However this season only strugglers Fulham and Sunderland have conceded more goals than Norwich and it is their defence that now needs strengthening if they want to beat the drop. Admittedly their seven goal thrashing at the hands of Man City slightly distorts their conceded figure but it is still an area of concern. One player who could help their ailing defence is Scott Dann. The Blackburn defender who was once linked with the likes of Arsenal has now spent a season and a half in the Championship and this could be the perfect time for the big defender to step up to Premier League level again to aid Norwich’s leaky defence.

Southampton have had their best start to a season for many years and they will look to capitalise on that with another top quality signing in January. After shelling out over ten million for midfielder Victor Wanyama in the summer, it seems manager Mauricio Pochettino is still interested in strengthening his midfield with Wolfsburg midfielder Diego one of many names linked. Valencia’s Argentine playmaker Ever Banega has also been linked with the Saints after falling out of favour in Spain. A move to England could be on the cards as he looks to establish himself in Argentina’s World Cup squad.

STOKE CITY Stoke are still gradually trying to change their style to a less direct approach under Mark Hughes. For this process to continue, they need to sign more players who are comfortable with the ball at their feet. There are rumours linking goalkeeper Asmir Begovic with a move away from the Britannia and if that was to happen then a loan move for Joe Hart could be on the cards. Whilst that is unlikely, a more reasonable suggestion would be a move for David Bentley (right). The winger thrived under Hughes at Blackburn and after being released by Tottenham in the summer, he could be a good option - particularly if Hughes can bring him back to his best.

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ON

TRANSFER WINDOW SPECIAL

SUNDERLAND

WEST BROM

Sunderland have the leakiest defence in the division and for that reason Gus Poyet will probably look to add to his defensive options. On the wish list could be a defensive midfielder and it would be no surprise to see the Uruguayan manager raid former club Brighton for the highly rated Liam Bridcutt. The former Chelsea youth player won the Seagull’s player of the year award twice in the last two seasons under Poyet and could be ready to step up to the next level.

The Baggies are having a reasonable season so far, made better by a win at Old Trafford and a draw at Stamford Bridge that could have been so much more if not for a harsh penalty decision against them in the last minute. Although he has returned to the side of late, it looks likely that Shane Long could leave in January after chairman Jeremy Peace accepted a bid from Hull for the striker on transfer deadline day in the summer. Reading’s Adam Le Fondre who scored 12 Premier League goals last season would be a ready made replacement.

SWANSEA After smashing their transfer record on Wilfried Bony in the summer it is unlikely that the Swans will do any big business in January. Scott Sinclair is yet to be properly replaced following his move to Manchester City last summer with Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge starting most of the games on the wing so far this season. One player who could be set for a loan switch to the Liberty Stadium is Raheem Sterling. The Liverpool winger has found game time limited so far this season at Anfield and with the World Cup approaching, a loan move could help him to force his way to Brazil.

TOTTENHAM Despite Spurs’ £100 million summer spending spree, they are amongst the league’s lowest goal scorers following Gareth Bale’s summer departure to Real Madrid. Roberto Soldado signed for a hefty fee in the summer and has scored a few goals but both he and Jermain Defoe are similar types of player and Andre Villas Boas would welcome a striker with a bit more presence to give him another option. Spurs reportedly bid for Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke in the summer and Andre Villas Boas could fancy his chances with another move for the striker in January.

Sterling to Swansea?

WEST HAM With Andy Carroll injured for a long period at the start of the season and the Carlton Cole debacle where the big striker was released in the summer and then re-signed, West Ham’s shortage of options up front has been highlighted. Although not obviously suiting the Hammers direct style, Shane Long has proved for West Brom that he can play up front on his own and he could be an ideal alternative option for Sam Allardyce’s side.

Shane Long, left, could swap West Brom for West Ham in January.

December 2013 Twelfth man.co.uk 15

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WORLD CUP PREVIEW

IS 2014 ENGLAND HOW THEY QUALIFIED 5-0 v. Moldova 1-1 v. Ukraine 5-0 v. San Marino 1-1 v. Poland 8-0 v. San Marino 1-1 v. Montenegro 4-0 v. Moldova 0-0 v. Ukraine 4-1 v. Montenegro 2-0 v. Poland

The man with the plan: Roy is rearing to go

As 2013 nears the end and 2014 is soon upon us that means thing that the World Cup is near and could England do it this time? Harry Towse

T

aking place in Brazil, who are hosting the competition for a second time, the summer of 2014 will be the time where the whole of the country comes together in the hope that the England team can have a successful tournament and maybe even emulate what the legendary team of 1966 managed to achieved in going all the way to lift the infamous trophy. Every time a major championship comes around the England team has a great deal of expectation around them and many are never satisfied with how they usually perform, always expecting better from them. This year is no exception with going as far as possible in the competition in everyone’s mind-sets and the expectations are always high.

“...the England team has a great deal of expectation around them...” Before anyone can even contemplate the idea of England winning the World Cup,

there’s a small matter of gaining qualification. This luckily has been achieved with England topping Group H and automatically qualifying for the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro next year. The only real threat to England’s qualification was Ukraine who finished behind them, with just one point less which shows how tight it was in the end. England secured many emphatic victories over the smaller countries, including bottom of the group San Marino (5-0 and 8-0) and Moldova (5-0 and 4-0). They also had to overcome two potentially tricky teams in the form of Poland and Montenegro to get through the group. In the end a 2-0 victory over Poland in the final group game ensured they had gained qualification without having to go through the play off process if they would have finished second. Even though in the end it looked like a close call for England to get World Cup qualification, there did not seem to be that much danger of them missing out on the top spot of the group. There was some exciting play from the England team which saw them not lose a match, which was ultimately the

reason that they qualified. They scored an impressive 31 goals with Wayne Rooney scoring 7 of them making him the top goal scorer of the group and also 5th out of the whole qualification process.

“...there did not seem to be much danger of them missing out... ” Along with the fact that England had managed to top the group and get automatic qualification to the World Cup, the fact they played well for most of the matches to give the fans some hope that they can perform well at the upcoming competition. Every time it comes around the nation comes together and give their country their full support, praying that they can recreate the glory of the 1966 World Cup where England emphatically lifted the coveted trophy. Ever since Roy Hodgson took over as England manager, and whenever someone new comes in as manager, everyone had a great deal of expectation for what was to

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ND’S YEAR? come with his time in charge. Fans wanted him to turn the team into one who can compete with the best teams in the world and possibly even pushing towards winning a major trophy. They were unsuccessful at the European Championships last year so the attention has been shifted to the 2014 World Cup where everyone will be looking at Hodgson to lead team to an impressive run at the competition to really put England back on the map in regards to international football. They will want to be talked about alongside the other major European teams like Spain and Germany, as over the past few years there has been a European resurgence within the world rankings as seven out of the top ten teams are from Europe. So the ultimate goal for Hodgson is be competing with the top teams in the world and for the England team to be to hold their own against these powerful and technical countries. In preparation for the World Cup, England have played some friendly matches and before they head off to Brazil and compete in the biggest football competition. With the couple they have played it’s not looking that good pre-World Cup has they have suffered two defeats, a 2-0 loss to Chile and a crushing 1-0 defeat to old rivals Germany. In terms of being prepared for the World Cup, England haven’t had the best of starts as many may feel that they will take this loses with them to Rio and that it could have an effect on how they perform at the championships. Even though these are just friendly matches the preparation is important for the England team as they hope to do well at the World Cup. Overall it would seem that Roy Hodgson and his England team are looking in not bad form before they head off to Rio for the World Cup. Even though their last few matches haven’t gone exactly to plan, they were impressive during qualification and made sure that they topped their group to automatically make to the World Cup. They achieved what they set out to do and made sure that the quality of football was of a high standard as well. With support from a loyal fan base and a team filled with exceptional talent, maybe 2014 will be the year that England recreate the glory of the 1966 World Cup and go on to lift one of the most prestigious trophies of all time, creating a new legendary team in the process.

WORLD CUP PREVIEW

ENGLAND’S BRIGHT SPARKS

Super scorer: Will Wayne keep up his current goal rush?

Both Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard have been two of the most important players for England during the World the top of Group H.

wins needed to qualify for the World Cup next year and will

Captain Fantastic: Can Stevie G step up when Rio comes?

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WORLD CUP PREVIEW

BELGIUM: DARK HORSES? Harry Towse

During the qualifying stages of every major championship one team that performs well unexpectedly and this is no exception with Belgium being this year’s surprise package for the cup.

I

t’s hard to imagine that Belgium haven’t qualified for last two World Cups, in Germany and South Africa, and also haven’t reached the European Championships since 2000 where they were the hosts with the Netherlands. It would seem that before now no one really noticed them in regards to the world’s top teams as Spain and Germany have been the main dominant force from Europe on the world stage. The fact that they seem to have gone relatively unnoticed up until the 2014 World Cup qualifying stages adds to hysteria surrounding them as many would have not seen them making as much of an impact in qualifying as they have done. For the qualifying round for 2014 World Cup, Belgium were in Group A with Croatia, Wales, Scotland, Serbia and Macedonia. They were definitely expected to be in contention for a qualifying spot along with Croatia and Serbia, who have both made appearances at recent World Cup

Manager Marc Willmots: Evil or plain genius?

competitions, but maybe were thought to just miss out and finish in 3rd place behind the Balkan teams. It would seem that many weren’t necessarily thinking much of the Belgium team’s chances but from looking at their first match against Wales, where they had a 2-0 victory, it was clear that this team were looking to make an impact and qualify as winners of Group A. After drawing 1-1 with potential group favourites Croatia, the wins kept on coming with an impressive 3-0 victory over Serbia and 2-0 wins over both Scotland and Macedonia.

“... many would not have seen them making as much of an impact as they have done” At the halfway stage of qualifying things were looking good for the Belgium team as they were level with Croatia with a draw and 3 victories. Knowing that they had to

be in top form in order to win the group the Belgians stepped up their game winning the next four matches including an intense 2-1 victory over Croatia, who had slipped in form in comparison to Belgium as they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Scotland. This meant that the top spot in the group was guaranteed for Belgium as they were yet to be defeated,

Ready for Rio: The Belguim boys get set for the competition

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WORLD CUP PREVIEW Flying High: Champagne showers for Willmots & co

a mean feet by anyone’s standards. They ended their qualification campaign with a draw with Wales, which left them top of the group with eight wins, two draws, no defeats and 26 points that ultimately meant they were on their way to Rio de Janeiro in 2014. They had one of the best qualification routes to the World Cup, with only Germany and the Netherlands having a better record than them (with 9 wins and 1 draw). The aim of reaching the World Cup had been achieved and in the process made the all of the other big European teams stop and take notice of them, proving that they could hold their own in high-pressure situations.

“... all of the other big European teams stop and take notice of them” Their top goal scorer during qualifying was Kevin De Bruyne, with four goals to his name, was level on goals with world class players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Frank Lampard and Miroslav Klose. The Chelsea winger showed impressive form over the qualification stages and, after his loan spell at Weder Bremen where he has scored 10 goals in 32 appearances, has joined back with the Premier league team and even made his first team debut this season against Hull in August.

There have been many players throughout the Belgium team that have impressed on the road to World Cup qualification. These include De Bruyne’s fellow Chelsea team mates Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku who is currently on loan at Everton, Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel and Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellani. The Belgian team generally seems much more confident and determined to succeed which was clearly demonstrated with their results. Also, a great deal of the Belgian players are at English clubs competing in the Premier League, which many consider the most competitive league in the world, which highlights the calibre of player that is coming out of Belgium at the moment. The Belgian style of play has been another major factor in making them serious dark horses at next year’s World Cup competition. There impressive style of play has seen coach Marc Wilmots praised for turning the prospects of the team around and in the process making them able to challenge the European heavyweights such as France, Spain, Germany and even England in a highly competitive Europe at the moment. The most impressive feat that they have managed is when looking at their FIFA Word Ranking, this time last year they were placed at number 30 whereas currently they reside

at number 5. This dramatic ranking climb has been accumulating throughout 2013 with many big victories pushing them to the higher levels of the table. The turnaround in success is one that has brought a new sense of passion and national pride to the people of Belgium as they have something to cheer about, finally The fact that many of their players are currently at top clubs, many of which are situated in the premier league, gives them more exposure as they are being watched and followed by a larger audience of football fans. This also means that they will mentioned in regards to the top teams in both Europe and the rest of the world. At the World Cup all eyes will be on the European teams who have been extremely dominant over the past few years With 7 out of the top ten ranked ranked teams in the world coming from Europe, it is clear that these teams will the ones to beat. The reigning World Cup champions Spain will be going in as clear favourites as they have shown sheer power and dominance since their victory in 2010, following it up by taking home the

“The turnaround in success has brought a new sense of passion and national pride” 2012 European Championships as well. Germany, the Netherlands and England will also be looking for a strong showing at in Rio but Belgium will be the ones to look out for from Europe next year. There will also be a strong South American threat too, with hosts Brazil, Argentina and Columbia all expected to perform well and maybe even challenge for the title themselves. Many look out for the dark horses of the competition and follow their progress throughout the whole competition and they generally tend to get the most neutral support from football fans as people like to support the underdogs. It is clear that the Belgium team are going to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the World Cup in Rio next year. The impressive style of play and the team on the whole will definitely be the ones to watch and would be favourites to cause a major surprise during the competition.

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Club Team Profile

CLUB TEAM PROFILE: WEST HAM UNITED Robert Clark

S

ome would say it’s been a bit of a roller-coaster for West Ham United over the last decade. The Hammers have had to face the woes of relegation, financial strains, legal issues, and even now it looks as if a gritty relegation battle is next on the cards. All of this makes it seem West Ham have had a nightmare of a decade, but it hasn’t all been doom and gloom at the Boleyn Ground. The club have certainly seen their triumphs with solid, top half league finishes, good cup runs, some excellent signings and have now secured their move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016. Where can you begin when discussing West Ham’s notable players? Three of England’s starting eleven were West Ham players in the 1966 FIFA World Cup; Bobby Moore (captain), Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst. More recently the club have continued to produce some outstanding talent, promoting the popular idea of being ‘The Academy of Football.’ This would refer to

the club’s renowned youth development system, established by manager Ted Fenton during the 1950s which ever since has seen a number of international players emerge through the ranks. England players Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Glen Johnson all began their careers in East London, all of which are a testament to West Ham’s reputation of producing homegrown players.

thrilling three-all draw. West Ham lost on penalties but still gained entry to the UEFA Cup; an encouraging season for the Hammers. In August 2006, West Ham completed the signings of Tevez and Mascherano but were found guilty of omitting details of the transfers from official records, and

A number of world-class players from overseas have represented the club also. Argentinian stars Carlos Tévez and Javier Mascherano, Paulo Di Canio, Frédéric Kanouté and Alessandro Diamanti are the most notable examples. The recent ups and downs of West Ham United is certainly a substantial topic. The 2005/06 season saw West Ham return to the Premier League after a 1-0 victory over Preston North End in the Play-Off final. The club finished at a respectable ninth this season, however, the highlight of the season was reaching the FA Cup Final and taking favourites Liverpool to penalties after a

DID YOU KNOW ... West Ham adopted their kit colours in the summer of 1899, when right-back

Charlie Dove received the kit from his father William Dove. William Dove, who was a professional sprinter of national repute, was also involved with the coaching at West Ham. Bill Dove had been at a fair in Birmingham, close to Villa Park, the home ground of Aston Villa and was challenged to a race against four Villa players who wagered money that one of them would win. Dove won all of the races and when the Villa players were unable to pay the bet, one of the players offered the Aston Villa kit in repayment.

consequently fined £5.5m. West Ham were lucky to avoid a points deduction this season, which

Andy Carroll: Record s

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am d

Club Team Profile ultimately proved to be critical after narrowly escaping relegation by winning seven of their last nine Premier League games, defeating Manchester United 1-0 on the final day of the season with a goal by Tevez to finish 15th. Things were relatively smooth at Upton Park for the next two seasons, however old traditions of the club’s affiliation with violence were re-sparked when in the 2009/10 season West Ham hosted Millwall in the League Cup. There were riots and fighting outside the ground as well as pitch invasions and crowd trouble. A great shame, seeing res against Spurs New boy Ravel Morrison sco as both clubs have worked hard to rid of It’s hard to believe that a club with their reputations Presently, West Ham’s status as a of fan violence. Premiership club is hanging in the the likes of Kevin Nolan, Mohamed balance. Diamé, Mark Noble, Winston Reid and record signing Andy Carroll The Hammers find themselves could go down. sitting just one place above the drop after a string of very As a positive, West Ham’s defence questionable results. has been pretty solid so far this season, but they desperately need Fans shouldn’t panic just yet. Sam to find a striker as shown from their Allardyce is a capable manager lack of converting chances in to and on paper, West Ham’s squad is goals. It could be a busy transfer strong and has depth. window in January for ‘Big Sam’.

arroll: Record signing

The Olympic Stadium: West Ham’s new

home for 2016

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POMPEY F.C

THE RISE AND FALL OF PORTSMOUTH FOOTBALL CLUB

Gates to the hallowed turf of Fratton Park

Since their formation 115 years ago Portsmouth Football Club have experienced something of a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows; from two title wins in 1949 and 1950 to the horror of administration in 2009. It must be tough to be a Pompey fan. The most recent dip in a tough time for Pompey is the sacking of their manager Guy Whittingham. As a below par start to the season sees them lingering dangerously above the relegation zone in League Two. A far cry from the dizzy heights of European football a mere five years ago. The troubles for Pompey really started in 2009 when the club entered administration for the first time. As the early stages of the 2009-10 season progressed, money from the recent takeover by Al Fahim started drying up; it became clear that staff and players were not being paid. Towards the end of the season things worsened and a transfer embargo was placed on the club. With results continuing to disappoint Director of Football Avram Grant was promoted from his role as Director of Football and charged with the task of keeping Portsmouth in the Premier League.

While Grant was managing to achieve results on the pitch, their financial woes were worsening. In December 2009 it was revealed Portsmouth had failed to pay their players for a second month running. The club was in debt of up to 135 million pounds. To prevent liquidation, new owner Balram Chainrai placed the club into administration, which brought with it a nine-point penalty from the FA. Relegation soon followed, despite valiant efforts from Grant and his players, who also made it to the FA Cup final, where they marginally lost to Chelsea 1-0. In October of the following year the club were snatch from the jaws of liquidation once again and were pulled out of administration. These days, the drop down to the Championship costs more than just pride for football clubs and there is a huge loss in revenue for relegated sides. Pompey made a promising start to life in tier two of English football but unfortunately it didn’t last long. Manager Steve Cotterill came and went, being replaced by Michael Appleton.

No one quite saw what was coming in November 2011, as a Europe-wide arrest was issued for Pompey’s owner Vladimir Aleksandrovich Antonov. His Lithuanian bank businesses were being seized as they went into administration. The chairman had to resign and Portsmouth were hit with a 1.6million pound tax bill that they had no hope of repaying. There was no other option but to enter administration again. Another points deduction followed, and Pompey were relegated to the third tier of club football for the first time in thirty years. All professional players left the club after

Whittingham: latest Pompey casualty

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POMPEY F.C

One of the fanatical Fratton Park faithful relegation and Appleton was left to rebuild on virtually no budget. To make things worse another points penalty was put into place at the start of the 2012-13 campaign. It looked bleak for Pompey and when Appleton left the club to join Blackpool it signaled the start of a winless 23 game run under new manager Guy Whittingham. A second successive relegation followed. However around the corner the clubs salvation was waiting; from an unlikely source. Fans are the lifeblood of a football club. But in todays footballing world money talks louder than any amount of die-hard followers. Just look at the way Manchester City and Chelsea have risen in recent years due to their rich owners. Neither of them amongst the most supported clubs in the country but now title winners and dominant forces in English and European football.

Pompey fans did something truly special however. Endeavoring to save their club, the Pompey Supporters Trust was set up. And in April of 2013 the group successful set up a deal to buy the football club. The group began putting down the stable ground works from

which the club could build and reclaim former glories. The first yearlong contact was given out to a new signing (previously all players were on monthly contracts), new sponsorship deals were put into place, and the clubs promising youth talent was retained. Whittingham’s sacking comes after a disappointing start to life in League Two for Portsmouth. But now the club is on sound financial footing, there is hope amongst the fans once again. The Pompey Supporters Trust is exactly what Portsmouth needed. After so many failed experiences with foreign owners some stability is dearly needed. The fans are right to distrust outside investors and have gone about securing a future for the club they love. Moreover it may be a new revolutionary step for football clubs in general. Lets hope

more fans are able to gain leverage over the running of their clubs. Rather Pompey Supporter’s Trust than Abramovich or Sheik Mansour. One reason the financial fair play rules have been brought in is to try and prevent clubs from suffering in exactly the same manner as Portsmouth have. In todays footballing world of excess, clubs need to be careful not to spend beyond their means. Before their administration Pompey set out an overly ambitious wage structure that lead to administration. It may be a long climb back to the top of the ladder for Portsmouth Football Club. But with the added steadiness and enthusiasm that the Trust may be able to inject into the club, it could be finally an enjoyable few years for Pompey fans. The club will be aiming to rise from the ashes of their former glories. They may not be winning the top division any time soon, like their most successful team of 1948 and of course the first job is to maintain league football for the foreseeable future. With the clubs new relatonship with the fans however all neautrals will be hoping to see them back in the big time soon.

Family fun at Fratton Park

Cor it’s Quiet on Monday morning!

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TACKLING DEPRESSION Why do a large number of the worlds top athletes suffer from depression? Its growing problem and Its time to start talking about it.

D

epression is one of the biggest obstacles young footballers face and it’s on the rise. 1 in 10 sportsmen suffer from depression and it can have serioaus consequences on their career. The sport stars of today may be rich and successful, however there is a dark side to life they lead. The downfall of great sportsmen such as Paul Gascoigne and Frank Bruno stemmed from depression, but where does this feeling come from and how can we stop it from

increasing. Ex Footballer and current Youth & Community development coach for Chelsea FC, Steve Tapley has witnessed depression in sport first hand and argues that what happens on the pitch can dramatically affect a players mental state. During his time as a player at Fulham Steve suffered a career changing injury. Steve was playing in the youth team, when a rough tackle left him with ruptured Achilles tendon. Out for 11 months, he was

unsure if he would ever play again. “It took me too a very dark place. I’m usually very optimistic guy but something like that really affects you” Steve says. “Back in my day you weren’t paid much, so I started to worry about what I’d do for a job if I couldn’t return. I had a family to support so that really played on my mind”. For any athlete, injury is a constant fear. Prolonged time out can seriously damage a player’s career and it can be extremely hard for players to

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on?

return following an injury. A goal drought or lapse in form can also be a common source of depression among athletes as it can seriously affect a player’s confidence which can in turn make said bad run even longer. Its a circle of misfortune that can eaily spiral out of control. “A bad run destroys you. Even the things that you used to excel at start to feel unnatural” say Steve, adding “The worst thing a player can do is over analyse, unfortunately that’s exactly what something like this makes you do” Players lacking confidence often hesitate before acting and are unsure what to do when they have the ball. “Players must have trust in their abilities to succeed”. Fernando Torres suffered from a similar situation when he moved from Liverpool to Chelsea a few years ago. He was known for his prolific finishing in his years at Anfield, however, when he moved south to London he couldnt buy a goal. He was a shadow of his former self. Steve recalls this period with great sadness. “Back then he looked almost lost on a football pitch. I had faith he would make a comeback though, beacuse he’s a great player and great players do.” Whilst I am sure it was undoubtably a difficult time for Torres, one thing he had that some players dont is the unshaking support of the Chelsea fans. At no point during his bad run did they shun or mock him and Steve certain that this lifted his spirits and helped him to recover

“ Depression is still seen as a sign of weakness by many ” “They really stood by him. It was brilliant. Top support.” Its important for players to have the fans behind them. Without loyal support, players can feel unloved and this is another possible source of depression. When 21-year-old German wonderkid, Mario Gotze moved from Borussia Dortmund to fierce rivals Bayern Munich in the summer Dortmund fans were furious. He recieved death threats and had be under police escort when attending the final games of the season. It is said that in order to avoid depression increasing within athletes we need to talk about it. Discrimination against people with mental health issues is something that must be stopped as it just adds to the problem. “Depression is still seen as a sign of weakness by many”. A stigma still seems to surround the topic mental health, forcing players to hide their true feelings which is far frokm healthy. Steve suggests that , “Teams should really get to know their players and should not be afraid to talk to them about their feelings.” sport is a huge issue that needs attention. FIFA

and Uefa must do more to combat this problem across all levels of the game in order to stamp it out for good. It may be a sad fact, but it seems depression is an issue very close to the heart of modern day football and it musnt be ignored. Gareth Elvin

Torres in happier times scoring for Spain

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OPINION PIECE

IS CHANTING YIDDO RACIST? Tottenham fans use of the word “Yid” is a genuine if slightly misguided attempt at eliminating prejudice from football grounds. Police interference should be discouraged. By Robbie Bryson

T

ottenham Hotspurs Jewish links are well known, and the clubs supporters have embraced this through their chanting for a long time now. However, an arrest was made during Tottenhams’ game against West Ham in October for using the term. It is wrong that the police have now become involved in this issue and taken to arresting fans at games for what is essentially a harmless part of the game. Football chants are often not very PC. This is part of the game and part of the atmosphere at any given ground across the country. I personally remember some hilarious examples chanted at Ipswich fans that were deemed to have fornicated with their cousins. Football fans are never very accepting to other clubs. But that is exactly how it is meant to be in a game so affected by regional

and social divisions. Chants can help create atmospheres that can be near impossible for opposition players to perform in. Or they can simply entertain you when your teams’ play isn’t exciting enough. The Spurs supporters’ chants towards their own players of “yiddo” or calling themselves the “yid army” are not meant with any malice or anti-Semitism. In fact they are seeking to glorify the clubs Jewish roots in the face of the derision they have often suffered from opposition fans. The phrase is used as a collective identity for fans to rally behind. Increasing their solidarity as a group. It is not the same as some of the appalling racially motivated chants that have become commonplace in todays game, despite being universally frowned upon. One

Goal celebrations at White Hart Lane. such example is the abuse the England under 21s suffered in Serbia.

“the

phrase is used as a

collective identity for fans to rally behind”

Explosive scenes at West Ham Vs. Tottenham in October.

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OPINION PIECE The problem is, to an outside observer, it is unclear whether fans chants are aimed offensively towards Jewish people. The club should come out and explain explicitly why the fans usage of the term is in no way racist. Creating a sense of clarity around the motivations behind the supporter’s chants would help explain why fans usage of the term is in no way derogatory. This is the course of action Darren Alexander; joint-chairman of the Tottenham Supporters’ Trust is encouraging. He also believes that arrests are unwarranted. “The whole police position on this issue is absolutely wrong,” We live in a country where free speech is prevalent. But the police are encouraged to crack down on any racist or offensive language. This, of course, has no place in today’s multi-cultural Britain, least of all in football, which has great power to bring all colours, creeds and social classes together. But it seems so blindingly obvious that these chants by Spurs fan are meant to praise their Jewish heritage, not denigrate it. Even Prime Minister David Cameron

has weighed in on the debate, talking to The Jewish Chronicle. ‘’There’s a difference between Spurs fans selfdescribing themselves as Yids and someone calling someone a Yid as an insult. ‘’You have to be motivated by hate. Hate speech should be prosecuted - but only when it’s motivated by hate.’’ Despite the Tottenham supporter’s collective disregard for police warnings, mass arrests were not made at White

“their

continued

use

of

the terM Will surely cause further debate on the issue,

doing so without fear of repercussions from the law. The fans refusal to back down on the issue despite the threat of police action is genuinely refreshing. In a time when our right to peacefully protest is so sparsely used, Tottenham fans are not giving in to police pressure. Their continued use of the term will surely cause further debate on the issue, which can only be a good thing. Perhaps if they can fully justify the reasoning behind their use of the word, the police will realise they are barking up the wrong tree and move on to more important battlegrounds in eliminating racism from football. We should all embrace Tottenham fans calling themselves “Yid army”. Their Jewish roots should be celebrated, not silenced.

Which can only be a Good thinG.” Hart Lane in the game against West Ham. It will be difficult for police to act, when the offending members of the crowd will be in such large proportion. As long as the supporters maintain using “Yid” in such large numbers, they can continue

Help me! Vilas Boas has publically backed fans.

THE PREMIER LEAGUE’S MOST OFFENSIVE FOOTBALL CHANTS The Premiership brings out the creative side in the hordes of fans that attend games every week. Here are some of the most non-politically correct and even damn right offensive chants that have ever appeared in the league. “Your mother is your sister, Your father is your brother, You like to f*** each other, The Norwich family.”

Chanted at Norwich City fans due to the County’s long association with inbreeding.

“In your Liverpool slums, In your Liverpool slums, Your mums on the game and your dads in the nick, You cant get a job cos your too ****ing thick In your Liverpool slums.” Used by anyone wishing to offend Liverpool supporters.

"Who's that dying on the runway? Who's that dying in the snow? It's Matt Busby and his boys Making such a f***ing noise ‘Coz they can't get their aeroplane to go!" Shouted to this day by Manchester City fans towards their rivals United, after the Munich air disaster of 1958.

"Sol, Sol, wherever you may be You're on the verge of lunacy And we don't give a f*** if you're hanging from a tree You Judas c*** with HIV." Spurs fans brutal chant about Former Player Sol Campbell who left to play for North London rivals Arsenal.

“Park, Park, wherever you may be You eat dogs in your home country But it could be worse You could be scouse Eating rats, in a council house.”

About former Manchester United player Ji Sung Park and his South Korean heritage.

“There's only one Harold Shipman There's only one Harold Shipman All the Scousers give thanks Cos he only killed Mancs Walking in a Shipman wonderland.”

Liverpool fans towards against rivals United.

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TRANSFERS

THAT SHOOK

We take a look at the maddest, most shocking tranfers in Premier League history Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano Corinthians to West Ham 2006, Unknown Quite possibly the most surprising transfer ever. When the two Argentines arrived at West Ham, even the then manager Alan Pardew thought it was too good to be true and so it proved to be. The dodgy dealings of the pairs agent Kia Jooberian soon reared their ugly head. The legal battles that followed the pairs departure from the club cost West Ham over £20 Million. Wayne Rooney Everton to Manchester United 2004, £25.6 Million When a 16-year-old Wayne Rooney first emerged at Everton, his commitment to the Toffee’s seemed almost unshakable . After scoring at Arsenal he lifted his shirt to reveal the message “Once a Blue, Always a Blue”. He was one of the biggest talents in England at the time and Everton fans were in high spirits. However, In August 2004, to the shock of everyone, he turned down a contract extension at the

club and moved to Manchester United. At the time it was the highest fee ever paid for a player under 20 years old. Sir Alex put a lot of faith in Rooney and it seemed to pay off.

Robin Van Persie Arsenal to Manchester United 2012, £22.5 Million Robin van Persie produced his finest ever season for Arsenal in the 2011/12 campaign, scoring a substantial 37 goals in all competitions. However, as the year rolled on he continued to avoid signing a new contract and Gooners were understandably worried. In July 2012 the striker dropped a bombshell on the club when he announced he wouldn’t be signing a new deal, and by August, he was a Man United player after agreeing a £24m transfer. It wasn’t only the annoyance that Van Persie was signing for domestic rivals that rocked Arsenal supporters, but also the sense of betrayal they felt, after backing him over several injury-ridden seasons. Fernando Torres Liverpool to Chelsea 2011, £50 Million The January deadline day of 2011 will always be remembered as one of the most expensive days in English Football history. In the last hour of the transfer window

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ory

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres completed a £50Million move to Chelsea, setting a British transfer record and making one of the most expensive footballers of all time. One of the best strikers in the world at the time, he was kown for his prolific finishing at Anfield. However, his start to life in London was far from simple. He had a hard time fitting into the squad and couldn’t reproduce tha same striking form as before, leading many to dub the transfer as a failure. Andy Carroll Newcastle United to Liverpool 2011, £35 Million Having performed extremely well at Newcastle all season, it was no surprise when in January 2011, Andy Carroll moved to a bigger club. It was a surprise however when Liverpool paid £35 Million for his services. His astonishing price tag perplexed most football fans. The striker could be accused of feeling the pressure, failing to recover the prolific scoring record he once had at Newcastle and subsequently getting loaned out and then sold. Robinho Real Madrid to Manchester City 2008, £32 Million When Manchester City were taken over by a Billionaire Arab investor in August of 2008 fans were excited. When they signed Brazilian forward Robinho from Real Madrid later that month they were even more excited. A huge signing for the premier league. However the homesick Brazilian wonderkid never really made that much of an impact for City often failing to perform consistently.

Ashley Cole after winning the Champions League with Chelsea John Obi Mikel Lynn Oslo to Chelsea 2006, £20 Million approx. Alleged kidnapping, dodgy agents, suspended prison sentences and deals being done without permission. The transfer of John Obi Mikel will always be remembered for the controversy surrounding it. The Nigerian star was highly sought after in 2006 and after much rumour and speculation Chelsea eventaully signed the midfielder.

fans have never forgiven the defender for his actions. However, Cole has since gone onto win the Premier League, the FA Cup three times, the Champions League and the Europa League with Chelsea, whilst Arsenal have picked up no silverware in the same period. It would appear that the enigmatic full back has had the last laugh. At least for now. Carlos Tevez Man United to Man City 2009, £47 Million Unconfirmed.

Ashley Cole When Carlos Tevez dicided to Chelsea to Arsenal 2006, £5 Million+ William Gallas ditch United and sign for their arch-rivals, Manchester City it shocked the football world. A An academy graduate and fast player who had built a strong becoming one of the best fullrapport with the United fans backs in world football, Cole due to his excellent work rate had built quite a reputation and apparent love for the for himself at Arsenal. But in club. His mega money move 2006 super-rich Chelsea came calling. On deadline day Cole was to the blue half of manchester caused much controversy eventually sold to Chelsea and and confusion. It is extremely Arsenal got a temperamental Frenchmen in William Gallas. Cole rare for player to attend both lost many admirers in the process. Manchester clubs and even rarer when its player of such Rebranded as ‘Cashley’ for the move to Stamford Bridge, Arsenal quality such as Tevez.

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CLASSIC MOMENT

THE GOAL THAT NEVER WAS Harry Towse

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here are some moments that people are still talking about now because they have made such an impact at the time. Each month we take a classic football moment and see how it may have affected the game and also to view it from today’s perspective, seeing how the reaction would have been if it happened right now. This month we are going to re-live the story of the infamous goal that never was from 4th January 2005 where Manchester United faced off against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League. This moment was one of the biggest talking points of the whole season as to many blatantly a goal was scored and ultimately never given. It was getting to the 90 minute mark and with the match still goal-less both teams were pressing on trying to get that crucial last minute goal to steal the victory away from the opposing team. The ball fly’s into United’s half and half-cleared by a Rio Ferdinand header straight into the feet of Spurs midfielder Pedro Mendes.

“This moment was the biggest talking point of the season...”

Over the years here has so many moments in the world of football that have shocked us, made us laugh and cry, sometimes even at the same time therefore making them something unforgettable.

Looking back at a variety of different replays, at different angles and in slow motion, it very evident that a goal had been scored by the Portuguese player and that Carroll had clearly removed the ball from well over the goal line. At the time none of that made any difference as the decision had been made by the referee and the match finished goal less, with Spurs feeling as if the match was there’s and were robbed of two extra points. Even though from the replays it was clearly a goal the call was already made and the match was soon over. This incident got a lot of attention from the press at the time, along with many avid football fans who were crying out for advances in goal line technology so the right result would have happened. There has been many more moments where goal line technology would have been needed ever since this but this particular occasion showed that improvements needed to be made. It is clear that in the world we in live in today and the technological advances have been made, that the resources are available to get goal line technology into the game of football. With all of this in mind steps have been taken in order to make this happen as the idea of it was brought up again after a similar moment to the Man Utd vs. Spurs match happened at Euro 2012, in the England vs. Ukraine match. One of the goal line technology systems in contention is Haw-Eye, to many this is a proven method as it is mainly used in Tennis matches.

Almost instantly Mendes latched on to the ball, launching it towards the United goal and goalkeeper Roy Carroll. With the ball flying towards him from a fair distance, around about 50 yards away, you would have thought that it would have been a fairly simple save for the keeper to make. That’s what Carroll probably thought as he hopped backwards to try and catch the ball, this wasn’t the case however. Instead of the ball falling into Carroll’s hands, it bounced out of his reach and made its way behind the goal line, only to scuffled back over again by an anxious Roy Carroll. An array of Tottenham players raised their hands, shouting for a goal to be given and looking at The system has a high accuracy level referee Mark Clattenburg and his assistant but gets criticized for slowing down the Rob Lewis but to their dismay, and Roy game, something that would obviously have Carroll’s delight, no goal was awarded.

“... many avid football fans were crying out for advances in goal line technology...”

to be taken into account in regards to the game of football. The other form of goal line technology that has been brought up is Goalref which is a much more technical than Hawk-Eye and gives a more scientific approach to goal line technology. These are just 2 of 9 potential systems that were in contention and as announced on 3rd March 2012 by the IFAB, both Hawk-Eye and Goalref had proceeded to the second stage of testing.

“...the resources are available to get goal line technology into the game of football ” All of this has come at a time where FIFA is said to be planning on using goal line technology at the 2014 World Cup. It would seem that something is beginning to be done to get goal line technology more into football, and where better to put it to the test than the World Cup, to make sure that the right decisions are being made on the one of the most globally watched sporting events to take place. If this new technology is put into place the whole way in which the game of football is looked at will change, for the better as the right decisions will be made. Meaning that there will be more faith in football as people will know that the officials will be able to make the right call, which would mean that the game will be fairer in general. On reflection, in terms of the need for goal line technology, it was ignited by the infamous ‘goal that never was’ at the Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur game in 2005 and showed the need for it be introduced into the game. This classic football moment will be one that still be talked about and most definitely something that goalkeeper Roy Carroll will be most remembered for.

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CLASSIC MOMENT

THE MAIN PLAYERS

THE LOWDOWN

PEDRO MENDES

As you can see the ball clearly goes over the line, as goalkeeper Roy Carroll looks on thinking if he could have been able to stop his side from going a goal down in the dying seconds.

“I can understand it, but it’s still a disgrace if you are playing football in 2005 and there is so much technology in the world ” - Linesman Ray Lewis

Roy Carroll franticly attempts to clear the ball from over the goal-line, clearly knowing that the ball had made it’s way over the line he was not going to give up.

ROY CARROLL Carroll pushed the ball

As the ball comes back on the pitch the referee doesn’t call it as a goal as the Spurs team look on is disbelief, the United players and Roy Carroll in particular breathe a sigh of relief.

He gets a hand to the ball and proceeds to push it out of the goal and back onto the pitch, with the hope that none of the officials had twigged that the ball had crossed the line.

31 December 2013 Twelfthman.co.uk

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11/12/2013 13:56


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