Who will win the Champions League?

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Image from here

The first leg of the semi-finals start tonight and what better way to wet your appetite for the games than by voting in my new poll.

Tournament favourites Barcelona travel to Bayern Munich tonight in what looks to be a thrilling affair. Bayern have already wrapped up the Bundesliga title and will be looking to avenge last year’s final defeat to Chelsea by taking the crown this season. Messi looks likely to return for the Catalan giants, so that will give their attack a boost but the back-line could be an issue for Barca as they are without Puyol and Mascherano.

Tomorrow night it’s another Germany versus Spain battle as Dortmund host Real Madrid. The home side have been hugely impressive in this season’s tournament, but might be unsettled by the news that Mario Goetze is leaving for Bayern Munich at the end of the season. Real Madrid will be desperate to put their Champions League winning drought to and end and no one is better at doing that than Jose Mourinho.

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Mug of the week – Luis Suarez

suarez mug

Yes! Mug of the week is back again. After a few weeks off it returns today with a real treat.

Luis Suarez has his face on the much coveted mug this week. I shouldn’t have to tell you why but I will anyway. For the second time in the Uruguayan’s career he bit a player from the opposite team. The victim this time was Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, fortunately the Chelsea man has not mutated into a zombie, vampire or werewolf, yet…

Nobody quite knows why Suarez decided to sink his teeth into Ivanovic’s arm. They had both been having a fair battle for the most part of the game. Perhaps the cannibal was overcome with hunger, or maybe it was another moment of madness which will more than likely see the flamboyant frontman banned for the remainder of the season.

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Pompey relegated again

League 2 await poor old Pompey, the Southerners’ fate was secured after Oldham beat Yeovil 1-0.

The last few years haven’t been easy for the debt ridden club, two insolvencies and now three relegations have led to probably the greatest fall ever seen by an English club.

Having been born and raised in Portsmouth myself I know first hand how much the club means for the supporters and they have been the ones who have taken the burden of the club’s great decline.

Pompey Crest

Picture from here

So much so that the Pompey Supports Trust won the battle for ownership of their beloved club last week, in an attempt to stop the rot at Fratton Park.

And at this stage in the club’s history the fans are without doubt the best thing for the club. They will be the first owners in five years that actually care about the club, and will conduct all their business in the interests of Pompey rather than that of greedy owners of days gone by.

Next season is where Pompey can really rebuild from the bottom up. They have to achieve stability in the club and that starts from now, Pompey need to take a good squad down the League 2 next season, a squad that has had a long pre-season so it has time to gel. And then when the season starts they need to hit the ground running if they are to ever realise the Premier League dream again.

There is also the small matter of when this 10 point deduction is going to come into effect. The football league still haven’t made their minds up.

But what good would it do anyone waiting until next season to impose the penalty? Surely the club has been punished enough by dropping down to the bottom tier of English football. The fans do not deserve to see their club face further punishments, it’s like kicking the club whilst its down.

The people who need punishing are the owners that started the crisis at Pompey, but that won’t happen. In fact it’s not totally the fault of the club that it got to where it is, the FA should take some of the blame too. I know I take pops at the FA a lot but how did five owners pass the FA’s fit and proper persons test in the space of 5 years, when it was obvious none of them had the financial capabilities to steady the sinking ship?

I hope to see Pompey playing top flight football again in the future, the PST have to learn from mistakes of the past and show the country how a football club should really be run.

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Is Goal-line technology good or bad?

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Picture from here

So the FA have decided to implement Goal-line technology from the start of next season to stop goal-line gaffes from referees and linesmen.

Sounds like a great idea. Never again will a Premier League game be decided by a goal that was, but then wasn’t. And linesmen will stop being declared as blind for not seeing a football cross a line.

But are these blunders part of what makes the beautiful game beautiful? Are we losing entertainment value in place of a fairer game?

What do you think?

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The Rio Ferdinand Debacle

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Picture from here

It may be a bit late in the week to start talking about this again but I’m going to anyway, and despite being a United fan myself I will try to be as unbiased as possible.

Earlier this week Rio dropped out of the England squad because it did not fit into his strict training regime. His last few seasons have been blighted by injuries, but this campaign it seems he has turned over a new leaf and has discovered some of the form that made him a top defender.

Ferdinand kept everyone guessing last weekend about whether or not he would be joining up with England, Alex Ferguson didn’t want him to, but then said that he would. And Hodgson gave no indication that Rio joining up was in doubt. It seems that the player himself was the only one who really knew.

He has been criticised quite a lot for bailing on England, some claiming his self-arrogance is to blame, while others say that Sir Alex has been in his ear. Whilst the critics are entitled to their opinions I find it hard to believe that any player would turn down the chance of playing for their national team for anything other than footballing reasons.

But then again Rio hasn’t been very well handled by England since losing his place a few years ago, dropped for “footballing reasons” last season, perhaps this is a stab back at England for that. Only the player knows. But what is true is that he is an oldie in footballing terms and at this stage of his career he has to follow a particular training schedule to enable him to play. Maybe he feels 2 matches against San Marino and Montenegro aren’t worth the risk of him breaking down again.

Roy Hodgson

Picture from here

I’ve just seen he is now being abused for flying out to Qatar to do some analysis of tonight’s match, apparently he is a hypocrite and fraud. I can’t see how a first class flight to Qatar and a few days resting in the sun is going to aggravated any old injuries. Some people just like to jump on the hate bandwagon.

Since calling up Ferdinand has clearly backfired on the England boss I highly doubt that he will be called up again anytime soon, and in my honest opinion if Rio has pulled out because he isn’t fit enough to compete for club and country he should call time on his international career.

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The FA have lost the plot

For anyone who hasn’t seen or heard about the Callum McManaman tackle get out from under your rock.

The worst tackle I have seen in very long time. It’s painful to watch, so I can’t imagine how it felt for the recipient Massadio Haidara.

Fortunately for McManaman, the referee Mark Halsey, somehow did not see it! So no action was taken during the game. Never-mind people thought, the good old FA will definitely dish out some sort of punishment for this. So today comes and the geniuses who govern how football is run in this country have decided to take no retrospective action!

The FA are proving themselves to be a laughing stock. In every major incident whether in the league or the national side they have proven to be incompetent. It’s time these dinosaurs step aside.

Their idiocy doesn’t just stop here though. They have decided to charge Newcastle assistant Jon Carver for his reaction to the tackle. Well done FA punish the victims!

Wigan haven’t done themselves any favours either by jumping straight to the defence of Callum McManaman, particularly Dave Whelan who called the tackle “fair” and apparently the player “won the ball cleanly”. Somebody get that guy some new specs! I wonder what Whelan and co’s reaction would be if this had happened to one of their own players.

The FA are letting bureaucracy rule over common sense, that is why they always look so stupid. If they just came out of the dark ages and decided that yes football does need some some changes, then they may not get so much grief.

They should be moving football forward yet they seem ever determined to move the game in the opposite direction.

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Mug of the Week – Peter Odemwingie

Odemwingie mugOnce again another difficult decision this week. The majority of this weekend’s referees were in with a very good shout, but considering this certain fella’s reputation I thought this week’s award quite fitting for Odemwingie.

The West Bromwich Albion player hasn’t learnt and I suspect never will learn that Twitter is not the place to criticise your employers.

He caught many of us by surprise today, spontaneously launching a tirade of critical tweets against the club who pay his wages. He is an extremely foolish man.

He still wants to leave West Brom for QPR! He wants to leave a stable Premier League team for one that is likely going to be battling it out in the Championship next season. Someone needs to give this guy a reality check!

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We are losing the battle against racism

We certainly are.

Last night Tottenham’s Emmanuel Adebayor was the victim of vile racist chants from a section of Inter Milan’s fans. Fortunately the Togolese striker had the last laugh by scoring the injury time goal that sent Spurs through in the Europa League.

Nevertheless racism in football is beyond disgraceful, and there is no room for it. You have to respect Adebayor for not walking off the field. Even if he did you could not blame him.

For me this situation is made even more sickening when you consider how many black players currently play for Inter. I counted 8 on their official website. It makes me wonder what those 8 players think of these racist few who are supposed to support them. I am not saying these fans would racially abuse their own team but it makes no difference, if you are being racist against one you being are racist against all.

And UEFA are not doing enough to stamp out racism. They supposedly have a “zero tolerance” policy but I have yet to see where this has been implemented properly. Their first attempt at dealing with it after the Serbia, England u21 match was a complete cock-up.

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Picture from here

Steven Caulker and Tom Ince were banned for 1 and 2 games respectively for their reactions to racism from the opposing fans, the FA appealed, and UEFA counter appealed to try and increase the punishments! Fortunately Caulker’s ban was lifted and Ince’s reduced to 1 match. UEFA’s idiocy here is astonishing, how can you punish the victims?

Zero tolerance should mean just that. Serbia should’ve been banned and so should Inter had they progressed. Yes this does punish the whole club where the vast majority are innocent parties, but if the fans loved their club that much they would not do anything to jeopardise their club’s position.

In this day and age there is no excuse for not understanding different cultures and races. That excuse doesn’t wash with me anymore. Especially within football, where anti-racism campaigns are so well publicised you’d have to be blind and deaf to have never noticed one.

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Belated mug of the week = Cuneyt Cakir

Sorry about the delay in writing last weeks entry for mug of the week, the weekend was a busy one.

Anyways, there were a few candidates for last weeks winner; The British Press, for filling their papers with trash about Wayne Rooney’s imminent departure from Manchester United. Roy Keane for being an ignoramus and hypocritical idiot after the United-Madrid Champions League tie.

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But as the title blatantly gives away the mug is Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir. His decision to send off Nani was nothing short of disgraceful.

It was such a shock that Ryan Giggs’ heart almost gave out, Alex Ferguson hasn’t spoken of it since and an 18-year-old was almost arrested for reporting it as a criminal offence.

The Turk has took to Twitter to defend his decision, might not have been the best idea seeming as two of the thirty-eight people he follows are Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid.

Congratulations Cuneyt Cakir!

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The Press have no shame

Considering it’s the industry I want to end up in once my time at university comes to an end, I’ve been pretty disgusted with the trash that has been printed in the press over the later part of this week.

Wayne Rooney

Picture from here

On Tuesday night Manchester United were disastrously eliminated from the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid. Sir Alex Ferguson opted to field Danny Welbeck rather than Wayne Rooney in order to stifle Xavi Alonso’s ability to dominate the midfield, which Welbeck did well.

Now as expected when a manager, even one of Alex Ferguson’s reputation, drops a world class player questions will be asked. But the move was working in United’s favour until a certain Turkish referee spoilt a very entertaining match.

The first thing I do when I wake in the mornings is check the BBC Gossip Column, which admittedly is often full of fabrications, but anyhow I sometimes find parts interesting and chuckle at the rest. But I kid you not, everyday since the United-Madrid game Wayne Rooney has had a category all to himself. And each day at least one of the following: Man City, Barcelona, Real Madrid and PSG have all been described as potential suitors for Rooney. Who is according to our national newspapers “distraught” at being overlooked for the midweek game and looking for a way out of Manchester.

Now I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noticed this but whenever Rooney has been dropped, struggled for fitness or hasn’t been hitting the net very often, his future is all of a sudden called into question. It infuriates fans, like me, who know this stuff is a load of bull and want to read proper stories. And as some poor guys at two of this countries national newspapers have found out it infuriates managers too. This comes after Sir Alex Ferguson banned two newspapers from his press conferences as a result of them printing lies.

Media lies

People must wonder why the press they do it, but I’ll tell you why. Because they’re greedy and think if they can publish some transfer gossip on one of England’s hottest properties then they will sell more papers. This is without doubt the case. People will see the back page lead story is about Wayne Rooney and will instantly be attracted to the paper.

I have read as many articles as I can find on this latest Rooney saga and haven’t seen a single article that has quotes from a credible source. Not one. They claim this and that about unnamed sources but its all crap. They’re just spinning up rubbish to sell papers.

This is not news!

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