Are Diamonds Forever?


Rushden Diamonds, Aaron O'Connor shows what Rushden means to him - image sourced from northantset.co.uk

It is far too often that we talk of football as a money rich industry based on greed. The likes of Manchester City and Chelsea don’t even batter an eye lid at spending 30million pounds on a single player. But how often is the small club considered when talking about football and wealth? Some teams in the lower realms of English football struggle to even pay their players wages.

It is not unfamiliar for clubs in the Blue Square Premier (we will call the league its rightful name, the Conference)  to hit rock bottom. Established clubs such as Chester and Boston have had huge financial problems which have led to administration and multiple relegations over the last few season. However the Conference is full of teams that have catastrophically fallen from grace, lost nearly  everything but have just about survived! Luton Town, Grimsby, Cambridge, Darlington …. Rushden & Diamonds! -read on>

Wally with the Brolly


Wolfsburg taunt McLaren, the Wally with the Brolly

It’s the time of year that underperforming managers dread…Christmas. By now you have had your chance to prove what you can do and if it’s not working out the vultures will start circling. In recent weeks we have seen Chris Hughton, Sam Allardyce and Rafa Benitez (read Benitez joins the Italian Job…less) all lose their jobs and it looks like Steve McLaren’s time as manager of VFL Wolfsburg is hanging by a thread! -read on>

Umbrellas for Goal Post


This is England

Big Sam is renowned for taking a dogged approach to the game, his style often described as ‘dirty’ or ‘hit and run’. So would it surprise you that I would call Sam Allardyce innovative? Allardyce has had more ideas than Stuart Baggs, remember when the FA decided to change the offside rule so that you have to effect play to be offside….so Sam put two players on the line from a free kick. And what about his training techniques…according to Michael Owen, he had his Newcastle squad on morning bike rides and pilate’s (quite a contrast from the usual football training regime’s).

Despite being sacked from Blackburn in the week, Big Sam didn’t go down without leaving one of his latest ideas with us…’Youth Football should be played in the Summer!’

Well should it? -read on>

Car‘lost’ Tevez: Why are the Premier League’s best players looking to leave?


Tevez welcome's you to Manchester-sourced from http://www.footy-boots.com

What a picture… the image that rubs salt in to the wounds of bitter rivals Manchester United…Carlos Tevez is a blue, ‘Welcome to Manchester’.

How United fans will smile at that billboard picture now… just a season and a half later and Tevez looks like he is ready to turn his back on the blue side of Manchester. Despite City claiming Tevez will not be leaving Eastlands, Tevez has claimed he will quit if he isn’t allowed to leave.

In days gone by hearing the news that the best player of one of the top Premier League clubs wants to leave, would have been shocking news. But not now, not in 2010! Tevez’s desire to leave City just reiterates the thoughts of other top players in the Premier League. He joins a long list of players who have sounded their unhappiness at England’s top clubs; Fabregas, Rooney, Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, Mascherano. -read on>

Man United v Arsenal: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


Giggs celebrates his 'wonder goal' vs Arsenal in 1999 - sourced from http://img.dailymail.co.uk

Arsenal are back on top of the Premier league, the place their fans will hope they will be come the end of the season. With Manchester United in second the match between the two on Monday, has been described as the most highly anticipated encounter between the two in recent years!

In previous seasons, the winners of the clash have often gone on to win the title, so what is it that we have seen in previous meetings that will re-appear in Monday’s clash?

Well one thing is for sure, when the two meet there is always; the good, the bad and the ugly. Just look at the pre match build up to Monday’s game, there has been Ferguson calling on United fans to get off Wenger’s back (the good),  Evra’s random outburst claiming ‘Arsenal won’t win the league’ (the bad) and the on-going who will/ who won’t be wearing a snood (the ugly). -read on>

What has happened to Chelsea?


 

John Terry - sourced from http://i.telegraph.co.uk

What is the form of Champions? Scintillating football without losing a game? well only one team has ever done that in the Premier League, but most champions hit that ‘bad patch’, the part of the season where wins are a distant memory! If Chelsea are to be the 2010/2011 Premier League champions then November/December will certainly be remembered as their ‘bad patch’! Read more of this post

West Ham and the ‘Pack': The race to avoid the Christmas Curse!


Scott Parker shows what West Ham means to him - sourced from http://www.dlcache.indiatimes.com

This weekend, all Premier league games were tinted with a delicate skirting of snow around the pitches. The presence of snow throughout the UK is a reminder to all that, winter is here and christmas is just around the corner. This is the time of the year when clubs dwelling at the bottom of the table start to get itchy feet, the time when the race to avoid being bottom at Christmas starts.

In the Premier leagues 18 year history only one team has managed to avoid the drop after being bottom at Christmas (West Brom in 2005), this is why the trend has been dubbed as ‘the curse of christmas’.

So it was no surprise when West Ham manager Avram Grant referred to yesterday’s crunch match with Wigan, as the match to ‘Save Our Season’. With West Ham and Wigan joint favourites to be relegated the atmosphere  around the game was a very much a ‘do or die’ feeling.

Fortunately for West Ham, they won the game quite comfortably, 3-1. Although still bottom the win kept them only 3 points behind Fulham in 17th and in  touching distance of safety. More Importantly they managed to pull Wigan right back in to the scenario for bottom place, separating the two teams by just two points and two places.

At Upton Park there is one player blowing bubbles….Scott Parker. The ever inspiring vice captain was sensational on Saturday and he capped his fine performance with a well deserved goal. However looking around the rest of the squad there is real reason for concern. To me this season there appears to be a real lack of urgency and pride, traits that has been associated with West Ham teams of the past. Maybe due to a transfer policy that has involved buying to many ineffectual foreigners or maybe due to the up and coming players not being as good as home-grown talent of the past. -read on>

Will Forest help Ramsey grow?


A fully fit Aaron Ramsey - sourced from http://www4.pictures.gi.zimbio.com

As an Arsenal fan living in Nottingham the story that has caught my eye this week has definitely been, Aaron Ramsey’s loan move to Nottingham Forest .

Since moving to Arsenal at just 17, for 5 million pounds, from boyhood club Cardiff City, the most interesting aspect of  Aaron Ramsey’s career has always been, what will Arsene Wenger’s next step be?  

Wenger slowly introduced the youngster in to the first team during his first season with the Gunners, playing 22 games in the 2008-2009 season, most of which being in cup competitions however it was during the 2009-2010 campaign that Ramsey got his real chance. 

Making 18 appearances in the first half of the season, Ramsey’s technique and vision enabled him to thrive in the centre of Arsenal’s midfield next to the ever influential Cesc Fabregas. But then there was that tackle! Read more of this post

Scotland Yard: Is there too much pressure on referees?


Scottish Referee Dougie McDonald giving as good as he gets

Maradona, Pele, Zidane, Cruyff, Moore….the list of world-class players across the years is endless, but can you say the same about referees. The stereo-typical decrepit old man in black is possibly the most  influential figure in any football game but is he influential for the right reasons?

There’s certainly a few grey heads on the Scottish FA pondering the same question. Following Celtics harsh criticism of  referee, Dougie McDonald; Category One referees in Scotland have voted to strike… meaning there could be a week of postponed fixtures in the SPL. Former referee Kenny Clark told BBC Scotland “Referees are at the end of their tether, and it’s not just how it’s impacting on them but it’s the impact it’s all having on their families and business lives.” -read on>

The Championship, the ‘wonder kids’ shop window!


England's Andy Carroll - sourced from http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk

It was just last week Fabio Capello announced his new look England squad. Despite containing the likes of Ferdinand and Gerrard, superstars of the world game there was also space for the Championships top scorer Jay Bothroyd. The majority of the public are quick to disregard Championship players as not good enough to play international football at the top level. Whether this is correct or not I will leave for another day, however an interesting fact when looking at the squad is that high proportion of the squad selected to play France on Wednesday came though youth systems outside of the Premier League.

Players who have been on the scene for quite a while now such as; Green (Norwich), Jagielka (Sheffield United) and Lescott (Wolves) all made their mark on the Championship before signing for big Premier League clubs but it’s the resurgence of young players in the squad, that have come through lower league clubs that has been particularly eye catching. Smalling (Maidstone United), Walcott (Southampton), Ashley Young (Watford), Adam Johnson (Middlesborough), and Andy Carroll (Newcastle) all have played for, or have come through the youth set-up of clubs at a lower level than the Premier League.

With the top Premiership clubs now scouring the world for the next big stars, is it that they have forgotten about Britain, leaving the Championship clubs to bring through Britain’s young talent? take a peak

Are Manchester City ready to win the Premier League?


Roberto Mancini

It has been just over two years since Sheikh Mansour bought Manchester City. Over 500million pounds and a ‘supposed’ World Class manager later, it comes as no surprise that last night’s Manchester derby was billed by Alex Ferguson as the most anticipated Manchester derby in recent times. It was supposed to be the chance for City to show the world that they were no longer the pretenders living in United’s shadow, that the power had shifted and that they were now ready to make a stance and go on and win the Premier League. Well that was yesterday and after a bore draw at Eastlands I was left thinking are City actually good enough to win the league? -take a peak>

Inzaghi, Scholes and the fountain of Youth


Fillipo Inzaghi - sourced from uksoccershop.com

In a week where Gareth Bale has ‘ran away’ with the headlines (literally) it has been another Champions League performance that caught my eye. Fillipo Inzagi’s brace against Real Madrid marked a historic moment in the Italians career, his now european goal tally of 70 makes him the all time top scorer in European competition. At 37 Pipo is in his 20th season as a pro, yet he is still able to outperform his world-class team-mates (Ibrahimovic, Robinho, Pato) who are all 10-15 years his junior.

Without being blessed with pace or a catalogue of Ronaldinho like skills, it has been Pipo’s ability to play on the last man’s shoulders as well as having a habit of being in the right place at the right time that has made him such a hit on the world stage. Both his goals against Madrid on Wednesday night were classic Inzaghi, both real poachers goals with a hint of offside, but it is exactly this type of play which has meant that Inzaghi ‘has’ and ‘can’ carry on playing at the top-level. -take a peak>

Is Wayne Rooney’s Injury a blessing in disguise?


A depleted Wayne Rooney - sourced from arsenalcolumn.files.wordpress.com

Just over a month ago Wayne Rooney the golden boy of Manchester United was stretchered off during a two-all draw at the Reebok stadium. And what a difference one month makes! At first we had the ‘is he/ isn’t he injured’ debacle, followed by where will Rooney be playing his football in January. Wayne Rooney now sits in Dubai perceived by his team and fans very differently to the demi-god, he was just one month ago. The irony of the whole situation is that Rooney who claimed he wasn’t injured, hasn’t started for United since that away draw at Bolton, and following Alex Fergusons comments today (see http://tiny.cc/niv0y) it looks like he will be out for another 5 weeks(I wonder whether Rooney dare contradict Ferguson this time)?

Now I know Rooney has been described as a liar, selfish, disloyal etc. but no one seems to have mentioned the term ‘burnt out’. And that is exactly what I intend to do. -take a peak>

Battle of Tyne-Wear


Sunday 31st October, after a year away from the top flight Newcastle Utd are back and they now face Sunderland for the first Tyne-Wear deby of the 2010-2011 season. I have no doubt that the fans will be expecting a treat come Sunday afternoon and why shouldn’t they; both sides are in the top half of the table seperated by a single point! What makes the game even more interesting isn’t the fact the game hosts a world footballer of the year nominee (Gyan) or two inform strikers (Caroll and Bent) but possibly the most anticipated battle in English football history… Cattermole v Barton. As I read their names the words, ‘lets get ready to ruuuuuuumble’ come to mind… even the ‘battle of britain’ bout between David Haye and Audley Harrison fails to match up to this one. -take a peak->->

Does England lack talent?


They are the words that I have learnt to live with over the last few months ‘The England team is rubbish and the young English players lack talent’ and the shortlist for the Ballon d’or seems to reiterate this. The shortlist which was realeased earlier today shows that not one English player has been nominated for the award. For me the most notable nominees are; Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller. The two German youngsters have particularly caught my eye because it was just over a year ago that a German U21 side lined up against an England U21 side including James Milner, Theo Walcott, Adam Johnson in the Euro U21 championships final. So why is it that Ozil and Muller appear to have the world at their feet and the young English players are blasted by the public as useless? And, why have Spain and Germany succeeded where England appear to have failed? -take a peak.>

Let the Blogging commence


Hello wordpress!!!! Today is the day that upper90magazine is launched. We intend to bring you interesting, incitefull and sometimes funny information from the world of football (thats soccer to you guys over the pond).  I will leave your tastebuds sizzling with a quickfire round of my footballing interests!!!

  1. Favourite team – Ok I have two; Rushden & Diamonds and Arsenal (every one needs a big team to follow)
  2. Favourite Player – Currently it has to be Cesc Fabregas, what a player
  3. Best ever Player – I am to young to jump on the back of Pele and Maradonna so I would have to go with Zidane, or the real Ronaldo…has to be Zidane
  4. Player I love to hate – Nani, good player but he plays for Utd so that has to go against him!
  5. Favourite manager – Has to be Mr Wenger
  6. Best Manager – Jose Mourinho – class, skill, arrogance and looks what a recipe
  7. Favourite goal – Zinedine Zidane’s winner against Bayern Levurkusen in the Champions league final… li>
  8. If i could meet any footballer who would it be? Mr David Beckham!

Feel free to ask me anymore questions…. and enjoy the blog!

Patrick

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