Newcastle have appointed Alan Shearer to be their manager until the end of the Season.
Joe Kinnear is still not well enough to return to his post, and will now likely accept a position on Newcastle Board, possibly as Director of Football.
Shearer will be in charge for just 8 games, the first is at home against Chelsea on Saturday, but they then face Stoke, Tottenham, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Fulham and Aston Villa. The Magpies are currently 18th in the league and will be battling to save their Premier League Status.
The news is not even up on the clubs official website yet, but when it is you can read it there, here.
31 Mar 2009
Newcastle have appointed Alan Shearer to be their manager until the end of the Season.
28 Mar 2009
Q. In 1974 who was sacked from his position of England football manager?
Stevenage vs Oxford Utd - Oxford to Win, 15/8, Stake - £0.50
Lithuania vs France - Draw, 13/5, Stake - £0.50
25 Mar 2009
Jeremy Clarkson comes out... as a Chelsea fan. As seen here.
23 Mar 2009
Q. Which football club’s ground was used as a prisoner of war camp until May 1945 during the second World War?
Here is the England Squad for the Friendly against Slovakia on Saturday 28th March and the World Cup Qualifier against Ukraine on Wednesday 1st April.
Goalkeepers: David James, Ben Foster, Robert Green.
Defenders: Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson.
Midfielders: Gareth Barry, David Beckham, Stewart Downing, Michael Carrick, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Strikers: Wayne Rooney, Emile Heskey, Peter Crouch, Carlton Cole.
Hopefully we will get to see the likes of Foster or Green, with Lescott, Aaron Lennon and Carton Cole get a run out in the Slovakia game.
So no place for Paul Robinson or Michael Owen. Lennon is probably in for Walcott and Ledley King earns a recall.
21 Mar 2009
Have Man Utd gone into meltdown?
United lost their second game in a row in the Premier League today losing 2-0 away to Fulham. United finished with 9 men as Scholes was sent off early on and Wayne Rooney got a second yellow card late on. Not only did that cost United today, but they now join Vidic on the suspended list.
United will need to act fast to reverse their luck, with Liverpool breathing down their necks, Liverpool can go within a point of Man United with a win against Aston Villa. Chelsea will be stewing over their failure to capitalise losing 1-0 to Tottenham.
It is starting to look like it might be written in the stars for Liverpool to come back and win this seasons title.
Beach Volleyball Cheerleaders, here.
Q. Which former England football player was likened to Mary Poppins by one of the directors of his club?
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Michael Owen and Robbie Keane - all to score - 50p @ 66/1
Saturday premier League Goals - 16+ goals - 50p @4/1
20 Mar 2009
I was reading a write-up of an interview Alistair Campbell had with Sir Alex Ferguson this week, from the Times and there were some interesting points.
First. Sir Alex says Man United will not do the quintuple this season, because of the unpredictable nature of of cup ties, and the number needed for Man Utd to negotiate to achieve this feat.
Second. He says his biggest mistake was letting Jaap Stam go, and his biggest regret was not signing Paul Gascoigne. We have all heard the Gazza story before, but I think this is the first time I have read that Sir Alex acknowledged the hole left by Stams departure was a big one.
Third. Sir Alex names his Man Utd dream team, and names Ryan Giggs as the "Player he would never leave out".... hmmmm, funny comment considering that of the two Champions League Finals that Sir Alex has guided Man Utd to, Giggs did not start in either.
The snippet interview from The Times is here. It is a good read whether you like Sir Alex or not.
Hamburg v Manchester City
PSG v Dynamo Kiev
Shakhtar Donetsk v Marseille
Werder Bremen v Udinese
Werder Bremen or Udinese v Hamburg v Manchester City
PSG v Dynamo Kiev v Shakhtar Donetsk v Marseille
nb. I wonder what the odds are on an all Manchester Super Cup this year?
Villarreal v Arsenal
Manchester United v FC Porto
Liverpool v Chelsea
Barcelona v Bayern Munich
Villarreal or Arsenal v Manchester United or FC Porto
Liverpool or Chelsea v Barcelona or Bayern Munich
19 Mar 2009
Q. How many full England caps did Steve Bruce win?
It has taken many months, the loss of the Chief Executive and some fairly public debates, but Rafa Benitez has signed a new deal with Liverpool and which runs until 2014. Benitez arrived in 2004, so potentially his reign will run for a decade, if he sees out this current deal.
The media is reporting that the removal of Rick Parry as chief executive, an agreement to be paid in Euros rather than Sterling and a release clause if the club is purchased and he does not like the new owners have all been put in place at Rafa's urging and fulfills his requirements for staying on.
Benitez has told the Clubs Official Website:
"My heart is with Liverpool Football Club, so I'm delighted to sign this new deal," said Rafa. "I love the club, the fans and the city and with a club like this and supporters like this, I could never say no to staying. I always made clear I wanted to be here for a long time and when I complete my new contract it will mean I have spent over a decade in Liverpool.
"The club is greatly respected around the world due to its incredible history and tremendous heritage. It is my aim to uphold those values and help create a new chapter in our history.
"Throughout this process, I would like to thank the owners for their hard work in finalising the deal. All of us at the club want the same thing, which is to be successful by winning major trophies."
Attention will quickly turn to Liverpool's long run without a league title, and demands for Rafa to deliver. Should Man Utd equal Liverpool's record of 18 League triumphs by winning the Premier League this season the pressure for a serious title challenge next season will be the most intense in the clubs history.
18 Mar 2009
17 Mar 2009
Arsenal 2 - 1 Hull City
The after match events rivalled the on field action with no handshake between managers, and an accusation of spitting that is set to be reported to The FA tomorrow.
The Semi-Final Draw now looks like this:
Arsenal v Chelsea
Man Utd v Everton
To be played 18th & 19th April at Wembley
Guus Hiddink today pledged to push Man Utd "to the bitter end" in the Premier League this season, and has said he is looking for Champions League glory too.
Hiddink has undoubtedly had a good start to his Chelsea career, they have won four out of four in the league and are just four points off of leader Man Utd, and seem to have staved off Aston Villa and Arsenal. When Hiddink arrived Chelsea were fourth, and slipping.
Chelsea may have left it too late to mount a challenge now, but in fairness they are as capable of Man Utd and Liverpool of seeing out their remaining games unbeaten.
I think that Hiddink is a fantastically talented coach, but I think a case can be made that Chelsea made a mistake in appointing him. I admit, that might sound a bit weird; and that case is only, if he is not staying past the summer. Chelsea are a huge club, but ask Chelsea fans what is needed for success and most will give you two lists. The first one of players that need to move on and second one of transfer targets. A long term managerial successor is what Chelsea require, and one that knows how he wants to see the club play, and the players that can deliver that. By appointing Hiddink as a stop-gap the Chelsea Board and Roman Abramovich may harbour hopes that he will stay on and then miss out on a high quality coach, and his subsequent transfer targets as a result.
The worst thing that could happen is for the Chelsea Board to decide which players are staying and which are coming in. That has never worked for English clubs, and Chelsea tried it already with Mourinho and are still paying the price for the club moving backwards as a result.
As always, don't be shy have your say in the comments.
16 Mar 2009
Q. Who did Liverpool crush 8-0 in a FA Cup third-round replay in 1990?
It looks like West Ham and Sheffield United have reached a deal over compensation for Sheffield United relegation viz Carlos Tevez's time at West Ham. The price is £25m with £15m of that up front.
In a joint statement, West Ham chief executive Scott Duxbury and Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe said:
"Both clubs are pleased to announce that a satisfactory settlement for compensation has been reached which brings the dispute between Sheffield United and West Ham United to an end. The tribunal will not be resuming."
Hopefully this protracted drama can now come to an end. I personally feel that West Ham have already paid well over the odds for Carlos Tevez, if his registration was not valid, the FA and Premier League should have acted much sooner. Their failure to enforce their own transfer rules seems to have passed without scrutiny or compensation.
Tevez could prove to be the most expensive player in world football history. West Ham have already paid one compensation to Sheffield United (my memory fails to how much) and will need to pay another, add on the reputed £20m loan fee Man Utd have paid for a two-year loan and they will need in excess of another £20m to make his stay at Man Utd permanent.
15 Mar 2009
It was a big weekend in the Premier League with a solid victory for Liverpool at Old Trafford stunning the Man Utd faithful and with Chelsea winning against Man City.
Man Utd retain a 4 point buffer and a game in hand. United have lost big games in Championship run-ins before and held on to win, last season they lost to Chelsea but held on to clinch the title on the final day. Their performance in the next few games will be telling, with any signs of a let up will be seized upon.
Liverpool were good value for their win. Torres made Player of the Season candidate Nemanja Vidic look slow, and Goalkeeping giant Edwin Van der Saar looked ordinary.
The Battle for fourth has gotten more interesting with Arsenal moving back up into the Champions League spots for the first time since December, and Aston Villa losing at home to Tottenham. Everton's Victory moved them to within 4 points of Champions League football as well.
14 Mar 2009
50p on Robinho, Obafemi Martins and Amr Zaki - all to score - 40/1
50p Bolton, Middlesbrough and Wigan all to win - 9/1
13 Mar 2009
Q. Which footballer was sent off in only his second game for Wales in 1995?
12 Mar 2009
Theo Walcott has sounded a warning to rivals that Arsenal are going to end the season strongly.
Walcott says that defeat for Arsenal last night against Roma would have been disastrous, but that "The dressing room after we won was like we had won the World Cup".
He added, ""We have got a lot of players coming back towards the end of the season."
"We seem to have had our bad spell. Now hopefully we can have a good spell and push for those Champions League spots."
Walcott will have has Aston Villa in mind when issuing his rallying call who are now just three points ahead of Arsenal in fourth.
Arsenal play Blackburn at home on Saturday and Villa play Tottenham at home on Sunday. The race for the Champions League may intensify as it is Second and Third placed teams Chelsea and Liverpool who have the toughest tests this weekend.
Liverpool face a lunchtime kick off at Old Trafford, and Chelsea host unpredictable Man City on Sunday.
11 Mar 2009
Roma 1 - 0 Arsenal
Finishes 1 - 1 on agg, Arsenal progress after 7-6 penalty shootout.
Man Utd 2 - 0 Inter Milan
Man Utd progress 2 - 0 on agg.
Barcelona 5 - 2 Lyon
Barcelona progress 6 - 3 on agg.
FC Porto 0 - 0 Athletico Madrid
Porto Progess 2 - 2 on away goals rule
Q. By what name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento better known?
10 Mar 2009
Bayern Munich 7 - 1 Sporting
Bayern progress 12-1 on agg.
Juventus 2 -2 Chelsea
Chelsea progress 3-2 on agg.
Liverpool 4 - 0 Real Madrid
Liverpool progress 5-0 on agg.
Panathinaikos 1 - 2 Villareal
Villareal progress 3-2 on agg.
SkySports have a piece on how they think the bottom 10 clubs will be arranged come the end of the season, and a nice little analysis on each club, here.
You may recall, that I made a bottom three prediction, here. Seems the boys and girls at Sky Sports chose the same bottom three as I did, with Stoke and Middlesbrough switched positions.
Any one else care to predict now?
The current odds, from Skybet on relegation are.
West Brom 1/10 Sunderland 8/1
Stoke 4/5 Bolton 12/1
Middlesbrough 11/1 Fulham 16/1
Newcastle 15/8 Tottenham 20/1
Portsmouth 5/2 Wigan 33/1
Hull City 3/1 West Ham 33/1
Blackburn 9/2 Man City 66/1
Q. By what name was the UEFA Cup known prior to the 1971-1972 season?
8 Mar 2009
Arsenal or Hull v Chelsea
Man Utd v Everton
To be played 18th & 19th April at Wembley
Man Utd 6/5
Q. Which footballer’s autobiography is entitled ‘Le Magnifique’?
The poll asking where you think Jose Mourinho will be next season has closed.
42% (3) - Chelsea
23% (2) - Inter Milan
23% (2) - Real Madrid
7 Mar 2009
Q. Coventry play Chelsea today in the FA Cup Quarter Final. In what year did Coventry win their only FA Cup?
6 Mar 2009
It looks like a deal is to be announced between AC Milan and LA Galaxy for David Beckham’s services which will see Beckham stay in Italy until the end of the Italian Season in June. Beckham will then re-join LA Galaxy for the second half of the MLS season until late in 2009. Then probably in November or early December the transfer will go through and Beckham will rejoin AC Milan and play out the Second Half of the 2009/10 season.
Beckham’s deal with Milan was supposed to be so that he could keep his fitness levels up and play in a higher quality league so that his fitness and form could be maintained; and in fact on both counts has improved. But if Beckham is to go through with the above deal this could backfire on him and on England.
When England were good enough to qualify for tournaments a few years back optimism was quickly replaced with disappointment when the England teams rolled up and looked lethargic and slow after competing in draining Premier League Seasons. Manager Sven Goran Eriksson openly and repeatedly called for a winter break and endorsed the notions that the players were tired after long domestic seasons.
Beckham by the time the 2010 World Cup comes around will have played from early 2008 to summer 2010 with much reduced periods of rest and will be 35 at the time of the World Cup. Beckham’s desire for success is as strong as ever, but 2010 could be a tournament too far.
I also have sympathy with The LA Galaxy and the MLS. Their big money move for Beckham was designed to try and raise the profile of soccer in America and potentially lure a few big named 30+ stars over to play in their league. I don’t think they will feel they have got their money’s worth, what with Beckham’s injuries and desire to leave well before his contract is up.
Q. What position did Pope John Paul II play for the Polish amateur football team Woytyla?
5 Mar 2009
A Kuwaiti consortium have announced that their negotiations to but Liverpool FC are not going well, because George Gillette and Tom Hicks want £500m. The club currently has approx £300m of debts that will need to be re-financed in July.
With £500m needed to buy the club and £300m in debts, Liverpools co-owners value the club at a high £800m. This is almost certainly an unattainable sum so there will be tense negotiations ahead.
How much do you think Liverpool FC are worth?
The Daily Mirror has a story that Arsene Wenger tops the Man City wish list for new manager, ahead of Jose Mourinho, Slaven Bilic and Diego Maradona.
And in a related article they quote Cesc Fabregas as saying that he would quit Arsenal if Arsene Wenger left in the summer. Cesc Fabregas has repeatedly been linked with Real Madrid and would have no problem finding a big money move.
Arsenal are out of the title race again this year and Arsenal fans are starting to question Wengers strategies for the first time. Contract negotiations are taking place with Robin Van Persie and Theo Walcott who may also have their heads turned if Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League next year.
4 Mar 2009
Q. Who was the manager of the Republic of Ireland for the 1994 World cup finals?
Harry Redknapp thinks that if Tottenham win 4 out of the 12 remaining games Tottenham will be safe from relegation.
Tottenham are on 28 points, so Harry is arguable looking to the traditional 40 points mark.
With 6 clubs within 2 points of Tottenham below them in the table (plus West Brom on 22pts), is the 40 point mark going to be enough for survival this year?
Is anybody ready to predict who they think will go down?
I am going to be bold and state my predictions for the drop (without prejudice, I have nothing against these clubs and will be happy to see them survive.)
But I Think WBA will finish bottom, but should be commended for approaching the Premier League with attacking football intentions. Despite finishing bottom, I suspect they will be strong in the Championship next year as they will not need to make too many changes.
I think Middlesbrough will finish 19th. I really want to see Gareth Southgate vindicated for his strategy at Middlesbrough. When he took over from Steve McClaren he cleaned out a lot of big name and big salary players. He his given a lot of focus and chances to emerging players from the lower ranks, and has tried to build his own team and the backroom scouting team. Unfortunately some of his dealings in the transfer market seem to have fallen flat. Mido & Alves have not lived up to their billing. I suspect, Steve Gibson will be forced to wield the axe in the summer.
I think Stoke will finish 18th, I am expecting something of a rally from Stoke before the end of the season, but I feel this will not be enough. They do have one advantage, they only have one game against the big five left and that is on the last day against Arsenal. The next toughest games are West Ham and Wigan, but both are at home. They might just sneak it, but looking at those teams just above them they will need to have a lot of things go their way.
3 Mar 2009
Chelsea executive Bruce Buck has revealed the club are planning to clear out some players to make way for replacements at the end of the season. He is quoted on Eurosport as saying:
"We haven't properly got together to talk about summer transfers yet, but I think that we could expect that several players will leave and that several players will come in," Buck said.
"I don't know whether that is three, four or five, but something in that kind of neighbourhood, so we can expect a handful to leave.
"We'd like to use internally generated cash to buy new players - and by that I mean sell players and buy new players.
"But of course if an appropriate player comes then money would be made available from the owner to buy him."
Caretaker boss Guus Hiddink is willing to advise on transfers although he still insists he will not be manager next season.
So, who do you think is likely to be shown the door at Chelsea and who is staying... who should Abramovich bring in?
Is it right that players will potentially be brought before a manager is in place?
2 Mar 2009
Q. Wembley Stadium was opened in 1923 in time for the FA Cup Final. Can you name the 2 teams who played in the final?
(You need get both right teams for a correct answer and the two points.)
1 Mar 2009
Man Utd have won the Carling Cup after the tie ended 0-0 after extra time and went to penalties.
United then saw off Tottenham 4-1 in the shoot out, with Jamie O'Hara and David Bentley missing for Tottenham, and Anderson slotting home the decisive penalty.
The man of the match was undoubtedly Ben Foster in the United goal who not only pulled of a string of fantastic saves for the Red Devils but also stopped O'Hara's penalty.
The Carling Cup triumph is the second major honour for Man Utd this season already, having picked up the FIFA Club World Cup in December. They are 7 points and a game in hand ahead of both Chelsea and Liverpool in the Premier League. Newspaper talk tomorrow will focus on Man Utd's bid for an unprecedented quintuple.