So it would appear that 'GB' will be represented in football at the 2012 Olympics - although it would seem only English players will be competing
And so, a strange scenario has been made even stranger
The England U21 side (women's and men's) will be rebranded until 2012 as 'GB' and be recognised by the IOC to be eligible to play in 2012, while presumably the other three nations continue on playing in the U21 tournaments (2011 to be precise, for which qualification is already underway) despite being an actual part of 'GB', oh and the real England football team will continue as normal...
Crazy, but I can't say I mind - I like having an England team and didn't really want to have to compromise over 2012 just for the sake of it, can you imagine if we had a mixed team and had to include a certain number of players from each nation? Not to mention that doing that in itself would surely still be recognising that there were four nations, but the media furore around who was picked and token players would be unbearable
Truth be told I would rather we just kept the old system going and ignored the Olympics, but alas we're hosting it and can't not be represented in a single sport, even if it is a minor youth event in the football world - personally I think having the four nations compete independently to win the right to enter as GB would be the cleanest way to have done this, as it would have recognised the FIFA situation more clearly, but whatever...
The situation is a pretty difficult one - the football nations will not combine (and rightly so IMO) but short of full political independence we have to be 'team GB' at the Olympics, especially as Mihir Bose points out - "in hockey, curling, table tennis, boxing and badminton one home country representing Britain in the Olympics has long been accepted"
Well unfortunately football is not a minor amateur sport (and yes, Olympic boxing is), and when you consider that virtually all our professional team sports - Football, Rugby, Cricket represent themselves along the home nation lines you have to wonder which side of the argument has more weight - it's very hard to tell and is yet another of those very British curiosities
As always, comments at the bottom
A very confused Tarquin
*There is also a certain Cup final this weekend, I'm not that inspired to be honest, like in every Chelsea game - but I hope Everton win and I expect them to be good for it
30 May 2009
So it would appear that 'GB' will be represented in football at the 2012 Olympics - although it would seem only English players will be competing
27 May 2009
I am personally gutted, but the better team on the night won and Barcelona are again European Champions.
25 May 2009
With relegation from the Premier League West Brom, Newcastle and Middlesbrough will lose millions of pounds in TV revenues, sponsorships and international shirt sales but today a final humiliation has been added; I have removed the links to their official websites from the list of Premier League Teams from this blog.
And to Wolves, Birmingham and Burnley, as if gaining promotion to the Premier League was not enough, with the knowledge that they will be playing at Old Trafford, Anfield, Stamford Bridge and the Emirates, et al; I add what must be sheer Utopian bliss - a link to those teams official website from the blog in recognition of their newly earned capacity of Premier League Teams.
24 May 2009
It's not the most exciting end of a season is it?
The only top position left is the last European spot, and Spurs will need to win at Anfield to even have a chance of getting it, meanwhile relegation is basically down to Hull and Newcastle
Personally I (cautiously) think Newcastle are down (big love to Roy Hodgson for helping my bet along by the way) - but of course should Newcastle hammer out a point at Villa, Hull will need a point off one of the most unpredictable games of the season - the unpredictable part being United's team-sheet of course
So I guess the debate is whether Fletcher and his rag-tag bunch of teenagers such as Wellbeck and Macheda will defeat Hull
And as for this debate over the fairness of Hull facing a weakened side - I say bullsh*t (as I do every year) - United will play to win, and Fergie has the right to field whatever team he wishes, Newcastle should've got more points
And besides - if it wasn't for a certain second string player securing 4 points for United they wouldn't be at the top of the table would they?
Personally I think it will be good to lose both Boro and Newcastle, Boro have been a poor team going nowhere for too long, and Newcastle need some time in the naughty corner, as I heard one commentator describe it - let some fresh faces ply their trade in the premier league and hopefully a big club like Newcastle will sort themselves out and return a better side in a year or two
17 May 2009
Tony Mobray's West Brom Team have today been relegated from the Premier League following their 2-0 defeat against Liverpool.
Mobray spoke to Sky Sports News afterwards and said:
"I don't know how we didn't score today - we created chances, we do every week - and yet invariably the opposition seem to take theirs.
"Ultimately it comes down to the quality, the Premiership experience and yet I feel as if we do give good value for money most weeks, home and away.
"I think the supporters have been there before over the last seven/eight years - up and down - and they've almost hardened to it, but I have got to give them great credit for the support they give the team.
"And hopefully we can reward them next season with another promotion. We know it's always tough but we have got to focus on that - we've got to keep going, we've got to keep trying to build this team.
"I think, as you can see today, there's some good players here, we've got to try and add more good players and keep pushing on with the football team."
There are two more slots in the mire that are yet to be conclusively decided, and it looks like it will be an eventful final day at the foot of the table. History shows that there is the potential for great upsets on the final day when Premier League football is slipping away. Certainly for Middlesbrough, Hull & Newcastle their games next week will be like Cup Finals. Sunderland are 3 points clear but have an extra game Monday night to play in which to find some daylight.
Congratulations to Man Utd for winning a third successive Premier League title and for equalling Liverpool's record of 18 top-flight titles.
Over the full course of a season the League Table cannot lie on the form of teams during a whole season. Liverpool & Chelsea have done well in challenging this season which kept things entertaining, and also with Arsenal looked to be set for a fourth place battle with Villa that petered out a little early, but Villa did for a long time keep things interesting on that score.
United's focus will now be on the Champions League Final in Rome, when they take on Barcelona and look to be the first team to retain the Champions League in its present format.
Next season United will be looking for a completely unprecedented Fourth successive title. Recalling the last time United completed a 3-in-a-row title charge I recall their league form dipped massively the following year as transition took hold. Predictions may need to wait until the new season has begun as I have a feeling that there are going to be big changes as some of the top four clubs in the coming weeks and months.
14 May 2009
As we approach yet another summer without an international tournament to enjoy I started to have a think about what the transfer market might be like this summer, after all except for the odd foreign tour in late July the Transfer Window is all the football we are going get for a few months.
This is all unsubstantiated gossip of course… Let the speculation begin!
Ronaldo to Madrid: I personally think Ronaldo will look to leave again once the season has closed. Certainly I think that if United fail to win the Champions League the chances are more likely. I would love to see him stay at United stay one more year, and he might, but Sir Alex will have to dream up a new challenge to keep the wing marvel at Old Trafford for another year. Maybe the promise of Sir Alex’s last year of management, an unprecedented fourth successive Premiership Title and third successive Champions League might do the trick?
Man City could unwittingly be the saving grace, if they launch another super-money bid for Kaka; United will rightly demand as much or more for their star.
Kaka to Chelsea or Man City: I think Man City will be following up with a new bid for Kaka in the summer. There are rumours that Carlo Ancelotti is on his way to Chelsea and has identified Kaka as his main target. Will Kaka take the money and move?
Mourinho to Man City: Yet more rumours, but earlier in the season there were plenty of stories about the Italian media not rubbing along with The Special One and he has come out many times and said he would like to return to England in a managers role.
Mourinho to Liverpool: A large section of Liverpool fans have a rocky relationship with their club manager and by Sunday afternoon previous hostilities may resume. Having just secured a new contract Benitez will likely be staying on – but if Mourinho come looking for an English club, I expect Liverpool fans to state their preference.
Mourinho to Chelsea: Will not happen, but Chelsea fans will continue to show their esteem if Guus leaves and there is a vacancy.
Barry to Liverpool: Is said to have been promised an exit if Villa failed to qualify for Champions League football. There should be enough funds available to Benitez this year, but Alonso will still probably have to make way. Arsenal may also bid, but Barry and Gerrard are mates, if Barry gets the choice he is heading to Merseyside.
Ballack, Bosingwa, Alex, Kalou & Drogba to leave Chelsea: According to Darren, my resident Chelsea fan at work.
Downing to Tottenham: Has long been touted, will probably happen following Middlesbrough’s trip to the Championship.
Owen to….?: Michael Owen I think will be leaving Newcastle in the summer, but is anyone prepared to take a gamble on the former England man now?
What do you think about these, and what are your suspicions for the upcoming transfer window?
11 May 2009
With the shock win over Wigan (which I predicted), West Brom have drawn equal with Newcastle and Boro - and what with Hull giving Stoke their second away win of the season, relegation has suddenly become interesting
Today's game between the two north-east clubs at St. James' is crucial - it is the most important game of the season in my opinion, because let's face it, United need 4 points off three games that include Wigan and Hull
Should Newcastle win they stand in very good stead to stay up, they have the best goal difference of the four, and will play Fulham at home next Saturday
Hull will need to beat Bolton at the Reebok, and their only other game is against United at home, their only chance of getting a point from that is if United have already lifted the trophy
Boro meanwhile are probably doomed, if they don't win in Newcastle they need even more points off Villa and the Hammers
The Albion meanwhile have to greet Liverpool and go to Blackburn, which doesn't look very good I'm afraid
But it should make for an interesting final day, personally I think Newcastle will stay up and Hull will drop back down*
*Mainly because I put a bet on Newcastle to be relegated a few weeks ago
9 May 2009
50p on Bolton vs Sunderland, Bolton to win 1-0 @ 8/1
50p on Millwall vs Leeds, Leeds to win 1-2 @ 10/1
5 May 2009
Congratulations to Man Utd who in fairness were worthy winners over the two legs.
The purpose of this post is to highlight the apparent injustice that still exists in our football appeals process.
In real life, away from football and at law in the UK and in many countries in the world, the absence of an appeals process against judicial and executive rulings is sometimes held up as an example of how backwards or oppressive a regime is.
There may be an argument that the referee's opinion should be final, but put yourself in Darren Fletcher's boots tonight and ask yourself if you think it is fair that he is now banned from a potentially career and life defining cup final for a tackle that was fairly executed and legal under the rule of football.
It sounded from the post match interview that Man Utd are resigned to accepting that in line with the existing UEFA appeals process that Fletcher will miss the final. I think that is a shame and it is not unreasonable in the circumstances that UEFA review. If it was a World Cup Semi-Final and a more high profile player, I suspect FIFA would intervene.
3 May 2009
(H) Wigan 9th May
(H) Liverpool 17th May
Prediction: West Brom are on 28 points, even if they had the required divine intervention to secure three wins, they are definitely playing Championship football next season. West Brom have made the league interesting and I for one applaud their attempts to play creative football. They are becoming a YoYo club bouncing between Premier League & Championship - Should be good value for a quick return if they retain manager and key players.
(A) Newcastle 11th May
(H) Aston Villa 16th May
(A) West Ham 24th May
Prediction: I had thought previously that Boro would go down, but it would go to the last day, it looks to me like Boro are now gone. They probably need 9 points, but certainly 7 points to survive, and from the games left and recent performances it ain't going to happen. I hope Gareth Southgate gets to stay on and bring them back up at first attempt.
(A) Aston Villa
Prediction: Despite a poor run of results from their latest messiah, Mr Shearer, I have a feeling that the Toon Army will be celebrating a victory over Boro and their premier League Status will be decided on the final day against Villa away. However, I suspect they will not be in the Premier League next year.
(A) Aston Villa - 4th May
(H) Stoke - 9th May
(A) Bolton - 16th May
(H) Man Utd - 24th May
Prediction: I do not see Hull getting too many points from these remaining games and the game against Stoke will be their best hope for 3 points. Their existing 3 point cushion is crucial, but, perhaps the key will be if Man Utd have already won and lifted the Trophy prior to 24th May and if United have an upcoming Champions League final; in this scenario key players will all be rested and what looks like a tough tie now, may break in their favour. All of Hull must be rooting for Man Utd to get the league and CL Semi sewn up.
(H) Everton - Now
(A) Bolton - 9th May
(A) Portsmouth - 18th May
(H) Chelsea - 24th May
As I type, Sunderland are 1-0 behind Everton with the Toffee Men looking likely to take all 3 points. Sunderland have a 4 point cushion over Newcastle, and I think that that, with a couple of draws will see them safe. A win is unlikely looking at the games left, but i think they are safe.
I think Blackburn, Portsmouth and Stoke are safe. I am surprised by Stokes surge up the table and think they have been good value for a second season. I recall after their opening day defeat that bookies were already paying out on their relegation - Stoke players and fans will have the last laugh.
Managers of the above clubs will have a busy pre-season and improvements will be required to see that they are not in the same position at the same point next year.
2 May 2009
I am now going to be helping out on Dan's blog, hopefully I'll write something worth reading, I run my own football blog at Tarquin football, where I like to focus on predictions and why Lawro continues to be employed, but for my first blog I thought I might as well look at the biggest story this weekend - who will be coming up to the prem next year?
Wolves, obviously - but there is a rather exciting three way going on for the second spot:
All Birmingham need to do is win and they'll be through, but if they lose and Reading win - they'll be going up on goal difference - and they just so happen to be meeting at the Madejski stadium, so it's all open
Should Birmingham not win, however, Sheffield United could sneak in with a win over Crystal Palace, managed by guess who - Neil Warnock...you couldn't have scripted this better
The play-offs are not quite as exciting at the wrong end this year, only Preston have a slim chance of nicking the final spot off Burnley (or Cardiff)
But it should be an entertaining final day, as always - I think Birmingham or Sheffield United will be the more likely victors, I would like to see the Royals and the Blues back as they were both entertaining sides last year
Posted by Tarquin at 12:51:00