Fri, September 15th 2006

When Englishman Justin Hoyte came on as sub in Arsenal’s Champions League game against Hamburg, every player came from a different country.

Jens Lehmann (Germany); Emmanuel Eboue (Ivory Coast), Johan Djourou (Switzerland), Justin Hoyte (England), William Gallas (France) Tomas Rosicky (Czech Republic), Gilberto (Brazil), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Alexander Hleb (Belarus) Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo), Robin van Persie (Holland).

While striking in its self, its more surprising that the only English player has join from the bench, and that none of the other players were even British. English teams have for a long time had a huge variety of cultures, but has been rare that some of the team has not come from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.


Tue, September 5th 2006

A two-tier qualification?

European minnows should face pre-qualification

With the new expanded European qualifiers starting at the weekend, it has become obvious that there are too many poor quality nations competing.

Read More

England cruise past Andorra

England 5 - Andorra 0

Defoe and Crouch score two goals apiece as McClaren’s perfect start as England coach continued.

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Fri, August 25th 2006

France coach Raymond Domenech has warned Chelsea’s Claude Makelele he risks a two-game club ban if he fails to report for the Euro 2008 qualifiers.

The 33-year-old is in France’s squad for games against Georgia and Italy, despite announcing his retirement after the World Cup final loss to Italy.

From: BBC



Thu, August 24th 2006

Chelsea and Champions League holders Barcelona will renew their rivalry after they were drawn together in the first phase of this year’s competition.

From: BBC



Tue, August 15th 2006

League new boys struggle for support

Accrington Stanley battle to win over local fans

The low attendances for League 2 new-comers Accrington Stanley’s first two home games have shocked the club’s chairman Eric Whalley, and there are fears that the club will struggle to survive.

Just 2,600 fans (including 700 opposition fans) watched Stanley’s first game after returning to the league 44 years after they slipped into non-league oblivion.

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The Sun newspaper is reporting that Newcastle will tell Inter Milan to drop the £10m asking price for Obafemi Martins because the Magpies are looking into rumours from Nigeria that the striker is possibly six years older than his reported age of 21.

Via: BBC



Fri, July 21st 2006

Materazzi banned for Zidane insult

FIFA set dangerous precedent

FIFA have announced that Italy defender Materazzi will receive a £2,170 fine and 2 game suspension, and Zidane a £3,260 fine and 3 game ban.

In choosing to punishing the ‘victim’ nearly as strongly as the perpetrator, FIFA have given players a who commit serious foul play a dangerous ‘get out’ by allowiing provocation to be blamed. In Zidane’s case, the provocation does not even seem that great - a verbal insult - that the player must have heard countless times through his career.

FIFA’s attempts (however weak) to remove racism from the game on and off the pitch should be encouraged, but when it transpired that the abuse Materazzi hurled at Zidane was not racist, there seems little grounds for his punishment.

If Materazzi can consider himself unlucky, Zidane must be very pleased. Rooney received an almost equivalent penalty for his red card against Portugal. With Zidane retiring after the World Cup final the 3 match ban is irrelevant, and £3,000 pocket money for a top class (and top paid) footballer.

Former Rangers and Everton attacker Duncan Ferguson received a 3 month jail sentence for assault and a 12 game ban from football for a similar head butt on Raith Rovers defender John McStay in 1994.

As the event happened in the World Cup Final, FIFA could be expected to react in one way or another: to set a severe precedent and impose a stringent penalty, or to try and brush the incident under the carpet and forget about it.

Zidane, probably due to his reputation and the fact he has retired, has got away lightly. Materazzi, probably due to his reputation, has not.


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Mon, July 17th 2006

With Juve effectively relegated for 2 seasons due to their 30 point deduction in Serie B it seems inconceivable that they will be able to hang on to all their players or even loan them out for a year.

Not too many leagues will be able to match the Italian clubs’ salaries, so England will be a likely destination for many who leave.

Here’s a list of transfer speculation of England’s top clubs and who they are targetting.


Alessandro Nesta (Milan), Fabio Cannavaro, Pavel Nedved, Gianluca Zambrotta (Juve);

Manchester United

Patrick Vieira, Pavel Nedved (Juve), Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Luca Toni (Fiorentina)


Mauro Camoranesi, David Trezeguet (Juve)


Gianluigi Buffon, Lilian Thuram, Patrick Vieira, David Trezeguet (Juve), Filippo Inzaghi (Milan)


Lilian Thuram (Juve), Filippo Inzaghi (Milan)

Source: BBC


Tue, July 11th 2006

After an exhaustive study of the match video, and with the help of an Italian translator, Rees claimed that Materazzi called Zidane “the son of a terrorist whore” before adding “so just f*** off” for good measure.

From: The Times


Seems to be corroborated here: The Daily Mail


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