Ghana in Brazil: Review of Go Go Black Stars…GOAL! Anthem by Wiyaala

Wiyaala did not just amaze Africa with her fierce ball winning and tackling abilities during her time at the Upper West Girls team, she is now back dazzling the world with her singing prowess.

‘The Young lioness of Africa’ from Wa, otherwise known as Wiyaala, blends the use of tribal drums, big stadium choruses, three Ghanaian languages and English.

The tribal drums can be clearly heard as the song starts. It creates an ambience of excitement as Wiyaala readies herself and her crowd for the excitement that is to come. Wa must have learnt this from K’Naan whose song ‘Waving Flag’ was used as a 2010 World Cup club banger. Wa doesn’t disappoint as the words “GO, GO, GO” start a beautiful exploration of music.

Her use of the words “It’s time to show the world again what we’ve got’’ doesn’t just relate to Ghananians alone, the whole of Africa is immersed into this strong sentiment drawing to Ghana’s heroics at the 2010 World Cup. Still in a mourning or healing stage after the Gyan penalty miss?, the hope it offers an escape route in the shape of music.

Whether in your car stereo, the stadium speakers or your home theatre- this song will get you rocking as you wait for the World Cup.

At 1.18 minutes – for a preview track – it’s a little brief especially for those who would love to interact more with Wiyaala’s voice and message, for a pre-match chant though: Wave your flag, press play and enjoy as the players exchange pleasantries before kick-off.

Below is the preview track of Wiyaala’s World Cup anthem for Ghana’s national team:

 

About Wiyaala (taken from the song’s press release): Wiyaala, “The Young Lioness of Africa,” is an Afro-Pop sing-er/songwriter, artist, actress, and ambassador of African culture from Funsi, Upper West Ghana. Noella Wiyaala (full name) infuses the giant pop sounds of David Foster with the modern funk and flair of Janelle Monae.

She won two Golden Moments awards at the 2011 edition of “Stars of the Future,” and later became a winner of Vodafone Icons Mixed Edition. Wiyaala is also known for standing up for women’s rights, having a very distinctive androgynous image herself.

 

Review written by John Aggrey, whom you can follow on Twitter @Superjohna07.

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Boca Juniors: The Xeneixes’ problems on and off the field

Some may say that 50.01% of the population of Argentina supports Boca Juniors, which will in turn make them the biggest football club in the country.

There are also claims to be heard from their eternal rivals River Plate, suggesting that they, and not Boca, are the biggest and best supported team in the land.

Unfortunately, both of them have been in huge turmoil recently, for different reasons.

River, had a one season spell in the Nacional B (second category of Argentinian football), and have only recently got rid (via elections) of their former President, Manager and Player Daniel Alberto Passarella, who took the club in a horrendous financial state, and left it in an even worse condition.

His last act, prior to the elections, in order to make himself “re-electable”, was to bring back to the club the Manager that won River the most trophies, Ramon Diaz.

It did not help his fate, as the campaign was disappointing, and he decided not to run again for president.

With new authorities voted in, the new man D’onofrio, called upon past glories in the form of Enzo Francescoli, and Norberto “Beto” Alonso both in executive positions, to try to recover the identity of the club. They also kept Diaz as a Manager, and it has to be said that, in the field of play, things have improved.

In turn Boca Juniors’ problems are more to do with politics in three fronts.

Juan Roman Riquelme, an icon of the club, who seems to have powers greater to those of the club’s directives, and does whatever he feels is right for himself (or according to him for the club he supports).

Talented like few others, his playing careers is coming to an end, but he refuses to let go of all the power he has.

He misses many games through injuries, and his displays have been patchy (still capable of producing gems like the free kick against River Plate in the 2-1 defeat).

His personality, has always brought division to every Boca Juniors dressing room he has been part of.

The squad, is today, very divided so much so, that there will be wholesale changes for the next tournament, with many predicting the non-renovation of Riquelme’s contract as part of them.

Boca’s president has also brought their most successful manager ever back in Carlos Bianchi, but things on the field of play, are just not going his way.

The team is disjointed, inconsistent and the internal problems ooze through with every game.

The last big political problem Boca has is their own set of supporters. Not that 50.01% has been mentioned before, but what in Argentina are called Barrabrava which means organised groups of people who are (in their opinion and actions) the bosses of what goes on in the stands. They decide the songs, their positioning, the meeting point to get to the stadium.

But there are many other “businesses and privileges” involved of being the leading group (truthfully the subject is for another article).

So at the moment there are many factions of supporters fighting to occupy that top spot, and that brings violence, fights, and distractions (as the players get dragged into the supporters fights).

Boca Juniors are already thinking ahead to the next tournament, but will they arrive there with the extra pressure of River Plate being the defending champions?

Only time will tell.

 

Written by Javier Perez

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Chelsea: A timeline of the Blues’ successes since their formation

Below here, is a fascinating infographic dating and recalling the successes Chelsea have accomplished throughout the years since their establishment in 1905.

Chelsea FC Football Trophies Timeline
Designed by @ReflectDigital on behalf of Aford Awards Football Trophies.

 

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John Guidetti: Is his future with the Citizens on the line?

Last January, Manchester City starlet John Guidetti headed south to Staffordshire, to join a Stoke City side with misfiring strikers and a lack of goals across the team. Guidetti was brought in to help keep Stoke in the top division, whilst gaining valuable experience under former boss Mark Hughes.

The move itself was Guidetti’s chance to prove himself, the first time he is allowed to get valuable Premier League experience after a wonderful loan move to Feyenoord in 2011/12 before paralysis of the right leg halted the Swede’s career for 18 months.

Guidetti 21, was in fact tipped to start alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Euro 2012 before the dastardly illness shelved his progress and he had hoped to regain that kind of form again when Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini allowed him to leave the club on loan for the rest of the campaign.

Subsequently, in came a host of offers from the likes of Ajax, Internazionale, Feyenoord, Lazio and Real Betis but City chose Stoke, a place where they felt Guidetti would thrive and mature as a player, to come back next campaign ready for the vigours of a top four side.

They couldn’t have been more wrong.

Guidetti has played just 59 minutes for the Staffordshire club since joining in early January, as the form of Peter Odemwingie and the reputation of Peter Crouch has kept the City youngster out of the starting eleven. In a recent game against Norwich, Guidetti came on, won a penalty and was the player sacrificed as Jonathan Walters was sent off. So much for match experience, eh?

The question really is, why did City sent Guidetti to Stoke? They’d just signed Odemwingie, already had Peter Crouch, Marko Arnautovic and Jonathan Walters and therefore didn’t really look light on attacking options.

The likes of Ajax or Lazio may have been better for the Swedish international but instead City chose to send him to Hughes. The same Hughes, you might recall, that whilst at City, chose to play Ched Evans instead of Daniel Sturridge. Make of that what you will.

Next year, Guidetti’s contract is up and there have been rumours of Feyenoord offering £1.2m to take him off City’s hands. However, it is well-known that Pellegrini likes him (he tried to sign him whilst at Malaga) and may give the Swede a lifeline.

Whether City offer him a new deal I don’t know, but another Premier League loan next campaign, this time with opportunities may be the best thing for him. He is a talent, there’s no doubt about that, a talent that most of us City fans would hate to see go to waste.

 

Written by Henry Francis

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Domenico Berardi: European football pays notice to Italy’s unflappable teenage striker

In 2010, a 15 year old Domenico Berardi travelled to Modena to visit his older brother Francesco at university, only to start a professional career out of a regular five-a-side game between the siblings and a group of friends.

One of his brother’s friends was so startled at Domenico’s talent he made a phone call to the assistant of the academy at Sassuolo, a professional club near to the university. Luciano Carlino made the journey to take a look and Berardi’s life changed.

“I didn’t even wait a day” Carlino told Italian newspaper Tuttosport, “I immediately went to my Sporting Director to ask him to give the boy a trial”. 20 minutes was enough to convince Sassuolo that he was worth a contract and Berardi became a member of the club’s academy.

At the age of 15, the 560 mile distance between his former youth team Cosenza and Modena meant little to Berardi, the fearless desire to grasp the opportunity to become a professional was clear from the start.

He began his career with Sassuolo playing against Allievi (domestic student professionals) and Primavera teams (under-19 level) while the senior side managed to make the Serie B play-offs only to lose to Sampdoria. Club owner Giorgio Squinzi appointed Eusebio Di Francesco who immediately promoted the most talent from the academy in the hope it would complete the run to Serie A.

Berardi was handed his senior début on the opening day of the the 2012/13 season, scored his first goal five days later and made 37 appearances, totalling 11 goals, as Sassuolo reached the Italian top-flight for the first time in their history- the smallest Italian town to ever inhabit a Serie A team.

Berardi is a gangly, long-limbed versatile and naturally two-footed forward who was used predominantly by Di Francesco on the left-side of a front three, utilising to best effect his electric pace and ability to dribble past defenders.

“For his light touch and ability to cut in with pace, he reminds me of [Arjen] Robben”, said Carlino, his quality in one-on-one situations earning the comparison to the Dutch winger. “He is very attack-minded and the way he dribbles reminds me of a Brazilian player,” Sassuolo youth chief Paolo Mandelli once said.

After both Manchester clubs and Liverpool courted the teenager during his time in Serie B, Juventus were quick to make a deal with Sassuolo last summer, completing a co-ownership deal to own 50% of the player’s registration rights. Juventus paid £3.7 million and also threw in striker Luca Marrone, but Berardi was allowed to remain in Emilia for the 2013/2014 campaign.

He needed just 14 matches to show how much of a shrewd deal the Bianconeri had pulled off as he joined Carlos Tevez, Juventus’s current striking incumbent, as joint-second to Giuseppe Rossi in the Serie A scoring charts back in early January.

In the second match back from the winter break, Berardi reached 11 goals in astonishing circumstances; with AC Milan 2-0 up in Reggio Emilia within the opening quarter hour, Berardi struck 4 times in 47 minutes to become the first player ever to hit four goals in a match against the Rossoneri as Sassuolo recorded a famous victory.

“Berardi makes a mockery of Milan” was the headline of Il Giornale and it was true. He sprung the offside trap to round Christian Abbiati for his first, pounced on an error from Daniele Bonera to hook a second before he met a cross on a superb half-volley to make it 3-2. Moments after half-time Berardi deflected in another shot off Bonera to make it 4, a goal that immortalised the 19 year old in Italian football history.

It was a showcase of his ability to score any type of goal, whether the snapshot-belter of his third or the instinctive poaching of his second, Berardi can do the lot. He can also provide, 30 chances have been created and 3 assists have been made, though a pass completion rate of 69.9% from an attempted 621 passes, and a total of 71 shots that has yielded a host accuracy of just 49% could be improved on, though it is hard to remember Berardi is still a teenager with imperfections still inevitably in need of ironing out.

Goals have come at Roma, where he earned the minnows a late point, at Sampdoria where he struck another hat-trick, and in wins over Bologna and Atalanta. His last strike came as a consolation in the 3-1 defeat to Livorno in late January, a game in which he also picked up his 6th yellow card of the season.

His fiery temperament was called into question as he was sent off within 48 seconds of the Emilia derby with Parma, and he was also banned for the first 3 games of this season as for fighting with the goalkeeper of Livorno last year.

Indiscipline has also dogged his progress with the national team, refusing a call-up to Italy’s under-19s last summer and picking up an 8 month ban for failing to provide an explanation. After apologising to coach Gigi Di Biagio, Berardi made his return to the national fold with the under-21s in February but senior coach Cesare Prandelli has faced calls to go one step further and take him to Brazil with the Azzurri in the summer.

However, by a coach who prides discipline and professionalism, those hopes have been quashed as the Italian boss ruled it out as too soon. “He only recently restarted his path with the under-21 side and will not be taken into consideration until he has completed that journey”, he said.

One would predict that will not be before too long, even though the goals have dried up with Berardi failing to register in his last 8 games. He is likely to rejoin Juventus in the summer where there is a chance to strike up a devastating partnership with Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez.

There may also be conjuring memories of former Turin legend Alessandro Del Piero who needed 17 games to reach the same goal tally of 7 Berardi managed in just his first ten Serie A games. He is a phenomenal talent.

 

Written by Adam Gray

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Football Entertainment: Soccer Saturday Bingo

Soccer Saturday is a football institution in the UK and Ireland and has been ever since its inception in 1992. Broadcast on Sky Sports, the premise of the program is simple in that there is a host and four studio guests that review the Saturday afternoon football matches that play as they happen. There are also roving reporters at many of the other matches around the country and these are visited throughout the afternoon.

While the premise would make the program sound boring, the fact that it has been on air for 22 years is down to the on screen chemistry of the host, Jeff Stelling, and the studio guests makes the program watchable each and every week. The studio guests are currently former Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier, former Arsenal defender Paul Merson, ex Liverpool assistant manager Phil Thompson and Celtic and Arsenal striker Charlie Nicholas.

As a result of the on screen chemistry between the five in the Soccer Saturday studio as well as their familiarity with each other as well as the passion of these football men appearing while watching the matches we are often treated to a display of football analysis that is usually reserved for time spent in the pub with your mates, except on prime time TV!

The nature of the program, as well as the occasion faux pas from the studio guests, has led to many spin offs for people to join in at home. The most famous of this is the Soccer Saturday drinking game where shots of beer or Jagermeister are to be drunk at times of different things happening during the program.

However, for those of us that do not want to spend our Saturday afternoon’s getting heavily drunk we have come up with a bingo version of the game that allows you to play the same game without being unable to function for Saturday evening!

To play, just print off this bingo card from Butlers Bingo or write down the below situations and hand them out to all of the people playing the game. The winner is the first person to get all of their situations to appear on screen.

  • A goal is scored
  • A sending off
  •  Half time
  • Chris Kamara is talking
  • Paul Merson uses stupid rhyming slang (i.e.”he’s hit the beans on toast”!)
  • Swindon Town appear on the vidiprinter
  • Dundee appear on the vidiprinter
  • Phil Thompson says ‘Stevie Gerrard’
  • Jeff makes an ‘A Trialist’ joke
  • Your team scores two goals
  • Jeff calls Kenny Deucher ‘The Good Doctor’
  • Hartlepool score a goal
  • A pundit shouts off camera
  • LeTiss is mentioned in connection with a takeaway
  • Chris Kamara says “it’s unbelievable Jeff”
  • Jeff mentions “dancing in the streets of TNS
  • Jeff says “its Doom and Gloom at…”
  • The team ‘Keith’ is referred to as just being one guy
  • Brighton & Hove, or Daggers & Redbridge are jokingly referred to as two different teams playing the same oppo
  • When Arbroath striker Kevin Webster scores and Stelling says “ohh, Sally will be pleased”
  • Something bad happens to Craig Bellamy (injury, og, booked, arrested for assault etc.)
  • Northampton Town appear on the vidiprinter.
  • Jeff sings “I feel good” when James Brown scores for Hartlepool

These are just a taste of the situations that occur during Soccer Saturday, and feel free to add more of your own making to spice up for your Soccer Saturday bingo session! Once you’ve played this, jump online to play free games at any bingo site. You can win big and use it to spice up your Soccer Saturday fun!

Would you prefer to just play football instead of sitting at home? So basically you want to be a professional footballer? Click here!

 

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Feature: Much awaited football tournaments in the world

Soccer as it is called in the United States and Canada and football to the rest of the world, is one of the most popular sporting extravaganza played by millions worldwide.

The game is played with different formats with different pitch and team sizes but the most prevalent one feature two teams with eleven players each, playing on a grass pitch measuring approximately 105m x 68m with the main aim of kicking or heading a ball into their opponent goal. Men’s football was introduced into Olympics Games in 1908 while the women’s competition was added in 1996.

There is various international football tournaments played all around the world which are eagerly awaited by soccer fans.

Visit Carlton Leisure to book flights to various destinations around the world to enjoy these precious moments of various tournaments.

 

FIFA World Cup

Ask a football fan what delights him the most and undoubtedly you get the answer as FIFA World cup. There is no greater sports competition than this ultimate sports extravaganza. The next FIFA World Cup is held in Brazil from 12th June 2014 to 13th July 2014.

Come and enjoy the game of stamina and passion and see your favorite football giants competing against each other.

 

The UEFA Champions League

The UEFA Championship League is the most glamorous club competition in the football tournaments. The competition is organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

Since 1992 it has become one of the most prestigious club competitions in European football which has helped to turn Europe into football’s most financially powerful continent.

The finals of 2012-13 UEFA championship is the most watched sporting events in 2013 worldwide drawing over 360 million television viewers. There is no club competition to match the champion league.

 

The Copa America

It is one of the oldest existing continental football competitions. It is a South American international Association Football Competition contested between CONMEBOL as well as two other nations, frequently Mexico, Costa Rica or the United States.

Brazil and Argentina are referred as South American football’s “Big Two” current holders but it is the Uruguay which is the most successful team of the tournament with 15 wins till date.

 

The FA Cup

The Football Association Challenge Cup which is commonly known as the FA Cup is an annual knockout cup competition in English football. It is the most famous domestic competition in the world.

A women tournament is also held known as FA Women’s cup. Established in July 1871, it is arguably the oldest association football competition in the world.

 

Africa Cup of Nations

It is a main international association football competition in Africa that pits the continents greatest international sides against each other in a fascinating battle of supremacy. It was first held in 1957 and since 1968, it has been held every two years.

The tournament is held in the month of January and the continent’s most successful side is Egypt which has won this tournament a record seven times.

 

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William Carvalho: Moyes could finally bolster United’s midfield with the Portuguese powerhouse

After David Moyes’s reign at Manchester hit the nadir of the 0-3 home defeat to Liverpool, the outlook has started to become a lot brighter for the Scottish manager who strains desperately for his team to produce indications that he is worth both the long-term patience and financial backing of the Glazer family.

Olympiakos were batted away 3-0 in the Champions League while West Ham were beaten with what was arguably United’s most cohesive and slick performance since the 50 year old succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson last summer.

The morning after Wayne Rooney’s double did for the Hammers at Upton Park, the Sunday papers were awash with the news United have already begun to plan for the future. Not since May 2007 have United signed a genuine holding midfielder, Ferguson forever on the sharp side of criticism for the folly of losing Paul Pogba to Juventus for free while his midfield problems were allowed to develop to the extent of a desperate call for Paul Scholes to undo his retirement in January 2012.

Scholes finally exited along with Ferguson at the age of 38, Moyes inheriting the uninspiring midfield of Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, the bowel-troubled Darren Fletcher and the 40 year old absurdity that is Ryan Giggs. Anderson has been since jettisoned to Fiorentina while Moyes, who spent the summer trawling for an dynamic presence in the form of Ander Herrera, Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas, had to settle for Marouane Fellaini who has since struggled to justify his £27.5 million fee.

The Belgian is however more of a box-to-box asset, a player more adept in advanced positions which leaves United short of steel in the engine room, a vulnerability that has been seized upon by more sides than Moyes wishes to remember in his inaugural year at Old Trafford.

Moyes’s other purchase has been the £37 million Juan Mata who adds to the glowing list of attacking options alongside Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, the inexcusably under-used Shinji Kagawa and the exciting Adnan Januzaj.

Against West Ham, in the absence of Van Persie who had on Wednesday scored a hat-trick to steer United into the last eight of the Champions League, Mata, Kagawa and Rooney, together with Ashley Young, conjured up a bewitching attacking display tinted with fluid movement and guile to give United’s travelling fans a warm feeling of optimism that has this season been all to rare. It was an indication that fears United have lost some of their attacking verve during the transition from Ferguson to Moyes may be premature.

The back-pages of Sunday’s newspapers filled its inches with who they believe to be Moyes’s first signing of the summer, Sporting Lisbon’s 21 year old defensive midfielder William Carvalho, the player who will be tasked with holding United’s system together as well as protecting the defence should he complete the mooted £37 million deal which meets his release clause.

The move is rumoured to be completed after the World Cup where Carvalho, who has 2 caps so far for Portugal, is expected to rival Miguel Veloso for a starting spot, testament to the rapid rise of the Angola born midfielder who only made his professional debut for Sporting back in August.

It was in Portugal’s World Cup qualifying play-off against Sweden when he made his first senior appearance for the national team, entering the fray to shore up Paulo Bento’s midfield after Zlatan Ibrahimovic had scored twice in four minutes.

“His quality and recent performances justified the call, which also has to do with his height which could be an influent aspect in the match” said Bento who showed no aversion to thrusting the youngster into such pressure. Carvalho calmly sat and offered his defence protection as Cristiano Ronaldo sent the team to Brazil.

The Leoes are recovering from last season’s disappointing seventh place finish and a recent era of financial mismanagement and misplaced luxury buys, so have now altered their approach to the investment of home-grown talent.

All 3 members of Leonardo Jardim’s midfield trio has been produced by the club, Andre Martins and Adrien Silva operating either side of the anchor provided by Carvalho, who has racked up 23 appearances in his first season at senior level, as Sporting attempt to bring a viable challenge to Benfica’s charge to the Liga Sagres.

The touted fee of just under £40 million may seem hefty for a player whose valuation lies mostly in potential, but for the rate of development Carvalho has seen over the past 18 months, the price will be seen as justified for United who seek a holding-midfielder in the mould of Nemanja Matic or Yaya Toure who are both playing major roles in their respective team’s challenge to the Premier League title.

With a powerful core strength and an imposing six-foot build, Carvalho may be compared to the latter though it is the way he shuffles across his defensive zone, covering areas in front of his own defensive third allowing for team-mates to move up the field, will bring similarities to Matic.

Not a dynamic player who will sprint the ball out of his own half but a more considered one, specialising in the basics and keeping it simple, unselfishly allowing for the more attack-minded players to thrive with the shackles released.

Another young Portuguese prospect likely to go to Brazil with Bento’s OS Seleccao is Cedric Soares, the Lisbon right-back who has benefited greatly from the stability Carvalho has added in playing the neo-holding role where disciplined positional sense is just as important as tenacity.

Knowing Carvalho is able to cover if needed, Soares has often been free to advance down the right to provide another attacking option and that type of link-up will be important to Moyes, who has sent club officials to watch the midfielder over 15 times this season, as he seeks next season to implement a greater conviction in his United when going forwards.

Carvalho’s agent Jorge Mendes, who has previously taken Nani, Anderson and Cristiano Ronaldo as well as Bebe to Old Trafford, has been rumoured to have recently been invited to United’s training complex as a move nears closer to fruition amid a period of major upheaval at the club.

Moyes is said to be targeting a centre-half, a left-back and two central-midfielders as Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic head to the exit door and questions still remain over the future of Patrice Evra. Carvalho will usher in the first part of Moyes’s renovation work, the firm holding-midfielder that Ferguson perhaps should have acquired before he passed the reigns over.

 

Written by Adam Gray

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Why Some Football Fans Need to Get a Grip During Winter Transfer Windows

At the start of the new year came the mid-season chance for various football clubs to either improve their squads or offload those players that are lacking promise. The winter window is much different in tone from the summer window.

Pressure is often higher to make purchases to add quality to squads, something that is more readily taken advantage of by the selling teams. “Panic buys” occur when teams are so desperate for a player to fill certain roles that they often overpay to an embarrassing degree.

For fans this embarrassment only becomes relevant in the eventual aftermath. At the time, they are hounding their clubs to buy whoever just to say that a sale was made. Somehow the idea of participating in a transfer window at all is more important than the immediate need for a player of quality.

That’s why there are certain reasons these fans must calm down and understand exactly why the winter window should not be clouded by emotions.

 

Real Life is Not a FIFA Video Game

You would be amazed just how many adult fans who comment on the quality and state of their club compare it to their experiences playing a video game. They expect transfers to occur just like how it happened on their PlayStation console. They think hours and hours of gameplay is comparable to the education, experiences and millions of dollars routinely handled between actual football clubs.

It would be the same as a man walking into a business selling heavy duty packer cups and expecting to be able to perform any job based on one’s having read a company brochure.

The reality is that transfer window business isn’t easy. The results are not guaranteed to be satisfactory and during the winter window, it takes a great deal of wisdom and expertise to avoid being cheated.

Fans should trust the wisdom of those who’ve shown themselves capable at their jobs and remember that they are on the outside looking into someone else’s business establishment.

 

A Name Does Not make an Outstanding Transfer 

During the 2010-2011 season, Liverpool FC had an unusual winter transfer window. They sold then star player Fernando Torres to Chelsea FC for £50 million and spent record amounts on players Luis Suarez at £22.8 million and Andy Carroll for £35 million.

Of the three, Torres was the biggest name and certainly the biggest price tag. That would make some fans automatically expect such a player to be an outstanding part of a team. However, Torres struggled at Chelsea and has yet to match the rate of success he experienced as a Liverpool player.

Andy Carroll had a lackluster time at Liverpool, was sent out on loan and was eventually traded. His spell was marred by injuries.

The best money spent out of the three players was Luis Suarez, who despite absences over controversies has managed to settle in as a player and break club and league records. His transfer also involved the least amount of money spent.

What this transfer window showed is that overspending for players based on big names and desperation doesn’t necessarily end well. This is an error that has cost football clubs millions of dollars and resulted in massive disappointments.

Football fans, the winter window is indeed an important chance for your particular club to spend money and get a better player or make money through offloading certain players. As simple as that is to say, however, the process is hardly simplistic. The outcome is also hardly predictable.

Clubs can better benefit from the support of fans who do not attempt to dictate club behavior through what they think they know rather than reality. It is also best to take a deep breath and feel disappointed that your club didn’t spend big money on a big name.

You never know, that immediate disappointment may manifest in relief in a few months when it turns out avoiding a winter window panic buy was the right move.

 

Michael is a full-time blogger who has passions in all corners of the online world. In his down time he enjoys being outdoors, traveling, and blogging on everything from technology, to business, to marketing, and beyond. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

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Andre Villas-Boas: The hapless, former Spurs boss makes swift return to management

It’s finally happened. Luciano Spalletti has been fired from Zenit Saint Petersburg after months of chaos within the Russian giants, and the club really do look to be going through a transitional period. Just one win in their past 12 competitive fixtures just isn’t good enough for any team let alone a side that has won just about every title possible, and time for change has arisen.

Spalletti has left big boots to be filled but Andre Villas Boas, the ex Chelsea and Tottenham manager, has been the man entrusted in which to do so. Zenit’s season is on the verge of falling apart as the club has fallen to second place of the domestic championship and looks to be heading out of the Champions League, and Villas Boas has a real task on his hands.

Take a trip to Russia though and you won’t find too many who are overjoyed about his appointment. Despite doing a simply fantastic job with Porto a few years ago and being treated highly unfairly in the English Premier League Villas Boas’s reputation has been tarnished somewhat. Zenit’s fans were happy to finally see the back of Spalletti but they so far seem very reluctant to be positive about their new manager to be, and I really cannot understand that.

Yes, with Chelsea and Tottenham not a lot went his way, but it’s a poison chalice being a manager in English football. Villas Boas just wasn’t given enough time to construct the team he wanted both at Chelsea and Tottenham, and you really can’t blame him for that.
One thing he can’t seem to handle though is controlling big egos.

At Chelsea his – at times – questionable team selections ruffled a few feathers, and when dealing with strong characters it’s never going to be simple. And he won’t have it any easier at Zenit. The Russians have had their fair share of disruption inside the team, with high profile Russian midfielders such as Igor Denisov and Roman Shirokov taking their leave because of off-field matters.

What does play into his hands, though, is his friendship with Brazilian superstar Hulk, which stretches back to when Villas Boas coached at Porto. And if he can return the harmony within the team, more than half of his job would have been completed.
Just what he can do with the play on the field remains to be seen.

Zenit have long based their game on quick sharp counterattacks, but as the years go on and opponents start to respect Zenit more, the Russians are forced to play with the initiative and it hasn’t proved easy to do so. And the over reliance on Hulk is starting to become ridiculous.

If Hulk doesn’t play well the team doesn’t play well and it’s simply because that every single other player relies on Hulk to produce a miracle, and although he’s good he isn’t quite Lionel Messi.

Villas Boas just has to find a way to get through to the team that everyone has to take responsibility and to put some heart and character into every performance. Zenit have, in recent matches, resembled a team that is in meltdown without any desire whatsoever to win, but a new fresh face should help to inject some life into what is a very talented group of players.

Many in Russia though are somewhat angered by the fact that interim manager Sergey Semak, incidentally himself only 38, has not been given a chance to prove himself. Semak only last summer decided to finish his playing career and is looked upon as a true legend of Russian football and a very likeable character.

In my opinion, though, he needs time to gain experience. Zenit is a club that needs results not only tomorrow but today, and while Semak may be the man to provide that in the future, right now it’s not worth the risk.

Villas Boas may himself be young but he isn’t short of experience. Having started out in his managerial career at the tender age of 21 he has gone on to coach Porto to Europa League glory as well as taking charge of Chelsea in the Champions League, and he really knows how top level football works.

Zenit, though, will be a different kind of challenge. Russian football is not something for the faint hearted to get involved in, and just how Villas Boas will fit in and get accepted in something that will be very interesting to watch unfurl .

Zenit does however possess the potential to fulfil all of the high ambitions that the club has set out before themselves. The eventual goal is to win the Champions League, one of only two trophies that the club has yet to win along with the Club World Cup. Villas Boas has been lured in by such lofty ambitions that match his own, and this could be a match made in heaven.

It won’t be an easy job to somehow take control of a team that doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going, but there aren’t many better men for the job.

 

Written by Shaun Nicolaides

Follow Shaun on Twitter @zenitfan93

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