England Manager – Me? Go on then!


Would we all want the chance to be England manager? Many in the past have called it a poisoned chalice. Others, ‘the greatest job in the world’. Personally, I would love to have a go. I have my UEFA B coaching badge and have coached at Academy level, so the idea of being the ‘gaffer’ really appeals to me. Would you be able to quell the ego’s of the modern day footballer? Could you motivate a bunch of grown men that already have everything? The idea really does appeal to me, I would love to put my own stamp on a team and go through the high’s and low’s of management. Be there as the front man to deal with the press, with club managers, WAG’s (they would be at home!) and deal with the pressure of being in the hottest seat in management. Bring it on is what I say!
The real squad has of course just landed in Poland ahead of the Euro’s, with a new manager in charge, Roy Hodgson. Typically he is already being lamented for choices he has made, particularly in the exclusion of Rio Ferdinand. The press in our country very rarely gets behind any manager or squad of players and it seems we are heading that way again. Roy has picked his squad and will pick his team one game at a time, let us all get behind him and them for a change. Whatever his reasons are for leaving Rio at home they are his reasons and he believes in them; so should we.
So, if you had the chance to pick the England team for Friday’s opener against France, who would you select? This selection can be free of suspension and injuries.
Join the debate, stick your neck on the line, who would make your starting XI? I have been asked by some fellow bloggers at Best British Bloggers to pick my XI, they are working in partnership with Bwin, the online gambling company, who currently sponsor Real Madrid. Many bloggers are being asked to pick their England XI ahead of the Euros.
To those of you that are interested, courtesy of Bwin, these are a selection of prices available for England’s opening game against France. For 2 goals to be scored you can get 9/4, for England to win 1-0 you can get 6-1, or fancy a high scoring draw? 3-3 gives you odds of 100-1. Check out the Bwin website for more great offers.
So without further ado, here would be my starting XI v France, minus injuries and suspensions. Do you agree?
Playing a 4-1-3-2 formation :
GK : JOE HART (Man City) easily the best keeper we have right now, a top stopper for any team throughout the world.
RB : KYLE WALKER (Spurs) has pace in abundance. Can get forward and get back and cause problems in the attacking half. A top class full back with a bright future who is a very able defender.
LB : ASHLEY COLE (Chelsea) no matter what you think of him personally, he is Mr Reliable. A tough tackling defender who can keep any tricky winger quiet.
CB : GARY CAHILL (Chelsea) one for the future but has already shown what a potential superstar he could be. Reads the game very well and has fantastic technical ability for a centre back.
CB : PHIL JONES (Man Utd) another one with bags of potential. Is much better in central positions than out wide. Again, is good going forward. Brave, strong and a typical English defender.
DM : SCOTT PARKER (Spurs) has always been a reliable and steady performer. Does a great job breaking the play up. Simple but effective.
CM : STEVEN GERRARD (Liverpool) is still a top player and can pull the strings for my side. Has bags of ability and a real handful when going forward. My captain.
LM : ADAM JOHNSON (Man City) is the most gifted left sided player we have had in over twenty years in my opinion. Is a real handful and has the ability to deliver some fantastic crosses.
RM : ASHLEY YOUNG (Man Utd) has really improved over the past couple of years and is now international class. Bags of ability and a handful when running with the ball. Again more quality supplies for the front two!
CF : WAYNE ROONEY (Man Utd) a game winner, a world beater! The one player every other manager would want in his team. Is at times unplayable, wears his heart on his sleeve and a real talisman. First name on the list!
CF : DANNY WELBECK (Man Utd) has shown this season he has developed into a high class player. Works very well with Rooney, kept Berbatov and Hernandez out the Man Utd squad. A special talent that will be fearless and fearsome!
So, there you have it, my England XI. Do you agree? Do you disagree? I’d like to hear your thoughts so please respond to the blog. Whatever happens though let us all get behind our team over the next month and hope they can do us proud. COME ON ENGLAND!


AVB – another sad Chelsea story

Yet again we are hit with the news that Roman Abramovich has sacked another manager. When will it dawn on this man that success will only come with stability. As I’m sure most people who follow football know Chelsea are most certainly a team in transition. The likes of Lampard, Terry, Drogba and Cole appear to be edging towards a decline in form and dependancy. The best goalkeeper in the world seems to have dropped to ordinary standards, and don’t get me, Alan Hansen, or Gary Neville started on David Luiz!

However, most other clubs would allow a new manager time to embed his beliefs and football philosphies, and also allow him time to bring in new blood. In a way this has happened with some of the signings Villas-Boas made, yet bubbling away in the background were stories of mistrust and non-compliance from the Chelsea stalwarts. The blame for this surely has to lie with Mr Abramovich himself, allowing the likes of Lampard and Terry to party or holiday on his boat. Surely this presents a view that they are favourites doesn’t it? Who knows the real goings-on behind the scenes, but they have certainly had a negative effect on the pitch.

The more I read about Chelsea and their history of managers, the more I feel Mr Abramovich has more money than sense. Lets take AVB, figures touted around of £13million paid to Porto to hire him, add to that at least £10million paid to the out-going Ancellotti and his staff. Surely with this cost you would envisage AVB being given time to make his mark. With the decline in the above mentioned players plus the poor form of Torres, Obi Mikel, and Malouda to name a few, AVB needed time to instill his ways into the team. He needed time to assess his squads’ capabilities and future, to make inroads into the youth setup, to scout the top clubs for possible replacements. Again, none of this was possible. So, Mr Abramovich decides enough is enough and forks out another £10 million to pay off AVB as a result of his sacking. The fans of Portsmouth, Port Vale, Rangers must be screaming to the rooftops at this waste of money.

The old brigade of Terry, Lampard plus the underperformers from above however still plod on earning their mininmum £100,000 a week and more. The root of the cause is allowed to spread and get an even more sturdy grip on the foundations of the first team. A certain Didier Drogba was holding out for more money and a longer contract under AVB, yet one wasn’t forthcoming. I will put a wager on it that he signs a new super contract in the next month or two. Job done Messers Terry and Lampard will say!

Call me cinical, disagree with me, call me a lunatic, yet one thing is for sure. The so called big players in this club need to be brought down a peg or two pretty quickly before the work a certain Jose Mourinho did (who also was sacked of course – believed to be due to a fall out with John Terry!) will slip into the ‘good old days’ of a forgotten era. Without Roman Abramovich sheathing his axe I fear the club is in for a continued cycle of under performance. A top team needs a top manager, one who is trusted and allowed time to build his team. Chelsea have had a handful of top managers, yet how many have really been given time? Roman, you will never be the owner of European Champions until you change your ways, or the oil price falls dramatically and you become more prudent with your pounds. I don’t see any of these happening soon, so who next to drink from the poisoned chalice that promises footballing immortality, yet brings deceit, betrayal and the axe?


Scott Parker England Captain

On hearing the news of Scott Parker being named England captain today I actually rejoiced. It seems at last we have a wise choice from an England manager. I my humble opinion Stuart Pearce you have just made your first excellent decision.

Not everyone however feels the same. Reading the twitter world today many a football fan was actually in despair. Claiming it totally shambolic, a decision made due to pressure and the rail-roading of the press. This of course is utter nonsense. I even saw one comment related to it being a poor decision as Scott Parker has no charisma, or no inspirational qualities. To this I say where is your evidence?

It would probably be of course that he hasn’t made the front page of a ‘red top’ due to having an affair, or even being involved in taking money for tours of his training ground, or even still that his family are all drug dealers. This wonderful set of accolades of course belong to the current, ex, who knows what captain, John Terry. Of course, in these days of social networking, increased media coverage this behaviour seems the norm to our youngsters. Take the picture below of a young boy at a football match, this is the norm in the stands, so he copies the behaviour. What does our future hold with the likes of John Terry in such a position of responsibility.

People have expressed the decision as a kick in the teeth to Steven Gerrard, yet I beg to differ, Mr Gerrard may soon quit the International scene. He also had a bit of a fracas in a certain bar didn’t he. Scott however seems to be a level headed professional, and if his personality reflects his approach to matches he won’t go wrong. Hard working, fearless, determined to name a few, and of course there has been no sign of Where’s Wally, or other such like headlines linked to the England captain.

The role of a leader is to ultimately be a role model for others, and how many easy influenced youngsters strive to be like the England captain. I know I did, Bryan Robson was my hero, even though he now seems to have had a chequered past too. So, in my opinion it’s about time the youth of this country had a positive role model to look up to, and I hope he keeps the job.

Remember some of these guys :

Emlyn Hughes
Alan Shearer
Gary Lineker
Peter Shilton
David Beckham

and of course our greatest ever captain Bobby Moore. God only knows his thoughts on the likes of John Terry!

So, good on you Stuart Pearce, a tick in my book for you. Let’s start to think about the captain’s role as it should be. A position of responsibility, to be revered by all associated with the sport and a title given to a worthy candidate. All hail Scott!


The man in the middle


A few months ago a work colleague of mine asked me if I would referee her son’s U15 football team one sunday. Now being a PE teacher and having refereed at least a hundred school games I thought it would be fine, and it was.

Since then I have looked into getting an ‘official’ referee qualification, the cost £100! This I couldn’t believe. Take in to account I have my UEFA B coaching badge and had to do a referee’s test to pass that, you would think common sense would prevail and I would be ok! As with everything associated with the FA this is not allowed. Why include it in the UEFA B badge then I ask? I’m sticking to my principles here and refuse to pay £100 and am refereeing as an ‘unregistered’ ref! In the first game I mentioned above both managers asked for my mobile number to do other games and said ” You are the best referee we have had all season”. This of course delighted me and has spurred me on to do more games.

I have bought the full outfit and the cards, whistle etc and did my second game today for the team I mentioned above. It was an U15 cup match with the top team in the league against fifth place, a tasty affair on paper. It finished 3-2 in favour of the top placed team, but only just as the losing team rattled the bar deep into injury time.

This is all well and good I hear you say, so why tell us? Well I thought it best to comment on the ‘nugget’ of an assistant manager the winning team had. Spending all eighty minutes screaming and shouting at these 14 year olds was not enough for him! After the equaliser (2-2) I was attending to one of his players who had hurt his ankle. He came over to help, or so I thought, then decided on the pitch to have a go at me because I gave his team an advantage at the other end of the pitch that wasn’t an advantage and that led to the equaliser. Flabbergasted I was to say the least, and offered that it was the other end of the pitch and a further ten passes had been made before the goal. I didn’t highlight that the poor kid with the injured foot had had ample time to clear the ball but ‘dilly-daddled’ on it and let the opposition striker tackle him and score for fear that the poor kid may get lambasted to an inch of his life!

After telling him that it was not my fault as he walked off with the injured player his response was “that’s rubbish ref, and what a rubbish decision”! These type of football think they know it-alls really get my back up so I offered him my whistle and said ” If you think you can do better, here’s my whistle”. He carried on walking off shouting “I bloody could do too”. So I called his bluff and went over with the whistle. Of course he stammered his way through numerous excuses like his knee has been bad for years, and I have asthma. So my final response was ” That’s fine, but if you’ve nothing productive to say other than to complain at me and shout at your players, maybe you should do us all a favour and go home!”.

The look on his face was worth my refereeing fee in its self! He didn’t say much more the remainder of the game and came over and shook my hand at the end of the game, fair play to him. My point though is the effect on his players, petrified to make a mistake, and copying his approach by questioning every decision made. These people, whilst I take my hat off to them for giving up their time, surely have such a negative impact on our young footballers around the country. I bet if you’re reading this and know football, you can picture someone similar (or maybe its you!). Who do I point the finger at? The FA for allowing the professional footballers to be so disrespectful to referees in plain view of all watching, particularly the easily influenced youth of today. How to prevent it, no idea, maybe to come down harder on the professionals who show disrespect, or have a go back like I did today.

Finally, as a comparative, how many times do rugby players disrespect their refs, both at professional and amateur level?

Please comment and let me know your feelings on this!

Football is Dispatched?

The world of the modern age footballer. Shit loads of money for not doing a great deal, an arm full of ridiculous tattoos, some half -wit girl with no self dignity on their arm, and a feeling of untouchability.

Oh how I craved this job as a youngster, nothing else would I, or did I want to do. That is until I realised after a few unsuccessful trials that I wasn’t good enough. I sit here now counting my blessings. As much as I love the game, and have been a player, coach, manager and spectator I despise some of these modern day muppets. I say the word ‘some’ as thankfully the sporting grace and dignity of by-gone era’s is still maintained in some of todays players.

Watching Dispatches last night on Channel 4, left me flabbergasted. I hope this is just sensationalised journalism and not true. To think that the governing body of our national sport turns a blind eye to drug taking and dishes out minimal fines ‘to protect the integrity of the game, players and spectators’ makes me feel sick. Not only are these players pampered, over paid pre-madonnas they now seem to be beyond persecution. Athletes, rugby players and all other professional sportspeople must be furious. How many times do we read that footballers commit crimes? Rape, murder by dangerous driving, drink driving, the list goes on. Funny then that they have this swagger of being ‘untouchable’. Then watching last night’s programme I can’t believe what I watched. The FA cancel drug tests because the player isn’t at training, they don’t view tests that are positive in mid-week as bad because it’s not a match day!!!What the bloody hell is going on!

The truth needs telling, of course these guys are out there taking cocaine, and whatever else they feel with boost their bursting egos. Even a current player suggested this happened, why they bloody hell do they get away with it. They are supposed to be role models to our younger generation aren’t they, if so, I say lets have the drug takers names, lets ban them and show our younger generation that drugs and cheating never prevails.

If the results of the programme do come to light as being true there needs to be a upheaval of the governing bodies, and the people in charge. The guilty footballers, the club doctors and managers who turn a blind eye need to be swiftly deposed from their roles.

Of course, this won’t happen, the football world has its own laws and rules, look at the recent elections to FIFA, did they not contain stories of bribery and money making. If the top of the pyramid is corrupt no wonder the people below get away with it. One word sums up today’s world of football – FARCICAL. I may even now start to watch rugby!