Category: Football


Cardiac arrest survivor’s life-saving battle

Lifelong Billericay Town fan Tim Butt raised more than £600 last weekend to fund a defibrillator for the Essex non-league side, as part of a personal campaign to raise awareness of “hidden” heart conditions.

Battle | Tim Butt was lucky to survive a cardiac arrest in March, and has committed himself to fundraising. (Image | Emma Webb)

Battle | Tim Butt was lucky to survive a cardiac arrest in March, and has committed himself to fundraising. (Image | Emma Webb)

Tim, 24, was lucky to survive after suffering a cardiac arrest in March, but had no idea that he had a condition which put him at risk of heart problems.

Since recovering, he has committed himself to highlighting the risk of silent cardiac conditions, and raising money for national charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

Continue reading

Immigration may seem a peculiar topic when talking about sport, but it is a subject that has been on my mind since Mo Farah became one of Britain’s most beloved sporting stars.

Icon | Mo Farah is idolised as a British sporting hero, putting him in the 'good immigration' bracket. (Image | NME)

Icon | Mo Farah is idolised as a British sporting hero, putting him in the ‘good immigration’ bracket. (Image | NME)

Few in this country will forget the sight of Farah winning gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the London 2012 Olympic Games: yet after the latter victory, Somali-born Farah had to deal with a journalist asking if he would have preferred to have run for Somalia, rather than Britain.

The 30-year-old gave the question short shrift, and has since developed into a sporting superstar, building on last year’s gold medals with two more at the World Athletics Championships last month.

Continue reading

The most expensive man in football - but is Gareth Bale enough for Real Madrid to overturn their arch-rivals, in Spain or in Europe? (Image via faniq)

The most expensive man in football – but is Gareth Bale enough for Real Madrid to overturn their arch-rivals, in Spain or in Europe? (Image via faniq)

It has to be said – we are all relieved that the football season is now back in action. A lot of transfers have occurred this summer with a lot of teams willing to spend immense sums, such as Real Madrid and Barcelona (on Gareth Bale and Neymar respectively), and others choosing not to break the bank such as Manchester United.

The Armchair Pundits takes a look at the potential fortunes of the big 3 in Europe and offer predictions of who will be league champions in their respective countries.

Continue reading

Ross Barkley's impressive start to the season has earned him a surprisingly rapid elevation to the senior England squad (Image | Liverpool Echo)

Ross Barkley’s impressive start to the season has earned him a surprisingly rapid elevation to the senior England squad (Image | Liverpool Echo)

After my commanding performance in central midfield during game 3 of our works tournament last month (my first two efforts were poor), I was contacted by a man named Roy who asked if I wanted to appear in the Scotland friendly. He didn’t use the word “desperate”, but the tone of his voice was telling. Unfortunately, I was unavailable due to a family dinner.

The above may not be entirely true, but if England’s selection policy continues to develop along its current trajectory, I won’t be letting go of my phone any time soon.

Continue reading

The Premier League season begins tomorrow, but there will be no Sir Alex Ferguson in sight. Perhaps some journalists, pundits, and fans will be reminded of the late comic, Spike Milligan, who used to end many of his comedy sketches by staring at the camera and asking: “What are we going to do now?”

Winning start | New Manchester United manager David Moyes has already won a trophy, but the real battle is about to begin. (Image | Daily Telegraph)

Winning start | New Manchester United manager David Moyes has already won a trophy, but the real battle is about to begin. (Image | Daily Telegraph)

Fergie may be gone, but the Premier League juggernaut continues, and it appears that the race for the 2013/14 title will be between three clubs: Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.

United are used to approaching the season under intense scrutiny, but this this time the pressure is different, for other clubs will see the Red Devils as a kingdom without a strong leader.

Continue reading

David Moyes, Manchester United's new manager, has been quick to make his mark on the club's coaching infrastructure (Image | Sky)

David Moyes, Manchester United’s new manager, has been quick to make his mark on the club’s coaching infrastructure (Image | Sky)

As a Manchester United supporter, I was entirely pleased (and not surprised) when David Moyes was appointed the successor to Sir Alex Ferguson. What came as more of a surprise, however, was the subsequent overhaul of the Old Trafford coaching staff.

Continue reading

When the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Premier League team of the year was announced, there was almost universal disquiet at the lack of Michu, Swansea City’s swashbuckling Spanish attacking midfielder, among others.

WORD | Words. (Image | FTB Pro)

Swan shake | Michu took the Premier League by storm last year, but his 18 goals and flamboyant celebration were not enough for the PFA. (Image | FTB Pro)

How, asked many, could a player that scored 18 goals in 35 top-flight appearances, was the lynchpin of a League Cup-winning side, and cost a bargain £2million not be included among the crème de la crème of the Premier League?

Continue reading

Premier League 2012/13: Team of the year

With the 2012/13 Premier League season over, a campaign in which Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down as Manchester United manager and Wigan Athletic triumphed in the FA Cup at Wembley, but still went down, here is the team of the year.

WORDS | Petr Čech has had a superb season in goal for Chelsea during a campaign dogged by uncertainty at the club. (Image | Daily Mail)

Safe pair of hands | Petr Čech has had a superb season in goal for Chelsea amid many changes and continual uncertainty at the club. (Image | Daily Mail)

Goalkeeper | Petr Čech (Chelsea)

It appeared that Petr Čech would never be the same after his horrific collision with Steven Hunt back in 2006. However, he has gradually regained some of his best form, and while not the most eye-catching goalkeeper of the season, Čech been the most consistent.

Continue reading

It is official, José Mourinho has returned. The man whose first press conference in England saw him famously describe himself not as “the special one”, as the press claimed, but “a special one“.

Back for Mour | José Mourinho is back. (Image | The Mirror)

Back for Mour | José Mourinho signed a four-year contract with Chelsea on Monday to return as manager after a six-year absence. (Image | The Mirror)

However, as Mark Twain said: “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” For Mourinho returning to Chelsea on Monday is a very good story indeed.

As the most successful manager in the club’s history, adored by the fans and one of few men to win the treble, with Inter Milan, and lift the European Cup twice, what could possibly go wrong?

Continue reading

Veteran striker Kevin Phillips was the toast of his teammates on Monday evening - but will he return to the Premier League next year? (Image | Sportinglife.com)

Veteran striker Kevin Phillips was the toast of his teammates on Monday evening – but will he return to the Premier League next year? (Image | Sportinglife.com)

Kevin Phillips’ 105th-minute penalty on Monday afternoon secured Crystal Palace a win and the biggest prize in football – an estimated £120m windfall to go with their return to the Premier League after an eight-year absence.

In what could have been his final game for the club, Phillips, whose career began at defeated finalists Watford, stayed calm to blast the decisive spot-kick beyond Manuel Almunia.

Continue reading