After all, Ferguson had planned to retire back in 2001, only to recant. The venerable Scot was such a fixture in British football that the thought of him no longer prowling the Old Trafford touchline, while incessantly chomping on a stick of chewing gum, seemed a too absurd a prospect to countenance.
Tag Archive: Premier League
Why are semi-finals, the veritable warm-up before the main event, played at Wembley Stadium, once only a home to winner-takes-all matches such as domestic and European cup finals?
After all, a host of newspapers across all political and style divides have published articles in the past few weeks arguing that it detracts from the final and has a detrimental effect on both domestic cup competitions.
A poll by the Guardian newspaper found that 86% per cent of fans believe that FA Cup semi-finals should not be played at Wembley. That is a fairly conclusive figure by anyone’s standards. So why are they?
The Premier League recently announced that goal-line technology will be introduced in time for next season. Action came swiftly after FIFA president Sepp Blatter finally reversed his steadfast opposition to technology in football.
He said that FIFA would appear to be “foolish” if it did not act on a series of embarrassing mistakes, such as the failure to award a goal to England midfielder Frank Lampard during a game against Germany at the 2010 World Cup.
Few things are more infuriating in football that dangerous tackling. Even more enraging, however, is seeing such conduct go unpunished.
Like so many in the game, the decision by the Football Association not to take retrospective action against Callum McManaman of Wigan Athletic, for his egregious challenge on Newcastle United defender Massadio Haïdara, left me disgusted.
Personally, I feel the criticism being aimed towards McManaman should focus solely on his challenge. One should look at what the player did, rather than make judgements on him as an individual.
Every so often a leading Premier League or major European outfit will, in a fit of generosity, offer one of its young prodigies to a lesser club in order to aid the development of their precocious star and equip him with the necessary experience to succeed.
Many of those loaned out to smaller teams, whether in the top flight or the Football League, perform well and improve as footballers, but every so often, Premier League giants and other European clubs let a genuine star go, for a while.
There is no doubt that football is an ever-changing, flexible construct, whose trends can change according to the demands of the game. In the Premier League, the place of the central midfielder is part of this.
Players now seldom operate in the so-called “Makélélé role”, named after former Chelsea midfielder Claude Makélélé, left.
Since taking over Nottingham Forest in July, chairman Fawaz Al-Hasawi has had four managers serving under him, and the latest of these for only 40 days and seven games.
When the news that former Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish had departed by mutual consent emerged last week, the footballing world let out a collective groan as it became clear that yet another club was in the throes of what might be called “toxic ownership”.
The tragedy of legendary England footballer Paul Gascoigne is one that has unfolded over many years and continues to be vividly played out on the front of tabloid newspapers and on 24-hour television news channels.
Mercurial as a player, “Gazza” became a sporting icon as well as a supremely talented player capable of destroying opposition defences, but since his career ended, the 45-year-old has been slowly destroying himself.
Alcohol problems and mental illnesses have blighted Gascoigne during the last decade, and only this week his agent, Terry Baker, told BBC Radio 5 live that the ailing former star was “dying in front of us” and in need of urgent help.
Some of the biggest names in English football started at West Ham United’s Youth Academy. Established in the 1950s by then-manager Ted Fenton, it was later nicknamed “The Academy of Football“ due to its unremitting success at producing long-lasting talent.
West Ham have long since been the parent club behind the greats, and are currently nurturing a second generation of legacies on their training ground.
England’s historic World Cup victory in 1966 was headlined “West Ham 4 – West Germany 2″ by the British media, as Hammers legends Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst played a major role in bringing the Jules Rimet trophy home.
When Capital One took on the sponsorship of the League Cup, as it is traditionally known, it may perhaps have been dreaming of a showpiece final pitting Manchester United against rivals and Premier League champions Manchester City.
As a worst-case scenario, the banking firm would surely have expected two teams of a similar calibre to Everton and Liverpool to be contesting the final at Wembley Stadium in front of 90,000 supporters.
Not in a million years would Capital One have ever anticipated that its brand name and image would be projected around the world on the basis of 90 minutes of football played between Bradford City, of League Two, and top flight outfit Swansea City.