Tag Archive: Rio Ferdinand


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.

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Abused | England Under-21s star Danny Rose hit out after the final whistle at 90 minutes of racist chanting by Serbian fans. (Image | The Guardian)

The recent examples of racist abuse at the highest levels of domestic and European football have sent shockwaves through the sport. High-profile incidents have cast doubt on the instruments of justice and guardians of the game.

Not only this, but the reappearance of racism on what is now a world stage is beginning to undermine all the progress made towards eliminating such egregious abuse – once endemic – from modern football.

All around us politicians, footballers, supporters, victims and others are calling for action to be taken. The question is, who should be taking this action, and what can actually be done to truly kick racism out of football?

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Putting it all on show | Nicklas Bendtner‘s “lucky pair of pants” must have lost their touch – earning him an £80,000 fine and a one-match suspension from UEFA

Once again the football world has been shocked, if not actually surprised, by the actions of those who ‘run’ the game. UEFA has slapped a £80,000 fine on Nicklas Bendtner. What is Bendtner’s crime you ask? Well, he has terrible taste in undergarments.

The man who bagged himself a brace against Portugal revealed the sponsorship during a goal celebration. The outrage is not so much about the amount of the fine, or the one game ban attached. The real shame of it is the comparison to recent racism fines dished out by UEFA. Bendtner’s fine was more than the £64,000 sum Croatia faced due to their fans racially abusing the ever adorable Mario Balotelli. It is not the first time UEFA has handed out pitiful fines for racial abuse by various groups of fans across Europe.

Arsenal striker Bendtner, who spent the past season on loan at Sunderland, said the boxers were “just a lucky pair of pants”.

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Get used to this sight: Roy Hodgson’s bold selection of Andy Carroll could prove to be one of the wisest managerial decisions he has ever made. (Image | The Guardian)

Andy Carroll will perhaps be the most contentious striking selection any England manager has made since Sven Goran-Eriksson elected to include youngster Theo Walcott in his 2006 World Cup squad. For very different reasons, mind. The British press has already tarnished the reputation of a player who, through no fault of his own, cost Liverpool £30m. The past season has proven that this was not an accurate reflection of Carroll’s ability, yet still it has been left to hang around the 23-year-old’s neck like the heaviest of millstones.

For the first half of the season, Carroll did indeed resemble a cart horse and was barely worth a place in Kenny Dalglish’s starting line-up. However, his late winners against Blackburn Rovers and Everton have at least appeared to rejuvenate the forward, who after all, is still developing as a player even now.

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FA selection has been exposed once again

One of the finest managers of his generation, even Fabio Capello was not up to the challenge of leading England to glory (PA)

Now that Fabio Capello has done the only honourable thing and stuck by his beliefs in resigning from the England managerial post, our national pride and glory is left whistling in the wind as, once more, the nation reluctantly and unconfidently puts its hopes and dreams in the hands of the Football Association to find a suitable man to lead England to Euro 2012 glory. Nothing less will be enough – it never is in this bizarre, parallel universe the media deports us all to every time the cream of the nation’s talent takes the pitch in the service of the Three Lions.

I have very little faith in the FA’s ability to get this decision right. The last four managers they have selected have all had their failings. Kevin Keegan was, when all is said and done, an emotional choice rather than a logical one. Sven-Goran Eriksson, while mostly successful on the pitch, was hounded out by his inability to keep out of the tabloids (Ulrika Jonsson, fake sheikhs, repeated courting of club interest). Steve McClaren… well, let’s not. At least he stayed dry.

And then there’s Fabio.

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