01/12/2017 Issue 36

Celtic were awarded two penalties in a week and everyone went aff their nut!! Celtic will face Motherwell for the third time this week on Saturday at Celtic Park. The first in their trio of fixtures against the Steelmen came in the League Cup final at Hampden on Sunday. The Hoops went on to lift the cup with a 2-0 victory, their second coming from a Moussa Dembele penalty. Motherwell supporters, pundits and players all contested the justification of the penalty til they were blue in the face. So when the second fixture came around on Wednesday evening, and Celtic were awarded their second penalty of the week against the same opposition there was an uproar! Motherwell looked set to end Celtic’s run of 65 unbeaten domestic matches, the men in claret were leading by a goal up until the 88th minute when referee Willie Collum awarded Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor for what looks like a dive in the box. The game finished 1-1, and the Hoops march on to 66 undefeated domestic games. Should they draw or win on Saturday afternoon against the Well, they will have reached 67 undefeated domestic games. Should they be awarded another penalty, we may see folk emigrating to Canada (seriously the situation caused that much shock – drastic measures must be taken).

Gareth Bale is injured again! After returning for one game following his 2-month long injury, he’s been called back to the physio room for some repair work. The lads made of chocolate! The Welshman pulled his calf muscle during a 2-2 draw with Fuenlabrada. Ultimately he’s kept his team in the Copa del Rey; assisting the two goals which salvaged some pride at home against the team sitting top of the Segunda Division B.

Great credit goes to Fuenlabrada, who could definitely have bagged a couple more goals and perhaps have knocked out the great Real Madrid in the process. The first goal came from Luis Milla, and it was a cracker. His manager, looked on in shock and utter delight as the Indonesian player opened the scoring for the third division side at the Santiago Bernabeu. There was a bit of luck involved in the ball getting over the line, but he took the chance and put his side ahead. The second was scored from a counter attack, a move which picked Real Madrid apart all game. It was scored by Alvaro Portilla Suarez who won the ball in the midfield, passed it onto his winger, continue his run and finished with his second chance at the shot. The determination he showed will no doubt be remembered by every Fuenlabrada supporter for years to come.

Wayne Rooney scores a wonder goal at Goodison! In Everton’s 4-0 win over West Ham, Wazza scored a hat-trick and his third was quite simply a thing of beauty. A peach of a goal from the half way line, taken first time, graciously sailing over two West Ham heads and goalkeeper Joe Hart. Sublime!

Sam Allardyce has been handed the job at Everton.

Alan Pardew is the new manager of West Brom. Replacing Tony Pulis previously in charge of the Baggies for three season.

Carlos Pena was back on the Rangers score sheet with a 3-0 victory over Aberdeen at Ibrox. James Tavernier scored a brace and took his side into third place, closing the gap on the Dons to three points.

Hibernian Ladies lifted the Scottish Cup; the result means that they have now won the last four major cup finals. They beat Glasgow City Ladies 3-0 at Livingston’s Almondvale Stadium. The highlight of the match goes to Siobhan Hunters who scored an absolute screamer in the second half to double the Hibees lead.

England draw Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in the 2018 World Cup draw. I’ve never owned a Panama tap?

ONES TO WATCH

Motherwell 1 v 1 Celtic: https://youtu.be/dMjWF4RUqfo

Real Madrid 2 v 2 Fuenlabrada: https://youtu.be/VvQdHV6IPf0

Wayne Rooney: https://youtu.be/aHxHIPQJFNU

Rangers 3 v 0 Aberdeen: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/42075928

Hibernian Ladies 3 v 0 Glasgow City: http://scotwomensfootball.com/sse-sw-cup-final-city-v-hibs/

 

17/11/2017 Issue 35

Italy have failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Records were broken in this week’s Champions League ties. Paris Saint-Germain’s demolishing of Glasgow Celtic at the Parc de Princes on Wednesday night saw them become the highest ever scorers in the group stage of the competition, with 24 goals AND COUNTING (they still have a final group game against Bayern Munich); they have conceded just one. Out of the 25 goals scored by the French side, only ONE was scored by a player who came from their club academy; Moussa Dembele of Celtic scored against his former academy club.

Despite the heavy defeat, Celtic broke their own record when Moussa Dembele scored the hoops quickest ever Champions League goal within 56 seconds. God of Manchester, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, became the first player to represent 7 different clubs in the competition. His European journey has taken him to Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG and, of course, Manchester United. Also, Basel continue to score goals against English sides at home. No English side has ever kept a clean sheet across all European competitions in the Swiss city of Basel. RotBlau defeated Man Utd 1-0 at home on Wednesday evening.

Liverpool’s crucial Group E Champions League clash with Sevilla looked to be all but over at half-time. Bobby Firmino scored a brace, including a no-look tap in, and Sadio Mane provided a third. Three goals up a half-time, the points were surely in the bag? But Sevilla had other ideas. During the break Sevilla coach, Eduardo Berizzo, informed his players that he had been diagnosed with prostatic adenocarcinoma (cancer of the prostate). The manager’s dreadful news was the catalyst that inspired a Sevilla come back. The game ended 3-3, when Guido Pizarro equlaised in extra-time (90+3′). The hosts have only been beaten once, by Juventus, in their last 25 home matches. Who knows what they can achieve if they perform with the team spirit they showed in the final 45. We wish Eduardo Berizzo all the best in his treatment and recovery.

Igor Akinfeev, goalkeeper for CSKA Moscow, kept his first clean sheet in the Champions League in 11 years and 43 games, following his sides 2-0 victory over Benfica.

Wigan’s Ryan Colclough scored an unofficial hat-trick on Tuesday night against Doncaster. The winger scored twice before being subbed off in order to rush to hospital to see the birth of his son. Colclough’s father was in the stands watching and gave his son the nod indicating that his partner’s water had broken. Colclough raced down the tunnel and made it to the birth, still in full kit, with 30 minutes to spare.

Everton were thrashed 5-1 in the Europa League against Atalanta of Italy. The Toffees have been left red faced with 5 games played, zero games won and one draw.

It was a dreadful week for English football as Koln, who haven’t won a single game in the Bundesliga this season, beat Premier League big spenders Arsenal 1-0 in Germany!

Former Manchester City, AC Milan and Real Madrid forward Robinho has been sentenced to nine years in prison following a sexual assault on a 22-year old woman in Milan. The incident took place four years ago in 2013, while playing for AC Milan. He had denied the charges, but was found guilty in absentia by an Italian court.

ONES TO WATCH

Ryan Colclough: https://twitter.com/LaticsOfficial/status/933409760057073665

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05nv3q4

 

 

 

 

10/11/2017 Issue 34

Celtic Football Club sets a new British record of 63 consecutive games unbeaten in domestic competition. The Bhoys struck four past St Johnstone in Perth to break their own 100 year old record. A birthday present like no other; this week the club was celebrating their 130th year. Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run includes:

  • 63 games
  • 56 wins
  • 7 draws
  • 183 goals scored
  • 35 goals conceded
  • 36 clean sheets

Scotland were beaten by the Netherlands at Pittodrie. Memphis Depay scored the only goal of the game, and Kieran Tierney at 20 years of age was given the arm band for the first time. This season he has captained both club and country, and at such a young age there is no telling what is next for this incredible talent.

James McClean was named the Irish FA Supporters Player of the Year.

Following the incident we reported on last week, Patrice Evra has been released from his contract at French side Marseille with immediate effect.

Brad Fridel, former Spurs and Blackburn Rovers goal keeper, has been named the new manager of the New England Revolution.

German sportswear company

<p style=” margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;”> <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BbKbXyth-qD/&#8221; style=” color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;” target=”_blank”>@adidasfootball have just killed the game. #adidas #football #futsal #fútbol #fußball #futebol #futbol #fotboll #fodbold #calcio #voetbal #sokker #soccer @adidas</a></p> <p style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”>A post shared by Fitbaw Weekly (@fitbawweekly) on <time style=” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;” datetime=”2017-11-06T17:55:28+00:00″>Nov 6, 2017 at 9:55am PST</time></p></div></blockquote> //platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Adidas

launched their new World Cup kits and near broke the internet. They have gone for throwback designs of every nations greatest footballing success stories, igniting every football fans passion for the retro kit.

Andrea Pirlo has officially announced his retirement from football. The Italian maestro played 872 games, scored 86 goals, won 18 trophies, scored a World shattering Paneka penalty against England (GET IN!) and is probably the only player who can play for rival teams – Inter Milan, AC Milan & Juventus – and still be loved by all.

Cork City have completed the domestic double, after beating Dundalk on penalties.

St Etienne’s defeat at the hands of Lyon had to be brought to a halt following a pitch invasion and crowd trouble.

Juventus dropped the greatest shirt in recent times to celebrate their 120th anniversary. Another belter from Adidas!

Cedric Bakambu, Villareal striker, completed a hat-trick of offsides. His goal in the 49th, 65th & 85th were deemed offside. Villareal went on to win the game 2-0 but the Congolese player will be less than happy with the decisions. Ye ragin’ mate?

Northern Ireland have to restore a 1-0 deficit in Belfast in Sunday’s World Cup play-off second leg following a controversial penalty that gave the Swiss the lead. Corry Evans, of Blackburn Rovers, was deemed to have handled the ball in the box and Ricardo Rodriguez finished from the spot to give Switzerland a one goal advantage.

Falkirk’s Kevin O’Hara has been given an eight-game ban for taunting Dunfermline midfielder Dean Shiels about him only having one eye.

Celebrating 130 Years of Celtic Football Club

Celebrating 130 Years of Celtic Football Club

In the same week that Celtic Football Club sets a new British record of 63 consecutive games unbeaten in domestic competition it is also celebrating it’s 130th birthday! The Champions surpassed their own 100 year old record, dating back to 1917 when Willie Maley was manager of the club.

The meeting to formally constitute Celtic Football Club took place on this day in 1887 at St Mary’s Catholic Church in the Calton, East End of Glasgow. The clubs first game took place on May 28th 1888, where the men in white shirts with green collars and a Celtic Cross on the breast competed for the very first time against Rangers Football Club. Neil McCallum was the club’s first ever goal scorer as the Bhoys went on to win the game 5-2.

Over its 130 years the club has won 102 major honours; lead by 18 different managers. The bhoys in green have secured the Scottish League Championship on 48 occasions, the oldest trophy in world football the Scottish Cup on 37 occasions and the Scottish League Cup on 16 occasions.

In 1967, on our 80th birthday, The Celts were crowned ‘Champions of Europe’. The Glasgow side became the first British club to lift the European Cup, beating Inter Milan in Lisbon by 2 goals to 1. A documentary shown by the BBC called ‘Glasgow 1967: The Lisbon Lions’ capturing the story of Glasgow, Jock Stein and Celtic was this week awarded a BAFTA in the single documentary category. Another trophy on the mantelpiece highlighting the nations fascination with one of the greatest sport stories ever told. The tale of the Glasgow District XI; the 11 men who lived within 15 miles of Parkhead, with the exception of Bobby Lennox who lived 30 miles away in Saltcoats, who lifted the European Cup.

Celtic have reached four European Finals; the European Cup in 1967 & 1970, the Intercontinental Cup in 1967 and, most recently, the UEFA Cup in 2003.

Regardless of the massive success the club has achieved over a century of football, the most fulfilling attribute of this proud Glasgow institute is it’s charitable work which stretches far and wide across the globe.

“A football club will be formed for the maintenance of dinner tables for the children and the unemployed.” – Brother Walfrid, November 6th, 1887

Celtic was founded for two reasons. The first was to raise money to provide food for the poor living in the East End of Glasgow. It is important to note that this poor population was, predominantly, made up of Irish immigrants. It is important because the second reason Celtic Football Club was formed was to encourage social integration and to remove the friction between native Glaswegians and the ‘alien’ Irish community. The club’s principal founder, a Marist Brother named Walfrid, envisioned a football club that would bring harmony to the Scottish, Irish, Protestant and Catholic communities living in the city. He believed that such a club could be used to bring these communities together.

This quote, and indeed Brother Walfrid, distinguished Celtic Football Club from every other club in Scotland and, widely, the World. This charitable tradition and the clubs ethos – ‘A club welcome to all’ – both remain of principal importance to the club and its supporters to this day. As a recent example, Celtic’s ultra group ‘the Green Brigade’ host an annual food bank collection keeping with tradition of providing food for the most vulnerable people in our society. This year’s collection took place on 28th October prior to Celtic’s league game against Kilmarnock at Parkhead. In the fight for social inclusion, it has been well documented that Celtic have stood for many anti-racist and anti-sectarian projects over the years. The launch of their Learning Center in 2006 was the basis of Celtic’s promise to provide education in order to develop and maintain relationships based on equality, fairness and mutual respect.

Today Celtic Football Club is celebrating its 130th year. Knowing that the purpose of the club in 1887 is still being fulfilled 130 years on fills myself and many Celtic supporters with great pride. Our ethos is one which is carried around the world, and it has affected my personal life in such a way that I may never have been born. Looking back at Walfrid’s founding principles, remembering that my family came across the Irish Sea to find a new life in Glasgow, and knowing that they were made welcome by the football club that I support 130 years on is bringing tears to my eyes as I type this passage. Significantly though, and looking back at Walfrid’s vision of a football club that would bring harmony to Protestant and Catholic communities in Scotland, there is a story even closer to home which I wish to finish with.

I was brought into this world by a Catholic Mother and a Protestant Father. And when I was 8 years old my Father took me to my very first game of football, at Celtic Park. The man is Celtic daft, always regaling stories of King Kenny and the Jungle. He tells me about the seasons he endured as Rangers, our bitter rivals, marched towards 10 in a row and now we both laugh about it. But it will always make me smile knowing that had it not been for one man, the bold Brother Walfrid, telling the native Glaswegians that you have no reason to fear, loathe or agitate the Irish-Catholic and, indeed, that you have every reason to love, cherish, celebrate and support the Irish-Catholic – in a long turn of events, my parents may never have wed. Glasgow was changed on the 6th November 1887. It was changed forever. In the same way that Scots accepted Celtic, my Protestant Father accepted his Catholic wife and in turn they gave birth to me and my brother. You may think I am mad, and I’m reading too much into history but there is no denying that Celtic Football Club nurtured an acceptance for a community that had long perished, and in some nations many Catholics continue to be discriminated against. But not here. Not in Glasgow. Because we are Glasgow Celtic, a club welcome to ALL.

 

IF YOU WISH TO SUPPORT THE FOUNDATION THIS CHRISTMAS

The Celtic FC Foundation’s Christmas Appeal is well underway and former vocalist for Glasgow band Yashin Kevin Miles has released a new track ‘Celtic, My Heart & My Soul’ to raise funds for the appeal. The Foundations Christmas Appeal is being used to help as many as 300 local families facing poverty, and has been doing so since 2006.

The song is available through iTunes, Amazon and Google Play. All proceeds from the sales of the song will be donated to Celtic FC Foundation’s 2017 Christmas Appeal. Get downloading!

 

03/11/2017 Issue 33

Real Madrid are having a terrible time of late. They’re poor run of form has been summed up by a mauling at the hands of Tottenham Hotspurs in the Champions League on Wednesday evening and their shock defeat to La Liga new boys Girona.

The sides met last Sunday night at the Estadi Montilivi; the stage of a historic victory for the Catalonian side. Cristiano Ronaldo was made to suffer, following his recent title as recipient of the FIFA Best award. The Girona fans showed no sympathy for the Portuguese talisman as he was made to endure the chanting of ‘Messi! Messi! Messi!’ for long spells of the match. Girona deservedly won the game 2-1, but in the first half alone they struck the post twice and could have found themselves in the lead before the break. Their magnificent intensity and pressing style continued into the second half. Goals from Cristhian Stuani and Portu gave Girona their first victory over Los Blancos. Madrid’s 2-1 defeat by Girona leaves them trailing Barcelona, at the top of La Liga, by eight points. At the end of the game Cristiano Ronaldo refused to give his jersey to Girona midfielder Alex Granel.  There will have been few who would have predicted a Girona win. This is their first season in the top flight and for obvious reasons this is by far the biggest result in the minnows’ history. The victory over the establishment team will no doubt be celebrated widely throughout Catalonia given the current political backdrop.

If you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Zinedine Zidane you were wrong. Real Madrid tasted defeat once again, this time against Spurs in their first game at Wembley Stadium in the Champions League. Madrid were blown away by Delli Alli, Harry Kane and Co.

Patrice Evra, the happy-go-lucky footballer who pops up on your instagram or facebook most mornings to do a wee dance or sing a wee song or sometimes both was sent off before Marseilles Europa League tie with Vitoria Guimaraes for kicking one of his own supporters in the head. L’Equipe have elaborated on the incident reporting that Marseille supporters had been taunting Evra while he was warming-up. The account states that Evra approached the supporters to talk to them and was insulted. Football journalst Julien Laurens stated that Evra was told: “Keep doing your videos, but stop playing football”. Marseille lost the game 1-0. Evra has been handed a one-match ban, for now.

Kieran Tierney signed an extended contract with Celtic. The 20-year old penned a six year deal keeping him at Celtic until 2023, unless bought out of his contract. A Celtic fan and a cracking left-back, compared with the likes of Danny McGrain and Tommy Burns, made veteran midfielder Arjen Robben look like a lost little school boy during their Champions League encounter on Tuesday night. The Hoops were disappointed not to pick up all three points at home against the German giants, having matched Bayern all over the park and creating the best of the chances. The defeat means that Celtic are out of the Champions League, but are in pole position to head into the Europa League knock-out stages. The infamous atmosphere at Celtic Park was later described by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, former player and now chief executive of the club, as:

“Football in pure culture, like it was in the old days.”

Arjen Robben also wade in on the atmosphere at Celtic Park saying:

“That was a football experience of pure culture. Throughout the night we felt goosebumps.”

Celtic’s Supporter Liason Officer John Paul Taylor received a rather special e-mail from Bayern supporter Urns, which he shared on Twitter.

bayernfan

In other Scottish football news, Kilmarnock’s long wait for a home victory continues after their 3-0 defeat at the hands of Hibernian on Tuesday night. Rangers have parted ways with Pedro Caixinha; the caravan was towed but the dugs still barking (don’t sweat guys, the dogs alive -just about). It was appeal central at Hampden on Thursday as Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson was given one touchline ban but has been cleared for the cup final against Celtic. The date for the Scottish Cup Final between Glasgow City and Hibernian Ladies will not be challenged. Glasgow City were hoping to appeal the date due to the fact they will likely miss four of their Irish internationalists through World Cup qualifying duties. In a repeat of last year’s final, cup holders Hibs and City will meet at Livingston’s Tony Macaroni Arena, with BBC Alba providing live coverage of the 16:10 kick off. Dreadful time for a game of football. Especially when the men’s final takes place at 15:00 on the same day. Not great!

Everton crashed out of the Europa League following a 3-0 defeat to Lyon. Their losing streak continues. Arsenal reach the knockout stages of the Europa League despite a goalless draw against Red Star Belgrade.

Cowdenbeath’s Jordan Garden concedes a penalty after an unusual challenge during the the Blue Brazil’s Scottish League Two tie with Berwick Rangers last Saturday. With just 10 minutes remaining and the match tied at 0-0 Garden dives head first at the feet of Berwick’s Michael McKenna, bringing him down in the process. The referee awards Berwick a penalty which McKenna himself dispatches to seal a 1-0 win for the Gers.

Al-Ahly’s training session was cancelled on Tuesday as thousands of fans turned up at the club’s training facility in Cairo, hoping to watch their team prepare for the second leg of the African Champions League final against Wydad Casablanca this weekend. The final is tied at 1-1, from the first leg.

ONES TO WATCH

GIRONA 2 – 1 REAL MADRID: https://youtu.be/kP3LAT12_aM

PATRICE GOES MAD: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41853841

HIBS 3 – 0 KILMARNOCK: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/41825785

STEPHEN ROBINSON: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41848091

BIZARRE PENALTY: https://www.theguardian.com/football/video/2017/oct/30/cowdenbeath-head-first-tackle-penalty-berwick-rangers-scotland-video

PITCH INVASION: https://www.theguardian.com/football/video/2017/nov/01/al-ahly-abandon-training-session-fans-try-to-watch-video

 

 

 

 

 

 

11/10/2017 Issue 32

Arjen Robben has retired from International football. His decision comes after Holland missed out on qualification for the 2018 World Cup. Making his debut in April 2003, Robben has won 96 caps and scored 37 times for his country. Robben narrowly missed out on World Cup glory in 2010 when the Dutch lost in the final by a goal to nil against Spain. Robben played his final game in the famous Oranje against Sweden. He scored 2 goals on the night but it wasn’t enough to take his country to Russia. (His second goal is a peach!)

One man who didn’t miss out on World Cup glory, but who has also chosen to retire from football all together is the one and only Andrew Pirlo. A World Cup winner in 2006, Champions League winner in 2003 & 2007 and a six time Seria A winner; he is considered one of the greatest in the game. The Italian, currently with New York City FC, confirmed on Sunday that he will end his career at the end of the MLS season at the ripe old age of 38. Yet, he still hasn’t ruled out a move to Chelsea with fellow Italian Conte. What a move that would be.

We’re losing a lot of our great legends all at once, and now even the magnifficent Kaka is talking about retirement. But we’ll get over it quick; the magnifficent Paul Merson is to make a comeback for Welsh fourth-tier team Caerau – subject to international clearance of course.

Scotland miss out on another major finals. A draw with Slovenia was not enough to see us through, and our manager made the whole bloody situation worse with reckless and senseless post-game comments. Gordon Strachan, who has left his post as Scotland boss, blamed “genetics” on yet another Scottish failure, claiming that our boys are not tall enough to win headers in the box. The comments were made in reaction to conceding two goals from set pieces. Strachan continued to dig a bigger grave for himself suggesting that we look to selective breeding in order to increase our chances of qualification. I think Olympic gold medalists Katherine Granger, Andy Murray and Sir Chris Hoy would have something to say about that. A poor excuse for a poor campaign riddled with very questionable team selections, impacted by bad decision making and substandard choices of substitutions.

Lionel Messi may have single-handedly taken Argentina to the World Cup Finals in Russia. The Flea’s 44th career hat-trick against Ecuador ensured Argentina finished within the top-four qualification spots. Prior to the game Argentina were sitting in 6th place. The had a terrible start, conceding inside 38 seconds but the G.O.A.T had other ideas and lead his team to a 3-1 victory and a third place finish, sending them to Moscow next summer. Always under scrutiny from people claiming that he doesn’t do it for the national team where silenced over the course of 90 minutes as a doom and gloom situation was turned on it’s head by one magical man.

Panama qualified for their first World Cup with 2-1 win over Costa Rica in the final game.

The USA missed out for the first time since 1986, they lost 2-1 to Trinidad & Tobago.

Syria’s fairy-tale qualification ends in Australia. Ex-Everton striker Tim Cahill scored a brace, Syria had a man sent off and Australia progressed with a 3-2 aggregate to set-up a play-off against Honduras.

The Republic of Ireland have booked their tickets to Russia after James McLean scores the only goal of the night to beat Wales 1-0 in Cardiff.

QUEUE THE THUNDER CLAP as Iceland become the smallest nation to qualify for a World Cup. Remember when this little nation knocked England out of the last 16 of the Euro’s? I certainly do! It’s all us Scots have to live for. Well they’ve found football success again as they become the only country to qualify for a World Cup with a population fewer than one million (335,000). I didn’t buy one for Euro 2016 but I think Iceland blue will do well for me in Russia 2018.

I bet Dennis van Duinen wished someone forgot to press record on the Harkemase Boys TV. The Dutch amateur produced one of the worst open-goal misses you will ever see in your lifetime. Dennis charges through onto an empty goal and still manages to blast the ball over the bar from 10 yards out. At the time his team were 2-0 up, they finished the game in defeat. VW Capelle came away as 3-2 winners. Something tells me he might be dropped for next week’s game.

News of the Week comes from Norway where the Norway Football Association has agreed a deal to pay male and female international footballers equally. It’s the first country in the world to do so. The men’s national team will take a pay cut, while the women’s pay will almost double to ensure both teams are paid equally to represent their country on the international stage.

In other news, Mane is out for 6 weeks and my fantasy fitbaw team is fucked!!

 

ONES TO WATCH/READ

Arjen Robben v Sweden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3nw518DTrg

World Cup 2018, all you need to know: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/0/world-cup-2018-has-qualified-russia-close-could-argentina-actually/

Messi Magic: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41580450

Syria’s fairy-tale ends in Australia: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41580450

Wales 0 – 1 Ireland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wJbhaN5u9Y

Miss of the season: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41558174

06/10/2017 Issue 31

Kilmarnock FC have sacked manager Lee McCulloch, following their humiliating 2-0 defeat at the hands of Ross County. Things aren’t going to get much easier for Killie who will have to contest with three away fixtures on the trot against Thistle, Rangers and Celtic. Their return to Rugby Park is a Halloween Spooktacular against the Hibees, they then return to away duties facing Hearts and Dundee. Killie’s final league game in November is an easy home tie, facing title challengers Aberdeen. Good luck to the poor sod who walks into that job.

Following the Catalonian referendum the talk of FC Barcelona leaving La Liga has once again reached the surface. Catalonian sport minister, Gerard Figueras, has already stated the possibility of Barcelona joining the English Premier League, Franch Ligue 1 and/or Italy’s Seria A. However before you all get too excited it is most likely, despite the volatile relations between Spain and Catalonia, that Spain’s top division will alter the rules to allow Catalan sides – Barcelona, Espanyol and Girona – to remain in Spain’s top flight. They already do this for Andorran clubs – FC Andorra and Andorra CF.

Dilly ding, dilly dong! Could The Tinkerman really pull of mission impossible once more? Claudio Ranieri’s Nantes are unbeaten in six and haven’t lost since a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Marseille on 12 August. And get this, they’ve won by a single goal in their latest run of four wins in a row. Remember when his Leicester side kept 15 clean sheets on their way to lifting the English Premier League title back in 2016? Well his Ligue 1 side have already accumulated five clean sheets in eight games this season. Somebody phone Andrea Bocelli?!

Dunfermline will go ahead with their Championship clash with Falkirk despite missing 5 of their players due to international duties. Club captain, Callum Morris has been called-up to the Northern Ireland squad ahead of their WCQ against Germany and Norway. Last week Fraser Aird has been called to the Canadian national team for their friendly against El Salvador, Ryan Williamson received his Scotland under-21s call-up ahead of their European Championship Qualifiers, Callum Smith and Stuart Morrison both joined up with Scotland under-19s ahead of international friendlies with France.  Above this great success for the individuals and the club, the Pars have to contend with the fact that they are missing a further three players through injury. Falkirk might actually get a win for a change. (Although they did beat Morton at Cappielow last week, who are having a rather inconsistent season)

Speaking of Falkirk, they have also sacked their manager Peter Houston after a dismal start to the season. Paul Hartley has been announced as his replacement.

Jupp Heynckes has been named as the new Bayern Munich manager until end of the season following the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti.

Livingston are having a season to remember in the Championship. They’ve won 4, drawn 3 and lost 1, giving them a total of 15 points out of the 24 on offer. Livi currently hold the final play-off spot, with a four-point gap between them and closest challengers Queen of the South.

Andreas Iniesta has signed the first-ever ‘lifetime’ contract at FC Barcelona.

Scotland have taken one step closer to Russia 2018. Martin Skrtel bundled the ball into his own net in the 89th minute and Hampden erupted knowing that a win against Slovenia on Sunday would take them into the World Cup play-off.

 

ONES TO WATCH/READ

Barcelona, a game of tug and war: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/european/catalan-referendum-barcelona-president-josep-maria-bartomeu-leave-la-liga-a7980261.html

https://www.si.com/soccer/2017/09/30/catalan-sport-minister-claims-barcelona-could-choose-premier-league-if-region-gains-independence

For old times’ sake, here’s THAT Ranieri interview: https://youtu.be/hPNzhJQbzJ8

Andrea Bocelli, end of the season party: https://youtu.be/8BK4wy_q7hY

 

 

 

 

29/09/2017 Issue 30

A Marseille supporter invited to take part in the clubs ceremonial kick-off at the Stade Veledome made sure he got the most out of his 15 minutes if fame. Kamel Zaroual was asked to participate in the traditional ceremony as a reward for his fundraising efforts for local children. Gifted with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Mr Zaroual could not resist the chance to score a goal. Having performed the kick-off the Marseille man ran the length of the pitch before firing a shot past Toulouse goalkeeper Alban Lafont, much to the delight of the Marseille faithful and indeed himself. The Marseille super fan cycled 2000km for the pleasure of scoring the opening goal of the game (technically speaking). Goal of the season award, perhaps?

Hearts Chief Executive Ann Budge has promised to stick by her striker, Northern Irish international Kyle Lafferty who this week admitted he is living with a gambling addiction. Lafferty revealed he has lost thousands of pounds, and was even fined £23,000 by the English FA last summer after breaking betting rules while on the books at Norwich City. The Hearts man has spent time at the Sporting Chance Clinic following the FA’s decision to issue a fine. Budge said in a statement on Wednesday morning, ‘I would like to record our total support for Kyle Lafferty as he moves forward to deal with his acknowledged addiction to gambling. Kyle took the brave step of coming to the club and asking for help. No one should underestimate how difficult that decision was for him and his family.’

Swindon Town fans found a new way to take the mickey out of their opposition by dressing as pigs at the slaughter as they travelled to Forrest green, who only sell vegan food at their ground. TOP BANTER THERE.

Photo 23-09-2017, 10 29 04

Gary Woods will miss tonight’s home clash with Rangers after suffering a lacerated kidney. The Accies shot stopper picked up the injury during last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of St Johnstone. Accies boss, Martin Canning will also have to do without defender George Sarris, who is expected to be out for six weeks following a knee operation. Midfielder Darian MacKinnon has also been ruled out of Friday night’s clash after he was shown a red card in last Saturday’s SPFL fixture with the Saints. Grant Gillespie, Michael Devlin and David Templeton are also both out injured.

England midfielder Dele Alli has been banned for one international match following his middle-finger gesture during the World Cup qualifier against Slovakia.

Jim McIntyre has been sacked by Ross County seven games into the season. Here, at least he lasted longer than Frank de Boer.

Speaking of managers, Carlo Ancelotti has been sacked as boss of Bayern Munich. The decision comes after Bayern’s 3-0 defeat to PSG in their Champions’ League group stage match.

In more manager news, loon-ball Brother Pedro Caixinha has revealed that his childhood nickname was ‘elephant’ because of his ‘great memory’. Well, I’m sure he’ll remember Celtic’s dominance in years to come. He also drew comparisons between the unrest among his squad with a trip to Las Vegas. Reports from Wednesday revealed that Pedro made claims that himself and new recruits had not been made to feel welcome at their new club. When asked about the claims Caixinha said, ‘Have you ever been to Las Vegas? What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas. I’m a confident guy. If things are coming out it’s because someone didn’t like the game that we play in Las Vegas, that’s all, so I am happy with that.’ I mean I don’t know about Vegas, but I’m pretty sure the players didn’t like the game that you played at Ibrox on Saturday (once again being outclassed by your greatest rivals), or indeed the 3-2 defeat to Hibs or the 2-2 draw with Thistle, or the early European exit against Progres Nierderkorn. Oh well, keep coming away with mad chat – it’s funny and fills up space on my blog!

On that note,  Kenny Miller has been dropped from the Rangers squad to face Accies in tonight’s Scottish Premiership clash.

From Afghanistan to Manchester City, Nadia Nadim has made a move from Portland Thorns to Manchester City in the Women’s Super League. Nadia fleed from war-torn Afghanistan at the age of 12 and made her way to Denmark via fake passports, traveling on the back of a lorry. She signed her first professional contract aged 18 with IK Slovbakken, was granted Danish citizenship in 2008 and now has 74 caps and 22 goals. Nadim scored two goals as she lead Denmark to the European Championship final.

Former Newcastle Chairman Freddy Shepherd has died at the age of 75. Shepherd was a pivotal figure in the club’s rise during the 90s, taking over as Chairman in 1997 and working as a director from 1992 he played a key role in appointing Kevin Keegan as manager and signing Alan Shearer from Blackburn Rovers, for a then world-record fee of £15m. He wasn’t always the most popular figure, and was pushed to resign in 1997/98 following a report by the News of the World in which he and fellow director Douglas Hall were recorded calling female football supporters “dogs”. The comments sparked outrage from supporters and fellow board members, who urged both men to resign, which they did in 1998.

 

ONES TO WATCH

Bravo Kamel, goal of the season: https://youtu.be/xHsYrowdxlo

Refugee footballer, Nadia Nadim: https://youtu.be/q8mvmFoYiKM

 

 

UNDERESTIMATED MESSI CARRIES BARCELONA AND PROVES THE DOUBTING THOMAS AMONG YOU WRONG

UNDERESTIMATED MESSI CARRIES BARCELONA AND PROVES THE DOUBTING THOMAS AMONG YOU WRONG

The doubting Thomas’s were out on force during the summer long football hiatus. Messi had lost his pals and Barcelona had lost the league before they’d even kicked a baw. This widespread opinion of Barcelona’s evident demise came in the wake of a humiliating 5-1 defeat to their fierce rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup back in August this year. Neymar left to eat baguettes by the Arc de Triomphe and Luis Suarez was out with a long-term knee injury; MSN was no more. The rapture was coming. Or so everyone said.

Alas the commentators, the pundits, the reporters, the ‘experts’, former pro’s and ex-managers never calculated the little Argentine dynamo into their ‘the end is nigh for Barcelona’ equation. Ultimately, the football world fully underestimated the sheer power of the greatest footballer to ever grace the Earth. While the Barcelona ‘fans’ packed their scarf’s neatly away in the back of their wardrobe, giving their side no hope of a successful campaign, La Pulga (the flea) was working away, planning the greatest season of his career and organising the staging of the greatest one-man show on Earth.

We are five games into the La Liga season and Barcelona sit top of the table; my Nana did tell me that the cream always rises to the top. Barcelona have won 5 out of 5, they have scored 17 and conceded 2.

Lionel Messi has carried Barcelona with nine goals and one assist in their five games so far. In the opening game of the season Messi scored his first two goals of the campaign in a 2-0 victory over Alavés. The opening goal marked his 350th goal in La Liga, becoming the first player to ever achieve this special milestone.

The Flea already has two hat-tricks to his name this season; one against Espanyol in the Derbi Barceloní in a 3-0 victory and the other against Eibar in a 6-1 victory in which he scored 4 goals. His four goals in the mid-week game against Eibar proved to be yet another milestone for the maestro as he netted his 300th goal at the Camp Nou.

On the other side of the coin Real Madrid opened their season with a draw in their first two home fixtures against Valencia and Levante. Wins away to Deportivo and Real Sociedad restored some faith but Los Blancos bad run of form lead them to drop points at home to Real Betis. Cristiano Ronaldo has been out of the fold after his five-match ban for shoving referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea during the Spanish Super cup first-leg. The Portuguese talisman is yet to get off the mark, and received his first start in the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Betis.

Amidst Messi’s one man domestic domination exhibition he still found the time to make a special appearance in the Champions League. He lit that stage alight as well; scoring the opening goal, playing a huge role in the second with a darting run and scored the third as Barcelona put Juventus to the sword with a 3-0 victory in the opening group match.

He’s made everyone look a fool. And now the wee man from Rosario is going to silence the doubters and set fire to the greatest game in the world. Watch this space…

 

A poignant fixture in the Carabao Cup 19/09/2017

Tonight’s Carabao Cup fixture between Tottenham Hotspurs and Barsnley F.C. will be a rather poignant affair with regards to the ill health of Barnsley F.C. owner Patrick Cryne. Mr Cryne is terminally ill having suffered with bowel cancer since November 2016. Last week Mr Cryne, aged 66, wrote a moving letter in the match day programme to supporters, the night of Barnsley’s 3-2 cup victory over Derby, stating that he is unlikely to make it to the end of the 2017/18 season.

It would be rather special for his side to knock Spurs out of the cup on the hallowed Wembley turf; a venue that holds a special place in Mr Cryne’s heart. The Barnsley man stated that he has seen many special games in the famous old ground, including his sides’ historic 2015/16 campaign in which they won twice at Wembley, lifting the Johnstone’s Paint (EFL) Trophy and gaining promotion to the Championship via the play-offs. Imagine his delight if his team were to knock the big boys out in the same place he witnessed his clubs phenomenal success.

I’ve no ill thoughts towards Spurs, I wish both sides the very best. But I felt it was important to highlight the insignificance, and simultaneously the significance, of our beautiful game. Life is finite and as such we must cherish every moment.

Tottenham Hotpsurs v Barnsley in the Carabao Cup Third Round kicks off at 8pm.

 


 

Patrick Cryne’s open letter in full

I am living on borrowed time. I live in pain, but living is better than the alternative. Cancer is insidious, cruel and rapacious and I implore everyone to have regular checks to stop it gaining hold.

Recent months have brought into focus the things that are important to me. I have spent a lot of my life pursuing the ultimately pointless when there were better things to do. My family have always been important to me but I should have spent more time telling them so.

I do now and it creates joyfulness in our relationships. Of course, my football club has been important too and I am lucky that my family have shared my love of Barnsley FC.

For much of the time since I became the club’s buyer of last resort, I allowed others to run the club, fearing that I did not know enough to win the respect and supporter of the ‘football people’. It is ironic therefore that we enjoyed one of our most successful periods when I did take up the mantle ending in two successful visits to Wembley.

Maybe, one day before too long I will tell the secrets of how we did it. Certainly, the whole club working as one was instrumental. I don’t know if we will ever repeat the sense of togetherness of that season, which extended also to the fans, their tolerance and incredible support.

There are many things I wanted to achieve before my custodianship of our fabulous team ended at the hand of the Grim Reaper. Of course, I wanted to see us get back to the Premier League and make some enhancements to the iconic West Stand. On a personal level, I wanted to bring back together all the 1912 FA Cup final medals, but I only managed to retrieve five.

Most people realise I was a reluctant custodian but what has made it bearable against the occasional cruelty of the internet world is the kindness shown to me by so many fans on a personal basis.

People are not shy in coming forward and telling me they appreciate my efforts, even if I have fallen short of their aspirations. I receive many letters and cards from fans who share with me their memories and best wishes. I am grateful to them all.

Regarding this season, I think we will get stronger as it goes on and our team gels, not unlike the double Wembley season. I do not expect to live to see the ultimate outcome, but I travel in hope.

I wish you all a good football season and thank you for your kindness down the years.