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.

01/06/2017 Francesco Totti: The One-Club Man Special

01/06/2017 Francesco Totti: The One-Club Man Special

Francesco Totti made his final appearance for Roma on Sunday after 25 years in the capital city. His years of service have been formally recognised by UEFA, who presented the Roman with the UEFA Presidents Award. Totti played in his final game against Genoa coming on as a substitute in a 3-2 victory for Giallorossi. Following his retirement the club announced his induction to the clubs Hall of Fame. After spending a quarter of a century with Roma, he is now considered the most beloved player in the club’s history. For all the money the world could throw at him he never left the city or the clubs side. For 25 years he has been recognised as “the symbol of Rome”.

25 years (28 counting his youth career), 786 appearances and 307 goals. They don’t make them like that anymore.

Here are some of my favourite one-club men, including a list of Scottish and other international one-club men that are worthy of recognition.


 

SANTIAGO BERNABEU YESTE

Club: Real Madrid

Years of Service: 1911 – 1978 (67 years of service)

Playing: 1911 – 1927 (16 years)

Director of Football and Coach: 1927 – 1933 (6 years)

Assistant Manager: 1933 – 1936 (3 years)

Manager: 1936 – 1941 (7 years)

President: 1943 – 1978 (35 years)

Yes, the man whose name is known the world over, because it is the name given to the stadium of most successful team in European Football. The Santiago Bernabeu is the home of 11 times European Champions, Real Madrird. It must take something very special to be bequeath such an honour. Mr Bernabeu joined Los Blancos as a 14 year old in 1911 and made 689 appearances until his retirement in 1927. His contributions beyond playing included roles as the director of football, coach and President; a role which he served for 35 years. Under his Presidency, Bernabeu Yeste overseen the construction of the clubs magnifficent stadium. He is also responsible for bringing legendary forward Alfredo Di Stefano to the Spanish capital. His total years of service amasses to 67 years.

 

BILL NICHOLSON

Club: Tottenham Hotspurs

Years of Service: 1936 – 1997 (55 years of service)

Playing: 1936 – 1954 (18 years)

Managing: 1958 – 1974 (16 years)

Consultant, Scout and President: 1976 – 1997 (21 years)

Nicholson joined Spurs as a 16 year old boy in 1936. Despite the interruption of his football career, caused by the war, Mr Nicholson still managed to appear in 341 matches for the London outfit between 1938 – 1954. Pedants may wish to point out that Nicholson turned out as a guest player for Darlington and Newcastle United, on 19 occasions no less. But we won’t be allowing technicalities to disqualify the magnificent Nicholson. It was his career as the Spurs manager, a post he held for 16 years, which highlights Nicholson and Spurs glory days. A success Pochettino’s XI will wish to emulate in due course. Nicholson was at the helm, in his first season, when Spurs completed the first double of the twentieth century; winning the League and FA Cup in 1961. Throughout his career he lifted three FA Cups, two League Cups, three FA Charity Shields, a UEFA Cup and a European Cup winners cup. Bill arrived at White Hart Lane in 1936, taken on as a ground-staff boy being paid £2 a week, and served as a player, coach and manger for 38 years. Nicholson returned in 1976 as a consultant and chief scout, following a spell on the scouting staff at West Ham United. During his time as manager Bill established a club culture, by signing some of the best players to ever pull on the white jersey. Players like Dave Mackay, Alan Gilzean, Jimmy Greaves, Alan Mullery, John White, Steve Perryman, Pat Jennings, Martin Chivers and Martin Peters. Nicholson’s connection to Spurs continued until his retirement in 1997. In 1991 Nicholson was given the honour of being appointed the President of the club he served for over 50 years.

 

 

LEV YASHIN

Club: Dynamo Moscow

Years of Service: 1950 – 1990 (40 years)

Playing: 1950 – 1970 (20 years)

Managing: 1970 – 1990 (20 years)

The Black Spider played football for Dynamo Moscow for 20 years between 1950 – 1970. Yashin’s Dynamo career did not get off to the best start. In a friendly match in 1950, the big goalie conceded a soft goal straight from the opposing goalkeeper clearance. Not to matter, Yashin continued on and finally got his first team break in 1953 after three years at the reserves. He is considered to be the greatest goalkeeper of all-time. According to FIFA records, Yashin saved over 150 penalties and kept over 270 clean sheets. With these statistics in mind its no surprise that he became the only goalkeeper to receive the Ballon d’Or, an award he picked up in 1963.  After retiring from playing, Yashin spent another 20 years at Dynamo Moscow as a youth-team coach and in various administrative positions. A bronze statue of Lev Yashin was erected at the Dynamo Stadium in Moscow in honour of a terrific career and a tremendous service to the football club.

 

 

SAIT ALTINORDU

 

Club: Altinordu

Years of Service: 1926 – 1953 (27 years)

Playing: 1926 – 1953 (27 consecutive playing seasons)

Altinordu made his debut for the Izmir outfit as a 14 year old in 1926, and continued to make appearances for the club until he was 41 years of age. He amassed a record-breaking 27 consecutive playing seasons. Altinordu derived his surname from the team he played for following President Mustafa Kemal’s new law passed in 1934 which demanded that all Turks must have a surname (for clarity, most Muslims didn’t have one). Despite starting most games at centre-back in 1936-37 he was the club and division top scorer. The big boys of Fenerbache and Galatasaray came in for the brilliant Altinordu but the one-club player made the decision to stay in his beloved Izmir, and for his loyalty the city erected not one but two statues of him in his honour.

 

PAOLO MALDINI

Club: AC Milan

Years of Service: 1985 – 2009 (24 years)

Playing: 1985 – 2009 (24 years)

“The only club in the world where I could have found the same ambition as Real Madrid, but they never contacted me.” Maldini was the Maestro at the back; he could play anywhere across the back four; he could play with his left foot; he could play with his right; he seamlessly morphed from the Rossoneri youth system into one of the greatest club sides ever assembled. Maldini spent 25 seasons at the San Siro before retiring at the age of 41. During that time he won seven Serie A titles, five European cups, one Coppa Italia, five Suppercoppe Italiane, five European Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup. The Magnificent Maldini.


 

ONE MAN CLUB  

SCOTTISH LIST

Joe Wark – Motherwell – 20 years

Bobby Walker – Hearts – 18 years

Frank Beattie – Kilmarnock – 18 years

Jackie Campbell – Partick Thistle – 19 years

Ross Caven – Queens Park – 20 years

Eddie Gray – Leeds United – 19 years

John Greig – Rangers – 17 years

Billy Liddell – Liverpool – 22 years

Maurice Malpas – Dundee United – 21 years

Doug Smith – Dundee United – 18 years

Billy McNeil – Celtic – 17 years

Bob McKinley – Nottingham Forrest – 20 years

David Meiklejohn – Rangers – 17 years

Willie Miller – Aberdeen – 18 years

 

ACTIVE SCOTTISH PLAYERS 

Andrew Considine – Aberdeen – 14 years

Lewis Stevenson – Hibernian – 11 years

Steven Anderson – St Johnstone – 12 years

 

INTERNATIONAL LIST

Rogerio Ceni – Sao Paolo – 20 years

Tony Adams – Arsenal – 18 years

Paul Scholes – Manchester United – 20 years

Ricardo Bochini – Independiente – 25 years

John Trollope – Swindon Town – 33 years

Ryan Giggs – Manchester United – 24 years

 

 

 

24/02/2017 European Football Special Issue

If you thought Tuesday night offered some fantastic Champions League moments, Wednesday was just as tenacious and Thursday – well that was a wee beauty as well. There was a bit of everything this week; crazy goals, red cards, and record breakers. What more could we hope for!??

It was a cracking tie between Bayern Leverkusen and Atletico Madrid at the Bay Arena. Madrid took charge of the game with two away goals in the first half. Niguez opened the scoring with a stunning strike in the 17-minute; his curling effort sailed past keeper Bernd Leno and Antoine Griezmann doubled Atletico’s lead after finding himself unmarked in the Leverkusen box. Think it’s fair to say that was rather silly of the German defence – tut tut lads! Griezmann’s goal makes him Atletico’s all-time top scorer in European competition, surpassing Luis Aragones who held the previous record with 12 goals. There looked to be some hope for Leverkusen when Bellarabi scored an early goal after the restart however this promising start was ended when Gemiero scored from the spot in the 58th-minute and despite Savic scoring Leverkusen’s second goal of the evening, the tie was put out of reach when Torres scored Atletico’s fourth away goal in the 86th-minute with his cheeky, dinking header. Despite having 62% of the possession it is Atletico who look set for yet another Champions League quarter-final.

Manchester City v Monaco broke a very special goal scoring record; this game recorded the highest scoring first-leg in Champions League history – nae bad! And Radamel Falcao broke his own personal record, scoring more goals in Manchester on Tuesday night than he did in his entire career at Manchester United. LOL. It was the first-time Monaco had ever conceded 5 goals in European competition but not the first-time City had scored five, having beaten Russian opposition CSKA Moscow 5-2 in November 2013. It was an impressive start for City, when Raheem Sterling drew first blood in the 26th minute however the ever-present Falcao cancelled out Sterling’s early spark with a superb header. The Blues were denied a penalty before the break when Aguero was taken out by Monaco keeper, Subasic. French teenager Mbappe put the Ligue 1 side ahead before the half with a powerful driven effort. Monaco could have increased their lead after the break when a penalty was awarded against Otamendi but Falcao’s effort was saved by City shot stopper Caballero. City came out all guns blazing in the second half. Aguero scored an early goal to pull City level; he was gifted a goal from Subasic who made a shocking error. The equaliser did not go unanswered, and Radamel Falcao chipped a delightful ball over the head of, a defenseless, Caballero. Definitely one of the goals of the tournament, so far. The ongoing battle between Falcao and Aguero continued as the Argentine showed his own class with his second equaliser of the night with a superb volley in the Monaco box. Stones leaped higher than everyone to score from a De Bruyne cross to make it 4 – 3 City in the 77th minute. And Sane scored the fifth, to give City some breathing space going into the second-leg. He was set-up very unselfishly by Aguero, who was in for his hat-trick, to place the ball into an empty net. So it’s game on in Monaco in a few weeks’ time! Vive la Fitbaw!!

Leicester City salvaged some hope of progression. Jamie Vardy scored a crucial away goal to secure a narrow defeat at the hands of strong European opponents, Sevilla. It was a special moment for Jamie Vardy who marked his journey to become a Premier League Champions with another career highlight; namely, there have only been four years and 315 days between Vardy’s last non-league goal and his first Champions League one. However, despite Vardy’s fairytale finish it was Sevilla who brought some bite. Los Blanquirrojos had 73% possession, 22 shots on goal and banged one of the post, as well as scoring two goals of their own. Kasper Schmeichel was man of the match for Leicester, not only did he save a penalty given against Wes Morgan on the 13th minute but he showed excellent reflexes against the likes of Sergio Escudero and Correa who looked dangerous throughout the match. Despite the Danes valiant of efforts, he was unable to keep Pablo Sarabia and Joaquin Correa at bay as the Spaniards sinked their teeth into the foxes defence. Vardy’s goal only keeps Leicester’s Champions League dreams alive, which sets us up for a rather compelling second-leg tie at the King Power Stadium on 14th March.

Two legends met on Wednesday evening at the Estadio do Dragao in Portugal. Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon swapped jerseys at the end of a rather feisty affair between FC Porto and Juventus. The tie looked all but gone for Porto when left-back Alex Telles seen red on the 27th-minute, after he committed two shocking tackles in the space of 3-minutes on Juan Cuadrado and Lichtsteiner. Calm doon pal! (Both shockers, have a look in the link below) German referee, Felix Brych had no choice but to send him off for reckless play. Following the defender’s sending off, it was Iker Cassilas who was put through his paces as he saved shot after shot as Juventus turned up the heat. The Spanish shot stopper made his 174th appearance in the competition on Wednesday night, equaling the record held by Paolo Maldini. Despite Juventus dominance, it took them until the 72nd-minute to break the deadlock through Pjaca, who scored his first goal in a Juve shirt. Super sub Alves may have sealed the tie for the Old Lady when he made it 2-0 on 74-minutes. It was unfortunate for Porto who looked like they may have held onto the draw despite Telles stupidity, alas it wasn’t to be and now they have a difficult away tie to look forward to in Turin.

Rostov, Lyon, Besiktas, Manchester United, Schalke and Roma all breezed past their opposition to book their place in the next-round of the Europa League. Rostov blew Sparta Prague away in the first-leg with a 4-nil win, and they finished the tie with an away goal in Prague where they progressed with a 1 – 5 aggregate. Lyon progressed with an impressive 11 – 2 aggregate score line. They bet Dutch opposition, Alkmaar 7 – 1 at their Parc Olympique Lyonaise stadium. Roma lost 0 – 1 at home to Villareal, however the Italians already leada the tie with four unanswered away goals from the first-leg. Mkhitaryan pilled more misery on St Etienne, he scored the only goal of the game which knocked the French side out of Europe after a four nothing trouncing!

Tottenham Hotspurs are out of the Europa League despite the fact they rid themselves of last week’s toothless performance. Spurs were lively and energetic and were rewarded with an early Erikson goal on 10 minutes, but they were sold by one of their own. The young Dele Alli stuck a career ending tackle on Genk midfielder Brecht Dejaegere; the England international was rightly sent for an early bath but left his team mates with a further uphill struggle. Before all this, Harry Kane put the ball in his own net putting Genk ahead on aggregate. Not good! However, Big Vic Wanyama gave Spurs some hope with his curler in the 61st minute but it wasn’t to be and Jeremy Perbet, who scored the winner in the first-leg, killed the dream with 10 minutes on the clock.

Bilbao won the battle but Apoel Nicosia won the war. They progressed as victors with a 2 – 0 win at the GSP stadium. The overturned a 3 – 2 Bilbao home win last Thursday to win their game on home soil. A terrific achievement for the Cypriot Champions – good luck to them in the next round. Game of the night goes to either: Fiorentina and Borussia Monchengladbach or Zenit St Petersberg v Anderlecht; both went down to the wire. After a 2-0 defeat in the first-leg, Zenit were forced to fight for their place in the competition and a first half goal from de Paula on 24 minutes gave them the hope they needed. Dzyuba scored in 72’ and de Paula scored his second in the 78th minute but in the dying seconds their hard work was cancelled out by Swedish striker, Issaac Kiese Thelin who scored a header in the final minute and Anderlecht progressed on away goals – cruel. After missing so many opportunities in front of goal last Thursday, Borussia Monchengladbach came out to create a storm! But not until the second half. Fiorentina took the lead early on, with a goal from Kalinic in the 15th minute. The Italians doubled their lead in the 28th with a goal from Spanish midfielder Valero Iglesias. However, Gladbach were not prepared to lie down and claimed a goal back with a spot kick goal from Stindl a minute before the half. Stindl scored his second of the night in the 55th minute and the tie was level. In the 60th minute a hero emerged in the form of Danish interntional, on loan from Chelsea, Andreas Christensen who scored the winning goal to take the Germans through to the last 16.

A vital away goal was scored by Krasnador in their away tie against Turkish opposition Fenerbache; they progressed with a 1 – 2 aggregate score line. Genk’s 1 – 0 home win gave them a narrow win to take them through to the last 16. Celta Vigo pulled off an impressive 0 – 2 away win to take them through to the next round; they overturned a 0 – 1 home defeat to Shaktar Donetsk last Thursday. Ajax scored the only goal over the two legs in their tie against Legia Warsaw to progress to the last 16.

 

RESULTS

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – Round of 16  (First-leg)

 

Bayern Leverkusen         2              v              4              Atletico Madrid

Bellarabi (48)                                                                     Niguez (17)

Savic (67 og)                                                                      Griezmann (25)

                                                                                                Gameiro (58 pen)

                                                                                                Torres (86)

 

Man City                              5              v              3              Monaco

Sterling (26)                                                                        Falcao (32, 61)

Aguero (58, 71)                                                                 Mbappe (40)

Stones (77)

Sane (82)

 

FC Porto                               0              v              2              Juventus

Telles (red card 27)                                                          Pjaca (72)

Alves (74)

 

Sevilla                                   2              v              1              Leicester

Sarbia (25)                                                                           Vardy (73)

Correa (62)

 

 

EUROPA LEAGUE – Round of 32 (First-leg)

FK Krasnodar                     1              v              0              Fenerbache

2L: Fenerbache 1 v 1 Krasnador                 Agg (1 – 2)

 

Astra Giurgiu                      2              v              2              KRC Genk

2L: KRC Genk 1 v 0 Astra                Agg (3 – 2)

 

AZ Alkmaar                         1              v              4              Lyon

2L: Lyon 7 v 1 Alkmaar                   Agg (11 – 2)

 

Borussia M’gladback       0              v              1              Fiorentina

2L: Fiorentina 2 v 4 M’gladback                  Agg (3 – 4)

 

Celta Vigo                            0              v              1              Shaktar Donetsk

2L: Donetsk 0 v 2 Celta Vigo                         Agg (1 – 2)

 

FC Rostov                            4              v              0              Sparta Prague

2L: Sparta Prague 1 v 1 Rostov                    Agg (1 – 5)

 

KAA Gent                            1              v              0              Tottenham Hotspur

2L: Tottenham 2 – 2 KAA Gent                   Agg (2 – 3)

 

Ludogrets                            1              v              2              FC Copenhagen

2L: Copenhagen 0 v 0 Ludogrets                Agg (2 – 1)

 

Olympiakos                        0              v              0              Osmanlispor

2L: Osmanlispor                0 v 3 Olympiakos                                 Agg (0 – 3)

 

Athletic Bilbao                   3              v              2              Apoel Nicosia

2L: Apoel Nicosia 2 v 0 Athletic Bilbao      Agg (4 – 3)

 

Hapeol Be’er Sheva         1              v              3              Besiktas

2L: Besiktas 2 v  1 Hapeol Be’er Sheva     Agg (5 – 2)

 

Legia Warsaw                    0              v              0              Ajax

2L: Ajax 1 v 0 Legia Warsaw         Agg (1 – 0)

 

Manchester United         3              v              0              Saint-Etienne

St Etienne 1 v 1 Man Utd              Agg (0 – 4)

 

PAOK Salonika                   0              v              3              FC Schalke 04

2L: Schalke 1 v 1 PAOK                   Agg (4 – 1)

 

Anderlecht                         2              v              0              Zenit St Petersburg

2L: Zenit 3 v 1 Anderlecht             Agg (3 – 3, Anderlecht win on away goals)

 

Villareal                                0              v              4              Roma

2L: Roma 0 v 1 Villareal     Agg (4 – 1)

 

 

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Man City 5 – 3 Monaco: https://youtu.be/E_TtufK6joc

Bayern Leverkusen 2 – 4 Atletico Madrid: https://youtu.be/vFN4e8Bad50

Porto 0 – 2 Juventus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-YGIzqZyjI

Sevilla 2 – 1 Leicester: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1mtpCzLh7U

 

 

ONES TO WATCH

Falcao superb finish and other memorable Champions League chips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJDadmcX_oM

 

Telles loses the plot, shocking challenges: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85ZyhIDfPJU

 

From non-league to Champions League: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP2FYYT4TnQ

24/02/2017 Issue 7

The magic of the FA Cup strikes again! Joey Barton showed us his vanishing act as Lincoln City knocked Premier League Burnley out of the competition, the shoe was on the other foot as the Lions caged the Champions and Wayne Shaw made a pie disappear!

Yes, non-league side Lincoln City progressed to the quarter-final after their 1-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor. The Imps have made history becoming the first non-league side in 103 years to reach the FA Cup QF with a dramatic last-minute winner scored by Sean Raggett. The centre back sent Lincoln’s 3,210 travelling support into delirium as they celebrated their club reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in their 133-year history. The ever-popular, Joey Barton was left on the floor after he stamped on the foot of Matt Rhead, figure that one out? The two locked horns throughout the 90-minutes and it made for a rather entertaining battle. The former-Rangers player also sparked a rammy in the box after he caught Hawkridge in the face on the 70th minute. It wasn’t the first-time Joey Barton experienced Twitter posts being dredged up from the past (see link below). Lincoln had the last laugh however, and it is the Imps who will go on to face Arsenal in the QF.

Arsenal made it to the competition beating other non-league side, Sutton United. Arsenal travelled to Gander Green Lane and avoided another red-face defeat with a hard-fought victory against a spirited Sutton. Goals from Perez and Walcott proved to be too much for Sutton, who had a couple of chances throughout the match that may have made for a more interesting tie had the burst the net. Sutton can proudly hold their heads high. This was a history day for the city and the tournament, and will forever live in the memory of fans, staff and players alike. The biggest laugh of the day, and week I guess, comes from reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw. The big man made many contributions throughout the day despite never making an appearance in the 90 minutes. Pre-match he hoovered the dug-out, at half-time he was in the stadium pub entertaining the masses and during the second half, knowing full well all the subs had been made, he was caught wrapping his gums around a pasty! Comedy gold, if you haven’t seen it there is a link below. It was all fun and game until Shaw was forced to leave the club following criticism which has prompted investigations by the Gambling Commission and the Football Association.

Oxford United gave Premier League Middlesbrough a scare in their fifth-round tie. It was Middlesbrough who took the lead through a Leadbitter penalty. Oxford came up with a quick reply, but the goal was disallowed for a push on centre back Bernarndo. Rudy Gestede turned up the heat with his magnificent over-head kick goal, his first goal for the Boro, which put the Premier League club two goals ahead but Oxford fought back in the second half. A Chris Maguire free-kick sailed past Boro keeper, Guzan. Oxford’s tails were well and truly up, and their relentless attack was awarded when Tony Martinez burst the net to pull Oxford United level with two goals in 2-minutes. However, it was Boro who nicked the winner. Christian Stuani saved Middlesbrough’s blushes, when he tapped the ball in 4-minutes from time. Middlesbrough will face Huddersfield or Manchester City in the quarter-final.

Huddersfield and Manchester City will play a replay after their fifth-round tie finished in a 0-0 draw. Don’t be fooled by the score line, this was a very entertaining 90-minutes of football. Both goal keeper’s were in fine form, record crowd in attendance at the John Smith’s stadium, there was a Huddersfield goal ruled out for off-side and there was an effort cleared off the line. This will be a good one to watch come the replay. 

The Lions knocked the Champions out of the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory at The Den. Their victory was made even sweeter by the fact they were down to 10-man for the final 40-minutes after defender Jake Cooper received his second yellow of the day.  Ten-men Millwall progressed to the QF through Shaun Cumming’s dramatic last minute winner. He struck low past Zieler, to set up a QF tie with city rivals Tottenham Hotspurs.

Spurs breezed past Fulham on Saturday afternoon, to progress to the next round. Harry Kane scored a hat-trick, and was supported well be team mates Erikson, Son, Alli, Trippier, Winks and co. Spurs appeared to put the disappointment of Gent behind them, and looked to put a spring in their step before the return Europa League leg on Thursday.

Chelsea were made to work for it against Wolves at Mollineux. The first half performance from the struggling Championship side was positive and rather testing for Conte’s side. It wasn’t until the second half that the Londoners went through the gears and upped the ante to produce the 2-0 win. Chelsea will face Manchester United in the QF, this fixture produced the big WOW moment in the studio during the FA Cup draw – its sure to be a tasty old tie!

Manchester United struggled to reach the QF as Blackburn Rovers out them through their paces. Zlatan Ibrahimovic made the difference on the day when he was subbed on in the 62nd minute for Anthony Martial to secure the victory for United. It was his goal in the 75th minute which ended Rovers cup win.

There was a new development for Blackburn Rovers this week, as it was announced that Tony Mowbray would be their new manager. He replaces Owen Coyle who left the club by mutual consent. It will be a tough job for the former Middlesbrough, Celtic, West Brom and Hibernian manager as Rovers continue to struggle at the bottom of the Championship battling against relegation. Rovers currently sit in 23rd place, three points from safety. As a Celtic fan, I am here to publicly warn the Rovers faithful that relegation may be imminent. See the link below.

Around the English Football League in 189 days! Ed Wood, has done something that many die-hards would struggle to muster. The Derby County fan has broken a Guinness World Record by travelling 22,000 miles over 189 days to visit every ground in the English Football League. He completed the mighty feet at Rochdale’s Crown Oil Arena. To keep things exciting his friends gave him challenges, such as get a selfie with a chairman and get yourself into the dressing room. He didn’t manage everyone, but he has completed the biggest challenge of them all – completing the 93.

Chan Yuen-Ting made history this week becoming the first female to manage a men’s football team in a continental competition. The head coach of Hong Kong’s Eastern Sport’s Club lead her team out against Guangzhou Evergreen in the Asian Champions League, if you can find a score I’ll be very impressed.

Former Newcastle United striker, Alan Shearer will present a BBC One documentary about the link between football and dementia. The programme titles, ‘Dementia: Football’s silent shame?’ will be aired in a bid to find out if footballers are at a greater risk than the general population. The match of the day regular will meet suffering footballers and their families before participating in various medical testing to discover more about the disease.

Hibernian knocked city rivals, Hearts out of the Scottish Cup at Easter Road to set up a quarter-final tie against Ayr United. Hibs ran Hearts ragged all over the park and thoroughly deserved their win. Jason Cummings and Grant Holt put the Hibees in the hot seat, Andrew Shinnie added the third before Goncalves grabbed a consolation goal for the travelling Jambos. The Hibs fans treated us to a rendition of their famous anthem, link in the list below.

On Sunday after noon the big question was answered, namely “Why did fat Ronaldo get that nasty haircut back in 2002?”. Well the Brazilian legend revealed that he was haunted by the media who were solely focused on his injured groin, so the striker plotted his own refuge from the media’s relentless gage on the negative and he went to the barbers to ask for “the worse one you’ve got in your locker” and as we all know the barber did not disappoint. Alas, the media moved away from the injured muscle and instead focused on the apparent injury to his hair. Go on Fat Ronnie!

Dundee recorded their first home league win over Rangers since 1992. The Dee’s pilled the misery on the Rangers supporters, who have suffered managerial confusion over the past weeks’, by winning 2 – 1 at Dens Park. O’Hara opened the scoring in the 13th minute after a rather Barcelona-esque build-up play from Dundee. Kevin Holt scored the second with his free-kick from the corner of the 18-yard box. Joe Gardner grabbed the consolation for Rangers. Interim manager Graeme Murty entertained us all by demonstrating his acrobatic moves on the touchline (link in list below – have a giggle).

Youth player Jordi Mboula put his name in the hat for Youth Goal of the Season in this year’s UEFA Youth League. The 17-year-old Spaniard scored a breathtaking solo effort against German opposition, Borussia Dortmund. Barcelona won the game 4 – 1. Have a look at the goal in the link in the list below.

Now we come to the worst news of the week. Claudio Ranieri has been sacked by Leicester City. I’m going to say this now, I hope you get relegated – it’s what you deserve and certainly what Ranieri did not. He lead the Foxes to an unprecedented Premier League title. Last year when they won, they were favourites to be relegated and now they have ripped the soul from the game. It was a classless decision and one which will haunt football for some time to come. #fearless #souless

Dear Claudio,

Thanks for the memories, you took the impossible and turned it into a Premier League winning season; you deserved better.

Thanks,

Football.

 

 

ONES TO WATCH

 

FA CUP RESULTS

Burnley 0 – 1 Lincoln: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39016439

Sutton 0 – 2 Sutton: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39033559

Middlebrough 2 – 3 Oxford: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39017203

Hudderfield 0 – 0 Man City: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39017199

Millwall 1 – 0 Leicester: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39017207

Fulham 0 – 3 Tottenham: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39018304

Wolves 0 – 2 Chelsea: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39017228

Blackburn 1 – 2 Man Utd: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39023089

 

JOEY BARTON

Fight breaks out in the FA Cup: https://youtu.be/OWbz_fd8Pz8

Be careful what you out on social media: https://twitter.com/Joey7Barton/status/298193429186371584

 

WAYNE SHAW

Who ate aww the pies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrN-ZhjNfTM

 

LINCOLN CITY

Scenes: https://twitter.com/winstano/status/832961380689047553

 

TONY MOWBRAY

Celtic’s embarrassment at the hands of the Buddies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=memlFN-DY_I

 

SCOTTISH CUP REPLAY

Hibs 3 – 1 Hearts: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/39066751

Sunshine on Leith: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/39066748                               

 

25 YEAR WAIT IS OVER

Dundee 2 – 1 Rangers: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/scotland/39023197

Gymnastics? At the fitbaw? Yes Jimmy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39034853

 

BARCELONA’S TEENAGE TALENT

Remember the name, Jordi Mboula: http://www.uefa.com/uefayouthleague/video/videoid=2444032.html?autoplay=true

 

DILLY DING DILLY DONG

That press conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPNzhJQbzJ8

That moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQQGiLWB-Zs

That journey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LFzq-0csDY

That player: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml3r21bJZfw

 

17/02/2017 European Football Special Issue

Well I don’t know about you lot, but I left my local pub on Tuesday evening high as a kite after Paris Saint-Germain’s demolition of the all singing – all dancing – super power that is FC Barcelona. Messi and co. had absolutely no answer to the relentless PSG. Di Maria, Verratti and Cavani blew Barcelona away with four unanswered goals at the Parc de Princes; a phenomenal game from start to finish. PSG offered wave after wave of attacking football, whilst Barcelona capitulated all over the park. MSN was nowhere to be seen, their individual performances had commentator, Steve McManaman, in utter shock. The former Real Madrid player spoke in disbelief at the lack of energy and desire in Barcelona’s performance. It took PSG only 18-minutes to break the deadlock, through a beautifully crafted Angel di Maria free-kick. It may have been a different story had Andre Gomez slotted home in the 27th minute, after team-mate Neymar Jr had carved out an opening in the PSG defense to create a 1 on 1 situation for the young midfielder, but it wasn’t to be and Gomez had to watch as the oncoming Kevin Trapp saved his effort. Lionel Messi was picked apart all night and, before Julian Draxler had scored the second, the Argentinian looked as though he had surrendered all hope. Di Maria turned on the magic again for PSG’s third; he curled the ball well past the reach of Andre ter Stegen and the tie was all but over. There was to be more heartache for the travelling fans as Edison Cavani put the cherry on top of a rather unforgettable performance in Paris. Tout simplement magique!

Unfortunately, my local only showed the Barcelona game but looking at the results I think it’s safe to say I got a front row seat to one of the most shocking European results in history – so I’m not too disappointed. And neither will Benfica be, after their home win over Borussia Dortmund. The black and yellows created all the early chances but failed to take one. 10-minutes into the game BVB opened up the Benfica defense slotting in Aubameyang who squandered a ridiculous chance to put his team ahead in the early stages – his effort went well over the crossbar from about 14-yeards out. Shortly after it was Dembele’s chance to burst the net, and he would have done so if it hadn’t been for Benfica centre-back, Lindelof, who bravely got his body in the way to block the shot. Benfica survived the first half, but it was the ‘The Eagles’ who would draw first blood 3-minutes into the restart. A Pizzi corner lead to a knock down by Luisao, the ball broke to Mitroglou who practically bundled the ball over the line and Benfica found some breathing space. This was Benfica’s only shot that hit the target all evening. Further chances came for Dortmund to grab that vital away goal, but none were taken. A missed penalty summed up Dortmund’s luck; Aubameyang struck an awful penalty straight down the centre of the goal making it an easy save for Ederson. This should be a great game to watch come the second leg at the Westfalenstadion as Dortmund look to overturn the defeat.

It was Arsenal’s turn to be royally rolled over on Wednesday evening. The Gunners always faced a difficult task against strong German opposition, but not many would have predicted Bayern’s 5-1 victory. Terrible defending, allowing Arjen Robben onto his favoured left side was Arsenal’s first mistake of the evening. It took just over the 10-minute mark for the Dutch midfielder to burst the net, after cutting inside and whipping the ball into the top left corner from 25-yards. Sanchez restored some hope on the 30th-minute, sending the teams to the dressing room with a draw at half-time. Half time marked the end of Arsenal’s challenge, as Bayern ran riot in the second 45. Lewandowski headed home in the 53rd minute; three minutes later Thiago Alcantara scored his first of the night; on the 63rd minute Alcantara scored again and Thomas Muller provided the finishing blow to end Arsenal’s embarrassing night in Europe. There are now calls for Arsene Wenger’s head, after a toothless battle in Munich. If you want a laugh head to YouTube, search for “Arsenal Fan TV” and bring a hanky, there will be tears!

Real Madrid had to come from behind at the Bernabeu to defeat Italian opposition, Napoli. Italian striker, Insigne, put the light blues ahead before the 10-minute mark. However, Napoli’s bright start was cancelled out by the head of Karim Benzema, who leaped above the Italian defence to score the equalizer. Benzema is now the highest scoring French man in Champions League history, surpassing the great Thierry Henry. Toni Kroos scored to take the lead for Los Blancos shortly after the break. Ronaldo provided the assist, and was praised for his uncharacteristically, unselfish performance throughout the match. Casemiro provided the third, and Real were flying into the next round. There were some complaints at the beginning of the match due to grounds crew tactics. The Bernabeu grounds crew were seen to only water one half of the pitch prior to kick off and at half time as well. Poor Napoli had to contend with flooding in their attacking half of the field for the entire 90-minutes. Many fans were quick to point out that Napoli’s home ground, San Paolo, floods naturally every time it rains – advantage Napoli! Or maybe not seen as they got scooshed 3-1.

Rostov and Lyon have all but booked their place in the next-round of the Europa League. Rostov blew Sparta Prague away in Russia with 4 unanswered goals. Tiemoko Konate will miss the second-leg for Sparta after his sending off in the first half. The game was over before the break, with Rostov 3-goals ahead in the first 45. Lyon’s 4-1 away win should be enough to take them to the next round. They went into the break with a comfortable 2-0 lead, they scored their third on the 57th minute before Alkmaar picked up a consolation goal when Iraninan winger, Jahanbakhsh, scored from the spot. A goal in extra time from Jordan Ferri gave Lyon a very comfortable lead going into the second-leg. Roma breezed past Villareal, with a 0-4 win away from home. A hat-trick from Dzeko, and a first half finish from Brazilian, Emerson Palmieri secured progression to the next round.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored more goals against St-Etienne more than any other team, and this rang true on Thursday night. A hat-trick for the self-proclaimed ‘God of Manchester’ put Manchester United through to the next round (surely they can’t screw it up from this point). He dived for the third goal – it was shocking (have a look in the link below). Tottenham Hotspurs fell to a surprise defeat in Belgium. Toothless Tottenham looked lackluster and tedious during Thursday evening’s match. Jeremey Perbet’s 59th-minute goal has given his side the edge going into the second-leg at Wembley. Deli Alli’s skimmed effort and Kane’s shot of the post was as good as it got for Spurs. Wembley has not been a happy hunting ground for Tottenham, who lost to both Monaco and Bayern Leverkusen at their temporary European home. They entered the game against Gent as second favourites to win the competition, behind Manchester United, and now it’s anyone’s game.

There was a tasty battle between Athletic Bilbao and Apoel Nicosia. It was a positive start for the Cypriot champions when George Efrem stunned the Estadio de San Mames on the 36th minute however their delight was quickly shuddered when Georgios Merkis put the ball into his own net. Bilbao began to turn up the heat and scored two more after the break with goals from Aritz Aduriz, competitions top-goal scorer with 7 goals, and Inaki Williams who added a third with a header on the 72nd minute. Greek International, Giannios Gianniotas, kept the tie alive for APOEL with his goal one minute from time. This tie will be played out in Nicosia’s GSP Stadium, which will be filled to capacity come next Thursday (22,859). This is definitely the tie to watch next week. Fiorentina picked up a vital away goal in Germany. This was a close encounter, and it’s a wonder how Gladbach never managed to burst the net after creating all the best chances. However, it is advantage Fiorentina after the first-leg due to some sharp shooting on Federico Bernardeschi’s part; the Italian scored from the dead ball just before the break.

 

 

RESULTS

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – Round of 16  (First-leg)

 

Benfica                                 1              v              0              Borussia Dortmund

Mitroglou (48)

 

Paris Saint Germain         4              v              0              Barcelona

Di Maria (18, 55)

Draxler (40)

Cavani (71)

 

Bayern Munich                  5              v              1              Arsenal

Robben (11)                                                                        Sanchez (30)

Lewandowski (53)

Thiago Alcantara (56, 63)

Muller (88)

 

Real Madrid                        3              v              1              Napoli

Benzema (18)                                                                     Insigne (8)

Kroos (49)

Casemiro (54)

 

 

EUROPA LEAGUE – Round of 32 (First-leg)

FK Krasnodar                     1              v              0              Fenerbache

Astra Giurgiu                      2              v              2              KRC Genk

AZ Alkmaar                         1              v              4              Lyon

Borussia M’gladback       0              v              1              Fiorentina

Celta Vigo                            0              v              1              Shaktar Donetsk

FC Rostov                            4              v              0              Sparta Prague

KAA Gent                            1              v              0              Tottenham Hotspur

Ludogrets                            1              v              2              FC Copenhagen

Olympiakos                        0              v              0              Osmanlispor

Athletic Bilbao                   3              v              2              Apoel Nicosia

Hapeol Be’er Sheva         1              v              3              Besiktas

Legia Warsaw                    0              v              0              Ajax

Manchester United         3              v              0              Saint-Etienne

PAOK Salonika                   0              v              3              FC Schalke 04

Anderlecht                         2              v              0              Zenit St Petersburg

Villareal                                0              v              4              Roma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Benfica v Borrussia Dortmund: https://youtu.be/FvPl3I6eu5Q

PSG v Barcelona: https://youtu.be/XMRZILYKUbU

Bayern Munich v Arsenal: https://youtu.be/gltOnX9jAgY

Real Madrid v Napoli: https://youtu.be/4MI2lT9ALJs

 

 

ONES TO WATCH

Arsenal fan tells it how it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcbykRVcn7Y

Napoli drowned in Champions League defeat: https://twitter.com/sasoarts/status/831967574334267402

Zlatan 3 – 0 St Etienne: https://youtu.be/IfgnehhHAoM

Advantage Gent: https://youtu.be/ZdXQUavJR8E

Best tie of the Europa League: https://youtu.be/E76DlRGveDQ