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/

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

13/01/2017 – Issue 1

Who said the winter breaks boring eh?

Barcelona stunned Atletico Bilbao in their Copa del Rey round of 16 clash. Lionel Messi scored his 3rd free kick of 2017, eclipsing Los Blancos rival Cristiano Ronaldo who would have to watch the Flea miss his next 241 free kicks before he could equal the same free kick to goal ratio (Ronaldo 6.87%; Messi 8.02%). The excellent display of Messi, soon to be Barcelona’s best free kick taker of all time, sent the Catalonian Giants into the quarter finals of the Kings Cup. That’s three games in a row the Argentinian has scored from the dead ball, one more from him and he will have established himself as Barcelona’s best free kick taker of all time, surpassing the Dutch Ronald Koeman. The Everton manager shared his congratulations on Twitter (@RonaldKoeman), perhaps he’ll have much to celebrate come Sunday evening when his Everton side take on the mighty Manchester City. We will have to wait in anticipation.

Messi wasn’t the only player in incredible form. Luis Suarez scored his 100th Barcelona goal in no less than 120 matches. The Uruguayan striker reached the impressive milestone with a first half volley to open the scoring. It took Messi 188 games to achieve the same feat. Neymar also got himself on the score sheet, marking the 300th goal accumulated collectively by the formidable three, putting the case forward for MSN as the greatest attacking trio of all time. I think so.

Moving on.

Kelly Smith, former Arsenal and England legend, retired this week after over 20 years in the game. She leaves behind a footballing legacy like no other before her. In fact, there wasn’t much before she came along. As the first British professional female footballer she paved the way for female footballers and was the foundation on which the FA Woman’s Super League was built. A pioneer in women’s professional sport, she was awarded 117 caps for England scoring 46 goals in that time, making her England’s all time record goal scorer. Former team mate and national manager, Hope Powell, compared Kelly to the games greatest legends, and she’s spot on!

“Kelly is one of those players who come along only once or twice in a lifetime. In the men’s game you’d think of Diego Maradona or Messi, players with a unique talent, and that’s what Kelly has.”

Thank you, Kelly, for everything you have done for the game, we wish you all the best and hope that there will be others like you who will bring the women’s game to the forefront of football.

In other news, football fans were sent into a tizzy this week as we were sent the World Cup expansion pack. As a proud Scot I am elated but also scared shitless that, even with the promise of 12 more World Cup slots, we’ll still manage to fuck it up.

Gianni Infantino announced his plans last year when he ran for FIFA presidency, and he will see his proposal brought to life in 2026. The strategy has been met with some criticism, the biggest being that some feel it is all a money grabbing scheme, while others believe the expansion will introduce some much-needed inclusion to our beautiful game. Many have suggested that the inclusion of, perceived, lesser footballing nations could lead to a diminished tournament. But as many a fan will tell you, you can only beat what’s in front of you and if we look back to the Euro’s in France you will find the story of many a lesser nation taking on the big boys, and winning! *Queue the Thunderclap* #montheiceland

Speaking of England, Payet isn’t happy there anymore. Well at least he isn’t happy with the club in which one of England’s greatest son’s plied his trade. Yes, the home of Sir Bobby Moore is no longer fit for the Frenchman. Hammers manger, Slaven Bilic announced this week that:

“We have said we don’t want to sell our best players but Payet does not want to play for us”

He later stated that West Ham are not going to sell the Frenchman. So it looks like the PFA nominated Payet will have to hang tight in the capital, and change his attitude if he wants to play and keep his team out of the relegation zone, of which they are only 7 points adrift.

Henrik Larsson wins Pointless. This weeks headline came as a shocker to many, but for those tuned into Pointless on Wednesday afternoon I believe you watched “one of the great endings to an episode of Pointless that we have ever had”, according to host Richard Osman. The Swedish international offered a Pointless answer to the question “name a footballer who scored in Euro 2000?”, and the victors walked away with the £2,250 jackpot.

From one football legend to another.

Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid have just completed a 40 game unbeaten run, setting a new Spanish record. Simply remarkable! Karim Benzema saved the day in the 93rd minute to salvage a 3-3 draw against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey sending them into the quarter finals. Los Blancos were last beaten in April 2016 by German opposition, Wolfsburg, in the Champions League Quarter Final first – leg. Madrid ultimately won the tie 3-2 overall, and went on to lift the trophy that year, beating local rivals Atletico in the final. 31 wins, 9 draws and 0 defeats. Zizou, as always, showing everyone how it’s done.

Now we come to the most tragic news of the week.

Sadly, we learned of the passing of ex-England and Watford manger Graham Taylor. At 72 years of age, the well-liked and successful Taylor, passed away unexpectedly from a suspected heart attack. Taylor took Premier League side Watford from the depths of the 4th Division to the glistening glamour of the Premier Division after just 6 seasons in charge. Within that time he led the club to the 1984 FA Cup final against Everton, which the Hornets unfortunately lost 2 – 0. He spent time at Wolves and Aston Villa, and also had a stint as the England manger between 1990 – 1993.

As a player, manager, pundit, and Chairman of Watford Football Club he will be remembered fondly by football fans around the world.

RIP Graham Taylor.

 

 

WORTH A WATCH

 

Messi’s Trio

05/01/2017 v Athletico Bilbao (Cope del Rey – First Leg): https://youtu.be/x9fQXXFxjBY

08/01/2017 v Villareal (La Liga): https://youtu.be/BCj07Ljvk6c

11/01/2017 v Athletico Bilbao (Cope del Rey – Second Leg): https://youtu.be/DbFwnoS0aJI

 

Kelly Smith

FATV meets Kelly Smith: https://youtu.be/IIrkTBUvCUQ

2014 FA Cup Final v Everton: https://youtu.be/Ibckj_h2cf0

 

The last time Scotland featured in the World Cup

USA 1998 v Brazil: https://youtu.be/9hqVTbQXA7Y

Thunderclap: https://youtu.be/f_qfFhNLX-Q

That famous Icelandic commentary: https://youtu.be/DReai4ORYaY

 

Dimitri Payet

Showing his own dead ball prowess: https://youtu.be/WA88eZxS4Ck

 

Henrik Larsson answer wins Pointless

The greatest ending to a Pointless episode, or an episode of Pointless I should say: https://youtu.be/j4rJxms2ZyQ

 

Real Madrid

12/01/2017 v Sevilla (Cope del Rey – Second Leg): https://youtu.be/q7XoYzJOS70

Zidane’s stunner in the 2002 Champions League Final: https://youtu.be/rFfomw-Z4uE