Category: Latest

Bundesliga Week 18 Round Up: Signs of life at the bottom

After a month off for warm weather training and general battery recharging, the German Bundesliga returned to action last Friday with a highly anticipated top of the table clash between third placed Borussia Mönchengladbach and the top of the table, Bayern Munich. However, the real drama of the weekend did not come at the Borussia Park where the home team submitted to a 2-0 defeat but elsewhere at Nuremberg, Wolfsburg and probably most excitingly at Freiburg. SC Freiburg’s European commitments and squad changes were an unfortunate legacy of a fantastic 2012/13 season in which they finished 5th. But the Breisgau club are small in relation to the German top division and this season has proved something of a struggle. However, they finished the first half of the season with a home win against Hannover and looked to lift themselves out of the bottom three with a win against, Bayer Leverkusen who, despite being second in the table, had lost their previous two league encounters and were there for the taking. Things got off to a rotten start for the home side when Lars Bender scored in the opening minutes for Leverkusen. Just over twenty minutes later Admir Mehmedi equalised before Simon Rolfes retook the lead with a set piece header. In the second half, Jonathan Schmidt bit back for Freiburg and the battle was joined so to speak. This...

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Rangers: Alistair McCoist’s “Pearls Of Wisdom”

It is tempting to leave this page blank, both in homage to Len Shackleton’s famous chapter on “The average directors’ knowledge of football” and because so much of what Rangers boss Ally McCoist has said this past week has left people speechless. But the sheer magnitude of McCoist’s folly deserves the fullest possible exposure. Talk of the new Rangers aping the old by going into administration has lit up Scotland’s traditional and social media since word got out last Thursday that Rangers’ first-team squad had been asked to consider taking a 15% pay cut and had declined so to do. Chief Executive Gordon Wallace’s claim that “no offer had been made” met with merited contempt and parody when he added that it was “more of a conceptual discussion about the possibility of some sort of reduction.” One contributor to the Celtic website Kerrydale Street’s ‘Next Sevco Discussion Thread’ suggested that Wallace might have “made them a conceptual discussion they can’t refuse.” And it was easy to imagine the players suggesting that Wallace consider discussing the concept of “getting tae ****.” But Wallace’s descent into the linguistic world of Brian Glanville-isms (one for the teenagers) was a momentary aberration. He has, after all, spoken the only sense so far on the subject of the restarted Rangers’ finances, telling last month’s AGM that “the current operating structure we have is too...

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Manchester United’s Angst & Sunderland’s Conflict

When the ball’s not rolling your way, the ball’s not rolling your way. Into extra-time having won in ninety minutes – had the away goals rule applied after ninety minutes, this would have been enough to see them squeeze through to the final – they were pinned back to almost certain defeat with a minute of extra-time left to play, but somehow they still they managed to find the briefest moments of time to force a penalty shoot-out. And then they lost the penalty shoot-out. Even though the other team missed three out of their five shots at goal. On a night when the villains outshone the heroes by a factor of appoximately three to one, Manchester United imploded in the most improbable, spectacular, self-inflicted manner possible. Had Brian Glanville used it as a plot line in a new children’s novel called “Goalkeepers Are Different II: The Personal Inner Torment Of David De Gea,” it would have been laughed out of court as “too far-fetched to be credible” by the press and public alike. Where they found a way to lose, they found a way to lose. But there was a peculiar beauty in defeat of this nature. It was epic, sweeping, almost grandiose. Not that this will come as much of a crumb of comfort to their supporters today. For Sunderland supporters, there may be an element of...

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So, Why Is The Leeds United Takeover Taking So Long, Then?

This evening, the supporters of Leeds United AFC could well be forgiven for contemplating the fact that it wasn’t meant to turn out like this. When Ken Bates finally surrendered the chairmanship of the club in July of last year, a new era was supposed to be at the point of dawning for a club – and a city – that has now been almost a full decade without Premier League football, but over the last couple of months a much-reported takeover of the club has stalled, whilst on the pitch the team has started to look every bit...

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Graham Turner Leaves Shrewsbury Town With His Dignity Intact

In an era during which it can be difficult to zone out the white noise of vitriol and rage that seems to accompany professional football wherever it goes, it comes as no little surprise to see the resignation of a manager from his position with a degree mutual respect between himself, the football club that they both represented and the club itself. So it was, however, today with the departure of Graham Turner from the managerial position at League One strugglers Shrewsbury Town. In a keenly-fought division, a run of just one win in their last eight matches had pushed Shrewsbury into the relegation places at the foot of the table, but today Turner departed from The New Meadow with his head held high, his reputation and dignity intact. Graham Turner and Shrewsbury Town Football Club go back a very long way indeed. Turner first arrived at the club’s former home Gay Meadow as a player from Chester in 1973, and took over as the club’s manager five years later, at the age of thirty. It was from here that, under his tutelage, the club embarked upon its finest season. The continuing progress made by the other two clubs promoted from Division Three of the Football League that season, Swansea City and Watford, meant that Shrewsbury Town’s achievements that season perhaps didn’t quite get the recognition that team deserved,...

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